Friday, 26 February 2010

The Emo revival...

No, I am not talking My Chem or the "emo" genre that the Daily Mail created! Before all the silly haircuts, self harm and eyeliner there was actually something more exciting, and this summer it appears to be having something of a reunion.

With The Get Up Kids, Sunny Day Real Estate, Saves The Day and Hot Water Music all touring over the next few months, it's enough to make you think you have stepped back 7 or 8 years to the heyday of the scene. Back then it was backpacks, centre partings and thick rimmed glasses. Mix tapes, fanzines and an endless run of quality indie labels (Deep Elm, Jade Tree, Revelation to name a few).

So if you want to see where the sea of bland pop punk bands got their inspiration from, then head to one of these shows. Alternatively pick up Saves The Day "Through Being Cool", Hot Water Music "A Flight And A Crash", The Get Up Kids "Something To Write Home About" or Sunny Day Real Estate "Diary" and enjoy.

Now we just need Elliot, The Promise Ring, Boy Sets Fire and Grade to come over and it would be the best summer ever!

Rolo Tomassi

So UK noisniks Rolo Tomassi have just rolled out a nice run of tour dates. The band are set to drop the second album in a few months time and hopes are high for it. Produced by dance guru Diplo, the buzz on this one is big, so keep an eye out.

Even more exciting is that RT are supported by the monstrous Trash Talk and rowdy newcomers Throats, meaning this is going to be one of the most intense live packages of the summer. So if you like your rock with a bit of blood, sweat and beers, I strongly reccomend you head down to a show.

Dates are as follows...

10 Apr 2010 19:00
Academy 2 with Trash Talk & Throats Oxford
11 Apr 2010 19:00
Corporation with Trash Talk & Throats Sheffield
12 Apr 2010 19:00
Roadhouse with Trash Talk & Throats Manchester
13 Apr 2010 20:00
Stereo with Trash Talk & Throats Glasgow
14 Apr 2010 19:00
Rock City Basement with Trash Talk & Throats Nottingham
15 Apr 2010 19:00
Engine Rooms with Trash Talk & Throats Brighton
16 Apr 2010 20:00
The Forum with Throats Tunbridge Wells
17 Apr 2010 19:00
Champions with Trash Talk & Throats Bournemouth
18 Apr 2010 19:00
Clwb Ifor Bach with Trash Talk & Throats Cardiff
19 Apr 2010 19:00
Flapper and Firkin with Trash Talk & Throats Birmingham
23 Apr 2010 20:00
The Underworld London

Festivals of 2010

Well, 2010 already looks like a good year for festivals. The past few years, the market has been horribly over flowing with festivals, meaning few managed to pull together a bill of any quality, let alone anything exclusive.

Already 2010 seems to be different, with most of rocks big hitters making festival appearances. To have AC/DC, Aerosmith, RATM, Iron Maiden, Pearl Jam, Eminem, Muse, Rammstein etc all playing is quite an incredible thing, and that's just the headliners. There's still more to be annouced also. Sonisphere has one more headliner to go (surely got to be Metallica to complete the line up of the big 4 of thrash?!) Not to mention that we haven't heard a peep from Reading Festival yet. Blink 182 have been strongly rumoured as one of the headliners (a pretty sure bet as their tour dates surround the Reading weekend perfectly. Beyond them, there's talk of Foo Fighters and Guns And Roses, but those seem less certain with Grohl firmly in Them Crooked Vultures world and Axl Rose just being an unpredictable diva!

Regardless, this summer is set to be great and I personally can't wait. Last year, Download was a huge success, but Sonisphere was still finding it's feet and Reading/Leeds and pretty much every other festival veered too far down the indie route. This year, it would appear that rock is truly back. Going to be a big one, so pack that tent, sleeping bag and crate of beer and I'll see you in the fields!

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Kids In Glass Houses UK Tour...

Kids In Glass Houses will be touring the UK in April. Check them out at the below shows. Their new album, Dirt, is out at the end of March. By all accounts it's a step away from the world of rock, and could see them hit far more radio friendly territories. It's a risky strategy, but considering these boys can pen good songs in their sleep, I've a feeling it will pay off.

1 May 2010 20:00
CIA w/ Lostprophets Cardiff, Wales
2 May 2010 20:00
University Newcastle
3 May 2010 20:00
Cockpit Leeds
4 May 2010 20:00
Academy 2 Manchester
6 May 2010 20:00
Leadmill Sheffield
7 May 2010 20:00
Garage Glasgow
8 May 2010 20:00
Rock City Nottingham
9 May 2010 20:00
Academy 2 Birmingham
11 May 2010 20:00
Koko London
12 May 2010 20:00
University Bournemouth
13 May 2010 20:00
Princess Pavillion Falmouth
14 May 2010 20:00
Lemon Grove Exeter

Lower Than Atlantis - Far Q

Wow, talk about change- last time I heard this lot they were very much on the southern rock, ETID bandwagon that a bizarre amount of UK bands seemed to be invovled in. Now they sound closer to alt rock heroes Small Brown Bike or Hot Water Music, and they are a million times better.

From the frantic opening of lead track Far Q, this is an incredible listen. Each song a blend of gruff vocals delivered with honesty and passion, searing guitars and gut punching drums. It's impressive stuff, most obviously when they lock into one of many melodic refraims that will no doubt be chanted back at them at future live shows. The easy charm of songs such as "Taping Songs Off The Radio" deserves to heard by more than just the UK scene kids.

Genuinely, I had little to no interest in this band until I heard this album. It's a complete reinvention that is definitely welcome and if there is justice in this world will seem them making a lot of new friends.

Angels And Airwaves- Love

Man, I did not expect to like this. Ever since Blink fell apart and Tom went off on a mission to save the world with AVA, it's always seemed a bit like the egotistical trip of a rich madman. More than anything, neither of their previous two albums have done anything to appeal to me, seeming to be simply devoid of memorable songs.

Imagine my surprise that I seem to gave this album on repeat. OK, so lyrically it's odd at best, often reeking of someone who has lost touch with reality, but musically it's epic and to be totally honest, at a point where bands are almost expected to deliver meat abd veg rock with no frills and no ego, it's actually quite nice to hear something so grandiose and flamboyent.

The fact that the entire album is free to download and it racked up hundreds of thousands of downloads in a day says a lot about how big this band actually are. I don't think this album will see them grow any more as musically it is much the same as the previous two, but certainly, it will have me reaching for those last two albums to see if I have missed something the first time around.

Enter Shikari/The King Blues/Rolo Tomassi @ Hammersmith Apollo.

The reception Rolo Tomassi are greeted with tonight is polite at best, certainly the biggest cheer goes up when they announce their last song. To be honest, it's not to be expected as their ultra intense and scatty mix of yelping, screaming, crunching guitars and hyper beats is not the most instant of sounds. Given time though, you pull out the intricacies of their songs and discover the moments that make them so great. As a live band they are great- all jolting movements and flailing arms as singer Eva Spence dances around the stage almost trance like. The kids will catch on soon.

The King Blues are welcomed far more warmly. In recent months they have become very close with the Enter Shikari crew, and clearly the fans recognise this. Their set is faultless, from the unabashed joy exuded in songs such as My Boulder to the inspired cover of Bonkers, they play like headliners and the crowd laps it up.

Any fear of Shikari being upstaged are banished at the sight of their immense light show- a set up so big it almost tour the roof off a venue in Blackpool. It's a visual feast, but not one that for a second upstages ES performance. As they rip through a set taken from both albums, it's clear they are on fire. a year + of constant touring latest album "Common Dreads" has given the band time to flesh out the songs from it they play so they fit seamlessly alongside earlier cuts. It's an incredible set to watch, both visually and sonically it is awesome and the band exude energy and charm throughout exampling exactly why four normal guys from St. Albans have managed to come so far. Hats off to them.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Lostprophets/Kids In Glass Houses/Hexes @ Brixton Academy

General opinion is that Hexes put in a great performance. As per usual I am ther late and miss it, but the crowd certainly seemed warmed up.

Kids In Glass Houses are a band about to morph into an entirely different beast. Judging by their move to a sharp indie look and songs that have more in common with Feeder and The Stereophonics than than pop tinged rock bluster of their storming "Smart Casual" debut. It's a process that is clearly still not complete and both band and audience seem slightly unsure how they feel about it. Still, it has every potential to be huge, with the skyscraper sized choruses of songs such as 'Summertime' promising huge things for imminent new album 'Dirt'.

Lostprophets on the other hand are a band that know their territory and their sound inside out. They've been doing this for 10+ years now and they simply own the stage. Tonight's show is by no means a best by the band, weighing far too heavily on material from their new album. A lot of the songs that maybe didn't hit instantly on album make much more sense live, and the response to "Where We Belong" suggest the fans love The Betrayed, regardless of the mixed response it received from critics.

You Me At Six/Young Guns/This City

Man do I want to like This City. Song by song I do, but the problem is that over a set, or album, they fall in to one long meandering song, punctuated by yelps and similar jaunty guitar stabs throughout. What their aiming for should work- taking the post hardcore of bands like At The Drive In and Fugazi and adding a pop sheen to it all. Somehow though, it never quite works.

Obviously, I reviewed Young Guns the other day, so will skip the tonight. Needless to say, however, they kill it.

You Me At Six have come a long way. From a youthful pop punk band that commanded. a huge following but was lacking in the musical crunch or critical respect it seemed they yearned to a potentially world beating band with a top 5 album and the love of almost everyone that crosses their path. It's a startling change from day glow tees and simple pop songs to their smarter more dapper appearance and a second album that clearly has an intentional move to more mature waters. More important than this, tonight shows a band that actually perform with the skill and aplomb of many bands twice their age. It's a far cry from those ragged early performances and justifies the bands move from scene leaders to mainstream contenders. 2010 will be a big year for them.

All Time Low/The Blackout/Young Guns/My Passion.

This was the second of a two night stand at Camden's beautiful Roundhouse for the 2010 Kerrang Relentless Tour.

My Passion are a band that, being honest, are just not my cup of tea. I get 100% why 15 year old kids with badly applied eyeliner love them, but I guess I am just too old to by into the goth angst they pedal. Bearing this in mind, I expected to be bored or worse still, dismayed, with them tonight, but truth be told they put in a performance that at least raised my respect for them. They will never be my cup of tea, but I will say that they are very good at what they do.

Young Guns are 100% my cup of tea and tonight they are on top form. Entering to the sound of the venue chanting their name, they own tonight from the start. Ploughing through a set of songs that will soon form their eagerly awaited new album, it's easy to understand why they are the hot tip for 2010.

The Blackout have already done the groundwork and by God does it show. I genuinely don't think there is a tighter, more entertaining live band doing the circuit currently. With a stage show that sees them stepping it up a level too, they are simply huge and leave All Time Low with big boots to fill.

Thankfully, the Baltimore pop punk kings are no novices themselves, and regardless, the crowd is ripe for them, screaming back every word to every song. The first thing you notice is that, actually, these guys are very very accomplished musicians. Unlike so many other bands in the genre, singer Alex can actually sing, and in the brief acoustic interlude he goes ones further and displays a voice that is both powerful and fragile at the same time. Their set is still slightly marred by filler- a problem I feel their albums suffer from to, but with one more album under their belts, there is every possibility of these guys doing a "Blink". If it happens, it would be well deserved.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Japanese Voyeurs/Sharks @ Camden Barfly

It appears to be a big night for Sharks. Lots of industry are down to catch a glimpse of this hotly tipped band. It's been a few months since I saw them last and they sound like a different band. Not that they were bad before, but it is so obvious that they have obviously focussed a lot on the writing of their songs. In fact, it's recent single Common Grounds that stands out to me as the weakest moment. Again this is not to say that that blistering little number is weak, just that every other track is a brilliant yobby anthem. Definitely keep your eyes on this lot.

Japanese Voyeurs are another hot tip. Sounding like something that crawled out of Seattle in the early 90's, they sit at odds with what most bands are playing right now. No bad thing, especially as grunge is certainly due a comeback. The only thing I struggle with is their lack of memorable tunes. The great grunge bands worked because amidst all the drone and sludgy chugging riffs there were massive memorable songs. On tonights evidence, Japanese Voyeurs are lacking this, but they are young and there is time.