Marika Hackman at Epic Studios

I wrote this for Livewire1350, you can read the post here: http://livewire1350.com/marika-hackman-gig-review/,

and the interview:

I was told that I was to interview Marika Hackman a few days before this show, so I didn’t have much time to listen to her stuff. Yet it didn’t take long to fall in love. Her music is hard to subscribe a genre, but if I had to it would be a mixture of dark folk with a bit of acoustic moodiness. Though really, the music talks for itself. Personal recommendations are ‘Bath is Black’ and the new single ‘Drown’ off of her new album We slept at last.

The night began with a lovely lady, Phoebe Robinson, and her acoustic guitar. It took a while to sort out the technical hitches, as an amp decided to explode at one point, but after she was finally able to get going she relaxed into the role. Her set was comprised of 99% her own songs, themed by the seasons, with 1% Outkast. The song arguably didn’t outshine the original ‘Hey Ya’, but it was refreshing to hear an acoustic twist on a classic. For being 17, Phoebe Robinson impressively captured the audience with her voice, and despite the slight hiccup she sung on through. You can find her new music video to her song ‘Blackbird’s Tongue’ here: 

Marika and her two fellows then took to stage in front of the excitable crowd. She began with songs from her mini album That Iron Taste and carried on through to her new single ‘Drown’. The atmosphere in the audience was fantastic at this point, with the lights, smoke and vocals all joining together to create a wonderful, emotional mashup. This was not the kind of gig in which you could dance the night away, and so the whole crowd were constantly static throughout, in a trance-like state. This however just added to the atmospheric vibe. She then went on to her first release, ‘You Come Down’, which I personally felt didn’t live up to her new tracks, though this does show that in 2 years she has really refined her talent.

The guy on the keyboard (who Marika introduced as The Captain) was impressively multi-tasking throughout, playing also the guitar, bass, maracas as well as a few sound effects on the laptop. Marika was also joined on stage by a drummer, who had an enviable drum kit, with as many pedals, cymbals and blocks as anyone could ever need. I was a bit disappointed that Marika never showed off her talents on the drum kit, as she did begin her musical journey on this great instrument. Although, I can definitely appreciate the difficulty in singing and drumming at the same time.

The crowd’s response to each of Marika’s gems seemed slightly overwhelming to her, as she always seemed a bit surprised that people were clapping and cheering. Although this may have been because she got so caught up the melancholic vocals and forgot where she was for minute, as this is a very easy thing to do with her music.

Marika then treated us to a story of when she was performing in a beautiful venue somewhere in England. The atmosphere was apparently very intense, the whole crowd focused on her, when she spotted a small fly zooming towards her. The audience also noticed it, and as Marika took in a deep breath to begin the next chorus, the fly went straight up her nose! This of course deflated the mood and Marika had to go sort herself out and remove the insect. Thankfully nothing like this happened at Epic Studios so we were all just left with a funny image of Marika stumbling about on stage with a fly up her nose.

Joanna Newsom seems to be a big inspiration to Marika Hackman, as we found out in the interview beforehand. She uses Joanne’s song ‘81’ as a warm up for her voice before many shows due to its variety of vocal changes. This song was brought out to the audience this time, and how glad we were. She brings new dimensions to this already fantastic song and it highlights the incredible voice she has.

We were indulged with a few new songs off her album which is due for release February 2015, and I can promise we are all in for a treat. It was a fantastic show, and you can tell Marika is becoming confident with interacting with the crowd. I cannot wait to see what more she has to offer for us.

Grandmaster Flash at Epic Studios

I reviewed this show for Livewire1350, so the original postage is at: http://livewire1350.com/grandmaster-flash-at-epic-studios-gig-review/

This is not a show. This is a party. This is how Grandmaster Flash introduces his set, and what a party it was. Grandmaster Flash can easily be attributed with the honour of creating hip hop as we know it today. Not only was he the mastermind behind the incredible record ‘The Message’, his group Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five were the first hip hop/rap artists to be introduced to the Rock and Roll hall of fame. He is currently playing DJ sets up and down the country, providing the crowd with an education in music.

This was the first time I had seen Epic Studios in its full set-up, and it was sure needed. A massive crowd lead on to a great atmosphere, yet there was, thankfully, still enough room for everyone to dance. The age range was mostly 30+, so we were easily the youngest there. This however didn’t matter whatsoever and everyone had a great time dancing away.

The crowd could already feel this party vibe after the vinyl dominated DJ sets from Chrome and DJ Format. Chrome did feel more like a filler act sadly, but the fact that his whole set was filled with scratching vinyl was a refreshing change to the ever so common laptop DJ. The same goes for DJ Format, whose set was jam-packed with funk, soul and hints of jazz which warmed up the already excitable crowd.

When the time came for the legend to take stage, he went straight in with Phil Collins ‘In the Air Tonight’ and just as everyone was getting into it, he cut the music. He had to set straight something straight. England was the party capital of the world in his books, so he needed us to understand three rules. Rule 1: When Grandmaster Flash says to put your hands up, you put your hands up. Rule 2: When he says to make some noise, you make some noise. And finally, Rule 3: When he is on the decks and playing some music you know the words to, then you better be singing along. The Grandmaster was going to take us back to the year that the party was the best, the dancing was the best, but most of all the music. 1975.

Grandmaster Flash raced through the classics, from rock to rap, AC/DC to Sugarhill Gang. He even managed to mix The Verve’s ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ with ‘Fix Up, Look Sharp’ by Dizzee Rascal, which is impressive by any standard. Highlights were definitely ‘Play that Funky Music’ by Wild Cherry, Cypress Hill’s ‘Insane in the Brain’. He finished off with Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s ‘White Lines’, to the delight of the crowd.

All in all it was fun night, and an impressive stamina for a man nearing 60. It was slightly disappointing to see he used his laptop for a lot of the mixing but he did still have vinyl connected to, so he could still scratch. However, you soon forgot about this and just enjoyed the great music and skill with which he mixed. If you’re up for a boogie and don’t mind the rather expensive price tag, then definitely head down to one of his shows. His next shows are at the O2 academies in Liverpool and Oxford.

Jamie T at UEA LCR

carry on the grudge

The quest to get these tickets was a long, yet rewarding one. As you may know, Jamie T’s tickets for this particular event sold out in around 26 minutes and whilst I tried with many browsers open to try and nab one, I failed. However, about a week or so before the event, I received an email from the university saying there was a select few tickets going for re-sale, only for students! Oh I was so excited. Arriving at the box office 2 hours before the tickets actually went on sale, missing a lecture (worth it), I managed to get some! Ignoring the fact that these particular tickets didn’t sell out until the day of the event, I was so damn happy.

Jamie T announced this tour on the back of his new album Carry on the Grudge, which, despite loosing the teenage-angst and ferocity of his previous two albums, is absolutely incredible. Personally, I think his lyrics are unrivalled by anyone in the music circuit currently, and this is perfectly exampled by the first song on the album ‘Limits Lie’. Another absolute corker on the album is ‘Rabbit Hole’, probably the most reminiscent of his previous works on this album, along with ‘Zombie’.

The Slaves kicked off the evening with an.. interesting set. It would be a push to call them talented, but at least they enjoyed their set. I can’t really fault them in their lack of musical talent, as punk has never been all about the musical intricacies, although in supporting Jamie T you may have thought they would have picked something a bit different. The best demonstration of their “style” is their 16 second song ‘Girl Fight’, which does what it says on the tin. They started this song of with about a minute and a half introduction to how this scene arose which was rather interesting. Basically – there’s two girls having a fight. They finished with ‘Hey’ which is definitely one of their better ones, with grungy guitar lines and anthem-like vocals.

Then came the time for the one and only Jamie T to get on stage. And what an introduction it was. He kicked things off with the melancholy ‘Limits Lie’, which was his first single released off his new album, followed by ‘Don’t you find’. These songs were a down-beat start to an evening which was anything but. Saying this, they were performed to perfection and proved Jamie’s new band really know how to play. Perfect start to an incredible evening. One thing I did notice is the age range of the crowd was very diverse, which just shows how Jamie T’s music applies to a wide range of people.

The next highlight for me was ‘Peter’, off Carry on the Grudge, which was so damn good. This made the crowd go crazy. The whole floor of the LCR went mad. I didn’t touch the floor for about the next 5 songs. Well that may be a slight exaggeration but quite literally, the whole pit was full of pushing, shoving and people having a mental time for the whole set. Minus a few select songs which allowed for a slight respite from the craziness. One of which being Emily’s Heart, which Jamie poured his heart and soul into, and the crowd sung and swayed along, all lost in the lyrical beauty. He finished with the classic ‘If you’ve got the money’ with everyone shouting the words back at him like the true anthem it is.

He came back for an almighty encore all alone, armed with his beauty of bass. This just cemented everyone’s knowledge of this man’s talent as he performed ‘Back in the Game’, and after this performance, he well and truly was. Joined by the band for the last two, ‘Zombie’ and ‘Sticks and Stones’, this was a fantastic end to an incredible evening.

Leaving the gig, we all genuinely looked as if we had jut got out of a lake fully clothed.. worth it.

The only thing I missed from this show was a lack of songs from Kings & Queens, most notably ‘Chaka Demus’. This album was one of the main albums that created my individual music taste, when I finally stopped hanging onto my older brother and sister’s tastes (however good they are). He also didn’t play Sheila, although I can completely appreciate this decision as Jamie T is not, and never will be a one hit wonder.

If you ever have the chance to see the almighty Jamie T – do. Just trust me on this one.

Hot Feet and Cocos Lovers at Norwich Arts Centre

hot feet

Hot Feet were recommended to me by a good friend of mine, and after listening to just 20 seconds of one song, I knew I had to listen more. Their music lifts you to a field full of sunshine and flowers, with a hint of cool breeze and cut grass lingering in the air.. moving on from the metaphors – Hot Feet are damn good. And they have just released a new EP (Mist is Dust) so, trust me, go check it out.

We interviewed the band beforehand and they are as lovely and chilled as their music suggests. They hinted at where they got their name from, but were unable to disclose full details.. and also explain their unique warm up rituals: http://livewire1350.com/hot-feet-interview/

The gig commenced with the charming man – The Magic Lantern who lulled us all in to a dreamy state. The whole crowd were so relaxed that we all ended up on the floor swaying in time. His talent on the guitar was perfectly demonstrated with his intricate melodies and soft, unobtrusive voice. You could tell that he was putting all his emotions into his songs, and whilst being a shy fellow, could really open up to the crowd and was seemingly inviting you to share in his memories.

Hot Feet were up next, the main event of the evening in my eyes, and were absolutely magical. Marianne’s vocals were (as I could easily hear line of best fit/pitchfork state) hauntingly beautiful, and whilst the lyrics weren’t going to change the world, the way she adapted her voice to fit each word perfectly was enviable. Marianne has an interesting writing process for Hot Feet’s songs, as she sings out the vowels and the kind of word sounds before she actually chooses them, and so the focus is particularly on how the lyrics will sound. This was beautifully put into effect, and chimed seamlessly with the bass, lead guitar and drums, especially when they joined in to a crescendo at the end of a few select songs. One of which is a ‘for now unnamed’, which is extremely good, and demonstrates the future direction of this special band. Another highlight was ‘Three Black Crosses’ which is slightly more upbeat than the other songs on the EP, also divine silence, which is a mystically ambient track, infused with snazzy little drum beats and great harmonies.

Cocos Lovers were the main event of the evening, bringing everyone to their feet and down for a boogie. They had a great amount of energy and this combined with the many people/instruments jammed on stage (at one time a saw was being used to great effect) created a great atmosphere. Their African-infused folk was something rare to enjoy, but they managed to make the two fit like they were meant to be. A lot of fun was had.

All in all a great night. Take anything away from this – go listen to Hot Feet’s EP, Mist is Dust right now. >> http://www.hotfeetmusic.com/#!page2/cjg9

The Sunshine Underground – Epic Studios, Norwich

The Sunshine Underground

 

After a 4 year hiatus, The Sunshine Underground announced a brand new album out of the blue with the well known producer Ross Orton who had previously worked with the likes of Arctic Monkeys and Roots Manuva. The album hints at being a fresh start for the band as it is their third album, yet self titled. The group decided to use the aid of crowd funding to raise the money for their new album, and this meant they were able to create exactly what they wanted, without the influence of any label pressuring them to keep to their original style. This meant that they have begun to explore a hugely different genre with their new release, in electronica vibes, but thankfully manage to stay well away from the cheesy synth vibes that so many indie bands have been playing around with, thinking their they new SBTRKT.

Due to the new album release TSU have been on a UK tour recently, and I was lucky enough to get to see them on their stop in Norwich, at Epic Studios. Joined by my friend who interviewed them for livewire1350 (UEA student radio), we were able to have a great chat with the band about all things music, and you can check out the interview here: http://livewire1350.com/sunshine-underground-interview/. There’s also a review that I contributed to, but I fancied writing my own!

TSU kicked things off with the aptly-named ‘Start’ from their new album, and what a great introduction to the album it was. Full of funky electronic beats, yet still keeping their indie roots with lead singer Craig’s vocals. Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_LW4aEeKxwY

They kept the energy high throughout the whole set, alternating between the first two albums indierock style, and the new 80s electropop anthems. Surprisingly the two very differing genres flowed seamlessly together. My only criticism is that you could noticeably feel how comfortable TSU sounded in performing their classic songs compared to the new stuff, but as the boys progress through their tour I’m sure they will mould the songs performances down to a professional T.

My personal favourite track of the evening was ‘Put You in Your Place’ which is off their first album ‘Raise the Alarm’. The enthusiasm shining from the stage was only matched by the audiences enjoyment, and fans old and new alike were really able to enjoy this classic indie track. Everyone appreciated TSU’s willingness to keep a lot of their previous albums tracks in the set, which was a nice nod to the loyal fans who had been around since their 2006 tour which stopped off in Norwich’s own Waterfront.

All in all it was a great evening, lovely guys who truly enjoy giving a full-blown performance, and the crowd lapped it up.

Primal Scream and HAIM (iTunes Festival)

Two nights ago I was lucky enough to see Primal Scream at the Roundhouse and they were well above my expectations – they were fantastic. this may have been due to the lively crowd but the music was superb. I have to admit I’m not that much of a Primal Scream fan, but I knew all the classics – rocks, loaded etc. The singer – Bobby Gillespie let out the rare smile at the crowd excitedness, and you could really tell he was enjoying himself. Being the youngest in the crowd made it strange to be running about in the mosh(ish) pits but it was still a hellalotta fun. Highlight for me was most definitely Loaded, which I loove as its got such a groovyvibe.

HAIM at Roundhouse, Camden

Also saw HAIM last night, who were also much better than expected. Sadly missed the majority of the faaabulous support – Gabriel Aplin. They definitely felt privileged to be headlining, as the year before they supported Ellie Goulding. I knew more songs than I expected to which is always good when you’re off to a gig. Sadly my friends were reluctant to get into the middle of the crowd so I was stuck on my tiptoes. The highlight of this set, despite the music being very good, was the bassist’s Este Haim’s facial expressions. They were fantastically hilarious! Seriously – if you get the chance to catch them live, make sure you stand on the left hand side of the stage, near where she stands and just appreciate her facial flexibility.

 

So lucky to have bee able to win this many tickets – also won Chic by the way which I gave to my parents and they said they were absolutely fantastic.

 

The next gig I’m going to is To Kill A King with Keston Cobblers Club supporting (yayayayayayayayayay)

 

Pippasmusingofmusic.

 

Vampire Weekend at Itunes Fest, Roundhouse

Last Thursday evening I amazingly won a pair of tickets to the highly sought after Itunes Festival to see the fabulous Vampire Weekend. So on the Sunday evening I (metaphorically) packed my bags and was ready to go.

However, in the notorious Brown Family fashion, I was over an hour late so sadly my friend and I were stuck behind a large crowd, including someone who can only be described as guinessbookofworldrecords-tall. We also missed the supporting act – The Olms(?). But ahh well, we got stuck on in anyway. The atmosphere was pretty darn good (why wouldn’t it be – everyone got free tickets!) and people were a-wiggling. What also set the mood was the fact that everyone there was in pairs – this meant everyone was mingling more, which created a lovely atmosphere.

VW began their set with the marvellously happy tune Diane Young and carried on through till Step brought the mood down slightly, as a slow paced song. They then let down the white background set (which had a grand mirror in front of it) which revealed a flowery background which excited us all (easily done hey?) and brought up the crowd again for Unbelievers. All in all the set was very good, but I have to admit they weren’t as lively, and didn’t interact with the crowd as much as I had expected, or as much as they had the last time I had seen them. (Glasto 2008)

Their (although predictable) encore was a lot of fun, especially screaming ‘Blake’s got a new face’ at the top of my lungs. This song sadly did highlight the lack of true VW fans in the audience as less than half of them were joining in with my screaming. :(

Thanks for readinnggg!! Seeing Primal Scream(yay) this Friday so shall update you shortly.

 

Pippasmusingsofmusic

x

‘Guess who’s back..back again’ *Eminem tuuuune*

It has been way too long since I have written a review, blame it on the exams! (and lazyness but let’s not focus on that one…)

So who have I seen in the past few months?  Not many unfortunately, although I did have the pleasure of seeing the faaaabulously emotional Tom Odell last week at the Electric Ballroom in Camden. He was actually ridiculously good! Also managed to get relatively cheap, last minute tickets thanks to seatwave…

Definitely check out his new album which is on it’s way soon. highlight of the night was most definitely ‘Hold Me’ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejdOAvl5by0) I love how it sounds exactly what anyone would say in a drunken loved-up state, you can taste the morning regret as you listen..

Missed allllll of the supporting acts sadly as we arrived too late :(

Lowest point of the night was definitely when I managed to (drunkenly) spend at least £5 on lollipops due to the sneaky toilet attendant, have to say they were kinda worth it however :)

 

THANKS FOR READING YAY

shall be posting more sooooooooooon hopefully x