• White Lies - Leeds Academy 13/02/2011

    14. Feb. 2011, 15:01

    Sun 13 Feb – White Lies

    I have loved White Lies since the first time I heard them back in 2009. One of those bands, like The Killers, where I was instantly in love. Their first album To Lose My Life was on my top played lists for an awful long time. After a year of completely amazing gigs (including 4 ventures out to see The Killers, a Blur and Wonderstuff come back gig amongst others) we headed to Leeds Academy to see this young band.

    While they couldn't hold their own against these other much more experienced bands, they certainly didn't disappoint. Having had somewhat of a quick rise to fame that year, they appeared a little nervous and overwhelmed on stage with lead singer Harry McVeigh's intense dark eyes darting around with the look of a startled rabbit caught in the headlights.

    This time around, was so very, very different.

    We arrived just before doors opening to a queue wrapped around the building despite the pouring rain and headed for the barrier, making second row, with a good little opening for a barrier spot with a little squeezing. Fortunately for me, as the band came on a couple of girls were pulled out of the front row giving me room to get a prime position at the barrier.

    White Lies had brought along two support bands again. First up was Active Child, an electronic duo from Los Angeles. I could have really got into this band if it were not for the lead singer's voice, which was quite gorgeous when he sang deep but grated like nails down a chalk board when he went for the high notes, which was sadly way too often. They certainly didn't endear themselves to my husband when they covered New Order's Ceremony (although I quite enjoyed this, it being way more upbeat than their previous offerings.)

    You can check them out

    Next up was Crocodiles, a San Diego band with their roots firmly in 80s indie music such as The Jesus and Mary Chain and Echo and the Bunnymen. The singer, sporting a leather jacket, shades (and, in my husband's words, Arnold J Rimmer's uncontrollable hair), bumped, grinded and gyrated along to their upbeat, guitar heavy tracks. I loved them, I can't wait to see more of them and I've just gone an bought their latest album, Sleep Forever.

    You can check them out at

    Crocodiles got the crowd all warmed up, and the obligatory drunken late arrivals had pushed their way to the front so it was clearly time for the main event. The excitement built and White Lies proved they had come a long way since that first gig 18 months ago. Harry walked on stage with confidence in his still intense and darting eyes, interacting with the crowd, encouraging them with fist pumps and shouts of "Come on!", he got us all going, clearly enjoying himself and the crowd.

    The 90 minute set included a mix of tracks from both their albums, smattering their energetic hits between the slower, more atmospheric material from their new album. Their three song encore featured my favourite tracks from both albums, Unfinished Business and The Power and the Glory and they ended with their latest single, Bigger Than Us, coming to the front to wave their goodbyes before finally leaving the stage.

    The gig was all that I was hoping for and more, a throughly exhausting, sweaty, exhilerating night, and a great set up for the first of what I hope will be many gigs this year. I'm covered in bruises and wearing every single one with pride. White Lies have set the standard and there's going to have to be some tremendous performances to beat them this year.

    It was great to see just how far they have come in this short period of time, I'm sure they'll be taking the stadiums on soon.

    White Lies Official Website:

    White Lies
  • Hurts - Happiness

    3. Jan. 2011, 6:56

    Hurts burst onto the scene in early 2010 with their first single Better Than Love, but had much better success with their second single, Wonderful Life. It was this single which drew me in, despite my tendency to hum the Black song of the same title every time I hear it.

    Their singer, Theo Hutchcraft, originates from the bowels of deepest, darkest North Yorkshire, where there is clearly little to do but listen to your mum’s old Spandau Ballet records while watching the sheep go by. Many bands of late, of note my own particular favourite, The Killers, have shown influences from the darker side of 80s pop such as The Cure, The Smiths and Depeche Mode; Hurts, however, have dug deep into the back pockets of Tears For Fears and the aforementioned Spandau Ballet, with a drop of Vince Clarke era Depeche Mode thrown in to bring us their own brand of sweeping, sometimes orchestral, synth based pop with just a splash of 90s boy band in the mix to ensnare their younger audience. This, combined with their sleek style and Bros-like good looks, have set the libido of teenage girls across the country racing.

    Having really only heard Wonderful Life (it’s a wonderful, wonderful life – no wait, that’s Black again), I was curious to see what Hurts could produce, but reluctant to buy the album based on just one song. I was tipped over the edge, however, by the adoration shown by many people whose musical taste I share (for this read Victims aka Killers fans), and I made the purchase.

    On first listen, I have to say the only songs that stood out for me were those first two singles, Better Than Love and Wonderful life, which are still my favourite tracks on the album, the rest of the album left me intrigued, but cold. Intrigued enough, however, to give it several more chances, and the album has grown on me, though it’s by no means a favourite. There’s promise there, but a feeling of disharmony, a divide or battle of wills between the influence of 80s synth pop and the boy band harmonies of the 90s, and it’s probably not an album that is going to stand the test of time. I think it shows potential though, and if they can find the right direction, I think they can become a solid band.

    At the moment I am firmly astride the fence, I really want to like them, but my ears are against my will. I will most likely be going to see them live, and hopefully this will push me over the edge, one way or the other.

  • I Almost Screamed When I Saw You Dancing

    14. Okt. 2010, 12:12

    Wed 13 Oct – Brandon Flowers

    After an awesome night in Glasgow I rose early for journey back down to Leeds, got home fairly uneventfully, had the fasted shower and change in the west and headed back out. I arrived at the venue at around two, and had just missed Brandon arriving where he had signed stuff and took pictures. He had said he was coming back out so I hung around the back for about an hour and a half, chatting with security, some of the crew and the support band, until I saw them sneak him out another door and whisk him away in a car. Damn them and their sneakyness.

    I did get to hear him soundchecking Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas (which isn't part of the set list), Crossfire and Only The Young, which made it all worthwhile.

    I wasn't gonna wait until he came back and miss the chance for a good place at the front, so I joined the already growing line. Here I met the lovely Natalie and her Aunt who were just a few places ahead of me, shivered in the cold a lot and eventually made it to the second row in about the same place I was the night before.

    It wasn't too long before Brandon was once more strutting his stuff in front of me once more. The crowd were.... um, let's just say a less mature one than in Glasgow, there was a lot of hysterical screaming. At one point, where he explains the song, Magdalena, there was one girl just screaming his name over and over, I thought she may be have been genuinely having some kind of fit, or need medical attention in some way. He cut the explanation short and just launched into the song.

    Although he smiled when the crowd were screaming, he was a lot less talkative than in Glasgow, just belting out song after song and he didn't come to the front of the stage nearly as much. I think he was maybe a little scared of the crowd. Still, the songs were amazing and the sound was so much better than in Glasgow, we got the snap dance during Only The Young (no one in the crowd did it though, you're letting our boy down, Victims) and he played The Clock Was Ticking for the encore, which I don't think he expected the crowd to know. Silly Brandon. Thankfully, there wasn't too much screaming during When You Were Young acoustic (I loved the introduction where he explained to the crowd that he was the lead singer of The Killers, no really?), at least for the singing parts, and once more it was over way, way too soon. I've definitely been spoiled by The Killers almost two hour set, harder to pull that off when you only have one album out.

    I managed to grab the t-shirt I wanted, and headed out back to see if I could get a photo. By the time I got there, there was a large crowd already gathered and I debated on whether to bother waiting or not. I waited for about an hour, and the crowd only seemed to get larger and the support band were out getting a lot of reflected attention.

    I should explain here that the gig had to finish early (10pm), because the Academy have a student club night on a Wednesday, which would account for more people being able to wait. After about an hour I overheard the manager come out and start complaining that his staff were being held up because of the people waiting for Brandon and he needed them for his club night. Shortly after this, the barriers were taken away from the stage door and the security disappeared. The rumour was that Brandon would not come out until 3am when the club was finished. I didn't believe it for one minute, but decided to leave anyway, there were far too many people and I was tired and hungry as I hadn't eaten since 8 that morning. I had got my autograph at Glasgow and I have two more chances to meet him still.

    I got home to lovely, lovely pizza, carefully hand ordered by hubby who had come straight home after the gig as he is working today.

    I also got home to the news that Brandon had come out and been mobbed by the crowd to the point where he had been pushed over. Ack, I'm still finding it hard to keep my cool about this, but I will try and write rationally.

    It has really angered me, not so much that the fans would do this, people get excited and everyone wants to get their 30 seconds. I understand that. What they don't understand of course, is that if they stood back and let him breathe, they might just get their chance. If they mob him and make him feel uncomfortable, he's just going to leave, and next time.... well there won't be a next time. But I get that they are young and excitable and it's not entirely their fault.

    The fault, in my mind, lies squarely at the feet of the 02 Academy. Brandon might not be a huge star in the same way that Britney Spears or Lady Gaga is, but The Killers are one of the biggest bands in the world, right now and he has a lot of passionate, passionate fans. He doesn't travel with a posse of hefty security guards, he keeps things fairly low key. From what I have learned in the last couple of days, he likes to come out and spend a little time with fans, goes a little out of his way to do so, he understands what it's like to meet your heroes, to be passionate about music.

    I get that the 02 isn't really used to hosting acts as popular as Brandon, it's a small venue, usually used by up and coming or lesser known bands. Still, you know who you're booking, if you don't have the staff to cope with it, you hire more for the night, or you don't book a band on the same night as your club night.

    Taking the security and barriers away was a stupid, stupid thing to do, and I am really, really angry about it. It's worse because it happened in my town. I'm angry that I live amongst people that would let this happen. I hate that Brandon might now feel he has to have more security, that he can't come out and talk to people. It's tainted the memory of the gig for me, and I'm so glad I did not stay around to witness it.

    To end on a happier note, I did get to meet a couple of lovely Victims while waiting outside, again I didn't get names, damnit, and also ran into Rachel and her mum, which was lovely.

    Next up, Manchester on Saturday.Brandon FlowersFlamingo
  • There Were People There, Lovely as You'd Ever Care

    14. Okt. 2010, 9:13

    Tue 12 Oct – Brandon Flowers
    Waking up on uber-giddy mode I hit the gym early and got back home in time for a quick shower and a pre final ticket check, before heading to the train station. Being the paranoid type I had to check my tickets once again before setting off, and for once it paid off, a gaping hole had appeared in the section of my bag where I keep my tickets. Phew.

    The first part of the journey was uneventful enough, but on getting to Preston, some inconsiderate bastard had decided to throw himself under a train causing delays all across the network. To cap it all, when I got to my seat, some old hag and taken it upon herself to ignore the “reserved” sign and avail herself of my it. The seat next to her was empty, and she was elderly so I was nice enough to not throw her out, even though it meant I wasn't at the seat with the plug so I couldn't use my laptop.

    So I got myself settled in and she tutted and started complaining to her husband who was putting away the bags that I had taken his seat! I pointed out the reserved sign and my ticket which shut her up.

    We travelled through the gorgeous but mostly 3G-less scenery and I found myself in Glasgow a half hour after I should have been. Here I met up with my host, after telling him I was waiting by the station bar, only for him to point out there were four! Well, was in Scotland after all. After a brief stop to drop my stuff off and freshen up, we headed out to meet Amy and Fiona for dinner (my first and only meal of the day) and drinks.

    The next morning I awoke at 6am after only 4 hours sleep, but soon drifted back off to an assortment of very vivid dreams in which I missed the gig in every way possible and Grant had various combinations of cats!

    My alarm roused me and I was up, ready and in Glasgow for about 11:30 where I went looking for coffee, food, sharpies and a toilet! Having found all four I headed to the 02 about three quarters of an hour after I had wanted to be there. A queue had already formed, and I took my place and was soon chatting away with some fellow victims.

    Shortly after I got there, the Brandon bus arrived to much excitement and we all ran around the back of the venue to say hi. He got off the bus wearing my favourite hoody under denim jacket outfit (I like my men casual), looking gorgeous, gave us a wave and a smile and headed straight into the venue, and we went back to join the queue, which looked to have diminished somewhat. After about an hour and a half we learnt why. Some of the queue had stayed round the back and were rewarded with a brief appearance from Brandon where he took pictures and signed autographs.

    The excitement over we settled in for the long, cold wait in one of the less enchanting areas of Glasgow, passed repeatedly by more and more drunken Scotland supporters as there was a game against Spain that day.

    We broke the boredom, and warmed ourselves with a trip to McDonald to use the toilets at around four and then the excitement and countdown to doors opening began.

    At this point I'd like to give a shout out to my new Scottish Victim buddies who shared my little spot of shivering, April and Aillie (which is so not how you spell her name but it involves d's and g's and would only confuse you all). Sorry I never got to say goodbye, it was awesome to meet you.

    As the time for doors opening got nearer and nearer the shutters were opened and we stared menacingly at security in the cold, while they started menacingly back at us from the warmth. Finally they let us in and we made a dash for the barrier amidst shouts for us to take is slowly. Bollocks to taking it slowly, I waited almost 6 hours in the cold, I'm not having my barrier spot gazumped by someone who just got there.

    I just made it to the barrier, to the right side (Brandon's left), just shy of the speakers and the second, much warmer, wait began. The excitement built as the dry ice poured out, the lights dimmed and support band, Transfer, came on. They came out with two brilliant songs, but the rest was really quite mediocre and they were very, very loud. The sound system at Glasgow 02 is nowhere near as good as the one at Leeds, the music was often distorted, especially from my position so near the speakers, which I've never experienced at Leeds.

    Transfer were soon done and Brandon didn't keep us waiting too long. The crowd went wild, their 2 thousand strong roar as he took the stage could rival any 20,000 stadium cheer and then some. I have to admit, by this time the built up excitement and anticipation and waiting had got to me and I actually screamed, yes screamed as appeared so damn near in front of me. Never in my life and all that.

    The crowd were fantastic and Brandon had a huge grin on his face as we all sang On the Floor back to him, definitely one of the best atmospheres I have experienced at a gig, and I know Leeds will be a little disappointing after that, cos they're usually quite a reserved crowd there. Brandon and his band belted out those little songs, the quieter songs were amped up and they really pumped out those rockier ones.

    Brandon was in his element, strutting around the stage, standing on the amps, and clambering up onto boxes placed at either side of the stage for that very purpose. His enthusiasm on stage is infectious and it's a joy to see how much he loves it up there, it's not cocky or egocentric, just a pure love of what he does and pleasure in giving pleasure. He's a crowd pleaser for sure and it was his performance on stage (and the energy the whole band put in) that lead to my Killers obsession in the first place. Damn you Brandon.

    I caught his eye a couple of times as he scanned the crowd and was blessed with a grin as I gleefully sang his words back at him.. My spot seemed to be a good one as he seemed to gravitate more to that side, as the backing singers were on the other side, and during Swallow It, he knelt right in front of me as he sang the chorus, oh hell yeah!

    It was over all too soon and he came out for the encore to play the acoustic version of When You Were Young, which is just amazing as 2000 people can be heard singing in unison with Brandon's delicious voice on this slowed down version of one of the Killers' more aggressive songs. A little different from when its The Killers last song, but it's up there with the crowd singing “I got Soul” during All These Things That I've Done.

    The Clock Was A Tickin' was on the set list for the encore, but he missed it out, probably because of time, the support band were quite late coming on.

    As the lights came back on I headed for the toilet, but the security would not let us use it and I couldn't find the merchandise store, so it was back out in the cold and another wait outside. I made straight for the back, where a group of us gathered to wait patiently and ignore security telling us he wasn't coming out. Yeah right, the bus is right there dudes, how's he gonna get to it, teleport?

    After about an hour and a half we were rewarded as he came out and spent a minute or so with the few of us that were left. There wasn't the time for everyone to get a picture, or even a chat as he was soon whisked away, but I got my CD signed and was in the presence of awesome for a minute. Good enough for me, until tonight anyway.

    I met some lovely, lovely people outside that night, all really chatty and friendly, special shout out to Becky and her awesome pink flamingo feathers dress and the lovely couple who flagged down a taxi for me. I didn't get the rest of your names, but this English foreigner was made to feel very welcome up there in Scotland and I'd pick there over London for another gig any day.Brandon FlowersFlamingo