• 2012.

    1. Jan. 2013, 23:09

    Top 20 albums of 2012

    1) Hot Chip - In Our Heads (Domino)
    2) Twin Shadow - Confess (4AD)
    3) Lana Del Rey - Born to Die (Polydor)
    4) Calvin Harris - 18 Months (Columbia)
    5) The Hives - Lex Hives (Sony Music)
    6) Grimes - Visions (4AD)
    7) Purity Ring - Shrines (4AD)
    8) Django Django - Django Django (Because Music)
    9) Usher - Looking 4 Myself (RCA)
    10) The Magnetic Fields - Love at the Bottom of the Sea (Domino)
    11) Joey Bada$$ - 1999 (self-released)
    12) Elton John vs Pnau - Good Morning To The Night (Mercury)
    13) Jessie Ware Devotion (PMR)
    14) VCMG - SSSS (Mute)
    15) Nas - Life Is Good (Mercury)
    16) Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d. city (Polydor)
    17) How to Dress Well - Total Loss (Weird World)
    18) Spiritualized - Sweet Heart Sweet Light (Double Six)
    19) The 2 Bears - Be Strong (Southern Fried)
    20) Nicki Minaj - Pink Friday ... Roman Reloaded (Island)

    Single of the year

    Bruno Mars - Locked Out of Heaven (Atlantic)

    Catalogue release of the year

    Girls Aloud - Ten (Polydor)

    EP of the year

    HAIM - Forever (self-released)

    Video of the year

    Lana Del Rey - National Anthem (Polydor)

    Top 5 gigs of the year

    1) Coldplay - Emirates Stadium 4/6
    2) Watch the Throne - O2 Arena 19/5
    3) Rammstein - O2 Arena 24/2
    4) Faith No More - Brixton Academy 10/7
    5) Robyn - Brixton Academy 1/11
  • 2011: Things that rocked my world

    30. Dez. 2011, 16:18

    Top 20 albums of the year:

    1) Austra - Feel It Break (Domino)
    2) Arctic Monkeys - Suck It and See (Domino)
    3) Katy B - On a Mission (Rinse/Columbia)
    4) The Throne - Watch the Throne (Roc-A-Fella/Interscope)
    5) The Naked and Famous - Passive Me, Aggressive You (Fiction)
    6) Lady Gaga - Born This Way (Interscope)
    7) Blood Orange - Coastal Grooves (Domino)
    8) Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi - Rome (Parlophone)
    9) Cut Copy - Zonoscope (Modular)
    10) Anna Calvi - Anna Calvi (Domino)
    11) The Game - The R.E.D. Album (Interscope)
    12) EMA - Past Life Martyred Saints (Souterrain Transmissions)
    13) John Maus - We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves (Upset The Rhythm)
    14) Glasvegas - Euphoric Heartbeat (Columbia)
    15) Ghostpoet - Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam (Brownswood)
    16) Nicola Roberts - Cinderella's Eyes (Polydor)
    17) The Decemberists - The King Is Dead (Rough Trade)
    18) Smith Westerns - Dye It Blonde (Weird World/Domino)
    19) Foo Fighters - Wasting Light (Columbia)
    20) Veronica Falls - Veronica Falls (Bella Union)

    Top 5 gigs of the year:

    1) Sufjan Stevens, Royal Festival Hall, London 13/05
    2) Iron Maiden, The O2 Arena, London 05/08
    3) Death from Above 1979, The Forum, London 04/05
    4) Snoop Dogg, Victoria Park, London 16/07
    5) JLS, The O2 Arena, London 16/01

    Catalogue release of the year:

    The Beach Boys - The SMiLE Sessions (Capitol)

    Single of the year:

    Lana Del Rey - Video Games/Blue Jeans (Stranger/Interscope)

    Video of the year:

    Lady Gaga - Marry the Night (Interscope)
  • My 15 favourite albums of 2010

    17. Jan. 2011, 0:09

    This year I finally passed the 1000 CD's mark and easily amassed more music than ever before. I create this list somewhat begrudgingly as I have far from listened to every album I have that was released in the last 12 months, but I know I'll never get round to it if I leave it any later, and I doubt that any of the remaining releases I have to go will top any of this lot...

    15) Deftones - Diamond Eyes
    14) The Fall - Your Future Our Clutter
    13) Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross - The Social Network
    12) Gil Scott-Heron - I'm New Here
    11) Foals - Total Life Forever
    10) Iron Maiden - The Final Frontier
    9) Marina & the Diamonds - The Family Jewels
    8) Plan B - The Defamation of Strickland Banks
    7) Villagers - Becoming a Jackal
    6) Mike Patton - Mondo cane
    5) Kelis - Flesh Tone
    4) The National - High Violet
    3) Janelle Monáe - The ArchAndroid
    2) Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
    1) Hot Chip - One Life Stand

    Pretty much every album on there is absolutely fantastic, so if you don't already have any of them, do yourself a favour and buy it!
  • Top 25 albums of 2009

    13. Jan. 2010, 23:04

    Because of the sheer number of albums I amassed this past revolution around the sun, I have extended my annual Top 20 albums list to a Top 25.

    And so, in reverse order
    25) Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - Beware
    24) Sufjan Stevens - The BQE
    23) Brand New - Daisy
    22) Monsters of Folk - Monsters of Folk
    21) Mastodon - Crack the Skye
    20) Sonic Youth - The Eternal
    19) Marc Carroll - Dust of Rumour
    18) Doves - Kingdom Of Rust
    17) Slayer - World Painted Blood
    16) Kasabian - West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
    15) Morrissey - Years of Refusal
    14) Tori Amos - Abnormally Attracted To Sin
    13) White Lies - To Lose My Life
    12) DevilDriver - Pray For Villains
    11) Nightingales - Insult To Injury
    10) Regina Spektor - Far
    09) Franz Ferdinand - Tonight: Franz Ferdinand
    08) Placebo - Battle for the Sun
    07) Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz!
    06) The Decemberists - The Hazards of Love
    05) The Maccabees - Wall Of Arms
    04) Jay-Z - The Blueprint 3
    03) Gallows - Grey Britain
    02) The xx - xx
    01) The Prodigy - Invaders Must Die

    And there we have it!
    And to think these are only just some of the many, many great albums released this year!
    See you next year, folks! x
  • My belated Top 20 albums of 2008.

    20. Feb. 2009, 21:41

    I've put this off for so long that I won't bother doing what I did for '07 because I don't even remember several months of it, but I quickly threw together a list of the superior LP's of last year, which goes like this:

    20) Bloc Party - Intimacy
    19) Snow Patrol - A Hundred Million Suns
    18) Bring Me the Horizon - Suicide Season
    17) Enslaved - Vertebrae
    16) Nas - Untitled
    15) Hot Chip - Made in the Dark
    14) Pendulum - In Silico
    13) The Teenagers - Reality Check
    12) Scars on Broadway - Scars On Broadway
    11) Innerpartysystem - Innerpartysystem
    10) Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours
    9) Nine Inch Nails - Ghosts I-IV
    8) Portishead - Third
    7) Protest the Hero - Fortress
    6) Buraka Som Sistema - Black Diamond
    5) Camille - Music Hole
    4) The Game - LAX
    3) Glasvegas - Glasvegas
    2) Fall Out Boy - Foile á deux

    1) Metallica - Death Magnetic

    There we have it, although I listened to more albums from 2008 than I have of any year ever before, so needless to say there are several others which are still fantastic but didn't quite make the cut.

    Thank you for reading.
  • Pendulum @ Brixton Academy

    4. Jan. 2009, 18:44

    Fri 5 Dec – Pendulum, South Central, Zane Lowe

    2008 has been quite the year for Pendulum. After releasing their debut album Hold Your Colour what feels like eternity ago, the Aussie drum n' bass/rock collective finally bought out their sophomore effort, In Silico in May 2008, backed by 2 hit singles the album rocketed to great heights which led them to tonight, their second long since sold out show in a row at London's Brixton Academy.

    Having attended the night before's all ages show as well as this late night, adult's only show, making this show this reviewers fifth Pendulum show this year, I knew what to expect and that was a kick ass performance of massive choons played with excellent musicianship in front of a mental audience, which I certainly got!

    However the mega difference between tonight's show the night before's is the audience - for the all ages show, one would definitely struggle to find many people there under the age of 20, and there were representatives in the crowd from all the various music tribes - the Klaxons loving girls in neon tights, the metalheads in Lamb of God hoodies, Hoxtonites who were last at this venue to see Foals, chavvy lads and floppy fringed emo's all jumping around in unison. While this couldn't be more different the following night where everyone around me looked well into their 30's and were dressed accordingly. But this is far from a complaint, as the age gap didn't stop everybody going mental at all... Apart from during the sorry excuse for a support act that was
    South Central. On the first night the kiddy's couldn't stop bopping about to the two blokes stood on stage playing other peoples remixes of popular tracks acting as if they were doing anything at all, but thankfully come night two the audience meet the two pointless geezer's with little more than indifference.

    After an hour or so of masterful DJing from Zane Lowe, which finally got a bit of movement from the crowd, it's time for the band everyone wants to see, so it's a very good job that they have an entrance on stage grand enough! Coming on stage just before midnight, the band show no signs of fatigue as they go on to perform nearly two hours of blistering, intense tunes to thousands who are showing no sign of slowing down. Some criticized 'In Silico' when it came out earlier in the year for being too much of a step away from 'Hold Your Colour', but tonight's setlist shows a perfect mix of tracks from both albums, both of which flow perfectly alongside one another, with the aid of a light show to shame Trent Reznor. Opening with the first track of the new album, Showdown, the band create nearly as much ecstacy in the crowd as they have already taken as they launch into such modern classics as Fasten Your Seatbelt (Ft. The Freestylers), Blood Sugar and their take on The Prodigy classic, Voodoo People (Pendulum remix). The biggest cheers of the night though are reserved for the summer Top 20 single, Propane Nightmares. Well, that is until they go off for the first encore break (during which a massive countdown appears on the epic screen behind the stage - which got both the young crowd and old crowd chanting down!) and they come back on stage and launch into fan favourite Tarantula (Ft. Fresh, $Pyda & Tenor Fly), a song which this reviewer had given up hope of seeing live, which got the 4,921 pairs of limbs which had packed out London's sixth biggest indoor venue failing about wilder than before.

    As I walk out of the Academy to the sub-zero winds of Brixton at 2am in December with the fifth massive grin that this lot of genre-bending Australians have given me in 7 months, I am once again reminded why Pendulum are a live band not to be missed whenever they play a town near you!

    9/10
  • Rancid @ Astoria 14/11/08

    3. Dez. 2008, 17:43

    Fri 14 Nov – Rancid, UK Subs, outl4w

    Rancid are one of the biggest names in modern day punk. With both gold and platinum certified albums under their belts and with friends in the 'biz ranging from Green Day to Buju Banton to Iggy Pop to Cypress Hill. To get to this stage you have to have done something pretty special during your career. However, in the 5 years since the bands last studio album, there has been more focus on frontman Tim Armstrong's split with Distillers singer Brody Dalle and his work with less credible artists in the punk world like P!nk than there has been on the band. So have they still got what it takes to demand such a legacy?

    Well, you would begin to get that impression after seeing how quickly the three dates at London's Astoria sold out and then how many mowhawk sporting fans in studded jackets there are surrounding the venue with Rancid patches on their backs chanting Exploited lyrics would back up the idea...

    Once inside the atmosphere is electric, with punks from wall to wall, young and old, ridiculous and ever so slightly not so ridiculous, all grinning with a look of anticipation akin to a football fans before a cup final. And this even before the first support comes on. Outl4w are the band to take this prestigious slot and despite looking as though the punkiest thing they have heard in their tender age is Teenage Dirtbag actually manage to get a room full of Strongbow-filled punks moving. While their tunes aren't the most original or hardly likely to gather them a reputation like tonight's headliner, they still manage to deliver an excellent set of punchy, fun songs which even gets a pit going!

    After this the second support came in the form of bonafide UK punk legends the UK Subs, who opening with a riotous version of Emotional Blackmail create a massive pit within seconds and play a fantastic set of classics including Warhead and I Live In A Car. The band seem to be having the time of their lives up on stage and that isn't too far away from how the audience are looking either. Despite being proclaimed "the best fuckin' band on the planet!" by the 'Subs, Rancid have certainly set the bar high for themselves tonight with these supports.

    Rancid have got an impressive stage set-up, with a big screen directly behind them which has a black and white film accompaniment projected on it for ever song and which displays the band's now infamous logo in between songs, either side of this there are massive Rancid banners and to top off the stage props, upon Tim's amp there is a stolen street sign reading 'Armstrong Av.'. Together it all looks pretty cool, and cleverly done, considering that it looks very professional for a punk gig, but if they had done any more then they could be treading in Good Charlotte territory...

    The band themselves are on fine form indeed tonight. And although they have no new material to play the crowd tonight, that simply means that every song they do play is one that the gathered masses knows very well. Meaning that there is seldom a lyric which is not chanted by every audience member. The set seems to be made up of crowd-pleaser after crowd-pleaser - even with the odd Operation Ivy song thrown in, which means that if you are a hardcore Rancid fan, which everybody here certainly seems to be, you are having the time of your life. Unfortunately, this reviewer is not a hardcore fan. That doesn't mean that I dislike the band, but am a casual listener, if anything. So because of this, it certainly felt like I was missing some of the magic. As musicians every member plays amazingly (especially the bassist), and judging from the reactions around me, they had chosen the perfect setlist, meaning I was left at a loss that I couldn't fully appreciate it myself. For around 90 minutes everybody insight was going absolutely crazy, and rightfully so, the band are indeed excellent showmen.

    So, are Rancid still worthy of the acclaim and devotion which they are exposed to worldwide? Certainly. Even with nothing new to bring to the table tonight, they managed to super glue a smile to 1,600 faces at the rammed Astoria tonight. They are an excellent live band, no doubt about that, but to truly experience their live show you should brush up on their records first!
  • Chemical Brothers @ Olympia

    9. Sep. 2008, 13:23

    Sat 30 Aug – The Chemical Brothers, Erol Alkan

    Tonight is a special night for The Chemical Brothers. Nearly two decades into their career, the two Manchester dance pioneers are playing their biggest yet headline show. This fact, combined with the fact the ten thousand plus capacity Olympia sold out quite a while back, means that both Brothers know that they cannot give anything less than their very best.

    Situated in the heart of Kensington, the Olympia is not the most typical of arena’s, so therefore a curious choice, but considering that The Chemical Brothers are not the most typical of bands, some strange logic can be found. As the clock rolls onto nine o’clock, the vast room is filled with people as far back as one can see, and filled with a wide variety of fans, from children who have obviously dragged their parents along to parents (who should know better) dragging their children along. Finally the two ‘Brothers take to the stage and mount their strange pod in the middle of the stage, and after a bit of white noise the distinguishable sound of 2004 hit single ‘Galvanize’ floods the hall, to roars of approval.

    Halfway through the opener, the giant screen behind the pod came to life, providing a visual experience as well as audio. Considering the nature of what the two on stage actually have to do up there, it is no surprise that they have had to put on a visual show to accompany them, however the visualizations going on behind them are at times breathtaking and even get scary, which combined with the lights and lasers being used at the same time make for a fantastic spectacle. However at times it seems as though it seems that the show is more about what you see, which just happens to be soundtracked by two of the biggest names in UK dance… Speaking of that soundtrack, the tunes never dip in quality and the audience doesn’t stop moving the whole time, and while the light show may occasionally show up the music, every song that comes from the pod gets a rapturous applause, with the loudest reserved for the opener, ‘Hey Boy Hey Girl’ and encore smasher ‘Block Rockin Beats’.

    For nearly two hours the Chemical Brothers get the limbs of ten thousand people moving, and in the case of someof the audience, the joints creaking. So to answer the first paragraph, they do indeed succeed in not giving anything less than their very best and when they leave the stage, not having said a word the entire evening, the sweaty masses give their biggest cheer of the night, and rightfully so.

    4 out of 5
  • Who I saw at Reading '08

    25. Aug. 2008, 22:56

    Fri 22 Aug – Reading Festival

    Anti-Flag

    I'm not much of a fan of Anti-Flag, but seeing as they opened the whole festival and I had some friends who wanted to see them I ended up tagging along to see them, but I soon regretted this decision. All the songs sounded the same and there is only so many times you can hear about how Bush is a bad man before ones patience wears thin...

    Blackhole

    I've seen Blackhole a few times now as a support, and every time I have always found them entertaining, so made my first trip to the Lock Up Stage where they played their arses off. Although despite playing well and being entertaining, I couldn't help but feel that the frontman is trying a bit too hard to imitate his older brother (one Frank Carter of Gallows fame), who happens to pop up for the last song. A highlight of the day.

    Taking Back Sunday

    Although a bit of a guilty pleasure, I really, really love TBS. They have a few songs which I'd put in my all time favourites, but on friday they were absolutely fucking abysmal. Aside from having one of the worst sounds all weekend, frontman Adam really needs to lay off the coke and Ray-Bans, stop loving himself so much and get on with the music. He was embarrassingly awful to watch, but they played A Decade Under The Influence, so all was not lost I suppose...

    Dizzee Rascal

    I've seen Dizzee three times already and he has always been totally amazing, but that was always in small, indoor venues. There was no way he was going to work his magic outdoors in front of tens of thousands of people, I thought. How wrong could I be. Definatly one of the best performances all weekend. Every single person I could see was going mental for him, and understandably so. Not one complaint from me.

    Serj Tankian

    As a massive SOAD fan, I was expecting a lot from Serj, especially after seeing how amazing Dizzee just was and thankfully he was also absolutely fantastic. After Anti-Flag I thought I had had enough of Bush-baiting, but Serj was able to do it whilst being funny and entertaining. His backing band were tight and looked cool and I found his whole set real good fun and the crowd seemed to love it too, so happy faces all about.

    Biffy Clyro

    After being really close to the front in the middle for the last three bands, I took it a lot easier and moved back for Biffy, a band who I don't mind but don't get what all the fuss is about. I used to hear about who immense they are live, but every time I've seen them they were very standard, nothing to write home about, and this was no exception.

    One Night Only

    Biffy got pretty damn dull, so I walked about a bit and saw who was on and eventually just ended up sitting outside the NME tent and saw a few One Night Only songs. God knows why though, they really are a fucking joke. Terrible, terrible, terrible.

    Tiger Army

    I would never have heard this band were it not for the festival, I did some YouTube research of bands playing before I came and automatically fell in love with Tiger Army. They have a fantastic sound which has a mix of genres within and I'm really damn glad I saw them. Although it was their bassists first show in 7 years where he didn't use a double bass, they still played damn good and I love the frontman's voice. I will be purchasing some albums v.soon.

    MGMT

    My girlfriend really wanted to see these two, who I was never much of a fan of anyway, but I'm even less of one now. I thought they were really bloody dire with no stage presence or tunes. So conveniently only 10 minutes into their set a decent band were about to come on elsewhere...

    The Fratellis

    Well The Fratellis aren't the decent band I was referring to at all, but en route the Festival Republic Stage we walked past the Main Stage just as they were starting Chelsea Dagger, so we stopped to soak up the shitness and to watch thousands of twats chanting along.

    The Teenagers

    The two previous times I have seen The Teenagers I was always disappointed, but this was easily the best time I have seen them, despite Quentin falling over and security being wankers about them getting people on stage. All their tunes sounded fantastic and to top it off, Dorian had a kick-ass Slipknot t-shirt.

    Queens of the Stone Age

    I do love QOTSA, but only on record. The three times I've seen them now they have always really sucked ass - especially today. They can play the songs well enough but a teeny bit of stage presence wouldn't go a miss. Also, bloody diabolical sound, but that alone won't excuse such a dud of a performance.

    Does It Offend You, Yeah?

    I've seen these guys about 10 times now, and they have never failed to impress. Tonight, it being a homecoming show n'all, they seemed to pull out all the stops and it was one of the best times I've seen them yet. Shame I had to rush off early though, but I had a good excuse:

    Rage Against the Machine

    Talking to random people and looking at band t-shirts, it was clear that RATM are the band everyone was here to see, so the band know as well as everyone else that they can't be anything less than amazing, so good job they were. Starting off with the amazing Bombtrack in full Guantanamo Bay get up, they went on to do 90 fantastic minutes which everybody was absolutely loving, and rightfully so, Rage owned that Friday night.

    British Sea Power

    Unfortunately due a late start I missed most of BSP's set, but the last little bit I did see was pretty fun. Although the music sounded a bit dull to my ears, I had been informed that they were fun live and that they were, with general madness from all the members, shame they couldn't represent the madness with their music.

    The Subways

    After BSP we got a great spot for The Subways, whom I'd wanted to see for a while now, but I was bitterly disappointed. I think supporting the Foo Fighters has gone straight to that Billy lad's head, taking his top off and strutting about doing guitar licks like he was Jimmy Page. It wouldn't be so bad if his band weren't just another pop-rock band. The 'we think were much better than we are' act got old quickly so 4 songs in I abandoned them, but ended up catching the end of their set later, which was even worse than before!

    Fucked Up

    In contrast, as I moved into the Lock Up to see Fucked Up I once again saw a topless frontman going for it, but this time it actually worked. Unfortunately though, I had wasted too much time at the bloody Subways, but everything I did see of this lot was brilliant, with a great frontman and a nice little package of straight hardcore, my saturday was so far belonging to these guys.

    Dirty Pretty Things

    DPT's debut was pretty damn good, in my opinion, so back in '06 I saw these guys 4 times, but unfortunately they have fallen into the shit second album trap, so as I watched these guys I lost all respect for them as they forced their new indie-by-numbers bullshit upon everyone. They also did a terrible cover of In Bloom.

    White Lies

    Because DPT were so bad I went walkies and ended up watching a few songs by yet another band who are trying to sound like Joy Division. Five minutes later I was back watching Carl Barat.

    We Are Scientists

    A pretty similar story to The Subways one really, a band I've wanted to see for ages but who are a let down. Although their on-stage banter was quite funny, they aren't all that entertaining to watch, so I left early again, but thankfully Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt is still a fantastic pop song.

    Los Campesinos!

    I had heard a lot about this band, but had never really paid attention to them, but still thought it would be worth checking them out for a few songs, and their a pretty fun little group, I can't see myself ever becoming a big fan of them or anything but their perfectly fine to watch for a bit, pretty entertaining and the Ting Tings jokes were funny...

    Louis XIV

    I've loved Louis XIV for over three years now, but only ever seen them once, so I was very excited about seeing them again and thankfully they lived up to my expectations. Not only did they look fucking cool but they had a old fashioned rockstar swagger and add a hint of heaviness to their songs which works perfectly. They also got quite a few singalongs in the audience too, which was pleasing to see. Everybody was singing along to Finding Out True Love Is Blind.

    Editors

    Editors are a fantastic group, and have always impressed me live, so once again I had high expectations. However today I found them distinctly average and a tad dull. I wouldn't say they were bad per sé, but I wouldn't rush to see them again. That said they did get the audience into and have a surprising amount of great anthems for a big crowd.

    The Raconteurs

    I do love Jack White. It seems to be his thing as The White Stripes have them too, but I really, really like how the roadies are all in nice, all one colour suits with hats. I just think it looks cool, but it was nowhere was great as the bands performance. This being my fourth Raconteurs show, I now know what to expect from one of their gigs, but every single time I'm always blown away with how tight they are. All amazing musicians, I always have something to watch and the songs sound fantastic. Luckily they didn't have the shitty sound so many bands experienced all weekend.

    Bloc Party

    From past experience I have learnt that Bloc Party do not work on a big stage, but seeing as I love them so, I still saw them but it's fairly safe to say that they were one of the biggest let downs for me. I thought their act was completely lost on me somewhere so big and it wasn't helped by the wankers who I ended up next to in the crowd, so after about 4 songs we all agreed it was bollocks and decided to go and see:

    Justice

    Who were unfortunately just coming to the end of their set when I got there, but we caught the two last songs which sounded fantastic and had everybody is sight grooving away. I only wish I could have seen more by them though, as they had a great sound and were a lot better than Bloc Party, even for the small amount of songs that we saw.

    Bullet for My Valentine

    When I first started getting into metal, Bullet were one of my favourite bands, and I still love a lot of their stuff, so I was really glad to see them again. Unfortunatly due to a slow setting up pace I missed about half their set as I had to move away again, but what I did see was all good. They had fire, which is always a good thing! Playing mainly new stuff, Matt Tuck led his boyos really well and got the crowd moving and horns pumping after slagging off all the indie acts that had been on earlier. Meaning I felt a little hypocritical after agreeing with him that I left to go to the Main Stage instead.


    The Killers

    After the disappointment from Bloc Party just before, what a relief it was how good The Killers were. Probably my two favourite 'indie' bands, I'm glad one of them can pull off a big crowd. I saw The Killers headline V last year and today they were very similar, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Prompting the most singalongs I saw the entire festival, I could clearly see why they have become so massive so quickly. And despite having some other really good bands like the Manics and Gallows on at the same time, the audience was out in force and they went out with a bang leaving a sea of people all singing along to All These Things That I've Done. My only beef was that they only played about 70 minutes and they should have done 90 like RATM the night before.

    Bring Me the Horizon

    BMTH aren't the most popular band on the bill, and boy do the audience like to remind them, as the first proper bottling I see all weekend commences seconds after they walk onto the stage, and despite me quite liking the band and having seen them before a few times, for the first few songs I thought it was justified. The songs were a bit sloppy and Oli's screaming wasn't up to scratch. They also lost quite a bit of their usual stage presence and once more suffered from bad sound. However, as their performance progressed I found they got better and better and by the end seemed to have won over a lot of the crowd, with the bottling stopping and one of the biggest circle pits all weekend starting.

    Alexisonfire

    After a ridiculously long wait for no obvious reason, one of the bands I was most looking forward to seeing came out. I had seen them the week before at the miniscule Barfly, and obviously they weren't as good as then, but they still worked well on such a big stage. The crowd were all obviously very happy to see them and every song sounded good and got a good reaction. There was some funny banter between the guys and overall they played a really enjoyable set.

    Plain White T's

    I only even saw these guys because I was searching for a lost friend by the main stage but by jove, they suck ass. The worst bottling I have ever seen and if I had a bottle I would have joined in. Really bad.

    Black Tide

    I don't know whether I like these guys or not. Some parts of their music I think is really good and reminiscent of classic Maiden and Metallica, but other parts I think are very 'stock' as Lars would say. Same went for their live show. They certainly played well and got the crowd into it, but it was also very stereotypical. Saying 'motherfucker' every other word, etc... I dunno if I'd buy an album, but I think I would go see this band at one of their own shows before I made my mind up fully.

    Holy Fuck

    I heard a lot of good stuff about these fellows, so thought I should check them out. They played extremely well I thought, and their music was really good, so I could understand where all the hype was coming from. However, as a live band they didn't really do much, so while the music was good I quickly got bored and went for a wee stroll. In contrast to Black Tide, I think I would buy an album by them, but not see them at one of their own shows.

    Dropkick Murphys

    And on this walk, I got to the main stage where I watched the first part of the Dropkick Murphys' set. I'm not at all familiar with their material, so only really checked them out on a whim, but they didn't interest me at all, with a boring live show and their music simply isn't my thing. Although, the bagpipe player was quite entertaining...

    Lethal Bizzle

    The Dance Tent was completely packed out for Bizzle, and I see why. Having seen him before, I know Bizzle is always a great showman. Very reminiscent of Dizzee's show the other day (although I doubt either of them would be too pleased about that...) he got the whole audience going crazy and dancing along to every song. Bizzle even got into the crowd and there were people scaling the poles of the tent. One of the highlights of the whole weekend without a doubt.

    Crystal Castles

    After Bizzle, I was already really happy and as the crowd emptied out the Dance Arena we got right to the very front for Crystal Castles, who did what I thought would be undoable and beat Bizzle. Although I don't know that many songs by them, they are amazing live. Alice is a fantastic frontwoman, and although seemed ever so slightly inebriated, put on a fantastic show of crawling about, mounting speaker stacks, playing with spotlights and drinking champagne. And that was only when she wasn't fucking about in the crowd. I shall definitely be buying their album and intend on seeing them again soon.

    Feeder

    While my girlfriend went to do something me and a friend watched the first few songs by Feeder. They were alright, I quite liked the songs they played and were perfectly fine to watch, but not engrossing enough to keep me there longer than a little bit. So we set off to see Pendulum...

    Chromeo

    ...But failing that (miserably), we ended up seeing Chromeo. I have always liked what I have heard by them but never properly pursued them, and I'm glad that I saw them. They played fantastically and their songs were really groovy and good fun. A good enough live band too, seeing as theirs just the two of them and they have a lot to play between them, they do make quite the effort for the crowd.

    Tenacious D

    I know a lot of people really like these guys and think their really funny, but I've always been a bit impartial. Admittedly, I've never sought them out or anything, but I've only ever heard two or so songs I've actually liked. Thus, I wasn't really paying too much attention to their show. The bits I did watch seemed a bit samey. That said, they are quite amusing chaps and everybody singing along to Tribute was great fun!

    Metallica

    By this point I was already making my mind up about the best band of the weekend, having seen a fair amount of great acts. But this year they really did save the best till last. Metallica kicked ASS! Arguably the largest band playing all weekend, they sure as hell knew it. With a gigantic stage set up that dwarfed the stage that made Bring Me The Horizon look so small earlier. Metallica had said before how much they love playing Reading and they sure showed it. Every member was fantastic to watch and every song sounded absolutely amazing. There was fire, explosions, fireworks, the lot. Opening with a thunderous Creeping Death, they never let up the fantastic showmanship or dipped in quality. The setlist was perfect and included two brilliant new songs. Nothing Else Matters got everybody insight singing. Although they were on stage a little over two hours, as the closing bars of the absolutely amazing extended Seek & Destroy came to a close, there was a great sadness inside of me. But, not only because Metallica were about to stop, but this also meant the end of an absolutely incredible weekend that I shall always remember!

    Roll on '09!
  • 2007: My year in music...

    2. Jan. 2008, 3:24

    Two Thousand and Seven. Wow!

    JANUARY

    I started 2007 with the aim to attend at least 3 gigs per month. I got the ball rolling on the 8th seeing Bullet for My Valentine at the Hammersmith Apollo. In the 21 days between this and my next gig, the only new album I obtained was the The Good, the Bad & the Queen which is a definite contender to make it into my top 10 albums of the year. On the 29th I saw my second gig of the year, Killswitch Engage at Brixton which was an amazing show, but nowhere near as amazing as seeing Arcade Fire the next day in the 200 capacity St. Johns Church, which was utterly amazing and well worth the 5 hours of sitting in the cold to get a ticket! However the excitement came to an abrupt end as the next day The Beautiful South announced they were to be a band no more...

    I should also mention that Mercury winning album Myths of the Near Future was released this month and was another album I'm rather fond of...

    FEBRUARY

    It was only 5 days into February until my next live show, a short set in town by Mika this was also on the day that his album Life in Cartoon Motion and the new Fall Out Boy album, Infinity On High were released. Two decent efforts but neither particular highlights of my year. On the eighth of February I won a competition to see Regina Spektor in a small synagogue which was amazing and helped her become one of my favourite artists of the year. After a quiet musical few weeks I went to my all important third gig of the month - Maxïmo Park at the Astoria for some NME show, which was a pretty good night out...

    MARCH

    March saw the release of The Blackening - Metal Hammer's LP of the year. Another album I enjoyed but didn't quite make my top ten.

    March also saw me intensely gigging for the first time. Starting the month with 4 gigs in a row: Mastodon in Woverhampton on the 5th, Placebo in my old local cinema on the 6th, Electric Six over in Islington on the 7th and Ash in a college on the 8th. Quite a lot for a school week! Electric Six were easily my favourite, but the rest were also well worth the effort. But it didn't stop there. it was only a few days later on the 11th when I saw one of my all-time faves, Nine Inch Nails for the first time fuck up Brixton. I also made the effort to see The Rakes and Faithless (both for free!) before the month was out.

    The only album I can think of that came out in March that moved me was Take To The Skies which is pretty good, but could do with being a bit heavier and a new screamer. Oh, and that !!! album were alright.

    APRIL

    Maxïmo Park kicked off my April with a free show at HMV, which I found terribly dull and disappointing, lucky then I was able to catch Deftones not long after in Brixton, who I had been wanting to see for ages. I also saw Ash again and Bloc Party for the first time who absolutely blew me away.

    What April lacked in gig fun it made up for with albums, with the brilliant Neon Bible and A Weekend In The City, NIN's Year Zero, Dimmu Borgir's In Sorte Diaboli, Because of the Times and that Timbaland album with The Hives on it. All of which impressed me.

    MAY

    Three of my top ten bands released new albums in May. Only two of them were much cop. The Good'uns were the long awaited new Linkin Park album, Minutes to Midnight which really impressed me, the other was United Abominations. So which new album sucked ass? The new Snow Patrol, oh sorry, I mean Funeral for a Friend one (which I'm not even gonna link to this).

    My first show of the month was underground UK hip-hop collective Foreign Beggars in Camden which was amazing, even though it finished at 2am... Even though their new album was a hour long yawn, I still saw FFAF in Brixton, in the hope they might play some classics and I was conveniently way too pilled up to take any head of the new songs. My final gig of the month was at the grand Royal Albert Hall, which despite it's gradoise appearance ruined Modest Mouse's performance as the sound was fucking dire and it was hard to see the stage from where I was.

    Oooh, The Pigeon Detectives debut came out this month too which is worth a shout.

    JUNE

    My birthday is in June!!! So how'd I celebrate? With a string of ten gigs! Starting off with Gallows on the fifth, then As I Lay Dying on my actual birthday (the 7th - take note) and then 5 in the space of 4 days starting on the 13th with the brill Art Brut at the Astoria. The next day it was over to Hyde Park for The White Stripes and Queens of the Stone Age in Hyde Park. After a days rest it was time to see Megadeth at the Astoria and the next day Muse at the almighty Wembley Stadium. A handful of days later I was at Wembley again, but to the Stadium's baby brother, the Arena where I saw John Fogerty with my old man. But none of this combined was nearly as exciting as seeing God's Iron Maiden at the comparatively tiny Brixton Academy. Then I finished off the month with another Art Brut show because they were so good last time. I also visited the new o2 Arena and saw Snow Patrol play the second show there. (I won tickets! Honest!)

    Album-wise, June saw the releases of the new White Stripes, QOTSA, Art Brut, Dizzee Rascal, Editors, Rasputina, The Used and Paramore LP's. All of which took my fancy.

    JULY

    My July began with yet another Ash show, This time acoustic. However this was quickly blown out of the water by Live Earth 2 days later where I witnessed great performances from the likes of Metallica, Black Eyed Peas, Kasabian and Foo Fighters. On a much smaller level I saw Shiny Toy Guns in Camden who were good but nothing compared to support Does It Offend You, Yeah? who managed to become one of my biggest discoveries of '07. After this I had a brief trip up to the Midlands where I saw Mogwai, Sunn O))), Chrome Hoof and a load of other weirdos at the Supersonic Festival and 2 days later caught Silversun Pickups at the Birmingham Barfly (EDIT: with James). Back in London I was unbelievably excited about seeing my second favourite band, The Hives at the 300 capacity 100 Club and then again the next day at the 150 Hoxton Grill, and they didn't disappoint. I rounded up the year with some camp-ness - catching both Scissor Sisters and Basement Jaxx in the capital.

    The only albums that came out in July that particularly made an impact on me was the new and by far best Lethal Bizzle album and the pretty good Smashing Pumpkins comeback.

    AUGUST

    I kickstarted August at the 'Kerrang! Day of Rock' where I saw the likes of Enter Shikari and Turisas rock a tiny basement. I followed this up a week later with an acoustic show by The Pigeon Detectives. However it was on the 18th when August really started musically with my first proper festival - V. At V I remained disappointingly sober for the majority but caught some decent sets from Dizzee, Kanye West, The Killers, The Stooges and Foo Fighters. After long rest and baths for a day I was back out in London after V, catching both Aiden (who were fucking diabolical) and Tool (who were fucking amazing) in the same day, before Lostprophets the next day. Then after a good week of peace I was up in Wolverhampton (again) to see Nine Inch Nails (again), which was better than their earlier Brixton show. Before racing back to London to see Sonic Youth play their classic Daydream Nation in full (EDIT: Once again with James).

    As album releases go, August was a noisy month, bringing albums from Arch Enemy, As I Lay Dying and Still Remains.

    SEPTEMBER

    September saw me nearly touching June with my level of gigs, but I only managed 9 shows, starting with my second sighting of Regina Spektor, this time at the Royal Festival Hall and my third sighting of As I Lay Dying this year the next day. The next week started with me seeing The Go! Team on tuesday and leaving wondering if there was anyone cooler in the world, and then seeing them again on the wednesday promising never to make the effort again. However on friday I was made happy again after a exclusive performance from the Sugababes and the following week saw the introduction of the free bar to me at a special Pigeon Detectives show and the next day at some awards show with Manic Street Preachers, Calvin Harris and Cansei de Ser Sexy among others playing. Back in Birmingham the following week I saw Gwen Stefani play an incredible performance and the next day it was a race back down to London to see Jack Peñate and Gallows the same day.

    The album I was most anticipating in September was The Black and White Album which is good, but still yet to grow on me. Graduation and Echoes, Patience, Silence & Grace were both solid releases however.

    OCTOBER

    The first of October saw me going to another exclusive show, to see Turin Brakes in a cinema in Clapham. This was followed up 2 days later when I saw (and met!) Killswitch again. 11 Days later I was in Camden heading to the 300 capacity Barfly where fucking Bloc Party were playing! Which was one of the best tenners I've spent. My next two shows of October were free ones; the first being Lightspeed Champion re-opening the Covent Garden Fopp and the latter being a Halloween show by Sons and Daughters in Shoreditch.

    The only two albums I bothered with in October were the new Coheed and Cambria and Radiohead releases. Neither of which did anything for me.

    NOVEMBER

    Enter Shikari kicked off my November with their biggest headline show yet at Brixton, which was impressive but not as good as Dizzee at the Astoria that friday. Alexandra Palace is a pain in the arse to get to, so the performance you see there has to be something special. Thankfully, when I saw Arcade Fire there on the 18th this was the case. The next week saw me attending another 4 shows, which got better as they came along; starting with the Pigeon Detectives, then Kanye West, The Hives and on sunday The Black Crusade which featured kick-ass sets from DragonForce, Machine Head and Arch Enemy.

    I didn't get any albums from November.

    DECEMBER

    December was a quiet month for me, starting with a brief show from Foals, then utter madness at an MTV party featuring sets from Gallows and QOTSA and had a free bar (13 beers and a double shot of tequila later...) and celebrities swanning around. I rounded up the year with a HIM show at the Astoria I was given free tickets to.

    The only album I got from December was The Killers' b-sides collection, Sawdust which is nearly as good as a proper album.

    TOP 10 ALBUMS

    10. The Good, the Bad & the Queen
    9. Maths and English
    8. Year Zero
    7. In Sorte Diaboli
    6. Life in Cartoon Motion
    5. United Abominations
    4. It's a Bit Complicated
    3. A Weekend In The City
    2. Neon Bible
    1. Minutes to Midnight

    of course this is only from what I have heard...

    Thank you and have a happy 2008.
    L x

    Umbrella