Category Archives: Live Music

Something Else Somewhere Else – Friday Photo’s

The past weekend saw me head off to Duns Tew in Oxfordshire for my third festival of the season.  As you are probably aware I love grass roots festivals and the Something Else Festivals are top of my list.  I simply love them, it is like a gathering of family in a field whilst surrounded by great music and fuelled by beer and cider.

These photo’s are all from Friday and you just have to check out Gaz Brookfield’s new biggest fan.  Look out for some more photographs and a full review in the next day or two.

 

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Crossfaith And The One Hundred – live review

Japanese metal monsters Crossfaith are back in the UK with support from one of the UK’s best young bands The One Hundred, its a winning combination.

You can read my review of the gig on Louder that War.  Some of my photographs are below.

Source: Crossfaith: Portsmouth – live review – Louder Than War

Stiff Little Fingers – Portsmouth

Once again it has been a busy weekend of concert going.  Friday night (February 26) saw me make the one-hour trip along the motorway to see my all-time favourite band.  It is no exaggeration to say that Stiff Little Fingers changed my life.

The Belfast punk-rock movement of the mid-late 1970’s gave me the courage to get the hell out of Northern Ireland at the height of the “troubles” and I never looked back.  As a result songs like “Alternative Ulster” and “Suspect Device” have always been dear to my heart and so have the Stiff Little Fingers.

Back in March last year I made the 1000 mile round trip from Poole to Glasgow for what should have been an epic two nights of entertainment in Glasgow’s Barrowlands.  St Patricks Day saw Stiff Little Fingers play the venue and the following evening Drop Kick Murphy’s and The Mahone’s brought the Celtic Punk Invasion Tour to Glasgow.  Sadly Barrowlands lived up to it’s reputation for awful sound quality and over the two nights you could barely tell one band from the other much less distinguish between songs.  Without question these gigs were the worst sound quality I have ever heard.

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By contrast the sound at Portsmouth’s Pyramid centre is never less that perfect and so it proved on Friday.  Ricky Warwick’s band played a lengthy opening set which was full of energy and high-quality rock music.  Whilst I am aware of Ricky’s work with Thin Lizzy and Black Star Riders this was the first time I had seen him with his own band.  I was impressed, it was good old-fashioned power rock and I enjoyed it immensely.

I was a little concerned to hear that Stiff Little Fingers Jake Burns had taken ill after the opening night of the tour the previous evening so it was with some trepidation that we awaited Stiff Little Fingers appearance. Jake did allude to the fact that he had spent most of the day throwing up so that probably explains why we had a lightly shorter than normal set.

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In total we had about 75 minutes and 19-songs but what we did get was awesome.  Jake may not have been as animated as usual but Ali McMordie and Ian McCallum more than made up for that.  As you would expect the bulk of the set featured the bands most popular songs from the late 1970’s and early 1980’s heyday and it was an excellent set.

It is perhaps dispiriting to find that many of Stiff Little Fingers songs are just as relevant now as when they were written over 30 years ago.  We live in a different era, an era where we should perhaps be even more angry, about the state of the country and the state of the world, than we were when the punk movement exploded.  We need to recharge our activism and direct our anger.  A visit to a Stiff Little Fingers gig is a great reminder of the injustices we face.  It is always amazing to see people from all walks of life united under the banner of punk rock.

If Stiff Little Fingers are playing anywhere near you make an effort to get out and see them.  You won’t regret it

 

Enter Shikari

Enter Shikari – live review

Over the course of the last few days I have been lucky enough to attend Enter Shikari‘s shows in Nottingham and Bournemouth.  Regular readers will know that I believe Enter Shikari are the best live band on the planet right now and the shows in Nottingham and Bournemouth show exactly why.

I drove the 200 miles to Nottingham on Saturday with very high expectations.  Those expectations were matched and surpassed.  Enter Shikari quite simply smashed it, they hit the ball right out of the park.

Enter Shikari are perfectionist’s and spent the hours before the show reprogramming lighting sequences and thrashing out ways to improve on what they had done in Glasgow and Edinburgh on the previous evenings.

Enter Shikari BMTH-10

 

You would be forgiven for thinking that in the days of incredible light shows, amazing sound and the use of computers there is little that we haven’t already seen at rock concerts.  You would be wrong.   Enter Shikari’s innovate. Whether it is in their music, their lighting or in there sound Enter Shikari are always looking for a way to do things better.

This tour sees Enter Shikari introduce surround sound into their live performances.  I’m not talking a couple of speakers added at the back of the vast cavern that is Nottingham’s 10,000 capacity Motorpoint arena.  I’m talking true surround sound, elements of songs assaulting you from behind something that really came to the fore during phenomenal renditions of “The One True Colour” and the recently released “Redshift.”

The film clips on the enormous screen behind the band added to the sense of theatre and were carefully produced to add a visual element to the song if you can drag your eyes away from the spectacle that an Enter Shikari performance already provides.

Enter Shikari BMTH-7

As the show continued Enter Shikari encouraged us to absorb the spectacle in it’s entirety when Reynolds disappeared to reappear at a piano on an elevated platform situated within the sound desk enclosure in the centre of the arena whilst the rest of the band remained on stage.  Admittedly there were a few technical hitches during this section of the show in Nottingham but this was put right for last nights show in Bournemouth.

We even had a comedy moment when at the beginning of “Ghandi Mate, Ghandi” Enter Shikari had the audience singing along to Robbie Williams “Angels.”  It may seem a little bizarre, Enter Shikari are a very long way from Robbie Williams, but in my view it shows a band that are more than willing to have a laugh amidst songs that frequently tackle the really big issues of the day.

Make no mistake these shows elevated Enter Shikari from simply being the best live band around at the moment.  In my opinion this tour takes Enter Shikari to a totally new level.  In over 40 years of attending live gigs and festivals I estimate I have seen somewhere between 6,000 and 8,000 bands.  These shows earn Enter Shikari the right to be seen in the same light as some of the best performances I have ever seen.  I would go as far as to say that only the first time I saw Springsteen perform sits ahead of Enter Shikari in terms of totally absorbing, jaw-dropping brilliance.

Enter Shikari have come up the hard way, they have played the pub gigs and moved purposefully to filling arena’s.  Enter Shikari’s band members, Rou Reynolds, Rob Rolfe, Rory Clewlow and Chris Batten are all just hitting 30-years-old.  They are approaching the peak of their creativity and if ever a band were destined for stadium rock and major festival headline slots it is Enter Shikari.

Enter Shikari BMTH-13

After the Bournemouth show the UK leg wraps up with shows in Cardiff, Wrexham, Manchester and Alexandra Palace in London.  There are a limited number of tickets available for all but Wrexham.  If you are anywhere near any of these venues I urge you to get along to a show if you possibly can.

Support on both nights was from Hackney based Punk and Ska collective  The King Blues who were stunning during their short sets on both evenings.

Philadelphia based pop-punk outfit The Wonder Years rounded out a superb evening entertainment.

Bowling for Soup – O2 Bournemouth 12 Feb 2016

Friday night saw me head off to Bournemouth O2 Academy for an evenings entertainment that I confidently predict will not be bettered this year.  Bowling For Soup,  The Dolly Rots, Lacey and MC Lars put on a very special evening of pop-punk entertainment.  Here are a handful of my photographs from the evening.  I will be putting a full review on louder Than War later today.  Be sure to check it out.

Hozier - Portsmouth

Hozier- Portsmouth 4th Feb 2016 – Photos

I popped over to Portsmouth last night to photograph Hozier.  I need to get my review of the gig written but in the meantime here are a few photographs to whet your appetite.

A Party At The Fleece – Bristol

I don’t often head to Bristol for gigs.  Frustratingly the city has an incredible live music culture but it is so difficult to get to from Dorset.  The journey is under 70 miles but it can easily take 3-hours to do the drive.  In reality this rules out travelling to a gig and coming home the same night.  The thought of driving 70 miles, late at night on some of the worst roads in the country doesn’t bear thinking about.

This was a gig that we almost didn’t go to because we are off on holiday on Monday but in the end the allure of a brilliant line-up and the prospect of meeting up with some great friends just before we go away proved too great.

After sorting our hotel and grabbing a bite to eat it was time to head off to the Seven Stars for a few pints before the music started.  It was wonderful to see so many friends had made the trip and we were soon chatting and laughing together as we renewed old friendships and made new  ones.

What a great line-up of artists the fleece had for us.  The evening was kicked off by the irrepressible Doozer McDooze.  You can’t help but love Doozer.  His enthusiasm, sense of fun and clever lyrics bring a smile to every face in the room.  Doozer’s song “I Don’t Wanna Go Home”  has been adopted as a festival anthem by those of us who love grassroots festivals.  Tonight Doozer brought the house down as every voice in the room joined in singing the anthem at the top of their voices.

You cannot fail to enjoy yourself when Doozer plays and so tonight proved once again.  Doozer set the scene for a Kent invasion of the west country and laid the foundations for a fantastic evenings entertainment.  Next up were another festival favourite act, Hobo Jones and The Junkyard Dogs.

I have lost count of the number of times I have seen the Hobo’s this year but they never fail to entertain.  The “godfathers of Skunk” are so amusing with their blend of madcap covers interspersed with often self-deprecating humour.  The jokes may be familiar but they never seem to lose their currency largely because the boys facial expressions and the audience reaction is enough to keep you laughing.  Davey Malone is an expert at playing to the audience and as a result the performance always seems fresh.

Hobo Jones at the fleece

That’s not to say that the Hobo’s can’t produce a moment that brings a lump to your throat.  They did so last night with their version of  “Fairytale Of New York” which was dedicated to Kirsty MacColl on the 15th Anniversary of her tragic death.

Next up on the night was another man of Kent the simply incredible Funke and The Two Tone Baby.  Funke and Gaz Brookfield have just been out on tour together and in their journeys up and down the country they sold out over half of the dates, quite a feat for two independent artists.

Funke is in my opinion one of the best songwriters I have ever heard, his lyrics are complex and occasionally surreal.  His mix of guitar, harmonica and voice and creative use of loop pedals creates a unique soundscape rooted in the blues but thoroughly modern and absorbing.  The crowd were  bouncing throughout Funke’s set and by the end we were all as exhausted as he was.  The mild weather, a packed house and the energy coming from the stage ensured that by the end of his set Funke had the crowd dripping with sweat as we all jumped and bounced along with him.

I was so hot by the end of Funke’s set that I had to get outside for a sit down and some fresh air.  Whilst I was outside Gaz Brookfield opened his set with his now traditional “land Pirates Life.”  On dashing back inside I found that the venue was absolutely rammed, so packed that I couldn’t get anywhere near close enough to take any decent photographs.

As any fan of Brookfield knows Gaz doesn’t know how to give anything less than 100% and tonight was no exception.  As a rule Brookfield plays solo or with Ben Wain on fiddle but tonight we were treated to a full band performance as Gaz was joined by The Company Of Thieves.

Gaz’s performance as always was flawless and we were treated to an exceptional set as we were treated to favourites like Under The Table, Diabetes Blues, Ode To Ozzy and the Ballad Of Elizabeth Duke and Godless Man.

Brookfield’s performances are always high energy and entertaining.  He is always an incredibly engaging performer but I thought the addition of a full band added something to the show.  Of course the addition of a band is always going to add depth and vibrancy to the sound but there was more to it that just that.

I felt that Gaz enjoyed sharing the stage, the interaction between Gaz and the members of the band added an additional sense of theatre.

I am delighted to have made the trip to Bristol, I enjoyed a quite brilliant evenings entertainment among friends and kindred spirits, what more could you possibly wish for?