Top 30 Live Acts of 2012

2012 was a good year for live music in the UK, and we’re not talking about the massive overgrown and overpriced festivals (sigh), but the day-to-day gigs in the cities.  Despite the heavy saturation of the music industry, we managed to dig out some gems, experiencing a massive array of talent from the UK, Japan and beyond.  Notably, the UK continues to produce some fantastic female musicians, and it’s just a matter of time and evolution before the industry matures sufficiently to recognize this surge and make the most of it, hopefully encouraging further diversity in both the music itself and the industry overall Continue reading Top 30 Live Acts of 2012

SHEEN go south of the river for occasional love

With six members, SHEEN are usually squashed onto a stage, but here is a stage at the Amersham Arms in New Cross London not only big enough to fit them, but big enough for them to throw themselves (and their instruments) around.

This “Occasional Love” night encourages new bands to play south of the river, and the crowds seem more impressed by the live music than crowds in East London Continue reading SHEEN go south of the river for occasional love

Digging the scene with THE BLOW MONKEYS 30 years on

In 1984, I was 16 when THE BLOW MONKEYS released their debut album “Limping for a Generation.”  Their second album “Animal Magic” was released in 1986 and it is these two albums that make up the two sets tonight.  To be honest, The Blow Monkeys barely registered in my musical aesthetic at that time.  I was listening more to bands like Van Halen, Prince and Big Country (and latterly, Iggy Pop, The Cult and Peter Gabriel).  The Blow Monkeys always seemed a bit too slick and safe, but I suspect this had more to do with my wanting to distance myself from fashion clones who did like them than the actual band itself. Continue reading Digging the scene with THE BLOW MONKEYS 30 years on

FINDLAY becomes Manchester’s Sweetheart

Down the stairs and tucked away into the corner of one of Manchester’s best small venues – the Soup Kitchen – there is a bubbling sense of anticipation and an air of consensus that the sizeable crowd are going to witness something special.  This is because the couple of hundred patrons that have crammed themselves into this fantastic space have gathered to see FINDLAY. Continue reading FINDLAY becomes Manchester’s Sweetheart

ESBEN AND THE WITCH summon the dark spirits to Rough Trade

Here on a Tuesday in East London, Brighton band ESBEN AND THE WITCH transform the record shop environment of Rough Trade East into their own dark gothic cathedral with their sound and presence alone.  There is an intensity in the air that is visible in the faces of the audience, who are transfixed, almost hypnotically, on the band. Continue reading ESBEN AND THE WITCH summon the dark spirits to Rough Trade

Still loving you, TOM ROBINSON…

The Tabernacle in Notting Hill is quite comfortably filled this evening with a mix of ages who remember TOM ROBINSON from his 1970s heyday and those who learn about their new favourite bands from his BBC 6 Music show. The atmosphere is incredibly welcoming, and the crowd’s enthusiasm for this criminally under-celebrated, humble and satisfyingly gravel-voiced champion of music is infectious. Continue reading Still loving you, TOM ROBINSON…