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By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 5th June 2014 at 9:00 am
London electronic duo Cloud Boat will be touring the UK in October. Tickets are available now.
The act’s next album ‘Model of You’ will be out on the 7th of July on Apollo Records.
Sunday 5th October 2014 – Birmingham Yardbird
Tuesday 7th October 2014 – Bristol Louisiana
Saturday 11th October 2014 – Manchester Soup Kitchen
Sunday 12th October 2014 – Liverpool Shipping Forecast
Monday 13th October 2014 – Leeds Nation Of Shopkeepers
Tuesday 14th October 2014 – Newcastle Think Tank
Thursday 16th October 2014 – Glasgow Broadcast
A writer’s job is often made easier if the band being reviewed is flawed – niggles, deficiencies and mediocrity are generally obvious, and the journalist can feel usefully employed in describing them and perhaps suggesting remedies. The better the band, the greater the challenge in finding something to write about that isn’t simple fawning praise. And then there’s White Denim, a band so accomplished that really this review could be distilled down to one sentence: “Flawless – go and see them without delay.” It really is as simple as that; we might as well stop there.
The world is replete with four-piece guitar bands who between them run the gamut of countless stylistic hues. Not many manage to weave countless genres and influences into a set of what is ostensibly ‘70s-style hard rock, but White Denim do. A band comprised entirely of virtuosos, they play with such insouciance that they could appear vaguely smug, were it not for the passion clearly evident in the music itself. Rhythm guitarist Austin Jenkins is the master of the deadpan riff, the tiniest of smiles playing across his lips, fingers evoking impossibly nimble, snaky guitar lines spun of the finest musical silk.
Bassist Steven Terebecki is similarly inscrutable. Indeed, the two stand close together throughout – their appearances could hardly be more different, but they are brothers in music. And then there’s James Petralli. Standing separate from the others, but facing towards them, leaning in whilst executing a fingerstyle lead line of a dexterity not seen since the era of Mark Knopfler, Petralli adds a touch of humanity to the relentless execution of his rhythm section.
Material-wise, they’re superb songwriters. Like a Steppenwolf in sheep’s clothing, they evoke dreamlike soundscapes of fuzz guitar, built of conventional tropes, but suddenly the direction might change gear into an abstract jazz interlude or a prog-rock wig-out. There’s a powerful streak of 60s soul infused throughout. Tonight’s set draws heavily from latest release, 2013’s ‘Corsicana Lemonade’, which is no bad thing, as the band themselves admit that this record comes closest to reflecting their live show, taming their wilder instincts, integrating pop-like melodies and simplifying arrangements, increasing their accessibility without compromising impact. There are spine-tingling moments aplenty, from the impossible riff of ‘In Dreams, At Night’, the understated cool of the title track, and proper straight-ahead blues-rocker ‘Pretty Green’. Perhaps a touch more from 2009’s startling ‘Fits’ would have been welcome, but that’s clutching at straws, really.
It’s been said that White Denim are the best live rock band in the world right now, and it’s difficult to disagree with that statement. Few, if any bands, achieve such an appealing blend of individual skill, mastery of several genres whilst still sounding like themselves, and complexity within the music whilst still retaining mainstream appeal. I’ve written as much about Wild Beasts before, except they have made a sidestep into electronica whilst White Denim are strictly a guitar ‘n’ drums outfit, and all the better for it. A brilliant inspiration for aspiring guitarists and living proof that guitar music still has its best days ahead of it.
See more of Martin’s high-res photos from this gig in the Toon on his Flickr.
Brooklyn indie pop quartet The Pains of Being Pure at Heart have announced a short list of UK tour dates to support their upcoming release ‘Days of Abandon’. Prior to the UK dates below, the band are set to embark on a tour of Europe, which will include both festival dates and headline shows with Brighton’s Fear of Men.
‘Days of Abandon’ is set for release on Monday, the 2nd of June, on Fierce Panda. Tickets for the following shows are available now.
Sunday 29th June 2014 – Bristol Fleece
Monday 30th June 2014 – Newcastle Cluny
Tuesday 1st July 2014 – Glasgow Mono
Wednesday 2nd July 2014 – Manchester Ruby Lounge
Thursday 3rd July 2014 – London Scala
Soulful dance pop artist Bipolar Sunshine has just announced dates for his ‘It’s Yours As Much As Mine’ tour, which begins in September and includes an October date at Shepherds Bush Empire in London. These headline dates will follow on from the Manchester artist’s summer festival appearances, including Glastonbury and the Reading and Leeds Festivals. Tickets for the following shows are available now.
Saturday 27th September 2014 – Belfast Limelight
Monday 29th September 2014 – Edinburgh Electric Circus
Tuesday 30th September 2014 – Glasgow Oran Mor
Wednesday 1st October 2014 – Newcastle Riverside
Friday 3rd October 2014 – Leeds Belgrave Music Hall
Saturday 4th October 2014 – Liverpool Kazimier
Monday 6th October 2014 – Nottingham Rescue Rooms
Tuesday 7th October 2014 – Leicester Academy
Wednesday 8th October 2014 – Birmingham Library-Institute
Friday 10th October 2014 – Oxford Academy 2
Saturday 11th October 2014 – Cambridge Junction
Monday 13th October 2014 – Bristol Thekla
Tuesday 14th October 2014 – Brighton Haunt
Wednesday 15th October 2014 – Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
Friday 17th October 2014 – London Shepherds Bush Empire
Saturday 18th October 2014 – Manchester Ritz
Oxford dance doctors Glass Animals have just announced a tour of the UK in support of their debut album, ‘Zaba’, which is scheduled for release on the 9th of June via Wolf Tone Records. Tickets for the following shows are available now.
Saturday 14th June 2014 – Cardiff Buffalo Bar
Monday 16th June 2014 – Bristol Lantern
Wednesday 18th June 2014 – London Meltdown Festival
Friday 20th June 2014 – Leeds Belgrave Music Hall
Saturday 21st June 2014 – Manchester Ruby Lounge
Monday 23rd June 2014 – Newcastle Think Tank
Wednesday 25th June 2014 – Sheffield Bungalows and Bears
Thursday 26th June 2014 – Oxford Jericho Tavern *added 30/05/2014
It was on Friday, January 14th, 2005 that English pop rockers Busted officially split. The announcement was made during a press conference in London, which came just days after Charlie Simpson revealed he was pursuing his new band, Fightstar. Almost 9 later, in 2013, it was announced that McFly and Busted would form the ultimate supergroup, without Simpson. Named McBusted (though I’d have preferred BustFly), the six-piece band revealed details on a UK arena tour, which they would embark on the following year.
Fast forward to Monday, April 28th, 2014 and, following a successful 3-day run at London’s O2 Arena, the McBusted tour arrived in the Metro Radio Arena, where a sell-out crowd highly anticipated the first of the supergroup’s two Newcastle dates. As the house lights faded and the sound of screaming fans echoed inside, the iconic press conference was projected on to screens at either side of the stage. This was followed by newly shot scenes that acted as an almost parody of the 1985 film ‘Back to the Future’, in which James Bourne and Matt Willis travel forward in time to join McFly as the newly-formed McBusted.
Arriving on stage in a DeLorean, the iconic car from the ‘Back to the Future’ films, James and Matt were greeted to the loudest screams of the night so far, which got even louder as Tom Fletcher, Danny Jones, Harry Judd and Dougie Poynter of McFly also made an appearance. Before the screams had died out, the ever-so-familiar riff of the Busted classic ‘Air Hostess’ started playing as the excited onlookers went wild. As the supergroup performed further Busted hits ‘You Said No’, ‘Britney’ and ‘Who’s David’, the synergy between the two bands was beginning to show and, quite surprisingly, felt perfectly natural. Jones brilliantly replicated the gravelly tones of Charlie Simpson, while Bourne and Willis regularly took the lead vocals on a number of McFly’s hits.
The lively concert continued as they performed the first McFly hits of the night (‘5 Colours In Her Hair’ and ‘Obviously’). However, this soon changed as McBusted also showed their softer, more emotional side. As Bourne took to the front of the stage by himself, the audience swayed their phones and lighters, bellowing out the words to ‘Sleeping with the Light On’. It was an unforgettable sight that brought the opening section of the show to a fantastic conclusion.
The second section began with a video clip containing a fake news report showing members of the band dressed as farmers and hillbillies discussing a UFO sighting. Meanwhile, the supergroup were descending from the roof of the Metro Radio Arena on a circular spaceship, landing just above the mixing desk located in the centre of the venue. The position of the second stage allowed the band to be more interactive with the audience, as they joked about the appearance of Cheryl Cole and Ant and Dec at their gig. This was followed by ‘Star Girl’, ‘Nerdy’ and ‘Room on the 3rd Floor’, all of which were well received by the concertgoers.
McBusted returned to the main stage following another brief clip to perform ‘Thunderbirds Are Go’ – written specifically for the 2004 film ‘Thunderbirds’. This was preceded with a cover of The Jackson Five’s ‘I Want You Back’, which seemed like an odd inclusion considering the two bands have a staggering 27 UK top ten hit singles between them. Nevertheless, McBusted were soon back on track with ‘Shine a Light’ and ‘What I Go to School For’, which saw the introduction of giant inflatable balls to the crowd.
It was during this stint that McBusted really showed their sense of humour, which had featured throughout the gig. Poynter and Willis participated in a game of “Penis” (in which they took it in turns to see who could shout “penis” the loudest) and Jones attempted a Geordie accent, which was quickly ridiculed by his fellow bandmates. The humour reinforced the synergy between the two bands and provided light relief from the hugely dynamic setlist.
As the venue descended into darkness once more, a clip of Fletcher’s wedding speech (which, incidentally has received over 13 million views on YouTube) played out on the screens, accompanied by comical comments from Bourne and Willis. The clip came to an abrupt end as McBusted returned to the stage to perform, yup, you guessed it, ‘Crashed the Wedding’. Even during the set’s climax, which finished with ‘All About You’ and ‘Year 3000’, the band demonstrated the same energy and stamina they showed at the beginning of the concert.
As the supergroup left the stage, the onlookers left the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle with huge smiles on their faces. The set list was perfect, the group’s energy was astounding and the music was incredible. McBusted provided the ultimate pop experience that won’t be forgotten in a hurry.