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SG Lewis / December 2018 English and Irish Tour

 
By on Thursday, 6th September 2018 at 9:00 am
 

English DJ and producer SG Lewis has announced he’ll perform at a few live dates in December in England and Ireland in early December. These dates follow a week’s worth of live gigs on the Continent. Tickets go on sale for the below dates tomorrow, Friday, the 7th of September, at 10 AM. Catch the newest video from SG Lewis for ‘Hurting’ featuring Alunageorge under the tour dates below. Watch and listen to Lewis’ most recent music video, ‘Better’ featuring the vocals of Bostonian YouTube sensation Clairo, through this link.

Monday 3rd December 2018 – Bristol Thekla
Tuesday 4th December 2018 – Manchester Club Academy
Wednesday 5th December 2018 – Dublin Academy Green Room
Friday 7th December 2018 – London Printworks

 

Liverpool Sound City 2013: Martin’s Day 1 Roundup

 
By on Tuesday, 14th May 2013 at 1:00 pm
 

Martin’s high-res photos from the Thursday can be viewed on his Flickr.

Acts of the day: Moongaï, Findlay, The Oreoh!s (known now as the Orielles as of 26/11/13)

Venue of the day: Kazimier Gardens

It wasn’t until the final night of Liverpool Sound City 2013, whilst tramping up Seel Street for the umpteenth time that weekend, that I had a flash of the blindingly obvious: that people other than music fans are allowed to party in this area of the city as well! The past couple of nights had seen the handful of parallel streets that accommodate the countless music venues which form the heart of LSC13 dominated by so many wristband-toting musos that it was easy to forget that regular Liverpudlians on their well-deserved Saturday night shindig were permitted to use the facilities as well. What they made of the invasion of the weird, wild and wired LSC13 crowd was unclear, but none seemed uncomfortable in the others’ company. From established acts with nothing to prove, via young bucks seemingly teetering on the brink of stardom, to those dipping their toes in the waters of showcasedom for the very first time, such was the quality on offer that one could stick a pin in the LSC13 poster and have every confidence that the randomly-chosen act wouldn’t disappoint. Each person’s itinerary is by definition decided as much by practicalities, happenstance and opportunity than judicious planning, and as such is simply a snapshot of the event as a whole rather than any attempt to unravel the latest and greatest. With that caveat in mind, here’s my take on the Thursday:

Nateley's Whore's Kid Sister Liverpool Sound City 2013

Any thought of easing in gently is discarded in favour of a powerful punch in the ear courtesy of fellow Tynesiders Nateley’s Whore’s Kid Sister (@NWkidsister). Shorn of the stocking masks they were wearing last time I saw them, but lacking none of their previous raw power, Nateley’s deliver an uncompromising set perfectly summed up by their “alternative sludge” bio description. As subtle as slamming your hand in a car door. [Probably one of the weirdest names for a band since Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head too – Ed.]

Moongai Liverpool Sound City 2013

For some light relief, the first trip to the Kazimier Gardens for Moongaï‘s (@moongai) baroque mélange of idiosyncratic Gallic pop. They’re all in retro fancy dress, the music heavy with that combination of style, eccentricity and camp that the French excel at. Eva whoops beautifully over the band’s electronica-tinged upbeat pop; by the time she has scampered through the entire audience, exhorting them to ever higher levels of appreciation and excitement through a loudhailer, everyone is bemused and captivated in equal measure. Brilliant, original, bonkers.

Findlay Liverpool Sound City 2013

Findlay give great show. There’s a fine, guitar-heavy performance from the band, with particular mention to the gentleman guitarist who gamely attempts to compete with his vocalist for the audience’s indulgence. But it would be inaccurate of me to say that very much attention was paid to anyone at all but the eponymous lead singer. Attired in a skinny, clingy leopard skin dress, gyrating and emoting for all she’s worth, Findlay the band are essentially a vehicle for the lead singer’s stage presence. Her voice drips with ’70s new wave punk attitude; recent single ‘Your Sister’ showcases it perfectly: a bitter slice of pop rock, its fiercely snarled refrain demonstrating just how much potential this young act have. In Findlay we may be witnessing the emergence of a genuine rock star.

Reverend and the Makers Liverpool Sound City 2013

Reverend and the Makers are received with rapturous applause, and Jon McClure unashamedly bathes in it, acting for all the world like God’s gift to rock ‘n’ roll, rather than a paunchy Yorkshireman in his thirties. After a brief meeting earlier in the day, he seems like a delightfully down-to-earth chap, who just happens to be held in a position of adulation by a certain type of laddish crowd previously entertained by Oasis and their ilk. This reviewer is far too much of a music snob to be able to enjoy this sort of thing: the songs are all pretty basic, formulaic affairs, and the whole shebang would have little appeal if it weren’t for McClure’s irrepressible personality. Everybody bounce!

AlunaGeorge Liverpool Sound City 2013

BBC Sound of 2013 alums AlunaGeorge are the great new hope of mainstream British urban music, and their live show just about keeps that optimism on track. Aluna Francis has as good a voice live as on record, and the band are highly competent; one might hope for a little bit more soul in the performance, but no doubt that will come with time.

The Oreohs Liverpool Sound City 2013

Next up are one of the most surreal and surprising acts of the festival: The Oreoh!s hail from Halifax and trade in delightful 3-minute punk-pop ditties which sound far more mature than their age would suggest. Did I mention their age? They barely look old enough to have taken their GCSEs, let alone be knocking out some very cool songs at midnight at a music festival. I know appearances can be deceptive, but there’s no way any of them would get served for a much-needed post-gig beer without proffering ID, poor things. The natural conclusion is: if they’re this good at such a tender age, where will they be in a couple of years? Ones to keep an eye on.

The Kill Van Kulls Liverpool Sound City 2013

As if to prove the fickleness of the music biz, Manchester’s The Kill Van Kulls bring their intelligent, well-honed set of catchy, poppy, guitar epics to a mere handful of people. They were admittedly ear-splittingly loud for such a small venue, but still it sticks in the throat a bit, with memories of the Makers’ enormo-rabble fresh in the memory – the KVKs are leagues ahead in the musical department. Still, the band give it their all, with guitar histrionics aplenty. I need to see them again, in a proper venue, and a proper crowd, which is presumably what they get most other days of the week.

Bastille Liverpool Sound City 2013

Rumours abound that Bastille is full to capacity, but the opportunity to catch the man of the moment is too good to pass up, so I took a chance and headed over. Even though the room was busy, it wasn’t full – shame the same couldn’t be said for the photo pit, which was rammed with photographers trying to catch that iconic shot which could propel them out of a sweaty pit and into the catwalks of the South of France. The crowd are pretty mad for the well-crafted pop, which catches just enough of the zeitgeist to be cool, but is traditional enough to appear unthreatening to enough people to fill a sizeable venue such as tonight’s disused car park. Bastille Dan takes it all in his stride, despite his trademark gravity-defying hairstyle taking a beating. A competent performance, but I still prefer the record.

Tired of foot and exhilarated of brain, a quick peek into the delegate after party at the Epstein Theatre reveals – in amongst the scattered bodies of industry heads and liggers who’ve indulged in one too many sweet sherries throughout the evening – the final gem of the night. MiC LOWRY (pictured at top) are a five-piece self-described “boy band” who trade in the sweetest harmonies this side of the Jackson 5. Cast in the classic mould of an act like Boyz II Men, for a few brief numbers the Epstein is alive with buttery-smooth soulful sounds from these five cheeky Scouse lads. They’re so eminently ripe for the plucking by a Cowell-style ‘mentor’, you can almost s the X-Factor breathing down their necks. One can only hope they get proper, sympathetic advice that sees them grow their career in a steady, long-term fashion, rather than chewed up and spat out by the industry machine; the world needs to hear MiC LOWRY.

 

BBC Sound of 2013 – Yea or Nay?

 
By on Wednesday, 2nd January 2013 at 11:00 am
 

Editor’s note: The BBC Sound of 2013 longlist announcement garnered mixed reviews from our writers, which led me to commission this unusual interplay – between John, holed up on his home island of Guernsey, and Martin, holed up similarly at home in Gateshead – just about the merits – or lack of? – in this Sound of 2013 list. For an alternative list, check out the TGTF 10 for 2013 poll winners, as voted by our lovely readers. As I prep this post in WordPress New Year’s Day, Welsh electropoppers CHVRCHES and Laura Mvula have been announced as #5 and #4, respectively. Before we get ahead of ourselves, John and Martin get stuck in their discussion…

So what is the BBC Sound of 2013? Is it a jumped-up product placement list, or a true representation of the best innovation to come out of the UK in the next year? Can the tips from the 213 so-called ‘tastemakers’ truly gauge who is going to break boundaries and inspire us this coming calendar year, or is it just a script that each BBC Radio presenter needs to stick to? Martin Sharman and I will be discussing this over this transcript:

John: So Martin, the BBC Sound of 2013 list is out and I quite frankly, I am bored and uninterested in what they’ve thrown up, what do you think?

Martin: Well, John, it’s easy to be cynical about these things – people like you and me spend a lot of time seeking out and experiencing new music, and could well be able to come up with a list of our own that would be just as virtuous, and certainly more to our own tastes, as this one. But I think this list has a good stab at covering a lot of bases, and I’m sure a lot of the artists on the list are grateful for the increased exposure it will generate for them. Quite how and why the acts are chosen we will never know – I fantasise that a lot of PR puffery and not the odd glass of champagne have been involved in its genesis – but if one is prepared to give it the benefit of the doubt, I’m sure most people who look at the list will be able to find something that they like.

John: I will indulge that a lot of bases are covered here, you’ve got your British guitar bands (Palma Violets and Savages) so the tabloid media can pander their fantasy that institution of ‘the Great British Guitar Band’ lives on. You’ve got your ‘strong independent’ woman type in the form of Angel Haze who already stinks of Jessie J and even a Michael Kiwanuka 2.0 (this time a girl!) in Laura Mvula. It feels almost formulaic to me?

Martin: Formulaic? This is the BBC we’re talking about, of course it is! There have undoubtedly been umpteenth meetings, focus groups, and quotas developed to exactly proportion each aspect of this list: genre, gender, ethnicity, hair colour, shoe size. But that’s not the fault of the artists who ended up being picked. Indeed, if Angel Haze, oozing with street smarts from the wrong side of Detroit, who can properly rap like Azealia Banks leavened with Odd Future‘s blunt lyrical themes, was to know she was being compared with the over-privileged, under-talented, Brit school rent-a-common-denominator Jessie J, she’d just as likely head across the Atlantic and whup yo’ ass. And Laura Mvula’s ethereal vocal work, presumably influenced by her a capella background, appeals to me a lot more than Kiwanuka’s homely schtick, but that just reinforces the subjective nature of all of this. What does make me yawn is the aforementioned Palma Violets – if I see another archly lo-fi video again, I’ve seen too many. The Libertines happened: deal with it. Although they may make more sense live. But there must be something on the list that appeals, John?

John: As a BBC employee I better watch whose toes on which I tread, but formulaic probably is hitting the nail on the head there. RE: Palma Violets and another ‘archly lo-fi video’, you’re going to absolutely have kittens for the video for ‘Best of Friends’, which people for some bizarre reason are gushing over? Not me, nope, I’m not buying into this Vaccines-lite that they seem to be publicising themselves as. I can get at least get a bit giddy about Gary Barlow’s favourite Irish crooners, Kodaline. The music and video to ‘All I Want’ is tear-jerkingly beautiful, and with the backing of Mister Barlow, I just feel like they could do very well for themselves. [They’ve also gotten a shout for SXSW 2013. – Ed.] While if she’s finished whooping ma ass, I feel like Angel Haze could at least be something edgy, exciting and a little bit sexy. Which is what I feel this list is missing… Who stands out for you then, Martin?

Martin: I’m with you on Kodaline: a deceptively simple song is enhanced with a brilliant, and indeed rather moving, visual story. Little Green Cars have a similarly powerful marriage: the video is made with a photographer’s eye for composition, and the song adds a much-needed bitter twist to the usual romance narrative. AlunaGeorge deserve mention for their sultry, mature approach to the urban pop genre, and visuals which positively drip 2013 London cool. The jury’s out on Tom Odell: he’s certainly a talented chap, but it’s so early on in his career to say for sure whether he’s got genuine depth, or simply blessed with an approximation of Chris Martin’s voice and demeanour. Gary Barlow’s finely-coiffed head pops up again with his signing A*M*E, who I can’t decide whether is bringing a decent bit of synthpop back to the charts or is the most derivative thing I’ve heard for ages. Either way, her video is a jolly bit of pastel-coloured candyfloss to liven these dark nights. And of the highlights for me that just leaves Haim’s ’80s-revival New York soft-rock, and (#5 band on the 10 for 2013 poll) Peace’s very British widescreen guitar jollity, one of very few bands who can invoke Talking Heads – and that’s a very good thing. Both acts were doing fine before this nomination, but it’ll do their career no harm either. Just pondering the winner…

John: We can ponder and discuss all we want, but it just feels like the cards are already stacked in Mr. Odell’s favour, he’s been named Brits Critics’ Choice Winner 2013 and we all know what that means. The talent is there, undoubtedly so: the Chichester-born musician seems like exactly what the BBC will want from their winner. Someone who’ll look well-placed on Jools Holland, while also being able to make fangirls swoon at festivals in the summer. We’d obviously like it to be somebody like Fenech-Soler, or a TGTF backed band, but hey we can dream.

Martin: I suspect you may be right. If they go for a band, and with all the talk of bands being back in fashion they may decide to buck the Brits trend, then my money’s on Kodaline. Great connections, great hairdos, great cheekbones. And although it’s easy to get all snobby about their ability to generate crowd-pleasing ditties, pleasing the crowd is what it’s all about. My personal choice is AlunaGeorge, on the basis that they might just turn into the next big urban crossover – there’s hints of that Tricky / Martina Topley-Bird interplay that gets me all excited. Well, we’ll find out soon enough!

 
 
 

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