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Bat For Lashes

Bat For Lashes.

Bat For Lashes @ Leeds Met 25/10
Photo: Kieran Fish

Natasha Khan, or more commonly known as her stage name Bat For Lashes, made an appearance at Leeds as part of her UK tour for her third album The Haunted Man.

Her supporting act was more than worthy to share the stage with the Mercury Prize nominee star, a rock/punk 80’s style band named the Sylver Tongue.

They definitely set the stage for the singer, who was in fact celebrating her birthday that very night, in the middle of her set the crowds burst into songs of their own, singing Happy Birthday to the singer; a very heart warming occasion to witness.

She started the set off with a song from the new album Lillies, beautifully sung as predicted by the eagerly awaiting fans. As well as singing songs from her new album, fans were also treated to old favourites Horse and I and Prescilla, both from her first album Fur and Gold (2006), two songs that truly show off her musical talent.

The set could not have been closed by a more perfectly chosen song, Daniel. A song from her second album Two Suns (2009) An all time favourite and a song that every Bat for Lashes fan knows the lyrics to. It is, to date, the best selling song of the artists, selling over 46,000 copies.

The atmosphere was incredible and the crowd really got involved with the song. It was a very touching moment as she stopped for breath and a fan threw a birthday card on to the stage. I can’t imagine this is the last we will see of Natasha and I sincerely hope she agrees to tour again in 2013.

Accelerate Conference 2012, at NewLife Church, Lincoln

Aiden Grimshaw

Aiden Grimshaw @ the Cockpit, Leeds.
Photo: Lucie Henson

I’m sure many people wonder what happens to artists who don’t make it very far in the competition of X-Factor, according to sources Aiden Grimshaw finished 9th, which apparently isn’t very good.

However, whether it’s his quirkiness or his ‘weird’ genre of music, I fell in love with his debut album ‘Misty Eye’. In a way he reminded me of Natasha Khan ‘Bat for Lashes’, who I think is incredible. Aiden appeared in Leeds at The Cockpit on the 28th of September, and I was lucky enough to acquire tickets for myself and a friend.

The only other gigs I have ever been to have been rock and heavy metal, so this was quite an experience, no mosh pits to speak of and many fan girls. Despite this, I have to say it was a very good experience. The passion Aiden puts into his performance is great to see, I feel sometimes artists lose this as they get more successful in the industry.

He had two support acts, Daniel – his guitarist, and Seye – An upcoming Jamaican singer from London; both very good and a nice build up to the main act. I’m glad to say Aiden didn’t disappoint, singing his whole album, incredibly well I must say. Aiden wrote and co-wrote all of his songs and I could tell they meant something to him, which is exciting to see live.

He started the set list with ‘Hold on’ and closed the gig off with ‘Curtain Call’, the first released song on the album. After what we all thought was the end, Aiden came back out to complete an encore, singing a song that did not appear on the album “Chokehold”.

It’s great to see the quick ending of his X-Factor career did not dampen his enthusiasm for what he loves and I for one am very excited to see what else Aiden has in store for the future!

http://www.aidengrimshaw.com/

Justin Martin, Tokyo Basement (23/11/12)

Promotional flyer for the event

Image courtesy of MODA

The picturesque cathedral city of Lincoln seems an unlikely place to showcase one of the best artists in underground house music. However, Moda have again delivered, as Dirtybird records legend Justin Martin graced decks at the disused cellars.

Started In Lincoln by Jaymo and Andy George, events group and record company Moda have gone from a small 200 capacity venue, to filling out legendary venues across the country, in London and Ibiza in just a few short years.

Yet the crew still keep their roots in mind, bringing some of the best quality house artists in the business back to the city, into the intimate setting of a refurbished club basement.

“Iv heard a lot about the venue from Eats Everything and Shadow Child” said Justin, “Its almost like a dungeon, but such a great place.”

The pre party was hosted by local DJ collective “Sunday Club”, a group of local DJs who regularly around Lincoln. I walked in to one of my tech-house favourites, Daniele Papini’s Church of Nonsense. The warping bassline took me back to a rave deep in the forest where I first heard it. I knew this was going to be a banging night.

After the Sunday Club boys smashed the pre party session, the crowd made their way over to the disused cellar venue a few streets across. Moda lads Jaymo and Andy George were up first, and wasted no time getting the party started.

Image shows Justin against a background of flowers

Photo: Justin Martin

You are always in for a treat when the boys get on the CDJs, on this occasion they selected an eclectic mix of house, with a few cheeky classics thrown in. My favourite from the set was probably Douglas Greed’s When a Man-such an infectious groove and vocal.

After the set the crowd were ready for Justin, he seemed to give off a great positive vibe from behind the decks, beaming from ear to ear the whole way through. It was truly refreshing to see a world class artist enjoying it to such an extent.

The last time I saw Justin, he was joined by Eats Everything and Claude Von Stroke at the Bollywood Tent at Bestival. The settings could not be more contrasting, a massive Indian decorated tent, and a dark nightclub cellar in the North, but both were a great spectacle.

Some of the highlights for me were him dropping some of his newer productions from the Ghettos and Gardens EP, released earlier this year, which have become a staple for many DJ sets.  When he mixed in Dusky’s remix of “Don’t go” the room went off. The bass heavy rework through the function one sound system was like nectar for the ravers, and they went mad for it.

shows Justin Martin mixing live at the gig against the backdrop of a packed club

Photo courtesy of MODA

Halfway through the crowd were thrown a curve ball, “I hope you guys don’t mind drum and bass” Justin Shouted ecstatically from behind the decks, as he dropped what I believe to be Shadow Child’s old school remix of  “Riding spaceships”.

The unexpected change of pace injected the crowd with a burst of 170 bpm energy, before chilling the pace for a phenomenal rework of  “Ruff Stuff”. I remember reading about Justin and the  Dirtybird crew being heavily into their classic UK drum and bass, even asking Goldie himself to remix one of his old tracks for Ghettos and Gardens (Kemistry). This selection felt like a big shout out to the UK scene from the San Francisco native.

After an hour and a half of Justin’s trademark melodic and gritty style of house, Rinse FM maverick Doorly took over, with more great house selections.

Overall I’d say this was hands down one of the best nights I’ve had in the city. The atmosphere was amazing, everyone seemed to drop their pretensions as soon as they walked through the door, and just enjoy the music.

This night was truly a great night for the underground house and dance music scene in  Lincoln. With heavyweights such as Waifs and Strays, Eats Everything and Shadow Child all playing here in the last year, I’d say that’s pretty decent for a place that isn’t necessarily on the UK touring map for big DJs.

I hope there are many more nights like this to come, with seamless mixing and great tunes. The underground scene seems to have really picked up over the last few months, with more independent events supporting  decent high quality dance music. If you’re in Lincoln there is really no excuse  not to check out the next night.

Find out more about MODA events at:
http://thisismoda.co.uk

Check out Justin Martin’s Music at:

Lostprophets, We Are The Ocean & Pure Love @ The Engine Shed, Lincoln (13/11/2012)

Lostprophets made their glorious return to the Engine Shed on November 13th. Rachel Sloper went along to see them…

An image of Lostprophets on stage at The Engine Shed, focusing on frontman Ian Watkins.

Lostprophets live at The Engine Shed

The enthusiastic support act, Pure Love, fronted by Gallows ex-frontman Frank Carter, showcased their arsenal of formulaic punk-rock tracks with plenty of attitude.

They didn’t fail to whip the young audience into a frenzy.

We Are the Ocean were up next. The Essex-based rock band got the crowd jumping as they powered through a high-energy set.

The band seemed very much in shape musically, fresh out of the studio with the release of their latest album, Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow, just two months ago.

As Lostprophets finally took the stage, the screams of the hysterical fans were piercing. The Engine Shed audience erupted into chaos, as the band played the intro to Where We Belong.

It was heart-warming to sense the new generation fans’ camaraderie, even in the presence of their heroes. The fans looked out for each other when mosh-pits broke out left, right and centre, even stepping aside to help those who had fallen over.

The Welsh punk-rockers then stormed the crowd with New Transmission, which received a hearty reception as Lostprophets devotees chanted the lyrics with conviction.

The band’s signature anthem, Rooftops was met with complete hysteria in the crowd. This opened the floodgates for the punk-rockers to roll out all of the hits, which included A Town Called Hypocrisy, Burn Burn, Last Train Home, Shinobi vs Dragon Ninja and the newcomer, We Bring an Arsenal.

Lostprophets are nothing if not crowd-pleasers. With the Engine Shed audience left on a high from the relentless storm of classic anthems (old and new), they began to chant, demanding that the band play one of the band’s heavier tracks, We Are Godzilla, You Are Japan. They gladly obliged.

They closed the set on the energetic Everyday Combat. The mosh-pits opened, and all hell broke loose. The fans left on a euphoric high, Lostprophets left the stage. Mission accomplished.

Shows like tonight prove just why Lostprophets have stood the test of time (now in their 15th year), not only in the UK, but internationally. Their showmanship is still everything it was 10 years ago, and they still seem to put just as much passion into it.

This is a band that is here to stay.

Josh Kaye at the Lincoln Live Lounge

An image of Josh Kaye playing acoustic guitar and singing at Lincoln Live Lounge performance.

Photo: Amber Jacques

This October one of Lincoln’s most prestigious nightclubs held a ‘Live Lounge’ competition.

The competition, which was held at Home started out with three categories. That was the idea at the start but it ended up being open just for musicians as there wasn’t much interest in the other two categories.

Josh Kaye is a Biomedical Science student who has a passion for singing and playing music. I had a chat with him about his experiences and went along to watch him perform in the final.

Josh heard about the competition from a member of staff at Home “my friend Joey who works at the club basically roped me into it, they were short of people to perform one week so I thought I’d do him a favour by filling up the numbers”.

Through each stage of the competition prizes were given to those who made it through that particular round.  The prize for the overall competition was £1000”. When asked what he would have spent the money on Josh had this to say “basically I would throw a massive party for everyone, and supply all the alcohol”, probably not the most productive direction but oh well.

I asked Josh what kind of music he enjoyed performing “just covers, anything that takes my fancy and that I can sing half decent! It’s got to be music I like though, and I like to throw in a cheeky surprise each week.

In the final Josh sang Bob Dylan – ‘All Along The Watchtower’, Bill Withers – ‘Aint No Sunshine’, Black Keys – ‘Tighten Up’, Outkast – ‘Roses’ and City and Colour – ‘Body In a Box’.

Awooga DJ Competition

Flyer advertising the Dj competition

Photo: Awooga

You wouldn’t expect to find such a high quality dance music collective in Lincoln, considering the scene is usually dominated by tacky “chart and cheese” tunes.

However, Awooga has managed to expose a valuable niche in the underground market.

Started by a group of friends in early 2011, Awooga is an organisation with a difference. Maintaining a strong visual element to go with the nature of the music, the graphic design work would not look out of place at London’s Fabric.

They also support local talent in the area, and this event was a showcase of some of the best new DJs on the scene. The winners were Jack Drake and Adam Bennett, who “showed enthusiasm and bravery with track selection”.

DJs from the city competed against each other at Dogma, for a slot at the next club event. Punters were treated to a variety of diverse sounds, ranging from soulful deep house, ecstatic electro and abrasive dub-step records.

Image shows a DJ playing at an Awooga event

Photo: Awooga

With the success of other nights promoting underground sounds such as Moda (fronted by respected radio 1 DJs and Ibiza playboys Jaymo and Andy George) it seems as though the Lincoln club scene could soon grow to rival that of music metropolitan heavyweights such as Manchester and Birmingham.

Catch them at:

http://awooga.eu/
http://www.facebook.com/AwoogaEvents

The Enemy, The Antics & Dexters @ The Engine Shed, Lincoln (07/10/2012)

An image of The Enemy's bass player, Andy Hopkins, performing on stage at The Engine Shed.

The Enemy performing live at The Engine Shed. Photo: Rachel Sloper.

The Enemy have been on a summer-long high this year. Tonight was just a massive extension of that. The Engine Shed was buzzing with an electric atmosphere on Sunday night in anticipation of festival legends The Enemy rocking the SU venue.

Support act, Dexters offered up their brand of indie pop, reminiscent of acts like The Kooks, which was great to dance to.

Next up was the turn of The Antics, a five piece act from the Midlands. Despite the frontman bearing strong resemblance to Jack Black dressed up as Russell Brand, he interacted well with the crowd.

What was most impressive however, was the sense of camaraderie between the bands.  I observed members of The Dexters joining the crowd after their set to watch The Antics play.

The Antics’ set blended original songs and covers such as The Farm’s classic football anthem, All Together Now. These were skilfully used to whip the crowd into a frenzy of anticipation for the headliners.

The Enemy took the stage and received an incredible reception. The atmosphere was incredible. Fans were surging forward to catch a glimpse of their seemingly every-day heroes.

The set combined new and old tracks, plenty of hits from the 2007 hit album We’ll Live and Die in These Towns.

The highlight of which was This Song, during which the band left the stage and the overly-enthused crowd continued to repeat the chorus. The band returned, appearing genuinely humbled by the energy of the crowd.

Frontman, Tom Clarke, reclaimed the microphone and said: “Even though Lincoln isn’t on the main tour circuit, it really should be. You guys are just next level.”

Some memorable highlights include bass player, Andy Hopkins, stage diving towards the end of the gig, about which he tweeted beforehand: “@andyhopkins26: LINCOLN are you gonna catch me tonight @engineshed ??? #crowdsurf x”.

One excitable audience member, who had just been ejected for crowd-surfing, even managed to jump onto the stage. He was soon apprehended by the security staff, which did a brilliant job of keeping both crowd and artists safe throughout the evening.

What really stood out was the sheer joy that The Enemy seem to take out of their live show. They were all smiles. The audience saw a celebratory bow, and the musicians throwing their arms around each other, already in excitable discussion before they’d even left the stage.

It must be said, The Enemy really are a must-see live act. It wouldn’t be such a great leap to say that they sound deceptively mellow on their studio albums. They really are a fantastic band to rock-out to.

Bowling for Soup, The Dollyrots & Patent Pending @ Rock City, Nottingham (25/10/2012)

A high-angle image of Bowling for Soup on stage, performing at Rock City in Nottingham.

Bowling for Soup take the stage at Rock City
Photo: Rachel Sloper

Bowling for Soup took the stage after two enthusiastic sets by Patent Pending and The Dollyrots. The One Big Happy tour included all of the collaborating bands that are featured on the ‘One Big Happy’ album. As Dollyrots singer, Kelly Ogden says, they really are “A big happy family”.

The 18-year-old band showed no signs of fatigue tonight on this, one of the closing dates of their UK tour.

The high-energy set included all the hits, including ‘High School Never Ends’, ‘Girl All The Bad Guys Want’, ‘Almost’, ‘Punk Rock 101’ and ‘1985’.

Their set list included a selection of cover songs. Frontman, Jaret Reddick talked about how everyone knows Bowling for Soup as the ‘Stacy’s Mom band’.

Reddick also joked of how they take credit for the song so much that they might as well put it on iTunes and make some money out of it.

This resulted in the crowd devolving into chaos as they played the cover of the Fountains of Wayne track.

The Bowling for Soup show seemed more like a stand-up comedy than a pop-punk gig, as they packed in seemingly endless one-liners with their own brand of smutty, teenage-boy style humour.

On this particular tour, Bowling for Soup have adopted a new persona. “We are Bowling for Soup, the band you can wave at!” Announces Reddick, much to the crowd’s delight.

“Would My Chemical Romance wave at you? Would they f**k!”

Almost whipped the crowd into a frenzy, as Reddick invited all of the “sh**ty singers” to belt out the chorus of the well-loved pop-punk anthem.

Mid-way through a powerful, high-speed performance of ‘Punk Rock 101’, Reddick stopped the song for a ‘photo-opp session’, in which the band posed together for a photo-shoot, whilst Van Halen’s ‘Jump’ played over the speakers.

An energetic set was topped off expertly with an encore which included a cover of Britney Spears’ ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’ and ‘The Bitch Song’. This was a real highlight, as The Dollyrots’ singer Kelly Ogden stormed the stage one more time to join Reddick on vocals.

The Bowling for Soup show is just as energetic and entertaining (if not more so) than it was 10 years ago. What’s more, they’re showing no signs of slowing down.

[This article first appeared on Midlands Rocks]

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