Great Music – Live!

GKC1With the charts continuing to be awash with electronica, dance and rnb (although there’s nothing wrong with any of those) you might be wondering if there was still any good live music out there. Well if you have any doubts then get yourself along to one of Abbie McCarthy‘s Good Karma Club nights in London to catch bands that you’ve probably never heard of (yet!) and more to the point are really great. Going to see bands you have never heard (assuming you don’t Spotify them) means you never know what you are going to get, but last Thursday what we got was three brilliant live sets.

Being on first Island Club played to an undeservedly small crowd. I’m loving the 80’s influenced keyboard and drum sound that some bands have at the moment. I just instantly enjoyed their music which doesn’t often happen. Although all three bands were great I think Island Club took pole position on the night. Great songs, great music. Check out their headline tour dates here.

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Calva Louise up next provided a loud and lively set very reminiscent of a late 70’s/early 80’s Pucalva louise 2nk band. For three people they make a lot of noise and lead singer Jess’s frenetic guitar work was brilliant. It’s this sort of band that makes live sets their own. heir energy was immense and I would have loved to have seen more from them. I’ll be keeping an eye out for more chances to see them again.

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Easy Life provided yet another different style, showing how great a night Abbie puts together. A kind of soul/jazz Brit hip hop sound that sounded so great. If the talented front man switching between keys, guitar, and trumpet wasn’t enough the rest of the band slid between instruments with equal ease. I never thought I would see an electronic clarinet (?) again either!! Check out their Creature Habits tour dates here.

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I’ve been enjoying all three bands on Spotify over the weekend and check out all three bands music here, here and here., but as is quite often the case nothing is as good as seeing them live so if you can catch any of them on their own tours then you should. Also do yourself a favour and check out Abbie’s upcoming Good Karma Club nights here. Well worth a trip to the East End!

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Plan B – The Defamation of Strickland Banks

I can’t believe I have only just picked this album up. Of course I had heard the singles She 220px-The_Defamation_Of_Strickland_BanksSaid and Prayin’ but I never thought to buy the album. It’s a great mix of Northern Soul and urban hip hop. If you think of the current grime artists but with a smoother soulful backdrop then you are getting close to Plan B. Having always been a fan of soul and RnB the music is definitely my kind of sound. This is just another example of when you can miss albums or artists that you can really get into.  Definitely worth picking up if soul is your thing providing you dont mind the rap side of things. He now has a new album out too which you can check out here.

Standout track: The Recluse

David Bowie – Legacy

Bowie is a genius. His music is brilliant. Most people acknowledge that already so i’m not David_Bowie_Bowie_Legacy_Album_Coverdoing a review, but as a casual-ish Bowie fan I have been on the lookout for a greatest hits compilation for a while and finally got around to picking one up. However I suffered from a typical problem with picking a collection, particularly when the artist has such an extensive back catalogue.  There is always one or two tracks that are inexplicably  missing. The 2 Disc version of Legacy is pretty comprehensive but for me the stark omission is Suffragette City. I guess they had to cull something but it is a brilliant track and as the track listing runs chronologically it was easy to slip in from another collection. Although I don’t mind new mixes when it comes to a greatest hits I want original version’s and although Life On Mars is good alternative version I just had to replace it with the original. Now I have the ultimate Bowie collection and it sounds great! Which greatest hits have you had to “upgrade”?

Standout track : Oh, come on…..seriously, you weren’t really expecting me to pick one?

 

 

Kate Bush – Live!

Well OK not exactly, but as blimmin’ well close as you are going to get this side of 2014 when our Kate last played Hammersmith. Cloudbusting have been on my radar for a while but I finally got to see them last week at the Half Moon in Putney. You are never quite sure what you are going to get with a tribute band but I am very pleased to say that they did NOT disappoint! Mandy Watson nails the vocals without sounding forced. Her passion for Kate’s music is clear and performed songs from 1979’s The Kick Inside to 2005’s Aerial. Being at one of Kate’s early 1970’s venues with the KT Bush Band made it extra special (although I’m pretty sure the stage has moved since I was last there in the 90’s!). If you are a Kate fan then Cloudbusting are a must see, and if you are even luckier you may get to see Del Palmer perform with them!

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Scott Helman – Live!

20180508_201216469_iOSLast night my first visit to the Garage‘s upstairs venue was to see Scott Helman. Another punt into the unknown as I hadn’t heard any of his music before but his frenetic strumming on his 3/4 size acoustic quickly won me over. Backed by an excellent percussionist he took us through most of his last two albums of folk-ish rock n roll (but thoroughly pop) songs. His vocals had a slightly husky quality that may have been exaggerated by the DayQuil-sedated cold.  An early equipment malfunction meant the sound op had to switch to mono, with Scott exclaiming “whatever that is!”. I hope he was joking, otherwise it’s another realisation of my growing age gap with today’s upcoming musicians! It’s always a good sign when you enjoy an artist that you have no previous experience of, so definitely worth checking out.    Find his music by clicking here.

The Academic / Sea Girls – Live!

Went to The Garage in North London last week to see The Academic with Sea Girls in support.  Having never seen either band before I’d usually have checked them out on the net first, but throwing caution to the wind I thought I’d just see what they were like on the night.  Planting myself close to the front I wasn’t disappointed by either! As with most guitar bands the music hits harder than on record and their great tunes just shone through.  sea girlsFirstly Sea Girls were totally brilliant. Henry Camamile has one of those voices that has a wonderfully deep tone to it.  It is distinctive yet feels familiar, maybe because along with the music it felt very evocative of the 80’s music I love.  With a support band your never quite sure what they are going to be like so I was surprised that I liked them a lot. I would have happily let them do another half hour!  The Academic were equally as good making the night even better delivering a set full of energy and loud guitars. It just shows how good bands are that are out there and you don’t need to spend a fortune to have a brilliant night, providing you can live with screaming teenagers highlighting how old you actually are!  I’d never been to The Garage either and its a great sized venue and really easy to jump on the Tube afterwards.  The Sea Girls don’t yet have an album but have a few EP’s you can get but you can pick up The Academic’s album Tales from the Backseat now. Go check out both bands!

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Kate Bush – Hounds of Love

Kate Bush is a flippin’ genius, but even though I teenaged through her peak period of kb holoutput it’s only in the last few years she became one of my obsessions. Seen by most as her magnum opus (although for me 2005’s Aerial also vies strongly for that position) Hounds of Love contains her biggest singles of the 80’s. It’s B-side features the Ninth Wave, a suite of songs relaying the story of a woman swept overboard during a storm at sea. Her initial acceptance of death quickly reverts to a struggle to survive until her eventual rescue. This is why Kate is a genius. She is a storyteller and you “feel” her music. It gets into your head and stirs emotion within her vivid soundscape.  Kate performed the whole Ninth Wave live in 2014 which brought her vision fantastically to life.   A 5.1 mix of this album would be fantastic!

Standout Track: Simply can’t choose and i’m not going to!