Gorillaz – Portsmouth Guildhall, 4th June 2017

The atmosphere was absolutely unparalleled with anything I’ve ever experienced as the Portsmouth Guildhall filled up with eager and very lucky fans to witness one of Gorillaz very first shows since their epic comeback earlier this year. The security was heavier than usual due to recent events, but this didn’t dampen any moods and it was handled perfectly.

I have never witnessed a show with so much going on at once – but too much is never really too much with a band like Gorillaz. Jamie Hewlett’s graphics were incredible and fitted perfectly with each song, and bassist Seye Adelekan’s presence on stage was something I had never seen before – even his silhouette on stage is something completely iconic.

The set started off with an intro and then an explosive rendition of Ascension, and six backing singers accompanied the band throughout the entire festival headliner-length two hour set. There were a plethora of guests (unfortunately no appearances from Shaun Ryder or Noel Gallagher) especially for a warm-up show, and the commitment they took into the show in general was extraordinary. Damon Albarn’s stage presence was humble yet energetic, throwing about six bottles of water into the crowd overall and giving the microphone to a lucky front-row fan to play his melodica. Clad in a bomber jacket that stayed on throughout the set even in such a boiling hot venue, his presence on stage was evidently of somebody with decades of experience, and he brought a fantastic energy to the set. Albarn also dedicated Andromeda from the new album to the attacks in Manchester and London which was very fitting, and gained a huge cheer from the audience. The set itself consisted mainly of tracks from Humanz, but they still covered all bases with all classic songs such as DARE, Rhinestone Eyes, Dirty Harry and Kids With Guns, and a brilliant encore of Feel Good Inc., Clint Eastwood, Don’t Get Lost In Heaven and Demon Days to conclude.

Gorillaz are an absolute must-see band, the set was a fantastic all-around show and even my mum loved it. You could tell every person on that stage loved every minute and loved being back on stage, and I have absolutely nothing to fault. Whoever has tickets to Demon Dayz or the tour towards the end of this year has every right to be ridiculously excited.

 

Emnibis – Home

Emnibis are a pop-punk/rock quartet from Surrey with influences drawn from the likes of Blink-182, All Time Low and Lower Than Atlantis. Guitarist/vocalist Casey Newman and bassist/vocalist Sam Cowlam have been playing together for eight years, and four years ago were joined by drummer Elliot Davis and guitarist/vocalist Matt Clark to form Emnibis for four years now. The band always write and produce their own tracks, but their latest single Home was produced with help from Lower Than Atlantis’ lead guitarist Ben Sansom.

Home is a fantastic single – it’s catchy from the absolute beginning and has been left in my head all day. Their influences are very prominent in the single, and has the perfect mix of both British and American pop-punk tones and is really well-written and produced, especially for a smaller band on the scene. The vocals could have more clarity, but even this criticism is not anything essential. Home is just generally a great, well-rounded song that makes a perfect, fun-loving pop-punk single. Emnibis are definitely a band to look out for, they have a massive deal of potential to do really well in the very near future and I’m really looking forward to what they will come out with next.

Emnibis are playing at The Hope and Ruin on the 27th August.

 

Slaves Pier Party

This is different to a post I would normally write, but I wanted to express my disappointment and share my experience with the lack of organisation and appalling behaviour I witnessed at the Slaves Pier Party last night.

Disclaimer: I do not in any way believe this is of any fault of the band, this is purely an open letter of complaint to the organisers and security of the event. Slaves made a statement on social media, which I have linked at the bottom of the page.

To organise an event like this, it needs to have a lot of care and consideration taken into it. Brighton Palace Pier is the biggest landmark in the city, and it’s without saying, a much less stable environment to hold a gig than a pub or an O2 Academy.

My first impression of the pier party was a mixture of impressed and confused, however I do believe if the weather wasn’t so utterly miserable, it would have been a different experience. That being said, that impression was on a constant decline. 5 minutes before Slaves were due on stage, I was greeted with barriers and a huge crowd to get into the area in which they were playing, which was an instant red flag. I poked my head through the plethora of people and noticed the biggest space was still available in the area for the gig, and nobody was allowed in. A sizeable surge of people broke through the barriers as Slaves came on, but I, unfortunately due to my ‘late’ arrival and being towards the back of this crowd, got stuck directly behind the barrier, directly in front of security so I witnessed their rude, abusive behaviour first hand. My friend asked one simple question, “why aren’t we getting let in?” and he was extremely nasty back to his innocent question. People started pushing and my foot got caught underneath the barrier, I asked a security guard to help me get my foot unstuck, no response. They were in general, very angry and abusive, and completely unnecessary.

Another surge of angry fans started pushing and managed to get past the barriers and wall of security guards that had been built in front of us, so luckily some more of us managed to get in, which I feel absolutely no guilt for with the way the security acted and the ridiculous amount of space there was still left in the area. I ran for my life with utter joy that I was actually able to see the gig at a normal distance. However, still at least a quarter of ticket holders did not get in whatsoever and had to watch the band they spent £25 on a ticket for, from a long distance which I cannot put in any other words than it being, quite simply, absolutely appalling.

I don’t think the organisers of the event had ever listened to Slaves, because they clearly didn’t realise they were a punk band and people are clearly not going to just stand around and watch them in a civilised manner. They also clearly didn’t think through the ticket sales, as the structural integrity of the pier was in question with the number of people jumping around in the same place. Slaves’ set was cut short. Very short. They started at 9:30pm sharp, and finished abruptly at 10:15. There was one pathetic set of barriers to split one half and the other half of the crowd up, but if they wanted people to be more split up, it would have been painfully simple to avoid this issue. It was so obviously not thought through whatsoever.

Overall, I am just absolutely beyond disappointed with the way this whole event was handled and I hope every single ticket holder receives some kind of redemption as it was the poorest organisation of an event I have ever seen in my gig-saturated life. I have never seen such ugly behaviour from members of security, and such awful organisation for an event that has been planned for months. So, a bit of advice to anyone deciding to run an event on a load of giant planks of wood over the sea:

A: Think about the amount of people attending, and maybe consider putting up frequent barriers to split up the crowd.

B: SELL LESS TICKETS. If you can’t accommodate all people by the main area where the HEADLINE BAND are playing, do not sell that many tickets. It’s really quite simple.

C: Have some respect for people who paid to go to this event. No attendees or even the BAND were aware of any of the issues at hand, and everybody was very disappointed. Some people left ten minutes into the show, because they quite simply could not enjoy it and security were rude, verbally and even physically abusive to the band’s manager (statement made by Slaves below).

That being said, this was absolutely no fault of the band themselves and they handled it in what was the only way possible at the time.

Slaves themselves put on a fantastic show on the Horror Hotel, and it was without a doubt one of the coolest gigs I had ever been to, albeit being cut short. The atmosphere of the event was emphasised with the pouring rain, and I was completely impressed with the quality of the sound system for a stage that’s usually a haunted house attraction. The band played a variety of new and old classics, such as Take Control, The Hunter, Hey, Suicide and Beauty Quest from their very first album, and a special performance of Shutdown, as a consolation for the set being cut short. They are and will always be to me one of my favourite bands to see live, having followed them for 4-5 years I have yet to be disappointed with a performance. All issues of the event aside, it was still completely worth coming out in the rain for, and I’d do it again tomorrow.

The Great Escape have sent out e-mails to all ticket holders and will be getting in touch with a full response at some point today. Slaves made a statement directly after the gig on Twitter and Instagram, below:

Honshu Wolf – Charlemagne

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Honshu Wolf are a two-piece alternative rock outfit fresh off the Brighton scene consisting of vocalist and guitarist Riggs and also vocalist and bassist Steve Bareham (including current help on drums and live guitar from Marc Hepburn and Matt Jeffreys). For fans of PJ Harvey and early Mogwai, their debut single Charlemagne was released earlier this year.

Their first single, Charlemagne is a sturdy debut for the band; Riggs’ vocals are very strong and confident, perfect for the band’s genre. The song is packed with varying tones that build up slowly but steadily and fill with emotion as it progresses into an incredibly impassioned crescendo at the end, and it flows together wonderfully. However, my only issue with the song is inexplicably its length; at 6:30, it is very long, especially for a debut and I definitely believe it could be compressed to make the track even stronger and a cleaner, more refined sound would make this track stand out even more. Although, it could make for the perfect ending track to an album. However, this is a strong debut for Honshu Wolf and I’ll be looking forward to what they release next – which will be in the next couple of months. They are also continuing to play support slots around Brighton, so look out for them as I think they easily have the potential to be a great band to see live.

Check out Charlemagne here: https://youtu.be/l_cGQ8mFcg8

la lune – climatise

IMG_0185.JPGFor those who aren’t familiar with la lune, you should be; she’s an 18 year old Brighton singer-songwriter influenced by artists such as The Japanese House and Bon Iver, and her music is a wonderful combination of calming synthesisers paired with haunting vocals. la lune chooses to conceal her identity – she believes her music should be consumed at nothing but face value, and wants to avoid any prior judgement based on her name or her appearance which is admirable for a small artist trying to break through the bedlam of other Brighton artists on the scene.

Climatise starts out slowly and subtly builts up to a beautifully put-together song filled with emotion and hope. la lune definitely wouldn’t be la lune without her hypnotising vocals and slow, subtle backing beats and it’s always a fantastic combination for the ears. She has the perfect voice and vocal range for the music she writes; her voice brings a dark but calming atmosphere to her songs and this is no exception. Climatise has some beautifully haunting backing vocals that fade in and out throughout, and every aspect of the song has been so obviously thought out and is perfectly orchestrated from the slow build up, vocals and subtle synthesisers and beats in the background. The song fades in and out at the right times, and leaves you feeling the perfect mix of serene but uplifted. It is without a doubt that la lune is an artist you should be looking out for on the Brighton scene; she has a great deal to offer.

la lune’s music is available on Spotify, Soundcloud, iTunes and Apple Music

Lapsung – Live Review and Interview

 

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Co-written with Annabel Platt (annabelplatt.wordpress.com)

Wednesday March 1st – Green Door Store

Lapsung is a dreamy dance outlet who offers a sound that goes deeper than most. The hazy, near trance-like sound fills the room at The Green Door Store as Lapsung performs with the smoothness of someone with a history of experience in playing live. His tracks are experimental, drawing huge contrasts between a near ethereal lightness and dirty, fuzzy waves of electronica.

The short but sweet set boasted a combination of slow, hypnotising beats with his signature distorted female vocals and strong hitting bassy tracks that leave you wanting more. Every aspect of the set had been so carefully thought out and put together and the hard work, without a doubt paid off. He’s an artist that is definitely worth going to see whenever you get a chance. His creativity is completely admirable, and his music and live sets are perfect proof of that.

Lapsung isn’t new to the game; he’s been producing music before most of us probably didn’t even know the difference between most electronic genres; and over the past year or so he’s been busy playing numerous sets in small venues in his hometown Bournemouth, from short outside sets to slow, sit-down-and-listen ambient pieces to full-blown live shows that are completely unmissable.

It’s music you can be absorbed in and that takes risks, with irregular beats and dark disjointed undertones that nobody has heard before.

If you could describe your own sound to someone who had never heard it before what would you say?

My sound jumps from emotional, dreamy textures to almost piercing sounds. I’ve never really done just ‘one thing’ – so it’s quite hard to restrain myself sometimes.

How long have you been producing music for and what inspired you to start and who are your biggest inspirations?

I started when I was 8/9, sometime in middle school. It just took over my life. I used to be mad into video game/anime soundtracks and dark trance tunes, being that young I had no connection to the club scene (or even knew anything of it). Today I guess i’m inspired most by the people I meet and the music they write. I’m also a big fan of Ryuichi Sakamoto and how his style can work in almost any context.

You used to produce vastly different music to what you do now, why did you decide to re-invent yourself?

Hahaha.. tastes change! In my teens I wrote music under another alias – but it was cyclic, it didn’t feel natural, it stopped being rewarding. That point was when I escaped the box in a way. Lapsung feels more like a persona than just a front to release tunes on the internet.

Your album ‘Reshattered’ is out April 2nd, what type of sounds can we expect to hear on it?

Reshattered is actually a deluxe version as such of my 2016 album, ‘L, the Shard’. It’s that record remastered plus a remix of every track from some of my absolute best friends. There’s also five new originals on there. It’s the perfect iteration of what that album was.

What is your song writing process?

Would you believe me if I said I didn’t know? The only times I’ve been happy with a tune is when I have zoned out entirely – I forget a lot of the process. It’s all very visual though.

Do you have a favourite song on the album?

Original – Garasunokokoro. It’s the most ‘me’ tune in there. I love all the remixes but HOTELS’ take on ‘Unhappy Pills’ blew my head off.

What is the best thing about playing live for you?

I learn something new every time. DJing is a lot of fun but playing live for me is still a learning curve, and each time I think about what I could’ve done differently – and that then develops into an idea, and subsequently a process.

Is there anything in particular you want to work towards, any goals? Or are you just taking it as it comes?

Take every day as it comes. Honestly, you can plan all you want but some of the stuff I’ve encountered recently could never have been predicted. I used to plan stuff so hard and get well wound up when it never came through; that was a mistake. But I do want to leave something behind, just to make music that people connect to (in whatever way).

How does playing in a thriving musical city like Brighton compare to the shows you used to play in Bournemouth?

Brighton is my home – Bournemouth has many memories for me and the people I know from there are all doing great things. But this city is a blessing. So much going on yet so much room for development. And they got the beach right. Sorry Bournemouth!

L, The Shard (Reshattered) is out on 2nd April.

Lapsung is also playing Volks on March 21st – £3 OTD, £5 after midnight.

Mac DeMarco – ‘This Old Dog’ and ‘My Old Man’

Canadian-born singer songwriter Mac DeMarco has announced his new album ‘This Old Dog’ coming out on the 5th May, succeeding mini-LP ‘Another One’ in 2015.  And what better way to do so than releasing two new songs in a week?

DeMarco has gone in a significantly new direction with this album comparatively to all of his previous releases, however he still holds the same charming and subtly uplifting sound he’s always withheld. ‘My Old Man’ is the opening track to the new album; he reflects on maturity, getting older and what comes with it, noting the line ‘There’s a price tag hanging off of half of all that fun’. It begins with soft synthesiser beats that carry on throughout, paired with a cleaner acoustic resonance to his signature warped guitar riffs he’s known best for. The song, to me, does give the impression that it’s going to build up to something over the course of the song, but holds the same beat and riff throughout. But it’s still no disappointment, and I believe it’s a perfect opening track to a Mac DeMarco album. It gives off a very positive, hopeful feeling which is absolutely how I feel about what the rest of the album has to offer.

The title track holds the same clean acoustic sound with a soft touch of synthesiser cradling the chorus, so it’s safe to say the rest of the album will have a lot more of this from start to finish. The song follows on from ‘My Old Man’ on the track listing for the album, referring to himself as ‘This Old Dog’, reflecting on how he considers himself to have gained the status of a bit of a grandad over recent years – this song undeniably has more of a signature Mac DeMarco feel to it. The shift between his previous releases and the change that this album is inevitably going to possess is still going to be daunting for any big DeMarco fans, but I have high hopes for what’s to come on May 5th, and I believe the development will be a positive one.