Category Archives: Live reviews

Hurray For The Riff Raff: To all who came before

Hurray For The Riff Raff | The Dome | 22 March 2017

As Hurray For The Riff Raff launch into a feisty take on Creedence Clearwater Revival’s anti-war outburst ‘Fortunate Son’, Alynda Segarra declares: “Keep on marching, stay strong, and protect each other.”

It’s the perfect summation of the past 80 minutes: a revitalising set of protest songs that run the gamut from the personal to the political. Yet, even as the impassioned singer addresses social and economic issues humanised by way of the immigrant experience, she and the audience can’t help but swing, her charged lyrics paired with music that’s just as powerful.

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Moon Duo: Creepin’ into Heaven

Moon Duo | Heaven | 17 March 2017

The effect is hypnotic. Even from the back of Heaven, standing next to someone who can’t stop burping pepperoni, your view obscured by what appears to be the AGM of London’s Tallest Men Society, it’s impossible not to be mesmerised by the sound and light coming from the other end of the hangar-sized venue.

Performing in silhouette against a backdrop of ever-changing kaleidoscopic technicolor psychedelic visuals, guitarist Ripley Johnson, keyboard player Sanae Yamada, and live drummer John Jeffrey provide a fully immersive audio-visual experience. A trip, without the acid.

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Sari Schorr: A force of nature

Sari Schorr & The Engine Room | The Borderline | 20 March 2017

(Photo credit: Eric Duvet)

“Everybody is so clued into each other,” says Sari Schorr of her backing band, the perfectly named The Engine Room. “That allows us to be very dynamic and creative on stage and the show doesn’t get boring – because we never know what’s going to happen,” she laughs.

So when they run into a few technical hitches, breaking in the revamped Borderline’s brand new sound and lighting system, they just keep on rockin’ like there’s no tomorrow. The show must go on, as they say in the classics. And, quite frankly, this show is one of the classics.

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The Pigeon Detectives: Return to the start

The Pigeon Detectives | Electric Ballroom | 15 March 2017

Matt Bowman isn’t lacking in energy. Whether he’s doing scissor kicks off the bass drum, opening plastic bottles with his mouth before drop-kicking them into the audience, showering himself in water, crowd surfing while singing, balancing precariously on his monitors, or swinging his microphone on its lead, Roger Daltrey-style, the frontman barely stands still for 90 minutes.  

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Dan Reed Network: Forever isn’t long enough

Dan Reed Network | 100 Club | 10 March 2017

(Photo credit: Eric Duvet)

How do you judge a gig’s success?

If it’s by how much the singer sweats, Dan Reed Network’s London performance is unparalleled. Within 10 minutes of announcing that they’ll be “starting slow”, Reed is drenched, having jumped, air drummed, pounced, and powerfully sung his way through supercharged renditions of ‘Get To You’ and ‘Divided’. And, even as the almost-two-hour show progresses, the energy levels rarely drop, with the frontman pinballing between four other musicians on an already narrow stage.

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Drive-By Truckers: I see birds soaring through the clouds

Drive-By Truckers | Roundhouse | 3 March 2017

“R E S I S T” chants Patterson Hood as the band roar through ‘Rockin’ In The Free World’ behind him. Taking aim at the politics of division and hate, those six letters are the culmination of a thrilling set that, like the Neil Young finale, combines incisive political commentary with gritty Southern rock.

Across its 140 minutes, Hood and Drive-By Truckers’ other songwriter-singer-guitarist, Mike Cooley, take turns to reflect and rage, their words reinforced by screaming Gibson SGs, swirling organs, honky tonk piano, no-nonsense drumming, and the occasional strummed acoustic guitar.

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Joseph: Dreaming with my eyes open

Joseph | Union Chapel | 7 February 2017

Three voices, an acoustic guitar, and foot stomps (oh, and the occasional handclap or tambourine shake) are all you need to create glorious music. If you’re Joseph, that is.

With what seems like no effort at all, the Closner sisters create complex vocal harmonies, either singing in unison to create one powerful, complementary voice, or emphasising their differences to add rich colours, textures, and counterpoints. The results are transformatory, lifting the trio’s finely crafted tunes far above their singer-songwritery roots.

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