Starset | O2 Forum Kentish Town | 24 August 2017
Support bands have it tough. Thirty minutes, at the front of the stage is all they get. If they’re really lucky, their name’s on a banner draped somewhere behind them.
But there’s no need to feel sorry for Starset. Not only do they get almost an hour to play before Breaking Benjamin’s set, they’ve brought a production that would rival many headliners’ (including tonight’s). The perspex drum screen is the first giveaway. Their use of a live cellist, rather than synth patches, is the second.
Continue reading Starset cross the universe
Robin Trower | Islington Assembly Hall | 18 October 2016
Photo credit: Paul Clampin
“Is the best yet to come?” asks Robin Trower on ‘Where You Are Going To’, the title track of his latest album. Performed tonight with tenderness and restraint, it reflects on “how we have no idea how our lives might unfold”.
But for the next 90 minutes, the guitarist and his audience know exactly what’s coming: the highlights of a 40-year solo career, performed with feeling. Eschewing look-at-me showmanship and soulless technical precision for something far more important – a rich, emotional sound all his own – Trower’s personality bleeds into every note.
Continue reading Robin Trower: Is the best yet to come?
Bob Mould | Brooklyn Bowl | 12 October 2016
Bob Mould performs with all the urgency of a teenager in a garage band, and all the confidence of a man who’s been at it for over three decades.
Backed by his current band – Superchunk rhythm section Jason Narducy and Jon Wurster – the 55-year-old singer and guitarist tears through 25 songs in 90 minutes, barely pausing to catch his breath.
Continue reading Bob Mould: Shadows and memories
The Milk Carton Kids | Union Chapel | 22 January 2016
The Milk Carton Kids aren’t what you’d call, in the traditional sense, a triple threat. Sure, they can certainly sing, their two voices harmonising angelically around a single microphone. But instead of excelling at acting and dance, they’re phenomenal musicians. And stand-up comics.
They intersperse immaculately crafted, poetically literate songs of heartache, longing, and “the clouds moving over Pontiac skies” with laugh out loud stories of dog-perpetrated gun violence and life on the road. And instead of diluting the audience’s reverence for their music, the duo’s dry, self-deprecating humour only highlights the beauty of their songs.
Continue reading Milk Carton Kids: You took the words right outta my mouth
Son Lux | Village Underground | 21 October 2015
Blame smartphones, earbuds, iTunes, Spotify, that incessant rattling of the tube, or the sales team in your open-plan office. Whatever the reason, listening to music has become an insular — rather than communal — experience.
Gigs are one of the few remaining exceptions — and Ryan Lott takes full advantage. Despite being stuck behind his keyboard for much of the set, the Son Lux mastermind uses every opportunity to connect with — and unite — the audience. Whether he’s earnestly addressing the capacity crowd between songs, conducting the mass singalong of ‘I Am The Others’, or thanking his fans with a sincerity that can’t be faked, the frontman wants tonight to feel truly inclusive.
Continue reading Son Lux: Pull out your heart
David Gilmour | Royal Albert Hall | 23 September 2015
Growing old isn’t easy. Even if you’re a global music icon. Do you dye your hair, get the brand back together, and play 40-year-old hits to sold-out stadiums around the world? Or record Christmas carols and Sinatra cover versions, stuff your shows with growled new songs, and reimagine beyond recognition the one bonafide classic you do play?
Sensibly, for his first solo London show in almost a decade, David Gilmour chooses neither extreme. Sure, he plays seven tracks from an album released less than a week ago. But they fit almost seamlessly into a carefully curated setlist that lovingly embraces the songs that helped sell 250 million albums. And although the legacy of the band he’s retired looms large — from the vintage clips projected on the familiar circular screen to the retro laser spectacle of ‘Comfortably Numb’ — this is by no means a Pink Floyd revival.
Continue reading David Gilmour: The nights of wonder
Seether | Electric Ballroom, Camden | 27 August 2015
It’s been less than a year since Seether last played London. So, obviously, not much has changed. Shaun Morgan, focused on the brutal riffs and bruised vocals, keeps between-song chat to a minimum. Dale Stewart, a bass-playing blur of rock star poses and horn-throwing, again picks up the slack. John Humphrey gets to show off his speed and power with a brief drum solo. And, as they’re still touring latest album ‘Isolate and Medicate’, the 90-minute set’s almost the same.
Continue reading Seether: Words as weapons