Shaky Knees Festival 2019 - Day 3, Atlanta
Shaky Knees Festival 2019 - Day 3, Atlanta
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Shaky Knees Festival 2019 - Day 3, Atlanta

If you felt the Earth tilt on its axis last Sunday around 4:30pm it may be because the largest daytime crowd ever assembled (short of Trump’s Photoshopped Inauguration crowd) was standing in one spot waiting for Grouplove to take the stage.  I didn’t even know this band existed any longer, but I seemed to be in the minority on that count.  This is normally the time of day people are waiting in line for a jalapeño corndog in order to power through to the headliners. 

Mark Moody
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Built to Spill - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Built to Spill - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Built to Spill - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

Built to Spill are seen by many as a rather important band within the American indie-rock scene of the 1990’s. It would be fair to say that Dough Martsch and Co have been on my ‘must listen to’ pile for far too long. What better way to correct this oversight than to go and see them live as they commemorate the 20th anniversary of their much-loved fourth album, Keep it Like a Secret.

Andy Brown
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Shaky Knees Festival 2019 - Day 2, Atlanta
Shaky Knees Festival 2019 - Day 2, Atlanta
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Shaky Knees Festival 2019 - Day 2, Atlanta

As exhausting and hot of a Day One that we had at Shaky Knees, we were mobilized and ready to hit the grounds early on Day Two for one of our Soundblab top picks.  We were thrown a bit of a curveball when we found out the Starbucks next to our hotel was only open on weekdays.  I guess they just cater to the suits.  Anyway, thanks to the fine folks at Banjo Cold Brew on the festival grounds we made a speedy recovery.

Mark Moody
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Shaky Knees Festival 2019 - Day 1, Atlanta
Shaky Knees Festival 2019 - Day 1, Atlanta
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Shaky Knees Festival 2019 - Day 1, Atlanta

Shaky Knees Festival in Atlanta is a great one to kick off the Summer festival season for us East Coasters.  This year they offered up a stacked lineup with the Friday opening slate being particularly strong.  With four stages and two of them firing at all times, it makes for a fast-paced day zigzagging Atlanta’s Central Park to take it all in. 

Mark Moody
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Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

A Certain Ratio - Islington Assembly Hall, London

2019 sees A Certain Ratio celebrating their 40th anniversary. Tonight’s London show is the start of a series of UK dates throughout the year celebrating this milestone and follows a recent reissue campaign of all of their albums.  But this is no comeback, there is no reunion fanfare for these genre-spanning pioneers. They have just never really been away.  For many, they are perhaps one of the great overlooked bands of recent times. Never gaining much if any recognition from the mainstream but hugely influential all the same.

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Rozi Plain - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Rozi Plain - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Rozi Plain - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

While some music seems to go out of its way to grab your attention, there’s something far more subtle about the music produced by London-based artist, Rozi Plain. Her albums immerse the listener in a sound both experimental and accessible. Listen closely to new album What a Boost and you’ll be rewarded.

Andy Brown
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Morrissey - Lunt Fontaine Theatre, New York
Morrissey - Lunt Fontaine Theatre, New York
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Morrissey - Lunt Fontaine Theatre, New York

I've only caught the first show of Morrissey's week-long run on Broadway, but based off what I saw and heard, safe to say its a triumph. He kicked things off with the Smiths classic, 'That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore'. One of my all-time favorite Smiths songs. So for me, the show started with a bang. Nor was it the only Smiths song in the set list. 'Is It Really So Strange' was a welcome off the wall choice. Also welcome was the perennial, 'How Soon Is Now'  with the immortal line, "See I've already waited too long," to which he playfully added, "I mean just look at this face!".

Kevin Orton
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Lucy Rose - City Varieties, Leeds
Lucy Rose - City Varieties, Leeds
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Lucy Rose - City Varieties, Leeds

For the last hour or so we’ve been completely under her spell but there’s laughter when Lucy Rose confesses, “If you didn’t know already, my new record is really, really depressing”. The record in question, No Words Left, is certainly the Surrey born singer-songwriters most reflective album but depressing? No, there’s something far more special going on here.

Andy Brown
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Turnover, Turnstile, Reptaliens, Candy - El Rey Theater - Los Angeles
Turnover, Turnstile, Reptaliens, Candy - El Rey Theater - Los Angeles
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Turnover, Turnstile, Reptaliens, Candy - El Rey Theater - Los Angeles

Los Angeles is an interesting city.

It’s interesting, because, for a city with seemingly so many positive attributes (beautiful weather, gorgeous beaches/scenery, a storied history, vibrant music scene, etc.), it seems to get a lot of negative reviews, mostly from people that don’t live there of course.

Zach Johnson (Texacaliago)
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High Water Festival 2019 - Day 2, Charleston, SC
High Water Festival 2019 - Day 2, Charleston, SC
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

High Water Festival 2019 - Day 2, Charleston, SC

Someone forgot to hit the reset button on the party that started Saturday night.  Day 2 of High Water Festival was already in high gear as we strolled into the not so dulcet sounds of Thelma and the Sleaze.  We didn’t catch the bulk of their set, but if you told me they had been playing since the night before I would have believed you.  The roar from the band and the crowd weren’t what you typically order up on a Sunday morning.

Mark Moody
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Swervedriver & Failure - Liberty Hall, Lawrence KS
Swervedriver & Failure - Liberty Hall, Lawrence KS
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Swervedriver & Failure - Liberty Hall, Lawrence KS

Friday nights in Lawrence are hardly ever a boring time. But on the 12th, Liberty Hall housed two iconic alternative rock bands known for their breathtaking performances. The co-headlining tour was announced in February: Failure & Swervedriver. Two bands that were making the rounds in the 90s but ended up disbanding after several classic records. Thanks to the internet (and file-sharing) both bands were rejuvenated in the 21st century and reunions came about, followed by comeback albums by both in 2015 (I Wasn’t Born to Lose You and The Heart is a Monster). And to their credit, both were great.

Tim Sentz
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The Mekons - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
The Mekons - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

The Mekons - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

How do you begin to describe The Mekons? During Fig by Four’s support set, singer Sarah Statham hits the nail on the head; “The Mekons have a way of bringing people together…community bands are important”.

Andy Brown
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