Steve Mason - Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds
Steve Mason - Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Steve Mason - Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds

Steve Mason is one of today's greats for my money.  His solo output has at least matched that of The Beta Band.  It is now more than 20 years since those first seminal E.P.’s were put out by his former band. His most recent album ‘About The Light’ has gained fairly universal acclaim.  It is certainly a consistently solid record from start to finish, I’m just not yet sure if it will prove to be as indispensable as some of his previous efforts.

charles filtness
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Neko Case - The Orpheum, Tampa, Florida
Neko Case - The Orpheum, Tampa, Florida
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Neko Case - The Orpheum, Tampa, Florida

It’s a tough sell to say you’re “in a relationship” with someone you haven’t seen in ten years, but that’s what Neko Case ably convinced a crowd of Florida admirers of last Friday night.  A lot of time and a few albums have passed since Case last graced the Sunshine State.  With the stage sparsely decorated with some oversized dangling hornet’s nests, it looked as if she had only stopped by to grab a few props from Splash Mountain.  But as with any good friend you haven’t seen in ages, all was forgiven over the course of the evening.

Mark Moody
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Michael Rother - Label Mates Festival, London
Michael Rother - Label Mates Festival, London
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Michael Rother - Label Mates Festival, London

Label Mates is a one-day multi-venue festival in and around Hackney and Dalston, North London.  Michael Rother is the main headliner with plenty of other stages and bands to choose from earlier in the day. 

charles filtness
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Songhoy Blues - EartH, Hackney, London
Songhoy Blues - EartH, Hackney, London
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Songhoy Blues - EartH, Hackney, London

Songhoy Blues are a 4 piece from Mali, they play a style of music known as Desert Blues which judging by tonight’s performance might alternatively be described as upbeat African guitar music with the main intention of getting the party going and everybody dancing and smiling. 

charles filtness
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The Wave Pictures - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
The Wave Pictures - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
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The Wave Pictures - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

During tonight’s set singer and guitarist, David Tattersall tells us what a fantastic day he’s having. This morning friend and sometime Wave Pictures percussionist David Beauchamp introduced him to a new (particularly tasty) flavour of toothpaste, he then went on to eat a steak and ale pie and win a game of pool. Now he’s playing for the best audience he’s ever seen at the Brudenell Social Club. A mere glimpse, jokes Jonny ‘Huddersfield’ Helm into the band’s rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle.

Andy Brown
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Uncle Acid and the Dead Beats - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Uncle Acid and the Dead Beats - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

As well as having a rather brilliant name Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats are easily one of the finest metal-come- psychedelic rock outfits of the last ten years. They released their latest opus, Wasteland, last year before gleefully skipping down the highway to hell (or heading out on tour as it’s also known). Tonight (you lucky people) they bring their occult, horror film loving, riff-worship to the Brudenell Social Club.

Andy Brown
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Soft Kill - The Castle Hotel, Manchester
Soft Kill - The Castle Hotel, Manchester
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Soft Kill - The Castle Hotel, Manchester

Partly through tonight's set Soft Kill's frontman Tobias Grave exclaims “you can tell we listen to a lot of bands from Manchester”. It's perhaps the understatement of the year for this four-piece from Oregon, who revel in the doom and gloom of Manchester's past. With the intensity of Adam Bulgasem's drumming echoing Stephen Morris and the mood set at early Factory Records, it's Middleton's The Chameleons that Soft Kill are drenched in the DNA of, as disconsolate vocals and spectral guitars envelop the tiny Castle venue on a dark Monday night.

Steve Rhodes
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Alejandro Escovedo - Cat's Cradle, Carrboro, North Carolina
Alejandro Escovedo - Cat's Cradle, Carrboro, North Carolina
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Alejandro Escovedo - Cat's Cradle, Carrboro, North Carolina

For an artist who has returned repeatedly to the subject of boundaries and borders in his songwriting, Alejandro Escovedo is blissfully oblivious to both when it comes to his varied musical approaches.  On a night when the weather called for staying in, those who ventured out to the venerable Cat’s Cradle (my first trip) were rewarded with a cross-cultural dynamic that yielded an unleashed hybrid vigor.  Touring in support of his album, The Crossing, with Italian band Don Antônio backing him, the show was a high wattage spectacle from the get-go.

Mark Moody
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Epic45 - The Peer Hat, Manchester
Epic45 - The Peer Hat, Manchester
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Epic45 - The Peer Hat, Manchester

In nearly 20 years since they released their debut single Stafford's Epic45 have produced a huge back catalogue of music, released on numerous small labels, including their own Wayside and Wondering Recordings. I picked up on them very early on due to (who else) but John Peel and their kinship with fellow pastoral guitar-strummers Hood, Grover, Meets Guitar and The Workhouse, but have somehow managed to miss them playing live over the years.

Steve Rhodes
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Mercury Rev - The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Mercury Rev - The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Mercury Rev - The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

Christmas is fast approaching but I’m feeling distinctly un-festive. Let’s see if going to see Mercury Rev at the Brudenell Social Club can fix that. Jonathan Donahue and Co are celebrating the 20th anniversary of Deserter’s Songs with some special, stripped-back performances.

Andy Brown
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Nest Egg - Night People, Manchester
Nest Egg - Night People, Manchester
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Nest Egg - Night People, Manchester

North Carolina band Nest Egg signed with Fuzz Club records to release their second long player ‘Nothingness Is Not A Curse’ earlier this year.   The label focus on guitar bands with varying influences but with psychedelic, krautrock, and shoegaze being some of those most often quoted.  

charles filtness
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Julia Holter - Howard Assembly Rooms, Leeds
Julia Holter - Howard Assembly Rooms, Leeds
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Julia Holter - Howard Assembly Rooms, Leeds

Tonight we are in the elegant surroundings of the Howard Assembly Rooms, a Victorian music hall that plays host to a wide variety of concert performers.  Jazz, classical, electronica and world music all find their place here and it seems an entirely appropriate venue for Julia Holter to play. 

charles filtness
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