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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High Water Festival 2019 - Day 1, Charleston, SC
High Water Festival 2019 - Day 1, Charleston, SC
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

High Water Festival 2019 - Day 1, Charleston, SC

I don’t know much about organizing festival line-ups and the like, but the juxtaposition of The War and Treaty and Mitski playing back to back on High Water’s main stage was one of the most brilliant things I have seen.  No doubt what these two artists had up their sleeves when this was planned out was not even in their own heads at the time and certainly not coordinated, but it made for great cinema when it happened. 

Mark Moody
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Bob Log III - The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Bob Log III - The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Bob Log III - The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

For us mere mortals it’s a Tuesday night, perhaps the most unremarkable night of the entire week. The weekend just gone is nothing but a fading memory, the next too far away to get excited about. Thankfully Bob Log III isn’t a 9 to 5 kind of guy. For Mr. Log, every night is Saturday night and for the next few hours, we’ll be honoured guests at the best party in town.

Andy Brown
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Jenny Lewis - ACL Live at The Moody Theater, Austin
Jenny Lewis - ACL Live at The Moody Theater, Austin
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Jenny Lewis - ACL Live at The Moody Theater, Austin

Playing to a capacity crowd last Saturday night in Austin, Jenny Lewis’ pastel-hued stage set made you long for teenage days spent listening to records in your bedroom.  Days when landline phones weren’t museum pieces and when memorizing a phone number like 867-5309 was a necessary step to staying connected. 

Mark Moody
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Doves - Parr Hall, Warrington
Doves - Parr Hall, Warrington
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Doves - Parr Hall, Warrington

Doves are back. After a lengthy hiatus, the Manchester trio announced late last year that they would be playing live again in 2019. Tonight’s performance is their comeback, a first warm up show before a string of dates in larger venues and festivals in the coming days and months.  

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