Like a lot of people, I first discovered the Meat Puppets through Nirvana’s Unplugged in New York. Cobain had invited brothers Cris and Curt Kirkwood to perform with them, introducing a whole generation to the wonders of ‘Plateau’, ‘Oh, Me’ and ‘Lake of Fire’.
Last year’s Membranes and Friends event was on one of the hottest days of the year; I remember feeling mildly guilty about spending the majority of the day inside. Today offers no such conflict of interest as it’s absolutely miserable outside. Manchester looks more familiar in the rain. Fashionably decked out in waterproof trousers, I head into the Ritz for a little shelter and another brilliant line-up.
You might not be familiar with the work of New York singer-songwriter Willie Nile (I wasn’t until recently) but you really should be. Go back to the 70’s and 80’s and you’ll find Nile immersed in the Greenwich Village folk scene and the burgeoning punk scene of CBGB’s. Nile is always there, an ever-present songwriting force; one part folk troubadour, one part punk.
Ten years ago heartbreak helped inspire The Sleeper; the debut album by Brighton’s The Leisure Society. Fast-forward to 2019 and songwriter Nick Hemming is on stage at The Brudenell Social Club explaining how the new album, Arrivals and Departures, came from a very similar set of circumstances.
1989 was an amazing year for music, but no day was more important than May 2. On that day, two iconic albums were released to the world - the eponymous debut of the Stone Roses and The Cure’s Disintegration. Sydney, Australia was able to secure the 30th anniversary celebration of Disintegration by booking The Cure to play a five-night residency at their world-famous Opera House, which coincides with the start of Vivid Festival, Sydney’s annual celebration of lights and culture.
Tonight’s show is the second time the Melbourne four-piece Mildlife have played the Brudenell. On their first visit last year opening for the mighty Wooden Shjips they stole the show with their mesmerising blend of electro-funk/space-jazz; it's the only time I can remember a support band being cheered so loudly to play an encore.
Some music is designed for quiet contemplation and rigorous beard-stroking but that isn’t the kind of music made by Brooklyn’s Charly Bliss. The four-piece make energetic, unashamedly upbeat power pop-come-bubble-grunge. Tonight they’re throwing a party in celebration of their second album, Young Enough. Turns out, Charly Bliss know how to throw a pretty great party.
Not a lot of touring bands make the commitment to venture down into Florida on a regular basis, but in the days following Atlanta’s Shaky Knees festival a virtual cornucopia of acts came south of the Georgia border. In the Tampa Bay area the following week there were shows by Shaky Knees' alumni Tyler Childers, Interpol, Foxing, Slothrust, and maybe more. But the easy pick for us was the combination of Lucy Dacus and Mothers the Tuesday following.
- Mark Moody
Gigs like tonight are what we all hope for; two emerging bands, playing on the same bill in a tiny basement venue; blowing everyone away with the intensity of their performance. Both bands tonight are from Vancouver, they play their take on articulate indie guitar with heavy post-punk leanings and with a big influence, it seems in particular to bands like Gang of Four and others of the time with that distinctive angular guitar sound.
“I lived in Leeds for ten years” begins Hello Cosmos vocalist/ bassist Ben Robinson “and was never up before 12”. It’s a confession I can definitely relate to yet thankfully the good people of Leeds appear to have made the effort and arrived in time. High noon at the Belgrave Music Hall and the Manchester-based sonic cosmonauts are ready to get started. Incidentally, their gig also serves as the beginning of today’s Live at Leeds one day festival.
Tonight is the second of two sold out shows at the Hammersmith Apollo. With a seating capacity of around 3500 that's no easy feat for a band that many may be unaware of but illustrates the enduring appeal to those who know.
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