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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The Comet Is Coming - Yes, Manchester
The Comet Is Coming - Yes, Manchester
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

The Comet Is Coming - Yes, Manchester

The Comet Is Coming are a difficult band to sum up, in essence, a three-piece jazz trio playing drums, saxophone and electronics but in a way that no one else does.

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Bilge Pump - The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Bilge Pump - The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Bilge Pump - The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

Two men lean over a bass guitar on stage at The Brudenell Social Club, one holding a flashlight as the other tries to work out what exactly has gone wrong. Until moments ago, post-punk trio Bilge Pump were happily playing to a sold-out crowd. The mood one of celebration, a well-deserved victory lap for some longstanding local legends. So, naturally, the band’s bass guitar had to stop working mid-set. The night can’t end like this. Can it?

Andy Brown
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Cass McCombs - Lincoln Hall, Chicago
Cass McCombs - Lincoln Hall, Chicago
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Cass McCombs - Lincoln Hall, Chicago

St Patrick’s Day Eve can be quite the debaucherous occasion, as scores of bush-leaguers take to the streets in celebration of their dubious (or in most cases entirely nonexistent) Irish heritage, and of course, all the goofy stereotypes and indulgences that go along with that. This is particularly true when St. Patty’s Eve falls on a Saturday night in Chicago, especially when you’re in close proximity to DePaul University.

Zach Johnson (Texacaliago)
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SXSW 2019 - Day 6
SXSW 2019 - Day 6
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

SXSW 2019 - Day 6

In the never-ending quest to find all things SXSW 2019 for Soundblab readers, your trusty reporter took to the high seas on Saturday (Well, OK, it was the Colorado River) to spotlight one of the more unusual performances of an unusual week. When you find yourself on the list of correspondents for SXSW, your email inbox goes into hyperdrive with invitations to performances, showcases and just hole-in-the-wall get-togethers from bands, PR firms, and record companies from around the globe. It is easy to get overwhelmed and somewhat frustrated at the sheer size of the assignment.

Howard Scott
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SXSW 2019 - Day 5
SXSW 2019 - Day 5
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

SXSW 2019 - Day 5

The Austin Convention Center is the main hub from which all of SXSW branches out. The massive building contains four levels of ballrooms, exhibition halls and meeting places, and has been completely jammed full of people all week. On Friday, two separate concert halls opened on the fourth floor. In one, it was a gathering of musicians from around the globe for an international get-together. In the other, various radio stations had joined forces to create “RadioDay”, which went out as a live broadcast over NPR and the sponsoring stations. Of course, as seems to be the norm, the two concerts were scheduled to run at the same time, even sharing break down and set up intervals between performances. 

Howard Scott
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