Screaming Females - The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Screaming Females - The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Screaming Females - The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

Guitarist and chief screamer Marissa Paternoster and bassist Mike ‘King Mike’ Abbate were already playing music together back in high school. When Paternoster made the move to New Brunswick for University, they joined forces with drummer Jarrett Dougherty and a legend was born. Remember that band you were in back in high school? Remember how the band split up? Now imagine, in some cool alternate universe, that you stuck together. You stuck together and became New Jersey’s Screaming Females.

Andy Brown
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St Vincent - 02 Academy, Leeds
St Vincent - 02 Academy, Leeds
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

St. Vincent - O2 Academy, Leeds

Nothing like a little Masseduction on an otherwise quiet Tuesday night. Playing the O2 in Leeds as one of only 3 UK headline shows, tonight’s St Vincent gig feels like something of an event before Annie Clark has even played a note. A lot has changed since she first appeared with 2007’s Marry Me LP, Clark’s music transforming and evolving with every new release. Last year’s Masseduction may just be her boldest statement yet; a day-glow apocalypse of suitably seductive, dangerously danceable future-pop.

Andy Brown
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Father John Misty - Uptown Theater, Kansas City
Father John Misty - Uptown Theater, Kansas City
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Father John Misty - Uptown Theater, Kansas City

The last time I saw a performance from Josh Tillman was in 2009 when he was still the drummer for Fleet Foxes. They played a drizzly Friday afternoon set at Lollapalooza in Chicago, and while a great set it was, his presence was minimal. So, it came as quite the shock Friday night to see him return to Kansas City after only a year since his last show here (at the KC Crossroads) and performing like a god. And by god, I mean, he acted like he was a god.

Tim Sentz
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Dream Nails - Wharf Chambers, Leeds
Dream Nails - Wharf Chambers, Leeds
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Dream Nails - Wharf Chambers, Leeds

Punk means different things to different people yet if anger, activism and energy are still important then London-based, self-described ‘feminist punk witches’ Dream Nails might just be the best punk band we’ve had in quite some time. I first saw them supporting the fantastic Cherry Glazerr at the Brudenell last year, an impossibly fun and genuinely inspired set it was too. A whole year later and I’m finally getting to see them play again, this time at DIY venue par excellence Wharf Chambers.

Andy Brown
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Earthless - The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Earthless - The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Earthless - The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

It’s Tuesday night and if things have seemed a little quiet around here recently then that’s all about to change with the arrival of Earthless. The San Diego three-piece released their latest opus, Black Heaven, back in March and they’re now hitting the road to bring their blissfully uncompromising take on psychedelic rock to venues across Europe. With my earplugs cautiously placed inside my pocket, I head down to The Brudenell Social Club to start my summer with a good, old-fashioned sonic shakedown.

Andy Brown
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Toots and the Maytals - Thalia Hall, Chicago
Toots and the Maytals - Thalia Hall, Chicago
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Toots and the Maytals - Thalia Hall, Chicago

Toots and the Maytals have been around a long time. As one the first purveyors of reggae/ska music (their 1968 tune “Do the Reggay” was actually the first song to use the word itself), their influence and lasting legacy on music really can’t be overstated.

Texacaliago
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Aimee Mann / This Is The Kit - Jay Pritzker Pavilion - Chicago
Aimee Mann / This Is The Kit - Jay Pritzker Pavilion - Chicago
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Aimee Mann / This Is The Kit - Jay Pritzker Pavilion - Chicago

Over on Waveland Avenue, the Foo Fighters were carpet bombing Wrigley Field.  The more genteel of us were subject to a much more delicate dismantling at the hands of Kate Stables (aka This Is The Kit) and Aimee Mann at Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Chicago’s Millennium Park.  In most instances and most cities, the offer of a free concert in the park would be grounds for a polite decline.  Add to that it was a Monday night and there must be better things to do. 

Mark Moody
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Micky P Kerr - The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Micky P Kerr - The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Micky P Kerr - The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

A musician appearing on TV can give the illusion of overnight success. You write a few songs, put in a brief appearance on a national TV talent show and – bam! – you’re sipping champagne with Ant and Dec. Sounds relatively quick and easy, right? Micky P Kerr made it to the final of this year’s Britain’s Got Talent but those three appearances are far from the full story.

Andy Brown
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Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - The Record Bar, Kansas City
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - The Record Bar, Kansas City
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - The Record Bar, Kansas City

With a name like Soccer Mommy, you’d expect a much older front woman than Sophie Allison. Instead, a fresh-faced, wide-eyed 20-year old took the stage with her band on Sunday in downtown Kansas City to get the crowd ready for Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks. The 35-minute set is further proof that Soccer Mommy intelligently taps into the current trend of directness in indie rock. Their debut album Clean dropped back in March, and it’s full of Elliot Smith-level mournfulness that translated to the live setting well.

Tim Sentz
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UKAEA Kult Ritual / AJA / Beta Blockers - The Golden Cabinet, Shipley
UKAEA Kult Ritual / AJA / Beta Blockers - The Golden Cabinet, Shipley
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

UKAEA Kult Ritual / AJA / Beta Blockers - The Golden Cabinet, Shipley

It’s about half 9 on a Saturday night in Shipley and it looks like my friend is about to be indoctrinated into a cult. Tribal rhythms and shadowy figures work their way through the crowd and it feels like I’ve inadvertently stumbled into the middle of a horror film; the closing scenes to Ben Wheatley’s disconcerting Kill List perhaps? Well, let’s hope things don’t go that way. Of course all this makes sense when I remember that I’m actually at The Golden Cabinet, West Yorkshire’s finest night for all things experimental.

Andy Brown
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My Bloody Valentine - The Palace Theatre, St. Paul
My Bloody Valentine - The Palace Theatre, St. Paul
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

My Bloody Valentine - The Palace Theatre, St. Paul

When Kevin Shields spoke earlier this year that new material from his iconic shoegaze project My Bloody Valentine would be released in 2018, I knew right away that they’d be touring the U.S., and more specifically that the closest they’d be playing would be St. Paul. Back in 2013 on the mbv tour, they played Denver and St. Paul. I had every intention then to see them, but plans fell through. MBV has been my number one bucket list band to see for years, and missing that show was a gut punch. I thought I’d never get the opportunity again.

Tim Sentz
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Courtney Barnett - The Truman, Kansas City
Courtney Barnett - The Truman, Kansas City
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Courtney Barnett - The Truman, Kansas City

Sometime in the last five years, Melbourne’s Courtney Barnett became a certified rock star. Touring behind her sophomore album Tell Me How You Really Feel, Barnett and her band swung by Kansas City’s The Truman, on their way to the Pitchfork Music Festival this weekend in Chicago. The last time Barnett visited the area was in 2015, supporting her debut album Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, and opening for Belle & Sebastian at the Uptown Theater. Despite that brief set, Kansas City has embraced Barnett’s punk-meets-alt rock style.

Tim Sentz
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