GIGSANDTOURS Archive

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Q&A with Mark from The Script


We caught up with the one and only Mark Sheehan from The Script to talk about their upcoming tour and latest album 'Freedom Child'. 

Why are you looking forward to the tour? 

We love to play intimate shows.  We’re a tactile band and like to see the whites of people’s eyes, we love to be up close and personal. We do love the bigger shows but the intimate ones have something extra. 

What are you planning to bring to the shows... Any new songs? 

Yes, we’re planning on playing some new music from our new album 'Freedom Child'. We’ve also not played live in two years so I think it’s a great time to catch us… We're more excited to play now more than ever.  

How do you decide on what to play when you have 5 albums to choose from now? 

This is the toughest thing actually. We don’t like when bands do shows and don’t play their hits. People pay good money to catch you live, to not give them what they’ve come to hear is just ripping them off. So while we'll play some new songs, we will fill the show with classic Script singles.. Our shows are just one big sing-song...

Tell us about your new album...

I think all of our records are very introvert while this new one is the most extrovert. We wrote over 70 songs for this record and broke that down to the best 13 songs... It really feels like a 'Best Of'! I believe there is something for everyone on it. 

Which of the new tracks off 'Freedom Child' are you most looking forward to performing? 

I’m dying for people to hear Arms Open, and Rock The World. I think they lend themselves great to the live stage so fingers crossed it goes as I thought. 

You can still get tickets to The Script's tour HERE which includes the following dates:


Fri 25th Aug --- Swindon Oasis
Sat 26th Aug --- Plymouth Pavilions
Mon 28th Aug --- Bridlington Spa

Friday, 28 July 2017

MERCURY PRIZE 2017 NOMINATIONS


It's been another outstanding year for British music and the Mercury Prize is the perfect way to celebrate that. We've had Stormzy putting Grime on the map, we've had Blossoms resurrecting guitar music and we've had Ed Sheeran who completely dominated the charts with his third studio album 'Divide'. We'll take you through the 12 nominations for this year's Prize and we'll tell you why each one of them deserves to be a winner.

ALT-J
RELAXER


Alt-J have been nominated for the Mercury Prize for the second time with their third studio album 'RELAXER'. The indie rockers from Leeds picked up a Mercury Prize back in 2012 for their debut album 'An Awesome Wave'. Since then they have had unprecedented success across the UK, Europe and America with their second album 'This Is All Yours' claiming top spot in the charts. 'Relaxer' is another brilliant album and includes hits like 'In Cold Blood' and 'Deadcrush' which are worthy of any Mercury Prize. 

Listen to 'RELAXER' on Spotify below:

                                                                           

Get tickets for Alt-J at Blackpool Empress Ballroom HERE

BLOSSOMS
BLOSSOMS


Since the release of their self-titled debut album back at the start of August 2016, Blossoms have exploded. The album 'Blossoms' went straight to number one and stayed their for 2 weeks. Reigning from Stockport in Manchester, they were tipped for huge things after releasing huge tracks from the album such as 'Blow', 'Cut Me and I'll Bleed' and 'Charlemagne'. The album was co-produced by indie rock legend James Skelly who's professional influence radiates across all the tracks on the album. Nevertheless, it's the songwriting and performance expertise of singer Tom Ogden and the lads which really make the tunes what they are. 

Listen to 'Blossoms' on Spotify below:

                                                                           


DINOSAUR
TOGETHER, AS ONE


For many, this album is what the Mercury Prize is all about. The music composed on this wonderfully crafted album takes inspiration from genres all across the world and from different periods in time. The songs from the album sound like Laura Gurd and co have put the trumpet of Miles Davis, the rhythm of North Africa and the best of the Spanish harmonies into a songwriting machine to produce this magnificent piece of work. Another strong contender of the Mercury Prize 2017.

Listen to 'Together, As One' on Spotify below:

                                                                           

ED SHEERAN
DIVIDE ÷ 


Once upon a time, there was a ginger lad from Halifax who used to busk on the streets to earn his money. He then wrote a little tune called 'The A Team' which went straight to number 1 and his success hasn't stopped since. He has released 3 brilliant albums, and his latest one 'Divide', is the pick of the bunch. EVERY SINGLE SONG ON THE ALBUM WAS IN THE TOP 20! Something that no artist has ever achieved before. He's collaborated with some of the world's most renowned artists and headlined the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury earlier in the summer. Although he may already be a world mega-star, the achievements Ed Sheeran has accomplished make him more than a worthy contender for the prestigious Mercury Prize. 

Listen to 'Divide' on Spotify below:

                                                                           

GLASS ANIMALS
HOW TO BE A HUMAN BEING


The indie rock band from Oxford are another example of the strong indie music scene in the UK right now. The songs from 'How To Be A Human Being' has over 122 million Spotify streams a lone which speaks volumes about the quality of this album. The album is full of quotes from ordinary human beings the band have encountered on tour which were secretly, creepily and brilliantly recorded on the iPhones of the band members. The result is this energetic, yet easy listening album which has subsequently been nominated for a Mercury Prize. 

Listen to 'How To Be A Human Being' on Spotify below:

                                                                           

J HUS
COMMON SENSE


Another album and Mercury debutante, the 21 year old rapper from East London has shown the world exactly what he's made of with his album 'Common Sense'. The album takes inspiration from dancehall, afrobeats, hip-hop, RnB and grime. His 17 track album is evidence of the way he can jump between each genre in every tune. A real musical talent worthy of the Mercury Prize. 

Listen to 'Common Sense' on Spotify below:

                                                                           

Get tickets for J Hus at Leeds and Norwich HERE.

KATE TEMPEST
LET THEM EAT CHAOS


A true artist. Spoken word, poetry, rap, playwriting, Kate Tempest can do it all, and it comes as no surprise that this isn't her first Mercury Prize nomination. Her second album 'Let Them Eat Chaos' has one of the most attention grabbing introductions on the nominee list. 'Picture A Vacuum' is a true piece of work which forces you to keep listening. You get lost in her words and her music, and before you know it, your 6 tracks deep into the album. It's impossible to pin a single genre to this album which is another thing that makes this so brilliant. 

Listen to 'Let Them Eat Chaos' on Spotify below:

                                                                           

LOYLE CARNER
YESTERDAY'S GONE


Benjamin Gerard Coyle-Larner, AKA Loyle Carner, has been nominated for a Mercury Prize for his debut album 'Yesterday's Gone'. For decades our friends across the pond have ruled over RnB, Rap and Hip-Hop, but Loyle Carner never got the memo. The South Londener has written an album that rivals the greats of his generation and the generation before that. 'Yesterday's Gone' tackles personal issues as loss, family and friendship and you can really hear this in the lyrics of his opening track 'The Isle Of Arran'. 

Listen to 'Yesterday's Gone' on Spotify below:

                                                                           


Get tickets for Loyle Carner HERE

SAMPHA
PROCESS


This year's Mercury Prize is going to be a well earned award to beat any of the nominations, with albums such as this one to beat. Sampha's 'Process' is an emotional album which will touch any music fan. One song that will really grab your attention is '(No One Knows Me) Like The Piano' in which he mourns over the death of his mother who passed away after a battle with cancer. The "piano in his mothers home" is where Sampha discovered his musical talent, thus, discovering himself as a person. 

Listen to 'Process' on Spotify below:

                                                                           

STORMZY
GANG SINGS & PRAYER


Arguably one of British music's most important artists right now, Stormzy has driven Grime from an underground phenomenon to the world stage. Grime music has been described as 'the punk of today' and its easy to see why. Stormzy raps about racial and social injustices as well as living a double life as a church goer. He also tackles the issue of mental health, an ever growing important issue of modern day. This album may have the power to change music and society forever, and that's why its a worthy winner of the Mercury Prize.

Listen to 'Gang Signs & Prayer' on Spotify below:

                                                                            


Get tickets for Stormzy at V Festival HERE.

THE BIG MOON
LOVE IN THE 4TH DIMENSION


Hard-hitting indie rock Godesses The Big Moon couldn't believe their ears when they heard they were nominated for the Mercury Prize for their debut album 'Love In The 4th Dimension'. It may have come as a surprise to them, but not as a surprise to their adoring fans. Their album is something any inspiring and well-established band would be proud of with in your face lyrics, the catchiest of melodies and in your face guitar tunes. 

Listen to 'Love In The 4th Dimension' on Spotify below:

                                                                           

Get tickets for The Big Moon at Neighbourhood Festival HERE.

THE XX
I SEE YOU


The early work and early releases of The xx were timidly brilliant. Their music was deep, yet catchy, and their presence was somewhat anxious, yet awe-inspiring. Their newest album 'I See You' sees The xx leap out of the shadows and embracing the limelight they deserve. Their music is far more upbeat, but in no sell-out way. They keep true to their musical roots but seem to have evolved onto the next level.  They won the award back in 2010, but the trio are back to claim their title back. 

Listen to 'I See You' on Spotify below:

                                                                           

Thursday, 27 July 2017

ROYAL BLOOD


Royal Blood have had an incredible year. Their second album 'How Did We Get So Dark' was announced as their second number 1 album just moments before they went on to take the Pyramid Stage by storm at Glastonbury. They are also set for a UK Arena Tour in November, proving that the rockers from Brighton are not just a flash-in-the-pan, but are hear to stay. 

HOW DID WE GET SO DARK


Following up from such an impressive debut album is something many bands struggle to do, but Royal Blood aren't one of those bands. They saw their first album achieve huge success and raised it with the release of 'How Did We Get So Dark'.

The album starts with the self-titled song 'How Did We Get So Dark' which is the perfect taster of what to expect from the rest of the album. Following that is the massive tune 'Lights Out' which propelled Royal Blood back on the world stage after their first album. 

Next up is 'I Only Lie When I Love You' which is a typical yet brilliant Royal Blood song. The riff is gritty, the drums are driving and the vocals are powerful. If there was one song to sum up the Brighton duo, it would be this one. 


Another stand out song on the album is 'Where Are You Now?' which starts with a steady drum and bass combo during the intro and verse before hitting a tasty half-time riff in the chorus. 

The album finishes on 'Sleep' which really shows off the bassist/singer Mike Kerr's ability to write and rival any of the great rock n roll riffs played on any guitar. 

Listen to the full album on Spotify below... 



LIVE AT GLASTONBURY


Royal Blood on the Pyramid Stage was one of the highlights of Glastonbury this year. How only 2 people could hold such a huge audience in the palm of their hands is beyond explainable, but these guys pulled it off. Before they smashed out 'Figure It Out' they had a moment to themselves to celebrate 'How Did We Get So Dark' reaching number one. Their moment involved a big 'bro hug', a load of champagne and an adoring Glastonbury crowd. 

Royal Blood UK Arena Tour

The lads are coming to an arena near you in November! Get your tickets HERE.








Wednesday, 26 July 2017

PAUL HEATON & JACQUI ABBOTT


Four years ago, Paul Heaton approached his former Beautiful South band member Jacqui Abbott to work with him on his latest project and they haven't looked back since. They have released 3 top 5 albums since they reformed, with their debut album 'What Have We Become?' peaking in the UK charts at number 3 and their second 'Wisdom, Laughter and Lies' reaching number 4. Their latest album 'Crooked Calypso' has gone down a storm with the Northern duo reaching a record number of sales and peaking at number 2, their highest place in the charts to date. 

CROOKED CALYPSO


For many, Paul Heaton is one of the smartest songwriters of his generation. His lyrics are often witty and straight to the point, no matter the subject of the song. From politics to love, Paul Heaton can certainly knock out a tune. However, its Jacqui Abbott that really compliments Heaton's songwriting on this album. The pair have struck up a fantastic relationship which is evident in their songs. 

The album starts off with the heart-warming love song 'I Gotta Praise' which has a lovely gospel country feel to it, bringing out the best of the harmonies between Heaton and Abbott. 

Crooked Calypso continues the happy feel all the way through with stand out songs 'She Got The Garden' and 'People Like Us'. 'The Lord Is A White Con' is another political song which takes on the issues of the social and racial injustices in the world. The track starts with a distorted riff which then kicks off into a joyful rock n roll swing which sets the tone for the rest of the song. 

Each song on the album is as good as the last which is a true reflection on Heaton and Abbotts' qualities of songwriters and musicians. With Paul Heaton starting out in the Housemartins over 30 years ago and then progressing to the Beautiful South where Jacqui Abbott joined, its refreshing to know that these two legends won't settle for letting their music grow gracefully old, but instead release new music which people can still love and relate to. 

Listen to 'Crooked Calypso' on Spotify below:




Here I Go Again (Whitesnake Cover)


In the run up to the release of 'Crooked Calypso', Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott covered the infamous Whitesnake song 'Here I Go Again' on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 2. This is just another piece of work which expresses how well Heaton and Abbott work together as a duo. 


Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott Tour

Get tickets for the Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott tour HERE







Friday, 21 July 2017

LATITUDE FESTIVAL 2017

[Credit: Music Festival News

It seems more than ever that escapism is something that people need in 2017 - time to switch off, recharge and let loose. If you happen to be a music, theatre or comedy fan then Latitude festival is one of the best weekends of the year to do so. It’s hard to turn down the chance to get lost in the beautiful woodland, immerse yourself in endless new talent and take a selfie with bright pink sheep.



SIGRID


A personal highlight just so happened to be the first performance of the weekend. Playing in the idyllic Sunrise Arena, rising pop princess Sigrid took to the stage on Friday afternoon. With the name floating around the music industry for the past few months, it was no surprise that hundreds spilt out of the tent into the scenic surroundings, desperate to catch the energetic Norwegian singer. This unrivalled energy seemed to be infectious – it became apparent to many that Sigrid was born to perform as she faultlessly transitions from song to song. Ending her set on 'Don't Kill My Vibe', the reaction it brings is no surprise. It's the biggest song of the set, leaving people feeling they had witnessed something truly special.

GOLDFRAPP


Alison Goldfrapp got the Friday crowd moving with a breathily intense slice of electro pop. Her bold performance brought disco fever to the Suffolk fields, as the lively audience came adorned in glitter, sequins and lace. Sharing tracks from new album “Silver Eye” they alternated to Goldfrapp classics 'Number 1' and 'Ride a White Horse' which encouraged the whole energetic crowd to bounce, hands clapping in the air. 2005's 'Ooh La La' and 2003's 'Strict Machine' provided the perfect finale to an upbeat set on the main stage. Goldfrapp will be bringing their “Silver Eye World Tour” across the UK at the end of October.




LUCY ROSE



Singer-songwriter Lucy Rose brought her folk-tinged tunes to the Obelisk Arena, pulling a huge afternoon crowd to the main stage and warming them up for Mumford and Sons later in the evening. Lucy’s music relies on vulnerability and sincerity, something that can get lost on festival stages but she shows she has mastered her craft with confidence as she plays tracks from new album “Something’s Changing”. Lucy will be bringing her live show to the RNCM Theatre in Manchester this November to support the recent release.




WARD THOMAS


Ward Thomas set the scene perfectly for a relaxed, upbeat and sunny Sunday afternoon. The sisters were all smiles as the arena filled with people of all different ages, children ran around as parents sprawled across the grass with a pint in hand. The country duo told personal tales of Nashville and their teenage years in Hampshire. Their second album of sailed to Number 1 on the UK Album Chart on release last year, making them the first ever UK country act to do so. A personal highlight was their take on Years & Years’ ‘Shine’, which instantly lifted the easy-going Sunday mood.


LOYLE CARNER



South London rapper, Loyle Carner released his debut album 'Yesterday's Gone' earlier this year which spent a total of 3 weeks in the charts. The hip-hop artist is one of the most exciting around and it certainly showed when he took to the BBC music tent. Joined on stage by his collaborator Rebel Kleff, the entire performance seemed mature and crafted. The Croydon rapper confidently translates his sensitive and warm-hearted record into his live shows. With a headline tour to look forward to later this year, judging off Sunday’s standout performance, he shows that he is more than ready. He will be taking to the road for seven headline shows at the end of September. 






FLEET FOXES


The Seattle band closed the Suffolk festival with their first UK show in six years. Their music does most the talking, and it’s exactly what the audience needs to reflect on such a spectacular weekend. Much to the audience’s joy, Sunday night’s show also saw a young couple get engaged on stage during the performance – which can’t be expected on every date of their upcoming tour, unfortunately. The most recent material from, 'Crack Up', got a surprising reception with the crowd as the new offering made waves through a crowd of old fans and new. Highlights include 2012 release, ‘Mykonos’ which gave the elated crowd to bellow along to frontman Robin Pecknold's talented falsetto vocals. Don’t miss your chance to see the band in Southampton and Manchester this November!



Thursday, 20 July 2017

SOUNDS OF THE CITY 2017 REVIEW


Another glorious Sounds Of The City festival has flown by over the past couple of weeks and we're here to help you relive one of Manchester's greatest music events. We had sun, we had rain, we had folk music, we had reggae music. We had no lights and we had more lights than you could ask for. We had everything at #SOTC and we want to tell you all about it. 

RICHARD ASHCROFT
FRIDAY 30TH JUNE

What better way to kick off Sounds Of The City 2017 than a sold out show for Richard Ashcroft with support from The Sherlocks and the legendary Lee "Scratch" Perry?

The Sherlocks opened the set with a very solid and polished set to a host of dedicated and loyal fans wearing their Sherlocks t-shirts with pride. 


Next up was Lee "Scratch" Perry. A true pioneer of reggae music, Perry floated on stage wearing a full purple silk tracksuit complete with a black baseball cap and jacket littered with various badges of all forms. He shuffled and shaked his way through the set and had the crowd in the palm of his hands as he and his band radiated the chilled reggae beats across the Manchester crowd. 


Then it was time for Mr. Ashcroft to enter the stage. And enter he did. In fact, calling it an 'entry' is probably far too modest. He EXPLODED on to the stage and constantly held the gaze of every audience members' eyes throughout the whole of his 1 hour and 55 minute set. The front man from Wigan performed a standout set consisting of his solo material and some big tunes from The Verve days. Every lyric in every song was sung back by the adoring Manchester crowd, making Richard Ashcroft one of the best acts ever at Sounds Of The City.



HACIENDA CLASSICAL
FRIDAY 1ST JULY

The second night of SOTC 2017 was a true nod to Manchester's rich musical heritage. Starting off the night was DJ Woody who is a 2 time world DJ champion. And it was easy to see why. Only using vinyls, DJ Woody was able to scratch and his round a record and make everybody groove.

After DJ Woody we had a rare treat. A DJ set from the legendary Peter Hook. The Joy Division and New Order bass player put down the 4 strings and took to the decks to set the tone for Hacienda Classical. His tracks ranged from Manchester classics to the latest dance tunes which was greatly appreciated by the ever growing soaked crowd in the Manchester rain. 


Finally it was time for the main act. Hacienda Classical. Fronted by legendary DJs Graeme Park and Mike Pickering from the Hacienda days, the lads had a whole orchestra behind them to recreate the 90s biggest club hits with a twist. In true Madchesta style, Bez and Rowetta took to the stage to shake their maracas and belt out a few Happy Mondays tunes. Their set was finished off with a guest appearance from Peter Hook as he picked the bass back up and performed 'Blue Monday' with the Classical. A fantastic night all round.


LEVELLERS AND THE WATERBOYS
SUNDAY 2ND JULY

The weather took a drastic turn for the better on Sunday afternoon as the sun peered from behind the rain clouds and bathed Castlefield Bowl in the sunshine. Beoga, co-writers of Ed Sheeran's hit 'Galway Girl' started the day with a bang as they entertained the punters with a good ol' Irish jig. 


After that, Dreadzone took to the stage. The dance reggae artists attracted a massive crowd as they got everyone skanking on the sunny Sunday afternoon. 


Billy Bragg then waltzed onto the stage with his acoustic guitar and occasional slide guitarist. He sang songs of protest, unity and love to bring the whole of Castelfield Bowl together. Something which will always carry on throughout the city of Manchester.


Next up was The Waterboys. The Scottish folk rockers blew everyone's minds as the crowd got lost in their music. They are one of only two sensational bands that could even make the fiddle sound rock 'n' roll. 


The second of those two bands are the Levellers. They burst on to the stage and shot two huge streamer cannons which sent confetti soaring through the air. Their performance was full of energy and left the Castelfield crowd in awe of their presence.


ARCADE FIRE
THURSDAY 6TH JULY

This was one of the most highly anticipated gigs of the whole of the festival... and it certainly didn't disappoint. BEAK> started things off on this monumental gig with a knockout set. There post-punk, bass heavy tunes went down a treat at the Bowl and certainly got the crowd ready for Arcade Fire. 

The Canadian indie rockers then took to the stage and started their set with their new single 'Everything Now'. The crowd sang that catchy anthem like hook and didn't stop singing and dancing from then onwards. Arcade Fire went all out with their production, with more amplifiers you could shake a stick at and a huge plastic box as the backdrop which they filled with smoke and different coloured lights which made the perfect walkway for any rockstar to walk through. Arcade Fire were amazing.


JAMES
FRIDAY 7TH JULY

The penultimate gig of an already amazing Sounds Of The City was headlined by Manchester legends James. However, before their set, we were treated to two excellent support acts.

First up was 23 year old Irish singer-songwriter David Keenan. His voice radiated over the Bowl and stunned the listeners who came early to see him. 

Next was Slow Readers Club who were specifically chosen by James to support them. They gave it there all at Sounds Of The City and justified James' choice to chose them as main support. 

Then it was James' turn to blow everyone away. As soon as front man Tim Booth took to the stage, the adoring crowd lost it. His moves were serious as he lost himself in the music. His words echo peace and solidarity which was evident in their performance of 'Sometimes'. This song made everyone in the crowd as one as everyone was fixed on James. The audience had their music ringing around their ears which resulted in choruses of 'Laid' and 'Tomorrow' being sung down the streets and into the night. 


BLOSSOMS
SATURDAY 8TH JULY

If there was one gig to finish off such an incredible SOTC it was this one. Touts, Rory Wynne, The Coral and Blossoms.

Irish punk rock band 'Touts' took to the stage first to wow the energetic and youthful crowd. Their fast rhythms and political lyrics went down a treat at the Bowl.

Rory Wynne then followed. The lad from Stockport blew everyone away and has had fans on Twitter calling him "the love of my life" and "the coolest guy in town".

Next up was indie legends The Coral. Their set was fully absorbed by the crowd who showed their appreciation by singling along to every word and giving huge roars of approval after every song they played. 

Sounds Of The City 2017 may have featured so many legends from the Manchester music scene including Richard Ashcroft, Bez and James. However, Blossoms proved that the city can still produce the best of the best. Reigning from Stockport, the new kings of indie rock showed the world that they are here and they are not going anywhere. The crowd consisted of a lot of Adidas trainers and waterproof jackets zipped up all the way to the top, but this unity of young people is a breath of fresh air into the British music scene. One of the standout moments of the set was their rendition of Oasis' 'Whatever' complete with a full strings section. Their own material from their one self titled album stood up proudly next to this Oasis anthem which is a true reflection on how far this band from Stockport has come. 


Sounds Of The City was another brilliant success and we already cannot wait for the next one! #SOTC