Thursday, 18 December 2014

Give the Gift of Tickets this Christmas!

Christmas is approaching fast and like many of us you will undoubtedly still need to buy some or all of your Christmas presents. So let us give you a helping hand this year with some of our picks for all the family!...





















Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Q&A: DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist (Renegades of Rhythm)

This February will see two of the World's best and well-known turntabalists and artists bring a brand new concept to the UK honouring the 'Godfather of Hip-Hop' Afrika Bambaataa, one of the true pioneers of the genre. 

The two DJs will be spinning from Afrika Bambaataa's mere 40,000 record collection, which was offered to them to develop the show. After wowing audiences across North America in 2014 including attendance from the Godfather himself at both New York shows, the duo bring the critically acclaimed show to three exclusive UK dates (TICKETS).

We caught up with DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist about the concept of the show, the future of vinyl and what we can expect:

How did the idea of this particular show come about?
When Bambaataa was in the process of donating his collection to Cornell University, someone decided that it would be a good idea to let a couple of DJ's go through the collection and take some of the records on tour "one last time" before everything ended up in the Cornell vault.  We were contacted in November of 2013, and we flew to New York to look at the collection and make sure we had Bam's blessing.  Then began the painstaking process of going through the entire collection to make our selections.  We wanted to tell a story through his records, and honor not only Bambaataa himself, but the roots of the culture he helped create. 

Where did you start to whittle down a record collection of 40,000?
DJ SHADOW: It was a combination of pulling things we knew, pulling things we were curious about, and pulling things that were obviously played a lot by Bam.  We didn't want to spin a bunch of stuff that may have been interesting to us, or worth a lot of money on eBay, but that he never played.  The records he spun were usually crate-worn and marked up, and we felt it appropriate (by and large) to limit ourselves to the records that truly mattered, as opposed to rare, expensive or obscure things...although, many of his prized jams were all of the above. 

What can we expect from the show?
CUT CHEMIST: A 90 minute performance that is delivered not unlike our previous collaborative performances. We use 6 turntables, two mixers, drum machines, a lot of records that make up unique blends to create a narrative about how hip hop evolved through the influence of DJs like Afrika Bambaataa, Flash, Grand Wizard Theodore and Kool Herc. We also have a visual component that compliments the music with rarely seen Joe Conzo photos.

How has the tour been going in America?
DJ SHADOW: Very well, I think.  We've done about 45 shows within Canada and the US so far, which is a lot for us.  We were able to hit not only the major cities, but a few places we've never played.  We were able to do three shows within NYC and two in the Bay Area, which again, is fantastic.    

How do you think an English audience will react to this show compared to an American audience? Do you find them different to play to?
CUT CHEMIST: I think that the English crowds will eat this up. Hip hop has a long history there. They are proud of their contribution to the culture as well as have a very scholarly appreciation for the history of that culture. This performance celebrates hip hop from the beginning all the way up until the late 80s/early 90s when it became sensationalized by television.

How big has Afrika Bambaataa’s influence been on both of you?
DJ SHADOW: Immeasurable.  It's no exaggeration to say that without Afrika Bambaataa, we would have never become DJ's.  Kool Herc started it all, and Grandmaster Flash really instituted skills into the equation...but Bambaataa was known as 'The Master Of Records' even in the '70s, and introduced so much of the musical vocabulary that established the basis for hip-hop music.   

Has / will Afrika Bambaataa be seeing the show live?
Yes Bambaataa attended both New York shows at the beginning of the tour. It was amazing to have him there watching us play his records. It was a career highlight for me personally.

What has Afrika Bambaataa said about the show?
DJ SHADOW: We figure, if he didn't like it, he wouldn't have come to [the show] twice! Bam is very humble and soft-spoken, and it was a pleasure to honor him in person.  He was like royalty, watching from the balcony, with the audience able to see him and appreciate him.  A wonderful moment in our careers. 

What are your thoughts on the use of digital and CD’s over vinyl in a live show? Does everything have its place?
CUT CHEMIST: A performance is a performance. It’s either engaging or boring. I don’t put too much emphasis on the tools unless the performance itself is making a point about it. This performance that we are doing does make that point as it’s about the artefacts first and foremost. The timeline is also one that deals solely with the era when vinyl was the mainstream media.

We have seen the biggest vinyl sales in years in the UK, would you say vinyl/records have been making any kind of resurgence?
CUT CHEMIST: Sales don’t lie. Yes. People are buying vinyl. I know because all the vinyl plants in the US are backed up. It’s nearly impossible for a reasonable turnaround for any of my projects it seems. Hopefully more manufacturers will open up again and it will be like the 80s all over again.

Can you name us one track from the show that is bound to get a big reaction?
CUT CHEMIST: The Message by Grand Master Flash and The Furious Five always gets a big reaction no matter where we play it.

Tickets to their London & Manchester shows are on sale HERE.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Q&A: Kitty, Daisy & Lewis

It's been a quiet few years for Kitty, Daisy and Lewis but that's all about to change. We caught up with the London based sibling trio to talk about all things new. With a new album and a headline tour in the near future it's safe to say it's an exciting time for the trio. Check out what they had to say in our recent interview below. 

Hey, what have you been up to today?
Today we did a session for Daytrotter.We recorded 4 of our new songs live which will be online soon. We've also been rehearsing for our tour next year. We've been so busy with album stuff that we've almost forgotten that we are musicians.

You've announced details of your first album since 2011, how has it been making this record?
It's been a long journey. All the tracks were written, developed and rehearsed long before we even started recording, partly because we were building the new studio. Some of the most exciting moments were recording other instruments like harp, horns and the string section. Each of them helped make this record extra special for us. It's been fun! 

What can we expect from the new album, more of the same or a different direction?This Album is quite different from our previous albums in a lot of ways. Our song writing has definitely progressed and we have a lot more life experiences to sing about. We spent almost three years building a new Studio in an old, derelict Indian restaurant in Kentish Town. We now have a much larger space to work in which definitely helped us to achieve a much cleaner, Separated sound. Before we were recording in a small room at our mums house. We also got our hands on a 16 track tape recorder which meant we were able to experiment more with different instruments and vocal parts. Including string sections, double tracked vocals and harmonious backing vocals. We knew with this album we wanted to take it to another level in terms of production. We have also introduced more styles of music from, disco, rock, blues, funk to rocksteady. These styles were all developed naturally in the writing and creative part of the process.  

How was it working with Mick Jones from The Clash on the new album? 
Working with Mick was fantastic. We were a bit sceptic about bringing another person into the equation, especially being a family and such a tight unit and also working with our own analogue gear. We didn't really know what someone else could bring to the table as we'd always done everything ourselves. As soon as Mick came to a rehearsal for the first time, we loved having him around. He had such a positive energy that really rubbed off on all of us. He spend five months rehearsing with us, so that he could learn the songs inside out. Then throughout the recording process he really helped to keep our spirits and the music alive. 

What can we expect from the next tour?
From our next tour people can expect to hear and dance to tunes from our new album and we're bringing extra people on the road this time like a beautiful string section! As always, the people can expect an action pact show with all kinds of emotions, rhythms and moods. See you there!

Are you looking forward to getting back on the road?
Yes!! Since we finished recording we've been working on album stuff for so long that we haven't actually played that much music together. Can't wait to get back out there and play our new tunes to everyone.

Being three siblings, do you squabble on the road or is it nice being so close?
 Yes we do squabble, but it's nothing that lasts more than a few minutes. Rehearsals are probably the most heated of times. We are lucky that we all get on really well and have the same sense of humour. We still laugh about Poo together. Sometimes we'll be listening to a song and we all will laugh at exactly the same point, because of a funny note or something. A note that know one else would find funny. 

Are there any cities your particularly look forward to playing?
Definitely looking forward to going back to Germany. We love it there. Will also be great going back to Japan and America. 

What are your plans for the rest of this year?
Mainly just to tour and hopefully please our fans with our New music. 

What does a Christmas in the Durham household involve?
 Lots of Booze, prawns, sing songs and Jamming. 

What tracks will you be listening to on tour? (Spotify Playlist)
On tour we often end up in the most unexpected places listening to anything and everything. Check out our Spotify playlist below:

Tickets to their Manchester headline show are on sale now HERE.

Monday, 1 December 2014

BBC Sound Of 2015 - Our Picks

Now in it's 12th year, the BBC sound of .... list is developed to give us a pointer on who will be big the following year. Each act is obviously helped by the fact that the BBC will need to then justify their list and prove they have their ears to the ground, so the beeb are likely to increase radio coverage and support, thus helping each artist become bigger in 2015 regardless.

To be fair to the BBC, they have been pretty spot on with the majority of their lists in the past, especially with most of their previous winners. They countdown the final 5 in order in January with an overall winner, which last year was Sam Smith and what a year he has had. Other winning artists in the past include Jessie J, Haim, Ellie Goulding and Adele. Important to remember as well that at the time of picking the list, the artist cannot of had a top 20 selling album or single (unless as a guest vocalist) either. 

This year's full list looks like this:

  1. James Bay
  2. George The Poet
  3. Kwabs
  4. Lapsley
  5. Rae Morris
  6. Novelist
  7. Raury 
  8. Shamir
  9. Shura
  10. Slaves
  11. Soak
  12. Stormzy
  13. Sunset Sons
  14. Wolf Alice
  15. Years & Years
A fairly hefty list, so we thought we would pick our own top 5. As always, let us know your thoughts by tweeting us @GigsAndTours

1. James Bay

2. Rae Morris

3. Sunset Sons

4. Wolf Alice

5. Years & Years

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Our 5 Favourite Take That Tracks

With everyone's favourite veteran boy band Take That hopping back on the road in 2015 we thought there was no better time to countdown our fave 5 dazzling concoctions from the undisputed kings of feel good pop. Tickets for the epic UK tour are on sale now and you can grab your tickets HERE. So without further ado here's a countdown of our most treasured Take That tracks. 

5. Patience
After 10 years of patience from the fans the band returned with their come back single. 2006 saw the release of comeback album 'Beautiful World' and 'Patience' peaked at the top of the UK Singles Chart. This number quenched the thirst the fans had been suffering from for over a decade and reignited Take That fever.

4. Greatest Day
Perhaps one of the greatest days for the Take That following was the release of this track showing that their fave boys were still on top and could still churn out the hits like they could in the good old days. Released in 2008 as part of the album 'The Circus', this single reached number 1 on the UK Single Chart and continued Take That's reign over housewives up and down the country. 

3. Shine
Perhaps Take That's most feel good number and also one of their biggest hits. This time it's Mark Owens time to shine as he takes the lead vocals and rocks a top hat and waist coat. We particularly like this live video as it really shows the thrills and frills of a live Take That show!  

2. The Flood
The one where Robbie came back... the emotion is just too much to handle, but it seems they've got a good handle on those oars. 'The Flood' from their 6th album 'Progress' spent 8 weeks in the UK Top 10, further continuing Take That's chart domination.

1. Rule The World
Performed as the light was extinguished on the torch at the 2012 London Olympic games this song is a firm favorite among Take That fans. The song spent 12 weeks in the UK Top 10, the longest of any Take That song. 

BONUS: These Days

The latest offering from the power trio is a poppy upbeat singalong tune, something that gives a taste as to the future of the newly scaled down Take That. This colourful tune is set to become a firm fan favourite, it's already one of ours!

Take That are extensively touring the UK throughout May and June 2013. Get you're tickets at

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Q Awards Winners!

The 25th anniversary of the Xperia Access Q Awards proved to be a worthy celebration of the year's best music, from classic favourites Pink Floyd to fresh talent Sam Smith, it was a night that recognised all the accomplished artists the UK have to offer. Kasabian took home the two most coveted gongs whilst Simple Minds and The Charlatans were deservedly honoured for their contribution to music. Pop newcomer Ella Eyre was also in attendance with fellow chart topper Foxes who you can catch on tour this December. The full list of award winners are as follows:

Q Best New Act
Sam Smith

Q Maverick
St Vincent

Q Best Track
Paolo Nutini – Iron Sky

Q Best Solo Artist
Ed Sheeran

Q Songwriter
Andy Partridge

Q Best Album
Elbow – The Take Off And Landing Of Everything

Q Best Video
Jamie xx – Sleep Sound

Q Best Live Act

Q Hero
The Charlatans

Q Outstanding Contribution To Music
XL Recordings, collected by Richard Russell

Q Inspiration
Simple Minds

Gibson Les Paul Award
Johnny Marr

Q Classic Album
Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of The Moon

Q Innovation In Sound
Jean Michel Jarre

Q Icon
Wilko Johnson

Q Idol
Culture Club

Q Best Act In The World Today

To see the likes of Paolo Nutini, Sam Smith, Simple Minds and The Charlatans on tour head to for more details. 

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

ALBUM REVIEW: 'Gerard Way - Hesitant Alien'


It’s always hard to separate a front-man from a successful band post-breakup but even more difficult when the bands fans are still grieving the loss of their favorite emo rock band. My Chemical Romance is barely history for Gerard Way, yet instead of lurking in the shadows of the breakup he has made a jump back into the spotlight as a solo artist with his new album ‘Hesitant Alien’. Despite perfecting the formula for popular emo alt rock, Gerard Ways most recent and almost experimental venture is a far cry from his angsty eye liner filled former years.

Way’s most recent offering is unique blend of 70’s Glam Rock and 90’s Britpop with just a pinch of modern pop. This genre-blend paired with the use of the whole spectrum of the guitarists pedal board makes for magical listening. The Bowie-esque image Way has been rocking in recent years now finally matches the music he is creating as the 40 minute ‘neo-britglam’ concoction means business from the get go. The opening track ‘Bureau’ brings a screeching start to the record with a strong and at times bluesy build up to the main event. Songs like ‘Action Cat’ and ‘No Shows’ will clearly be crowd favorites in a live format as they brim with energy and sing-along ability. Renowned for his ability to carry a live audience, I am almost certain Gerard Way will push these songs to their limit in a live setting.
Don’t expect even a remote reference to his emo roots as this album is all about him. Gerard Way has bravely produced an album to please himself as well as his fans, and it seems the risk has paid off. Way has assembled a record that screams individuality, with poppy catchy hooks combined with funky lead parts this album emits personality. Whilst there may be perhaps slightly too much fancy shoegazing effects on this album for some, ‘Hesitant Alien’ is all in all an unexpected breath of fresh air.

After selling out his November UK tour, extra dates have been added for January, 2015. Grab your tickets HERE.