Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Neighbourhood Festival 2016


The first ever Neighbourhood Festival is edging ever closer. On 8th October 2016, the streets of Manchester will be filled with avid music fans trying to catch a glimpse of their favourite artist or scoping some of the city's coolest venues in search of their new idols. As we count down the days until #NBHD16, we take a look at a couple of the bands which are set to play Neighbourhood Festival. 

Stuck In My Teeth

After the release of their first album 'Young Chasers' back in 2015, Circa Waves have enjoyed national success. Their catchy melodies and twangy guitars make for perfect feel-good tunes. Catch this Liverpudlian band on the headline slot of the festival. 

No Sleep

Possibly Glasgow's hottest prospect, and follwoing the release of their new single 'No Sleep', Twin Atlantic promise to bring a performance of energy, passion and great music. Their guitar riffs are crunchy and their lyrics are edgy, the perfect combination for a headline slot at #NBHD16

Dust & Bones

Lonely The Brave will also be playing at the first ever Neighbourhood Festival. Off the back of the release of their second studio album 'Things Will Matter', the boys from Cambridge are set to take Manchester by storm.


She's edgy, she's cool and she's back. Kate Nash will be performing at Neighbourhood Festival 2016 bringing her cockney swagger and upbeat tunes, Kate Nash will be one not to miss at #NBHD16.


Rationale brings his relaxed electronic sounds to the festival, following the expected release of his eponymous debut album at the end of September.

Love Again

The perfect artist to compliment Rationale, Rae Morris' performance will blow you away. Her vocals will captivate you while her beat will force you to move to the music. Rae Morris' performance will be one not to miss. 

Violence Out Tonight

If you're into your indie music, there will be no doubt you'll be into Little Comets. They epitomise the indie music scene and are the perfect fit for Neighbourhood Festival 2016. 


Among the second wave of artists to be announced, Black Peaks certainly created a buzz when their name appeared on the line up. Their raw energy on stage will generate one hell of an atmosphere at the first ever Neighbourhood Festival.

Hell Of A Girl

19 years old and a top spot at Neighbourhood Festival... Not bad for the Australian singer, eh? Her performance will be emotional, moving and damn-right outstanding. Get down to Neighbourhood this year to witness the amazing Grace. No pun intended. 

Tickets for Neighbourhood 2016 are available here.

Monday, 18 July 2016

The Main Level Q&A

Ahead of their first ever UK show, we caught up with Norweigan boy band The Main Level.

You will be playing your first ever UK show at London O2 Academy 2 Islington on Thursday 18th August. How are you feeling about this?
Playing in the UK is a dream come true for us! We have played several hundred shows but some how this has made us a little nervous! Hahaha but we are totally ready!

What can your fans expect from the show?

It's going to be an awesome show! We got the best band and musicians lined up! We will try our best to make this a night to remember! We will play songs from our album "We Are Who We Are". A secret: there mighty be twerking. 

What’s the best part of being on tour?

The best thing about being on tour has to be all the beautiful places and people we meet! Even though we are friends from way back we still find out different things about each other on tour, mostly annoying things.

How did the band form? Have you been friends for a long time?

As we said we have known each other for a long time. The band actually got started in a studio in Bergen Norway, where we were first demo singers for different songwriters!  We thought why not start a band together! The Main Level is actually the name of a button on the mixer in the studio.

Tell us about your current single ‘A Million More’?

A Million More is a summer song! We learned how to play the ukulele this year so we thought why not have it in our song! The song is dedicated to our fans, and the sentence "after a million years I love you a million more" is just us saying we will never forget them! 

You guys have a massive online presence and fanatical following on the massively popular app Can you tell us a bit more about the app? is no doubt one of our favorite apps! It allows you to be super creative and just have fun with your favorite songs! We get so much love from other musers (that's what we're called) every one on is a muser! 

Last summer you played the biggest outdoor festival in Scandinavia, with over 100,000 people! This must have been a big moment for you? 

That was just INSANE! So many people. It's the best feeling in the world! We kinda had a moment where we looked at each other and went "is this really happening"!

You will be performing at V Festival in August, what other plans have you got for the summer?

V-fest is going to be unbelievable we are really looking forward playing there! We are doing some shows in Sweden and Norway! USA is on the list, and hopefully many other places. We wanna meet everyone!

What is the most exciting thing you’re looking forward to this year?

There is so many things we are looking forward to this year! The best thing has to be meeting the fans, and traveling. There are also some things that we can't say just yet, but this is going to be a big year for us.

Have you got any messages for your fans?
We love you guys, and we will never let you down! Without you none of this would be possible! From our hearts we thank you! Se you soon. 

Alex, Laurent and Sander – The Main Level

Tickets available from

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Graeme Park Q&A

Following a run of sold out shows, Hacienda Classical heads to Birmingham on 31st July, as part of MADE Birmingham. We spoke to world famous Hacienda DJ Graeme Park about the reincarnation of dance music's most iconic era.

Having sold out three dates in Manchester, including your recent Sounds of the City show at Castlefield Bowl and a show at London’s Royal Albert Hall, you’ve announced a new date at the Birmingham Rainbow Open Air Arena in July. Are you looking forward to bringing the show to the festival?

We've also sold out shows in Glasgow, Lancaster and Brighton too. We're all very excited about Birmingham though. I've been DJing in the city for decades and continue to enjoy amazing nights here with wonderfully receptive crowds. This will be on a whole different level though and I know that the Birmingham audience are going to love the show. I can't wait to see their response and to see a sea of familiar faces in the crowd.

For someone who is not familiar with the Hacienda Classical shows, what can they expect?

We're reinterpreting a variety of early classic house tunes with a full blown orchestra who play synth parts and acid riffs. It's an epic journey through the late 1980s into the early 1990s with some massive, familiar tunes and some surprises too. Imagine a string section playing acid riffs and real brass and woodwind recreating synth lines with live percussion and Mike Pickering and I spinning in samples, acapellas and sound effects live. We've also got the amazing AMC Choir and guest vocalists and other performers too. You're in for an absolute treat.

How did the idea come together?

A daft idea that developed over several months until we sat down last August with the Manchester Camerata orchestra and conductor and arranger Tim Crooks. That's when we all realised that it wasn't such a daft idea after all and work began in earnest for our February debut in Manchester. The original idea to recreate a continuous DJ mix of classic Ha├žienda tunes with an orchestra was on!

You guys will be performing alongside the iconic Manchester Camerata orchestra, how has it been working with them?   

It's been a massive learning experience and an utter joy. They're so professional and wonderful to work with. 

What’s the process behind choosing the tracks and bringing the show together?

Mike and I chose 20 tracks each. 10 were the same, so we then argued, debated and discussed which of the others should make the final cut. In the end we agreed on 19 tracks to make up a 90 minute DJ mix that was then scored and arranged by Tim. Anything that the orchestra couldn't do, we then recreated into a backing track. Three days before the first show we all got together to make sure everything worked. It did. Beautifully. 

What is your favourite Hacienda track to play on the big stage?

I don't have a favourite. We've done seven shows and each one has a totally different highlight for me depending on the crowd.

What is the best thing about working on the Classical shows?

The sheer size of it. It's a logistical nightmare, but such fun when we're all on the stage ready to go and Tim raises his baton. The sense of anticipation is quite overwhelming but when you hear the opening strings and the beat kicks in, the feeling of pride and euphoria takes over and the nerves subside and the journey begins. Performing at the back of the stage and being able to see the orchestra perform with smiles on their faces in front of an up for it crowd has been special.

Can we expect any more shows to be announced soon?

Indeed! London, Sunderland and more are all on the horizon with dates overseas on the way too. Turns out it hasn't been a daft idea at all.

Tickets are still available here.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016


It's that time of year again. The time of year when everyone gets their brightly coloured waterproofs out of the closet, the time of year when wellie sales go through the roof and the time of year when festival goers all around the world make their way to a field in Somerset to embark on one of the biggest music events of the year. Of course its time for Glastonbury! As usual, we will talk through those who are lucky to have a ticket, and to those who will be camping in front of their TVs, the best acts to look for whilst watching the magic of Glastonbury 2016 unfold. 

Sunday, John Peel Stage, 16:00

After releasing their new album 'Why Are You OK', this American rock band's set promises to bring folky and atmospheric vibes to the John Peel Stage. 

Friday, Pyramid Stage, 16:30

Jess Glynne's rise to success has shown no signs of stopping, having achieved a double platinum selling album in 'I Cry When I Laugh', her performance will definitely not be one to miss. 

Saturday, John Peel Stage, 20:30

The notorious raver from Brighton has been the soundtrack to party animals across the globe for decades. If his set is anything to go by from last year with the sound and lighting system, then you will certainly be in for a treat. 

Sunday, The Park Stage, 20:30

The front man of the world-famous Elbow is worthy of being categorised as one of the best song-writers of his generation. Guy Garvey's set will make you feel a mix of emotions, but he will leave you speechless for sure. Do not miss this one! 

Saturday, Pyramid Stage, 18:15

Turner and Kane. That's all that needs to be said really. Make sure you do everything possible to see two of the UK's best indie rock products perform together on the world's biggest stage. 

Friday, Other Stage, 12:30

Fresh from their support slot for The Stone Roses at the Etihad in Manchester, Blossoms will make their first Glastonbury appearance. Tipped as one of the bands to look out for in 2016, this lot from Stockport will smash it. 

Saturday, West Holt Stage, 22:15

A worthy headliner of the West Holt Stage, the Mercury award winner is sure to deliver an outstanding set.

Saturday, Pyramid Stage, 16:30

This is certainly one to witness. Madness have so many great hits from 'Our House' to 'Baggy Trousers' which earned them a spot on top of Buckingham Palace during the Queen's Diamond Jubilee back in 2012. 

Friday, The Park Stage, 15:30

UMO have found a perfect balance of psychedelic rock, garage rock and R&B to create their interesting sound. Make sure you catch them at the Park Stage on the Friday! 

Sunday, Other Stage, 18:20

Catfish have quite rightly shot to success following their impressive debut album 'The Balcony', but their second album 'The Ride' shows they're not just a flash-in-the-pan band. Make sure you don't miss their set on the Other Stage. 

Friday, Other Stage, 11:00

Another strong act for the Other Stage, James are set to open Glastonbury in classic festival style. The Manchester band will set the tone for the whole weekend with an energetic, powerful and, overall, happy performance. 

Monday, 25 April 2016

Travis Q&A

Ahead of their UK tour and new album release, we caught up with Dougie from Travis to talk recording and life on the road.

So, the new album ‘Everything At Once’ is coming out next week and with the single ‘Magnificent Time’ to follow, what would you say has been your inspiration behind it and how did it all come about?

It’s kind of strange, the process is always the same as far as writing goes. We do it the old fashioned way.  It’s not like we’ve got a gang of writers all sitting in a room going what about this and you know... We tend to write separately, so we’ll go off and just dig away and try and find some little nugget of melody or something that catches the ear, and that you can then kind of extrapolate out into a song, that has a kind of magnetism or something that attracts the rest of the band to it.

We just go song by song, we don’t really think about grand schemes for albums. You start to work out ‘oh, well that song is connected to that song, and these ones have common themes’ and you start to work out what maybe the record is accidentally about. It’s fairly accidental and all fairly, I hate the word but, organic. As far as things being in styling for the record – I think recording in Hansa Studios was really important to the record because it’s a legendary place, Bowie recorded there, U2, Depeche Mode.

Had you recorded there before?
We actually did the very end of the last record ‘Where You Stand’, we did about five days there, just B sides, but it went so well that two of those songs ended up going on the last record. So we thought ‘oh this place is great’. It’s got such a peculiar atmosphere. It’s a strange combination of a heavy, dark atmosphere and it’s really creative. You can kind of feel the history coming out of the walls.

I think working with Michael Ilbert again was really important, he is a fantastic producer. He did a great job for us on ‘Where You Stand’.  I think with this record it’s a continuation and building upon that relationship. The working relationship is just fantastic and he really pulled a lot out of us and pulled a lot out of the songs actually to make them really stand out and make them really be as good as they can be.

What are your thoughts on Berlin as a city in general, and the culture? Is there any favourite part?
I really like Berlin, a lot. We spent a lot of time there over last year. We’d go to the studio for three or four weeks and then go away and write again and then go back to the studio for another three or four weeks. We did this about three times so we ended spending about three months or so there.  

It’s got a great feel to it, the way the city has dealt with its history is incredible. I think it’s quite moving to be there and the way it deals with the monuments, its relationship with art and it does it really well. It feels like quite a young city in a way.  It’s very forward looking and I think it’s an exciting place to be at the moment.

So you did some intimate shows in January at London’s Lexington - how was that for you? How was it playing the new tracks?
We did just two shows in one night at the Lexington in London. We had an amazing time and we came off after the first show and we just thought ‘that was amazing, oh my god, we’re never going to be able to do that again, oh my god, that was so great’ and then we went back on and the second one was even better. So it was really great night and it was like I say, kind of like breaking the seal on the new stuff.

All band start playing in little pubs and little clubs and so it’s kind of, in a way, your natural home if you’re a proper band. So, it was great and it’s nice to play hot and sweaty little venues having the crowd right there, right in your face. Also, it was exciting to be playing new stuff in that kind of environment because it’s unforgiving. You have to be able to do it, it’s kind of like proving yourself.

So going on tour in May, what can the fans expect from these new live shows? Plus what new tracks will you be playing? Is it going to be a mix old and new?
Well the cool thing about this record is the songs are really short. We deliberately had that in our minds because on the last record the hardest part, actually, was once we finished the whole thing and we were like ‘oh it’s perfect’ you then take things to radio and they go ‘ah, yeah, we love this, definitely play that but you’ll have to take a minute and a half off it’. So for days, Fran, myself and Michael, the producer, would be emailing each other radio edits and it was so hard because you spend months making this thing that you think is absolutely as it should be and then suddenly you’ve got to start hacking away at it.

So a lot of the songs are three minutes or less, so with that in mind, for playing live it’s great because it means we could play the whole of the record and loads of hits in the time it takes to do a normal set. We just did our first full show in Tokyo, last week. I think we played eight out of ten of the new songs and they sounded great live and they went down really well.

There is going to be a movie and lots of aspects to the show, so if it all works out it should look really interesting as well because we’ve never really had that before.  We’ve never really taken that into account. It’s always been set up the amps and play. 

Which city or show are you most looking forward too on this run? Anywhere you’ve got particular fond memories of in the past?
I love Manchester. I think Manchester is a great city and I always really look forward to playing there, and the show is sold out so that’s really exciting as well. And obviously, Glasgow as it’s our home town.  It’s the first show on the tour so that’s going to be a moment I think.

The thing is, it’s kind of nice because it’s the most extensive UK tour we’ve done for a while. For the last record we did probably half as many shows in the UK so I think this is kind of good to get on the bus and just get to these places and get playing so the whole thing should be good.

As a seasoned live performer what are your touring essentials?
That’s the tricky part is keeping yourself healthy on tour. It doesn’t lend itself to healthy eating or a regular lifestyle. Obviously, you walk into a dressing room and it’s just full of booze! The touring essential is to keep your head when it comes to indulging after shows, we don’t drink before shows anyway because that never ends well. As far as things to take; running shoes –  when you get to our elder-statesmen like situation you’ve got to get yourself match fit.

Really, as far as essentials go, there’s a thing that I always take is Vocalzone Throat Sweets because because there is a lot of high backing vocals! I have this habit of wearing the same thing on stage every – so at the moment I have to take a lot of t-shirts, and I decide on jacket at the start of the tour and that me, it’s kind of like putting on a football strip – you feel ready to go once you’ve got it on.

So you’re playing loads of festivals all over the world – is there any you’re looking forward too?
All of them, I love doing the festivals because you get to catch up with people you haven’t seen for years and it’s always really nice. You get to see bands you would never ordinarily see. I think I really like the festival circuit it’s a fun way to spend the summer. Fuji Rock in Japan is one that I really enjoy because it’s just an amazing setting for a festival. T in the park is obviously very close to our hearts, I think this is our tenth time playing T so, that’s quite exciting for us. And I actually really like V Festival as well, I think that’s a great festival and a lot of fun and it’s an interesting bill this year - very pop.

Is there any particular track that you love to perform or does it change on a regular basis?
There is two things that go on; you really enjoy playing the new stuff because it’s new and you have this extra nervous energy that goes with playing new stuff that you don’t have the muscle memory for that you have with the old stuff. But, another thing, which is the best thing about shows, any show is crowds singing along and because singing is a funny thing.

People are really shy about singing, in general, because it’s giving yourself away, and your voice is you to a greater or lesser extent, you’re giving yourself away when you’re belting out a song but you have the protection of a crowd. It’s an amazing thing to see people absolutely feeling at liberty to belt it out and to feel that energy coming off people is incredible. So, with that in mind it is never boring to play the songs that people know, so you play Sing, Why Does It Always Rain or Drift and the things that makes those things come alive every night is not us, it’s the crowd singing along and that creates an extraordinary circuit of energy.

What music are you listening to at the moment, new artists or whose on the iPod?
I’ve been really enjoying the new Field Music record, it’s absolutely brilliant. I don’t think those guys have ever released a bad album but this one is a belter. I really love the new Iggy Pop record. I think Josh Homme has done an amazing job on that. It’s brilliant because his backing vocals on that just sound like Bowie, it’s so great. That record fits perfectly with Lust For Life and The Idiot, it’s like the third part of that trilogy, its absolutely a great record, really enjoying that one.

And the Mystery Jets album is really good. We did a funny thing for Virgin Radio with those guys. We were asked to do a cover and so Fran and I decided we’d do Like A Virgin because it was for the launch of Virgin Radio and it was on a Virgin Train going out live and the Mystery Jets were there and The Feeling were there and this guy, Gavin James, an Irish singer-songwriter, and so they were like ‘oh, you’re doing Like A Virgin? Can we join in?’ So all the bands joined in and did a kind of mass jam version of Like A Virgin which was hilarious.  

I’ve been listening to a lot of The Who, going back really. My eldest son who is 8 is obsessed with Baba O’Reilly, he wants to be Keith Moon… Which is a worry!

Finally, any message for the fans?
Just that we are really excited to release the record, we hope you like it when it comes out and we are very excited to get on tour and play the new stuff for you. So we, hopefully, will see you all at the shows.

Tickets for Travis' tour are on sale here
The new album 'Everything At Once' is out on 29th April, pre-order it here

Friday, 15 April 2016

Record Store Day 2016 - our picks

It’s that time of year again where we dust off our record players and head down to local record stores to rediscover the lost beauty of vinyl. We’ve picked our top releases for this year and put them all together in a handy list!

Guy Garvey
Having supported Record Store Day regularly with Elbow, this year, frontman Guy Garvey has offered up his single Unwind as a limited edition 7”. Taken from his debut solo ‘Courting the Squall’, which was met with critical acclaim, ‘Unwind’ has been described as “some of his strongest work in years” (Drowned in Sound).
See Guy Garvey on 1st July at Castlefield Bowl. Tickets here

Justin Bieber
Proving Record Store Day is no longer just for hipsters and unsigned bands, Justin Bieber has release a limited edition picture disc of current album, Purpose. Converting even the most devout music snob with his recent run of popular hits, Bieber has shown even mainstream pop has a place on vinyl!
See Justin Bieber at V Festival. Tickets here

A heady mix of grunge and punk, VANT’s radio hit Fly-by Alien has been released as a special luminous vinyl edition. Drawing comparisons with bands such as The Strokes and Pixies in the music press, VANT’s Record Store Day offering is as melodic as it is energetic.
See VANT live. Tickets here

Unreleased until now, this 12 track acoustic performance at the Greenpeace Palace Concert was recorded in 1992. The limited edition 2LP sleeve features a portrait of the band, details from the tour booklet and a review written for the ‘James’ fanzine.
See James in May. Tickets here

Howard Marks
An unplanned tribute to the late, great Howard Marks, Do Not Go Gentle is a touching spoken word homage to Dylan Thomas’ poetry, performed over an evocative composition, a poignant nod to two legends.

Medlar, one of the three WOLF resident producers has offered up this very limited Record Store Day Release, complete with a hand stamped label and old school promo feedback sheet.
See Medlar at Wild Life Festival. Tickets here

Share your #RSD16 buys with us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Rich Kids Q&A

Ahead of their UK joint headline tour with The Professionals, we chatted with Glen Matlock of reformed new-wave outfit Rich Kids. Here's what happened!

How’s it going? Have you been up to anything interesting recently?
Loads but that's for me to know and you find out but basically, playing all over the world this year already - the States, Australia, Europe, so looking forward to doing a show on our home turf.

You were amongst the first group of musicians to experiment with the post-punk ‘New Wave’ genre, which to many, shaped music forever, how do you feel about this?
Well good to be recognised for that at long last, but yes we did try and move on from the bog standard punk template a little bit and think we helped create a bridgehead between punk and new wave and even the New Romantics. Maybe a little bit before our time....

After your official split in 1979 and going off separately to achieve success in your individual careers, how does it feel to be back on stage and performing together at the London O2 Shepherds Bush Empire?
I think anybody who spends that much time going up and down the M1 in the back of a van and sharing hotel rooms must have some kind of affinity that, if they haven't throttled each other, is worth revisiting once in a while.

Many musicians say your work inspired them to create music, but which artists inspired you?
Cool. Loads - Kinks, Who, Small Faces, Bowie, Iggy, Kraftwerk, The Normal - the list goes on...

What are your thoughts on ‘The Professionals’, who you’re playing Shepherds Bush Empire with?
A fine rocking band with some tip top toe tapping tunes that should have done a lot more had their career not been curtailed by an horrific car crash in their first US tour.

Have you been to any decent gigs lately?
Not so many but have played a few!
I did dig Jonathan Richman and Tommy in San Francisco a little while back.

What have you got planned for the rest of the year?
Working on my own Glen Matlock project with some American chums - we have the best part of an album in the can already.
When chance permits, I will also be working on a good tan.

Do you think ‘Rich Kids’ will go on to do a couple more shows, maybe even a tour?
Never say never but let's see how Shepherds Bush goes first on the 19th of May

Finally, could you tell us what tracks you’re listening to at the moment?