Sunday, 30 September 2007

The Departure: Cockpit, Leeds, Sept 28th

Taking the best parts of Duran Duran and the rest from a lot of far cooler acts, The Departure’s earlier work certainly went down a treat, with old favourites such as “Lump In My Throat” and “All Mapped Out” getting the small Cockpit crowd moving. It was in the new material however, that the interest lied as they showed off a range of material from the forthcoming album, including latest single “Chemicals” and the rousing “Seven Years”. In these new songs lays a degree of pop appeal that the band never managed to grasp before, however brilliant and bleak their first release was.
The funky bass of Ben Winton and thick, layered guitar of Sam Harvey showed individual talent and this all tied together in a great sounding show. Front man David Jones crooned and leant over the stage with a certain degree of menace, which matched his sharp, witty lyrics but always finished with a smile as the band clearly enjoyed their warm reception.
Much has changed for the Departure since their first album, the loss of two members and a distinct shift in sound but sometimes change is for the better, and perhaps now they will get the attention they have always deserved.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Mates Of State - Team Boo (2003)

Bearing similarities to Brendan Benson and many others this Husband-Wife duo produce a really full sound and all round interesting record, bursting with kitsch, fun tunes. With too much focus often being placed on their relationship status, I can't help but feel Mates Of State are a band being overlooked by many people who potentially, would love their work.
I haven't always been a fan of organ/keyboard sounds like the ones used but MOS seem to make it work and with clever melodies, make the sound very much their own signature. The use of the boy/girl vocal harmonies adds a classic touch which many are a sucker for while quirky structure keep the songs unique and make the album work very well in its entirety. This is real sugary sweet but sometimes, we all need a little sugar.


Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Busy Times

Just got back from Berlin on Friday night and therefore haven't had any posts in a while. Had an amazing time though, Berlin is a truly unique city with so much to experience and I'd recommend it to anyone, also the Circus Hostel in the Mitte was great with really warm and friendly staff so a big thanks to them!
Back to the blogging, I'm starting university in Leeds this Saturday so I apologise in advance for infrequent posting but things may be a little busy with freshers, settling in and finding a new job! I will keep going though, and once settled I can assure that the blog will be teaming with new stuff. Keep coming back, props to the other great blogs keeping the net interesting, and guys...start leaving some comments!!!

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Carling Festival 2007: Leeds (Part 3)

With the little known activity of sleep far lower on our list of priorities, waking up on Sunday proved to be a much more difficult task than previously. Despite that, we were off to the main arena bright and early for a spot of everyone's favourite pop-punkers, Paramore. Despite plugging the new album at a rate of about three times a minute, they were entertaining and managed to keep the crowd interested for their 30 minute set. After this we were struggling and ended up at the hands, or guitars, of Teenagers where my ears were sonically raped, so much that I felt violated enough after 10 minutes and had to leave. Continuing this trend a friend and I managed a whole song and a half of Good Shoes before we surrendered and left in search of a musical saviour.
Luckily, it was time for The Shins and they played a fairly rocky set on the main stage right in the blazing mid day sunshine to which I think 95% of the audience were smiling and swaying along to. Rightly so, as I thought they were excellent and really brought a calm and soothing vibe to Bramham Park. Bravely missing out crowd favourite "Caring Is Creepy" the set seemed to include material mainly from the 2nd and 3rd albums with my favourite being recent single, "Australia".
Deciding to opt for some alone time, my next visit was to the Carling Tent to catch Oxford's technical dance-rockers Foals. Really tight and full of variation in their songs, I was very impressed by this 5-piece and so it seemed was everyone else, with a overflowing tent moving to every beat. They didn't seem to miss a note and it was really cool to see a new band with such technical proficiency, a definite band to keep on your radar! On a friends recommendation I stuck around for Cobra Starship, a band I'd never heard of, and for a start I was pretty unimpressed. It was only when the songs moved from disco, to pop-rock that I became more interested and the members started to show a few more of their skills. Despite this, I think they may have trouble distinguishing themselves as anything more as another Panic or FOB.
Coming towards the end we quickly got over to the Dance Tent for a spot of "Bizzle Bizzle" and general fun times. Lethal Bizzle is a UK garage/hip-hop artist who has made significant inroads into the indie/pop markets, evident in his appearance at this years festival. A full tent was definitely enjoying the show and, even on my last legs, I did spend most of the show dancing like a complete idiot. It's a show I enjoyed, but not necessarily something I really listen to at home. Despite that, LB is someone you should at least check out.
With the whole crew reunited, I found myself in a good spot for Bloc Party on the main stage and they weren't bad at all, at least for a start. Mixing it up between the two albums and seemingly keeping the crowd entertained. It was only when I got home, and found out that they did exactly the same set at Glastonbury right down to the between song banter, that I felt slightly cheated! I mean, sort it out guys and show a little bit of charisma.
Taking the risky decision to shun indie behemoth The Arcade Fire, myself and a friend went to the half empty Carling Tent to see the significantly less hyped, Silversun Pickups. Sound wise, this band actually had the hairs standing on the back of my neck with the beautifully heavy, layered and looped guitar work. Backed up by solid bass, soaring keyboards and crashing drums the Pickups paint a musical picture much richer than most and they have some tunes too, with songs like "Well Thought Out Twinkles" and "Little Lover's So Polite" rocking the Leeds crowd. The band have an awesome stage presence too with two static figures left and right, leaving loads of space for the highly entertaining theatrics of drummer, Christopher Guanlao, and front man, Brian Aubert. While I expect the Arcade Fire were still working their magic upon the Main Stage we literally ran across to the NME, my lone attempt to get around the logistics of this horrible tent, in order to catch the start of Biffy Clyro. Both really excited about the Biff, they did play pretty well but there was something missing. I have to admit, I was really excited about seeing them so perhaps I am being extra harsh when I say they weren't quite as good as I expected. Still, they were better than most and rocked out especially with "Saturday Superhouse" and "Living Is A Problem" from the latest album.
Finally, cold, hungry but still wanting a little bit more, I searched out the huge flag my friends were now equipped with and found my place within the crowd for the legendary Red Hot Chili Peppers. Starting with lots of energy and some cool extended jams, everything was promising and the crowd, including myself, seemed captivated. However as more and more new songs displaced the favourites everyone was waiting for and the jams got longer, and less fluid it was in the air, that patience was wearing thin. On their last leg of an 18 month world tour, it was evident that the Chili's were tiring quickly and never was this more evident than when the encore started with the decidedly flat album track, "C'mon Girl", a complete let down. I know the pedigree of RHCP and in no way will this performance change my opinion of them overall, but it was disappointing that the festival had to end this way! Never mind, the madness of Sunday night quickly put any disappointments to the back of my mind and my Leeds experience was complete, along with the dirtiest burger I have ever received, just in time to eat while the sun rose again, signalling the real end of this amazing weekend.
Huge amounts of love to everyone who shared the weekend with me, x.

Set List
'Can't Stop'
'Dani California'
'Other Side'
'Throw Away Your Television'
'Snow (Hey Oh)'
'Get On Top'
'Emit Remus'
'Don't Forget Me'
'So Much I Wish'
'She's Only 18'
'Right On Time'
'By The Way'
'C'mon Girl'
'Give It Away'