Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Gig Review: Florence + The Machine

If you've been following my blog, you'll already know how much I adore Florence and the Machine (exhibits A, B and C), but I have to say this time seeing them live I was surprisingly, considerably underwhelmed. There were several contributing factors to be honest but here goes...

First up was Jack Ladder and the Dreamlanders. I'd never heard anything about them before this show, and so didn't know what to expect. As a band they weren't my cup of tea but on the one hand I could see why they'd been chosen to support. The set definitely improved as it went along - the first song was terrible in my opinion, heavily due to the addition of techno/electronic keys (I have nothing against them but these sounded annoying). The second song was more bearable but less engaging - a strong case of background music syndrome. The third song "Her Hands" however was really good! This got my hopes up for the rest of the set. The next song - "Reputation Amputation" peaked my interest simply because of the name - it did slightly fall short of my expectations but I feel like QOTSA could've given it the kick up the butt that it needed. As a whole I don't think I'll be keeping track of them in the future but perhaps they'll pop up elsewhere and re-engage me.

Now for the main event. Thoroughly ruined by the choice of venue and surprisingly so because Sidney Myer Music Bowl aesthetically is gorgeous but for a performer like Florence and the Machine, it was guaranteed to leave the majority of the crowd (including me) feeling left out. Those in the standing area behind the barriers were so disconnected from the stage and the performance that I might as well have been watching it on TV at home. Big kudos to the girl who jumped the barriers and ran into the crowd - I hope that security never caught you. At one point during the set Florence even ran out into the crowd and stood on the barrier to try and engage those standing. I'm sure that those seated in front had a different experience to myself and this definitely taught me a lesson about forking out for the more expensive ticket in the future. Bigger anthems like "Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)", "Shake It Out" and "Dog Days Are Over" managed to stretch their way over the barrier and get a few people moving but some of the newer songs that I was really looking forward to seeing live like "How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful", "What Kind Of Man" and "Delilah", unfortunately didn't quite effect me in the way that I'd hoped and expected. This has in no way affected my views of fatm as artists, I was just a little disappointed that I wasn't more connected to the show itself. There's definitely always next time.

Overall Rating - 6/10


Here are some pictures from the night...







Monday, 2 May 2016

Gig Review: When We Were Small

I actually came to this show on a bit of a whim - a friend of mine was visiting and we wanted to go to a show but didn't want to pay too much, and here's where we ended up...

The first band up, Kondakova, were surprisingly great! Not that I was expecting them to be terrible but I just wasn't really expecting anything. They have huge potential. They needed a little development in terms of stage presence but being their second gig ever playing in the set up they were in - they played really well. Good instrumentalists, solid song-writers, and a very professional feel about them, especially being younger artists. I really look forward to hearing more of these boys in the future, and maybe even seeing them over on UK shores.

On the other hand, the second band - Jarrow - were pretty underwhelming. The band as a whole had terrible stage presence. All except the lead singer who really carried the band. The drummer looked liked he'd rather be a thousand other places and on top of that he was a little sloppy so it just came across as lazy. The band as a whole though had some real gems - Mac DeMarco/Jamie T type vibes - but this just didn't translate too well on stage. I need to give their studio recorded material a listen or maybe even see them in more of a festival environment because I think there's something there, it just wasn't coming across well on stage.

Before coming to the show I managed to listen to one When We Were Small (now called Soft Corporate) track ("Untied") and I liked the sound of it - I wasn't buzzing but I liked the sound. After seeing them live though, I was definitely buzzing! They have some amazing tracks in their arsenal. At the very least, they have a EPs worth of songs behind them. The only problem which I've been finding with Indie bands is that they always sound like other bands. WWWS reminded me most of Kins, Maccabees, Two Door Cinema Club, Los Campesinos and Spring Offensive. If you like any of the bands that I just mentioned, definitely check these guys out. I feel like if this band was from the UK or the US they would already have quite a big underground following - we really need to get some people out to Australia to manage all of this hidden talent.

Overall Rating - 7.5/10


Here are some pictures from the night...


Photo Credit: Ying Wong

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Gig Review: D'Banj

I never thought that I'd be writing a gig review about D'Banj, but when in Australia I suppose haha. Whilst in Australia I attended a celebration for Nigerian Independence Day in October and it wasn't until I arrived that I found out that D'Banj had been scheduled to play. Growing up in a Nigerian household I had definitely heard some of his material before and have enjoyed it in the past but his probably most well known track would be "Oliver Twist". When I thought of that track, I knew it was just going to be one huge party.

First up supporting him was a singer called IYO. She hopped on stage with plenty of energy, a huge stage presence and an image to back it up. However, nothing about her set really held my attention - everything just sort of 'happened'. Although there weren't many stand out moments or distinctive songs that I thought were better than the last, I do however know that she got the crowd psyched up and had people actually discussing her performance afterwards. Something that not many people had done with some of the prior showcases earlier on in the night. I don't think I'd pay to see her again but overall it was an enjoyable set.

When D'Banj stepped on stage the crowd really lit up. There's no disputing the fact that his beats make you want to move. In terms of the set I don't think that there was anything professional to it or even organised, but it really was just one huge party. D'banj came out and just had fun on stage, got the crowd engaged and hyped and provided a good end to the festivities. Had he had a full band behind him - this really could've been a performance! However, backed by solely the instrumental track playing out of speakers, this dampened the potential. Finally of course, "Oliver Twist" was so hyped that he had to play it twice - and it was just as entertaining the second time. Overall it wasn't the most spectacular performance and the material wasn't especially intricate or varied but it was a fun night filled with good vibes.

Overall Rating - 6/10


Here are some pictures from the night...




Monday, 25 April 2016

Gig Review: As It Is

I actually initially only bought a ticket to this show because it had been a while since I'd been to a gig and I hadn't seen As It Is headline since they dropped their debut. I wasn't over the moon but I was definitely intrigued.

The first band up was Breakaway from Sydney. I really liked their songs, pretty catchy and the band was definitely talented. The only thing that brough them down sadly was their lead vocalist. As a vocalist he sounded weak, his scream was okay but everything outside of that was below average. His poor vocals particularly shone through during their cover of Kelly Clarkson's "Behind These Hazel Eyes" and also when he bravely stood alone to sing their song "Memories" from their EP. After seeing them live, I think I'll be sticking to their studio tracks.

Next up - Mae Fire. The first thing I thought when they stepped on stage was that they had a great image. After the over the top theatrics in the first couple of songs that they played I must admit that I wasn't very impressed - I just felt like it was a little unoriginal. However, all of a sudden, after they played their current single "Sole Desire", they really came into their own. As well as being a rock band, they had a kind of groove to them - somewhere in between QOTSA and Don Broco. The band were solid musicians, the lead singer was a little bit "take it or leave it" in my opinion, but overall not a bad set.

And finally, the last support act - With Confidence. You know what they say, "save the best 'til last". I felt like they should have been the only support act - they absolutely smashed it. The whole band had awesome and engaging stage presence, jovial but at the same time focused and excited to just be playing. I really enjoyed their cover of "A Thousand Miles" too. Knowledge of this band was definitely my biggest take away from the night. I also just recently found out that they're playing Warped Tour this summer so keep an eye out because I reckon you'll be seeing a lot of them in the coming months.

After seeing As It Is support Save Your Breath here, I thought I had a pretty good idea of how the set would go and how the crowd would react. I actually expected the crowd to be a little less enthusiastic, simply because the boys were playing in  Australia rather than the UK this time but this didn't dim the fan-girls' enthusiasm. The guys came on stage and immediately their confidence shone through as they punched in with "Cheap Shots & Setbacks". As always Patty's energy was inescapably contagious, bringing the whole crowd up with him. Even though I'd heard a few of the tracks from the new album when they supported SYB, it was awesome to hear the tracks live having listened to the record in full - it made me realize just how good a debut it was. Stand-outs for me were "Speak Soft", "Concrete" and of course "Dial Tones". All in all this was just a really fun show, it just felt like a celebration - of what, I don't know - but I left feeling super happy and I know that this was felt unanimously.

Overall Rating - 7/10


Here are some pictures from the night...





Sunday, 24 April 2016

Gig Review Special

Whilst I was living in Australia for 6 months, as quiet as I was on the blog, I was still out and about heading to gigs and festivals. I didn't get to write about them at the time but I did however make notes, so over the next few months I'll be posting reviews of ALL of the shows and festivals that I attended whilst I was out there. Hopefully as I'm out in Germany for the next 6 months I'll be able to keep the pace going with gig and festival reviews because there is a whole HEAP to look forward to in 2016...

Saturday, 5 March 2016

eTUNES

So I think it's safe to say that this year is going to be a slow one for BLOG(comma)MUSIC as I've been travelling and working since July but I will definitely continue to blog. Of course once October hits, post will be back to their normal regularity so please bear with me until then!

Whilst I've been a bit quiet, up and coming artists around the world most certainly haven't! I've received quite a few email submissions from new musicians so I thought I'd start posting on everything that I receive, whether I enjoyed it or not - one of you out there just might!



SEE.FRANCIS
I must admit, I sometimes worry with email submissions because I've definitely received a few strange pieces in the past but this was a very pleasant surprise. The track "All I Wanted" is really smooth - the beat sounds very Tom Misch-esque using soulful saxophone tones and dreamy guitar riffs. see.francis' flow is the perfect accompaniment too - not too overbaring and lyrically sound. Check him out on facebook, twitter, soundcloud or his website.





JENNESS
As opposed to see.francis, Jenness' flow does not appeal to me in any way, shape or form. In my opinion when he raps he sounds like he's trying really hard to rap along to karaoke lyrics, and I feel like the production didn't help him much in this instance. However, I do like the instrumental on the track "Leap Year", if somebody were to take the instrumental and give it to a pop singer like Meghan Trainor (as much as I don't appreciate her music), I could see this charting.





TERRACOTTA BLUE
Not my cup of tea BUT again I dig the instrumental on the first of the two tracks I was sent ("Stronger"). The second of the two tracks "Dirge" is somewhat reminiscent of Bonobo or Taylor McFerrin's work. I love their material but for me it feels like pieces are missing in Terracotta Blue's music. Chilled out electronic music will always have a place in my heart but for some reason I don't see myself revisiting these tracks. I'll be interested to see whether what he puts out next is able to capture my attention a little more.




SEND MEDICINE
From what I can tell from their track "Tall Flowers", Send Medicine really cover a wide range of genres in their music - getting a lot of folk, psych, surfer rock vibes from this track alone and whilst listening at least 5 different artists came to mind. More than any of those names though, Junip was front of mind. Well, I love Junip and after second listen, I like this track too. I look forward to what comes next.





DOG BOY SHO 
Nothing about the track "Uber" stuck out to me or excited me. I can't see this being used as anything more than a backing track to a vine or snapchat clip. However, if you are big on trap music you might have a little more insight than me - that said, I listen to a lot of trap, this just did not do it for me in the slightest. A big factor in making a good trap song is a great beat and this is lacking. Each to their own, but give it a listen. 





 
COLD SUMMER
After watching their video for "A Time Imagination Forgot To Inspire" I feel like they've definitely got a lot of polishing to do as a band but they're not terrible. I like portions of the song (the chorus in particular) and the riff is cool but the lead definitely needs to work on his scream and the lyrics could've used a bit of tweaking. However, if they keep working at it, there could definitely be something here.






UNKEEPABLE
I really like their new track "Pedestal" and I must admit that I was a little bit shocked to find that they have such a small internet following. The track does sound like a "typical busking song" I suppose but I like the lyrics, the guitars and the vocals so I find no reason to fault it on that. Seeing as they have such a small presence, it'l be interesting to see how they continue to grow as a band.



Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Album Review: Not To Disappear

I am full to the brim with excitement to finally be reviewing this record! Firstly because I've been waiting for this record to drop ever since I was enchanted by Daughter's debut, If You Leave in 2013. Secondly, because I've just finished reading NME's review of this album and it's hilarious to see that they've finally jumped on the bandwagon after slating their debut. Lastly, because it's definitely cemented my view of Daughter's true musicianship and made me hopeful for 2016.


1. New Ways
New ways indeed! This whole album definitely started as it meant to go on, something familiar but distinctly different about this second record. I absolutely love the guitar on this track. Reminds me a little bit of The xx I have to say, but way that this track swells is something that only Daughter could have done.

2. Numbers
As a stand alone single, this track didn't originally stick to me as much as I thought it would. It wasn't until I heard it in the context of this record that I could appreciate it for what it is and honestly, it might just be my favourite track on the album! Those thumping, urgent drums that I loved so much in "Home" have returned, yet with more certain and definite lyrics - telling rather than asking.


3. Doing The Right Thing
Most gut-wrenching song on the record, but I love how transparent Elena's become. She leaves less room for guess work lyrically, while pensive pauses leave us wanting more still. As deep and melancholic as Daughter have always been, this record seems heavier, like there's a lot more to digest and this song is exhibit A.


4. How
This'll be a great live track - Igor's always been a fantastic guitarist but for me I've always felt like Elena was the main event. On this record, there's no escaping how much Igor's riffs bring to the tracks and this is definitely one of those instances. The first few times that I heard this song, all I heard was the instrumental, I barely paid attention to the lyrics.  Big instrumental performance track.

5. Mothers
This song was over before I wanted it to be. Elena has always mentioned "mothers" and "motherhood" in a lot of Daughter's tracks to date and to now hear an entire track dedicated to it, I was looking forward to hearing something that explained why they dwell on the subject so much. I didn't find out but at least I found a good track.

6. Alone/With You
This is one of my favourite lyrical performances on the record. Witty lyrics on feeling emotionally distant but not wanting to be close either. This could've actually easily been a b-side on their debut record. Touches of winter-y coldness but a despondent kind of "over it" feeling at the same time. Good track.


7. No Care
I found myself bopping my head and tapping my foot to one of Daughter's songs for the first time in a long time. I'm so used to just drowning in the worlds that they create but this instrumental is something different. Like I said about the first track - familiar but distinctly different. I'm a little surprised that this isn't one of their singles yet.

8. To Belong
I'd love to see what this would sound like with Yannis Philippakis featured on it. The thing that I liked most about this track is that it felt like it should be a duet, or at least it felt like there should more voices, yet Elena continued to chant "I don't want to belong, to you, to anyone". It's like the conscious choice to be lonely echoes not only in the lyrics but the instrumental as well.

9. Fossa
This point is probably when I was certain that this was exactly what I wanted from their sophomore release. I've had a couple of sophomores really disappoint me in the past couple of years but this is exactly what I asked for from Daughter and maybe even more. This track in particular is one that I might have overlooked on the first few listens but upon further reflection, this might be the silent standout for me.

10. Made Of Stone 
Since the album came out, this is probably the track that I've listened to the least, but upon first listen I thought that this tied the whole album together perfectly. As I said earlier, I'm used to drowning in the worlds that this band create but this track just washes over you. Towards the end, the instrumental sort of reminds me of Imogen Heap's "Hide and Seek". Great end to a great record!


Four years later and I'm still overplaying their debut record just like I said I would here. I'm not actually sure if they've topped their debut with this, they've definitely put out a fantastic body of work. To be honest, speaking from a "journalistic" point of view - this is indeed a bigger and better record. I just think that I feel a stronger attachment to their first. 

Overall Rating - 8/10