I was lucky enough to get press for Common People festival again this year, and much like last time, my favourite part of the day was The Uncommon Stage. Local bands were full of raw passion and the atmosphere in that tent was just unshakable.
Here’s a piece I wrote for Vulture Hound a little while back. Find it on the site here: http://vulturehound.co.uk/2016/09/submariner-the-talking-heads-southampton-live-review/
The relocation of The Talking Heads in Southampton has definitely served the venue well – easier to find, closer to the train station, open for business more than ever. Bands pour in and out of this venue, both local and those from afar. Last week the venue saw Submariner, an indie band hailing from the South Coast of the UK, celebrate the release of their debut EP, In The Dark.
Here’s a piece I wrote for Vulture Hound a little while back. Find it on the site here: http://vulturehound.co.uk/2016/07/warpaint-portsmouth-wedgewood-rooms-live-review/
Four piece indie band Warpaint returned to Portsmouth for the first time in years to play an exclusive warm up show before their set at British Summer Time in Hyde Park the following day. The south coast city hosted the band at the Wedgewood Rooms, a small venue for such a huge spectacle.
Here’s a piece I wrote for Vulture Hound a little while back. Find it on the site here: http://vulturehound.co.uk/2016/06/common-people-festival-southampton/
For the second time ever Southampton welcomed a wealth of acts and ferocious sunshine to their Common for a weekend of music, entertainment and most importantly of course, the world’s biggest bouncy castle. Predictions of a rainy weekend were washed away as the sun shone brightly over all the liveliness of the weekend – from local bands to big names, there was a lot to see.
Originally posted on Noise Cannon: http://noisecannon.com/2015/10/19/jamie-xx-o2-academy-brixton/
Jamie Smith has always had a modest air about him, from his work with The xx to his latest solo project as Jamie xx, he’s not one to boast. Neither is he one to talk to the crowd, much less to anyone else. However, he is one to stick it to the crowd, with a careful selection of music that he absorbs himself in to. Smith’s lack of vocal interaction puts all focus on the music, and as he mixes those records, the anticipation lies in where the song is going to go. It is perhaps this that has earned him a sold out show at Brixton Academy as part of his In Colour tour.
Opening with a reworked version of ‘Sleep Sound’, the crowd roar as every beat is pounded with a bass that shakes the floor and makes you feel downright dirty. Smith’s absorption in the music is resounded through the room, his energy bouncing back on the crowd. There’s no surge to the front of the stage, there’s no violence, everyone is quite literally all under one roof, raving. Smith holds a very strong presence, but you don’t need to look to the stage to realise it – it’s felt in every beat, every strobe of light, every ecstatic smile you see on the faces around you.
Every track played is mixed into oblivion, offering surprises left right and center, keeping us on our toes, and even ‘Good Times’ – with its general mixed reception among Jamie xx fans – goes down a treat. To pick a weak point is hard, and to be honest, being overly analytic of the night proves a struggle as Smith’s performance is almost hypnotic at times. It’s easy to think of these kinds of shows as glorified DJ sets, but you’d be sorely mistaken to think this is a lazy man’s game. The sheer thought put into how to mix up each song is unimaginable, and then maintaining the crowd’s interaction without forced humour – this is a movements show, with dancing bodies holding more of a seal of approval than any amount of cheering.
The crowd only slows towards the end, in appreciation as opposed to boredom, as the subdued ‘Loud Places’ softens the blow of a heavy night with confetti filling the room. It’s almost as if everyone feels the need to take a snapshot of the night, just before ‘Girl’ kicks in to close the night, and the movement ensues.
Support for tonight’s show came from Oxford four-piece Pixel Fix. On record they sound quite soft and serene but what they did on stage elevated their sound into something that not only pulses through the body, but pounds right through to the bone. On top of this, the energy they put into the playing of their instruments, from melodic shredding of guitars to kicking the bass drum through your skull, made for an enticing spectacle to behold. Even at their most static points there was just a buzz about the room that really set the tone for As Elephants Are. Continue reading
Following the release of We Are The Ocean’s third record ‘Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow’, the pressure was on guitarist Liam Cromby to step up as frontman after the departure of vocalist Dan Brown in 2012. A solo acoustic rendition of “Stanford Rivers” from the recent album showed that he was more than prepared to take centre stage. The rest of the band then joined him to see the whole place immediately come alive and sweaty to the angst ridden riffs of “Bleed” also from the new album. We Are The Ocean seem to be proving themselves to even the most die hard fangirls of previous poster boy Dan Brown.
Cromby proceeds to show off his frontman capabilities with interaction between songs, rather enjoying the crowd coining his very Essex ‘alright’ as phrase of the night. Even during older songs where Brown would have been the main focus, the band managed to keep it strong and we heard more of guitarist Alfie Scullie’s voice to accompany Cromby.
The set ends as it started with just Cromby on stage with his acoustic guitar, this time singing “Young Heart”. He is by no means alone however as the entire crowd scream his lyrics right back at him. Furthermore the rest of We Are The Ocean, along with support acts Yashin and Straight Lines bombard him with a hat and some shades to complete the frontman look, almost as if he hadn’t already proved himself worthy of the slot.