Live Music

Chase away the winter blues

Local performers got together to put on a Happy January event.  The Old Woolies on the Moor is being transformed in to a space where artists create and perform while people have their coffee. Comedians, singers and dancers got together to cheer people up and to support the new venue.

Review: Inspiral Carpets at The Leadmill

Despite not being the only big name from the Madchester music scene in the 1980s and 90s, Oldham’s own Inspiral Carpets are veterans to the alternative rock scene of the time, having links with the Happy Mondays and Stone Roses, they are truly influential British legends.

Their Leadmill gig on 6th December saw fans young and old gather together to celebrate an extraordinary act. It was a flawless gig with a killer combination of old and new tracks, giving everybody something to love.

After seeing the Happy Mondays a year ago this month, there was a distinctive contrast between the two groups despite coming from just around the corner from each other. It was very evident throughout the Mondays gig that these guys had hit it hard over the last 30 years. In contrast, no spark had been lost from the Inspirals, a perfect sound and charismatic performance that sounded as enthused and energetic as I imagine it had done the first time they were on stage.

An unbeatable blending of dance and indie that made standing still impossible. The new single Spitfire should be purchased by anybody with any taste immediately.

Review: The Horrors, Leadmill, September 30th

Some of you may have read my less than favourable review on the new album from The Horrors (Luminous) and how I had concluded that I was sincerely hopeful that the gig would make at least some kind of impression.

Well… although I still am yet to be even slightly moved by their latest effort, the new tracks gave a relatively enjoyable “hold music” while I waited for their better tracks.

The Leadmill was absolutely busting at the seams and even when I found myself at times less than enamoured there were a considerable amount of people that clearly were. Despite a slightly awkward amount of interference, there is no denying that the group as a whole delivered a fairly wonderful performance.

My appreciation was given mostly to the Primary Colours tracks (Scarlet Fields, A Sea within a Sea etc.) which just had much more energy and substance to them than the new songs which, as I say, felt more as if they acted as interlude music until the next “proper” track was played.

As the Horrors have gradually appeared to have toned things down since Strange House (the album that nobody talks about) it may very well be possible that I was expecting just something a little more exciting and perhaps shouldn’t have been. I understand that there comes a time for a band to mature or perhaps even explore a new path, it is just unfortunate that for me, The Horrors have lost a lot of their uniqueness and magic along the way.

Review: Kids in Glass Houses at Corporation

The main room at Sheffield’s finest alternative nightclub was filled to the brim for Kids in Glass Houses on the 12th October.  The silence broke and a familiar yet unusual tune began to play. It was “Non, je ne regrette rien” by Edith Piaf – and it halted every conversation in the room. The tension skyrocketed after the classic had come to an end and there was a brief silence before the excited cheers and squeals of fans.

On came Kids in Glass Houses and began one of the most fun gigs I have attended in quite some time. Aled Phillips (lead singer) addressed the audience and kicked things off with Artbreaker I from the 2010 album Dirt. I was surprised and elated at the pure talent he possessed singing live with each track sounding like a recording taken from a studio perfected album.

I was wooed by impressive showmanship, Aled climbed on stage equipment and hung on to metal bars. There was absolutely no barrier between audience and performer as he responded to peoples’ shouts and made jokes with the crowd. When Aled pointed the microphone towards us, the entire room sang back, it was truly delightful. There was a perfect mix of songs from old to new as the group conjured up a near perfect set list containing songs from four studio albums.

Not once did it look as if performing that night looked like a chore and in return the crowd reciprocated the same passion and energy, when the band said bounce, the room moved in unison. It was an extraordinarily exciting gig, upon arrival I wouldn’t have expected myself to have been dancing and shouting lyrics along with everybody else but it was irresistible. It was clear that the band and the audience had the same agenda – to have a great time, and this was exactly what happened.

Towards the middle of the night, the group slowed it down a little for an acoustic song which promoted a sea of waving arms and a couple of cheeky lighters in the air, then things exploded to finish on a wonderfully high note. It is a huge shame that this will be the last time that Kids in Glass Houses will be playing with the announcement of a breakup in February 2014. These guys are not normally my cup of tea musically but if I left every gig I went to with that same level of happiness and excitement the world would be a better place.