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It’s been another hefty week on the live circuit. It feels like all our musical lifetimes are being conflated into every day with every band that was ever in existence all playing in the same city at the same time.
It’s a musical pile on!
There have been some insane gig clashes and the live circuit has begin to turn into a live version of Spotify as we jump around from one event to another with everything on at the same time. Of course this all looks great and is quite exciting but can everyone keep up with this madness and will it ever settle back down again?
Many gigs are suffering from ‘covid-fear’ and ‘gig-burn out’, promoters were telling us that up to 40 per cent of ticket buyers for gigs in London were not turning up for the gigs they had bought tickets for!
Still it’s great all this stuff is on and this week has been as busy as ever even if we were still recovering from our own event last weekend - the Louder Than Words festival - the music and books festival in Manchester with 50 in conversations and events with the likes of Will Sergeant, Jordan doing in conversations and events on Buzzcocks, Ravi Shankar, Skindheads and pop culture, dance music and much much more.https://louderthanwordsfest.com
The biggies on th gig front this week were Sleaford Mods and also Jesus and the Mary Chain whose Darklands album gigs took the brooding dark energy of this classic from decades again into the modern arena. At the time people called the Mary Chain timeless and this has been proved correct as the album which was sort of lost in the rush of the times as the band settle down from being sonic renegades to just being brilliant dark pop band sounds as great today. Like a fine, yet dark wine, these days the Reid brothers introverted insolence is as intriguing as ever and those classic songs more than back this up! With their Darklands tour, the iconic noiseniks (good to see that word invented by LTW boss John Robb back in the 80s getting a revival!) turn on the engine of the time machine. They take their London audience back to 1987, the year of the second’s album release.https://louderthanwar.com/the-jesus-and-mary-chain-roundhouse-london-live-review/
Chuck D posted a powerful statement over the tragic Travis Scott gig in the USA where 9 people have died in the crowd crush,. The current narrative has tried to pin all the blame on the performer but wise old Chuck is gunning for the promoters and the venue. The gig has seen blame and law suits flying and Chuck D – the elder statesman of rap- has now weighed into the debate with a strong defence of Travis Scott who faces a huge court case. For the Public Enemy leader the blame lies with the venue and promoters and the business itself as be he says here. What do you think?https://louderthanwar.com/chuck-d-makes-powerful-statement-in-defence-of-travis-scott-after-gig-disaster/
James have had a long and interesting career - yet somehow they are almost forgotten in the narrow narrative of Manchester music but they won’t be complaining as they have come out of the other side one of the biggest bands from those halcyon days. They celebrate their upcoming area tour with the Happy Mondays in support with a new single - the just released The Campfire EP featuring 3 intimate tracks from the latest album and a classic fan favourite.https://louderthanwar.com/james-the-campfire-ep-single-review/
Covid is rising fast again and in the UK we are at the fingers crossed stage again hoping that there is not a new lockdown. Over in Europe it’s looking a bit more tricky and Holland is teetering on the brink. At least the remarkable and innovative Le Guess Who Festival managed to go ahead. Adapt or die – the story of a festival continuing in the midst of a new and immediate covid lockdown.
‘Celebrate Change’, that’s what the organisers of Le Guess Who? pledged to do when they were forced to postpone 2020’s event to 2021 due to the global pandemic. And, as the vaccines rolled out across Europe, and travel restrictions eased it looked set to be a return to the triumphant years gone by for this Netherlands gem. The Dutch Government had other ideas.https://louderthanwar.com/le-guess-who-utrecht-live-review/
The death of the man who shot the seventies, Mick Rock, was one of those end of the era moments. The photographer was perhaps the defining image maker of the seventies and so many of his shots have become complete classics really defining the times. I interviewed him once and he was not only fascinating but full of old school charm and rascal stories but I also found out that his real name was ‘Rock’ - the most perfectly named photographer ever surely!https://louderthanwar.com/mick-rock-rip/
The Reytons are a new band who are making a fuss! If tell-it-how-it-is punchy gritty story-telling lyrics sang over soaring choppy guitars, a thumping bass and super-tight rock ‘n’ roll drumming wrapped inside great tunes with anthemic choruses tailor-made for legendary gigs full of love, with your arms wrapped around your mates, all belting out the lyrics and the guitar licks and the joy of being alive isn’t your thing, then look away now…https://louderthanwar.com/the-reytons-kids-off-the-estate-album-review/
Seb Lowe has burst out of nowhere. (Ok Saddleworth…) with an upcoming 7 track mini-album that is perfect for the moment. Perfect in that this is a young kid with a head full of words that are his weapons and telling his truth and a guitar that is a machine gun of riffing. This is the teenage frontline with poetry and scrubbed acoustic guitar choppy chords and a poetic angry voice full of passion and melody.
The Men They Couldn’t Hang played some shows after the death of their charismatic talisman Stefan Crush. It was an emotional and triumphant night as The Men They Couldn’t Hang return to their spiritual home - Manchester. Oct writer caught the emotion of the evening.
‘I could agonise over this piece, I really could. I’m afraid this is not just a review of another brilliant performance, it’s much more personal and bound up with who I am, or was. If you are reading this then you will almost certainly be aware that Stefan Cush, heartbeat of The Men They Couldn’t Hang, was sadly taken from us in January of this year, plunging the band and their family of fans into mourning.’https://louderthanwar.com/the-men-they-couldnt-hang-manchester-gorilla-live-review/
The culture wars continue…Girl Band announced that they hand changed their name to the Gilla Band. They have made a name for themselves for releasing some challenging and brilliant records and incendiary gigs but have now decided to change their band name to Gilla Band due to their old name being ‘misgendered’.https://louderthanwar.com/girl-band-change-their-name-to-gilla-band-and-apologise-for-using-misgendered-name/
Soft Cell have been on a lap of honour tour and veteran status suits them swell and they brought their short reunion tour to Manchester’s O2 Apollo. They’re celebrating 40 years since the release of the iconic Non Stop Erotic Cabaret album and previewing material from their forthcoming Happiness Not Included release.https://louderthanwar.com/soft-cell-o2-apollo-manchester-live-review/
Bush Tetras were key players in the New York No Wave scene and their new aslbum, Rhythm and Paranoia proves the no wave music of New York City is alive and pulsating.https://louderthanwar.com/bush-tetras-rhythm-and-paranoia-album-box-set-review/?fbclid=IwAR3TGyIvy3W0u2dLForba2xwEobVvbHvy8meWaRgTL6fsHRR9FTAMQl4Qjs