December 17, 2018


Ian Brown shares Black Roses cover from new solo album Ripples

By Live4ever - Posted on 14 Dec 2018 at 8:08am 

Ian Brown fronting the Stone Roses at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium, June 17th 2016. (Photo: Gary Mather for Live4ever Media)

Ian Brown‘s cover of the Barrington Levy track Black Roses is streaming online, giving another glimpse of his forthcoming solo album Ripples.


Lead single First World Problems has already been released, getting Brown back on his trusty chopper in the process, with Ripples album due to be the Stone Roses frontman’s first solo album in a decade when it’s put out on March 1st, 2019. As well as Black Roses, there’s also a cover of Break Down The Walls by Mikey Dread on there, and three songs co-written with his sons.

The album’s confirmation back in October pretty much ended any lingering hope of the Stone Roses’ reunion leading to a first LP from them since 1994. Despite releasing the All For One and Beautiful Thing singles in 2016, the conclusion of another round of UK stadium shows the following summer had appeared to in turn signal another end for the band as Brown told the crowd at Hampden Park in Glasgow to not be sad it’s over, but ‘happy that it happened’.


December 17, 2018


Blossoms › Music › Review ›

Live Review: ‘How far they’ve come’ – Blossoms at Brixton O2 Academy, London

By Live4ever - Posted on 14 Dec 2018 at 10:00am 

Blossoms @ Bristol O2 Academy, December 13th 2018 (Jessica Bartolini / Live4ever)

The ability to maintain an independent identity as a band whilst upgrading live sets to O2-size venues and stadiums, playing with the Stone Roses at Wembley and being signed to a major label can’t be straightforward, but Blossoms continue to manage the conflict with ease.

A large part of their success is driven by the fact that they were authentic to begin with; derived from a scene and environment that people love with a continued demand attached. Whilst the duration of Blossoms’ live sets has close to doubled, and performance and production values are now slick and polished, it is still the same band. With every music fan in Japan knowing who they are, even just compared with last year they have transformed at a rate few can match.

What’s evident tonight (13th Dec) – when Liam Gallagher is playing not far away in Islington – is the increase in confidence and intensity of expression and projection, of a more character-led and dramatic sort. The set is well compiled and focuses on hits from their debut album coupled with tracks from this year’s follow-up Cool Like You.


Frontman Tom Ogden previously spoke about watching Amy, the tragic documentary about Amy Winehouse, and how it led towards a more intimate songwriting approach, and the last gig of their current tour documents this – it’s a supreme show compared with some previous highly credible ones. A spirited crowd is on alert following a blasting out of the speakers of I Am The Resurrection, This Charming Man, Mardy Bum and Supersonic, and Blossoms do not disappoint.

Kicking off with the energetic I Can’t Stand It, followed by Unfaithful, both nicely complemented by Honey Sweet, leads to a vivid response. The idea of moshing at a Blossoms gig is not what springs to mind, but it’s actually happening. Cool Like You and Blow follow, as do How Long Will It Last and Getaway. ‘Do we have anyone in love in the room?’, asks Tom before launching into the upbeat, synth-ridden Love Talk and the disco-synth anthem I Just Imagined You. ‘We have wanted to headline this venue for a long time’, he reveals, just before the indie blues feel of Smashed Pianos, which mercurially leads onto Blown Rose.

The band’s versatility is obvious, stretching from the Twin Peaks/Stranger Things’ vibe of Stranger Still to the pop values of Between The Eyes. ‘This is for anyone who’s ever been heartbroken’, declares Tom before an acoustic version of My Favourite Room.

The set is finalised over a concoction of You’re Gorgeous, Last Christmas, Half The World Away and Don’t Look Back in Anger, while the decision to lend a tribute The Smiths with Bigmouth Strikes Again in the encore, of which At Most A Kiss and Charlemagne are also a part, works and shows how far they have come.

Blossoms are only going to get bigger; the thought that they could be headlining Wembley in a year or two is by no means ridiculous.

(Susan Hansen)

December 10, 2018


Gig › Music ›

Live Review: ‘Long may this motley crew be at odds with the establishment’ – Black Grape at Bristol O2 Academy

By Live4ever - Posted on 03 Dec 2018 at 11:27am 

Black Grape at the Electric Brixton, London. Dec 2016. (Alberto Pezzali for Live4ever)

As your correspondent was waiting outside the venue, he saw a middle-aged man having a conversation with the door-staff.

The conversation went on for a while, with the man eventually entering the building from a different entrance around the back. This was at 8.50pm; the main act was due on stage at 9pm. Half an hour later, when the band finally made their appearance in front of an intimate crowd, the same man took pole position onstage.

The man in question was Kermit, co-lead vocalist of Shaun Ryder’s Black Grape (to give them their full name) – in the age of careerist professional rock stars, Ryder’s outfit clearly still fly the flag for living life in a different lane.


For all his unique talents, Ryder has never had the most textured of vocal styles, and age has done little to change this approach. He barks into the microphone, his left-field lyrics sadly incomprehensible. Dressed in black and wearing a cap, he looks more like he should have earlier been refusing his bandmate entry to the venue. Hands constantly in pockets, only shifting stance to puff on a vape, he’s one of the most incongruous living legends in music today. As ever with him, it’s about attitude above all else.

Had the door-staff seen any of the gig, they would surely have held their heads in shame as Kermit does virtually all of the heavy lifting, i.e. singing. His joyous cries fill the room for opener In The Name Of The Father, and he sustains his revelry throughout the entire show. No Bez, Kermit is ostensibly the frontman, drowning Ryder out for most of the set, specifically during the venomous delivery of Nine Lives. Midway through, he opens a bottle of red wine and swigs from it readily, a man happy with his lot in life.

All that said, this is very much a double-act. At times it borders on cabaret, with cheesy introductions (‘I’ve lived a good life Shaun’…’Not surprised Kermit, you’ve got Nine Lives’), Ryder not even trying to disguise his lack of preparation; he rarely looks up as he’s too focussed on the setlist and lyrics printed on the floor. But the contrast works well.

With such dominance and emphasis on the front two, the rest of the band are side-lined, yet there’s excellent musicianship on display; the wah-wah funk of Shame and the dexterous Revolver-esque solo on Set The Grass On Fire are poles apart but delivered with equal gusto.

All three components (Ryder, Kermit and band) come together for Reverend Black Grape, here with added Sympathy For The Devil ‘wooh woohs’ over a pace-quickening outro. Being their best song, it’s unsurprisingly the highlight of the night, its odd placing mid-set meaning everything that follows pales in comparison. Which is a shame, as several of the slices from last year’s fine album Pop Voodoo deserve better.

Shaun Ryder freely admits that he’s juggling tours with both Black Grape and Happy Mondays for financial purposes but, judged purely on tonight’s (November 29th) showing, long may this particular motley crew be at odds with the establishment.

(Richard Bowes)

December 10, 2018


Music ›

Noel Gallagher’s 2019 UK and Ireland tour dates are on sale

By Live4ever - Posted on 07 Dec 2018 at 5:05am 

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds headlining Neighbourhood Weekender 2018 (Gary Mather for Live4ever)

The outdoor UK and Ireland shows which Noel Gallagher and his High Flying Birds will play next year have gone on sale.


Onsale now are concerts in Cardiff, Norwich, Manchester, Dublin and Exeter. First up is Cardiff Castle on May 24th with support coming from Gaz Coombes and Boy Azooga. The outing at Earlham Park in Norwich is next for the city’s Sunday Sessions series with guests Razorlight, The Coral and Neon Waltz.

Click here for the latest ticket details

Then, on June 7th, Gallagher will play his first concert at Heaton Park in Manchester since Oasis’ three-night run there nearly a decade ago. The returning Doves are along for the ride, as they are in Dublin on June 16th, while Exeter’s own Sunday Sessions is coming up on June 30th when The Charlatans and Reverend & The Makers are also set for performances.

Onsale 2019 UK and Ireland tour dates:

24 – Cardiff, Castle
26 – Norwich, Earlham Park

7 – Manchester, Heaton Park
16 – Dublin, Malahide Castle
30 – Exeter, Powderham Castle

December 10, 2018


Gig › Music › Review ›

Cabbage detail year-end gig in Manchester

Cabbage detail year-end gig in Manchester

By Live4ever - Posted on 06 Dec 2018 at 12:21pm 

Cabbage performing @ Live At Leeds 2018 (Gary Mather / Live4ever)

Cabbage will see out 2018 with a gig at Night People in Manchester on December 19th.


The festival track Smells Like Christmas is another of the band’s last moves in a year which saw them release debut album Nihilistic Glamour Shots.

“On Exhibit A the band collectively proffer a staggering, perverse strain of country on which to hoist the zero-sum farce of modern politics on its own petard, whilst Perdubaro’s ramshackle post-punk sounds like it might fall apart at any minute, and Disinfect Us dices surf rock, desperation and menace like measures in a polemical cocktail,” we said of it.

“Thus is the influence of Mark E. Smith measured from – dum, da, daaah – BEYOND THE GRAVE. What was and remains his gift is that people can see fit to reject everything around them which defines their generation, seek to personify it, ridicule it and make others question their values without ever asking a single question of their own.”

March 08, 2017


Album Review: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – The Tourist

Ah the modern day troubadour, surely one of rock’s least attractive jobs.
Whatever you face, you do so alone, a state of isolation experienced whilst the audience sits there at a show wondering if the tortured soul that’s getting bared is yours. You may smile when you’re low, but for many singer-songwriters the more honest and fragile you may be, the fewer volunteers there are to pick up the pieces afterwards.
It can help to employ a nom-de-guerre, of course, instead of your own; last year Jack Tatum, aka Wild Nothing, produced one of its best albums in Life Of Pause, a self sufficient effort in composition terms but one which Tatum had never considered as a solo record.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah emerged in 2005 as very much a collective proposition, but in recent years it’s been Philadelphian Alec Ounsworth as the driving force, The Tourist’s accompanying press making no mention of either co-writers, co-performers or co-anyone else. Its kernel, in fact, lives in what Ounsworth has described as ‘a purge of certain emotional confusion that manifested itself in the last several years…not an easy album to make, by virtue of the fact that it was an emotional time for me’.
Unbottling demons can make for work perfect to empathise with, but also a pitch that suffers from compression and self pity; The Tourist however is a work of assured confidence, one man’s vision, not a take stymied by narrow perspective.
It’s also one that takes the familiar vagaries of trans-Atlantic indie rock and fixes them with a hardened gaze. Opener The Pilot beats nervously around an acoustic strum and downplayed keys, Ounsworth’s slightly atonal words snatching at the uncertainty of words and deeds, the ‘tough motherf***er’ he refers to seemingly an aside, a jibe of self deprecation. If that’s asking for some kind of acknowledgement, the avant-pop of Down (Is Where I Want To Be) splices Arcade Fire’s zest with the histrionics of Muse – gambits which shouldn’t tessellate but somehow do – whilst the rangy, drip-white funk of Fireproof is perfectly skeletal, leaving nothing to chance.
This sparsity is probably just a reflection of Ounsworth’s search for fulfilment, to ‘have to try to do something each time that’s new and engaging for me’, past – and arguably more commercial – territories being just those. On Unfolding Above A Celibate Moon (Los Angeles Nursery Rhyme) he’s clutching at notes like motes of dust, a bleary harmonica part way through and ham-fisted, plaintive guitar solo emphasising the downward arc of being so strung out on feeling-junkets that the safe harbour of people never seems like enough consolation.
As much as the singer appears to be trying to cajole and confound in equal measure, there are still threads on which he writes an invitation to the top table of American alternatives: The Tourist’s best moment Better Off is one on which the bass rumbles in satisfyingly and the horizons are brought nearer by looking at the sky, the one anthemical chapter served up here, as if to remind the listener of spells cast by him which will never be consciously re-imagined.
Created alone, that The Tourist has not one hint of voyeurism in its coda is a triumph. Alex Ounsworth has jettisoned his baggage in a way that precludes no-one, and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah remain a proposition that gives him a facade always worth taking at more than face value.
(Andy Peterson)

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February 21, 2017


Music › The ei8htball blog ›

Live Review: Big Thief @ Soup Kitchen, Manchester

By Live4ever - Posted on 10 Feb 2017 at 8:00am

Big Thief live in Bristol (Jessica Bartolini for Live4ever)
They say ignorance is bliss. Turns out ‘they’ might be right, just for all the wrong reasons.

As Big Thief take to the stage it dawns on this writer: he knows absolutely nothing about them – except one solitary thing. The ‘thing’? Their song, Paul. Paul alone is reason enough to travel anywhere. Its absolute raw intensity is breathtaking.
Now what? Maybe kill time until they play Paul? No, Big Thief are not here to kill time, or just play. They are here to share an experience with like-minded, passionate people.
Adrianne Lenker‘s impassioned and aching vocals are haunting. Filling this small, smelly basement with a sense of utter heartbreak and foreboding. The audience and the band hang on her every movement, following her every gesture and nuance. She sings songs with sincerity; there’s no irony or melodrama. Just brutal, gut-wrenching honesty, or nothing at all.
In fact, they seem less like songs, more like painful moments captured and now unbottled. Songs like Real Love make you wonderfully uncomfortable. The tension in them is palpable and deliciously tingly.
Each song feels like pressure released from the system. And with each song, the band further settle into their stride, eventually peeking out from behind the curtain to engage directly with the audience. For Big Thief this somehow felt far more personal and risky; like they were afraid of breaking the spell they’d spent so much time casting.
So even these moments were guarded, personal and delicate. Which only made them more endearing and enjoyable to watch.
They eventually played Paul, and it was wonderful. What, on its own, seems like a towering ode to something lost or unsaid, suddenly seems just a small part of a much bigger story. When placed within the larger tapestry to which it belongs, it suddenly makes sense. It’s still just as beautiful, only now it has added depth and meaning.
Big Thief take music very seriously and make very serious music. Which could make them sound awful and joyless, like that terrible stereotype of what jazz has become, where it’s unlistenable music made for unimaginably horrible people who seem to hate music. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
The truth is, like jazz, Big Thief are fascinating, passionate and captivating. Like Miles Davis or Thelonius Monk (who, it must be said, they sound absolutely nothing like), they make music that challenges the listener. Challenges them to listen genuinely, and hear what’s being said and what’s being left unsaid.
There is as much enjoyment and brilliance in the spaces as there is in the moments. When Lenker steps away from the mic, it’s not because there are no more words – they are there, she just doesn’t need to say them because she knows you know.
Tonight is an extraordinary thing. It’s a surprise, on every level, we’re guilty of knowing nothing but glad for it. If only finding out your wrong always felt this good.
(Dylan Llewellyn-Nunes)

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February 21, 2017


Band Of Horses @ Leeds O2 Academy

Why Are You OK‘s release in June last year has brought Band Of Horses back to the UK for a small tour which was at the Leeds Academy on February 19th. Live4ever’s Gary Mather was there for our next gallery:
Read more:
Ahead of its release, frontman Ben Bridwell had detailed the changing dynamic of the band as their private lives took precedence during the album’s recording. “I didn’t have the opportunity, like I used to, to kind of squirrel away in some cabin or a beach house,” he told EW. “I work all night and then take them to school in the morning. I’m the scariest dad in the school, I’m sure.”
“I didn’t want to just pander to our previous records or maybe even our most fruitful period. But at the same time I definitely attempted to tap into a lot of that stuff throughout.”
The tour has also been in Glasgow, Newcastle and Birmingham. It continues in Bristol tonight before a final show at the Troxy in London on February 23rd.

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Album Review: Beat Happening – ‘Look Around’

Look AroundIt’s easy, through the rosy tint of nostalgia, to believe that indie’s Year Zero came with the release of C-86, the NME’s now legendary compilation of bands from across a musical spectrum which at the time felt all consuming, but in retrospect proved to be less so.

As our tastes became moulded over time by a particular strain of machismo led, sixties-filtered tropes, history became even more blurred, to the point that a British flag would be draped over everything with direct lineage to 1976, a panoply of genres from post-punk to Britpop.

Beat Happening are not only a neat, cross-Atlantic rebuttal to that theory in evolutionary terms – their first EP was released in 1983 – but also proof that the fiercely non-conformist values of punk could be subverted into a perverse art form, one whose ethic was almost consciously as much anti-music as it was anti-performance.

Formed in 1983 in Olympia, Washington, local college students Calvin Johnson and Heather Lewis along (eventually) with guitarist Bret Lunsford found themselves feted almost from the outset to be either critically adored or condemned. Kurt Cobain biographer Michael Azerrad devoted an entire passage of his alt-rock odyssey Our Band Could Be Our Life to them yet, both live and in the press, they drew criticism and aggression which ran in almost inverse proportion to their apparent passivity.

To further both parallel and underline his credentials as an auteur with a prescient Alan McGee-like vision, Johnson had in 1982 set up the K label (based initially in his kitchen), one which prospers today and (in)famously whose logo the doomed Cobain had tattooed on his arm.

Back with the Beats, ‘Look Around‘ is a chronological retrospective which spans an on and off career of fifteen years, one in which they offered cues to generations of kids who grew up to cool out on twee, lo-fi and stereotype free songs complemented by ham-fisted instrument craft. Their gift was to downsize the egotism of rock and roll, hence the elemental feel of opener ‘Our Secret‘, its childlike simplicity rendering the chutzpah of contemporary entertainment awkwardly redundant. Johnson’s hugely atonal delivery – since mimicked by vocalists in a swathe of alternative bands – is then as now however a bridge for the determined to cross before enlightenment.

Not that singing duties were his alone; Lewis providing a slightly more harmonic counter, one which challenges far less on the otherwise just as rudimentary early material ‘Foggy Eyes‘, ‘What’s Important‘ and ‘In Between‘.

Whoever was at the mic, the whirl of superficially disparate influences – garage psychedelia, folk, primeval fifties grease monkey strokes – meant a lack of mould which many British groups who so obviously aped them could’ve learned from. Johnson’s evil, drug guzzling, sex monster twin plies his trade for instance on ‘Bad Seeds‘ (think groovy, early B-52’s), ‘Bewitched‘ (ditto but instead fellow Washingtonians The Sonics) and ‘Pine Box Derby‘ (The Cramps). As occasionally jarring as its libido-spilling wantonness displays a much needed sense of self-deprecation and humour, there are still – whether by coincidence or design – just as many incidences of ‘Teenage Caveman‘s or ‘Angel Gone‘s, cut from cloth so basic they skate the line between genius and parody.

Given the thousands of words spilt about the trio since the time when an inky, decrepit fanzine was the only way to meet like-minded people, ‘Look Around’s finest moments are found in both an archetype and key moment of Beat Happening’s unreserved profundity. The bubblegum star prize goes to ‘Cast a Shadow‘, on which over a rolling, dark-eyed surf pop rifferola Johnson almost reveals some inflection over his words of misanthropic longing. By contrast, the grit in the oyster is ‘Godsend‘ over nine minutes of forlorn, latter dayish understatement, leaving you to consider that having seen pretty much all of their oeuvre out and seen them all back, was this now a moment of ironic mimickery, or an oblique celebration of what they’d somehow achieved? Anyway, it’s still an essay in build and build, eschewing the notion of climax, always spinning like a launderette machine left alone in the middle of a rainy afternoon.

Exercises like this one always seem to have that vague feeling of commodity, no matter how much hipster wattage can be squeezed out of the artists in question. Thinking laterally there’s just as much argument that Beat Happening accidentally created the professionally amateur ethos which has brought us everyone from My Bloody Valentine to Beck.

Whether this set of unlikely parables constitutes proof to you of something as radical as that or not, it’s undeniably an always fascinating listen.

(Andy Peterson)

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Album Review: Holy Holy – ‘When The Storms Would Come’

holyWith a building hype in their native Australia, Holy Holy’s debut album When The Storms Would Come finally crosses over the Pacific and gets its European release.

The nucleus of this musical project comprises singer-songwriter Timothy Carroll and guitarist/composer Oscar Dawson. The duo initially met whilst teaching English in south-east Asia, but Holy Holy didn’t begin until they fortuitously encountered one another again while in Europe some years later.

The duo honed their craft and sound on the snowy streets of Berlin and Stockholm, but eventually returned home and began working with drummer Ryan Strathie (ex-Hungry Kids Of Hungary) and bassist Graham Ritchie. The project’s musical heritage can be traced back to the songwriting and musicianship of artists like Neil Young and Crazy Horse, but together with producer Matt Redlich, Holy Holy here have created a remarkably mature, contemporary indie rock record.


The wistful opener Sentimental and Monday’ peers softly like a morning dawn as Dawson’s sparse guitar twinkles transform into razor sharp scrapes and Carroll reflects on the past over a relaxed groove, musing over the fact that time is just a series of moments slowly slipping through our fingers. The booming, eerie single History hypnotizes with a creeping sense of destruction as Carroll’s delivery and sentiment lures and stalks with a tamed rawness that is rare to find.

Carroll’s songwriting, on a fundamental level, is rooted in tradition with influences such as Bruce Springsteen and Fleetwood Mac; the latter’s presence felt on the mystical, acoustic led Outside Of The Heart Of It‘ – in an album full of gorgeous moments, the track’s piano-led outro ranks as its most serene.

The modern desolate balladry of If I Were You‘, meanwhile, gallops over icy arpeggiated guitars as Carroll lists his regrets and misgivings. The results are better when Carroll displays some equanimity, as he does on the album’s most emotionally potent track Wanderer’. “I gave myself to you when I was empty/You filled me up with something that I could hold”, he contently states, coming to terms with the dissolution of a relationship

Dawson’s and Redlich’s modern aesthetic, juxtaposed with Carroll’s conventional songwriting, is the fundamental element that makes Holy Holy a vital project. With its driving rhythm ‘You Cannot Call For Love Like a Dog will surely get audiences swaying, Carroll’s vocals soar over Dawson’s soundscapes as the latter’s guitar heroics close the track with a tasteful dose of bombast. Further on the syrupy flange of Holy Gin drips with psychedelia while Strathie’s dynamic drumming gives the track an underlying dark blues stomp.

Complete with Beach Boys-esque harmonies and inspired leads, A Heroine is a dynamic jangly waltz, and album standout Pretty Strays For Hopeless Lovers is a glorious 6-minute chug encapsulating everything which makes this record special. With a rumbling bassline, entangled harmonies and a driving piano line the track builds into a Crazy Horse influenced guitar freak-out before dreamy closer The Crowdairs and cools, Dawson closing with some David Gilmour influenced slide guitar textures.

Holy Holy join fellow Aussies Tame Impala, Jagwar Ma and Courtney Barnett in what is becoming one of the world’s most vibrant scenes. It’s clear Dawson and Carroll have carefully crafted their material, few debut albums sound this assured, and the music is remarkably mature yet retains a dualistic vibrance that keeps it fresh and exciting.

Carroll dynamically balances rawness with restrained grace as Dawson’s precise arrangements sharpen and deepen his partner’s artistic prose.

Don’t be surprised if the storm of Holy Holy starts making waves across the Atlantic – these two are the real deal.

(Trey Tyler)

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