February brought us many things, we saw snow, we saw sun and we saw a whole bunch of brilliant live acts. Here’s what happened across the country throughout those four short weeks.
O2 Academy Brixton | Tuesday 19 February
On a full moon, a young witch and her following descended on O2 Academy Brixton for a mystical evening celebrating Heard It In A Past Life. Sauntering onto the stage, Maggie Rogers’ performance was magnetic from the get-go. Oozing passion and soul, her voice flying high, she delivered each of the tracks from her debut full-length flawlessly. The indie-folk roots of ‘Give A Little’ and ‘Burning’ set the night off, with the grooving R&B rhythms of ‘Say It’ adding a little sass to the show. Nothing could’ve prepared us for what happened during ‘Light On’, though, as a flash of red hair floated onto the stage and Florence (minus The Machine) Welch danced and sang along with Maggie in the most magical collaboration you could ever experience. Despite an early peak, the rest of the show continued on in style, with a Taylor Swift cover thrown in for good measure and the encore delivering the most haunting performance of ‘Past Life’. Never have we heard O2 Academy Brixton so still and that itself shows the spell that Maggie Rogers has left on people throughout the capital.
O2 Apollo Manchester | Sunday 24 February
Troye Sivan has become an important artist within the LGBTQ+ movement and his visit to O2 Apollo Manchester saw fans adorned in colourful make-up, clothing and plenty of glitter. Working his way through a choice collection of songs from across his two spectacular albums, the atmosphere in the room was electric. A safe space for all, his show allowed the crowd to dance and sing in freedom, enjoying the sense of community within the venue walls, as he praised the city for being so accepting. Fuelled by a new-found confidence and bundles of energy, Troye proved himself as one of pop’s new leaders and delivered a show that those in attendance would never forget.
FRANK CARTER AND THE RATTLESNAKES
Arts Club, Liverpool | Tuesday 19 February
Before the arrival of their self-proclaimed, “most important record”, Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes decided to head out on a super-intimate, extra-chaotic tour and Arts Club Liverpool was one of the band’s many victims. As feisty and acrobatic as ever, the majority of the show saw Frank crowdsurfing and climbing on anything he could find, with the crowd getting highly involved with his antics. New single, ‘Crowbar’ received a thunderous response, giving us an exciting taste of new album, End Of Suffering and judging by the amount of sweaty bodies in the room, there’s still a lot of fire and energy to come from the group once the album hits our ears.
Various Venues | 29 January - 10 February
Similarly to Frank, indie-pop favourites, Bastille, wanted to hit the road for a string of intimate shows before they speed into the next chapter of their career with album number three, Doom Days. Selling out almost instantly, it was a painful wait, but oh was it worth it. Roping in man of the moment, Lewis Capaldi, as main support, the night kicked off with a mix of sad songs and hilarity as the Scottish singer continued to win over the audience with his witty banter. Before long, though, it was time for the main event and as two projectors flittered visuals onto the stage the band made their entrance with a cover of Cat Stevens’ ‘Wild World’. From then on it was two hours of set changes, club anthems (‘I Know You’, ‘Grip’, ‘Happier’) and old favourites, (‘Flaws’, ‘Laura Palmer’), plus a special edition of ‘Bad Blood’, which included a guest appearance from Capaldi. Though it’s unlikely Bastille will play venues of this size again anytime soon, it showed just why they’ve become one of the nation’s most-loved bands and that there’s still so much to come.
O2 Academy Bristol | Thursday 21 February
Grammy-nominated DJ and king of EDM, Steve Aoki, always throws one hell of a party when he comes to the UK and his February tour was nothing short of brilliant. Hordes of fans filled O2 Academy Bristol - amongst many of our other venues – to enjoy the hard beats and filthy basslines of Aoki’s latest album, Neon Future III. Featuring two great supports, LA trio, Cheat Codes and talented house producer, Deorro, this was the most important date in the dance scene’s calendar. Of course, we can’t talk about Steve Aoki without talking about cake and there was plenty of it being dished out, although we feel a little sorry for this fan who got it right to the face…
JOHN COOPER CLARKE
O2 Academy Bristol | Thursday 21 February
John Cooper Clarke is not your average poet. A true rock star, his art stretches across movies, countless TV shows and finds itself on stage delivering witty humour and social commentary. As part of Leicester Comedy Festival 2019, the man himself descended on O2 Academy Leicester to give a historic performance, focusing on notes from his new book, The Luckiest Guy Alive. With a wealth of experience behind him and tales that most of us could never think up, his performance gave us an insight into what exactly goes on in his mind, whilst discussing important topics that prove his relevance in today’s world. A real legend of literature, it was an honour to have him through our doors.
D RIDDIM TRIBE LAUNCH
O2 Academy Islington | Sunday 20 February
It’s not just live music we have going on in our venues and February saw the D Riddim Tribe throw a lively and multi-coloured launch party at O2 Academy Islington. A costume mas band, you’re more likely to see D Riddim Tribe at Notting Hill Carnival, but with so much effort and detail going into those amazing costumes, it’s only right that they flaunted their hard work at the most fabulous fashion show we’ve ever seen. As both men and women sashayed across the stage in the most extravagant carnival wear, applause and cheers vibrated around the room, with everyone coming together to celebrate this close-knit community.
Remember those couple of days in February where it hit 20 degrees across the nation and we all smiled at the sun and welcomed spring with open arms? That was nice. Though the rain soon came, March still has a lot to offer, so here’s a guide (and playlist) of all the brilliant shows happening this month.
Peter Andre - 'Mysterious Girl'
Bob Marley & The Wailers - 'Easy Skanking'
Stiff Little Fingers - 'Nobody's Hero'
Fun Lovin Criminals - 'Scooby Snacks'
Rodney P - 'Live Up'
Blak Twang - 'Rebel Emcee'
P.O.D - 'Youth Of The Nation'
Alien Ant Farm - 'Smooth Criminal'
Embrace - 'All You Good Good People'
Keuning - 'Boat Accident'
Joanne Shaw Taylor - 'In The Mood'
Hoodie Allen - 'Never Going Back'
There aren’t many things better than discovering a new band or artist whose music you instantly connect with. Whether they’re touring the nation making their name or supporting big acts globally, we’re here to put a spotlight on the musically-gifted people with a bright future ahead of them. This month, we introduced you to the indie-pop three-piece who'll be soundtracking your summer, Only The Poets.
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