Congratulations, you’ve officially survived what we’re pretty sure was the longest month in history! Despite the post-Christmas slump and the bitterly cold weather, there were still some exceptional live shows throughout the first month of 2019, so let’s take a look back at just some of our favourite bits.
O2 Academy Brixton | 16 - 19 January
Ben Howard made a spectacular return last year with the moody, hypnotic album, Noonday Dream and not long after its release, he announced a four-day residency at O2 Academy Brixton. Bringing the romanticism of the album to life with an eight-piece band, flickering imagery and beautiful lighting, the whole experience truly captured everything about the record. Changing the setlist each night, alongside much of the newer material, he also treated the audience to songs such as, ‘Everything’, ‘Time Is Dancing’ and ‘Conrad’ from previous records. Each performance was as mesmerising as the last and it’ll be interesting to see how he develops his sound and live show from here.
O2 Academy Bournemouth | Tuesday 29 January
It’s been nearly a year since The Wombats released their fourth studio album, Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life and what better way to round it up, than with a major headline tour throughout the UK. Stopping by O2 Academy Bournemouth to perform much of the album’s indie delights, the band’s energy on stage was infectious, with the crowd lapping up every synth beat and guitar groove. An incredibly fun show from start to finish, they went all out with their production as an extra cherry on top. Big screens and a giant balloon drop were just some of the tricks The Wombats had up their sleeves and it made for one of the most enthralling live shows we’ve ever seen.
O2 Forum Kentish Town | Thursday 24 January
It’s not often we get award-winning comedians visit O2 Forum Kentish Town, so when Scottish star, Daniel Sloss announced two dates at the venue, we knew it’d be a must-see event. Bringing his brand new stand-up show, X, to the capital, we sat down for what turned out to be a night of belly laughing and feeling somewhat empowered. Speaking about a variety of topics, from the adventures of being a godfather to the sexual assault of his best friend, Sloss had the bravery to spark conversations on serious matters, whilst keeping the mood light-hearted and freeing. It was a show that very few comedians could pull off, but one that Sloss has absolutely perfected and that given the chance, everybody should go and see live.
O2 Academy Sheffield | Tuesday 29 January
After a raucous return last year, The Streets are back for round two. Taking over many of our stages throughout January and February, Mike Skinner and co. have already shown that they’re not here to mess around. An epic foray of showmanship from start to finish, the 23-song setlist was enough to send fans into a frenzy and with circle pits opening up left, right and centre, it’s safe to say that the O2 Academy Sheffield crowd were enjoying every last minute. One fan’s personal highlight was being ordered by Skinner to go and buy him a two-pint-cup of Guinness, which he then downed on stage before continuing the party.
O2 Academy Oxford | Tuesday 26 January
“Very excited” doesn’t quite cut it for Vaccines fans who bundled into O2 Academy Oxford on a cold January evening.”. Selling out in advance, bodies filled every space in the venue and there wasn’t a single person left standing still when London’s indie sweethearts arrived on stage. Giving new album, Combat Sports the live loving it so deserves, it was thrilling to see the crowd react as enthusiastically to the new songs, as they did the classics from the band’s four-album-strong catalogue. Though we spend much of winter lusting after the warm, festival season, it’s bands like The Vaccines that keep the summer spirit alive all year long, and for that, we thank them.
O2 Academy Glasgow + O2 Victoria Warehouse Manchester | 14 - 17 January
Their first UK headline tour since the release of Holy Hell and the biggest shows of their career, everyone knew this would be the moment Architects raised the bar for metal, but we didn’t realise they’d raise it as much as they did. Exploding into ‘Death Is Not Defeat’, the reaction from the crowd was powerful and from then on it was a whirlwind of huge, deafening riffs, pyrotechnics and more emotions than most can bear. Playing a mixture of new material, alongside old favourites, including ‘These Colours Don’t Run’, it was the perfect performance that left many in tears following their touching tributes to late-guitarist, Tom Searle and to the victims of the Manchester bomb attack.
DISTORT PRESENTS OFFICIAL PARKWAY DRIVE AFTERSHOW WITH JESSE LEACH (KILLSWITCH ENGAGE)
O2 Ritz Manchester | Tuesday 29 January
When both Parkway Drive and Killswitch Engage are in town, there’s only one thing to do, throw a massive Distort afterparty. With Killswitch vocalist Jesse Leach on the decks, alongside resident O2 Ritz Manchester DJs, the air was full of people singing at the tops of their voices, hands (and drinks) punching in time to their favourite rock and metal anthems. Jesse talked about what each song in his setlist meant to him and danced like his life depended on it, before then dropping ‘Ace Of Spades’ as his final track, shouting “You ever hear a song that just makes you want to lose it?” and diving over the barrier to start a moshpit with the people down front. You’re welcome back anytime Jesse.
O2 Academy Brixton | Saturday 12 January
Already eleven dates into their Stop The Clocks tour (not even counting Europe) you’d think Enter Shikari would be feeling the effects of their mammoth headline run, but from the first moments of ‘The Sights’, it’s clear where their energy levels are at. Beaming with his usual exuberance, front man, Rou Reynolds, accompanied by a light show almost as erratic as his dance moves, takes us on a journey as they jump between albums from across the catalogue. The set list - predominately ruled by their accomplished fifth album, The Spark – included some surprises, like the cheeky ‘Slipshod’, a lovely acoustic rendition of ‘Take My Country Back’ and a new song aptly named ‘Stop The Clocks’. With a beautifully set stage and a solid collection of fan-favourites, it was a welcome reminder of why they’re as well-loved as they are.
O2 Academy Leeds| Tuesday 26 January
Sass, sass and more sass. That’s the most accurate description of Miz Cracker’s outstanding one-woman show at O2 Academy Leeds. The New York queen and Ru Paul’s Drag Race star had audience members in stitches with her flawless comedy, as well as blending music and dance into her performance for an overall, sensational experience. A firm favourite from the Drag Race series, it was an unforgettable evening that left fans with the biggest smiles and really, that’s all that we could ask for.
On the 25th January, Scottish folk worldwide came together to celebrate Burns Night, in honour of their national poet, Robert Burns. To mark the occasion, we highlighted some of the brilliant Scottish acts touring real soon, listen to them below.
Chvrches - 'Miracle'
Fatherson - 'Reflection'
Tom Walker - 'Just You And I'
The Exploited - 'Sexual Favours'
Gerry Cinnamon - 'Sometimes'
The Dead South- 'In Hell I'll Be In Good Company'
Nina Nesbitt - 'Is It Really Me You're Missing'
Young Fathers - 'Toy'
KT Tunstall - 'The River'
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