So, July was hot. Sure. But aside from the heatwave that nearly boiled us all, there was still time to enjoy some (albeit sweaty) live shows. Here’s a round-up of a few of our favourite shows from our venues.
O2 Academy Birmingham | Saturday 13 July
Last year, Bloc Party reformed to play their debut album, Silent Alarm, in full, at a select few headline shows. Understandably, it was near impossible to get tickets for the initial run, so earlier this year, they revealed they’d hit the road again, taking in more cities around the UK and performing the album in its entirety to as many people as possible.
Stopping by O2 Academy Birmingham for the penultimate date of the tour, there were mixed emotions flying around. Sure, everyone was stoked to be seeing one of the pivotal indie albums of the noughties in all its glory, but there was a niggling thought that, well, who knows when Bloc Party will play live again after this. Once they were on stage though, all worries were shifted aside and in a twist of events, the band performed Silent Alarm in full, but back to front, kicking things off with ‘Compliments’ and working their way through to the album’s opener, ‘Like Eating Glass’.
Naturally, it was the album’s singles, ‘Banquet’ and ‘Helicopter’ that received the biggest reactions of the night, but hearing all the old tracks was a nostalgia trip that we’d happily ride again and again. Finishing off with an encore of favourites from across their career, including ‘Flux’ and ‘Hunting For Witches’, the room was a chorus of people having the best time and soaking up every last moment of Bloc Party’s return.
O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire | Monday 1 July
There are many things that people love about Jeff Goldblum, but last year he surprised us all with the release of his debut live jazz album. A keen jazz pianist, he’s taken some time out from being a Hollywood film star to pursue his other passion and guess what? He’s brilliant at it.
Playing a one-off headline show at the start of the month, straight off the back of his Glastonbury appearance, Jeff prepared a two-set performance that included a delectable combination of live jazz, conversation and well, just about anything else he fancied doing. Making the night just as much about the fans as it was him, he came onto stage earlier than planned to chat with varying members of the crowd and take photos and he set up mini quizzes between songs for a little extra fun. As well as performing songs from his album, The Capitol Studios Sessions, he also put his spin on the Sex Pistols’ ‘Anarchy In The UK’ and of course, the Jurassic Park theme tune, which received an almighty applause from those gathered for what we can only describe as a truly unforgettable spectacle.
BELLE & SEBASTIAN
O2 Academy Oxford | Thursday 4 July
Glasgow’s Belle & Sebastian made a visit down south at the start of the month for a headline show at O2 Academy Oxford and it was one of those shows where you leave with a big old smile on your face. Fresh from the release of new single, ‘Sister Buddha’ the folk-rock collective gave fans a taste of what’s to come from their upcoming tenth album, as well as squeezing in as many tracks from the past two decades as possible.
The only thing with having so many songs, though, is that it can be difficult to remember them all, as the band discovered when they quite literally had to stop mid-song because they’d forgotten how play it. Laughing it off and joking with the audience, they then invited eight people onto stage during fan favourite, ‘The Boy With The Arab Strap’ to dance along with them and keep the fun-filled party vibes flowing. A joyous evening full of warmth and love, it’s no surprise that Belle & Sebastian are still as strong today as they were over 20 years ago.
O2 Academy Leeds | Monday 15 July
Halfway through July we welcomed back grunge-rock icons, Garbage. A band who hadn’t played live in Leeds for 20 years, it was like they hadn’t aged at all, delivering a rip-roaring set that sounded as fresh as it would have done two decades ago. Charging into their set with ‘Control’, ‘#1 Crush’ and ‘Stupid Girl’, it was a strong start, but things only got bigger and better, as they dished out 18 tracks of glorious post-punk that served as a reminder as to why they became, and still are, one of Britain’s greatest rock exports. Playing only a few UK shows this summer, it was a pleasure to have them back after such a long time and we can only hope that it won’t be another 20 years before they return once more.
O2 Academy Islington | Monday 15 July
Mushroomhead are world-renowned for their theatrical live shows and their stint at O2 Academy Islington was no different. One of the most adventurous alternative metal bands on the planet, they’ve enjoyed a 26-year career and grown a dedicated global fanbase, some of whom came dressed for the occasion, wearing masks and extravagant clothing to match their idols on stage.
Kicking things into gear with ‘43’, from their self-titled debut album, the room erupted with bellowing basslines and industrial sounds, which set the pace of things to come. Now quite the live professionals, every aspect of their performance is well thought out and perfected, from the eerie lighting to the costumes, everything comes together to create the ultimate horror fantasy. Of course, we can’t not mention the water drums as well, which add just the right amount of drama to their show, with each droplet picking up the light as it’s pounded from the skin. Simple, but so effective, it was hard to draw your eyes away from and wraps up what is the most unique metal show you’ll ever get to experience.
HANDS LIKE HOUSES
The Old Fire Station, Bournemouth | Thursday 11 July
In what they said will be their only UK headline show of 2019, Aussie alt-rock heroes, Hands Like Houses, certainly made the most of their time up on The Old Fire Station’s stage. Joined by Swedish rockers on the rise, Normandie and local buzz band, Towers, the anticipation was high as soon as doors opened and the energy spread fast amongst the fans. Suitably warmed up from the supports, when Hands Like Houses finally took to the stage the room exploded into a frenzy of bodies chanting back every word.
So captivated by their performance, despite Hands Like Houses already playing their encore, the crowd demanded more, desperate for one final slice of the post-hardcore pie. Not ones to disappoint and with this being their only UK show for a while, the band obliged, performing a couple more tracks before saying their farewells, for good this time!
THE MURDER CAPITAL
Arts Club, Liverpool | Thursday 25 July
After destroying a number of festival stages already, it was Arts Club’s turn to feel the wrath of moody Irish punks, The Murder Capital. With a glint of chaos in their eyes, they set about tearing the roof off the venue and then some. Despite only having three songs available to fans, they filled their set with appetisers of their forthcoming debut album, When I Have Fears, leaving those in attendance eager for more. One fan was so taken with Dublin’s finest newcomers, that after their delivery of ‘On Twisted Ground’ he shouted, “How do you follow that?” and their response? “With this…” as the instantly recognisable drums of single, ‘Green & Blue’, echoed around the room. There’s a reason that this band are being hailed by so many as the next big thing and if they carry on giving performances like this, it won’t be long before they’re dominating stages three, four, or five times the size.
O2 Academy Oxford | Tuesday 9 July
We’re thinking of starting a petition that all hardcore shows MUST happen in the winter because Comeback Kid’s summer soiree was one of the sweatiest things we’ve ever experienced. Playing one of only a few UK shows this summer before they make their return in November, they powered their way through a chaotic, hit-rich set that saw some of the most intense mosh pits in the venue’s history. Firing on all cylinders, the Canadian’s commanded the crowd with each bellowing anthem and not a single person was left standing still. Word on the street is one of O2 Academy Oxford’s staff got so involved that he left with a bloody nose and a few tender ribs, so if you’re planning on seeing Comeback Kid upon their return, be careful, please!
It’s award season! The Mercury Music Prize recently revealed its shortlist, whilst both the Association of Independent Music (AIM) Awards and the Heavy Music Awards have announced the finalists for each of their categories. To celebrate, we’ve put together a guide of all the award nominees that are heading out on tour soon and here’s a handy playlist for you to listen to while you read.
Idles - 'Mercedes Marxist'
While She Sleeps - The Guilty Party
slowthai - 'Nothing Great About Britain'
Little Simz - '101 FM'
Gerry Cinnamon - 'Sometimes'
Jade Bird - 'I Get No Joy'
Fever 333 - 'One Of Us'
Yonaka - 'Rockstar'
Freya Ridings - 'Castles'
Fontaines D.C. - 'Big'
Beartooth - 'Afterall'
Nilüfer Yanya - 'Paradise'
The Faim - 'Fire'
Dream State - 'Primrose'
Black Peaks - 'Home'
Hot Chip - 'Hungry Child'
Boston Manor - 'Halo'
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