Standon Calling

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Great bands, new talents, plenty of rain and lots of mud – Standon Calling provided all the elements of a great British festival. I saw some of my favourite bands as well as discovering some new artists.

On Friday, I caught all of punk band Slaves’ set. In front of a raucous crowd, the Kent duo played hits such as ‘Sockets’, ‘Lies’ and ‘Where’s Your Car Debbie?’ to wild adulation from the crowd. I was also lucky enough to bump into drummer and lead vocalist Isaac Holman before the performance. They delivered a fast-paced gig that had the moshpit going crazy.

Rapper Akala also performed at the festival. Not your typical rapper, his songs touch on meaningful and important aspects of life as well as being politically charged. He was able to excite the crowd inside the packed new tent, ‘Cindy’s Motel’, with only a backing track and a drummer alongside him on stage. He ran through twelve years of material dating back to 2005 in an hour-long set.

My personal highlight of the festival was Cabbage, a post-punk band hailing from Mossley, near Manchester. Having recently supported bands including Blossoms and Kasabian, they performed on the smaller Laundry Meadows stage, giving the performance a more intimate feeling. The set included tunes such as ‘Terrorist Synthesizer’,  ‘Kevin’ and ‘Necroflat in the Palace’.

I also managed to catch parts of a number of other artists’ sets. Four piece Yonaka are clearly destined for big things, and London band Tangerines evoke comparisons to Fat White Family. Other performers at the three-day festival included Grace Jones, Clean Bandit, Orbital, Editors and even actor and DJ Idris Elba.

The festival was a really great experience, even if by Sunday the mud had caused the site to become little more than a swamp. It was a diverse event, with genres ranging from pop and indie to grime and drum and bass being represented. These combined to form an exciting and memorable event for everyone who attended.

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Album Review: Alt-J’s RELAXER

alt j

Alt-J have made a name for themselves since the release of their debut album An Awesome Wave in 2012 as a band who aren’t afraid to try anything new in their music, and it usually works. Their latest offering, Relaxer, features eight songs that transcend multiple genres in what is possibly their most complex record to date. Continue reading “Album Review: Alt-J’s RELAXER”

Gig Review: Gorillaz in St Albans

gorillazInnovative virtual band Gorillaz played an intimate gig at the Alban Arena in St Albans last night ahead of their ‘Humanz’ tour. The band, led by Blur frontman Damon Albarn, played an eclectic mix of songs, drawn from a number of their albums. Continue reading “Gig Review: Gorillaz in St Albans”

Gig Review: The Magic Gang in St Albans

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The Magic Gang have been making waves across the country over the last couple of years with their catchy brand of indie rock. With a host of EPs under their belt, they embarked on a headline tour, supported by Abattoir Blues and Paris Youth Foundation. I was lucky enough to catch them at my local venue, The Horn pub in St Albans.

The night began with Liverpool-based rock group Paris Youth Foundation, who played an enjoyable set of guitar rock. They were soon followed by Abattoir Blues, who impressed with their heavier sound, building up nicely to the main event. A few lucky attendees even noticed TMG frontman Jack Kaye in the crowd before his band performed.

The crowd had seemed relatively quiet and sedate during the two support acts, but this immediately changed when The Magic Gang came on. Within the first few bars of the jaunty track ‘Lady Please’ the moshpit had got into full swing. Despite being somewhat unknown on the mainstream stage, the band have steadily built a loyal fanbase, and the crowd screamed the words back at Kaye as they went through the setlist.

Their most popular song ‘All This Way’ elicited a strong positive reaction, and it was clear this was a band confident in their ability to perform. Other tracks that were particularly good included ‘Jasmine’, ‘How Can I Compete’, which comes off their most recent EP, the imaginatively titled ‘EP Three’, and ‘No Fun’, one of their earliest songs.

The band, which comprises of Kaye, fellow singer and guitarist Kristian Smith, bassist Gus Taylor and drummer Paeris Giles, are already one of indie music’s hottest acts and, by this showing, definitely have a very bright future ahead of them.

 

Surfer Rosa by Pixies

Pixies: Joey Santiago, Black Francis, Kim Deal and David Lovering
Pixies: Joey Santiago, Black Francis, Kim Deal and David Lovering

I first heard about the Pixies when I was reading about Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain; the grunge legend said that he was ripping off Pixies’ quiet and loud style in Nirvana’s biggest hit, Smells Like Teen Spirit. I decided to try the band out, and started listening to their first full album, Surfer Rosa, which was recorded in just over a week and released in 1989. Continue reading “Surfer Rosa by Pixies”

Music in 2017

Wolf Alice are one of the bands who could have a big 2017
Wolf Alice are one of the bands who could have a big 2017

2016 was not, by most accounts, a great year, with Trump, Brexit and an uncountable number of celebrity deaths. However, the music scene rose above this, with The 1975’s I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It and The Last Shadow Puppets Everything You’ve Come To Expect ruling the indie market. I think that 2017 will be an even better year for indie rock. Here’s why. Continue reading “Music in 2017”