#EventSpeaks: Seasick Steve @ Brighton Dome – 13/11/18


   

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On Tuesday 13th November 2018, Seasick Steve arrived in Brighton, in support of his most recent album, Can U Cook? He was supported by country singer Prinz Grizzley & His Beargaroos.


Prinz Grizzley & His Beargaroos

Prinz Grizzley took to the stage, accompanied by his “Beargaroos”, and displayed an impressive blend of country, folk and blues. The four-piece band pulled off some incredible vocal harmonies and certainly got the crowd warmed up for Seasick Steve. It’s truly amazing to see a German singer, demonstrating such an authentic, Southern States, wild-country vibe, with some honest, personal lyricism. A very high calibre of support that is bound to find some great success, even within this rather niche genre.

Highlight: The vocal harmonies the band performed at the end of the track Wide Open Country’ and the whole performance of ‘I Can See Darkness’ – beautiful track!


Seasick Steve

Seasick Steve is a wonderfully modest performer. Despite taking to the stage, to whoops, cheers and thunderous applause, in some respects, he still seems quite timid and reserved. Sure, he packs a punch when he needs to, busting out a move or two and rocking out with grungy, self-made guitars, in all the right places but equally, there are moments when his crowd interaction is somewhat mumbled and understated; he’s a unique performer, that’s for certain.

His honest yet simplistic, sometimes even satirical lyricism and bluesy songwriting style are perfectly matched by his husky, yet incredibly powerful vocals. He successfully merges a blend of country, blues and rock to create an all-consuming sound that found the audience losing themselves to the beat. Sure, there were the odd moments when a drunken audience member would lose themselves so much that they would attempt (and fail) to start a slow clap along to one of the more mellow, folky songs, before eventually giving up, but a Seasick Steve show is all about enjoying yourself, being free to participate however you like and not being afraid to be judged.

One thing that surprised me was the diversity of the crowd – you had your typical, Southern-American wannabes, middle-aged (and beyond) music-lovers – who probably heard of Seasick Steve on stations like Radio 2 but then there were the odd few teenagers – a demographic I hadn’t expected, but was pleasantly surprised to see thoroughly enjoying themselves.

Seasick Steve is a brilliant performer, and the fact he’s 77-78 years old and able to command the stage presence he does, just goes to show what a uniquely talented individual he is. If you haven’t seen him perform before, I can’t recommend him highly enough – I didn’t know loads of his songs before I went, but found myself utterly captivated. He won’t disappoint!

Highlights:

  • Seasick Steve‘s wonderful dance moves were highly entertaining – the guy really knows how to rock out!
  • The vast range of home-made guitars he uses, are something truly unique and frankly spell-binding to behold – what a talent!
  • His crowd interaction was hilarious – particularly when he got to the, “marketing part of the show,” where he talked about making the new album and showed off the vinyl sleeve, making a special mention of a picture in the top corner, where he’s “making out with a dog.” Hilarious!
  • The simplistic, yet humble stage set-up made it almost feel like you were watching a performance in his back yard – very intimate.

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 Setlist

Don’t Know Why She Love Me But She Do
St Louis Slim
Bring It On
Chewin’ On Da Blues
Sun On My Face
Hate Da Winter
Shady Tree (Dedicated to the ladies with long hair)
Can U Cook?
Started Out With Nothin’
Down On The Farm (Dedicated to farmers)
You Can’t Teach An Old Dog New Tricks
Young Blood
Barracuda ’68

Encore
Insta This (Unreleased)
Thunderbird


Finally, I want to say a MASSIVE thanks to Hannah Leeland for setting up this review for me and to Seasick Steve and Prinz Grizzley for putting on an incredible evening.


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#MellowMonday: Life Of Dillon – ‘Only Fools Fall In Love’


   

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We’re so pleased that Life Of Dillon are back with their new single, ‘Only Fools Fall In Love’!

The song has a very chilled-out vibe to it, with its driving acoustic guitar and heart-thumping beats on the body of the guitar, married perfectly with the dreamy, falsetto vocals. There’s also a distinct African flavour with the harmonised backing vocals that run throughout the track. It’s stunning!

The music video for the track is fairly simplistic, seeing the boys performing in amongst some model-like girls and it’s stylised to look like it’s shot with an old video camera, but it suits the song perfectly.

Could this new single finally signal the release of their debut album or at least a follow-up EP?! Let’s hope so!

What are your thoughts of the duo’s latest single? What’s your favourite song of theirs? Have you got a #MellowMonday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Only Fools Fall In Love’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/only-fools-fall-in-love-single/1389932830


#Review: Ben Howard – Noonday Dream


   

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Ben Howard is an English singer-songwriter and musician, most notable for winning the Brit Award for British Male Solo Artist at the 2013 Brit Awards. Since then, his second album, I Forget Where We Were, reached the Number 1 spot in the UK album charts. Now, with the buzz surrounding the release of his third album, Noonday Dream, it could see him reach that same success. Here’s what we had to say about it…

Ben Howard - Noonday Dream.jpg

Ben Howard‘s latest album, Noonday Dream, sees another change to his ever adapting sound, keeping this artist fresh and showing just how diverse he can be. Having seen 4 years pass since his previous album and now at the age of 31, Howard has proven that he won’t be bound to time constraints but instead, ensured he make the time to mature his songwriting and develop a new sound for his next record.

It all begins with the truly haunting and melancholic, ‘Nica Libres At Dusk’ ; a dark and reflective song at the start before emerging into bursts of peaceful reprieve and ecstatic, almost whale song, guitars. It certainly depicts imagery of an American desert, similar to that of the album artwork. Then during the last minute, it transforms into a dreamy, piano-led clearing; a beautiful transformation into a more euphoric sound of hope.

Other songs to take note of include; ‘Towing The Line’ which is an almost Celtic-sounding, folk song with guitars that echo and seem to envelop you; ‘What The Moon Does’ which conjures up imagery of camping out under the stars of the Deep South in America; ‘Someone In The Doorway’, a track that sounds almost like spoken verse, in places, but is probably one of the most upbeat songs on the album and somehow seems like it goes hand in hand with ‘The Defeat’; another similarly half-spoken, half-sung track that has a really rock edge to it.

Noonday Dream is an exquisitely atmospheric, richly textured and highly visual album that is sure to kick off the next chapter in Ben Howard’s career, with meteoric success.

The album was produced by Ben himself, alongside long-time collaborator Mickey Smith, who between them, have done a superb job of capturing subtle nuances that make this such a stunning record. From the warm reverb of his acoustic guitars to the drawn out, whale-like sounds of his electric guitars (as on ‘Nica Libres At Dusk’) and the distinctive piano key strokes to subtle snippets of conversations (among many other captured sounds), this is a truly captivating record.

Noonday Dream is an exquisitely atmospheric, richly textured and highly visual album that is sure to kick off the next chapter in Ben Howard’s career, with meteoric success. Whilst it might not be to everyone’s specific tastes, any person who has an appreciation for skilful musicianship, poetic lyricism and stunning production, will find this to be a real gem of an album.

Rating
4


‘Noonday Dream’ is out 01/06/18 and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/noonday-dream/1364401352


Noonday Dream on Spotify

Nica Libres At Dusk (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Ben Howard’s third album? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment below or via our social media.


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#TunefulTuesday: Jordan Mackampa – ‘One In The Same’


   

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Jordan Mackampa is a Coventry-born, singer-songwriter who has managed to combine his Congolese roots and Midlands upbringing and is deeply inspired by his mother’s love of the great soul singers, as such, Marvin Gaye, Bill Withers and Curtis Mayfield.

‘One In The Same’ is a combination of timelessly soulful vocals with catchy melodies, stunning harmonies and beautifully heartfelt lyrics, creating a captivating blend of folk and soul. The track was in fact co-written by Benjamin Francis Leftwich and Matt Ingram and produced by Cam Blackwood.

This is definitely the start of something magical for this artist and I look forward to hearing more from him in the months to come.

Unfortunately no music video exists for this track, as yet, but if one appears online, we’ll be sure to share it with you.

What are your thoughts of this singer-songwriter? Got a #TunefulTuesday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘One In The Same’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/one-in-the-same/1374225159?i=1374225843


#ThrowbackThursday: Lenny Kravitz – ‘Fly Away’


   

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Lenny Kravitz is well-known for his retro vibes and fusion of various genres, from rock to reggae, folk to funk and soul to psychedelic.

Back in 1998, Kravitz released ‘Fly Away’, one of his most successful singles to date, reaching Number 1 in the UK Charts.

The song was in fact the fourth single to be taken from his fifth album, 5, and due to the huge success of it, not only boosted sales of the album but also earned him a Grammy Award in 1999 for Best Male Rock Performance.

The track is incredibly catchy with its funk bass line and gritty vocals – it’s no wonder it rocketed to the top of the charts.

The music video was directed by Paul Hunter (Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and more) and features Kravitz and his band performing in a club, surrounded by a crowd, dancing and getting frisky. It’s a very iconic video for the artist and shows a real passion in his performance…something he definitely pours into his live shows!

What are your thoughts of this wonderfully unique artist? Did you love this track first time around? Do you still love it now? What’s your favourite Lenny Kravitz track? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Fly Away’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/fly-away/723338099?i=723338326


#EventSpeaks: Isaac Gracie @ The Haunt, Brighton – 25/04/18


   

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On Wednesday 25th April, Isaac Gracie arrived in Brighton to play a headline show, in support of his self-titled debut album (review here) with support from up-and-comer, Matt Maltese. It really was a fantastic show!


Matt Maltese

The singer took to the stage, dressed in a retro-looking brown suit, and performed a string of songs taken from his upcoming debut album, Bad Contestant. His songwriting is quite politically-charged and certainly has a folk/indie vibe to it. There’s an excellent power behind his vocals and a real satire to his between-song banter.

Highlight: The hilarious concept behind the final song of his set, ‘As The World Caves In’; the idea of Donald Trump and Theresa May having a final night of lovemaking as they click the red button, destroying the Earth.


Isaac Gracie

Isaac Gracie took to the stage in front of his sold-out audience, to a deafening applause, launching straight into the thought-provoking, ‘All In My Mind’. Isaac is certainly a brooding artist and for the first few songs, you could hear and feel the aching anxieties he pours into his songwriting, with little audience eye contact, show-casing his artistic vulnerability perfectly.

It wasn’t long before he warmed up to the audience, cracking some jokes during his between-song banter, making reference to ‘Terrified’, saying that maybe he is cut out for it after all. He also fed off a couple of audience members calling out, superbly; it brought the audience closer to him and let them in on his dry, almost geeky sense of humour.

You can’t help but marvel at the passion behind Isaac’s voice and lyricism; he is someone who has clearly worked incredibly hard, crafting their songwriting and made every effort to create a collection of songs that are brilliantly diverse yet still remain true to him, as an artist. His show was impeccable! Some of the most stand-out performances included, ‘Terrified’‘One Night’‘The Death Of You & I’‘Running On Empty’ and ‘Last Words’.

At one point, he made reference to the last time he performed in Brighton, at this very venue, when he supported The Japanese House in February 2016 (see our review here) – it was great to see how he’s gone from being a support act, to headlining his own show in such a relatively short space of time, and much deserved too!

This is an artist who is only just scratching the surface of their career, with their honest and genre-blending music; I truly can’t wait to see what he does next.

Highlights:

  • Isaac’s
  • The fact he came straight out after his set, to meet the fans, taking time to have photos with them and sign merch – it’s fantastic when an artist gives back to their followers!

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 📸 All of the photos in this post (except me with the band) are credited to Chloe CZH 📷
Go and give her a follow on Twitter and visit her website.


 Setlist

All In My Mind
That Was Then
Terrified
Telescope
When You Go
Love (Ain’t Always So Good)
All The Burning Lovers
Silhouettes Of You
One Night
Darkness Of The Day
The Death Of You & I *
Running On Empty *
Reverie
Hollow Crown

Encore
Last Words

These songs can be viewed in the YouTube playlist, below.


Finally, I want to say an absolutely HUGE thanks to Hannah Braid for setting up this review and to Isaac Gracie and Matt Maltese for putting on a fantastic show. It was also great to have the chance to meet Isaac too!

Isaac Gracie & Matt Wright.JPG


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#Review: Isaac Gracie – Isaac Gracie (Self-Titled)


   

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Isaac Gracie is an incredibly talented singer-songwriter, hailing from London. From humble beginnings, his 2016 demo, ‘Last Words’ caused a big stir online, leading to the head of Universal Music flying over from LA just to see him perform, resulting in his signing to Virgin EMI. Now, in 2018, the songsmith is releasing his debut, self-titled album. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Isaac Gracie.jpg

Every so often an album comes along that is both exciting, inspirational and sonically diverse; groundbreaking even…this is definitely one of those albums! (The last album I felt like this about was Will Joseph Cook‘s Sweet Dreamer.)

Whilst growing up, Gracie’s father left the family home and since signing to Virgin EMI, his longterm relationship sadly ended, but out of the ashes of these life-influencing events came some fantastic songwriting material, resulting in this incredibly powerful debut. As such, throughout the album, there are strong themes of abandonment, guilt and heartbreak; this honest approach and willing exposure of his emotional vulnerabilities is nothing new to songwriting but the way it marries up with the instrumentation is simply marvellous.

Opening track, Terrified’ (think Elbow meets Harry Styles‘Two Ghosts’) chronicles Gracie’s own fears and insecurities surrounding the hype about him, singing, “I’m terrified that maybe, I wasn’t cut out for this.” He really needn’t worry though; he certainly is cut out for this!

‘Last Words’ is a huge track for him; it’s the song that kick-started the buzz about him and whilst it’s very different from the demo, he admitted that he spent quite some time playing around with different versions before settling on the one that’s now on the record. He’s managed to strike a great balance between the original demo, maintaining some of it’s raw essence but also brought more depth to it with the addition of strings. Imagine a track by The Beatles that’s been countryfied and you get this!

The brilliant blend of highs and lows, and fusion of indie, rock, country and latin flavours has genuinely created one of the most genre-bending albums heard in a long time!

‘The Death Of You & I’ is a personal favourite – it’s got an almost latin beat behind it before it unleashes a hidden ferocity. The calm verses that erupt into the heavy, chaotic choruses make this an intense and fun song which you can’t help but want to thrash around to, wildly. There’s even an almost salsa-esque breakdown before the final chorus, making this one of the most intriguing songs I’ve heard in years.

Other stand-out tracks include; ‘Running On Empty’, which is relatively mainstream and quite indie (like something you might expect to hear from The Killers or Maccabees), ‘Telescope’ with its beautiful overlapping vocals at the end, ‘That Was Then’, which has stunning, dynamic vocals, ranging from deep to falsetto, topped off with a powerful and melodic chorus and ‘When You Go’, which is a track you would expect to hear from the likes of The Barr Brothers or Vance Joy and be accompanied by a music video shot with an old, handheld, film-reel camera; it’s strongly folk flavoured.

Gracie has been quoted as saying that he set out to create the best record of all time and whilst there are bound to be people who have differing opinions, he certainly has created a masterpiece! The brilliant blend of highs and lows, and fusion of indie, rock, country and latin flavours has genuinely created one of the most genre-bending albums heard in a long time…yet somehow it still works as a comprehensive body of work that is uniquely identifiable as him. This is an album I am certain will make a big impact this year and will definitely carve out an exciting future for his music career. Utter brilliance!

Rating
4-5


‘Isaac Gracie’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/isaac-gracie/1345686455


Isaac Gracie on Spotify

Terrified (Official Video)

Silhouettes Of You (Official Video)

Last Words (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Isaac Gracie’s self-titled debut album? Are you as much of a huge fan as us? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or chat to us about it via our socials.


Enjoyed this? Check out some of our other reviews here:

Muzik Speaks Album Reviews


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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