#EventSpeaks: T’Pau @ Concorde 2, Brighton – 24/11/17


   

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On Friday 24th November 2017, T’Pau came to perform at Concorde 2 in Brighton, in celebration of their Number 1 hit, ‘China In Your Hand’, 30 years ago – back in 1987! The band performed a string of hits, perfectly, with support from Scarlet and John Adams.


John Adams

Unfortunately I just caught the end of John Adams‘ set – a great singer-songwriter from what I saw with quite a distinctive voice (similar in some ways to James Blunt). I will be checking out more of his stuff.


Scarlet.

Scarlet. are a very polished band – their performance flowed smoothly and their timing was superb. I was particularly captivated by the singer’s fairly unique voice, though it does have some similarities to Avril Lavigne just with a slightly more indie/punk vibe. The bands energy was high and their songwriting style was rather brilliant. It’s not all too often that I enjoy support bands but these guys were definitely worth watching and certainly knew how to get the crowd pumped up.

The only drawback I found with this band is since I’ve come home… I can’t seem to find much of their music online. They had a PledgeMusic campaign for their debut album and there is a BandCamp account but I can’t seem to find their album to listen to, which is a real shame. Great sound though!


T’Pau

Carol Decker and the rest of T’Pau took to the stage, with a rapturous applause from the audience and a massive smile on her face. The audience’s diversity was impressive, from first-time-round fans to families, sharing their love of the band with their children – what struck me was just how much of a good time everyone was clearly having.

It’s a great shame that the band had a very strict curfew (as Carol Decker explained) which meant that some of their set was actually cut out prior to the show and there was less crowd interaction than she would have liked, but what between-song banter there was, was pretty hilarious.

There’s no doubt about it that the band have truly perfected their live performances; the vocal harmonies were unbelievably tight, the use of the different instruments was clearly audible across each song and the energy was electrifying. I particularly loved ‘Sex Talk’‘Secret Garden’‘Heart And Soul’ and ‘China In Your Hand’.

In honesty, I personally didn’t know a lot of the songs they performed, before the show, but I sure had a fantastic time and I would defy anybody to go to one of T’Pau‘s shows and not come out with the biggest grin on their face, having danced to their heart’s content – they truly are one of the biggest feel-good bands I’ve ever seen. I will certainly be listening to them a lot more from now on!

Highlights:

  • Carol’s voice was simply epic – I mean completely flawless and full of power.
  • The vocal harmonies between the majority of the band members (used in some of the songs) were unparalleled – I don’t think I’ve quite heard anything like it, ‘Secret Garden’ was one of the biggest highlights for me.
  • I loved Carol’s shameless plug of the band’s merch, suggesting that their latest album would make a great stocking filler and then pointed to one of the audience’s t-shirts, stating that it was now 30 years old and they needed a new one…hilarious!
  • The glances and subtle, glancing interactions between the band members was heart-warming and showed that their relationships were genuine and that they were having fun.

 Setlist

Thank You For Goodbye
Sex Talk
Island
Monkey House
Valentine
I Will Be With You
Secret Garden
Road To Our Dream
Walk On Air
Say You Will
Whenever You Need Me
Read My Mind
One Lesson In Love
The Promise
Bridge Of Spies
Heart And Soul*
China In Your Hand*

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


Finally, I want to say a big thanks to Richard Coates and Tony Cradock for setting up the opportunity for me to review this show. Also a massive thanks and well done to Carol Decker and the rest of T’Pau for putting on one heck of an incredible performance!

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#EventSpeaks: Starsailor @ Concorde 2, Brighton – 25/10/17


   

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On Wednesday 25th October 2017, the massive post-Britpop band, Starsailor arrived in Brighton on their All This Life Tour in support of their latest album, All This Life (check out our interview with James Walsh here). The band put on one heck of a high-energy show, packed to the brim with many of their hits as well as tracks from their new album. They were supported by Paradisia and Tom Speight.


Tom Speight

This singer-songwriter was an interesting performer with a well-crafted sound – apparently he had recently been writing with James Walsh (of Starsailor). His lyrics were meaningful and the addition of a backing singer (complete with shakers!) added a nice diversity to his live performance (instead of the often uninspiring, “guy with a guitar” sound). He and his backing singer had clearly spent a lot of time rehearsing as their vocals were very tight. The only thing which struck me as slightly odd is that considering he is a solo performer, he gave quite a bit of time to his backing singer to take lead vocals; more than you might expect, however there was a certain depth to his performance.

Highlight: Tom entering the crowd with just his backing singer and his guitar to perform a song, unplugged, in the centre of the audience was definitely a highlight and quite a unique performance idea.


Paradisia

From the moment you see a harp on stage, your interest is instantly peaked – not many bands use one, so it was something quite unique from the offset. This trio of ladies didn’t disappoint either; they are remarkably talented musicians, songwriters and performers. Their songwriting style was incredibly individual and their vocal abilities were simply stunning – to harmonise the way they did, takes a lot of practise. The only criticism I had was the lead singer’s sincerity when talking to the crowd and expressing their excitement to be there, or lack thereof – I heard others make comments about this too. However, that aside, I was utterly enthralled throughout their set and have spent time listening to them since – they are undoubtedly fantastic!

Highlight: The perfection with which the trio performed their vocal harmonies was a stunning thing to behold and I highly recommend anyone to check them out. Regardless of your taste in music, anyone can and will appreciate this band’s pure talent and the hard work they clearly put into perfecting their live performances.


Starsailor

The crowd erupted with massive applause as the band’s intro music blared through the PA system…and from there the volume only got louder – both the audience’s screams as the band appeared on stage and the band themselves as they began to play! Undoubtedly, this was one of the loudest shows I’ve ever been to (in fact two days later and I still have a very faint ringing in my ears).

Starsailor are clearly very professional at what they do – they’ve been in the business for over 15 years and toured the world – their set was flawless. They have clearly mastered their live performances, getting the right balance between not talking too much between songs (as sometimes happens with some bands) and playing a good ratio of new and old material. The audience were delighted to hear a string of the band’s biggest hits, including; ‘Alcoholic’‘Poor Misguided Fool’‘Four To The Floor’ and ‘Good Souls’ as well as some tracks from their new album, such as; ‘Listen To Your Heart’‘All This Life’ and ‘FIA (F**k It All)’.

Some of the standout performances for me, were: ‘Listen To Your Heart’ – as the band took to the stage, they made a massive impact on their audience straight away; ‘Take A Little Time’ which although I wasn’t overly familiar with it, was both catchy and a brilliant song to dance to – I’ve actually had it on repeat since the show; ‘Four To The Floor’ which had everyone pumped up and singing along and ‘Silence Is Easy’ as this track is just a real belter – the band played a slightly heavier version than the one they released but my god it was good!

The crowd loved every second of this show and I did too – the passion in the band’s performance and the vigour of the audience made it a truly special evening – one to remember. I highly recommend watching this band live; they will not disappoint…just make sure you bring earplugs – they’re LOUD!

Highlights:

  • The genuine, appreciative grin that occasionally spread across James Walsh‘s face every now and then – clearly showed he was grateful to be there and was enjoying the crowd.
  • James Stelfox‘s facial interactions with the audience were hilarious.
  • The high-energy impact and faultless nature of their set was remarkable – it was a truly special show to behold.
  • James Walsh asking the names of three fans at the front of the crowd who’d sung along to every word and danced without a care in the world, and then dedicating a song to them was a lovely touch of appreciation.
  • I liked Barry Westhead‘s use of different keyboards for different tracks – there was a great diversity with him switching between piano sounds on one keyboard and an organ.

📷 All of the photos in this post are credited to Damon Peirce 📷
Go and give him a follow on Instagram and Twitter.


Setlist

Listen To Your Heart
Alcoholic
Poor Misguided Fool
All This Life
Take A Little Time
In The Crossfire
Lullaby
Blood
Fever
Sunday Best
Caught In The Middle
Tie Up My Hands
Best Of Me
Tell Me It’s Not Over
Four To The Floor
Silence Is Easy*

Encore
FIA (F**k It All)
Good Souls

This song can be viewed on YouTube, below.


Finally, I want to say a BIG thanks to Rob Kerford from Sonic PR for setting up this review and interview with James Walsh from the band and to Starsailor themselves for putting on an incredible show and taking the time to talk to me.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#EventSpeaks: Will Joseph Cook @ The Haunt, Brighton – 17/10/17


   

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On Tuesday 17th October 2017, Will Joseph Cook, came to Brighton to perform a set in support of his debut album, Sweet Dreamer, as well as play a couple of new songs from his upcoming EP. He was supported by Indigo Husk at the popular Brighton venue, The Haunt.


Indigo Husk

The band took to the stage with their grungy, give-a-damn appearance and although the crowd seemed a bit reticent to begin with, after a couple of songs, they had been worked up a treat, with the band’s funky brand of grunge-pop. The lead singer’s occasional ‘whoops’ and sarcastic quips were amusing, whilst the drummer was possibly one of the most engaging band members I’ve ever seen – he was witty, enthusiastic, provided great backing vocals and oozed personality through his crowd interaction. Sadly the same can’t quite be said for the bassist, who barely cracked a smile throughout and the concentration on Flynn’s face looked almost uncomfortable for him, at times. That’s not to say it was a bad performance or that they’re not a good band; it makes them who they are and they were certainly fun to watch.

Highlight:

The drummer – he was captivating and I particularly enjoyed the moments he stood up whilst drumming, taking every opportunity to interact with the audience.


Will Joseph Cook

Will Joseph Cook is a fantastic performer and his unique blend of indie vibes, electronic synths and pop hooks make for one heck of a funky, dance-infused performance.

The moment he appeared on stage, the audience burst into rapturous applause – one thing’s for sure, Will Joseph Cook has worked incredibly hard to build up a dedicated and loyal following, evidenced by the fact that the show had sold out.

His vocals were on point and his working of the stage was controlled and at times even mesmerising. I like that he is able to switch between playing the guitar and singing (which can be quite static) on some songs, whilst on others, he ditches the guitar and works the crowd – it’s great to see this diversity in his performance.

The songs he played sounded just as good as his recordings and at times, Will and the band added a nice leading intro into a song, adding something unique that you could only see and hear if you watch him live.

Not only has Will Joseph Cook produced an incredibly strong debut album (Sweet Dreamer) but his performances are remarkably captivating too. He is definitely worth watching live – make sure you catch his show next time he’s near you.

Highlights:

  • Usually I like it when there’s a lot of between-song banter from the band or artist, but Will kept this to a minimum, playing song after song, keeping the audience dancing and singing along.
  • Getting to hear a couple of his new tracks, live, was great!
  • His performances of ‘Plastic’‘Girls Like Me’ and new song, ‘If You Want To Make Money’, all really stood out to me.
  • Will and the band’s abilities to make the live renditions sound just as good as the recordings.

 📷 All of the fantastic photos in this post are credited to Elliot McRae. 📷
Go on and give him a follow – @EMcraePhoto


 Setlist

Biggest Fan
Alive
Sweet Dreamer
Treat Me Like A Lover*
Plastic*
Habit
Take Me Dancing
If You Want To Make Money*
Fish*
Daisy Chains
Beach

Encore
Message
Girls Like Me*

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


Finally, I want to say a MASSIVE thanks to Isobel Williams from Whiteboard PR for setting up this review and to Will Joseph Cook and Indigo Husk for putting on a great evening.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: The Darkness – ‘Pinewood Smile’


   

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The Darkness are an English rock band from Lowestoft, Suffolk who first came to the public’s attention in 2003, with their debut album, Permission to Land. In particular, their debut single, ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’, was a monster hit, reaching Number 2 in the UK Charts. Now, 14 years on, and with a string of other successful singles and albums, the band have just released their fifth studio album, Pinewood Smile.

Pinewood Smile Cover.jpg

Right from the offset of the opening track, ‘All The Pretty Girls’, you get the feeling that this album is somewhat similar in style to their debut (Permission To Land); the guitars are layered and punchy and they’ve managed to re-create the magic of what made them so popular back in 2003, but this time with the incredible drumming talents of Rufus Tiger Taylor (son of Queen‘s Roger Taylor).

Pinewood Smile is without a doubt a more grown-up and darker record from the band. It definitely still has a lot of the charm that The Darkness have become so loved for (in terms of their mash up of classic rock with obvious pop qualities) but they’re taking on more political views (‘Southern Trains’) and cynical stances and clear frustrations of the modern music industry (‘Solid Gold’). Having said that, while it may be a brand new album, it’s packed with tracks which are sure to become classics. There’s still a lot of that tongue-in-cheek lyricism but they’re weaving it in with variations to their style of rock by experimenting with subtle style differences.

It may be a brand new album but it’s packed with tracks which are sure to become classics.

There are some lovely (and at times comedic) gems throughout the album, such as Justin’s Southern American accent on ‘All The Pretty Girls’, while the verses of ‘Lay Down With Me, Barbara’ are reminiscent of smooth jazz – something you might find in some sort of chill-out lounge. Then you’ve got ‘Buccaneers Of Hispaniola’ which contains some insanely great vocal harmonies; ‘Happiness’ which is quite the stadium-filling, chant-along anthem and it all comes to a close with the beautiful and intricate, ‘Stampede Of Love’, which descends into chaos by the end, making for a fitting end to the album.

The entire record was recorded in Cornwall, with award-winning producer and engineer Adrian Bushby (who’s worked with the likes of Foo FightersMuse and My Bloody Valentine) at the helm. He’s done an excellent job of managing to capture the band’s well-known sound but still put his mark on it too – the drums are a lot more prominent than on some of their previous albums and there are lovely elaborate parts to some of the tracks which he really brings out well in the production.

I would recommend this album to anyone who’s about to embark on a long journey and needs something heavy to spice up their travels. Once you know the words, it’s definitely a record you will want to sing along to, especially in a car packed with mates. It’s a witty, punchy and an interesting direction for the band – well worth getting/listening to.

Rating
4


‘Pinewood Smile’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/pinewood-smile-deluxe/id1259927517


‘Pinewood Smile’ on Spotify

Solid Gold (Official Video)

Southern Trains (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of the band’s latest album! What are your thoughts on it? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or let us know via our social media.


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: Bars & Melody – Generation Z


   

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Bars & Melody (check out our interview with the guys, here) first rose to fame as contestants on Britain’s Got Talent in 2014. The pair were automatically sent into the semi-finals of the competition, when Simon Cowell pressed the “golden buzzer” after watching their performance of ‘Hopeful’ (later released as their debut single). The duo ultimately finished in third place in the series but since then have gone on to build a very loyal following and built up a big name for themselves.

Bars & Melody - Generation Z

The album opens with heavy-hitting ‘Allergic to the Sun’ which sets the tone perfectly for the album, showing the duo’s departure from conventional pop music into a far more edgy sound. It’s quite apocalyptic in it’s feel and reflects the album artwork brilliantly.

Not only has Leondre‘s voice got deeper…so have the lyrics and the styles of the songs – there are quite a few songs based on relationships and dealing with issues related to growing up but the pair are truly writing from the heart. Some of the biggest standout tracks are: ‘Apologise’ (with its beautiful simplicity and captivating chorus); ‘Faded’ (for its anthemic chorus and club-like sound); ‘Serious’ (probably one of the most pop tracks on the album – it reminds me somewhat of Olly Murs) and ‘I Won’t Let You Go’ (Charlie’s vocals are so full-on and passionate on this track – I would really like to hear him use this tone more often).

There is a certain mixtape quality to the record – it is somewhat experimental in its approach, but that’s not a bad thing!

The production of the album is tinted with urban flavours throughout; each song is unique in its own way and whilst it does come together as a brilliant body of work, overall, there is a certain mixtape quality to the record. There are some fantastic songs with catchy hooks and deep lyrics and although there are stand-out tracks, it is somewhat experimental in its approach. That’s not to say it’s a bad thing – it should be celebrated that the pair have spent time finding their own sound and crafting something which not only works for them but makes them stand out.

Considering just a couple of years ago, the pair put out an album (143) which was very pop in style, this follow-up (originals) album is quite a welcome departure from that, demonstrating that they’re maturing, not only in terms of their songwriting but their musical style too. It seems that they’re now truly finding their own feet.

What must be said for this album is that Charlie‘s vocal abilities are truly incredible but to hear him use his full voice more (like in ‘I Won’t Let You Go’), would be amazing. Meanwhile, Leondre‘s rapping has really progressed – his tone is great and his lyrics show maturity. This album is well worth listening to, I certainly found that the more you listen, the more little gems you hear weaving their way throughout – it’s a real grower!

Rating
4


‘Generation Z’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/generation-z/id1262081707


‘Generation Z’ on Spotify

Thousand Years (Official Video)

‘Generation Z’ Track-By-Track

Find out more about the meanings behind the songs with this track-by-track video.


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of the duo’s latest album! What are your thoughts on Generation Z? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or hit us up via our social media.


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

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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#MuzikSpeaks: An Interview with Chicane


   

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Having recently released his greatest hits album, ‘Twenty’ and performed a rare, full-band show at Concorde 2 in Brighton (check out our review), I had the real privilege of speaking to Nick Bracegirdle, aka Chicane, backstage, before the show.

During our interview, we discussed who he’d still like to work, how his newest album is progressing and what passions he has outside of music. It’s all here, in the interview video below!

I want to say a massive thanks to Nick for taking the time to chat to me and to his manager, Louis for making this interview happen. Big thanks to both of you!

I really hope you enjoy watching this interview! Please show your support for the band by sharing the link to this post on all of your social media accounts!



Chicane‘s releases are all available:


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#Review: Lucy Spraggan – I Hope You Don’t Mind Me Writing


   

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Lucy Spraggan is an outstanding singer, songwriter and all-round storyteller, most notable for her appearance on 2012’s series of X Factor. However, since then, she has built a huge following, from her debut, independent album through to this, her fourth album release. This is ‘I Hope You Don’t Mind Me Writing’.

Lucy Spraggan - I Hope You Don't Mind Me Writing.jpg

The album opens with the folk-like songs, ‘Fight For It’ and ‘Loaded Guns’, the first of which has an almost Irish folksong feel to it and the latter with it’s gun sounds and interesting vocal sample, make for a superb opening to the record. ‘Grown Up’ is a very personal song with a deep appreciation of life while ‘I Don’t Live There Anymore’ is a beautiful reflection of times past.

There are three, clear, stand-out tracks on the album (which must be why they were singles!): ‘Dear You’ is brimming with personal emotion – an open letter which deals with mental health issues (the video for which features Thomas Turgoose and can be seen below); ‘Freddos Aren’t 10p’ with its retro references and nostalgia and ‘Modern Day Frankenstein’ which is a very powerful, catchy song which touches on the positives in a negative relationship.

There are other great tracks, such as ‘Hey William’ (a collaboration with The Dunwells) which is fairly indie in style with great backing vocals; ‘All That I’ve Loved (For Barbara)’ which tells a story and shows off her powerful vocals and ‘Puppy Dog Eyes’ that’s a track about the downfall of a relationship.

The entire album is filled with a strong sense of nostalgia, personal emotions, rocky relationships and her trademark story-telling. It’s what makes Lucy Spraggan such an interesting artist and means that her songs are always diverse.

The production on the album is fantastic and lead by Jon Maguire (who’s also worked with the likes of One DirectionCalum ScottBen Haenow and Sam Feldt)! It can be rare to find a pop album produced predominantly by one person these days, but an excellent job has been done to ensure that all the tracks are diverse in feel yet come together with a similar sound; it’s a truly brilliant record.

In summary, Lucy Spraggan has shown that she has been hard at work further developing her songwriting skills, to produce a heavily themed album but with wide variety of song styles whilst maintaining her fantastically poetic lyric-writing ability. It’s a definite, must-have album!

Rating
4-5


‘I Hope You Don’t Mind Me Writing’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/i-hope-you-dont-mind-me-writing/id1176961001


I Hope You Don’t Mind Me Writing on Spotify

‘Modern Day Frankenstein’ (Official Video)

‘Dear You’ (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of the album…have you heard it yet? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment below or let us know via our social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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