#Review: This Wild Life & William Ryan Key @ The Haunt, Brighton – 09/02/19

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On Saturday 9th February 2019, William Ryan Key and This Wild Life arrived in Brighton in support of their recent EP and album releases. They were supported by Brighton-based OKTOBA. It was a magical evening, particularly as it was the last night of their month-long tour. Here’s what we thought of the evening…


OKTOBA

Chris Athorne (better known by his moniker, OKTOBA) performed a wonderfully haunting set with his unique brand of alternative folk. His vocal melodies are powerful and ethereal. He’s clearly a very talented songsmith – a great artist in the making and one to watch.


William Ryan Key

As a wonderfully atmospheric introductory soundtrack blasted through the speakers, William Ryan Key (best known for his days as the singer and guitarist in Yellowcard) took to the stage, with just his acoustic guitar, before launching into his first song.

There is something melancholic about seeing this singer performing without his former band mates, but equally something beautifully vulnerable and honest about his latest penmanship, making this performance something special.

It wasn’t long before Ryan (as he’s affectionately known by his family and friends) was joined by Anthony Del Grosso (from This Wild Life) on the drums, making for an even larger sound.

Though Ryan is keen to promote his new material, it was nice to see him pay homage to his Yellowcard days, performing a range of songs from the band’s back catalogue, with some anecdotes thrown in, along the way.

William Ryan Key has a powerful and distinctive voice and though it’s sad that his former band are no longer around, it’s great that he’s still making music and hearing his voice in this new light is mesmerising. He even said he hopes to be back next year, with a full album…what great news! I highly recommend going to check him out live – you won’t regret it.

Highlights:

  • It was really great to get a candid insight into some of the stories behind his new, solo tracks and also how he coped (or didn’t) with the ending of Yellowcard.
  • It was hilarious when he got the audience pumped for This Wild Life by saying, “Their set is a lot more audience participation, a lot less VH1 Storytellers, like my set.” Great humour!
  • The incredible use of backing tracks, perfectly in time with his live performance made his set sound huge, even though it was just him and Anthony on stage.

Setlist

The Same Destination
Mortar and Stone
Only One (Yellowcard)*
Vultures*
Old Friends
Great Unknown
The Bowery
Downtown (Up North)
Keeper (Yellowcard)
MSK (Yellowcard)
Fields & Fences (Yellowcard)
Ocean Avenue (Yellowcard)*
Virtue

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


This Wild Life

Kevin Jordan and Anthony Del Grosso took to the stage to perform their 12-song set consisting mainly of new songs from their latest album, Petaluma, with some older offerings in the mix too.

For an acoustic rock duo, their sound is remarkably full, and similarly to William Ryan Key, make incredible use of backing tracks and clever blends of their talents, with Anthony even playing the guitar and singing, whilst using his feet to play the bass drum and hi-hats all at the same time – an amazingly talented individual!

One thing that I found pretty funny was that about 95% of their songs ended with Kevin shouting out, “Very cool!” to the crowd – it comes across, almost like a comfort saying and it’s quite humbling that he’s clearly very appreciative of the audience’s reaction. It’s kind of sweet really.

The energy the band gives off is contagious – having never seen the band before or heard much of their music, I found myself completely drawn in by them and moving, even participating, along with the rest of the crowd and for this reason alone, I can’t recommend seeing them, highly enough.

It’s perfectly clear that the pair have a loyal following over here in the UK drawing in a packed house and it’s easy to see why – their interesting blend of rock elements with mainly acoustic instrumentation and a rather feel-good sound (even if some of the songs themselves are self-confessed to be pretty negative) make for something truly special. I’d definitely like to see them play live again – if you haven’t already, you should check them out!

Highlights:

  • It was pretty adorable when Kevin Jordan explained that they’d been out on tour for a month and he was really missing his dog, so asked the audience members to get up pictures of their dogs and show him, whilst performing ‘Puppy Love’.
  • Before performing ‘Hold You Here’Kevin looked for couples to dedicate the song to – when he found one, he got the audience to clear a space for them to slow dance to but then hilariously got out a torch to shine on them – very funny.
  • The combination of many different instruments and backing tracks the pair used throughout the set was awe-inspiring. Their vocal harmonies are awesome too!
  • Kevin‘s on-stage banter is super witty too – making those between-songs moments light-hearted.
  • Whilst Anthony moved some bits around the stage, Kevin performed a great little mashup of 3 massive blink-182 hits (‘What’s My Age Again’ / ‘All The Small Things’ / ‘First Date’) which got the crowd going even more!

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 Setlist

Concrete
Positively Negative
Puppy Love
Westside
History
Hold You Here
Ripped Away
What’s My Age Again? / All The Small Things / First Date (blink-182 cover)*
Catie Rae
Headfirst*
Pull Me Out
No More Bad Days

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


Finally, I want to say a massive thanks to Andy Snape and Xavier Candelaria from Raw Power Management for making this review happen! Also an even bigger thanks to OKTOBA, William Ryan Key and This Wild Life for putting on such an awesome show!


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

Muzik Speaks Live Reviews


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#EventSpeaks: Natalie McCool @ The Green Door Store, Brighton – 29/09/16


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On 29th September, I was lucky enough to get to see a rather intimate gig with Natalie McCool, who is currently on tour, promoting her new album, The Great Unknown, and she really blew me away! She was supported by Lu’Ami and Tiger Lion.


Lu’Ami

Sadly, I didn’t make it to the venue in time to catch this act, but you can find out more about her here – http://luamimusic.squarespace.com/


Tiger Lion

This act was not my sort of thing, however I can completely appreciate their talent and understand just why people would like them. For me, they gave off an air of coming from some sort of hippy commune where they make noise all day until it forms a sort of song. There were parts that felt like we (the audience) were being inducted into a cult, as the instruments made loud, nonsensical noise, however there were other parts that were beautifully melodic. I realise this might sound scathing however there definitely is a market for an act like Tiger Lion, it’s just not for me. Sorry.

Highlight: The use of the lead singer’s handheld synth pads and the drummer was incredibly talented too. The merch was beautifully crafted and I imagine the twinned art project will capture people’s attention too.


Natalie McCool

Natalie McCool blew me away with her set! It was so perfectly timed and brilliantly crafted – she was a real joy to watch! Her sound is so big and consuming that you could have picked it up and popped it into an arena and people would’ve been going crazy for it…however I was lucky enough to see her at a rather intimate venue and for that I am grateful.

I have no doubt that this songstress will be making big waves over the next couple of years as she takes pop music to a new, mature level. Her sound is huge with the use of synths, guitars, drums and pads – it just draws you in. Not to mention, her voice is fantastic! There were small things, like making the last letters of words really harsh so they stand out and off-beat drum fills that just made her set interesting and kept me constantly gripped.

I strongly implore anyone to watch Natalie McCool live, as you’re in for a real treat! Not only that, but she is a genuinely lovely person too; staying behind to talk to people at the merch stand and making time for her fans.

Having seen the show and getting a copy of the album there, I’ve had it on repeat ever since – I guarantee anyone will have an amazing time seeing her live and you should definitely get a copy of her new album, The Great Unknown, it’s ace! She reminded me a little bit, at times, of MUNA.

Highlights:

  • Her rather awkwardly endearing banter with the crowd – I mean that in a nice way.
  • I liked her explanations of the meanings behind some of the songs.
  • The good chemistry between her and her band.
  • The energy and life behind her performance.
  • Fantastic craftsmanship of the set and the way it flowed.
  • The list could go on…just go see her live!

 Setlist

Natalie played the entirety of her new album, The Great Unknown, (although not in order) which includes the songs Magnet*Dig It OutCardiac Arrest and Fortress*.

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


Finally, I want to say an absolutely HUGE thanks to Phil from Sonic PR for setting me up with this review and to Natalie McCool herself for doing the interview for us and  taking the time to chat to me after the show! Good luck with the big, official album launch later in the year.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#MuzikSpeaks: An Interview with Natalie McCool


   

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We recently had the opportunity to catch up with the amazing singer/songwriter, Natalie McCool, about how she’s found releasing her album The Great Unknown, through Pledge Music, what really grinds her gears, her most embarrassing moment and much more. What a lovely lass for taking the time to talk to us! Here’s what she had to say…


1. What’s it been like writing and recording your album, The Great Unknown? How was the experience of launching it through Pledge Music?
Recording and being in the studio is my favourite part of the whole process. I recorded the album in two parts – 5 tracks each time. I was initially going to do an EP but then decided to do an album. The track which inspired this album is ‘Oh Danger’, one of the first tracks I wrote which I have been toying with for a few years now and which I finally made a home for on The Great Unknown – and I think the rest of the tracks really fit around that. Launching the album through PledgeMusic was fantastic – that level of connection with fans is amazing. Everyone supported the album so much and when I sent it out to all the pledgers before the tour I got an overwhelming response – everyone absolutely loved it!

2. What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you, either through your music career, or in life?
That’s a hard one. Obviously there are lots of things but thinking of THE WORST is hard. One of the worst was me and my friend wrote a love letter to a boy at school which we never meant for him to read – it was hilarious. But then he found it in her folder and read it out loud to the whole class!! We actually died. Looking back though it was so funny. Comedy history.

3. What really grinds your gears?
Rude people!!! And people who clearly hate their job and take it out on everyone else. No need for that! Also aggressive drivers. You people make the world suck!

4. Is there anything other than music you’re really passionate about?
Yeah I love art and history, I love going to see different types of art – my favourite is pop art & conceptual art. Whenever I go to a new city I always have to go to the art galleries and museums. I love history too – visiting historical locations and places where huge events have taken place, I think everyone should do those things whenever they get the chance, that’s how we learn!

5. What music have you been listening to most recently? Have you got a favourite song right now?
Favourite song right now? Probably Ariana Grande’s Into You. Such a great song and brilliant production too!

6. Has anything really scary ever happened to you on tour? If so, what?
Probably staying in dodgy hotels!! We stayed at a really dodgy one in Nottingham – it was like the Overlook Hotel from the Shining but totally not as glamorous. We walked into the hotel and were just like…yeah lets go out in Nottingham so we don’t have to spend any more time here than necessary!!!

7. Have you got any disgusting habits?
Probably biting my fingernails. It drives my mum mad. But I play guitar so don’t like having long fingernails. So at least it’s a useful habit.

8. What is your usual process for writing and recording? And where do you take your inspirations for songs from?
My new album is about challenging yourself and about self discovery. There are songs on it which deal with issues I’ve had in my life – common issues that affect everyone at least once – but very personal to me. It’s about making peace with that. I normally write about my own relationships with other people and the relationship between my conscious mind and unconscious mind. It’s a fascinating thing to write about.

9. What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Just enjoy yourself. Whatever happens in life you only get one life – make the most out of it and make sure you enjoy it.

10. Would you rather live in a Disney or Looney Tunes universe and why?
Looney Tunes DEFINITELY. Anything can happen. Also you can get hit by a bus or have a piano drop on your head – and still be alive!


Natalie McCool‘s releases are all available:

  • To purchase on iTunes – Natalie McCool
  • To listen to on Spotify –


Enjoyed this? Check out our other interviews with:

Frankmusik

Prides

Lucy Spraggan

Joe Ragosta from Patent Pending

Ali Tabatabaee from Zebrahead

David Ford

Chris Bourne

Race The Horizon

Life Of Dillon

Platnum

Skip from Almost July

Tom Ryder


#WildCardWednesday: Natalie McCool – ‘Fortress’


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Natalie McCool is a rather remarkable and interesting songstress. She begun building her following after winning a national, Yamaha-sponsered songwriting competition, judged by Coldplay frontman, Chris Martin. It was then, whilst at university, that she received a one-on-one songwriting session with none other than Paul McCartney.

One of her latest singles is, ‘Fortress’, taken from her recently released album The Great Unknown and it’s captivating; such an interesting and unique song with beautiful backing vocals to underpin the beauty of the track. I’ll most definitely be checking out the album!

What are your thoughts of this songwriter? Have you seen or heard of her previous releases? Please leave your comments or recommendations in a comment below, or holler at use via our social media accounts.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Fortress’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/fortress/id1086465535?i=1086465542