Steve Mason It’s a cold and damp Sunday evening in Manchester and the largely deserted Oxford Road around The Academy is festooned with fenced-off road works. Not an appealing start to the evening, but fortunately we are about to come in from the cold and witness a spirited solo performance from former Beta Band man Steve Mason.


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Wilko Johnson Tonight to Leamington Assembly Rooms to see a man who is supposed to be dead. Quite literally. Diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2012, this stubborn character stuck two fingers up at the C word and went out and performed with a zest for life. A second option and life-saving surgery he’s now clear of the disease. “Man there’s nothing like being told your dying to feel alive.” The zest, spark for life and love of playing live brings us to tonight - in Leamington - ladies and gentlemen it’s Wilko Johnson.


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Prince 2016 has been a terrible year so far. Social media is weeping at yet another loss of an icon. And again we reel in shock at the unexpected announcement of the death of Prince Rogers Nelson, aged just 57, at his home in Minnesota.


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Orchard Hill 19th of April I attended the penultimate gig organised by European Tour Collective, whereby Orchard Hill, Face the Ocean, Syren City, Speaking in Shadows and Nightlife descended on the Garage in London for an epic night of awesome homegrown UK rock.


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Wolfmother Wolfmother made their way onto the stage at the rather early time of 8 bells to make sure they finished in time for another modern phenomena, the 10pm curfew. Not that it mattered a jot as the now packed out Rock City greeted the band noisily and enthusiastically.


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Funeral For A Friend Tonight Birmingham bids farewell to a band that have seemingly always been there, that band that you’re pretty sure that you support, that band you once saw, that band that have a tonne of songs you didn’t know you knew... that band is Funeral For A Friend.


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Animal Collective The fact that weird electro-pop-experimenters Animal Collective have sold out Manchester’s Ritz tonight suggests they have become relatively mainstream. Much of their mass appeal is down to 2009’s highly successful crossover album, ‘Merriweather Post Pavilion’ and now they are touring to promote their latest album, ‘Painting With’.


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Black Mountain As a fan of their previous three albums. I’ve really been looking forward to this gig and, fortunately, it turns out to be a fabulous evening. Canada’s Black Mountain are in Leeds for a rare UK appearance to promote their new, fourth, long-player.


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Catfish and the Bottlemen So even though it’s the biggest venue in my home town (4000 capacity give or take) I’m not a huge fan of The Dome. It just seems the wrong shape and bands have often struggled with the sound there. It is after all a sports hall. I’ve seen Weller, Manics, Levellers, Faithless and The Beautiful South struggle there. The only band I’ve seen really nail it have been Kasabian. So given this was also my first time seeing Catfish and the Bottlemen stepping up to a larger room it promised to be an interesting evening.


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Rick Astley “I know your only here for Never Gonna Give You Up” quipped 80’s icon Rick Astley, echoing a social media feed I took part in earlier in the day, 28 years in the business but the song he’s most remembered for, “you’ll just have to wait, you buggers!”


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Brian Fallon & The Crowes Tonight sees the return of the charismatic and charming Brian Fallon who is known from his time as the frontman of New Jersey’s finest, The Gaslight Anthem. The UK tour is hot off the release of his brand new debut solo album, ‘Painkillers’ which sees Brian Fallon also brings his band The Crowes, featuring fellow Gaslight Anthem and Horrible Crowes guitarist Ian Perkins.


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TMuse Here at Gig Junkies we’re lucky buggers! We get to photograph some superb gigs and Muse’s Birmingham date on their ‘Drones World Tour’ is just one of them.


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The Wonder Stuff There’s gigs, there’s great gigs and then there’s gigs when everything is just perfect and lodges itself permanently in your music sodden brain. For the perfect gig certain things have to fall into place, in this writer’s humble opinion. The venue has to be intimate but large enough not to feel claustrophobic. The sound has to be top notch. We’ve all been at gigs where the sound is such a mess that a band can be 2 minutes into a song before you realise you know said song, and know it well. The crowd have to be up for it without being over the top. The bands have to be on fire but more than that they have to be enjoying themselves. A band who look like they don’t want to be there are just no fun at all.


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Crossfaith Crossfaith really are a guilty pleasure, and in all honesty after seeing them 4 times now I can’t decipher how they haven’t quite blown up yet. They are a band you need to experience live. Their one by one, riser posing entrance never gets old and I always want to know what leather jacket keyboardist Terufumi will be wearing this time. Sadly nothing compares to the Akira red jacket but tonight’s slogan emblazoned back of ‘New Age Warriors’ is promptly second favourite.


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