whenyoung It takes a strong performance for a band to hold the attention of drunken students in the middle of a night out. This is exactly what newcomers whenyoung achieved whilst playing the side room of the Kasbah on a busy Friday night.


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Three Days Grace Three Days Grace are one of those bands that I've binged from an early age. After first discovering them in 2004 watching the film Raise Your Voice (and proceeding to begging my mum to take me to Virgin Megastore to buy their self-titled debut album), they've been a band that I've had in my playlists for the last 14 years, but never managed to catch live.


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Anna Calvi Anna Calvi is an artist cut from the same cloth as Nick Cave, St.Vincent and PJ Harvey. Unique, intriguing and completely breath-taking to see live. She’s one of those artists that creates their own off-kilter world and invites you in to share their vision for an hour and a half, drawing you further and further in with every note.


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Rex Orange County As I stood in the enormous queue outside the O2 Institute, I noticed the rare September sunset had turned a beautiful Peach colour. It seemed even the sky was excited for Rex Orange County’s sold out set tonight.


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Halestorm About 8 years ago I was completely blown away by a voice that captured everyone inside an arena within 30 seconds - completely acapella. It gave everybody goose bumps and stopped them in their tracks - and the performer wasn’t even on stage yet. It was an offstage intro from Lzzy Hale from Halestorm and it had everyone mesmerised from the get go. 8 years and 4 albums later and they have lost none of that ability to instantly capture a room full of people. If anything, that ability is even stronger now with a catalogue of incredible tracks to choose from.


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Tash Sultana Where to start? Well, to give some context, at least for me personally (actually, I’m certain as with many, many others too) the obsession started with FIFA, obviously. I’m making my way through the menus and this song comes on, the kind that make your ears prick up, cat-like. It catches me so off-guard, this isn’t what I had planned for my afternoon! The intro has already got me, then these vocals come in and yes, this is a bit of me. Forget FIFA, YouTube is now the mission. Who is this? I must know. This song (Jungle) will be on loop for the foreseeable future. Dramatic, I know, but as I write this, just shy of a year later, not a lot has changed.


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Wooden Shjips Wooden Shjips open their set with fragments of sound and a TV static type lighting effect. The lights pulsate as the beat creeps in, and I find myself being hypnotised by ‘Eclipse’. This is the opening song of their 2018 album ‘V.’, and a gorgeous representation of their ‘garage-styled psychedelia’. The firm bass and drum instrumentals, layered with murmuring vocals from Erik ‘Ripley’ Johnson, are entrancing.


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Albert Hammond Jr Feel Good Indie Rock – Albert Hammond Jr offers some kind Strokes in Manchester. It’s a difficult job for a rhythm/lead guitarist from a highly successful worldwide band to make it as a solo artist. Like Carl Barat without his oppo in The Libertines, you are reduced to playing drastically smaller venues and releasing introspective, much more personal but probably less commercial albums, with various collective friends and acquaintances forming members of your live band.


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Goat Girl Goat Girl are a young all-female band from South London who have real attitude and write great songs. Their debut album, released last April, contains 19 short (most under 3 minutes), diverse and punchy songs and has received great reviews and radio play. The Brudenell is sold-out tonight for the Leeds stop on the band’s extensive tour. Goat Girl are really working hard at gigging: earlier this year I saw them in Montreal during their tour of North America supporting Parquet Courts. They were very well received by the Canadian audience and are making new friends wherever they play.


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Garbage Let me begin with a word on the venue. Digbeth Arena is not an arena. That would be too grandiose a term for what is essentially a small space between a railway track and a old viaduct. The enclosed nature of the space acts as a natural amphitheatre that results in possibly the best sound quality I have ever heard at any gig. In short, this is a dream performance space for any artist worth their salt. In Birmingham, we are treated to three bands worth enough salt to keep the second city in fish and chips for a lifetime...


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Incubus “Is Incubus still a band?” is mounted as one of the top 4 Google searches to include the word ‘Incubus’ at the moment, which is interesting considering they’re currently getting ready to wrap their final dates of a world tour, their first in many years. That being said, the atmosphere in tonight’s completely sold out o2 Academy definitively confirms that an army of people in Birmingham never forgot about them for a second.


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Electric Six The kings of 2000s era comedy rock graced Leamington with their presence for a fun show full of their favourite hits and a couple of surprises from their albums since. We weren’t in a Gay Bar, but the Dance Commander implied there would be Danger! If there wasn’t any Improper Dancing going on by the end. Don’t know what I’m on about? That means you’ve not met Electric Six before.


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Qujaku A Kushikatsu Records event always promises to be just that little bit different from most other events. Specialising in promoting Japanese acts over here in the UK since 2016, Kushikatsu have put on a diverse array of bands over in the last 2 years, from J-Punk, J-Rock, J-Pop and J-Psych groups, such as Mutant Monster, Shonen Knife, Touch My Secret, Kikagaku Moyo, Hibushibire and Necronomdol to name a few.


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John Grant I rock up to The Symphony Hall looking forward to seeing Susanne Sundfoer support the every charming John Grant. Unfortunately she has taken the night off to rest her voice and instead we are treated to Cate Le Bon. This welsh singer songwriter has an incredible band behind her, constantly changing instruments and creating an incredible sound. She has a beautiful and haunting voice that seems to capture those of us in the crowd who arrived early.


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