Courtney Barnett It was a bitterly cold Monday night in an empty Birmingham city centre. A symptom perhaps of the Black Friday shopping frenzy which it seems that we have ‘culturally appropriated’ from our friends across the pond which was happening later the same week? Not surprisingly the O2 Academy reflected this being half full for the visit of one Miss Courtney Barnett; the lady with the coolest middle name in rock.


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The Cat Empire The Cat Empire are back once again touring the UK, and although I’ve seen them live many times before, this is my first visit to the O2 Academy in Bristol and it's the first of two nights here as a second night was put on due to demand for tickets. The Cat empire are one of those bands that are well known for their live shows, rumour has it that they are often the closing act at festivals because no other band wants to take to the stage after them.


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The Aces After recently coming off tour with 5 Seconds of Summer, tonight, The Aces embark on their very first headline tour of the EU/UK. Bringing their first sold out UK date to the Hare & Hounds in Birmingham. For those of you who don’t know The Aces, they are made up of sisters Cristal (lead vocals/guitar) and Alisa Ramirez (drummer) along with Guitarist Katie Henderson and Bassist McKenna Petty.


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Tonight Alive It’s 9:30 and everyone is eagerly waiting for Tonight Alive to take to the stage. The flash of a torch from the stage signals the start of the show. The lights go down as drummer Matt Best takes to the stage followed by Jenna McDougall to an eruption of screams from the crowd. The stage is dark with a single spotlight on Jenna creating a atmospheric silhouette as the two of them start to perform ‘The Other’, it wasn’t long before a flash of bright light broke through the darkness and changed the pace in the song, with a frenzy of colourful lighting Jake Hardy and Cam Adler joined them onstage.


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Dashboard Confessional Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carrabba enters to Jimmy Eat World’s ‘Sweetness’; rocking a Sabbath shirt. However, the failure to turn the mic on ruined the full impact of his acoustic opener of ‘Best Deceptions’, despite half the crowd singing along hesitantly at the lack of sound before them.


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Sam Fender There are few artists nowadays that truly captivate me and sound completely 'fresh' to my ears, Newcastle born Sam Fender however is one of those. I was lucky enough to see the shields songwriter this summer at Y Not festival and was immediately struck by the power of his voice, the unity of his band and how different his music was to the usual 'trendy' songwriter or indie styles around at the moment. He is currently on an EU and UK tour in support of his debut up 'Dead Boys' which is to be released on the 20th November. I was lucky enough to catch him at Birmingham's Castle and Falcon.


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The Prodigy I love it when you go to a festival and the smaller stages present some absolute crazy out of the world acts that blow you away so you have to see them again, tonight at Birmingham Arena it was time to do that twice fold. Having first seen The Prodigy supporting Oasis back in the day at those legendary Knebworth gigs, you could tell then they were in it for the long haul, both entertaining and infectious beats left a long standing impression and the excitement tonight was immense as they came to my hometown.


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Skindred An evening of feeling slightly lost in a 90s time-warp surrounded by crustys, old metal heads and a mixed bag Download crowd. The joy of Skindred brings all the groups to the yard!


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The Blinders On this particular Sunday this is definitely our church. Arguably the finest small venue in the country play host to the force of nature that is The Blinders. It marks the halfway point of their first headline tour on the back of phenomenal debut album ‘Columbia’. That it entered the charts at number 54 is testament to the word of mouth buzz that this Doncaster trio have been creating over the last few years.


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Melvins I’d heard rumours after the Melvins set in Digbeth last year that ear drums were blown and minds were melted. I expected much of the same when they played the O2 Academy on Tuesday, and with my ears still ringing I can easily say they delivered.


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Ash Northern Irish rockers Ash were greeted by a packed crowd as they took to the stage of Bristol's hottest new music venue on Friday 19th October. The trio screamed – sometimes literally! – through a 20+ song set at SWX to promote their latest album Islands, released back in May.


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Coheed and Cambria American Prog-rock band, Coheed and Cambria recently released their ninth studio album, Vaxis Act 1: The Unheavenly Creatures album and is currently on a tour to support it. I was lucky enough to catch them a second time in just over a year at Roundhouse in London on Tuesday.


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The Parrots The Parrots have long garnered themselves a reputation as a band that prove to be as wonderful as they are wild at any given performance. Energetic, engaging, and anthemic to boot, theirs is a show that can bring even the dreariest of evenings to life.


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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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