Hootie & the Blowfish Leeds fans are treated to a big slice of Southern USA alt rock as Hootie & the Blowfish return to the UK after a 23-year absence, and they bring along Drivin’ & Cryin’ and Patrick Davis for the ride.


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Sharon Van Etten Sharon Van Etten’s (SVE) four piece band (drums; bass; two keyboards) take the stage and a stark drum beat sets the scene for a minute or three. The cool promise of ecstasy fills the air before Sharon appears with just microphone in hand and belts out the line: ‘our love’s for real’. Everything about her is unrecognisable from when I last saw her seven years ago at the Queen’s Club in Sheffield. She’s embraced the classic rocker look - think Chrissie Hynde - shorn black hair; tattoos, red lippy and leather pants but what is remarkable is the confidence, swagger and sheer energy that she brings to the performance. Her moves are positively Jagger-esque (‘touching your face’) and tightly choreographed as she poses for the cameras and commands eye contact. The sound is bigger, darker, keyboard heavy and mostly guitar free.


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Piece Hall, Halifax This weekend saw some incredible live music in one of the most spectacular settings you could imagine as Futuresound Events hosted 4 days of music at the iconic Piece Hall in Halifax. We were there for 3 of those days and we witnessed an anthemic hometown show from Embrace, massive party sets from Terrorvision and The Levellers as well as an astounding show from Elbow.


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Newton Faulkner So it’s clear what we’re in for and boy, does he deliver. When Newton Faulkner appears for his set, the audience are immediately enamoured. He clamours onto a platform underneath the scaffold and takes a seat, surrounded by his now uncovered tools and instruments. I notice no shoes and odd socks, his trademark dreads now knotted above his head and the biggest smile on his face.


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Sharon Van Etten US singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten is in the middle of a world tour celebrating her amazing 5th album ‘Remind Me Tomorrow’, a more energetic, fuller sound than her previous work.


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Roy Harper “As long as I can skip I will be coming back” were Roy Harper’s closing remarks as he playfully skipped off the stage as if he were a five year old. Heart warming and poignant it was a fitting end to what is billed as ‘The Last Tour: 50 Years of Monumental Classics’.


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David Gray I doubt there are many people of my generation who won’t find a copy of David Gray’s mind-bogglingly successful White Ladder sitting in the CD rack in the family home. Looking back I can remember many an occasion of cracking open the stereo in countless houses and seeing White Ladder staring up at me, where it was at the time swiftly replaced by the new Limp Bizkit album (we’ve come a long way baby).


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Teddy Thompson Flame-haired country singer-songwriter Teddy Thompson is one of those rare things: nostalgic yet modern, passionate yet unsentimental. It is perhaps a curious kind of venue, then, that he finds himself in tonight.


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Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats As The Night Sweats open the set, Nathaniel Rateliff’s presence is met with an overwhelming onset of applause and cheering. His hands take hold of the mic and his powerful voice resonates with every spectator.


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Mumford & Sons Nobody likes watching gigs at arenas. You can’t see the band, the tickets are expensive, the queues are huge and more often than not you spend your evening involuntarily staring at a giant screen instead of the stage. Tour after tour tries it’s best to combat the growing list of complaints and tonight in Birmingham, Mumford & Sons are giving it their best efforts.


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Neko Case It’s a privilege to catch talented American singer-songwriter Neko Case at her sold-out Leeds gig, one of only two UK dates on the current tour. Neko Case has certainly led a life in music, as a solo artist, as a member of several bands (notably The New Pornographers) and also as a serial collaborator (The Sadies, The Corn Sisters, Calexico and most recently as a member of ‘supergroup’ Case/Lang/Viers).


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Travis I was ecstatic to see one of my favourite bands of all time Travis on Monday night at Symphony Hall Birmingham.


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Father John Misty Headliner Father John Misty knows how to make a cool entrance. With his ensemble of string and brass backing musicians warming up on stage he appeared walking around the top level of the Piece Hall towards the stage with the rest of his band members in tow.


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Ray LaMontagne Hats off to Ray LaMontagne - He’s ‘Just Passing Through’ but calls in at Sheffield City Hall for an incredible intimate acoustic session. He is an elusive beast this Ray Lamontagne, quick to hide and squirrel away back in his US home, never venturing too far away and therefore in the last 14 years I’ve not managed to catch a live performance ever, in fact he hasn’t even been on these shores for 7 years, despite releasing some stunning albums over that period.


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