Lights Lights shone in Manchester as they played their first show of the year at the historic Night and Day Cafe – a venue I’d hazard a guess was chosen for it’s incredibly close proximity to Manchester’s Forbidden Planet comic book store (they are literally opposite each other).


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Marc Almond Marc Almond is one of the rare artists who find themselves in the envious position of not having to churn out albums to order. In fact he pretty much pleases himself these days, and so it was that he thought why not do a mini six date UK tour featuring songs from his musical heroes and of course one or two Soft Cell tunes.


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Hot Chip The established band small tour of intimate venues has become a common occurrence in the past few years, and it is of little surprise that tonight’s Hot Chip performance should sell out almost instantly.


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Wild Nothing The unusual New Orleans setting of Mama Roux’s housed Wild Nothing supporting their new album ‘Indigo’. It felt like we were in the French Quarter, but tonight was all about the Virginia based Jack Tautum who is the sole studio recording member of the band.


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Bastille Bastille have plucked at the heart strings of fans since 2010. An amalgamation of their captivating sound, moving lyrics and charismatic presence make them easy to love. Their mix of experimental mash-ups, rock textures and dance rhythms mixed with Dan’s blissfully choral voice make them one of the most dynamic Indi-pop bands around. Bastille have put on the most incredible performances in the past, but on Saturday night Bastille stepped it up a level as they performed the penultimate date of the UK leg of their ‘Still Avoiding Tomorrow Tour’ at the iconic O2 Academy in Brixton.


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Tears for Fears Two iconic acts of the 1980s - both of whom looked and sounded great - treated enthusiastic, nostalgia-hungry London fans to a heartwarming trip down memory lane in the grand setting of a packed out O2 arena, performing timeless classics that certainly got the crowd on their feet.


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John Grant Promoting the recently released ‘Love is Magic’ album, John Grant is finally undertaking a full tour, taking in both Europe and The States. He did of course tease the UK audience last year with a handful of shows and festival appearances, but it was only on the final dates of 2018 when he unleashed his full ‘Love is Magic’ set, and the Bath show was visually stunning and the first time I’ve known him to use background graphics.


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MGMT Arty Electro Psychedelic Pop in Yorkshire remarkably goes down fairly well on a cold wet Sunday night in December. MGMT’s second coming to the UK in 2018 is full of fake green plants, pomp and an electric feel.


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Blossoms Over the last few years Blossoms have emerged from Stockport and headlined some of the biggest events in the music calendar. I've interviewed Blossoms in the past, but I've never managed to catch them live, and let me tell you - the five piece exceeded my expectations in Glasgow as part of their mammoth UK tour this week.


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Years & Years You haven’t seen much until you’ve seen Olly Alexander – of Years & Years – thrust and twerk in a macramé top and platform heels. The quintessence of LGBT, the sensual showman and his crew, Mikey Goldsworthy and Emre Türkmen bring their synth-pop swagger to Arena Birmingham for an all-out energised gig.


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Heaven 17 Heaven 17 never toured when The Luxury Gap album first came out even with it being their most successful album. It contains masterpieces such as Come Live With Me, Let Me Go, We Live So Fast and of course their most well-known track, Temptation. To hear it played live is an experience that should be on everyone’s bucket list. This is a phenomenal show and Glenn and Martyn know how to throw a party. The London leg of the tour was hosted at Shepherd’s Bush Empire – a favourite venue of the band. The tour is currently over halfway through and yet on this cold November night, London came out in droves, queuing up to see these 80’s legends. The audience were rewarded by Heaven 17 telling them that they were the best audience – apparently even better than Liverpool. The audience lapped it up.


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Metric Canadian-American four-piece, Metric, played their first ever headline show in Birmingham on Saturday, promoting their seventh album, ‘Art of Doubt’. Arriving at the O2 Institute almost two hours after doors opened, there were still quite a few people turning up to the sold-out venue (the first show on the tour to sell out completely). I had never been to this particular room of the Institute before; with its diagonal concrete beams holding up the ceiling and a complete lack of decor, it felt like we were buried en masse within the foundations of the building.


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Killing Joke Killing Joke are a band you should know and if you don’t I can guarantee you’ve heard more than you think you have by them. Love Like Blood in particular is one of those instantly recognisable songs that you’ve probably heard a thousand times. They have been cited as an inspiration by many of the big names such as Trent Reznor, Metallica and Soundgarden. Dave Grohl was even their drummer for 2003's eponymous album.


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Level 42 It was over 30 years since I last saw Level 42, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that the passing time hasn’t diminished their powers what so ever. Mark King and Mike Lindup on keyboards are the 2 remaining members of the original line up which saw brother Phil and Boon Gould leave the band in the late 80’s, although Boon would continue to write new material for the band. Originally formed in in the late 70’s, Level 42 really hit the mark during the mid 80’s which saw the release of the albums ‘World Machine’ and ‘Running in the Family’. Their distinctive jazz funk sound was underpinned by the Mark Kings trademark slap bass technique which often took on the role typical given over to a lead guitarist.


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