Halfnoise Zac Farro is a name that will be familiar to many a 00’s rock fans after rising to fame as part of the Grammy Award winning band Paramore. But Zac is now steadily making waves with his new musical venture, Halfnoise.


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James I was particularly looking forward to this one. James have always been a band I’ve admired but one I’ve never really got to know better. The last time I saw them Adamski was Number One which shows just how lax I’ve been and it was high time I found out how the band had matured. (More than me I was to find out).


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Pierce The Veil The release of their latest album Misadventures brought Pierce The Veil to the O2 Birmingham Academy on this frosty Saturday evening. Ever popular in the UK, it was no surprise that this show was a complete sell out – even Radio 1 Rock Show’s Dan P Carter bypassed the German Markets to grace The Academy with his presence.


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Airbourne A lot of long hair, black shirts, and too much leather in the streets could only mean one thing: Rock’n’roll was back in town. Tonight it took the form of the spectacular Aussie hard-rockers Airbourne, who were supported by the equally energetic and powerful Crobot and The Franklys.


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Caravan Palace Of course what I’m here to see is Caravan Palace, who came to my attention on a recent appearance on Later. They were simply electric and like nothing I’d heard before and I just had to see them live. They initially only played a one-off date in London but thankfully have added more dates, tonight being Birmingham and their first ever visit to the ‘Second City’.


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Jack Garratt Not untypically, it was a dreary November evening in Brummieland as we ventured out to see Jack Garratt, with rain spitting down like flem dribbling from a Giant with a lisp. What wasn't at all typical was the sweltering 13 degrees that accompanied the rain. Anything to do with the 'Super Moon' per chance?


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Angel Olsen After the release of her second full-length album Burn Your Fire For No Witness in 2014 I was hooked by Angel Olsen enchanting vocals and grunge-folk sound. Yet, until hearing Olsen live at Club Academy in Manchester, I hadn’t picked up on the resounding country-folk palette of her voice. Her music, especially the 2016 album MY WOMAN encompasses a wide range of genres, of grunge-rock to folk, with electronic reverb. It is an album which cannot and perhaps should not be pinned down. It reminds audiences not to constrain an artist to a certain genre whilst lyrically reminding us not to constrain a woman to certain social expectations.


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The Offspring The Offspring are the punk kings of Orange County USA. Bringing sunkissed sounds and teenage angst together in one beautiful package. Sure, these rockers are getting into their 50s now, but they're not slowing down any time soon.


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The Summer Set Ahh, The Summer Set. A band from Arizona who are apparently too pop for the punk kids but too punk for the pop kids. Where do they fit in? In Manchester it seems as tonight The Academy was packed with loyal supporters all eager to see a gig that may never have happened. After reportedly splitting last year, the band are now back together and looking stronger than ever after the release of their new album Stories For Monday.


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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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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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Postmodern Jukebox It was late autumn in 2015 when I first came across Scott Bradlee and his fabulous Postmodern Jukebox. The song was 'Creep' and it was performed in what looked like just a room in someone's house - but the arrangement and the performance was beyond anything I'd ever seen before. Modern music with a retro twist. It was love at first listen.


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Halsey Halsey shows up late, and fashionably: she slips onto the stage in a white, faux-fur jacket, embodying her debut album cover. Opening with ‘Gasoline’, she asks Brixton, “Are you insane like me? Been in pain like me?” and the crowd sing along with enough conviction to answer her question.


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NME Awards Tour 2016: Bloc Party The final night of the NME Awards Tour 2016 brings the unlikely combination of Bloc Party, Drenge, Rat Boy and Bugzy Malone to Birmingham’s O2 Academy. Up first is Bugzy Malone, playing to an audience that is still in its lag phase of growth and which gives a dismal response to the ubiquitous command of “Make some noise.” Unfortunately for Bugzy Malone, Birmingham’s NME fans are not his target audience.


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