Michelle Shocked There's an informal suggested song practice before the main set begins (there were four in all). Ms S making the point that sing-alongs sustain the communal spirit during times of adversity. This being a time of 'war' against austerity and poverty. Thus, from the outset, she nails her campaigning, hands-on social-conscience, colours firmly to the mast.


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Sharon Van Etten Sharon Van Etten hails from New York and has been a respected, but little known, figure on the music scene since her debut album was released in 2009. However, the release of her acclaimed third album, “Tramp”, has really brought her to the attention of a much wider audience and she has received rave reviews and has been championed on various radio programmes. One of her songs has even covered by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver and Aaron Dessner of The National. So it is great to see her in Birmingham at one of her limited number of UK dates.


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Taylor Swift As the lights dimmed we were deafened by high pitched screams and almost blinded by the multitude of neon lights being brandished by the tweens (slight exaggeration) Taylor Swift built the crowd up into a frenzy with Willows's 'Whip My Hair' in the same manner in which a boxer makes his way into the ring. The only difference here was 15,000 feet stamping up and down quickly in unison in growing excitement. Oh, and Taylor Swift is not a boxer!


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John Legend I can’t help but wonder what it’s like to go from playing to the Hollywood elite at the Oscars to a bunch of rowdy Brummies at the 02 Academy in Birmingham? My guess is that the latter is more enjoyable. There’s no question that John Legend is a music heavy-weight. He’s a platinum selling artist, weighed down with celebrity friends and a six time Grammy award winner. It’s no wonder the gig was a sell out, he could probably have packed out the NEC, but the choice of venue was a definite bonus for his fans who got to see the soul star in a more intimate location.


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