Transglobal Underground Firstly, what and who are Transglobal Underground? Well ‘TGU’ have been around since the early 1990s (first album ‘Dream of 100 Nations’); they are a ground-breaking band fusing dance music, reggae, Asian, middle-eastern and African music styles. In their extravagant shows they feature live percussion (lots of it) and other instruments like sitar, as well as using electronic sounds, beats and samples.


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Lankum I hadn’t heard of Lankum until a few weeks ago, when I read a five star review of their latest (and third) album ‘The Livelong Day’ in a music magazine. I checked-out some of their songs and they sounded great: I also found some more rave press reviews, all of them four or five star. So I’ve grabbed the opportunity to see Lankum live at Leeds.


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Warmduscher It’s 60-plus years since rock’n’roll was invented and a lot of ‘new’ music just sounds like something you’ve heard before. So how great is it when you hear something that jumps out at you and says "Hey! You’ve not heard stuff like this before". And so it is with Warmduscher. Well strictly speaking you may have heard this music before but not all in one band, as Warmduscher seem to have incorporated a whole range of genres and styles in one.


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Weyes Blood Weyes Blood (the working name of US singer, songwriter and musician Natalie Mering) released her fourth solo album ‘Titanic Rising’ to critical praise earlier this year. The lush album is superficially an easy listen, dominated by beautiful melodies and her languid golden voice, but underneath lie sober lyrics about the state of things and the human condition. Tonight at Manchester she plays to a sold-out Club Academy: back in 2007, she tells us, she first played in Manchester to just a handful of people.


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Thurston Moore Thurston Moore is best known as a member of Sonic Youth, the avant-garde experimental rock band from New York who helped turned electric guitar music on its head in the 1980s and 90s. The band employed unusual guitar tunings and modified instruments and made full use of feedback and electronic noise, while at the same time writing great tunes and lyrics. Since Sonic Youth, Moore has pursued a solo career, producing a variety of different music.


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Sebadoh I’ve been a Sebadoh fan for years and love their brand of lo-fi indie rock. It’s really pleasing to see them now getting the recognition they deserve, with a recent radio-session for Marc Riley on Radio 6 and tonight playing to a sold-out Brudenell Social Club. Sebadoh’s best known member is Lou Barlow who has had an on-off parallel career as bass player in Dinosaur Jr.


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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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Yo La Tengo Yo La Tengo (YLT) have been around for some 35 years and have 15 studio albums to their credit. Since Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley formed the band they’ve had 14 bass players, but James McNew has occupied that spot since 1992, so they are now a very stable musical trio. When asked later how the band manages to be so relaxed on stage they agree that it’s down to their confidence in each other as musicians.


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Anna Calvi Anna Calvi is an artist who seemed to emerge fully-formed with her acclaimed debut album in 2011. Winning early endorsement from luminaries like Brian Eno and Bill Ryder-Jones, she played support gigs for the likes of Nick Cave and The Arctic Monkeys before she had even released an album. The debit album spectacularly demonstrated her abilities as a singer, songwriter and guitarist, as well as demonstrating a trend-setting grasp of style and presentation in the vein of early Roxy Music. Her third album, ‘Hunter’, was released in 2018.


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Jonathan Wilson Jonathan Wilson has not played here before but some of his pals have rightly endorsed the venue. Wilson is much smitten by the surrounding topography which he likens to his home in Topanga Canyon, Los Angeles, albeit without the bobcats, coyotes and mountain lions. There are plenty of sheep in Hebden Bridge as a consequence.


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Meat Puppets Until this gig I mainly knew Meat Puppets as one of the seminal US alternative bands of the 1980s and 90s, perhaps most known for the three Meat Puppets songs recorded by Nirvana for their ‘Unplugged In New York’ album. Kurt Cobain was a big fan of the band and Cris and Curt Kirkwood of Meat Puppets were invited to play on Nirvana’s unplugged session. However, tonight Meat Puppets really demonstrate that they are a force of their own.


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Kamasi Washington “Let’s Do It”, announces Kamasi Washington, as he and his band take the stage at Manchester's Academy. The venue has a fine pedigree starting life in the sixties with jazzers such as Humphrey Lyttelton before embracing the likes of Hendrix, The Who, Cream and Pink Floyd. An audience of around one thousand are here tonight, mostly students. Some are here out of curiosity but most will be familiar with Washington’s contributions to fellow Angelino Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly – that landmark 2015 chart topper which fused hip-hop with jazz and opened up the genre to a new young audience.


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The Unthanks The Trades Club is a socialist members cooperative in alt.Yorkshire’s Hebden Bridge... a hip, chilled out mill town noted for its liberal vibe and motley mixture of artists, alternative practitioners, New Age activists, LGBTs and urban commuters in search of the good life. This cosy venue is a natural home to The Unthanks who’ve played here on several occasions; indeed, as Becky remarks, she once lived here in the town.


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Stephen Morris in Conversation with Dave Haslam Joy Division and successor band New Order are Manchester musical legends, with several films and books already documenting both bands’ careers and legacies, including autobiographies by band members Peter Hook and Bernard Sumner. Now JD/NO drummer Stephen Morris has joined the club, with the first volume of his autobiography, ‘Record, Play, Pause’, published this month. To launch the book Morris is doing a ‘tour’ around the UK, where he is in conversation on stage with Mancunian DJ, broadcaster and journalist Dave Haslam. Haslam also has a new book on sale, ‘Sonic Youth Slept on My Floor: Music, Manchester and More’. Haslam and Morris are old buddies, Haslam having DJ’ed at Manchester’s infamous Hacienda club, of which Morris and his New Order comrades were, of course, part owners.


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