Wooden Shjips Wooden Shjips open their set with fragments of sound and a TV static type lighting effect. The lights pulsate as the beat creeps in, and I find myself being hypnotised by ‘Eclipse’. This is the opening song of their 2018 album ‘V.’, and a gorgeous representation of their ‘garage-styled psychedelia’. The firm bass and drum instrumentals, layered with murmuring vocals from Erik ‘Ripley’ Johnson, are entrancing.


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Garbage Let me begin with a word on the venue. Digbeth Arena is not an arena. That would be too grandiose a term for what is essentially a small space between a railway track and a old viaduct. The enclosed nature of the space acts as a natural amphitheatre that results in possibly the best sound quality I have ever heard at any gig. In short, this is a dream performance space for any artist worth their salt. In Birmingham, we are treated to three bands worth enough salt to keep the second city in fish and chips for a lifetime...


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Cool Britannia Day three of the inaugural Cool Britannia Festival brings the memories flooding back... Boasting some of the biggest names in British rock and pop from the last 30 years, the Cool Britannia Festival was a three-day event held at legendary venue Knebworth Park in Hertfordshire from Friday, 31st August (though the opening day showcased slightly lesser-known acts) to Sunday, 2nd September.


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Bingley Music Live 2018 After climbing an unreasonably large hill to arrive at the Bingley Music Live festival site, I emerged into the beautiful West Yorkshire sunshine just as the Lightning Seeds were closing out their set. Songs such as Life of Riley and Change provide a certain nostalgic satisfaction, but these tracks haven't aged particularly well, and the omission of Three Lions is keenly felt by all in attendance.


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Electric Six The kings of 2000s era comedy rock graced Leamington with their presence for a fun show full of their favourite hits and a couple of surprises from their albums since. We weren’t in a Gay Bar, but the Dance Commander implied there would be Danger! If there wasn’t any Improper Dancing going on by the end. Don’t know what I’m on about? That means you’ve not met Electric Six before.


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Qujaku A Kushikatsu Records event always promises to be just that little bit different from most other events. Specialising in promoting Japanese acts over here in the UK since 2016, Kushikatsu have put on a diverse array of bands over in the last 2 years, from J-Punk, J-Rock, J-Pop and J-Psych groups, such as Mutant Monster, Shonen Knife, Touch My Secret, Kikagaku Moyo, Hibushibire and Necronomdol to name a few.


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Ocean Colour Scene The Leadmill in Sheffield is undoubtedly the city's most iconic venue. A blazing hot weekend in August has seen the Leadmill host a trio of massive outdoor gigs at the Don Valley Bowl, just outside of the city centre. I arrived on the Sunday for the third of these shows with a song in my heart and a few extra pounds round my waist. It has been a summer of indulgence...


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RDE and Setting Son Records Presents The August Showcase Welcome to the latest instalment of ‘Stop being lazy – it’s Sunday Funday!’ If the local music scene has taught me anything, it’s that there is always, always something interesting happening on a Sunday night. Get yer gladrags on. Sleep is for wimps. (Cue the sound of me snoring in the distance.)


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Tragedy What a night! Heavy guitars, black eyeshadow, glitter and energy, a match made in… disco heaven? Tragedy, for the uninitiated are the ‘All Metal Tribute to the Bee Gees and Beyond!’ and if you’re looking for a night full of high-octane, adults only, fun, look no further than this group of animals straight out of New York City.


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The Wildhearts Apparently, tonight’s gig is billed as a warm up for The Wildhearts before they head off to Japan and Australia, let's hope they enjoy similar size crowds out there as they are doing here in The Plug in Sheffield. Just as a side note, it has been rumoured that this pretty decent venue is soon to close and become a golf superstore – what a damn shame if it's true, OK not a classic Sheffield venue along the lines of The Leadmill, but all the same a great live music outlet. Another One Bites The Dust (if you needed a musical reference).


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Black Star Riders Just as a near post-apocalyptic heatwave is coming to an end, what’s the best idea for something to do – I know, cram yourself into a sweaty club in Wakefield and watch some bands. The only thing is the main band tonight is not just a band, they are the dying embers of the most magnificent Thin Lizzy. Now as a life long Lizzy fan, well since I was about 12, I had of course been very excited when they reformed, albeit without their master frontman, and as they gently morphed into Black Star Riders, the omens and the albums promised much. Let’s hope tonight that my first experience of them live lives up to my anticipation.


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Lunar Festival 2018 Seven weeks of continuous hot glorious sunshine, an unrelenting heatwave that England hasn’t seen the like of since 1976. What perfect conditions to send a weekend outside and put all that extraordinary weather to good use at Lunar Festival 2018. Friday 27th July is one such day, swelteringly hot, a few tufts of little fluffy white clouds in a brilliant blue sky and the sun super-heating the festival site and festival goers as they unload various bits of camping equipment for the weekend.


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Y Not Festival 2018 After losing a battle with the Great British Summer™ in 2017, Y Not Festival rolled into 2018 with a main-stage line up so compellingly star-studded that it seemed like a shoe-in for redemption this time around. Reverend and the Makers, Razorlight, Manic Street Preachers, The Libertines, Catfish and the Bottlemen, The Kaiser Chiefs, The Wombats and Jamiroquai topped the billing, supported by a solid cast of acts across six stages and four days.


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Paul Simon One of pop’s finest singer-songwriters – whose songs have delighted generations of music lovers – said goodbye to his UK fans with a stop on his Homeward Bound: The Farewell Tour. He brought with him fellow musical ‘heavyweights’ Bonnie Raitt and James Taylor.


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