Rita Ora What an amazing past 12 months it has been for Rita Ora, with ‘Phoenix’ marking her first solo album release in five years, the album has received numerous nominations and won awards even though it was only released in the latter half of 2018. ‘For You’ was one of the biggest hits of the year, not a day went by when you didn’t hear it at least three times on the radio, a headline slot at Manchester Pride and returning to the screen as Mia in the 50 Shades film series and just when you thought there was no end to the singer songwriter’s talents she transforms into Dr. Ann Laurent for Pokémon Detective Pikachu with latest offering ‘Carry On’ featuring on the soundtrack, appealing to a whole new set of fans. Not forgetting to mention numerous charity work and an announcement to appear for Soccer Aid this summer, it’s so easy to see why people love her.


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Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes We’re big believers in the mystical at Gig Junkies HQ. A bird shitting in our eye is seen as a blessing rather than a curse. So, when we see not only one rainbow, but a doubler no less and the pot of gold where it ended on route to Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes' gig, we knew we were in for a treat.


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Noname The sassy student crowd filled the Institute, waiting eagerly for one of the most promising rappers to come out of Chicago for a long time as Noname brought her sell out Room 25 tour to Birmingham.


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Anderson .Paak Welcome to Andy's Beach Club World Tour... Californian superstar Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals set the temperature soaring at Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse. With a set comprising of songs from the latest album Oxnard through to Venice, Malibu and future release Ventura (April 2019) the crowd were well and truly whipped up into a frenzy.


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Fatboy Slim As the acid house smiley face carpet is laid down on the podium, you realise how much faster the changeover between DJs is compared with bands as it is only a brief period of time before the breaks legend that is Fatboy Slim takes to the stage, adorned in a Hawaiian shirt that is as colourful as his performance. Needless to say, Norman Cook is unlikely to let you down when stood behind the decks considering he has been honing his craft for the past 25 years of so yet his ability to create such an electrifying atmosphere is niche.


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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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Lily Allen “Lily, Lily, Lily F***ing Allen” was the chant which went up a little after 9 to the obvious rapture of the excitable crowd. Donning a beautiful sparkly green dress and sporting flowing golden locks, the singer reciprocated the excitement, with opener from her latest long play offering ‘Come on Then’. It was gonna be a party.


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Miles Kane One part Bowie, one part Bolan, one part Lennon, one part Holden, Miles Kane embodies all that is great about British rock ’n’ roll. It’s true the guy is as cool as they come!


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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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Courtney Barnett It was a bitterly cold Monday night in an empty Birmingham city centre. A symptom perhaps of the Black Friday shopping frenzy which it seems that we have ‘culturally appropriated’ from our friends across the pond which was happening later the same week? Not surprisingly the O2 Academy reflected this being half full for the visit of one Miss Courtney Barnett; the lady with the coolest middle name in rock.


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Leon Bridges On this most special of days, 100 years on, the country, festooned in poppies and everyone remembering those who had gone before us, it was fitting to see such a special artist as Mr Leon Bridges at Birmingham's Institute.


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Jorja Smith Team Gig Junkies have been lucky enough to find themselves in delectable company of a certain Miss Jorja Smith twice this year. In the summer, on the day that a cartoon blimp depicting the American President was floating around London being roundly booed and jeered by 1000s of revellers like a modern day Court Jester, she was putting on a more classy showpiece at the wonderful surrounds of Somerset House. It was the perfect anecdote to all the political craziness.


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Biffy Clyro As storm Ali blows a hooley across the UK, inside, amongst the stunning surroundings of Birmingham’s Symphony Hall we are comfy and snug for a magical night courtesy of Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro.


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Janelle Monáe It's possible to say the crowd that were going wild, hearing hit after hit from Janelle Monáe at the Academy, however, I feel that would be a discredit to this icon. Manchester saw how much more this icon gives in terms of music bringing anthems of honesty, rebellion and love, lifting up the crowd with her immense stage presence and colourful emotive pictures.


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