Backstreet Boys What has the world come to? It’s been making me so distraught! What the hell has happened to boybands??? They’re all in mismatched clothes; they move about the stage with no purpose; and sometimes even have the audacity to play live instruments. That’s not what I want. I want matching outfits, synchronised dancing, over the top harmonies and cheddar cheesy key changes! It’s a good job that the world’s number one selling boyband stopped by England’s capital for a couple of shows. Back to basics and back in town. BACKSTREET IS OFFICIALLY BACK, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.


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Metallica You can hear the juggernaut that is Metallica rolling into town for weeks if not months before it arrives. This date has been marked in many calendars for a long time with the excitement reaching fever pitch hours before the headliners take the stage with fans filling the streets of Manchester for a pre-gig pint.


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FEVER 333 Lining up outside the Electric Ballroom completely soaked through from the glorious rain London had been receiving all day were a horde of fans eager to see FEVER 333.


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Foals Foals take Birmingham by storm for two sold-out nights of pure magnificence. Without a doubt, Digbeth Arena is one of Birmingham’s most creative and innovative music venues, boasting an impressive large open-air space bordered by railway arches and loading bays. Ready to take the packed space on a journey through jittery dance rock and spacey atmospheres, Foals jump onto the stage performing new material from the off, a bizarro rendition of an instant bop hit, ‘On The Luna’ graces the crowd this evening, fresh off the grill from their latest album, 'Part 1 Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost'. The boys immediately lead into one of the their most popular hits, ‘Mountain at My Gates’. This pulsating duo of opening tracks raised hands and pints across the arena. And as if bringing luscious guitar licks and harmonies wasn’t already enough, Foals’ latest stage design incorporates captivating abstract video design in the background to really transport you to another place.


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Billie Marten Billie Marten with some ethereal vocals on show in Leeds, her 2nd album ‘Feeding Seahorses by Hand’ gets a rapturous welcome at her homecoming show at The Wardrobe.


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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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Hands Off Gretel Allow me to introduce the bubblegum-coated blaze of glory that is Hands Off Gretel. They describe themselves as having “Gwen Stefani style swagger” with “Nirvana-esque grunge”, and I’d say that pretty much sums them up. Their sound is heavy and dirty, with the type of energy and beat that would make the devil himself want to dance.


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Cross The Tracks Recent years have seen festivals falling by the by and the big-name players even reducing schedules and missing out years. The team behind Cross The Tracks did an amazing job as they celebrated the opening year of Brixton's first funk, soul and jazz festival. As the crowds descended on the inner city's Brockwell Park, it was refreshing to see communities bonding, all ages and races excitedly arriving at the park as the sun shone through overcoming the predicted bad weather.


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Brass Against 9 times out of 10 Facebook’s suggested posts are just wallpaper that get unceremoniously scrolled passed, but seeing one for a brass band playing Cochise as a tribute to Chris Cornell caught my eye – as a massive fan of his – and it blew me away. That was my introduction to Brass Against and I was instantly hooked. So getting the chance to see them live was something I wasn’t going to miss.


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Gov’t Mule Gov’t Mule pack a 3hr setlist with some Classic Blues Jams and whilst they’re ‘Live in Leeds’ a long ride on The Who’s ‘Magic Bus’.


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All Points East On a slightly rainy day in London, the only glimmer of fresh summer vibes came from Victoria Park and All Points East as the first weekend came to a close. But before that time could come, a whole collection of sounds bursted out of the five stages with plenty of exciting artists displaying their work to the masses.


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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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Manic Street Preachers It seems almost a cliche at this point for artists to play older albums in full, relying on nostalgia to bring in the audience for a quick cash grab. However that’s not always the case, some do it for the right reasons, making it a celebration for themselves and the fans. The best example of this at the moment is the Manic Street Preachers, who over the past few years have been playing a slew of excellent 20th anniversary shows of their 90’s albums.


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Stereophonics Welsh maestros Stereophonics have a busy summer ahead and so it is that they announced three intimate warm up shows. Admittedly the Bonus Arena holds 3,500 I believe so it all depends on your own personal interpretation of intimate. Given the last time I saw them I was in a crowd of somewhere around 40,000 it’s all relative really.


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