Jake Bugg There’s a lot of fervour about a certain Mr Jake Bugg at the moment. Having supported the likes of the Stone Roses as well as gigging with (and receiving plaudits from) the singer/song writing legend that is Mr Noel Gallagher you can see why. Now, I’m not one to gloat but the Gig Junkies team have been supporting the wee fella for an age and beyond and quite frankly think that he is rather splendid indeed!


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Bat for Lashes Right on time, Natasha Khan and her backing band enter a simply yet atmospherically lit stage, lanterns and angle photography lamps enhance rather than detract from her petite frame. The first song, of the evening, is Lillies which is the opening track from Bat for Lashes new album The Haunted Man. Instantly Khan’s vocal ability overwhelms you. She has a vast range which in its higher register has resemblances to Annie Lennox, not only in its tone but capacity to accurately hit the notes with such power and sensitivity.


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Sparks Now celebrating an incredible 41 years together Sparks (essentially brothers Ron and Russell Mael) have been hailed as an influence on everyone from Kurt Cobain to Duran Duran and The Pixies (let’s face it, Soft Cell and Pet Shop Boys based their entire acts on them too). It’s unusual enough for a group to make it to their fifth decade but even rarer still for them to be producing decent work too, witness exhibit A, their rather fine last album 2009’s The Seduction Of Ingmar Bergman, which the duo are ambitiously planning to transform into a full length movie and stage show. Makes most other bands seem positively slack in comparison eh? It’s this continuing quest to, as Ron later put it this evening “Keep pushing the envelope” that seems to be behind this latest tour, Two Hands, One Mouth, a stripped back chance to see “Sparks in the nude”. We can thank Russ for that particular mental image.


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Richard Hawley Richard Hawley’s gig at the HMV Institute tonight was a resounding success and he seemed genuinely surprised by the packed-out audience’s rapturous response. He declared that Birmingham was his favourite audience on the tour so far and said he would consider buying a holiday home in the city. He did then have second thoughts about the holiday home. And, of course, his view on audiences may well change when he plays at his next, sold-out, gig tomorrow, in his home city of Sheffield.


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The View On a Monday evening in Manchester, our very own snapper Carl got to photograph hugely successful Scottish band The View on their tour following the release of their new album, ‘Cheeky For A Reason’. We hope you enjoy the photos and would love to hear what you thought of the shows.


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Editors For the devoted, Editors’ monolithic volatility, stadium-cooked anthemic candescent authority, together with an embracing live-act rapport is celebrated because of, and equally, in spite of, their being proud, revivalist keepers of the eternal flame ignited by the like of predecessors, Simple Minds, Joy Division, Echo & The Bunnymen and not least U2's early forays in to post New Wave.


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Gary Numan We’ve had biopics of musicians before of course but surely Numan’s life story is rich for the picking? Son of a bus driver does a series of menial jobs before achieving global pop success and becoming one of the best stunt pilots in the UK. His plane crashes...quickly followed by his career then, after years in the wilderness, some of the biggest names in music start crediting him for influencing them. Finally he marries a member of his fan club and lives happily ever after...it’s got it all!


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Miike Snow When the start of a gig looks like a cross between a spaceship from E.T. and some kind of tribal ritual you think you must be in for an interesting evening. You can guarantee that you are if it is hosted by Swedish indie dance pop outfit Miike Snow. Supported by Niki And The Dove and Alex Metric, the group brought their constantly and pleasantly surprising and uplifting set to the Ritz in Manchester this week.


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The Horrors As Faris Badwan sings on one of The Horrors’ biggest hits ‘Still Life’ “The moment that you want is coming if you give it time”, this is true of a Horrors gig. Having only seen them before at festivals, I ventured down to the HMV Ritz for a much more intimate show which surpassed my expectations over the course of the evening. The Horrors are an atmospheric band that truly shine in a small venue.


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Alabama Shakes There’s an all too rare moment this evening when the whole audience falls silent. No chatter, no tweeting, no click of camera phones... just silence... broken only by a howl of pure pain from the band’s vocalist. Hell, even our goosebumps got goosebumps. Yep, Alabama Shakes are in town.


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The Subways The Subways made their live return to Manchester tonight and I’m pretty sure that the nearing capacity crowd at the HMV Ritz got exactly what they came for. The Subways are easily one of the hardest working live bands out there and year on year have proven that regardless of the size of venue, their live shows will always pack that trademark Subways punch. The Manchester date of their current tour, was no exception to this rule.


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Alabama Shakes!  New!  Improved!  Now with BIGGER venue! Yes. That's right people, remember you heard it here first (or maybe you were on the HMV Institute mailing list like me ;o) ) If you were upset that you missed-out on a Birmingham ticket to see the hotly tipped Alabama Shakes, then fret no more! They've been upgraded to the BIG ROOM! I know! But be quick as they're obviously selling fast HERE. The gig is still on Friday 11 May 2012, by the way.


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Delilah It’s not often you can come away from a gig saying “WOW! That person’s voice was phenomenal”. When you do it’s something to treasure, a memory to hold. True, there are lots of good singers, some brilliant front men and some talented songstresses, but the term phenomenal needs to be reserved for the very special indeed. So, to witness not one, not two but three all on the same stage in front of little over 200 people on a grim Wednesday night in Birmingham was nothing short of miraculous and not likely to be emulated any time soon.


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Wire You wait years for legendary post punk bands to come along and then two play the same venue in the space of a week. Yep, hot on the heels of Magazine this week’s heroes of the post punk scene are Wire, arguably even more influential than Devoto and co. First up though relative newcomers Brooklyn no wavers Wire. Drummer Andrya Ambro and bassist Sarah Register have been tickling the sweet spots of hipsters for a couple of years now with their raw as an open wound sound and primal skin pounding. Tonight was no exception with tracks crashing into each other to form one continuous thump round the ears. Quite how they keep up the furious momentum without bursting into flames is a mystery. Some years ago the venerable Kaiser Chiefs predicted a riot...this is what it would sound like.


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