The Correspondents Having formed in 2007 it’s taken a whole 7 years for The Correspondents (DJ Chucks and singer/dancer Mr Bruce) to get around to releasing their debut album. But then again Mr Bruce (aka Ian Bruce) also has a career as an artist to keep him busy so we can kind of forgive them. Besides that given the energy that he expends during tonight’s gig I reckon he probably needs to lie down for a month or six every time they play live...


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NME Awards Tour On a cold Tuesday evening in Birmingham city centre, I was cordially invited to see NME’s award tour, on the bill were Circa Waves, Royal Blood, Temples and Interpol. NME editor, Mike Williams, says: "Here at NME we are always championing the best new talent, so securing three of Britain's most in demand breakthrough bands to kick off proceedings for the tour is totally exciting. Backed up with the world-beating return of Interpol – one of the most important bands to come out of New York ever – is also a massive coup for us".


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Maxïmo Park Having dipped in and out of Maxïmo Park's career over the last ten years and having already seen several unbeatable live performances, I was excited to see how they'd evolved since the last time I caught them back in 2010. The Institute is the perfect setting for their typically decadent offering and the room fills up quickly despite the early Friday night start time.


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CHVRCHES I’m sure there’s a great reason why Chvrches spell their name that way, even if it does send the old spellchecker into a full on meltdown. Hold on...I’ll look it up. Right, apparently it’s because if you put Churches into Google (other search engines are available...unless Google want to pay me £500,000 in which case GOOGLE ROCKS) all you get are loads of websites to do with ding dong bells, Jesus, God and all that schnizzle kind of churches. As you’d reasonably expect I guess. Quite why they didn’t just choose a different name isn’t explained but we’ll let that lie...


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Temples Whoooooooah...hey man, what’s happening? Going to see Temples at The Institute? Cosmic...faaaaar out dude. Okay, enough of the trippy 60s lingo (for now at least, I’m still having flashbacks from this show so frankly anything could happen in the next few paragraphs) but tonight was another of those time travelling gigs that made you question which decade you were living in.


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Anna Calvi Anna Calvi made her way to the stage and was immediately beset with technical problems, as massive amounts of feedback entered the venue from one of her cohorts (Glen, the bearded keyboard player being the main culprit) and her vocal volume being nothing more than a whisper. The disruption meant that the singer had to stop, ask the audience where her vocal had gone and then join in the jovialities as someone shouted “it’s behind you”. Classic panto.


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Anna Calvi Anna Calvi made her way to the stage and was immediately beset with technical problems, as massive amounts of feedback entered the venue from one of her cohorts (Glen, the bearded keyboard player being the main culprit) and her vocal volume being nothing more than a whisper. The disruption meant that the singer had to stop, ask the audience where her vocal had gone and then join in the jovialities as someone shouted “it’s behind you”. Classic panto.


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Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip It’s been nearly seven years since Le Sac and Pip’s first hit, Thou Shalt Always Kill, a deliberately provocative swipe at the mindless hero worship of many a sacred musical cow (everyone from The Beatles through to Lostprophets... hmmm they may have had a point there in retrospect). Okay, perhaps it had a vague whiff of the novelty one hit wonder about it but the pair have since gone on to produce some of the freshest most thought provoking hip hop around, hence the pretty much capacity crowd tonight.


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Public Service Broadcasting Tonight’s gig is brought to you by Public Service Broadcasting; a London based duo consisting of J. Willgoose, Esq. on guitar, banjo, other stringed instruments, samplings and electronic instruments; and Wrigglesworth on drums (but also plays piano other instruments), and accompanied on stage by “Mr B.” for the visuals, projections and some ad-hoc live video footage of Willgoose and Wrigglesworth.


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AlunaGeorge First on the list is Benedict Taylor a singer songwriter from Hertfordshire. His melodies comprise of slow contemporary vocal and piano based ballads. Taylor's falsetto vocal works perfectly with song highlights including 'Stranger' and "please don't fall out of Love' - a love song "in reverse" Benedict tells us. His heart felt songs certainly warm up this crowd on a cold and wet Tuesday evening.


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Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra Amanda Palmer is naked. Not literally, although she’s not averse to getting her kit off (as her recent Daily Mail baiting set in London amply demonstrated), nope Amanda Palmer’s nakedness this evening is more of the emotional kind. In fact whether it’s her lyrics, blog, occasional webcasts or spontaneous guerrilla gigs she’s possibly one of the most open and ‘genuine’ (whatever that word means in today’s all too superficial world) performers/human beings you’re ever likely to stumble across. Whilst Richey Manic famously carved the words ‘4 Real’ into his arm with a razor blade Palmer demonstrates her realness in rather less bloody, but equally striking ways (cut her in half and I reckon she’d have the words ‘4 Real’ running through her like a stick of rock) as tonight’s gloriously ramshackle (I mean this in the best sense of not really knowing what was going to happen next) show proved.


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Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra Amanda Palmer is naked. Not literally, although she’s not averse to getting her kit off (as her recent Daily Mail baiting set in London amply demonstrated), nope Amanda Palmer’s nakedness this evening is more of the emotional kind. In fact whether it’s her lyrics, blog, occasional webcasts or spontaneous guerrilla gigs she’s possibly one of the most open and ‘genuine’ (whatever that word means in today’s all too superficial world) performers/human beings you’re ever likely to stumble across. Whilst Richey Manic famously carved the words ‘4 Real’ into his arm with a razor blade Palmer demonstrates her realness in rather less bloody, but equally striking ways (cut her in half and I reckon she’d have the words ‘4 Real’ running through her like a stick of rock) as tonight’s gloriously ramshackle (I mean this in the best sense of not really knowing what was going to happen next) show proved.


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Tribes The video for The Brute Chorus’ Death Came Walking Parts 1 & 2 isn’t for the squeamish, featuring as it does buckets of fake blood splashed liberally all over the distinctly hirsute band members (fake blood and hairy chests...urgh...not a great look). Happily this evening the only bodily fluid in evidence is sweat, as the group crank out their particular blend of rockabilly, blues and pop. Sporting a modest quiff and rather fetching moustache lead singer James manfully does his best to get the crowd going, strutting about, lunging and throwing shapes, his vocals a mix of Lux Interior meets Billy Childish...with a little 50s Elvis thrown in for good measure. There’s a touch of cabaret about it all from time to time as James ramps up the energy but hell, you’d rather your frontman give it some welly than just stand there like a lemon eh? Good dirty fun.


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Public Service Broadcasting They might not be the first group to have ever used samples from vintage films (older readers may recall through an ecstasy addled haze that The Prodigy started off their career by sampling that old Government ad advising kids not to go off with strangers...possibly using ‘charly’ in an entirely different context altogether) and I’m pretty sure there may have been a few others (answers on a postcard please...). But whereas these bands have often just used the odd sample to flavour one of their tracks Public Service Broadcasting (the band) are building their entire career around them. It’s a neat twist, enhanced by the duo’s adoption of stiff upper lip monikers – J. Willgoose, Esq and Wrigglesworth – and their distinctly vintage live shows.


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