Mercury Rev Mercury Rev are currently on a short UK tour and this is the first of two sold-out nights at Leeds Brudenell Social Club. It’s a rather special tour celebrating the 20th Anniversary of their brilliant breakthrough album, ‘Deserter’s Songs’. What’s more they’ve dispensed with their trademark big band presentation and the tour promises a stripped-down and very personal performance of the album. There have been some great reviews of the tour and it’s a gig I’m really looking forward to.


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Seth Lakeman It has been a little over a year since Seth Lakeman last appeared at the Picturedrome. Judging by the familial welcome the packed house gives him, most were here last time around with a few more (like me) who were introduced to his viola and fiddle talents when supporting Robert Plant’s band on the recent Carry Fire tour of Europe and North America.


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Look Now by Elvis Costello and The Imposters Elvis Costello is one of those long-career artists who seem to manage to stay artistically vibrant against the odds. Back in the late 1970s, with singles like ‘Watching the Detectives’, he quickly established himself as one of the most intelligent commentators on the punk / new-wave music scene, a man with songwriting attitude who could pen both great tunes and incisive lyrics. However, unlike many of his 70s contemporaries, Costello was not going to be confined as a one-trick artist and he quickly moved on to make a huge range of records spanning many styles and genres (including country, R & B, Brill Building, string quartet). He has also collaborated with some great names in the music business, including Paul McCartney and Burt Bacharach. He’s not predictable and whenever a new album is announced the question is what version of Elvis Costello will this record represent?


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Neko Case It’s a privilege to catch talented American singer-songwriter Neko Case at her sold-out Leeds gig, one of only two UK dates on the current tour. Neko Case has certainly led a life in music, as a solo artist, as a member of several bands (notably The New Pornographers) and also as a serial collaborator (The Sadies, The Corn Sisters, Calexico and most recently as a member of ‘supergroup’ Case/Lang/Viers).


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Parquet Courts It’s good to be back in The Ritz, one of Manchester’s best larger venues. The listed Grade II building has real character. It was built 1927 as a dancehall and even has a genuine sprung dance floor. It’s been hosting rock gigs since the 1960s and has seen performances by many now legendary acts including The Beatles, REM, The Stone Roses, Magazine, The Smiths and The Arctic Monkeys. Tonight we add Parquet Courts to that list.


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Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks Built in 1908 and Grade II listed, Manchester’s Albert Hall is another of those cherished Edwardian community buildings that are enjoying new life as a live music venue. The horseshoe gallery of the former Methodist chapel looks out towards a magnificent organ directly below which stand Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks.


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BC Camplight Tonight is a really significant gig for BC Camplight (aka Brian Christinzio), as he opens his UK tour in his adopted home city of Manchester. Although he’s been making music for quite a few years it’s only now that he’s started to get the recognition that he truly deserves, with the release of his new album, ‘Deportation Blues’. There’s a real human story behind the album, but more on this later.


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Graham Parker Tonight it is the turn of Graham Parker who last played the venue in 2015 and he clearly likes the place. Essentially a singer-songwriter GP emerged in the mid-seventies, along with class mates Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe, to great critical acclaim and went onto record over twenty studio albums. Distilling that down into tonight’s set list is no easy task and cherries like ‘Don’t Ask Me Questions’, ‘You Can’t Be Too Strong’ and ‘Passion is No Ordinary Word’ don’t get picked.


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Goat Girl Goat Girl are a young all-female band from South London who have real attitude and write great songs. Their debut album, released last April, contains 19 short (most under 3 minutes), diverse and punchy songs and has received great reviews and radio play. The Brudenell is sold-out tonight for the Leeds stop on the band’s extensive tour. Goat Girl are really working hard at gigging: earlier this year I saw them in Montreal during their tour of North America supporting Parquet Courts. They were very well received by the Canadian audience and are making new friends wherever they play.


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Jonathan Wilson Six months after his last UK appearance, Jonathan Wilson is back in town with what looks to be a different band and an ever so slightly improved video backdrop. Three keyboardists are in the line-up including Drew Erickson who played with Wilson as part of Roger Waters’ touring band. Ny Oh’s backing vocals are a particularly welcome addition. The setlist is largely unchanged (notably ‘Dear Friend’ is substituted for ‘Moses Pain’) and focusses on his recent Rare Birds album.


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King Creosote Even if he wasn’t a great wordsmith, tunesmith, singer, musician and performer, out of curiosity you’d have to go and see an act with the name King Creosote. Mr Creosote (no, not the character in the Monty Python film) is actually Kenny Anderson, resident of Fife. Staunchly independent, he has released truckloads of recordings and founded the Fence record label in 1995. One of his most successful albums, nominated for a Mercury Prize in 2011, has been ‘Diamond Mine’, his collaboration with electronica musician Jon Hopkins. However, he has many albums very worthy of investigation, including the most recent, 2016’s ‘Astronaut Meets Appleman’.


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Steve Winwood I declare I’ve been a big fan of Steve Winwood ever since Traffic’s appearance at Lancaster University in 1974. Yet tonight’s show is something of a mixed bag. Sat behind his Hammond Organ for the first three numbers it is clear that this ‘vintage’ seventy year old has lost none of his distinctive and distinguished vocal chops.


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Low Low have been on the go for 25 years now and amazingly they seem to get better and better, both in their live shows and albums (the 12th of which, ‘Double Negative’, is scheduled for release in September). Their current tour brings them back again to the Brudenell in Leeds, a venue for which they confess they have a great fondness.


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Laura Veirs Manchester’s music scene is buzzing. Last night it was the old guard – Patti Smith at the Apollo; The Rolling Stones and Richard Ashcroft playing at Old Trafford. Tonight LCD Soundsystem grace the Apollo and here at the Deaf Institute we have American singer-songwriter, Laura Veirs.


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