The Wonder Stuff There’s gigs, there’s great gigs and then there’s gigs when everything is just perfect and lodges itself permanently in your music sodden brain. For the perfect gig certain things have to fall into place, in this writer’s humble opinion. The venue has to be intimate but large enough not to feel claustrophobic. The sound has to be top notch. We’ve all been at gigs where the sound is such a mess that a band can be 2 minutes into a song before you realise you know said song, and know it well. The crowd have to be up for it without being over the top. The bands have to be on fire but more than that they have to be enjoying themselves. A band who look like they don’t want to be there are just no fun at all.


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Crossfaith Crossfaith really are a guilty pleasure, and in all honesty after seeing them 4 times now I can’t decipher how they haven’t quite blown up yet. They are a band you need to experience live. Their one by one, riser posing entrance never gets old and I always want to know what leather jacket keyboardist Terufumi will be wearing this time. Sadly nothing compares to the Akira red jacket but tonight’s slogan emblazoned back of ‘New Age Warriors’ is promptly second favourite.


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Postmodern Jukebox It was late autumn in 2015 when I first came across Scott Bradlee and his fabulous Postmodern Jukebox. The song was 'Creep' and it was performed in what looked like just a room in someone's house - but the arrangement and the performance was beyond anything I'd ever seen before. Modern music with a retro twist. It was love at first listen.


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BAND NAME Just over 12 months since Swedish rockers Hardcore Superstar were last in the UK on their headlining tour, they are back again accompanied by UK rockband SKAM and Manchester’s very own Bollywood bhangra duo BONAFIDE. The headliners tonight are those glam rock pirates from Newcastle, The Quireboys, who together are on their Hard Rock Hell (HRH) tour around the UK.


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The Stranglers Well the Spring alarm clock has gone off! Woohoo! And it’s that time of year again - we set our clock 12 months ago with this date, this time of year, this venue. Mid March. And here in Brum, at the o2 Academy they be waltzing on in - the return of the Men in Black: welcome The Stranglers.


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Barry Adamson While long acclaimed as an accomplished musician and composer, Barry Adamson has usually been seen lurking at the back of the stage, as bass guitarist with Magazine and as keyboards / bass player with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. However, tonight Barry reveals himself as an imposing singer, frontman and bandleader, as he treats Manchester to a rare live performance, featuring his new album ‘Know Where to Run’.


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Rudimental Blissfully unaware of Rudimental’s new album release, I felt somewhat ignorant turning up to Rock City as a follower of the band rather than a fanatic. Hitting the music scene in 2012 their drum’n’base rhythms remind me of my summer nights back at high school; times I cherish and was in hope of reliving at the gig.


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The Cult “Don't put your hands up to me man… I can see you, putting up your fists, it's violent, we need a cool vibe here… none of that Peaky Blinders s**t” lead Singer Ian Astbury boomed over the microphone to an overzealous member of the crowd. “We're all adults, we need to show love, if it kicks off by you we need to intervene and look after each other”. The sweaty crowd had started to get leery in the crowded conditions within the Birmingham O2 Institute and cheered after The Cult leader reached out to his disciples to make it a peaceful night.


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