Bear's Den As the London based duo Bear's Den graced the stage they were met with an excited cheer from the packed out Nottingham Rock City crowd, and effortlessly chimed into first track 'Red Earth & Pouring Rain', closely followed by 'Emeralds'. The stage was alight with a warm golden glow that cast a misty haze across the band which had you believing you could quite easily be at a folk festival rather than cramped into a two tiered room in the middle of the East Midlands.


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Esprit D'Air Esprit D'Air returned as a trio with the members, Kai, Ellis and Daishi to announce their upcoming new single 'Guiding Light' due to release on 12 April after the successful released of 'Rebirth' in late 2016, their first single in four years.


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Blackberry Smoke Southern Rock is a funny genre, it’s coloured fruit from a hotch potch of original blues, soul and rocknroll and yet mainly played by white blokes with long hair, beards and hats. Name me three Southern Rock bands and I guarantee there is a hat and beard in there somewhere, in fact most people would probably struggle to name three anyway. Lynyrd Skynyrd with Freebird/Sweet Home Alabama would be the populist call, and yet there have been many others more recent to take their trophy. Most notably for me personally are The Black Crowes from Atlanta Georgia, back in the early 90’s they developed a blues rock sound that had more than a nod to the Allmans, Grateful Dead and other jam bands of the 70’s. And it’s back to that same State in the US which has sent 2 current bands out to the world with a similar trade to sell – Blackberry Smoke and Biters might both be from the same city but are clearly different in style and attitude on stage.


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Jens Lekman I don't know what it is about Jens Lekman, but there's something that brings out the protective in audiences. And so when the 36 year old Swede strode onto stage and announced "I'm not feeling my best I'm afraid, guys....I have a spot of 'flu...", you could hear the collective 'awww' rise up from the crowd. "Someone give Jens a hug" came the cry from one wag, obviously unaware of the contagious nature of influenza.


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Blossoms As a callow youth I thought I was too cool for support bands. That changed sometime in the ‘90s when I discovered that the band I missed out on supporting Inspiral Carpets was a fledgling Oasis, going under the moniker Rain. Now sometimes it just can’t be helped. I was at a wedding yesterday which meant by the time we got to the O2 we’d already missed Rory Wynne. Cabbage have been on my must see list for some time but despite my promises to myself I always keep missing them. I did manage to catch 5 minutes of them once supporting Blossoms at The Leadmill. This time I was determined to catch the full set. Failed..


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The Lemon Twigs We’ve all heard of The Lemon Twigs by now, right? They’ve been the band on everyone’s lips since last summer, and the hype only got louder upon the release of debut LP ‘Do Hollywood’ last October. At tonight’s sold out show, KOKO buzzes with anticipation; pre-show conversations largely consists of brags about seeing them before they got so big, or musing over the young band’s anachronistic influences, a blend of Big Star’s jangly pop and David Bowie’s glam.


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Johnny Flynn & The Sussex Wit It’s a calm Tuesday night and there’s a faint smell of chlorine as I stand and wait for the support act to appear. I haven’t done my homework on the main act Johnny Flynn & The Sussex Wit, other than seeing two friends who I know are really into their folk and alternative music like them on Facebook. I haven’t worked out the audience yet; a mixture of ages and dress sense doesn’t really give me any clues about the evening ahead.


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Mallory KNox It’s a sold-out gig tonight at The Leadmill in Sheffield which is not surprising considering the stellar line-up! 3 of the Top British Rock Bands around at the moment and all for only £15.00. I’m really looking forward to the headliners Mallory Knox as it is my first time seeing them live but first we’ve got two great support acts.


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Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes It was a high beards per capita ratio and a heavier than normal smattering of black clobber that greeted us at one of Brum's heavier venues ‘The Asylum’ on Saturday night, to see the rather splendid Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, at the rather earlier time of 8.15pm.


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SEventh Wave Following on from the inaugural The Seventh Wave Festival of electronic music late in 2016, Festival No.2 took place over 4 days and a series of events celebrating classic and contemporary electronica. Over the weekend a procession of artists performed, talked, and taught fans of electronic music here in Birmingham.


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Hurray For The Riff Raff ‘The Navigator’, Alynda Segarra’s sixth album as Hurray For The Riff Raff, has been attracting rave reviews and it seems to mark her coming of age as a singer, songwriter, performer and cutting-edge social commentator. Tonight’s gig at Leeds Brudenell Social Club is one of a few dates in the UK where she is showcasing her new album and her excellent new touring band.


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Emeli Sandé Four years ago, this young lady was everywhere. After a couple of hits with others, her debut album went stratospheric. She played at the Opening and Closing of London 2012 Olympics, won a couple of BRITS and also performed for the President of the United States of America. As you do. And now she's back, older, wiser, social justice campaigner, personal life challenges and new album in tow. Before the arenas cometh smaller venues - welcome tonight to the o2 Academy in Brum, Emeli Sandé.


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Wishbone Ash This weekend's Prog Rock Festival at Camp HRH in Pwllheli, North Wales is an ever growing Prog Rock Festival at Haven Hafan y Mor Holiday Park on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park. The festival is on a mission to "the biggest and friendliest Prog Community in Europe" - with the numbers attending the festival are growing year-on-year from around 800-900 last year to several thousand this year....


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The Stranglers It's that time of year again. The last day of the 6 Nations Rugby. The F1 Motor Racing season starts shortly. Spring is well on the way. And like a clock that is set the same time every year - it is time to tack a trip to Brum, to the o2 Academy, as the Men In Black are back - say the Brummie annual hello to The Stranglers.


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