Airbourne Sometimes there are gigs that break from the norm - for me at least. For a long time we have “endured” the support band to get ourselves through to the main event and heck, so we should - support the upcoming acts most definitely, but tonight we are lucky, three great bands to watch. Should be great! We shall see...


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Mac DeMarco An evening with Vernor Winfield McBriare Smith IV you say? I’m there! Tonight sees Vernor (the lesser-spotted Mac DeMarco to you guys) sojourn to Birmingham for the 1st time since his Institute gig in 2015 to proffer his jizz-jazz wears to us Midlanders…


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Vampire Weekend Whisper it but it's been over ten years since self titled first album of Vampire Weekend was released. An album, which quickly became the soundtrack to the final year of my university life. Much has changed since those heady days. Unaffected by the 2016 departure of Rostam Batmanglij (whose influence is still very much felt on newer tracks), Vampire Weekend have gone from NYC indie newcomers to seasoned mainstream live artists.


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Hootie & the Blowfish Leeds fans are treated to a big slice of Southern USA alt rock as Hootie & the Blowfish return to the UK after a 23-year absence, and they bring along Drivin’ & Cryin’ and Patrick Davis for the ride.


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Amber Run Nottingham’s indie rock quintet Amber Run delivered an intimate, emotional set that captured the hearts of all fans, new and old.


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Anderson .Paak Anderson .Paak has been on an unstoppable rise over the past two years. Every album, track or even feature released, just seems to get better and better. Ahead of his weekend slots at Reading and Leeds he announced an unmissable warmup at the O2 Academy. The sold out crowd were in for a special night.


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Sting & Shaggy They go together like cats and motorways as Alexei Sayle would say, and yet this strange reggae/rock combo works live better than anyone could have imagined. Let’s face it, Sting is a little dry in the humour stakes, Shaggy is the yin to his yang in that nothing is actually serious for him. Shaggy plays the role of warm up man, frequently getting the crowd hyped up, clapping, singing and screaming, while Sting is being Sting, wearing a tight black T shirt showing off a trim muscled bod for a 67-year-old but rarely speaking or smiling too much (unless Shaggy is thrusting his groin forward towards him – in which case he makes a run for it).


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The Specials Tonight is crackling in the O2 in Sheffield, positively crackling. The Specials are here for a sell out date on their Encore 40th Anniversary Tour and by the looks of it every Tyke that has ever been a fan (that’s a Yorkshireman for those not in the know) is out in force… and then some.


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The Undertones John Peel knew a good tune when he heard one, and 'Teenage Kicks' was described by him as his favourite song of all time, and was his families tune of choice at his funeral in 2004. Whilst the band may be a little older, it’s good to see that they’re back on their 40th anniversary tour celebrating the release of their first album 'The Undertones', and tonight was a joyous, raucous gig delivered by one of Derry's finest exports to date.


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Suede When David Bowie passed away in 2016 I vowed I’d never again miss the opportunity to see a band I loved, when the opportunity presented itself. So I took the grey and long road from Birmingham to Leeds on a Wednesday night to see one of my favourite all time bands, Suede.


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Sleaford Mods Sleaford Mods. Don’t let the band name mislead you. Sleaford Mods can’t be pigeon holed as a ‘mod band’ - because they're not. Their vocalist Jason Williamson has described their sound in the past as "electronic munt minimalist punk-hop rants for the working class.” They are certainly political, and certainly of the people. Yet in an interview with Channel 4 (2015) Williamson has alternatively said that he doesn’t want the music to be described as working class - as when you're talking about alienation or unemployment there really shouldn’t be that assumption, or stereotype.


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James "We're gonna play you some miserable songs cause your Birmingham and way too happy" observed frontman Tim Booth as James opened with a 40 minute acoustic set, stripped back bare to entertain the masses that had come to the Birmingham Academy tonight for the sold out show.


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The Wailers Bob Marley passed away back in 1981, but his legacy and stunningly good musical output is safe in the hands of The Wailers who delighted the crowd at Leeds O2 tonight. Ably supported by Jeramiah Ferrari from Manchester, this was an evening which went down an absolute treat.


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Nils Frahm Nils Frahm is sparking a movement which challenges the conventions of music today. Without little introduction, no support act and a packed room, Nils Frahm graced a captive O2 Academy with his first ever Birmingham performance.


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