Biffy Clyro As storm Ali blows a hooley across the UK, inside, amongst the stunning surroundings of Birmingham’s Symphony Hall we are comfy and snug for a magical night courtesy of Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro.


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Wooden Shjips Wooden Shjips open their set with fragments of sound and a TV static type lighting effect. The lights pulsate as the beat creeps in, and I find myself being hypnotised by ‘Eclipse’. This is the opening song of their 2018 album ‘V.’, and a gorgeous representation of their ‘garage-styled psychedelia’. The firm bass and drum instrumentals, layered with murmuring vocals from Erik ‘Ripley’ Johnson, are entrancing.


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Albert Hammond Jr Feel Good Indie Rock – Albert Hammond Jr offers some kind Strokes in Manchester. It’s a difficult job for a rhythm/lead guitarist from a highly successful worldwide band to make it as a solo artist. Like Carl Barat without his oppo in The Libertines, you are reduced to playing drastically smaller venues and releasing introspective, much more personal but probably less commercial albums, with various collective friends and acquaintances forming members of your live band.


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Janelle Monáe It's possible to say the crowd that were going wild, hearing hit after hit from Janelle Monáe at the Academy, however, I feel that would be a discredit to this icon. Manchester saw how much more this icon gives in terms of music bringing anthems of honesty, rebellion and love, lifting up the crowd with her immense stage presence and colourful emotive pictures.


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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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Garbage Let me begin with a word on the venue. Digbeth Arena is not an arena. That would be too grandiose a term for what is essentially a small space between a railway track and a old viaduct. The enclosed nature of the space acts as a natural amphitheatre that results in possibly the best sound quality I have ever heard at any gig. In short, this is a dream performance space for any artist worth their salt. In Birmingham, we are treated to three bands worth enough salt to keep the second city in fish and chips for a lifetime...


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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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Ezra Furman “Are you nervous? I’m not nervous!” says Ezra Furman at the start of his Brixton Academy set.


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Incubus “Is Incubus still a band?” is mounted as one of the top 4 Google searches to include the word ‘Incubus’ at the moment, which is interesting considering they’re currently getting ready to wrap their final dates of a world tour, their first in many years. That being said, the atmosphere in tonight’s completely sold out o2 Academy definitively confirms that an army of people in Birmingham never forgot about them for a second.


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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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St. Vincent Watching a St. Vincent show is what it is to witness a creative mind expressing itself in the most beautiful way. A performance that’s all about the performance with everything from the music, the pulsating lights and the hypnotic video projections all working together in harmony with one thing in mind - to make you feel sexy.


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Electric Six The kings of 2000s era comedy rock graced Leamington with their presence for a fun show full of their favourite hits and a couple of surprises from their albums since. We weren’t in a Gay Bar, but the Dance Commander implied there would be Danger! If there wasn’t any Improper Dancing going on by the end. Don’t know what I’m on about? That means you’ve not met Electric Six before.


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Brian Wilson A rainy underpass in Digbeth is an unlikely place to experience a bit of California on a Friday night, but that's exactly what the crowd at the Digbeth Arena were treated to when Brian Wilson brought the legendary Pet Sounds album to the newly formed Skyline Series. An audience of all ages donned raincoats and jumpers in perhaps what was ironically the worst day for weather all summer.


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THE FEVER 333 If you’ve never been to the O2 Academy Islington it is based inside a shopping centre where fans of THE FEVER 333 lined around the inside.


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