Meat Puppets Until this gig I mainly knew Meat Puppets as one of the seminal US alternative bands of the 1980s and 90s, perhaps most known for the three Meat Puppets songs recorded by Nirvana for their ‘Unplugged In New York’ album. Kurt Cobain was a big fan of the band and Cris and Curt Kirkwood of Meat Puppets were invited to play on Nirvana’s unplugged session. However, tonight Meat Puppets really demonstrate that they are a force of their own.


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Rita Ora What an amazing past 12 months it has been for Rita Ora, with ‘Phoenix’ marking her first solo album release in five years, the album has received numerous nominations and won awards even though it was only released in the latter half of 2018. ‘For You’ was one of the biggest hits of the year, not a day went by when you didn’t hear it at least three times on the radio, a headline slot at Manchester Pride and returning to the screen as Mia in the 50 Shades film series and just when you thought there was no end to the singer songwriter’s talents she transforms into Dr. Ann Laurent for Pokémon Detective Pikachu with latest offering ‘Carry On’ featuring on the soundtrack, appealing to a whole new set of fans. Not forgetting to mention numerous charity work and an announcement to appear for Soccer Aid this summer, it’s so easy to see why people love her.


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Kamasi Washington “Let’s Do It”, announces Kamasi Washington, as he and his band take the stage at Manchester's Academy. The venue has a fine pedigree starting life in the sixties with jazzers such as Humphrey Lyttelton before embracing the likes of Hendrix, The Who, Cream and Pink Floyd. An audience of around one thousand are here tonight, mostly students. Some are here out of curiosity but most will be familiar with Washington’s contributions to fellow Angelino Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly – that landmark 2015 chart topper which fused hip-hop with jazz and opened up the genre to a new young audience.


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Manic Street Preachers It seems almost a cliche at this point for artists to play older albums in full, relying on nostalgia to bring in the audience for a quick cash grab. However that’s not always the case, some do it for the right reasons, making it a celebration for themselves and the fans. The best example of this at the moment is the Manic Street Preachers, who over the past few years have been playing a slew of excellent 20th anniversary shows of their 90’s albums.


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Stereophonics Welsh maestros Stereophonics have a busy summer ahead and so it is that they announced three intimate warm up shows. Admittedly the Bonus Arena holds 3,500 I believe so it all depends on your own personal interpretation of intimate. Given the last time I saw them I was in a crowd of somewhere around 40,000 it’s all relative really.


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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 Unthanks The Trades Club is a socialist members cooperative in alt.Yorkshire’s Hebden Bridge... a hip, chilled out mill town noted for its liberal vibe and motley mixture of artists, alternative practitioners, New Age activists, LGBTs and urban commuters in search of the good life. This cosy venue is a natural home to The Unthanks who’ve played here on several occasions; indeed, as Becky remarks, she once lived here in the town.


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Marc Almond Marc Almond is one of the rare artists who find themselves in the envious position of not having to churn out albums to order. In fact he pretty much pleases himself these days, and so it was that he thought why not do a mini six date UK tour featuring songs from his musical heroes and of course one or two Soft Cell tunes.


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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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Mini Mansions Swaggering through their suave suits, Mini Mansions balance their smooth coolness with pure energy at Birmingham’s Hare and Hounds.


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Ten Tonnes It’s 5.30pm and a small crowd has hurried into a corner of Birmingham’s HMV store. The reason? To catch glimpse of one of the country’s rising stars Ten Tonnes.


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Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes We’re big believers in the mystical at Gig Junkies HQ. A bird shitting in our eye is seen as a blessing rather than a curse. So, when we see not only one rainbow, but a doubler no less and the pot of gold where it ended on route to Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes' gig, we knew we were in for a treat.


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The Vamps Before we knew it The Vamps arrived on the stage behind a curtain casting silhouette shapes before dropping to the floor revealing Brad who surprised the crowd with ‘Just My Type’. The opening track for the evening had the crowd singing loudly and dancing non-stop from the get go.


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Richard Ashcroft As most people know, Wigan is best known for three things, Northern Soul, Pies and The Verve. Tonight we are at the Dome in Doncaster to witness the lead singer of the latter of the three doing his thang! The first would have been OK, but Pies, - heck no thanks! (Well not tonight anyway).


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