Level 42 It was over 30 years since I last saw Level 42, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that the passing time hasn’t diminished their powers what so ever. Mark King and Mike Lindup on keyboards are the 2 remaining members of the original line up which saw brother Phil and Boon Gould leave the band in the late 80’s, although Boon would continue to write new material for the band. Originally formed in in the late 70’s, Level 42 really hit the mark during the mid 80’s which saw the release of the albums ‘World Machine’ and ‘Running in the Family’. Their distinctive jazz funk sound was underpinned by the Mark Kings trademark slap bass technique which often took on the role typical given over to a lead guitarist.


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Jorja Smith Team Gig Junkies have been lucky enough to find themselves in delectable company of a certain Miss Jorja Smith twice this year. In the summer, on the day that a cartoon blimp depicting the American President was floating around London being roundly booed and jeered by 1000s of revellers like a modern day Court Jester, she was putting on a more classy showpiece at the wonderful surrounds of Somerset House. It was the perfect anecdote to all the political craziness.


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The Orb Most of you will (I hope) have a musical bucket list, and I’m glad to say that The Orb have been on my list for a long time, and Saturday night in Newcastle provided another tick on this list.


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whenyoung It takes a strong performance for a band to hold the attention of drunken students in the middle of a night out. This is exactly what newcomers whenyoung achieved whilst playing the side room of the Kasbah on a busy Friday night.


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Tom Grennan It seems like he’s been around for ages but 23 year old Tom Grennan arrived on the scene a little over 2 years ago with his first single ‘Something In The Water’ back in July 2016. Since then he has released a steady stream of singles and EP’s and has built up large and loyal fan base. Initially an acoustic guitarist he has now become an accomplished frontman delivering an Indie/Alt rock sound, and his current tour is to promote his debut album ‘Lighting Matches’ which was released in July of this year.


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BC Camplight Tonight is a really significant gig for BC Camplight (aka Brian Christinzio), as he opens his UK tour in his adopted home city of Manchester. Although he’s been making music for quite a few years it’s only now that he’s started to get the recognition that he truly deserves, with the release of his new album, ‘Deportation Blues’. There’s a real human story behind the album, but more on this later.


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Glenn Hughes A year ago in ‘The Church’, a Leeds venue set in... a Church, Glenn Hughes brought his solo tour to Yorkshire, but unbeknown to us at the time when he walked out on stage that night, he had just heard the news that his mother had passed away. It was, to say the least, a very emotional night for Hughes and those lucky enough to be in the room. This hard rocker who has witnessed many ups and downs in his life was significantly reduced in stature by his emotions, but the audience here pulled him through, and he did say that his mother had expressly wished him to go on whenever it happened. That bond has stayed with him for the last 12 months and he now holds Leeds as a very special place, this time though he’s not at the Church, he is further down the road in the University Union and the Stylus bar for his Deep Purple tour.


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Graham Parker Tonight it is the turn of Graham Parker who last played the venue in 2015 and he clearly likes the place. Essentially a singer-songwriter GP emerged in the mid-seventies, along with class mates Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe, to great critical acclaim and went onto record over twenty studio albums. Distilling that down into tonight’s set list is no easy task and cherries like ‘Don’t Ask Me Questions’, ‘You Can’t Be Too Strong’ and ‘Passion is No Ordinary Word’ don’t get picked.


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Rex Orange County As I stood in the enormous queue outside the O2 Institute, I noticed the rare September sunset had turned a beautiful Peach colour. It seemed even the sky was excited for Rex Orange County’s sold out set tonight.


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Tash Sultana Where to start? Well, to give some context, at least for me personally (actually, I’m certain as with many, many others too) the obsession started with FIFA, obviously. I’m making my way through the menus and this song comes on, the kind that make your ears prick up, cat-like. It catches me so off-guard, this isn’t what I had planned for my afternoon! The intro has already got me, then these vocals come in and yes, this is a bit of me. Forget FIFA, YouTube is now the mission. Who is this? I must know. This song (Jungle) will be on loop for the foreseeable future. Dramatic, I know, but as I write this, just shy of a year later, not a lot has changed.


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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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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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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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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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