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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Neighbourhood Festival 2018 What better way to spend a Saturday than to run around Manchester’s music venues looking for your next favourite artist. My festival year always starts at Live at Leeds in May and then finishes here in Manchester at Neighbourhood Festival in October. Both of this year’s metropolitan day festivals have been superb, packed to the brim with fresh new talent and if you are prepared to stray away from the larger venues then there are some real goodies to be found amongst the also rans. Be prepared though for quite a trek to some of the places - walking from Albert Hall or Jimmys to the Academy is well over a mile, so I decided early on not to go to those extremes and stay in the nucleus of talent and go to the smaller venues that I hadn’t visited before.


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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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Ray LaMontagne Hats off to Ray LaMontagne - He’s ‘Just Passing Through’ but calls in at Sheffield City Hall for an incredible intimate acoustic session. He is an elusive beast this Ray Lamontagne, quick to hide and squirrel away back in his US home, never venturing too far away and therefore in the last 14 years I’ve not managed to catch a live performance ever, in fact he hasn’t even been on these shores for 7 years, despite releasing some stunning albums over that period.


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Rae Morris Rae Morris is ‘Reborn’ tonight with a new band, new look and nearly a non-stop danceathon.


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Myles Kennedy Myles Kennedy, frontman for Slash’s solo band, Guitarist and Singer in Alter Bridge, brings a much stripped back intimate acoustic blues session at his new potential home in the Midlands.


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Chris Robinson Brotherhood The Furry Freak Brothers from across the pond take over Student Central in London to give a lecture in Psychedelic Country Blues and Stoner Rock’n’Roll. Two stunning sets from The Chris Robinson Brotherhood saw this packed house get all warm and fuzzy inside.


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Bad Touch It’s almost panto season and tonight we have ‘Beauty & The Beast’ in the shape of Mollie Marriott and Bad Touch, live at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds. Classic Rock n’ Roll tales as old as time. I’m back at my favourite independent music venue in the North – Leeds Brudenell Social Club for a night of Classic Rock that could have been made in the 70’s. We have the long hair, flares, boots, beards and loud guitars – we also have beer at £1.99 but that’s not as a throwback gimmick, or even because it’s Black Friday. This is a normal night here, a social music club deep in the mainly student community of Leeds. Now having 3 stages and every night is booked, it’s so great to see it thriving when many others are closing down.


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Mr Big American Classic Rock comes to Newcastle in the form of Mr Big who are here to promote their new album Defying Gravity and to dish out a masterclass of guitar work and top power ballads.


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First Aid Kit The Swedish Söderberg sisters, First Aid Kit, return with a not so quiet night in and plenty of headshaking and dancing for the hipster Shoreditch set. Yes! I’m in Shoreditch, hipster central, and for a man from Yorkshire who doesn’t have any facial hair, I’m as far removed from my normal habitat like a giraffe at a small shrubbery convention. However, the reason I have traversed 200 miles south is to see First Aid Kit. This is a band I have loved on record for many years, but never quite managed to catch them in a live setting before.


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Aimee Mann Aimee Mann charms a London Palladium audience with personal and intricate melancholy songs about mental illness, accompanied by a string quartet and a science geek folk rock troubadour who writes songs about zombies, the end of the world and cats.


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Tori Amos I know commitment. I know love, and dedication, and perseverance… as evidenced in my long time love affair with Tori Amos. Through her dabbling with electro (not keen, but I love her nonetheless), creating a beautiful musical theatre piece (vastly underrated), jetsetting to international gigs (staying in strangers houses all over the place), nurturing friendships with other similarly obsessed fans (she inspires obsession and camaraderie more than any other musician I know), and seeing her more than 25 times in my 20+ year love (and counting).


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Rae Morris Rae Morris is ‘reborn’ as an electro dance pop artist. Almost 75% is brand new material played tonight in Leeds and she never stopped moving around the stage, New Moves, New Songs, New Attitude – just ‘Do It’!


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Cheap Trick With a 40 year back catalogue of American pop rock hits to play, Illinois Cheap Trick thrill a packed Manchester crowd who surrender to a selection of the expected and some obscure, and even some new stuff!


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