The Icicle Works Early start for this one but Ian McNabb doesn’t mess about when it comes to playing live. The first time I saw him (solo acoustic set) he informed us to phone the babysitter to let them know we’d be late. Tonight the current Icicle Works line up is on stage for 8pm and leave at around 11pm. Even with a 15 minute break that’s serious value for money.


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The Wonder Stuff There’s gigs, there’s great gigs and then there’s gigs when everything is just perfect and lodges itself permanently in your music sodden brain. For the perfect gig certain things have to fall into place, in this writer’s humble opinion. The venue has to be intimate but large enough not to feel claustrophobic. The sound has to be top notch. We’ve all been at gigs where the sound is such a mess that a band can be 2 minutes into a song before you realise you know said song, and know it well. The crowd have to be up for it without being over the top. The bands have to be on fire but more than that they have to be enjoying themselves. A band who look like they don’t want to be there are just no fun at all.


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Public Service Broadcasting Public Service Broadcasting’s debut album Inform-Educate-Entertain (with the emphasis on Entertain) seemed to come out of nowhere to a myriad of excellent reviews. Coupled with live shows that took the whole PSB concept to another level Public Service Broadcasting were obviously ones to watch, although every review seemed to come with the caveat ‘limited shelf life’.


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Seasick Steve Rarely does the O2 in Sheffield get this rammed, but the fact that the bearded enigma from Oakland, California, Steven Gene Wold, AKA Seasick Steve is in town, has meant that tonight it is full, very full.


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Dropkick Murphys The pipes start playing and we’re into Your Spirits Alive. Rock City is already bouncing with bodies flying everywhere before security drag the crowd surfers out, usher them to the side of the pit so they can dive in and start again. Dropkick Murphys are relentless. It’s a full frontal Celtic punk assault and it’s magnificent. A 26 song set picked from the majority of their back catalogue with some spectacular covers thrown in for good measure. (The reggae/Celtic Guns Of Brixton was very special indeed). First of these covers was AC/DC’s T.N.T. As bassist/singer and primary songwriter Ken Casey has stated, ‘I think our goal is to be the AC/DC of Celtic punk rock’.


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Frank Turner Well this promised to be special. Frank Turner’s first gig of 2015, solo, in an intimate venue. This year’s Independent Venue Week ambassador playing in a venue we nearly lost last year, as part of IVW. Perfect.


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Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock Michael Schenker was, and certainly after tonight’s performance, still is, a guitar god in any self-respecting Rock music fans eyes. Starting out in The Scorpions back in the 70’s and then joining UFO later that decade, Schenker supplied the killer riffs that under pinned the very heart of classic songs such as Doctor Doctor, Lights Out, Rock Bottom among many others. He then went on to front a myriad of line-ups of his eponymous band, which again produced fabulous tunes such as Armed and Ready, Into The Arena among many others.


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The Levellers Anticipation was high for this one. The 4th time of seeing The Levellers and they’d only let me down once, V99 when they inexplicably played a mid-afternoon slot to a crowd steel reeling from Mel C (‘I am an antichrist, I am a Sporty Spice’) and their set was cut short on the instructions of headliners Manic Street Preachers. Far outweighing this was a Brid Spa gig in ’95 that is still talked about amongst my fellow gig goers that night and a storming headline slot at this year’s Galtres Festival.


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The Struts OK a few things to get out the way first: I love The Struts. Like really, really love them. Makes doing an objective review tricky but I’ll try. Secondly I have a couple of issues with them. One: They’re too good for their own good and Two: Live, they are bad for my knees. (I’m 46 you know).


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Galtres Festival Galtres opened with Doncaster band and personal friends Bang Bang Romeo, their first performance on a main festival stage. No surprises in that they nailed it. Just a shame more people couldn't see them due to the site opening not long before they came on stage. I spoke to a few people that night who could hear the band from the queue and were gutted they didn't get to see them.


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