Takeover Post #3 CHVRCHES / Mansionair – O2 Acadmey Birmingham – 25.11.2015

  Hey guys, quick message from me first (Leanne)! So I felt it was time to spice things up again and well I would like to introduce a Guest blogger to the blog! You may already have noticed the name floating around a bit already but here you go! Be nice and meet the lovely Kirsty! xo


   My obsession with CHVRCHES started with Mother We Share. From then I listened to them all the time, every song being a favourite. So when I found last minute tickets to see them at the O2 Academy, one of the best local venues FOR ONLY £17, I couldn’t say no. Messaging Leanne begging her to come along, we booked them a week before the gig. I didn’t bother checking out who was supporting, I trusted they would be amazing if they were supporting my favourite band… So the day came around and I couldn’t focus on ANYTHING accept getting to the O2 on the evening!

   Arriving an hour before doors, the queue was already down the road and around the corner, we were somewhere in the middle, in the freezing cold, dying for the toilet! About 10 minutes after doors – we were in!

Mansionair:

   I’d never even heard of these guys, so had no idea what to expect from them. A 3 piece from Australia, recently signed to CHVRCHES record label, Goodbye Records. Coming on stage calmly, like it was no big deal; these guys were instantly one of the chillest bands I’d ever seen. Shy, quiet, oozing that cool vibe that makes you want to know more. 

   They went straight into their first song and I was completely WOWED. Jack the guitarist and lead vocalist had a voice like an angel, one of the best I’ve ever heard. I can’t even begin to describe their music; it’s a mix of many genres, a light techno feel, slow and fast with no major drops, but with an indie vibe in there somewhere. Lachlan certainly had his work cut out for him, playing guitar along with back-in vocals and keyboard, his voice was amazing and his talent shone through throughout the whole set. Alex was amazing, never missing a beat and really setting the tone for the band, he played a little shaker along with drumming and he’s incredibly talented.

    Now I’m a sucker for in our face stage presence and interaction with the crowd, but this band just didn’t give a lot in those departments. They were shy, with minimal swaying and movement while playing. But hold fire, it’s not bad, it fitted their music PERFECTLY. If they had been jumping around, lots of movement and loads of talking, it would’ve almost seemed wrong. Lachlan spoke to the crowd more than Jack and seemed more confident but I think that was just their personalities, not part of the performance. They said thank you, made the crowd feel appreciated and generally were absolutely mesmerizing. Their cool vibe stuck with them and I was in a trance, watching them intently not able to look away through their whole set.

   They were an amazing fit for CHVRCHES, warming the crowd with beautiful music, captivating the audience. They seemed to really enjoy themselves, super into what they were doing and they came across as such sweet, lovely people. As soon as I left I bought and downloaded their EP (Pick Me Up) and it chills me out so much, absolutely breath-taking.

CHVRCHES:

   It seemed strange having only one support at a gig, but it somehow made it feel more intimate. It felt like the little hometown shows I love so much and made me forget just how much of a big deal CHVRCHES are to me.  After being so excited about it, I wasn’t let down…

   Bouncing on stage and filling the room with an electric energy that’s rare to experience, CHVRCHES went straight into Never Ending Circles, the first song from their 2015 album; one of my favourites! While swaying along to this amazing piece of music, only one thing was going through my mind: Lauren is so tiny. Of course I knew that already, but in real life she looks even more like a tiny, little pixie than she does in photos/videos! Bouncing back to the gig from my day dream about fairies with glittery faces and gem stones stuck on their cheekbones, the lights bought me back to reality.

   I am an absolute sucker for lighting at gigs, but this was something else. Honestly, the lighting was on another level! Clever use of strobes, beautiful colours that worked well with the dark venue and went well with the mood of the songs; a huge well done is in order to their light tech, what a great job they did!

   Back to the music – CHVRCHES sound exactly the same live as they do on their records. Lauren’s voice is the same if not better, Martin’s vocals are equally as amazing and what he does on that synthesizer is something else and Iain’s skills as a bassist as well as on the sample board/synthesizer are absolutely astounding. Honestly, the sounds that these guys make are on a whole other level to any live music I’ve heard before; there was just SO MUCH SOUND. As well as singing, Lauren played a small drum set that appeared in some tracks throughout their set, multi-tasking and running around like it was nothing to her, just another day at the office!

   The stage presence that they have is amazing; they have such a great tact with interacting with the crowd. As soon as Lauren spoke she made us feel welcome, like it was a joy to be in front of us when really we were the ones there to see her and the guys! She was charming, funny and just so adorable. When she wasn’t speaking to the crowd she was running around the stage dancing, encouraging the crowd to move around and get involved. It wasn’t just Lauren who made her mark on the stage, Martin and Iain although obviously busy making their music, danced around, jumping and waving and getting involved.

   Mid-set for a couple of songs, Martin and Lauren swapped places. Martin assumes the role of lead vocalist in a few CHVRCHES songs, Under the Tide being a favourite, and while the atmosphere in the venue was already at a high he took it even further. His movements made Lauren look like she was standing still! He was bouncing, running, moving more than should be possible for a person executing such awesome vocals! Iain as always was fabulous keeping the beats going strong, alternating between instruments. Lauren took over Martins half of the instruments and had her drum kit with her. There was so much to look at it was hard to keep track of what was going on.

   All of a sudden it was what seemed to be the last song and the gig had flown by without me realising and I was so sad because I didn’t know if I’d missed it, or if my favourite song just hadn’t been played; the song that made me fall in love with CHVRCHES – The Mother We Share. Of course, we’d been deceived and the encore followed. Coming back on to a slower song, Afterglow, which was received well by the crowd and was totally overwhelming after such an upbeat gig.
Suddenly, Mother We Share was booming through the sound system and I was screaming at the top of my lungs with the rest of the people in the venue.  Over too soon, CHVRCHES left the stage for the final time and I ran to the cloak-room, bought some merch and went on my jolly way home on a total high after one of the best gigs of my life.

   This gig was one of a kind. It’s worth mentioning that these guys had all been on tours for MONTHS before this gig but still seemed to be on top of their game and showed no signs of wearing down after such a long tour. Not being the sort of music Leanne is usually into, she came away with a band she now loves; Mansionairs. I came away with a new love for them, and also an even more burning love for CHVRCHES. There is nothing more rewarding than going to see a band you really are passionate about and I’m glad to have ticked these guys off the long list I have. Every musician on that stage had insane talent and radiated good vibes and happiness; I’ll definitely see them again.

   Please go and check out both bands on YouTube, Spotify, anywhere you can! Buy their music, support them and show them lots of love!


   Sorry that this blog has taken 2 months to write, Christmas is always a busy time! Thank-you for you patience and I hope you enjoyed it. This is my second ever guest post so your comments would be absolutely amazing – Kirsty xx

Mansionair:

(Jack (centre), Lachlan (left), Alex (right))

CHVRCHES:

(LEFT – Lauren (centre), Martin (right))

(BELOW – Martin (centre), Iain (left), Lauren (right))

Turbowolf, Beasts & Loom – O2 Academy Birmingham – 13.10.2015

   October 28th I and Kirsty (who will be doing some guest posts) took another trip to the O2 Academy in our local town to watch our boys in Beasts whilst they were on tour with Turbowolf and Loom.

    Due to events before-hand causing travelling issues for us, we unfortunately only caught ten minutes of Loom’s performance. They sounded good, everything was performed well that we saw and after checking them out on YouTube afterwards their music sounds great.

BEASTS:

   Beasts performance was something of professionalism. Their music is different to most artists in his scene, their style is somewhat old rock. We’re not referring to old school rock like Kiss and ACDC but more the style you hear from Nirvana and Red Hot Chilli Peppers. It’s got a slight grunge feel but is so much better.
   Unfortunately during Beasts performance they had some technical difficulties that resulted in a fair few mishaps during the first few songs, their TM having to literally hold their shit together. However, this did not damper their spirit or their performance. Jaco the bassist interacted with the audience, charming them and cracking out jokes helping to lighten the tension formed from the tech problems. Joe the vocalist/guitarist carried on throughout all difficulties performing to a very high standard, including continuing to play his guitar throughout the end of a song even though there was no sound coming from the amp. Woody, the drummer, remained cool, calm and awesome. His drum skills radiated throughout and the tightness and precision with each song was very strongly displayed.
   Their stage presence was brilliant! Jaco certainly doesn’t keep still during songs and reminds us of Flea with how he comes to life with music when he starts to play. Before tech problems, Joe moved around as much as singing and playing guitar allows (fair play to the guy for doing both fantastically, simultaneously). Unfortunately with the TM knelt before him, his movements became restricted and you could tell it was NOT how he wanted to be playing, but he champed on through the set. His movement became more sways and bops rather than the heavier head banging and filling the stage with his presence we’d seen beforehand. As a drummer it can be difficult to not just show movement from playing your instrument, Woody however, displayed large arm movements creating drama with every beat and some of the best head banging I’ve seen a drummer do! Considering this performance suffered technical difficulties, which almost made it destined to fail, it absolutely didn’t suffer anything in talent being displayed. There was no sign of panic on the stage, even with the TM running around solving things, the sound engineer keeping as much as he could at its best and even other crew acting as sound check, running round the venue ensuring sound quality from all areas was perfect, as well as doing their own job (photographer and merch guy). But most of all, they still found time to enjoy themselves, they made jokes about the situation and lightened the TM’s worry by introducing him to the audience and joking about him kneeling before the singer for the rest of the set. The whole team worked super well under pressure and the band themselves were great.

Turbowolf:

   Turbowolf were animated to the max! From sparkly in your face jackets to the best stage presence you’ll ever see. The whole band were dancing, bouncing and enjoying it. We mean, the drummer stood up throughout a whole song and still killed it.
   They certainly had the whole package, visually, musically and in showing their own characters. In between songs, the audience were made to feel like friends, with the singer and bassist interacting with them. Interaction included stories about recent trips to America, realisations they’ve had as a band and even encouragement to join in. Now trust me when we say the audience needed no encouragement at all, they were certainly in their element. I’ve not seen such a small room so filled with energy from the very start of a bands set. Even people at the very back of the room were dancing to their hearts content, with the front of the room like a human Tetris game due to how close everyone wanted to be to the stage.
   Turbowolf is definitely a band full of talent. Each song consisted of tight riffs, heavy drum beats and insane vocals.

   This gig just goes to show the skill of these people. No matter what happens (and this gig, a LOT happened) you’ve gotta keep going and give the people who are there for you what they want. All bands had incredible talent.

Below are YouTube videos of all 3 bands, show them some support, we promise you won’t regret it!

Thank you as always for reading my opinions and thoughts, it means so much to me! All comments and feedback are welcome – Leanne xo

 This post included some editing by guest blogger Kirsty


BEASTS – My Girl Is A Serpent:


LOOM – YOSOKO:

 

Turbowolf – Rabbits Foot:



Ghost Town & Palisades – O2 Academy Birmingham – 21.10.15

   One of the perks of having this one great friend of mine, is she’s great for gigs. You wouldn’t understand even if I did try to explain, so I’ll leave a little mystery.
This is another review of a gig I went to recently. Ghost Town headlined, Palisades were their on-tour support and a local band supported too. I’ll be mentioning the music, the performance, and how the behaviour of a band can really add to the experience and give you faith in success.

   On October 21st I went to my second gig in a week; which is crazy as I hadn’t been to a gig in so long before hand, now it was one after the other! When I was first invited, I didn’t realise who my friend was talking about, but then it clicked and I got VERY excited; Palisades! The gig was at the O2 Academy in our local area, and what a gig it was!
The local support was on first but we arrived a little late and sadly didn’t catch their set.
   
Ghost Town   

   I’m going to start with the headlining band, which is a little strange, I know. Now, I must admit, I didn’t know who Ghost Town were, a bad move considering they were the headliners, so had no idea what to expect from them. Although I’d usually try and give a band a listen before a gig, I find that sometimes it’s nice to be thrown into the unknown and get a first impression of them live and unedited. Again, the venue was quite intimate; a small, dark room with not too much floor space and a small capacity of around 250. Ghost Town came onto the stage full of energy and ready to perform, and a performance it was.    Filling the stage with movement, they certainly put on a show. The first song they did was good, something I’d heard before (at this point I realised I did know who they were, if only vaguely). It was very well played, everything timing and talent wise was of a very high standard and the rest of the set continued with this, knowing how to please the crowd, with great interaction. The thing I enjoyed the most was when the singer and guitarist left the stage and the drummer performed an AMAZING solo. The fast beats and quick movement were absolutely mesmerizing. Another thing that really stood out to me in this performance was the fact they are a 3 piece (no bassist!) and the guitarist and vocalist swapped mid-set for a song, it was excellent and the guitarist can really scream! Overall it was a great performance. 


Palisades:

   Now, Palisades. I’ve listened to this band a few times and I LOVE their sound. What I personally think makes it so great, is they don’t fit a specific genre. Rock, Pop and lots of Synthy samples make up their music and it mixes together so well, only made better by the amazing vocals and lyrics. Palisades came on stage raring to go, you could see they were ready to enjoy themselves and entertain. Song after song features get vocals, clean guitars and superb drumming, all in sync with one another, the timing always immaculate.      
   Interaction with the audience was present throughout; and obviously important to them. Whether it was through encouraging clapping along, or just telling us how much fun they were having they kept us involved. Their stage presence is what really stood out to me. There was so much movement, however it didn’t one interfere with the standard of music. Nobody collided, there were no errors made at all and they made it look easy. You always do better at something that you enjoy and these boys clearly were enjoying themselves! For me, that is SO refreshing, getting the whole package, great music and an amazing performance live. I was already a fan of Palisades, but what I love about seeing a band live is seeing what they can really do and honestly, they didn’t fail to impress. My biggest peeve is when an artist/band has abused technology and sound nothing like how they are portrayed though EP’s/albums, but this was 100% not the case with these guys.
   What adds even more to what makes them so great is the time they have for their fans. Standing at the merch desk they spoke to everyone they could, genuinely listening and having banter with everyone that approached them; talking to everyone with genuine interest and a smile on their faces. Many bands would charge a weeks rent for an opportunity like this, yet here they were, doing just that for nothing. Every time they spoke to a fan the first thing they said was “Did you enjoy it? Did you have fun?”, which is crazy when you think about how talented they are. I was lucky enough to have a good chat with them as they were staying at my friends house (if only I didn’t have work, I would’ve been there 100%… probably lucky for them I couldn’t be!). When talking to them it was great to see just normal people.
   They really are just a bunch of cheeky young lads who just love to have fun; they were all so sweet with great manners. When talking to Aaron it was chilled out, like talking to an old friend, super easy (he even read the Enter Shakari post on this blog!). When talking to Brandon it was full of laughter and flirting, just messing around. He really is so cheeky! Lou, you can’t help but smile and laugh with him, he’s so funny and outrageous, friendly and easy to talk to with a jaw dropping smile full of humor. I only briefly spoke to Xavier when we arrived, before they played, but he seemed super sweet and my friend said he’s just like the others, a ton of fun. I unfortunately didn’t get to speak to Matt but from what I hear, again he is wonderful. Dave and Chad (driver and TM) were great to. Chad is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met, I did not stop laughing and Dave was lovely and friendly too. 
   I think what I liked most about meting these guys was how, when introduced, I got a handshake and a “Hey, lovely to meet you”, but goodbyes were friendly farewells and hugs! They really make you feel welcome and also very at ease, which is great, because you hear a lot about bad experiences between fans and artists (not always musicians of course).



   Overall, I absolutely loved this gig. The boys in Palisades were sweet, down to earth and brilliant. If you haven’t already you REALLY need to check them out and try to get to a show next time they’re in the UK. Until then, check them out on YouTube and watch their videos!
Thank you to Palisades for the warm welcome and also the other bands, Ghost Towns and the local support, for a great show!


Leanne x

Palisades – No Chaser: