Relax don't…. Wait what's your arm doing?

Firstly, thank you for your patience with my absence. Secondly, blogging for me is about being honest. Sharing with you how things like music make me feel, experience and my general thoughts/opinions. Therefore this post is me being as honest as I can about why I’ve been distant from blogging and reviewing for so long. And to explain what’s been going on since December 2017.

So in December 2017 I plucked up the courage to go to the doctors, to try and get them to understand what I was dealing with. At 22 years old I had been living every day for the last 9 years with chronic pain in my knees. A chronic pain which had spread to my left shoulder, hips, wrists and fingers, ankles and toes, elbows and lower back. I am suffering with joint movement, where often my knee cap wouldn’t be in the right place, and could be visibly seen. My left arm would be much longer in appearance as my shoulder would partially dislocate. My hips would move around often resulting in serve pain. And finally they listened and referred me to a Rheumatologist!!

Along came the appointment in January 2018, where I was asked questions that if it wasn’t a doctor I would usually lie about. Had to do things like touch my toes, stretch my arms out and show how close my thumb can get to my wrist. Then the Rheumatologist confirmed I had scored 8/9 on the Beighton Score, I had severe Hypermobility and would need an Echocardiogram, MRI of my lower spine and pelvis, blood test and would be referred to a specialist Physiotherapist.

In February the results of my blood test where back. Low vitamin D levels and Coeliac Disease. That was the biggest shock, as I didn’t know it was being tested as I only knew about my Thyroid being tested. This meant a Gastroscopy was now needed and I must live a Gluten Free life. But the best news from that was no sign of any arthritis kicking in yet (as I am prone to getting it at an early age). Buzzing! Then I had my MRI & Echocardiogram done.

MRI results weren’t the best as they showed problems with discs in my spine, meaning I have things to look out for which could mean an A&E trip. But on the flip side my pelvis was okay, which was great news!

So April lead to another doctor’s trip as now my right foot was turning in. With anticipation I explained what was going on, and after an examination was referred again to another specialist who then referred me to Podiatry.

Roll on to May and I’ve had the Gastroscopy test (sedation is a very strange experience I must admit), and the results are back confirming I must live a Gluten Free diet due to having Coeliac Disease – 100% confirmed.  It is great to have confirmation that I am doing the right thing by eating Gluten Free, but even better results came back for my Echocardiogram! The results showed no problems with my heart, so at least my heart is behaving!

Physiotherapy sessions are going well with each one so far focusing on different areas of my body. There are talks of moving from exercises to physical activities to try and feel more active and like my old gym going self before the pain and dislocations got too much.
Podiatry have told me no more Converse (but I can’t part ways yet so still wear them but not as much) and high backed supportive shoes are a must! I’m still looking for a pair that I like and can wear at work as I work full time in an office and I need the support as I can often be on my feet for long periods due to being a trainer. More so I need the high back and support because I have to wear an insole in my right shoe, which makes me look wonkier than normal which is a little bit funny lmao.

With all this I have had to come to terms with a lot of things the last few months however I am now in a good place. With all these tests now nicely finished, and only regular trips to physiotherapy and podiatry, I am getting back into my routine. I am doing yoga, and looking to start cycling again (as advised by my physiotherapist) and getting back into writing. Which has all contributed to me being ready to get back to what I love; blogging, reviewing and sharing my thoughts/opinions with you all. I’m looking at music and adventure posts like before, but now looking at food and hypermobility posts too! I have found my silver lining…

So… I am 23 years old living life with Chronic Pain, Severe Hypermobility Syndrome and Coeliac Disease. I am learning to be open about things, to be realistic and to let go of feeling ashamed that I will not be able to do everything without help – when I said learning I definitely mean it with that bit as I am so stubborn aha. As well as learning to listen to my body and trying very hard to not see my conditions as massive negatives.

My advice to anyone regardless of age or how you feel about what you’re going through, make the doctors listen! Listen to what your body is telling you. It knows you better than you know you!

If you have any questions please feel free to get in touch in the usual means!

Thank you all again for your kindness during this time of disappearance xo

As always, thank you for taking the time to read my post filled with my opinions and thoughts. I honestly means more than you could imagine!
 
If you’d like to leave any feedback or comments, please do so in the comments box below.
 
Thank you,
 
Leanne xo

We’re No Heroes – Youth – Single Review

  We’re No Heroes. What a name. What a statement. Their name on its own is compelling, their music? Even better. 
  We’re No Heroes have released their long and anticipated single ‘Youth’. I managed to nab a sneaky peak just before the release, and man was it good! This trio of lads are adding to my strong belief that Wales is the underrated Liverpool, as it appears to be the home to many talented musicians, with these guys currently being based in Cardiff. Now am digging this song for many reasons, from its funky 80’s influence, right down to the well pieced together dynamics of the song. And below im gonna nit pick at the song to explain exactly why this song is worth the listen and why you wont be able to deny the movements. 
   This song is a very well pieced together sample of amazing music. Featuring many different key components, that once teamed up creates an incredible sound. ‘Youth’ is definitely a song worth listening too. So what is that sound that We’re No Heroes have made here? Well its only an 80’s Inspo, Indie, Funk Rock sound of course! 
  The song starts with guitar and drums. The guitar is subtle, yet introduces some enchanting chord strums that are so gentle you would almost miss them. Put paired with lightish drums, played similar to that of The Kooks, the beat emphasises the beauty behind the strums. When the guitars pick up so do the drums, and with the addition of vocals and bass added, the layering of the song begins to become apparent.
  Now creating that 80’s inspo feeling is all down to the guitar. The electronic twang of the lead guitar alongside the tunes its producing really plays on the 80’s inspo. Each strum is heard with the guitar however its not as clear as other genres may be, as you need the metallic twang that is also heard, to draw in the rock side of things too. The tune itself that is played throughout the majority of the song is so catchy, that I have spent the last 3 days humming it to myself sat at my desk at work. 
  The bass in this song is incredible. It is well heard, beautifully strummed and utterly draws that funky vibe into the song. With the depth bass provides on its own, this aspect of the music has me in amazement. The bass plays alongside the tune throughout the track providing a support mechanism. However if you strip the lead guitar out of the song, the bass will provide so much of the tune itself, that all you would notice is that the pitch of the tune has changed. Being able to hear each strum so clearly, also allows for the bass to be truly appreciated, as you are educated into the bassists talent. 
  Heading back to the drums, the beats within this track as so executed that there is no mistake or missed beat present. The drums sound so effortless that I cant help but imagine the drummer casually sat there, hitting the beats on each section of the kit in such a relaxed and calm manner that he could almost be asleep. They just sound so great and with the technique and sound similar to that of The Kooks this pulls the Indie genre in nicely. 
  Now vocals! I love a good vocal and some banging lyrics, however I feel the lyrics are so at one with the song it feels wrong talking about them. So I will leave the lyrics there and just say they are quirky and amazing. The vocals themselves sound wise are just wow! With different pitches, projections and note lengths being toyed with, the vocals themselves have strong aspects to them, that once thrown together have created this wonderful creative flow. Backing vocals are timid yet still manage to create a semi echo, which with the chorus completely draws me in more as it feels like it makes specific phrases importance more known. The vocals can only be compared to Foals, but feature more pitch adjustment, again bringing in that indie vibe.
  ‘Youth’ is a belter of a song! The different aspects pieced together effortlessly, yet strategically has ensured the creation of an incredible piece! We’re No Heroes have really out down themselves, especially with combining so many genres together and ensuring that the audience is captivated and feels the music. This song is one of those songs where you just feel the music, you sway along. Your head rolls gently from side to side in a wave motion with your body. The lyrics click something in your brain and you’re off. Connecting, feeling and experiencing every drum beat/guitar strum/vocal pitch. Funk Rock meets indie meets 80’s inspo. Music at its greatest. Raw, new and fresh. 
 

As always, thank you for taking the time to read my post filled with my opinions and thoughts. I honestly means more than you could imagine!
 
If you’d like to leave any feedback or comments, please do so in the comments box below. 
 
Thank you,
 
Leanne xo

Seconds Apart – The Asylum Venue – April 21st 2017

  So it’s been a very long time since I last reviewed a gig and what better way to come out of this mini retirement I fell into, than to review a gig that was full of versatility and well brilliance! And what a perfect time to mess with titles/writing styles then creepin’ back out of mini retirement! 

  Friday, April 21st I took a trip down to The Asylum Venue in Birmingham, a venue that has been a mini home for me over the years, to watch the boys; Marx, Led by Lanterns, The Real Cool and Seconds Apart. And boy was it something! I entered the venue only knowing who Led by Lanterns were and with the tiniest bit of research in regards to the other bands. Now this is my favourite thing to do with gigs at intimate venues. I love going into the unknown and experiencing the whole thing from discovering who a band is to watching them live to getting to know them. And its from this experience that, before we get to the nitty gritty, I just want to say all of these lads are absolutely the sweetest people you will ever meet! I haven’t been to a gig in a long time where all bands and all members of the bands, were as humble, appreciative and well sweet as all of these boys!

Now the nitty gritty…

… First onto the stage at this intimate venue was Marx. Marx is a rap artist who has also, in the past, dabbled into metal. Standing solo Marx worked the stage with utter confidence, interacting with the crowd and exclaiming his appreciation for being there and to all the other bands (especially the headline act). That alone was lovely to see, but Marx overall was ticking lots of boxes. Now as I said Marx is a rap artist, and that brought a massive twist to the night as the main genre was alternative. And besides his banter on stage, Marx performance was filled with some serious hard work! With well timed and placed beats, song transitions, and some serious lyrical work, Marx filled the venue with a refreshing set. Marx showcased fast lyrical production as well as some more slower paced lyrical build up adding depth to his songs. But he also showed some great music build up too with great use of strings into some of his songs, bringing a classical aspect within his hip-hop sound. As I mentioned at the begin Marx has previously worked within Metal and Pop Punk bands, so with that background you can appreciate that this guy has some serious potential, as he is versatile and talented. With that being said I can honestly say I can’t wait to see more of him and that he is doing a great job.

   Second onto the stage were Led by Lanterns, a four piece midland based band who are smashing it! Led by Lanterns consists of Welsh and Brummy lads who are not only great musicians but musicians who are also fronting a great cause, which I will explain towards the end. With their pop punk vibe, the lads fit well into the overall Alternative scene of the night.
  Now Led by Lanterns have three very strong vocalists who all have unique voices, this is something that could put them as a band at risk. However, these guys arent short of music knowledge or background. Each member has previously been in a different band, and with that combined with the fact they are each incredibly music savvy, the lads have managed to put themselves together and eliminate the risk of outshining/drowning out each others vocals. But they have also managed to showcase each vocalist’s talent and uniqueness too. This has been achieved by well placed harmonies and solo slots, which are visible throughout all songs and was incredible to watch live. Despite all vocals being amazing I will mention that the lead vocalist has something about their voice, thats hard to pinpoint exactly the right way to describe. He’s got what I can only describe as a twang to his vocals that just stands out, and makes it different to what you’re used to and honestly, I just cant get enough of it!
  The body of music itself was just as talented as the vocals. The drums were intricate, provided a great beat throughout and even though they were loud and booming, they just felt right! There was no beat missed (at least none visible to the ear or eye), with the drummer showing that they have talent and skill. But the drummer also displayed through the set crowd interaction too in the form of what I can only describe as drum communication, for example that drum roll that’s used at the end of a joke, that was visible a few times throughout the set. And it was nice to see the drummer interacting with the crowd, alongside the other band members too. Now with guitars and bass, the tune was incredible! Bass was well heard, never faint in the background and provided more depth to the beat or the songs.
  The boys performed their two released singles and it was amazing to watch. They sounded exactly how they were recorded, displaying that these guys 100% do not need help from technology enhancing. Their first released single was Recovery, and hearing the guitar riffs and executed bass, that builds the main body of the song live was a great experience. Their second release was Save a Life and it was even more astonishing to hear that live.
  Now as I mentioned previously, the lads are working alongside a great cause and have produced a song to help with the campaign. The campaign in question? Well the Led by Lanterns boys are working alongside the ‘Save A Life Surrender Your Knife’ Campaign. A cause that is unfortunately needed in this day and age, as knife crime is a serious problem. Now with heart touching lyrics and soft yet powerful riffs, and a dominating bass and drum beat, Save a Life is the official song fronting this campaign alongside the incredible work of Artist Alfie Bradley’s 27ft Angel (made of knives). This is such a beautiful cause and seeing the lads join in the campaign just highlights how lovely these boys are. For more information on the campaign and the lads song please check out the links below attached to their name. All in all, I absolutely loved the Led by Lanterns set, and it was great to finally get to watch them properly and not just hear them singing walking around their house.

  Third to the stage were The Real Cool, a three piece band from Birmingham who brought the second twist of the night to life, by bringing a well balanced mix of synth and 80’s pop influence to their dream pop/indie vibes. Now that may not be the best description of this band, to which I can only apologise, however once you hear them and you start to sway to their dancey yet mellow beats you will get the vibe I am referring to.
Starting out first with their stage presence I was absolutely digging them. The Real Cool are great to watch visually, as you can see they are enjoying themselves. With cheeky smiles flashed all round, dancing by the lead vocalist and bassist, and the head bops by the drummer. You can’t not enjoy watching them. Now the drummer was actually one of my favourite aspects of the set. While smashing out well executed beats, the drummer looked completely at ease. Like he generally looked like he was at home, that being on stage didn’t faze him. Hey for all we know, he may even have been thinking about what he was going to have for dinner! But I absolutely loved it! I loved how at ease and relaxed this guy was, I couldn’t stop watching him (apart from when my eyes were drawn away by the lead vocalists dance moves and bassists cheeky smile that is). This to me shows this guy knows what he is doing! He is confident in his performance and with his band members. This lad is talented! And he was doing nothing but displaying this throughout the set.
Getting back to the music, audio wise the band are just as great! Vocals, string, drums and synth were all balanced well within each song which was refreshing. Vocals were dreamy, powerful but not in an overbearing manner as they were still quite soft and gentle feeling. Drums, as mentioned before, where were great! The beat was steady, consistent, nothing missed and very well timed! Bass was strong, clearly heard and provided a lower version of the main tune within songs. Guitar was subtle, provided the main tune but was not always consistent which added a quirky depth to their songs. Synth was subtle, provided further depth and added more tune build up, and tangled in nicely. Having the mix of strings, vocals, drums and synth allowed for the lads to truly layer up their songs with intricate slots so that their there was never once one instrument heard longer than the other, never anything overshadowed and an overall great performance was achieved.
The overall set of The Real Cool was amazing, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I can’t wait to catch them again!

  Finally the Yorkshire boys were on the stage getting ready to show Birmingham what theyve got. And boy was I not prepared for what was to come!
  Deep moody tones filled the now pitch black room whilst three spot lights scanned the room like mini lighthouses, before the lead vocalist proudly broke the suspense with an arena styled announcement. A little further suspense built before the band broke all silence and blasted some serious talent. If you closed your eyes during that very moment I assure you, you would have felt like the venue was your local arena. Which was incredible to witness as unfortunately there are bands out there that see smaller more intimate venues as only what they are. So the music is playing, with incredible drums, amazing guitar riffs, great bass and then this loud strong booming vocals fill the room. Honestly these boys are incredible.
  After the first song is over we get an introduction to who these boys are and get a hint of cheekiness from the lead vocalist when a little sneaky comment is made about Yorkshire being the home of the best tea. From here, their performance gets stronger and stronger.
  Now Seconds Apart are an alternative band, with some serious and I mean serious potential! Each member is super talented and its displayed throughout the set, however the overall package as a band is just bliss! The drummer throughout produces very in time beats, with intricate and fast paced moves that see him using every inch of his drum kit. There is not a single beat missed, there is no hesitation and frankly I wish I had more words to use other than incredible, amazing and great, because he was all of those things. What I loved about the drums in this band was how abrupt they could sound, like hello I’m here, and it truly helps to build on the alternative angle they’re going for. Guitar and backing vocals, well, they were fascinating! Slightly distorted riffs build up that alternative aspect of their music, however that’s not where the guitarist’s skills end. With fast changes from rhythm to lead and back again constantly, the guitarist showcases how incredible he is with his guitar. And that’s not where it ends for him either. His vocals are a slightly deeper tone than the lead vocalists, and he is also able to provide that alternative “scream” vibe during some of their songs. Now with this it creates another layer to their music, as it produces a natural harmony as well as backing and variety. As a vocalist he is also super talented. Now the lead vocalist is also the bassist. So again there is another multi-tasker in the band, and he is also extremely talented. With an unusual and very unique voice, the lead vocalist is able to fully utilise this within their songs and his performance. Being able to hit the high notes as well as he does is also very beneficial! The vocals throughout were breathtaking, there was no slip up on lyrics, no heavy breathing through the microphone and everything was clearly sung, which meant you weren’t left trying to figure out what the lyrics were. In terms of the bass, it was also very well timed, providing depth to the main beat of the songs but also strengthening the rhythm created by the guitarist. Overall, again, the lead vocalist is a very talented lad and just adds to the fact that the whole band is just marvellous!
  Visually, the band were a delight to watch! The drummer was very animated, the guitarist used his space well and showed off some dance moves including some head bops and headbangs, and the lead vocalist was like a typical bassist and vocalist! Moving round the whole stage fully taking advantage of the space he had and the fact he’s got very long legs, he was everywhere! Including at one point in the audience, on a chair and just loving performing. What made them all the more delightful to watch was each member was also having a great time. Inbetween songs when they were interacting with the crowd and introducing songs they were all smiling genuine smiles, making jokes and you can tell they really put their heart into their performance. For me that made it better.
  So, covers. They can either be great or they can be just pure cringe. When the lead vocalist announced they were going to do a cover of a song they felt was going to be good for a little sing song, I’m not gonna lie I was hit with nervous. Well this was one of those great ones and I can safely say I’ve never heard anything like it before! Starting off with Clean Bandit – Rather be, the lads put a quirky spin on the dance/indie number by throwing some alternative vibes all over it. But then it swiftly turned into Rage Against the Machine, and then to Craig David and then, my personal favourite, into R Kelly – Bump n Grind and then swiftly back into Clean Bandit – Rather Be. IT WAS INCREDIBLE! The transitions were swift yet slid perfectly into each other, the alternative aspect on these popular R’n’B/Pop songs and the including of iconic tracks was just intensely creative, clever and pure genius! I was gobsmacked yet in awe of that very moment! If I hadn’t already found a likening to this band I definitely was appreciating them now.
  Seconds Apart were as you can tell, to me, great. I loved every aspect of their set and I highly recommend you check them out if you haven’t already. They have got some serious talent and some serious potential, I can see these guys going places and when you see them live you’ll see it too.


  I will take this time now to say thank you to Marx, Led by Lanterns, The Real Cool and Seconds Apart for such a wonderful show, and for being so welcoming. Thank you for taking the time to speak to me inbetween interacting with each other and the audience. Thank you for being humble, gracious to one another and for showing what music is about. 

  If you haven’t already go check out these guys and their Facebook pages, they’re all incredible and you won’t be disappointed.
As always, thank you for taking the time to read my post filled with my opinions and thoughts. I honestly means more than you could imagine!
 
If you’d like to leave any feedback or comments, please do so in the comments box below.
 
Thank you,
 
Leanne xo

Hello. It’s me… The creator of Music and What Not

  So a little bit later on in the year it’s been two years since Music and What Not became thing. Over those two years there’s been some guest posts, some editing help and the introduction to What Not posts, building the blog up to more than just a Music blog and fitting the name more. But something I haven’t really done is truly introduce myself or what Music and What Not is here for. So I thought why not do it now!
So here we go, the mask is being removed! 
  My names Leanne and I live in Birmingham in the United Kingdom. I am the Creator and Writer for the blog Music and What Not and now the one and only Editor (scary I know). I started the blog back in 2015 after realising how much music affects my life, how passionate I am towards it and well I missed my old blog and felt I had a lot more potential now I’ve grown and matured. I will be the first to admit I’ve had some help on the way, and after a serious ego boost I realised I am capable of producing some amazing things. In 2016 I made the decision to take on the What Not side of the blog and dabbled with posts that aren’t music related, but things that interest me and i’m still passionate about. I also got to do my first ever sponsored blog post and boy was it amazing to do! So I can honestly say you can expect a lot more from me over then next few years as I bring more music posts, definitely some more What Not posts about all things from books, films, tattoos and art. 

  Now that’s the blog side of things, here’s the nitty gritty…
… My original welcome/about me post was vary minimal but I can confirm that I do still love animals, Tim Burton and I still would love a Raccoon! Now I wish I could say I was lying when I said this next sentence, but honestly I’m not and truthfully I love it! I am a massive nerd. I studied science at college for three years, two of those years being Forensic Science with hints of Medical Science. I was prepping to go to University to study Radiotherapy when I realised I’m still an absolutely baby and didn’t want to leave home after being declined by the University of my dreams (okay maybe that’s a bit dramatic, I didn’t really dream of University). Before I found Science I wanted to be in the Military, but with my lack of understanding of Physics I went on to what I understood best, Chemistry and Biology, hence the college studies. So from deciding University was a no no, I searched endlessly for jobs and apprentices which resulted in applying for an Apprenticeship in Business that I was adamant was not for me and I was never going to work in an office. I got that job and its safe to say that was the making of me! Three years later I’m still working in an office and still loving it!  And office work has rekindled my love for numbers, I mean I did say I am a massive nerd, which has resulted in me taking further studies. So career wise, that’s pretty much as nerdy as it gets. Life wise however, it gets a little bit more in depth… 
  I am a massive fan of Tim Burton (as I just mentioned, told you its a massive obsession), Lord of the Rings, Jurassic Park, Big Bang Theory and crime programmes. Literally any crime programme I will watch. Oh and period dramas, I am a sucker for period dramas such as Little Woman and Pride and Prejudice. Oh and I am also in love with Halloween! 
Now asides from the blog I’m a pretty boring person to be honest. I love tea, I love sitting in my bedroom away from the world and well either listening to music or listening to music and doodling in one of my many sketch books. Oh that or getting tattoos. I currently have two sleeves in process, one a lot closer to completion than the other and that one being my arm. I have 11 tattoos in total however 2 will become 1 (I hope that was sung like the Spice Girls) when my arm sleeve is completed over the next few months. Another importance for me is spending time with my family and friends. Now I’m not the best at that as I am very much good at being a loner, but they are all very important to me. Including our family pet, who is a beautiful English Springer Spaniel who is absolutely bonkers and built like a tank! I swear if this guy runs at you in excitement, prepare to hit the ground he is solid!
  So there you have it, if I’m not blogging/updating social media for the blog, I’m either submerged in; numbers, family time, wrestling the Springer, working, art’ing (including making up words), attempting to socialise or binge watching LOTR or singing along to The Nightmare Before Christmas for the 1081232 time.
  Besides all that I am very passionate about raising awareness for Autism and Cancer research. Both of which are very important in my life. I have a younger sibling who has Aspergers, and they are simply the best and I don’t think could love anyone more than love them. I also have a few cousins who have Autism too, however they each individually appear on different sections of the spectrum. So knowing the struggles that Autistic people go through on a daily basis has meant I was absolutely shocked at how many people don’t know about it! For example, that ambulance going down the road may sound loud to you, but to someone with Autism who has hypersensitive hearing, that may sound like the siren itself is directly next to their eardrum, which is extremely painful. And if you weren’t aware of that, imagine how that same Autistic man feel if you are calling them weird or laughing at them as they have a meltdown in the street over that noise.So my aim is to spread as much awareness about that as I can, even if it means I’m only helping to educate a few people!
  Now Cancer research is a massive thing to me because that’s what was studying into. I wanted to help people throughout their treatment of Radiotherapy. Now I’m no longer pursuing that, my aim is to continue to give money to the charities, who are helping with the funding of the research to help find a cure, as I always have done. This has always been something I’ve been passionate about however, its also a hard reality I’ve had to face many times over the years that I’ve been alive. I have lost many loved ones to this disease, one more recently than I would have liked, so my desire to help fund that cause is amplified more and more as each day goes by. So much so I am looking into entering a few fund raisers myself, so watch this space!
  Now this may not have been the most exciting post out of all my posts, however I hope now these posts will feel more personal and more relatable, as you have a bigger insight to who I am as a person and not just Music and What Not. As my aim with this blog is not to just express my opinions, but to connect with people and remind at least one person how powerful music is and maybe even that its okay to not dig that number 1 single from the UK Top 40 chart. But to also remind people that music is the biggest connection in the world, that it generally doesn’t have any judgement attached to it. For example there will be someone 4000 miles away that is equally in love and touched by that Lana Del Rey song you are, and you may both comment on a blog post wrote by someone else who is a further 4000 miles away from you both. Which results in all three of you communicating and have a great conversation whilst being completely oblivious to what each others race/religion/sexuality/class is. And to me, that’s beautiful and what music is all about!!
 
 
Its expression, its an escape and its a unity!
Now lets get back to Music and What Not shall we?
As always, thank you for taking the time to read my post filled with my opinions and thoughts. I honestly means more than you could imagine!
If you’d like to leave any feedback or comments, please do so in the comments box below. 
 
Thank you,
 
Leanne xo
                                                           

"I try to make the worst seem better…"

  I am one for enjoying a song that makes you feel the emotions behind it, whether thats empowerment or even like crying into a tube of Haagen Daz ice cream. One of my favourite examples of this currently, is the recent release by Lady Gaga – Million Reasons. This song is just brilliant as its filled with emotions from the very beginning right down to the end. And its not just built up through the lyrics, the whole overall piece is incredibly done to portray these emotions that Ms Gaga must have been feeling when she wrote this masterpiece, and maybe still even feels every time she performs it or even sits at home in her pjs.
  So firstly I’m going to talk about the physical music side of this song. Something all songs will have is layers, this is the different instruments used and the different aspects that they bring to a song. In the case of Million Reasons the instruments used are; vocals, piano, cojan and acoustic guitar. The way in which these instruments are played and layered is key to how the song sounds when played together. Now when the song starts we are introduced to the soft keys of the piano and strings of the acoustic guitar. Playing similar styled tunes they build a romantic setting for the song. Then when the vocals begin, it is originally only Gaga herself, who’s voice brings more of a harsher tone to the gentleness of the piano/guitar. It is then joined at intervals by further vocals that add depth to specific words, illuminating the emotions behind them. Then we are also introduced during the vocals to the soft yet depth filled beats of the cojan. This layering builds an aspect of romance yet pain, especially with the depth of the cojan and the layering of vocals on specific lines. All in all the musical aspect of this song is strong and powerful but it such a delicate way, like a flower strong and vibrate to the eye but delicate to the touch, this song is strong on the emotions but delicate on the ears.
  Now, I’m going to talk about the lyrics and what my interpretation of them is. The song starts off with “You’re giving me a million reasons to let you go”, something no person wants to have to say or hear in a relationship. A sentence that admits defeat and heartache. This on its own is filled with raw emotion, emotion that is real. Then from here the lyrics become deeper and the way you feel becomes sadder. Now the emotion overall behind this song is quite clear (in my eyes). It is that feeling of painful desperation and desire that springs to life when, for whatever reason, your relationship seems to be falling apart with no obvious reasons to stay together. Despite it all, you deeply desire just one singular reason to pop up and prove why you should stay. A reason that you need to come from them. You can’t find it, or even you do know what it is, but it just needs to escape from the lips of your partner. “But baby, I just need one good one to stay”. For me, this song is that calling out for hope. It’s that acknowledgment of knowing that even the tiniest thing, will give you all the hope you need.
  This song is about heartbreak. It’s about loss. It’s about pain and desire and everything hanging on one thread. This song is real life and Lady Gaga has smashed it. Lady Gaga has beautifully mastered what is her own heartbreak into something thats not bitter, thats not nasty, but honest. No matter how the relationship ends, you will always face this stage. It’s horrible. But knowing that these celebrities who’s lives we admire and desire so much are facing them too, due to the openness of Gaga, just proves how human we all are. Overall this song is a masterpiece! It has been carefully integrated with layers, has tonnes of talent oozing throughout, and is easy to listen to because its gentle. This song deserves awards! It’s beautiful produced, beautifully written and to be completely honesty… It’s just about the best break up song I think i’ve heard! Huge congratulations to Gaga and team for creating such an incredible piece of music.





As always, thank you for taking the time to read my post filled with my opinions and thoughts. I honestly means more than you could imagine!
 
If you’d like to leave any feedback or comments, please do so in the comments box below.
 
Thank you,
 
Leanne xo
 

Get me to the gig!

 As a music blogger, it is no surprise that I love music. Its also no surprise that one of my favourite things to do is to go to a show. I love the intimacy from small venues and I love the volume of fans coming together at arenas and festivals. All in all watching a live show is an experience I enjoy reliving over and over, again and again.
 Music for me is a part of life, it’s everywhere you turn, in the good and in the bad. For me it’s also an escape. Music can give you hope, support or even make you feel things you didn’t know you could feel. So when you go to a show, reliving those things whilst listening to them live is just amazing. But also the intimate interaction of all shows itself if phenomenal, as the band/artist is vulnerable in that singular moment. And by vulnerable I mean any emotions they feel or hold within a song is often brought back within each performance. So living that experience with fans watching your every move can be an exhilarating yet terrifying experience. So knowing that, that band or artist is feeling that way in front of you alongside the emotions it brings for you, is simply breathtaking. And it’s all of those things mixed up in one giant bowl that makes watching shows such an important thing for me.
 Now unfortunately attending these shows can be difficult due to getting hold of tickets. Yes if you miss the ticket sale date and it’s for an artist like Beyonce then you are likely to have missed out altogether as the tickets have sold out. If it’s for a band like Outlander (a band local to Birmingham, UK) then you may miss the ticket sale because you weren’t aware of the show or you’re not from the town they’re playing. But then there’s dodgy tickets. Dodgy tickets are the bane of my life! They ruin so much for so many people and to be honest it’s a crime that needs to be over with already.
 So dodgy tickets, or professionally know as illegitimate tickets, are out there and unfortunately a lot of people get sold them. Illegitimate tickets can be anything from; fake tickets that have been made up the ticket seller, fake tickets that are copies or a legitimate ticket (resulting in a group of individuals all having the same ticket ID number), or even real tickets that have been sold in an illegitimate manner resulting in the new ticket holder spending a lot of money on the purchase and receipt of the ticket.
 So i’ve decided with the knowledge i’ve collected over the years from purchasing and even selling tickets (I can confirm that I have only even sold legitimately), that I would try to provide some tips on how to purchase legitimate tickets. I would like to point out before you continue reading however, that these are solely my tips and not a step by step guide on how to purchase tickets. I would also like to add that I have never been unfortunate enough to purchase an illegitimate ticket, and I solely believe that’s down to the fact I am a massive worry head and only use the steps and sites that I will mention below.
Ticket purchasing –
 Firstly, you need to know who’s touring, who’s coming to your country/town and well when! You can keep track of this by using any of the following;
  • Official page of the band/artist
  • GetToTheFront.com – i’ve used this site
  • Official social media sites of the band/artist (Facebook/Instagram/Twitter) – i’m not going to lie, I am a serial follower of bands/artist both unsigned and signed.
  • Being signed up to marketing with ticket providers i.e. Ticketmaster – I get emails from Ticketmaster constantly about shows, yes I’ll admit at times it’s annoying but I’d never unsubscribe
  • Being a member of O2 Priority
Checking sites like these will ensure you are constantly updated around the music scene in terms of touring. It also allows you to plan in advance any tours you want to go to before tickets are released on sale, informs you of any pre-sales and in terms of festivals it can keep you up to date on announcements and payment plans. The one year I went to the Reading Fest I utilised a payment plan which gave me a certain amount of time to gather my funds rather than paying upfront, which was so helpful as I was a college student receiving £20 pocket from my parents, whilst being introduced to the world of clubbing. So as you can imagine that was the perfect way for me to be able to afford to go, as I was able to save so much each month and socialise with my friends who were all turning 18 too (shout out to my parents for putting up with me moaning I had no money during this time, you beautiful people).
 Secondly, you need to ask yourself the following questions;
  • Who do I want to see? – Drake, Kings of Leon, Foo Fighters or even Little Mix?
  • Where do I want to see them? – My home town or do I want to travel?
  • Do I want to sit or stand? – Do I want to dance? Could I really last in a moshpit?
  • How much is my overall limit? – Can I afford to see them and travel? How much are my bills this month?
  • Can I make it that day? – Have I got holiday allowance left at work? Do I have an exam the next day? Is it a school night?
Now these questions may seem really obvious, but for me there are the most important items to address before even looking at ticket sites. These questions are important because if you want to go and see someone who’s only doing arena tours and you live in a small village, there’s a high chance you will be travelling to see them.
 After you’ve answered those questions the next thing to do is look at ticket providers. Now I personally use direct links from the venues (if they’re smaller venues such as O2 Academy’s) or Ticketmaster. Now unfortunately the sites I am gonna list are mainly United Kingdom venue orientated, but if you do know any legitimate sites for other countries please feel free to leave them in the comments box, as I am all about sharing the knowledge! 🙂
So the sites best to use (again my opinion) are the following;
  • Ticketmaster – I use this website nearly every time I purchase online
  • Ticketweb
  • Gigantic
  • AXS
  • Ticket Factory – I have used
  • Links direct from the official pages of the band/artist – I have also used this opinion as lets face it the band/artist isn’t going to promote dodgy tickets, they want their fans there.
  • Direct link from the venue – O2 Academy/ O2 institute will often have a direct link to the ticket sales provider from their website. You click ‘Buy’ and it takes you there. This is also another way I have personally bought tickets.
Now using these sites, you can also check the availability and work out how quickly shows are selling out. You can also check the seating plan of the arena, which is handy as if you are buying seating tickets you need to know what seats you are purchasing for the night.
Finally, when purchasing your ticket it is worth purchasing the ticket security you will be offered. This is usually only an additional couple of pounds and is definitely worth it! It means if you don’t receive your ticket you are covered, if your ticket is damage in the delivery you are covered. Trust me it’s so worth paying that extra for. Then once you’ve purchased your ticket ensure you screenshot your confirmation screen and that you’ve received an email with the receipt on. It may sound excessive but having that proof is vital.
How to identify “dodgy” tickets?
 Big give away for me is always the pricing of the ticket! If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. These are usually the tickets that have been made or are copies. However, sometimes they can be genuine, for example someone has bought tickets to a gig to go with their partner and unfortunately they’ve broke up and the buyer no longer wants them and doesn’t care for them. So after purchasing them for £40 each, they sell them for £40 as a pair. There are times when that is the case, however i’d be very vigilant with this and ask as many questions as possible regardless of how annoying you may sound.
Another big give away is when a ticket provider site randomly crashes (usually right after tickets first go on sale), suddenly the tickets are sold out and random tickets start appearing for cheap or even way too expensive prices. These are key signs of ticket targeting (as its direct at those desperate to go to the show). Now these tickets are legitimate in the sense of they are the actual tickets, however they are illegitimate as the seller may not actually possess them and has simply obtained information about them via a hacking scam. Or they are illegitimate in that the way they were purchased to be resold was not done legally.
 Good ways of spotting these are the following;
  • Extremely high prices
  • Ticket sale starts hours after all other sites
  • The site hasn’t been published on the venue’s site
  • You haven’t heard of that ticket sales provider before
  • Do research on them- if you find chats/reviews and they state dodgy activity or bad past experience, I really recommend you don’t use them.
  • If an individual seller, and they refuse to communicate with you
How to stay up to date or be knowledgeable in this area;
  • Check the news – The Guardian newspaper reports on this, Coldplay and YouMeAtSix are highly involved with bettering the experience for fans in regards to purchasing tickets. They have wrote open letters to the government and even set up petitions. All of which you can find and even sign the petition (I have).
  • Research legislations
  • Research the law – Metropolitan police have released a document that is available online for the public to read.
  • Check social medias, read blogs, speak to friends and family – I’m pretty sure you will know or at least follow someone who is interested in this, and if you just bring it up in conversation you could be updated a lot around it. You may even discover you know someone (either directly or of them through common friends) who has been subject to a dodgy ticket sale and they can advise which site to not use.

But seriously check the news, simply Googling “illegitimate ticket sales” will bring up news report after news report. Google search “Josh You Me At Six” and that brings up tonnes more, I mean he has even personally sold tickets in a shoe retailer in London he is that passionate about it.
 Now in all seriousness, I hope that this post brings some help and even some light to the subject of dodgy tickets. I will however end this post with this;
 When buying tickets, keep yourself in your thoughts. If you have been or unfortunately do become a victim to an illegitimate ticket sale, please remember don’t blame the band/artist and don’t tarnish the legitimate ticket sale sites with the same brush. They don’t like it as much as you don’t.
 Also, to those who have been a victim, I can only send my condolences and support to you! And to let you know that I have the upmost respect for you to go out and continue to buy tickets to support the music world xo
As always, thank you for taking the time to read my post filled with my opinions and thoughts. I honestly means more than you could imagine!
If you’d like to leave any feedback or comments, please do so in the comments box below.
Thank you,
Leanne xo
This post was sponsored by GetToTheFront.com
GetToTheFront is a leading independent music news site that brings you all the latest artist and tour announcements. You can also buy tickets through their site with one of their approved and trusted ticket providers. Head there now to check it out! http://www.gettothefront.co.uk/

'Watching Sextapes whilst Half Asleep'

The act of doing something that involves danger or risk in order to achieve a final goal.
Risk taking.
Its something we all do throughout our lives that’s unavoidable. However, something I love is creative risk taking. This is when you put something you love to the test to push yourself and those around you further; and that brings me to this post…

Now you may have heard of a Midlands (England, UK) based band with a rather unusual name that have previously featured on this blog. I am of course referring to the five piece band Sextapes.
Sextapes’ sound was a mixture of grunge styled heavy/shouty vocals, entwined with melody driven riffs perfectly due to the balance of upbeat “happy yet moody” drums and soft mellow toned bass.
Full of energy, Sextapes performances were always captivating, displaying their passion for music. This made watching them a joy rather than a task and their music more enjoyable.

As you’ve probably guessed from the past tense language and talk of risks, that Sextapes are no more! They now go by the name Half Asleep, which also brings through a new sound. This sound is quite different to that refreshing tinge to the hardcore scene that they brought through as Sextapes, but is equally as refreshing to the Midlands current music scene.
The Midlands is very heavily yet proudly displaying pop punk, punk and hard-core bands at the moment; all of whom show some serious talent!
Half Asleep however, consist of what you would expect from bands breaking through the Midlands scene over the last few years such as Peace and Swim Deep, whilst maintaining individuality by drenching their songs with shoegazey guitars and hypnotic dreamy vocals.

With their first single released, Half Asleep have further proved they have an endless amount of talent to display. By breaking down this new single, it makes understanding their new sound as well as get a real feel for why I truly believe that Relax & Distill was a very clever choice for breaking that Sextapes barrier.
When listening to the vocals it is clear to hear the change that has undergone immediately. The vocalist has transformed his vocals from harsh to a much softer approach which displays different tones compared to previous releases as Sextapes. When speaking with the vocalist about this change of technique he said “I can get much more melody into my words and it feels more natural”, something which is a key for vocalists to feel as strain to vocal chords can be damaging for careers.


Guitars have managed to keep their powerfully catchy riff technique but have now teamed them up with soft distortion and carefully structured “cheery” chords that bring a nice aspect to the music. By having two guitarists and different tunes throughout, there is a more structured and empowering vibe built in rather than just a sense of melody being played throughout.
Drums used in Sextapes were heavy, big and powerful; perfect for that grunge influence they were playing with. However, drums have now been switched up to a combination of fast paced and slow paced dynamic beats that work well against the shoegazey guitars and mellowed vocals. In this new single you can hear the drummers use of cymbals is not overbearing, but that he has incorporated them nicely against the new sound so that that previously edgier aspect is not heard.
Bass is structured and well blended within the song, keeping that basic structure within crisp and clean, whilst also with a touch of off balance enabling you to hear it.


All in all, Relax & Distill is a brilliant song that’s well structured and displays brilliantly that the boys really have thought about their music. This goes on to show how they want to progress, that this is not a hobby, but something they are all passionate about. Showcasing their talents for writing and producing, I can honestly say Half Asleep are some talented guys! I mean pulling off their breath-taking performances is a talent in its own, let alone being able to make tracks that stick in your head for all the right reasons.

Something I really like about the Half Asleep boys is that despite all this change, they are still humble to how they started. There are no bitter feelings towards the origins and being Sextapes, so much so that when it came to releasing their EP it only seemed fitting to incorporate something a little Sextapes with it. As best described by one of the guitarists as “an ode to Sextapes”, they cleverly titled their EP ‘Watching Sextapes whilst Half Asleep‘. Even better, to keep up with this quirky and individuality that they bring, you can purchase their EP on either standard classic CD or a retro cassette tape! Yes, you can purchase ‘Watching Sextapes whilst Half Asleep’ on cassette tape that has been beautiful crafted to keep Half Asleep in your mind (images of both CD and cassette tape can be found below). But honestly, trust me when I say I truly believe you will not be disappointed in this EP, as it features a few songs that were crafted whilst the boys were Sextapes enabling you to hear and feel the growth they have undergone as a band.











I am also very excited to announce that there is AN OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO! Hand crafted by the boys themselves, this homemade video is full of clips of; them performing at gigs as Sextapes, them together proving they are a crazy normal bunch of 20 something lads, hilarious moments from mischievous nights and powerful dancing/singing! It is one of those videos that even though some footage is bad phone camera quality, it just makes you feel more connected to the band, and you just love it! Not to mention it is pretty great, I really can’t get enough of it… BUT YOU’LL HAVE TO GO ON THEIR FACEBOOK PAGE TO VIEW IT OOPS (hey like what I did there, huh?!)


You will also find below a video that’s been crafted by talented artist Georgia, this video features the new single as well as some clips from past gigs the boys have performed. This is a great way for you to understand what I mean by their hectic performances and how much enthusiasm is displayed at each gig. Especially as Georgia has managed to capture and entwine different gigs into one beautiful video similar to that of a tour video!

Now whilst checking these videos out you can also go over to their official Facebook page and give them a cheeky little like, which will help you keep updated on any exciting news or even check out their merchandise over on their Big Cartel site. Which to be honest, we know you’re going to do all these things because that’s what I’ve done!!

Half Asleep Merchandise Site

Official Facebook of Half Asleep

As always, its an absolute pleasure to have you read our blog. It means way more than you can imagine to me! Thank you for reading my thoughts and opinions, best wishes! Leanne xo

This post featured some editing by Guest Blogger Kirsty.

Takeover Post #4 “Don’t tell me you’re okay…”

Hey guys, here she is again the lovely guest blogger Kirsty! xo



   Once upon a time, in an old college in Walsall, 4 guys came together and started making music…

   I say once upon a time, but it’s all happened very quickly. Since October Boots, Chris, Shaun and Brad, have moved out of their family homes into a huge new place together. Fitted with a recording studio, a corridor you can skate in and the home of Band Pads; it’s pretty hectic, with something always happening. Boots and Chris have come the long way from a tiny town in Wales near Aberystwyth, while Shaun and Brad were just down the road in Cannock.

   In July 2015 Boots, Chris and Brad were on a European tour with their former bands; My Favourite Runner Up and Leokai. It’s safe to say that on that tour, something special happened. On returning home, Brad made the decision to leave Leokai and join Boots and Chris in My Favourite Runner Up, after the sad departure of their drummer and bassist. Brad having to travel 100 miles to the other boys and the MFRU base in a tiny Welsh town wasn’t ideal, so the idea came to move to a new place; central and with a big music scene.

   October came and they settled into their new home. But as time went on, the boys realised that something wasn’t quite right. The old, MFRU feel wasn’t the same with half the band being new members. They wanted to write new music, as a new group of friends, in a new place.

Łed By Łanterns.

   Still just the 3 of them, they still needed a bassist… Enter Shaun. Previously a member of The Always as lead singer, Brad introduced Shaun to Boots and Chris. He quickly decided to join them, moved in and bought with him a lot of talent; it was time to make music.

   After announcing the end of MFRU in January, the boys needed to create the hype needed to launch a new band. YouTube covers were filmed, songs written and ideas scribbled all over the place. Fitting in all this hard work around their busy work schedules and family lives was sometimes testing, but by the start of February the boys had announced their new band, their new single to be launched on the 15thFebruary.

   ‘Recovery’, their debut single, was written and the demo recorded in their home studio in Walsall, went on to be recorded in CDS Studios with Mike Curtis in Essex, finally to be sent off and mastered at the one and only Abbey Road Studios in London. Once recorded, it was time for the video. Filmed all over the place – in family homes, local pubs and video studios, James Embrey and Chris Benningwood of Rolling Vision once again worked their magic and created something beautiful.

   Sending off their single to BBC Introducing seemed like a good place to start for the boys and on 6th February ‘Recovery’ was aired on BBC Introducing West Midlands alongside one of my favourite bands, Beaumont. With our radios on, 8pm came and I sat waiting for it to play. Half an hour in, my brain filled with new music and bands to check out, my wait was over. Saying that they were a great new up-coming band from Walsall, mentioning their awesome YouTube covers and saying that the single was incredible, it seemed to have gone down well. The reaction from followers of the new band was great, and old fans from previous bands loved it too.

   Creating enough hype to get a debut single off on the right foot is hard work. Hours and hours of sharing the page on Facebook, creating Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr accounts paid off, with almost 1,000 likes on the Facebook page and a load of followers across the rest of social media, they were almost ready for the official launch.

   At midday on the 15thFebruary I sat with Boots in the old college in Walsall, were it had all began, waiting for the minutes to pass until it was up. Within seconds there were responses, shares, from old fans and new. His phone and lap-top were going absolutely crazy and I’m sure it was the same for the other guys. Watching the video, it is so professional. The filming is amazing, the idea and story-line relatable and the single just so catchy. The lyrics are beautiful; it is well played and fits well alongside other bands of their genre.

   I’m incredibly excited to see what is to come in the future for these guys. I know they have a couple of gigs booked, which of course I will be going to, and these will be announced and tickets will go on sale for these shortly. I have a good feeling about these guys, they’re absolutely committed to what they’re doing and it is already paying off. Definitely one to keep an eye out for.

   Below I have linked all 3 cover videos by the boys along with the DEBUT single ‘Recovery’. Their social media pages are also linked below. Be sure to check them out on Youtube, like all their pages, show them some support and get to a show whenever they may be! 

   Thank you for reading my third guest post on this blog! All comments and feedback are welcome, thanks again – Kirsty xx


Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ledbylanterns/or @ledbylanterns

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LedByLanterns or @LedByLanterns


Shaun – Justin Bieber / Love Yourself


Chris – One Republic / Counting Stars


Boots and Brad – One Direction / Perfect


ŁED BY ŁANTERNS – RECOVERY

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))

"Sorry you're not"…

… A winner!!
   Tell me all you got that? If you did, good! If not, read on and hopefully you’ll catch on!

   Enter Shikari; this should’ve made the title click straight away! They’re a UK band that mixes synth, guitars, bass, drums and all kinds of vocals to create something meaningful, and beautiful! A lot of Shikari songs feature important messages regarding political viewpoints, environmental issues and other serious things that are seen to be somewhat brushed under the carpet by the media, especially the media that is aimed at the younger generation. With their music, full of catchy riffs and lyrics, fantastic videos and a lot of meaning, Enter Shikari get you to think about these issues and really get the point across.

   Now Rou the lead vocalist and front man, has a voice that you can really pinpoint and identify as his. His voice goes from harsh, almost screaming, to soft, melodic vocals, to a weird mix of speak-singing which isn’t quite singing, but more talking (if you guys know a word to describe it- PLEASE DO TELL! It’s an on-going problem trying to describe!). So, as if they can get any better – not only are they all super talented, super clever and witty in their song writing, but they’re very, very versatile in their style. Changes in their sounds are displayed across all four albums, and also in big ways with Shikari Sound System. This is their more dance/trance approach to music, compared to the Enter Shikari albums that are their more mainstream/well known metal/electronic/rock sound.


   Watching Shikari live is something I really think everyone needs to do. I’ve been lucky enough to see them 4 times to date (hopefully there will be many, many more); twice at Reading Festival (one as Enter Shikari, one as Shikari Sound System) and twice on tour at venues in my hometown. Each time they’ve been so full of energy, super interactive with the crowd and given an amazing performance! They fill the stage with music, movement and positive energy; at a gig at the HMV Institute in Birmingham, Rory climbed the balcony and hung upside-down whilst still playing. Live they are no different from their recorded tracks, always on point, showing just how talented they are and just how much work must go into their music!

   Enter Shikari are definitely one of my all-time favourite bands. They’re passionate, say what they feel, care about important issues and produce some absolutely amazing music.  

Thanks for reading again guys, means a lot. Leanne xo

Here’s Enter Shikari – Sorry You’re Not A Winner: