Finally the headline band Gleam took to the stage and filled the room with their excellent playing and stunning music! But that’s all you’re going to read from me about this set. I thought we’d try something new…
… I’d like to introduce you to an all round nice guy named Perry. Perry is one of the guitarists from Half Asleep, who is also a fan of Gleam. From talking to Perry at the gig, we decided to try something new. So through extensive emails (sorry Perry!) we managed to get an interview done solely around him watching Gleam in the perspective of a support act and a fan. I am very happy with the results and well, take a look for yourself below!
So you’ve just played as support for Gleam, how does it feel playing with a band like Gleam?
P; “Playing with a band like Gleam was pretty cool, being as there aren’t many shoegaze bands in Birmingham, so it was nice to join up with a band on the same bill as us. It was also a pleasure to play with them, considering they are some of the nicest guys I have ever met, and a great band. I mean Gleam are the kind of band you always nod your head too.”
Gleam have a different sound to you guys. So what is it about their sound, in your eyes, that makes them so popular?
P; “Gleam are fairly similar to us, however they do have some key differences. For example, they have a real chilled indie vibe to that really adds to that shoegaze sound they bring. Not to mention the keyboardist very cool, and it adds a sick twist to their music.”
What was your favourite part of the set?
P; “My favourite part of gleams performance was them playing their hit “believe” everybody seemed to know this tune so a lot people were bouncing and nodding their heads.”
As someone in the crowd, what do you think Gleam does best to captivate the audience?
P; “From a crowd point of view the most captivating thing from their performance would of been the music itself. It worked really well with the intimate venue and just sounded huge yet so chilled. As a live performance overall, its so energetic and they really know how to please the crowd.
I did noticed during their set, that one of their guitarists was having some technical difficulties. He really dealt with the issue well and was super calm, I mean to top it off he was a master with the keyboard too.
My all time favourite was when they played, a favourite of mine, Believe. The whole room seemed to know this track and there was so much energy, everyone was bouncing along.”
What do you think of their overall sound?
P; “Their overall sound is mad! The three guitars really adds a cool vibe to the shoegaze sound they are going for, as well as adding a lot of depth to their music. As for the drums and bass, they add that real nice bouncy vibe, yet hold the music together by producing the beat that holds the timing together, and adding that indie vibe. All in all this mix in their music goes together really well.”
And finally, anything you want to add or say?
P; “Just that from me and the rest of Half Asleep, thanks for the opportunity to play with you guys!
Hopefully in the future I’ll get to play with them again, but I will definitely be going to catch them at their next local show. Oh and make sure you check them out and make sure you get down to their local shows.
Big up Gleam!!”
As always thank you for reading this, it means a lot to me! I have had so much fun writing this!
I also want to say thank you to the bands for allowing me to write this, and a massive thank you to Perry for letting me torture you with a ridiculous amount of emails!
Oh and well the bands are great, and you better go check them out!
Apathy – https://www.facebook.com/apathybirmingham/?fref=ts
Oceania – https://www.facebook.com/oceaniatheband/?fref=ts
Half Asleep – https://www.facebook.com/HalfAsleepUK/?fref=ts
In 2010, the single ‘Starry Eyed’ graced our ears. It was this moment I felt a magical feeling, that has not left me yet. I can safely say that purchasing ‘Lights’ was one of the best purchases I’ve ever made! Okay, maybe my mom brought it me, I’m not sure but still!!Of course 2010 saw the blossom of Elena Goulding’s music career, or as you may know her best, Ellie Goulding.
Over the years Goulding has teased and pursued different styles and genres, resulting in each album being almost polar opposites. Displaying her musical talents to the max, Goulding has nabbed herself; two number one albums, two Brit awards, over 20 million sales and so much more! Not to mention recognition worldwide for sound tracking brilliantly the 50 Shades of Grey film (which created its own phenomenon), paired with a equally captivating video. With all this credit and the fact I practically love every song of Goulding’s or one she has featured in, I have always wanted to see her live.
Six years later… On Monday 21st March after finishing my first day at what was my new job (now my current and it’s great) I was on my way to meet Kirsty because we were going to see Ellie Goulding at the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham, UK. To say I was excited was an understatement, I mean it was my birthday a few weeks before and I swear I was more excited for the gig than my birthday. I know its pretty sad but I was seriously fan girling and not just because I was seeing Goulding. Goulding had two support acts, unfortunately due to misprints on the tickets we missed the first act. Which I am gutted about as all I’ve seen on twitter about LANY is how amazing they were on this tour and are in general. It’s safe to say this three piece band have a massive fan base already, which is only getting bigger since they formed in 2014. The second support was someone who I have wanted to see since they graced the scenes in 2012. That someone was John Newman!
In 2012 there was a voice that everyone was hearing, but a face that wasn’t really known, that was until 2013. 2013 saw the release of ‘Love me Again’ sky rocketing John Newman further into stardom. He’s second single release was ‘Cheating’ which proved even more so that this guy has serious talent! Newman is a breath of fresh air to the music scence as he is massively influenced by Northern Soul in his music, performances and style. He simply oozes talent and I can’t get enough of him. Newman’s album ‘Tribute’ followed shortly after his second single release and it is absolutely brilliant. His talents don’t end there either, he has featured on tracks with Rudimental and Calvin Harris where he’s voice is matched to very different genres. It’s very clear to see that Newman is versatile with his vocals. Which is why I think he was a great support act for Goudling.
Now, standing in the crowd staring at Newman’s backdrop of his latest album, ‘Revolve’ the lights dropped and the music started. Backing vocalist and band came out in a cheographed routine and outfits fit with Newman’s style, the excitement became oh so real. Newman joined the stag bouncing with energy in white trousers, black shirt and shoes raring to go. Performing songs from both albums and his own version of Rudimental’s ‘Not Giving In’, Newman filled the stage with his presence and arena with his beautiful voice. I must point out that the musicians on stage with him were phenomenal! I haven’t heard backing vocals like it before and the technical talents from guitars, drums and keys were amazing! Everything paired with neatly pieced choreography and Newman’s northern soul moves, nothing about this performance was dull. And let’s face it the whole arena lit up when Newman finally played ‘Love Me Again’ ending his set perfectly for Gouldings turn.
Gouldings stage was intense, dark and yet bold. Her face flickered across the screen as her band poured onto the stage and backing vocalists took their spots proudly. All perfectly balanced to ‘Intro (Delirium)’ the stage was now ready. Goulding entered the stage on a podium behind draped material that was being played with ever so gracefully by very strong and mischievous looking male dancers, whilst the backing music to ‘Aftertaste’ began where Goulding and co kicked off their set. The stage throughout was filled with energy from backing vocalists, to guitarists, to dancers and Goulding herself. Goulding went on to have three costume changes, to play a floor Tom and even guitars (multiple times), as well as perform dance routines alongside her badass dancers!
Songs played throughout included; ‘Figure 8’ & ‘Explosions’ from Halycon/Halycon Days, Outside & I Need Your Love (Calvin Harris covers), Keep on Dancin’/Army/On My Mind from Delirium and of course Love Me Like You Do from the 50 Shades of Grey soundtrack. All of which sounded like they were being blasted through the speakers straight from CD’s just made at the studio, they were performed that perfectly. However, Goulding was not the only talent to be seen. The whole band were incredible including backing vocalists, but visually the dancers really caught my eye. Something I absolutely loved was the contemporary piece that two of the dancers performed during a costume change. It was powerful, domineering and quite “fighty”, yet so graceful and elegant. I couldn’t stop watching them.
Something that made Goulding’s performance that bit more personal was her interaction with the audience and what she was saying. Yes there was probably stuff she says at every venue but there was just that little bit more too. She interacted that much, she tried desperately to have a conversation with a guy standing quite close to me, but apologised because she couldn’t hear everything he was saying. But what really caught me, was when she asked everyone to put their phones away. To now record or take videos but to simply enjoy the performance like those before us did before mobiles became so important to everyone. Unfortunately, not everyone in the arena listened, but seeing those that did made it more real. That this is what music is about, listening feeling and visually seeing the music enfold before you.
From this gig I can safely say I wasn’t disappointed by Newman or Goulding, its safe to say that true talent is still out there in signed acts. That music artists that are signed and famous are not all made up from technology and auto tune. That talent is still there and it’s very real. That’s the magical feeling I got six years ago hearing ‘Starry Eyed’ for the first time. Talent is out there in the music industry and its also still out there to be discovered. Don’t be warned off by the “look” of music and focus on what music really is. Talent, passion and hard work.
As always thank you for reading my opinions and thoughts. All comments/feedback are welcome, I’d love to hear from you! Don’t forget you can get in touch through the twitter page too, link is below. Again, thank you and I hope I didn’t bore you with my fan girling!! – Leanne xo
The act of doing something that involves danger or risk in order to achieve a final goal.
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.
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!!
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
Once upon a time, in an old college in Walsall, 4 guys came together and started making music…
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!
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.
Thanks for reading again guys, means a lot. Leanne xo
Light You Up were playing the Asylum: we had to go. Our close friend were on the tour with them, diving and doing sound, so it gave us a chance for a catch-up and a good gig in one of our favourite venues.
Beaumont were the first band to grace the stage in the grotty little upstairs room. We hadn’t heard them before finding out about this gig, but after giving them a listen beforehand, we were definitely digging their music; but we had our doubts. With the vocalists voice, we were slightly concerned it may not be the same live, but boy were we wrong; our worries completely obliterated. He was amazing; in fact the whole band were. The whole set was very well timed and well put together the only thing we feel could’ve been better was their movement but this was totally not their fault. They looked restricted, and it’s no surprise due to the positioning and size of the stage. They all moved the best they could, engaged with the crowd, performed well, played brilliantly and seemed to light up the stage and come alive to their own music.
(It’s also worth mentioning, their merch is AMAZING, I couldn’t help but get the ghost tee – Kirsty)
Light You Up:
Gliding on stage with the biggest smiles on their faces, smiles that were contagious, Light You Up began their set. Not only was their whole set fantastic, all perfectly timed, never missing a beat, their stage presence was out of this world. They spoke to the crowd consistently, not only hyping them up and creating a great atmosphere but talking about things that mattered to them. Each member showed amazing talent, consistency and love for what they were doing; sounding exactly how they do recorded. Towards the end of their set, they did a little acoustic session, keeping it chill but still an amazing atmosphere. You really got a feel of the vocals, the lyrics and the passion they’ve put into their art during this little session. Even better than this, was watching them come back together and really get back into things, leaving their set on a complete high, working as one to bring the crowd back up; powerful and magical. We managed to speak to Light You Up after their set, and also watched them interacting with their fans. They were humble, genuinely interested, and thankful for everyone who attended. Although they are a well-known band, they’re just as genuine as smaller bands, with less of a following. These boys are not only crowd pleasers, entertainers, but also all round lovely people, which is always wonderful to see. A gig full of good vibes and warm hearts.
Something we want to mention is the relevance of the date of this gig. While out, enjoying ourselves, surrounded by amazing musicians and good friends, a few hundred miles away, something terrible was taking place. People who went out with the exact same intentions as us had their world collapsing around them. We found out about the terror attacks in Paris just after the show. It’s tragic to think that a venue was targeted, somewhere people were meant to feel safe and at home. We had friends with us who knew of people at the show, or in Paris at the time and it was truly terrifying. Luckily everyone we knew was okay, but too many people weren’t, and even more were affected by this tragedy. Our hearts go out to everyone not only in Paris, but also in Lebanon were more attacks took place that night, and also to anyone who was affected by this awful event. A huge amount of recognition needs to go to the bands that played that night, because throughout everything that was going on, and the terrible atmosphere that seemed to pour into the venue, they stayed. Willing to talk to people, sticking around and being lovely to anyone and everyone.
Beaumont – Boys and Girls:
WSTR – Graveyard Shift:
Light You Up – It’s About Time:
Happy New Year wonderful people of the world!
I hope you’ve all had the absolute best celebrations and hopefully you aren’t hurting too much after partying! I just want to say a big ol’ THANK YOU to you all, as without you guys the blog would be nothing.
Last year was awesome, and I hope this year is even better. I have a tonne of stuff lined up for 2016 and still a couple of things to post from 2015! Look forward to festivals, big gigs, little gigs, ranting and raving, take-over’s/guest posts and a load more…
I honestly can’t wait to fill your heads with some more of my thoughts and opinions, here’s to 2016!!
Thank you as always, best wishes and love, Leanne xx
I’m going to start this post off by stating a few things about this gig. Firstly, the venue this gig took place at was brand new and this was the first show they had put on. So, as expected, some technical problems did arise. Secondly, a lot of the technical problems did appear to only affect the one band, this cannot be explained other than they were the more active band regarding stage presence. And finally, I was invited along by Sextapes, who are some lovely boys and very chatty. But I also got to speak to some of the Outlander boys who also seem very friendly. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to speak to Brass Tongue, but I did get to see their set.
They were first band on and they made lots of noise. By noise I mean the good kind! Featuring harsh vocals and good strong guitars, Brass Tongue started the gig off brilliantly. Throughout their set; Bass was clearly heard and wasn’t drowned out by over powerful guitars or drums, backing vocals were minimal yet well placed within their songs, and the drums were also in time and clean with no mistakes from the drummer.
Something I wasn’t a fan of was when the one guitarist, who was also providing some backing vocals, became quite aggressive with his performance, however it worked well with their sound due to the harshness of the vocals. I don’t know, however if it was down to sound problems or what, I just wasn’t keen on the additional vocals. Due to the harsh quality provided by the lead vocalists I felt it was enough. Sometimes soft vocals work well against harsher ones, sometimes slightly different pitched harsh vocals go well against other harsh vocals, but I just wasn’t feeling it. As mentioned previously though, the backing vocals were very neat and perfectly placed.
This doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the set because I did, they were lively and provided a show, and their talents were displayed throughout. I always love a good concentration face too, and I certainly loved the drummers! Trust me if you watch closely, most drummers and often a bassists/guitarists will pull a strange face whilst concentrating and it’s always beautiful. And I just love it so much because when there’s a weird face being pulled through concentration you can almost guarantee there is passion behind what that person is doing.
The second band to grace this new venue with their sound. A sound that is very clear, with a light tempo to start with which was brought through by the guitars. After a beautiful intro clear, clean cut drums grace your ears. These drums however you cannot help but feel should sound out of place because of the beauty/soft tones brought through by the guitar riffs, in reality worked so great with them! They really bring the piece of music together well.
Throughout the rest of their very music orientated set, the bass was perfectly blended in with the guitars and not overpowering, displaying that each piece has been very carefully thought about. Each musician is super talented, there were no errors present whatsoever and changing from one song to another was very swiftly yet smoothly done. Outlander have a small similarity to that of Mansionair, but feature their own unique touch to the music world. Outlander are a band producing music how many Indie bands wish they could, fresh, new and exciting.
They’re different, they’ve got an edge and it just feels so right. I literally feel like I’ve been waiting for this style of music for awhile and now it’s finally here I’m quite excited. I can’t wait to here more of them and their ambient post rock sound.
As you may have noticed, I haven’t mentioned anything about a vocalist, because Outlander don’t have one. Here I would usually say something about how I’d like to see what lyrics could be matched to the music, or even what way the sound would turn with a vocalist present within the band. However, I just love it as it is, because the music makes you feel everything that I believe lyrics would.
The four piece band display the minimalist amount of stage presence, which consists of gentle sways and head bops, that work perfectly against their sound. Again stage presence is something I love to discuss and don’t like not seeing, but Outlander are contradicting everything I thought I loved about live performances!
Something that really stood out for me was when they switched up the tempo to something a little more faster and “upbeat”, they still managed to keep it to that new edge that they’ve created. I can safely say I am a fan of Outlander and certainly would see them live again.
Sextapes as usual were lively from the get go, with the vocalist filling the tiny “stage” area with his movement. Guitarists showed more stage presence than what I’ve seen before, which brought this set together a little more. They also had their new bassist with them who seemed to fit in well with the rest of the band, and wouldn’t have been known to be new unless you actually knew like I did. Due to microphone problems, the vocalist could hardly be heard, due to what I believe was a faulty lead as he was the only one to use a slightly longer lead as he is prone to moving round frequently and quickly. As well as the stage being so tiny all musicians were closely packed together making drums a little too clearly heard. Even if the drums were clean cut and very well played. Guitarists played very strongly with riffs that stick in your head for the rest of the night. Their music is catchy and full of rhythmic melodies that are very remember-able.
What was a massive thing that stood out to me was how they just handled the fact people were running round like loonies trying to fix things and that things were going badly, and carried on performing to the high standard that they do. The vocalist continued to perform all vocals even with knowing his mic was suffering serious tech problems, guitarists and bassist stayed calm and continued to play showing no worry of a bad performance being lumbered upon them. Drummer managed to keep his cool during songs despite symbols falling over and his bass drum slipping off the stage. All in all they showed the up-most professionalism that they could in such an awkward situation. Which is something bands aren’t often credited for.
Thanks as always for the kindness you show by reading my opinions and thoughts. Leanne xo
P.s. A quick something that isn’t to do with the performances of the bands above or the bands themselves; big up to our good pals who were helping to try and keep the drum kit in the right place, refitting the mic wire when it disconnected and to the guy who helped me get the attention of the sound guy when things needed turning up. You guys really helped and Sextapes are very thankful for your help!! xo