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
                                                           

Gleam – Suki10c, Birmingham – 29.07.16

  Apathy was the first to take on the stage at Suki10c in Birmingham, UK on Friday 29th July 2016. The two piece band from Birmingham started their set with vibes and sounds similar to that of The Pretty Reckless and The White Stripes. Husky vocals, heavy drums and a strong I’m here presence. Apathy played their set to the venue showcasing themselves by both performance and intelligence, as their set list was planned out strategically to keep you intrigued.
  Unfortunately some songs appeared to have rushed drums, and an unusual vocal technique (that I can only describe as dragged out/laugh styled melodies), that just weren’t my cup of tea. But when they started to play Snake, I was shocked by the drastic change of vocal technique. Snake in general saw Apathy completely loosen up and become more confident, which illuminated their performance! But the main thing about Snake that will always stand out to me is the vocalist’s voice! She sang so beautifully and so different to all the other songs, it automatically shocks you and draws you into their music more. The placement of this song in their set was perfectly done.
  Apathy are a strong band performance wise, as they stand strong and focused. But they also hold talent too; the vocalist as a woman will stereo typically only be pictured as being able to performer more of the higher pitches. For Apathy, that’s not the case. The vocalist can reach many pitches and uses them well within the songs performed. She carefully builds the tension required between pitch changes and doesn’t drag out the high notes too long, which means she didn’t sound drained. The drummer can move quickly, which is great as he is covering a wide range of beats provided to fill out the songs as well as providing the steady beat throughout the set. He’s skill is very noticeable and works well alongside the vocalists guitar. The guitar playing is very rhythmic and throughout the set is quite low and steady, which is what alongside the drums, provides that similarity to The White Stripes.
  Personally I think that by adding a little more depth and structure to their songs, it might make them stand out a bit more than they already do, as already they are unique especially within the Birmingham/West Midlands area. But this is solely being said due to them being a two piece. As a two piece, it can often bring a few downsides to musical performance for many who try it, as often there are is no bass structure. With Apathy, I can see the potential. They show passion which is a strong attribution to making music, but they also have a vocalist that can sing quite low notes which utilised further, with the addition of her beautiful melodic notes and some higher tones, could provide more structure to their songs and really showcase what they’re made of.
  Apathy’s overall performance was really good and their music is very enjoyable. They simply ooze everything required for success as well as you can visually see them feel the music, they are not just playing it. I really rate these guys and can’t wait to see what more they have to offer, as I know that they will produce/perform more wonderful things!
  Oceania was the second band to grace my ears and boy did they! The three piece band started of really strong, which sometimes isn’t a good sign as the band can become tired and restless towards the end of their sets. Not with these guys! Their whole set was incredible, solely down to their music too as there was very little stage movement.

  Now usually I would make a comparison of the whole sound, but that’s just not possible here. Their sound is very unique and not being able to make a major comparison is an amazing quality for the band to have. The only comparison that can be made in my eyes is around the guitar/bass riffs. In some songs; guitars have that quirky Two Door Cinema Club twang, with the simple bass beat to match. Yet drums would be fast and super clean cut, showcasing the drummer’s skills. In other songs; the drums are vividly heard and stand out against the tone the strings are producing. The bass would become faster in tempo, which would in turn make the guitars switch to a deep and hypnotic melody technique that completely contradict everything else. The vocalist provided pitches that would conflict perfectly against the riffs he was playing. Which worked very well for the band, as being a band of three, it meant there was more tonal coverage. What’s spectacular about this band is the fact they all bring something different in style, yet produce something quite beautiful that cannot be pinpointed to a single genre at all.

  Oceania are a talented group of lads and to be honest, I can’t wait to see them again! Especially as I managed to speak with their vocalists and he is the most humble and down to earth guy ever! So I can only assume that the other two guys are just as nice! Being a humble band will go in their favour, as you don’t want to be knocking down or winding up the people who will help you achieve and build.

Third to the stage were Half Asleep. Standing proudly ready to introduce this new vibe to the crowd the drummer kicked off the set, with guitars not too far behind. The band sounded tight, were clearly heard and well to be honest they sounded great! Guitars were clear and crisp, bass was heard perfectly and drums were there usual high standard. However, with Half Asleep’s terrible luck, I was a little anxious as to whether or not we’d be graced with vocals. So as the vocalist got into the music and opened his mouth, the intensity I felt was unreal! FINALLY out of nowhere this voice radiated round the room so clearly, it was pure heaven!

  Now being able to hear the vocalist meant that finally I and the many spectators could see exactly what Half Asleep have to bring . This perfectly pair with the introduction of their new sound (following their name change), meant that now each members talent was showcased and able to be witnessed. I must admit I am totally digging this shoe-gazey sound so much more!

  Showing that they still respect their roots and that they are all about originality, the band performed a new stripped down version of Narcotics which was tastefully and beautifully done. The usually heavy grunge styled number was more toned down, filled with dreamy riffs. Utilising the slowness of this stripped down version, the guitarists were able to perform structured and dragged out chord changes, whilst the bassist was able to stand out and showcase deep tones that added depth to the song. The drums were much lighter enabling the technique to be appreciated, whilst the vocals were softer and had a slight poetic feel to them rather than the husk they usually are. 

  Ending their set with the ever so energetic Relax and Distill, the band filled the room with their passion. Everyone watching was bouncing along to the beat. All in all it was another great performance from the Birmingham (UK) based five piece.

  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! 

FB Links;

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
Gleam – https://www.facebook.com/gleeeam/


Leanne xo


Ellie Goulding – The Barclay Card Arena, Birmingham – 21.03.16

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

'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: 



Light You Up – The Asylum, Birmingham – 13.11.15

Hey guys, December was a busy month with Christmas, New Year and family functions but here is the long and anticipated gig review of Light You Up! Hope you enjoy 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:

   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)

WSTR:


   Next on stage were WSTR and instantly they screamed fun. If you’ve ever watched their music videos you can tell that they are full of energy and charm. As soon as they started, two giant inflatable balls appeared, floating above the crowd, bouncing around the place, encouraging everyone in the room to interact with each other and really get the crowd involved and excited, in the right mood for a gig. In terms of their music they sound exactly like they do on the tracks they’ve released, everything was tight and to a high standard. These guys were not afraid of the tiny stage and went absolutely mental, jumping around, moving constantly and really entertaining. Their set was great, keeping everyone in the best moods, warming everyone up for the headliners: Light You Up…

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.

   This gig was one we will never forget, for the amazing performances, the amazing people we met and the events that took place around the world. Below are links to music videos for all 3 bands, they’re really worth the watch!


Thank you for reading and thank you for supporting me as always – Leanne ox
Hi guys its Kirsty, I featured as a co-writer on this one (I know very exciting and different to being a guest blogger), thank you for reading mine and Leanne’s opinions it means a lot – Kirsty xx


Beaumont – Boys and Girls:



WSTR – Graveyard Shift:


Light You Up – It’s About Time:




2016!

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

Sextapes – Subside, Birmingham – 10.12.15

   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. 

Brass tongue

   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.

Outlander:

   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

   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