Gig Review: THE WHO at the London O2 Arena – 23/03/2015

CA - The Who During the mid to late 1970s, Pete Townshend was telling everybody who would listen to him that as he was over the age of thirty, he was too old to be playing rock’n’roll, and that The Who were at best, irrelevant, and at worst, finished. It is not without irony therefore, that he has spent the last twenty years or so unequivocally proving his younger self wrong…
REVIEW: Mark Kelly
(Images sourced as reuseable from Wikipedia)

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Gig Review: Courtney Barnett at Brighton Concorde 2 – 27/03/2015

CA - Courtney Barnett 1 Mark K couldn’t get to Courtney Barnett’s London gig – so he figured he’d just go to Brighton instead… Might not seem to far but if his review’s anything to go by he’d have gone a lot further!
Check it out…

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Gig Review: Fawn Spots + Features and The Bodies @ Dalston Birthdays – 10/03/2015

Fawns 8 cond. Tonight at Birthdays we are served up with a bill that brilliantly demonstrates the broad church that indie has become…
Mark K on three bands that are still becoming but have a hell of a lot going for them right now…


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Gig Review: PALMA VIOLETS + FAT WHITE FAMILY, SLAVES & WYTCHES – NME Awards Tour @ Kentish Town Forum – 04/03/2015

CA - NME Tour As usual, NME have managed to gather together some of the most happening acts of the moment for their awards tour… 
MARK KELLY caught the tour at its leg at the Kentish Town Forum – and what a gig it was! (Images from the band’s sites / social media)


As usual, NME have managed to gather together some of the most happening acts of the moment for their awards tour; and, in the absence of The Amazing Snakeheads, they’ve corralled The Wytches. Read the rest of this entry »

Penny for the Workhouse + The Gyro + The Fix @ The Finsbury, 22/03/2015

PftW 1 (scaled) We were very much there to see Penny for the Workhouse who Mark K had lauded having seen them as support; though, while I’d thoroughly enjoyed the tunes I’d heard online, they were a new one live for me.
But first there were others to hear; it was a night that, to me, seemed very much about ‘credit where credit’s due’…
Article by Tim Bayley
Photos by Mark K & Jen Hay

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Gig Review: Meatbodies + Arrows of Love @ Dalston Birthdays – 03/03/2015


A support act you need to catch while there’s still standing room and a headliner that fills the floor entirely…

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Gig Review: Honeyblood with Our Girl + Bloody Knees @ Hackney Oslo – 11/02/2015

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“Honeyblood are really all about the song…”

Mark Kelly’s back at the Hackney Oslo for a session from HONEYBLOOD with sanguine support from indie band OUR GIRL and skate-punks BLOODY KNEES…

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Gig Review: Fires with Adam Barnes + Apostle Thomas @ The Lexington 09/02/2015

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Tonight is the debut of Karima Francis’ new band Fires, with support provided by Adam Barnes and Apostle Thomas…

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Gig Review: Gemma Hayes @ The Olympic Studios, Barnes – 27/01/2015

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Gemma Hayes is playing an intimate showcase gig in front of an audience of fifty at the iconic Olympic Studios in Barnes. as part of the promotional campaign for her current album Bones and Longing

Review by Mark Kelly

(Pictures by Lorenzo Arena)


Gemma Hayes is an artist who perhaps has not received the level of recognition that she deserves. This may change with her current album Bones and Longing, which is a particularly fresh sounding collection. As part of the promotion for this album, Gemma is playing an intimate showcase gig in front of an audience of fifty at the iconic Olympic Studios in Barnes. Read the rest of this entry »

Gig Review: Evi Vine plus The Neverists, Penny for the Workhouse & The Quiet Quiet Band @ The Good Ship, Kilburn – 29/01/2015

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Tonight is the launch event for Evi Vine’s new album Give Your Heart To The Hawks. However, before the main event we have three support bands to entertain us…

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Gig Review: Black Moth + Puffer @ The Shacklewell Arms, Dalston 26/01/2015

Support band Puffer announce their arrival onstage with a storm of feedback. With continued feedback and liberal use of a wah-wah pedal (amongst others) they occasionally come on like a heavy metal version of My Bloody Valentine. They occupy the stage with an assurance that is breathtaking. One feels that in their minds they’re already headlining Wembley Stadium. They have a jamming element which brings to mind a heavier Grateful Dead. They certainly seem intent on giving Black Moth a run for their money.

CA - Black Moth Twitter If Black Moth are worried about the undoubted quality of their support band, they don’t show it. By and large the guitarists prefer Gibsons in favour of their predecessors’ Fenders, and the superiority of the Gibson ‘crunch’ shows. For all of their ‘foot on the monitor’ NWOBHMisms this band is remarkably fresh. This is by no means gonzoid heavy metal. With changing time signatures, and bars of differing lengths, some songs border on prog metal a la Rush and Dream Theater.

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Gig Review: Gemma Hayes (@Hackney Oslo – 14/01/2015)

Gemma Hayes returns to Hackney Oslo as part of the promotional campaign for her current album Bones and Longing

Review by Mark Kelly

(Pictures by Lorenzo Arena)

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Gig Review: XFM Winter Wonderland (@Brixton Academy – 17/12/2014)

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XFM’s Winter Wonderland has always been something of a curate’s egg, and this year’s gig is no exception…

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Gig Review: Anna Calvi and the Heritage Orchestra and Choir @ St John’s Church, Hackney 13/12/2014

Review by Mark Kelly

Photos by James McGalliard

Anna_Calvi_Strange_Weather_EP Tonight’s gig is a somewhat fascinating prospect: being part experiment, part Christmas treat for the fans. Promised are collaborators old and new, cover versions and new songs. Can’t wait!

However, wait we must. The doors open at 7pm, there is no support act, and Anna is not due onstage until 8.45pm (she appears at about 9). No matter, for a church the venue is quite cosy, and it is that most rare of animals, a consecrated church with a (albeit temporary) licensed bar. Hot mulled cider with rum whiles away the time quite agreeably.

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Gig Review: Gary Numan + Gang of Four (@ Hammersmith Apollo – 28/11/2014)

Review by Mark Kelly

(Images sourced online as labelled for reuse)

220px-Splinter_SFABM_Cover A bill consisting of Gary Numan and Gang of Four could lead one to expect something of a nostalgia fest; happily this is not the case.
Andy Gill is now the only remaining original member of Gang of Four following vocalist Jon King’s departure in 2012. However, John Sterry does a more than reasonable Jon King impersonation, and the band sound pretty authentic. Gill stares out the crowd, and the band have a pleasingly unsettling aura.

Gill certainly comes across as a man with something to prove, and there is a feeling of restrained aggression throughout, particularly during Anthrax which features much Stratocaster abuse. Read the rest of this entry »

Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters – Bournemouth Academy – 10th November 2014

(Images sourced online as labelled for reuse)


Robert Plant is a musical adventurer: If anybody keeps alive Led Zeppelin’s unofficial motto of ‘ever onward’ it is him, and with the Sensational Space Shifters he has put together a band who are equally adventurous, each member having come from contrasting musical backgrounds.

The Bournemouth Academy has a capacity of 1,800, but Plant makes it feel far more intimate with his warm between-song chat. Not so much a gig as catching up with an old friend. CA - Robert_Plant_Lullaby_and_the_Ceaseless_Roar_cover
Plant is, of course, promoting his Lullaby… And The Ceaseless Roar album, and five songs from that LP are included in the set. The album is very much a snapshot of where Plant is today, the songs being a potpourri of modern rock, African sounds, tribal rhythms and trip-hop. However, in a live setting that menu is added to: Rock And Roll, for example, starts with a monster electro riff of industrial proportions!

We’re also treated to three blues covers, of which Spoonful is so nigh on unrecognisable that it brings to mind some of Bob Dylan’s more ‘inventive’ live versions of his own classics. However, in Spoonful’s case, Plant demonstrates how a song, and indeed a genre, can be taken to a whole other place. On Bukka White’s Fixin’ To Die Plant steps back and lets his band rip on a much extended middle eight, which has waaaaaay more than eight bars. Juldeh Camara’s Gambian fiddle is positively otherworldly. It is not just confined to making African sounds either, as the Celtic tinged solo in Little Maggie illustrates.

No Robert Plant gig would be complete without some Led Zeppelin, and herein lies a bit of a problem for him. Many of the audience are here primarily to hear him sing Led Zeppelin songs.

CA - Plant 05 Plant starts his set with Friends from Led Zeppelin III, which is sufficiently Sensational Space Shiftered so as not to make it immediately recognisable. Going To California is pretty authentic, with an acoustic guitar and mandolin arrangement. A straight version of What Is And What Should Never Be gets by far the loudest cheer of the evening up to that point. Plant acknowledges the applause with a wry smile. Babe I’m Gonna Leave You is also played straight, and features an exceptional flamenco-flavoured acoustic guitar solo from Skin Tyson. CA - Plant & Page 77

The set concludes with an epic Whole Lotta Love which commences with slow 12-bar snippets of I’m A King Bee and I Just Want To Make Love To You before the main course is served. Herein lies Plant’s problem. Despite his musical searching, seeking and exploring, 34 years after the demise of Led Zeppelin he is still their singer, no matter what efforts he makes to escape. Perhaps the answer for him lies with this band, and with the kind of set delivered tonight. A set mixing his newer material with adventurous re-readings of his musical back pages delivered by an eclectic rag bag of musicians who have a similar need to explore.

By eschewing the possibility of a full Led Zeppelin reunion and the additional millions that it would bring, Robert Plant has chosen the more difficult, and indeed exciting, road to travel. He and his cohorts take Western music to Africa and all points North, South, East and West before ending up somewhere between West Bromwich and Bron-y-Aur. Why don’t you join them? It’ll be quite a trip.

                                                                                             Mark Kelly


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