Sunday, 17 March 2019

STUNNING - SEAFRET @ The Wardrobe, Leeds - 27.02.19

Hello everyone!

Today's post is a good couple of weeks late, not quite keeping up as I should be but I've had a very busy couple of weeks, working to finish a project before I started my new job last week(!), and I had another gig the night after this one, (that will be coming too), so I apologise for the late delivery but it's been a bit of a crazy few weeks!

But here we are and I've got an amazing gig to tell you about! I was very kindly granted a photo pass by Seafret to their BEAUTIFUL show at The Wardrobe in Leeds, one of the stops on their UK tour in February, and it was mesmerising. Their support acts were also incredible and the overall talent, voices and playing throughout the entire night were of such a high standard that I felt very lucky to be in that audience. It truly was a stunning show.

I've been a huge fan of Seafret since my discovery of their first album, 'Tell Me It's Real', in early 2016 which has since been one of my favourite albums of all time. The lyrics and stories are of heartbreak and first loves, perfectly accompanied by beautiful, modest arrangements with no unnecessary fuss and overproduction. Their sound comprises of elements of pop/rock, but they mainly write delicate, enchanting ballads and Jack's voice can send chills down your spine. I've often turned to their music whenever I've experienced moments of heartbreak and their songs take me back to those times every time I listen to them.

I've been dying to see them live for years and so I was thrilled to finally get into a show. The support acts, Callum Spencer and Rosborough, were unknown to me before the show but I was so impressed by their playing and songs that I'm now a solid fan of them both. 

REVIEW

CALLUM SPENCER


Opening the show was Callum Spencer; his lovely set, preparing the audience for a night of strong voices and skilful instrumentals. He was energetic, dancing around as much as he could whilst playing his guitar as he stood alone on the stage, singing his heart out. His songs were really well written and had a similar sentimentality to country music, but with more of a popular sound. He sang a new song called 'Think About It', from his new EP, also performing the title track 'Nothing But Strangers' which is infectious and upbeat. My favourite of his songs had to be 'Say It', which talks of a relationship nearing its end but the other person not being able to admit it. His music was endearing and authentic; it was so nice to see a musician singing and playing so confidently and so well without gimmicks or pretence. It was brave and it was real, a wonderful opening to the show.





ROSBOROUGH


Next up was Rosborough, an artist from Derry in Ireland, again with a humble set of only himself performing the vocals and guitar, accompanied by his drummer. Rosoborough's music was more rock and roll, again with a powerful, gritty voice and a solid, confident sound. He started his set with his fierce track 'Fall To Earth' which I've listened to so many times since, full of gumption and guitar. He had the crowd invested after just one song, continuing to play tracks about people leaving his home town, one about the stars called 'Burn Blue', and another about house parties called 'Another Lesson'. His set was full of powerful songs, genuine stories and great melodies. Rosborough also treated us to a beautiful cover of 'True Love Will Find You In The End', originally by Daniel Johnston, which he sung with such heart, the hopeful and gentle track perfectly balancing his set. It was another awesome performance and continued the line of genuinely talented and honest musicians taking the stage that night.





SEAFRET


After two impressive performances by Callum and Rosborough, Seafret walked on to the stage to a huge round of applause and played the most divine headline show. They opened with a few tracks from their first album, including 'Atlantis', which plucked at every heart string with as much precision as Harry was plucking the strings of his guitar, alongside Jack's hypnotic vocals. The boys stood alone on the stage, Jack simply using his voice and Harry choosing only either his guitar or the piano, depending on which suited each track best. The effect was a spell-binding, intimate and simply beautiful show where pure talent triumphed and the true heart of their sound transported the entire room away.



The boys performed a gorgeous arrangement of one of their latest singles, 'Can't Look Away', which was stripped back and stunning. Harry's compositional skill really shone throughout the night; his ability to write such emotive melodies, on both the guitar and piano, and to effortlessly swap between the two during the show, embellishing the melodies and timing each note perfectly to take the whole crowd's breath away. Jack's vocal performance was also stunning; Seafret's tracks are full of huge ballads and powerfully sung choruses, but Jack didn't miss a single beat. Every song was magically beautiful and I spent most of the night having forgotten I wasn't the only person in the room.



Seafret continued with their gut-punching love songs, performing breath-taking renditions of 'Wildfire', 'Breathe' and 'Missing'. When you buy a ticket to a Seafret show, it is guaranteed to be a emotional night. Their lyrics are as honest, heart-wrenching and beautiful as Rupi Kaur's 'Milk and Honey' poetry collection. Jack felt the need to explain to the crowd that although he writes about heartbreak, he's not depressed as you might imagine; "I have to laugh in between songs or I'll cry *laughs* I don't just sit at home crying, it's not normal for a man to be this emotional." Having said that, he then lead on to sing three of his most tear-inducing songs; a new song 'Heartless', the classic 'Oceans' and then the brutally heartbreaking 'Tell Me It's Real', which if you survived without crying, than you're a stronger person than I! It was STUNNING! That song can break your heart all over again and their performance was enough to knock the air out of your body, it was something else! After they'd finished, a number of audience members shouted "IT'S REAL" and the boys laughed,  receiving a massive round of cheers and applause from an emotional and wholly admiring audience. They also sung their latest single, 'Loving You' which was sheer, heartfelt perfection. Honestly, it was a performance of pure, faultless beauty.



Jack and Harry finished their show with an encore of 'Bad Blood' and 'Monsters', their two more upbeat tracks off their latest EP, also named 'Monsters', as they said they needed to finish the night with something more up-lifting. Rosborough's drummer joined them on the stage to help add a bit more rhythm and oomph to their last two tracks. It was a really strong way to finish the night, giving the so far fairly silent audience, who had spent the whole night wrapped in their own memories of heartbreak and emotion, a chance to shake out their feelings and dance a little. The boys also revealed they're writing album number 2, which I, and every one else in the room, is impatiently awaiting!

Seafret transported and enthralled every single person at that sold out show, with their hypnotising serenades and stirring melodies. It was honestly such a special gig, as I imagine every one of theirs are, but it felt like such an honour to be in the room that night. As much as it brought back the shadow of former heartbreak, it was cathartic to hear those songs played live.

The night was truly such a raw and beautiful showcase of three incredibly skilled and committed acts. I loved the show so much for the simple reason that each of the artists were just that; artists. They played with such modest arrangements, no more than two instruments at a time, and still delivered three amazing performances. There was no fuss and no theatrics because there didn't need to be, true talent can stand all by itself and induce awe on a crowd. That's what Calum Spencer, Rosborough and Seafret each achieved that night.

Thank you so much to Seafret for letting me come along to the show, I am so thankful to have finally seen you guys play live. I cannot recommend their music enough and be sure to keep an ear out for their upcoming album, no doubt I'll shout about it when it's released!

See you all soon.

Holly


Callum Spencer:
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Rosborough:
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Seafret:
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Monday, 4 February 2019

Chalkpit Records Leeds Launch Party @ Oporto | SUNFLOWER THIEVES, VIOLET CONTOURS, GREEN GARDENS | Review

Hey gang!

It's been a little while and I'm sorry, January isn't anyone's favourite month is it?

One of the better things to come out of January however, was a wonderful evening I spent at Oporto for Chalkpit Record's Leeds launch party to celebrate their move up north! It was a great night showcasing three of the label's fantastic northern acts and rallying support for the label in their new home town.

Chalkpit Records was originally founded on the Isle of Wight in 2016, with the purpose of nurturing a new wave of rock stars. Artists amongst their roster include Nakamarra, Reminders, Tai High Hawaiian and Charlie O'Riain. Having recently opened a new, northern HQ in Leeds, Chalkpit have been welcomed into the scene and are sure to be an important elevator of talented music-makers going forward.

I took my camera along to their launch party so I figured I'd introduce you to the three awesome bands that kicked off a new, northern era for Chalkpit Records...

(Disclaimer: Oporto seemed to only have one spotlight that worked so sorry to the rest of the band members that can't be seen very clearly in the pictures!)


SUNFLOWER THIEVES


An endearing beginning to the evening, Sunflower Thieves opened the show with their soft harmonies and stirring lyrics. The Leeds-based duo treated the audience to an array of delicate vocals and melodies as easy as a summer breeze. Singing songs from their debut EP 'Hold The Storm' and their most recent release, a beautiful ballad titled 'Two Halves' which enchanted us all. The girls delivered such a gorgeous, soothing and spell-binding set, it was really quite transporting. A promising start to the evening, they have a new fan in me.





VIOLET CONTOURS


Next up were Violet Contours, who I have to say were incredible. From the off, their funky riffs had their hooks in you. Upbeat tunes full of jaunty guitars, Violet Contours evoked a more playful, daring atmosphere which could be felt throughout the whole room. The York-four piece had a such an identity to their sound; it was polished, witty and charismatic. Their sound was like a strong, fruity cocktail, it had a punch to it and you knew you were going to have a good time. I loved their tracks 'D.O.T.' and 'Pixar', every element of their sound coming together to create tracks that are original, infectious and contemporary. Aiming towards their first EP in 2019, I for one, am definitely going to be keeping an ear out for when these guys drop new music. Head-turning songs and great performers, don't miss out on these guys.





GREEN GARDENS


Finally, but in no way the least, came the charming young quartet that is Green Gardens. Their tracks were of a light, indie composition with stress-relieving qualities and elements of romance and nostalgia. Confident, they won over the crowd with their endearing personalities during between-song transitions, giving the audience a good view of their relationship as a band. Their co-vocals added nice layers to their running through green fields tempos; the perfect sound to play on a summers afternoon, lying on your back in the park, basking in the sun with your friends. 




They also played an extremely new song, which I didn't catch the name of, admitting to only having played fully twice. They played it seemingly without a glitch however, and had a lot of fun with it on stage. It had more grit than their others, and a huge guitar riff compared to some of the softer tracks we'd heard earlier. It was a great set to finish the evening with, a wonderful round up of the music we'd seen so far. 


The night was a great success for Chalkpit Records and Leeds' scene, everyone who attended was there because they love music within this city and want to support it. With such ripe talent in the Leeds area, I'm excited to see how Chalkpit's arrival will stimulate the scene and encourage it's growth. If they want to develop the next generation of rock stars, I have no doubt they will be left wanting in Leeds. 

A huge congratulations to Chalkpit and welcome to Leeds! Hats off to all the bands that played as well, of course. Let's keep feeding this city's love of music and live shows, good luck to you all!

Until next time everyone.

Holly.


Sunflower Thieves:

Violet Contours:

Green Gardens:

Chalkpit Records:

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

DEBUT ALBUM ON THE WAY IN 2019 - THE NINTH WAVE | Interview & Gig Review - Years End Festival 2018 @ O2 Ritz Manchester

Hey gang!

Welcome to something very exciting, I'm so happy to be bringing you an interview with an epic, emerging band who are storming across the UK at the moment.

I'd like to introduce you all to The Ninth Wave, a Glaswegian group with all the ferocity and determination of a tidal wave. Their sound is unlike anything you'll hear from other contemporary artists; it is timeless and yet ahead of it's time, pop rock that is unapologetic, provocative and in a league of it's own. These compelling renegades have attracted attention from BBC Introducing, Amazing Radio, Dr Martens Presents and are next year supporting fellow Glasgow icons CHVRCHES, at the Hydro Arena.

The Ninth Wave have been kicking around for a couple of years now, and have already cultivated such a strong identity for themselves both musically and aesthetically. Their sound is unmistakable and gripping, as is their artwork, personas and music videos. They're often linked to the 80s genres of new wave and post-punk, as they have previously credited Interpol and The Cure as influences. A touch of these 80s heroes can be heard within their tracks, but The Ninth Wave have an originality that transcends everything they create. This isn't juts about the music, this is a mentality that will punch you in the face.

Co-vocalists Haydn and Millie have such powerful voices that equal each other in depth, but stand out in their own right. In my favourite single of theirs, 'New Kind of Ego', Haydn's deep tone parallels perfectly to Millie's higher harmony to create such potent echoes throughout the track. In this anthem they cry out 'Did you forget to tell me?', calling out some poor individual's miscalculation that they could wrong the members of The Ninth Wave and get away with it. As a pre-Christmas treat, just last week they released an outstanding cover of The Pogues beautiful ballad, 'I'll Love You 'Till The End', which they completely transformed into their own. The video as well is a fantastic example of their visual ingenuity and style. The Ninth Wave with their no-bullshit lyrics, dauntless musical compositions, and visionary artistic style, create a force of infinite potential.

I was lucky enough to catch them at Off The Record in Manchester last month, and then again last weekend at Years End Festival 2018, held between Manchester's O2 Ritz and Gorilla venues. I was kindly given the opportunity to interview Haydn, Millie and Lewis (drums), before their set and hear first hand about their upcoming releases in 2019...

INTERVIEW

Q: I have to talk about this because you dropped it just yesterday; The Pogues’ cover. It’s great, and the video is beautiful, where did that idea come from?

H: I don’t know, I guess the kind of song it is, it’s not what we normally do, so we just thought it would be nice to do something like that…
M: Have a happy song for once
H: Yeah for once
M: All our songs are about sad things and Christmas should be a happy time. And I guess that’s kind of where the video ties into it, it is two angels but then they’re not very good at what they do so they get their wings taken off them. It’s merging the [elements]; not making it too happy by putting our own spin on it.

Q: Lyrics are one of my favourite things that I look for in a band, I like there to be a little bit of poetry. And you’ve said you write sad songs, what inspires the stories that you tell?
M: You can’t write lyrics to a song if you don’t understand what they mean yourself, so it always has to come from past experiences or something that you’re thinking in your head. So I think that’s what makes them really listenable, is that they’re not just pulled from thin air, it’s what’s actually happening.

Q: So you guys have bought out a couple of EPs now and lots of singles, is an album next for you with 2019 just round the corner?
L: We’ve recorded the album already. We’re dropping it in two parts; so the first part will be out at the start of 2019, and then the second part at the end of 2019...That’s the way we’re doing it, to make the songs make more sense, rather then just throwing out all the songs at once, we thought it would be better to do it in two parts. But once they’re both out it’s just one album.

Q: Is there an element of duality within it? Is that why you’ve split it?
L: There kind of is now, it didn't when we were recording it. But once we’d picked the tracks, they kind of make more sense now; the first part has a theme and the second part has another one.

Q: When I’ve read past interviews you’ve done, you guys said you tend to evolve and adapt your music. What’s influencing you right now? What has inspired those songs?
L: Being in the studio did it, there were a couple of songs that completely changed when we were in the studio. One of the songs is called ‘Human Behaviour’, its on the album, and that was originally just like a rock demo, and then there was a point when me and Millie were sitting in the studio and she was playing piano, she was playing the chords and I was doing like a jazz thing, and then it just became like ‘Pyramid Song’ by Radiohead. So stuff like that, when you’re just all sitting down, working it out.

Q: Do you guys experiment a lot?
L: Yeah with instruments, just cause the studio we recorded it at, it’s got a wide variety of synths, drum machines, mad stuff and like mics from 1950, so it meant us going a bit crazy with that. 

Q: You guys have been generated quite a lot of hype recently as a new band, even though you’ve been going for a while. Are you guys ready to take that next step? are you scared? nervous?
M: It’s exciting, you can’t be nervous with things like that. We’re ready.

Q: I bet you’re just glad that it’s finally coming out and everything you’ve been working towards the past couple of years is out there.
TNW: Yeah.

Q: I was thinking of how to describe your music the other day, and I figure it’s kind of like falling down a darker and more sinister version of Alice’s rabbit hole. What else is down that rabbit hole? Is there anything else you’d like to explore?
L: Well we did all that on this album that comes out, it’s not just massive choruses anymore and huge guitars. There's a lot of things that we’ve never done before, but I guess we’ll just keep doing that until people start to hate it and then we’ll stop *laughs*.

 (I don’t think anyone’s gonna hate it anytime soon.)

Q: My home town’s originally Leeds, have you played any of the venues around there?
L: Yeah we did Live at Leeds and we did a show at, what’s that place called? It’s a venue with the glass…
H: Oporto, we played there twice. 
L: Yeah, Live at Leeds was there and just a gig, a random show there. They were both really nice, they were filled.

Q: What’s your favourite thing about Glasgow and that music scene?
H: It’s really cheap to live there, so if you’re a band and you start off, you can develop how you sound, and the people that you meet. I feel like in London, if you have like a rehearsal studio it’s probably like £1,000 a month, but Glasgow is so cheap you can take your time rather than forcing everything.

Thank you so much guys, good luck with your set tonight.


REVIEW

The Ninth Wave, as well as being incredible musicians, are also the most captivating performers. Haydn began their set face to face with the crowd, immediately drawing a number of soon-to-be fans into their sound. As they kicked off their set, their intoxicating riffs, moody melodies and the timbre of Haydn's voice, echoed around the tight pocket of the O2 Ritz Basement. They also looked cool as hell, as per usual.







The Ninth Wave had the entire audience under their sombre spell as they played some of their gutsiest numbers, including 'New Kind Of Ego' and 'Reformation'. A state of hypnosis had taken over us all as the velvety 'Sometimes The Silence Is Sweeter' poured through the speakers and into our ears. Haydn and Millie make such a formidable front team; both of them throwing all the authority of their voices and their souls into the performance. As Millie had said in the interview, you could feel the passion in their performance as the weight of the lyrics pierced the crowd. The Ninth Wave are such a fun band to see live; the intensity with which they perform and the enthralling quality of their music, results in a total possession by their sound, only breakable when they see fit to release you.








Finishing their set with their insidious track 'Swallow Me', Haydn again decided that he wanted to perform this one on level with the crowd. He stood before us as he delivered the first verse, the track starting off gently, (by post-punk standards), and as the track's atmosphere rose, Haydn too was filled with the soul of it. The rousing instrumentals of Millie and Lewis that were emitted from the stage, amplified the suspense and Haydn dropped to his knees and then to the floor, as the remaining members of The Ninth Wave rocked out on stage. He rose to his feet to cry out the final lines of; 'Swallow me, swallow me, swallow me, swallow me...punish me, punish me, punish me, punish me, so swallow me, swallow me, swallow me, swallow me' as the track reached it's climax and cut out completely. It was a great way to end their set, and I can confidently say they had the whole audience fully converted as they wrapped up their show. 


I had so much fun on Saturday at Years End Festival, I also got to check out some new bands I hadn't encountered before such as BLOXX and Saytr Play who I now love. I also caught Spector headlining the O2 Ritz stage and Cassia as they finished off the music at Gorilla. I'd like to say a huge thank you to The Ninth Wave for answering my questions and a huge thank you to Distiller for granting me access to the event.

I've linked to all of The Ninth Wave's social media below so make sure you follow them in time for the release of their album in the new year, I can't wait! They've got a couple of shows lined up for 2019 already as well, so if you're nearby do not miss the chance to see them. You will not regret it, I promise you.

I wish you all a magical Christmas and a lovely New Year with your loved ones. Let's make 2019 one to remember rather than another one to moan about hey? See you soon.

Holly


The Ninth Wave:
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Me:
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Wednesday, 5 December 2018

DIY Magazine's NEU Tour 2018 - Leeds @ Headrow House | TALKBOY, PEAKES, CARO | Gig Review 29.11.18

Hello everyone!

Today I have for you three new awesome bands from Leeds that I'm so excited to be writing about.

Leeds has a great scene for live music with some incredible venues of all shapes and sizes. It's thanks to these venues that I connected with the music I did when I was younger; if I hadn't have been going to The Cockpit at least once a month to see of my favourite alternative rock bands play, I would not be where I am today. It's thanks to Leeds' live music scene that music became such an integral part of my life and clearly the right industry for me to go into. Now I'm home I can't wait to explore Leeds' scene more and help more of Leeds' music be heard.

That's why I am so happy to report that when DIY Magazine's Do It Yourself NEU Tour had its final panels and gig in Leeds last week, three extraordinary local bands stepped up and delivered some amazing sets. Each with their own unique sound, mesmerising set and exciting future, here is an introduction to Talkboy, Peakes and last but in no way least, Caro.

REVIEW

TALKBOY



This indie sextet kicked off the show with their fun, lively and fantastic original tracks. There was a lot going on, six people on a small stage can do that, but they suited it. Their music has so much energy; Talkboy were clearly having a lot of fun on stage and it transcended to the crowd. They were fully committed to the show and entertaining us all. They were confident and talented musicians, all the elements of their sound coming together so well. The keys, guitars and drums not drowning each other out, but uniting to make colourful melodies and an identity that is going to set them apart.




Lead singers, Katie and Calum, both had such strong voices and they complimented each other so well, making a really interesting duet. I was also so happy to listen to their lyrics, which were more poignant and narrative then I anticipated from a young band. Their new single Over and Under is a fantastic example of their songwriting ability and everything this spirited group are cable of. On the rockier side of indie, but animated, fun and dynamic, Talkboy will be a really interesting one to watch. I wish them the very best of luck.


PEAKES


Next up came synth-pop trio, Peakes, who immediately made a big impression upon me. Their soothing and enchanting tracks had the whole crowd captivated from the get go. After the lively performance we had just witnessed from Talkboy, this was a total change of pace, but their front woman Molly had such a mesmerising voice. Their music had all of us in the audience happily transported to another place and time where only Peakes existed. Molly's lovely vocals were accompanied by perfectly atmospheric drum playing from Pete and Maxwell's ingenious keys, their tracks were fantastically composed. Their performance really was spell-binding, at times I forgot about everyone else in the room and the music was the only thing on my mind.





Their tracks Space and Pray For You were shiver-inducing and etherial, Molly's voice being both feather-like and powerful when she needed it to be. They also played such a beautiful cover of Kate Bush's track Running Up That Hill which is definitely one of my favourite new tracks this month, they made it totally their own and it was so polished. I honestly thought these guys were incredible, they produce the most dreamy melodies. Their music is perfect should you need a quick little bit of escapism; put your headphones in and turn the volume up, let yourself float away with Peakes.


CARO



To close the show came the INCREDIBLE Caro. I cannot underplay how impressed I was with these guys, their music completely kicks you on your arse, you cannot deny how good they are. They were so talented, such an exhilarating sound and just so cool. Their music I would class as alternative indie/rock but it was eccentric, wacky and energetic. When they started a track you weren't quite sure where it would go but you were in for a hell of a ride; each song is a rollercoaster. I was also in awe of their completely original lyrics, both poetic and quirky in equal measure. In their single Closet Lunatic, frontman Adam sings "Underneath your goody two-shoes there's a dirty pair of socks that you're never gonna wash no" I love it.




To top it off they were also fantastic showmen, they put on such a performance and were having so much fun dancing around the stage. They were so entertaining and I can only imagine in a bigger venue with a bigger crowd the whole room would be alive, it was so much fun. Their track Eyes On The Ground invites you to dance; the way Adam and Andy's riffs jump around while Bryn keeps the beat on the drums, its so hard to sit still. Their tracks are very cleverly composed and it gives Caro such an unmistakable identity. Adam has a great stage presence as well, he's an amazing front man and you can see how passionate he is when he's on stage. I could not recommend seeing them more, and I'd say look out for them but I think soon enough it's going to be hard to ignore them, they're going to be huge! I seriously dare you not to like these guys.

Thank you to DIY Magazine for putting on this event. The panels during the afternoon featured prominent speakers from Leeds' own music scene and gave great advice for anyone looking to get into the music industry. As you can see the show that evening was also such a success and curated so well. Thank you DIY and to Headrow House for hosting the event.

I hope you all enjoyed this post and definitely check out these bands, so much talent and if you like in or around Leeds, I implore you to try catch these guys. That's all from me today but I hope you all enjoyed this post, see you soon!

Holly


Talkboy:
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Peakes:
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Caro:
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Me:
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