Thursday, 30 June 2016

Single + Gig Review | FLAWES - Consolation - The Brudenell Social Club 15/06/16

Hello everyone! I'm back with more music today, and it's good, really good.

I'm sorry this is a little delayed but I was on holiday in Derbyshire with my friends last week so no work got done and this week hasn't been particularly easy either, but here I am finally!

A few weeks ago I was very graciously offered the chance by A Gent Publicity to see and review new, Pop/Alt band FLAWES live as they embark on their first UK tour. FLAWES are an endearing three-piece from London, who have generated quite a momentous intrigue around their debut EPs. Having conquered Radio 1's 'Introducing Track of the Week' along with appearances at Live at Leeds and The Great Escape Festival, I was eager to discover more about their music.

As is my rule when I'm contacted by bands or artists to review their music on A Romantic Calamity, I only agree if I would genuinely listen to the music. I want to celebrate great music on this blog and so before agreeing to review FLAWES I had to investigate their sound. I was thoroughly satisfied with everything I heard.

The first single of FLAWES' that I listened to was 'Don't Wait For Me' simply because it was the track the most people had been talking about. After the first chorus I had already made up my mind to review them, the torn-apart melody and spine-tingling vocals really appealed to me and so I couldn't say anything but yes!

I thought for the single review I'd go for FLAWES most recent single, 'Consolation', which happens to also be my favourite song of theirs. I'm going to follow with the style I've been practising in my first few reviews as I feel it's working, so enjoy!


'Consolation' is layered with a variety of electronic melodies which engulfs the listener in a bubble, where the layered and packed lyrics also circulate before you. Close your eyes and the black seems wholly appropriate for the elusive and evading meaning of this track. Because of this, it makes it hard to place such a song, however when the lyrics are presented before you, it all becomes very clear.

It's probably only me that does this, but I have a playlist on my iPod titled 'Train Playlist'; which is full of break up/nostalgic/home sick songs mainly written and performed by alternative, American bands. This playlist is for those days when you're travelling alone or its been raining for what feels like forever and the sky looks like its never been anything but grey. Every now and again, we all have days when we just feel blue; we become suddenly reflective and a little hopeless as to what our lives have become. But we go to bed and by the next day we've shaken it and life rolls on. 'Consolation' is for those blue days.

On days such as these, I usually find myself walking a lot or taking multiple train journeys doing boring errand type jobs by myself (hence the title of the playlist), or I like to go on a walk near my village just to clear my head a little. The time I have decided I would therefore play 'Consolation' is when walking across the bracken-covered moors just above my village on such a blue day. When I was a child we lived just below them and so we would walk across them every Sunday. They're one of my favourite places in the entire world and they're incredibly beautiful, even on an overcast day they look wonderfully broody.

After listening to 'Consolation' for the first time I wanted to explore the lyrics further, and I found them elusive but full of such emotion. When delivered to your ears through Josh's textured and enticing voice they become so raw. I often turn to walking on the moors when I feel I need too centre myself again, or I'm slightly at sea, 'Consolation' is the tale of a soul at sea.

Imagine yourself atop an uneven, evergreen plain that stretches across the valley and rises up the hill behind you. Its covered in patches of bracken and sometimes reveals the copper bedrock underneath. As you walk, a soul clutching for something intangible, the wind rushes through your hair with little violence and the words "You're crowding up the stars that lit my way up to you" spill through your ears into your mind. If you completely give in to the track, release all other distractions you'll see thats its an exhausted plea disguised in deconstructed Pop/Alt. If you really let it transport you it will, and by the end of this burst of hidden expression you'll feel a cathartic reality.

The montage of electronic, instrumental and spoken melodies create a wonderfully subtle but memorable track. 'Consolation' isn't in your face but its highly impactful. This refreshing and relatable delivery from FLAWES I feel will rapidly project them into the public eye, they've generated a respectful name through their carefully curated sound and aesthetic. Listen to the track and you'll understand my excitement at being invited to watch them play.

To see the official video for 'Consolation', click here.


I agreed with their publicity that I would attend their show at The Brudenell Social Club in Leeds on Wednesday 15th June where they were performing with Australian band SAFIA. My Dad had recently discovered the Brudenell after going to see ones of his 80s bands there and thought it was a fantastic venue, so for the past year he has been avidly searching their website for a gig that the two of us would want to go to. I had been granted a plus one and so I thought this would be a good opportunity for us to finally go to the Brudenell, (he also dragged me to see Dr Feelgood a few weeks before so now we were even, and anyway, I needed a driver!).

We'd checked the website for stage times and it said doors opened at 7.30 so we got there about twenty to eight. I'd never been to the Brudenell before but from Dad's descriptions I was intrigued; he'd told me it was in the most bizarre spot in the middle of a housing estate and that he was amazed they get the bands they do. As we got closer to venue, my slightly vague expectations of the Brudenell became even more cloudy as the area became an even less likely location. The Brudenell is quite something else, it was an old social club (duh!) and it looked like one too, I couldn't help sharing Dad's surprise at its reputable name.

When we got inside it looked even more like a social club but the atmosphere said different. We walked in to a door from which a hell of a lot of screaming and heavy instrumentals were coming, as well as FLAWES there was another gig that night. The audience and muffled roars suggested something like metal. Dad and I got a drink and started looking around for the other gig, I could hear a slightly distorted 'Don't Wait For Me' coming from the other room behind the bar so we went to investigate. We entered a room that looked as if it had been decorated in a similar style to our games in our cellar which I'm pretty sure was last revamped in the late 80s. We could hear FLAWES however and happened to walk straight into their soundcheck. Smooth.

Feeling like a pair of mugs, we walked back towards the door where there were some tables and sat down with our drinks. We didn't think it would be long till they started playing until one of their event crew up a sign saying they wouldn't be on stage till nine. Well done us; we had successfully crashed a soundcheck and arrived an hour and half before the show started. Smooth.

As it drew closer to nine o'clock however, Dad and I found that we still among a few actually in the room, the band and crew included. At five to nine a few groups of girls confusedly walked in and went and sat down near the stage so we thought we'd do the same, by the time FLAWES walked on stage I don't think there were more than 25 people in the room.

Regardless of the humble audience however, FLAWES still came on and performed a brilliant show. They had fantastic symmetry as a band and Josh's vocals stirred each member of the audience. In between one of the songs they announced that it was the drummer's, also called Josh, Mum's birthday so we all cheerily wished Christine a happy birthday as she was among the audience. FLAWES played most of the tracks off their new EP 'CTRL' finishing of course with 'Consolation' and 'Don't Wait For Me' which Josh sung beautifully.

I sincerely wish that for FLAWES' sake their was a bigger audience, I think everyone present thoroughly enjoyed themselves but obviously with a bigger audience comes a more inspiring atmosphere.

After FLAWES was SAFIA, the headline act. SAFIA are a three piece from Australia who came on about 10 o'clock I think but unfortunately we couldn't stay for all their set as Dad wanted to get home. They also played a good show, their music was a little more upbeat than FLAWES but it wasn't much to my taste I'm afraid.

Although it was a bit of an odd gig I still really enjoyed myself, I can't say that my Dad particularly connected with the music but he's not exactly into modern day alternative genres. I'd like to say hats off once again to FLAWES and SAFIA however for putting on great sets and not appearing at all disheartened at the low turnout. I think half the problem was that most of the students that usually congregate at the Brudenell and attend it's gigs had all gone home for the summer, as I had, which unfortunately didn't help the numbers. Oh well, their loss! I has a good night!

So that's all from me today, I'd like to say a warm thank you to FLAWES for inviting me along and introducing me to their music, I'll definitely be keeping an ear on them in the future. I hope you all enjoyed this post and if you'd like to check out FLAWES here's where you can find them:


Thank you, as always, for reading my blog and I shall see you all very soon.


Tuesday, 14 June 2016

A Delightful Birthday At Alnwick Gardens

Hello everyone! I think it's about long time I got myself back into blogging, don't you?

I'm proud to say I've finished my BA Hons Fashion Communication degree at Northumbria University and am only waiting to hear my results and graduate, which is quite terrifying. I do now, however, have an unnerving amount of time on my hands so it's probably about time I updated you all and got myself back into a routine of writing and photography.

Today I wanted to share with you all some lovely photographs that I took on my birthday. I turned 21 last month and now can no longer find a respectable argument for my not being a real adult. Despite this daunting fact, my 21st birthday weekend was one of the most magical and memorable of my entire life and I'm so grateful to everyone who made it beautiful.

My birthday this year fell on a Friday and so the day before my birthday my boyfriend took me out for a day in Newcastle. We went for lunch at a tea rooms near my house called Cake Stories before walking into town where we went to The Baltic Museum and then the cinema to see The Jungle Book (which I highly recommend you go see if you haven't already as it's simply charming). We then went to a restaurant in the centre of town called Lola Jeans for dinner, which was excellent, (again I'd recommend) before coming home to curl up in bed and watch The Muppets: Treasure Island. I'm afraid I don't have any pictures of that day but it was absolutely lovely, thank you Lewis.

On the morning of my birthday I awoke to a lazy morning spent with vegan pancakes and my amazing flatmates Harriet, Sam and Sean where upon they gave me my first birthday present of a beautiful Crosby Vinyl Player accompanied by Catfish and the Bottlemen's fantastic album 'The Balcony'. I cried.

We then all set off in Sean's car for an afternoon in Alnwick. We'd been talking of going to see the gardens there all year and I was desperate to visit the famous Barter Books before I left Newcastle and it was merely a 40 minute drive away. Seen as I've taken to flowers and beautiful gardens through a few compelling places I've visited in the last year it seemed only natural that we should go to Alnwick on my birthday. I know it's not exactly your typical 21st birthday celebration but I'm an old soul and it was the best so I really couldn't care less.

I of course took my camera and it turned out to be such a beautiful day, therefore I of course took buckets of pictures.

Young love.

Album cover.

Beauty and the Beast's rose.

Me and wifey.

From the gardens we headed to Barter Books which was incredible, it's the most beautifully curated bookshop I've ever seen and all second hand. I picked up three vintage classics to add to my growing library. Upon arriving back in Newcastle we all got dolled up and headed into town for a night out which was my favourite of the past year. Gotham then Flithy's, cheap but brilliant.

The next day my parents drove up to visit with the most incredible, champagne afternoon tea, balloons, flowers and presents. It was the best and my Mum really excelled herself. I then took them Dabbawal Street Food Kitchen for dinner where the food was amongst the best Indian's I've ever tasted. They stayed overnight and the next day we went down to the Quayside Market for a wander and then walked up to the Fat Hippo Underground for lunch (for the third time in one post, I'd highly recommend, we basically went to all my favourite places so I'd recommend them all ok?). 

Ok so it definitely wasn't your typical 21st birthday weekend, but it was absolutely perfect. I can't thank my friends, Lewis or my parents enough for indulging me so much in one weekend, they might have seemed like modest things or places we visited but they were wonderful and the best way I could think of to round up my three years in Newcastle. 

I really hope you all enjoyed this post and enjoy the pictures, I don't need to assure you it was the most beautiful day. 

I'll speak soon.