The 1975 brought their very best to Birmingham’s Resort’s World Arena. Here’s what we thought.

“This is getting too meta, I’m going to recognise you guys being here” Matty exhales as he addresses the 15,000 people gazing at him as he waltzes through the elaborate stage set up. Postmodernism and intertextuality being at the forefront of everything he does, his dedication to irony and his persona really does make him a marmite character. That being said, I do fucking love marmite on my toast. 

The 1975, At Their Very Best. An elegantly fitting title, drenched in this sickly sweet irony that the band have spent 10 years playing into. Leading this extensive setlist with a plethora of tracks from their latest album, Being Funny in a Foreign Language, to say the crowd was absolutely ecstatic would be an understatement. A mix of demographic for sure; hard core tumblr kids, young adults who lived their teens soundtracked to Matty’s ramblings and confused parents are some noticeable groups (I’ll leave you to have a gander at which clique I belong to!).

I digress, an ensemble of charming 80s style sax gorgeously and seamlessly played by saxophonist John Waugh, chirped around the venue during the first songs  ‘Looking for Somebody (to love)’ and ‘Happiness.’ Building the atmosphere for the band’s newest tracks to follow in their footsteps during the first half of the set. Each contains versions of the trademark sparkling yet droning synth / guitar combo that is undeniably The 1975s almost signature sound. That and Matty’s definitive vocals and charisma (or dick-head-ness… depends who you’re talking to, really).

Speaking of Matty and his outrageousness and self referential outlook, and his recent rise to tik tok (ironic) fame after spitting a series of silly auto tuned adlibs during the opening of track ‘TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME.’ He caved hard and gave into the ‘don’t like menthols’ meme. It’s hard to explain, it’s one of those if you know.. funny moments. He dramatically and prematurely stopped the track to give the whaling crowd what they wanted. Safe to say it was wonderfully silly as he exclaimed to us “you better fucking do it though or now I look like a right idiot” Naturally, the crowd exploded after this. 

And so we move forward, now over half way through the set, we have reached The Very Best section. Or, maybe more accurately, the gut wrenching nostalgia section for us betrothed The 1975 fans. Killing us off by playing ‘Robbers,’ a track from their first album Self Titled, a song that leaks the deepest melancholy you’ve ever felt with monumental vocals to match – and then Matty announces proudly “This song’s fucking depressing” and the delicate keys of the intro to ‘Somebody Else’ echo like soft scream in a forest. The title is self explanatory really, it’s one of those cry into your pillow songs. 

Whatever your opinions on Matty as a frontman are, he is unquestionably a master of his craft, and a bloody brilliant performer. Like, during cult classic ‘The Sound’ he got every signal member of this crowd off their feet and jumping. Beautifully accompanied by George (drummer) Adam (lead guitarist) and Ross (bassist)  these guys are integral to keeping Matty humbled, yet they enhance the band massively. 

A moment I cherished was cliche, but I don’t care. During the deeply moving track “I Always Wanna Die (sometimes) a tsunami of torches glowed throughout the venue, making the crowd twinkle with emotional radiance. 

Without a doubt an unmissable show, a spectacular stage set up that resembles a living room too, I cannot fault The 1975. Hats off to the production crew and behind the scenes team, the lighting and visuals were sensational. All in all, I’ve been obsessed with this band since my early teens, and this show only made me adore them more. 

The 1975 – at their very best. Resorts World Arena, Birmingham. 15th January 2023.

Words by Kate Feast.
Photos from The 1975.

SNOOP DOGG is coming back to the UK.

Celebrating over 25 years at the pinnacle of hip hop, it’s been a career that has seen the Doggfather cement his undisputed influence on music with chart-topping, multi-platinum records, while also solidifying his importance to wider culture as an actor, businessman and more across the board.

The tour sees Snoop Dogg enlist a selection of his key collaborators from the breadth of his iconic music career including further West Coast hip hop royalty; Warren G, Tha Dogg Pound, Obie Trice and D12. They will also be joined by the multi-million streamed Irish rap duo Versatile.

Snoop Dogg collaborator and platinum-selling rapper Xzibit will join the tour for the dates in Scotland and England.

Tickets are on sale now:

Live review: Kate Rusby celebrating Christmas at The Forum, Bath

Kate Rusby is one of the most beloved singers and performers in the UK. She is known for her soulful renditions of traditional folk songs and her heartfelt ballads. To celebrate the festive season, she embarked on a Christmas tour this year. For her tour, Kate Rusby performed a range of traditional Christmas songs, classic carols, and modern twists on classic festive classics.

The tour kicks off in the beautiful city of Bath at the Bath Forum, it’s a cold and frosty evening but that hasn’t stopped the many fans from turning up to the event. Tonight promises to be the start of Christmas for these loyal folk with a blend of Yorkshire carols, specific carols still sung in the pubs of South Yorkshire which Rusby holds dear to her heart.

Tonight Rusby is joined onstage by a some very talented musicians including her husband Damien O’Kane and a very good brass quintet known as “The Brass Boys”

Rusby wearing a sparkly dress, which was chosen before the show by the daughter of a friend, begins with a brief explanation of the evening and a little bit of joking and banter to get the crowd warmed up.

The two part set is well thought out, starting with “Hark Hark” and “Cornish Wassaling” the end of the first set comes with a beautiful version of “Little Town of Bethlehem” with the soft and warm vocals from Rusby, this was greeted with a loud cheers from the audience who have now warmed up.

Set Two begins with a nice variety of songs which includes “Let the Bells Ring” and a cover of “Winter Wonderland”

For the encore we are treated to a different version of “Sweet Bells” and the conclusion to the set is “We Wish You a Merry Christmas? which the audience join in with.

Rusby and her band of very gifted musicians served up a truly charming concert that melted the hearts of the crowd on a very cold December evening and i am sure had Scrooge himself been present it would have even warmed his cold heart.

Words and photos by Martin Smith

Live review – Scouting For Girls at O2 Academy Bristol. 6/12/22

Celebrating their 15th Birthday as a band, British musical icons Scouting For Girls brought their circus of a show to Bristol’s O2 Academy for a night of feel good fun. This show sold out months ago, and judging by the queues outside before doors opened, people were excited for what the night had to bring.

With the classic James Bond theme playing in the background, the 3 childhood friends (and guitarist who joined a bit later on) came to the stage to open the night. I Wish I Was James Bond instantly got the crowd singing and dancing along, with the band making it clear from the off that the crowd were the 5th member of this band. Since their early days of gigs, this has been the case and it still continues, 15 years later.

It’s Not About You and Heartbeat kept the crowd going, with the false end to Heartbeat managing to catch me out too. They still kept that energy going with The Airplane Song and Michaela Strachen getting everyone singing along to the music.

There was then a brief pause while Roy gave us an enlightening history of the band, from how they all met to where they are today and how they got there. In a change to the set list, The Mountains Of Navaho was added in by request of someone pre show, a fitting song for the history of the band. This was followed by Keep On Walking and Famous, which saw Roy, armed with a selfie stick, running across the stage and getting people to sing along. And then, in a surprise turn of events, he came out into the audience, ran straight past where I was stood and to the upper balcony to sing along with the audience (still with selfie stick).

After this high energy, we were calmed down with Butterflies and Love How It Hurts. Then, in a turn of events from the show so far, Roy brought out the acoustic guitar to play the SFG style cover of Witney Houston’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody, which had the crowd dancing with each other throughout the venue. That energy and feeling was maintained with Posh Girls, having the audience chanting “Boys At School!” back to the band.

This Ain’t A Love Song started slow, with people getting their phones up in the air and the lights illuminating the stage, just like they had done for Jessie earlier, before the song quickly picked up pace and the crowd, once again, went wild.

The first big finish of the night was Elvis Ain’t Dead, an almost trademark finish to the main set for Scouting For Girls. Partnered with the SFG neon sign behind, if you’ve ever seen Scouting For Girls live you’ll know just how good this song is to hear in the flesh. Everyone in the venue (security included) was singing along and enjoying every second.

While the stage went dark and the band walked off, in a slightly unexpected turn a Christmas Tree was brought out and, when the boys returned, they were decked out in Christmas Jumpers to play their own Xmas tune – Christmas In The Air Tonight. I don’t know if it’s just me but December this year hasn’t felt particularly Christmassy this year. Well, at least it didn’t until then. With fake snow coming from the stage, the band launched into their final song of the night. She’s So Lovely was always going to be the song to end the show, with everyone once more singing and dancing along and simply enjoying it and having a good time.

I always have a great time seeing Scouting For Girls live. They’ve been playing gigs for 15 years, and there’s good reason they’ve been going so long. I don’t think a single person in the venue tonight could have a bad thing to say about this band.

As always, a massive thank you to staff and security at the venue for making this show as special as it could be.

Review and photos by Ted Stargatt

Live review: PET NEEDS – Dead Wax Birmingham – 6th December 2022

Hidden away in the depths of Digbeth, in Birmingham, is a pub with a small concert venue attached. The place in question is called Dead Wax, and something extraordinary will happen there, unbeknownst to everyone outside said venue. It’s a dark, cold, December evening, and stepping into Dead Wax is akin to receiving a warm embrace as you are met with a blast of warmth from inside. But this feeling of comfort and fuzziness does not last long. As soon as Pet Needs walk on stage, it is replaced with buzzing energy, excitement, and noise. 

The venue is silent, as anticipation for the show begins to grow. And then a sound cuts through the silence, it is lead singer Johnny Marriott singing: “I think I’ll lock myself away with wine and a guitar”. It is the first line of Pet Needs’ song ‘Lost Again’, and it is a line that is immediately followed by a raucous explosion of guitar, drums, and bass. It’s an explosive start to the show and sets the bar high for the rest of the performance. After ‘Lost Again’, the band jump effortlessly from song to song. They move from ‘Pavlovian’ to ‘Kayak’, two songs off their 2019 debut album, Fractured Party Music. It got them noticed by their record label, and it is an album that Marriott describes as being full of “ratty punk songs”, which is a fairly accurate description.

But all of this is just a warm-up. The band continue with ‘Ibiza in Winter’ and ‘Tried and Failed’. However, it is not until the scathingly witty ‘Punk Isn’t Dead; It’s Just Up for Sale’ that the room explodes into what can only be described as an explosion of energy. People gleefully sing along to the undoubtedly catchy ‘la la la’s in the chorus until the crowd is louder than the band themselves.

From then on, it’s plain sailing. Pet Needs make their way through their jam-packed set, singing songs about everything under the sun. A noticeable moment is the band playing ‘Primetime Entertainment’. “I remember going to our record label after they’d signed us for a second album and having to explain to them we’d written an epic, five-minute song about quiz shows,” Marriott explains. It helps contextualise the song and makes its scathing commentary about quiz songs all the more poignant. ‘Fear for the Whole Damn World’ then helps transition from the slow pace of ‘Primetime Entertainment’ to the biting bitterness of ‘The Argument’, a song about a wholly fictitious argument between Marriott and his wife. They perform it alongside Bridgit, who opened for them that evening, and her guttural screams pair well with Marriott’s frustrated cries. They are meant to be acting out an argument, but the electricity between them brings so much power to the stage that it is impossible to believe they are actually angry. 

And of course, it wouldn’t be a Pet Needs show without Marriott’s effervescent stage presence. He can’t stand still for more than a minute at a time, as he jumps and runs around on a wire-laden stage trying not to trip. In retrospect, it’s a miracle he didn’t. He is beaming and clearly enjoying every minute of the chaos as sweat drips down his forehead from the sheer amount of energy he pours into the performance. The stage is too small for him, but this only goes to show how Pet Needs are destined to play in larger venues. 

After the band pretend to finish their set, they walk off, leaving nothing but people shouting for one more song. Of course, their pretending fools no one. Soon enough, Marriott comes out on stage to sing the beginning of ‘Nobody Ever Warned Us’ before the rest of the band joins him and follows suit. They then play ‘Tracey Emin’s Bed’; it wouldn’t be a Pet Needs show if they didn’t. “It’s like Tracy Emin’s bed in my head / Kind of creative but mainly just a mess,” Marriott sings. It’s witty, catchy, loud, and undoubtedly the quintessential Pet Needs song. At this point, there is only one song left: ‘Get on the Roof’. It’s punchy and fast-paced and serves as a way for excited concert-goers to expel the final remaining shreds of their pent-up energy before they return to the real world. 

Review and photos by Sophie Flint Vazquez

Live review: Holly Humberstone at O2 Academy Bristol. 22/11/2022

As part of her biggest ever headline tour, rising pop-rock star Holly Humberstone stopped off at Bristol’s O2 Academy to play the first show of this tour. First show of the tour and first show with a band, Holly made it clear to us she was nervous, but who can blame her?

She opened her set with The Walls Are Way Too Thin. With over 23 million streams on Spotify, this was an instant crowd pleaser, with the audience singing along and enjoying every second. Holly pointed the mic to the crowd to help her finish the song, and the atmosphere was truly something magical.

The lighting was also showing off Holly’s creative side, drenching the stage in dark tones of red and blue, this fitted the song styles about growing up, moving out and becoming an adult. The audience were captivated, with lots of people singing along, and those of us who didn’t know the songs all too well were soaking up the atmosphere and just happy to be there.

Holly switched up between guitars, keys and synths for her songs, were her band backing her up on drums, guitar and bass. You could tell she was not used to a full band on stage with her, and she kept looking back to make sure they hadn’t all abandoned her.

Throughout the night, we were treated to a wide range of Holly’s discography, from her first single, Deep End, released in 2020, dedicated to her sister who was, at the time, going through a difficult patch, all the way through to songs from her debut album, Can You Afford To Loose Me.

The band left the stage for a few songs, with just Holly left in the centre spotlight, creating a really intimate feeling. If you’ve ever been to the O2 Academy Bristol, you’ll know that it can be a very lifeless space with some artists, so Holly did a good job to create this feeling.

Falling Asleep At The Wheel was supposed to be the end to the main set, but the walk off was scrapped and they all stayed to finish the set off with Sleep Tight and Scarlett, which was met with thunderous applause and cheers from everyone in the crowd.

Even though Holly Humberstone is one of the new kids on the block, she has already made a firm name for herself and I think we can expect lots of big things to come from this 22 year old from a small village in the Midlands.

Review and photos by Ted Stargatt

Live review: Jamie T with 86TVs, Cardiff University Great Hall. 21/11/2022.

Jamie T is certainly an artist who has made a massive name for himself over the last year. Although he has been making music since 2007, his latest album The Theory of Whatever went straight to Number 1 in the UK album charts when it was released back in July this year. After playing a few intimate record release shows on his own, Jamie took his full band out with him to tour England, Scotland and Wales on a full run of sold out shows.

Opening up the show was 86TVs, who were playing their first show in Cardiff. Unfortunately, due to Wales playing their first game in the World Cup, not many people came down early to the show, but those of us who did come down were in for a treat.

Their indie rock style got the crowd warmed up well, and although not many people knew the songs they captivated the audience well, and treated us to a mix of their songs, from the oldest first tracks to some as yet to be released songs. I really liked their style, especially as they switched which of the three front people took lead singer on each song.

And then, at just after 9pm, the stage went dark and out came Jamie T. He opened his set with Brand New Bass Guitar, quite fitting with just him and his acoustic bass on stage, before the fell band came on and joined him for Operation, which really got the crowd going. From my place in the photo pit, it was so loud, as the first mosh pits of the night started erupting.

So Lonely Was The Ballad was the first song to see a crowd surfer, and had Jamie running around the stage, singing to all corners of the audience. He certainly worked up a sweat, and by song 4 the denim jacket had come off revealing Jamie’s almost trademark football shirt.

After this it all went dark and chants and cries came from the audience. It was clear they were all excited for this show and wanted everything Jamie had to give. But don’t worry, Jamie was certainly delivering. For Rabbit Hole, Jamie was illuminated from the back, so those of us up on the balcony and anyone who decided to look back could see a perfect silhouette of the man himself on the back wall.

By the time we got around to Don’t You Find, the pints were flying from the crowd and Jamie absolutely shredded away at his guitar, before getting everyone to do the singalong part of the song. Salvador and Back In The Game, just like the songs before it, had everyone singing along and filling in the backing vocals where needed.

Old Style Raiders was an interesting song. From my place up on the balcony, it looked as if a mosh pit was about to open up, but in fact a few members of the crowd thought it would be a good time to have a fight. Credit to security for dealing with it quickly and effectively, and with no hesitation Jamie got right back into playing for those who wanted to come and be peaceful.

For the rest of the set, the energy was kept high, the singalongs kept coming and the pints kept flying from the audience. Although for this show Jamie wasn’t throwing any back from the stage. If You Got The Money was falsely claimed as the last song, and although a few people had to make their way, most of the crowd kept up the chants and shouts while everything went dark.

Jamie and his band came back to the stage, and to bring the night to a close was Sheila, Stick ‘N’ Stones and finally Zombie to finish. Once more the crowds went mad and everyone was singing along and enjoying themselves.

As always, a massive thank you to the venue staff and security for helping make a great night, and to Jamie T, his band and 86TVs for putting on a great show.

Review and photos by Ted Stargatt

Live review: Wet Leg at O2 Academy Bristol, 14/11/2022

After going absolutely MASSIVE post-lockdown, Isle Of Wight indie band WET LEG brought their circus of a show to Bristol’s O2 Academy, for their third visit to the city in just over a year. This was also the first run of the UK leg of their debut, self-titled album tour.

Opening the show was Lava La Rue, who brought their soft indie melodies, but with a twist of almost everything else at one point or another. There was some funk and soul, reggae, rap, and some techno style songs, while their frontperson danced around the stage As a support band, they got the crowd ready and warmed up for main act of the night.

This show had sold out almost instantly, with people scouring the internet for tickets wherever possible before the show. Apparently this one was also really hot on the press front, so we were lucky enough to be invited along to the show.

And at about 9:15, out on stage came the band, sticking to their almost unique styles that match their personalities. Hester came out sporting a very current and fashionable white patterned top and black flaired trousers, where as Rhian came out wearing tie on cat ears, a red and white crop top, fishnets and a log brown skirt. Although two very individual styles of dress and personality, they are certainly one band when it comes to sound.

The night opened with Being In Love, with the crowd being mostly quiet, bar a few extra dedicated fans, but as soon as Wet Dream started, they instantly picked up and started enjoying themselves. Across the venue, people were dancing and singing, just generally having fun and enjoying themselves, many people happy to be finally able to see the band they have wanted to see for so long.

Convincing followed next, before going straight into Supermarket. Their deceptively simple yet catchy songs are one thing that draws people into them. Simple songs about love, romance, going to the shops. It’s no wonder their debut album went straight to number 1.

After that it was time for introductions across the board, and a quick band check in to make sure everyone was happy, both on stage and those watching. It was discovered that it was an audience members birthday too, so a few nice shouts of ‘Happy Birthday’ went up from across the venue.

Throughout the rest of the night we were treated to more of the bands discography, including Obvious, Oh No and UFO, which had Rhian singing like a theremin. It’s A Shame and I Don’t Wanna Go Out went through seamlessly, one to the other, before a quick briefing, for the next one.

If you’ve ever seen WET LEG before, you’ll know there is a bit of audience participation needed for Ur Mum. Well unfortunately nothing, one audience member was a bit too prepared for the scream and there was a small medical incident in the pit. I know I always put it at the end of each review, but on this occasion I wanted to make a special point of thanking the security team in the venue last night for a quick, effective and safe treatment of the person injured and making sure they got the help they needed. This did also mean the song was ended there, and we were straight into Too Late Now.

And then a guitar riff started that I recognised, but one I was sure wasn’t by WET LEG. An amazing rendition of Idles Never Trust A Man With A Perm was given out to the audience, and especially to the delight of a certain Mr Joe Talbot, who was enjoying singing his own song back to the band on stage from the bar!

Angelica, the self-confessed WET LEG nerd’s favourite song came straight afterwards, with the most dedicated audience members (me included), really showing themselves as the ones who had not just come for one song, before the song everyone knew would finish the set was next.

With a slightly heavier, overdriven intro than that on the album, Chaise Longue brought the night to a close, with everyone joining in for the call and response, and some mini mosh pits breaking out during the guitar solos.

Although WET LEG may have gone off the radar slightly, but they are certainly a band that are still out there making a killing of a show, and entertaining audiences wherever they may go. There may be one song they are remembered by for a long time, but anyone who has seen them live knows they are much more than that.

Review and photos by Ted Stargatt

Live review: Blossoms at O2 Academy Bristol 11/11/22

With a sentimental place in my heart after seeing this band way back in 2016 in a small venue deep in Bournemouth, it was an absolute pleasure to see them again now, as the fully fledged indie pop sensation that they are. With my late teens soundtracked by their self-titled debut album, they really do hold a very special place in my heart, and it’s very safe to say that I was not disappointed by this set at the 02 Academy. 

Opening with synth drenched track >>There’s a reason why (I never returned your calls) an eclectic wave of energy surfed throughout the Academy, a perfect choice of opening track. It’s enticing and endearing – this matches the persona of the band, they have a charming allure about them. Honestly, each member is ethereal, and glows with talent and devotion. 

A noticeable track being >>Your Girlfriend. It was strategically placed mid-set. Energy was floating high and it has a delightful bass line, it’s incredibly catchy and has that feel good vibe of indie pop that is forever lovely (and forever stuck in your head) ((I’m not sad about it, its and absolute banger))

An honourable mention that cannot be forgotten, is the doubtlessly flawless ensemble of Blossoms track >>My Favourite Room bleeding into Oasis’ >>Half the World Away. Which, of course, flooded the crowd with sentiment, as everyone emptied their lungs to scream along. As if you couldn’t please a crowd more, front person Tom (playing onstage alone with just acoustic guitar) then started playing chords for >>Last Christmas and exclaimed that ‘It’s november, right?’ This poured petrol to the fire that was a massive sing along, and continued long after Tom left the stage for the encore. 

The sets flow was foolproof, an impeccable mix of staple tracks from their debut self titled album, and their newest album >>Ribbon Around the Bomb. Obviously, drawing the beautiful set to a close with the track undoubtedly got them to where they are now, Charlemagne. I remember hearing this song whilst getting ready for school in 2016, as it was featured on BBC Radio1’s track of the day. This song inevitably leads the band to commercial success, yet that doesn’t take away from the fact that it is a killer track, that’s like a tsunami of energy when played live. 

Altogether, I cannot fault Blossoms show, it was everything I hoped for and more. It was incredibly sentimental and nostalgic for not just me, but the entire room. It has reignited my adoration for this indie pop band from Stockport. 

Review by Kate Feast, originally written for The Bristol Gig Guide.
Photos by Ted Stargatt for TrueStyleMusic. No use without permission.

Live review: The Pretty Reckless with The Cruel Knives – Bristol. 1/11/22

Tonight’s support came from The Cruel Knives, a 4 piece hard rock/alternative rock band from the UK who are a perfect fit for a warm up act with their crashing drums and thundering bass and shrieking guitars and powerful vocals.

After a short break, The Pretty Reckless appear onto a dark stage to the sound of a siren that is loud and gets the attention of the sold out venue. A blast of strong lighting gets the show underway and they launch into the first song, title track Death by Rock and Roll, as Taylor Momsen struts out onto the stage wearing a black leather jacket, short black slip/dress and her big soled black boots and with her long flowing blonde hair she launches into the track with her power ridden vocals hitting the crowd. We are off on a music filled extravaganza!

Tracks Since you’re gone, Only Love can Save Me Now and So It Went follow in quick succession as Momsen struts her way around the stage cavorting and playing up to the crowd, who are firmly in the palm of her hand. Next up is arguably their biggest hit to date and the one that catapulted them into rock stardom; Make Me Wanna Die. This one see’s everyone shouting the lyrics back at a visibly appreciative Momsen and the energy is electric. The next song to get a big reaction is Medicine as Momsen straps on a guitar and invites everyone to join in, which they willing do as Momsen screams “Bristol you are awesome.”

The slower track Take Me Down is announced as the final track, met by screams of boo as the now frenzied audience doesn’t want this musical free fall to end. As it finishes the band exit stage right and the waiting crowd stamp their feet and whistle loudly some shouts of “Taylor Taylor!”. The band return to the stage after a few minutes and Momsen thanks them for an amazing night. This really is the last song Momsen proclaims as they launch into Fucked up World with its power drum intro and Momsen lets rip with her gripping vocals and the place errupts again.

Its great to see that The Pretty Reckless are back to their best with a very polished performance that was full on from start to finish and the audience left very entertained and full-filled.

Review and Photos By Martin Smith. No use without permission.