Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Up and Coming in Gigs

Coming Soon in Gig reviews

Leeds Festival 2017 Friday - 25th August 
(Muse, Blossoms, The Hunna, The Sherlocks, Ash... and more)

Interpol - 3rd September 

Ryan Adams - 14th September

The Sherlocks - 15th September



Saturday, 19 August 2017

The Sherlocks - Live for the Moment album

The Sherlocks vibe is very much Indie/Alternative, think The Courteeners and Arctic Monkeys blended. The clean indie guitar rifts, memorable lyrics with a Yorkshire Twang.
  For a band who supported Kings of Leon on their UK tour earlier in the year, you'd be surprised to hear they have only just released their first album.

I've waited nearly 2 years for this album. I came across these fellas in the line up of Dot-to-Dot Festival 2016 and managed to find a few tracks on YouTube & Spotify. It's been a tease of 1 track every few months - which is great but I want an album. 8 tracks drip fed just doesn't feed the craving

Lets get to it... the album art is simplistic, dark with a Multi-coloured hummingbird on the front. The inlay comprises of various polaroid style pictures of the band members, Kieran, Brandon, Andy and Josh, as well as a lyric book.

The album starts with Will You Be There, very good track released as a single late 2016. It sets the tone for the album which works for these lads. Indie Alternative rock of the millennial, 4 piece singing in regional accented and it's much their style. 

Live for the Moment and Escapade continue the catchy guitar riffs and well paced drums. Personally I think the Single version of Escapade is better, this new version has moved the drums and bass to the background and focused on the guitar and lyrics.

Much of the album I've heard from the singles and is top tune after top tune following much of the same formula with lyrics resonating to that of much of Englands 20-somethings growing up, trying to enjoy life but adult at the same time. I'm not going to comment too much on those, they really do need a listen to appreciate.

Turn the Clock  is the first track we get a notably different style, with a slow paced chilled drums and longer drawn out guitar notes, with the additions of a harmonica and violin its a nice variety

Motions also adds new sound, again much slower paced and starting with an acoustic intro, then the funky bass and harmonies kick in. I was worried when the album came it may become much of the same but these two have shown the lads have a bigger range than the singles showed.

Ending on Candlelight a 5minute track which again is a little slower than the first half of the album, here we truly see the length of range in Kierans vocals and the lads too. With the track drawing on the string instrumentals to build it up. It sees the band and violins round off the album with a long fade out.

Track list:
Will You Be There?
Live For the Moment 
Escapade
Chasing Shadows
Blue
Nobody Knows 
Was it Really Worth It?
Turn The Clock
Last Night
Heart of Gold
Motion
Candlelight


The Sherlocks - Escapade VEVO

  

Thursday, 17 August 2017

In Picture: Punk and Post Punk 2016/17

Stiff Little Fingers  -  40th Anniversary Tour
Manchester O2 Ritz   March 17


Green Day
 Manchester Arena  Feb 2017



Placebo
Manchester Arena  Dec 2016



Millencolin
Manchester O2 Ritz  Feb 2016





In Picture: Banks and Steelz - San Francisco 21 April 2017

A few snaps of Paul Banks and RZA  at  The Independent  San Francisco. April 2017






Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Coachella 2017 - Part 4: The Order That Stole The Show

Ahhh Sunday... Coachella 2017 - Part 4

Sunday
Feeling fresh today... though made the mistake of chucking the aircon on and charging the phone in the car. Especially on a 6year old 4x4 that has had its engine off for 3 days. Battery just died (n00b). Lets get ahead of this one and get a jump before the monday mayhem. This lost a fair bit of time to sort with ringing around and waiting. So learn - run the car frequently & avoid the fumes so if you can get an exhaust pipe to move fumes.

Lineup was a little hit and miss, just going to spend the day around camp then hit the bar area near Sonara mid-afternoon until evening. 

Honestly I don't recall any specific band until late on, flicking around but not sticking out most perfomances.. for alcohol reasons.  It seems alcohol is ruining my memory of gigs, at Coachella having to go to dedicated areas to get booze or shade, I found the festival vibe away from the stages.
Turns out 2 gigs since then had the ability to drink next to the stage and has resulted in a more drunken haze than euphoric amazement. Going to go back to designated driver at gigs or drinking bans.

Anyway back to Coachella, I've not spoken about food much. There was a lot of good places to grab food but portions were not in the american style (extra large style), such as a slice of pizzas or falafel type salads for $12 each. Lemonade (the flat kind) $10 a pint. Not cheap.

We found the Craft Beer Bar near Sonara stage had a great selections of alcohol (Ciders, beers, IPAs, Spirits) and soft drinks and really good food selections. Lots of shade, plug sockets and importantly plenty of clean toilets. The food was more upmarket here, but if you want extremely Garlic Chips there was a stall not far outside of the Crafts bar.

So I'm not going to cover the bands early on they were good but not enough attention and memory to fairly summarise: Whitney & Future Islands.

Hans Zimmer - Outdoor Theatre - I wasn't sure what to expect with this, we all know the compositions just not knowing it was this Orchestra (if thats the right word) Such as from Pirates of the Caribbean or the Dark Knight. 
I tell you this was unexpectedly amazing, it worked and the festival goers really got into the vibe.
We stayed until Lion King was over then headed to Lorde.

Lorde - Honestly I don't get Lorde, it's not cup of tea. The lyrics feel like random words you might get from Roundtrees Randoms. I listened but didn't take in.
I'm guessing by now you see my blog isn't entirely reviews on gigs so I'm not going to review for reviews sake. I'll write up the ones that connect to me or I feel I want to draw out an unexpected achievment or failure. Fair play good vocals and crowd.


I feel like Coachella has been amazing, even when the line up doesn't fall your way all the time (or even part) and you make mistakes in preparation.
The atmosphere, neighbours, parties and such makes it anyway.

And so we draw to the final choice Kendrick Lamar or New Order. Having recently got into Kendrick he was on my list but pitching against fellow (Greater) Mancunians, and me being a Joy Division fan, New Order were the ones to see. With the departure and recent animosity with Peter Hook I was unsure what the setlist would hold.

Wow, I've read some on and off reviews about Bernard Sumner and today was on, on, on. Such a great vocal range and not once off pitch really. 

At the Mojave  stage we saw a bunch of New Order classics Bizzare Lover Triangle, True Faith, Blue Monday and Temptation. The crowd lapped it up gracefully singing and dancing like it was 1986 again. Surrounded by Americans, Australians, and everything in between. Aged 12 to god knows what.
This was what we were here for, this was New Order, this was Coachella. 

Then... things took a sombre change; a sad and humbling end to the gig, yet respectful and Joyful. It was time for some Joy Divison - Decades and Love Will Tear Us Apart.

Throughout this we were shown slow motion blurry, ghostly even, images of Ian Curtis doing his legendary dancing. It was at this point you remember who influenced and continue to influence to the music industry. Without these souls we wouldn't have some of the greatest bands we have today... and for the New Order to continue to pay homage to Ian was what really stole the the entire festival.










Monday, 14 August 2017

Coachella 2017 - Part 3 : Banks, Trance and going Gaga

Off we go... Coachella 2017 - Part 3

Saturday
Hangover and a broken back from sleeping in a car - only one way to get over that, Food and Beer. 
Today's Lineup is a less Clash and more Dash - Outdoor, Outdoor, Bar, Outdoor, Food, Coachella, Sahara, Coachella, Outdoor, Coachella.

The Plan: 
Blossoms, Arkells, Banks & Steelz, Bastille, Two Door Cimema Club, Royksopp, Bon Ivor, DJ Snake then Lady Gaga

The Reality:
Nursing a Tequila hangover and trying to avoid the extremely expensive onsite food we'd planned to go to a restaurant off-site in Indio.  Turns out you can't shuttle out to the shops anymore even getting an Uber was a treck. All in the name of Money, you're on-site you buy food here and drink here regardless of options and price.

2 hours wasted to get to some proper grub, not to mention the extremely long walks in the midday sun on the hangover ruined. 

Skip The Blossoms - Local Manchester lads we can catch them at the Ritz or Apollo sometime soon.
Skip Arkells not too bothered on then today, bigget fish to fry and energy needed for that.

Bring on 3pm Saturday 15th Outdoor Stage Banks and Steelz. Now here is one I've been waiting for, the 2 part collaboration from Paul Banks (Interpol) & RZA (Wu Tang Clan). Mixing the Hip Hop beats and Indie Rifts with the 2 lyrical styles, in my eyes this works and works very well at that.

Having previously caught these guys at London XOYO in November I knew we where in for a treat. It seems not everyone got the memo on Banks and Steelz, drawing a relatively small crowd was some what disappointing - not that it stopped me getting to the front, ignoring how many where behind me or not.

Admittedly sound was off, and not the best performance I've seen from these guys. Never the less 7/10 performance  and  7/10 Atmosphere.

Notable tracks : One by One, Conceal, Love and War, Wild Seasons (ft Bishop Briggs, not Florence which was a shame), Giants.  [#Fanboy]

Break Time:


Bastille & Two Door Cinema Club two more British bands on the cards. The sound worked well on these guys smashing out top hits Bad Blood & Pompeii and Undercover Martyn & Bad Decisions. I don't recall much that stood out but their on the list.

Food time: Honestly don't remember where this came from or who cooked it, but it was in my pics for that day that time.


Sobering up and heading to Sahara to see Royskopp, another let down with the stage selection. Royksopp filled the Sahara over flowing again, though not as much as Empire of The Sun.

I hit a stumbling block here, turns out on the trip for food off-site I didn't scan back in - not sure how I got through Security the 2 times before but I needed to go queue up for wristband to be reactivated (with proof of ID) before I could pass go.

15min into Royksopp set before I got there. Absolutely blown it away, legendary Norwegian Synth Pop / Trance at its finest. 9/10 Performance, 9/10 Lighting and 9/10 Atmosphere

Notable Tracks: Running To the Sea, The Girl and The Robot, Do It Again.




Moving over to Outdoor Theatre...

DJ Snake pretty good, as expected great sound and visuals. Let's be honest we're only waiting for Let Me Love You. Though certainly welcome to hear Major Lasers Lean On.
Worst thing about day 3, if you haven't been able to charge your phone and you lose someone mid-set you're done for until you meet back at the camp!
8/10 overall performance and atmosphere.


The night draws on and we've given up the search for lost people, lets move on to trying to find another group to the left of disabled seating at the Main Stage.

Time for Lady Gaga. Given I like some her early songs and don't mind the rest, plus it's unlikely I'll get a chance to see her again - I'm looking forward to this.

Don't waste time looking for people at the Main Stage, especially if you have UK phones. It's a wasted effort. Though we have just got pretty far forward so not too wasted.

It's easy to forget how many big songs Lady Gaga has, putting on a major show of around 18 hit including a premier debut of The Cure.  This really was a great performance and clearly the previous nights sound issues had been ironed out, I don't remember any negatives.

There was a whole raft of songs to call out,  personally Just Dance takes me back to being 18 so that was the one. The rest really fall under the Gaga hits (Poker Face, Telephone, Bad Romance, Alejandro, Venus etc)




End of day 2... Planning on making the most of tomorrow the sauce was put down until the morning, early night.

Part 4 
https://lifemichaelg.blogspot.com/2017/08/coachella-2017-part-4-order-that-stole.html

Coachella 2017 - Part 2 : The Line, The Weed and The iDrone

Deep in the midst of the Tequila binge that was Coachella 2017 are plenty of good stories, many of which will not likely get aired publicly on the net, but for the ones that can here's my take from it.
Coachella 2017 really was a magical tale of extreme proportions. A tale of the Lines we waited in for hours to get in or about. The Weed... well this was Cali exactly 1 year on from 420 - this may also be the reason the catchphrase from 2012 "Have you seen Molly?" was well and truly gone.

To top off the abundance of music (which really goes without saying), was the amazing lighting. Particularly the new bit of tech from Intel - the iDrones. It seems each year there's something amazing. Back in 2012 we saw the Hologram of Tupac, this year was just as good for different reasons. The iDrones were little hovercrafts moving in sync, changing shapes and lighting. Like some never-ending firework display... from the Iconic Wheel to Palm Trees. They certainly turned heads.

Though this Narnia was far from the snow covered lands in someones wardrobe. The dustings on the ground and floating in the air was superheated sand being kicked up by rickshaws and trundling feet! Bring on the alcohol to wash it all away.


Thursday   

Getting to know the neighbours is a must. Meeting a group of 18 guys & gals from San Diego with a set up fit for a king was unexpected. Furthermore their bar and free booze (think Tequila) even more so.
Needless to say the Hangover City Limits were clearly visible from their 10car commune. 

Between Camp site investigating and remembering your street address there was a whole heap of drama and mistakes day 1. So much so that the arrival has its own post dedicated to it Arrivals and Mistakes



Friday
Much of this festival saw clashes on almost every set I wanted to see, with a group of people this definitely means compromise

Stormzy or Kungs?  
Tacocat - easy choice.
Oh Wonder  or  The Interrupters?
The XX or Steve Angello?
Empire of the Sun or Radiohead?




Kungs were the one, but with friends flying in today who wanted to see Stormzy we opted to meet them. Stormzy .. meh I don't rate him either way, although for a Brit opening the Outdoor stage on day 1 he pulled a pretty big crowd - fair play.

Oh Wonder and Tacocat were next, definitely worth a watch even though I'd only hears both of them a few weeks before when spotifying new bands.


Now it began to get tricky The XX or Steve Angello?! Having seen Steve a few years ago and The XX with a new album we definitely needed to go the Main stage to see them - 100% the right decision. Plus its hard not to support fellow Brits.

Admittedly the sound on the main stage on Friday was not right, resulting in extra soundchecks saturday morning for Gaga. Despite this the trio truly scored 10/10 for performance with totally on point vocals!  8/10 Atmosphere, I'm not sure if it was the time of day or some people just waiting for Radiohead but fans sitting down it kinda took away the vibe a little.

Key tracks to take away from the setlist: Say Something Loving,  I Dare You, Fiction and On Hold.





Headline : The Aussies or The British? 

Headline acts for Friday was pretty good line up, with Radiohead on main and Empire of the Sun clashing on the Sahara. Got to be honest, Radiohead are the band you see because they are Radiohead... also the band that seems to headline year after year, festival after festival. I'm wondering now how long they can continue that reign, stealing top spots on main stages, particularly with performances like they did in 2017.

Anyway, the group split here. Opting to go see Empire of the Sun at Sahara. Damn we definitely left it late to go get in. Massive let down for organisation here by Coachella, EOTS were far too big to play Sahara - they won't the only band where fans were left feeling out in the sticks.

Arriving 10minutes before due start time we couldn't get within 20meters of the tent, by the time they came on there was no room to move in or out! Bodies pressed together from the Front all the way back to adjoining food stalls. 

Empire of the Sun, never fail. Cracking set list and sound, plus 10/10 for atmosphere in the tent. 3/10 outside the tent, with people trying to pass through the splurge of Empire fans, to get from the Bars to the Main stage - massive let down.

After listening to  DNA,  Way to Go  and  We Are The People  the pushing became too much and opted to make our way back to the Main Stage for Radiohead - Big Mistake! I don't need to go into that already well publicised disaster.


Part 3
https://lifemichaelg.blogspot.com/2017/08/coachella-2017-part-3-banks-trance-and.html

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Interpol - Summer Well

Interpol's creative genius and mysterious lyrics throw them to the top of the list for most listened and top of my seen gig tally 
[Joint 1st with Green Day & Placebo]

Including: 5 gigs in 1 decade across 3 Cities - Leeds, Blackpool & Manchester.

(Though Paul Banks clears top spot if we add the 3 times under Banks and Steelz, adding another 3 cities to that count. London, Indio and San Francisco)

Despite a decidedly poor 4th, the self titled: Interpol album did give this absolute top tune.
Relative to the first 3 and 5th studio albums, going it alone from record companies, Interpol stretched the bar. Moving to a grungy, more raw sound... but without the desired affect with fan ratings.

This is 1 of the good sounds off the album, an often unsung and therefore my share for top song off of Interpol - Interpol

Summer Well
Available to Download Here.

Coachella 2017 - Arrival - My Mistakes Camping

Coachella 2017 Weekend 1 - Welcome to Hell ... My Mistakes & How to survive and enjoy the camping.

There's a few parts to the Coachella story so don't assume from the title this is all bad press. If anyone learns anything from this post it won't be time wasted.

Having been to Coachella 2012 we decided to make a trip across the pond again in 2017. 
I don't remember a huge amount of 2012 but having frozen on the first night and slept on a cold hard floor with little protection the things I remembered were supposed to mean we would boss it this time:

  1. Take a good Tent 
  2. Take a nice big car (Dodge Caravan)
  3. It was cold at night take stuff to keep warm
  4. Shuttle bus to cheap food & booze offsite
  5. Airbeds, Airbeds, Airbeds
(SEE BOTTOM OF POST FOR NEW TIPS FROM 2017)

3 of those were true, if you succeeded! 2 were not even relevant this year, not in the slightest!

Having opted for a cheaper Car Hire company, we got a big car but not the dodge we paid for. With no option we had to take the only 4x4 available but any assumption of sleeping in it went out the window... it wasn't designed for that.
Hell after Brexit and GBP exchange rate panning then cheap was the way to go. Mistake number 1.

Not letting the car spoil the fun, we headed off for a 4day stay in San Francisco before making the drive cross the state to Indio. My review on SF & CA may come at some point, but not today.



Cut ahead to the journey to Coachella, stopping off at Lompoc Walmart to buy the whole world of camping gear we needed (future mistake number 2). Downside to camping in another continent: You can't take your gear on the plane. Now we also needed a bigger and extra sleeping stuff as the car was off the cards: 8man tent, airbeds, chairs, pillows and sleeping bags.
 Downside to not getting the car you wanted... Tetris:

Somehow, smashed it. Including the full holidays worth of suitcases.

Fast forward to the following day, having stayed at Holiday Inn Indio we only needed to make a short drive to Coachella. We knew from past experiences of festivals set off EARLY. Knowing this we still anticipated a good few hours in the car queue, the wristband queue and the camping queues. We're fine with that, better camping spot = less walking. 

Needless to say Coachella didn't let us down, a very very long and hot wait around to get to the site and wristbands. A very hot wait, considerably hotter than 2012.
Finally after a few hours we were driving to the spots, elation and ecstasy feeling real now. Coachella 2017!!



I don't remember what colour campsite was best so I followed the cars and direction from the stewards assuming this would be closest to the entrance. Mistake 3. Red Path area 4, previously we stayed in 8 - if only I remembered then.

Turns out that 4 is fucking miles away from the main arena and we're Brits in 37degrees C. Walking miles in Hot and Dusty roads isn't what were made for. Certainly seems Coachella's site area footprint has increased

Never the less as a massive music fan, despite line up being not entirely on point, I was still excited and ready to Coachella.

Pulling the car into the spot, which felt smaller than before and maybe the car size didnt help. We squoze in and cracks a cold Cider open Mistake 4... brought glass. They we're rapidly confiscated. Still had other booze but cider is hard to find in USA. 

Pitching the Tent & setting up camp:
Being the handy one I set up the tent pretty quickly considering I'm melting and bordering heat stroke.
Not quite an 8man tent... not even a respectable 4man. Expecting 2 bed areas and a large communal area. This tent had no divide to seperate the rooms. Being a group containing 2x 20 years olds and 2x 50year olds this wasn't ideal but Coachella.

We managed to get the airbeds up with our 12v pump and just about fit them in the tent. Hiss. I guess this is what buying camping gear from Walmart does to you... 2 didnt even stay up due to a lovely gash on the top with no means of repair we went to the on-site shop for some gaffa tape which didnt work.
With airbeds priced at $50 new ones were off the cards... given the next pressing matter.

Beeming Hot Sun - this wasn't an issue in 2012. This year with bigger tent in midday Sun the heat rose very quickly, hemmed in and little room to move we needed some more shade. Coachella had chilled rooms and chill out tents but on early days these are packed and not too convenient 
so we shelled out $100 for shading.

Needless to say this set back wasn't ideal and squeezing into a poor tent on the floor in the heat was back off the cards... welcome to car sleeping 101. Sleeping in the boot of a Toyota 4Runner is borderline better than the tent though. 



Off-Site Shuttle Bus. 
Back in 2012 buses where nearby to take you off-site for booze, food and anything else from local areas. Being able to buy tickets at the stop.

We got 2 shuttle pass tickets with our weekend passes so had banked on travelling out for food Mistake number I've lost count. The shuttle stop was a very long walk away 25mins to get to, but we persevered to go for dinner.

Given the food onsite was expensive, easily $12 for a slice of pizza so you need around $50 for food a day.
Turns out you can't buy bus tickets now, you can't even get a bus anywhere but the hotels. There are ubers and taxi ranks... another 15mins walk on to those. 

Beefed up security RFID Wristbands are used for more than checking into facebook, everywhere in the site is controlled by them and if you leave the site and 'dont scan back in'  even if you did, you will struggle to get into the Main Arena.

These wristbands can be a pain, there are a lot of people whos wristands needed resetting, repairing or reactivation... 15mins queue at the gates. So if you're on the last minute to get to the stage be prepared.
Also if you're drunk try to avoid touching them - once they tighten you can't untighten 

I think that covered my mistakes and negatives of Coachella Car Camping 2017. Though don't let that put you off! Prepare, Plan, Party.

Tips:
  1. Get a good Tent 
  2. Get good shading / marque etc
  3. Research 
  4. Money 
  5. Take plenty of unperishable food and booze (no glass)
  6. Take a good car
  7. Get a good car spot (camping 8)
  8. Take plenty of Money
  9. Hats, sunbrellas and bandanas for the dust are key
  10. Prepare for cold too
  11. Don't tighten Wristbands
  12. Give plenty of time to move around and get to places
  13. Make use of the on-site showers


youtube.com/mgaskell19


Jizz Diary's - Fire Breathing to Back - Dirty Sanchez style

I dont have many clips available of the Jizz Diary's but here is a video of Carl Wilson blowing fire onto David Hon's a** and back. Jizz Diarys was a skits crew from 2003 but parted ways early on. Still good friends but not making the videos any more. I will still put videos up as i come across them.


Much of it is jovial fun and killing time, Inspired by JackAss and Dirty Sanchez. Unfortunately much of the summer 2003 is on tapes and I only have some digitally








Jizz Diary's - Montage - jack ass style

I dont have many clips available of the Jizz Diary's but here is a montage I do have. Jizz Diarys was a skits crew from 2003 but parted ways early on. Still good friends but not making the videos any more. I will still put videos up as i come across them. PS i know diaries is spelt wrong it was by design when we were 14








Jizz Diary's - Honny licks Pancho's (Dirty Sanchez) armpit.





I dont have many clips available of the Jizz Diary's but here is a video clip of David Hon licking Pancho's (from Dirty Sanchez) arm pit. Jizz Diarys was a skits crew from 2003 but parted ways early on. Still good friends but not making the videos any more. I will still put videos up as I come across them.