Monthly Archives: February 2011

Live: Hurts

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Hurts, Manchester Academy, 8/02/11

Everything about Hurts is epic. Now I’m well aware that word went out of fashion some point in the history of the world, but Hurts are bringing it back and it’s dressed in a lovely suit too. The only way you could describe this; the last date of their tour in their home town of Manchester, is as epic.

It’s only right then that one of the breakthrough bands of last year be supported by some of 2011’s hottest new talent, Clare Maguire. Maguire sadly is anything but epic. You can’t dislike her, but there just doesn’t seem to be enough passion in the world for me to even care about her. Dull is the word that comes to mind and onstage she is exactly this. She has a great voice and can belt out a tune there’s no denying, but then so can anyone from the over 25’s category on the x-factor. If you lived through the 90’s then you will be able to instantly conjure up what she sounds like by thinking of anyone who had a vaguely popular single that year. She did however wear a nice floaty dress in which you could see her underwear, so that’s something at least, she then proceeded to prance around the stage extending her arms at every available opportunity and waving them around. The audience obviously loved it because they are well dressed cutting edge indie folk who probably saw her perform in the café down the road from them while you were still an embryo.

I should probably now apologise to Clare Maguire and her fans for that sewage that just spewed from my fingers please feel free to leave horrible comments below.

Hurts. Luckily the main attraction offers up a much more delectable product for us to tap our collective and well styled feet to. With not much more than an albums worth of songs to offer up the set started with album opener and synth heavy ‘Silver Lining’ setting the chorus chanting tone of the gig. It’s hard to pick the biggest song of the night when all the songs are this big, but ‘Wonderful Life’ is a strong contender and the audience were always eager to please these local lads. Theo is possibly the best frontman around right now and works the mic-stand like nobody else; it was part prop, crutch, and propeller and allowed for some brilliant leaning which only emphasised key changes and choruses. Not big on the talking crowd-banter was kept to a minimum and clichés somehow avoided, this from the band who sings about rain more than the chart top 100 put together, but when Theo did offer us some pearls of wisdom it came in a northern drawl you just can’t get your head around.

As I’m sure many fans were, like me, upset about the distinct lack of Kylie Minogue the boys decided to throw in a cover of ‘Confide In Me’ to show her what she was missing. It was a highlight of the gig and sounded excellent in a strange Depeche Mode sort of way. They can’t escape the 80’s and to be honest who would want them to. The best summation of the gig I can think of is “They covered Kylie and it was fucking awesome.”

With only a one song encore I had wondered what was left for them to play until ‘Better Than Love’ kicked in with its strong vocal “Every second is a life-time.” Hurts might be good on record, but they are and will become ever greater live;  with all the components coming into play from dazzling light shows, sing-alongs, and stage presence working together to make them an unstoppable force.

With more material on the way Hurts are definitely one to watch.

NewsGush: R.I.P Gary Moore

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Sad news just in that former Thin Lizzy guitarist Gary Moore passed away today in his hotel room in Spain.

Moore will be best remembered for his work alongside Scott Gorham on Lizzy’s ‘Black Rose’ album, bt also found continuing solo success with chart topping hits ‘Out In The Fields’, ‘Over The Hills And Far Away’ and ‘Parisienne Walkways’ throughout the 80s. He continued to tour and gained great respect for his earthy blues sound.

Police sat there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding Moore’s death, Downtuned would like to extend our deepest condolences to Moore’s family and fans.

Computers and Blues

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Review: The Streets- Computers and Blues [Atlantic]

The new The Streets album ‘Computers and Blues’ hits stores tomorrow folks.

The fifth and final album from Mike Skinner has been doing the rounds on the internet for a good few weeks, but finally it’s time for an official release from the man himself. Skinner is “fucking sick” of the name and the connotations that now go with it which is why this will be his last release under the moniker.

Working closely with Rob Harvey, of The Music, this album is unlike anything he has ever done before and showcases the vocal talents of Harvey and BBC sounds of 2011 nominee Clare Maguire. Computers and Blues is brash and in your face, Skinner has done what he set out to do and created an album you can “dance and drink tea to.”

The first single from the album ‘Going Through Hell’ has a great rock dynamic to it from Harvey and the riff running right down the middle of the track. Skinner is great at adapting his style to suit those he works with and in the process getting the best sound for everyone involved. Lyrics are on biting form “imagine the dilemma for the man and his penance if he could get fucked without hanging his health up would this be illegal would the Daily Mail rail on it?”

It’s a shame Skinner feels he no longer wants to be associated with The Streets, it almost detracts from his creations and he is a modern day poet, don’t let anyone tell you different, “I’m pretty good at puzzles, but puzzled by people.” That lyric gets to the heart of the issue, people associate Skinner with things he’s moved on from; i.e drugs. His most accessible album to date could possibly be his best. Die hard fans might complain about the up-beat pop melodies that are at the forefront of Computers and Blues, but Skinner still retains what made him great, an ear for a brilliant beat and a top-notch rhyme.

Lets hope this is only the end of The Streets and not Mike Skinner.

Check out: Without Thinking

NewsGush: Death From Above 1979 To Reform!

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Because we’re bunch of miserable bastards who spend most of our time listening to Tokyo Doom Jazz and shouting at people, it’s pretty rare that a musical event causes any stirring in our jaded muso loins here at DT towers, but even we were heartened this morning as we learnt that our very favourite band ever to play in London’s tiny Crobar are set to get it on again. Here’s the press release that appeared on :

Jesse and I have decided that what we can do together should not be denied.
Together again, as was always the intention, as a collaboration.
The collision of two different worlds.
As this all takes shape, we will reveal it to you.
All of it happening, as it always has, in our own way.
Thank you all for sharing in our excitement!

Yes.
SEBASTIEN

they love each other really...

they love each other really...

So, there you have it, theelephant-faced synth-shout duo are back, hopefully in an attempt to teach Hackney/Village hipsters that not all two piece bands have to sound like Gary Newman….

Here’s to sexy results.

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