Tag Archives: live music

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.

Jimmy takes a bite out of Manchester…

Knowing that Minus the Bear were supporting I had been excited about the gig for a long time and thus arrived early not wanting to miss anything. I don’t know if anyone has ever turned up to a gig at doors opening time, but I hadn’t before and it was a sight to behold. I was a bit shocked at the cleanliness and spaciousness of the Academy (which is much bigger than you think.) Luckily it paid off as drinks are half price till half 8 which worked out at treat, two cans of Red Stripe for £3.80 I think so my friend.

Arriving early is also an excellent idea for all us small people that populate the planet because it means you can see, which isn’t essential to the music, but you know, it’s a nice part of the gig-going experience since you paid 20 quid for a ticket. I still managed to miss what everyone chuckled about during the support set, but whatever it was probably shit anyway.

My Chemical Romance – Live At The Apollo, Manchester

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The gig is a sell out, the band on the other hand are not…

My Chemical Romance are getting bigger by the year and now, with the release of Danger Days, they are set to go astronomical. The band had some trouble after The Black Parade with the departure of drummer Bob Bryar, an entire album scrapped, and about two years away from touring everything could have been a bit of a disaster for them. Luckily for them they know what they’re doing.

Storming on stage to riotous applause they waste no time and get straight into new single ‘Na Na Na’ out of the four or so new songs they play, which are all tinged with electro, this sounds the most polished and is a rowdy opener to get people going.

When you see My Chem you go to see a show rather than just a band, yet this was more of a minimal affair with little in the way of crowd-banter or showmanship. This new low-key style fit perfectly with their set which consisted of songs mainly from Three Cheers. This was a band embracing their roots with some ballsy pseudo-aggressive rock. Gerard stalked the stage like he was genuinely pissed off and even invited one lucky crowd member on stage to help sing ‘Honey This Mirror Aint Big Enough for the Two of Us’ from debut album Bullets. He was greeted on stage to “If you dare ask for fucking photo you’re gone” and then proceeded to miss the song queue three times. Fans eh?

With only the one song from Bullets played some of the older fans were inevitably disappointed. Though with a very young crowd (parents were involved for under 14’s) that went nuts for singles like ‘Teenagers’ this wasn’t much of a problem. That wasn’t the only problem with the evening. The Apollo is a great venue because you can see no matter where you are and it’s a pretty perfect size for a band of their stature to seem like it’s still intimate, but the sound quality just wasn’t good enough. This was more likely a problem with the band, who had slightly adapted some intro’s the fit with the ‘space music’ in-between songs, but they never seemed to pick up the pace again ‘Ghost of You’ was a particular low-point.

Despite all this the songs they do play well ‘You know what they do to guys like us in prison’, ‘Dead!’, ‘Give em’ Hell Kid’ etc…have thousands of people screaming the words and sound flawless. When they get it right there is nothing like it.

My Chemical Romance has a lot to offer and if you’re a fan of the albums then the raw energy of seeing them live is a must.

Bodebrixen+Lost Infantry: The Lexington, N1

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Tonight’s sparse crowd isn’t helped by The Lexington’s weird décor – a mix of Auntie Mabel wallpaper and Bowells of a Steam Ship that still manages to boast a decent stage area and a thunderous PA playing Devo –certainly enough to engage our hipster radars from the get-go.

Plenty of pre-gig buggering about on our part means we miss openers Grave Architects, (but check ‘em out here anyway!) so are initially put in a bad mood by the trying too hard indie antics of Lost Infantry.
First rule of stagecraft: Treat the audience like the dogs they are. They aren’t interested in your in-jokes and self effacing banter. Second rule? Well, not mixing Yes guitar lines with a Dexy’s influence is probably a good one…

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The DT Festival Guide

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Festivals Music Downtuned

Finally, the sun is shining, which means it must be festival season. All across the land, students are updating their FB status to tell you just how AMAAAAAAAZING Download is gonna be because NIN are on, only to change it to inform you how awesome Def Leppard were when they get back. Bestival go-ers are packing their pickernick baskets, and the interminable hordes of morons who spent £100 on a Glasto ticket BEFORE THEY ANNOUNCED WHO WAS PLAYING are polishing their finest paisley patterned wellies.

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