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Gig Review: The NME Rock ‘n’ Roll Riot Tour, The Apollo, Manchester, Oct. 10, 2007

About a week or two ago I heard this great song on the radio and with the constant plays on Radio One it wasn’t long before I not only knew the full lyrics, but that it was called ‘You’re Not Alone’ by The Enemy. Fast forward to Saturday morning just gone and I bought the album and by the Sunday night I had scored a ticket from Scarlet Mist. As you can see it has been a short love affair but one I must confess based on tonight’s performance is one that will last hopefully a very long time.

Now due to the renovations at the Academy not being complete, the gig was moved to the Apollo and I am sure you all know that the Apollo can be hit or miss, and I can honestly say I have seen more bad gigs here they any other place but also three of my favourite gigs of all time: Billy Idol, David Lee Roth and Jet have all been in this venue. I was more worried though of the effect of the smoking ban in the grotty hole as I was sure this would be one of the venues most affected [Ed: The Apollo has always been non-smoking. The ban should not affect the place at all] due to the air and lack of sunlight, but I am pleased to say that not only did the smoking ban not hamper most people lighting up, and it did not have that musty stench I was anticipating.

On to the gig itself – billed the NME Rock ‘N’ Riot Tour I must first apologise to the young girl who approached me and asked for my email address for the NME mailing list: the sheer look of contempt I gave her was unjust. However when I got in, I caught the start of The Wombats, who were better than I expected for a bunch of Liverpudlians. I wouldn’t go so far as to buying the album, but their energy on stage was electric, they moved with passion, sang with heart and really ‘rocked’ the venue. I enjoyed standing back and watching the crowd go wild at their songs. There must have been about 200 or so in the mosh pit at the front, all of whom were about 14 and it was nice to see a whole new generation of kids coming into the music scene.

Unfortunately, next up was Lethal Bizzle, a three-piece bunch of gangster rap wannabes. Believe me I wouldn’t wish these guys on anyone. The main guy looked like he needed a good meal in him and a couple of slaps around the face for his total admiration of himself. The second guy or ‘back up – I am just riding on my ‘homies’ wave -looked like any generic doorman, whilst the ‘mixer/MC’ was a double of Miss Jay from America’s Next Top Model. It was when these were on that my faith in society was restored (and my hatred of NME confirmed for putting these on the bill) when the crowd in unison booed and chanted ‘GET OFF’.

With the well-produced imagery of The Enemy’s album cover of train station destination board and my chances to win things from NME, the time soon went before The Enemy appeared opening up with ‘Away From’ here and then perhaps their most catchy track, ’40 Days and 40 Nights’ which for some reason I can’t get out of my head. Next up was ‘Technodanceaphobic’ which by this time the crowd was dancing so hard that the only relief to the heat generated was the pints being thrown from above. ‘Had Enough’ had everyone singing along as did their next single ‘Aggro and Pressure’. The only song that did not make the mark was the following song whose title escapes me, but the riff in the song does, like most their songs, remind me of a different song and in this case I can’t help but think of ‘Common People’ by Pulp [Ed: If you must review NME-sponsored bilge, please don’t insult Pulp while you do it.]. ‘We’ll Live and Die In These Towns’, which holds a striking resemblance to the Style Council, was well-performed and was followed by ‘This Song’ and ‘It’s Not OK’. The fastest encore in the history of music barely gave the audience a chance to catch its breath when they returned with ‘Happy Birthday Jane’ which is not really suited to stage but makes a good album track and they finished off with ‘You’re Not Alone’ which was excellent. The whole evening was superb, although I did not expect it to be. This was equally credited to the crowd as it was to the bands. The whole floor was one giant mosh pit for most of The Enemy and it is nice to see that the kids of today know how to rock.

The Enemy – 40 Days and 40 Nights

The Enemy – We’ll Live and Die in these Towns

Posted by Bricking Chick on 17th October 2007 at 7:50 pm | comments (13)
File under bandwagon jumpers,Gig Reviews,major label wannabes,manufactured rubbish,mp3,Reviews,shitty NME bands,utter tripe.

Gig Review: Brakes, Manchester Club Academy, October 6, 2007

Excellent,,,.

Brakes Live at Club Academy Eamon from Brakes at Club Academy

Eamon Hamilton on the guitar Rock on Brakes!

Brakes – Comma Comma Comma Full Stop

Brakes – Cheney

Posted by Bricking Chick on 9th October 2007 at 7:54 pm | comments (5)
File under brakes,Gig Reviews,Reviews.

Gig Review: The Killers, Birmingham NEC, February 18, 2007

What a difference a night makes!. After the show in Manchester, I felt there was something missing. Don’t get me wrong, visually it was good and the sound was electric, but I expected more. Leaving for the long drive down to Birmingham just before 3pm, I still was not sure of what to expect and after several pit stops we arrived at The Maze, aka the NEC car park. It was here the evening began, when we collected our tickets we then went and found something to eat in the NEC canteen. We exchanged our tickets for wristbands on the promise that if we purchased some of the overpriced, mediocre food we would be let in to the arena first. True to their word, we were first in at the strike of 6pm, and using knowledge gleaned from last night’s show, I knew exactly where to stand to the nearest millimetre in front row.

First up was Black Rebel Motorcycle Club whose performance had vastly improved from the last time JustHipper had seen them, yet they still did not impress. In fact, the whole highlight of these guys was the heckling we were doing and the fact we managed to muster up a smirk from Peter Hayes as Just Hipper shouted out “Bohemian Like You!” The long wait then became unbearable as the surprisingly orderly crowd waited and watched the roadies set the stage and string the white cloth across the front.

At 9:15pm, in true Las Vegas style, the ‘show’ began with a film of pictures from the Sam’s Town album leading the crowd to explode in anticipation before the sheet dropped to unveil The Killers in the flesh with their opening number ‘Sam’s Town’ before seamlessly segueing into ‘Interlude’ and ‘When You Were Young.’ Next up was their recent single ‘Bones’ where I got to sing my own version, prompted by JustHipper’s filthy interpretation, as Brandon Flowers stood approximately 1 meter in front of me. Like in Manchester, they were on form and the sound was excellent. The energy carried on through ‘Somebody Told Me,’ the first of three off the Hot Fuss album which included ‘Jenny’ and ‘Smile,’ during which Brandon came over and pointed his mic stand at me, bringing all these uncontrollable teenage pangs I once felt over ten years ago. OK, I lie, I just never have grown up!

I was recently ask why I thought the Killers had become so big and although I could not think of a bona fide reason at that time. However, the next song, ‘Read My Mind’ explained it all, as you could really see how humble this band remain, despite their ascent into stardom. The sheer depth of shyness the band possess could only been seen at close proximity, but it certainly is and was endearing, although at heart they are showmen and the show went on with ‘River Is Wild,’ ‘Bling’ and ‘Why Do I Keep Counting’ which is the only song on the new album that I feel is semi-autobiographical.

I can remember the first time I sat up and noticed the next song: it was 5th Ave, 27th August 2005 and it was the moment I became The Killers number one fan through ‘Mr Brightside.’ This was the moment for which I had waited 18 months and gone through such disappointment with no tickets at their Blackpool show and no tickets for the November 2006 tour, but it all became worth it.

After a short break, they returned on top form with ‘My List. Then the cover version of ‘Shadow Play,’ which, while I still believe it suited Brandon’s vocal range, I was still disappointed thinking they would play something different and perhaps this was just saved for Manchester. This song appears to be a permanent part of the set as Brandon commented on three girls who had been front row the previous two nights as they would know the song. It’s a good job they backed this track up with my new favourite from the Sam’s Town album, ‘For Reasons Unknown,’ where they could do no wrong and ‘All These Things I Have Don’e which for reasons only I and one other know now reminds me of T in the Park 2006. It was then the boys said their goodbyes with a dimly lit stage to sing ‘Exitlude.’

Now things would not be normal if I told you that was it. As the crowd dispersed, we noticde another crowd racing for the front as it was here that the roadies were giving out the live flowers on stage to the remaining girls at the front, so I stole my chance to get Brandon Flowers’ Flower. Just Hipper was off returning a favour, as she – the legend that she is – scored the full set list of the evening from a security guard, making my already perfect evening even more perfect.

The Killers – “Why Don’t You Find Out For Yourself”

Posted by Bricking Chick on 14th March 2007 at 8:44 pm | comments (9)
File under Gig Reviews,mp3,Reviews.

Gig Review: The Killers, Manchester Evening News Arena, February 17, 2007

Well the wait is finally over and the ticket touts of last year a distant but still painful memory as I started my first of two nights of The Killers. Fresh on the back of their Brit Awards appearance this week, The Killers came to Manchester. The question is though: did the crowd come with them?

Faced with a white curtain, the crowd were shown images from Sam’s Town in a very DHARMA Initiative way as ‘Interlude’ played meticulously in the background before the white sheet dropped to expose the band exploding into the full song shortly followed by ‘Sam’s Town,’ and even at this point the crowd showed some familiarity of their current album. The crowd were showered with bright, shiny confetti and it was amazing to watch from the dizzy heights of row P upper stand. They continued the set with another track from the new album, ‘When We Were Young’ followed by ‘Bones’. At this stage, after hearing such bad things about Brandon Flowers’ ability to sing live, I did wonder if he was miming to a backing track as he hit all the right notes and sang faultlessly. After a few seconds to towel down, Brandon, dressed in his uniformed Sam’s Town white shirt, black waistcoat and pants, took the crowd back to the days of Hot Fuss with ‘Somebody Told Me.’ At this point I think the crowd were louder than The Killers and it was excellent.

Clearly out of breath, Brandon thanked ‘Manchester’ which turned out to one of many times he did in the evening. Then told us a story of his friend ‘Jenny,’ into which he put his full vocal range to the test with a few impromptu “Whoa’s” as he asked the crowd to join in. As Brandon worked the stage, he brought the level down a little to play ‘Uncle Jonny’ followed by ‘Read My Mind’, ‘River is Wild’ and ‘Bling.’ Continuing to tell the crowd how he loves Manchester, we were treated to ‘Glamorous Indie Rock n Roll,’ and for the first time ever I was glad I was out of the way as the crowd lifted high in the air while chanting along.

The set was predicable and the tracks just kept coming and despite my earlier observation of how perfect the singing was, it became quite patchy but nowhere near bad for ‘Why do I Keep Counting’ which seemed to be a well-deserved break from the performance they were putting on. Next, we got the track that I truly believe made The Killers and will stand the test of time (well for a few more years at least): ‘Mr Brightside.’ It was then that the little small-town boy from Las Vegas really came into his own as he took to the stage with more strength and purpose than at any other point in the evening.

With a quick shirt change to black, Brandon came on for his first of two encores with ‘My List’ followed by more admiration for Manchester and telling of his love for Joy Division before singing one of their tracks. ‘Shadowplay.’ At this point I couldn’t help feel a little disappointed as I thought he could have chosen a better track and it was rumoured ‘Juliet and Romeo’ from their Abbey Road session. Surprisingly, they pulled it off before I got my favourite song, ‘For Reasons Unknown,’ in which they could do no wrong and reminded me of the delights I had coming in the way of front row tomorrow at the NEC. For the last song of the evening The Killers delivered ‘All These Things’ and Brandon exited stage. Briefly returning ‘Exitlude,’ after taking a bow and waving goodbye to the crowd, drummer MyNameIsEarl™ threw a few drumsticks into the crowd.

Overall, the show was merely good but this was due to my rubbish seat; however, I gained the knowledge to know where to stand at the NEC to get the best view in Birmingham, so come on Killers!

Posted by Bricking Chick on 25th February 2007 at 11:06 pm | comments (2)
File under Gig Reviews,Reviews.

Gig Review: Jet, Manchester Academy 1, November 4, 2006

Jet at Manchester AcademyI can’t tell you how much I have been waiting for this gig. After falling in love with this band from Melbourne whilst travelling around Australia in 2004 and watching them steal the show at V2005, this gig really was a long time coming. Cementing my place front row central, however, had its downsides in the form of an emo wannabe band whose name, for the life of me I cannot remember. If you want a description, the lead singer looked like a cross between Jack Black and a young Meatloaf who decided to do an impromptu gig on his way home from a funeral. The rest of band had serious style issues too: with the guitarist dressed in a camp pink shirt they looked all over the place. Musically they were OK, but I felt they were lacking experience. I suspect they have the potential to be good.

Next up came the 747’s, who, keeping on the styling issue a little longer, had a bassist with the bravest pair of tight yellow jeans I have ever seen in my life. This is the first time I have come across this band, although I had heard of them before in a good capacity, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. They have an inoffensive mellow guitar sound, which I liked. They were very competent on stage, but when you need all your brain power to absorb every mouth-watering moment of Jet they failed to come close. I would, if you are about, recommend checking these guys out though.

Now when it comes to live gigs there are three main types: first we have the Killers who sound great on disc, and although Brandon Flowers puts on a great show, they don’t quite carry off the sound; next are the Guns and Roses of this world whose records match the brilliance of their concerts in every way possible; then we have the Jets who really surpass almost every band in the way they perform. They have that unique ability to really make their music come alive and they sound so superb that the original record sounds empty without. This is some feat considering the albums they have.

Jet at Manchester AcademyThe gig was a mixture of old and new with a huge bucket of sweat thrown in as Nic Cester with cig in mouth rocked up on stage with sirens blazing. Opening up with ‘Come On Come On’ from their new album Shine On, the front rows were alive with energy. The hits kept coming with ‘Rollover DJ’ and ‘Get What You Need’ before they retreated back to the new album with ‘Stand Up’ and ‘Kings Horses.’ Each and every song was perfect and sung with heart — and that was just the crowd. Jet’s performance was undoubtedly one of the best I have ever seen, even when they brought it down a little to play a song close to the band’s hearts — their current single ‘Bring It On Back.’ Next up was ‘Cold Hard Bitch’ when the brewing crowd behind could not contain themselves and an avalanche of crowd surfers came overhead faster than scallies on the first day of a Nike sale. On a 1 minute video clip of this song there are a total of 11. This trend continued throughout the rest of the gig.

The encore was short-lived but the crowd did them proud as the place erupted for a second time for ‘Put your Money Where Your Mouth Is’ and finally ‘Are You Going To Be My Girl’ where the night took that strange twist to where all my nights seem to go. During the last verse, another crowd surfer, perhaps the 200th of the evening, fell on top of my friend, knocking her out. Luckily we were at the front and after waiting an hour the third ambulance turned up with the equipment they needed to carry her out. It was only at the hospital that we realised that the guy who fell on top of her was in the next room with a suspected broken leg, and by my book that made for the perfect ending to a perfect night — even the concussion I suffered the following day from his big size nines in the back of my head all seemed worth it.

Posted by Bricking Chick on 15th November 2006 at 10:48 pm | comments (5)
File under Gig Reviews,Metal Mayhem,Reviews.

Gig Review: Fratellis, Manchester Academy 1, October 28, 2006

I’ll apologise now for the rant that lays before you, but why, oh why, do venues/production teams/bands choose to play that incessant dossh dossh dossh that some describe as dance music before a gig with which it has no musical connection. It wasn’t that I was at the gig overly early, the music just seemed to go on forever. That is, however, until the support band Louie rocked up on stage with their two lead front men and their attitude.

With a distinct heavy London sound – and I mean that in a classic 70’s punk-era way – but so much harder, front men Jordon Smith and Gaz Tomlinson ROCKED the Academy back to its heyday and reminded us what venues were made for – screaming songs oozing with Sex, Drugs and Rock n Roll, they presented a new twist to the world of punk. This six piece band, primarily from Yorkshire, had the crowd moving and kept the atmosphere warm for The Fratellis.

I must explain before I go any further, this gig ticket was purchased solely on the rebound due to lack of Killers tickets. I had bought the album in the lull before the release of both Jet’s Shine On and Killers’ Sam’s Town on the back of ‘Dolly Dagger’ which I still hold is a great track. These Glaswegians have almost created a new style in music with their interesting mix of old and new. Whilst some tracks sound very funky, others do have a serious splash of rock, yet there is a polished roughness that sets them aside. Despite my synopsis on their style, it is undisputed that the majority of their tracks inspire you to move. Tonight was no different when they mainly showcased the album Costello Music. Standing at the back it was clear to see they have a large following which became apparent as for the track ‘Henrietta’ the crowd did most of the vocal work. Astonishingly, the sound on the evening was superb for Louie yet the vocals for the Fratellis were slightly muffled whilst the music remained sharp and loud. Other tracks which followed included ‘Cuntry Boys and City Girls,’ but the poor sound quality which wasn’t damping the atmosphere at the front was sadly draining at the back. With the gig coming to an end, it was time for the make or break single of the evening as ‘Chelsea Dagger’ got the crowd alive again and the Academy jumped with a sea of 2000 heads bobbing up and down singing so hard that only the great guitar riff of this song could be heard over the crowd. After that song, at least a good few hundred decided enough was enough as they decided to leave.

All in all it wasn’t a bad gig, but it just didn’t live up to my expectations, although saying that I was expecting Killers tickets.

Posted by Bricking Chick on 9th November 2006 at 9:42 pm | comments (2)
File under Gig Reviews,Metal Mayhem.

Gig Review: Guns N Roses, MEN Arena, Sunday, 23rd July, 2006

It all started on a hot Sunday afternoon the hangover from the night before had melted away with each fresh slip of Bud. As I approached the city the air was electric with blackness in clothing and dodgy 80’s fashion. It was then the buzz of what was to come hit me. On entering the arena we were immediately reminded of the stroppy unpredictability of what is also known as Axl Rose.

The first band, Towers of London, were very bland, heavy AOR who at one point I believe got so carried away with themselves you would have thought they were the headliner. Second up, Bullet for my Valentine whose performance was the best I had seen in previous weeks, showing practice makes perfect. All that said, I am still not into their heaviness although after three shows I am warming to them and their guitar rifts. Next came the 1 hour and 45 minute wait in which we were treated to several topless girls and sadly even more topless men (If you have ever been to a Guns N Roses gig before, you would sympathise too). Then, out of nowhere, the lights dimmed and out rocked “Welcome to the Jungle” as the crowd erupted into a deafening cheer as our hero arrived on stage. The hits followed with “Its So Easy” and “Mr Brownstone” before a costume change and over-the-top guitar solos – like any of the three new guitarists could ever make one Slash. This was proven by the full rendition of Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful,” I mean have you ever? This is a GNR gig ,not the Queen’s garden party. It wasn’t long before Axl and his side-to- side shoulder action was back on stage for “Sweet Child of Mine” and my personal favourite, “Live and Let Die,” where even over the audience participation his voice was superb and unarguably better than his thick ginger deadlocks he has been sporting the last few months.

Next we were treated to other hits, including “You Could be Mine” and “Knocking on Heavens Door” before being subjected to another solo, this time a more credible instrumental of “Layla.” Now this is where the 12 pints kicked in and the night took a strange turn. After swapping my crushed stance at the front of the crowd for an unrock-worthy back position Axl appeared again on stage this time with “November Rain” and low and behold I found myself using my skills of moving through the crowd once again to the front and when deciding this still wasn’t close enough I kicked off my shoes, handed them to my mate and in true rock ‘n’ roll style flung myself over the barriers and ran through the yellow coats heading directly to the stage. As I made my final leap onto the stage, I was rudely apprehended by Axl’s personal security with a headlock. Needless to say, once my feet finally hit the ground I was ejected, and I could not think of a more suitable ending.

Posted by Bricking Chick on 2nd August 2006 at 8:20 am | comments (27)
File under Metal Mayhem.