Prides: Brudenell Social Club, Leeds, 7/10/2014 [Review]

You’ll be hard-pushed to find a synthpop band nowadays that not only creates great dance music but that performs it as powerfully and as loudly as Prides, a Glaswegian trio that were only formed in 2013 and are already leaving their stamp on the music scene.

About 150 people gradually packed into the quaint little venue, and opening act Polo, formerly GirlsOnDrugs, commenced the evening. Although their songs were primarily unknown to the audience and their set was quite slow and tranquil, a fantastic cover of Arctic MonkeysDo I Wanna Know was enough to win over the opinions of the still crowd.

Duo The Wild Curve played their third ever live performance to perfection, contrasting with Polo by playing tunes that were loud, brazen and full of flair. The two juggled a mixture of instruments, from guitars, to drums, to keyboards as well as vocals and there was a circus-like feel to their set that was entertaining and well-played.

Finally, Prides entered the stage to an impatient crowd. I Should Know You Better carried the energy and power that set the tone for the rest of the night and Prides just didn’t stop giving. Out of the Blue was the peak of the set, due to it being released it on Spotify that same day and having a place on the FIFA 15 soundtrack. Sweat was flowing aplenty from both crowd and band; big, beltering choruses and an earth-shattering bass drum made the compact room seem to vibrate. Their cover of Roar by Katy Perry went down a storm and finale Messiah was an anthemic explosion. The entire gig was a mass of colour and dance, and both the crowd and the band loved every second.

Prides are definitely ones to watch – having already supported Blink 182 alongside Neck Deep at the O2 Academy Brixton and headlined the BBC Introducing Stage at Reading and Leeds Festival this year, we can expect big things from the Scottish trio.

Framing Hanley: The Key Club, Leeds, 27/10/2014 [Review]

Little has been heard of Tennessee five piece Framing Hanley since their last UK tour in 2011, but since then they’ve lost and gained a member, made an album and released a couple of singles. Support bands The Wilde and Hours are pleasant enough to listen to, but ultimately flop in igniting a spark of energy from the crowd, and the venue is pretty dead by the time Framing Hanley walk on stage.

Although opening song Criminal is one of the belters from their new album The Sum of Who We Are, very few members of the crowd react to it. Other songs from The Sum of… scarcely get a reaction, whereas hits from the first two albums, such as You Stupid Girl, 23 Days and Back To Go Again get the less miserable fans singing the lyrics back to a band who are clearly worried at the small turnout. Despite a tiny stage and a largely disagreeable crowd, Framing Hanley play as excellently as they always have, with frontman Kenneth Nixon executing his vocals perfectly, blending soft tones with powerful belting choruses, and there’s an unappreciated energy coming from the entire band that would be brilliant if it was captured by a better crowd.

Unfortunately, the only way to drive fans out of their reverie was to play older tunes, which is pitiful for a band that have tried so hard to push The Sum of Who We Are. Their famous cover of Lil Wayne’s Lollipop gets the crowd going a little too late, with less than a handful of songs left.

It’s clear that most people are here to relive the days of their early teenage years, and the band provide the nostalgia that fans have been sucking on all night with Hear Me Now’as their finale, the track that got them signed in 2006, which surprisingly lets the night end on a high.

It’s sad that such a passionate and talented band have been reduced to playing a mediocre venue to a flat crowd. Although the way the band handled this and played excellently despite it was admirable, after this reaction it’s uncertain what the future holds for Framing Hanley.


Catfish and the Bottlemen: Leeds University Stylus, 9/11/2014 [Review]

Their name has been tumbling off the lips of rock fans everywhere due to the plethora of media attention they’ve been receiving in the past year, so if you don’t know who they are yet, you should probably stick your nose out of the rock you’ve been hiding under every once in a while.

Last time they were in Leeds, Catfish and the Bottlemen absolutely smashed the Festival Republic stage and it’s clear from the very second that the hordes of fans swarm upon the venue that expectations are high and tonight is going to be phenomenal.

Brother and sister duo Southern are the first to grace the stage with their blues fused rock and roll twang, and exceed all expectations that could be set of a family pair that have been in business for only two years – they’re confident, smooth, and the perfect composers of a crowd that are loving every minute of their set.

Then, the lights drop and the soundtrack to of Pirates of the Caribbean thunders through the speakers, sending an electric pulse through the crowd that’s almost deadly. On walk Catfish and the Bottlemen, clad in their leather jackets and surrounded by a smoke of self-assurance as the crowd transcends into a wave of madness. The very first chord of Rango sends the venue into a mental frenzy that lasts until the end of their set. Despite claiming that his voice is on its ‘last legs,’ frontman Van McCann doesn’t hold back and performs every note to perfection despite being almost drowned out by the 1000 strong crowd. Sweat is dripping from every forehead five minutes into their set, shoes are being thrown everywhere and at least a half a dozen crowd-surfers have gone over the barrier already.

Perhaps the only flaw of the night is that it’s very much the Van McCann show, with the rest of the band resigned to merely playing their instruments in their set stage places (though still playing excellently nevertheless), but Van’s interaction with the crowd and his dynamic energy fuelling the masses at his feet are more than enough to carry the crowd.

It isn’t just the hits such as Kathleen and Pacifier that get a roaring response, every song on the set list is reverberated off the walls. Penultimate song ‘Cocoon’ is the highlight of the entire evening, with the crowd chanting the chorus several times over to the point that it’s deafening. After an elongated and explosive rendition of finale Tyrants, it’s time for Catfish to leave the stage with the promise to return to Leeds O2 Academy next year. Amazingly, the energy continues to pulse through the venue as the crowd filters out into the tranquil Sunday evening that had been forgotten in the heat of the concert, proof that tonight has been one that verifies why Catfish and the Bottlemen deserve every ounce of praise they get.

The new generation of pop-punk is one of the hottest topics surrounding the current rock scene and last year, New York quintet State Champs secured their spot in the limelight with their first full-length record, The Finer Things, which was undoubtedly one of the best debuts we’ve heard in a while. Since then, the boys have been busy teasing us with the anticipated release of their acoustic EP The Acoustic Things, the Sunday morning to The Finer Things’ Saturday night.

The EP primarily consists of renditions of older songs: Elevated, Deadly Conversations, Hard to Please, Simple Existence and Easy Enough. The majority are replicas of their originals, with nothing new to offer besides an acoustic guitar – some listeners may feel a bit cheated at the lack of imagination shown in these performances. Far from being purely acoustic and stripped of all else, tambourines and finger snaps fill out the spaces previously occupied by drums, with the occasional piano key making an appearance in Elevated.

New tracks Leave You In The Dark and If I’m Lucky are reminiscent of Mayday Parade’s 2011 self-titled album, with the occasional added grit from vocalist Derek Discanio. These two songs are pleasantly delicate and soft, brimming with the emotion and angst that keeps these tranquil tracks firmly in the pop-punk frame.

Probably the highlighting feature of The Acoustic Things is that by toning it down, State Champs perfectly showcase Discanio’s mix of soft and gravelly vocals that the electric originals just can’t expose. The Acoustic Things is a great treat for existing fans, but if you’re on the fence about where to invest your cash, The Finer Things would be a far better investment.


Kids In Glass Houses – Peace [Album Review]


  1. Peace
  2. Drive
  3. Set My Body Free
  4. V-I-People
  5. Novocaine
  6. Storm Chasers
  7. The Runaways
  8. Up All Night
  9. Black Cloud
  10. Night Crawler


After their 2011 release In Gold Blood reached the Number 1 spot on the UK Rock Albums Chart, expectations for their new record have been higher than Lindsay Lohan, but Welsh quintet Kids In Glass Houses are back with a vengeance in the form of their explosive new pop album, Peace.

Opening with the title track, it’s unquestionable that Kids In Glass Houses have evolved into something phenomenal. Erupting with energy and instantly establishing itself as a masterpiece in the band’s extensive discography, Peace is a rare gem that will lighten any mood and have you yelling the lyrics until you’re hoarse. It would seem that Kids In Glass Houses are aiming to release the guilty inner pop junkie in all of us and clearly they were not messing about when they said they ‘wanted to inject the fun back into ourselves’.

Unsurprisingly, the album does have an electronic underbelly and traces of computerisation can be found as vocalist Aled Phillips croons the infectious chorus to the Drive, the first single the boys released from the album. Set My Body Free and V-I-People also consist heavily of electronic dance elements, but these songs would be nothing without the feisty guitar riffs and powerful drums that earned Kids In Glass Houses their current status. All of these songs follow a similar route as Peace, with an energetic and robust kick to complement the catchy lyrics and contribute to the fun and carefree theme of the album so far.

Fifth track Novocaine has a darker and more solemn undertone and, although the chorus is lively and loud, it helps to balance the pace of the album. This continues with Storm Chasers, a powerful track that tells a tale of sorrow and regret and has vocalist Aled belting out his emotions with a passion.

Although the album picks up with The Runaways, it can be said that the second half of Peace is a more serious yet relaxed side to the new Kids In Glass Houses. They’ve toned down the usage electronic synthesizers and reverted back to what alt-rock is all about – pulsating drum beats, powerful guitar riffs and earth-shattering vocals that aren’t just about dancing and having a good time. Up All Night sings of a lost love, Black Cloud is a tune that screams of defiance and determination and Night Crawler is an anthemic and solemn finale full of torment and anguish.

With only ten tracks, Peace is short but sweet and each track is worthy of being a top-selling single. All that’s left to tell is whether fans will appreciate the poppier sound of Kids In Glass Houses entering a new era.


Neck Deep – Tramlines Festival 2014 [Review]

For a band that’s only been around since April 2012, pop punk quintet Neck Deep have demolished barriers that would have crushed most bands of their age and experience – the most recent including earning their slot at Tramlines Festival, the biggest and best music festival in South Yorkshire that has seen the likes of Young Guns, The xx, Rolo Tomassi and The Xcerts honour their stages over the years since its birth in 2009.

Playing the Skull and Bones Boys Club stage at The Corporation, Neck Deep didn’t exactly have their work cut out for them whilst playing for only half an hour in such a small and intimate venue, but nevertheless the band graced the stage with a meek humbleness that masked the reality of the vivacious and powerful performance that they had in store. Kicking off the set with Up In Smoke, the robust and fiery debut track from their latest EP A History of Bad Decisions, their audience wasted no time in involving themselves with the antics of vocalist Ben Barlow who bounded around the stage in a fit of energetic arousals and trademark shouty vocals.

Neck Deep upheld their powerful and vigorous presence on the stage throughout and cleverly combined popular singles such as Over and Over and What Did You Expect? which are saturated in typical pop punk angst with shorter, angrier songs such as Kick It and All Hype No Heart that suited the preference of every fan in the audience and obtained an alarming response for such a little-known band. Even during minor technical difficulties the band continued to entertain and every member of the crowd engaged in the not-so-pop-punk customary mosh pit founded by the demands of Barlow.

Regardless of the fact that thirty minutes is hardly enough for Neck Deep to truly portray their undoubtable talent, the boys from Wrexham certainly put on a show worthy of a headlining act and the world can only wait and see what the band have in store for us after the release of their forthcoming debut  album, Wishful Thinking.


Arctic Monkeys – Do I Wanna Know [Review]

Just when you thought they’d fallen off the face of the earth, Steel City’s finest Arctic Monkeys return uninvited into the heart of Britain’s music scene with the spine-chillingly electric second single from their fifth upcoming studio album, Do I Wanna Know?

            Drummer Matt Helders immediately feeds a thread of strong and steady beats, enabling O’Malley’s bass and Turner’s ominous guitar riffs to speak volumes with their brooding and surly tones that ooze sex appeal and are sure to entice the hearts of thousands in a live audience. At once, it is clear that this is a song crafted with the intention of following a heavier and darker route for a more mature and experienced band that has surfaced from the depths of light-hearted songs such as I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor and My Propeller. This is shown perfectly when the song climaxes into a chorus of ‘crawling back to you…’ complete with falsetto call-and-response from Helders and infectious twangs of Alex Turner’s guitar that hang heavy with subtle angst, artfully mirroring the tenor of R U Mine?, the debut single from their forthcoming album AM. 

Still, Alex Turner sticks to his Yorkshire roots with sullen colloquialisms such as, ‘do you ever get that fear that you can’t shift the tide that sticks around like summat in your teeth’ – a reminder that yes, this is still the humble band from Sheffield that had a fast track to fame in 2005.

Consequently, this is a promising taste of the long-awaited album set for release on 9th September. It is saturated in depth and torment yet is still easy on the ears with its infectious rhythm that will surely imprint itself upon the minds of many. This is a mellow and easy-going tune which may not tickle the fancies of everyone, least of all those who are still yearning for ‘the old Arctic Monkeys,’ but it is undeniable that Arctic Monkeys have more than proven themselves over the years and this end result is remarkable for the little band from Sheffield that have definitely earned their stripes.