[REVIEW] The Used LIVE @ O2 Academy Bristol, 27/08/2018 (LIVE VIDEO AND PICTURES)

After rescheduling their UK tour earlier this year, The Used finally arrived in Bristol this week along with support act LOWLIVES from Los Angeles. As a first time The Used-goer, the O2 Academy seems like a small venue for what could be considered one of the biggest bands of my childhood, and while LOWLIVES put on an amazing set, the possibility of the crowd barely growing dawned upon me as each glance around looked as empty as the first. With O2 priority situated on the front row, I took my place in the second ready to hold my spot until my childhood heroes took the stage. LOWLIVES have been on my radar before, but with only two songs available on Spotify, their set was filled to the brim with material. With little chatter and a grunge-esque vibe, it’s easy to see LOWLIVES filling up a room of similar size and having a pretty energetic show. It’s fair to say that they made a good few fans that night, including myself and the company around me, so let’s hope they return for a headlining tour themselves.

Kicking off the set with ‘Take It Away’ the crowd instantly gets in high spirits, with a pit opening up in the middle and a lot of energetic bodies ready to get their party on. The expectations of The Used pushing their most recent album, The Canyon were diminished that night. It had only been a year or so prior that the band played In Love and Death in full in London, but their Bristol appearance was full of old songs that really pumped up the room and rekindling a lot of love and angst from our teenage years. It didn’t take long for me to be willing to give up my absolutely adoring spot in the second row to throw myself in the pits, and I’m not sure if it was the band or our generation of punk rockers, but it was fun. There was no blind pushing and shoving, but everyone got involved and no one got touchy. There was only a lot of love and compassion in that crowd, which only added to the sense of euphoria. Well done, Bristol. You’ve made it to one of our top places for live alternative music!

At this point, it’s only positive words I can truly award The Used for their time in Bristol. Playing hit after hit from albums such as In Love and Death, Imaginary Enemy, Artwork and Lies For The Liars it was a genuine surprise that the crowd kept up the energy throughout the entire set list. Offering a sense of intimacy during ‘Empty With You’ and ‘On My Own’ only offered the briefest of breathers. Voices were definitely lost as the crowd sung out their hearts reaching out to Bert with his interactive gestures. Perhaps the lead singer knew that he would be pushing the crowd to their full limits, adding Shakespearian soliloquy’s during intermissions. During ‘Pretty Handsome Awkward’ you could feel the exhaustion but sheer determination of the crowd seeing the night through with the same energy they started with. I can’t talk for anyone else, but with shaky legs and a heart rate above 140bpm, my lungs gasped for fresh air – only for the band to return on stage for their encore.

A medley of Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and their ‘A Box Full Of Sharp Objects’ absolutely kicked off. It was like starting the evening all over again, with a bigger pit and louder voices. I’m sure there were a few tears, too. Luckily enough, our very own cameraman Owen Jeffreys managed to catch the whole phenomenal experience of their encore, which you can watch below:

All in all, if we rated things out of 10, The Used’s live show would be at 100. Their presence and the way it rubs off on the crowd is prodigious. Many hugs were shared between strangers, and there was a sense of unity that is ultimately becoming more rare. If you get a chance to catch The Used along with LOWLIVES on the remainder of their UK tour, please do! It’s an unforgettable experience, and a show that you’ll be promising yourself to relive the next time they return to our sunny UK shores.

If you went to the Bristol show, let us know what you think!

gigs

[REVIEW] PUSHING DAISIES – Take Me Back To The Light

Bristol-based emo rock quartet Pushing Daises dropped their highly anticipated EP, Take Me Back To The Light, this time is running it solo. Being their first record single 2016’s Stay Sad, Pushing Daisies have created an exciting ambient album, holding onto the cadenced drums complimenting structured riffs. First track ‘Fears’ is infectious in nature, underlined with a deep bass that really adds a sense of depth and tying the track together. The seven-track EP is quick to show off the talents that Pushing Daises own when it comes to the contemporary emo genre. ‘Bleed’ on the other hands, takes a more punk stance with a clear bass line and tightened snare. Being lead by these two instruments, the vocals featured in ‘Bleed’ sets the tone of the track, but it doesn’t fall short of the expenditure that the band garner for a heavier track.

Mismatched melodies bring us into ‘Picture Frame’ which emphasises the guitar, overall creating a louder sounding track than the previous two. This time around, the drum relies heavily on its symbols, creating an ambient affair intertwined with an echoed guitar solo. Stealing the spotlight for best track on the EP, ‘Picture Frame’ compiles so much variance and a nostalgic kick into the bands previous material. ‘Crickets’ is close though, using a lower bass line and bass drum to bring a massive depth below a massive chorus, emphasised by the fluctuating guitar. At this turning point, we can hear the combination of instruments to bring the music to life, with ‘Crickets’ putting emphasis on each throughout its duration.

Slowing down the tempo, ‘Night Masquerade’ is almost soundtrack-like, although displays the vocal range further, dabbling in eerie ambience toned with layered instrumentals. Use of pugnacious screams faded through the bridges adds so much more depth to the track that it launches Pushing Daises into one of the most exciting bands of the modern age, and Take Me Back To The Light is in the running for this year’s selection of new talent. Concluding the EP with final track ‘Luxury,’ Take Me Back To The Light hones on the skill that has so far been on show for a final display of Pushing Daisies’ band chemistry. It’s a song containing sheer power as they combine their efforts of contemporary, modern emo and create an epic soundscape to end the EP.

Keep up to date with Pushing Daises on Facebook and Instagram and be sure to check them out on BandCamp.

Alternative music

Lighten Up Laura ‘Acting Your Age’ EP Review

LUPEP

It’s late and there’s no chance of any sleep soon. There’s too much caffeine in my system to lay my head down on the pillow and drift away. My brain is wired and my thoughts are mismatched – time for a distraction. An EP that’s been recently recommended is Lighten Up Laura’s Acting Your Age. Instead of opening the link to SoundCloud, I try my luck with Spotify, and luckily, the EP is the first on the list. Bingo. I press play and get introduced to the band instantly with the song “Take Your Shirt Off (It Looks Better When On Me).” The caffeine that’s been laying somewhat dormant until now starts sending buzzes and jolts of electricity around my body. This is not a band that requires a second listen to ensure you like what you’re hearing. It hooks you in straight away with sophisticated guitar, and laid-back, relaxing vocals that have a hint of angst and agony. “Take Your Shirt Off” feels like a public display of intimacy, like the guys have ripped open their chests to share their fears and desires in confidence.

LUPBAND2

The intimacy can also be seen in the track “Apart From,” which is slower than “Take Your Shirt Off,” but still holds a great amount of power and emotion within the instruments. The EP starts to quicken its tempo in the the song, “Missed The Boat,” and you can start to see the music fit in with their self description of “Unnecessarily loud and fast-past ramblings” as seen on their facebook page, and I think they’ve pretty much got it spot on.  It’s not every day you come across a band with hinted undertones of Placebo, Foo Fighters and Incubus all in one. In fact, I believe whatever genre a person was to favor, Lighten Up Laura have the ability to adhere and appeal to most with their unique and well constructed sound. “Plactecine” takes a different feel, but still holds on to that emotion that Lighten Up Laura hands out in abundance. The song is heavily complimented by the bass, giving the song the overall positive and upbeat attitude.

LUPSHIRT“Unnecessarily loud and fast-paced ramblings.” 

With the mixing and help of Neil Kennedy at The Ranch, who has seen names such as Creeper and Moose Blood, and George Gallivan engineering, Acting Your Age is the first EP release from the band. Lighten Up Laura is a combination of students studying performance and production courses at Southampton Solent University. The jointed faces behind Lighten Up Laura are not only dedicated but willingly putting themselves on the front-line, showing clear passion and dedication for the band. Lighten Up Laura doesn’t have years to compare and contrast, with “Chewed Up,” and “You,” being released as standalone singles earlier this year. Although, there are major differences and similarities. Both independent singles are musically beautiful and showcases their originality, but Acting Your Age feels more concise, with clear direction and a firm grip on their distinctive sound. The bands influences range across various genres including Moose Blood, Lower Than Atlantis, Baston Manor, Lonely The Brave and ABBA; Acting Your Age is not only a wonderfully compiled showcase of their talents but they have made their mark on the Southampton scene, and a genuine stepping stone into a fast-paced and ever-changing industry.

LUPBAND

The most mesmerizing aspects of Acting Your Age is the vocal range of Ollie Maxwell and the cadency and energetic drumming of Sammy Abecassis that really puts this EP together. It’s worth noting that the efforts placed into Lighten Up Laura by the whole band including guitarist Rory Smith and bassist Fred Devonport are what distinguishes them, because despite the outstanding components of Acting Your Age, what makes it special is the hard work and talent of all the members combined.

Keep up to date with Lighten Up Laura by following their FACEBOOK and TWITTER and take a listen on SPOTIFY.

 

Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

 

 

 

 

Discover music

Neck Deep talks ‘The Peace and the Panic’ and Slam Dunk

 

 

On Sunday the 21st of May, pop punk band Neck Deep dropped two new singles, “Where Do We Go When We Go,” and “Happy Judgement Day,” from their forthcoming album ‘The Peace and the Panic.” Since forming in 2012, the band has garnered a lot of attention  and to this day has a growing fan base. The band took to BBC Radio 1 to stream their new tracks with their twitter live whilst on air. The first song they streamed was “Where Do We Go When We Go,” was an instant hit among fans. The song plays on the nursery rhyme opening with “Pain, pain, go away, come back another day; I just want to get one up on life before it kills me.” First listening was hard to get to grips with the new sound that Neck Deep have gone for – Barlow has stopped the shouting and instead gone for melody, and the band (whilst keeping their energy) have gone for a little more well-constructed.

“Happy Judgement Day,” is easier to love at first listen. It’s relevant, catchy and political with the right amount of angst weaved into it. When asked by twitter user @MSlags, “What has changed for Neck Deep for #ThePeaceThePanic,” the band responded with Andrew W.K’s ‘Party Hard’ spirit “we do what we want and we like what we do.” It’s refreshing to see a band proud of what they have achieved, enjoying the sound of their own music and excited to play it live. Twitter user @sadsongchloe asked “what was the writing process like while creating the new album? #ThePeaceThePanic @NeckDeepUK” and surprisingly, the band responded “We were writing this record for ages. It was the first time we all worked together as a full band – EVERYONE has songs on this album.”

Although, yes, their sound has somewhat changed in the two new tracks with an overall feeling of maturity in their music, the guys still channel their energy and heart throughout. Their slight changes has worked in favour for Neck Deep, getting fans hyped for the new album that’s been confirmed for release in early August.

vinyl-whiteretaild2c

Track Listing: 

1. Motion Sickness
2. Happy Judgement Day
3. In Bloom
4. 19 Seventy Sumthin’
5. Parachute
6. Don’t Wait (ft. Sam Carter)
7. Heavy Lies
8. Critical Mistake
9. The Grand Delusion
10. Wish You Were Here
11. Where Do We Go When We Go

Talking to altpress.com about the album, Barlow tells of how and why they changed since “Life’s Not Out To Get You” by explaining “The Peace And The Panic is about how we’ve grown up and experienced life in the last couple of years. When we were writing Life’s Not Out To Get You, we were going through a period of uninterrupted happiness. We were super-content, but as that album came out, life changed for us. Over the two years we’ve toured that record, so much has happened that I’ve re-evaluated what life is about and questioned whether just having a positive outlook is enough.” You can read more of the interview with altpress.com by clicking here. The interview is personal, heartwarming and a real insight to the whole process of creating the album, giving readers a real appreciation for the work that’s gone into it and not just the music it provides.

With Slam Dunk Festival kicking off today in Leeds, the band tweeted

getting everyone excited for what comes next. Could we be hearing more of ‘The Peace and The Panic’? Can we expect an upcoming tour? No matter what, the band are keeping everyone’s interest sky-high as we hear more and more about the album.

music

High Visions ‘Waving The White Flag’ Review & Exclusive Interview

 

 

(Photo credit to Rosie Verney Photography)

“We’re putting punk back in pop punk,” High Visions said in an interview with Live A Little Bit Louder, and their latest EP, ‘Waving the White Flag’ has definitely started them on the right track. The EP has copious amounts of highly energetic guitar riffs, strong bass lines, outstanding contrasts of vocals all complimented by the drums. The trio have mixed and blended each instrument together to cultivate an awesome and unique recipe on their take of pop punk. “I feel like our sound is separate from that of other pop punk bands, particularly in the music scene we’re in. We’ve tried to avoid the more well-known pop punk tropes with our music, and we definitely enjoy the style of music we play,” Zyggy, bassist of High Visisons says, “We take a lot of influence from the late ’90’s and early 00’s pop punk, such as Sum 41, Brand New and The Offspring. I don’t know how pretentious this could sound [and even though] we’re not pioneers within the pop punk scene or anything, we do feel like our sound is a way of putting the punk back into pop punk!”

Wed love to collaborate with our friends in the pop punk scene, particularly the boys in Safeguard. Especially in the North, there’s such a supportive community, with so many bands looking out for each other – it’s such an encouraging environment.”

Drunkenly meeting at Leeds’s dedicated rock venue, The Key Club, the guys started High Visions through the enjoyment and passion they share for music. “We were all in different projects at the time – Louis and Alex were studying at Leeds College of Music, and I was at Leeds University,” Zyggy explains, “[High Visions started] as a fun project that came out of a couple of impromptu jam sessions and Leeds College of Music.” He adds. “Now that we’ve all finished University, it seems like the perfect time to start taking things to a new level and although our schedules are quite tight nowadays – with myself and Louis in Leeds and Alex in Rotherham – we still try and go to Key Club when we can for old times sake.”

HV2

(Photo credit to Martin Crandon)

One track that stands out the most on the EP, and not for a catchy chorus that gets stuck in your head, is ‘Not Bent, Just Broke.’ “We challenged ourselves to write a song that was under a minute long, and we (just about) succeeded!” The song is of high, completely wild energy. “It’s the song that goes down the best at live shows. I remember joining a few too many of our own mosh pits during the final moments of the song!”

‘I’m Scared of What Might Happen’ is a showcase of the bands creativity. “‘I’m Scared of What Might Happen’ is my personal favourite; it’s a real grower,” Zyggy starts, “Louis came up with a lot of the initial concept which we then spent quite a lot of time developing into the version that’s on the EP right now.” It starts like an old movie theatre, with the sound of a movie reel in the background. It’s relaxing, it’s like the bands five minute breather from all that high energy. You imagine the boys in a black and white, stuttering film as they climb over into a coloured motion picture as the drums kick in and contrasts the old with the new. It feels like old school pop punk, in a modern world. “The lyrics are also pretty special to me as well. I rewrote them quite a lot over the perioud between writing and recording the song; it’s mainly about being far away from home and leaving people behind. Although I love living in Leeds, it’s hard having to leave people you love when you start moving on with your life. That’s basically what it’s about to me.”

HVEP

The six track EP is taken from a selection of the guys influences, and each of their preferences shines through. “We’re all into different styles of music – Louis is into hardcore and metal, Alex is into mid-00’s pop punk and I’m into the more modern style of pop punk and emo. To me, the songs highlight all the difference influences that our playing styles encompass. I like to think of it as a mission statement or something, like “Hey we’re High Visions and this is what we do. The EP is a collection of songs that we wrote in the first months after High Visions formed.”

“‘Waving The White Flag’ sets the ground for how we’re going to be developing our style in the future.”

“Our debut single ‘Amy,’ as well as the first track on the EP ‘Speakeasy’ are song I’d suggest to new listeners,” Zyggy says. Apparently, the best way to review an album is to listen to it ‘in the wild.’ This means, listen to the album away from notebooks and laptops, and to just simply enjoy it. And do that on repeat. Do it when you’re simply just living. Little did I know, during a game of Rocket League whilst trying to save a goal, I would be screaming the chorus of ‘Speakeasy’ at the top of my lungs. A cliche, but this song is so insanely catchy that  it stays with you. It’s excitingly powerful and aggressive, and the vocals only enhances the attitude of the song. This EP needs more than just any old headphones to listen with. There’s a huge difference between the iPhone headphones I used to initially listen, and the Audio-Technica’s I’m using now. A strong sound system changes everything – and all I can say, that hearing every single note of the guitar; every strum of the bass and every beat of the drum makes the listening experience of ‘Waving The White Flag’ unforgettable. It’s found it’s way into my daily playlists, or even going out of my way to stick it on. “The first song we wrote was ‘Head Underwater,’ and the initial idea for the song came to us in the first ten minutes of us jamming together,” Zyggy remembers, “That song kind of laid the foundation for the type of music we wanted to play, I think. It is definitely reminiscent of Teenage Kicks though – I can’t deny that!” Much like bands such as KoRn and Neck Deep taking nursery rhymes and spinning them into something almost entirely new, ‘Head Underwater’ proves that even though it shares similarities to The Undertones hit single ‘Teenage Kicks’ that their imagination can take them to different places. Despite the energetic and playful song, there are some real feeling behind the song. “I ended up writing the verses about how I was feeling about being in Leeds for the first time, struggling with anxiety and trying to find my feet. As far as songs go, it’s one of our most straightforward, and one of our favourites to play live.”

hvep1

High Visions ‘Waving The White Flag’ is only the start of the bands journey, and happy with the foundations they’ve laid for themselves and their growing fan base, and whilst this adventure is only just beginning, the guys behind High Visions are already planning what’s to happen next. “We’ve written a couple of new songs already. They’re harder hitting than anything on ‘Waving The White Flag,’ with heavier riffs from our guitarist, Louis. We’ve also incorporated some melodic hardcore and early post-hardcore into our sound,” Zyggy says, “but in the meantime whilst we’re writing material for our sophomore EP, we’re planning on playing a few shows over the summer and also start playing outside of Leeds as well! The next few months are definitely a big turning point in all of our lives, due to two of us graduating, however High Visions is staying a constant in our lives.”

Click HERE to listen to High Visions ‘Waving The White Flag’ on Spotify and follow them on FACEBOOK to stay up to date with their music. 

 

Discover music

Less Than Jake – Sound The Alarm Review

less-than-jake-banner

Less Than Jake, a band that’s mastered the art form of creating catchy ska punk hits that are not only catchy, but emotionally driven long ago.

Earlier in February, Less Than Jake finally hit back from a quiet few years with a new addition to their list of albums. Sound The Alarm released on the 3rd of February and despite the amount of years the guys have been putting on shows, creating music and ultimately having a good time, Less Than Jake has still managed to keep the ska punk theme that we’ve all come to love. It’s a nostalgic taste of something new – titles such as “Things Change” and “Good Sign” are songs that will remind you of the 2003 Anthem days, while songs like “Bomb Drop” gives us a taste of what 2006’s In With The Out Crowd would have sounded like if they sprinkled a bit more ska over that punk rock cake they cooked up.

“Call To Arms” is the opening track. It’s faced paced, it’s catchy and full of bass. It’s best choice of song to kick off the album – it’s a preview of whats to come over the next handful of songs. It’s a classic Less Than Jake sound, and the song to get anyone pumped.

The 7 song album has a run-time of 20 minutes, which is never enough time to listen to Less Than Jake. Even when the release date was still waiting to be announced, and more and more information would leak about the album, I couldn’t figure out whether or not it would be an EP or an album. Either way, despite it’s short length, it’s what everyone’s been waiting for.

“Years of Living Dangerously” is the song that shows the most maturity out of the album. While each song has every bit of dance inducing tunes that get you moving even though you’re hunched over a laptop (hollah!), the songs show a more emotional side than we have seen before. The Less Than Jake vocals have always been unique – you can tell the band from a mile away if you hear the words – but this album really shows off just how well the whole band mixes. Every single instrument is just as much prominent as it is blended to create a well-rounded sound, and the vocals are just a sprinkle on top of strawberry cake. Bellissimo! 

Visit the Less Than Jake website for information on current tour updates by clicking here. They were recently announced for the Slam Dunk UK festival, alongside Zebrahead, Goldfinger and Reel Big Fish.

music

Taking Back Sunday with special guests Frank Iero and the Patience and Milestones @ Manchester o2 Ritz

On September 16th 2016, Taking Back Sunday released their latest album ‘Tidal Wave.’ It marked a new era for Taking Back Sunday – less emo, and well, more of an expression of their lives. Since the ages of everyone’s MSN names being “the truth is that you could slit my throat and with my one last gasping breath I’d apologise for bleeding on your shirt,” (cue OH OOOOOH) the men behind Taking Back Sunday have grown in to families and are fathers. This isn’t to say ‘Tidal Wave’ isn’t the TBS we have all come to love over the years, it’s a mature kind of nostalgic. An album that will more than likely guarantee you to listen ‘Cute without the ‘E” before you you finish your TBS music binge.

“The Smiths made a whole bunch of sad boys like us.”

-Adam Lazzara

The release of ‘Tidal Wave’ also meant a tour to promote that new album. It’s pretty certain that if every 2000’s emo kid didn’t squeal aloud, then they definitely squealed internally. Unfortunately for us Welshies, TBS didn’t announce any shows on our side of the UK. This was not going to stop us, so we traveled to Manchester – if there’s anything I’ve always dreamed of, it’s screaming ‘You’re so last summer’ at the top of my lungs while staring at Adam Lazzara. (p.s he’s still as beautiful as ever.) After what seemed like an eternity of waiting and traveling and rushing to the merch stand, we were finally waiting on the balcony of Manchester’s o2 Ritz.

Milestones was the first band to take the stage and attempt to liven up the crowd. As a band new to myself and no doubt many others, it really didn’t take them long to get us moving at all. They’re stage presence was outstanding – they were interactive, they were fun and by god, were they good. Sure, there were a few minor blips like the odd screech of the amps but that didn’t deter the crowd from enjoying their entire set. There was an insane vocal range on the singer, amazing talents from the guitars and the bass and drums combined were moving the crowd involuntary. Their music is available on Spotify, you can find them here. If you’re fans of Frank Iero and Taking Back Sunday, they’re definitely worth the listen.  Frank Iero andthe Patience garnered their own fan crowd at the show. Even waiting in line to get in there were people in Frank Iero shirts and notebooks in hand covered in My Chemical Romance and Frank Iero stickers clearly hoping for a meet and greet. I think the majority wore more merch supporting Frank Iero than there were for Taking Back Sunday, until of course the merch stand got raided.

Luckily, the majority of the Frank Iero set list was covered on camera that you can find here if the video above doesn’t work. It’s easy to see the excitement he generated from bouncing fans, circle pits opening up and the amount of crowd surfing that was happening. If it’s one thing I’ve got to say for Frank Iero andthe Patience is that he’s much, much better live. The atmosphere that surrounded his set list was nothing short of epic. Whoever was on lights done an amazing job all night, but as you can see from the video above, the lights were perfect and on point for Iero’s set. It’s surprising the fans had enough energy left to hear all their favourite Taking Back Sunday anthems blasted from loud speakers with overwhelming bass.

Taking Back Sunday, for me, was the best damn show I’ve been to in a very long time. It was a rocky start, to be totally honest. It was like the fans wasn’t sure how to react to this band who gave us our teenage anthems being in front of them. But, when it was time to bust out tunes from the ‘Tell All Your Friends’ album, the crowd went insane. It was surreal seeing them – to see Adam Lazzara just as lively on stage as he is in the videos. To see the guy that was my desktop background for many of years actually swing around the microphone with my own eyes AND never fail to grab it was spectacular as it was. To even hear the songs exactly like they are on your home speakers. There were times when the crowd was so pumped that our voices combined completely drowned out the speakers. It even made the guys on stage smile multiple times. It’s fair to say it was just an awesome time for everyone involved. Even admitting his failed jokes on stage and at times just wanting to talk, when a fan shouted to “play some music,” Lazzara thanked him for getting him back on track.

Usually, when a band tours to promote their new album, many of fans in the crowd will be unresponsive to the songs from that album. Personally, I spend so much time listening to music that I listened to ‘Tidal Wave’ extensively and without reading any reviews thought that fans would have been turned off the maturity of the album. This show put those thoughts in their grave, in fact, every one there was all for ‘Tidal Wave‘ and every song from the album they played. Of course, the older hits generated a whole more bunch of energy, but the latest album got an amazing reaction.

tbs

(Taking Back Sunday set list taken from setlist.fm) 

Tonight, Taking Back Sunday play in Nottingham’s Rock City and then end the UK tour in Norwich’s UEA on the 18th. Frank Iero andthe Patience follows them on their tour until the 25th of February in Utrecht, Netherlands. These two acts are definitely a must see for all pop punk/ rock fans around the globe, and I advise any gig-goers to try their shows out and see just how much of a good time they’ll end up having.

 

music