Category Archives: TVD UK

TVD Live Shots: The Adicts at the O2 Islington Academy, 6/28

One of the many things I love about living in London is the fact that I get to see so many of bands from the original punk movement play live in their native environment. The story of punk in London is littered with stories of the best of the best; the Pistols, The Clash, The Damned, The Ruts, The Slits, and of course The Adicts.

A staple of the early ’80s London punk scene and indie charts alike, The Adicts set themselves apart from the onslaught of punk bands by focusing not only on the songs but also on their image. The group wears all-white clothing with black boots and black bowler hats. Frontman Keith “Monkey” Warren sports equally comical and frightening joker makeup, flamboyant checkerboard and polka dot suits, flared trousers, along with the bowler hat and gloves. Their live show quickly became a spectacle of its own as the band complimented their visual style with the likes of novelty items such as streamers, confetti, playing cards, joker hats, toy instruments, and glitter.

I’ve never seen the band live, so when the chance came to catch them at the very cool O2 Islington Academy I jumped on it. The Adicts were recently signed to Nuclear Blast (kudos to NB for being such a fresh and forward thinking label, by the way) and released And it was So!, their tenth studio album, and it’s garnered a slew of positive reviews.

Not a lot of punk bands, or any groups for that matter, can have a 40 year plus career and still look to be in their prime. The Adicts somehow discovered the punk rock fountain of youth which is not only showcased in their recent videos to support the new record, but even live I thought to myself, how old are these guys? They looked fantastic on stage. Maybe it was a couple of drinks impairing my vision a bit, but these guys not only had the energy of their prime in the ’80s, but their Clockwork Orange style dress makes them appear ageless.

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UK Artist of the Week: Van Common

Having unveiled his heartfelt brand of jangle-pop to the world through the gorgeous debut single, “This Afternoon,” Dutch solo artist Van Common has gone one better on his sophomore release, “Moonlight Blue.”

Written one late night in a secluded beach house, and inspired by the intimate connection Van Common feels to the moon, “Moonlight Blue” beautifully combines simplistic, lo-fi melodies with ethereal hazy vocals that sweep you along on an emotive, almost dream-like journey.

Sebastiaan van Ravenhorst—aka Van Common—had spent years playing in bands before recently making the move to solo artist,with the intention of taking full creative control of the music he made. The decision paid off immediately with “This Afternoon” picking up almost 250,000 streams on Spotify and a number of impressive shows following with the artist wowing crowds at Paradiso Amsterdam, Sofar Sounds San Francisco, and Rockwood Music Hall, New York.

“Moonlight Blue” is in stores now.

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TVD Live Shots: Hollywood Vampires, The Damned, and The Darkness at SSE Arena, 6/20

The history of the Hollywood Vampires originates in the 1970s on the Sunset Strip at the world-famous Rainbow Bar & Grill. The upstairs bar is where the original Vamps formed a drinking club that included legends Keith Moon, John Lennon, Harry Nilsson, and just about any other rock star who found themselves passing through.

While the club would lay dormant for a couple of decades, Alice Cooper and Johnny Depp would breathe new life into the Vampires in 2015. Since then, a band has consisted of the core of Cooper, Depp, and Aerosmith axeman Joe Perry. They’ve played gigs and festivals, released an album, and finally made their way over to the UK for a tour in 2018. This is the first time I would see the band live—and they were spectacular.

I’ve read a few recent reviews that claimed Depp was “staggering” across the stage but I’m not sure what the hell they’re talking about. The Vampires looked and sounded great. And anyone who’s asking the question of whether or not Depp deserves to share the stage with rock ‘n’ roll royalty should listen to what his conspirators have to say.

Joe Perry has praised his actor friend’s musical skill, saying he was as “good as anybody I’ve worked with,” and “I don’t think he’d be up on the stage with Alice and me and the other cats if he wasn’t holding his own as he does.” Cooper’s praise is equally flattering, adding, “He’s really a good player. He’s a musician through and through I don’t think of him as an actor. He’s a guitar player.” If that’s not enough credentials, then move along and find another supergroup to bitch about.

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UK Artist of the Week: Megan Airlie

This week’s artist of the week, Megan Airlie, transports us back in time with her absolutely stunning new single “Honey,” and it will give you all the feels.

Every now and again a truly unique artist comes along, and Airlie is one of these artists. Her voice is second to none, regularly drawing comparisons to the likes of Billie Holiday, and its clear why from the first 30 seconds of “Honey.”

She manages to combine her love of jazz and blues to create something that feels both modern and old school at the same time, and the latest single is yet another example of this, reminding us of cool summer evenings and forgetting the world around us. Think Holiday and Etta James as well as more modern Joanna Newsom, and you’re almost there.

Airlie first gained attention after releasing her debut single “After River” earlier this year, and it’s no surprise why. There really is no one doing what this Scottish songwriter is doing right now—and we can’t wait to see what she gets up to next.

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Needle Drop: Kid Cupid, “Unholy Ceremony” EP

Following the success of last year’s cinematic single “Easy,” London’s Kid Cupid have now shared their impressive and immersive debut EP, “Unholy Ceremony.”

A euphoric fusion of sounds based around conversations you’d have with a friend in pain, the EP kicks off with the whirring hooks and tribal beats of “Low.” Addressing the theme of codependency and the effect this can have on someone, the track flows with a majestic, sweeping emotion.

Continuing the blissful atmospherics, “Better” is an instantly catchy, feel-good anthem. Celebrating all the qualities we love about someone we care about, it exudes a twinkling grace; showcasing front-woman Laura Shaw’s vocals at their richest, as they soar with a subtle, soulful power.

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UK Artist of the Week: Aaron Ward

Sometimes, all you need from a song is simplicity—remove all the bells and whistles and let the lyrics carry the moment, creating something truly moving and poignant in the process. This is what UK newcomer Aaron Ward has managed to do so exquisitely with his debut solo single “I Don’t Mind.”

The track falls somewhere between the realms of electronica and folk, and Ward himself has been already compared to Vance Joy and Bon Iver—not a bad start if you ask us! But what Ward uniquely manages to portray here is a genuine sense of emotion which flows from “I Don’t Mind” by the bucket-load. Ward’s colloquial vocal style renders the lyrics all the more relatable, as does the clever video released in tandem with the single, set in a typical English pub where many a worry can be shared over a pint or two.

“I Don’t Mind” tackles a subject that is more important now than ever, highlighting the importance of friendship and the need to be more open. In a world with so much awfulness at the moment, we think it’s a message that needs to be sung from the rooftops. So sit back, grab a drink, and go have a chat with one of your oldest pals about their problems. You’ll be surprised what comes out.

“I Don’t Mind” is in stores now via Speak Right Records.

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Needle Drop: Sabatta, Misfit Music

With praise from Afropunk, BBC 6Music, and The Punk Site under their belts, London duo Sabatta have just released their immense new album. An epic, energy-fuelled ride from start to finish, Misfit Music defies genres and expectations in all the best ways.

Kicking off with the racing riffs and fierce rap of “Rock Star Shit,” a tongue-in-cheek take on what it means to be a modern-day rock star, the album continues with one intense sonic blast after another. Propelled by riotous riffs and the ferocious power of front-man Yinka’s vocals, “Wicked Right Now” fuses elements of funk, soul, and rock, creating a powerful barrage of sound that grabs you by the ears and doesn’t let go.

Whilst the playful interplay of Debbie Dee and Yinka’s vocals stands out on “Always,” “Feel It Too” slows down the tempo a notch, oozing a mellow, ska-punk groove before “Scream Of Consciousness” blasts into your soul with its thrashing hooks and impassioned whirlwind of fury, as the potent force of Yinka’s vocals rages alongside funk-fuelled bass lines. A perfectly angst-driven take on modern life.

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UK Artist of the Week: Superego

Midlands based four-piece Superego have made an immediate impact on the British indie-rock scene through their grunge-tinged debut single “Sleep.” Not ones to be left behind, we’re giddily climbing aboard the Superego bandwagon and are delighted to name them our UK Artist of The Week.

Having already toured with industry darlings such as Black Honey, and supported Pale Waves, The Big Moon, and Dead!, Superego were always destined for great things. “Sleep” is a thunderous opening salvo from a talented young band who have combined the heavy distortion of ’90s grunge with shimmering, shoegaze-inflected soundscapes.

Juxtaposing angular, in your face guitars with a hazy, dream-like vocal expertly delivered by singer Cam Potts, “Sleep” sounds like the bastard child of Mudhoney having a playground fight with The Smashing Pumpkins while Lush watch on like disapproving parents.

Now, with a well of Billy Ryder-Jones (The Coral) produced material already in the bag, and a slot confirmed at DIY’s Big Indie Big Nights showcase on June 13th, we don’t think this’ll be the last you’ll be hearing of Superego.

“Sleep” is available to stream on Spotify. Free tickets for Superego’s Big Indie Big Nights showcase are available here.

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UK Artist of the Week: Catgod

Oxford band Catgod have previously charmed crowds at Truck Festival and Sofar Sounds, and received acclaim from BBC 6 Music’s Lauren Laverne and Tom Robinson, Clash, and The Line Of Best Fit. Lead by sibling duo Robin Christensen-Marriott and Catherine Marriott, they’re now ready to release their debut EP “Heartbeat In My Hand.”

Taken from the EP, lead single ‘Keep My Promises’ is a beautiful fusion of sounds interwoven to create something truly majestic. As Robin’s John Martyn-reminiscent languid vocals glide throughout, the track oozes a twinkling musicality as luscious harmonies float across an epic, cinematic soundscape.

Throughout the EP, Catgod fuse together an eclectic range of influences—from folk to trip hop—as each track flows with a sweeping, spellbinding grandeur. From the delicate, emotion-strewn splendour of title-track “Heartbeat In My Hand” and the effervescent grace of “Let Go,” to the more abstract musicality and shimmering harmonies of closer “Owing You,” the EP showcases the band’s ability to create inspired, genre-defying offerings. It’s an innovative debut collection that captivates on first listen.

“Heartbeat In My Hand,” the debut EP from Catgod, is in stores 22nd June.

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TVD Live Shots: Foreigner at the Royal Albert Hall, 5/16

Foreigner’s Records was released on November 29, 1982, the compilation spanning the band’s first four albums through 1981. Along with their second album, Double Vision, the release is the group’s best-selling record. I must have played this one a thousand times when I was a kid. Mind you, I was ten at the time, yet every song on that record is a bona fide global smash hit, and the music still holds up today. It would go on to become certified seven times platinum, something most of us will never see again in our lifetime.

Fast forward almost four decades and a new Foreigner led by founding member Mick Jones (who let’s not forget joined the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2013) is alive and well and arguably sounding better than ever before. Sure they’re missing their original vocalist, the almighty Lou Gramm, but holy shit does Kelly Hansen play the part well. He’s been part of the band for more than a decade now and not only is he a stellar vocalist, he adds a new dynamic to the group. Anyone who sees the band live can’t deny the unbridled talent and charisma Hansen brings to the band.

Add to that Dokken bass master Jeff Pilson, Big Country’s Bruce Watson, former Whitesnake drummer Chris Frazier, sax man Thom Gimbel, and keyboardist Michael Bluestein, and you have a group of musicians who not only recreate the legendary songs live, they add a welcome and slight modern twist. The show was a non-stop hits-a-palooza that featured all the classics. “Double Vision,” “Cold As Ice,” “Waiting for a Girl Like You,” “Dirty White Boy,”—I could go on for a while here, but the real highlight for me was how incredible “Urgent” and “Juke Box Hero” sounded live—two of my favorites.

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UK Artist of the Week and Video Premiere: Tuesday Syndicate

Following their last single “Hourglass,” Devon band Tuesday Syndicate have returned with a brand new video for latest offering, “173.”

An instantly infectious uptempo slice of vibrant indie-pop, “173” races with catchy hooks and impassioned, pop-inspired vocals. With a chorus that’ll stick in your ears on first listen, the track offers an immense outpouring of emotion alongside a hurtling upbeat energy; the perfect combination for that reviving summer anthem you’ve been waiting for.

Having formed five years ago, Tuesday Syndicate have wowed crowds at Isle Of Wight Festival and Shepherd’s Bush Empire, and are now set to continue charming fans with this rousing new single.

Watch the new video for “173” above.

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TVD Live Shots: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds at the 3Arena, Dublin, 5/10

I’ve seen the Gallagher brothers shows individually over the past few months and let me tell you that they are two very different experiences. Liam opens with Oasis classics right out of the gate, while Noel focused on his new material and peppers in a few Oasis numbers in the middle and end of his. I don’t think it says anything about the strength of either brother’s solo material as both of their current records are equally brilliant, but I do think Liam is making a statement while Noel is a bit more seasoned on the “solo” road at the moment.

Opening with a one-two (three, four, and five) punch from 2017’s Who Built the Moon?, Noel blasted into “Fort Knox” directly into “Holy Mountain.” It was as if he’d be playing his new record in its entirety as the first five songs of the set matched his latest album in running order. Who Built the Moon? is a bit of a progression for Noel and his High Flying Birds. They’ve dirtied up their sound, injected a punch of soul, and dialed up the volume and aggression which made for a proper Britrock arena show.

It’s interesting to me that Noel’s albums are evolving much like the Oasis catalog—starting out very Beatlesque, then growing darker, adding a touch of soul, and finally going full-on bombastic with the wall of sound fueled by real-time drum loops played by an actual human. Don’t get me wrong, there are elements of all the greatness of Oasis and The Beatles, but the first few songs set the tone for each of Noel’s records, and that tone is very different each time.

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TVD Live Shots: Britrock Must Be Destroyed: Reef, The Wildhearts, Dodgy, and Terrorvision at the Eventim Apollo, 5/6

Britrock Must Be Destroyed brings together four of the best UK bands who were flying high in the ’90s, each with their own unique sound. It’s a welcome comeback as these Britrock pioneers execute their mission to exhibit to the world that they can still bring the noise bigger and better than any of their contemporaries. Technically speaking it was a triple headliner with The Wildhearts, Reef, and Terrorvision rotating each evening playing extended sets. The London show would see Reef as the final band.

Opening the evening was power pop trio Dodgy who were added to the bill as a special guest. I remember these guys from back in the day as they had a couple of minor hits in the States. Nigel Clark and company continue to release new music, and they put on one hell of a show—the perfect opener to set the stage for what would be an intense groove filled evening of Britrock history. Funny enough, even the band themselves mentioned between songs that they questioned how they fit on the bill.

Next up was one of West Yorkshire’s most successful bands, Terrorvision. I had never heard of these guys before as I don’t recall listening to them back in the States, but holy shit they were great. Lead singer Tony Wright sounded spot on, and he doesn’t seem to age, while guitarist Mark Yates was melting faces with songs like “Alice What’s the Matter” and “Discotheque Wreck.” Brilliant set from these guys and I’ve been digging on their catalog ever since, especially the surprisingly good “comeback” record 2011’s Super Delux.

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UK Artist of the Week: Raleigh

Initially formed when Clea Anaïs was drawn to Brock Geiger’s voice at a festival in Calgary, Canadian band Raleigh have wowed crowds at Islington’s Union Chapel and have supported indie greats Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Now, set to return to the UK for The Great Escape Festival later this month, they’ve shared an utterly infectious new single.

Taken from their latest album Powerhouse Bloom and featuring Broken Social Scene’s Brendan Canning on guitar, “Smoke In Our Eyes” is a truly dreamy slice of atmospheric alt-rock that demands multiple listens. As catchy, twinkling hooks are interwoven with luscious harmonies, oozing a captivating, otherworldly splendour.

Treating listeners to a sweeping, psychedelic haze with shades of Bombay Bicycle Club, Raleigh have created something quite wonderful. It’s impossible not to fall in love with “Smoke In Our Eyes” rich, majestic layers of sound.

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TVD Live Shots:
Bryan Ferry at the Eventim Apollo, 5/3

The sheer mention of Bryan Ferry immediately brings to mind the word class. Mention his music and the conversation turns to the seductive, sensual, and most importantly—legendary.

His band Roxy Music had two top ten albums and a number one album in the UK before I was even born. They were the original glam rock band and paved the way for so many, and while Bowie tends to get much of the credit for pushing the genre forward, I would argue that Ferry transformed glam into something no one had ever heard nor seen prior.

Some even go so far as to cite Roxy Music as the “first true band of the ’70s,” and while I’m certainly not the most qualified person to write a brief history of Roxy Music or discuss the legacy of Bryan Ferry, I can tell you that I was incredibly fortunate to see one of his sold-out London performances on his UK tour—and a first for me.

The Eventim Apollo was completely sold out. Every seat in the house was taken, and it was virtually impossible even to find a place to stand in the venue. Bryan Ferry took to the stage with a substantial backing band launching directly into the Roxy Music classic “The Main Thing,” quickly followed by Ferry’s signature tune, “Don’t Stop the Dance.” It was immediately clear that not only was Ferry still at the top of his game, but that his music is timeless.

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