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Archive for the ‘Concerts’ Category

On Friday night The Feeling concluded their Together We Were Made tour at Shepherd’s Bush Empire. The nine date tour took them to Bournemouth, Bristol, Nottingham, Birmingham, Leeds, Newcastle, Glasgow, Manchester and London.

I went to two of the shows, Nottingham (Rock City) and London, here’s what I thought.

For the first 7 dates of the tour electro-pop band, Bronze Medallists opened the show. Their set included debut single ‘Mathematics’ and the instantly catchy ‘Headspace (It’s Your Birthday)’ (seriously, you’ll be whistling it for weeks after!) which they dedicated to a member of the audience who’s birthday it was.

For the last two dates, Sinéad and The Dawnbreakers opened the show. Their 60’s Rockabilly style defies anybody not to dance. Having seen them a few times now, I must say they just get better and better and Shepherd’s Bush Empire gave them a very warm reception. They opened with ‘Can’t Please ‘Em All’  and got everyone clicking their fingers along to ‘What Would I Do?’ For me the highlight of the set was the upbeat, ‘Don’t Pretend’.

Danish songwriter Mads Langer also supported throughout the tour playing tracks from his debut album ‘Behold’. He opened with the delicate ‘The River Has Run Wild’ and got the audience joining in with the harmonies of ‘Fact-Fiction’ which was a wonderful moment.

The Feeling opened with a new tour video, featuring some of the band’s most loyal fans singing along to some of their biggest hits. It was fantastic to see the energy explode in the room on both nights as the drums of ‘Set My World On Fire’ sounded out.

The evening proceeded with fan favourites ‘Fill My Little World’ and ‘Never Be Lonely’ which as ever, got everyone clapping and singing along.

‘Say No’ sounded heartbreaking as ever (in a good way, if that makes sense!). It’s such a powerful song, and seeing it live sends shivers down my spine every time. ‘Another Soldier’ made great use of the screen, with a black and white image of front man, Dan looming over the audience on the screen.

The band then played a stripped down, piano version of ‘Rosé’ (to coincide with their new Abbey Road recorded version of the song for Burberry) but for the final chorus they blew the audience away with full-on guitars. This lead into the almighty ‘Helicopter’ from debut ‘Twelve Stops & Home’.

The band have been playing their duet, ‘Leave Me Out Of It’ during the tour, with a video of Sophie Ellis Bextor on the screen behind. But at Shepherd’s Bush there was a surprise appearance from the lady herself who sang from the balcony, joining the band on stage for the final chorus.

Possibly the highlight of the set for me was ‘Still You Want More’. They played the track from the second disc of their double album after a fan vote on their facebook page. It was nice to hear them play a slightly rarer song, and one that is a personal favourite of mine. It has been getting a massive cheer from the crowd throughout the tour and it was performed perfectly. I hope they continue to play songs from ‘The Bees’ in the future. This flowed brilliantly into their 2006 hit, ‘Sewn’.

They kept the energy high with latest single ‘A Hundred Sinners’, Paul Simon cover ‘You Can Call Me Al’ and Roisin Murphy duet ‘Dance For The Lights’ (sadly no appearance from Roisin though).  The set ended, as ever with ‘Love It When You Call’, which even got the balconies bouncing.

They gave us an encore of ‘I Thought It Was Over’, ‘Undeniable’ (during which, their old spiral graphic made a reappearance on-screen) and finished with Join With Us, before launching into a mental improv, throwing a space hopper into the audience and completely trashing the drum kit!

The Feeling were on top form for the tour and the production was slick. Next morning – sore feet, sore neck, ears ringing – the sign of a great night out!

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Take That. They dominated our charts in the early 90’s producing two of the best-selling albums of the decade, before their split in 1996. Since their return in 2006 their popularity has grown phenomenally, leading to their latest album, ‘Progress’ becoming the fastest selling album of the century and the second fastest selling album of all-time.

On Saturday night, I went to the Ipswich Regent to see Back For Good, one of the most critically acclaimed Take That tribute acts around. Back For Good are: Dan Maines (Gary Barlow), Matt Hall (Mark Owen), Steven Craven (Howard Donald) and Jay MacGregor (Jason Orange) with the recent addition of Tony Lewis as Robbie Williams.

But are they as good as the real thing?

And the simple answer, is yes. I was really blown away by their performance.  Matt and Dan are vocally stunning, and having seen Take That several times before I can safely say they’ve got their performance off to a tee. You can tell that a lot of work has gone into this show, the attention to detail is immaculate, from the costumes and set right down to each members individual mannerisms. In fact, the only thing they were short of was an elephant!

They opened the show, with Greatest Day, mimicking The Circus Tour, which was followed up with Hello – in which the guys came down into the audience to say ‘hello’!

This was followed with old favorite ‘Could It Be Magic’, Take That’s comeback single ‘Patience’, and a polished performance of the inconceivably impossible ‘Pray’ dance.

They played all the old favorites throughout the night ‘Relight My Fire’, ‘A Million Love Songs’ and even the Clown Medley from The Circus tour in 2009. Which brings me on to a topic which often causes much debate. Which are better, small gigs or big gigs? Personally I’ve always been on the side of small gigs, and the evidence from Back For Good certainly supports that. They could do all the same routines (all be it scaled-down) yet they could also connect with the audience in a way that you never could in a big stadium.

A few of the new ‘Progress’ tracks were also thrown in towards the end, starting with ‘The Flood’. I was pleasantly surprised to see ‘SOS’ in there aswell. I hadn’t expected it as it isn’t a single, but their performance had so much energy! It’s a song that from first listen I’ve always thought will work well live, so I look forward to how the real Take That perform it in the summer.

We were also treated to a beautiful rendition of ‘8 Letters’. I’ve got to say, even though among the Take That fans the song is often seen as a favorite, it never really grabbed me hearing it on the record. However, I think it could just be one of those songs that sound so much better when you hear them live. For the first time, I really got into this song that night.

‘Up All Night’ and ‘Hold Up A Light’ brought the audience to their feet, leading to the guys sitting on the edge of the stage for a nostalgia filled performance of ‘Back For Good’.

They Finished the show with ‘Rule The World’ and an encore of the undeniably brilliant ‘Never Forget’.

I do wish we’d had some input from the ‘Beautiful World’ tour – ‘Reach Out’ and ‘Beautiful World’ for example are some of my favorite Take That songs. However I do understand how difficult it must be to put together a set list which will please all the fans – you can’t have it all!

I would highly recommend this show to any Take That fans out there – particularly if you’re gutted on missing out on tickets to the Progress tour. It’s a fantastic night out, and not to be missed!

Check out the Back For Good website and Facebook page.

Photos courtesy of Ramona Crofts.

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It’s been a long time since November 2008. That was the last time The Feeling toured. Since then, fans have only seen the band at festivals and a few little shows – such as the Water Rats shows last May, in which the band showcased some of their new material to their most loyal fans. The Search Every Corner tour was basically a continuation of these shows, with most venues only holding 400 – 500 people. You can check out my review from the Water Rats show here.  

I attended two of the shows on the tour – the Roadmender in Northampton on the 11th and Chinnerys at Southend on the 18th.

The shows kicked off with ‘Set My World On Fire’, which is set to be the first single, released 14th March. It’s sounding incredible with its new intro, and a few altered lyrics in there. Something I really love is hearing songs progress over time, and I think it’s wonderful to be able to look back to the first time I heard this song live, acoustically in a bar in South London, and to see how it’s evolved since then. I loved it then, and I love it even more now! This was followed by classic crowd pleaser, ‘Fill My Little World’.

The first of the ‘new-new’ songs (new songs which weren’t played at the Water Rats shows) played was ‘Another Life’. This was one which I instantly loved, and by the second of the two shows I knew all the words. The 12 string guitar lends the song an elegance which is complimented by a keyboard melody that easily gets stuck in your head. And there are some beautiful lyrical ideas in there as well. This was followed by ‘Never Be Lonely’, which always gets the crowd going with audience participation.

My favorite song from the Water Rats shows (and still my favorite now) was ‘Say No’. It still has just as much impact as the first time I heard it and I cannot wait to hear the final recording with Beverly Knight. This was followed up with a powerful performance of ‘Rosé’.

‘Another Soldier’, which was a clear favorite amongst the fans from the Water Rats shows kept the energy going, leading to a nostalgia filled performance of ‘Sewn’.

Next up was ‘Searched Every Corner’ which they collaborated with The Freemasons on. They made 1,000 CD’s with the track on which they were selling at the gigs. It’s fantastic to hear the song finally mixed. I defy anyone to hear this song and not have ‘back back back’ stuck in your head all day! This lead excellently into another ‘new-new’ song, ‘Dance For Lights’, which is also intensely catchy. Two fantastic dance tracks, covered in glitter, which I can easily hear being played in night-clubs.

They finished the set as ever, with ‘Love It When You Call’.

We were given an encore of ‘I Thought It Was Over’, which works really well for an encore – you thought it was over, but it’s not! Dan joked that as they’ve been playing the song as an opener for such a long time it felt like they’d have to play another full set!

They finished with ‘Undeniable’, which will be the final track on their upcoming album, ‘Together We Were Made’. The album title is taken from a lyric in the song. The song is another epic like ‘Blue Piccadilly’ and ‘Greatest Show On Earth’ which closed their previous two albums.

At Southend, we were also treated to ‘Join With Us’, which was dedicated to all of the fans that have followed the band on the tour.

The only thing that bothers me slightly is that ‘Seven Years’ wasn’t played at all on the tour. It had become a favorite of mine and was played a lot at festivals last summer, so I hope it still makes it to the album.

Both of the shows I went to were stunning, it’s fantastic to have The Feeling back! The tour has left me ‘feeling’ very excited for the album and a bigger tour later on this year.



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On Monday night, I went to the O2 Academy, Islington to see Sophie Ellis Bextor, supported by Sinead and the Dawnbreakers. This is Sophie’s first solo tour in over 3 years, so I was a little exited!

Sinead and the Dawnbreakers played an 8 song set including ‘Just A Ring’, ‘What Would I Do?’, ‘Yes Woman’ and their newest song ‘Down Your Gun’. They also played a fantastic cover of ‘Why Do Fools Fall In Love?’ which had everyone singing along and clicking their fingers!

Sophie opened the show with ‘Dial My Number’ from her upcoming album which instantly got everyone dancing. She kept the high tempo going, following this with ‘Bittersweet’, which sounds even more incredible live than on record.

This lead into ‘Take Me Home’, ‘Me and My Imagination’, ‘Today The Sun’s On Us’ and we were treated to an outstanding performance ‘What Have We Started?’ which Sophie told us was her favorite track from her third album, ‘Trip The Light Fantastic’.

She then played ‘Starlight’, another new track from her upcoming album (which is sounding really beautiful) followed by an excellent cover of ‘Rebellion’ by Arcade Fire.

She followed this up with rare track ‘Can’t Fight This Feeling’, and her latest trance single ‘Not Giving Up’.

We had a good bit of audience participation, singing the intro to ‘Get Over You’ and the chorus of her iconic anthem ‘Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love)’ which was interjected with the chorus of ‘Sing It Back’.

She finished her main set with ‘Heartbreak (Make Me A Dancer)’, my soundtrack to summer 2009. The electrifying strobe lighting set the room alight, keeping everyone’s hands in the air, clapping along.

As always a fantastic show left us wanting more. And more we got, with an encore of ‘Revolution’ – another brand new track – and classics ‘Catch You’ and ‘Murder On The Dancefloor’.

What an amazing night! All of the new songs are sounding fabulous, the old ones are sounding better than ever and there was such a brilliant atmosphere. Great to have you back Sophie!

Speaking to Sophie after the show, she told me that her fourth studio album is due for release in the Spring and is again titled ‘Make A Scene’ after a brief name change to ‘Straight To The Heart’.

Check out Sophie Ellis Bextor and Sinead and the Dawnbreakers’ facebook pages, or follow @SophieEB and @thedawnbreakers on twitter.

(Photos courtesy of Tom Sharpe)

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On Friday night, I braved the snow and made it to the Norwich UEA to see Squeeze, supported by the Lightning Seeds… And it was well worth it!

The Lightning Seeds kicked off the show with favorites such as ‘Sugar Coated iceberg’, ‘Lucky You’ and ‘The Life Of Riley’.

Treating us to a 19 song setlist, Squeeze opened their set with ‘Black Coffee In Bed’ starting with the audience participation early on. They kept the hits coming with their classic ‘Take Me, I’m Yours’, followed by ‘Annie, Get Your Gun’ which set the room alight (quite literally, with the blinding lights!).

For me, the highlight of night was ‘Up The Junction’ which really got the audience going, and has always been my favorite Squeeze song. This was followed by ‘Labelled With Love’, the hugely up tempo ‘Hourglass’ and ‘Is That Love?’.

They finished their main set with fan favourites ‘Tempted’ and ‘Cool For Cats’.

And finally, we were given the icing on the cake with an encore of ‘Slap and Tickle’, ‘Another Nail In My Heart’ and ‘Pulling Mussels (From The Shell)’.

The small venue gave the gig an intimate feeling, adding to the atmosphere.

It was all together a fantastic night out, for the older generation a chance to relive past memories, and for the younger generation (such as myself) a wonderful opportunity to see a band who have influenced some of our most loved contemporary artists such as The Feeling and Lily Allen.

All the photos from the gig have been put on the Facebook page.

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Last Sunday I went to Meridian Park in Cleethorpes to see The Feeling. They were supported by two local bands; Just: and Supernormals. Here’s what I thought:

Just: kicked off a terrific show with ‘Think About It’ then went into my personal favorite song of their set ‘Sleepless Nights’.

However, the highlight of the set for me had to be the mashup of ‘Dirty Diana’ and ‘Poker Face’ which really got the crowd going.

They played a fantastic set and you could really tell that everyone was enjoying themselves.

Their style could be compared to Coldplay or The Enemy and they even reminded me slightly of Kings Of Leon at one point.

Next up were Supernormals (previously known as The Huskies) who got everyone dancing with their set. Their style could be described as a cross between Alphabeat and Lady Gaga, with some very 80’s style pop/dance tracks.

I found that both bands styles complimented The Feeling in different ways; with Just:’s indie/rock style and Supernormals’ more 80’s pop.

The Feeling launched into their set with ‘I Thought It Was Over’ which instantly got the crowd going. Following that up with classic crowd pleaser ‘Fill My Little World’, you can tell instantly that the The Feeling really know how to put on a show!

They played two of the new songs previewed at The Water Rats shows, the first of which was ‘Seven Years’. This was well received from the audience and again had everyone dancing (and those of us who knew the words singing!) And it was great for me to hear how the song has developed, with a few new lyrics!

The second of the new songs played was ‘Set My World On Fire’. I can still safely say that I love this song more every time I hear it! Both songs seem set to be singles for the next album.

They then treated us to ‘Helicopter’ which fans were very pleased to see, and a heartfelt performance of ‘Rosé’, a song which is very close to my heart.

They finished their set, as ever, with crowd favorite ‘Love It When You Call’ and we gave a fond farewell to roadie Owen Denham, who came on to play a cowbell solo in the middle of the song.

After such an amazing show, the end seemed to come far too quickly! We wanted more – and more they gave us! The encore of ‘Walk Like An Egyptian’, ‘Strange’, ‘Kettle’s On’ and ‘Fight For Your Right (To Party)’ left everyone ecstatic.

It was fantastic to see ‘Kettle’s On’ again as many fans feel that it’s not played often enough, and in ‘Fight For Your Right (To Party)’ you could see that the band were having so much fun. And so were we! The Feeling really are amazing live, and they seem to get better each time I see them.

Speaking to Dan after the show, he informed me that my favorite song from The Water Rats shows, ‘Say No’ has been recorded and will definitely be on the album.

Pictures from the show are now up on the facebook page.

If you want to check out any of the bands in this article, here are the facebook pages of Just:, Supernormals and The Feeling.

All Pictures courtesy of Karen Heath

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For those of you who don’t know – Once In A Lifetime is a show that encapsulates the best of the 70’s, featuring Les McKeown’s Legendary Bay City Rollers, Leo Sayer, David Essex and headliners The Osmonds. I was treated to two shows on the tour, Wembley Arena and Birmingham LG Arena (N.E.C to most!) – here’s what I thought.

What a show! After the last few nights I can safely say that the spirit of the 70’s is still very much alive! It was great to see so many loyal fans there, re-living their teenage years, along with a slightly younger generation of fans.

Les McKeown’s Legendary Bay City Rollers kicked off the show with ‘Summer Love Sensation’ and launched the audience right back to the 70’s, playing countless other hits including ‘Shang-a-lang’ before closing their set with ‘Bye Bye Baby’. Next up it was Leo Sayer, again with hit after hit, including ‘You Make Me Feel Like Dancing’, ‘Moonlighting’ and ‘Thunder In My Heart’.

David Essex was next to take to the stage and despite his years, the Cockney is still oozing with charisma. He got the audience singing along to ‘Hold Me Close’ and ‘Gonna Make You A Star’, and his performance of ‘If I Could’ with audience participation, had everyone laughing.

Finally, headliners The Osmonds set the stage on fire, (not literally, thankfully! Although with Jimmy’s exploding keytar it was close!) opening their set with ‘Crazy Horses’. Over the course of the tour The Osmonds swapped their set around, playing favorites such as ‘Hold Her Tight’ and ‘Rainin” one night, while other nights Jimmy would treat the audience to a burst of ‘Volare’ which he sung on ITV’s Popstar To Opera Star.

The Birmingham show was the penultimate show of the tour and the last show in England and when The Osmonds closed the show with a heartfelt montage of ‘Are You Up There’ and ‘I Believe’ the emotion was overwhelming. I think due to this being the penultimate show, The Osmonds treated us to a longer set list than at the previous shows.

Throughout both of the shows I saw, the thing that struck me the most was the atmosphere. You could see that everyone in the arena was having an absolutely fantastic time, and the whole tour turned out to be a wonderful experience both for the fans and the artists.

All the artists were so appreciative of the fans’ support, Wayne Osmond had this to say – ‘The tour and audiences were so awesome in the UK. I loved being a part of the whole experience. Thanks for all your support!’

I also was able to conduct a short interview with both Les McKeown and Leo Sayer before the show, check it out here!

Photo’s from the shows are now up on the Facebook page.

All Pictures courtesy of Karen Heath

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