R1BW Katy Perry Review – 27/05/2017

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I think that what distinguishes a so-called ‘regular’ act from a headliner is the degree of showmanship. As I have mentioned several times before fantastic music can come from anywhere, and if you place someone relatively unknown with good music on a large stage then the crowd will still have a good time. To be able to place someone on a large stage during the headline slot takes more than just music – it takes performance. Katy Perry, it seems, has showbiz pulsing through her arteries. As the set was being built (a series of rotating pink and blue doors through which dancers would later weave in and out of in a variety of costumes) it was obvious that this set would be next level. Opening with “Chained to the Rhythm” it was hard to tell what was in greater abundance – the sequins in which she was dripping or the screams of ecstasy from the crowd. With such a large repertoire of songs to choose from she could afford to ensure every track was well-known and guaranteed to get her fans started – as my friend pointed out they were all “right bangers”. While many may be too cool to admit it, people who genuinely aren’t huge fans of Katy Perry are few and far between and the result was an explosion of energy to end the most wonderful day. The fireworks may have accompanied “Roar” but it certainly wasn’t the only song to light up the sky.

R1BW Two Door Cinema Club Review – 27/05/2017

maxresdefault.jpgIf there is one season to define Two Door Cinema Club it is Summer – whether they are performing their tracks across the globe or you simply hear a distant song drifting from the serving hatch of an ice cream van they are everywhere that the sun shines, and as a result have a wonderfully warm sense of familiarity. It was therefore a treat to catch them at Radio 1’s Big Weekend Hull 2017 in the Where It Begins stage. Now with long hair, frontman Alex got the crowd going wild and their allotted half an hour trickled away faster than the ice cubes of a cocktail. Ending their set with well-loved favourites “What You Know” and “I Can Talk” was a very clever move and if the arrival of Summer wasn’t already obvious, it was now.

R1BW Emeli Sandé Review – 27/05/2017

nintchdbpict000327391860.jpgAs a pre-confirmed Emeli Fandé (who says guitarleaves isn’t a funny platform…) I was beyond eager to watch her perform again. Every time I have seen her play live in the past was sensational, and I think her biggest talent (of the many she possesses) is being able to unite an audience through the raw emotion in her music. As I knew would happen, I can proudly say I was not disappointed. She opened with “Heaven” and the crowd went wild. The rest was an ecstatic blur of glittering stage lights and shimmering fireworks dripping liquid amber from a great height. If anyone knows how to get a crowd going it is Emeli Sandé, and she made each track accessible, even the more modern ones such as “Hurts” and “Highs and Lows” which perhaps weren’t as well known to the average attendee were met with riotous encore and a quickly-learned chorus singalong. It was a stunning performance which included in my opinion the most poignant moment of the weekend: after paying a heartfelt tribute to Manchester the screen behind her was illuminated with a Manchester loveheart and she sang “Read All About It, Pt. III” with the voices of twenty-five thousand behind her. Music really is a universal language and it is a moment that will stay with me forever.

R1BW Lana Del Rey Review – 27/05/2017

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Knowing that Lana Del Rey is not one to grace us very often with live performances I felt rather privileged as I walked into the tent a little while before her performance. The crowd was already thick, and there was a noticeably restless atmosphere swirling through the crowd as we awaited the presence of such an elusive artist. When she eventually sauntered on it was clear that her elusive appearances also translated into a somewhat mysterious set. Whilst her music (which in all fairness is as memorable as it is iconic) can most certainly speak for itself, part of her image is the sultry and secretive lifestyle she must lead behind the scenes. It is hard to know what to say when so many of the crowd leave mid-performance, but after some reflection I must pay respect to the loyalty of her brand. She lived up to her reputation despite the repercussions; but isn’t that the whole point of music? That it allows us to express ourselves through an artistic subjectivity? Perhaps the slot wasn’t for those trying something new out, but for the hardcore fans I have no doubt that “Video Games” live and in the flesh will continue to be a cherished memory for years to come.

R1BW Lorde Review – 27/05/2017

lorde-performs-at-radio-1-s-big-weekend-in-hull-05-27-2017_1.jpg*Spoiler alert: Lorde stole the entire weekend.*

Never in my whole life have I been more pleasantly surprised at an artist. Now that’s not to say I expected anything other than positive – I am a huge fan of her music: I don’t think anyone can hear “Royals” and consider it to be anything but brilliant. I was just very aware of the fact that she is twenty years old. Of course, age does not determine professionalism or talent, but as I am writing this review I am sat in an egg-stained top wearing yesterday’s socks, brutally aware of how Lorde is enjoying worldwide fame and fortune. Her set, however, showed me exactly why she has achieved stardom, and I would go as far as saying that it was my favourite performance of the entire festival. Bursting on in neon she dominated the stage from the word go, and led the audience through a particularly moving tribute to the victims of the tragic Manchester attack. She ended her stage time with a powerful rendition of “Green Light”, sashaying off with her characteristically quirky dance moves and leaving us all with a regal longing for more.

R1BW Imagine Dragons Review – 27/05/2017

_96242945_imaginedragons1_976.jpgFestival season, regardless of which form it takes, is complete without good music. The weather may vary and the toilets will probably overflow; but nothing can dampen our spirits when there is an auditory electricity blaring blaring from the speakers – and so you can imagine the excitable anticipation when staple band Imagine Dragons were announced as part of the line-up. Entering the stage with a bang and only pausing for breath when they later ran offstage to momentous applause the four-piece led the crowd through a selection of hits, including “Radioactive” and their recent single, “Thunder”. They may not be dragons but their set was certainly on fire.

R1BW Rag’n’Bone Man Review – 27/05/2017

ragNbone (1).jpgFor me, the most wonderful thing about festivals is that the vast line-up allows you to go and try new things and explore artists for whom you wouldn’t normally venture to see a gig. Rag’n’Bone Man exemplified this, and in the space of his half-hour set managed to completely blow me away. Of course I was no stranger to the enormous success of “Human” and “Skin” although I wasn’t aware of just how soulful he was as an artist. In his set especially I noticed just how much of a special attachment he felt through his music, and this was especially true during his rendition of “Bitter End”. Managing to simultaneously silence and somehow heal a huge throng of festival-goers is no easy feat, but I suppose even an overflowing tent of screaming fans proved no match for the might of his vocal chords.

R1BW Galantis Review – 27/05/2017

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Galantis will always hold a fond place in my memories from Radio 1’s Big Weekend 2017 for the simple reason that they were the first act I saw. After several months of hype I had developed high expectations for a fantastic weekend, and the Swedish duo certainly did not disappoint. Literally kicking off festival season with a bang (there is still confetti evidence in my hair to prove it) they led the music-hungry crowd through a polished combination of their most-loved and newer tracks – in fact I wouldn’t be at all surprised if in a few months it dawns on us that this year’s Summer anthem seems very, very familiar…

Hottest Upcoming Gigs

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If you have stepped outside in the last couple of months you will be well aware that “Radio 1’s Big Weekend” is coming to Hull on the 27th and 28th May 2017, at Burton Constable Hall. The line-up has just been released and oh let me be the first to praise it. There really is something for everyone at this free (yes, free!) festival – from Katy Perry to Mura Masa it promises to be an exceptional weekend. Even the elusive Lana del Rey will be making an appearance on the Saturday, and the ‘BBC Introducing’ stage is still yet to be announced. Tickets have sold out but are available to win daily on Radio 1.

Gengahr Review – 05/12/2016

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As a true guitarleaves resident, when Gengahr announced their UK Winter Tour I was excited to go and watch them live again. This gig was at Sneaky Pete’s in Edinburgh, a particularly intimate stone room at the bottom of a large tenement. It suited Gengahr perfectly, because whilst their fanbase may still be in its early stages, it is certainly a loyal one; and it enabled an up-close-and-personal performance which I doubt anyone who attended will be forgetting in a hurry. Aided by some beautifully mellow lighting design they put their all into their set, leading the sold-out crowd through their unique style of music. The set list was slick, weaving together some more unknown tracks with the classics we know and love from previous EPs. The gig ended (unsurprisingly) with “She’s A Witch” from their album “A Dream Outside” before they dispersed into the crowd to sign merchandise and take photos with fans. It was a really entertaining evening; and great to see Gengahr finally coming into their own. Support from Caro really gave them the long-desvered opportunity to shine – and it is fair to say that they seized that moment with both hands.