LIVE REVIEW: Skindred + CKY + Danko Jones at The LCR

The Newport Helicopter flew into town last night as ragga-metallers Skindred kicked of their latest tour at The LCR bringing Toronto natives Danko Jones and nu-metal legends CKY as support.

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Danko Jones hit the stage first as crowds of people were still streaming in, bringing their hard rock style to the LCR. Their set was heavy and flowed well from song to song, which is to be expected from a band that has been together now since 1996. They showed their experience roaming the limited space they had on the stage and making sure to get the audience as involved as they could from their early performance.

Lead singer Danko has natural charisma on the mic when talking in between songs, introducing them and showing who they were as well as getting the crowd to cheer for the bands following them. They were appreciative for everyone that turned out and for having ‘eyes on the stage’ rather then on their phones and to experience what it was like to be in Skindred, Danko made everyone to scream for Skindred whilst he closed his eyes and pretended to be for him.

All together it was a pretty seamless set, with enough hard rock riffs and scintillating guitar solos to keep the audiences attention and warm up nicely for CKY and Skindred to follow on, it’s never an easy slot to fill being the first band on but they done a suitable enough job.

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Following on from Danko Jones was skate punk’s CKY, as they were taking to the stage ‘CKY’ chants played over the speakers which prompted the crowd to follow suit, with plenty of CKY merch being worn around the venue, you can tell that they still have quite the following even though it has been some years since playing in Norwich.

Lead singer Chad I Ginsburg was in high spirits with his guitar blasting over the speakers he took every opportunity to urge the crowd to shout and cheer in between playing whilst constantly messing with his amps and effects creating all kinds of experimental sounds which make CKY more unique with their blend of styles.

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They played out some new songs such as ‘Replaceable’ and ‘Head for a Breakdown’ which are off their latest album ‘The Phoenix’ which were well received, again showing off their experimental style with their sounds. With three songs left in the set, lead singer Chad took to the mic saying ‘Not all of you may know who CKY are, but most of you have heard one of our songs’ and then proceeded to sing some of the riff from their biggest song ’96 Quite Bitter Beings’ as fans began chanting ‘CKY’ the band ripped into Bitter Beings leading to a mosh pit soon opening in front of the stage.

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After CKY set had finished and the stage was set, it was time for Skindred. Just before the band appeared however they first played out AC/DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’ accompanying it with their bright stage lighting perfectly in time with song. Once ‘Thunderstruck’ had ended ‘The Imperial March’ played out which turned into a remixed version as the band finally appeared on the stage, lead singer Benji Webbe appeared last after seeing him already dancing to their entrance music at the side, the crowd erupted as the loudly dressed front man made an appearance.

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The band soon launched into their latest single ‘Big Tings’ and ‘Stand for Something’ with Benji dancing and strutting all over the stage whilst also displaying and playing with the Union Jack he so proudly has attached to his mic stand. The whole set and band were so tight, it is easy to see why they are regarded as one of the best live bands around.

Going through their set there are just so many highlights it’s hard to get it all down, they acknowledged all fans from the die hard to the more casual by mixing in the odd song from their first album ‘Babylon’ with ‘Pressure’ in particular being a highlight as in between they slipped into casually playing ‘Back in Black’ from AC/DC to then going straight back into ‘Pressure’ which before the song rang out, Webbe announced that they know people still love their older stuff.

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Benji Webbe was easily the highlight of the night and he sets a bar for front men that not many others can reach. He controlled the crowd expertly, from getting them to sing whole heartedly whilst making it sound part of the song to getting them to dance and clap perfectly in sync. He put on a masterclass for what it is to be frontman of a rock band and it is such a joy to watch. If you get the chance to catch them on their ‘Start the Machine’ tour or any other after this one, definitely do, you won’t regret it!

LIVE REVIEW: Everything Everything + Pumarosa at UEA Norwich

It was second time lucky for Manchester band Everything Everything as they headline  the UEA for the first time after their previous date was postponed when the ‘Beast from the East’ hit the country which caused widespread cancellations due to safety concerns.

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Pumarosa

The electro rockers from London opened up the show with a short set with pulsing synthesizers and strobe lights as lead singer Isabel Munoz-Newsome’s haunting falsetto voice echo through the venue in Norwich as they focused on material from their debut album “The Witch”.

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The five piece brought a impressive light show for what was an enthralling live performance with one of the highlights being the band’s love of performing on stage as Isabel asked the crowd if they loved to dance and showed they did.

Saxophone solos and the energy that Pumarosa brought to the UEA was unbelievably infectious which was a great lead in for the headline of the evening. It was clear that the band had definitely caught the audience’s attention as people were checking them out during the break.

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Everything Everything

Opening with the title track from their last album A Fever Dream, the four-piece took their positions, with lead vocalist Jonathan Higgs sitting on the keyboard to begin. As the song reached its climax, he launched out of the chair, stormed to the front microphone, and pointed it towards the audience to complete the lyrics. This made it to be such a beautiful way to start the show and there’s was no let up from there, as 8 raging and high-octane hits followed!

EE PICS 3Touring in support of their fourth studio album, the majority of their set that evening consisted of songs off of A Fever Dream, as well as Get To Heaven tracks. The frenetic energy from Higgs was contagious, not to mention the singer’s orange coat, which heavily stood out on the stage. With a strobe-heavy limelight Everything Everything shared  with contributions on guitar, backing vocals, a percussion pad, as well as drums.

Many songs stood out, especially ‘Desire’, ‘Can’t Stop’ and ‘Cough Cough’.  The band’s unique brand of hyperactive synth-pop and the sharpness of their lyricism is most notable on recent tracks like ‘Can’t Do’ and ‘Night of the Long Knives’ which were two other memorable moments from the set.

EE PICS 11After rescheduling the gig Everything Everything made their UEA show more than worth the wait, performing a set that suggested the headline act are just hitting their stride in which they are destined for even bigger and better venues within the future.

 

 

LIVE REVIEW: The Wombats + The Night Café + BLOXX at UEA

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It’s been just over a decade since The Wombats released their critically-acclaimed debut album ‘A Guide to Love, Loss and Desperation’ and not much has changed since then as a relentlessly energetic crowd danced and screamed their way into the UEA in Norwich.

The Liverpudlian trio are now halfway through a trip around the UK and Ireland for their new album Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life.

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The opening act of the night was the female-front four piece Bloxx who pulled a decent crowd for early doors with a set of fresh sounding tracks that captured the spirit of 2000s indie/alt rock.

They are known for their grungy undertones with classic indie-influenced melodies to create their unique and familiar indie sound. They had great stage presence and played a strong set to lead into the night with an aura of confidence necessary for any band opening the show and a mix of grunge bass and guitar riffs filling the room. Lead singer Ophelia commanded the stage and helped set the tone  for the night ahead.

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The Night Café 

Up next was Liverpool four piece The Night Cafe who brought their effortless and laid back style to the UEA as their music seemed all the more mellow as the riffs and melodies went around the room setting a slow build as the platform for The Wombats to break out onto the stage.

They looked absolutely passionate and clearly appreciating every moment on stage, creating a relaxed atmosphere during their set. They played their latest single ‘Turn’ and one thing that caught my eye the most was frontman Sean Martin who had a look of serious concentration on his face throughout.

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The Wombats

The headliners took to the stage and dove straight into the new material, opening with ‘Cheetah Tongue’ before turning back the clock a little for ‘Give Me A Try’ and ‘1996’.

With the adrenaline-fueled crowd waiting for more, this was a set-list not just designed to showcase their new album, but also playing big hits like ‘Kill The Director’ which got big fans of the band moving and singing along!

Their new album ‘Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life’ was a good listen and got plenty of praise since it’s release, and after seeing the songs played live it was easy to see why as most of the tracks translated well to the live scene, with the band keen to impress and sparing no effort on the production, with big screens lining the back of the stage displaying illustrations fitting for the songs.

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Bassist Tord Øverland Knudsen was one of the biggest highlights of the evening with his energy as he encouraged jumping and clapping which was infectious for everyone to see, and energy levels quickly rose around the room because of his presence on stage!

One minor note that hampered them was some dead air between songs which lasted a little too long to seem on purpose, but thankfully the band was able to bring out the best of the enthusiastic crowd as they played with energy and power to get fans from the casual to the enthusiastic, enjoying the show.

LIVE REVIEW: Bowling for Soup + Aqua Bats + Army of Freshmen live at UEA

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Picture: Ross Media UK

Nostalgia at it’s finest as Bowling for soup made their return to the UEA for a very entertianing and high tempo gig as the American rock band provided the crowd with a two-hour performance with support from Aqua Bats and Army of Freshmen.

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The night was kicked off by Army of Freshman, a rock band from Ventura, California. Due to the volumes of people turning up at the venue, it took a while for everyone to filter in meaning that some people missed out on part of their set.

Despite this, the six strong line-up brought a set that was packed with high levels of energy resulting in a fair amount of the audience dancing along.

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Picture: Ross Media UK

The Aquabats

Up next was The Aquabats, one of the liveliest bands to ever have graced the stages of the LCR.

Their set had everything from matching outfits and swimming caps to inflatable sharks, donuts and pizza – of which a member of the crowd was invited to surf on over the audience.

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Picture: Ross Media UK

Bowling for Soup

The five piece rock band was something else, cracking jokes throughout their set whilst having a ‘super rad’ time on stage.

Last but not least Bowling For Soup took to the stage. They proceeded to perform their album ‘Drunk Enough to Dance’ in its entirety in celebration of it recently hitting its 15th anniversary.

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Picture: Ross Media UK

They brought with them their infectious humour, making frequent playful jibes about their weight and entertaining the audience with stories and memories from their many years as a band.

Halfway through the night they announced the ‘countdown to 1985’ with a digital timer that got the crowd very excited with what was set to be an amazing finale for fans of the band.

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Picture: Ross Media UK

Before the show came to a close, lead singer Jaret Reddick teased the audience by asking if anyone knew that the band had co-wrote and sang the theme for Disney’s Phineas and Ferb, despite saying they weren’t going to play it.

The finale came as the band performed their incredibly popular song ‘1985’ which sent the crowd wild – ending the night on a high in what was a stellar performance from Bowling For Soup.