After winning the Best New Festival Award in 2015, Wild Life was back at Brighton City Airport to now showcase and cement its date in the festival calendar as a major player. To do this, it would need to go one better, bring in something neoteric and exhilarating, whilst also landing some grand-musical heavyweights. They arrived in the form of grime's latest stars Stormzy and Skepta, American vets Ice Cube and Busta Rhymes, and pop artists Bastille.
It was the former N.W.A lyricist who had the crowd trembling at his figure tips though. Supported by no more than his son (not O'Shea Jackson who plays his father in Straight Outta Compton), Ice Cube was the penultimate act on Sunday's main stage and stole the show. The set of the weekend, despite co-curators Disclosure and Rudimental headlining the festival for successive years.
With both Stormzy and Skepta having tracks appear ubiquitously over all radio stations, this was their moment to shine, their moment under the spotlight. They appeared on the main stage Saturday and Sunday respectively and both seemed to revere their audience from the first moment, with Stormzy indicating it was the biggest and best crowd he had every performed at - it probably was for Skepta too.
Continue reading: Wild Life Festival 2016 - Live Review
With the festival season fully under way, Wild Life returns for its second installment, reappearing on the south coast at Brighton City Airport (known locally as Shoreham Airport)
After winning the Best New Festival at last years UK Festival Awards, co-curators Rudimental and Disclosure are set to do it all again, establishing a name for themselves at the festival, making sure everyone knows it is theirs, giving it their own cultural identity.
The two-day festival that spreads across the weekend of June 11th and 12th provides no camping, but a music festival that transcends generic boundaries, a diverse line up that attracts and appeals to all ages. From James Bay to Skepta, Jack Garratt to DJ EZ, Wild Life is showcasing its multifarious taste, despite Earth Wind and Fire pulling out.
Continue reading: Wild Life Festival 2016 - Preview
After the success of the inaugural Wild Life Festival last year, it is unsurprisingly back again with a line up boasting some huge names.
Mimicking the variety of 2015, the festival curators have specifically chosen a festival bill that amalgamates all genres of music, appealing to musical fans of all ages and all walks of life.
Joining the headliners will be hip hop heavyweight veterans Ice Cube and Busta Rhymes, showcasing how rap is done on the west coast, whilst Stormzy and Skepta will represent the London's rap and grime scene down on the south coast.
Continue reading: Rudimental And Disclosure Return For Wild Life Festival 2016
If there's something to take away from this year's Isle of Wight Festival, it's probably sunburn. Unlike the mud bath of two years ago, 2014 will be remembered for serving up one of the hottest weekends I can remember for a festival, along with some crowd-pleasing performances. While not every act managed to capture their moment in the sun, all the major names delivered in spades.
But it wasn't just the music that made the weekend for many; a real sense of celebration seemed to erupt across the site. Partly fuelled by anticipation over the World Cup and partly because of the good weather, thousands of smiling faces could be seen everywhere. Sunflowers seemed to be an essential festival accessory and many opted for as few clothes as possible with t-shirts looking like they'd gone out of fashion altogether. I've even had to make a note in my diary that it's international flip-flop day on June 20th, just one of the many things I learnt around Seaclose Park this year.
The highlight of Friday afternoon should have really been local boy Tom Odell on the main stage. But his piano led ballads took some time to win the crowd over despite his number 1 album 'Long Way Down'. By the time he'd finished though, the reaction showed that he'd justified his place on the main stage billing.
Continue reading: Isle of Wight Festival 2014 Review
A day by day recommendation of this year's festival favourites.
Coachella Festival is nearly here, bringing with it one hell of a weekend chock full of great food, exciting entertainment and, most importantly, amazing music.
Arguably California's most eagerly anticipated event of the year, Coachella settles at the Empire Polo Club in Indio once again for the fifteenth year running between April 11th and 13th on the first weekend and April 18th and 20th on the second. It's not unheard of that a music festival was so good they had to hold it twice, but as of 2012 it has become a no-brainer for Coachella. In a nutshell, it is basically a big playground for grown-ups - though of course it is a family friendly event - featuring activities such as the 3 Legged Race, the Beauty Bar, the art studios, dodgeball and the almighty Pie Eating Contest, all while you're munching on a variety of cuisine from around the state and rocking out to some of the best bands you will ever hear.
Continue reading: It's Almost Here! 25 Must See Acts For Coachella 2014
North Carolina's Mountain Oasis festival is showing some love for British electronic artists such as Gary Numan and Disclosure.
The 2013 Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit brings another year of eclectic electronics with rather a large helping of Britain filling up the line-up!
Headlining this amazing festival in Asheville, North Carolina on the last weekend of October (25th-27th 2013) is Nine Inch Nails; unsurprisingly, given their impressive headlining record this year which includes Lollapalooza, Leeds & Reading Festival, Outside Lands and Rock en Seine. Also scraping the top of the bill are Bassnectar and Pretty Lights, but there's something particularly British about a good chunk of the bands that follow.
The returning Thin White Duke has emerged as the front-runner to take home this years Mercury Music Prize
David Bowie came back from his retirement/hiatus completely unannounced this January, when he released the video for the single 'Where Are We Now,' and managed to catch everyone off guard with his birthday announcement of a new release and the subsequent quality of his first album in a decade.
This is Bowie's first Mercury nomination
The Next Day made the critics swoon after Ziggy Stardust once again and now, five months after he released his twenty-fourth album, Bowie is still being fancied by critics as he emerges as the front-runner to win this years Barclaycard Mercury Prize.
Continue reading: David Bowie Leads The Pack In Mercury Prize Nominations
Blues veteran Dr John joins The Cure, Pearl Jam and Nine Inch Nails for the 14th annual Voodoo Music Festival.
New Orleans' favourite Halloween festival the Voodoo Music & Arts Experience is back in its fourteenth year bringing you the true meaning of rock 'n' roll plus a special appearance from one of the city's favourite music veterans.
Voodoo Fest hits City Park every year on the weekend closest to Halloween which this year is November 1st - 3rd. It made its debut in 1999 with the likes of Wyclef Jean and the Refugee All-Stars, The Roots and, of course, New Orleans' own blues pioneer Dr. John - aka The Night Tripper - who makes a grand return to the event this year only months after landing his sixth Grammy award for his album 'Locked Down'. Long may he remain the epitome of the city's spectacular music scene!
Continue reading: New Orleans Welcomes Back Dr. John At Voodoo Music & Arts Festival 2013
Miley Cyrus has finally conquered the UK singles chart.
Miley Cyrus has scored her first UK number one single with 'We Can't Stop,' which incidentally is her first Top 10 hit in the country.
The 20-year-old sold 128,000 copies of her new single last week to reach the top spot, ousting Swedish DJ Avicii and his hit track 'Wake Me Up'.
Miley had previously peaked in the UK singles chart at number three with See You Again in 2008 and at 11 in 2009 with The Climb and Party in the USA.
Continue reading: Surprised? Miley Cyrus's 'We Can't Stop' Is Her First Ever UK No.1
The Radio 1 Big Weekend became a star-studded event with performances from some of the biggest chart toppers.
Rudimental at BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend
BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend was just that - a BIG weekend! With a huge range of hit artists, the radio station left no genre uncovered over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend (May 24th - 26th 2013).
Day 1 saw performances from Dizzee Rascal as he promotes his upcoming fifth album due out later in the year; Rudimental, whose debut album 'Home' has had some remarkable reviews and a number one spot on the UK album chart; Rita Ora who is also working on a new album; and her platinum selling boyfriend Calvin Harris. Saturday brought in an equally impressive line-up with Ellie Goulding who is in the UK before she embarks on a lengthy US tour later in the summer; The Saturdays minus Rochelle Humes who is still recovering from the birth of her first baby Alaia-Mai; and Iggy Azalea whose debut album release is imminent. As for day 3, it certainly wasn't a day of rest as hitting the stage in Derry, Northern Ireland were alt-rock threesome Paramore, BRIT award nominated Jessie Ware and Grammy winning Bruno Mars who's set to kick off a major world tour in the summer spanning through 'til March 2014.
The pair hooked up to perform new single 'Goin' Crazy' in what was a great way to star off the three-day festival
Dizzee Rascal was on the bill to open day one of the Radio 1 Big Weekend in Derry’s Ebrington Square on Friday (May 24), but rather than just keep the performance to himself the rapper decided to treat the fans to a special guest: Robbie Williams! The two performed their new duet 'Goin’ Crazy' much to the pleasure of the audience, who were already being treated to some amazing weather and performances over the weekend.
The three day event, which began yesterday (May 24) and will end on Sunday (May 26), has already seen its fair share of surprises in addition to the Dizzee-Robbie hook-up, with troubles at Heathrow forcing two acts (Angel Haze and Aluna George) to pull out of the festival last minute, whilst drum and bass duo Chase & Status saw a way around the problem by hiring their own private jet to get to the three-day event.
Meanwhile, Rudimental, who were in Northern Ireland at the time but their equipment wasn't, had to borrow their kit from other performers in order to play their set. Producer Amir Amor said: "We borrowed guitars, bass, microphones, a bit of love! Everything we could. But the gig just blew us away."
Plus, Taylor Swift scoops eight Billboard Awards and Stevie Wonder closes Hangout in style in our weekly round-up...
This Week In Albums... There was only album anyone was really talking about wasn't there? Daft Punk's much anticipated fourth LP Random Access Memories was streamed early after it leaked on the internet allowing the world's media their chance to get in quick with their gut-check reactions. Our man Joe Wilde was a little more reflective in his assessments though, and found much to love about the French duo's comeback - even if hasn't ended up being the classic that so many people were hoping for. He wrote: "Guy-Manuel and Thomas are perfectionists in every sense, and whilst the album itself isn't a perfect listen, it is still a thoroughly rewarding and worthwhile one; and what more could we and the robots have asked for?"
There were some other much-vaunted French types releasing their comeback album this Spring too; it's a case of if it ain't broke don't fix it for Phoenix. Hoewever that means we once again get an LP of intelligent pop that's as catchy as it is inventive. Jim Pusey found it to be an enjoyable listen, although he felt it lacked something that its mainstream-breaking predecessor Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix had; he commented "There's much here to like, but it lacks some of the charm that made Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix quite so endearing."
When Pop excels it can be a joyous, uplifting, exciting and sometimes sublime experience. It can suspend reality, change moods, transport you to another place, engage your imagination and ignite all manner of emotions. When Pop produces such an effective sound as to make it irresistible to even its greatest detractors, it can be a wonderful, uniting leveller that is without prejudice or boundary; it truly is a universal language that everyone can enjoy. In the recent past much has been made of the artificial and manufactured nature of the Pop end of the music spectrum, but there are still notable exceptions (Cee Lo Green/OutKast/Daft Punk/Calvin Harris/will.i.am etc) that continue to show just how good it can be. 'Home', the debut album from Rudimental, is such a product; it is the pinnacle of Pop. It is 'Baby One More Time', it is 'Hey Ya', it is 'Crazy' - it is that good.
Rudimental, the four piece from Hackney, may pitch themselves as Drum 'n' Bass but their music is too infectious, too positive and too exhilarating to just be pigeon holed there. As their success of the last twelve months has been testament to them, they have defied genre categorisation to bring their life affirming sound to a wider audience. The two John Newman tracks, 'Feel The Love' and 'Not Giving In' in particular are brilliant packages of superb, succinct Pop delivering on any level you care to analyse. The near gospel, deeply soulful delivery complimented by an understated organ, choral backing vocal, reverse beats and a deliciously sub-tropical, seductive horn section really deliver a fantastic result. Newman's voice is perfectly suited to carry each song; it is as impressive as it is impassioned. The super-sonic velocity of the breakbeat score injects a substantial shot of adrenalin into both tracks instantly drawing you into the heady and intoxicating mix.
'Home' is not just about a couple of brilliant tracks though, it is an album of variety with few flaws. The title track, and album opener, is full of depth with its super charged bass and sultry layered vocals. It's like Paloma Faith with a twist of Morcheeba thrown in for good measure. 'Spoons', the first single taken from the album, released February 2012 and featuring MNEK and Syron, is pure, smooth R 'n' B with a silky female vocal lead and an almost James Blake like production. The arrangement and the mix, which have fabulous looping beats, are as chic as they come; a great clubbing entre or late night radio essential. (This cut was possibly a little too subtle to chart but never the less it's a great track).
Continue reading: Rudimental - Home Album Review
A preview of some of our favourite bands playing L@L 2013
This weekend Leeds city centre will play host to some of the best musical talent 2013 has to offer. Whatever your taste in music, with over 100 bands playing at 12 different venues scattered around the city you're sure to find bands that are to your liking.
Since first launching 6 years ago, Live At Leeds has progressed from a relatively locally focused event to the best city music festival in the UK. With the organisers still eager to showcase the finest upcoming local acts, you might just stumble upon your new favourite band.
Continue reading: Live At Leeds - 2013 Preview