All you need to know about next month's Skate and Surf Festival.
This year’s Skate and Surf Festival will be the third since its revival in 2013. With performances from the likes of Fall Out Boy, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and A Day To Remember, the past two years have proven why Skate and Surf should be a staple to kick-off your summer, and it's looking like 2015 has a line-up that shouldn’t be missed out on either.
The Asbury Park, New Jersey-based fest will be taking place on May 16 and May 17, and it’s chock full of some of the hottest name in the genre, and even a couple reunions of bands that the genre has desperately been missing. 2014 saw the reunions of legendary pop-punk band Midtown (Gabe Saporta of Cobra Starship) and alt-rockers Saosin, featuring the addition of ex-member and current vocalist of Circa Survive, Anthony Green. It’s only fitting that Skate and Surf one-ups their reunions now, but let’s take it day-by-day and give the lowdown on the headliners and notable bands for the packed weekend.
Continue reading: Skate And Surf Festival 2015 Splashes Down in NJ Next Month
Widespread Panic and Modest Mouse will also perform at the Kentucky rock fest.
Locals My Morning Jacket lead the line-up for Forecastle Festival 2015, as the first selection of acts entice more and more towards a sun-soaked weekend in Louisville, Kentucky this July. The band will also be joined by Brit singer Sam Smith.
Hot on the heels of their latest album announcement 'The Waterfall', My Morning Jacket return to their hometown for a jam down by Waterfront Park this summer, alongside British superstar Sam Smith who is looking at his most successful year yet with four Grammy wins, a sell-out tour and a number one already with his re-released debut single 'Lay Me Down' featuring John Legend.
In support of their new album 'Get Hurt', The Gaslight Anthem will be touring North America in Spring 2015.
The Gaslight Anthem's upcoming Spring Tour has been announced, promoting their new album 'Get Hurt'. They will be performing across North America, with support from Northcote, The Scandals and Sammy Kay.
The Gaslight Anthem on tour in the US
Producer Mike Crossey recorded with the band in legendary Blackbird Studios in Nashville, to create "Get Hurt". Crossey has worked with the likes of The 1975, Arctic Monkeys, and Jake Bugg. Their grungey, synthetic sound is reflected, especially through their hard-hitting track '1,000 Years'.
Ben Walton's Top Albums of 2014
10) Grant Nicholas - Yorktown Heights
Feeder's Grant Nicholas went down the familiar lead-singer-does-a-solo-album route this year, and the results weren't too bad in the end. Yorktown Heights is a more sombre and acoustic take on the recognisable sounds of his regular band but there is still plenty of bite and energy on tracks like 'Joan of Arc' and 'Time Stood Still'. On Yorktown Heights, Nicholas proved he could pen a tune with more emotional depth than anything about a CD player player player player player.
9) CJ Wildheart - Mable
Not exactly a surprise that a member of The Wildhearts did a solo album this year, but CJs first solo work in seven years is an absolute mother of a sonic gut punch. The power pop blitzkrieg comes thick and fast with songs like 'Better Late Than Never', 'Devil' and the album highlight 'Vitriol'. CJ took the opportunity of his second solo outing to prove that The Wildhearts was never a one man show.
8) Beck - Morning Phase
2014 saw the welcome return of the musical equivalent of Willy Wonka, Beck. Morning Phase revisited the acoustic sounds of his seminal 2003 album Sea Change, with an added dash of optimism. The four years Beck took out between this and his last studio album obviously did him some good as Morning Phase features some of his best songs, such as 'Blue Moon', 'Waking Light' and the gorgeous 'Heart Is A Drum'.
Continue reading: Ben Walton's Top Albums of 2014
Voodoo Festival will hit New Orleans' City Park at the beginning of November - get your timetable ready!
The fourteenth annual Voodoo Music + Arts Experience is swiftly approaching and we can now reveal the day-by-day schedule of the event's exciting line-up.
The first day of the festival (Friday, November 1st) sees the main Ritual stage host the likes of BET award-winning duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis at 7:15pm, just ahead of Pearl Jam's exciting headline spot, while Macclesfield trio The Virginmarys will be bringing in the earlier crowds around 3:45. The Le Plur stage will feature electronic producers Boys Noize and Calvin Harris at 6:15 and 7:30 respectively, while the soulful tones of Allen Stone and ZZ Ward will be resonating over on Flambeau. The Carnival stage will also have some interesting sounds emanating from it over the first day, with Nashville rock 'n' rollers Those Darlins appearing early on in the afternoon ahead of California 6-piece Youngblood Hawke and chiptune band Anamanaguchi closing the stage at 8:15.
Continue reading: Stages And Times Announced For Voodoo Music And Arts Experience 2013
This year's festival season may have seen its disasters, but Made In America closed the summer of 2013 with a bang!
The Budweiser Made in America Festival 2013 was jampacked with highlights from some of the most iconic artists of the age, as well as some of the best up-and-coming stars and the hidden talent you'd be a fool to have missed.
Taking place over August 31st and September 1st in Philadelphia, the Saturday kicked things off with some impressive acts. Feisty California sisters Haim performed early on in the afternoon with a thoroughly entertaining set, in terms of both music and audience interaction, on the Liberty Stage where other must-see artists such as Deadmau5, 2 Chainz and triple BRIT winning Emeli Sande also thrilled the crowd. The Freedom Stage saw the likes of Rudimental further establish their place in the hearts of a large proportion of festival goers, while the Skate Park Stage saw much smaller bands such as Ohio group Cloud Nothings and New Jersey D&B duo Brick & Mortar get the ultimate chance to showcase their talents. The main Rocky Stage was, of course, the real crowd bringer, with Beyonce headlining and Phoenix and Imagine Dragons delivering the uttermost electrifying rock shows of the night.
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
Albums of note… In 2013, the apparent year of the comeback, Depeche Mode made a mini-one of their own, with their first album in four years Delta Machine. Dave Gahan’s still at the vocal helm and the group still enjoy looking at the darker side of pop. Something they’re still doing with great success according to our writer Dom Gourlay, who surmised “'Delta Machine' is a worthy comeback that while not quite hitting the peaks conquered so magnificently by 'Black Celebration', 'Violator' and 'Songs Of Faith And Devotion' back in the day, still sits comfortably in the upper quartile of Depeche Mode's finest releases to date.”
Another gaining the love of Contactmusic this week is Josh Kumra who released his debut LP Good Things Come To Those Don’t Wait. Give he’s only about 20/21 himself, it seems like he’s taken the title of his album to heart, and this Sony release looks set to make him a star early on in his career. Our man Jim Pusey reckoned “At its heart, Good Things Come To Those Who Don't Wait is a solid singer songwriter effort. It elevates itself beyond that by successfully dabbling in a number of musical styles along the way, while ensuring that Josh doesn't ever sound out of his depth. Certainly one of his strengths is his voice, and he gives himself ample opportunity to showcase that here too.”
There is a spit-flecked, fist-pumping, heartstring-twanging joy in witnessing the communal bond between band and crowd at a Gaslight Anthem show. It's abundantly clear from the huge roar that greets the opening 'High Lonesome' that the T-Shirts and myriad tattoos proclaiming their adoration towards the New Jersey quartet are a real and true expression of honest devotion. And for the most part of tonight, it's a devotion entirely justified and returned back. The initial quadruple salvo of 'High Lonesome', 'The '59 Sound', 'The Patient Ferry Wheel' and 'Even Cowgirls Get The Blues' from breakthrough 2008 record The '59 Sound threatens to spin the wheels with too much initial throttle but then eases comfortably into a selection of tracks from American Slang, with the deep and troubled Americana rock drama of 'Orphans' being particularly stirring. As a live outfit, they're exceptionally well-honed and finely-drilled: delivering their missives with a taut muscularity that helps define and refine the ragged corners and broken bottles they sing so yearningly about.
In construct and delivery, The Gaslight Anthem seldom fail to hit their mark, or at least graze its outline. Brian Fallon playfully jokes with the crowd about football, American stereotypes and various anecdotes in an open and endearingly self-deprecating manner, being greeted in similarly good humour by the bustling, eager crowd. Taking the approach of playing a selection of tracks from each of their individual four records as specific segments is certainly an unusual one, but neatly serves to display how they've developed as a band over the years. The habitual Springsteen comparisons are a lazy and over-used method of describing The Gaslight Anthem's output but if I may venture a compliment using one such comparison: just like their fellow New Jersey native, they've not been afraid to develop and change their sound, growing more confident in pushing tempos and expanding their musical envelope. And it's clear tonight that this is the case, though some of the tracks from new album Handwritten do fall that little bit more easily through the cracks in the crowd's attention, coming as they do at the end of the main set where feet are growing tired, glasses growing empty and bladders growing fuller. That being said, the explosion when they then tear into 'Great Expectations' is thrilling to behold and when they do return to their latest record for the initial set closer, 'Keepsake' is quite sublime in its dirty blues howl and its rasping pleas: growing like a wave as the crowd catch on to its swelling momentum.
Arriving back for the encore with grins and thanks, the double-tap of 'Mulholland Drive' (another of the best tracks from Handwritten) and a storming, arm-waving 'Too Much Blood' is followed by an unexpected closer for tonight's show. Though Fallon has been wearing a "The Who" T-Shirt all night, we're assuming it was just sartorial homage. Not entirely. A trilling, repetitive and familiar electronic guitar effect snakes around the Academy but we only realise quite what is happening when the huge chords to 'Baba O'Riley' come on in. And to their credit, they do it brilliantly - Fallon achieving the necessary bite and bluster in the vocal and the band looking like they're having the time of their life. I'm not sure which I'm more surprised about - the band taking on a stone-cold classic and doing it absolute justice, or the fact that all the kids seem to know every word - but it's a weirdly befitting and thrilling end to tonight's proceedings. It's hard to call The Gaslight Anthem a cult band when they're filling out large venues on consecutive cold nights in Manchester, Glasgow and London; but regardless of venue size, there is a connection in their live shows that genuinely warms the heart in a day and age where the stage barriers are physically and metaphorically larger than at any time in the past. What they do might seem initially simple from a musical standpoint, but there's a surfeit of heart and soul deep down in there that grows like a flower from a battered bulb in the live arena.
4th September, 2015