Now in its third year, and most definitely at home, By The Sea festival returned to Margate in glorious style. Having surely established itself as Kent's premier music festival, By The Sea once again upped its game with an inspired roll call of artists. Across the last weekend in September, and in some iconic venues that included Dreamland heritage theme park and the Margate Winter Gardens, East Kent was treated to a spectacular musical menu.
If the thrill of riding the U.K.'s oldest wooden roller coaster, The Scenic Railway, taking a stroll along the golden sands or even seeing Steve Davis DJ in Olby's Soul Café were not enough to tempt you down to the coast on Friday night then surely huge dancing bears and the Hall By The Sea's headline acts were. As the dodgem DJs began to spin their last few tunes, the theme park took on a new guise under the bright lights and neon kitsch. As the yearning for Candy Floss subsided and the need for an Acapulco Taco took over Dreamland came to life.
Dutch Uncles were in great spirits in The Hall By The Sea kicking off their set with 'Oh Yeah' off of their most recent and most successful album to date, 'Big Balloon'. Singer Duncan Wallis was in fine form, excited to 'finally be there' and even inviting the crowd to come and 'ram us later' on the dodgems. With some very funky slap bass, a playful exuberance and a tight, polished set, Dutch Uncles proved a delight. After delivering crowd favourites, 'Face In' and 'Fester', Duncan declared, 'That's enough dancing around like p***ks, we're 30 for God's sake! If we wanted to be sick we'd have gone on the waltzers!' 'Steetlight' and a pulsating, percussively excellent 'Big Balloon' followed before the first of the evening's crowd participation, the harder hitting 'Dressage', closed out their set.
Continue reading: By The Sea Festival 2017 - Festival Review
If consistency, reliability and frequency of output were any measure of a band then Dutch Uncles would be top ten with every release. The Stopfordian band's first album came back in 2009 and they've been dropping one bi-annually, in the first third of the year, ever since. The band's latest offering, 'Big Balloon', is another finely balanced album of high quality brushes with premium pop and sonic adventures into an ever broadening musical palette.
Dutch Uncles new ten track album is an up beat affair, fresh as spring air and bristling with a nervous energy. There are some truly brilliant bass lines, a tight percussive edginess and the ever excitable vocal stylings of front man Duncan Wallis. The album takes you through all manner of musical arrangements evoking the hedonism of 80's New York where infectious sing-a-longs rub big shoulders with some quirky but masterful and individual nuisances.
From the bounce of any ad-mans dream, 'Big Balloon', the title track itself, sets out to entertain, surprise and engage in equally large amounts. The breezy pop is full of infectious momentum brilliantly put together with a fabulous jagged guitar riff and superb dancing bass line. The all to brief, 'Oh Yeah' is similarly charged with a sugar rush of activity and is so packed full of hooks you are carried away on its wave of high octane harmonies.
Continue reading: Dutch Uncles - Big Balloon Album Review
Plus Katy Perry gyrates on 70 year-old man and Asaf Avidan's new all swinging and all shaking video!
A Week in Videos… Gary Oldman AND David Bowie in one video? It’s happened, with the Thin White Duke revealing his controversial new video for his comeback album’s title-track, The Next Day. There’s plenty of blasphemous imagery going about, with Marion Cotillard's character receiving the stigmata on her hands and Bowie himself looking like Jesus Christ, as various decrepit clergy men enjoy a sleazy bar with all the ill-reputed sorts that usually occupy such a place. See what you think.
Vampire Weekend’s new album’s pretty great and this single off it is pretty great too. This is just the lyric video so not too much happens visually however, it gives you a chance to hear one of the lead tracks from their album Modern Vampires In The City. With the anticipation surrounding that album's release, and the generally decent feedback given to the album so far, it is expected that the band will perform particularly well on the album charts.
Having quickly established itself as the best metropolitan music festival in the UK, Live At Leeds returned over the warm bank holiday weekend to send a spark of excitement and energy fizzing through the city's streets. As ever with LAL - and most other festivals - line-up clashes were inevitable though it did little to dampen the atmosphere of what proved to be one of the best Live at Leeds offerings yet.
The thing to remember when wandering the streets with a crumpled programme trying to figure out if you can sprint from Brudenell Social Club to The Wardrobe in under 8 minutes is that you really don't need to. The whole point of Live at Leeds is that there's always someone playing, somewhere, and it makes for a far richer experience to circle a couple of your must-sees though pretty much go with the flow of the festival.
Incidentally - after a visit to the Holy Trinity Church to catch the end of the impressive Harry George Johns - the first real port of call was the horrendously busy Cockpit venue in the city centre, where queues snaked up and down the street with hundreds of fans desperate to gain access. Luckily, organisers had put together a pretty tasty schedule for the venue so waiting wristband holders were eventually treated to something worth queuing for.
Continue reading: Live at Leeds 2013 - Live Review
Albums of Note... Yeah Yeah Yeahs have returned after a lengthy break, with Mosquito. It’s a marked step in the band’s evolution and a further step away from their punky roots. Mosquito has opened up further avenues of creative possibilities for a band that once seemed shackled by their arty roots and somewhat more importantly, Karen O now has blonde hair, now folks. That’s the big news here.
“The possibilities for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs now seem endless. The inclusion of Kool Keith's alter ego Dr Octagon on 'Buried Alive' is one such example. Although slightly scattergun in its approach, Mosquito almost feels like a record the band needed to make to reach the next stage of their evolution.”
Coldplay live CD/DVD Cover
Albums of Note... Coldplay’s Live 2012 album shows a band far more at ease with themselves than their previous live release, from 2003. The Live 2012 package includes both blu-ray and CD. The footage is punctuated by behind-the-scenes interludes and these excerpts showcase each band member’s enthusiasm for their live shows as well as revealing how the material from Mylo Xyloto evolved over time and culminated with them band playing to a vast stadium audiences across the globe. “Live 2012 includes some nice musical moments... the low-key piano intro to 'Yellow', a guest appearance from Rihanna during 'Princess Of China', and the stripped back intimacy of 'Us Against The World'. All of the other elements of big choruses and sing-along's spanning the entire Coldplay back catalogue are present and correct… and Chris Martin's voice seems to have found a renewed strength to cope with the massive venues the band now fills.”
Lana Del Rey takes her 60s vintage aesthetic to the extreme with the video for new single 'Chemtrails Over The Country Club'.