R&L: the latest line-up news fails to disappoint

So, a bit earlier on Reading and Leeds added 50 new acts to this year’s festival line-up, taking place from the 22nd to 24th of August.

Probably the most exciting announcement was the addition of Gerard Way, performing his first ever solo UK show, following the demise of My Chemical Romance, the band he fronted until March 2013.  I was a big fan of My Chem for a long time, so seeing activity from its former band members is super exciting!  I’m definitely looking forward to hearing what he’s come up with in the year since they broke up.

He’ll be playing on the NME/Radio 1 stage alongside one of my favourite vocalists, Maverick Sabre.  Now I know he’s not particularly rock ‘n’ roll, but you’ve gotta appreciate his beautiful voice.  La Dispute are also playing the same stage, and considering their popularity online (especially on Tumblr and Twitter) they have a lot to live up to.

The Lock Up Stage will also be benefiting from the addition of We Came As Romans, following the release of their album Tracing Back Roots last year.

I’m also excited to hear We Are Scientists perform on the Festival Republic Stage – Nobody Move, Nobody Gets Hurt and Lethal Enforcer are awesome songs, and it would make my day if they played them.

All in all, the R&L line-up is still looking as strong as ever.  Nothing they could do could make me regret buying my ticket now.

Currently listening to: In The NightYoung Guns

 

#tbt : top 9 albums from the 90s you need in your life

Hey everyone!  Looks like it’s time for another throwback Thursday, and today I want to look at my favourite 90s albums.  The 90s were an amazing time for the punk, rock and metal world, with bands such as Foo Fighters, Slipknot, Avenged Sevenfold, Biffy Clyro, Blink-182, and Linkin Park forming during the decade.

A lot of the albums released during the 90s have gone on to become cornerstones of modern punk, rock and metal; if you’ve never listened to Nevermind, for example, most people would look at you like your head was on backwards.

Plus, even if you only listen to music from the noughties onwards, chances are that your favourite artists were influenced by, or grew up listening to some of the albums I’m gonna list today.  So, let’s start the countdown!

9: The Razor’s Edge – AC/DC

Honestly, the members of this band probably sweat pure rock and roll.  Whilst not their best album, The Razor’s Edge produced a whole host of anthems which could easily fill stadiums.  Plus, the slow-burning opening to Thunderstruck is enough to send shivers down my spine.

8: Dookie – Green Day

From start to finish, this album is an explosion of angry pop-punk.  What’s not to love about that?  In fact, I don’t think I even need to say any more about Dookie.  Go listen to it, and let it speak for itself.

7: Enema of the State – Blink-182

This album is pure, unadulterated awesome.  Plus, the singles it produced – Adam’s Song, What’s My Age Again? and All The Small Things – have become anthems even hermits that never listen to the radio are probably well aware of.

6: Showbiz – Muse

This album is quirky as hell, and that’s why I like it.  Showbiz turned out to be a pretty good indication of what direction Muse would be going in; that direction being completely throwing out the rule-book and creating completely original music with every album.

5: Parklife – Blur

This list wouldn’t be complete without a little bit of Britpop.  Parklife and Girls and Boys are instantly recognisable even 20 years on, and the whole album in general is infectiously good.

4: In The Aeroplane Over The Sea – Neutral Milk Hotel

When I decided I was going to write this post, ITAOTS was one of the first albums I considered for it.  It’s weird, yes, and the lyrics are pretty difficult to get your head around on the first listen, but gems like Holland, 1945 and King of Carrot Flowers Part 2 & 3 combined with the weirdness is what makes this album great.

3: Nevermind – Nirvana

I bet you saw this one coming, didn’t you?  To be honest, I’m not a massive fan of the rest of Nirvana’s discography, but Nevermind is legendary and pretty damn difficult to fault.

2: The Colour And The Shape – Foo Fighters

Quite frankly, this album has it all, and is probably one of the Foo’s best albums.  If you can listen to this album without singing along, or at least tapping your foot to bangers like Monkey Wrench and Everlong then you have more willpower than I do.

1: System of a Down – System of a Down

This album just goes to show that System of a Down were at the top of their game from the very beginning.  I saw SOAD at Reading Festival last year: they closed the set with Sugar, and it was one of the highlights of the day.  If you don’t have this album on your iPod, then I’m seriously judging you.

Currently listening to: I RememberA Day To Remember

#tbt : My first gig went a little like this…

First off, I’d like to apologise for the punny title.  I’m one of those people who speaks in song lyrics rather than actual fully-formed sentences half of the time; something my friends really enjoy.

Anyway, today I’m gonna start up a feature I like to call #tbt, or throwback Thursday.  Before anyone starts, I’m already well aware that #tbt has been floating around Twitter and Instagram for a long time.  Can you blame me for wanting to piggy-back off that success?  Basically, every Thursday I’m gonna travel back in time and talk about something a bit old school.  Hopefully this’ll result in a lot of nostalgia for everyone involved.

Ever since I started this blog I’ve wanted to talk about my origin story.  It might not be as exciting as Wolverine’s, but when I attended my first ever gig in 2010 I was probably adrenaline-fuelled enough to demonstrate one of Hugh Jackman’s trademark angsty, despair-filled cries to the moon.  Kinda like these.

On that fateful evening of the 19th of June, 2010, I made my way to Wembley Arena where I watched the incredible Green Day, supported by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, and Frank Turner.  This gig was the catalyst that got me interested in rock, alternative and punk music, so for that Green Day will always hold a special place in my heart.

I even still have my ticket, stuck up on my bedroom wall back at home, as well as the t-shirt I bought at the gig, which I brought to university with me even though it’s far too small.  Sentimental is my middle name, you know.

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(I also had the good fortune of seeing them headline Friday of Reading 2013, and their performance was just as mind-blowing three years on.)

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and Frank Turner were excellent choices for support acts.  Joan Jett got the stadium buzzing with Bad Reputation, and Frank Turner’s The Road was a real anthemic, sing-along moment.  However, as much as I enjoyed the support acts, nothing could have topped the main act for me.

Billy Joe, Mike and Tré performed like a well-oiled machine with limitless enthusiasm.  I could tell that they still love and enjoy performing, even 25 years after the band’s inception in 1987.

Highlights of the gig were East Jesus Nowhere, Are We The Waiting, and their mash-up of Iron Man, Sweet Child o’ Mine and Highway to Hell.  

Now, I’m aware that this blog post, in itself, is nothing new: everybody knows that Green Day are an establishment of pop punk, and put on an amazing show.  For years after this gig I was worried that no other band would ever be able to top their performance.

Even so, I think I’ve made it clear that if I could turn back time and experience that gig again, I would without a second thought.

Currently listening to: Need To BeMemphis May Fire 

Review: Pure Love, Lincoln Engine Rooms

I think I can speak for most Pure Love fans when I say I did not want this tour to happen.  Last night was the opening night of the band’s farewell tour, before going on “indefinite hiatus“.  The band’s first and only album, Anthems, has seen massive popularity since its release in 2013, as well as cult popularity thanks to the band’s presence on Twitter and Instagram.

Unfortunately, the band’s fate is sealed, and all that was left was to see them on their farewell tour, and have an amazing time.  (Spoiler: I had a seriously amazing time.)

Now I, personally, would have loved to see We Are The Ocean as the support act, as I saw them play with Pure Love in support of Lostprophets in 2012.  Well, that’s the line-up I imagined in my dreams anyway.

However, in reality the night started with PUP.  These guys were a lot of fun to listen to, but I didn’t think much of their lead vocalist.  Also, they’re a lot heavier than Pure Love, so they probably would have been better suited to support a heavier band.  Unfortunately my camera ran out of battery pretty quickly, so I only have one photo of their performance, and it’s a little blurry.

A photo of PUP supporting Pure Love at the Lincoln Engine Shed.

And then, on to Pure Love.  These guys were phenomenal.  Their live performance was polished and well-rehearsed, and Frank’s vocals were spot-on throughout the performance.

Performance is the only word I could use to describe this show.  The show was electric, and I think Frank and Jim spent more time in the crowd than on the stage itself.  They were literally hanging from the rafters of the venue at one point, only a couple of feet from where I was stood, which was an awesome sight to see.

During their final song, Riot Song, the entire band moved their kit from the stage to the middle of the crowd, making the performance even more intimate and getting even the most reluctant members of the crowd jumping.

All in all, last night was a concert I’ll probably never forget.  Their last gig was a perfect farewell from a brilliant, if short-lived band.I guarantee that if Pure Love ever get back together, I’ll be buying tickets to their next tour as soon as they go on sale.

Currently listening to: Smells Like Teen SpiritNirvana