#OOTD: 27/11/14

Today I decided to wear autumnal tones of warm berries and fallen leaves, adding layers to help fight off the November chill.  Jumpers combined with collared shirts are a personal favourite look of mine, and one I want to take right through the winter months and into spring.

The embroidered owls add a cute and playful touch to the outfit, whilst the pleated skirt gives it a punk edge.  The thick soles on my new winter boots are perfect for jumping puddles, but the outfit would also work nicely with my favourite Doc Martens.

Finally, the outfit is completed by a warm berry lipstick, which adds colour to the dreary grey days.  All that’s left to add is a leather jacket and thick wool scarf, and I’ll be prepared for any weather.

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Jumper: ASOS
Shirt, Skirt, Boots: New Look
Leggings: Primark
Doc Martens: Nevermind The Music
Necklace: Love Little Treasures
Lipstick: Boots Natural Collection Moisture Shine Lipstick in Berry Sorbet

Currently listening to: CenturiesFall Out Boy

Review: Linkin Park, O2 Arena London

Honestly, this gig could not have come quickly enough.  I’ve been a fan of Linkin Park since I picked up their Minutes To Midnight album back four or five years ago, and I’ve wanted to see the California six-piece live ever since.  If you’d told 14-year-old me that I’d get to see Linkin Park live someday, I probably wouldn’t have believed you.

But, back to the gig itself, starting with the support act – Of Mice & Men were an odd choice, I thought, considering the genre difference.  However, their sound was loud enough to fill the O2, and their performance was electric, like it had been at Leeds Festival a few months ago.

As an aside, by the way, check out how close we were to the stage!  I was a little worried when I found out we had seated tickets, in case we ended up right up in the back corner of the arena, but I was more than happy with these seats – the closest I’ve ever sat to the stage at an arena gig so far!

Anyway, back to Of Mice & Men.  I was a little disappointed in their setlist, because aside from The Depths, every track was from their latest album Restoring Force.  As much as I love that album, I would have really loved to hear some of their older tracks, especially some songs they didn’t play at Leeds Festival, but that’s just me being picky.

After a few songs even reluctant crowd members were getting excited by the Orange County quintet.  Austin’s vocals were spot-on, and he did a great job of getting the crowd excited.  Aaron’s clean vocals were drowned out by the instruments a little, possibly down to nervousness or maybe his mic levels were too low – however, what I did hear of his voice was excellent.

The atmosphere during Another You was awesome – the crowd all held up their lighters or phones, and because my sister and I were the only people in our block of seats with their phone lights on, Austin came over and waved at us!  That was a pretty awesome feeling.

Overall, I definitely wasn’t disappointed by Of Mice & Men’s performance, and when they come back to the UK next March/April on tour I hope to be able to see them perform in a more intimate venue.

Now, with no further ado, on to the main event: Linkin Park.

As soon as Linkin Park walked on stage, I knew the entire crowd was in for an unforgettable experience.  Chester and Mike’s vocals were on point throughout the entire night, even if Chester did sound a little nasal at times. Guitarist and Bassist Brad and Phoenix were great fun to watch interacting with the crowd and getting everybody hyped.  Drummer Rob’s performance was flawless throughout the entire night, and his drum solo near the end of the set was one of my show highlights.  Mr Hahn could have done more to interact with the crowd – when he had nothing to do, he simply sat down behind the turntables.

The band’s 16 years of touring was evident in that their performance was like a well-oiled machine.  However, Chester and Mike’s interactions with the crowd and each other gave the night its own unique spin.

Overall I was extremely happy with the setlist – the band used a lot of mash-ups and played shortened versions of fan favourites to try and cover a decent snapshot of their lengthy discography.  It was heartening to see the audience reacted just as positively to tracks from The Hunting Party to those from Hybrid Theory and Meteora, which just goes to demonstrate Linkin Park’s wide appeal, and explains their continued success.

Whilst it would have been good to hear more full-length tracks, obviously time constraints meant that just wasn’t viable, and although I was saddened that a lot of older songs were cut down, it makes sense that on The Hunting Party Tour they would want to play full-length songs from that album.

Highlights included the stripped-back piano mash-up of Leave Out All The Rest,Shadow Of The Day and Iridescent, and the entire encore which included Lost In The Echo, New Divide, Until It’s Gone, What I’ve Done and the incredible Bleed It Out.

Last night was my first arena gig since I saw Avenged Sevenfold at Wembley Arena last December, and I think I forgot just how much can be achieved in an arena – the scope for light shows, video displays and the audio quality just cannot be replicated in smaller venues.  Linkin Park definitely filled every inch of the O2 with their massive performance, and I’m sure they will continue on their path to world domination.

Currently listening to: RebellionLinkin Park (featuring Daron Malakian)

Ticket touts: how they’re killing the live music industry

For anyone who’s attended a gig, this scenario will be all too familiar: walking towards the venue, you’re mobbed by people asking “anyone need a ticket for tonight?” or “I’ve got 4 tickets spare, anyone interested?”

Occasionally these people will be genuine – maybe they bought a ticket for a friend who cancelled, or they have an important meeting the next morning that cannot be missed.  But more often than not, these people belong to that breed of human known as ticket touts.

Ticket touting, by definition, is where somebody (an individual or an organisation) buys tickets to live events, and then re-sells them later for much higher than their face value.

Now, on the face of it, sometimes people can benefit from touting.  For example, I attended a gig a while ago and my friend decided at the last minute that she wanted to come along.  Lo and behold, there was somebody outside selling a ticket.  Even though it cost her double the face value, the ticket was genuine and she had an awesome time.  In small doses, touting is probably harmless.

However, when large organisations purchase tens, or even hundreds, of tickets for gigs and then go on to re-sell at a much higher value, this is where things start to get dodgy.

As you may have seen on my Twitter earlier in the week, I picked up a ticket to see Foo Fighters on their Sonic Highways tour next year at Wembley Stadium.  Exciting times!  Thankfully we went through the venue’s pre-sale procedures on Wednesday morning, and we got the tickets at face value, £93.50 for Level 2 seating, plus booking fees and transaction fees.

As of the time of writing this blog, there are currently 791 tickets for the same date available on Get Me In!, and these are just from the presale!  Currently the lowest price available there is £103.71, which doesn’t necessarily include transaction and delivery fees, but prices go up to a whopping £412.50.

Obviously, with general sales still to open, tickets at the higher end of the spectrum won’t be selling any time soon.  However, if the venue sells out, desperate fans looking for tickets may have to consider these ridiculously inflated ticket prices.

Another example: my stepdad bought a ticket for him and my mum to see the Foo Fighters play at Wembley Stadium a few years back (our family are massive Foos fans, in case you couldn’t tell) for her birthday gift.  Because he was too late to pick up tickets from the venue directly, he went through a ticket-touting website, and paid well over face value for them.

Skip to the night before the gig, and his tickets still hadn’t arrived.  After doing a bit of online sleuthing, he found that the business he purchased the tickets from had gone into liquidation, and even if it hadn’t, the tickets were likely to have been part of a large-scale fake ticket scam.  In the end, he and my mum had to leave it to chance and turned up at the venue, hoping that someone there would be able to sell them a pair of tickets.  He paid yet another massive sum for legitimate tickets, but never got his money back for the faked ones.  Whilst they enjoyed the gig, the experience was tainted by how much they had paid.

Ticket touting doesn’t necessarily hurt the venue, as they will be happy as long as they continue to sell tickets and make a profit.  Even if their reputation is questioned for allowing touting to continue, venues are well aware that music fans will never simply stop attending gigs in protest.

However, touting does hurt bands – not economically, but imagine being told that your gig has sold out an entire arena, only to turn up on the night and see whole blocks of seats empty?  That has to be disheartening, and wherever touting is involved there will usually be a significant number of tickets that never get resold, usually because the price they ask for is simply too high for most people to consider.

Of course, ticket touting has plagued the live music industry for decades, and even legislation hasn’t prevented its growth.  Occasionally bands will take a stand and limit the amount of tickets purchased per sale to try and discourage touts, but this crime is extremely difficult to regulate and enforcing the law has not had much success.

However, I still live in hope that, some time in the not too distant future ticket touts will be shunned and prosecuted for the crimes they commit.  Let’s hope, as well, that their practices do not kill the live music industry in the process.

Currently listening to: SupersoakerKings Of Leon

Lookbook: Beautiful boots

Today’s lookbook is inspired by my latest New Look purchase: a simply beautiful pair of winter boots which I can see myself wearing for a long time.

Winter boots from New LookThe thing I love about these boots is that they’re adaptable – they’re suitable for casual wear, office formal and evening glam. Here are a few ideas of how to work this fab footwear during the winter months.

# 1 – C A S U A L W E A R

Beautiful Boots Lookbook #1 - casual wear

# 2 – O F F I C E F O R M A L

Beautiful Boots Lookbook #2 - Office formal

# 3 – E V E N I N G G L A M

Beautiful Boots Lookbook #3 - Evening glam

Do you want to see more posts like these? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!

Currently listening to: Ugly BoyDie Antwoord

Review: Sonic Highways

Now I’m sure I was just as excited as the rest of the planet’s population when news of the Foo Fighter’s eighth studio album, Sonic Highways, started circulating.  I definitely needed more killer riffs, explosive drum tracks and killer stadium-filling choruses in my life.

Since its release on Monday reviews have been coming in thick and fast, some of which seem to be hinting that the Foos are past their best.  Well, I simply had to listen for myself – I refuse to believe anything that even begins to suggest that the Seattle rock band being anything less than flawless.

Sonic Highways has a strong start, beginning with the slow-burning lead single Something From Nothingwhich is lyrically as interesting and complex as the band’s previous offerings.  Say what you want about the Foo Fighters, but you cannot deny their consistency over the years.

If you’ve been watching the band’s series of mini-documentaries following the creation of their latest album, you’ll know that each song was recorded and written in a different American city.  The song which carries the influence of its city of conception most strongly is Congregation, which was penned in Nashville, Tennessee.  The lyrics refer to the highly religious sentiments embedded in the culture of the deep South, plus Zac Brown of country/folk band Zac Brown Band features as a guest guitarist on the track.

Anyway, back to the album.  The piano-heavy introduction to What Did I Do?/God As My Witness helps to break up what could have ended up being an album of never ending guitar riffs, and I can see that track in particular being a live favourite.

My biggest criticism of the album, as much as I don’t want to give one, is that it feels a little short.  Obviously I understand that the Foos travelled all over America to record this album, which would have been extremely time consuming, but maybe they could have made a few more stops along the way.

Vocalist and guitarist Dave Grohl described Sonic Highways and its accompanying series of documentaries in a feature by NME as “a love letter to the history of American music”.  Well, consider this review a love letter right back.  Foo Fighters, once again, have proved that they can do little wrong and cemented themselves as a cornerstone of contemporary American rock ‘n’ roll.

Highlights: Congregation, In The Clear, I Am A River

Lewis-Manning A/W 2014 Fashion Show: The Lookbook

As you may remember, on October 2nd I went along to the Lewis-Manning Fashion Show in Poole, and it really inspired me to use charity shops to keep my wardrobe bang on trend, but still affordable.  You can read my previous post here.

Unfortunately there were no photographs available when I wrote my previous post, but now they’ve been released I thought I would take the opportunity to show you all my favourite – and the most inspired – outfits of the night, courtesy of photographer Tanita Cox.

I61A2006-Edit I61A2011-Edit I61A2032-Edit I61A2079-Edit I61A2092-Edit I61A2132-EditI hope these autumn/winter trends have given you some ideas for the coming cold weather and party season!

Currently listening to: HappyRoyal Blood (Pharrell Williams cover)