Issue 12

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SOUNDCHECK Issue v2.5 | October 2011


Snoop Dogg // Festival Season 2011 // T in The Park // Top 100 Tracks Pt.3 // Sir Anthony Hopkins // Lucy Rose // Ke$ha // & Live Listings

Soundcheck Magazine


INDEX Issue v2.5 | October 2011

Editor: Glenn Rossington Sales: Glenn Rossington Front Cover: StringerBessant by GR Designer & Webmaster: Kate Farrell Photography: Glenn Rossington Writers: Glenn Rossington Andy Gillard & Kate Farrell Soundcheck Magazine Flat 5 3 Park Avenue Wolverhampton West Midlands WV1 4AH Tel: 07599 475 111


P 5-9 News Thank You’s Sincerest thanks go out to Jonn Penney, Press Officer at the Civic Halls Wolverhampton for his assistance in obtaining the various permission in order to cover live events.

Interviews P 10-14 Snoop Dogg

Features P 16-17 Festival Season

Contributions: Article and photo contributions are welcome. Prints and transparencies are sent at the owner’s risk and although every care is taken, Soundcheck accepts no responsibility for loss or damage. Please email photos to: (all images must be at least 300dpi) or post them to us.

P 18-21 T In The Park

Legal Bit: Copyright ©2011 Soundcheck. All rights reserved. Nothing in this magazine may be reproduced in part or in whole without the express written permission from Soundcheck. Information on events, products, reviews and anything else does not nessicarily imply recommendations by Soundcheck. We have done our utmost to make sure all the content in this magazine is correct and accurate, but would emphasise the we, Soundcheck, accept no responsibility for any mistakes or omissions. All opinions expressed in this magazine are that of the individual contributor and are not nessicarily shared by Soundcheck Magazine

P 22-27 Gallery P 28-32 Top 100 Tracks of All Time (Pt.3) P 34-37 CD Reviews

Live Music

P 38-39 Sir Anthony Hopkins & CBSO P 40-41 Stringer Bessant P 42-43 Lucy Rose P 44-45 Ke$ha P 48-49 Live Listings

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Ash Team Up With Charlotte Hatherley For Free All Angels Anniversary Shows Ash have announced a UK tour for October to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of their third full-length studio album ‘Free All Angels’. The band, who are currently preparing to release a second ‘Greatest Hits’ album, will be rejoined by former guitarist Charlotte Hatherley for the tour. Hatherley quit the band in 2006 to pursue a solo career and has since released three solo albums and played in the backing outfits of KT Tunstall, Client and Bat For Lashes The tour takes in three shows, beginning at Birmingham’s HMV Institute on October 20, Ash will then move onto Manchester’s HMV Ritz on October 23 and finish up at London’s HMV Forum on October 25. During the gigs, the band will play ‘Free All Angels’ in its entirety before returning for an extended ‘Greatest Hits’ themed set. Ash will play: 20/10/11 Birmingham HMV Institute. 21/10/11 Bristol O2 Academy. 22/10/11 Glasgow O2 ABC. 23/10/11 Manchester Ritz 25/10/11 London HMV Forum The band have also announced details of a new compilation, which has been titled ‘The Best Of Ash’ and will be released on October 17. The compilation will take tracks from across their career, including early hits ‘Oh Yeah’, ‘Girl From Mars’ and ‘Burn Baby Burn’ and more recent tracks like ‘Arcadia’ and ‘Return Of The White Rabbit’. The record will also feature a re-recorded version of the band’s debut single ‘Jack Names The Planets’ and the band’s never before seen tour documentary ‘Teenage Wildlife’.

Got Some News To Share? If you have an item of news that you wish to share with us, whether you are in a band and have a gig or a new e.p out, let us know! If you know of a band who needs some exposure, wants their live act reviewed and photographed, if you are a solo artist with the same aspirations from your local online music magazine, get in touch!


NEWS Charlie Simpson Comes To Town

With only weeks until the release of his eagerly awaited debut album, ‘Young Pilgrim’ and following the success of his first ever headline tour where he played to sell out crowds in across the country, Charlie Simpson today announced he’ll be heading back on the road in October to play eight UK shows to even bigger crowds, including a date at our own Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton. The tour will be the perfect live showcase for Charlie’s debut solo record. After spending six months of last year holed up writing in his London studio, Charlie joined forces with acclaimed producer Danton Supple (Coldplay, Doves) to begin recording the album. The result is an accomplished 12 track record that emanates vintage warmth and whose luscious melodies and occasional imperfections lend it a vibrant character and earnest charm. Prior to the release of ‘Young Pilgrim’ an EP named ‘Parachutes’ is to be released on August 8th; Written by Charlie, it sees a rousing drum intro unfurl into sparkling keys and acoustic guitar. Charlie’s deftly crafted sonics and earnest lyrics reveal his maturity as a cherished British songwriter. The video for ‘Parachutes’ can be seen here. Tickets priced £12.50 will be available from Wednesday 27th July at Midland Box Office: 0870 320 7000 or online at

Asking Alexandria

They play hard and certainly party even harder ushering in a new era of rock decadence. The group gives everyone a look into what a typical night with them is like on the famed Sunset Strip in Los Angeles in their much-anticipated new promo video for the track “To The Stage.” The clip was shot by renowned director Frankie Nasso (Emmure) and is certainly an entertaining, disturbing and an honest look into how some party nights can suddenly take a very wrong turn. Asking Alexandria’s new album, ‘Reckless and Relentless’, has been unlike anything the metal/hard rock genre has seen in quite some time and is available now in stores everywhere. The disc debuted at #9 on the Billboard Top 200 charts and this is controversial, unapologetic hard rock at its very finest. Tickets priced £12.50 will be available from 9.00am on Friday 29th July at Midland Box Office: 0870 320 7000 or online at Soundcheck Magazine


Merchant’s Second Date With tickets for his show on Bonfire Night continuing to sell rapidly, we are delighted that Stephen Merchant will be returning for another show on Saturday 26th November!

The award winning co-creator of The Office and Extras (both for BBC) is about to embark on his first ever stand-up comedy tour Merchant said: ‘Most people don’t realise that I was a stand-up comedian before I met Ricky Gervais and his coat-tails. Life can be lonely as a TV writer so this tour is a great opportunity for me to get out there and meet my fans. And make at least one of them my wife.’ Tickets priced £27.50 are available from the Midland Box Office: 0870 320 7000 or at

Adele’s New Dates

Following the unfortunate postponement of her September 10th and 11th shows due to illness, promoters and bookers have been hard at work with their diaries to arrange new dates. The rescheduled dates will now take place on Monday 7th + Tuesday 8th November. Tickets for September 10th September remain valid for Monday 7th November. Tickets for September 11th September remain valid for Tuesday 8th November. Should the rescheduled dates be unsuitable, face value refunds are available from point of purchase on return of tickets. All enquiries to Midland Box Office: 0870 320 7000.

The Blitz Kids Arrive

Simply put, Blitz Kids are one of the most exciting young bands around on the UK scene right now…

“Mark our words though - Blitz Kids are soon going to be the band that everyone is talking about, so make sure you check them out.” KERRANG! Tickets priced £6.00 will be available from 10.00am on Friday 5th August at Midland Box Office: 0870 320 7000 or online at



Ed Sheeran Lines Up Two Civic Dates Critically acclaimed singer-songwriter of the moment, Ed Sheeran lines up two dates at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall for January 2012 following the immediate sell-out of his first show. He seems to know exactly where he is going, and exactly how to get there. Where countless others fail to make an impression amid today’s information overload, Ed’s music and talent cut straight through. He has a poise that is as welcome as it is unusual in someone so young. He’s both utterly self-assured but still charmingly open. He has a confidence that’s built not on being able to sing someone else’s song quite nicely on a teatime TV show, but on hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of gigs where it’s just him, his guitar, a loop pedal and a crowd. Above all Ed’s got this voice with buckets of soul and these incredibly affecting songs that despite being played on acoustic guitar are far removed from the standard singer-songwriter fare. In fact, Ed’s songs are as informed by Jay-Z as much as they are by Damien Rice. They talk about the city he loves and the people in it and of it. They talk about the people made by it, and those damaged by it. They are about love and loss, but are also joyful when you need them to be. He is a unique talent whose combination of skills is frankly quite startling. So now there is the album, entitled ‘+’. “I’d like to say it’s all about positivity,” Ed laughs, “but really it’s just a cool sign that I love. It is also one step on from all the independent releases I have done.” Ed’s album is out in September and features a host of very special songs. Small Bump is a true story, with the most heart-wrenching twist, about a friend and her baby. Lego House is a love song that imagines a world where you can, (“pick up the pieces and build a lego house, and if things go wrong we can knock it down!”). Wake Me Up was written while sat, really drunk, under a tree by Jamie Foxx’s pool (that’s another story). Grade 8 (“your body is my ball-point pen/ and your mind is my new best friend…”) sees Ed as a worrier/warrior with bloodshot eyes, his heartstrings being twanged by a virtuoso guitarist. The truth is, there’s not a bad song on it, precisely because Ed wouldn’t dream of allowing there to be a bad song on it, he’s that type of guy. Sheeran plays the Civic Hall 17th & 18th January 2012 Tickets priced £15.00 are available from Midland Box Office: 0870 320 7000 or via Soundcheck Magazine


James Morrison Awakes Returning to the fore with that distinctive voice, James Morrison announces a gig at the rather intimate Wulfrn Hall in Wolverhampton this November.

As the title of James Morrison’s third and by far best album suggests, The Awakening is the sound of an artist coming of age. In his personal life, Morrison has become a father, while losing his own father after the latter’s long battle with alcoholism and depression. At the same time, Morrison, 26, has matured as a singer, songwriter and musician, enabling him to channel all of that emotion into his most accomplished collection of songs yet. “My first two albums felt like practice shots,” he says, “and now I’ve graduated. In many ways this feels like my first proper album.” He plays the Wulfrun Hall on Wednesday 2nd November, tickets priced £25.00 will be available from 9.00am on Friday 2nd September at Midland Box Office: 0870 320 7000 or online at

Bastille Day…

Bastille’s repertoire packs a powerful synergy of house, minimal, synth pop and hip-hop to create a sound that is easy to love and even easier to dance to. They’re building a sonic identity that borrows from many but steals from no one, and they’re taking us along for the ride…. Michael Ullman and Julien Benichou, Together, they are building a repertoire that packs a powerful synergy of house, minimal, synth pop and hip-hop to create a sound that is easy to love and even easier to dance to. And they’re still building. Playing the Slade Rooms on 23rd October, Tickets priced £5.00 are available from Midland Box Office: 0870 320 7000 or online at

The Town Play Town

The Town are a 3 piece band from Wolverhampton formed in 2009. Their material reflects on how British life & culture is today. They have a unique raw passion & energy with an Indie, Rock style which is becoming very popular with the mod scene. Playing the Slade Rooms on 26th November, Tickets priced at £5.00 are available from Midland Box Office: 0870 320 7000 or online at


Soundcheck Magazine

SNOOP DOGG What up doh, this is big Snoop Dogg in the studio working on my 11th solo record, ‘Doggumentary.’ What was your inspiration behind ‘Doggumentary’ ? What was my inspiration behind ‘Doggumentary?’ My inspiration was just basically going in the studio trying to make a record that feel good, that felt good to me, that felt good to the environment that I’m in, that Hip Hop is in right now. For me being on my 11th solo record, like, just trying to go in and make a record that could really depict my whole career but go with a brand new twist to feel like right now Did you intend for the album to be so eclectic? Um, no, when I went in to make the record I was trying to just make a record that felt good. You don’t really have no direction or no substance when you first start. It’s just about shooting in the sky trying to find something, and when you hit, you know, you feel like, ok, I got one, and you go back and you, ok, I got another one, then I got another one, and then you start taking those songs and trying to put them together until you

create a formula that has a concept behind it. So, in the initial beginning it was more about just making songs, because, you know, when you get to the point where I’m at, you know, some would say it’s time to retire. So, you know, you try to find a groove that feels good to your groove, and once you get it then you stay at it. What are the stand-out tracks for you and why? Songs that stand out on this album to me, uh definitely a song I got called “My Own Way.” Frank Sinatra did it his own way, and this song is like my version, because it’s me just saying what I, what I really feel at the time, as far as like I really want to go back to the hood and try to kick it, but I can’t because I’m so far ahead of that now. And there’s another song on there called “Cold Game,” where it just talks about, you know, me as an artist, and my growth, and my, my failures, and my successes in the industry, and the things that I’ve had to deal with and overcome, and just the way I put them all in perspective, and, you know, still having fun doing it.


Tell us about some of the collaborations on the album. Stand-out collaborations on my album would definitely be Wiz Khalifa “This Weed Iz Mine” is a hell of a record, T.Pain “Boom,” R.Kelly “Platinum,” and the way I get, you know, to the point of me working with somebody on my album, it has to be someone that I really love their music, their craft, and their whole integrity behind making music, and then it has to be somebody who I feel that can complement the record that I’m working on, and really fits the concept of the whole album as opposed to the song. You have to be able to, you know, engrope the whole concept of the record when I call on you to be a part of my situation, because to me my albums are like movies, it’s like, I can’t just throw you in the scene if you not a part of the movie. You know, you have to have some relevance to yourself and what you’re doing, so when we’re watching this movie and listening back to this movie it all comes together as a puzzle. What stands out about the track you did with Kanye West and John Legend? The Kanye West track, what stands out about that to me is just how he just flipped it and took an old school track and made it brand new. And John Legend singing the hook, just the stuff we talking about, just being real and opening up, and not really being on no flamboyant, flossy “I got it all” type rap, but really saying something

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that means something. And a lot of times, we, we don’t take the opportunity to say things that matter over great music, because in hip hop, it’s so cool to rap about what you have, as opposed to the have-nots, so this is more about a record that’s a reflection of what we see when our eyes are closed. And you’ve even experimented with a hint of ‘dance’ this time too by getting David Guetta to remix you… Uh yeah, David Guetta did a remix for “Wet,” which will be the original version for “Wet” on my European release of my album because he’s so big, and so international, and he flipped a song and made it sound completely different than it did when we did it, but, you know, working with somebody like that, that’s what I strive for - I strive to work with, you know, with greats. I also worked with Willie Nelson on my album, on a song that he wrote called “Superman.” So, you know, it’s - it’s about being great and working with great acts to continue to have greatness in your career. Your music weaves seamlessly from Hip Hop to R’n’B, from Dance to Pop, has it always been an effortless transition for you? Well, music has always been a part of my life, and I mean by all forms of music, so for me to make the transformation from going into Rap, Hip Hop, Country, Rock, Pop, whatever it is, it’s all music to me. I never had a prejudice when it came to music, I had an ear for music, and if it sounded good, I rocked my head to it. And I tried


to emulate it, and when I became a musician, the same rules apply, you know, that’s why you can find myself doing Country music, or Rock music, or R’n’B music, or Hip Hop music and never falling without, you know, hurting myself. When I do fall, I fall back. Which Rock artists would you like to collaborate with? Uh, If I was to do a collaboration with Rock artists, I would probably choose Rage Against the Machine, or um, what’s my guy, Trent from Nine Inch Nails - one of those two, so that way I know I had some exclusive, gangsta, rock your motherfuckin’ head shit. What is your writing process? Um, my writing process, it’s different. Sometimes I don’t write, sometimes I can just feel the track and go in and just spit that shit and it come out and it is what it is, and then other times it may take me a day or two, or maybe three or four days, to write something that’s compelling, that takes that sort of time to get off what I’m trying to get off, and then sometimes I can just go in there and hit that shit, start feeling it, right to it, bam, write it, spit it, drop it, double it, triple it, lock and load it, bounce it, mp3, ooo-wee. What do you enjoy more, recording or playing live? I would have to say that playing live is what I enjoy more than anything in my career. You know, the recording part of it is very fun, and you know, different, but it’s more work. The performing

side is fun, because it’s, it’s like, you’ve reached the pinnacle, that’s when the music is already understood by the people, and the expectations is for them to sing along with you. You have a huge Twitter following, how important is your connection with your fans? Um, I feel like that’s like the number one key in music right now. You know, having that relationship with your fans where it’s not based on your record label, it’s based on you. You know, when you tweetin’ and all that, that’s not about what label you on, it’s about you dealing with your fans directly. So whether you have, you know, a successful album, or a label that supports you or back you, you have a relationship with the people who make you who you are, and to me, that’s way more important nowadays to me, because that’s what the industry is broken down into. Trust. I don’t trust, you know, that, but I trust you and if I have a relationship with you and you telling me you putting a record out and it’s gonna be good, I’m gonna buy it because I trust you. How do you relax when you get some down time? Go to sleep (laughs) how does Snoop relax? I mean, you know, I have many different ways of relaxation. Some is just sleep, um I like to play video games, umm, basketball, football, just, you know, the simple things in life go a long way with me. I’m not complex at all. Do you want to coach football at the next level?


Um, I’ve been offered a position at my alma mater high school to be a coach there, so I’m thinking about entertaining that, then from high school, you know, what’s next? NCAA, and then, you know, the big wop wop, the NFL. I’m just easing into it, you know, I love the kids, I love coaching, I love giving information, and teaching, and learning, and passing it on, and being a mentor. So, football is one of my number one passions, and coaching is definitely up there at the top.

intrigued me at an early age, the way their defense played, Franco Harris, Lynn Swann, Terry Bradshaw, just the way they got down. It was my style, it was me, and I fell in love with them, and I’ve never been able to really undo it, you know, I’ve got a lot of friends who I like that play for different NFL teams, a lot of NFL players that I love and respect from different organizations, but I am a die-hard Pittsburgh Steeler, and that’s what I was bred and bled to be.

How did you become a Pittsburgh Steelers fan growing up in Southern California? Well, when I was a kid in the 70s, you know, you was either a Steeler, a Raider, or a Cowboy. And um, something about the Steelers really

Thank you so much for your time with us. It’s been a hell of an experience, you know what it is, the record is gonna give you what you need, cause I got what you want, and you can dig that. Peace.

Soundcheck Magazine

By Glenn Rossington

So not long after this years Glastonbury Festival, main man and event organiser Michael Eavis declared that festivals are ‘over populated’ and are on the ‘way out’ as a result of it. Although I agree in part, I fear Mr Eavis is wrong in a number of ways. Yes, it is true that the festival market is over populated now, it seems that every man can hold a festival as long as he has the money to pull in the acts and can guarantee ticket sales, let alone having the space to put on a highly successful festival in the first place.

A special mention must be made to the splendour that is Beach Break Live. A festival dedicated entirely to the Student population. Having initially started in Cornwall and combining surfing with the package, it has now moved to South Wales and is enjoying a rather successful new lease of life.

Whilst some of the new festivals that crop up each year will more than likely last a couple of years at most due to funding in these economic times, there are a few that should be given encouragement to ‘pull on through’. 2000 trees in the Cotswolds deserves a mention for it’s The UK Festival scene has some strong stalwarts though; uniqueness and popularity, regularly selling out and Glastonbury, Reading & Leeds, T in The Park, Isle of pulling in decent names too. Wight, V Festival, Green Man, The Big Chill, Latitude, Rockness, Relentless Boardmasters, The Eden Sessions If Mr Eavis decides to pull the plug on Glastonbury, and Guildfest to name a few. Of that list in particular, yes, we will loose a national institution and there will Rockness, The Eden Sessions and Isle of Wight are the be a huge gap in the market, but it will also revitalise ‘newbies’. Isle of Wight celebrating it’s 10th anniversary competition amongst the bigger game players and stakes (after a good 40 year break mind you) Eden Sessions also will be raised to secure those ‘epic’ headliners and spread celebrating the 10th annivesary too. Rockness having the diverstiy of the acts far and wide. only started roughly 5 years ago proving to be very popular north of the border. A sign that with backing Sp for the time being, let’s enjoy being with nature and and thought, anything is possible in the market. reminisce about our summer adventures. Soundcheck Magazine



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This July, we were invited upto Balado just north of Edinburgh to cover this years T In The Park festival. Totally spur of the moment, we were essentially unprepared yet prepared at the same time. Leaving Wolverhampton at 4am on the Saturday morning (We had to miss the half day of events on the Friday) it took just over 5 hours to get to the festival site, park and exchange our emails for wristbands. The weather was glorious as we set up camp in the press field and we took a few moments to relax and take in the enormity of the journey we had just undertaken. Without hesitation we proceeded into the arena having just missed Fun Loving Criminals and N-Dubz. After a brief familiarisation of the site and amenities it was time to get down to business. Live music and lot’s of it! Having ben at the o2 Academy in Birmingham only the week previously, Ke$ha was ending her set on the main stage. The crowd was enormous and the rush as set closer ‘Tik Tok’ kicked in was something to behold. Just a shame her voice wasn’t up to scratch, relying totally on the crowd to carry the song for her.

The King Tuts Tent was spilling out of every angle for the boys from Ocean Colour Scene, showing what a massive cult status they still hold in Scotland. A trip to the Radio 1 stage for a bit of Jimmy Eat World before heading to the T Break Stage to catch a semi homecoming slot from Jon Fratelli. One of the smallest tents on the site filled up very swiftly as soon as he arrived on stage. Recent single ‘Santo Domingo’ and old Fratelli’s tracks ‘Baby Fratelli’ and ‘Whistle For The Choir’ standing out showing what a back catalogue he posesses. After a spot of dinner, it was back to the mainstage for the end of Beyonce. You cannot deny, whatever your musical tastes, that she can sing live. But to me it just sounded like a cd was playing. It was too perfect. No edginess, no jamming no nothing. And so on to the night’s headliner, playing their first British soiled show for a couple of years, there was great anticipation for Coldplay - especially after their well received headline slot at Glastonbury.

Manic Street Preachers were next up on the main stage. The rain shower cleared just before showtime and they came out in glorious open skies. Kicking off with ‘You Love Us’, their power surging through the amps and causing the field to bounce. The hits kept coming; ‘You Stole The Sun…’, ‘Tolerate’, ‘Masses Against The Classes’ yet somehow it seemed like a very lacklustre performance. Quite sad when one of your favourite acts put on a damp performance.

Opening with brand new track ‘Hurts Like Heaven’ was a risky move, but it was received like an old favourite. ‘Yellow’ was early in the set but worked better in the second song slot. ‘In My Place’, ‘Lost!’, ‘The Scientist’ and old favourite ‘Shiver’ padded out the refreshed setlist perfectly, intersected with more new tracks ‘Major Minus’ and ‘Us Against The World’, showed that after ‘Viva La Vida’ they appear to be returning with another new sound, more padded out. The single, ‘Viva La Vida’ brought out a number of Scottish men drunkenly ‘flinging’ and singing out of tune, but it was great!

Next up was a proper festival set, again the mainstage was this time given over to Slash. Powering through tracks off his latest solo record and dipping into classing G’n’R. The absolute highlight was the solo of ‘Sweet Child of Mine’ and the whole field singing it note perfect in unison in the pouring rain.

The encore featured ‘Clocks’, ‘Fix You’ complete with a snippet of local heroes Travis’ ‘Why Does It Always Rain’ and ending superbly on ‘Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall’. Getting the whole field dancing in unison. The night ended on a high and with a huge anticipation for our second/final day here.


Sunday started with a brief shower and then one of the hottest periods of the weekend so far. Still on a high from yesterday, we made our way back into the arena and tucked in front of the main stage to see Britpop returnees Cast. Playing a longer set due to the original ‘t.b.c’ band pulling out. Again, they were another band given a bigger reception north of the border. Pulling out the hits such as ‘Finetime’, ‘Walkaway’ and ‘Free Me’. A great start to the day. Another wonder around the site took us into the ‘fine food quarter’ and into the ‘Scottish Folk Tent’ which was unashamedly brilliant. Local dancers spinning away to local folk songs and ell onlookers joining in and having a great time! Next we headed across the small field over to the Red Bull Transmission stage to witness Roddy Woomble from Idlewild do a solo set. On par with Jon Fratelli yesterday it was amazing to have made it in before the huge rush. Playing an entirely solo set, it was great to see him in a different mood and enjoying himself on ‘home soil’. A quick run back to the main stage to catch Weezer was a brilliant move. The heavens opened but it didn’t deter Rivers and co. Rivers being the true showman he is, donning one of the TITP Capes and jumping down into the press pit, hugging the front row crowds and even sliding belly first in the mud. ‘Undone - The Sweater Song’, ‘Beverley Hills’ and a random cover of Radiohead’s ‘Paranoid Android’ made sure that the crowd were fully entertained. A quick run over to the King Tuts Tent to catch the end of The Vaccines set saw queues to get in. Once inside the stage could barely be seen, but the sound was incredible. Such musicianship and the way they held the audience was a sight I have not seen for a very long time! ‘Wrecking Bar’ and ‘If You Wanna’ being highlights of what I managed to catch of their set. As the crowds poured out, it was time to get back to the mainstage. Soundcheck Magazine

Next up were American alt. rockers My Chemical Romance, a set I had been looking forward to seeing all weekend. Opening with ‘Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na)’ got the crowd going mental, but it was ‘Teenagers’ and ‘Black Parade’ later on that really did it. Brilliant experience and great interaction. Next up were possibly the undoubted highlight. Another reformed ‘Britpop’ era band, Pulp were playing one of only a few very select British dates. The anticipation before opener’Do You Remember The First Time?’ was incredible, followed by the joy of the actually being there, Jarvis and company doing what they do best. ‘Disco 2000’, ‘Sorted For E’s & Wizz’, ‘This Is Hardcore’, and the classic ‘Common People’ ringing out being heard all over the site. Sheer brilliance. End of. Over on the Radio 1 stage, it was time for Beady Eye. Liam arriving onstage like a long lost brother and launching straight into a verbal attack on brother Noel (at the time he had launched his solo career a few days before and Liam had taken offence). Changing lines in opener ‘Four Letter Word’ to Noel related bites. The spirit of Oasis circa ‘94 is still there just about. Liam’s vocals sounding strong and ‘Wigwam’ sounding epic. Back to the main stage for a bit of headliners Foo Fighters. Dave Grohl in typical energetic rock-god form. Slightly missing something to my ears, I felt underwhelmed than on previous shows. Still, they rocked and put on a show and a half ! We decided to end our weekend in the Red Bull Transmission stage in the company of Eels. A great choice as their slice of funk blues rock was perfect. ‘Novocaine For The Soul’ got a rare outing. ‘The Look You Give That Guy’ sounding glorious and ‘Souljacker. Pt1’ just enormous. Closing the weekend you really couldn’t ask for more! One thing I have learned, the Scottish sure know how to party!



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Top 100 Tracks

Of All Time (For The Moment Anyway!)


So… after a few months of deliberation, we present the final selection of our Top 100. There is a trend in looking at these tracks that from my own perspective, at least 70% are from the last 25 years, so essentially my childhood. This is not a bad thing at all as it reiterates that music is moving forward, and redefining itself. We are living in a world now where the ‘Single’ is becoming fast redundant. How artists intendto get their music heard now without the aid of a ‘promotional single’ remains to be seen. Was the album always better than a single? Who knows. Sit back, relax and enjoy some fantastic tunes in these final days of Summer. Soundcheck Magazine

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The first single from Coxon post split from Blur back in 2003. This portrays why, he wanted to produce a record of high energy indie-pop like Blur’s career, they wanted to experiment. ‘Freakin’ Out’ couldn’t sound any more Blur if it tried, and helped to secure his status and be taken seriously as a solo artist. Fantastic track for any time of year, but great during summer festivals.


Cliché I know to put this track in, but hey! Admittedly I never fully got the White Stripes despite seeing them. This and ‘Ball & Biscuit’ are probably the stand out tracks for me. Full of energy and the closest I can relate to the hype everyone else experienced except me.





From the opening few seconds to the final throws, this is one of the tracks that helped to define ‘Madchester’ and lead the way into ‘Britpop’. Hard to believe that this is now 20 years old! I have seen many covers of his over time, and have now seen Ian Brown do this on many occasions too. Somehow though, when he performs it, the magic and especially the voice is no longer there. Nevertheless, always a banging tune on an evening out!

My first encounter with The Datsuns was at the old Little Civic supporting The Jeevas. They had so much energy I felt shattered just watching them! Still this single launched them into the charts at the time and had to be heavilly edited due to the expletive in the title and chorus. They were a great live band at the time who have ridden into the depths of obscurity now.

We have to throw in a bit of ‘The Godfather of Soul’ and his ultimate classic ‘Sex Machine’ has to be one of them. Always an entertaining performer, and holder of ‘one of those voices’ he won new fans thanks to his live performances right up until just before his death. I remember seeing James Brown perform this track at V99 and it was an absolute highlight. One to always make you feel like dancing.

A one hit wonder from back in 2003. It came with an accompanying animated video that featured all kinds of characters in it. It had the essence of cuteness combined with a proper summer feeling song. Junior & Senior always seemed like an odd couple, but had the magic with this track. A one time Blast Off anthem, always helped the night go by after a few jars!






It is pure coincidence that this has been included in our ‘Top 100’ after they have announced they are splitting up. I’ve always had a soft side for their singles although I have never really embraced their full back catalogue. ‘Losing My Religion’ though is just a brilliant brilliant song. The opening bars of the mandolin signal something different and Stipe’s lyrics are just perfect. A proper festival anthem too. A signature tune from one of the greatest bands of our generation.

The Undertones present a perfect slice of punk pop with the late John Peel’s favourite track of all time. Easy t see why though. Loud guitars, punky riffs, and delivered with a proper ‘bite’ that is lost on many artists these days. A proper rebellious anthem.

One of my favourite Placebo songs. Lead track from 1998’s ‘Without You I’m Nothing’ album. Peaking at number 4 in the singles chart, it fully established Placebo as a band to be reckoned with. Based on a repetitive chord structure and a looping drum beat, it is a great slice of music. Not really a track you can mosh to, but certainly a song that can lodge itself in the back of the mind. A few rowdy singalongs have been caused because of it. Also fantastic performed live.

Coming in at just under 3 minutes, ‘Baggy Trousers’ is one of the tracks that sums up Madness as a whole unit. Fun, Lively, Energetic. Always encouraging everyone to dance along in the ‘ska’ style, it is something to be at a festival and evryone is doing it. 60,000 people in unison, not many songs can cause hysteria like that. The closing refrain of ‘Baggy Trousers’ is just brilliant.



I have gained a new found respect for Sam Cooke over the last few years. No one can deny the voice on this man was perfect. Sung without any struggle and with such passion, it cannot help but make you enjoy it. Always gets my foot tapping when I hear it, we need more songs with a saxophone solo as colourful as this!


Always being described as an ultimate ‘Indie’ anthem, I would certainly agree with that statement! A peaceful track inspired by the ethics of the ‘hippy’ culture. A great tune to have a dance to usually towards the end of the night. As with Madness, it was amazing to see this at a festival circa, 2001 and being encouraged by the band to get as many people sat on the floor as possible. Everyone did.

THE UNDERTONES Soundcheck Magazine








On a proper retro continuation, another track made in the way they don’t anymore. Simple structure of acoustic guitar, drums, vocals and handclaps. An absolute gem of a song. Covered by many over the year, but this version is the standout for me. A song of love and a song of friendship. The acoustic breakdown after the verses shows the brilliant musicianship that many look upto the duo for. It is just a shame they don’t speak anymore. A song for anytime of year, Summer BBQ’s or Winter nights inside.

Not hard to see who Ash were inspired by for the riff of ‘Jesus Says’ from, yet the original is always the best. Swirling guitars and disjointed yet perfect vocals. Driven by the dynamic bass line and huge drums, it is the almost electric sounding spikey solo that propels it to super-dom. There are also essences of sounds that I can hear in the Manic’s ‘Holy Bible’ record buried beneath the fuzz. Absolute gem of a track.

CIGARETTES & ALCOHOL What can be said about this record that hasn’t already? Yes it really captured the moment when released way back in 1994. Stealing from everyone from T-rex to The Stones, you cannot deny that Liam’s vocal delivery on ‘C&A’ is mighty fine. Having seen Oasis many times, I don’t think they have ever not played it. The grin on Liam’s face as fists are punched into the air from the first notes are priceless. One of the better singles and one to always remember the great band they were too.

This 1970 hit for local lads Ozzy and co is absolutely stupendous. Helping to cement the culture of heavy metal here in the Midlands, you cannot help but at the very least ‘tap your foot’ as Ozzy screams out over Iommi’s majestical riffs. It was a tough call between this and ‘War Pigs’ to be honest, but personally ‘Paranoid’ will always be the winner. Purely for the iconic riff alone, but also for the relationship between all instruments and Ozzy.







First major single for Franz back in 204 that launched them into the limelight. The intro verse that then drops into the song proper with a change of pace and rhythm was a brilliant decision. Giving way to the iconic riff that gets festival crowds up and down the country giddy in excitement. As soon as the track was released it also became a ‘Blast Off’ favourite, initially starting the evening off then propelling to a mid-night anthem. The last breakdown being perfect for drunken stomping.

BLACK HORSE & THE CHERRY TREE The first time I heard KT was on ‘Later… with Jools Holland’ just before this was released. It was a perfect record and performance to get attention. The simple build up using a looper followed by the ‘woo-hoo’s’ is hypnotic. A good old foot stomper of a song, you cannot help but join in. Not the cleverest of tracks lyrically, but as I said, a proper energetic track that cannot fail to get you moving. Great video to accompany the song too. Soundcheck Magazine

From the opening bars to the closing finalé, a song of masterful precision and eloquence. The ong holds a place in my heart as my parents are big fans and used to have Van’s ‘Greatest Hits’ playing most summer holidays. This track was also ‘their song’ and fills me with gladness every time I hear it. The call-and-answer ‘sha la la la’s’ cannot help but encourage you to join in. Perfect slice of summer drives by the coast type song. One of my personal alltime-favourites without a doubt.

Evrytime I hear this song, I think of the video opening with the silhouetted outline. Brilliant melody and use of mellotron combined with Bowies extraordinary lyrics help make this song just one of those perfect slices of pop. I saw him perform a slowed down version on the ‘Reality’ tour, yet it was magic. I feel privilaged to have seen him in person. A perfect end to our countdown with one of the most iconic songs of the last 50 years. Sheer brilliance.



Ed Sheeran


Ed’s massive and beautiful debut single ‘The A Team’ tells the story of Angel, a troubled homeless woman he met while helping out at a Crisis shelter. You’ve already heard it - in June it became the biggest selling debut single of the year so far. Thanks to this Ed has now firmly crossed over in to the mainstream. But hold off, this doesn’t mean you can stick a big ‘James Morrison’ label on him.

Kasabian have a tough act to follow. After the success of ‘West Ryder…’ and being labelled ‘The next Oasis’ many bands would collapse under the pressure, Kasabian on the other hand set to work determined not to fail.


Both of the very mellow ‘Give Me Love’ and ‘Wake Me Up’ perfectly demonstrate the trick Ed neatly pulls. Just when you think he’s another lovely but harmless Damien Rice balladeer, he comes over all Mike Skinner and effortlessly, maybe accidentally, morphs in to today’s peoples’ poet and out he comes with ‘Grade 8’ and ‘You Need Me, I Don’t Need You’. Sheeran’s genuine unaffected and unassuming nature alongside his rhyming bite is what makes him so unique at the moment. Don’t underestimate him. Here’s holding out for the next half of the album and more ‘Grade 8’ and ‘You Need Me...’ type stuff…Sheeran’s genuine unaffected and unassuming nature alongside his rhyming bite is what makes him so unique.


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‘Velociraptor!’ is a surprise. Where most Kasabian albums have been all filler sandwiched between the singles, this at least tries to break that rule and actually works. ‘Switchblade Smiles’ and ‘Days Are Forgotten’ are familiar to us, the former being the hybrid of old vs. new Kasabian. We get the thumping beats and guitar lines, but what is showcased is the strength of guitarist Serge Pizzorno’s songwriting. More mature and focussed than previously. ‘Re-Wired’ is one of the natural highlights of the record with it’s uptempo vibe, but ‘I Hear Voices’ and ‘Man of Pleasure’ are a bit different that it’s a good ode to the next record. Whilst it won’t win any major new fans, ‘Velociraptor’ show that Kasabian are not a force to be reckoned with anytime soon.



Will Young

Charlie Simpson

Next year will mark the 10th anniversary of Will Young participating in the more innocent, pre-X Factor Pop Idol, the show he won at the start of 2002.

Charlie Simpson has worn his pop past with Busted like a hairshirt, ever since he walked out of the band in favour of his post-hardcore project Fightstar, the credible alternative to his teenybopper day job. It’s a shame that he feels like this as both bands have had their moments, and he’s clearly a gifted singer and songwriter.


Throughout these 13 tracks, while never taking a wild leap into gabba territory, X brings subtle elements of dancefloor delights present and future into arrangements complementing Young’s tunes of love, longing and regret, making this a high quality affair all round. The hands-aloft joyousness of lead single Jealousy is just one of the highpoints; other moments of magic come along with Silent Valentine, which sounds like a giant hit you feel you’ve known forever, and I Just Want a Lover is a foxy boohoo-beneath-the-mirrorball future classic.

Young Pilgrim

Young Pilgrim is a side project, the result of Charlie having a bit of time on his hands and a bunch of songs that won’t fit his current musical brief. So having temporarily turned his back on calling down the very heavens with Fightstar, he’s re-entered the world where melody is king, but still brings that sense of overwhelming gravitas with him.

Echoes is a fantastic, perfectly crafted adult pop album for people who’ve long wondered if such a thing existed anymore. It deserves to be reasonably enormous.

There’s a lot of walking streets alone, blisters cracking over skin, melancholy trips to childhood haunts, and a lot of soul-searching: classic singer-songwriter fare. Thankfully, our hero has two important things on his side: a robust way with a tune and a swag-bag rammed with glorious multi-tracked harmonies. Cemetery, Suburbs and I Need a Friend Tonight are resplendent with his many voices.



And standouts continue to present themselves. Losing Myself sounds like a mid-80s Climie Fisher keytar-and-crap-hair turbo ballad.




Noel Gallagher’s H.F.B

Opening with a subtle instrumental named after the album title, it segues gently into ‘Hurts Like Heaven’. Very poppy in sound and it is Jonny Buckland’s guitar that is the driving force coupled with Martin’s distinct vocals.

We’ve had Liam’s Beady Eye, now it is time for Noel’s High Flying Birds. If ever a record has been anticipated, it is this one. So many questions… Will it be better or worse? Will it be Oasis? What will those lost tracks sound like!? In short, the album is just as good as hoped.

Mylo Xyloto

‘Paradise’ is the starkest thing they have done to date, sounding Hip-hop inspired behind a driving beat. It is not the only nod towards hiphop though. ‘Princess of China (Feat. Rihanna)’. Many frowned upon hearing the news of the duet, but you struggle to realise it is Rihanna to begin with. More subtle in influences than ‘Paradise’ but still starkly different. ‘Charlie Brown’ has had fans raving over the summer, the album version is faithful to the live one, and actually, “Charlie Brown” sounds even more affirming on Mylo Xyloto Overall, Mylo Xyloto is bracing and vivid, not overproduced, and balances delicacy and bombast with a steady, assured hand. There’s no sense of that hesitation on MX which sometimes hindered the band in the past. it’s absorbing on many levels, and sounds very of-the-moment, something Coldplay has always excelled at.


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Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

Opening with the gorgeous string & choir laiden ‘Everybody’s On The Run’, the album tone has been set. Chilled out, reflective and inspiring. We’ve already heard ‘The Death of You & Me’ and ‘AKA… What A Life’, and some have heard ‘If I Had A Gun’ thanks to the American release. So what is left? Of the rest though, ‘Dream On’ is huge. A monster of a track that will get you taking note of Gallagher Snr again. ‘AKA Broken Arrow’ is majorly an instrumental with sitar. ‘Record Machine’ varies from the leaked Oasis version thanks to the Jagz Kooner polish, and the lost classic ‘Stop The Clocks’ is exactly the same but complete with an ending ‘space jam’. Not quite the comeback everyone wanted, but overall it stands tall just as much as Beady Eye. Question is, what next?



Florence & The Machine

Ryan Adams

After the success of ‘Lungs’, one can only hope that Flo’s new album lives up to the high standard she has set herself. Fear not, everything is fine.

To appreciate Ashes & Fire , one must understand where Adams is coming from. A large reason for his retirement in 2009 was his due in part to his struggles with Ménière’s disease, a disorder of the inner ear that wrecks havoc on ones hearing and balance.


First teaser track ‘What The Water Gave Me’ showed that the bite was still there, but with an added early Stones blues direction. Single ‘Shake It Out’ is glorious. Following on from the pre-release single and fitting in with the back catalogue to date, you can see progession. ‘Only If For A Night’ is a slowed down, midtempo track complete with multi-layered synths and a story about a girl from school. She sings “It was strange and so surreal that a ghost should be so practical” - Good to see the quirky Flo of old is still deep in her soul. In a bizarre twist, ‘Spectrum’ has a bizarre essence of Destiny’s Child and obscure 90’s dance band Olive as a possible influence. To sum up, it sounds like Florence has improved her machine and geared it up for the American market. No doubt this will be a massive hit at home too, but should help cement her legacy in the wider world just like Adele.


Ashes & Fire

The album’s opening track, Dirty Rain, is a down home yet subdued southern rocker at heart. You can feel the humidity from the Allman Bros. inspired organ playing that creeps up later in the track while Adams strong vocal effort crashes down upon the listener like lightning from the sky. nown for his prolific songwriting skills, Adams has always flown under the radar as a guitar player. Building from a simple acoustic riff and lyrics ripe with self-reflection, Do I Wait features a brief yet triumphant electric guitar solo that would fit perfectly on any of the material recorded by his on again/off again backing band The Cardinals. It’s clear he is making the record more for himself then for his diverse fan base. For that reason alone, it is perfect.




Sir Anthony Hopkins & CBSO Symphony Hall, Birmingham Classical music is something that we have not featured very much in our magazine to date, but when you are presented with an evening of music written by a classic film star, how on earth can you pass on the opportunity? That is exactly what we had tonight. Star of the stage and screen, Sir Anthony Hopkins was in Birmingham to present his little known works of classical compositions played out effortlessly by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO). One might have anticipated one or two pieces to be created by the star, but alas over the course of the evening we are given no less than 8 pieces of ‘brand new’ classical scores, accompanied amongst themes from Sir Anthony’s most famous films. On reading the program booklet before the show, we learn that Hopkins has had a love for classical music ever since the early days of his upbringing in Port Talbot, Wales, and has been tinkering around with piano scores ever since. It was a chance phonecall to a composer to discuss scoring a new film of his that brought out the final drive to get these pieces performed and recorded. Soundcheck Magazine

The producer was not available, but told Sir Anthony that he had heard through the grapevine that he was a very talented piano player and had developed a few scores. After a few months of encouragement he took to the studio to perform pieces, gaining more confidence as they progressed. Finally, the score was born and was used in his film ‘Slipstream’. We also learn about how his life has influenced the pieces. ‘1947’ was inspired by his Grandad taking his to the circus in Port Talbot. He recalls seeing the ringmaster and the elephants towering above him. You really start to get a sense of how personal music is to him, and how honoured we are to be seeing only 2 performances in the UK for the time being. As soon as the dates were announced, Sir Anthony said: “I am immensely happy to be working with the CBSO to bring my compositions to the UK for the first time. There are themes and passages in these pieces that have been several decades in the making and to bring them all vividly to life with one of the great symphony orchestras of the world is absolutely thrilling.” So as the lights fade on the impressive hall to a sold-out


capacity crowd, the orchetra arrive onstage followed swiftly by tonight’s conductor Michael Seal. They open with a Hopkins original entitled ‘Orpheus’. Clearly the talent in Mr Hopkins musical ability is considerably underestimated. The piece is stark and moving. After this piece we get the first moving moment as Sir Anthony is introduced onto the stage. Havingrecently suffered a twisted ankle, he takes his time walking with a cane. A standing ovation awaits him. He stands for a moment visibly moved by the appreciation. He speaks clearly and emotionally as he thanks us for our attendance and proceeds to divulge into a few tales of the pieces about to be performed. As he exits off stage, we are treated to ‘The Silence of The Lambs’ theme. But as the night progresses, we are treated to more Hopkins originals. ‘Stella’ a piece dedicated to his wife, ‘Evesham Fayre’ about a childhood trip and ‘The Waltz Goes On’ show the depth and warmth this man has. We are taken on a rollercoaster of emotions that crash to a halt in time for the end of the first half. The second can’t come soon enough.

Initially, Hopkins was to have disappeared from his seat in the ‘Executive Box’ for the break, but chooses to stay and meet fans and sign autographs. The second half begins with a concert premier by the CBSO of Titus’ ‘Suite’ cushioned by Hopkins’ ‘Amerika’. Themes to ‘The Remains of The Day’ and ‘Shadowlands’ are next and we end with his own ‘Margam’ and ‘1947 Suite’ encompassed of ‘Circus’, ‘Braken Road’ and ‘Plaza’. It is with this that the evening ends. However, as an encore, Sir Anthony returns to the stage to a mountain of cheers, standing ovations and a huge celebration. Again he thanks us and tells the tale of his last visit to Birmingham resulting in a curry with Roy Orbison and Dame Shirley Bassey. The humble and emotional frame of Sir Anthony bids us farewell after personally thanking the Orchestra with us. We are treated once more to the celebratory piece titled ‘The Plaza’ and then the show is officially over. Sir Anthiny Hokins, star of stage and screen, and now, with pleasure, Classical Music too.



StringerBessant The Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton

It is not very often that you are presented with the opportunity to seesome of the biggest people in Rock ‘n’ Roll perform quiet acoustic music in such an intimate setting. Over the last year though, we have had Bowling For Soup and Newton Faulkner (to name but a few) visit the humble abode that is The Slade Rooms. Tonight is the turn for one half of Reef. Releasing an album last year ‘Yard’ and a PledgeMusic© released EP earlier this summer, tonight was an opportunity to visit the Midlands and perform a number of tracks before returning to the studio to work on record number two. We have an unusual set up in the venue tonight, tables and chairs surround the first hlf from the stage, allowing for standing behind. Making it seem like an entirely different venue, yet the sound tonight is pitch perfect. The audience is receptive and are clearly anticipating the performance. Soundcheck Magazine

Gary Stringer and Jack Bessant take to the stage in a relaxed casual manner and open up with the sublime ‘Hey Girl’. Seemingly relaxed and confident, the vocal delivery from Gary is note perfect compared to the recorded version. Coupled next we get ‘Self Is Here’ and ‘The Calling’. The fine craftmanship from this pair is undeniable. Years in the industry and performing rock gigs, it is pleasant to see those personalities transpire into a setting of this magnitude. Jack takes a moment to place a harmonica around his neck and we are away. The audience is deathly quiet in between pieces. The songs call for their beauty to be adhered to, yet as soon as it is over, there are joyous rounds of applause and shows of appreciation. The delicate structure of ‘Peeling Back’ and the acoustic funk of ‘Give Me The Keys’ highlight the musical diversity of this duo. ‘Shutting Down’ sees a slight different tempo


as Jack takes on lead vocals. He has a more fragile voice compared to Gary, yet it arrests you and it is impossible to tear yourself away from the music. ‘Wild Day’ is up next and is the title of the last EP. Gary gives us a brief nod to the recent fire during the riots that caused total devastation of hundreds of independent record companies stock, themselves being ncluded in the destruction. An example of how important these record labels are now in distributing music of this calibre to a wider more appreciative audience. ‘Wipe Those Tears Away’, ‘Lord Please Come’ and ‘Make It’ see yet more diversity in the vocal ranges of Gary. By now into full swing and at total relaxation judging by the body language. Smiles are all around in between pieces as the warmth of the appreciative audience bowls the guys over. We get the first of a few old Reef tunes next, harking

back to the ‘Rides’ album, it is back to Jack for vocals on an stunning rendition of ‘Locked Inside’. A highly underrated Reef track. Followed by ‘Mellow’ it is really nice to see the audience singing along to both these and the newer material. We end the main set on a Them Is Me (Jack & Gary’s other band) track called ‘Cross The Valley’. It misses Jacks thunderous Bass line, but yet works so perfectly acoustic. Leaving the audience beying for more, the duo leave the stage. Albeit for only a few moments as they swiftly return for one more. ‘I’ve Got Something To Say’, another Reef track and a perfect end to this magical night of alternative acoustica. It has been a while since I have seen such an intimate show and been left gobsmacked by it’s power. In the next issue, we will have an exclusive interview with Gary Stringer, post gig about plans for the future and his relationship with Wolverhampton.



Lucy Rose The Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton

Every once in a while, a new artist comes along who causes a few stirrings. When I saw Lucy Rose listed as playing the Slade Rooms, something told me I had to be there. It was one of those situations where I had heard nothing of her and knew even less. Before the gig I found myself on her website and treated myself to a listen of a couple of tracks. I am glad I did that because it left me eager to hear more.

It is a quiet crowd as I make my way into the Slade Rooms, but this is a crowd that are deceiving. Murmerings here and there, yet as the first support act makes his way onto the stage, the hangers in the bar rush in and the atmosphere suddenly picks up tenfold. Timothy Parkes stands alone with an acoustic guitar and gazes over the audience. Introducing himself, he informs us that the first song is about a ride on a canal boat during summertime. Soundcheck Magazine

This is the kind of classic, British songwriting I like. Something with a story and something that is carried with a melody. It’s not a one off though, his whole set it like this and is perfect for a summer’s evening. The only thing missing is a pint of cider and a campfire. He tells tales of lost loves and pets, Winter months in Cumbria listening to his roomates having sex. His set is over far too quickly. Rest assured though, we will be checking out more of the Shropshire lad next time he plays in the area. Next on are local boys, Zelig. Providing the missing link between the brutal honesty of Timothy and tonight’s headliner Lucy. They have a strong set of songs behind them powered by Sandeep Dhillon’s powerful drumming and cruising under twin vocals of perfect melancholia. They encapsulate the minds and attention of the crowd and send their melodies swirling above our heads. As with Timothy’s set though, theirs is over far too soon, but leave us wanting more. Well sold.


So finally we move onto our headliner. She managed to walk in to the venue and sneak past the avid front row fans during Zelig’s set without any hesitation. As the lights dim and she walks onto the stage, there is an air of confidence surrounding her, yet on appearance, she seems incredibly timid and shy. With a very brief ‘hello’ Lucy and band kick into ‘Scar’. One thing that is noticable is the band interaction. As she says later on in the set, she is playing with her best friends. It is obvious that they have good musicianship as well as perfect timing and can read each others minds. On stage as well as the customary guitarist, drummer and bass player, she has a trumpet player/saxophonist and a cellist. Something that seems incredibly grand for such a small stage, you can tell she has aspirations to succeed where so many of her contemporaries have failed in recent times. The strength of the songwriting too is to be admired.

‘First’ and ‘Redface’ show the varied depths to this new acoustic movement Lucy Rose is spearheading. Her timidness from the opening section has faded away now and her confidence is shining through. (It must be all the touring she’s done with Bombay Bicycle Club in Europe). There’s a touching moment as she recognises a fan at the front from a previous gig and dedicates the next song to her. Quite an accolade too as ‘Nightbus’ is her strongest song to date in the set. Telling the simple tale of a journey home after a night out, it is touching and arranged perfectly. The single ‘Middle of The Bed’ is next and causes a stir in the audience with mass clapalong and mouthing of the words back at her. ‘Bikes’ ends the set all too soon. Lucy Rose is a name that will grow over the next few months, do yourself a favour and check her out whilst you can!



Ke$ha The o2 Academy, Birmingham

International ‘superstar’ Ke$ha played one of only a few British dates on her World Tour recently. One of these was took place right here in the Midlands at the Birmingham o2 Academy.

As we get to the venue, there is possibly one of the largest queues I have seen in a long time waiting for the doors to open. I am struggling to understand the hype around Ke$ha and as I look around, looking for the end of the queue, I am given more reason to wonder what I am doing here. Everywhere you look there are kids, I am not talking 15/16 years olds, but children here with parents. Yes that isn’t something unusual, but a closer look reveals children dressed as their idol. Tiny hot pants, netted leggings and words written all over their legs and arms and even their faces. Some might argue this to be an expression of creativity and individuality coming through, but I see it more as parents exposing their children to their own frustrations Soundcheck Magazine

of not being ‘accepted’ to be able to do it themselves. It just looks wrong and I am feeling incredibly uncomfortable being in the queue. On the inside I am made aware tha Ke$ha herself will not be on stage until nearly 10pm and we have two support acts to watch first. The atmosphere seems more relaxed though and thankfully the lights are down low so I cannot see the crowd infront of me. Natalia Kills is the first support act on tonight. An American up and coming ‘superstar-in-training’. She bounds on stage with all the attitude of a Gallagher brother and then she opens her mouth. Now I am not adverse to a bit of ‘pop’ music, but this is embarassing. I cannot help but think she is being paid a hefty amount for this because there is so much auto tune on her vocals it is a mess. The 30 minutes of her set pass slowly. Next up we get LMFAO. I knew nothing of them at


this point and from the way the DJ booth was set up, I thought it was a DJ we would have to endure for the next 1hr 30 mins before Ke$ha. After 15 minutes the rest of the band bound on stage. Give them credit they are a lively bunch and throw themselves around the stage and put on a ‘show’. The singer looks like the love child of Will.i.Am, The singer from the Counting Crows and Mark Ronson’s mate MNDR. Very bizarre. Again there is a lot of auto-tune on the vocals but it is more bearable than Natalia Kills. But then we get a performance of LMFAO’s latest single ‘Champagne Showers’ featuring… wait for it… Natalia Kills. It becomes a massive mess with her squarking all over the top of it. Thankfully, this ends the set and my ears can rest. Almost an hour later, the lights dim for Ke$ha herself. Pitch blackness showers the stage and an angled square lights up in the centre. With a single light behind her, she

arrives on stage and performs the entirity of ‘Sleazy’ with some ‘Orbital’ inspired glasses resting on her face. It was nice watching a silhouette, but so much more could have been done to make it entertaining. ‘Dirty Picture’ is dedicated to the press photographers, I cannot help but crack a smile for a second. The dancers bring out giant cameras pretending to photograph the front row. For the first time though, her vocals can be heard above the audience… credit where it’s due though, she can sing. Not a trace of auto-correction! ‘Blow’, ‘Party At A Rich Dude’s House’ and ‘Animal’ pad out the set which ends on the ‘hit’ ‘Tik Tok’. Cue cheers and wails from the crowd as the party gets started, the room bouncing. We are then given an encore of ‘We R Who We R’ and an awful cover of the Beastie Boys classic ‘Fight For Your Right’. The audience leave in jubilation and mass sing alongs. It was entertaining, but something was missing, something big.

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What’s On In

Wolverhampton? October

15th Ben Howard 15th Enter Shikari 15th Khaliq 15th Rihanna 16th The Hollies 16th Little Comets 16th Bowling For Soup 16th Dean Friedman 17th Jessie J 17th Miles Kane 18th Jessie J 18th Darren Hayes 18th Miles Kane 18th WU LYF 19th Lee Nelson... Live! 19th The Answer 19th Japanese Voyeurs 20th Ash 20th Katy B 20th Charlie Simpson 21st Milton Jones 21st Definitely Mightbe 22nd Hard-Fi 22nd Toyah Wilcox 22nd Cliff Richard

Birmingham HMV Library Birmingham o2 Academy Birmingham o2 Academy 3 Birmingham LG Arena Wolverhampton Civic Hall Birmingham o2 Academy 2 Birmingham o2 Academy Birmingham Kitchen Garden Birmingham o2 Academy Coventry Kasbah Birmingham o2 Academy Birmingham o2 Academy 2 Birmingham HMV Institute Birmingham HMV Temple Wolverhampton Civic Hall Birmingham o2 Academy Birmingham Rainbow Birmingham HMV Institute Birmingham o2 Academy Wolverhampton Slade Rooms Wolverhampton Civic Hall Wolverhampton Slade Rooms Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall Wolverhampton Slade Rooms Birmingham LG Arena

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Coventry Kasbah:

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November 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st 2nd 2nd 3rd 3rd 3rd 3rd 3rd 4th 4th 4th 5th 5th 6th 6 th 7th 7th 7th 8th 8th 8th

Sarah Millican Steve-O Jesus Jones Bill Bailey KT Tunstall James Morrison Motorhead Dave Spikey Incubus With Fin Wiz Khalifa Scroobius Pip The King Blues Turisas Anna Calvi Arctic Monkeys Stephen Merchant T-Rextasy Syd Lawrence Tinie Tempah Rival Sons Adele The Rifles Adele Magazine Electric Soft Parade

Wolverhampton Civic Hall Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall Birmingham HMV Temple Birmingham LG Arena Warwick Arts Centre Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall Wolverhampton Civic Hall Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall Wolverhampton Civic Hall Birmingham o2 Academy Birmingham HMV Temple Birmingham o2 Academy 2 Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall Birmingham HMV Library Birmingham LG Arena Wolverhampton Civic Hall Wolverhampton Robin 2 Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall Birmingham LG Arena Wolverhampton Slade Rooms Wolverhampton Civic Hall Birmingham o2 Academy 2 Wolverhampton Civic Hall Birmingham HMV Institute Bimringham o2 Academy 3

9th Joe McElderry 9th Guillemots 9th The Moons 10th Jimeoin 11th Friendly Fires 12th Bellowhead 12th Paul Carrack 13th Evanescence 14th Beady Eye 14th John Barrowman 15th Nicko 15th Pigeon Detectives 17th Chase & Status 17th John Barrowman 18th Daniel Sloss 18th The Darkness 18th Rihanna 18th The Moons 19th RHCP 19th Smashing Pumpkins 19th Lisa Hannigan 19th Imelda May 20th Morbid Angel 20th RHCP 20th Will Young

Birmingham Symphony Hall Birmingham HMV Library Birmingham Hare & Hounds Wolverhampton Slade Rooms Birmingham o2 Academy Wolverhampton Robin 2 Birmingham Town Hall Birmingham o2 Academy Birmingham o2 Academy Birmingham Symphony Hall Wolverhampton Slade Rooms Birmingham o2 Academy 2 Birmingham o2 Academy Birmingham Symphony Hall Wolverhampton Slade Rooms Birmingham o2 Academy Birmingham LG Arena Coventry Kasbah Birmingham LG Arena Birmingham o2 Academy Birmingham St. Pauls Cathedral Warwick Arts Centre Wolverhampton Slade Rooms Birmingham LG Arena Birmingham o2 Academy


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