The Mic Magazine September 2018 edition

Page 1

Photos: Mark Richards & Fraser Taylor

The Mic Issue 45 with special thanks to... The Committee Tristan Phipps Emilio Cruzalegui Abby Clarke Alana McKenna Michael Clarke

President Editor in Chief Communications Secretary Marketing and Social Media Treasurer

Katie Searle Designer

contributors Jermain Ethell Georgia Cavanagh Marie-Laure Corben Olivia Morel Rebecca Craven

musicians/interviewees The Kooks Pale Waves Slaves Eliza and the Bear Rae Morris The Magic Gang The Night CafĂŠ


And to all labels, venues, managers, promoters and PR companies who provided us with gig, interview and promotional opportunities. We look forward to meeting you all in Welcome Week! Our next magazine (Issue 46) is due for release in December. Join The Mic for just ÂŁ4 for the year! For any review, gig or interview requests, email us at themic@ /TheMicNotts




With the release of Slaves’ third album ‘Acts of Fear and Love,’ we sent Tristan along to Rough Trade for a high-tempo performance that we knew would not disappoint turn to page 20 for his review and interview with the band...


Gig guide ................................................... 4 Venue guide .............................................. 6 Nights out in Nottingham ......................... 8 Alternative nights out .............................. 10


waterfront festival @ the canalhouse .... 12


Rae Morris ......................... 32 The Magic Gang ................ 33 The Night Café .................. 34


Meet the committee ......... 36 The Mic’s Top picks 2018 38


The Kooks: review ............................. 16 Pale Waves: review ........................... 18 Slaves: Live review and interview 20 Eliza and the Bear: interview ......... 26




19th COURTEENERS Rock City

11th BLOXX Bodega

10th SLAVES Rock City

8th RAT BOY Rock City

7th TQD Rock City


1st PALE WAVES Rock City


29th RAE MORRIS Rescue Rooms

27th THE NIGHT CAFE Rescue Rooms

25th IDLES Rock City

1st BAD SOUNDS Rescue Rooms

26th SPRING KING Rescue Rooms

23rd BLACK HONEY Rock City



9th YOU ME AT SIX Rock City

7th MILES KANE Rock City

5th BLOSSOMS Rock City

25th CLEAN CUT KID Bodega

24th DANNY HOWARD Stealth

20th KING NO-ONE Rescue Rooms


14th JORJA SMITH Rock City

BECKY HILL Rescue Rooms

13th REDLIGHT The Brickworks


9th CASSIA Rescue Rooms

8th FATHERSON Rock City

2 m h a g Nottin 0

GIG 18





Motorpoint Arena is the biggest venue in Nottingham, typically hosting artists with a more established and larger fanbase. Gigs at the Motorpoint are a lot less frequent than they are at other venues, however the venue does allow for a much more full-scale show to be put on. Artists playing at the Motorpoint Arena in the upcoming months include The Prodigy, Jess Glynne, Madness, and George Ezra.

The Bodega is home to smaller, lesser known artists and offers an up close and personal experience along with a more intimate show. With a capacity of just 220 people, going to gigs there can be a great way to catch artists before they hit the big time. Bands that have played here include The Arctic Monkeys, The Libertines and Florence and The Machine.


Rock City is one of Nottingham’s bigger music venues, holding around 2450 people. It has hosted a variety of bands over the years, from The Smiths and REM in the 1980’s to Wolf Alice and The Wombats in more recent years. It’s the place to go if you want to see Pale Waves, Ratboy and Blossoms in the coming term. Rescue Rooms is a fairly small venue, with a 450-person capacity in the main room and an upstairs bar and balcony area. Despite being a small venue, there’s always a great atmosphere as you will always be close to the main stage and in on all the action. Artists playing at Rescue Rooms in the coming months include Knuckle Puck, Cassia, Nick Mulvey and Goat Girl.

The self-proclaimed ‘musical mecca’ has been supporting Nottingham’s thriving clubbing scene since opening its doors back in 2004. From funk to bassline, Stealth has everything to support your clubbing needs. Prior to breaking through on the bigger stage, Stealth hosted artists such as Disclosure, Chase and Status and Skepta – so you never know, you may be watching the next big thing!

THE BRICKWORKS A ‘proper’ venue with no frills, this barely converted warehouse space lurks in the former industrial side of Nottingham. Home to an impressive sound and lighting system, Brickworks has presented AJ Tracey, Andy C, Congo Natty, and Wiley to Nottingham’s grateful clubbers, and that’s all within the last 12 months! Rough Trade has a capacity of just over 100 and offers a small stage at the end of a bar located above a record store. If you can look past the price of the drinks, Rough Trade is great for rare and intimate album launch parties and signing events. It has recently hosted the likes of Slaves and Fickle Friends but also gives upcoming artists a chance to perform their music to smaller crowds.



in Nottingham





House, Hip-hop, Garage, Grime and everything in between!



An open-mic night providing a platform to local upcoming talent which has welcomed guests such as Jake Bugg and Beans on Toast.



Where else will you find Tupac and Kendrick playing upstairs while The Smiths and Arctic Monkeys play downstairs? (P.S. 2-4-1 Drinks and FREE ENTRY!)



Ran by Notts MC Bru-C, this is a hive for all things bass.



A music quiz for just 50p in one of the coolest corners of the city.





No doubt Nottingham’s biggest student night. You should probably see what all the fuss is about yourself.



Nottingham’s biggest Indie night. Blur, Bombay Bicycle Club, Blossoms, and 2-4-1 Jaegerbombs? Yes please.



If you fancy a break from the clubbing, Coco Tang offers great discounts on Wednesdays. Perfect for the sophisticated student on a budget.



An intimate affair of House, Garage and Hip-hop.



A Crisis alternative boasting 2-4-1 drinks all night.



You’ll either love it or hate it, chances are you’ll still go weekly either way. The undisputed home of cheese.



A mixture of pop music and classic bangers with great drinks deals and free entry before 11, open to both locals and students.



With a vodka dispensing confession booth and free entry for those in fancy dress, Bodega’s “Pop Confessional” always promises a good night out.



Something for everyone with five rooms playing everything from DnB to Indie Rock.

CLIMAX (Saturday)


With cheap drinks and a strong variety of music, Climax is guaranteed to be a good night out.



All the alternative anthems and guilty pleasures you can shake a stick at.



background image: Pryzm Nottingham Facebook page


alternative club nights

you should know about by Alana McKenna

As well as the regular weekly club nights such as Ocean Fridays and Crisis Wednesdays, there are also less frequent, more alternative club nights that you should know about. These events come to Nottingham whilst touring around Universities across the UK and (arguably) make for a much more exciting night.

CARAMELLO Tickets for Caramello at Rock City will cost you around £6/ £7, which will guarantee a night full of fun as their mission is to ‘make every town a funky town, spreading peace, love and funk throughout the UK in clubs and at festivals’. Expect groovy shirts, even groovier flares and of course, plenty of glitter.

CIRQUE DU SOUL Cirque Du Soul, at Rock City, is ‘The 21st Century’s Moulin Rouge’, described as ‘A travelling collective energy of colour, magic and dance’. Tickets are sold through Resident Advisor and start at £10, increasing to £16 in later releases and are also sold by reps for £15. Whilst this is more expensive than your average club night, it is also the biggest and craziest event. Expect confetti canons, inflatables, lots of glitter and the waviest of garms, whilst boogying all night to ‘burlesque meets bass’ style music.


above: Cirque Du Soul ‘The Summer Showdown’ 2018 at Rock City Photo: Cirque Du Soul Facebook page



Triple cooked, held in Stealth, offers a great blend of music and caters to all who love a boogie as it ‘serves the freshest plates of Disco and House topped with a nice coat of Bass and Garage’. Tickets have 4 releases and based on this will cost you between £7 and £13. As with Gin and Juice, attire is typically more standard but of course knock yourself out with the funky accessories if you fancy.

Souljam takes place in Stealth and tickets will cost you between £6 and £8 depending on how quick you get them. Souljam are self-proclaimed ‘nation-wide party throwers bringing the best in boogie to the UK’, so be prepared for a groovy disco-esque night, inevitably surrounded by people wearing 90’s vibe clothing and groovy sunnies.

GIN AND JUICE Souljam takes place in Stealth and tickets will cost you between £6 and £8 depending on how quick you get them. Souljam are self-proclaimed ‘nation-wide party throwers bringing the best in boogie to the UK’, so be prepared for a groovy disco-esque night, inevitably surrounded by people wearing 90’s vibe clothing and groovy sunnies.












waterfront f e s t i v a l



n Saturday 18th August, Nottingham’s Canalhouse presented a plethora of bands for any live music fan to get excited about. I didn’t know what to expect on my first trip to the annual Waterfront Festival, but the buzzing crowds and the seemingly neverending stream of beer suggested it was certainly going to be an enjoyable day. Taking a seat by the ‘Under the Tree’ Stage, I instantly was serenaded by the smooth voice of the young Joseph Knight. ‘The boy next door’ immediately came to mind, as this talented crooner entertained the crowds with his uplifting and endearing tunes. The sight of a guitar drew cheers of ‘Wonderwall’ from the crowd, but the young man displayed great maturity to continue his set with such professionalism. Knight, already backed by BBC introducing, is unquestionably a rising star in Nottingham’s live music ranks, and


the canal house

certainly someone worth keeping an eye on. Just remember - you read about him in The Mic first. After this, it was only natural that I ventured inside to appreciate the true extent of the Canalhouse’s downstairs bar, where I found myself tapping my feet along to the waistcoat wearing ‘Stacey McMullin’. I can’t say I was a fan of theirs from the beginning, but this bass driven three piece drew a sizable crowd that displayed great enthusiasm, and sure enough I began to appreciate their charismatic and upbeat melodies too. However, while I was at the bar, I got chatting to a fan who urged me to watch local duo ‘The 7 O’Clock Gun’, due to start any second outside. Needless to say, when I bumped into this gent later that afternoon, I thanked him greatly. A vocally strong duo utilising two acoustic guitars, ‘The 7 O’Clock Gun’s’ lead singer had a

above: Stiff Kittens

photo: Tom Morley

growl in his voice, reminiscent of Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder. One stand out moment from their set was when the confident duo treated the crowd to their track ‘The Devil’, a blues inspired number that demonstrated their musical prowess, and also confirmed to me that they are a band I’d like to see more of.

good vibe. It takes a lot of work and preplanning: the bands sometimes drop out or split up, but it’s worth it. The vibe’s really nice here.”, explained Will - and he was right. From my arrival in the early afternoon until my departure at half 11 at night, there was an assured buzz in the air.

Fortunately, I was able to speak to one of the organisers of this stunning showcase, Will Robinson from the Nottingham label ‘I’m Not From London’, to fill me in on what the Waterfront festival was all about. “It’s our eighth year this year, we keep wondering how we do it, but it’s a really

Will continued to describe how it all began: simply as a collection of bands playing together, building relationships with one another, and occasionally forming new bands in the process. Before long, this gigging together had spiralled into a mini festival - the basis of


the Waterfront festival we know today. When asked about the diversity of this year’s line-up, Will stressed the importance of attracting bands based away from Nottingham, as well as bringing in the local bands they’ve enjoyed working with before. “We’ve started bringing new bands in from out of town to give us more of an identity – otherwise we’re in danger of producing a similar festival every time. And it’s also nice for out of town bands to play to a big local crowd”. “There’s not much bigger we can go here”, Will replied, when asked about the future of the festival, but the thought of holding the festival elsewhere for a landmark year didn’t appear out of the question. “If we had a good field or a nice wood, it’d provide room for us to grow, but we’re happy with having it here. It’s busy, it has a really nice vibe, it’s always packed and I’m actually quite happy with that”. Sure enough, as the bands came and went throughout the day, the crowds remained and the atmosphere stayed intact - right through until local DJ ‘Stiff Kittens’ had finished playing her last track at the ‘Under the Tree’ Stage. Different to many DJ’s I’ve witnessed, she effortlessly blended funk and disco with ease - impressively all on vinyl. Unlike the other performers, Stiff Kittens remained on the dancefloor, allowing dancers to take to the stage. I can think of no better example to show the extent of how contagious dancing can be, as within a few tracks, the dancefloor was flooded with fans young and old, all under a beautiful canopy


of fairy lights. This proved to be a delightful ending to the Canalhouse’s showcase of the talent Nottingham has to offer. The charities supported this year are The Wolfson Cystic Fibrosis Centre, a charity close to Will’s heart due to his first-hand experiences with Cystic Fibrosis, and Emmanuel House, a charity providing support for the homeless and vulnerable in Nottingham - something Will feels is often overlooked. Talking about his own experiences with Cystic Fibrosis, Will said, “there are a lot of people with Cystic Fibrosis suffering a lot worse than me, and I know how hard the staff at the Cystic Fibrosis Unit have to work”. While the festival may be a sell-out, and no doubt highly successful year on year - the personal and family atmosphere remains prevalent. From the sponsors ‘Left Lion’, ‘Castle Rock Brewery’, and ‘Gigantic’ all being established family companies in Nottingham, to the deeply personal relationships the organisers hold with the supported charities – the strong presence of community certainly makes the Waterfront Festival a festival worth supporting. by Tristan Phipps

above: The 7 O’Clock Gun

photo: James Robert Birtwhistle


Photo: Divulgação

ritish pop rock band The Kooks return B with their first album since the release


of ‘Listen’ back in 2014, and cement their distinctive sound whilst tackling more mature subjects than those of previous albums. Formed in 2004, The Kooks have experienced success since the release of their debut album ‘Inside In/Inside Out’, mainly thanks to the ever-popular hits ‘She Moves in Her Own Way’ and ‘Naïve’, both songs remind me of my later school years! Since then they have released 3 more studio albums including a ‘Best of…’ and by the end of 2017

‘Inside In/Inside Out’ had gone platinum 5 times over! This newest album is released in anticipation of their sold-out US tour and following the success of a huge Greatest Hits tour which saw them play UK venues such as Wembley Arena. Describing the thoughts behind the creation of ‘Let’s Go Sunshine’, lead singer and founding member Luke Pritchard said that the band entered the studio in 2015 after the release of ‘Listen’ the previous year, but as a band felt that they weren’t creating the record

they wanted so scrapped any material recorded and set out to create an album that would define them and carry on the lineage of British music set down by The Beatles and the Kinks. On the whole the album does hark back to some of the simplicity of their debut album yet it feels less improvised, with a more defined and polished style in place that doesn’t take away from the songs themselves. The opening track ‘Kids’ has a real energy to open this new album thanks to the driving drum and guitars, and could easily make it into their live sets, with lyricism reminiscent of their debut. ‘All the Time’, the next track on the album has a similar guitar style to that used in ‘I Want You’ and will make for a popular track for Kooks fans old and new. Another track I feel will be a crowd pleaser is that of ‘Pamela’ as it’s one of those tracks that you hear and immediately feel like you know. Equipped with some great guitar riffs, it is definitely going to make its mark on the band’s live shows when they return to touring this new album. One of the later tracks, ‘Weight of the World’, showcases how far the band have come since their 2006 debut, with singer Luke Prichard backed by choral voices which, combined with trumpet,

add a whole new level to this album and also help the listener to reflect on the lyrics of the song. The final song, ‘No Pressure’ also has an anthemic chorus which you imagine would be perfect at a festival, and it is cleverly used in the intro to the album which only makes sense when you’ve listened to the whole thing! The Kooks have come through with a very enjoyable and versatile album which could fit many situations from simply having a laid-back afternoon to getting ready for a night out, it has that nice mixture of songs that will help you relax or gear you up for a session on the town!

by Rebecca Craven











anchester’s goth-pop fourpiece Pale Waves released their debut album “My Mind Makes Noises” on September 14th and we got the opportunity to have an early listen to the 14-song ensemble.

Opening track “Eighteen” combines lead singer Heather Baron-Gracie’s distinctive vocals with the lively sound of The 1975, who have influenced and supported Pale Waves from the start.

Having won the NME Under the Radar Award at the 2018 NME awards, their album came laden with high expectations, but it has definitely lived up to them.

Next comes “There’s a Honey” the first single to be released from the album back in 2017. This song has a darker vibe to it mixed with slight melancholy, which Heather had spoken about before the albums release. She told fans that the album will be focused less on love and more on darker issues.



This appears to be true continuing through the album with songs such as “She” which is slower, and references being cheated on along with the heartbreak that comes with it. Clearly, even though this track indeed focuses on darker issues it still doesn’t escape the band’s main theme of love and romance.

Pale Waves have had a successful summer playing festivals such as Reading/Leeds, Kendal Calling and Benicassim in Spain, and won’t be stopping there. If you are interested in going to see Pale Waves then they will be headlining Rock City on October 1st and reviews will be posted for those unlucky enough not to make it.

“Television Romance”, Pale Waves most successful song to date positioning at number 2 in the UK Physical Sales Chart, is song number 10 on the album and picks up from the tragic break-up and lost-love songs in the middle. “Kiss” is also a stand-out song which you can tell will create an amazing atmosphere during live performances.

by Abby Clarke

The album ends on a more serious and emotional note with “Karl (I wonder what it’s like to die)” which purely from the title has macabre associations. The lyrics tell the story of Heather losing her grandad and could be difficult to listen to if you had recently lost a friend or relative. It’s packed with emotion and is a beautiful song to end the album on.




live Review and Interview 20

Photo: Mark Richards

did the band form and H ow what pushed your sound at the beginning?

It started because I was a big fan of a band that Isaac was in: Isaac was a bit of a local hero. We grew up about an hour away from each other, and I started going to gigs and following him, while he ended up seeing my band. After we supported him, we became friends and I joined his band, but that wasn’t working so the band split up and we started another band – and ‘Slaves’ was born! At the start, we just wanted to be a riffy, garage, punk band. There’s a song by Gallows called ‘In The Belly Of A Shark’, and that sound was what we were going for. We wanted it to be fun, because we’d taken a lot of our projects before super seriously – but this was about just making any music that we wanted to: just immediate and ‘in your face’ punk music. When you started out, some people took the name ‘Slaves’ to be quite controversial, what was the

inspiration behind the name and did the controversy affect you? Basically, just being 18 and wanting to have an abrasive, ‘punk sounding’, name. When you think of something impactful, like “Clash” or “Rancid”, you just know it has to feel powerful. ‘Slaves’ just represented the idea of being unhappy in your life, with all those feelings and emotions along with it. We weren’t fully expecting the negative kickback of it, and it’s not been fun, but it kinda does feel important to be a band that’s posing questions. People are getting the wrong end of the stick about us, and I think correcting that is what we aim to do even more on this album – to disprove a lot of people’s ideas about us and to keep challenging people. People like to get angry about things, but maybe that’s a good thing as well. It’s sh*t to have to take the negativity, but at least we’ve stirred up conversations. So, the long awaited third album is out, has it been a smooth project? (continued overleaf)


I think so, yeah. We spent longer on it, and it was definitely hard at times. But we feel like since its release, that everything that we wanted to happen has happened. Smooth as it can be. For someone who perhaps hasn’t heard the album yet, what could they expect from ‘Acts Of Fear And Love’? A bit of everything. I think it does show our hardcore influences, all the way up to our pop influences and everywhere in between. It’s a very dynamic album: short, sharp, and good. I’m glad you’re confident in what you’ve created! Leading from what you’ve just said, there’s quite a contrast of sound between mellow tracks like ‘Daddy’ and punchier tracks like ‘Chokehold’, what pushed this dynamic nature of the album? I think we both wanted to achieve what we haven’t done before. Catchiness is obviously a big thing, but space for songs to have a new life is important. Like the riff in ‘Chokehold’ has a lot of space in it, and I hate saying it but it’s slightly more anthemic. We wanted those moments in our set where people feel there’s more chance for them to dance or maybe sing along rather than just beat each other up in a mosh pit! It was just about having more potential with our songs: I think we were a little bit disappointed with how we left ‘Take Control’ as the whole process felt a bit rushed. We wanted to make an album of singles and I’d say we pretty much did that. If I may say, ‘Magnolia’ was one of


my stand-outs, it really lifted my head up when I first heard it. That’s become my favourite now actually. ‘Chokehold’ was always the favourite, but ‘Magnolia’ has been the grower for me. They’re almost like a brit-pop duo, those particular songs – similar chords. I’m glad you like it! Is there a particular track that you’re looking forward to playing on this album? Magnolia! I love playing it! We’ve been playing six of the new ones, all a bit different, but what’s amazing about ‘Chokehold’ is that the crowd sings the riff back to you. Having a crowd sing your riff back to you is absolutely mind blowing. Apart from the glorious Nottingham, is there a city or festival you enjoy playing to? I enjoy Manchester because it’s surprisingly one of our biggest ticket sellers. It sells almost as quickly as London does, so we sell more in Manchester than in most places around the country – so that’s always amazing. I love performing everywhere though. As for festivals: Reading Festival for me because that’s where I used to go. And we’ve gone up the stages, now we’ll be headlining the NME stage. It’s a dream come true. What was the first festival you went to as a fan? I can’t remember the first one, but the second was ‘Zoo Thousand and Eight’ festival. It doesn’t exist anymore, but

Pnoto: Msrk Richards

it was in Ashford. I watched Gallows, The Underground Heroes, Dizzee Rascal… What are your ambitions for the band going forward from this album? Just to keep growing and take it each step at a time. Our live shows are what means so much to us - they just get better and better! I’m looking forward to our tour, and hopefully we’ll headline some festivals in the future. Lastly, if you could have written one song in history, what would it be? Emily’s Heart by Jamie T. We were listening to it the other day, and we both agreed it’d be a great song to have written. {turn over for Live review}


Photo: Mark Richards


live review



ypically, Nottingham’s Rough Trade is the perfect spot to browse over T the latest vinyl releases, perhaps pick up a new book, or maybe succumb to a slice of secret pizza. However, on this Tuesday afternoon, this was not to be the case. Having garnered a reputation for delivering thrilling and brutal live performances, punk duo ‘Slaves’ took to Rough Trade’s intimate stage to present their third album, ‘Acts Of Fear And Love’, as well as to perform some old favourites. No-one could claim that Slaves have hung around since releasing their first singles almost half a decade ago, with ‘Acts Of Fear And Love’ arriving a mere three years after their debut album – ‘Are You Satisfied?’. On top of this, Slaves near relentless touring has earned them a cult following of eager fans, many of which were out in force to fill Rough Trade to the rafters.


I too had been eager to hear this album live. While ‘Are You Satisfied?’ and ‘Take Control’ were perfectly credible albums, establishing Slaves as one of the most successful British guitar bands of the decade, one could argue that they had found their sound - and firmly stuck with it. Contrary to earlier ‘tongue and cheek’ tracks like ‘Feed The Mantaray’, it appears lead singer Isaac Holman has swapped his aggressive hollering and adopted a calmer, more reflective tone with tracks such as ‘Daddy’ and ‘Photo Opportunity’. “My pockets are full but the forecast is grey” is a prime example of this new, expressive manner displayed by the duo, but cheekily, Holman still took the time to yell ‘Put it (the camera) down!’ to a boy in the crowd. Evidently the band have kept every inch of their boisterous swagger. From the way the crowd moved, you’d

have been forgiven for assuming ‘Slaves’ were already at Reading or Leeds. “Incoming!” roared Isaac, as the punk duo crusaded in ‘Magnolia’, a compelling track dripping with swagger and bite - certainly enough to maintain the intensity created from their opener, ‘Sockets’. And yet the intensity kept rising, as ‘Slaves’ premiered ‘Bugs’ to the Rough Trade audience. A thrashing riff paired with Isaac’s remorseless screams? A ‘Slaves’ record would be incomplete without it. Reminiscent of ‘Hey’ from their debut album, this track gave fans plenty of opportunities to “beat each other up” as Laurie so eloquently put it. While tracks like ‘Daddy’ appear emotive and thoughtful, ‘Bugs’ is a prime example of “what you see is what you get”. “This song goes out to all the miserable w*nkers on London public transport” was the battle cry, as the duo continued into old favourite, ‘Cheer Up London’. “I’ve got no time for it!”. While ‘Cheer Up London’ may be an anthem of the past, ‘Acts Of Fear And Love’ is not without its own. ‘Chokehold’, or as many fans affectionately referred to it as ‘Joe Cole’, has everything a song needs to rile up an audience. With a punchy riff and a catchy chorus, ‘Chokehold’ certainly wouldn’t appear out of place on debut album ‘Are You Satisfied?’. If Laurie loves how the fans sing his riffs back to him in intimate venues such as Rough Trade, I’m sure he can’t wait to take ‘Chokehold’ to the bigger stage. As a whole, this album exhibits something we perhaps haven’t seen so clearly from Slaves’ work before – honesty and personality. While high tempo tracks like ‘Cut And Run’ are crafted to be smash hits on the live stage, the pained vocals and intense development in ‘Photo Opportunity’ provides stark contrast to the ‘Slaves’ of old. Isaac’s melodicesque chanting creates an air of vulnerability, while the backing vocals on ‘Daddy’, provided by Ellie Rowsell of ‘Wolf Alice’, continue this emotional side to the album. From my chat with Laurie, it appeared ‘Slaves’ had set out to deliver their most complete album to date – and I think they might have done just that.

Catch ‘Slaves’ at Rock City on the 10th November. Album ‘Acts Of Fear And Love’ is out now. by Tristan Phipps



Two and a half years on from their first album, Eliza and the Bear announced ‘Group Therapy’ via Instagram, along with a detailed open letter to the fans outlining the band’s ups, downs, and mental struggles that came with being in a band. While they’d made appearances at a select few festivals, such as Barn on the Farm and, one of The Mic’s favourites, 110 Above, they hadn’t embarked on a tour such as this for years. We sent Tristan along to their Peterborough show to discuss


their new album, their favourite festivals, and of course – Christmas songs. So how did the band form? James: We were essentially two bands that tried really hard to make it, broke up, but couldn’t quite let go of the dream. So, we got together in 2012, just saying ‘Do you wanna get together and write some tunes?’, and then it snowballed from there. We had no plans of touring, or playing

Fraser Taylor press shots

shows as a band, at all – and then it kind of went in the wrong way for our mentality but in the right way for a ‘normal’ band. Who inspired your sound at this time? Martin: The thing about this band is we all come from drastically different musical backgrounds – Brandy (Chris) is massively into his punk, I’m into my electronic music, some of us are into post hard-core music or hiphop – while Paul’s into his acoustic love songs. So that push and pull that we naturally have is where it kind of came from. James: I think when we started we tried to sound all folky like Mumford and Sons but I think after the first song we realised that you aren’t going to make ground trying to be like someone else.

It’s a festival we also went to when we were 16, so to play it was actually crazy. What was the inspiration behind the name ‘Eliza and the Bear’? James: So, there’s two trains of thought here: two separate band members walked past two separate book stores on two different sides of the world – one in San Francisco and one in Liverpool, and saw this book and both kind of went “This is a cool little name, we could probably use this”. Because we had no dreams of stardom, it didn’t really matter that it was a girl’s name and an animal given there are no girls, or animals, in our band. Martin: It’s weird, because I’ve gone full circle on it. I liked it, and then I hated it, and now I’ve started to really (continued overleaf)


love it again because I like the fact it adds a bit of mystery. So, the album is out in early October – has it been a fluid project? Martin: It’s been hell on earth. In a good way. We obviously went from the first album, which was written over a five-year period, to this album where we’d already written hundreds of songs for. It was kind of just about filtering it all down and working it towards where we wanted to go. Every writing session we had was just so positive, so I’m just so excited for people to hear it. It’s much more of an album than the first, I know that sounds stupid but there’s a lot more concept to it – the songs and the name all flow to one unified meaning. I feel like the first album, as much as I love it, was our diary – it was just songs we’d written up until then. I think now we’ve been a little more clever with it: we’ve learned more about what making an album is, and I feel we’ve really progressed, like you’ll pick up our second album and be like “Wow, this is a development!”. Some bands just get their sound, see what works, and sticks with it – but for me that’s really boring and quite sad. People’s music tastes evolve, including ours and so a big theme for this one was to progress, which I feel like we have. James: Third album, if we make it there, will probably sound completely different again. Who knows! It’s interesting you raise the


point of evolution within your sound, as your new singles ‘Real Friends’ and ‘First Aid’ are drastically different to your first EPs – what sound can we expect from the upcoming album? Martin: For me it’s obviously a bit pop, but I just can’t put a word on it. I get almost sick of these tags – like if I said “indie”, you’d just go ‘Franz Ferdinand’ or someone – the spectrum is too wide. The only band I could compare this to, and not in a musical sense, but the way the sound differs, is Twenty-One Pilots. I wouldn’t say they are a rock band, or hip-hop, they just make songs as their act, and I feel that’s just what this album is. James: I don’t want to say niche, as we haven’t re-invented the wheel. Martin: As a sound, it is what it is, but in terms of meaning and song content, we’ve gone way deeper with storytelling. With this, it’s way more fluid, there’s a lot of depth to it. In what can only be called a courageous and insightful message to your fans, you spoke about the bands struggles with mental health after breaking from the record label – what impact did this have on your song writing? James: I think this was a period of time when we were genuinely unsure whether anyone even gave a f**k about what we were doing. We were playing at Y Not Festival 2016, not

Fraser Taylor press shots

long after our album came out, and when all this is coming up you’re just riding on a high: you’ve got a major label behind you blowing smoke up your arse for a couple of years, and when that falls away, you just instantly assume that everything else falls away with it as well. And then we played Y Not – and it was rammed – and I feel that the beginning of that show was a little metaphorical as we’d f**ked up the first song, bad. We were a bar out of our track, so the chorus started a bar before we did, and I turned to Paul saying, “Stop it, we’re restarting”. So, we said on the microphone that we’re going to restart it, and at that moment everyone was cheering. It was metaphorical in a way, because we’d f**ked up, but it wasn’t over everyone was still there for us. It was that moment when we all thought, ‘why are we sitting here moping, let’s write some more music.’

Martin: We had a massive decision, a massive crossroads, when the first album came out, to take on being signed by a major label that have got the likes of Sam Smith – we’re talking huge, influential music people – but when you do that, you’re always on a very fine line: if you’re not having a number one album, you’re not really at the front of their minds. And for a band like us, it takes time. Take Biffy Clyro, or Coldplay, they have 5 or 6 years of touring, creating big fan bases before anything starts to happen. I don’t think our minds were on the same path, but when you hear “You’re dropped” and we’d never been dropped before, it kind of kicked us up the arse, and now we’re in the best feeling that we’ve been in in a long time. I’m so attached to these songs, it’s so heavily about what we’ve been through as a band. I think what James did with that message was important, as we’ve never talked (continued overleaf)


the lyric. It wasn’t Katy Perry, but James does acknowledge it’s a “big tune”.

Having walked the road you have as a band - would you give any words of advice to your younger selves?

Fraser Taylor press shots

about the things we’ve been through as a band, and we’d been through some really sh*t times, and that takes its toll. James: I feel that my message is if we talk about struggling with anxiety and depression, where some people would say we have no reason to be upset as we get to tour the country and make music, but if we come out and say, ‘things aren’t always great in our lives either’ it might give others the confidence to open up if they’re feeling the same. I feel a lot of the time when I’m suffering, that I’m not worthy to suffer because I get to play gigs with my mates, but I guess the message is just that it is alright to suffer. “It’s okay not to be okay”, says… Katy Perry…? For the sanity of myself and the readers, it’s probably best if I don’t include James singing half of Jessie J’s “Who You Are”, as he searches for


Martin: Be ready for the best highs and the worst lows because that’s what’s hard to deal with. This world of being in a band, you’re always striving for something you love but it’s the hardest road. The best way to sum it up in one sentence is, ‘it’s a long way to the top, if you wanna rock ‘n’ roll’. It’s the best saying although it’s insanely cheesy, but you have to be prepared to graft – because it’s f**king hard. People may look at us and go, “New band!”, but we’ve had almost ten years of rehearsing and arguing. James: Believe in yourself, but don’t believe anybody. You’ve got to know that you’re the best to be the best, but you can’t sit back and just believe it. Don’t let them get it for you, go and get it for yourself. Martin: I want to answer that question with what Liam Gallagher says: “Stay the f**k out my way”. What was your first music festival either as a band or as fans? Martin: Download. James: Not as a band, Eliza and the Bear will never play Download.

Martin: I went to Download and watched Trivium, if anyone remembers them. It was raining, and we’d ran from the gates down to Trivium and jumped into a mosh pit – it was pretty sick. James: Mine was Reading 2011: Two Door Cinema Club, Biffy, 30 Seconds to Mars, possibly Guns N Roses? Do you have a favourite festival or city to play in? Martin: Leopallooza is always amazing, we have a few. Y Not is always special for us, Barn on the Farm, 110 Above, all the boutique ones. Obviously Reading and V are your big ones, when we play there it’s amazing, but with your boutique ones, your 110s, it’s a bit more family oriented. James: There’s a lot that we repeat visit which is really nice. Leo is always a good weekend, and Boardmasters is sick! Martin: We’ve done the rounds! What are your ambitions for the band in the future?

As long as you invite The Mic down when you make it to these arenas!

Finally, if you could have written any song in history, which song would you have wanted to write? James: Any kind of Christmas song… the Wizzard one? Martin: I would have said, ‘It’s coming home’, but on a serious note – something like ‘Fix You’ by Coldplay but that’s quite a bland and common answer. I’ve seen it live and it obviously has that euphoric feeling to it, if I was trying to be cool, I’d probably say a Radiohead song. *Paul beats the living daylights out of his drum kit in the background* Martin: Or Paul’s drum solo! Eliza and the Bear’s second album, ‘Group Therapy’, is out on the 2nd of November. by Tristan Phipps

James: Just to be able to keep doing it. Martin: I want to take this band to the O2 arena, because I feel like with our sound and our production, we could do some bigger venues. Maybe not in the next year, or the next thing we’d want to do as a band, but I feel like we could play to these sized venues. James: Some of the songs we wrote, we wrote with arenas in mind.


ra a e m o r r i s : preview


orn and raised in Blackpool, the 25-year-old British singersongwriter has been climbing up the success ladder ever since she performed at the Reading and Leeds Festivals of 2011. Recognisable for her warm and gentle folk-pop styled music, Rae Morris will be performing at Rescue Rooms on the 29th September. Morris had to initially reschedule the gig after she was invited to perform at Sport Relief but is now set to take centre stage at Rescue Rooms.

Morris found recognition after appearing in recent years as a supporting act for Lianne La Havas, Noah and the Whale and Tom Odell. Not only is her voice, which has been likened to Ellie Goulding and the “serene sentimentality” of Coldplay, so bewitching, but her clever song-writing style has been noted to have a “wise worldliness” to it. Perhaps this is why her songs are so relatable to listeners. Her singles “Under the Shadows” and “Love Again” from the 2012 debut album “Unguarded” entered into the charts, the former peaking at number 53. The album is focused on the evolution of


relationships, and how to move on from them when they crumble. She offers her listeners pop music of a “newer age”. Her style is refreshing and highly original. I was even fortunate enough to see her perform at the Kent based festival ‘Neverworld’ by Leefest. All I can leave you with is that she is an engaging performer and a highly skilled independent musician (also able to play the piano) who is a star in the rising. by Olivia Morel



tarting out on the Brighton music scene in only 2013, The Magic Gang quickly rose to indie fame, laying the foundation for their self-titled debut album’s chart-topping popularity just 5 years later. Compiled of classics such as ‘Jasmine’ as well as a host of brand-new tracks, the record is innovative, yet remains an homage to the group’s humble SoundCloud roots and their passionate followers (like me), demonstrating why the band has become such a staple in current alternative culture. With notable influences such as The Beatles and The Beach Boys

clearly permeating their tunes, it wouldn’t be shocking to see The Magic Gang continue to impress for years to come. The band’s extensive 2018 UK tour belies their comfort on the stage, with their down-to-earth, charismatic and lively performances never failing to entertain. Their Nottingham show is sure to include quintessential hits such as ‘All That I Want Is You’ and ‘Alright’, as well as the much-anticipated single ‘Getting Along’. Swooning for frontman Jack Kaye will be palpable during slower tunes like ‘I’ll Show You’, whilst The Magic Gang’s consistently upbeat yet nonchalant vibes will surely ease you into (and distract you from) the upcoming (continued overleaf)


academic year. The four boys will keep a stupid smile plastered across your face the entire evening, however much you resist. Even if you’re a newcomer, the pop-influenced simplicity of their lyrics will leave you singing their songs along with die-hard fans as you leave the scene. Personally, after having seen The Magic Gang countless times and shamelessly listening to their songs on repeat, ever since that first posting of ‘Shallow’, I think they have proved themselves to be ‘more than just any other band’. On the 29th of September, one of Nottingham’s biggest and best venues, Rock City, will house the concert that is a must-see for any music lover, setting you up for another great year of gigs! by Georgia Cavanagh

THE NIGHT CAFÉ On the 27th September the Liverpool four-piece The Night Café will be taking on Nottingham’s Rescue Rooms, supported by Plaza and newcomers Chappaqua Wrestling. The Night Café may be relatively new to the indie scene (their single ‘Addicted’ was released in 2015) but they have wasted no time in booking shows. With a series of gigs supporting the likes of Sundara Karma and Blaenavon as well as playing famous festivals Reading & Leeds and Truck, it’s an impressive track record for the indie group. The group are no strangers to the Nottingham music scene; most recently they supported fellow Liverpool band The Wombats on their UK/EU headline tour, playing Nottingham’s iconic Rock City in the process. They have just released their newest EP ‘Bunkbed’, four chilled summery tunes that I’m eager to hear live, as well as classic numbers ‘The Way of Mary’ and ‘Addicted’. I’m particularly excited to experience the fan favourite


tour and even higher hopes for even higher hopes for their future endeavours. The ease with which they handled the crowd and commanded the stage was striking, and the moment of pure collective joy felt in that room when the opening riff to ‘Mixed Signals’ rang out is a moment ’ll never forget. One thing is certain – this is not a band you want to miss out on seeing at one of Nottingham’s finest intimate venues. By Marie-Laure Corben

‘Felicity’ and the underrated mellow tune ‘Turn’ – I’m a sucker for melancholy lyrics coupled with excellent drum skills, and an intricate guitar riff or two. Having seen the lads in action for myself with their impressive support set at The Wombats’ Rock City gig, I have high expectations for their own headline




ABBY CLARKE Communications Secretary

Favourite artists: Jaws, Anderson .Paak, Childish Gambino

Favourite artists: The Strokes, Arcade Fire, The White Stripes, Tame Impala, DIIV, Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Favourite artists: The Wombats, Arctic Monkeys, Foals and Fickle Friends

Favourite club night: Anything but Pryzm. Best musical memory: Surfing over the front barrier at Foals’ headline set at Reading 2016!


Favourite club night: Stealth vs Rescued Best musical memory: It’s a split between seeing BADBADNOTGOOD live for their amazing ability with their instruments and seeing Childish Gambino at Lovebox this summer since that was a truly special occasion.

Favourite club night: Pressure, Tuesdays at Rescue Rooms Best musical memory: Arctic Monkeys at Reading Festival 2014, my first festival and my first time seeing them live, was absolutely amazing.


ALANA MCKENNA Marketing & Social Media

Favourite artists: Slipknot, Mastodon and Megadeth

Favourite artists: Don Broco, Tame Impala

Favourite club night: Get Lucky, Fridays at Rock City Best musical memory: Unfortunately I didn’t have the chance to see it live, but a moment I watch over and over on YouTube is Slipknot’s performance of Spit It Out at Download Festival 2009.

Favourite club night: Pop Confessional, Fridays at the Bodega Best musical memory: Tame Impala set at Citadel Festival


THE MIC’S TOP PICKS 2018 Tristan


66 – Lil Yachty and Trippie Redd

Warsaw – DMA’s

Why? Not your classic ‘trap’ song by a long way, this melodic and mournful track was no doubt the stand-out song from ‘Lil Boat 2’. While Trippie Redd typically sounds pained or sorrowful, here his upbeat verse is paired with dreamy synths (and a huge dose of auto tune) to provide a track that’s easy on the ear no matter what your tastes are.

Why? For this track off their second album, ‘For Now’, the three Ozzie rockers ditched their usual swagger to produce a smooth, uplifting track oozing with finesse and warmth. The charming vocals and gentler guitars provides something different to the rest of the album, yet this cosy ballad feels perfectly in place.


(editor in chief)

This is America - Childish Gambino Why? Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino is

a gift to humanity and seems to have reached new levels of stardom recently with the success of “Awaken My Love!”, his acclaimed TV show ‘Atlanta’ and his appearance in ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’. However, the pinnacle of his popularity was reached with the bold and brilliant ‘This is America’. On a first listen, it seems like a deceptively simple song, with admittedly great production through the joyful gospel-influenced sections and the growling, rumbling bassline that accompanies the more aggressive verses. However, Glover manages to say so much with so few words. Covering police brutality, gun violence, the appearance and reality of black life and culture in America and much more, it gives Gambino even more credentials as a highly skilled lyricist. Of course, this is all without mentioning the dense and masterfully crafted music video that accompanied the song and went viral, reaching at this point 376 million views on YouTube and spawning countless memes across the Internet. It’s good to have you back Mr Glover, we eagerly await whatever you offer us next.


Hunnybee - Unknown Mortel Orchestra Why? My other pick doesn’t have nearly the

same amount of substance to it, but is just a song that has really touched me and has been on repeat for the last few months. Portland, Oregon based band Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s style has gone through several variations since their debut album in 2011 but this year’s “Sex and Food” took on a more psychedelic pop vibe and without a doubt the highlight of the album was the track “Hunnybee”. Everything about this song is just so comforting, from the delicate violin sections that appear throughout the song, to frontman Ruban Nielson’s soft singing, to the song’s gently plucked main guitar hook. It seems to be written as a platonic love song to Nielson’s daughter but just generally ends up being a sweet, beautiful track and one of the best UMO have produced. perfectly in place.


(communications secretary)

Power - Peace

White Eyes - The Wombats

Why? My first pick of the year so far is ‘Power’ by Peace from their album “From Under Liquid Glass”. The confrontational, quirky and slightly cheeky lyrics coupled with the upbeat and energetic music makes it easy to listen to and has been my little bit of positive inspiration throughout the year for when I’ve needed a boost.

Why? My second pick of the year would have to be “White Eyes” by The Wombats, although it is a tough choice between that and the other songs on their album “Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life”. The Wombats have always been skilled at using their lyrics to create complex story lines and images and “White Eyes” is no exception. There’s longing in the music which impels you to listen and one of my favourite songs by them to date.


(marketing & social media)

Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino Arctic Monkeys She Looks Like Fun - Arctic Monkeys Why? My favourite songs to be released this year so far are ‘Tranquillity Base Hotel & Casino’ and ‘She Looks Like Fun’, both from Arctic Monkeys’ new album. Both songs are refreshingly different to the bands previous

content and I respect the major departure from their usual fast-paced guitar-fuelled songs. The slower pace gives you the chance to pay more attention to the lyrical content and enjoy their smooth transitions between several different genres, including psychedelic pop, glam rock and jazz.


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