Bombay Bicycle Club gig review [Liverpool – O2 Academy]

On Saturday 21st April, I went with D-Mac to see one of my favourite bands – Bombay Bicycle Club play at O2 Academy in Liverpool, which is the University Of Liverpool Student Guild. It’s a superb venue, and while in Uni there I saw gigs by Girls Aloud and Rachel Stevens (to be fair to me, they are fit)

It was an excellent gig from start to finish, and they were more rock than I expected and started off with ‘How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep’ which is the opener on there latest album ‘A Different Kind Of Fix’. It was a superb opening/intro track and it set the tone for things to come.

The track order was superb and they played songs from all 3 of there albums. I loved the performances of ‘Morning/Evening’, ‘Ivy & Gold’ and ‘Lamplight’. The performance of ‘Shuffle’ wasn’t great but it’s so heavily produced in the studio that i knew it’d be poor live.

The set list was…
How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep
Your Eyes
Dust on the Ground
Bad Timing
Open House
Leave It
What You Want 
Lights Out, Words Gone
Rinse Me Down
Ivy & Gold
Evening/Morning
Cancel on Me
Lamplight
Beggars 
Still 
Beg
Always Like This
The Giantess / Emergency Contraception Blues
Encore:
Shuffle
What If

In conclusion, this performance was excellent, way more rock than i expected and great track order.  I would give this gig an OVERALL RATING of 9 out of 10 rating.

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Miles Kane gig review [Liverpool – O2 Academy]

On Thursday 1st December, I went to see Miles Kane at the O2 Academy (formerly known as the Carling Academy) in Liverpool with my friend ‘D-Duff’. The O2 is a small-ish venue which i’ve been to a few times previously (to see Public Enemy, Queens Of The Stone Age, Lupe Fiasco & The Guillemots). This gig was re-scheduled from it’s original date of Friday 21st October and as originally, the gig was sold out and was absolutely packed. The tickets only cost £11.50 a pop – which was a bargain!

The gig was pretty good, as he played every track on his solo album ‘Colour Of The Trap’ but not in the track list order. I thought the gig started off strongly with ‘Better Left Invisible’ and ‘Rearrange’ coming early, but the music started fading as the gig went on. I mean not all the tracks on his album are even great to be honest, so there was a bit of filling material. His English cover of the Jacque Dutronc hit ‘Les Responsible’ was really good, but his cover of The Beatles ‘Hey Bulldog’ was pretty poor. WIth all due respect, I’ve never been a massive fan of The Beatles version of that song anyway. He debuted a new slow song called ‘Woman’s Touch’ which he said was inspired by his mother, but I wasn’t feeling the song to be honest – not a great song to play live.

The last track he played was his anthem ‘Come Closer’. It was a terrific version which he changed up a bit, he played the verse at a slower tempo than the hook which was played at the normal tempo. It was an extended version which probably lasted around 7 or 8 minutes or more, with the crowd just chanting and repeating the chorus ‘Whoa… Ahhah…” (You’ll have to listen to the song to get what I mean) for minutes on end.

He then went off stage, and came back for an encore of one of his biggest hits – ‘Inhaler’. That went down well and the crowd were lapping it up.

I was a little disappointed he didn’t play any of his hits from any of his other bands (The Little Flames, The Rascals or The Lost Shadow Puppets). I know it was a solo Miles Kane gig that I went to see, but he could of still thrown in a couple of tracks of his other projects.

The set list was…
1. Better Left Invisible
2. Counting Down The Days
3. Rearrange
4. Before It’s Midnight
5. Telepathy
6. Kingcrawler
7. Happenstance
8. Take The Night From Me
9. Quicksand
10. The Responsible (Jacques Dutronc cover)
11. My Fantasy
12. Colour Of The Trap
13. Woman’s Touch (New song)
14. Hey Bulldog (The Beatles cover)
15. Come Closer
Encore:
16. Inhaler

Overall his live performance was pretty good, the sound set up was superb, most of the music was played on point and his vocals were clear and his energy was good. I would give this gig an OVERALL RATING of 8 out of 10 rating, taking into account the venue and the cheap price of the ticket.

Posted in Gigs/Events

Ghostface Killah (of the Wu-Tang Clan) gig review [Liverpool – The Kazimier]

Yesterday on Thursday 10th November I went with my compadre ‘Abdillest’ to see Ghostface Killah perform a set at The Kazimier. It was the 2nd time we’d been to this venue and had bad memories of the first time. I was half dreading the gig due to the extremely poor sound system setup at the venue which i’d experienced previously at the GZA gig. The ticket only cost £12.50.

He came out and proceeded to complain about the microphone quality for first 5 minutes as it was terribly set up. It was good that he wanted things adequate before performing to the people. As he said… “the people paid their money to see me and I want them to see and hear a good show”.
He dropped a whole host of great songs including ‘Baby’, ‘Apollo Kids’, ‘Cher Chez La  Ghost’ & ‘B.I.B.L.E.’ (granted, I didn’t know every song he sung as he has 9 solo albums and i’ve only got about 4 of them) but everyone was feeling everything he was delivering. He then did a bit of a tribute to fellow Wu members by spittin’ Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s ‘Shimmy Shimmy Ya’ and Gza’s ‘Liquid Swords’. He also took a moment to praise and show love to Soul music by telling the crowd of the influence Soul had upon his art form then proceeded to poorly sing ‘Distant Lover’ by Marvin Gaye. He got some crowd participation going by getting a couple of people onto stage to deliver Method Man and Inspectah Deck’s verses from ‘Protect Ya Neck’. The lad did pretty well and Ghostface looked impressed, but the girl didn’t actually know the words and just wanted to get her face on stage and Ghost looked disappointed in her.

I would have to say the sound system was better than at the Gza gig although it still wasn’t great. Good selection of songs, good energy. I’d give the gig an OVERALL RATING of 7 out of 10.

Posted in Gigs/Events

Hip Hop Kemp 2011 Review (Prague)

I’m writing a half-arsed review for the little trip I had to the Czech Republic, when I went to the music festival ‘Hip Hop Kemp’ from Thursday 18th – Sunday 21st August 2011. The ticket cost me €57 for the full weekend. It is one of the biggest hip-hop festivals in Europe and was held in Hradec Králové (yeah I can’t pronounce it either) which is 1 hour and 40minutes outside of Prague. I met my partner in crime Jonny a.k.a. ‘XyM’ out there in Prague as he flew directly from London.

It was decent sized site and was quite busy. The site was at a disused army base hence there were aircraft hangers around which were halls hosting different things like graffitti, break dancing, reggae, etc… There was the opportunity to play street basketball and watch girls wrestling in chocolate, as well as a massive tomato fight. Some of the stuff was different and bizarre. 

The People – They came from all over Europe, but the Czechs (as you might expect) and the Poles made up I reckon 70% of the people. Most people spoke English. Then there were pockets of Slovaks, Germans, Dutch, Scandinavians & Brits. During my time at the festival, it felt like I was at a Nuremburg Rally – such was the sheer number of Aryans there. I reckon 99.8% of the fans were white and most were blonde hair and blue eyed but to be fair everyone was sound and me and Jonny had no trouble whatsoever. The atmosphere was pleasant. There were less ‘wiggers’ and ‘wanksta’s’ than I had originally imagined there would be.

Other notes:
Price wise – everything was reasonable, I didn’t feel ripped off.
Currency – you could only spend in their currency which is the Koruna.
Food – decent options for food – pizza’s, kebabs, falafel stands, burgers, chips, pancakes and a few more things which I can’t remember off the top of my head.
Drinks – poor options for drinks. 1 type of beer, flat cola in a small plastic cup, orange juice in a bottle which tasted of crap, still water in a bottle and finally sparkling water. What me and Jonny should of done was go into the town during the morning (before the acts perform) and buy shit from a supermarket.
Camp site – decent enough, nothing got robbed from my tent, although I did carry my passport and plane ticket around with me all the days to be on the safe side.
Toilets – port-a-loos – horrible as you’d expect.
Showers – you had to normally queue for between 45 mins and 2 hours and was difficult to get the token into the shower for use. Also only a trickle of water came out which pissed me off.

The music was decent no doubt, apart from all the Polish, Czech & German acts who performed.

These were the acts I saw (rating’s of performance in brackets – Uz’s/Jonny’s)…

THURSDAY – WILDCHILD – Was pretty good but kept bringing out his son – Baby Bugaloo to dance which was badly annoying (7.0/5.5)
SNOWGOONS – Very good (8.0/8.0)
ARSONISTS – They were superb, all they songs they performed were excellent (9.5/9.0)
ODD FUTURE – These guys were a joke. The beats were whack and his rapping terrible. I walked off about 3 songs. (3.0/2.0)

FRIDAY – PHI-LIFE CYPHER – Superb, well better than when I saw them in the Magnet in Liverpool. They have some serious skills (8.5/9.0)
RA THE RUGGED MAN – Again superb, I was looking forward to his performance and he didn’t disappoint. (9.0/9.0)
PHAROAHE MONCH –  Good variety of songs but the sound system was terrible. You could barely hear him and i’m a fan of his (6.5/6.0)
LOOPTROOP ROCKERS – I never heard of them, but Jonny was hyping them and they were pretty good to be fair (7.5/7.0)
M.O.P. – Headliners on the Friday night, and I wasn’t personally feeling their performance despite they having a reputation for being high energy. Started their set with Cold As Ice and finished with Ante Up (7.0/6.0)

SATURDAY – GUILTY SIMPSON, SEAN PRICE, BLACK MILK – Did a mixture of songs, some decent word play, nice beats, decent performance overall (7.0/6.5)
HEAVY METAL KINGS (Vinnie Paz & Ill Bill) – This was the act I was most looking forward to see and they didn’t disappoint. Great collaborative act (8.5/9.0)
METHOD MAN & REDMAN – Headlined the Saturday night and were surprisingly excellent. I’m not a massive Meth fan although I do like Red, and I only have one of their collaborative album – Blackout (which i’ve barely ever listened to). Even though I didn’t know many of their songs, they were bangin’. Excellent stage presence, excellent energy, and they were on point vocally. Method Man spat some of his verses from Wu-Tang Clan songs while Redman sang some of his solo songs (8.5/8.0)

I’d give this experience an OVERALL RATING of 9 out of 10. I got to see Prague a little bit which is a beautiful city. It was a good atmosphere at the festival site. Loved the music. Everything was reasonably cheap. The people were great, never felt unsafe at any point. No knobheads there whatsoever. Although I didn’t enjoy camping, the showers were terrible and the Poles hijacking the freestyle corner were minor annoyances.

Posted in Gigs/Events

‘The Great Recession’ (by XYM) album review

I decided to review the album ‘The Great Recession’ by my mate and Yorkshire rapper Jonny Wright a.k.a. XyM (Xpand Your Mind). We met in University of Liverpool a few years back and collaborated under the name ‘The Inverted Dove Project’. Since then XyM has gone from strength to strenth in the rap game.

Following his mixtape ‘By Any Means’ and his album ‘Audacity To Cope’, he’s back with a new offering which is perhaps aptly
named ‘The Great Recession’.

The album starts with an accapella which fires off with the rather cocky line…
“This is credit crunch, so they don’t give me credit / best in the UK, damn right I said it!”
If nothing else, this boy ain’t short of confidence, but you know what they say about rappers anyway – you can’t be a rapper if you’re not cocky, arrogant or believe wholeheartedly in your abilities. 

Second up is the song called ‘Quids’ and it’s about the struggle of the working classes nowadays. Interesting points mentioned and raised with regards to tuition fees, loans, spending on foreign wars and the expenses scandal. I liked these couple of lines particularly…
“MP’s and they claimin’ expenses / these MP’s and they on the defensive / As an MC i just find it offensive / they clean a moat and they say it’s expensive??”

The song ‘Family’ is pretty deep and is probably my favourite song on the album. It’s a bit spiritual which is unusual for the X-Man, but he’s opening up a bit and though he kind of appears disheartened that his social/conscience style gets no recognition, he does however believe his time is fast approaching to make an impact and to get signed. Includes the interesting line…
“I’m selling my soul / i’m just selling it slow”

Other notable songs include ‘Sirens’ which is about the police fucking with people just trying live life in these hard times. I believe ‘Legacy’ truly defines who XyM is and what he’s about as it’s a world class lyrical song with excellent word play. ‘Black Bard’ is a more uptempo effort and an excellent switch-up, which I’m really feelin’ with regards to the creativity and intelligently written lyrics.

Overall with 14 quality songs, I’d give the album an OVERALL RATING of 8 out of 10 as it’s a great album for social and intelligent heads out there. If you want to hear intelligent word play and lyrics about reality as opposed to gangsterisms and dumbed down shit, you should definately check this music out. It’s available right now on iTunes and Amazon.co.uk.

P.S. Keep your eyes peeled, as just like Bad Meets Evil (Eminem/Royce Da 5’9”) have re-collaborated after a long time period, The Inverted Dove Project (Uz The Man/XyM) will be teaming back up in the near future.

You can peep XYM’s music at… www.soundcloud.com/xym
Also listen to him on Myspace… www.myspace.com/xpandyourmind
Also on Youtube… www.youtube.com/ground0records
Also follow XYM on Twitter… www.twitter.com/xymyorkrapper
And finally add the brother on Facebook… www.facebook.com/xym.yorkshirerapper

Posted in Album/E.Ps

Harlem Globetrotters review [Liverpool – Echo Arena]

Last night on Saturday 30th April – I went with ‘Abdillest’, ‘The Flash’ & ‘Evo’ to watch the Harlem Globetrotters perform at the Echo Arena and to be honest I had no idea what to expect. The first thing to say is that there were some empty seats but it didn’t detract from the atmosphere and the anticipation. We were in Block 03, row A which basically means we were front row, so good seats for £25 a ticket.

It started probably just on 7.30pm and the start was abysmal. Me and my 3 compadre’s were left in a state of bemusement when it started with ‘Globey’ (the mascot) coming out with 3 kids and started playing a game of musical chairs, yeah ya heard me – musical chairs!!!! ‘Globey’ was using underhanded John Cena like tactics to get down to the final 2 in the epic battle to sit down on the final chair. Needless to say ‘Globey’ took a page out of a Pakistani Cricketer’s playbook, and deliberately threw the game by letting the little child win on the final chair. Yet from that moment on, I knew I had to add Globey to my Nixon-like enemies list. The only thing I can say about that start is… it couldn’t possibly get any worse… unless ‘Globey’ came back out at some point… which I was dreading.

So down to business, the Globetrotters came out to much fanfare while their opponents were some team from Washington and made a rather subdued entrance. Washington’s coach said the crowd aren’t required to applaud or cheer for them. The ref was crooked and played the pantomime villain well throughout. So basically what the deal was that when the Globetrotters had the ball, Washington aren’t supposed to defend and should allow Harlem to do tricks, slam dunks and alley-oops, while when Washington are on offense, the game of basketball is played properly.

The Globetrotters taunted their opposition by callin’ out the ‘white skinny guy’ and takin’ the piss out of the small player who was probably 5ft tall. In actual fact, the small dude was a good point guard while the other guy was a decent from range. The Globetrotters ball control was very good and some of the dunks and particularly the alley-oops were excellent, but their general shooting from range, both 3 point and 4 point (don’t ask!) was pretty poor while Washington played a real good genuine game on offense, played some real basketball but nothing too fancy (they probably weren’t allowed to upstage the Globetrotters).

Some other noteable instances was the half time show where Globey’s big brother named ‘Big G’ (who was an inflatable character) came out and wowed the crowd with his wonderful dancing and Cristiano Ronaldo-esque diving. Seriously it was hilarious but difficult to explain why it was. Another moment was Big Easy (the centre for the Globetrotters) got a fella out of the crowd who was there with his beautiful girlfriend and said “damn this guy’s over achieved. Everyone let’s give him a round of applause for doing so well”, then Big Easy gave the guy a peck on the lips for being a good sport. Needless to say, the crowd member didn’t seem too ecstatic about being kissed by a guy on the lips, but couldn’t really show any dissent as Big Easy was a big black fella who was like 7ft and 250lbs.

It was an interesting experience. I’d give the event an OVERALL RATING of 7 out of 10 due to the fact there were some really funny parts and some of the skills were superb but the Globetrotters long range shooting wasn’t great while other aspects were quite childish but it was meant to be a show for the whole family. I’m definitely glad I went and experienced it as i’ve always wanted to see the Globetrotters.

Posted in Gigs/Events

GZA (of the Wu-Tang Clan) gig review [Liverpool – The Kazimier]

I went to see GZA a.k.a. The Genius (of the Wu-Tang Clan) perform at the Kazimier on Thursday 21st April. I went with my mate ‘Abdillest’ and we were deffo lookin’ forward to it as we’re big fans of GZA, and for me is definitely the best rapper in the Wu (followed in my opinion by Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, Raekwon, RZA, Masta Killa, Method Man then U-God). The ticket cost only £12.50.

It was the first time i’d been to the Kazimier, and it looked a decent set up and a good layout and was jam packed (it was sold out weeks ago, yet people were able to pay on the door as well. WTF?). GZA came on with his hype man at around 11.30pm and proceeded to spit the Liquid Swords album (one of the best albums of all time) in it’s entirety from start to finish. He had energy and his vocals were on point. He then went on to spit his verses from other notable Wu songs including Protect Ya Neck and Triumph. GZA also spat a verse off the song Shimmy Shimmy Ya in respect of the deceased and fellow Wu member Ol’ Dirty Bastard (ODB). He performed his hit single Liquid Swords twice, once near the beginning and the other time to finish off with and the crowd were loving it.

The gig was decent but was let down by the terrible sound system and sound set up. You could certainly hear the bass, and you could just about hear the MC’ing but you couldn’t hear the rest of the tune. It was like GZA was spitting over the bass of his songs only, not even the drum beat. I’d give the gig an OVERALL RATING of 6.5 out of 10 due to GZA doing his part but the Kazimier’s sound set-up/engineer doing a terrible job on their part.

Posted in Gigs/Events