The Reading Festival lineup was leaked early yesterday afternoon, and there was only a short wait until the official announcement confirmed that it was true. A lot of naysayers are claiming that The Strokes and My Chemical Romance aren’t big enough to headline, but everyone said that about Arcade Fire and Blink 182 last year and look what happened.

Personally I am very excited about the initial run of bands that are playing, as there are some of my favourites in there. Everyone in our camp has already agreed that The Offspring is the place to be on Friday evening! The announcements of Patrick Wolf, Death From Above 1979 and The Kills back up the predictions I had, and I’m so happy to be seeing them all again.

The best of the lineup so far:

Friendly Fires
Enter Shikari
The Streets
DFA 1979
Chapel Club
Peter Doherty
The Strokes

Two Door Cinema Club
The Joy Formidable
Janes Addiction
Crystal Castles
Bombay Bicycle Club
The Kills
The Offspring

White Lies
Patrick Wolf

The Horrors

Speaking of Death From Above 1979, they played their comeback show in a secret slot at the SXSW festival this weekend and it looked insane. Check out the footage below for the riots and massive crowds of people who tried unsuccessfully to get in.

The new blue acrylic pieces are now for sale in the shop! Featuring the Star Trek medical and science insignias, and an awesome TARDIS (which I really want to keep for myself, but alas there are only two at the moment). I have also restocked the Triforce necklaces.

I’ve created a Twitter and updated the Facebook page if anyone would like to follow them.

This week I started my new job so most evenings I’ve been too tired to do anything productive. I’ve started watching Supernatural after many many people recommended it to me, and my god is it ever addictive. I’ve gotten through half of Season 1 already with Season 2 ready to watch afterwards. It’s a nice combination of “monster of the week” episodes with an overall arc for each season, and it’s very funny and interesting. Pretty much like Buffy but with two brothers hunting demons instead of slaying vampires. There are currently 6 seasons so it will keep me occupied for a couple of months at least.

This week my gig outing was quite special as we went to the NME Awards Ceremony at Brixton Academy on Wednesday. We went last year and had a great time in the pit so we decided to go and queue early in the hopes of getting pit passes again. It was worth spending a few hours in the cold as we managed to get our hands on the precious yellow passes. We watched the celebrities arriving while we were waiting upstairs, and after an amusing incident with Nikki from Big Brother we got led downstairs and into the standing pit at the front. There was free beer available so we snagged some and found a place in the middle. The standing pit at the awards show is always tiny; we were stood at the back of it and there were only about 4-5 rows of people in front of us. They also take away the barrier so you are literally right up against the stage. It’s a great place to see some really big acts perform.

Angelos Epithemieu was the host and mumbled his way through the awards, most of his dry in-character observations going over everyone’s heads. There weren’t a lot of surprise wins and the most amusing thing was watching the bands get more and more drunk as they stumbled up to collect their awards. The bands performing included My Chemical Romance, Hurts, PJ Harvey and Crystal Castles who were a nice surprise, and the atmosphere in the pit varied depending on whose fans you were stood nearest to. The big moment was Dave Grohl receiving the Godlike Genius award, and after a rambling acceptance speech The Foo Fighters took to the stage for their set. Usually the winners play a set of about 4-5 songs, but Dave announced that they would be playing a 2 hour set. Most of us just laughed it off, but as the songs kept going and going, we realised he was true to his word! They played their new album in its entirety and then followed it up with a selection of their hits. We actually had to leave before the end in order to make our last tube home.

It was a pretty epic night anyway, and being a few metres away from Dave Grohl was definitely an experience.


So much for a months leave; I had an interview last week for a position in London and started yesterday. I’ll have to get used to waking up at a normal time again.

The new acrylic has been received and it looks fantastic! There are a few pieces that can’t go up yet as I’m still waiting on other colours, but the blue ones and restocked yellow should be in the shop by the weekend.

This weekend I was kept busy with two gigs, the NME Awards tour at Brixton Academy on Saturday and Carl Barat at the 100 Club on Sunday.

The NME Awards tour is usually an opportunity for the NME to show off their latest indie favourites, so it was quite a surprise to see Magentic Man and Crystal Castles heading the lineup. Not your usual generic NME fare. I am not a fan at all of the other two bands, The Vaccines and Everything Everything, so I showed up late in the hope of missing them. No such luck with Everything Everything as I had to put up with most of their squawking, vacuous set. I moved forward before Magnetic Man to get a decent spot and instantly found myself surrounded by chav-esque youngsters. This did not bode well. My predictions were correct as Magnetic Man turned out to be an awful dubstep DJ ensemble. I just don’t get everyone’s fascination with dubstep; maybe I’m just getting old. They seemed to be quite well known as they got a massive response from the crowd and then about half the venue buggered off once they had ended. Their loss for missing out on an epic Crystal Castles set.

A roadie came out just before the band hit the stage to let us know that Alice Glass had a broken ankle, and although the doctor told her to cancel the tour, she said fuck that. This was met with a loud cheer as the band followed, their singer limping on with her foot in plaster and a crutch in one hand. It was a frenetic, riotous set that was not in any way hampered by Alice’s injury, as she threw herself around the stage as usual and even clambered into the crowd towards the end. I was worried that Crystal Castle’s sound would seem out of place in the large venue (as had happened when they supported The Cure at the O2 Arena) but the bass was apparently turned up to 11 and each beat vibrated through the crowd as if we were in an intimate club. It was a fun, if fairly short, setlist and they ended the main section on their massive hit ‘Not In Love’, with a two-song encore following to appease the ravenous audience.

Fainting Spells
Courtship Dating
Doe Deer
Alice Practice
Black Panther
Not In Love
Yes No

The Carl Barat gig was another NME awards show (as seems to be the case with most of my February gigs) and it was originally scheduled to be at the Shepherds Bush Empire. For various reasons the whole of Carl’s UK tour was either cancelled or rescheduled, with this gig being moved to the 100 Club on the same day. Our best guess was that the gig didn’t sell enough tickets, so they moved to a smaller venue, although we were pleased with this turn of events as the 100 Club is a lot more intimate. The support acts were rehashed from the previous tour so we were familiar with quite a few of their songs already. By the time Carl and his band came onstage, the tiny room was packed to the back and we were crushed against the stage barely inches from the famous frontman.

The setlist was pretty much the same as the last time I saw him but it was bolstered by the fact that we were a lot more familiar with his solo album by now. There were Dirty Pretty Things and Libertines tracks scattered throughout, which of course got the biggest reactions, and we also got treated to an impromptu rendition of ‘What A Waster’ as requested by an audience member. As he ended on ‘Don’t Look Back Into The Sun’ the room went insane and bounced around so much that even my mum was encouraged to join in.

Je Regrette, Je Regrette
Run With The Boys
The Man Who Would Be King
Carve My Name
She’s Something
The Magus
So Long, My Lover
What Have I Done
Up The Bracket
Death Fires Burn At Night
What A Waster
Death On The Stairs
Bang Bang You’re Dead
9 Lives
The Ballad Of Grimaldi
The Fall
Don’t Look Back Into The Sun


New Year

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Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a nice time over the holidays. My main present was the new camera lens so I didn’t get much else in the way of gifts, but I ate a lot of food, drank a lot of alcohol and sang some bad karaoke. New Year’s Eve was spent in a similar fashion and I’m feeling quite tired today.

2010 was a good year for me and I managed to reach a lot of goals that I had set for myself. One of them was to do more gig photography, and I ended up shooting Amanda Palmer, Placebo and a whole host of awesome bands at Offset Festival. Another was to revamp this website and get my jewellery business off the ground, which has gotten off to a good start thanks to all my wonderful customers. I also wanted to make good progress on my Open University degree, and my 94% pass on my first unit has certainly bolstered my confidence.

Other highlights of the year include going to New York on my own and meeting Zachary Quinto, a whole host of awesome festivals over the summer, and seeing some incredible bands for the first time like the Pixies, Chemical Brothers and Suede. Here’s to hoping 2011 is just as good.

To end, I have compiled a list of my top 10 albums of 2010.

It’s been a bit of a difficult year for this, as a lot of my favourite bands didn’t release anything this year, so I’ve had to rely on new bands or unexpected surprises. You may be able to guess my number one album, as I’ve blathered on about it nonstop since it was released.

10. Klaxons – Surfing The Void
This was a nice follow-up from Klaxons, although slightly predictable. It was more of the same Klaxons formula that we know and love, but I feel they could have tried to push the boat out a bit more. The title track was a favourite of mine though.

9. Blood Red Shoes – Fire Like This
Not quite as amazing as their first album, but still pretty damn good. Blood Red Shoes make effortless post-punk garage rock that is anthemic and so danceable. Light It Up and Heartsink were fantastic choices for singles.

8. We Are Scientists – Barbara
I wasn’t sure what to expect from We Are Scientists after their last album pretty much divided opinions. On it’s first listen, Barbara looked like it was going to be mostly forgettable, but after a week or so a lot of the songs stayed firmly rooted in my mind. It’s definitely a grower, and I Don’t Bite was one of my songs of the year.

7. Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles II
This was another album which turned out to be a grower. In the beginning only a few tracks really stood out (most notably Baptism) but as I listened I ended up liking it more and more. They moved away from their trademark bleepy screechy sounds to give some more melodic vocals a try, and it definitely worked. They released a version of Not In Love with Robert Smith on the lead vocals and I was bowled over. It made such a gigantic change to the whole dynamic of the track! Another one of my favourite songs of the year.

6. LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening
If according to the rumours that this is LCD Soundsystem’s last album, then at least they went out with a bang. I knew this was going to be a big album even before it was released and it didn’t disappoint. Absolutely packed full of tunes like Drunk Girls and Pow Pow, I love to put this album on and just get lost in it.

5. Foals – Total Life Forever
Foals did this year what The Horrors did last year: Ditch the direction of their mediocre debut album, and release a phenomenal second album. Who would have thought the band that brought us the mildly irritating strains of Cassius would go on to produce the beautiful Spanish Sahara? The songs are more strung out and quietly grandiose than on the first album and it generally feels like they have grown up as a band.

4. Gorillaz – Plastic Beach
This album is a wonderfully eclectic mix of styles, from the electronic 80s pop of Stylo to the oriental-rap mashup of White Flag. They use guest vocalists to their full, with almost every track having a different singer, and it works incredibly well and somehow doesn’t make the album feel disjointed. Standout tracks for me are Empire Ants and Rhinestone eyes.

3. Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster – Blood And Fire
With a revolving lineup of guitarists and their last full length album released 6 years ago, I did not have high hopes for this album at all. But it was a stomping, screeching, growling return to form and I love every song on it. They even managed to squeeze in a rousing singalong ballad in the form of So Long Goodnight.

2. Chemical Brothers – Further
Seeing this album live in its entirety with beautiful fullscreen visuals has probably coloured my opinion, but it’s near perfect. I think to be appreciated most it needs to be listened to in full, but the tracks still do work on their own as well. I challenge anyone to listen to Escape Velocity and not want to dance!

1. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
Of course this was my number one! I’ve listened to it a ridiculous amount since it came out, and I still love it. A lot of people were bitching and complaining when Arcade Fire were announced as Reading Festival headliners, but this album has cemented their headliner status. Their songs are made to be seen in a large crowd, with everyone around you singing and dancing like mad. The Suburbs, Rococo and Sprawl II are probably my favourites.


On Friday I went to see Crystal Castles at the Roundhouse, which is always one of my favourite venues. It feels quite big when you get inside, but you still get a great view no matter where you stand. I arrived a bit late just as HEALTH were supposed to take the stage and got quite confused for a moment before I realised that Team Ghost were still playing. I don’t have much to say about them as they were unfortunately not very memorable. HEALTH on the other hand were totally amazing. The last time I saw them at Reading Festival, I came away feeling very underwhelmed. But they really blew me away this time and I think they won many many fans judging by the large mosh pit that formed! I would even go so far as to suggest they were better than Crystal Castles.

Crystal Castles were still brilliant though, they were after all the band that everyone had come to see. Everyone was dancing all the way to edges of the room and the sound was so loud I had ringing in my ears the whole way home. They came on late so they only had an hour to play but they cherry-picked the best songs from both albums to keep the good mood going, wisely foregoing the slower songs in favour of more upbeat ones. Alice Glass was ever the insane front woman and spent about 90% of her time in the audience. The other 10% saw her flinging herself around like a woman possessed and carting a strobe light around the stage. The crowd left sweaty and covered in beer, but all grinning with smiles on their faces.

This weekend I have been taking it easy and watching the Star Trek marathon on FilmFour, Grindhouse, Sherlock and making spicy carrot and lentil soup. I am making full use of my new blender!

Photo by Mike Hughes