You know how I mentioned earlier that Metronomy keep getting better every time I see them? Well that’s still true. Seriously, I’ve seen them about 5 times this year and at the end of every gig I think, well that was amazing, it really can’t get better. And then it does! I’ve been a fan of them since I saw them supporting CSS in 2007, so it’s been nice to see them grow from a band that used poundland push lights on their chests into a band that now have a large fanbase and got nominated for a Mercury Music Prize. It was this nomination that meant they could play the vast Royal Albert Hall and comfortably sell it out.

It was a bit of an odd gig at first as everyone was sat down, and no-one wanted to be the first person to stand up and start dancing. Sadly they played ‘Love Underlines’ right at the beginning so I had to just chair bounce to that one instead of my usual mad dancing, but as soon as they reached ‘She Wants’ it was enough to get everyone on their feet. They had so many fantastic little moments, like Oscar Cash being pushed on in a synth on wheels, and a previous band member appearing on the stairs to perform a solo. Together with their flawless funky pop it was enough to put smiles on everyone’s faces and raise the roof with the audience’s applause. It’s one of those gigs that people will be talking about for a long time, and if you weren’t there you have missed out.

Unfortunately I cannot find the setlist anywhere for the life of me and I can only remember patches. If anyone finds it, please let me know!

There are lots more gigs coming up in October, including Death From Above 1979, The Horrors, IAMX, Bombay Bicycle Club and Miles Kane so it’s going to be a pretty busy one for me!


So Reading Festival was amazing, just as I’d expected it to be! We had a bit of rubbish weather on the Thursday and Friday but it cleared up fairly quickly and we even had some rare sunny patches. Our camp was awesome and we had a great location, so it was smiles all round. We decided this year to go to White Car Park (Green Car Park has a 45 min walk before you even get to the camp site) and we camped at the back in Brown which meant we were all set up by midday, plus we didn’t have the hassle of being surround by 16 year old idiots.

As usual I saw too many bands to talk about them all, but I’ll list my favourites.

My Chemical Romance – They are at the top because they just blew me away. Absolutely incredible. I’ve never really been a fan of them, but I quite liked the new album so I figured I would go and see them, and I think now I’m a convert! They had the stage presence, the over the top outfits, a great show, and a perfect setlist. Then in the encore, when we thought it couldn’t get any better, they bring on Brian May for a cover of ‘We Will Rock You’ and to help out with ‘The Black Parade’. It was exactly what a headliner set should be and I hope they silenced all the people that were moaning about their booking.

Muse – A two hour set including the whole of Origin of Symmetry plus a selection of singles? I was always going to love this. The stage was a massive re-enactment of the album cover, the visuals were massive and the sound was perfect. The only thing that annoyed me was being surrounded by girls who were silent for the first hour, and then screamed along to Starlight.

Pulp – They came on, they played an hour of hits, Jarvis flirted with the audience and climbed the speakers, and their work was done. This was definitely one 90s band reunion that didn’t feel old or rehashed.

The Strokes – I don’t think a lot of people liked their set, due to a lot of album tracks and a weird order as they kept getting told they had to go off stage. I loved it, and I thought Julian was on fine form with his weird drunken ramblings and effortless rockstar cool. They even dragged Jarvis Cocker on stage to do a cover of a song no-one had heard of, but really enjoyed anyway. ‘New York City Cops’ and ‘Take It Or Leave It’ made up for the sad absence of ‘Heart In A Cage’.

Friendly Fires – It’s hard to watch Friendly Fires and not get an insatiable urge to dance, owing to the fantastic beats and Ed’s equally fantastic hip-shaking moves. I don’t think I danced so much during the whole of the rest of the festival. The Hawaiian dancers giving out leis to the audience were a nice touch.

The Kills – I took a friend to see these for the first time and warned her that Alison Mosshart was the most rock and roll person ever, and she came away agreeing wholeheartedly. It was a great performance, although they left out a lot of nice tracks from their earlier albums that seemed to leave a gap in the setlist.

Metronomy – They have slowly got better with each performance I have seen them do this year and this was no exception. The crowd were surprisingly into it (usually their crowd consists of a few fans and some people who know Heartbreaker) and I danced lots, although not as much as for Friendly Fires.

Simian Mobile Disco – Even if you don’t like the music or the dancing, it’s worth watching these guys just to see the bizarre central setup of computers, synths and twiddly knobs, with the two members circling the peripheral while they create their sounds. Luckily for me I enjoy the music and the dancing as well, and a set that included ‘Cruel Intentions’ and ‘Hustler’ made me very pleased.

The Offspring – Not the best I have ever seen them perform and the young audience were a bit lacklustre (they clearly didn’t grow up on Americana like myself and my friends!), but they played all the songs a fan would want to hear so our camp loved it for the nostalgia value.

Here is a selection of photos for your amusement. I think I need a lie down to recover before I set off on my Edinburgh adventure!

Having a relax after setting up the tent

Patrick Wolf

Animal hat friends

Our group for the whole of the Offspring

The Kills and their fantastic backdrop

My mum and my aunt on Pulp/Strokes day

Mr Jarvis Cocker himself

Tim Minchin

A very bad side view of Muse

My write-up of the Robots in Disguise gig is a bit late due to a friend winning last minute VIP tickets to the Big Chill festival. We had a lovely weekend of lying about in the sun, and I took my DSLR so there are a few photos and words on at the end of the post. But first, on with the Robots review:

Robots in Disguise are one of my favourite live bands, due to their sheer energy and enthusiasm, and a frequent DIY aspect to their instruments, costumes, stage props and performances. I’ve somehow managed to see them over 20 times live in the past few years and each occasion has been a uniquely memorable event. However I was slightly apprehensive about their gig at XOYO due to the lack of promotion I had seen for it. Unfortunately Robots don’t have a major label backing and have recorded and released their newest album, Happiness Vs Sadness, under their own steam and with donations from fans. Although this fits in with their DIY aspect it has meant that all promotion has come from themselves, and mostly their twitter accounts and facebook pages. This is essentially preaching to the converted, and I was worried that I would arrive at XOYO to find a handful of dedicated fans and not much else.

I arrived at about 9pm (XOYO has a curiously late door time of 8pm) to find the support band, Rubricks, halfway through their set and indeed with only a few vaguely interested spectators in front of the stage. Unfortunately their female-fronted electronic-tinged indie pop was unable to rouse more than a half-hearted applause, although more people had started to trickle in by the time they finished. When it got to 9:45, the venue was about as full as it was going to get and the Robots took to the stage with minimal fuss. Despite the rather sparse crowd they seemed pleased to be playing to their home crowd, and the audience responded with loud enthusiasm. The set was obviously heavy on the new album, maybe hoping to tempt a few more people to purchase it at the merch stand, and although some of the tracks lack a punch on record they sounded a lot better live. However the biggest cheers and sing-alongs were reserved for old favourites such as ‘Turn It Up’, ‘GIRL’ and ‘The Sex Has Made Me Stupid’. I was surprised but pleased to hear ‘Argument’ in the encore as I assumed they would have dropped that track in favour of a newer one. The girls snarled and sneered at each other on stage, playing up to their fake quarrel, before launching themselves into the audience to crowd surf. Before long they were clambering back onto the stage and grinning at the cheering crowd as the track ended.

All things considered, it was a pretty successful gig, but my mind can’t help but wander back to the times when they would pack out larger venues and have fans queuing outside for the best spot on the barrier. Here’s to hoping the next tour is a bit better promoted.

As a cheeky bonus, my good friends at the Velvet Onion had a chat with the girls backstage after the gig. Have a look at their interview here. Velvet Onion – Robots In Disguise interview

The Big Chill Festival was the second I had attended, and the second one that I didn’t have to pay for! I’m getting quite used to this VIP lark now! It was as usual, gorgeous weather, good company, a smattering of awesome electronic acts and a giant bloody hill. Myself and my competition winning friend were in the guest camping area, which meant nice toilets and a shorter walk to the arena, but there was also a group of about 10 of my friends in the normal camping area, so we had a large jolly group which is always useful when everyone wants to go in different directions. Since I last went to the Big Chill, Mean Fiddler has taken over and it is quite noticeable with the loss of some of the more interesting bits of the festival. The stages have been shuffled around and now instead of whimsical things like the drive in cinema and art installations, they seem to have a lot of bars and makeshift clubs. The arty parts are still there, but have been relegated to a field at the back while the more commercial and sponsored attractions take prominence. Surprisingly it hasn’t really done a lot to alter the ambience of the place though, and you can still find families, some mid-thirties ravers and a scattering of teenagers all grooving away in the Sunday sunshine to the Norman Jay DJ set.

The Chemical Brothers set on Friday was probably my favourite, although I was extremely surprised by Janelle Monae on Saturday. It helped that my Oxfam-found black and white striped blazer perfectly matched her stage setup! Other great acts included Metronomy, Calvin Harris’s DJ set, Warpaint and my new favourite band, Crystal Fighters. It was a lovely weekend and not even the massive queues at the train station on Monday morning could bring me down. Fingers crossed for another free pass next year!

You can see the rest at the Flickr page.


As I mentioned previously, I went to see Arcade Fire last week. Unfortunately it got off to a bad start when despite having an early access pass, I was let in slightly after the general admission crowd. I had paid a rather large amount for this pass and to say I was annoyed would be an understatement. Luckily when I finally got in, I cornered the organiser and he took my details and promised to take action on it. I made my way to the stage and managed to get myself a place on the barrier, albeit off to the left by the screens. The first three support acts were all entertaining enough to make the time pass, and I even got interviewed for a documentary about the gig (and my photo taken a few times as I was reading a book inbetween acts. Apparently this is not a normal sight!). Then came Mumford & Sons and oh my god, did they ever drag on. I have never much liked them as their music has too much banjo for me, but it seems that live they are even worse. Every song sounds exactly the same and I can tell you that an hour and 10 minutes of them is absolute torture! To make it even worse, it seemed that everyone around me was mostly there with the sole intent of seeing them, so I looked very out of place just standing still on the barrier while all around me the crowd went crazy for yet another banjo solo.

Finally Mumford & Sons were over, people around me actually left and I could unplug my ears. Now it was time for Arcade Fire, and the stage was decked out with bunting and a cinema-style marquee. They arrived onstage promptly and without fuss and immediately launched into the single ‘Ready To Start’, a song that I assumed everyone would know and love. Unfortunately for me, the crowd around me had minimal movement and the girls directly next to me on the barrier looked bored throughout the whole thing. I tried not to let it deter me, but it’s hard to feel like you can let go and enjoy yourself when no-one around you is moving. Luckily the band was on top form and the setlist was great. We even got the first live rendition of ‘Speaking In Tongues’ which was a nice bonus. I came away with the buzz of an amazing show, despite the boring crowd and access issues, and it’s had the problem of making me want more Arcade Fire gigs now. I may have to look into Edinburgh in September.

The setlist was:

Ready To Start
Wake Up
No Cars Go
Speaking In Tongues
Crown Of Love
The Suburbs
The Suburbs (Continued)
Month Of May
Rebellion (Lies)
Neighbourhood #2 (Laika)
We Used To Wait
Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out)
Keep The Car Running
Neighbourhood #1 (Tunnels)
Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)

Here is a slightly rubbish photo from my temporary small camera.

The next day I received an email from the organiser of the early access passes offering his apologies for the confusion, and asking if I would like a VIP pass for the Wireless Festival Sunday date. Pulp, The Hives and free booze? I typed yes so quickly I almost broke my fingers.

I have to say, having VIP access to a festival has given me the taste for it now! It was lovely to have a free bar and nice toilets to retreat to. I also managed to get in a few choice bands, including Yuck, Metronomy, The Horrors, The Hives and Foals. Pulp were the headliners and they were really quite incredible. Jarvis still leaps around the stage like a man twenty years his junior, climbing the speakers and tossing out casual quips to the crowd. The setlist was near perfect as well, with a great mix of hits and rarities to keep the more die-hard fans satisfied. The only thing that would have made it better was seeing it with my friends, and luckily I will when they headline Reading in August.

The setlist:

Do You Remember The First Time?
Pink Glove
Mile End
Something Changed
Disco 2000
Sorted for E’s and Wizz
I Spy
This Is Hardcore
Bar Italia
Common People


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.