Gig Review: Only Shadows

Featured Image Via : Only Shadows

You may or may not have heard that Only Shadows will be joining Coasts on their UK tour in late April, a fact that I am very excited about after having admired their music from afar. So when I saw that Only Shadows were in Leeds (24th March) on their last date before the tour, it was just such a perfect opportunity to check them out.

The Lending Room, a venue in Leeds, situated just upstairs from The Library pub is a very chilled out place with a 200 capacity that feels intimate yet with ample room to dance (a fact that I definitely took advantage of). Did I mention that there are also fairy lights? – you’ve got to love a place that has fairy lights.

First to the stage were Leeds based Cartel Flux whose alt. rock sound has true Yorkshire grit. Cartel Flux has only been around since 2016 but with carefree tracks such as “Summer” was a great act to open the night.

Courtyards, indie rockers from Huddersfield were next to the stage and brought along a string of devoted fans (and there I was thinking that I was the only one crazy dancing). Courtyards have got all the right ingredients to make it as an indie rock group…without the squeaky amp.

Only Shadows took to the stage thanking us for sticking around to see them and believe me when I say that it was totally worth staying for. From the highs of “Too Late” to even more highs in “Fight Milk” this alt. rock quartet brings the high energy alternative sound with spicy pop notes.

Also joining Coasts and Only Shadows in April will be Only The Poets, (managed by Sam Jackson, former tour manager for Coasts) which makes me wonder, maybe Coasts should change their name…..Only Coasts has got a certain ring to it.

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Gig Review: Marika Hackman

Featured Image: Marika Hackman

On November 17h Marika Hackman brought an alternative 90s sound to Leeds with support from Our Girl.

The solo performance of Our Girl had a low key, stripped back feel that was inviting and personable.

The Wardrobe quickly filled up for Marika and the amount of glitter in the room was inspirational.

Marika Hackman brought the house down on a Friday night with her unique sound. Personal highlights included  ‘Time’s Been Reckless’ and public debut of ‘When You Sleep’

Did you know that Marika Hackman used to be in a band with model turned actress Cara Delevigne.

Gig Review: Joe Dolman

Featured Image: Joe Dolman 

On the evening of the 15th November, I crossed over to the Fox and Newt pub in Leeds for a relaxed folky evening with Joe Dolman, Sunflower Thieves and Amy J.

3 pints of squash later and Amy J was ready to ‘Rock The Boat’ with a beautiful set mixed with her own material and covers including Passenger’s ‘Let Her Go.’

Sunflower Thieves aka Lily and Amy mix stunning close harmonies and heartfelt lyrics in their serenely calm duo set.

It was the penultimate night of tour and Joe Dolman brought ‘Something Beautiful’ to Leeds. With a mix of old and new songs and injection of soul with a Ray Charles cover Joe delivered a pure an unforgettable night.

Gig Review: Rupert Stroud

Featured image: Rupert Stroud

Rupert Stroud’s latest EP Heart and Soul has been a long time coming and it was with bubbling excitement that I entered the Belgrave last night.

Jade Helliwell opened the stage with a smattering of country classics and songs from her EP. The northern singer impressed with array of new British country sounds interlaced with pop beats.

Next up were The Dunwells or half of them in any case. The pop/rock band from Leeds have been on my radar for quite some time now but up until last night I had always managed to miss them.

With a sound that is bright, bold and somewhat heroic Joe and Dave Dunwell reminded the crowd that we are ‘The Lucky Ones’

Their acoustic cover of Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ was really something else and perfectly showcased Joe’s incredible vocals.

The disastrous floods of Boxing Day 2015-16 affected many of music studios around Leeds and Rupert Stroud was unfortunately one of those artists. It was therefore perhaps not surprising that Rupert has been fairly quiet over the past year, opting instead to play at a number of private venues.

Rupert’s intense, gravelly vocals (even when he’s not doing his batman voice) will instantly grab you, reeling you in.

I loved hearing songs from Rupert’s widely acclaimed back catalogue including the anthemic ‘Way Back Home’ which is pure Yorkshire gold.

‘Trouble’ has always been a particular favourite of mine and I was excited to hear that the song has had a bit of makeover as ‘Demons’

Songs from the ‘Heart and Soul’ EP have a introspective take on what it means to be alive and I loved the acousticy feel of ‘Believe’

Grab your copy of the ‘Heart and Soul’ EP here or on iTunes.

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Gig Review: Dan Croll

Featured Image: Dan Croll 

The transcendent, electronic pop beats with ethereal notes from Peakes set the evening off to a great start with highlights including ‘Waves’ and ‘Spaces.’  

Outlya got the party started early, joining the queue outside the venue before the doors opened with a portable keyboard in hand.  Revving the early comers with a call and response, Outlya had us anticipating more and they definitely did not disappoint as they showed us ‘the light’ on the way to ‘heaven.’ You could even say that we were dancing around the ‘volcano.’ 

On October 16th 2014 a younger version of myself stood in the very same room as I am now (said room being The Wardrobe in Leeds) and that is basically the story of how I fell in love with Dan Croll. 

Fast forward to 2016 and Dan was to appear at that year’s Live At Leeds festival. Insert me awkwardly waving at Dan Croll before realising that Dan did in fact not actually know who the hell I was. Just me, being a crazy woman waving. 

It’s 2017 and Dan Croll is back baby and his second album, Emerging Adulthood is set to be released in July. 

So let us ‘Swim’  ‘Away From Today’  and omg Dan Croll just walked in, somebody hold me! 

New songs from the forthcoming album were seamlessly woven with old favourites including the stunning ‘January’ and ‘Be Alone’ which bears a significant message, very poignant for #mentalhealthawareness week, that everyone wants to be alone sometimes and that it’s ok not to be ok.

A personal highlight of the evening was ‘From Nowhere’ which is actually my ringtone. After hearing the song oh so many times it was a massive privilege to hear it live once again so thanks Dan and I look forward to catching you again soon! 

Don’t miss out on Dan’s UK tour:

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Gig Review: Cattle and Cane

Featured Image: Cattle and Cane
I have last year’s Live At Leeds festival to thank for introducing me to Cattle and Cane. The folk group fronted by the Hammill siblings played last night at one of my favourite venues in Leeds: The Wardrobe.

As the room swelled with music lovers, the introspective lyrics and simplistic instrumentals of People’s Poem (the support act) filled the air ‘Was I Wrong’ was personal highlight of the soul searching set.

Cattle and Cane, from Teeside, released their second album ‘Mirrors’ earlier this week and are touring the UK to promote the new record.  Tracks from ‘Mirrors’ seamlessly bring together country and folk influences and effervescent 80s pop vibes with stand out tracks including ‘Saviour’ and ‘Dealing with the Devil.’

Even though the album is called mirrors, Helen informed the crowd, there wasn’t a single mirror in the dressing room!

The set included a number of tracks from both the new album as well as old favourites from the previous record which, of course, led to their fans from far a field as Glasgow and Scunthorpe joining in for a Saturday night sing-a-long.

Be sure to catch Cattle and Cane as they head to Masham, Manchester, Bristol and Cardiff. cattle and cane spring tour

Gig Review: Joe Dolman

Featured Image via Joe Dolman

From singing Ed Sheeran covers on YouTube to taking on his own material, Joe Dolman is doing what he loves to do and that is very evident from his music.

Joe is in his final year at uni and is currently balancing his time between this UK tour which ends tonight in Sheffield and writing his dissertation at service stations.

I heard about Joe Dolman through Mandy who was sadly unable to make it to Joe’s London date. Luckily for me, however, his penultimate gig was in Leeds….shot gun there!

The gig which was due to take place at the Milo wine bar changed venue at the last minute due to unforeseen circumstances to the Fox and Newt. Fortunately as I was running early anyway I managed to hop on over to the other side of town with plenty of time to spare.

Lauren Rycroft was the first act of the evening and her gorgeously angelic vocals mixed beautifully with melancholy poetic lyrics.

Tiger Twins brought a rock element to the evening with an enthusiastic and hilarious set. Indeed their tale about being told that they were playing a gig at Milo that night was one of the comedic highlights of the evening.

Joe Dolman’s acoustic set included favourites such as “Learning To Fly” and “Addicted To You” as well as new song “Nervous” and I loved his ‘crisp’ vocals, gentle instrumental hooks and beautiful lyrics.

The low-point of the evening was actually the highlight as Joe experienced some technical problems with the speakers and the sound guys were called on to fix things. Cue the impromptu mashup-covers of Smash Mouth and Busted as well as story time from Tiger Twins.