In the month that saw the return of Game Of Thrones and had us all devouring an overwhelming amount of chocolate in aid of the Easter weekend, we also had some amazing live shows across the country. Here’s a roundup of everything that April gave us.
Various Venues | 12-27 April
Just over a month ago, South London rapper, Dave, found himself at the top of the charts with new album, Psychodrama. Awash with lyrics on crime, mental health and race, it showed him as a young voice for an even younger generation and someone to look up to and inspire others to choose better paths for themselves. Selling out his headline tour almost instantly, it’s clear he’s made quite the impression and these live dates were going to be a defining moment in his career.
Taking over several of our venues, each and every performance was gripping. The stage set-up, the audience interaction and Dave’s charismatic swagger all came together perfectly, as his words were echoed back at him by the thousands worshipping before him. With a setlist largely focused on new material from Psychodrama, he still found time for some old classics, including his AJ Tracey collaboration, ‘Thiago Silva’, in which he pulls a crowd member to the stage to perform the track with him. Creating an atmosphere of solidarity, this was one of the most impressive tours we’ve ever witnessed and there’s no doubt that Dave will continue to inspire and make a change within the UK grime scene.
MOTT THE HOOPLE
O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire | 26 + 27 April
Legendary rock and rollers, Mott The Hoople, made a welcome live return in April, with two mega headline shows at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, focusing on classic hits from their 1974 albums, The Hoople and Live. As soon as they stepped foot onto the stage, there was a roar of cheers from a crowd who had waited years for this moment, but little did they know what lay ahead of them. Powering through some of their biggest hits, the band were joined by a host of famous faces throughout the set, including Def Leppard’s Joe Elliot, Queen’s Brian May and original Mott The Hoople frontman, Stan Tippins! Playing as if they’d never spent time apart, both shows were a magnificent showcase of the work and history of one of Britain’s most iconic bands and we surely hope this isn’t the last we see of them.
O2 Academy Newcastle | Monday 22 April
Richard Ashcroft’s headline shows were one of the most highly anticipated events of the year and he did not disappoint. An instant sell-out, the crowd packed themselves into the O2 Academy Newcastle walls to get a glimpse of the man who helped define music in the 90s. Performing a strong collection of songs from last year’s solo album, Natural Rebel, as well as plenty of The Verve classics, it was an impeccable evening of flawless showmanship from Ashcroft and was all the proof you needed that he certainly isn’t done with music yet.
GOLDIE LOOKIN CHAIN
O2 Academy Oxford | Friday 5 April
Nobody really saw 2019 as being the year that Welsh rap collective, Goldie Lookin’ Chain would make their return, but here we are and boy what a comeback! With fans (and their children!) turning up to O2 Academy Oxford in their finest fluorescent tracksuits and neon glowing glasses, it was obvious from the outset that this wasn’t going to be a normal show. Performing their comical, controversial and completely explicit anthems from across their 19-year career, it was a bonkers but utterly brilliant live show that left the audience desperate for more.
O2 Academy Islington | Sunday 7 April
French soul and R&B singer, Dadju, took a trip across the channel at the start of April for an intimate headline London show. Known for taking on arenas in his home country, O2 Academy Islington was certainly a step away from the norm, but an unforgettable show nonetheless. Performing tracks from his debut full-length, Gentleman 2.0, he commandeered the stage like an artist at the top of his game and had the crowd dancing and singing along to each and every song. Once part of a duo, Dadju has truly come into his own as a solo artist and isn’t phased by performing alone, holding the crowds attention from beginning to end and proving that he still has so much to give.
O2 Victoria Warehouse Manchester | Friday 19 April
Indie darlings, Circa Waves, are riding high off the back of new album, What’s It Like Over There? and their headline tour saw them take on some of their biggest headline shows yet, in particular, the historic O2 Victoria Warehouse Manchester. Playing a healthy selection of tracks from across their three albums, their performance was a buoyant celebration of how far they had come as a band, with the newer tracks going down just as well as the older hits. Although, the finale of ‘T-Shirt Weather’ was everything we could have wanted and more and for that we salute you, Circa Waves.
O2 Forum Kentish Town | 17 + 18 April
Papa Roach rocked back into London for a two night take over at O2 Forum Kentish Town and delivered the goods in style. Kicking things off with their breakthrough nu-metal anthem ‘Last Resort’, a re-born, confident Papa Roach had the crowd chanting along instantly! Treating their fans, who span across generations, to a selection of old-school classics, as well as fresh material from new album, Who Do You Trust, it was an epic offering of their best tracks. To top it all off Jacoby and co. paid tribute to the late Keith Flint with a blistering rendition of The Prodigy’s ‘Firestarter’!
O2 Academy Birmingham | Sunday 21 April April
Despite touring in 2017, it's been four whole years since O2 Academy Birmingham had the pleasure of welcoming the Boston-based, Celtic punk collective that is Dropkick Murphys; but fear not, ‘The Boys Are Back’. Proving their shows have lost no energy, right from the off they were met with a chorus of cheers, sing-a-longs and mosh-pits from the sold out crowd. To finish the night, and as is now customary at any Dropkick Murphys show, members of the audience were invited onto stage for the raucous encore that was ‘Rose Tattoo’, 'Shipping Up to Boston' and even a cover of AC/DC's 'Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap'. It was a heroic return to the second city and proof, if ever you needed it, that the Celtic punk titans are still at the top of their game.
Country fever is taking over the UK, with country music stars both new and old heading this way for a rootin' tootin' time over the next few months. To give you a taste of who's coming to town, here's a playlist full of Nashville legends and British sweethearts.
Cassadee Pope - 'Take You Home'
Midland - 'Mr. Lonely Line Dance'
Maren Morris - 'GIRL'
Jason & The Scorchers - 'Golden Ball And Chain'
The Kentucky Headhunters - 'Walk Softly On This Heart Of Mine'
Charles Esten - 'Hell To Pay'
Old Dominion - 'Make It Sweet'
Ashley McBryde - 'A Little Dive Bar In Dahlonega'
Lauren Alaina - 'Ladies In The 90s'
Morgan Evans - 'Kiss Somebody'
Kip Moore - 'The Bull'
Megan Mckenna - 'Story Of Me'
Chris Young - 'Raised On Country'
Whiskey Myers - 'Dogwood'
The Dead South - 'Boots'
Lukas Nelson & The Promise Of Real - 'Find Yourself'
Wildwood Kin - 'Run'
Ferris & Sylvester - 'Sickness'
There aren’t many things better than discovering a new band or artist whose music you instantly connect with. Whether they’re touring the nation making their name or supporting big acts globally, we’re here to put a spotlight on the musically-gifted people with a bright future ahead of them. This month, we introduced you to YouTube star turned singer-songwriter, Alex Aiono.
Want to keep up to date with all our features, interviews and more? Why not sign up to our newsletter?
You can now purchase Academy Music Group gift cards! They can be used on thousands of shows across the UK in our venues. For more information, click here.