It’s cold, really, really cold. Christmas lights are twinkling above us and it’s now acceptable to eat mince pies every day. Yep, we’re on the home straight towards Christmas, but before we get there, we just want to take a moment to look back at November, because holy baubles we had a lot of shows! Here’s some of our favourite moments from the penultimate month of the year.
Various Venues | 6 - 11 November
It’s been QUITE the year for Lizzo, with Cuz I Love You becoming the most badass soundtrack of 2019. Gaining a healthy reputation for her powerful and playful live shows, it was no surprise when the UK dates of her album tour sold out instantly. Hitting up O2 Academy Brixton, O2 Academy Glasgow and O2 Victoria Warehouse Manchester, it was multiple nights of sequins, sass and screams, as fans put on their best dress for the newly-crowned queen.
Though heavily focused on material from Cuz I Love You, Lizzo kept it fresh and exciting with a number of costume changes, flute solos and even an Aretha Franklin / Elton John mash-up. Backed by the fiercest of dancers, everything about her performance was flawless and fabulous, leaving every single person feeling empowered, which is exactly why Lizzo is needed in this world.
O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire | Thursday 21 November
It’s not often that we have a member of rock and roll royalty waltz through our doors, but on a cold day in November we were graced with the presence of one of the most iconic guitarists of all time. Ronnie Wood, best known for his finger work in The Rolling Stones, has decided to take things down a different path and pay tribute to one of his greatest inspirations.
With new album, Mad Lad, Wood honours the life and work of Chucky Berry. An album in a series of tributes, it sees Wood push his boundaries and excel at re-working the greats. Taking the record and transforming it into a live setting was no easy task, but something Ronnie had clearly put much thought into, with a full swinging band behind him, it wasn’t long before the rock and roll spirit took over. ‘No Particular Place To Go’ kicked things into gear, before further classics followed, including a special duet with Irish singer Imelda May on ‘Wee Wee Hours’. ‘Run Rudolph Run’ saw a spritely appearance from Lulu, whilst ‘Johnny B. Goode’ and ‘Little Queenie’ had the audience soaked in 50s nostalgia. A wonderful performance from one rock icon to another, we’re already excited to see what’s next in the series of Wood’s tributes.
Various Venues | 25 - 29 November
Named the hardest working musician of 2019, Lewis Capaldi has been around the world and back again promoting the beautiful balladry of debut album, Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent. It’s this constant travelling and performing, though, which has put overwhelming pressure on his voice. Despite tearing down the roof at O2 Academy Birmingham, Lewis was then forced to cancel his O2 Guildhall Southampton date in order to be fit for his huge headline show in the capital.
After a trip to the specialist and a steroid injection in his behind, he powered ahead and managed to deliver a jaw-dropping performance at O2 Academy Brixton. Big and bold was the aim of the game, kicking things off with ‘Grace’, he then belted out the soulful, ‘Don’t Get Me Wrong’ without a note out of place and left everyone teary-eyed with ‘One’.
A quick make-up touch-up proceeded ‘Before You Go’ - because when you’re filming a video at O2 Academy Brixton, you’ve got to look your best - and even though it was only released a week prior, it received one of the loudest sing-a-long moments of the night. Despite apologising for not being on top form, it was impossible to hear a fault in his voice and the crowd happily volunteered to help him along the way. As sparks fell from the rooftops and confetti exploded in our faces, it was then that you realised that even this venue is too small for him now, Lewis Capaldi is made for stadiums, and we can guarantee it won’t be long before he’s filling them.
BOMBAY BICYCLE CLUB
O2 Academy Brixton | Friday 8 November
At the start of the summer, we received the news that we’d been waiting three years for. Bombay Bicycle Club are back and not only that, they’d be honouring the tenth anniversary of their debut album, I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose, with a very special headline show. Waiting for November to come around was painful, but finally the day had come and it was everything we – and Bombay Bicycle Club fans everywhere – could’ve asked for.
Performing the album in its entirety, with the artwork draped behind them, they wasted no time at all, thundering into ‘Emergency Contraception Blues’ and ‘Lamplight’ as the crowd gleefully welcomed back the indie darlings. Naturally, ‘Always Like This’, ‘Evening / Morning’ and ‘What If’ were the big crowd-pleasers, with hordes of people jumping, arms locked around each other, singing the words and vocalising every drum beat, guitar melody and interlude in perfect harmony.
Barely giving us a moment to breathe after the last notes of ‘The Giantess’ rung out, the band returned to the stage to give us a taste of what’s to come from new album, Everything Else Has Gone Wrong. Fitting in comfortably alongside the anthems that have grown to be adored over the years, ‘Eat, Sleep, Wake (Nothing But You)’ hit like a hug with an old friend, whilst ‘Shuffle’ and ‘Luna’ reminded us of every house party, festival and long summer night of the past 10 years. The blues set in hard when they finally waved goodbye, but we shook them loose when we remembered that this isn’t the end anymore, this is just the beginning of a new chapter for Bombay Bicycle Club.
O2 Academy Bournemouth: Tuesday 21 January Buy Tickets
O2 Academy Leeds: Saturday 25 January* Buy Tickets
O2 Academy Newcastle: Monday 27 January Buy Tickets
O2 Academy Birmingham: Friday 31 January Buy Tickets
O2 Victoria Warehouse Manchester: Monday 3 February Buy Tickets
O2 Academy Sheffield: Tuesday 4 February Buy Tickets
*This show is sold out but re-sale tickets may be available through our official ticketing partner, Ticketmaster.
Various Venues | 23 - 27 November
Wrapping up an incredible year with her biggest UK headline tour yet was Norwegian pop sensation, Sigrid. Her straight-up bangers have kept us dancing since the release of her debut album, Sucker Punch, in March, so having her hit a number of our venues this month was a real treat.
The synth-lead ‘Mine Right Now’ kicked off proceedings, with Sigrid’s positivity infectious from the first beat. Early singles, ‘Schedules’ and ‘Plot Twist’ reminded of us of why we fell for her sugary-sweet charm in the first place, whilst ‘Basic’ and album title track ‘Sucker Punch’ secured her position as the most energetic and enjoyable artist in pop music right now. Ending the show on the unstoppable ‘Strangers’ and happy heartbreak anthem, ‘Don’t Feel Like Crying’, both the audience and Sigrid used up every last ounce of energy to dance their cares away, which we highly recommend doing, should you ever find the time.
Various Venues | 19 - 27 November
There was sweat stained, beer drenched pandemonium, as 'The Boys In The Better Land', brought a little bit of Dublin to O2 Forum Kentish Town. Performing tracks from their Mercury Music Prize-nominated debut album, Dogrel, the set veered from the poetic, to the furious, to a sort of dark and twisted blend of the two, in the form of new songs, ‘Televised Mind’ and ‘Lucid Dream’, which hint at a tenser, more unsettled sound for album two. That said, this isn’t a band afraid to unleash, as the response to fan favourite, ‘Too Real’, proved, providing ample opportunities for the crowd to shove, mosh and dance to their hearts content. With a sold-out headline show at O2 Academy Brixton just down the line, the show felt strangely intimate, ironic for a band who are barely half a step out of the small venue circuit, and shows what a meteoric rise the boys are on. As the band finished with early number, ‘Big’ - a quick-fire post-punk masterclass - you got the impression that this is just beginning.
O2 Academy Newcastle: Friday 10 January* Buy Tickets
O2 Academy Brixton: Tuesday 25 February* Buy Tickets
*This show is sold out but re-sale tickets may be available through our official ticketing partner, Ticketmaster.
O2 Academy Bristol | Saturday 23 November
We would run out of fingers if we had to count all of Happy Mondays’ biggest and best hits, but fortunately, the band packaged them all up into a tour and took it on the road throughout November.
Bez, Shaun Ryder, Rowetta and co. put on a stellar performance of Madchester indie favourites, picking only their finest work from their 40-year career, the songs they knew would get the crowds worked up into a frenzy, the songs that would hear chants bouncing off the walls and the songs that fans have been begging to hear for years. Shaun and Bez are still the same characters they were in the 80s and that in itself is an enjoyable watch, but accompanied with rave-like lighting and a spiritual energy, this quickly becomes one of the most brilliantly bonkers performances we’ve experienced in a while. The best bit about it? You’ve still got time to catch the Northern icons live, as the tour takes you right up to Christmas. Check the dates below.
O2 Academy Leeds: Saturday 7 December Buy Tickets
O2 Institute Birmingham: Saturday 14 December Buy Tickets
O2 Academy Bournemouth: Saturday 19 December Buy Tickets
O2 Forum Kentish Town | 4 + 5 November
2019 has been huge for pop music, with a constant stream of new artists working their way into our playlists and making us feel all good and sassy on the inside. One such artist is Ari Staprans Leff, otherwise known as Lauv. His collaboration with Troye Sivan at the start of the year catapulted him into the spotlight and it wasn’t long before his alt-pop songs about love, life and mental health caught people’s attention.
Selling out two nights at O2 Forum Kentish Town, the screams were deafening as the new prince of pop arrived to the ballad-come-bop, ‘Drugs & The Internet’. Barely audible over the crowd, Lauv lapped up every single moment of his time on stage, dancing his way through ‘Sims’ and ‘Enemies’ before being joined on stage by Anne-Marie for their chart-smash single, ‘f**k, i’m lonely’.
Openly discussing his struggles after being diagnosed with clinical depression and OCD, he made a point of connecting to his audience on a personal level and encouraged everyone to feel inspired by his music, and more specifically to the song, ‘Sad Forever’. Wearing his heart on his sleeve, Lauv has made it okay to talk about feelings, (so much so, he’s dedicated his new EP to them) and is a breath of fresh air in pop music, so inhale deeply because Lauv is full of the good stuff and he wants you to be a part of it.
O2 Academy Oxford | Saturday 2 November
It’s never a dull day when The Dualers roll into town and after they stormed through their headline show here back in April, we happily welcomed them back for another round of foot-stomping fun. The South-East London ska-reggae collective made sure to leave a lasting impression this time around, taking all the best bits of their previous show and raising the bar to deliver plenty of party vibes and high-spirited good times.
Performing tracks from latest offering, Palm Trees and 80 Degrees, the band certainly brought the heat, spicing things up a little with their boisterous live covers along the way. Their eclectic mix of influences and sounds makes for a unique but completely unforgettable live experience and we encourage anyone to witness The Dualers should they have the chance. Luckily for you, they’re making their return next year, so snap your tickets up now.
O2 Academy Bristol: Saturday 14 March Buy Tickets
O2 Academy Oxford: Friday 11 September Buy Tickets
O2 Apollo Manchester: Saturday 26 September Buy Tickets
O2 Academy Glasgow: Saturday 24 October Buy Tickets
O2 Academy Birmingham: Saturday 7 November Buy Tickets
To coincide with their headline tour this month in support of new album, Blood Rush Déjà Vu, Sunset Sons stopped by to film a couple of stripped-back songs for your viewing pleasure, check out the videos below.
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