So, here we are, Festival season is finished, the sun it setting and it's literally dark already. We can officially say it’s the end of summer. Before we reach for our jumpers and start buying pumpkin flavoured EVERYTHING, let’s take a minute to look back at what a glorious month August was. Here’s just some of our favourite moments from the shows and festivals gone by.
Various Venues | 17 - 31 August
Hitting a number of our venues throughout August to mark their 25th anniversary were British rock band, Skunk Anansie. Pulling together some of the biggest moments of their career to collate a 24-song set of politically-charged anthems, we always knew the shows were going to be special, but the band well and truly blew all expectations out the water.
Redesigning their costumes to be bigger and more extravagant than ever, it was 25 years of Skunk Anansie history crammed into one epic stage setup. Cranking the energy to new levels, there was not a moment to breathe as they powered their way through each song.. In a moment of chaos at O2 Academy Bournemouth, Skin threw herself into the crowd to join in the madness, crowdsurfing from the sound desk to the stage, which normally isn’t allowed, but we’ll let her off this time. At O2 Academy Brixton, the crowd were also treated to a performance from a very special guest, as Paul Weller joined them for their first encore, (yes, there were two), to sing ‘You Do Something To Me’.
Elsewhere, the band also chucked in a cover of AC/DC’s ‘Highway To Hell’ as the cherry on top of the punk rock cake, and everyone left feeling exhilarated from the 21st century Skunk Anansie experience, something we won’t get to relive for a while.
O2 Academy Oxford | Friday 23 August
Before they set off for Reading and Leeds festival, British indie favourites, Peace, parked up at O2 Academy Oxford to get themselves well and truly warmed up for the weekend. Filling the venue with an army of excited fans, it was evident as soon as the doors opened that this was going to be a gloriously fun evening for all involved.
Providing their own lighting for the show, the band instantly got bonus points for turning the stage into a visual extravaganza, which only emphasised the perfectly executed noise of their hit-filled set. Playing a tasteful collection of tracks from last year’s effort, Kindness Is The New Rock And Roll, plus others from Happy People and In Love, it was a Peace fans’ dream. Thankful for the visit, the crowd reacted just as any band would hope, bursting with energy and singing along to every word, providing the perfect confidence boost for Peace’s headline slot on the Festival Republic stage just a day later.
O2 Academy Islington | Thursday 22 August
Also warming up for his Reading and Leeds Festival performance this week was Long Island rapper, Hoodie Allen. Celebrating the release of his new album, Whatever USA, the good vibes were plentiful, and moods were high as he bounced onto stage ready to deliver an unforgettable performance.
Not your usual hip hop star, Hoodie blends an alluring combination of funk, pop and rap to create upbeat bops that stick in your brain and this led to an unbelievably fun-filled set at O2 Academy Islington. ‘Cake Boy’ involved actual cake being launched into the crowd, ‘All My Friends’ saw Hoodie sailing across an ocean of arms in an inflatable dinghy and there was even a little rendition of Spice Girls’ ‘Wannabe’ thrown in for good measure, because boring is not a word in Hoodie’s vocabulary. Click the image below to see what went down at the show and during his trip to the UK.
MACHINE GUN KELLY
Various Venues | 27 - 31 August
Whilst the others needed warming up for their Reading and Leeds slots, Machine Gun Kelly chose to ride the wave his festival sets created and came crashing into a number of our venues within days of people packing up their tents. Down-scaling his production definitely wasn’t on the cards for these shows either, if anything MGK went bigger, firing off CO2 canons like they were going out of fashion.
The genre pushing artist delivered his signature rap-rock sound with an intense energy, performing tracks from latest full-length, Hotel Diablo, as well as throwing out a trio of covers, including Mötley Crüe’s, ‘Shout At The Devil’, a nod to his starring role in The Dirt. Exclaiming his love for the Great British Isles and how much he wishes he was born here, MGK then paid honour to the music scene with his own version of Oasis’ ‘Wonderwall’, before then taking on Billie Eilish’s ‘Ocean Eyes’, because, well, why not?
On the final night of the tour at O2 Forum Kentish Town, MGK took things to a whole other level. Making his way up to the balcony to join his fans, he flew a branded Union Jack flag high in the air, before then running down the stairs and hanging above the crowd to finish the set. If there’s one man that takes his performances seriously, it’s Machine Gun Kelly.
LITTLE STEVEN & THE DISCIPLES OF SOUL
O2 Academy Newcastle | Tuesday 27 August
Steven Van Zandt, aka Little Steven, rolled into town with his Disciples of Soul for a colourful affair to round up his UK headline tour in style. The king of the Jersey rock and roll sound and founding member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street band, he is a legend amongst mere mortals, and it was an honour to have him under our roof for one night.
Surrounded by a multitude of talented musicians and vocalists, Steven worked his way through a setlist full of songs that defined his career. Performing favourites from new album, Summer Of Sorcery, as well as some old school Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes tracks, it was a stunning collection of anthems that showcased just how much he has done for music.
Perhaps the highlight of the entire evening, was his performance of ‘Sun City’. Welcoming onto stage local lad, Sam Fender and teen sensation, Courtney Hadwin, Steven and co. gathered round one another to deliver a high-spirited, magical performance, proving that this is more than just a band, this a community.
O2 Academy Bournemouth | Saturday 3 August
Taking a break from his usual role of Hollywood actor, Kiefer Sutherland stopped by O2 Academy Bournemouth at the start of the month to perform tracks from latest album, Reckless & Me. With queues starting from early in the morning, it would seem that his fans are just as taken with his rootsy, Americana grooves as they are his acting and he certainly didn’t leave them high and dry, squeezing in plenty of songs from his two full-length records, as well as a Tom Petty and Bob Dylan cover.
Now a bona fide country superstar, he swung his hips and growled his way through the whiskey-soaked love songs, whilst his stupendous live band and tasteful decorations aided in delivering the full Tennessee experience. A commendable performance, the look of joy was shared between him and his audience, with some local football stars even turning up to show their appreciation.
HEAVY MUSIC AWARDS
O2 Forum Kentish Town | Thursday 22 August
Recently we highlighted the award nominees that were heading out on tour soon and a bunch of them showed up in their best dress for the Heavy Music Awards this month. Taking place at O2 Forum Kentish Town, the venue rolled out the red carpet and welcomed some of the biggest, best and rising acts from within the heavy music world through its doors for a very special evening.
Live performances came from Canadian heavyweights, Cancer Bats, plus Liverpool’s Loathe and newcomers, Nova Twins and Delaire, The Liar. Hosting the ceremony was Against Me’s empowering leader, Laura Jane Grace, with a number of special guests stepping up to deliver the awards to 2019’s winners. Best Live Band, presented by O2 Forum Kentish Town, went to the magnificent Architects, whilst Bring Me The Horizon, Dream State and Fever 333 also took home one of the prestigious awards. An all-round amazing celebration of both homegrown and international heavy music, it was an honour to house such a close community of artists under one roof and we’re fairly sure there were a few sore heads in the morning, but it was worth it.
This summer has been packed full of festivals and we were lucky enough to attend some of the biggest and best in the country, whilst also chatting to the acts who played. If you missed out on any, you can get the full lowdown right here.
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 new wave pop artist, L Devine and she performed an exclusive acoustic version of 'Daughter'.
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