Another month bites the dust - we'll give you a second to continue singing the rest of that chorus first - which means we only have a month of sunshine left! Devastating isn't it? Instead of focussing on that, let's look back at what happened in July. It also gives us all the perfect excuse to pretend (even just for the duration of this post) that we're still in the heart of summer.
Firstly, let’s talk about Lana Del Rey. She evidently has a certain magnetism about her. Not only did her surprise headliner at O2 Academy Brixton sell out in a matter of minutes - despite it only announcing six days prior - but fans were also spotted sleepily queuing from as early as 7am, and were soon screaming adoringly between songs! The somewhat secretive show came only 3 days after the release of her fifth studio album, Lust for Life and whilst Lana didn't play all the songs from the new album, she certainly made up for it with a stunning a cappela version of 'Love' and an impressive set list including fan favourites like ‘Video Games’ and ‘Ultraviolence.
Another act who had their fans lining up early, was indie pop band The Vamps when they took over several of our venues on their 'Night & Day Showcase'. Kicking off with both an evening performance and a matinee at O2 Academy Birmingham, the tour culminated at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire. The series was brought on by the release of their third studio album, Night & Day and it gave fans a rare opportunity to see them perform more intimate shows. In fact, O2 Academy Leeds had a truly up close and personal moment when they performed ‘Stay’ from within the crowd.
Without warning, there were problems with Colston Hall’s roof, resulting in a last minute switcharoo of venues - which meant somehow accommodating the 30-piece Royal Northern Sinfonia on stage at O2 Academy Bristol! They took their red velvet seats, however, and from the opening strains of Mercury Rev’s new ‘Central Park East’, you knew this was going to be unlike anything the humble venue has ever seen. Already soaring songs like ‘Hercules’ were further elevated with orchestral arrangements and fan-favourite, ‘Holes’ even saw a guest appearance by Adrian Utley of Portishead.
One of hip hop’s all-time greats, Nas kicked off the first of three dates with us at Liverpool Guild of Students, before gracing the O2 Academy Glasgow stage and ending at O2 Academy Leeds. Although this followed his Wireless performance just a day prior, he remained engaging and energetic as he tore through his illustrious catalogue with the same vigour he's had for the past three decades. His setlist included iconic tracks like ‘N.Y. State of Mind’, ‘If I Ruled the World (Imagine That)’ and ‘Stay’.
Considering the intimacy of what would become their penultimate show and the special place it now occupies in our hearts, our Standout Show of July has to go to Linkin Park.
Everything from J Hus, to Lana Del Rey, Sheer Mag, The Script, Sigrid, Jay Z, Lucy Rose, Maceo Plex and Dizzee Rascal. We’ve also had a lot of Blink 182 blasted in the office and of course, the new EP, Add Violence, by Nine Inch Nails. In fact, there's been so much good music, we've created a our very own Ultimate Summer Playlist.
With festivals like Glastonbury, Latitude, Isle of Wight and Download already finished, and Reading & Leeds, V, Wilderness and Bestival still to come, our roster has been a bit thinner and truth be told, we don't blame artists for wanting to soak up the sun by performing outdoors. That, however, only means we’ve taken a quality over quantity approach, with MANY great artists still coming through the doors across the board.