The days are getting shorter, the nights are drawing in and yes, December is here already. Before we start the festive cheer, drowning ourselves in tinsel and gluing on baubles to every jumper we own, let’s take a moment to reflect on what went down this November, and WHAT a month of shows it was!
Chase & Status kicked our month into hyperdrive with a laser fuelled drum n bass show that turned O2 Academy Brixton into one huge rave! With bass strong enough to hang your coat on, the legendary duo let the beats flow as MC Rage brought the energy to every track, some featuring on-stage special guest appearances from Kano, Section Boyz and young soul sensation Tom Grennan. Let it be known, when Chase & Status are back in their hometown, they don’t do half measures.
Elsewhere on tour, London duo, Goldfrapp had their audience moving along to their spellbinding electronic set which featured ‘Koko’ and their 2005 hit ‘Ooh La La’, alongside fresh material from their latest release, Silver Eye. Their live performance of ‘Anymore’, the first single taken from their seventh studio album, was a standout moment on the night after being played back-to-back with another new track, ‘Zodiac Black’ creating a huge reception from the adoring crowds. With a great vibe and a performance as fiery as Alison Goldfrapp’s hair, nobody left disappointed.
You can’t possibly talk about November’s top moments without putting the spotlight on Blondie’s two-night takeover of O2 Academy Brixton. Vocalist Debbie Harry had the room buzzing - not just because she arrived on stage with her bee-themed headwear (representing Pollinator, their latest album) but also by commanding the stage throughout like the absolute icon she is. With a musical career spanning over 40 years, the set list was challenging but filled with fan-favourites including ‘One Way or Another’, ‘Atomic’, ’Heart of Glass’ and ‘Maria’ just to name a few! A truly magnificent performance and a welcome return to the O2 Academy Brixton stage since they took home the NME Godlike Genius award back in 2014.
Speaking of residencies, O2 Academy Brixton also played host to indie folk quintet, Fleet Foxes for two magical nights whilst on their ‘Crack-Up Tour’. The tour highlighted their third studio album, which is their first in six years, introducing us to ‘Third of May / Ōdaigahara’ and their latest single, ‘Fools Errand’. Providing a still calm and ambiance throughout, the Seattle-based band had their audience in the palms of their hands; proving exactly why they made it onto our list of singer-songwriters that are not to be missed.
Rag’n’Bone Man has had a phenomenal year so far, from winning the BRITs Critics’ Choice Award 2017, to releasing his number one debut album Human. To round it all off he played three incredible, sold-out shows at O2 Academy Brixton. Backed up with a full band behind him, complete with brass section and a sensational backing vocalist, he worked through tracks from the album with soul and class, his voice bellowing around the rafters – not bad for someone who said he had a cold. Humble and charismatic, Rag’n’Bone Man, warmed the hearts and stunned the ears, proving that 2018 could yet be even greater.
West London native, AJ Tracey came to O2 Forum Kentish Town this past month, displaying his talent as one of the hottest grime MCs. With an eager crowd creating a sea of lights by holding their phones aloft, the set went without a hitch as he delivered his rhymes with passionate precision. Stormzy’s hit, ‘Big For Your Boots’ popped into the setlist, but it wasn’t a cover as you might expect; the big man himself made an appearance, putting two genre leaders shoulder to shoulder to create a show-stopping performance and a night to remember.
Another MC who rocked the mic this past month was South London’s own Yungen. Making waves over the years by dissing Chip, collaborating with Yxng Bane and most recently featuring on Charlie Sloth’s ‘The Plug Tour’, meant a tour of his own was inevitable this autumn - especially after a phenomenal festival season. Welcomed by a lively audience, the rapper produced a dynamic set including his MOBO nominated song, ‘Bestie’.
After releasing the latest addition to their illustrious discography back in June, Chicago punks Rise Against crossed the pond to visit UK shores once again, this time promoting Wolves, their eighth studio album. Showcasing their new material, alongside a selection of hard and fast songs from across their career, singles ‘Give It All’ and ‘Swing Life Away’ had a huge response from the audience and, of course, the occasional mosh pit or two thrown in for good measure.
Tom Clarke played four acoustic shows in celebration of the 10th anniversary of The Enemy's debut, We’ll Live And Die In These Towns. It proved to be an incredible experience and the atmosphere was electric from the moment fans came through the door. As Tom swept through every song on the album with the passion and determination that he's shown consistently over the last decade, he was met with a raucous mass sing-along from a crowd that was riding high on each other’s shoulders throughout. He also performed a cover of The Verve's 'The Drugs Don't Work' and his new song, ‘Don’t Need Nobody Else’, which he offered to all ticket buyers as a free download ahead of the shows. The mood for the evening was perfectly set by upcoming artist Joe Dolman as he opened the show. We reckon he’s got a huge future ahead of him so watch this space and remember the name!
Newton Faulkner is clearly a man of many talents. With over a decade of writing and performing music in his locker, he recently took to acting and portrayed the lead role of Johnny in Green Day’s musical American Idiot to theatres nationwide. His time on the stage has not left him out of the studio however; as his latest UK tour coincided with the release of his latest album, Hit The Ground Running. On stage, Newton delivered beautiful, acoustic performances at each venue and even took a little time to meet some of our bar staff at O2 Academy Newcastle - what a guy!
Known for dancefloor hits like ‘Temperature’ and ‘Get Busy’, Jamaican rapper Sean Paul took to O2 Academy Brixton to rapturous applause. Having featured and performed with everyone from Beyoncé to DMX (and who could forget the Blu Cantrell collaboration?!) Sean cruised through his dancehall catalogue accompanied by his backup dancers to a crowd that might well have been a chorus.
Wolf Alice is one hot ticket at the moment. Continuing their trajectory in 2017 with a US tour and a visit to several O2 Academy venues, the North London alt rockers toured on the back of their latest album, Visions of a Life. ‘Silk’, ‘Lisbon’ and their electric new track ‘Yuk Foo’, all made the cut, delighting fans as frontwoman Ellie Rowsell delivered them with a cool demeanour and strong vocals throughout.
Back on tour this November was a certain band that recently performed on a morning commuter Thames Clipper... it is, of course, ‘Solid Gold’ rockers, The Darkness. In support their latest album, Pinewood Smile, we can only assume they chased their metaphorical chicken (check this out if you’re curious) before coming out to delight fans with a run of vibrant, lively performances and feel good rock tunes. For the record, we do believe in a thing called love.
Indie nostalgia fans beware, as we saw The Twang begin their 10th anniversary tour of album Love It When I Feel Like This. The stage was set, the phones were glowing and the fox was in a parker as The Old Fire Station, Bournemouth played host to the opening night before a short (270mile!) trip up the M1 to O2 Academy Leeds for round two, fuelled on by the adrenaline and energy brought about by an army of chanting fans. This is just the beginning, the tour continues this December!
Wolf Alice fans, one of you is the contender for the most sophisticated thing ever found at O2 Academy Bristol. Ladies and gentleman, who forgot their Columbo Supremo ground coffee?
O2 Academy Islington had their deal of celebrities through the door this month. Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker and Steve Mackey attended Liabach, while Mike Skinner was spotted at the Joe Grind show.
Now, fans often take memories home from gigs, but fans of Tom Clarke (From the Enemy) weren’t content when the night ended at O2 Ritz Manchester as soon the streets became their stage, shutting down the road tunnel outside the venue with a superb vocal rendition of ‘This Song’ a personal favourite. Sing on indie friends, sing on.
Every year, the BBC release a list of acts who they believe will make the next 12 months their own. Acts who are destined for big things, who have something about them that make them stand out from the crowd. This past month, we chose to celebrate these acts by cranking the volume on this playlist.
Khalid - Location
Lewis Capaldi - Bruises
Pale Waves - Television Romance
Sigrid - Don't Kill My Vibe
Superorganism - Something For Your M.I.N.D.
Tom Walker - Leave a Light On
Yxng Bane - Rihanna
ALMA - Chasing Highs
Billie Eilish - Ocean Eyes
IAMDDB - Shade
Jade Bird - Something American (Live at Dreamland Studios, NY)
Nilüfer Yanya - Keep On Calling
Not3s - Addison Lee
Rex Orange County - Sunflower
Sam Fender - Play God
Yaeji - Drink I'm Sippin On
With so many huge bands in and out of our doors, it’s easy to forget those bands that are out there, tirelessly working their way up to the top who deserve your attention. This month, we’re putting the spotlight on LANY.
UNMISSABLE GIGS THIS DECEMBER: