Another month has come and gone. Sigh. If it feels like time is moving too quickly and you can’t keep up, then we’ve at least got you covered on what went down this past month. Sit back, press play on our MOBO award nominations playlist and relax, as we delve into some of our highlights from October!
When Placebo offered the UK a chance to be part of their ‘20 years of Placebo’ celebration, London answered with a resounding 'YES' by selling out their two-night residency at O2 Academy Brixton. The alt-rock duo, in turn, responded with a cracking round up of their illustrious career and delivered hits like ‘Special Needs’, ‘Pure Morning’, ‘Special K’ and ‘Nancy Boy’ with the support of four fabulous musicians (violinist included), all entwined within well-choreographed light show. The set also included a touching tribute to David Bowie during ‘Without You I’m Nothing’.
23-year-old Loyle Carner is a prime example of how to celebrate your birthday the right way – don’t settle for something small when you can throw a full-blown bash by performing to a sold-out O2 Academy Brixton. Taking to the stage - with Stormzy and Slaves watching on in the crowd – the South London rapper continued his 'Yesterday’s Gone' tour by playing fan favourites like ‘Florence’ and ‘The Isle Of Arran’. The Mercury Prize-nominated artist (and football enthusiast – have you SEEN all his jerseys?) took lounge sessions to a whole new level with stage décor that included a surface rug, reading lamp, bookcase and a couple of chairs! Talk about making yourself at home, Loyle.
Wrexham five-piece, Neck Deep decided to stop off at three of our venues on their way to total pop punk domination this past month, however it was their date at O2 Academy Brixton that proved how far they’ve come, having graced the stage as a support act for Blink 182 in 2014. Determined to show they’re ready to join the big leagues with an intricate stage design, ramps, an elevated stage, pyros and confetti guns were all in attendance. ‘Kali Ma’, ‘Piece of Me’ and ‘In Bloom’ all made for great singalongs and the band’s lively stage presence coaxed the crowd into moving along throughout.
We had the distinct pleasure of hosting Jessie J, as she made her return to the stage. With the venue completely sold out, we prepared ourselves for a lot of ecstatic fans (some of which queued up from 10am) ready for mass singalongs, and the feisty Essex singer certainly didn’t leave them wanting. Kicking things off with ‘Who You Are’, she belted out all the hits before ending the night with ‘Do It Like a Dude’ in what was a welcome return to the live circuit.
All hail one of the UK’s finest MCs and grime pioneers, Dizzee Rascal, as he embarked on a mammoth nine-date tour around the UK this past month. Following on the heels of his first release in four years, Raskit, he delivered the perfect balance of new material and old school hits with great exuberance and lightning fast ability. Huge singles ‘Bonkers’, ‘Dance Wiv Me’ and ‘Fix Up, Look Sharp’ had the crowd going all night underneath a foray of lasers overhead.
When electronic and industrial titan, Gary Numan took to several of our venues this past month with the promise of going heavier than anyone expected, he definitely meant it. With unrelenting guitar riffs and a barrage of electronic beats to accompany his haunting vocals, he proved he still had that special something. The crowd, a mix of hardcore 'Numanoids' and new friends alike, all shrouded in a veil of anticipation and watched in awe as the singer performed new songs from his most successful album yet; whilst tossing in the classics to rapturous applause. With the biggest light show in over 35 years of Numan’s career, it was definitely a go big or go home approach that paid off.
20 years as a band is no mean feat, but it’s one that the kings of pop-punk, New Found Glory, have achieved. Over two decades they’ve released a number of noteworthy albums, so choosing what to play on their anniversary tour was going to be tough. Thankfully, they decided to do numerous headline shows, where they played their most-loved albums in full. We headed to O2 Forum Kentish Town to catch them play Sticks And Stones and their Self-Titled effort in their entirety and it was everything we could have ever wanted. The room was drenched with sweat and arms were air-punching their way through hits such as ‘Understatement’, ‘Dressed To Kill’ and ‘Hit Or Miss’, the latter of which saw a surprise guest appearance on bass by McFly’s Dougie Poynter! Saving the best ‘till last, they invited their fans on stage - some of whom had travelled from other countries to be a part of the tour – and they launched into ‘My Friends Over You’, as we sung along at the top of our lungs and cheered to a band who had soundtracked an entire generation.
If Dua Lipa provided one thing from her 'Self-Titled' tour this past month, it was pure, unadulterated excitement. The young songstress had the audience in the palm of her hand as she belted out hit after hit to a crowd who were singing back every word. At only 22, Dua demands your full attention with soulful vocals and a confident demeanour. Along with her acclaimed single, ‘Be The One’, she also performed hits like ‘Hotter Than Hell’, ‘New Rules’ and a heartfelt piano rendition of ‘Homesick’.
Zara Larsson is another young artist making waves in mainstream music. At only 19, she has already rocketed to the top, rivalling soulful starlets and pop sensations with hits from her debut album, So Good. With four dates at our venues, the soundtrack to each night included the album title track ‘So Good’, as well as ‘What They Say’, a Tinie Tempah cover of ‘Girls Like’ and Clean Bandit’s ‘Symphony’, which she lends her vocals to. Zara made her way boldly and unapologetically through the evening, wrapping things up with her massive hit, ‘Lush Life’ in the encore.
You may well know this already, but Hannah Reid’s vocals are absolutely flawless live – something that attributed to an already amazing live performance when London Grammar took to the stage in a run of sold-out shows this past month. Having recently released their second album, Truth Is A Beautiful Thing as a follow up to their 2013 critically acclaimed debut, If You Wait, the trio played a good mix of old and new tracks that carried Hannah’s haunting vocals on a wave of feel-good indie pop throughout the venue. Their encore included their debut single, ‘Metal & Dust’ as well as one of their latest, ‘Oh Woman Oh Man’, bringing the audience full circle.
It’s been ten years since The Hoosiers released their incredible, chart-topping debut album, The Trick to Life. Not ones to pass up an opportunity, the indie pop rockers decided to hit the road for an anniversary tour to commemorate the multi-platinum success of the album by playing it in its entirety. Despite the record being a decade old, tracks like ‘Worried About Ray’ and ‘Goodbye Mr A’ saw the crowd go wild. The band also threw in a couple of later releases in for good measure, including ‘Choices’ from their 2010 The Illusion of Safety and ‘Up to No Good’ from 2015’s The Secret Service.
When Papa Roach exploded onto the rock scene over 17 years ago, ‘Last Resort’ shot to the top of the US Alternative chart and has remained an anthem ever since. With an audience belting out every word at the top of their lungs, and a large majority subjecting themselves to the mercy of the moshpit, Papa Roach had the room erupting with tracks taken from their triple-platinum album Infest including ‘Between Angels and Insects’ and ‘She Loves Me Not’.
We can only imagine the nerves Fickle Friends were feeling as they prepared to play their biggest headline London show to date at O2 Forum Kentish Town. However, there was not a jitter in sight as they took over the stage with the most magnificent, tropical display. 80s inspired lights and palm trees surrounded the Brighton pop outfit and as they worked through the songs that have brought them to this moment, including ‘Say No More’, ‘Swim’ and latest offering ‘Hard To Be Myself’, the crowd became a sea of shimmying bodies. Finishing the night with a bang (literally), gold confetti exploded out as they performed pop anthem ‘Glue’ and with promise of their debut album in early 2018, it was obvious that Fickle Friends are about to become one of the most exciting bands on the planet.
As The Amazons took to the stage for their biggest headline show to date, the four-piece rock outfit who were longlisted for the BBC Music Sound of 2017 tore through an electrifying setlist, proving why they have been tipped as one of the hottest rock ‘n roll bands of 2017. Despite a fairly simple stage set up, the warm glow of red and orange lights complimented the strum of guitars and anthemic singalongs of their latest singles, ‘Little Something’ and ‘In My Mind’ perfectly.
When SWMRS crossed the pond this time a year ago, they only managed – unbelievably so - to sell 350 tickets; now, twelve months on, a debut album in the bag and a tonne of touring experience racked up, they instantly sold out O2 Academy Islington. Needless to say then that when the Oakland punk rockers kicked things off with ‘Palm Trees’, the floor exploded with a youthful energy that quickly resulted in a moshing vortex, drawing in well over half the audience. Ticking all the boxes with stage presence, incredible sound and a dynamic performance, the quartet ended the night with their title track, ‘Drive North’.
Charlie Sloth electrified audiences this past month as he took 'The Plug' tour around the country, and you were all certainly picking up what the MC was laying down. With hundreds in attendance, the shows were a roadblock, giving us everything the UK hip hop, grime and drum n bass scene has to offer. With an ever-changing line-up across the tour, including Bugsy Malone, Yungen, Not3s, Fekky and Michael Dapaah; Sloth and co. had every room bouncing til the early hours.
You were there, we were there and they were there. What did you miss?
Did anyone else spot Frank Carter, Jess Glynne or Anne-Marie in attendance at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire for Jessie J?
How about Leeds United’s Pontus Jansson in the house for Zara Larsson at O2 Academy Leeds, or Adrian Chiles at O2 Academy Brixton for Placebo?
Loyle Carner’s mum bringing out his birthday cake was easily one of our favourite moments of the month. Thanks for celebrating with us Loyle!
October brings around the MOBO awards nominations, and the class of 2017 are in! To get the party started, we've created a featured playlist with some of the nominees biggest tracks.
Bugzy Malone – Make or Break
J Hus – Did You See
MoStack – Ussy Ussy
Jessie Ware – Alone
Mabel ft. Kojo Funds – Finders Keepers
Ray BLK ft. Stormzy – My Hood
Wretch 32 ft. Kojo Funds & Jahlani – Tell Me
Lotto Boyzz – FaceTime Me
Jorja Smith – Teenage Fantasy
AJ Tracey – Blacked Out
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 Scottish newcomer, Lewis Capaldi.
Unmissable Gigs This November: