Firstly, and frankly, where to begin? May brought us the devastating news of the legendary Chris Cornell’s passing, followed shortly by the heinous attack in Manchester. To all those affected by the tragedy in Manchester, we send our thoughts, condolences and a great deal of love. Click here for a few words on our own security arrangements for when you visit.
No one can deny the palpable buzz of The Great Escape. Stretched over four days, the festival transformed the quaint seaside town of Brighton into a melting pot of diverse music, clusters of festival goers (with that one mate in tow) and litres upon litres of liquor – some of which unfortunately had gone both in and out. Festival season is here!
Grime genius, Stormzy continued his AMG reign with a three night residency at O2 Academy Brixton as part of his ‘Gang Signs & Prayers’ tour and was even joined on stage by Ed Sheeran! The tour itself kicked off at O2 Academy Liverpool back in April and not only left his audience captivated, but also had the critics singing his praises too. This included The Telegraph’s four star review confirming that he’s “at the top of his game” and Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, couldn’t agree more – see our Social Reaction section for ALL the details.
Royal Blood quite similarly proved there’s nothing standing between them and total stage domination when they played two intimate shows at both O2 Academy Leicester and O2 Academy Newcastle. The duo once again proving there isn’t necessarily strength in numbers – and, combined with the announcement of their new album, How did We Get So Dark?, put on a stellar performance as they pulled song after song out the bag to rapturous cheers from their fans. They certainly weren’t our only May act to illicit that very reaction.
The iconic songstress, Sheryl Crow came to O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire for a very exclusive headline show where she only took a brief pause from playing hits like ‘All I Want To Do’, ‘My Favourite Mistake’ and ‘Everyday Is A Winding Road’ to perform material from her latest album, Be Myself.
Naturally, we can’t talk about the month’s highlights without a nod to alt-rockers, Skunk Anansie who played O2 Academy Bristol in support of their sixth-studio album, “Anarchytecture”. Having thoroughly blown fans away with a setlist chock-full of favourites, they proceeded to do the very same thing at O2 Ritz Manchester just two nights later.
From home-grown talent to the Jamaican export who started a “fyah” this past month. As Chronixx brought his reggae roots to UK soil – kicking things off at O2 Academy Leeds before playing O2 Academy Bristol, O2 Academy Bournemouth and finally finishing up at O2 Academy Brixton – the star quickly realised the UK was more than ready for him, singing along to every word.
The Cribs came to a sold-out O2 Forum Kentish Town with their metaphorical party hats on as they celebrated the ten year anniversary of their acclaimed third album, Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever, by playing the entire record in full... TWO NIGHTS IN A ROW! And just when you think it couldn’t get any better, you realise Yannis from Foals and Alexa Chung are standing right in front of you, oh, and Adele turned up to watch too! No pressure, then!
Elsewhere in London, O2 Academy Islington to be precise, we had Aston Merrygold take to the stage with not one, but two VIP’s. We had both the talented Jess Glynne and the gorgeous Alesha Dixon in the house and on stage along with the boys from JLS showing their support for Aston. After doing his thang on stage, he also went to say hi to a fan that fell ill and spent the entire show in the medic room - what a nice guy!
Last, but certainly not least was the punktastic Slam Dunk Festival at O2 Academy Leeds. With a line-up as packed as Michael Jordan’s trophy cabinet – we’re talking Bowling for Soup, Neck Deep, Less Than Jake and so many other great bands – there was one act who completely smashed it. Yes, you, Enter Shikari, as they celebrated the ten year anniversary of their debut album, Take to The Skies, and people went bonkers.
Speaking of O2 Academy Leeds, New Found Glory were in town, and Kerrang! were on hand to retweet with a Q&A ahead of the show.
O2 ABC Glasgow were kept busy all month and Maximo Park frontman, Paul Smith, who was admiring the sun in Glasgow (it really is a rare occurrence) was on hand to hype up fans ahead of the band’s show.
Also out on tour, Starsailor took to social media to get their fans pumped before performing at O2 Academy Oxford.
O2 Forum Kentish Town was mentioned by Punktastic, stating that Bury Tomorrow’s gig in London will be the band’s biggest headline show to date. Support for that show came from Crossfaith and Black Peaks.
Now, we must admit, we absolutely love it when artists come down to our venues and watch other acts. Let’s take The Hummingbirds for example - they took to Twitter to show Cast support at their Arts Club Liverpool show this past month.
Then of course, in a month where politics is high in the news, we thought we'd join in and show you Sadiq Khan’s high praise of Stormzy, yeah? OK, here it is...
Our top followers for May include DJ Many, who followed our O2 Academy Birmingham account and the one and only, George Clinton who gave O2 Academy Bristol a follow. He followed us first, promises!
With so many contenders, this month was incredibly tough and although Chronixx came close, we have to hand the standout show to Stormzy.
New (and great) music is never in short supply, but this month, with the help of a bit of sun, we’re keeping it old skool with Green Day. We’re also listening to Linkin Park, Mac DeMarco and Lorde.
WOW. Is it just us, or was May packed with the cream of the crop? With so many phenomenal and talked about shows this past month, we couldn’t help but write this with a great big goofy grin on our faces (no spinach in our teeth, we already checked). And so, here we are. That, as they say, is that. With the festival season eagerly looming over us, remember to stay in touch with us and tune in next month for our next instalment.
If you had a favourite moment, let us know by commenting below or get in touch via Twitter using #underthemicroscope.
Coming to a venue near you this June:
The xx - O2 Academy Birmingham (Wed 21 Jun)
Prophets of Rage - O2 Academy Brixton (Tue 13 Jun)
The Maccabees - here
Nick Mulvey - O2 Academy Oxford (Sat 17 Jun) SOLD OUT
Simple Plan - O2 Forum Kentish Town (Fri 9 Jun) SOLD OUT
Zara Larsson - here
Hanson - here