70’s punk rock legends The Undertones will be returning to Sheffield on Thursday 23rd November, performing at the popular Sheffield venue Plug.
Inspired by the first wave of punk, the five piece band formed in Derry, Northern Ireland in 1975. They captivated a generation with their forever popular Teenage Kicks.
Over 40 years on, the band is now made up of Paul McLoone (vocals), John O’Niell (rhythm guitar), Damian O’Niell (lead guitar), Michael Bradley (bass) and Billy Doherty (drums).
The band boasts numerous hit singles that still hold that gripping sound. A year on from celebrating their 40th anniversary it’s a MUST to witness The Undertones still doing something they all love and enjoy.
The tour has already kicked off with dates including: Birmingham, Cardiff, Warrington, Brighton, London and Northampton. Before they finally make their way to Sheffield.
For more details about tour dates visit – http://www.theundertones.com/_/Home.html
Buy tickets for the 23rd November @ Plug – https://the-plug.com/event/the-undertones/#info
After The London African Gospel choir’s uplifting and energetic set at Plug on Saturday, H Media’s Gabby Willis was lucky enough to speak with frontman Derrick Kiteke, who has been a member of the choir since 2009.
We were chosen by Jazz Café, a very lovely pub in Camden, to do the album and then ended up taking it on tour.
What does performing the album mean to you and the choir?
At first we really just saw it as covering Paul Simon’s songs, but as we have gone on it has really been a blessing to us as the choir. In all the places we go to perform, we always start with our own repertoire of African gospel music, so it is as if we are using Graceland as a platform to promote African Gospel music. Not many people really have a chance of listening to this kind of music, but we then give them a chance to listen to it for a good thirty minutes at the beginning of our set.
How did the crowd in Sheffield compare to your usual audiences?
The Sheffield crowd was very vibrant, loud and happy. When we sing Graceland, we really expect the crowd to sing along and join in with the songs, but when we sing the African Gospel songs, we are expectant to see how they will take it in. It was joyful to see the Sheffielders trying to sing along when they may not have even been able to understand some of the words.
We have quite a lot of different crowds, but they usually bring the same kind of atmosphere. It’s just the type of music that ends up getting them in to everything.
Is there any other albums that you think you may want to cover next?
This is the first album that we have actually covered, and most of our shows are at functions like conferences and weddings. Graceland has really given us a chance to expand into a different platform, so we are looking forward to another challenge after this. Maybe The Fugees?
When Graceland came, we didn’t think we would be able to do it. The first time our director brought the songs to us and told us which of us would be leading them, we thought there’s no way we can sing these songs. But at the end of it all, we’ve really conquered it!
Have you had any contact from Paul Simon?
Up to now, we are still wondering if he even knows that we exist. It is becoming a really big project, and today we had the BBC filming us, so you never know, maybe that is how he will get a chance to hear us! I hope if he ever contacts us, it will be a positive response.
What is your next project?
We still have a few more dates with Graceland (Leamington Spa, Newcastle etc). We have a few charity shows; even one with Tom Jones on December 6th. Sharing the same stage with him is something we are looking forward to.
We also have some Christmas shows ahead, so we are learning some African Christmas songs.
It’s evident from watching The London African Gospel Choir that they are all like a big family, in love with what they do. They can work a crowd, encouraging them to sing back with different parts for the ladies and men, and teaching them some of the dance moves that are seen on stage. Powerful solos and duets were mixed into perfect harmonies, and their accompanying group of musicians were as much a part of the group as the singers, each also getting their own introduction and chance to wow the crowd with a solo.
The album was preceded with a selection of traditional African Gospel music to warm up the room, before the choir took a short break and returned to the stage to great applause, launching into “I Know What I know”. The show ended on a similar high with the album’s title track, and then obligatory encore which was met with more excitement, as “You Can Call Me Al” gave the choir a chance to really play with audience participation.
Finally, the singers took it in turns to show off their dance moves to wind down the show, featuring a very impressive pop and lock routine from Charles Ngobi, who Derrick says is on “another high level” that none of the other choir members can reach.
There’s definitely something for everyone to love during a night with The London African Gospel choir, and we would recommend that as many people experience the rest of their shows as possible.
On Saturday 11th November, Plug will play host to The London African Gospel choir who will perform Paul Simon’s Graceland LP in full.
Along with a troupe of accomplished musicians this well renowned group of singers have headlined sell-out shows across London, from corporate and private events to the biggest stages of the city, including the O2 Arena.
The LAGC’s main mission is to “popularise African influenced gospel music within the church and the secular world”, but having worked with musicians such as Emile Sande, Mumford and Sons and Annie Lennox, they are no strangers to popular music and a party atmosphere.
Paul Simon recorded Graceland in South Africa in 1985-6, working with township musicians during Apartheid. The album has since sold over 14 million copies worldwide, and is listed on many most influential album lists, included that of The Rolling Stone Magazine.
It is credited as one of the main albums to help popularise African music in the western world, transcending racial and cultural barriers by mixing pop, rock, zydeco and mbaqanga.
This event will be an unmissable opportunity for fans of all ages and backgrounds to celebrate one of twentieth century music’s best achievements.
Tickets are still available via: https://www.the-plug.com/events-and-tickets/313494/london-african-gospel-choir-perform-paul-simons-graceland
Sundara Karma are easily one of the most exciting British guitar bands around, and their biggest headline tour to date has cemented their place as an established indie rock group.
Luckily for the people of Sheffield, the Reading quartet stopped off in the Steel City to play two sold out shows at Plug.
As expected, they entered the stage to rapturous applause from a youthful and energetic crowd.
After taking to the stage, frontman Oscar Pollock paused, staring expressionless at his audience before playing psychedelic opening track Another Word For Beautiful.
Such a slow and eeire song was never quite going to wake the crowd up, but it didn’t take long for the event to get lively.
After the opener, Pollock addressed the crowd for the first time, shouting “Sheffield, let’s have it,” and from that moment, the chaos really started.
Popular singles A Young Understanding and Loveblood were next on the setlist, both festival anthems in the making and perfect for both dancing and screaming out lyrics at the top of your voice.
By the time the band played their sixth song of the evening Flame, it was clear to see that they had their fanatic fans under their thumb. Pollock stopped singing during the chorus and allowed the crowd to belt it out at the top of their voices.
The set continued with a mix of old EP tracks such as Diamond Cutter, and songs that made it onto their debut album Youth Is Only Ever Fun in retrospect. All were generously received by a fanbase that seemed to know every word to every single song.
Just past the halfway mark Oscar introduced their 2015 single Vivenne as a “Pop song, a love song.”
Perhaps the only thing that went wrong all night for the Berkshire Boys was when the frontman attempted to crowdsurf during the chorus, but lost his microphone at the barrier!
The biggest fanfare of the night was reserved for fans’ favourite She Said, as Plug descended into a frenzy of moshpits and people climbing onto the shoulders of their friends, whilst screaming every word back to the men on stage.
After leaving the stage to their album closer The Night, Sundara’s adoring fanbase begged the band to return for one more song.
Their return was never in doubt, and the encore involved a heartfelt rendition of their hypnotising single Happy Family, before ending the show with their 80s pop tinged track Explore.
Whilst they may not be pioneering a renaissance of British guitar music, Sundara Karma are one of the best live acts to emerge in the last couple of years.
Their tour has included dates at the iconic Brixton Academy, two nights at Manchester 02 Academy and a show at Nottingham’s Rock City.
It’s strange to think that just 18 months ago, the four piece performed in the small room at Leadmill – with a sold out crowd of 250.
The sky is the limit for these humble lads from Reading, and who knows what will happen if they produce a second album that matches or even betters their debut?
Another Word For Beautiful, A Young Understanding, Loveblood, Run Away, Be Nobody, Flame, Lakhey, Olympia, Diamond Cutter, Watching From Great Heights, Lose the Feeling, Vivienne, She Said, Deep Relief, The Night, Happy Family, Explore
‘Surf rock’ songwriter Willie J Healey opened the night, playing songs from his debut album People And Their Dogs.
It was clear that he wasn’t well known, but he and his band received a decent reception and did a good job of warming the crowd up.
The smooth saxophone solo towards the end of Somewhere in Between was the highlight, showing that the Oxford man draws upon a diverse range of musical influences.
Next up were Brighton’s slacker rock outfit The Magic Gang, who unsurprisingly went down a treat with the waiting crowd.
Their songs are packed full of uplifting choruses and catchy guitar hooks which are easy on the ear, and at times it seemed like the crowd were just as excited for The Magic Gang as they were for Sundara Karma.
The quartet re-introduced older songs back into their set, such as Lady, Please and Jasmine. It won’t be long before we see them headline venues of this magnitude.
It’s show number five of the Wired Tour. After covering ground around the Midlands/South, from Cardiff to Norwich, Mallory Knox arrive to the tour’s first northern date – Sheffield. The Steel City has done its bit as this was the quickest show to sell out, and the heat in The Leadmill suggests no touts have stolen this one. Only sweaty fans wearing MK tops.
Opening the night is Scottish alt-rockers Fatherson, who are on top form despite playing so early. They play a quick set of hits from both albums, starting with the latter’s title track, ‘Open Book’. Front man Ross Leighton enters the stage and kicks straight in, the others soon follow and by the second track the crowd has grown substantially. To say they’re the opening act the dynamics are tight as ever. The set has a fair balance of intricate melodies and distorted rock, and it is fantastic. The show is off to an impressive start.
Next is Lonely The Brave, a five piece from Cambridge. It’s bloody hot now. It’s considerably louder with this lot, and the reception isn’t far off a headline slot. The first song is ‘Black Mire’ from 2016 album Things Will Matter. Everyone shouts along “What if I said this ain’t the one…” and the good vibes continue. The band finish on ‘The Blue, The Green’ – a track with a really sweet verse line and an epic outro. The night has lost no momentum and everyone piles in up close for the awaited headliners.
Two giant red MKs flash on stage to the intro drum loop of ‘Giving It Up’ – the first track from Wired. The crowd’s screams grow louder as Mallory Knox walk on stage. Once the song properly begins, chaos ensues. Track by track the mosh pits grow bigger, and the set is well-rounded for new fans and all the old-timers. The new album’s title track and ‘Beggars’ from the first album is received with everything you would expect from a rock gig. Following this is ‘Falling in Love’, a beautiful sing-along that isn’t quite hard-rock but does allow the audience to hear front man Mikey Chapman’s amazing vocal. Although afterwards he says “Enough of the sappy shit” and they smash into new tune ‘Lucky Me’. In total there are seven new tracks and eight older ones – something for everyone. Before the last pre-encore song, ‘Saviour’, Mikey discusses how our generation has to pick up the pieces after the likes of Donald Trump ruining the world. An encore gives us two more songs plus Yorkshire Tea bags hurled into the audience as the band’s response to our “Yorkshire” chants.
An incredible line-up. A wonderful crowd. Who said rock is dead?
Words by Josh Levin
The Tramlines Festival is an annual music festival which takes place right here in the heart of Sheffield in venues such as the O2 Academy, Devonshire Green and The Ponderosa. It is an event which combines all forms and genres of music and this year will be held from Friday 21st– Sunday 23rd July. With so many amazing acts taking to the stage, here are just a few of the headliners.
Formed in London in 1997, The Libertines first gained notoriety in the early 2000’s by spearheading the garage rock revival movement in the UK. Their 2004 self-titled album went to number one and sold over 70,000 copies in its first week producing top ten singles such as “Can’t Stand Me Now” and “What Becomes the Likely Lads.” The band’s debut single “What a Waster” led NME to name them as best new band in Britain.
The indie garage band continued success throughout the 2000’s headlining multiple festivals such as Leeds and Reading in 2010. They most recently released their third studio album Anthems for Doomed Youth which gave the band their second top ten album.
All-Saints burst on to the music scene in the mid 90’s as a part of the new girl group wave kicked off by the Spice Girls. Whilst most girl groups focus on girl power and pop anthems, the All-Saints stayed true to their roots in the R&B genre. Their 1997 debut album went to number one and landed the girls three number one singles on the UK charts, including songs such as “Never Ever” and “Under the Bridge”. This led to the band becoming five times Platinum in the UK and Platinum in the US.
The band reunited in 2006 and began working on new material under a new label. The band released their third album which became a huge success selling nearly 60,000 copies and producing another top ten single “Rock Steady”. After this All-Saints chose to go on hiatus before reforming in 2014 supporting the Backstreet Boys and releasing a newer sound for the band in the form of dance-pop track “One Strike” which was released early last year. This was soon followed by their latest self-managed album Red Track.
Mercury Prize nominated Metronomy have been creatively blending rock and electronic music for nearly twenty years now and have been working as a quartet for nearly five following the introduction of bassist Gbenga Adelekan and drummer Anna Prior. The Devonshire natives have recently sold out the Royal Albert Hall and toured both North America and Europe following the success of their album “Love Letters” which earned the band their first top ten album in the UK and an NME Award nomination..
The band take inspiration from a variety of genres including artists such as the Supremes, the Zombies and the White Stripes, giving them a highly unique sound which is individual to them as artists.
The bands most recent album Summer 08 reflects on their twenties and the nights out era of their lives. Produced in Paris over the course of a summer, the album adds a funky melody to interesting lyricy and featured collaborations with the likes of Robyn and Erol Alkan. With the album’s release in July 2016 the band solidified themselves within the music industry earning recognition across Europe.
Day 2 of Outlines Festival 2017 got underway on Saturday 4th March, and it promised to be a big one! Here’s my top three.
And so, to The Leadmill came the Australian the indie-house hybrid phenomenon, and Outlines 2017 headliners, Jagwar Ma. The demand for the trio saw The Leadmill at capacity to watch them close the festival with their unique, genre-bending tunes.
Impossible to stand still to the infectious beats being pumped out, Jagwar Ma soon had the entirety of The Leadmill bouncing and, I imagine, the street outside too. If there was a high level of energy throughout the weekend, it was raised further still before it was rounded out – a feat only achievable by a band of this caliber. A fitting end to a wonderful weekend of music.
Queen of the grime scene, Lady Leshurr, took to the Plug stage Saturday night to meet her adoring public. The Birmingham native guided the Sheffield faithful through an unrelenting set bereft of a dull moment.
— cd (@chrdun) 4 March 2017
Warning the crowd her sets were like workouts, the MC delivered. With help from her backup dancers, the crowd were led through a variety of routines, ranging from the mannequin challenge to mosh pits, all set to her whip-smart bars. One of the most enjoyable performances over the whole of the weekend, Lady Leshurr left everyone a little healthier and, crucially, with a smile on their faces.
“Festivals are shit!” exclaimed Trash front man, Dan Longmore, upon hearing the band had reached the end of their allotted time. The short pause swiftly ended when the Chesterfield four-piece continued their set, much to the delight of the Plug crowd – and to the dismay of the of the sound engineer.
Those in attendance were fully immersed by Trash’s smooth indie-pop melodies, which gave life to jubilant mosh pits. By far one of the most fun performances over the course of the weekend, Trash were a band who manged to capture the spirit of Outlines.
Words by Ryan Newsam
Outlines Festival 2017 got underway on Friday 3rd March with a bang. Here’s my top three of Day 1.
Casting a curse over the capacity crowd at The Harley was Brighton quartet, The Wytches. Polar opposites of Friday’s headline band, Slow Club, playing on the other side of the city, the grunge rockers conjured an unrelenting performance within the claustrophobic surroundings of the venue. With mosh pits and spilled drinks to compliment, this wasn’t one for the faint of heart.
Soon after The Wytches took to the small, dimly lit stage, the crowd was transformed into a swelling mass, bouncing and moving as one to the jarring riffs. With an unfaltering edge to their performance, the intensity and energy generated by the music was mirrored in the atmosphere. The show-stealer of a performance was more than fitting end to the first day of Outlines Festival 2017.
Despite the rain pouring outside, there was nothing that could dampen the enthusiasm for what was to come: The Crookes. The illustrious Sheffield quartet was set to take over The Leadmill with their vibrant brand of buoyant indie music, and the anticipation was palpable. Greeted by the warmest of welcomes when they took to the stage, the returning heroes treated Sheffield to a set no one wanted to end.
Gorgeous crooning vocals set against a backdrop of effervescent music dripping with euphoria was a combination that instantly captivated the entire crowd. Jubilant mosh pits were quick to form and didn’t stop; prompting front man, George Waite, to exclaim his disbelief that ‘Roman Candle’ sustained a pit. The set, and the atmosphere it created, not only drove away the rain, but captured the spirit of Outlines, leaving everyone wanting more.
Being the first band to perform at any festival is no easy feat, yet The Seamonsters made it look effortless. The all-female, Sheffield-based, indie band assured everyone their set would be a glittery one, and they didn’t disappoint.
Glitter adorning the faces of all six members, they captivated all in attendance with gloriously bright vocals juxtaposed against tight riffs. A set that truly got us in the mood for Outlines and all the music that would follow.
Words by Ryan Newsam
Outlines Festival is just two weeks away! The second running of Tramlines’ winter-counterpart takes place on 3rd and 4th of March 2017. The line-up features acts both local and afar; renowned and recently found. With Sheffield venues The Leadmill, The Harley and Plug also confirmed for the event, it’s sure to be a lovely pick-me-up during the cold mid-semester period. Here’s who I’ll be seeing…
Headlining the bill, flying all the way from Sydney, Australia to greet us with their psychedelic powers, it’s a no-brainer to see Jagwar Ma. Promoting recent album Every Now and Then, they’re sure to deliver a set filled with highlights including single ‘Slipping’ as well as older numbers like ‘Man I Need’. It’s no surprise that whilst on the rise Jagwar Ma supported legends like Tame Impala and The xx, and now with their platform at its current peak, a psychedelic party in the Steel City awaits.
Part of Sheffield music scene for over 10 years, with a 2016 album under their belts as well as an imminent sold out three-night residency at Yellow Arch – Slow Club are back. The ‘anti-folk’ duo played a wonderful slot on the Exposed Magazine stage at Tramlines 2015 and I’m sure their Outlines debut will be no different – except for having more great tunes to create a set from. Beautiful harmonies and euphoric vibes – there will be ‘Tears Of Joy’ all around.
‘Queen’s Speech Ep.4’, uploaded to Youtube one year ago, has now reached over 38 million views – another example of the increasing popularity and success of grime music. Lady Leshurr makes music with a unique rap style, hilarious wordplay but serious skill. Her tunes are built for a live setting, including most recent single featuring Wiley, ‘Where Are You Now?’ which attacks those who “leave the scene” after a bit of achievement in the music industry. Judging from her rapidly growing success, she’ll be having little time for leisure in the coming years.
Clean Cut Kid
After a year of touring the UK supporting acts like Shura, Fickle Friends and Circa Waves, Liverpool indie-pop quartet are discovering their own recognition. Having headline status at October metropolitan festivals Neighbourhood (Manchester) and Twisterella (Middlesbourgh) as well as near-enough selling out a current tour, Clean Cut Kid are smashing it. The We Used To Be In Love EP pulls on your heartstrings, whilst single ‘Make Believe’ lifts you up into a dreamy world of fun.
When playing to a huge crowd at Sheffield O2 Academy for Tramlines 2016, this indie-rock four-piece told us they had played Tramlines every year, at pretty much every stage, so this was clearly a pinnacle moment for them. No signs of taking a long break then as The Crookes are now high up on the Outlines 2017 line-up. They have been compared to Vampire Weekend and The Smiths previously but there’s more to this band than just an indie label – ‘The World Is Waiting’ carries 2 minutes and 46 seconds of euphoria with an explosive chorus, enjoyed both live and on record. They supported Catfish and the Bottlemen earlier this year, and evidently they’ve got their own festival headliner status envisaged.
Stuck in the past
My beloved iPod Classic. I’ve been attached to it since finding it under the Christmas tree back in 2010, when I was just 16-years-old. In the time since, it’s been by my side whether I’ve been travelling the world or walking city streets; through ups and downs; big changes and small adjustments. And despite having 680 albums (or 7,586 songs) in my iTunes library, it’s barely halfway towards its maximum capacity – I doubt if I’ll ever manage fill it.
I don’t doubt that I’ll ever fill because I’ll never own enough music, although that is a distinct possibility, but more because I’m coming to the realisation that it can’t possibly last forever. Even though I take care of it (not as well as I have in the past to my discredit) I realise that its 160GB hard drive will eventually fail. With it being a case of ‘till death do us part’ between my iPod and myself, I fully intend to use it until the day it departs me. Yet, in the past month, I’ve been making arrangements for the inevitable end of our connection.
This past Christmas, I bought myself an iPhone 7 with little intention of using it to fulfil my musical needs. Almost exactly a month after owning it however, I somehow found myself compelled to use it for just such a purpose. Perhaps it was the lack of the age-old 3.5mm headphone jack which toyed with my curiosity – a curiosity which needed to be satiated the more time passed. And so, I gave in and bought myself some lightning headphones and began my 3-month trial of Apple Music.
A rocky start
For someone who’s owned three different iPods, including my Classic, since 2006 (a second generation Nano and a first generation Touch if you’re interested), streaming music to my iPhone was an entirely new experience. Having been so familiar with my entire library being at my fingertips, switching to having none of my own music on my device was a learning curve. I could still access most of the music in my library simply by searching for it within Apple Music, but this largely required remembering it – not an easy task with over 7,500 songs to my name.
Only music I have bought through iTunes is visible in Apple Music, and it goes without saying that not all of my library has been bought this way. I’ve purchased music through Amazon and Google Play but, just like every other millennial, the vast majority of my library has come through CDs. By and large, it’s not an arduous task to remember the music I’ve been listening to recently. The problem arises because I can’t scroll through my entire library and have an obscure song or an album that I added years ago take my fancy. Not off to a great start.
A more pressing issue was the vast difference in storage between my 32GB iPhone and my 160GB iPod. It meant that I couldn’t even come close to having my entire library on my iPhone, which otherwise would have negated having to remember my library. The smaller capacity also means I’m limited to what I download onto my iPhone, which is only an issue when I’m travelling but, given the quantity available on Apple Music, being selective isn’t an easy task. My way around it has been to download the service’s curated playlists – something I’ll touch upon later.
Learning to adapt
The more I played with Apple Music, the more fond of it I became. I began to realise the inherent advantages of the service. Gradually, my early negative impressions were outweighed. For most people, the main advantage of the service is being able to access almost all of the music in world with just a few taps – not for me. What I have been in adoration of is the service’s vast number of curated playlists. For a music lover like myself, it’s a phenomenal way to discover new artists, set the mood or just listen to collection of classic songs. My current favourite is Living in the Library, a gorgeous mix of invigorating electronic-indie songs.
That’s not to say that I don’t appreciate having millions of songs just a few taps away. The service has enabled me to visit albums I missed when they were first released and check out music I otherwise wouldn’t buy. As a result, I’m currently obsessed with Tame Impala’s Currents and was able to give Wiley’s Godfather a listen. From a more professional point of view, being able to listen to the music of bands who I’ll be reviewing is invaluable. It certainly proved its worth for my review of BlackWaters and Strange Bones.
Streaming services, such as Apple Music, Spotify and Tidal are the future. For music consumers and artists alike, streaming seems like the best possible direction for the music industry. The consumer gets to experience listening to a seemingly infinite number albums for a monthly fee. Meanwhile, artists can receive greater exposure and are encouraged to take greater risks to stand out. Going back to the curated playlists on Apple Music, and in particular Living in the Library, I’ve been exposed some incredible artists I’d never heard of and would not have listened to otherwise.
To say that this service is only £4.99 a month for students is reason enough to continue my subscription after my trial expires. Even at the standard price of £9.99 a month, it’s still only the price of a new album.
As for my beloved iPod, I’ll continue to use it. For as long as I continue to build my iTunes library, it will remain irreplaceable. Planning for its inevitable end isn’t such a bad thing though. Perhaps it will increase the longevity of my iPod – it’s far safer on my stereo than rattling around my pocket or my bag every day of the week. As for said stereo, I’ve recently discovered dongles which, via its 30 pin connection, will enable it to receive bluetooth. Who needs a shiny, new bluetooth speaker?
As I’ve just made clear, I am still slightly stuck in the past – perhaps its a sign that I’m growing older. Nevertheless, I’m making baby steps towards the future of music and, for the most part, I’m embracing the change.
Words by Ryan Newsam