LIVE: DRY THE RIVER – 04/10/2014

Dry The River - ACADEMY 2, MANCHESTER - After an extended organ drone intro, Dry The River arrive on stage looking more like The Eagles than ever – all hair and plaid. Lead singer Peter Liddle is clad head-to-toe in white and looks like Gareth from The Office playing Jesus. They crack on with the title track of their recently released second album Alarms In The Heart. Highlight track ‘New Ceremony’ from their debut album Shallow... Read More

LIVE: QUILT – 28/05/2014

- ACADEMY 2, MANCHESTER - When Quilt accepted a support slot with fellow Americans The War On Drugs, it is unlikely they expected this to become the hottest show in town. Tickets were trading outside the venue for almost treble face value and demand has forced The War On Drugs to add a show at The Ritz later this year. This interest has translated well for Quilt as they benefit from the venue bustling with people long before the headliners take to... Read More

LIVE: THE WAR ON DRUGS – 28/05/2014

- ACADEMY 2, MANCHESTER - I have something to confess to you, Dear Reader. Please don’t judge me for it, but it’s true: I do not like Bruce Springsteen. I know, I know, it’s kind of sacrilege, but I just don’t get him, all his music sound boring to me, and his voice really annoys me. In far, his whole image annoys me, and I can’t quite put my finger on it. Maybe it’s the sleeveless tops, maybe it’s the slightly-too-tight-for... Read More

LIVE: SWANS – 22/05/2014

- ACADEMY 2,  MANCHESTER - In a recent interview with The Quietus, Swans frontman Michael Gira confirmed an urban myth that his response to a sound engineer asking how the gig should sound was to punch him in the stomach and say “like that”. The engineer in question might feel fortunate to have only been struck once, as this evening’s 100 minute set offers a more violent assault than a single dig to the breadbox. Since reforming in 2010 Swans... Read More

LIVE: BRODY DALLE – 22/04/2014

 - ACADEMY 2, MANCHESTER - Manchester’s Academy 2 welcomes with some anticipation the return of former Distillers and Spinerette anchor Brody Dalle as part of her short promotional tour to mark the release of her first solo album Dipoid Love (release date 28/04/14) The album has been a long time in the making, some 4 years since Spinerette disappeared. Tattooed Dalle herself admits to having had zero confidence by the time the band split... Read More

LIVE: AUGUSTINES – 16/04/2014

- ACADEMY 2, MANCHESTER - Arriving at Academy 2 it is packed, with a slightly older crowd. It’s exciting to see an American band playing live as they always seem to contribute a slightly different energy on stage. When the band starts, the smoky tones of Billy echo through the building. They are also accompanied by the trumpet which seems to give a brighter edge to some of the darker songs of Augustines. They play ‘Chapel Song’ very... Read More

LIVE: PARQUET COURTS – 15/02/2014

- ACADEMY 2, MANCHESTER - New York’s Parquet Courts have ruined my ears. If there’s one thing to take away from the gig, it’s that this band are LOUD. Tonight, upgraded to the Academy 2 after playing at Gorilla last year, they are absolutely ferocious, tearing through a set with so much energy and fervour it’s a wonder they’re able to do this kind of thing night after night. I first came across them in 2012 after a favourable... Read More

LIVE: DAN LE SAC VS SCROOBIUS PIP – 19/01/2014

- ACADEMY 2, MANCHESTER - On arrival at the Students’ Union, I’m greeted by the sight of tonight’s headliner’s Dan Le Sac and Scroobius Pip manning their own merch stand. I would guess that it’s partly born out of necessity, but I admire the personal touch; it is nice to see a hip-hop act who genuinely put the effort in to meeting their fans (and not just the pretty ones). By this time I’ve already missed the first... Read More

LIVE: DUTCH UNCLES – 6/12/2013

- ACADEMY 2, MANCHESTER - At the very start of this year, I was lucky enough to catch Manchester’s bravest indie popster’s Dutch Uncles dazzle a small yet packed out crowd at The Castle in Manchester, the day they released their excellent third LP Out Of Touch In The Wild.  It’s been a good few months for the quintet since the release of the record, having toured the UK a few times over both as headliners and as a support act; they’ve... Read More

LIVE: CRYSTAL FIGHTERS – 23/11/2013

- ACADEMY 2, MANCHESTER - Unexpected, crazy, eclectic – are just several of the adjectives that describe Crystal Fighters’ gig at Academy 2. The five-piece come from London and are known for the mad live shows they throw. It’s almost half-carnival, half-rave. The band plays a total of 16 songs from Star of Love and Cave Rave. Despite only having released two albums so far, Crystal Fighters have amassed a large fan base. The crowd, mostly tweens,... Read More

LIVE: MUDHONEY / MEAT PUPPETS – 07/06/2013

- ACADEMY 2, MANCHESTER - “I’ve been waiting 20 years for this,” says a guy at the bar as he pulls his 25th anniversary Mudhoney t-shirt over his head. Now don’t get me wrong its great that he is seeing them at last but where have you been???? Mudhoney are the godfathers of garage / grunge / alternative rock and have never waivered from a path of high quality musicianship, energy and rock n’ roll. The lineup this evening also has one... Read More

LIVE: JAMES BLAKE – 10/04/2013

- ACADEMY 2, MANCHESTER - Manchester Academy 2 is not a particularly majestic venue, in fact, it looks almost identical to a high school assembly room, so it seems odd that such a place should host an artist like James Blake, a musician who could no doubt fill a space at least three times as big. Yet, if he’d really wanted to nail that ‘intimate gig’ vibe in Manchester, he could have chosen from about 10 other venues all far more charming than... Read More

LIVE: EVERYTHING EVERYTHING – 22/02/2013

- ACADEMY 2, MANCHESTER - Everything Everything are one of the great success stories to emerge from Manchester since the turn of the century. The band themselves reflect on their earliest days as fledgling art-rockers in and around the city a few times during the night, and here they are riding high on the wave of their critically acclaimed second album, ‘Arc’, with a very much sold out show back at home. But it’s far from plain sailing tonight.... Read More

LIVE: YEASAYER – 03/12/2012

- ACADEMY 2, MANCHESTER - Waves of hype often place bands at their crest and leave them floundering in the shallows once they die down. Such is the case with the Brooklyn-itis that thrust those such as the Dirty Projectors, MGMT and Das Racist into the spotlight in recent years, the latter having announced their split this week. The propensity for the more image-conscious musicista to prefer bands with ‘Brooklyn’ on the ingredients... Read More

LIVE: JOSHUA RADIN – 27/09/2012

- ACADEMY 2, MANCHESTER - “You can hear a pin drop…….” Joshua Radin is a talented man. That’s a fact. In times gone by he made his way as an artist, a teacher and a screenwriter. Then he picked up a guitar and began to write songs that capture the mind, body and soul. If ever a personality matched the songs they sing then Joshua is that definition. He may appear shy at times on stage however he sings and plays with a confidence of a man... Read More

LIVE: THE FELICE BROTHERS – 18/03/2012

- ACADEMY 2, MANCHESTER - It’s Sunday at The Academy 2 and it’s sure to be sordid. I’ve always imagined The Felice Brothers as this band of rough-as-old-boots American country boys with their tales of violence and alcoholism and impregnating peoples daughters, and despite the fact that they’re actually all fairly young and handsome fellas, I am by no means to be disappointed. The first thing I notice when walking up the stairs and into Room... Read More

LIVE: REEL BIG FISH – 02/02/2012

- ACADEMY 2, MANCHESTER - You know they have a good thing going…………and I don’t want to see that end! I suppose ska punk died a commercial death a good few years ago. Fads come and go and music media can dictate what is hot and what is not. Reel Big Fish however are still going strong. Predominately a 365 days a year touring band they bring the fun back to shows and have been creating a party atmosphere for over two decades now. Yes they... Read More

LIVE: YEASAYER – 20/10/2010

- ACADEMY 2, MANCHESTER - How can you tell if a band is on the edge of commercial success? Have they been invited back to Later with Jools Holland? Check. Has BBC 6 Music played one or more of their songs to the point of exhaustion? Check. Has Drowned in Sound gone cold on them in a petulant ‘it’s not fair, I found them first!’ attitude? Check. And so the pattern re-draws itself for Yeasayer, the Brooklyn-grown five-piece, who’s first LP in... Read More

LIVE: LAURA VEIRS – 19/01/2010

- ACADEMY 2, MANCHESTER - In a performance which draws mainly from new album, July Flame, Laura Veirs lulls listeners along on a barely lit journey through songs of the seasons. A glow of contentment surrounds Veirs which is particularly visible during I Can See Your Tracks, and there is something near spiritual about the silence which descends on the eager crowd which is assisted by the haunting beauty of the viola player. The trance is only broken... Read More

LIVE: ELLIE GOULDING – 10/12/2009

- ACADEMY 2, MANCHESTER - Being named in the BBC Sounds of 2010 Longlist (actually it’s not that long, as it only contains a grand total of 15 acts) is most certainly an accolade that anyone trying to make their name in the music world would love to have bestowed upon them. Last years list included acts such as La Roux, Florence and the Machine, Little Boots and Lady GaGa. So it only goes to show that the 165 UK based tastemakers that make these... Read More

LIVE: LITTLE BOOTS – 10/12/2009

- ACADEMY 2, MANCHESTER - Silhouetted shapes with hoodies move across the stage like a scene from a poorly lit budget horror film. It’s anything but horrifying though, it’s Little Boots and her gang. The first number is deliberately slow and is set mostly in darkness. It’s intriguing and slightly unsettling. Then, bang! The stage comes alive with production, we love it and we love her. Henceforth she shall be known as “our heroine”. Each... Read More

LIVE: THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART – 04/12/2009

- ACADEMY 2, MANCHESTER - Right kids, we’ve got a problem here – I may not objective about this band. And strictly speaking I’m not to blame. If you come together as five piece with four boys and one ridiculously attractive female, I will probably come to watch, but I,m going to be distracted. That not my fault, I’m only human and Peggy Wang is a goddess. She is also the odd one out, we can’t hear vocals at all and the keyboards contribution... Read More

LIVE: PASSION PIT – 24/10/2009

- ACADEMY 2, MANCHESTER - The realisation crept up on me, and then hit me in the face with all the effeminate power of an 80s disco dandy. It all started when I fell head over heals over head for the original Kate Bush version of Hounds of Love. Then came a dizzying urge to play The Fleetwood Mac hits on repeat and tell all my friends about this peculiar revelation. Something was happening…but what? Finally Passion Pit came along. They became my... Read More