Tag Archives: UK

Vukovi at Sound Control, Manchester

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Scottish four-piece rock outfit Vukovi are without doubt one of the most exciting bands around right now and are touring their debut new self-titled album across the UK.

Vukovi have been working extremely hard on their new album and that is evident as soon as you hear it, whether you’ve bought the record or have been lucky enough to hear them perform it live. The noisy pop/rock show went down a treat at Sound Control in Manchester this week. Plus, the band were able to play in the bigger room upstairs due to a PA failure in the small room downstairs, but this just made it all the better.

Their music at times can be reminiscent of the likes of No Doubt fused with Incubus, with a flicker of Foals. They have an eclectic mix of rock, pop and even a little trance, and this blends brilliantly for an all-round live show that was enjoyable all the way through.

The gig began with the track “La Di Da” which was a superb way to open the show, with a pounding bassline and lyrics full of attitude. Right away the guitars and vocals blew the audience away, and it was LOUD! This set the tone for the evening ahead, following on with “Weirdo”. This is quite an upbeat, poppy track but the instrumentation and vocals again just continued to flow, totally saturating the crowd, it sounded immense. Janine got the audience involved, taking an enthusiastic fan’s mobile phone in her hand to film the band on stage live which was a great touch, giving it a more intimate feel despite being in the larger room.

“And He Lost His Mind” has a fast punk vibe and the build-up to the chorus was great, with the punchy bassline, heavy riffs and a combination of delicate vocals in the verse to the potent chorus melodies.

Before the album came out, Vukovi had released a number of singles, and the next song, “Bouncy Castle” was one. This got the crowd jumping, just like being on a bouncy castle, and with some more onstage phone filming from Janine there were certainly a few more happy fans!

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The middle of the set consisted of songs such as “Prey”, “Wander” and “He Wants Me Not”. There was that cosy feeling whereby you felt close to the band, particularly in “He Wants Me Not”; Janine asked the crowd to get their mobile phones out and shine their lights and the crowd duly obliged. The catchy, well-played guitar riffs were still consistent throughout the middle of the gig with excellent drumming in the backdrop, all topped off with Janine’s powerful voice.

A song which struck a chord was the beautiful “Colour Me In”. This could be classed as a love song, maybe even a bit of a ballad. Regardless, it is a stunning track from the new album and it sounded just sublime in a live setting.

The last few songs of the set were just supreme, from the Enter Shikari trance-style tones of “I’m Wired” to one of my favourites, “Animal”. The crowd interaction with the band was loads of fun throughout the whole show, but the band and crowd were perfectly coordinated in simultaneously pulling shapes with their arms in the air for“Animal”.

The show concluded with “Boy George”, which was also released as a single before the album. This song just emits attitude, with fast, punky upbeat riffs and lyrics with intent and demeanor.

Vukovi are an electrifying rock band who are all incredibly, individually musically talented which makes them such a great act live. Their debut album is well-produced and I loved it from start to finish. It’s great to finally hear their album in full as I have been listening to them over and over since I stumbled across this band for the first time in May 2016. This was an even better gig than I’d expected, and I’ll be making a conscious effort to go and watch them again at Y Not Festival in July!

Setlist

La Di Da
Weirdo
And He Lost His Mind
Bouncy Castle
So Long Gone
Prey
Wander
He Wants Me Not
Colour Me In
I’m Wired
Target Practice
Animal
Boy George

Listen to “Animal” by Vukovi here on the official YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1TgTVXEpYQ

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Sundara Karma at Albert Hall, Manchester

Sundara Karma Albert Hall Manchester
Sundara Karma at Albert Hall, Manchester

Sundara Karma are one of the UK’s most talented indie bands around on the scene right now, so it was a pleasure to go and catch their gig at the Albert Hall in Manchester last Thursday evening. This four-piece band formed in Reading when they were only 14 years old, which makes me feel rather old as this time seven years ago I was still a 20 year old university student! Needless to say, despite feeling like a senior member of the audience, it was exciting to finally hear their debut album “Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect” performed live at a sold out show.

This debut album cultivates all those feelings you have as a youngster, perhaps while going through your formative years. But, even at 27 it’s just so easy to listen to. Nevertheless, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this gig even after listening to this album plenty of times. I was also unfortunate enough to miss their set at Y Not Festival in 2016 (but not this year, I’ll be sure to see them again this time around).

The opening track of their live set was “A Young Understanding”, one of the first Sundara Karma songs I heard while browsing Spotify last year. This was a superb show opener to rally up the crowd. This was followed by what has been described in an interview with Clash Magazine as ‘maybe all-round our favourite track as a band’, “Olympia”. Its shimmering guitars, raw vocals and punchy chorus stood out brilliantly.

Sundara Karma continued the set with further stand-out singles and tracks such as “Flame”, “She Said”, “Vivienne” and of course “Happy Family”. Sundara Karma are probably right in their recent Facebook post claiming “Jesus would’ve been a fan of balloons” because the roof of the Albert Hall was raised even more when their big balloons entered the crowd!

As the gig came to an end, Sundara Karma performed an unlikely yet blistering cover of “Never Too Much” originally sang by Luther Vandross, a song that you just can’t help but dance to. The final song of the set was “Loveblood”, all hands went up in the air and mobile phone cameras were all taken out quickly to capture photos and videos. This last song is one of the band’s most well-known singles, and it’s that kind of colourful, vibrant indie track that stays in your head long after the gig has ended.

The Albert Hall was a superb venue choice for Sundara Karma, the music sounded excellent and the entire show was memorable, but most of all it left you feeling good when you walked out. Sundara Karma will be performing at various festivals this summer, and I’m really looking forward to seeing them again.

Setlist

A Young Understanding
Olympia
Freshbloom
Flame
Watching From Great Heights
Hustle
Lose The Feeling
She Said
Indigo Puff
The Night
Vivienne
Happy Family
Never Too Much (Luther Vandross Cover)
Loveblood

Listen to “Loveblood” by Sundara Karma on their official YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDLWI3VQb40

Image credit @sundarakarma official Twitter – https://twitter.com/sundarakarma

Taking Back Sunday at O2 Ritz, Manchester

Tidal Wave album cover
Tidal Wave Album

Consisting of various band members since establishing themselves on the post hardcore / screamo circuit in New York over fifteen years ago, Adam Lazzara, Eddie Reyes, John Nolan, Shaun Cooper and Mark O’Connell came back to Manchester to grace the stage at the O2 Ritz. Many of us, myself included, probably first embraced Taking Back Sunday in the mid-noughties, particularly after the band received great success after releasing “Where You Want To Be”, which was the band’s second studio album. Now, in 2017 they’re back and touring their most recent release, “Tidal Wave”.

Taking Back Sunday started out with “Death Wolf”, the first track on the new album to get the crowd going with pop-punk style guitars and pounding drums. Lazzara’s vocals sounded just as good as ever before, singing with passion and fervour. They followed on with an excellent mix of songs taken from “Louder Now”, “Tell All Your Friends”, “Where You Want To Be” and “Happiness Is”, as well as “Tidal Wave” evidently.

Hearing real crowd-pleasing tracks that have been firm favourites for Taking Back Sunday fans over the years was akin to being transported back in time to our youth. From “Liar (It Takes One To Know One)” and “A Decade Under The Influence”, to the incredibly dark but catchy “Stood a Chance”, and the even more sombre “Better Homes and Gardens” from “Happiness Is”, the track selection delighted the somewhat varied audience of fans old and new.

The set came to a close with two songs which just could not be omitted; “Cute Without The ‘E’ (Cut From The Team)”, and finally, “MakeDamnSure”. The final song is still the most successful song to date by Taking Back Sunday, and still resonates with the audience over a decade after it was first released. Plus, many of us will never tire of Lazzara’s ability to swing a microphone like no other.

As someone who has followed the music releases of Taking Back Sunday since around 2004 at the tender age of 15, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of their show at The O2 Ritz in Manchester. It’s safe to say that the Ritz’s springboard dancefloor works perfectly for a rock gig like this one.

Setlist

Death Wolf
Liar (It Takes One To Know One)
You Can’t Look Back
Timberwolves at New Jersey
What’s It Feel Like To Be A Ghost?
A Decade Under The Influence
All Excess
Error: Operator
You’re So Last Summer
Flicker, Fade
Call Come Running
You Know How I Do
Stood A Chance
Better Homes and Gardens
Tidal Wave
My Blue Heaven
Cute Without The “E” (Cut From The Team)
MakeDamnSure

Hear “Tidal Wave” by Taking Back Sunday here on the official YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_csSRZdo34g