Kamasi Washington – Albert Hall, Manchester

David Bowie’s ‘Blackstar‘ and Kendrick Lamar’s ‘To Pimp A Butterfly‘ are probably the two most important albums in jazz in quite some time, and I’m talking decades. The use of jazz with rock or hip hop has helped the genre regain some of what it once had, at least in the UK, and now we have Kamasi Washington filling large Manchester venues such as The Albert Hall. And with young, old and the hip on board, it was an epic crowd for an epic night of The Epic played loud and live. Epic.
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Metz – Soup Kitchen, Manchester

Metz, the pissed off sounding band who probably look like nerds, have been doing a bit of a tour this year in support of Strange Peace, their new album, not the ideal. Though perhaps a little of the latter was realised within the noise they pumped out within mouldy ol’ Soup Kitchen. You do find the best of things in the strangest places… Continue reading

Yo La Tengo – Academy 2, Manchester

I met the guitarist from Yo La Tengo, Ira Kaplan, after the show. He was curious about the band t-shirt I was wearing and asked me about it. I said it was a Swedish pop band called Fever Ray, only to get a ‘oh… okay.’ from him before he moved on to the next fan. So it goes.

Though I guess maybe someone may see the name ‘Yo La Tengo’ on gig posters and wonder the same thing. The loudest quiet band in the planet… oh okay. No, it’s more than okay! Okay?

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No Age – Soup Kitchen, Manchester

How many effects pedals are required to make as much noise as No Age? How many years are required to make that noise something an ear can swallow, no sick, no shit? Too many, so let’s stick with No Age. It’s better than those over Ages. Even the Neolithic-Iron Age. Of course, there was less feedback back then.
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Lou Barlow – The White Hotel, Salford

Dinosaur Jr. is nice and all (read all about the recent live show here), but with bassist Lou Barlow playing alone, without all that fuzz, and without all that Mascis, you get something a little more with a little less. A night at The White Hotel, which is certainly white but certainly not a hotel, was a folk implosion laid bare, Lou and his strings, that’s all he ever really needs.

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Dinosaur Jr. – Albert Hall, Manchester

Here they are, running in on platform shoes, Dinosaur Jr! The Massachusetts indie rock trio were set to grace us with their presence back in December, a double bill at Manchester Gorilla, but alas, winter can be a harsh beast, with the sickness of J Mascis taking us to new shows in Spring. Further concerns arose after beautiful bassist Lou Barlow did one of his shoulders in, but the dates stuck, pins and all. Wear and tear maybe witnessed from afar, but these dinos aren’t extinct just yet. They’re still juniors after all…
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Fever Ray – Albert Hall, Manchester

The Shaking The Habitual tour from The Knife a few years back brought with it multi-coloured delights a few years prior (I even wrote a review about it on some now defunct site. So it goes), mixing performance with seriously shaken up dance beats. It was a shift from the darker tones played out during the Silent Shout era, and Karin Dreijer’s other band, Fever Ray, has followed a similar style shift. There has been an awakening, one of colour, sex, and delight. Plunge with me.

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