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Monday, 27 April 2015

Gig Review: I Am Kloot at Cambridge Junction

Image copyright: Lorna Holland
Last Saturday night, 25th April, I was in Cambridge to see Manchester rockers I Am Kloot (not to be confused with Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy!) playing at Cambridge Junction. The band is comprised of John Bramwell (vocals, guitar), Peter Jobson (bass) and Andy Hargreaves (drums). I Am Kloot’s current UK tour follows the release of their latest live album Hold Back The Night. The album consists of 20 tracks across 2 discs, and was recorded on their 2013 tour.

I have to admit that I hadn’t heard of I Am Kloot before this tour, so when I was offered the opportunity to go along and review their gig for Kettle I got straight on YouTube to listen to some of their music. And I was pleasantly surprised by what I heard. I Am Kloot are a classic English rock band, and it’s clear to see how other Manchester bands have helped to shape their music. With a gritty tone and sharp lyrics, both Oasis and the Stone Roses are understandable influences. However, some of the songs also particularly reminded me of Liverpool’s Echo and the Bunnymen. Despite this, I Am Kloot have managed to find a niche and develop their own sound, building on the foundations these bands have provided them with.

Continue reading: http://www.kettlemag.co.uk/article/i-am-kloot-cambridge-junction

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Gig Review: McBusted at Capital FM Arena, Nottingham

Image copyright: Lorna Holland
 Last Saturday, 18th April, pop supergroup McBusted played the first of two consecutive shows at Nottingham’s Capital FM Arena as part of their MEAT (Most Excellent Adventure) Tour. Following on from the unprecedented success of their 2014 self-titled tour, the boys are definitely onto a winner.
McBusted is comprised of all four of McFly’s band members (Danny Jones, Tom Fletcher, Dougie Poynter and Harry Judd) as well as two out of three of Busted’s original line-up (James Bourne and Matt Willis). And as you’d expect with six guys on stage, the sheer energy and enthusiasm they exuded was incredible. This made it a really involved, active show which, in turn, really helped to get the crowd going (not that they weren’t already!) From young to old, everyone in the audience was dancing and singing along and just having a great time throughout.
The band played a good mix of songs, seamlessly alternating between classic Busted hits like ‘Thunderbirds Are Go’ and their 2002 debut single ‘What I Go To School For’, as well as highlights from McFly’s back catalogue including ‘One For The Radio’ and ‘Obviously’. They also performed the majority of the stand-out tracks from their recent self-titled album (released December last year) such as ‘Get Over It’ and ‘What Happened To Your Band?’ With such an extensive combined pool of songs to choose from, it isn’t surprising that all the chosen songs seemed to be popular with the audience. Each new song was instantly met with the screams and cheers of approval that only come from having a dedicated, loyal fanbase. And McBusted fans are exactly that. Most of the fans in Nottingham on Saturday night had grown up with their music. It’s rare for a pop band to keep the same fans for over 10 years, but these boys have managed to do just that. And as the crowd belted out the lyrics to ‘Star Girl,’ one line in particular always stands out – “Galaxy defenders stay forever.” We do indeed.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Interview: Jet Pack

Image credit: Hit and Run Records
Fresh from a UK tour earlier this year with US pop-punk band Real Friends, and having recently signed to Hit and Run Records, 2015 is already proving to be a busy year for Brit rockers Jet Pack. The band is comprised of four members: Paul (guitar/vocals), Dennis (guitar/vocals), Rich (bass) and Sam (drums). As they prepare for the release of their latest EP titled And You’ve Had Your Six, the band took time out of their schedule for a chat with Kettle.

How did you first become interested in music?

Dennis: The thing that drew us all into music separately was probably pop-punk. I got into playing music through blink-182. They were the reason I decided to start playing drums when I was 14. I remember watching the opening bars of the First Date music video on Kerrang! – where Travis does that now legendary fill – and I remember thinking, “That looks awesome. I want to do that!”
How did Jet Pack come about?

Paul: Jet Pack started in mine and Sam’s bedrooms at University. We started playing blink-182 covers together and our first ever gig was the University Battle of the Bands competition. We got to the final and finished 3rd...out of 3!

Why did you choose the name Jet Pack?

Paul: Through sheer desperation! We had gigs booked but still no band name so we styled ourselves after a James Bond computer game called Agent Under Fire that involved flying around on Jet Packs. Ironic really, given that our latest single is taken from a James Bond quote!

Continue reading: http://www.kettlemag.co.uk/article/jet-pack-catch-kettle-mag

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Preview: Bestival 2015

Image credit: deanw2012 (Flickr)
Bestival is an annual four day event featuring live music, DJs and more, held on the Isle of Wight. Although comparisons are often drawn with the Isle of Wight festival, the two are very different. Bestival is a smaller yet more diverse event, often described as a boutique festival due to its innovative ideas and strong support of environmental causes.

This year the festival will be held at Robin Hill on the Isle of Wight from 10-13 September. And with a theme of ‘Summer of Love’ it looks to be even better than ever before. Embracing positivity, and featuring a largely female-led line-up, Bestival is seriously standing out from the crowd this year.

Bestival also offers unique and creative alternatives to the music. From delicious food, to films in the forest, to “Lost and Found,” there really is something for everyone. Add the infamous fancy dress day to the mix, and you will see that Bestival is one of the most light-hearted and fun festivals out there.

Continue reading: http://www.kettlemag.co.uk/article/bestival-2015-its-summer-love-yall

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Interview: Duke Special

duke-special, interview, music
Image credit: Sonic PR
Peter Wilson, aka Duke Special, is a Belfast-based songwriter. His music is a unique blend of alternative folk and soul, influenced by many other genres. Duke’s piano-oriented songs are complemented by his warm, yet somehow haunting vocals, made distinctive by his strong accent. However, his voice isn’t his only distinctive characteristic. His ‘hobo chic’ image, complete with dreadlocks and eyeliner, definitely makes for a memorable character.

Despite this image, the Duke Special who met me before his Milton Keynes show on Friday was a softly-spoken and politely charming musician, taking time to talk to me about his music.

What made you first want to become a musician?
Seeing one of the Beatles movies. I was 10 years old and they were singing 'You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away' and I was really drawn to that. I grew up in a musical house. My granny was a piano teacher and my three older sisters all played and sang, so I guess music was always around me.
What music do you listen to?
Such a wide variety. Anything from old 78 RPM records - a lot of old gospel, blues, R&B, current jazz, Caribbean, rockabilly, rock’n’roll…
So what’s your favourite song?
It changes all the time, but currently 'I’m Going In A Field' by Ivor Cutler.
Do you have a favourite lyric?
I think my favourite lyric is by Leonard Cohen and it’s: “ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering, there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”
Could you describe your music in three words?
Crackle, broken, hope.
Talk me through your songwriting process.
Often I’ll have a title or a feeling that I want to write about, then I would tend to write lots, just fill a few pages of my notebook with prose. Then if there’s a line that I’ve written that stands out I’ll start with that. Maybe get a verse which has a rhythm, then I’ll go to the piano and play around with ideas. I think lyric is the hardest because it’s the most personal part and you’re desperately not wanting to put out clich├ęs. It needs to be personal but also universal, which is the incredible challenge.
What would you say, personally, was the best moment of your career?
I think when I brought out my first EP. I made a conscious decision that I was an artist, and I wasn’t going to chase record deals because I was already creating something. I’d been in other bands before but I’d been chasing the elusive record deal or big discovery. When I did the first Duke EP in 2002 I remember saying to myself, ‘I am an artist now.’ I don’t have to be validated by a label, it doesn’t make it any better, and it was such an incredibly freeing thing so I think that was the most important way of thinking about anything I’ve done in my career.
Why did you choose your name?
I wanted a name that sounded intriguing, and I love band names because it’s like they’re in a gang together. I wanted to create an amplified vehicle for myself for when I’m on stage, but I also wanted it to be like separate clothes that I could leave behind when I come off stage.
Do you think your appearance contributes to your music?
I think it confuses people to begin with because the music I play isn’t what I look like. I’ve always just looked how I want to look.
Tell me about your new album.
It’s called Look Out Machines! and it was recorded in Eastbourne over 14 days. When I was making the demos for it with my friend Phil Wilkinson we were using synthetic drums and strings which we really enjoyed, so we kept going with that approach. It’s probably a bit more electronic than anything I’ve done before but I’m really pleased with it.
You used crowdfunding, right?
I used Pledge Music to fund the recording but since then Stranger Records have picked it up.
Is it different from going traditionally?
Yeah it is, you’re basically asking your fans to trust you. It’s like having hundreds of patrons that have involved themselves with what you’re doing, and it’s really good in that respect. The difficult thing is that you’re basically agreeing to do lots of work because you have to create all these experiences and items that you then have to fulfil. It’d be like another 50 handwritten lyrics and 6 house concerts to do yet, things like that.
Does it get a bit overwhelming?
Yeah it does actually. One of the songs is on the Radio 2 playlist now which is great. Everyone on the team starts working harder, and it throws up a lot more things you have to do and things you have to commit to. It’s always feast or famine.
What’s the best thing about being a musician?
The feeling of having written a song. I love the process of recording, it’s like alchemy, where you gradually see something taking shape. That’s a wonderful feeling. I think my favourite thing is performing, because you’re writing a song and it’s a very solitary experience, then I get to perform what I’ve created and see people reacting to it, which is just an incredible experience.
You enjoy being on tour then?
There’s so much hanging around! It isn’t glamorous at my level - there’s no chauffeur-driven cars or private jets. But I do love it. My longest ever tour was about 6-7 weeks, and it’s weird when a van becomes more familiar than your own house, but its lovely meeting people.
What do you think of Duke Special? Let me know in the comments below!