The best damn thing? It’s not bad . . .

April 17, 2007

avrilalbumcover.jpgAlbum review: Avril Lavigne, The Best Damn Thing

Avril Lavigne insists she won’t be pidgeon-holed and has professed to be unconcerned with image. Yet her appearance has always been carefully crafted.

When she first broke on to the scene as a teenager, she was a cute, but tomboyish rock chick – the anti-Britney and poster girl for the angst-ridden, cool teenagers who liked their guitars loud, but their ballads tender if unhappy. Read the rest of this entry »

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Set volume to Maximo

April 9, 2007

Maximo_Park_Our_Earthly_PleasuresAlbum review: Maximo Park, Our Earthly Pleasures 

It’s almost impossible to read a Maximo Park review without a lazy mention of The Futureheads.

But though the neighbours from the North East of England emerged on the scene at a similar time just over a couple of years ago, only one of those bands is able to make a record as sophisticated as Our Earthly Pleasures. Read the rest of this entry »


Travis reveal feet of Clay

March 19, 2007

Fran HealyTravis, live @ Oxford Brookes University, March 19, 2007

When Travis played their last gig, 18 months ago, they were a band with newly lit fire in their bellies.

Fran Healy (pictured) and Co threw themselves behind the Make Poverty History campaign, denounced the Iraq war, and took on the unlikely task of trying to politicise their happy-go-lucky fans while touring their uncharacteristically moody album, 12 Memories.

Now, the memories have faded, the flames extinguished. Read the rest of this entry »


Nerina lights the Fires

January 29, 2007

Nerina PallotNerina Pallot, live @ Manchester Academy II, on Monday, January 29, 2007

Nerina Pallot is breathtakingly beautiful – though not enough to upstage her delicately crafted and perfectly delivered songs at Manchester’s Academy 2.

Whispers go around the venue in the moments before the singer-songwriter is due on stage, filled with people justifying to their girlfriend/boyfriend, wife/husband, friend/whatever why they have dragged them along to see some strangely named bird they’ve never heard of on a cold Monday in winter. Read the rest of this entry »


Miserable Morrissey – just the way we like him!

April 22, 2006

MorrisseyMorrissey, live @ the Music Hall, Aberdeen, on Saturday, April 22, 2006

There’s a rumour Morrissey has mellowed.

Heaven know he’s happier now, so the theory goes – some new material even verges on optimistic. Read the rest of this entry »


Crowd Embrace rockers’ return

April 12, 2006

Danny McNamaraEmbrace, live @ the Music Hall, Aberdeen on Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Embrace front man Danny McNamara knows how to work the crowds.

In the middle of a rousing return to the Music Hall in Aberdeen the chart toppers’ singer (pictured) declared his love for Scotland, saying he’d move here in a second because of the warm reception the band gets north of the border.

“I’m not just being showbiz,” he promised. The sold out Music Hall crowd didn’t let him down. Read the rest of this entry »


Beauty emerges from the Hayes

March 13, 2006

Gemma HayesGemma Hayes, live @ The Leadmill, Sheffield, Monday, March 13, 2006

In Sheffield on Saturday, I’m pretty sure no one else was driving quite as far home after seeing Gemma Hayes end her tour at the Leadmill.

Work commitments meant I had a 380-mile drive to Aberdeen, through the night, straight after the last chord was played. But I’m glad I didn’t give up my ticket. Read the rest of this entry »