Independent Venue Week: check out your local

Shake off the flu, ease up on dry January and get out to a gig this week – all in order to support Independent Venue Week, which takes place between Monday 23 – Sunday 29 January. 148 venues around the UK are taking part in IVW this year. The project, which is staged nationally but retains a strong…

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A powerhouse of a show: North at Open Eye Gallery

UPDATE: North: fashioning identity takes place at Somerset House 8th November to 4th February. The exhibition focuses on work from the North show in Liverpool plus additional exhibits North: Identity, Photography, Fashion at Liverpool’s Open Eye Gallery, 6th Jan to 19th March 2017, is the first exhibition to be held as part of their 40th anniversary year….

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Favourite albums of 2016

Putting together a list of favourite albums of 2016, I recalled writing last year’s collection. What a different world we now inhabit. Everything feels brittle and fragile, a sense of permanence lost. The loss of so many great musicians and artists this year has been raw and shocking. However… there are plenty of releases I’ve really enjoyed this year, and inevitably…

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Shirley Baker photographs in new show at Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool

A major exhibition opens at Open Eye Gallery on the waterfront in Liverpool on 5th January 2017, which will include a few works of Manchester photographer Shirley Baker. The multi-media show called North: Identity, Photography, Fashion, will examine the way the north has been depicted in various media. Five works by Shirley Baker are included in the…

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The Orielles added to Heavenly Weekender at The Trades

Great news: young West Yorkshire three-piece The Orielles have just signed to Heavenly recordings. The band – Esme Hand Halford on bass, sister Sidonie on drums and Henry Wade on guitar, are known for their lush garagey sun-drenched sound  – a Californian vibe by way of Halifax (the Califax sound, perhaps). Since the band got together they’ve been gigging…

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Wolf People at Oslo, Hackney

As Festival No 6 in Wales this summer descended into a major mudbath after two days of biblical rainfall, Wolf People took to the stage late afternoon (above). They were captivating and the turmoil of guitars suited the inclement weather, but I decided I’d enjoy them more sometime in the future, in the warmth, with dry clothes….

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Lloyd Cole at Union Chapel review

I noticed that Lloyd Cole was sporting that slightly tricky sartorial trend, double denim. Later in the set, Cole made reference to his outfit. He related a story about a visit to Austin, Texas, where at a honky tonk bar he observed “much younger women dancing with older men… who all wore double denim”. Much of Cole’s amusing onstage patter…

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Battles of Winter – At Once with Tattered Sails

Battles of Winter’s second album At Once with Tattered Sails was released (download only) on September 23. “The difficult second album?” the band announce on their Facebook page. Having given the album a metaphorical spin (actually, about ten), my answer to that is a definite no. This new offering from BoW exudes confidence – the…

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Fightback! against venue closures at The Roundhouse

Fightback! tickets went on sale at the earlybird price of £10 before any line-up was announced. About half the tickets sold out, and around 800 acts came forward to offer their services to play at the gig, which was set up by the Music Venue Trust as a protest against the recent astonishingly high number of…

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Desert Trip – from an English perspective

Desert Trip festival: some of the heavyweights from my teens in one palm-tree-fringed, sun-soaked paradise. Normally I steer clear of this type of mega-concert, but nevertheless this sounded somewhat appealing. I reminded myself that I’d rather hang out at a UK festival, hearing younger, more relevant music in a friendly atmosphere, all the while imbibing abundant quantities of alcohol…

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