You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Summer Camp

Summer Camp brought the sounds of Condale to The Rainbow in Birmingham last night for a riot of Ferris-Bueller-leading-the-parade proportions.

Young duo Elizabeth Sankey and Jeremy Warmsley blasted their way through a host of songs from their debut album Welcome To Condale, as well as unveiling two new songs from a forthcoming ep.

I’ve been dying to see them since I first heard Better Off Without You, comfortably one of the best songs of recent times, in mid 2011 and this grew with the release of their excellent debut on Halloween.

With touring drummer Will in tow, they ran through a raw and energetic set of indie-pop with a retro tinge, complemented perfectly by a reel of iconic film moments playing in the background, from Condale-appropriate classics such as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Breakfast Club, Footloose and Dirty Dancing, to Elvis.

The mythology they have created through their obsession with an 80s aesthetic, sustained in their live show as well, is what makes them a special band. Add to that that they are a great live band too. Everything is louder and raunchier, but polite enough to include an allotted chat break in the middle.

Elizabeth is a charismatic chameleon on stage, flitting between butter-wouldn’t-melt, dancing like the mic is her hairbrush and she’s back in her bedroom, and delivering acidic lines with looks that could kill and smacking down any overzealous shouts. Jeremy bounces along next to her, playing a variety of instruments and bringing the noise.

That said, amongst numerous highlights were the two unplugged numbers, a brave move with a noisy crowd containing more than one drunken idiot. Jeremy and Elizabeth sang latest single Losing My Mind while wandering through the crowd and closed with a heartfelt cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Everywhere. The vast majority of the crowd enjoyed it silently and appreciated the chance to hear them stripped down. See a similar performance from a previous gig below.

The gig was only the second of the current tour but will be hard to top. To find out more about the rest of their tour and for drawings and recipes courtesy of Elizabeth, check out their blog here.

Friday, 9 March 2012


Music and photography have gone hand in hand for over 50 years. A beautifully taken album cover, a shot catching an artist in full flow on stage, there are thousands of images out there that have become equally as iconic as the music they relate to.

The spirit of punk captured in Paul Simonon smashing his bass on the cover of London Calling. Lou Reed’s black and white features on Transformer. Ian Curtis innocently gazing up into bright stage lights. Pete and Carl showing their Libertines tattoos. There’s an endless list, and there are also millions of great photos out there to discover. Like these.

I have begun compiling some of them on Pinterest, the new website taking the world by storm.

For the uninitiated, it’s essentially an online pin board, where you collect images you like and pin them to your boards. It’s a simple idea, which the best websites are often based on.

I signed up thinking it could be used alongside sites such as This Is My Jam and, to let interested people find out more about that most important of things, my musical taste.

Amongst others, I have boards for compiling my favourite music photography and my favourite album artwork.

It’s a great website, easy to use and aesthetically pleasing, it can soon become addictive, as the need to fill your boards and pin every picture you find takes hold. I hope it will soon become a staple for bands, alongside Facebook, Twitter,, Bandcamp etc. It would be a great tool for bands to showcase the pictures of themselves they like the most.

To see more music photography and album artwork I love, see my Pinterest page here.

In other news, I’ve just got RADIOHEAD TICKETS!!!!! To celebrate seeing my favourite band again, I urge you all to enjoy this new song, which I will be seeing in October :)

I also have a new About page on the blog, with links to my other sites and the option to Like my blog on Facebook, you know you want to.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Ben Howard & Daughter

It took its time in coming but my first gig of the year was seeing Ben Howard and Daughter at the HMV Institute on Tuesday (28th Feb). It was worth the wait.

Ben played every song bar one from his debut album Every Kingdom, bookended by B-side opener Depth Over Distance and encore song Burgh Island, a new song about an island just off the coast of Devon that is close to my heart as well as Ben’s.

It, like every song throughout the night, was played with boundless energy, even the ‘quiet’ ones, as Ben called them, were delivered with passion that matched the precision.

This was equally matched by a crowd as adoring and enthusiastic as any I’ve ever been a part of. Every song and every word from Ben was met with deafening screams and hysteria. Every quiet song was silently observed, every big chorus chanted back by a few thousand, as you can witness in this guerilla footage I found on YouTube.

It’s also worth noting that it was a mixed crowd, made up of all ages, with a slight lean towards female, plenty of whom embraced the following day’s tradition in order to shout early proposals to the 23-year-old.

“We played here last year in the room downstairs and were shown this room, we all said we would love to come back and play it and it’s amazing to have sold it out,” said Ben during his performance, a great example of the upwards trajectory he is on.

While his gig several days earlier at the Shepherd's Bush Empire is the date he will probably remember most, this whole tour has the feeling of witnessing something special, an artist on the brink of making it big. With a US tour this month and a US release of his album in April, as well as another UK tour later this year featuring larger venues still, taking the next step should be easy for such a great live act.

He certainly has the talent. Already an excellent songwriter, he also showcased his guitar prowess, easily switching between acoustic and electric during the performance proving he can wail as well as he can finger pick.

Each member of his band could be found in the dictionary under the word multi-instrumentalist, all switching between drums and strings and even playing both simultaneously at times. The four shared a great camaraderie on stage, all seeming delighted to be doing what they are doing. There were several points when Ben couldn’t even sing he was smiling or laughing so much, a great thing to see.

Highlights for me were Only Love, the first big singalong of the night, a loud and rousing extended version of The Wolves to close the first set, and the same for The Fear, which ended the gig.

Seeing Ben’s album at number 10 on Spotify’s UK Top 100 and two songs from it in their Top 100 songs, added to the recent success of (admittedly more pop-orientated) troubadour Ed Sheeran suggests Ben can have an impact on the charts as well as on the live scene. I'm convinced he is destined for great things.

I was equally excited to see support band Daughter, whose two devastating-in-a-good-way EPs became an obsession of mine in 2011. While only playing five songs, Elena Tonra and her band produced a hypnotic sound that resonated long after they had left the stage. Headline shows outside of London would be greatly appreciated.