Writings, Editorial/ Reviews

Original content produced by Lee.
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Weekend Supplement, Warrington Guardian 27/10/16, full review can be read here
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Weekend Supplement, Warrington Guardian (6/8/15)

Review: Catfish and The Bottlemen, Liverpool Academy
VAN McCann might as well have recited his Christmas shopping list in front of the audience at Liverpool Academy.

The reaction would have been the same. The frontman of Catfish and The Bottlemen was met by crazed fans, all bustling to get to the front of the capacity crowd.

For what was experienced was a band riding on one of the highest waves of popularity recently seen and not only rising to the challenge, but surpassing themselves and showing that they have the ability to be one of the country’s biggest bands.

The first time I saw Catfish, back in October 2012, they were making their first appearance in Warrington at Friars Court. They ended the night handing out self burnt CDs. They went on to further cut their teeth on the live circuit with two more appearances in the town, as part of a near ending cycle of touring the country.

Since then, the band has gone on to have a top 10 debut album, The Balcony, and in the past week, picked up the first BBC Introducing Award at Earls Court.

This wasn’t even the biggest show in Liverpool the band have been booked to play, with Catfish selling out the much larger Guild of Students venue in April 2015 before even stepping out at Academy 1.

With the band’s stock rising rapidly and trading their hired van in for a tour bus, was there a chance the fame would go to their heads? Playing at a venue they dreamed of playing since they were 14, you’d think not if you saw the look on Van’s face as he left the crowd to sing back to him a number of occasions.

Walking in the Academy, the venue was full long before Scottish two piece, Honeyblood took to the stage and they impressed, drawing comparisons to Strawberry Switchblade or a grungey Haim.

The night however belonged to the four-piece from Llandundno, with Larry, their long time friend and tech, drawing a huge cheer as he came on stage.

Another cheer was to follow when the award they won just nights before was lit up by the stage lights as it sat, pride of place on a guitar amp before they appeared.

Opener ‘Rango’ was followed by ‘Pacifier’, both singles sang in near unison by the crowd. Not even when it came to the acoustic track ‘Hourglass’, did the frenzied crowd stop.

The band have never denied they want to play and sell out the UK’s largest arenas and now, as they win over NME, hold down a place on radio A-lists, and continue to sell out venues across the country, the cat (fish) is truly out the bag.

And with down-to-earth songs about being young in the north, that haven’t been as relatable since Arctic Monkeys’ debut album, their future is as bright as the flare that was set off during closing track ‘Tyrants’.

First published 15 December 2014

Review: Twin Atlantic, Band On The Wall
…“I told myself I’d leave my coat on for five songs, but you guys are making it far too hot in here. It only turned out to be three songs before Twin Atlantic’s frontman Sam McTrusty was forced to address a tightly packed crowd at Band On The Wall in Manchester, a venue a 10th of the size they would usually sell out with ease.
“Tonight is a secret gig for competition winners and, while it acts as the ideal warm up for Reading and Leeds, it also gives just 200 people an early chance to hear songs from the band’s forthcoming album, Great Divide, released on Monday. Before then, it is up to Pulled Apart By Horses to energise the crowd and it takes a mere second before the first circle pit opens, filling the floor with bodies.

“They, too, are playing this bank holiday weekend and leave a huge impression on the crowd with an energetic set with a liberal amount of riffs.

“Tonight, however, is all about Twin Atlantic and what they don’t have in riffs of the support band, the Scottish quartet have in choruses, which soar over their contemporaries.

“As expected, the hour-long setlist features many songs from the forthcoming album, which get a great reaction, especially the latest single Brothers & Sisters, which is sure to become a crowd favourite.

“The band promised big anthemic songs on Great Divide and they don’t disappoint, and as Heart & Soul closes the night, thoughts turn to just a couple weeks from now when they walk out on stage at Reading and Leeds.

“Their future is destined for the largest of stages.”

First published 15 August 2014

Review: Scouting For Girls, Golden Square
At the end of three days of live music across the town centre, it was left for Scouting For Girls to bring this year’s Warrington Music Festival to a close.
With a triumphant headline show in the Old Market Place on a warm summer’s evening, they did just that.

Drawing predominantly from their first two albums, the London-based band played just over a hour, treating the crowd with not only their charm, but boundless amount of chart-friendly tracks.

First of all however, like with the Happy Mondays last year, it was down to Warrington-based acts to warm up the crowd.

And while Kim Jennett put in a solid set, it was Conquer Rio that really impressed, showing why they are regulars at stadiums around the north west with a sound destined for the big stages.

Once Scouting For Girls came onto the stage, frontman Roy Stride was quick to involve the audience in the show, naming them the ‘fifth member’ of the band (the fourth being tour guitarist Jamie O’Gorman who positively contributes to the sound).

He got them to clap, sing and bounce along to lively renditions of Heartbeat, Posh Girls, Silly Song and many others.

Only a few songs later, he conceded this crowd was his favourite of the day, after the band had earlier played at Dartford Festival in Kent.

While many of the songs are hardly of substance (I Wish I Was James Bond anyone?), there was no denying they know how to perform these infectious songs in a fun way to the benefit of the crowd that started to queue early in the afternoon.

When the band returned for an encore, they inevitably ended with ‘She’s So Lovely’, and I’m not sure there was a single person in the audience who did not know the words.

First published 21 July 2014

Review: The Day We Lived And Died [EP], 7 Day Weekend
‘The Day We Lived And Died’ is the 2nd EP from alternative band, 7 Day Weekend, who were one of the breakout bands of 2012 of the Warrington Music scene, with a support slot for FEEDER under their belt, and two national tours.

The EP comes almost 12 months to the day since the last music released by the band (the single, ‘Endless Doses’) and so comes with a lot of anticipation and intrigue as to how the band is looking to develop their sound. With so long spent away, some wondered if the band be able to recapture the attention of the fans they had. With 6 tracks (including the short instrumental intro track), the band haven’t disappointed and have returned with a more mature sound, whilst Calan Nickle displays a stronger voice and maintains his wordplay. It is also arguably a darker EP where songs such as ‘Seasons Likes these‘ are long gone!

First published on WArringtonMusic.co.uk

Review: Deaf Havana, Liverpool Academy
FROM performing Rock Sound Magazines’s ‘Toilet Circuit’ to supporting Bruce Springsteen, few bands could have had such a successful metamorphosis than Deaf Havana.

In support of new album ‘Old Souls’, which charted at number nine, the setlist heavily reflected their maturing sound, leaving no room for fan favourites such as ‘Friends Like These’.

Now established as a permanent six piece, the tracks were rich in texture, with opener ‘Boston Square’, offering more than a nod to The Who and generating a loud response from the 1,000 strong crowd on a cold Tuesday night.

Throughout the set, frontman James Veck-Gilodi performed with passion.

But showing the band don’t take themselves too seriously, they treated the crowd to a cover of The Cure’s ‘Friday I’m In Love’.

Deaf Havana returned for a encore with three solid tracks including next single ‘Mildred’ which they encouraged fans to record with their smart phones for a user generated video to promote their first tour of the USA.

Based on the show, they’re going to take a shine to these rising stars.

First published 2 November 2013

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