Eyes On The Prizes
Competition is seriously hotting up in our artist review contest, as more and more of you write in with your entries. In fact, we’ve been so overwhelmed by the flood of fantastic reviews that we’ve decided to drop a bonus prize into the mix! As well as the $500 worth of festival tickets up for grabs, the reviewer who comes in second will now win $100 worth of concert tickets! Sounds good right?
And the best news? There’s still plenty of time to enter. The competition is open right up until the end of July… So release your inner music critic and have a crack at winning those tickets!
We’ve been submersed in all of your great gig experiences, and today we’ve picked out just a few more amazing entries to share with you all. So have a read and get inspired!
I’ve heard that Chet Faker’s beard is hair from his head that has moved down his face in order to hear the music better.
Faker, aka Nick Murphy, is an Australian singer, songwriter, producer, music maker and has been creating waves ever since the drop of his Thinking In Textures EP, and is only getting bigger and better. His debut album, Built On Glass, came into our lives in April this year, and hasn’t been one to forget. Everything this man puts his hands on turns to Gold, from his earliest tracks that you can find on Soundcloud all the way to his latest spin on Sonia Dada’s ‘You Don’t Treat Me Know Good’.
A small venue such as Koko was perfect for the crowd rocking, panty dropping, performance of the bearded hero. Chet gets deep into the music, hitting out classics such as ‘Cigarettes & Chocolate’, his take on Blackstreet’s ‘No Diggity’, as well as new tracks, including favourites such as 1998, Blush and a mellowed out version of ‘Talk Is Cheap’. Faker could have saved his voice on ‘I’m Into You’ as the crowd sang every word out loud along with him. With a voice that can make a Lion purr, and piano skills to match, Faker captivates the audience, loving every minute of it as much as the listener.
Chet Faker isn’t ‘the best thing to happen since sliced bread, he IS sliced bread, producing original sounds infusing a mix of all the genres you could possibly want; from jazz, to pop, to folk, to electronica, mixing them all to together and serving up delicious tunes direct to your ear holes. Hats off and high-fives to the man.
We live in an age of hip hop where Eminem can sell out Wembley Stadium, and in which Kanye West takes time out of shows to rant about fashion whilst wearing a mask that’s probably worth more than most attendees’ houses, so it’s nice to know that there’s still an intimacy and modesty to live hip hop elsewhere. Enter Wale, who has already had a massively colourful career at the age of twenty-nine; after making his name with the Seinfeld-obsessed Mixtape About Nothing in 2008, he went on to release a criminally-overlooked major label debut, Attention Deficit.
Since then, he’s signed to Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group and begun to tread a more typical hip hop path, which allows him serious flexibility onstage; whilst he’s more than capable of taking care of the raucous side of proceedings – ‘Chain Music’, ‘Bait’ and Lady Gaga collaboration ‘Chillin’ all setlist staples – he finds plenty of time for reflection, too, with the title track from Ambition a key lighters-in-the-air moment. This is stripped-back live hip hop – Wale, a hype man and a DJ – and all the better for it; there’s a rawness to his live energy that his more illustrious peers will find impossible to replicate in cavernous arenas.
“It’s a bunch of geeks playing ****ing art music. It shouldn’t have been any ****ing good. But they were ****ing amazing”. Such was the reaction of the gentleman behind me after my first Arcade Fire gig, at Manchester Academy in 2005, and I certainly wouldn’t disagree.
Back then, the most successful alumni of the mid-Noughties golden age of Canadian music really were stereotypical art-school types, all embroidered blazers and harps and stilted, awkward banter. But my word, put them on a stage and they’d blow your ****ing mind.
“Wake Up”, with its peerlessly anthemic chorus delivered with almost religious fervour. The cacophonous, punky “Laika”, with Richard Reed Parry using every hittable object on stage as an impromptu drum kit. “Haiti”, with its eminently danceable groove belying the darkness of its lyrics. And “In The Backseat”, a song that rendered a 1500-strong audience utterly mute, and concluded with the audience spontaneously carrying on its closing refrain for two full minutes after the band had left the stage. It was exhilarating. It was revelatory. It was sublime.
Since then, I’ve seen them in churches and stadiums and muddy fields and on one memorable occasion, a BBC studio. I’ve seen their sound change and evolve with each album (the disco influenced “Reflektor” is a whole different beast to the stripped back Americana of “The Suburbs”, which in turn is a massive shift from the dense and ostentatious “Neon Bible”, not to mention the rough-edged beauty of “Funeral”). I’ve seen their audiences grow bigger each tour, not to mention their collection of industry awards. But what has remained a constant is their dedication to putting 110% into their live shows.
Last night, I saw Arcade Fire for the 27th time. It was just as joyous and vital as the first.