North vs South

In England there is a divide between the North (northern monkeys) and the South (southern fairies), so I thought I would evaluate this in terms of who has provided the biggest game changers in English music. Despite being a northerner I promise I will do my best not be prejudice.

I will start with the 1960’s, this one shall be easy. The South may have given us successful bands such as The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and The Who but let’s face it the North brought The Beatles. I think that is a point to the North.

Now the 1970’s the South produced bands such as David Bowie, The Clash and Led Zeppelin whilst the North gave rise to bands such as Joy Division and… Well I suppose that is a point to the South then.

But all that is about change as from the 1980’s the North upped its game with bands such as: The Smiths, New Order, Echo & The Bunnymen and The Fall. While the south gave us: The Cure, Kate Bush and The Police. However, the point has to go to the North, but it was a tight match; who said the 1980’s was poor for music; well it was a little moany and depressing but Thatcher was PM.

In the 1990’s the North produced some excellent standard of music including: James, Happy Mondays, Oasis, The Stone Roses and Pulp. While the south produced some very impressive music from the likes of The Prodigy, Radiohead, Suede, Supergrass and Blur. This is too tight to call and so I am going to have to give a point to each side. In all seriousness I do think the 1990’s was the best decade for music (yes better than the 1960’s) there is much more experimenting and variation within the music that crossed boundaries; and the lyrics really spoke to the youth.

So this is the final decade I will be looking at and the North provided some fresh blood in deed, including: Arctic Monkeys, The Long Blondes, Elbow, Doves and The Cribs. However, The Libertines, Bloc Party and Muse were from the South; but the point is going to go to the North, as it was the South who have clogged our ears with artists such as Coldplay, Lady Sovereign, La Roux, James Blunt and Mumford & Sons.  Well it hasn’t been a great decade has it?

So, the North absolutely thrashed the South with a 4-2 victory, well it was a well deserved victory; we did provide the likes of Oasis, The Stone Roses, The Smiths and a little known band named The Beatles.

Leeds Festival Review

So it was Reading and Leeds Festival last weekend and I was lucky enough to attend just the Friday (so I got a nice shower after one day in the mud). This review will concentrate just on the day I attended, as you can’t really judge when watching bands on the TV, however The Strokes and Pulp I am informed were amazing as were The Vaccines (which makes me more excited to see them in a few months time), so in this review the bands I will be reviewing are: Dananananaykroyd, Taking Back Sunday, Best Coast, Cage The Elephant, Chapel Club, Warpaint, Friendly Fires, Interpol, Elbow and Muse.

So firstly I will start with Dananananaykroyd, whilst their music is pretty average you can’t help but admire their enthusiasm particularly for one of the first bands on the NME stage; they were really enjoyable to watch live, however the screaming seemed to be turned up to 10. Now we will move onto Taking Back Sunday, I last saw these in 2008 and they were a massive disappointment, Adam Lazzara mumbled at best through lyrics and seemed more interested in throwing (and dropping) the microphone; well not much has changed since 2008 except the scrawny singer now bulges like the hulk (which makes me rather nervous for writing this review), on a slight positive he did seem more articulate but it was still a disappointment.

Next we will continue with the bad review of bands, as Best Coast, Warpaint and Chapel Club will get the bashing. Firstly Warpaint, now I hate their album (I hated their Exquisite Corpse E.P) but their album is to quite simply put: rubbish, now I suppose I have to back up my statement, well it is boring, at 47 minutes I feel like cutting up the road; however in a bid to escape the rain (and on my friend reassuring me that they are amazing live) we went to watch them. What did I make of them? Well, I hate them more now, I didn’t realize they could get more boring yet no interaction with the audience and remaining static on stage meant you felt standing in the rain was a better option. Now Chapel Club, what a fantastic album Palace is, I was really looking forward to this band and what a major disappointment they were, once again they were static on stage and you could barely hear Lewis Bowman vocals, which resulted in many hecklers shouting to “turn the mic up”; and they seemed to look like deer caught in headlights. Now Best Coast, these weren’t bad live (espcially compared with Warpaint) but they just weren’t amazing, once again I am not a fan of their album, it feels like it has been done a million times before and a million times better, such as Howling Bells.

I feel like I have rather bashed quite a few of the bands but I promise from here on out the reviews will good. Cage the Elephant (my personal highlight of the whole festival), I love both of their albums so I was looking forward to watching them live and they blew all my expectations, Matthew Shultz was charismatic as a front man, interacting well with the audience, who loved every minute of this tight band. Now onto Friendly Fires, whilst I am not there biggest fan they were very good to watch live and once again the snaked hipped singer, Ed Macfarlane, was charismatic and worked well with the crowd. Interpol were also a pleasure to watch, they looked just as dark as their albums, however Paul Banks wearing a trackie top next to the suited band seemed slightly odd.

Now onto the two big bands: Elbow and Muse. I was rather surprised to see Elbow on before Muse, because it is at this time when you start to lag and something more upbeat than Elbow I thought would be needed, but I thought they managed to keep the audience interested, even if it was slightly cheesy. I have seen Elbow before so of course knew that they sound very good and work the crowd well, but I was still slightly wary, however getting the crowd to chant “F*** the rain” and getting to them to raise their arms was somewhat cheesy but it worked well and quite frankly it was perhaps the only thing they could do to keep moral high with a band that only has a few upbeat songs. Muse however, are less about chanting crowds and more about stunning visuals and light shows. I had never seen this band before so of course I was very excited to see them after all the hype, and they were fantastic. I was glad to see them play their whole Origins of Symmetry album in full (as well as the hits), as in my opinion it is their best and after Absolution their albums become a bit sketchy with a handful of good songs. However you must hand it to these three lads, they put on a hell of show, the stage looked amazing, lights were good, sound fantastic; one problem they had to throw giant balls into the crowd (I can’t stand giant balls at concerts). Muse met every expectation and that was why my band of the festival has to go to Cage the Elephant as they blew my expectations as opposed to merely meeting them. I must know praise Leeds Festival for another epic year and will be looking forward to the next.