Live Review: ‘Avenue’ @ Night & Day Cafe, Manchester (11/10/2017)

The Night and Day Cafe in Manchester is slowly becoming a favourite place amongst young bands. It’s cool, quirky, and at first doesn’t strike you as a music venue, just an overly alternative coffee shop-cum-bar. But it definitely has that hipster vibe which is becoming a must have accessory for a lot of today’s young talent.

Tonight, the headline act is Avenue, a jazz-rock band from Manchester. The place isn’t packed out, but I wouldn’t really expect a full on mosh pit to happen at a jazz gig.
As they kickstart their first song, ‘Mellow Yellow’, it instantly comes across how professional they must work together. They are tight, the sound is clear and the singer has a voice very reminiscent of Amy Winehouse. The overall sound of jazz vocals mixed with rock instruments blends together so smoothly. It’s actually so refreshing to hear a young band sound like this and not like a wannabe Arctic Monkeys/Oasis tribute band.

I just wish they had more spark in their stage presence for in between songs. It deflates the set when they go from full performance mode, to standing around awkwardly, talking shyly to the audience.

‘Move On’ injects some feistiness into the performance, with lead singer Lauren George spitting out lyrics such as, ‘Move on, you need to get some help!’. It has that element of sassiness which makes you want to applaud and shout, ‘YES GIRL!’.
Remember I said the singer sounded like Amy Winehouse? Well sure enough, mid-way through their set, they launch into a cover of ‘Valerie’ (originally done by The Zutons, Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse covered it in 2007). It is definitely their stand out song, getting an impressive reaction from the audience. A crowd pleaser, yes, but it shows off Lauren’s vocals beautifully, and with their own relaxed jazz-rock twist, it makes the song sound effortless.
All the songs that Avenue have performed tonight are slick, well rehearsed and enjoyable to listen to. You just need stage presence guys! Get some movement in there, dance a little, it’s your night and you are in control.
However, it is a good thing that this the only negative thing I have to say about their performance tonight.
Last song ‘Wicked Heart’ leaves the gig on a happy-go-lucky, feel-good note, and finally shows the two guitarists enjoying themselves.

Avenue have incredible songwriting talent, and seem to have already established a solid sound with no doubts of who they want to be. Their set was a perfect mix of well rehearsed originals and crowd pleasing covers. It went down so well, they definitely deserve to feel proud as musicians.

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Review: ‘Out Loud’ by Gabbie Hanna

Over 4.9 million subscribers on YouTube. First book due out in the coming weeks. An acting role in YouTube Red series ‘Escape The Night’. Now…a new song to kickstart a potential music career. Gabbie Hanna is definitely putting all her fingers in every kind of exciting career pie and gaining reward, after reward.

Not many of you will know, or may even have heard of Gabbie Hanna, but it’s time you should.

Having started out on Vine, creating 640 posts of 6-second content and gaining nearly 5 million followers, Gabbie was able to progress onto YouTube and continue to flourish. She took part in fellow YouTuber Joey Graceffa’s series called ‘Escape The Night’, and on September 19th she will be releasing her first book- a collection of poems- called ‘Adultolescence’ (pre-order at gabbiehannabook.com). But that is not all.

On September 6th, Gabbie Hanna added ‘singer/songwriter’ to the list of her many occupations, after releasing her first song, ‘Out Loud’.

The day it was released saw the song literally shoot to the top of iTunes charts, peaking at #3 overall. It has been streamed 782,275 times (as of 10th September) on Spotify and the lyric video on Gabbie’s YouTube channel (TheGabbieShow) has nearly 3.5 million views. ALL IN THE PAST 4 DAYS. 

It is undeniable that ‘Out Loud’ is a T-U-N-E. It sounds so different, so fresh. You can hear from Gabbie’s vocals how much emotion and hard work went into creating this song. The lyrics give you an insight into how gripping and beautifully written her poetry book will be, it is clear that her talent for writing will get her far in life. The song flows in a way which seems as though it was effortless to write. That once pen was put to paper, the words and lyrical formation came out as easy as it is to listen to.
And that CHORUS! If that doesn’t get stuck in your head there’s something wrong with you. You need to listen to it on repeat until that’s all that is in your head.
I’m not the only one who thinks ‘Out Loud’ is incredible, as it has received 212 5 star reviews on iTunes, with people saying, ‘This track is a dream to listen to’ and ‘Best song I’ve heard in a long time’, ‘I’m so proud of you Gabbie!’.

It is quite astonishing how ‘Out Loud’ has become a such a huge hit in such a short time. Gabbie recently performed the song LIVE to approximately 4,000 people at Vidcon Australia, which saw nearly the entire crowd shouting along with Gabbie during the chorus. It is beautiful to see how much her fans are supporting her throughout her many ventures.

Expect many great and wonderful things from Gabbie Hanna. She is going to be a very powerful, successful and influential women, and already has millions of people believing in her. I already want to hear more music from her.

Download ‘Out Loud’ on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/out-loud-single/id1275959030

Watch the ‘Out Loud’ lyric video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNZTec6BbOU

Making money off the dead

Another in-depth blog post, but one which I feel needs to be discussed because there are two arguments to the side of this, more controversial topic.

Continuing a similar theme with the last post, where I discuss that ALL musicians who die should be given the same remembrance by the media, I wanted to write about what happens after the musicians die.

Celebrating a musician after they die is of course, normal and completely fine. But, I have very mixed feelings about whether it is right or wrong for their manager or record label to use the fact that they have passed, as an opportunity to make as much money as they can from their music. Within the next few days of the artists death, there will be adverts on TV showcasing their ‘Greatest Hits’, copies of every album lining the main displays in HMV, and the charts will suddenly be swarmed by all their well known singles.

Suddenly, it seems every person on the planet is a ‘huge fan’ of said musician.

But where does all the money go from the sales? Straight back into the record labels pocket that’s where. Which raises the question- do these massive record labels see artists deaths as the best promotion opportunity, essentially, making money off the dead?

When put like that, it seems quite insensitive, but think about it: who are these sales benefiting? Obviously not the artist, they have no idea that their number 1 hit from 10 years ago is back in the charts. They left this earth just hoping to be remembered, at least for a little while. So which major party is left, but the record label who is giving the go-ahead for the CD’s etc to be sold in the first place. You may not want to believe people like that exist, but unfortunately they do. There are some people who work in the industry, in record labels, who only have money on their mind. They couldn’t give two shits about the artist, just the revenue they bring in.

All that leaves a bad taste in your mouth, doesn’t it?

However, this is my other argument to this subject. As I said previously, there is nothing wrong with celebrating an artist after their death. Those people have affected other people’s lives greatly. They will leave a lasting impression in the music industry, with songs which shall be played for years to come. I just feel that record labels should have the artists family in the forefront of their mind, rather than their pay cheque. Money from sales should be given to direct relatives, then some to charities/organisations the artist worked with- that would benefit the world a lot more, wouldn’t it? I’m sure that would be the lasting impression the artist would like to leave, knowing their family is secure, rather than ensuring workers at a record label get their end-of-year bonus.

This is a subject that does get me riled up, as I feel very strongly about it. But once you see what is happening, once you think deeper than, ‘Oh isn’t it nice to see all [insert artists name here] CD’s on sale again! Isn’t it nice for them to celebrate them!’, you do realise what is actually going on. It has made me view the situation a lot differently. I don’t go into shops and see joy at how the artists CD’s are everywhere, how their songs are back in the charts, because I know they aren’t here to be benefited.

I wish they could be.

 

May they ALL be remembered

So, this post is going to be pretty deep. More discussion, emotions and unfortunately not a funny one. However, it’s an important one. I’ve given it some time to write this, due to recent events within the music industry.

A week ago, Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington took his own life following a long battle with depression. Two months earlier, Chris Cornell, of Soundgarden, also took his own life.

These deaths shook the music industry and fans of the bands to the core. They are both highly influential people and have given fans of their music so much hope and strength. They have made incredible albums, songs and have been loved by so many people. They left an impact on people’s lives.

So, why does the media forget about them within a few months?

*Disclaimer- I am not talking about all media, as music journalists will not forget about these, ever. I am talking about main media, major news programmes etc.*

I find it very frustrating when channels or news outlets such as the BBC, Channel 4 etc, give certain artists more recognition and remembrance when the pass away, and give other artists barely any airtime at all. Lemmy Kilmister (Motorhead, Hawkwind) passed away on the 28th December 2015. David Bowie passed away on the 10th January 2016. Both incredible, influential musicians- the difference between them though? Lemmy received a 30-second segment announcing his death for a couple of days, yet David Bowie received tribute upon tribute, programme after programme, for months.

Don’t read this as though I dislike David Bowie. I was just as upset when he died as I was with Lemmy. My anger is at the media.

The same happened with Prince, Pete Burns and George Michael. All passing away in 2016, all receiving different amounts of remembrance from the main media. For example, there are still news stories from papers being written about George Michael and his death. However, with Pete Burns, the articles stopped within a few days.

Is this because artists such as Pete Burns and Lemmy were *shock, horror* a little controversial? Not particularly media/radio friendly?

To lay it out:
– Lemmy was notorious for drinking, swearing, saying controversial things, and making heavy metal music, the least played genre of music on mainstream radio.
– David Bowie constantly changed his image along with how the music industry changed, put out radio-friendly music and did charity work. The most controversial thing Bowie said was that he was bi/gay in an interview with Melody Maker back in the 70’s.

The music Lemmy and Pete Burns put out was not of a genre that would frequently get airtime on mainstream radio stations, because it didn’t appeal to as many people as the music of George Michael and David Bowie did. Michael and Bowie’s music appeals to all ages, reaching a wider demographic than heavy metal or new-wave. Which is why, news programmes focused on, put out tribute shows on and kept news stories going for months on David Bowie and George Michael, because they would bring in the ratings. Which is so disappointing.

Every musician that dies should be remembered equally.

Every musician that dies rips a hole in the music industry and affects so many people’s lives, that the media should not pick and choose who to give more airtime to.

Chester Bennington, Chris Cornell, Lemmy Kilmister, David Bowie, George Michael, Prince and Pete Burns are all equal in the eyes of the music industry and their fans.
The music industry will not be the same as it was without these musicians putting out their incredible music. Their songs had so much meaning and meant so much to a hell of a lot of people. So much that fans say, ‘Chester/Lemmy/David etc saved my life’. Surely that statement alone warrants endless recognition.

I could go on a rant for ages about this subject, going on different tangents, but those are for other blog posts. I am going to leave it here for now.

I will always remember musicians such as Chester, Lemmy and Chris, as equally as Bowie, George and Prince, and you should to. They all saved lives.

Review: ‘Champion’ by Fall Out Boy

You never really expect to fall in love with a song at first listen. Usually you’ll need to allow a couple, maybe three run through’s before it all finally comes together and your brain will work out whether to love it or hate it.
With a band like Fall Out Boy, who have been around since 2001 and blew up in the peak of the emo era of the early 2000’s, to maintain relevance and put out massive songs in today’s music industry is an incredible achievement. They still fill out arena’s and headline festivals, which could make them feel like a…champion?

Smooth little transition into the main topic, which is that Fall Out Boy have just released a new single from upcoming, highly anticipated album, ‘Mania’.

Titled, ‘Champion’, this song IS that song which you fall in love with when first listening to it. It sounds like classic FOB mixed with their newer, refined sound, and was apparently co-written with pop-music mega-star, Sia.
The love I have for this song, it is just perfect. The lyrics are the main focus of this song, especially in the chorus. For me, this song came out at a perfect time and hearing these lyrics-ones that I can lose myself in- fill me with such determination and courage to live, despite how hard that particular day might be:

‘If I can live through this,
If I can live through this,
If I can live through this,
I can do anything!’

There’s no dip in this song, by that I mean at no point does the song lose tempo or vigour to make it seem like a deflated balloon, making you feel unsatisfied after listening. POWER is something that runs through this song, transferred from Fall Out Boy themselves, into the hearts of their fans. Not many bands can do that. Not many bands can produce a song which will directly touch the emotions of listeners.

This song is really making me excited for ‘Mania’, with their previous single from the album ‘Young and Menace’ showing Fall Out Boy exploring their EDM side a bit more (something they teased in Save Rock and Roll and American Beauty/American Psycho), this album could see FOB expanding their sound even further, something they will no doubt be able to effortlessly pull off.
I’m now just waiting (not so) patiently for them to announce some UK tour dates…

Check out ‘Champion’ below:

Emma O’Reilly: Irish Rising Star (E.P. Review and Upcoming Tour)

A musician from the west of Ireland specialising in alternative rock and pop but played through the piano, Emma O’ Reilly is certainly something unique in today’s music industry. Citing influences such as Kate Bush and Tori Amos, she has been making music and performing since her early teenage years, going on to study music further, obtaining a BA from Trinity College. Her first E.P ‘Tour’ was released in 2007 and was a huge success as it completely sold out.

Emma is beginning a run of summer shows, performing this weekend in Norwich on Saturday 17th June at Eaton Park Cafe and Peterborough on Sunday 18th June at Puzzels?, then touring further with 5 more shows at the end of July/beginning of August.
Tickets are available through her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/emmaormusic/app/123966167614127/.

Her fourth EP ‘Fractures’ was released on May 19th and has so far received critical acclaim from a variety of people such as Remy Connolly (Remy’s Film and Music Blog) and Julie Bell (Pure M Magazine).
It was named ‘Album of the Week’ by BBC Radio Suffolk on The Great Big Sunday Show and has had airplay on radio stations across Great Britain and Ireland.

‘Fractures’ Review
With the basis of her music being the piano, Emma proves that simplicity is the key to making a captivating E.P.
‘Shake’ is the lead single from ‘Fractures’ and starts the E.P off on a fierce note. The attitude and meaning of her words punch through the music, creating a huge contrast to the delicate, traditional piano. A lot of thought has gone into how the story is told, which is a refreshing change to the mundane pop that is pumped into the music charts these days.
In comparison, ‘Count’ is much gentler, with the chords of the ukulele blending beautifully with her vocal melody. It is a song which soothes you, and one of those rare songs which you instantly like upon first listen.
There is so much emotion that is put into Emma’s songs; something you can hear in her voice and which is then felt in your body. In ‘Cervantes’, Emma’s voice is almost haunting, and genuinely gave me the chills whilst listening to it. I had to pause for a moment because I was just in awe of how pure her voice was.
It is so clear through this E.P that Emma is very gifted and has perfected, very quickly, which instruments compliment her voice and help tell the songs’ story. The notes she is able to reach, especially on the last track, ‘Geneva’, are incredible and I wish I was able to do that without my voice breaking.
With Emma’s music, nothing gets lost in over-production. No value is lost in how many instruments/backing vocals are added.
 Emma O’ Reilly is a promising and dedicated musician who is serious about the music she produces and the messages she puts across in her songs. She has overcome so much and worked so hard to produces ‘Fractures’ and it is receiving the positive reviews and promotion that it deserves.

To listen to ‘Fractures’ just click these links below: