Phones At Gigs: The Great Debate

Should mobile phones be allowed at gigs?

A subject that, in recent years, has sparked so much debate and arguments within the music community due to the popularity of the devices through new, exciting models and the apparent thirst to maintain a relevancy on social media that the younger generation is currently going through.
Gone are the days where watching a gig through your very own eyes was a way to remember moments; enter a time where, as soon as a well-loved song is played, phones are whipped out, held in the air and said song is proceeded to be played to a crowd stood still, intently watching through a screen.
The ability to live in the moment is seemingly being forgotten, as people today are increasingly feeling the need to document portions of their daily life on social media. There is nothing wrong with sharing memories and moments with a wider audience, especially if your social media following is mainly friends and family- but has it got to the point where the intimacy and magic of a gig is being lost due to feeling the need to document and share?

This is a point of discussion which has become popular in the music industry, with musicians and journalists both weighing in to give their opinion. Billie Joe Armstrong, from punk-rock band Green Day, has never made it a secret about his stance on the subject. NME reported that at a Q&A event in London in 2016, Billie Joe stated, ‘You can take your picture, but let’s have eye contact, let’s have a human experience right now you can’t capture on a cell phone’. Speaking from my own experience when I saw them in 2017 during their Revolution Radio Tour, there were a couple of moments when he was visibly pissed off at fans that were glued to their phones instead of watching them perform. He didn’t hold back in vocalising his annoyance; something which I can understand. You release a new album, rehearse for months, go on tour with so much excitement and anticipation to play these new songs to fans, only to find some of the audience being more intent on updating their Snapchat/Instagram story than actually getting stuck in to the gig.
On Twitter, music radio/TV presenter Alex Baker- in response to an article published in Kerrang about musician Rob Damiani’s thoughts about phones at gigs (read full article here: https://www.kerrang.com/features/rob-damiani-live-music-isnt-about-a-crappy-photo-that-you-can-put-up-on-your-social-media/)- said he agree’s with the view that social media is impacting and somewhat ‘destroying’ the experience you have at a live show, saying it should be ‘raw’ with ‘pure energy’.
Rob, Alex and Billie-Joe do all agree that you can take a few photo’s to serve as lasting memories, but perhaps it’s best to leave it at that.

I have been going to gigs since I was young, and have definitely noticed the change. I’ve been to gigs at arena’s, small venues, larger venues and most of them rock gigs, punk gigs etc. It used to be that only a few people would have their phones out, taking pictures and recording songs, but now it has developed into 2/3 of the audience. I would usually bounce off down to the middle or front and leave my parents at the back,with mum in charge of photo’s/video’s so I could just immerse myself in the experience. If the gig was good enough, you would remember it without the need to record it. An incredible gig will stay in your memories for life.
Like others, I’m definitely not against taking a few pictures or 20-30 second video clips of your favourite songs. I’ve been to loads of gigs on my own since living in Manchester, and I like to send a few photo’s and clips to my parents, show them what the band is like. But after I’ve done that, I’m away, getting lost in the show and the music. The feeling of watching your favourite band live is such a beautiful feeling. It can fill you with such euphoria. Stresses are forgotten and emotion pours out of you, sometimes uncontrollably.

Perhaps gig-goers and music lovers need to reconnect with the ‘lost in the moment’ feeling. Social media is consuming us but some things should stay near free from it. Unfortunately, gigs will never be how they used to be back in the 60’s/70’s/80’s/90’s, where people would drink, dance, mosh, sing along and create memories that way. But, maybe people will start to soon remember that the real world is more important, more precious than their number of followers.
Put the phone away, get down to the front and get stuck in, even if it means getting other people’s beer and sweat on you- trust me it’s worth it.

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2018: More gigs than you can shake a drumstick at

Oi oi we’re back. Second year of uni is done, the stress of assignments is over (for now) and I have some spare time and a crap tonne of writing ideas and opinions to put down. To start it all off, this post will be a look at all of the gigs I have been lucky enough to attend during this year.

I’ve talked about how the music scene in Manchester has its ups and downs, but one thing that brings me so much joy as both a music lover and journalist, is how many bands bring their shows to this culturally rich city.
Put it this way: fuck all bands come and tour Norwich. In a tour manager’s eyes, it’s a small city, there is not an arena to accommodate their performers. They literally will tour anywhere except Norwich…maybe they just don’t like Norfolk people.

ANYWAY. In the past two years that I have spent living and studying in Manchester, I have seen bands that, years ago, I came to peace with that I might never see and experience hearing their songs live. This means a lot to me. As someone who has used these performers music to get myself through some of the worst periods of my life, and to be the soundtrack to some of the best, all these gigs merge together like one big, surreal moment.
In this post I will be detailing the 5 most significant gigs that I have been lucky enough to attend these past few months (and December last year). These experiences will stay with me forever.

  1. Good Charlotte (2nd December 2017)
    I only got into Good Charlotte a couple of years ago, but their music instantly clicked in my head and I was so attached to their songs. When the opportunity to see them came up, I had to. They played all the songs I love, they appreciated the crowd so much and I did cry a bit when they played ‘Hold On’. The lyrics are so poignant that they provoked feelings I mostly suppress. But, this is an indicator that the band is doing their job correctly, it is their intention to make you feel those things.
  2. Marilyn Manson (4th December 2017)
    Okay so…this is the most disappointing gig on the list. When I got tickets to see MM, I thought, ‘Holy Shit this will be INSANE. It’s going to be the weirdest gig I have ever been to!’.
    It was actually the most boring. OH MY GOD was I bored! I feel so bad saying this but…it’s true. My expectations to see some weird, crazy, twisted show were thrown into the ground and stomped on by a goths 6-inch platform boots. It took him an hour (from when the support DJ finished) to come on stage, by that time my attention span had taken up residence at the bar, and then the whole show looked like he was trying to force something out in a desperate attempt to reclaim his youth.
    Like I said, I feel bad writing this but it’s what I genuinely feel. Marilyn Manson did what he could considering his recent injury, but it just felt limp, empty. Still, I can tick it off my list that I’ve seen the one and only ‘Anti-Christ Superstar’.
  3. Thirty Seconds To Mars (24th March 2018)
    This is actually the second time I’ve seen 30STM but I can say, watching 30STM perform is not like rocking up to a standard gig. They put on a SHOW. I managed to get tickets so close to the stage I could almost flick Jared Leto on the nose. But I wouldn’t do that, I’m not weird.
    It was the UK leg of their Monolith Tour and it was just Jared and Shannon Leto, on a moving stage in the middle of the MEN arena, and that’s all you honestly needed. Both clad in Gucci, they dominated the stage, owned the entire crowd. I felt almost honoured to be there, watching them perform anthems such as The Kill, Kings and Queens, and Walk on Water.
  4. Fall Out Boy (29th March 2018)
    MY LITTLE EMO HEART OH MY GOD. I never, ever though I would be in a place to get the opportunity to see these absolute icons. I have loved FOB since I was 11. As a music journalist, to listen to the change in their musical style over the years- especially after their hiatus- has been beautiful. It goes to show that you should not feel pressured, as a musician, to stay in one particular genre your entire career. FOB’s music has changed drastically since early songs such as ‘Champagne For My Real Friends’ and ‘Sugar We’re Goin’ Down’ were released. Listen to them, then listen to ‘Young and Menace’ from recent album, ‘Mania’. Incredibly different, but equally as great.
    Highlights from their show were; being LITERALLY a few feet away from them all, Pete Wentz performing in a TESCO cap, Patrick Stump performing ‘Save Rock and Roll’ (the song that kickstarted my career in music) and making me shed more tears, then dancing my little heart out to ‘Hold Me Tight Or Don’t’. It was the most perfect gig. I still can’t believe I finally got to hear all those special songs. I’m still not okay after it.
  5. The Wildhearts (4th May 2018)
    A proper, good old rock gig. It was messy. I got very sweaty. My hair got in some woman’s cider. I knew all the words to all their classics and was also probably one of the youngest audience members there. Fucking hell it was brilliant. People who I’ve spoken to about this gig have never heard of the Wildhearts until I told them, but I am making it so clear now that YOU NEED TO LISTEN TO THEM. They deserve so much more appreciation than they currently get.
    The Wildhearts are a band who sound like they were made to be a live band. Their songs sound even better being performed live, they have so much more energy and sound so fuller. I used to beg my Dad to let him take me to see them when they would tour Norwich, but I was way to young at the time. So when the opening notes of ‘I Wanna Go Where The People Go’ reverberated around the room, and Ginger Wildheart became illuminated by the overhead lights, I felt so overwhelmed with happiness and excitement. I stood there, frozen for a split second before going absolutely fucking mental, probably kicking a few people with my army boots, and I did not stop once. It was pure happiness that night, and it engulfed everyone. I’ll never forget that feeling.

Fall Out Boy- ‘Mania’ (Album Review)

Fall Out Boy have released their long awaited 7th album ‘Mania’ after months of teasing (and being a wonderful band and giving us 5 singles to get us warmed up for it). Their style of music has changed considerably from early albums ‘Take This To Your Grave’ and ‘From Under The Cork Tree’ to their last album ‘American Beauty/American Psycho’, inserting dance and pop influences and twisting them into their own take on rock music that ends up working so perfectly.

I have just listened to ‘Mania’ from start to finish and let me tell you, it has been a while since I have absolutely loved an ENTIRE album as quickly as I have with ‘Mania’. It runs so well from track to track and you already feel like you know the album because half the tracks off it have already been released for a while. The first song off the album, ‘Young and Menace’, was released back in April and I’ll admit it took me a couple of listens before I understood and properly liked ‘Young and Menace’. The style of it, the warped mess of layers of vocals and instruments- you need a minute to gather yourself because that song is so different from any Fall Out Boy song, you don’t expect them to come out with something like that and pull it off so well. ‘Young and Menace’ embodies the album title and when you listen to it you’ll know what I mean in a better sense than if I were to describe it to you. It’s messy, parts of it sound deranged but then return to calm, however it still makes you feel good when it finishes.

The two main songs off the album that I have been loving and have been my go-to songs to listen to for a couple of months now are, ‘Last Of The Real Ones’ and ‘HOLD ME TIGHT OR DON’T’. They both just make me so happy and so excited, I can go into my own little world whilst listening to them, definitely two of Fall Out Boy’s best most recent songs. ‘HOLD ME TIGHT OR DON’T’ has that catchy, holiday sounding part in the chorus and ‘Last Of The Real Ones’ is so powerful, showing of Patrick Stump’s voice to perfection. I hope they play both those songs on their UK tour so I can properly have a dance to them.

Later on in the album, it gets a bit more interesting, a little bit more different. After all those really energetic and fast-paced songs comes ‘Heaven’s Gate’ and when I was listening to this it caught me off guard. Of course it sounds incredible, because the slow, soul style of the song fits Patrick Stump’s vocals beautifully. It carries you away, and immediately reminded me of ‘What A Catch, Donnie’ from ‘Folie a Deux’. Fall Out Boy always do this type of song so well, and shows how much of a versatile, talented band they are.

All the songs off this album are equally as good as each other and this album has impressed me greatly. With a band like Fall Out Boy, there’s always so much pressure riding on them to make the next album as brilliant as the one before. The expectations are always so high, but they smash them each time they put out a new record. ‘Mania’ is awesome, it’s another development in ‘Fall Out Boy’ history and I will definitely be going back and listening to it on repeat to get myself hyped up for their Manchester show in March.

‘Mania’ is available to order now through Amazon, iTunes and to buy in stores.

You can also stream it through Spotify or Apple Music.

Information and tickets for their upcoming tour can be found here: https://falloutboy.com/tour/  

Song Review- ‘You & I’ by Miranda Amess

Trying to find new music nowadays that already doesn’t sound like some recent band or artist in the charts is a very tricky thing to do. Nearly all singer/songwriters with guitars sound like a knock-off Ed Sheeran and nearly all indie-rock bands will have influences of Arctic Monkeys, The 1975 etc.

Miranda Amess however, is a different case.

She has already started to make her mark in the music industry, with her debut single ‘Gravity’ gaining airplay on BBC Introducing when it was released, and also supporting Janet Devlin (Northern Irish singer/songwriter & X Factor runner up) during her Manchester show last year.

Now, after taking time to focus on her solo music, Miranda Amess has just released her new single ‘You & I’.

The overall feel of the song itself is a soft version of a Sia and Christina Aguilera power-pop ballad. Miranda has a beautiful vocal range and her voice doesn’t get overshadowed and therefore melt into nothingness. It is not a stereo-typically processed voice like most female pop acts have. Her accent comes through, which makes her have her ‘own’ voice, and makes this song so good to listen to.  The mix between the pop style lyrics and vocals swirl together with the pop-rock instruments to create a song that has all the right boxes ticked to be brilliant.
It is a very well structured song. It has a good rhythm to it which, after a few listens, begins to sound familiar, as though this song is already in the charts- although it’s better than what’s in the charts. Miranda has written some very powerful lyrics with a lot of emotion conveyed through them- they are lyrics that people can relate to, lyrics which make people listen closer to them, to find their own personal meaning.

Miranda Amess is clearly a professional, and is very much in control of what she does as a musician. She has started making well defined tracks in the music industry, and if she continues to release songs as well put together and recorded as ‘You & I’, then attention, recognition and opportunities are not far off for Miranda.

Check out ‘You & I’ on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/track/4u7KrRMrMUmh1PFAihIFI7

Miranda Amess website: https://www.mirandaamess.com/  

Song Review: ‘Heaven’s Discrepancies’ by The Empire Police

‘Heaven’s Discrepancies’ is the latest single to be released by Preston-based band The Empire Police, and upon first listen, does not disappoint. It is a wonderfully upbeat and energetic song, with an incredible catchy chorus. It’s what I like to call bubblegum sounding, like it could easily fit into an American teen comedy film.
The bass-line in the bridge sounds heavily influenced by Green Day, reminiscent of the bass-line in their song ‘Chump’ from 1994 album, Dookie.
‘Heaven’s Discrepancies’ is short but sweet, where every good thing you want from a song is packed into it 2:10 minute timeframe. You don’t get bored of it, and it’s that right amount of punk-style repetitive which makes it instantly stick in your brain.
The song, as a whole, sounds like the product of what you would get if the Kaiser Chiefs and The Hoosiers were put in a blender. That indie-pop-punk genre which was huge in the mid-2000’s.
‘Heaven’s Discrepancies’ is noticeably different in comparison to their other recently released tracks, such as ‘Yesterday’ and their self-titled E.P ‘The Empire Police’. It’s refreshing when bands do this because it shows versatility. The Empire Police are showing that they are capable of switching from laid-back, Northern indie-rock, to fast paced alternative pop-rock; and do it extremely well.
If you like what you hear and want more, The Empire Police are playing at The Soup Kitchen, Manchester on the 18th November with Scruff Of The Neck Records.
Tickets are available through Ticket Alien: https://www.musicglue.com/ticketalien/events/9f9ff7d0-63e6-0135-c797-2603ee79f6ff

‘Heaven’s Discrepancies’ is available to stream on Spotify, Apple Music and iTunes. 

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/1wywbtI5PQjtJaINE7GvUA?si=Fd7OSgrf

The Empire Police Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/theempirepolice/ 

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.

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:

Manchester Music vs Norwich Music

Coming to the end of my first year at music uni has made me look back over the year and think about all the differences between my home city of Norwich and now my second home of Manchester. Of course there are cultural, historical and dialect differences but seeing as this is a music blog, I am going to focus and compare the Manchester music scene to the Norwich music scene.

As I said previously in my blog ‘Music in Manchester’, there are very obvious differences you notice when coming to Manchester, such as the whole cities obsession with Oasis, The Smiths and The Stone Roses. Nearly everyone here loves either one or all of these bands and honestly it’s pretty weird to experience!
Norwich doesn’t have a defining band like Oasis, it’s mainly filled with people who like all different kinds of music. That’s one thing I love about music in Norwich; you don’t feel pressured to like one particular genre/artist/band. All different kinds of bands come to Norwich, but the city isn’t really defined by one particular band or genre.

For example, from going to a music college and being friends with mainly metal-heads, I experienced that Norwich had a thriving underground heavy metal scene. Pubs like the B2 and Brickmakers and the Owl Sanctuary regularly put on gigs for local metal bands, in order to give aspiring musicians of metal- a genre which has lost some of its’ popularity in recent years- the promotion and foot on the ladder that they need.
Of course, Norwich doesn’t have nearly as many venues as Manchester and lacks a big venue like MEN Arena, the Etihad Stadium or Victoria Warehouse. The biggest venue Norwich has is the UEA, with a capacity of only 1500. So, this means that more well known bands and artists are less likely to tour to little ol’ Naar’ich. When I was younger I had to travel to Nottingham to see bands, such as My Chemical Romance, Thirty Seconds To Mars and Blink 182. Now, living in Manchester, I only need to walk to the other side of the city or down the road to see bands like these. In December, I’m lucky enough to be seeing Marilyn Manson. An artist whose music I don’t primarily listen to as much as I used to, but one who I would never pass up the opportunity to see.

Norwich also has other genres intertwined within it, such as drum and bass, folk/acoustic acts and mainstream rock. The UEA and Waterfront are venues which both regularly hold club nights that play everything from R ‘n’ B to pop punk, from underground dance to nostalgic ’emo’. However, whilst Norwich has all this going on, it unfortunately fails to stand out as a musical city. The UEA doesn’t even run a music degree.

Now, compare this to Manchester, and whilst it has the huge stereotype of being an indie music central, it is looked upon as a musically rich city. Bands actually come here, their tour manager is able to look at the city and conclude that people will attend the concert, and ALL KINDS of musicians come here because of the range of venues. Manchester Academy- just down Oxford Road- has 3 venues within it. There are 2 O2 sites (Apollo and Ritz), smaller venues for lesser known artists or uni bands such as Gorilla, Band On The Wall and Sound Control as well as the larger venues I mentioned earlier. Musicians from all over the world come and play in Manchester.

However, I do feel that some aspiring musicians/bands who come out of the uni’s and colleges here, do fall into the stereotypical indie-wannabe Arctic Monkey’s/Oasis/The Smiths, which isn’t a good sign for the cities new music scene. Manchester is a vibrant, varied city and shouldn’t be stuck on repeat, churning out indie band after indie band. What I’ve noticed whilst living here, and of course experiencing Manchester’s music scene, is that there needs to be different genres that are prevalent in Manchester. I feel that the city could really experience its dance/EDM scene more, rather than just confining it to Victoria Warehouse. It would be nice to regularly attend raves that you don’t have to fork out £40/£50 for!
Event organisers would be surprised by how many people would attend dance nights, and how many DJ’s and Producers they would be able to hire. The uni I attend has a Music Production course but currently, it’s difficult for them to spread their name further than Soundcloud, due to the lack of dance venues Manchester has. I can say definitely that having EDM venues would make this city even more attractive than it already is and would help shift the indie stereotype it’s becoming stuck with.

So that’s my comparison between Norwich and Manchester’s music scenes. Both have their faults, but I love them equally. I think if they merged together though then they would have the right balance. It’s strange to experience a city which has a strong music scene, it’s just getting used to a genre which I don’t listen to, but coming to Manchester meant I met my boyfriend, who introduced me to the amazing world of dance music and expanded my music tastes even further, which I am very grateful for.

Album Review: ‘California’ by Blink 182

As part of a new ‘series’ on my blog, where I review my favourite albums, new or old, here’s my review of Blink 182’s recent and Grammy nominated album, ‘California’.

It’s their first album in 5 years. It’s also their first album without co-founder Tom Delonge, with Matt Skiba (Alkaline Trio) stepping in and taking his place. To say Blink 182 have made a few small changes as a band in those 5 years, since their last album ‘Neighborhoods’, would be putting it incredibly lightly.
They had been teasing a new album for ages, with constant rumours of being in the studio, yet no actual evidence of new music surfaced. It wasn’t until Matt joined (after all the drama with Tom and his subsequent departure back in 2015) that Instagram posts of studio rehearsals and snippets of album artwork appeared, fuelling the hype amongst fans.
Vocalist and bassist, Mark Hoppus, wanted the new album, ‘California’, to have influences of early Blink whilst maintaining a slight maturity that ‘Neighborhoods’ showed us- and that’s exactly what we got.
There are the anthems such as ‘Bored To Death’ and ‘Los Angeles’, then the 30 second songs- ‘Built This Pool’ and ‘Brohemian Rhapsody’- which are very much reminiscent of ‘Family Reunion’ and ‘Happy Holidays, You Bastard’. It makes you realise that Blink 182 haven’t completely grown up, and maybe the sincerity of ‘Neighborhoods’ was ‘just a phase’.
‘Bored To Death’ was the first and lead single off ‘California’, one which showcased their musical talent with sing-a-long chants, spiralling guitar hooks and a huge chorus which captivates you on the first listen.
The two stand out tracks on California are ‘She’s Out Of Her Mind’ and ‘Los Angeles’- the former reflecting their ‘Enema of the State’ era, with the video being a hilarious remake of the video to ‘What’s My Age Again?’.
‘Los Angeles’ is one of those songs which evokes so much emotion; it has so many contrasting elements, from the quick fire verse to the chorus where Matt Skiba sings, ‘Los Angeles, when will you save me?’ so powerfully, it makes you want to throw out your arms and belt it out with him.
Admittedly, not all fans will love this album, as die-hards are still mourning the (slightly expected) departure of Tom, and this album does need to be listened to more than once, in order to completely understand the concept.
‘California’ is a pop-punk masterpiece, one that encapsulates the meaning of Blink 182 and what the band stands for. It took a while to get here, but this album will not bore us to death anytime soon.