Will Young and Billy Ocean were the entertainment for one beautiful July evening in the even more beautiful surroundings of Kew Gardens.
First up was a pop group from San Francisco, Con Brio. I sadly missed them as I came after work and then had to grab a burger (from an amazing veggie burger stand, very impressed!) However my dad announced they were ‘very good’.
Billy Ocean came next, and with him a great deal of flamboyant middle-aged dancing.
I was so happy to be at their first gig back at Wembley Arena on May 11th, after 11 years away. And it was so much better than I even expected.
First, though, Wheatus were the second support act (I missed Emma Blackery, sorry Emma) and they got the most love I’ve ever seen for a warm-up band. Frontman Brendan B. Brown thanked fans for keeping the Teenage Dirtbag love going all these years, but people showed appreciation for all the other songs too. They were cheeky, fun and still rocking.
S Club 7 is hardly a name that rings with street cred. And I was only aged seven to 11 when they were around before.
Still, I got caught up in the excitement when they made a comeback on Children In Need in November and when my mum asked if I fancied going to the tour, who was I to say no? After all, I was even a member of the fan club back in the day, and a keen viewer of Miami 7, LA 7 and Seeing Double.
So there we were at The O2 on Sunday May 17, surrounded by mostly other girls in their 20s, the odd gay guy or boyfriend and of course some random anomalies – I saw a man I would put at about 70 walking around on his own with a Reach foam finger. And it went down an absolute storm with everyone.
The set, usually accompanied by particularly intense strobe lighting, neon and six dancers who at times made the stage feel more like S Club Mob, featured all the hits and more and it was undeniably a delight to see all seven members together again and visibly enjoying themselves as much as the audience.
Sam Smith was my star of the year. Stay With Me had a special raw emotion, melody and perfect instrumentation that few singles do but the rest of the album is absolutely top notch too – I had it on repeat for months, especially after I saw him live at Wilderness. Even in the pouring rain which scared lots of people into the food tents, he was my favourite live discovery of the year.
The whole album succeeds because he put his all into every song and made them personal, intimate and relatable.
Highlights: Stay With Me, I’m Not The Only One, Leave Your Lover
I moved to London officially in early 2014 so I was lucky enough to see lots of shows and other events. Let’s dive straight in to the round-up.
I drove from London to Portsmouth and back especially to see Newton Faulkner in March and he did not disappoint with impressive acoustic guitar stylings, a complimentary backing band and a casual, intimate vibe.
I saw Justin Timberlake twice at the O2 and he was absolutely brilliant both times. He is a born entertainer in a surprisingly similar way to Michael Buble, who I also saw this year after first seeing him in 2013. Both had world class bands, smooth voices, charming personalities and slick moves, just with a different genre of music.
At the risk of sounding like a total fangirl, I am excited to share with you the final mix of McFly’s new single, Love Is On The Radio. This is their new single as heard on the radio for the first time today after making its live debut at the Royal Albert Hall last month.
I feel justified in gushing about this to you because it is original, interesting and different to anything we’ve heard from McFly, or indeed most pop bands recently. The innovative addition of fiddle alone gives this song an extra edge that nothing else at the moment has, and the big build to the last chorus drives nicely towards the climax with its hook repetition and steady bass drum.
The lyrical material is fairly standard but its joy is infectious: “things are looking up, there’s magic everywhere you go, strangers stop to say hello.”
For McFly fans, the best way I can describe this is a cross between One For The Radio and Love Is Easy.
Caro Emerald, the Radio 2 favourite Dutch singer, recently returned to the UK to promote her second album, The Shocking Miss Emerald, her first UK No. 1.
With her unique jazz and pop fusion, which is made even more interesting with the use of a live mixing desk, Caro provided an exciting live experience at Portsmouth Guildhall on September 25th that was enhanced exponentially by her extremely talented band who were a joy to watch.
It’s been four barren years since Franz Ferdinand’s last album, Tonight: Franz Ferdinand and, although it was the weakest of their now four releases, they have been sorely missed in that time. However, lead singer Alex Kapranos recently told BBC Breakfast that the gap probably “seemed bigger from the outside” as the band embarked upon a long world tour after the last album.
Regardless, they’re here now and although its title is wordy, Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action is full of right songs: this is what the catchphrase “all killer, no filler” was made for.
Although they’ll always be best remembered for Take Me Out, Franz Ferdinand have had some absolute gems on each and every one of their albums, and the singles are usually the catchiest and most eccentric of them all, as Do You Want To and Ulysses will also attest to; Love Illumination can now join that club as it is the catchiest thing by an actual guitar band (as opposed to the Robin Thickes and Carly Rae Jepsens of the world) in who-knows-how-long!
That’s it: today, Danny O’Donoghue announced via Twitter that he will be following in Jessie J’s footsteps and calling it a day on BBC’s The Voice. Both have been coaches on both seasons so far, along with Will.I.Am and Sir Tom Jones, but they now want to focus on their respective music careers: Jessie on promoting and touring her upcoming album, and Danny on moving forward with his band The Script.
The big question is: can The Voice keep going without two of its integral components? The four coaches have made no secret of their all or nothing approach to coaching together, but with Jessie and Danny’s announcements coming a week and a half apart, will the other two be coming later or have they been persuaded to stay? Only time will tell.