Archive for the ‘Alternative Metal’ Category

Kate Nash - All hail the new Indie Queen, Live at the Sugarmill, Stoke-on Trent, Wednesday 24th April, 2013

Kate Nash – All hail the new Indie Queen, Live at the Sugarmill, Stoke-on Trent, Wednesday 24th April, 2013

Kate rocks Stoke as the cool new queen of Indie. Wednesday 24th April 2013

 

I witnessed two remarkable things this past week. Happening to be in the industrial midlands town of Stoke-on-Trent on other business I certainly was not looking to do anything other than pass an remarkable night tucked up in bed early-ish. But … I thought I would check local entertainments (there is a rather fine looking theatre, called The Regent, for example) on the off-chance.

Then, I struck musical gold. Discovering that there was a music club within 5 minutes’ walk from my hotel, it got better when I discovered one of my favourite singers – Kate Nash was performing that very night. However, nothing was to prepare me for the evening that lay ahead.

The Sugarmill , Stoke-on-Trent, which has to be the Midlands coolest music venue.

The Sugarmill , Stoke-on-Trent, which has to be the Midlands coolest music venue.

The tiny 400 capacity venue called The Sugarmill based in a backstreet of the cultural area of Hanley proved to one of the coolest music venues I have ever been to. It proved the perfect setting to witness the equally cool Kate Nash and her all female band complete a transformation from clever pop songtress to indie/post punk queen.

Kate emerged in 2007 with the polished Made of Bricks that subsequently went to No.1 and a major endorsement from Lily Allen as an artist to watch. Her music was much more piano based with the occasional acoustic number thrown in . Well, gone from this tour and reflecting her new album is the piano, and in is a new edgy bass and guitar sound that blends indie rhythms with west coast harmonies. Even Nash’s biggest hit “Foundations” was played piano less and given the guitar treatment.

Kate Nash and her all female band at The Sugarmill, Stoke-on-Trent, Wednesday 24th April, 2013

Kate Nash and her all female band at The Sugarmill, Stoke-on-Trent, Wednesday 24th April, 2013

There was a cinematic backdrop showing a montage with snippets of a younger Nash to start with before the band came on the pocket sized stage. Then, as if to announce her colours, three tracks from new album “Girl Talk”, and as in the album these were anything but girly. “Sister” starting off with Kate Nash almost angelic voice soon descended into a gritty manic outpouring while “Death Proof’s” unsettling but strangely pleasing lyrics and minor key melodies got methinking about a ride on a fairground ghost train with the 90s teenage animation character Daria. The up-tempo “All Talk” drilled the chorus “Action, Action, Words are only in my mouth” into my head to the extent that I am thinking of going on feminist marches in support of Miss Nash.

Still it was totally absorbing to see how Kate spat out some of the lyrics like a petulant teen almost as if exorcising some emotional past angst.

Seeing Red about female empowerment - Kate Nash at The Sugarmill, Stoke-on-Trent, UK, Wednesday 24th April, 2013

Seeing Red about female empowerment – Kate Nash at The Sugarmill, Stoke-on-Trent, UK, Wednesday 24th April, 2013

There were some lighter moments as well, especially when Kate bounced up and down and went off the stage and singing the “Do-Waa-Doo” song in amongst the audience. There had to be a pause afterwards as the microphone wire was unravelled from the crowd.

There were also long pauses as Kate relayed info on songwriting and music workshops with which she is involved for teenage girls; songwriting in keys of the C, G and F; standing on someone’s “fanny” to make the video for OMG and finally about being dropped from her record label last year. More fool the record label I say, as Kate has now set up her own one – Have 10p records – and has produced this fine 3rd album.

The concert was eventful: she even had to graciously silence a teenage heckler who said he’d only come along because his friend was in the support act.

Advertisements

 

 

Evanescence, Hammersmith Apollo, Saturday 5th November

 

 

In a week when their self titled new album went to No.1 in the US, Hammersmith Apollo theatre in London  was the venue to welcome back Evanescence after an absence of 4 years to UK shores.    Amy Lee, costumed as strikingly as ever came on stage in a black sleeveless top, purple tutu and goth boots. Commencing with the first track on the new album, What You Want, was a great re-introduction to the raw power of the group and the heartful piercing angst of Amy Lee’s voice.  This was followed up with the distinctly gothic and ethereal “Going Under”  in which Lee’s beautiful soprano voice  held extended notes  that could  be said to have  almost transformed perfectly pitched howls or wails. Weight of the World – the 3rd number played, had a kind of metal meets dramatic folk feel . You could have imagined the group “All about Eve “would have sounded similar had they had the metal guitar riffs behind them. Julianne Regan would be proud.

This concert was of course airing tracks from the new album and about two thirds of the tracks from that album were played making up about half the concert. They packed up a punch.  A mid section of the gig saw 4 played back to back – “The Change”, “Made of Stone”, “Lost in Paradise” and  “My Heart is Broken”. These last two had Lee demonstrating her deft skills as a classically trained pianist.

In general, the volume from the concert was loud – very loud making it into my top 5 loudest of all time but Lee’s voice was more than a match for the powerful grinding metal riffs.  The pace was quite constant and frenetic barely dying down and only at moments when Lee at the piano for ballads.

 

Throughout the concert the rest of the band remained more or less in place letting Amy march around the stage only breaking to go behind her keyboards stage left and the piano that was wheeled as required. There was not that much chat from Amy except to thank the fans for putting the band where they are now.

The set featured a fair smattering of tracks from the first two albums towards the end of the gig : Lithium ,  Good Enough , Call me when you’re sober from and Your Star  “The Open Door”  and “Imaginary” from  “Fallen”.

Predictably, the crowd exploded when “Bring Me Back to Life” brought the main set to a close. The sweetly sentimental song “My Immortal” brought the encore down to a relaxed conclusion and gave my ears a well rest from the battering volume. That said, Amy Lee’s voice was mesmerizing and at times felt like an emotional pic twanging away on the strings of your heart.