Wednesday February 26th (a rather chilly evening), well known venue Cambridge junction welcomed Canadian musician and actorKiefer Sutherland. Sutherland is extremely well known for some major movie roles as well as playing the unforgettable role of CTU agent Jack Bauer in the very popular TV series 24.However he isn’t just known for his acting career. As you may or may not know, he is also a dedicated and talented musician with many of his songs relating to his personal experiences in his lifetime. His musical style is primarily that of traditional country music however there is a great mix of rock and roll too.
Of course that evening, he wasn’t the only act to perform in J1. The night of music was kicked off by the country music all female trio The Adelaides. The band is made up of Paris Georgia, Alicia Alba & Abi Phillips and are originally from Birmingham, UK. They are gaining more and more recognition and growing their fan basewith each performance ever since their first tour with The Only Way Is Essex beauty turned country star Megan McKenna back in 2017. The ladies took to the stage around 8pm looked radiant dressed in somewhat stereotypical but fabulousboho/country chic attire including the infamous ‘cowboy hats‘ as they performed their hits while playing their own acoustic instruments.
The ladies had a great stage presence as they interacted well with the audience as they flew through their set. During their time on stage they performed a number of their singles including their first release “Leave” as well as their latest record “I’d Do It Again”, “Sweet Temptation” (which was actually recorded in Nashville,USA, the home of country music) and not forgetting the song that had me in hysterics with its memorable lyrics, “Jelly Baby” which by the way is the perfect song to listen to after a break up to see the funny side of things during a difficult situation. The Adelaides also performed a number of cover songs which included “Hit The Road Jack”, “Sweet Dreams” and the infamous “Jolene” which we all know from the ultimate country queen Miss Dolly Parton.
These Birmingham country sassy lasses are definitely worth checking out.
As expected after the finale song of the first act of the night there was a short interval where ticket holders were left to mingle and keep their cups topped up. Speaking of cups, the venue has recently moved to a more eco friendly option when it comes to purchasing from the two bars in the room. Attendees are encouraged to purchase a plastic refillable drinking cup for a small fee to save on waste and more than likely finances too. A lot of music venues and festivals have now adapted to this idea, so it’s great to see that Cambridge Junction have jumped on board too rather than using single use materials for beverages.
Around 9pm the lights dimmed, instrumental music played and band members walked onto the stage. The last person to make their appearance was of course the night’s main act. Kiefer Sutherland!
The actor/musican was hidden for most of his opening song by his wide brimmed hat, however that really didn’t matter. The music was great, the lighting was colourful and the atmosphere was buzzing with excitement. Now I knew that the man had stamina going by his numerous acting roles that I had previously seen him in but I really didn’t expect as much energy as I had seen from him that evening. Just amazing! The musician performed a wide variety of genres, country, rock and heartfelt ballads. Before he performed each song of the night he would take a few moments to tell the audience a story or a history of just how the song came to be. I’ve not seen an act with such great communication with their audience as much as Kiefer showed during his show. He would often talk to the fans in front of him as if he had known them for years, he had also shared many personal stories about himself and his family. One of the most prominent ones was about his mother becoming incredibly unwell and him rushing to be by her side only to arrive and find her happy and filling the room with her lovable humour. It was definitely a story that tugged on the heartstrings. He also expressed his fondness for country music legend Johnny Cash.
The recording artist performed his hits “Shirley Jean”, “Going Home”, “I’ll Do Anything”, “Saskatchewan” and many more. He finished the evening with the energy fused “Agave” where Sutherland was seen regularly interacting with his band and making good use of the space on stage while generally just rocking out like the awesome guy you’d expect him to be.
On a personal note, this is the first live music event I had attended in the last year due to the fact I was expecting my second child. Now here and being rather sleep deprived I was apprehensive about feeling too tired to go to this show despite desperately wanting to go. Honestly I am so, so glad that I did. Not only did I get to stand in the same room as Jack Bauer (being a total ’24’ fan) which was awesome in itself but the music I heard that night was definitely what I needed to hear to introduce myself back into the writing game. If you ever get the chance to see either The Adelaides or Kiefer Sutherland live then I highly recommend that you take up such an opportunity.
A few years ago, one evening I started browsing through music videos on YouTube and came across Mongolian rock band The Hu. I remember thinking how different these guys were and that I doubt they would ever tour the UK, but i was proven quite wrong. In 2019 they played in the UK and then announced a Spring European and UK tour for 2020. All the shows had sold out. I was lucky enough to attend their show at the legendary Electric Ballroom in Camden, London on Tuesday 11th February. It was a cold evening in which I was warmed up when entering the venue to a packed out room with eager fans awaiting for the music to start.
Up first was support act , the American heavy metal band, Fire From The Gods who put on a great performance full of energy and built up the crowds anticipation for The Hu. Fire From The Gods will be performing Download festival this year on The Dogtooth Stage so make sure you check them out.
During the interval the crowd were mingling, drinking and loudly chanting ‘HU! HU! HU!’ When the time had come for The Hu to enter the stage the four main band members stood along the front of the stage with a backing band behind. The band had initially formed back in 2016 and have since gained a huge following online with 624k subscibers on Youtube alone! The members are Jaya, Gala, Temka and Enkush. The band were dressed in Mongolian attire with leather and top knots.
The traditional Mongolian instruments were amazing to see with the horsehead fiddle, Mongolian guitar, Jaw Harp and the Monglian flute. The craftsmanship on the instruments were quite incredible. The band bring together traditional Mongolian music with their throat singing and combine it with heavy metal.
The opening song is Shoog Shoog followed by other songs off their debut album The Gereg. The band also performed Black Thunder which has become widely recognisable after being featured on the hugely successful 2019 Star Wars game Jedi: Fallen Order.
The members didn’t appear to have a good grasp of the English language knowledge apart from “Thank You”, but honestly it really didn’t matter as the audience could still relate to the band during their set.
They are one of the most intriguing bands I had ever seen as they have created such an unusual yet enjoyable style of music based on throat singing. They put on a great show and I can highly recommend checking them out if you have not already.
TODD IN THE HOLE RETURNS FOR YEAR THREE WITH A ROYAL INTERNATIONAL LINE UP
Todd in the Hole is back for its third year and is proud to announce tribute acts ‘The Killerz’, ‘Mused’ and Australian legends Queen Tribute ‘Killer Queen Experience’.
The Hertfordshire based festival has found great success in years one and two, and prides itself on providing entertainment for all ages, making a name for itself for its nostalgic headliners and local talent, catering for all.
As well as the musical entertainment, the festival has fantastic catering, family entertainment and kids area and a stunning range of local stalls for all the festival gubbins you might want or need.
“Thank you for an amazing weekend full of great music, all of the bands were awesome, lots of fun & laughter with beautiful friends & family, it really was just perfect & I loved every single minute of it” – 2019
After a three year hiatus, indie artist Bombay Bicyle Club made their return last year with a few select shows and a headline performance at Wilderness Festival. The band also announced that they were recording a new studio album and touring once again in 2020.
The band consists of Jack Steaman, Edward Nash, Jamie MacColl and Suren de Saram.
The first stop of their current UK tour was in Cambridge where they had arranged an instore signing and live set at Fopp. Shortly after the signing, they were due to perform at Cambridge Corn Exchange for their evening show, which was a sell out!
Not only did ticket holders get a great deal for their money when purchasing their tickets for the big return of BBC, but they were also treated to performances from support acts too. First up was Liz Lawrence , a solo artist from London. She appeared on Bombay Bicycle Club’s latest album ‘Everything Else Has Gone Wrong’. She performed a few songs which saw the night set off to a great start.
After a short interval the second act entered which were four piece all female band The Big Moon. They perfomed songs from both albums in which their second album which had only just released ten days before the show and peaked at position 19 of the UK album charts. Its clear that these girls are going to do quite well on the music scene in the near future.
Soon after the end of the second of the night’s support act, everyone was left eagerly awaiting for the main act of the night to make their way to the stage. The background of the stage had two rock like ramps at the back and four squared lights at the top. The band entered with two other members (including Liz Lawrence).
The first song to hear from them was ‘Eat,Sleep,Wake (Nothing But You). After performing a few new songs, band member Jack said they had celebrated the ten year anniversary of their debut album ‘I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Off’ last year which was a reason the band decided to get back together. The crowd really loved to hear these classics. With the band’s music, everyone could dance along and have a great time. After the encore they perfomed the title track of the new album and ended with the single ‘Always Like This’. The band also mentioned they would be doing a signing after the show in the foyer at the merchandise stand.
I have a feeling that Bombay Bicycle Club will be in high demand when it comes to the festival scene throughout 2020.
There are still dates available on their UK tour and European and American shows, so make sure you go and check them out.
At one of Camdens most well known venues, on Friday 13th December, the doors of The Electric Ballroom opened to welcome Australian rock/alternative band The Faim. The band have had anabsolutely fantastic year which has included touring the world on their own tour as well as appearing at some of the biggest festivals, they also released their highly anticipated debut album ‘State Of Mind’.
Kickstarting the evening at the venue were Californian band Cemtery Sun. These guys really knew how to put on a show! The audience appared to really enjoy their very energetic set. The guys have announced that they will be returning to the UK in 2020.
After a short interval which gave us enough time to grab a quick drink and a nosey at the merch stand, the second act of the night to take to the stage were Hot Milk, a male and female dual fronted emo power-pop band from Manchester. 2019 has been a very busy year for them, having played 69 shows in 20 different countries! Without a dount, this band will be ones to look out for as they areexpecting to be making it big on the music scene next year. The audience got to see them playing numerous hits inluding ‘Wide Awake’, ‘Awful Ever After’ and their latest single ‘Candy Coated Lie$’.
Later in the evening came the act that we had all been waiting for, The Faim. The lights dimmed on walked Steve rocking a heavy bassline ready for the rest of the band to join. The band played a variety of songs from their album and their earlier EP release. As expected after seeing previous live shows from the band, their entire set proved to show so much passion, energy and a huge appreciation for their ever growing fanbase.
After seeing the band first perform back in early 2018 supporting Lower Than Atlantis its great to see how much they have grown as artists and also how they have diversified their music. They really have come such a long way in such a short space of time. At the end of the night it was clear to see that they were incredibly thankful for their fans, family and friends as the band members eyes were filled with emotion.
The Faim have announced that they will be back in 2020, I can assure you, I don’t intend on missing out on seeing them perform live again, so neither should any of you reading this article. Defintely a band that we here at Summer Festival Guide can reccomend time and time again as they never ever fail to put on an amazing show!
On Friday 6th December in the remarkable city of Cambridge, we waited in anticipation outside the doors of the Corn Exchange. A fantastic venue to which has played host to many events including music artists, theatre productions, comedians and more. The reason why we were there was to attend another awesome event The Darkness live! The Darkness are an alternative rock band originally from Lowestoft. The act formed back in the year 2000. The band consists of musicians Justin Hawkins on vocals and lead guitar, Dan Hawkins on guitar, Frankie Poullain on bass and last but not least Rufus Tiger Taylor on drums and percussion.
Upon entering the venue, our photographer and I came into the foyer, which inclued a bar at either side and also a merch stall selling products for both The Darkness and also the evening’s support act Rews. The venue filled up fairly quickly with eager and excited fans.
First, to take to the stage, were Rews, a female fronted alt/rock band that formed in Northern Ireland back in 2014. Shauna Tohill, Ele Lucas and Scott Hislop really got the night off to an energetic start! Their first realeased albums were titled ‘Pyro’ and ‘Your Tears’. The band were so full of energy filling the stage with jump kicks and lots of dance action. They sang a total of eight hits, including ‘Shake Shake’, ‘Can You Feel It?’ and their latest single ‘Birdsong’. Their music had a great variation in style, so there was something for everyone, including a mix from heavier rock to softer more ballad like tones. A great all rounder. The band showed great interaction with the crowd and you could tell the audience really loved their musical styles. Their new album is due for release in 2020, so make sure to be on the look out for that!
After a short interval, the band members of the night’s headline act, The Darkness entered wearing white suits and Justin Hawkins donning his expected flamboyant and show stopping attire. The band had performed two sets on the night in which they played the whole of their lastest album ‘Easter Is Cancelled’ and then the second half of their show featured their older well known hits. The audience was a wide range of ages, from older generations, to younger ones. Their was one young lad in the crowd who looked only around six years old, who was clearly having the time of his life, sitting on his parent’s shoulders wearing a sleeveless denim jacket with band patches on. His parents must be so proud!
There were 3 arches decorated with lights at the back of the stage in which cartoon clips were playing during the band’s set, this included cows in a field and also characters from the James Cameron’s infamous film Titanic. On the last song of the first half the band all except Justin left the stage. Justin was left on stage with just an acoustic guitar in which he sung ‘We Are The Guitar Men’.
After another short break, Frankie came back on stage with a cow bell and got the crowd to clap along with the beat of the bell. After a quick costume change the band returned to the stage once more. Justin wore a festive red jumpsuit with the front uncovered showing his tattoos and all kinds of nipple.
Justin was brilliant at getting the crowd involved with the show. He was getting them to try and reach the same pitches that he can even chanting out “F**k’. The whole room filled with amusement and ended up singing throughout the whole performance. When the initial bars of their infamous 2003 hit ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’ were played everyone was elated and sang along. The night was brought to a close in the only festive way that it could have been, the band ended with their Christmas song ‘Christmas Time (Dont Let The Bells End)’, this was great as Christmas is only a few short weeks away.
Both bands were highly enjoyable to watch live and a definite must see if you get the chance.
Sunday 3rd November was a day that I had waited to experience for a long time. I was going to see a music act that I had been excited to see perform live since I was around 10 years old! That act is nineties and noughties boy band A1.
The band originally formed as a quartet in the late nineties. Consisting of band members Mark, Ben, Christian and Paul, they had seen huge success around the world after releasing well known singles Everytime, Summertime, Like A Rose, Same Old Brand New You, Caught In The Middle and the huge hit Take On Me – a cover single of the well known classic by Aha! A1‘s version of the track actually went straight to number one in the UK music charts while Aha only reached a number two position! In that time the band had also released three albums. Sadly, around five years into their expanding career and shortly after the release of their third album ‘Make It Good’, band member Paul Marazzi had announced his departure from A1 due to personal reasons. The fan base were left feeling concerned for the future of the band since the news broke.
Thankfully, remaining band members Ben, Christian and Mark had come to a decision to keep the act going under their original band name as trio. Since then they have seen a huge increase in fans over in Norway and Asia. They have also since released a few more albums and worked on their own solo material too.
Just a short time ago, in mid 2018, former singer Paul decided to reach out to band member Christian during A1’s brief period of appearances in the UK at the time and had asked arrange to meet the guys to catch up, in which they all did. Thankfully for both original and new fans, the band decided to reunite as the original line up and hit the road once again. So A1 The Reunion Tour was announced including shows in three UK locations. The guys had purposely chosen to play at smaller venues with just a few select dates as they weren’t sure just how well the Reunion shows would be recieved in the UK as they hadn’t fully persued their careers there for a number of years. Oddly enough, due to popular demand a fourth show was added to their UK dates, which to the band’s surprise, later meant that all of their UK shows had completely sold out in just four minutes!
It’s very clear that the guys of A1 and their management team were keen to really make the reunion work, they seem happy and enthusiastic about the future of the band. I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to meet and interview them before they went on stage at their second London show, the Islington 02 Academy. Honestly, all four band members seemed very comfortable with each other and quite at ease and excited about all of the reunion shows in general. It appeared like Paul had never even departed at all. Upon first meeting the band, our photographer and I were greeted by management and taken to the VIP lounge where the meet and greets were taking place before the show. And there they were, all four original members of a band that I had admired for years just standing by the bar smiling for photos.
It wasn’t long until the two of us were introduced to the band and then taken downstairs to their two small dressing rooms to conduct a full interview. Now, I have only done a handful of interviews before as I’m usually too nervous to bring myself to actually do them, let alone perform in a professional manner. And in all honesty this is the one I was most anxious about doing. However, I’ve never been made to feel so welcome, calm and relaxed at a show that I have attended and reviewed. Ever! I have never met a nicer group of people! Christian provided us with traditional Norwegian spiced Christmas biscuits and bottles of water, I had discussed parenting and the wonder of baby wipes with Paul, Mark made sure we were comfortable by moving things around to make room for us to sit down on the leather sofa within the dressing room and Ben was talking to us as casually as you would speak to your best friend while doing his hair for the upcoming show. Fortunately, I was able to record the chat I had with the band as I asked them a variety of questions about their reunion, performing again as four members on stage and the potential of new music and future tours. I have used our photographer’s photos to create a video showcasing the live show and the interview that took place. Very kindly, both management and all members of A1 were happy to allow me to publish the audio recording for all of you to hear. The audio clip video and images will be linked in with this review, but here are a segments that I have picked out to share with you!
I expressed how excited that fans (including myself) were to see the original line up back together and once again performing live too. So of course I had to ask them how they felt about the big reunion.
Q: So how are you feeling about it being back as four? Ben: “It feels great! It’s a bit like riding a bike, it was a bit strange at first, Christian, myself and Mark had continued on for ages and ages and it had been about fifteen years since you joined (looking at Paul), initially it was a bit like oh, ok it feels a bit familiar and a bit weird, but like no time had passed really.”
Q: How are you feeling about all of your reunion shows? Mark: “Really good!”
Ben: “Really Great! The fans have been frickin brilliant because we’ve been tryingto work out what to do with the set, it’s funny, we’ve had big songs that were different in different countries so one song has been number 1 in the Phillappenes and over here (UK), they’ve never heard of it. So we just thought lets do everything! Everybody knows the words to pretty much every single song and that’s the beauty of Spotify and things like that now.”
Paul: “We knew it was going to be big as it sold out so quick.”
So now over twenty years on since the beginning of A1, of course I was curious to know how being in the band differs now compared to back in the day. Christian: “One of the biggest differences is that before, we would literally wake up to a sheet coming in under the door of our hotel rooms saying what we are going to do that day, starting at like 6am! Then we’d have dinner while doing other interviews getting ready for another gig and then fly to the next country. Now we are much more in control of our day. Generally we now have more control over our lives and what we say. We also have a better attitude this time around as there was a lot of pressure and money invested in us, so there was a lot expected from us.”
Ben: “Now, no one expects anything”
Christian: “Everything is just a bonus now and we are having a lot more fun. We are better songwriters now and better musicians than we were twenty years ago.” Just like any other A1 fan, I of course have my favourite tracks. I expressed to the band that I remember spending a lot of time in my bedroom during my early teen years playing ‘Caught In The Middle’ on my acoustic guitar, but there is one song of theirs in particular that will always have a special place in my heart, their ballad ‘Like A Rose’. So I was intruigued to see if the band members themselves had any preferences of their own.
Christian: “To me, it’s always ‘Everytime’. It was one of the first songs that broke us internationally, I remember so clearly when we wrote it and the thoughts that we had. I remember this dream I had in my head thinking wouldn’t it be so awesome if one day this melody and these lyrics that started in our little heads, if someone on the other side of the planet knew them, and that’s what happened! We had the biggest dream come true moment!”
Q: What else have we got to expect from A1? Ben: “The Boys Are Back tour next year, a new album, then booking in more and more concerts and we love doing the full hour and a half concerts with all the songs that fans want to hear. They don’t just wanna hear the hits, they wanna hear all the album tracks, all the B sides and everything like that.”
Christian: “It’s quite mind blowing that people still want to hear us all over the world. Over the years A1 has become a bit of a side project for us, but now it’s taken over as the main project for all of us.”
So there you have it, it’s official. There’s still plenty more of A1 to come!
The Reunion Show As the gig was completely sold out, this meant the venue at the London o2 Islington Academy was completely jam packed with excited fans! Both newcomers (including partners that had clearly been dragged along to the event, admit it you know you had a great time!) and original fans from all twenty years ago. Originally, a support act was planned to get the crowds ready for the main event! However due to unforseen circumstances there was a cancellation of their appearance. However many didn’t mind as this meant that A1 were due to come on stage earlier in the evening.
Around 9pm, the lights dimmed, a screen at the back of the stage displayed a variety of graphics and a gentle accapella tone could be heard, Yep! This was it! Time for Ben, Paul, Mark and Christian to open their long awaited reunion show! The band opened their show by performing before even appearing on stage with their beautiful ballad ‘Forever In Love’. As the track faded out they appeared on stage with lots of enthusiasm as they continued on to perform one of their biggest hits ‘Same Old, Brand New You’ with original chorepgraphy while under bright flashing lights, which was quite something to see!
The band went on to perform ‘Be The First To Believe’ and ‘Summertime’ before taking a moment out to talk to the audience and welcome back Paul to the line up. He proved to be very popular with the audience and all were glad to see him return. He was applauded and met with screams and a lot of appreciation. Marazzi then introduced a song of his choice that he was really looking forward to perform back with the rest of the band. And he made a good choice (yes, slight pun there), he chose the title track from their third studio album ‘Make It Good’. All four members interacted with the fans with such ease, continuously checking in with everyone there, asking where fans had travelled from, encouraging interaction through choreography, the works!
Of course we got to hear all of the hits as expected which included ‘No More’, ‘Everytime’ (which was met with a room of swaying lights from torches on mobile phones), ‘Ready Or Not’ and many more, but when the band had told me in their interview before the show that they had tried to fit in everything, they weren’t joking around. I’ve never been to a live show for a band where they have managed to perform as many tracks as A1 did there that evening. One clever way to fit in so many of their songs was to perform a medley, but no ordinary medley. They titled this selection of tracks ‘The Songs We Never Did’ a play on words referring to their track ‘The Things We Never Did’. This medley included ‘Here Comes The Rain’, ‘Tomorrow’, ‘Make It Through The Night’ (which was brought to an abrupt, yet amusing end as singer Ben decided he “didn’t like that one much”), ‘Learn To Fly’, ‘Living The Dream’, When I’m Missing You’ as well as a the more upbeat songs ‘Hey You’ and a snippet of a personal favourite album track of mine ‘Scared’. You see? They really did put in a lot of effort to get everything in, which of course went down very well with the audience there that evening.
For the majority of the medley,the four members were sat on stools, and one band member decided to share what we were all thinking during this segment of their set. Yes, Ben Adams made that very obvious musical link to Irish based band Westlife. In his own words he announced “I can see why Westlife like to do this!”. This simple and amusing statement was met with a huge roar of laughter from the crowds stood before him.
What was great to see was that the band performed the songs that the UK fans know very well and love too, however to show how they have progressed as musicians they also showcased some of their material that was released in other parts of the world which included their singles ‘Don’t Wanna Lose You Again’, ‘In Love And I Hate It’, their latest release – the beautifully written ‘Armour’ and also a brand new track which was exclusive to their UK reunion shows. The new song ‘Can We Go Back’ is very personal to all of the band members as it is a song about looking back on past fond memories. This composition was so exclusive that we were politely asked not to film or record them while performing it.
In an attempt to round off the night’s performance A1 performed one of their biggest hits to date, ‘Caught In The Middle’ before then exiting to the right side of the stage. I say an attempt to bring the evening to a close, as everyone there that evening had realised that there were a couple more very well known A1 hits that hadn’t yet been mentioned. The entire audience were very much in demand of hearing more music as the room was taken over by fans chanting “We want more!” and “three more songs!” As we had anticipated Paul, Mark, Christian and Ben returned to the stage once more to perform an encore segment of their set. This segment included the stunning ‘Like A Rose’ and most likely their biggest hit to date ‘Take On Me’ which brought the show to an actual close.
This show had everything that I had expected it would, great music at a huge variety, fantastic lighting and graphics on stage, amazing audience interaction, nostalgia for many and most importantly four happy, energetic and very talented band members that fans clearly still adore twenty years on! All A1 band members, management and their families should feel incredibly proud of these reunion shows, not just in the UK but all around the world. And I for one am so excited to hear new material from them in the future! Thank you A1 for being “The Same Old, Brand New You”.