Declan welsh & the decadent west

Leeds Lending Library - Nov 19

With their debut album ‘Expensively Bought, Cheaply Sold’ released in October, 4 piece Scottish band The Decadent West fronted by Declan Welsh are currently in the midst of a UK tour, which saw them call in at the Lending Library in Leeds recently.

Their powerful indie/punk style has been attracting many admirers of late, and this year has even seen them play a slot at Glastonbury. 

Naturally enough, this set featured many tracks from their critically acclaimed album, and from their opening tune ‘How Does Your Love’ they immediately reminded me of early Arctic Monkeys, which by the way is intended as a compliment!

This band have a message to get across, and Declan Welsh is clearly a passionate and articulate singer, who spoke about the his experiences in Palestine earlier this year, which resulted in the epically noisy ‘No Pasaran’ about the injustices that are carried out on a daily basis in that part of the world. 

Absurd’ was one of the standout tracks for me, with its instantly catchy chorus and album opener ‘No Fun’ is delivered in a gloriously chaotic style and is 3 minutes of pure mayhem, and for these two tunes alone, I would urge you to get along and see them live. Their album it has to said is very good, but their live performance is frankly another level.

This is a talented band with things to say, know how to write catchy tunes and with luck could be ‘The next big thing’.

Set list:

·  How Does Your Love

·  So It Goes

·  Absurd

·  Turn Me On

·  Do What You Want

·  Different Strokes

·  No Pasaran

·  Shiny Toys

·  No fun

·  Be Mine

·  Never Go Home

·  Times



Leeds Stylus - Nov 19

Palace took to the stage on Friday at Leeds University Stylus on their sold out headline European tour. With the band touring in support of their latest album ‘Life After’ which was released in July this year Palace delivered a fantastic set which had a very unique sound. 

Taken from their first album Palace opened the gig with ‘So Long Forever’ which with its driving and drum line and indi style guitars set the tone of the gig from the start and got the crowd singing from the off. 

The London based Trio powered through tracks from their both of their albums and kept the crowd singing throughout.

Palace have a great indi sound and live it is a joy to hear but the thing that really sets this band apart is frontman Leo Wyndham’s very unique voice which has a haunting sound but was truly captivating. Leo’s voice is very reminiscent of Joe Newman of Alt-J and is in part what gives Palace their distinctive sound.

‘Berlin’ was one of the was one of the main highlights of the gig as this got the crowd singing and dancing. This was then followed up with ‘Live Well’ which allowed Leo Wyndham to take a break from singing with the crowd taking over and singing this back to the band creating a fantastic connection between the band and the audience. 

This connection persisted through to the end of the gig and Palace rode this wave into the end of the show playing ‘Veins’ which has a fantastic blues feel and was a different sound to the rest of the set and one of my personal favourite moments of the gig. 

Palace then closed the show with ‘Bitter’ which along with ‘Veins’ are the bands first two singles released in 2014 and closed the show in style. 

Off the back of their most recent album ‘Life After’ Palace have enjoyed great success on a sold out European tour and from this performance it is easy to see why. Unfortunately there are only a few dates left to catch Palace but if you get chance in the future this is a band you should absolutely go and see.

Set List:

So Long Forever

Have Faith


Holy Smoke

No Other


Live Well

Life After


All In My Stride



O2 Leeds - Nov 19

On a sub-zero night a near capacity crowd welcomed back to the O2 in the midst of a UK tour on the back of their recently released album ‘Metronomy Forever’. And it was clear from the very start that this was something like a home gig based on the reaction from the audience who more than happy to sing along from the start. 

Formed back in 99 this band they didn’t actually release their first album until 2006, but it would be fair to say that they’ve been somewhat prolific since then and their latest album is now their 6th offering since their debut.

Whilst Joe Mount is the frontman, it’s hard not to notice the charismatic bass player Nigerian born Olubenga Adelekan, who bounces around the stage whipping up the crowd throughout the set. With Anna Prior on drums and Oscar Cash and Michael Lovett on keyboards, their distinctive dance/indie cross over style is expertly delivered to an appreciative O2.

Tracks from their new album are well received throughout the set with ‘Lately’ and ‘Wedding Bells’ featuring their distinctive guitar/synth dance crossover sound, and my personal favourite ‘Walking In The Dark’ with its earworm chorus was just one of the highlights of the evening for me.

Of course they now have an extensive back catalogue which they can utilise, and ‘Boy Racers’, ‘Reservoir’and ‘Old Skool’ are evidence of a band of a band who know a good tune when they write one!

Too many bands these days, seem to stop musically moving forward after their first 2 or three albums, but this isn’t something that you could accuse Metronomy of. 

Their new music continues to evolve and whilst they’re happy to include fan favourites such as closer ‘Radio Ladio’ from 2008 album ‘Nights Out’ they’re not afraid to add dollops of the new music to their shows and the crowd certainly seemed to appreciate that. 

If your idea of a good night is dancing around to quality dance/indie crossover band with infectious disco Casio keyboard elements thrown in for good measure, then Metronomy are the band for you.

Set List:

·  Wedding

·  Lately

·  Wedding Bells

·  Corinne

·  Whitsand Bay

·  Everything Goes My Way

·  She Wants

·  Reservoir

·  Walking In The Dark

·  Boy Racers

·  Lying Low

·  Old Skool

·  Insecurity

·  I’m Aquarius

·  End Of You Too

·  The Look

·  Love Letters

·  Sex Emoji

·  Upset My Girlfriend

·  Radio Ladio



Leeds Beckett - Nov 19

It’s been a while since I have been to a gig at the Leeds Beckett Student Uni, by my reckoning over 10 years. 

The last time I was there was mid-summer of whatever year it was and there was a lot of flesh on show, none of it mine I might add. Tonight’s visit was  autumnal bordering on deepest bleak mid-winter. It was freezing, I mean toe curling, teeth chattering, long john wearing freezing. The sort of cold that even a couple of swift medicinal pints of Amber Nectar couldn’t touch, although in the interests of research, I did try!

Taking my position front left of stage as close to the barriers as I could, I was in fully zipped up parka coat with more layers underneath than a Jamaican bobsledder arriving for the first time at the winter Olympics.  

Turning to watch the crowd start to fill up I was bemused to see, striding confidently across the floor a man dressed in shorts and bereft of any sort of shirt shirt, gliding past me and beyond the barrier to be challenged by the security with, ‘Have you got a pass?’ to which he responded ‘Nah mate I’m off on stage’ before striding up the steps and taking his seat at the drums. This was my very first experience of anything Novacub, tonight’s support act, and to be honest I already liked them!!

The band, a 4 piece from London and supporting Feeder for a number of shows on this tour were showcasing their new EP ‘Future echoes’ The 30 minute set gave a great insight to what the future may well echo for this band as they gave an energetic performance which quickly explained the lack of winter Olympic clothing on display. 

They showed a great repertoire of sounds and are clearly a band that will refuse to be pigeonholed into any specific genre of music. From ‘lifetime’ a tuneful song about falling in love to the anger of ‘We don’t care’ taken form the new EP which was a fusion of heavy rock, rap and complete with megaphone was delivered with real quality. They rapped things up with ‘I still need it’ and ‘Strike’ both from the new EP which is one that will definitely be added to my playlist.

So onto tonight’s headliners and  the reason I was back in a student uni for the first place. Watching bands like Feeder play in venues like this is for me what live music is all about, it isn’t particularly small, it holds 1100 people but there is something special about the intimacy of this sort of venue that you just cannot recreate at any stadium or arena no matter who is on stage.

My expectations were high, the venue was packed to the rafters and with a roar of approval to match anything the Kop end at the nearby Elland Road could produce we were up and running with ‘Youth’ from the band’s new album ‘Tallulah’.  

In fairness this was a gig that was a bit of a slow burner, the new music, was, as expected well received  but it wasn’t until the band took us back to 2005 (has it really been that long???) with ‘Feeling a Moment’ that the pace really quickened and the crowd burst into life. More new music followed and the opportunity for a singalong with ‘Fear of Flying’ giving the crowd enough ‘Uh Oh Uh Oh’s to sing back at the band to keep even the late great Freddie Mercury happy. We dipped in and out of the decades for a while with ‘just the way I’m feeling’ and ‘Eskimo’ offering the bread to a ‘Kyoto’ sandwich, another from the new album.

We took a mid-session breather with more new songs ‘Kite’ and title track ‘Tallulah’ which offered a more gentle, melodic sound which was almost anthem like in its delivery and I have to say it is a change of pace to the more dramatic rock sound of the past and one that I really liked. 

However we were soon back on the fun-bus and careering headlong into the big finish we demanded. ‘Insomnia’ ignited a pogo fest that had the place literally rocking before ‘Seven days in the Sun’ teed up the big finish with ‘Buck Rogers’ almost literally bringing the house down on a fantastic evening.

There was of course time for a brief encore by which time I was sweating like a turkey at the Christmas market, but did I care? Not a bit! What a night, what a gig and it will definitely not be another 10 years before I am back for some more.

Reviewed by Roger McGivern

Photos by Laura Toomer



elder island

Wardrobe, Leeds - Nov 19

I first came across this band earlier this year at the excellent Live at Leeds 2019, which showcases loads of new bands, and for me  they were one the genuine highlights of the whole day, so I was pleased to see that they were going to call into Leeds on their current UK tour. 

So, it was then that a freezing Autumn night in Leeds was nicely warmed up by the welcome return of Bristol based trio Elder Island. Fronted on vocals by Katy Sargent, Luke Thompson providing epic beats and Bass, and Dave Havard on synths and guitar, the near capacity Wardrobe venue was treated to a night of beautifully layered, hypnotic trance like tunes. 

As expected, much of their set tonight featured tracks from their most recent release ‘The Omnitone Collection’, an album that simply gets better every time you listen to it and frankly should be in everyones collection. 

Elder Island are actually a 3-piece band, but thanks their great harmonies, clever looping and effective use of keyboards and synths they actually sound like a small orchestra, and this ability is employed to great effect throughout the set. 

Opening track ‘Stranger Exchange’ sets the tone for the evening with what is becoming their trademark of a nice slow build up featuring Katy’s distinctively smoky and dream like vocals, overlaying deep and subtle bass line, supplemented by an insistent synth hook line.

A slightly funky edge is introduced with ‘Don’t Lose’ and again this is a beautiful slow burner that builds up into a full work out and has the appreciative crowd dancing. Throughout their set, each track simply emphasises and underlines what a great band Elder Island are, and the critical acclaim they’ve received along the way is justifiably deserved. 

This is a band that seem to be at the ‘paying their dues’ stage of their careers, and if slightly ethereal, subtle and intelligent dance music is your thing, then I would urge you to look this band up and go along and see them if you get the chance. 

If the audience reaction to tonight’s gig was anything to go by, it’s surely only a matter of time before the rest of the world discover what a truly great band Elder Island are.

Set list:

·  Stranger Exchange

·  You + I

·  Bonfires

·  Don’t Lose

·  Kape Fear

·  Bamboo

·  Black Fur

·  Wasteland

·  Fortunate

·  JPP

·  Welcome State

·  Big Unknown


lighthouse family

Victoria Theatre, Halifax - Nov

Lighthouse Family are made up of duo Tunde Baiyewu on vocals and Paul Tucker on keyboards, and it is no exaggeration to say that these boys were major players in the 90’s, particularly with the release of 2 albums, namely ‘Ocean Drive’ and ‘Postcards From Heaven’.

It was their single ‘Lifted’ (which ironically had to re-released in 96 before it really took off) which went on to shift a colossal number of units and made The Lighthouse Family a household name. 

Since then they have been having families, and doing their own projects, but now they are back with a new album ‘Blue Sky In Your Head’ and are now in the middle of a UK tour, which was preceded earlier this year with a few mini warm up gigs to celebrate the release of their new album this summer.

It was therefore a full Victoria Theatre in Halifax that welcomed The Lighthouse Family back on stage and they certainly didn’t disappoint. From the outset it was clear that time has been kind to Tunde’s vocals chords, and his voice with its distinctive warm, honey like sound was still as rich and distinctive as ever. 

The new material was warmly received because, well, it’s that distinctive Lighthouse sound that everyone recognises, and with an accomplished band and backing vocals adding to the mix, the sound was literally like listening the recorded versions. 

Of course, one of the highlights of the night and what everyone was waiting for was ‘Lifted’ which immediately got everyone out of their seats and was the first of many tracks that had the crowd dancing in the aisle.

Both Tunde and Paul endeared themselves to the crowd with their inter song chat about their families, and how the material on the new album was put together. 

Apparently Paddy McGuinness earlier this year gave them some advice and suggested that they should simply play all the big tunes, but as good as they are, there is no denying that the years haven’t diminished their ability to write a good tune in the distinctive style of theirs, and judging by the age range of the people who were at the gig, they are still attracting new fans all the time.  

Will they achieve the lofty heights of the 90’s this time around? 

Difficult to say… Musically in 2019 it’s a very different landscape now, (Spotify, Apple etc) and with literally dozens of TV and online music channels, it’s much harder to stand out from the crowd, but one thing I can say for sure is that the Lighthouse Family sound is still in remarkably good shape. 

Their new album was well received and judging the reaction of the crowd, there is still a demand for the type of easy going, laid back soulful sounds that is this bands signature style.

If you’re quick, you might still be able to catch them on their current tour, full details can be found the at the link below.

Set list:

·  My Salvation

·  Blue Sky In Your Head

·  Question Of Faith

·  Put My Heart On You

·  Lifted

·  Run

·  Raincloud

·  Postcard From Heaven

·  Live Again

·  Ocean Drive

·  Lost In Space

·  Who’s Gonna Save Me Now

·  Clouds

·  High

·  I Wish I Could Know How It Feels

·  The Streetlights And The Rain


Stereo Mc's

Brudenell, Leeds - Nov 19

Hard to believe it I  know, but the Stereo MC’s have been around for over 30 years and based on the performance I witnessed at the Brudenell on their current UK tour, they still know how to deliver the goods. 

Frontman Rob Birch prowls the stage like to a caged tiger and ably supported by original member Nick Hallam, this set shows just why the Stereo MC’s were at the vanguard of the UK Hip Hop/dance movement in the early to mid 90’s, and are still at the top of their game.

Whilst they may not be shifting as many units as they did when they released ‘Connected’ back in 92, the capacity crowd in Leeds loved every minute of their set.

Huge commercial success came their way with singles ‘Connected’ and ‘Step It Up’, and whilst they may be almost 30 years old, they sounded as fresh as ever tonight, and had the place bouncing. 

Ably supported by twin backing singers and percussion, they had the place bouncing throughout their set, and I was particularly impressed with ‘On 33’ from their debut album ’33-45-78’ which still to this day regularly appears on my play list.

Based on the age range of the audience at the gig, it’s apparent that they still continue to attract a new audience as well as the original old school B Boys, and in what is a competitive market, this is always good to see. 

There are still a few dates left on the current tour, so if you’re quick you may still catch a band that deliver great tunes and are still one of the finest dance outfits around.

Check out their back catalogue if you don’t believe me!



jools holland

St Georges Hall, Bradford - Nov 19

This is a man who has quite literally played with anyone whose anyone. Is considered one of the finest pianists of his age, was a founder member of Squeeze, hosts possibly the finest music on TV, and is the front man of his very rhythm & Blues band which has been touring the UK and the world for many years.

Whichever way you look at it, this is one hell of a CV, and a capacity crowd at the newly refurbed St Georges Hall welcomed Jools Holland and his band on stage as part of his current UK tour.

Straight from the start this was a high tempo set featuring of course his distinctive boogie woogie style, ably backed up his big band who frankly were some of the finest musicians to have graced this famous stage.

He immediately built up a rapport with the audience with his easy going and friendly manner, recounting humorous stories about Squeeze, and his long-term friendship with the ever-present Gilson Lavis on drums (original squeeze drummer).

In keeping with the programme, he hosts on TV, he also introduced 3 guest vocalists on stage in the shape of Louise Marshall, Eddi Reader and Ruby Turner.

Louise Marshall possesses a wonderful soulful voice, and the 3 songs she covered were well received by the audience. 

Mid way through proceedings, Jools Holland stepped offstage and left it to Gilson Lavis to show just how good a drummer he is with a blinding 5-minute solo. Usually these are often regarded as the kiss of death, but such was the unique delivery of this solo, it actually worked.

Back on stage, Holland went into Later…. mode and introduced Scottish singer Eddi Reader on stage. Probably best known as the former lead singer of Fairground Attraction, she showed that she has lost none of her distinctive vocal style, and of course she had to do ‘Perfect’ which was a huge hit with the Bradford crowd. However, the highlight of her short set for me was her take on the Edith Piaf track ‘La Vie En Rose’, which was beautifully delivered.

Interspersed throughout the evening, members of the big band took centre stage for solo sets and the crowd were up on their feet several times throughout the evening to show their appreciation of the high-quality musicianship on display.

Last guest of the evening was the mighty Ruby Turner who has been a long time Jools Holland collaborator, and she showed why she is regarded as one of the finest soul singers of her generation, and her passion and vocals were a real highlight of the evening.

The encore performance of ‘Enjoy Yourself (It’s Later Than You Think) brought the house and the curtain down on two hours plus set that seemed to fly by, and this gig was genuinely one of the highlights of the year for Wall of Sound. 

Jools Holland and his band will be touring throughout the UK for the rest of the year, and full details are available at the link below.

You really should catch this tour if possible. I guarantee you will love it!



Brudenell, Leeds - Nov 19

Following the release of the latest album ‘Photosynthesis’ this summer, Babybird visited Leeds as part of their mini 6 date UK tour. 

To all intents and purposes Babybird is Stephen Jones, accompanied by an everchanging rota of musicians, and of course the majority of people know the band for their global hit ‘You’re Gorgeous’ released in 1996. However, check out his discography and you will see just how prolific this songwriter has been, and indeed still is.

However as soon as the band took the stage, Stephen Jones immediately decided to have a pop at someone in the audience for some unknown reason, however when he saw the size of the bloke decided that maybe it wouldn’t be a good idea to carry on down that road!

I’ll be honest, and say it was difficult to see if this was nothing more than good natured banter or otherwise, but it seemed to create a slightly surreal feel in the venue.

Once the ‘banter’ was out of the way, Jones then and the band then got down to business and into ‘Black Flowers’ from the ‘Ex Maniac’ album, and his distinctive soaring Manc vocals kicked in ably supported by his band.

Between songs he relates a story of ‘The Fascist’ Morrissey and how he was stood behind him in a shop. At one point he also makes a comment about Nigel Farage, which personally I agreed with, but someone in the audience shouts what sounds like support for Farage, and again Jones turns on him, but stops short of escalating the issue!

Curiously between tunes he mentions that it’s a fine line between banter and being a tw*t. It’s as if he’s deliberately looking for a reaction from the audience, but at the same time knows he’s potentially playing with fire in provoking an adverse reaction from the crowd.

Throughout the set, there are many examples of the genuine quality that Jones possesses with his song writing and highlights for me personally were ‘Drugtime’ and of course ‘You’re Gorgeous’. Whilst darkness pervades many of his songs, they always seem to manage to sound uplifting and often humorous at the same time.

It would be fair to say that with his simmering and occasionally confrontational stage presence, widespread audience appeal may be a thing of the past, but my guess is that this isn’t something that Stephen Jones aspires to. 

On tonight’s viewing however, he is in my opinion a great songwriter, possesses a great voice and has something to say!

Just one gripe – I wish they had done ‘Atomic Soda’. Love that tune…

Set list:

·  Black Flowers

·  All Men Are Evil

·  Cornershop

·  Drugtime

·  Failed Suicide Club

·  The Little Things

·  Unloveable

·  In The Place Of Love

·  Dead Bird Sings

·  F Word

·  Eyes In The Back Of My Head

·  Bad Old Man

·  Back Together

·  The Life

·  You’re Gorgeous

·  Goodnight

·  The Way You Are

·  Take Me Back