REAL GONE GOES OUT: Chris Helme – Star Shaped Festival, Kentish Town Forum, London 21/9/2019

It’s an uncharacteristically sunny Saturday afternoon in September. Most people are outside, filling their day with activities befitting of such good weather. For those who know where the day’s best value entertainment will be, though, the sun can (hopefully) shine another time. This day marks the fourth and final Star Shaped Festival event for 2019. The three previous events have seen Twitter abuzz with photos, tales of friends meeting and of a hefty dose of musical nostalgia. Hopes are running high for the final round in That London.
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REAL GONE GOES OUT: KOLARS – Ramsgate Music Hall, Ramsgate, Kent 29/6/2019

There’s a feeling of high spirits at a packed out Ramsgate Music Hall this evening. Part of that is due to summer having finally kicked in – we’ve just sweated our way through two of the hottest days of the year – but more than that, there’s a genuine excitement surrounding the return of tonight’s headliners, KOLARS. Despite being based in the US, Rob Kolar (vox, gtr) and Lauren Brown (drums, tap dancing) almost feel like they’re seaside dwellers from Kent by now and the locals love them. They’ve played the venue twice during the previous fifteen months, but they’re the kind of band people would come out for even if the venue booked them even more often. KOLARS are pretty enamoured with the small venue too, having chosen it to record live material back in July 2018.

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REAL GONE GOES OUT: Lamb of God – Wembley Arena, London 3/11/2018

When Lamb of God headlined a cold January night at the Brixton Academy in 2014, their performance bordered on woeful. Bad sound, a short setlist and a lot of time spent talking between songs resulted in a massive disappointment. With hindsight, the night’s opening act wiped the floor with them. In an energetic half-hour slot, Huntress, fronted by the spirited Jill Janus, showed a lot of energy and a willingness to please the audience, obviously being more than aware of how hard it is to be a relatively unknown support band. After the revelation that Jill took her own life in August 2018, that set is now a memory to treasure. Lamb of God’s, not so much.

Wembley Arena is packed to the rafters this evening. The night’s event – headlined by Slayer, but also featuring Obituary, Anthrax and Lamb of God – is a metal fan’s dream. Obituary have shown themselves to be true professionals even as underdogs, and Anthrax – stalwarts of 80s thrash – have put on a really fun support slot, showing why they’ve retained their legendary status.

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REAL GONE GOES OUT: Pixies – Roundhouse, London 1/11/2018

It’s Thursday night and the third night of the Pixies’ five day residency at London’s legendary Roundhouse, celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of the classics ‘Come On Pilgrim’ and ‘Surfer Rosa’. Reports suggest that last night’s show was amazing, so tonight, already knowing that both releases will be played in full and the band appear to be on form (actually talking to each other for long enough to stage such an event is a start), everyone is expecting good things. For any band to take up such a residency is a brave move – even a band with a huge back catalogue – but for Pixies, it’s a move that seems incredibly bold, considering both discs only total approximately fifty two minutes’ worth of music.

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REAL GONE GOES OUT: Tom Robinson – Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London 27/10/2018

In 2017, Tom Robinson celebrated forty years of his hit single ‘2-4-6-8 Motorway’. He announced a show at London’s legendary 100 Club to mark the occasion. The show would feature the ‘Power In The Darkness’ album played in its entirety, joined by associated singles. That gig sold out in under an hour. A second show was announced and that sold out in a day. A third achieved the same feat.

In 2018, ‘Power In The Darkness’ also turned forty. An Autumn show at Shepherd’s Bush Empire was scheduled to replicate those 100 Club shows for a bigger crowd.

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