In 2018, Real Gone celebrated its ninth birthday. It’s been a long and hard road to this point, but we’re pleased to be celebrating our most successful year online to date. Hundreds of new albums have been heard and a record number of gigs have been attended. Not only has this year been our biggest success…it’s also been our favourite.
Nearing the close of 2018, it’s time to look back and celebrate our favourite events – including our top ten album releases…
Normally, each year has an album that’s a clear stand out. Making that distinction this time around has been somewhat trickier, so we’re awarding a joint “album of the year” to two very different albums. If that seems like a cop-out, we don’t care…there really was only a hair’s breadth between them.
When Smashing Pumpkins made their one and only UK stop in London on the first leg of the much anticipated ‘Shiny & Oh So Bright Tour’, it was an utterly thrilling experience. A mammoth three hour audio-visual extravaganza, the set made fantastic use of video screens and costume changes. Despite being in a huge, impersonal venue, it truly felt special – a show in every sense. [A full review of the night can be found here.]
Some gigs come with a huge amount of pre-night excitement. The Smashing Pumpkins’ first – and only – UK date on their 2018 ‘Shiny and Oh So Bright Tour’ is one of those times. Firstly, the tour is the first in decades to feature founding guitarist James Iha. In addition, Billy Corgan has already promised “a show like [the fans] have never seen before”. To say there’s a lot riding on the night is a huge understatement. Can the rejuvenated Pumpkins pull off the near impossible? Can they make the soulless environment of the Wembley SSE Arena feel friendly and justify the cost of a hugely expensive ticket?
There were rumours flying last year that the original and classic line up of The Smashing Pumpkins were getting back together. The rumours were fuelled by Billy Corgan himself who hinted at doing something with old and familiar faces.
It has finally been announced that Corgan, along with guitarist James Iha and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin will tour the US this summer. It’s promised to be a show “unlike any [the band] have ever done”, according to Corgan, with material culled from the band’s first five albums.
In just two short years, Zwan demoed and recorded a huge amount of material. Whether in their electric format (The True Poets of Zwan) or stripped back and more acoustic driven (Djali Zwan), the Billy Corgan-fronted project showed a great depth and inventiveness.
Always a prolific writer, with Zwan, Corgan occasionally showed off his power pop influences (‘Lyric’, ‘Yeah’) alongside expansive prog rock indulgences (‘Jesus I/Mary Star of the Sea’). While not always championed by everyone, this varied approach to material ensured Zwan’s only studio album remains a thrilling listening experience years after the event.