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.]
In 2005, the unexpected happened. Dinosaur Jr.’s J. Mascis and Lou Barlow buried the hatchet after several years of not speaking to each other. This led to the previously unthinkable happening – completed by Murph on drums, the band headed back into the studio. Their 2007 comeback record ‘Beyond’ was a great return.
Most people expected the reunion to be short-lived, but more albums and tours followed: ‘Farm’ was possibly even better than ‘Beyond’; ‘I Bet On Sky’ melded a rough production style with some great songs and while 2016’s ‘Give A Glimpse of What Yer Not’ could be considered the band on autopilot, it featured a classic Dinosaur sound throughout.
In July 2017, Los Angeles retro rock duo KOLARS visited Ramsgate Music Hall for the second time. Expected to be a good night, the sweaty and intimate atmosphere resulted in a night that the audience would never forget. The night was made even better by the presence of Smoke Season in support.
Although Smoke Season don’t have much in common with KOLARS, their brand of electronic pop proved particularly enthralling. Backed with the kind of sophisticated pop made by Alice & The Glass Lake with flourishes of electronica and dream pop, Gabby Bianco showed real star quality and – much like the KOLARS set, it was hard to imagine such a performance translating quite as well in a bigger venue.
In January 2018, it was announced that Led Zeppelin’s posthumous live release ‘How The West Was Won’ was to be given a reissue to coincide with the band’s 50th anniversary. Recorded at two US shows in 1972 and then spliced together to give the feeling of experiencing a complete show, it has rarely been cited as a fan favourite. Nevertheless, that’s not stopped it being re-issued on CD and also given a blu-ray and (prohibitively expensive) vinyl release for the first time.
Irish sludge metal merchants Zhora have recently posted a live video from this year’s Bloodstock Festival, which you can watch in full below. In the words of vocalist Colin Bolger, “Turmoil does exactly what it says on the tin. It takes you and your precious feelings and drags them through the mud and blood until you can’t take no more.”