I just finished watching the 2013 Grammy Awards and the above tribute I thoroughly enjoyed (to the point where I was jamming in my bedroom by myself!) When I first heard Bruno Mars’s, Locked Out Of Heaven, I said how similar it sounded to a Police track so to actually be treated to a collab between Mr. Mars and the one and only Sting was a nice little treat. If that wasn’t enough then the bad gal riri herself came out once again after an emotive performance of Stay alongside Mikky Ekko (she also managed to become the most talked about celeb on Twitter at that point with 1.6m Tweets) and was joined with none other than Bob Marley’s sons, Damien and Ziggy Marley to pay tribute to their late father. As soon as they broke into his famous Could You Be Loved, I couldn’t help but get excited. I think I was enjoying it as much as Frank Ocean who I noticed amongst the crowd to be bobbing away with a giant grin on his face. Oh to have been there in that audience.
Another performance that I thoroughly enjoyed was Miguel and Wiz Khalifa. I’ve been dying to see Miguel and his latest album, Kaleidoscope Dream, has been top of my most played list over the last few months. Singing his track Adorn, which features a version with Khalifa on the album, he sounded just as dreamy live as he does on the recording. I thought it was funny how Kelly Clarkson mentioned him in her acceptance speech after not knowing who he was, suggesting a collaboration, although I’m not too sure how that one would go down.
I definitely think that Channel Orange should have won best album over Babel by Mumford & Sons, although I was proud another British act won for the second year in a row. The sons third album just didn’t top their second in my eyes and I think Ocean would have been a more deserving winner.
Instead of heading to Coachella or Burning Man this year, I’m timing my annual trip to NYC with The Governors Ball. Held on Randall’s Island right in the heart of The Big Apple this year’s line up sees a variety of acts across all genres taking the stage. With Kanye West, Kings Of Leon and Guns N Roses as the headliners, it already goes from rap to rock, which is one reason why I liked the look of this line up. Spread across three days, we’ll get to see everyone from The XX, Beach House, Kenrick Lamar, Miguel, Haim, Bloc Party, Crystal Castles, Alt-J and Azealia Banks to name a few. Not only are we going to get a bit of festival action but outside of festival hours we’ll be able to roam around the city, eating and drinking and my favourite haunts, shopping at my favourite spots and wandering aimlessly around Central Park. Roll on June.
So the day I’d been anticipating for ages finally came… The Coachella 2013 line up announcement. To be honest, I was dreading it (or my bank account was) because I knew if it was as good as last year I’d be booking a ticket and not eating for the next three months in order to go. Luckily, for my bank balance’s sake, I wasn’t blown away. As good as they are, I didn’t feel as though the headliners, are worth a trip to California since their probably isn’t going to be any year defining ‘stunts’ this year. Let’s face it; if getting to see Dr Dre and Snoop (then) Dogg on the West Coast wasn’t enough, we were just so lucky enough to be graced with an appearance from the one and only Tu Pac, in hologram form. No disrespect to Blur and The Stone Roses, but with their oh-so-cool reputation I don’t think it’s in their nature. The Red Hot Chilli Peppers on the other hand are more likely to pull something out the bag, especially being Cali natives, but they don’t have that flash attitude that the rappers have.
Last year, I thought there were a fair few British acts on the line-up but this year I think there are taking over. The funny thing is that there are so many of my favourite artists on the list, but I have seen most of them in the last year or am going to see them in the next few months. As amazing as it would be to see them live, tucked neatly between the beautiful mountains of Palm Springs, on the super green, mud-free manicured lawns of Empire Polo Club, you just can’t beat seeing an act that you love on their own stage. Coachella 2012 was an amazing experience for me, so I’m going to leave it at that and maybe make my return to Indio in 2014 instead.
The 11th February 2013 is a day I’ve been waiting for, for a long, long time. Finally, one of my favourite bands, Foals, will be releasing their third (and let’s hope best yet) album, Holy Fire. I’ve already had the track, My Number, on repeat solidly for the past week and I’m hoping that the rest of the album is going to follow suit. After seeing Foals for the firs time at Glastonbury 2010, not long after they released their second album, Total Life Forever, I fell in love. That album has to be my most played album throughout 2011 and possibly even 2012 and I’m still not sick of it, with Spanish Sahara coming in at one of my favourite songs of all time. My Number appears to be true to the sounds of the second album, although being my favourite so far, you can’t fault Antidotes with songs like Hummer and Cassius taking me back to my uni days. One of my favourite nights of 2011 was seeing Foals at Warehouse Project in Manchester the eve before New Year’s Eve and they also managed to take the sting out of the Glasto blues the week after at Wireless festival where Pulp headlined. Roll March 28th when I shall be seeing them again at The Royal Albert Hall and hurry up 11th Feb, as I’m dying for my dose from Yannis and co.
One of my favourite bands undoubtedly is, The Black Keys. They played a couple of shows at The O2 this week and I managed to get my hands on a few standing tickets for their first London night. Supporting them were another band I’ve got a soft spot for, but I only caught the last couple of songs from their set as we were running late. This was the third time I’d seen The Black Keys play this year with a smaller show at Ally Pally in March and for their Friday night headline shot at Coachella. Although I’d have to say this was my least favourite time, they still put on a wicked show, pulling out some of the favourites from a selection of their seven albums. They opened with the song that probably took them into the mainstream limelight, Howlin’ For You from their 2010 album Brothers, whilst pulling out songs from Attack & Release and their most recent, El Camino. Hearing Your Touch from their 2006 album, Magic Potion, was probably one of my highlights. Being right down at the front meant that we came out drenched in what we hoped was beer (but you never know!) none the less, we left the arena soggy and sweaty but on a high and straight into the bar next door where they had the album on and carried on dancing. The duo are set to release their eighth album later on this year… and I can’t wait!
On a cold Wednesday evening in November we went down to The Kings College site just off the strand int he hope that some sunny California girls could brighten up our evening. Haim consist of three sisters with a west coast sound that’s oh-so nu-folk-nineties. They are one of my favourite musical things from 2012 because they come from a movement of bands like Tribes, Palma Violets, Savages and Pond, who for the first time in a decade, have all threatened to show up everyone who had come before them. When I first heard their debut song, Forever, it instantly sent me straight back to my memories of California, where I was earlier on the year for Coachella, so I was hoping their show would do the same. True to the sounds heard on their EP, these girls made us forget about the bitter cold outside and got us rocking out and our heads shaking and forget about she bangs the drums, it was all about they bang the drums as they finished off with each of them pounding in unison while the crowd went wild. They’ve taken girl power to the next level and are certainly ones to watch in 2013. Now all that’s left to do is sit back and wait for them to release their album and catch them on the festival circuit next year, which I’ve no doubt that they’ll rock just as hard, if not harder, then they did at this gig.
Last week I went to the sold out Jessie Ware gig at the intimate Electric Brixton. Her debut album, Devotion, has been gracing the top of the most played list on my iPod since it was released in August. After missing her at Field Day, Hackney Weekend and briefly watching her set at the back of the Big Top tent at this year’s Bestival (whilst stuffing my face with a burger) I couldn’t wait to see her play her own show. As she stepped out on stage, the twinkling intro to Devotion started played and she immediately burst into song. She continued to sing most of the songs from the album including my favourites, Swan Song, Sweet Talk and Night Light. Jessie’s album reminds me of something with a smooth 90s vibe, almost Shola-Ama esque and her live voice was as strong and soothing as it sounds on the recordings. She seemed overwhelmed and endearing to the crowd as she thanked everyone humbly for her support dedicated a couple of tracks to her best friend and brother. At the end of the show we walked out cooing about how much we enjoyed ourselves before continuing to get in the car, put the roof down (in the freezing cold) and blasting her album along The Embankment and all the way home.