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Gig Review: The Libertines

Well. The dust has finally settled on Rock City after what was one of the greatest shows we have EVER had the privilege to host.

Check out this review from James Blogs, we couldn't have put it better ourselves.

A decade ago - among a mess of drugs, arrests and one of music's greatest fallings out - one of the finest British bands in a generation, The Libertines went their separate ways. What a difference time can make, as following on from their triumphant Reading and Leeds headline sets, the likely lads are well and truly back and better than ever.

Kicking off their intimate pre-album show with a rollicking rendition of Horrorshow, Pete, Carl, Gary and John look like they've never been apart, marching on stage before the lights even go out, as the crowd go mental.

Given that the tour was only announced a week ago today, it is a testament to the band that they have completely sold out every venue they're visiting this week, but I don't think it would be possible to match the energy that was felt running through the veins of everyone in attendance at Rock City.

By the time they reach Can't Stand Me Now four tracks in you've barely taken a breath, bouncing so hard your feet feel like they might fall off, and your voice already becoming hoarse.

Every last minute is worth it though, as the sheer ground swell of support brings forth the feeling that this moment is something special. This band, which has been through so much to come out the other side, have found a peace that they can now share with everyone in the building.

"Everyone I spoke to outside told me the last time they saw me I was totally fucked up." muses Pete Doherty, "I don't remember what happened Rock City, but this time lets have fun and play beautiful music together" he continues, before running into one of the nights biggest sing alongs Music When the Lights Go Out. After the hardcore moshing going on, this is a welcome change of pace, as the crowd sway their arms back and forth, continuing into the bewitching and beautiful What Katie Did.

Never a band to exactly stick to the rules, both Pete and Carl light up cigarettes during the set to ovation from the crowd who at this point I'm pretty sure would explode if they just sat and read the phone book.

The sold out crowd didn't just know every word of every song, but they knew every song by its first chord. It would not be unfair to say that this was a party - nay a celebration even - of everything that made the band great to begin with all those years ago. Their sound is raw, and not completely polished, but its all the better for it.

You can hear the meaning in every word Pete and Carl sing, and as the band explode into their grand finale - Don't Look Back Into The Sun - the crowd become totally unglued. This was a crowd who have waited years for this tour, unsure if it was ever coming, or if the rare festival appearances would be their only chance to see the boys in all their glory.

Thankfully with new album Anthems for Doomed Youth out later this week, and this intimate tour selling out in seconds we can only hope that there will be more to come from the Boys in the Band.

Until then we will have the memories of one of the most raucous, exhilarating gigs to grace the Rock City stage in many years. And what memories they are. What Became of the Likely Lads you might ask? Well they're back! Thats what!

You can see more from James Blogs on his Blogger... Head on over to

Beth Hart: Nottingham Evening Post Review

We had the amazing Beth Hart performing last night in a packed out Main Hall, and Nottingham Post's Kevin Cooper was there to see this stunning gig.

Having been in the music industry for over 25 years, it is hard to fathom out why Beth Hart is not up there with the greats. She has been through good times, bad times and everything in between and it all goes into her music, delivering songs that channel her turbulent past into deeply personal lyrics."

On the last night of her tour to promote her latest album, Better Than Home, Hart made the show all about her music as she started with Waterfalls and new track, Tell 'Em to Hold On, perched comfortably behind her piano, before her very talented band joined her for the rest of the set, which saw her foot stomping across this Rock City stage as she belted out versions of her hits, Delicious, Well Well and fans favourite, Bang Bang Boom Boom.

Up-tempo stormers like Monkey Back, a song she described as being about her battle with drug addiction, to the cover of Etta James' I'd Rather Go Blind, showcased Harts powerful and flawless vocals as this blues icon delivered her heart and soul to the crowd for a solid set of pure blues perfection. It was hard not to compare her to the legendary Janis Joplin.

New track Better Than Home and her moving performance of Sister Heroine showed her more gentle side that allowed us to see that underneath the hard, tattooed exterior, there is a wonderfully warm, talented and vulnerable artist. She brought the house down with a performance that blew us all away from the very first note to her closing chord.

For those that missed this gig at Rock City, they have probably missed the gig of the year up to now, because Beth Hart as a diva, certainly not, but blues icon; most definitely. Nottingham, you were lucky to have her.

Kevin Cooper


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Splendour Festival '14 - Review


Wow. Almost 20,000 people packed out Wollaton Park this weekend for what was a festival to remember, despite the somewhat 'dodgy' weather conditions the great British summertime threw at people at times!

Andy Afford from the Nottingham Evening Post was there with this review!


Wetting rain. Thundery rain. Straight down rain. Rain that fell with the drops joined up. Rain that was both cat and dog. Rain that never looked like stopping. Rain deemed good for the garden. And rain good for nothing. In fact, Wollaton Park – home of Splendour 2014 – witnessed pretty-much every style of precipitation, bar that cold November type sung about by Guns n’ Roses. But the bands played on.

Now a staple of the Nottingham events calendar, Splendour’s strength lies in its setting and the almost euphoric response of the 20,000-plus crowd. The natural fall towards the lakeside stage at the rear of ‘Wayne Manor’ offers easy vantage points. The variety of act it attracts - from chart hopefuls to rock legends – means all points of the compass are indexed, with an appearance this time round by world champion boxer Carl Froch thrown in for good measure.

Future Sound of Nottingham talent show winner Joy Mumford opened proceedings on the Main Stage. Under near biblical skies, the West Bridgfordite’s soul-inflected set for the early risers includes a jazzy reworking of the Spice Girls hit Wannabe. Much is expected of the 20-year-old singer-songwriter, given the success of recent graduate Indiana.

New Yorker Ron Pope is followed by The Beat. The heavily-bearded son of Brooklyn’s muscular Classic Rock is well-received by a now swelling crowd, as is the Ranking Roger fronted version of the classic ‘80s ska combo, so long in existence the line-up now boasts son-and-heir Ranking Junior on vocal duties.

Saint Raymond is the nom de band of Nottingham’s own Callum Burrows. A favourite of Radio 1 soothsayer Zane Lowe, this 19-year-old indie rattler performed as a collective for the first time at Splendour just 12 months ago. That time on the Jagermeister Stage (now named after local music hub Confetti); this time the buzz around the Main Stage sees things ratcheted up a notch. Even Mrs B makes an appearance, administering a final change of guitar before being man-handled to the mic by a doting son. It was Dog Is Dead’s turn to shine in this mid-afternoon slot in 2013. Another baton has been passed.

As Foxes appear, so does the kind of rainclouds generally only witnessed in Hollywood epics. End of Days comes to mind, but it fails to knock performer Louisa Rose Allen off stride. Dance hits Let Go For Tonight, Right Here (recorded with Rudimental) and the Grammy Award-winning Clarity (with Zedd) all go down, ahem, a storm…

Splendour loves Scouting For Girls. And Scouting For Girls loves Splendour right back. In front of a now massive crowd, the warmth of the band is infectious, as is the sing-along nature of the material. No act tries harder on the day. None receive a better response. With a Greatest Hits album released in 2013 and two covers tacked on this afternoon in the form of Rudimental’s Waiting All Night and Wings’ juggernaut that is Live And Let Die, it all makes for a smile-wide set of perfect pop.

Celebrity Big Brother winner Bez appears first, talking a bit of politics and shaking a trademark maraca. He’s followed on stage in dribs and drabs by more musicians cum Reality TV stars that includes hardman/frontman Shaun Ryder (I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! 2010). The Happy Mondays original line-up cuts a curious jib. Their style is definitively Madchester. The uneasy on-stage banter indicates this is a reformation with a fractured history. Every song a blissed-out dance groove, with added entertainment to be had when the notoriously ‘well-refreshed’ Ryder attempts to recall the album and year each upcoming number appears on, with backing vocalist Rowetta Satchell (finished fourth, first series of X Factor 2004) playing arbiter. Ryder’s success-rate, it has to be said, is marginally lower than the sound of whale song. His insistence in counting the band in at the start of songs is also unilaterally ignored. None more entertainingly than by po-faced drummer Gaz Whelan.

Tom Odell is this year’s closing act. His is a sound of scale, hope and ambition. An emotive vocalist and a merciless punisher of the keys, Odell and his brilliant backing band are as good a modern pop act as there is. To refer to this talented singer-songwriter as ‘the young Elton’ is to damn with faint praise. Despite Odell playing the EJ classic Your Song, he says, for the first time on stage ever, tonight sees a powerful band sing and play beautifully together. Forget the hype; Odell at Splendour is a coup.


Devin Townsend: Review

Devin Townsend tore our main hall a new one last Thursday night, with his unique brand of industrial, proggy, metally, dreamlike... ok, there is actually no way of really describing his music. 'Different' may just about cut it!

But, in one of two warm up shows for Sonisphere, Devin played one of the gigs of 2014 at Rock City.

Simon Dunkerley, from Get Ready To Rock, was there:

Devin Townsend - Rock City, Nottingham, 3 July 2014

Rock City tonight hosts the first of two warm up gigs for the Devin Townsend Project before his appearance at Sonisphere this Sunday on the main stage, as he stated on stage ‘to go from months of mixing in the studio to live performance is a big jump’ hence the gigs and also I suppose to give the fans a chance to get to see him without paying festival prices.

The venue although a bit sparse for the support bands Empire and Thine steadily fills up as we approach the 8.30pm kickoff for DTP and there is a great buzz of anticipation around room which is matched by the many merch-clad fans.

The lights dim and the video screens flicker into life, now personally never having witnessed a Devin show I could have been led to thinking someone had spiked my drink as the weird and wacky videos of Ziltoid and various others rolled out but when it came to the dancing cows! I was gone, udder udder madness.

Devin Townsend - Rock City, Nottingham, 3 July 2014

Devin wanders onto the stage and is greeted by a hugely enthusiastic crowd and he actually seems overwhelmed by the reaction and lauds it up, after a quick bit of banter and some guitar glitches we are thrown into his musical mind with a setlist that spans his solo and DTP work back to 1997 and Seventh Wave through to 2012 with Liberation.

Like his mind, the music bounces around styles proggy, industrial but overall heavy and precise. He is joined onstage by Dave Young (guitar), Brian Waddell (bass) and Ryan Van Poederooyen on drums who provide the tight backline.

It all kicks off with a ‘Seventh Wave’, ‘War’ and ‘By Your Command’.  ‘War’ is more of a pop sounding song than most of his work but gives the crowd a chance to join in. Devin is on form with his banter and pops in snippets of info as he seems to be really enjoying the show and he makes a jaunt into the photopit to be up close and personal with the fans.

Devin Townsend - Rock City, Nottingham, 3 July 2014

As the set winds through the albums and gets extremely proggy, which was a surprise to me as I always had him as a more heavy/mental outfit. ‘Liberation’ gets the tempo going again and the crowd that has been very emotive and responsive all night gives their all to the anthemic ‘Grace’ as they all hail the mighty Devin.

After an ‘Old Man Break’ of 2 minutes the band who haven’t even left the stage break into the last track of the night ‘Bad Devil’. For my first experience of Devin I have to say it was an awesome, involving, experience both visually and audibly. Sonisphere… you are going to enjoy!

Review and photos by Simon Dunkerley, with thanks. Visit their website at for more awesomeness like this!

Jurassic 5 'Blistering' at Rock City

                              (Photo By Natasha Shipston)

What an absolutely awesome night! Everyone at Rock City HQ had waited seemingly forever for this one, and when it finally did happen, it definitely didn't disappoint!

Nottingham Evening Post's Katie Bonner was there:

Rock City jumped, swayed and roared to a blistering hour and 45 minute set from Los Angeles hip-hop group Jurassic 5.

After breaking up in 2007, the six original members have reunited for the 20 year anniversary of the first record.

Despite being a little rounder around the waist and a little greyer around the temples, MCs Akil, Zaakir, Mark 7even and Chali 2na can still pour out rhymes at phenomenal speeds. Backed by their two DJs Cut Chemist and DJ Nu-Mark, the rappers moved seamlessly from song to song, mixing tracks from all four of their previous albums with barely a breath taken.

Their messages are all about friendship, respect and having a good time. From love letter Thin Line to the summer vibes of Hey and the fist-pumping Freedom, not one song advocates violence or money as the answer. (In fact the love-in vibes were so strong that a couple were practically fornicating in front of me…)

Concrete Schoolyard came complete with a kazoo solo (see Culkin, it can be done on a Notts’ stage) and show closer What’s Golden had everyone dancing.

It wasn’t just the MCs providing the entertainment either. After a non-stop 20 minutes, the rappers took a back seat and the DJs came centre stage with a “scratch-off’. Cut Chemist played a portable turn table, whilst DJ Nu-Mark tapped out the rhythms on a waistcoat made of records.

The audience thrust their camera phones into the air, attempting to capture the moment for YouTube. I would recommend searching for them, it is as fun as it sounds.

Throughout the show all four MCs looked like they were having the time of their lives. They flirted with the front row, engaged in choreographed dancing, took requests from the audience and filmed the show from Chali 2na’s baseball cap. The smiles and the genuine astonishment at the noisy crowd suggested that reforming was a good idea.


Joy Mumford Wins Splendour '14 Slot at Rock City!

Last night saw the finals of The Future Sound Of Nottingham at Rock City, with acts competing to secure a place opening at Splendour '14 at Wollaton Park. With that huge prize at stake, there were nerves and unbearable tension at times. But what an awesome night it proved to be, with some absolutely sensational acts. However, there could only be one winner...

The audience voted, and Joy Mumford was a worthy winner of the crown! We are looking forward to seeing her at Splendour '14. Head on over to our friends at Alt-Tickets to get your tickets for Splendour!

Here's's Sam Nahirny with his take on Joy's performance...

"Keeping things upbeat,we had JOY MUMFORD (and band) take to the stage. She kicked straight into “Attention” and I know I’ve used this line before, but dammit I’m gonna use it again, that song catches your attention. Seriously; Joy has a knack for penning one heck of a catchy Soul/Folk/Pop tune. As she moved into her second song, Joy put down the guitar, and went a bit gospel on us, and bleddy hell did it work. She had the crowd in the palm of her hand, clapping along, singing back the words; I can only imagine how incredible that must have felt for her. Joy’s band compliment her sound incredibly well; and I’m still drooling over Matt’s guitar. That caught my attention… okay, I’ll stop now."

Here's her Facebook, and here's her Soundcloud if you want to get a dose of Joy Mumford before she hits the stage at Splendour Festival at Wollaton Park, Nottingham!

All that's left to say is a massive congratulations from the whole team at Rock City!

Review: Flaming Lips (Nottingham Post)

The Flaming Lips were at Rock City last night, and rest assured, no one was left disappoined. Nottingham Post's Sean Hewitt was there to witness a fantastic spectacle!


SOMETIMES they do still play them like they used to.

In the 90s, Flaming Lips completely took me by surprise. I'd never heard of them when I turned up at Rock City to see Mercury Rev play a gig based around their marvellous Deserters' Songs album. Time has mercifully erased most of the Mercury Rev set from my memory, but I'll never forget the openers: Flaming Lips' experimentation, humour, eerie atmospheres and winning psychedelic melodies made them to this day the best support act I have ever seen.

I saw them many times over the next few years and each show was an uplifting, weird audio-visual treat. And you had to see them to understand the appeal.

Over the years, though, I've lost touch. Their disastrous cover version of Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon (did anyone play it twice?) stopped me short. That this gig was originally booked into the Capital FM Arena was another ominous sign. Their plan to re-record Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, with guests including Miley Cyrus, sounded like the final nail in the coffin.

Well, we're all wrong sometimes.

My first thought was how weird the stage looked, draped with miles of dull plastic tubing. When the band shuffled on to tentatively open with The Abandoned Hospital Ship, it looked like my fears were justified. From the start, frontman Wayne Coyne tried too hard to chivvy us along

Then it all took off. The tubing became a blinding network of flashing colours - fibre-optic neon spaghetti - while confetti guns bombarded the audience..

From then on, it was just like the old days. True, there was little later material - despite an awesome Watching The Planets - but that meant we got more of the classics. A real crowd-pleaser like She Don't Use Jelly was the second song. Race For The Prize was delivered mid-set. And Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots Part 1 was as joyful as ever. A succession of winners like In The Morning Of The Magicians, Spoonful Weighs A Ton and the magical Do You Realize?? brought many to the verge of tears.

They ended with Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, remodelling the chorus into something that sounded (and looked) like Motörhead trying to drown out a drone attack in the middle of one of those inflatable Luminarium things.

I'd never experienced anything like it. Again. Five neon spaghetti stars out of five.


Review: Graham Parker And The Rumour (Nottingham Post)

It was hotly anticipated, and it didn't disappoint. Graham Parker and The Rumour rocked Rock City last night, David Belbin from the Nottingham Post was there to see it.

Graham Parker's renaissance has been a long time coming. The 63-year-old singer/songwriter reunited his classic 70s band The Rumour for a well received reunion album and tour last year. A documentary showed old rockers such as Springsteen raving about what a great album 1979's Squeezing Out Sparks is.

I suspect this second, short UK reunion stint has to be fitted into half term, because drummer Steve Goulding is a teacher. Nottingham gets the first date.

"I'm not used to doing a half hour set" he says and, while he's OK, it shows. We get a mix of solo and Squeeze, the highlight of which is Up The Junction.

Parker takes the stage just after 8. He'd been rehearsing in Nottingham for two days and is in a relaxed, ebullient mood throughout.

The Rumour are in stellar form, as strong in their unique, soulful style as the E Street Band are in theirs.>

They blast through Fool's Gold, Hotel Chambermaid and White Honey, but the early show highlight is Start A Fire, a Parker solo song that always cried out for the Rumour treatment.

Howling Wind, Watch The Moon Come Down and Lady Doctor all go down well. There are many changes to last year's setlists, with nine songs dropped (but one new one added).

Stick To Me, Nobody Hurts You, Pouring It All Out and Love Gets You Twisted are highlights of the rapturously received 100 minute, 22 song set.

Squeezing Out Sparks provides the heart of the show's concluding section, with the brilliant ballad You Can't Be Too Strong revived for the first encore. I'd waited 35 years to hear him play that song, and it didn't disappoint.

David Belbin


Review: Courtney Love (Nottingham Post)

Courtney Love recently wowed the crowds at Rock City with a gig that rolled back the years! Nottingham Post's David Belbin was there to see it.

Nineteen years ago, Hole played Nottingham, touring album Live Through This, released the week of Kurt Cobain's suicide. It remains a stone cold classic. 1995's show ended abruptly, with a power cut during the introduction to show closer Rock Star. Courtney was too rock 'n' roll to come back on when power was eventually restored, so she owes us.

Arriving on stage to Ravel's Bolero, draped in a lace scarf, she opens with a snippet of Pretty On The Inside then goes straight into stonking new single, Wedding Day.

Her all male band are tight and raucous, making talk of a Hole reunion superfluous.

“Mummy's feeling ropey” she says, but a riotous Miss World suggests otherwise.

The surprisingly small, mostly female crowd is young and incredibly enthusiastic, knowing all the words to songs like Plump and (Time for a Hit) Malibu.

Courtney waves her underarm ‘Let It Bleed' tattoo at us, tries to persuade us to get drunk and vapes: “aren't you jealous that I'm getting nicotine and you're not? If it kills me, it kills me.”

Just when you think the show can't get any better, she goes into Rock Star and hits another gear.

We're treated to a B side she'd refused to play earlier in the set, 20 Years In The Dakota, about John and Yoko, with inserts from the Beatles' Hey Jude. It's fantastic.

Courtney mounts the monitors for Letter To God and rips through Skinny Little Bitch before a superb Asking For It and equally good Violet from Live Through This.

Boy, can this woman scream. The crowd are mostly much too young to have been here in '95, but see an artist who's in just as good form. You can't take your eyes off her.

She swears like a trooper, shows off her bust, smiles a lot, makes cracks about all her designer labels and Kurt's estate looking after her expenses.

“I'm fifty next month. Hold on, Mommy needs a drink.”

Celebrity Skin is a storming show closer.

Courtney hands out red roses at the start of the encore, drapes her lace scarf round herself like Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac's Gold Dust Woman was played earlier), then sings a heartfelt Dying.

A politically incorrect curveball quietens the crowd: He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss), a cult classic Carole King and Gerry Goffin wrote for Phil Spector.

Doll Parts brings the 85 minute show to an end. Magnificent.

Review by David Belbin. Here's the original article on

NME Awards Tour 2014

It’s usually worth getting to Rock City early doors for the NME’s annual bash and openers Circa Waves prove once again that bottom of the bill does not equate to ‘just making up the numbers’. They play pop with a fair bit of pep and the cheery Get Away has a sweet stop-start catchiness to it, though their excessive reliance on whooping does suggest a worrying lack of rhyming couplets.

“Let me introduce you to the rest of the band,” smirks Royal Blood’s front man Mike Kerr. “That’s Ben.” Good to have some humour amidst the monstrous racket this duo unleash, though you do wonder whether the pair is trying to over compensate for their lack of numbers in sheer volume. Still, they have just about the right amount of quiet in between the noise and they clearly know how to craft a tune from AC/DC levels of riffing.

Now before you start scoffing at the notion of teenagers from Kettering channelling the spirit of San Francisco in ’67, please listen to the marvellous ‘The Great British Psychedelic Trip’ compilations and realise we’ve been doing this sort of thing very well for a long time. Temples clearly grew up insisting ‘birds’ should be spelt with a ‘y’ and continue the fine tradition of mixing soft psyche, kaleidoscope lights and English whimsy to encouraging effect.


There’s obviously nothing in the constitution of the NME tour that says bands must be young or have a new record out (though I do miss the years when it isn’t solely boys and guitars) which means Interpol can stroll out and give us a startlingly brilliant greatest hits set. Their deadpan delivery is as relentless and affecting as ever and Slow Hands even gets some audience participation going. The best headliners since Crystal Castles and as admirably uncompromising, too.


By Paul Drury