Archive for the Gig Reviews Category

Virtuoso Comes To Reading

Posted in Features, Gig Reviews on 2010/03/13 by sturgeonmusic

I had the huge pleasure of meeting one of my favorite Bass guitarists to date last night, in perhaps the smallest and most intimate clinic I have attended.

He came to Dawsons Reading, one of the largest music stores in the south and played for several hours, displaying his solo technique, classical pieces and discussing his career in the music business. He is a true performer, telling the story of his career whilst playing different genres and styles on his Bass to reflect the events.

Not only that, but he also added humor and comedy to his performance, and with a few technical errors thrown in, it added to the friendly community atmosphere floating around the music store itself. Free beer, t-shirts and meet and greets were provided by Dawsons – however at the heart of his clinic was the promotion of his favored amplifiers.

If you don’t know much about his work so far, check out this live solo piece –

Stu is planning a tour this summer and also a new album release, keep a watchful eye on his website if his craft interests you.


Wembley Mania

Posted in Gig Reviews on 2009/10/18 by sturgeonmusic


A month ago today, I experienced one of the best gigs I have ever been to. The mood, the atmosphere, the venue and the comedy, everything worked and took the notion of ‘stage presence’ to a whole new level. Haven’t figured it out yet? It was Coldplay at Wembley Stadium!

Supported by 3 other amazing acts, Coldplay set the whole Stadium on fire with their performance. Not to mention White Lies amazing opening set, Girls Aloud’s high energy routines and Jay-Z’s all around star presence. At first I’ll admit, I was skeptical of the supporting line-up due to the clash in genres – but any of these thoughts were quickly extinguished.

White Lies opened to a half-full stadium, however provided a powerful performance that really set the mood for the entire evening, and if you haven’t listened to these guys before you should definitely check them out. As said Girls Aloud were next up and they certainly got the Stadium moving, women all around (and even some of the blokes) were singing along and dancing in their chairs.

Jay-Z was next on the line up, and I don’t think anyone was expecting his set to be quite as amazing as it was. His full band and special guest musicians helped give his older songs a fresh feel, and naturally newer songs such as ‘Run This Town’ and ‘Empire State Of Mind’ really got the crowd excited. You could tell a great deal of respect between all of the acts, as Jay-Z especially paid homage to the two previous acts and what was yet to come.

After a long wait (and a huge queue for the toilets) Coldplay entered the arena to the sounds of opening instrumental ‘Life In Technicolor’, a good way to sum up the emotion of their performance. Adding comedy through a parody to X-Factor during ‘Yellow’ and a cover of MJ’s ‘Billie Jean’ accompanied by Simon Pegg could only better their performance, Jay-Z also made an appearance during ‘Viva La Vida’ and ‘Lost’. Also to my knowledge, the first ever mobile phone ‘Mexican Wave’ really brought home the feeling that the crowd and the band were connecting like never before. The crowd were left to sing the songs at several points in the set, and ‘Fix You’ was probably the most emotional song I have ever experienced at a live gig.

This is only a summary of the gig itself, as I really can’t find the words to describe the feelings that night – the outside world was completely forgotten about for the 7 hour duration. Rumors of  a DVD release have been circulated, and I hope they follow this through so that those of you who did not attend can see just how big this band has become.


‘Wall of Love’

Posted in Gig Reviews on 2009/10/11 by sturgeonmusic


Last weeks Cancer Research fundraiser at ‘The Hobbit’ in Southampton was a great success, and local band Used Inc. stole the show with their unorthodox audience activities.

The band, fronted by brothers Jon and Chris Dale were the second of three to perform on the night and provided a new style of entertainment. Their ska style was perfect for creating a dancing environment, but the band pitched their own ideas to enhance the audiences experience. You may have heard of the ‘Metal’ legacy that is the wall of death? Well Used Inc. turned this idea on its head and created a wall of love.

As the band guided the audience through their creation, they played all of their most up-beat songs to mirror the mood set by the music. At the same time, the purpose of the night was not forgotten as members from the student team walked around the venue requesting donations. People seemed to give generously and this was no doubt down to the mood set by this very lively and entertaining band.

Whilst Used Inc. were not the only band to play that night, I wanted to center this Review on them purely because of the way they communicate with the audience. Ive found it a rare sight to see when a band spends more time joking around with the audience members than actually playing songs! Though with this in mind you do not get bored in their presence, as the whole band bubble with energy and are definitely one to watch out for.

Check out some live recordings on their myspace featured below –

Kings Of Leon – “Unhappy with set”

Posted in Gig Reviews on 2009/08/29 by sturgeonmusic

Friday headliners at Reading festival Kings Of Leon refused to show more than an hour of their set after they were “not too happy with their performance”, Edith Bowman announced on the BBC3 coverage.

If you didn’t catch the performance either at the festival or on BBC3, it was hard to see why they were. Certainly more positives than negatives, as the band gave the audience a very long set of songs both new and old. The crowd also seemed to respond well, especially with their hit ‘Sex on Fire’, which naturally caused chaos.

Not to mention the cold, there could be many reasons why the band decided to stop coverage, though at this time they have not stated why in any interviews. When looking at the set in detail, there are many sections where lead singer Caleb looks unhappy.

It could have been down to the band not sounding right, for some reason not gelling correctly. Though myself being used to stage equipment it would have probably been down to the sound. Sure we hear a well mixed set on the television as it comes through various boards, however on stage this could have been a completely different thing. If there was a delay between ear pieces some band members could come in early, or perhaps his vocal mic was unstable and changed volume.

Its hard to tell at this time, though something was certainly not right on stage. However with this aside I still think they managed to play a well rounded set that would put many bands to shame.

Stage Presence – 8/10

Sound – 7/10

Set List – 8/10

Below are several shots from the coverage, and you can watch the performance again on BBC iplayer now.

kings 2kings 3kings 1

Open Mic Nights

Posted in Features, Gig Reviews on 2009/08/26 by sturgeonmusic

In the dark times of the present day, what with the state of the world and all its troubles, often people look for an escape to forget the troubles of everday life. What better way to do it than to join in with one of the oldest pub traditions around, ‘Open Mic’ nights.

They seem suitable for everyone, up-coming bands and experienced ‘old-timers’ showing off their guitar licks. So why is it that the general public in England seem to not take advantage of such a community environment? It certainly seems to be that way in Reading. Every Tuesday night the ‘Horse & Jockey’ houses its own Open Mic night, and I went down one evening to see whats its like.

In terms of turn-out, the regulars and a few youngsters relaxed with their pints as each took to the stage to perform their favourite songs. Not exactly a headliners crowd, but the people that were there loved every second, even if someone destroyed a specific song, no one cared. This great community spirit is what I feel, everyone needs at least once a week.

These nights happen in pretty much every pub weekly or monthly, so why not check out your local? Even if your not a musician the atmosphere should help anyone kick those mid-week blues!