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Live Reviews Music

Of Monsters And Men: joy will prevail

Of Monsters And Men are about so much more than songs with irresistible “la-la-la” choruses, impossibly sunny melodies, kooky lyrics about pet dragonflies and talking trees, and sudden jubilant outbursts of “hey!”. Of Monsters And Men are about spreading joy.

For 90 minutes, the Icelandic band cast their spell over the masses packed into a sold-out Eventim Apollo, resulting in almost involuntary behaviours: mass singalongs, synchronised clapping, arms-raised sway-dancing, and 5,000 voices shouting “hey!” as one.

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Live Reviews Music

The Cult rebuild a Sonic Temple

Sonic Temple isn’t just The Cult’s highest-charting album (#3 in the UK, #10 in the US). It’s the one that gave them three bonafide Top 40 hits that they still play almost every night.

It’s the one that saw them double down on the all-out rock approach of predecessor Electric and (with titles like New York City and American Horse) take a big swing at the American market. It’s the one that convinced Metallica to hire producer Bob Rock.

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Live Reviews Music

Foals save everything, lose nothing

Yannis Philippakis isn’t averse to getting into the crowd. You might say he loves it: the Foals singer has even been known to leap off the stage at such usually restrained affairs as a Rough Trade in-store performance.

But as the band’s following grows and they graduate to ever larger venues like Alexandra Palace, it’s been increasingly difficult for the average fan to get in on the very physical audience participation.

So intimate shows, like a free album release party at London’s House of Vans, are like catnip for fans wanting the full visceral experience. And a sweaty, raucous, body-breaking experience is certainly what the lucky 850 ticket holders (picked from over 40,000 applicants) get tonight.

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Live Reviews Music

Alice Cooper opens the doors to his nightmare castle

Alice Cooper isn’t short on charisma – or experience. He could probably transfix an arena audience with acapella renditions of songs from long-forgotten album Zipper Catches Skin. All he’d need is an empty stage, some black greasepaint for his eyes, and perhaps a cane. His serpentine strut, regal poses, and arched eyebrow would do the rest.

But, after 50 years, he also knows what the people want. And that’s old school theatrics. So, at regular intervals during a whirlwind 90-minute set, out come Alice’s familiar crutch (for playing air guitar and pointing), sword (for swishing, conducting, and pointing), meat cleaver and knife (for vaudevillian homicide), and red cape (for fighting imaginary bulls).

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Live Reviews Music

Live sell the drama at Shepherd’s Bush Empire

Throwing Copper isn’t just Live’s second album. It’s the one that put them on the map, by topping the Billboard 200 charts, featuring five singles (including two US #1s), and selling over eight million copies. Now that it’s 25 years old, the band are celebrating with a special anniversary edition and at least two special intimate shows back home.

So when they begin their first London show in 10 years with the LP’s first song, the slow-climbing, deep-diving The Dam At Otter Creek, there’s a brief sense that they might perform the whole thing from start to finish.

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Live Reviews Music

The Cure are just like heaven at Glastonbury

The Cure played their first gig on 9th July 1978. So Robert Smith, the group’s sole constant member, knows a thing or two about compiling a set list. But, during the first few songs of the band’s Glastonbury performance, he thought he’d got it all horribly wrong. “For the first 20 minutes I was very, very unsure,” he told NME a few days later. “In some respects for the first half hour we didn’t really offer much concession to the ‘casual’ listener.”

He wasn’t wrong. Unlike The Killers, who headlined The Pyramid Stage 24 hours earlier with one euphoric hit after another, The Cure begin their show with something altogether darker, moodier, and perhaps less suited to the average festival goer.

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Live Reviews Music

Midnight Oil won’t be silenced

Peter Garrett has a lot to say. When RockShot spoke to him earlier this year, the Midnight Oil frontman shared carefully considered opinions on everything from climate crisis and the politics of greed to mobile phones at gigs and legacy acts who play the same songs, in the same order, in city after city.

In London tonight, he’s on even better form. Unfortunately that’s partly thanks to Boris Johnson. The singer, a former government minister himself, is clearly riled by the bumbling buffoon (or, to use Garrett’s parlance, “dickhead”), comparing the PM-in-waiting to King Canute, King Lear, Basil Fawlty and the comedy of Ricky Gervais. And that’s even before he gets to branding him a consistent liar with no regard for minorities.

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Interviews Music

Midnight Oil’s Peter Garrett screams in blue

On stage, Midnight Oil’s lead singer Peter Garrett cuts an imposing figure. Bald, six foot four, bestowed with an intense stare, he’s prone to flailing his limbs with wild abandon while singing passionately about politics, the environment, racism, militarism, and nuclear disarmament. In conversation, he’s thoughtful, articulate, and just as passionate. He has strong opinions on everything from climate change to legacy bands that go out and play the same 15 songs over and over, night after night.

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Live Reviews Music

Sam Fender fires off Hypersonic Missiles

Sam Fender hasn’t released a full-length album. He’s not had a song featured in one of those omnipresent car adverts or even the heavy-rotation trailer for yet another interchangeable BBC cop show. He’s not even made Ant and Dec cry on Britain’s Got The Voice, or whatever it is they’re hosting now.

But thanks to one EP, a string of singles, and incessant touring (133 shows since last January), the 2019 Brit Awards Critics’ Choice winner has now sold out two nights at Shepherds Bush Empire. And when he returns to London in December it will be Brixton Academy that sells out.

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Live Reviews Music

Tears For Fears let it all out at The O2

Last week, Curt Smith tweeted a photo from Tears For Fears’ tour rehearsals. Jamie Wollam is seated at a drum kit, chatting on his mobile. The caption reads: “so good he just phones it in”.