Gig Review: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Manchester

Gig Review: The Maccabees, Manchester

The Black Keys with Band of Skulls

7/2/12 Manchester 02 Apollo

Band of Skulls – No nonsense, no crowd-pleasing.  No facades or fabrications.  No pyrotechnics.  Let the music speak for itself.  Kings of Leon with a female, quirky addition.  Dirty riffs.  Grungy guitars.  Dark, dingy atmosphere created for an un- reactive crowd.

The Black Keys – Flashing lights.  Mixing it up.  Place the drummer at the front, why not.  More dirty riffs.  Seductive rock rhythms.  Toe tapping, head nodding, melody singing stuff.  American rock stars who attract an unlikely diverse audience.

Two up and coming bands who offer something completely unique to the British music scene.

Beach Break Live - Pembrey Country Park, Wales. 16-20th June 2011

I think I’m going to find it hard to review this event objectively for many reasons.  Seeing as the relentless non stop rain had a negative effect on most activities, my fainting in the crowd antics made me miss the few known acts, and every day I had strongbow for breakfast hopefully gives you an insight into why this may not be the best account of the festival.

The student atmosphere lived up to all expectations, even when we were drenched.  However all the fun activities listed in the programme and promised on the website, including yoga, zumba and parkour, were nowhere to be found.  This maybe due to the wet weather but everyone we asked had no idea and couldn’t point us in the right direction. (Hence more tent-time drinking).  The beach was also a bit of a letdown, as it is the highlight of the festival given the title, so I expected more than a few water sports and a sandcastle competition and a less than 40 minute walk to actually see sand.

Having said all that, it was still a fantastic festival and amazing value for money.  Musical highlights included Ed Sheeran, Professor Green, Tinie Tempah and Example.  Other highlights included a silent disco every night, paintballing, a lovely massage tent and a chance to name my boobs Drum and Bass with fake tattoos.  I’d definitely recommend Beach Break to any students next year; I might even go again and relive my youth if I think I can still hack it.