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By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 25th July 2012 at 9:00 am
The Milk have announced a sizable UK tour for November. Tickets for all dates except the London Shepherds Bush gig go on sale this Friday (27 July) at 9 AM.
They were Luke’s “M” band on his Alphabet Tour; read about their show at London Social here.
Friday 16th November 2012 – Bristol Thekla
Sunday 18th November 2012 – Liverpool Academy 2
Monday 19th November 2012 – Manchester Club Academy
Wednesday 21st November 2012 – Glasgow Oran Mor
Thursday 22nd November 2012 – Edinburgh Electric Circus
Friday 23rd November 2012 – Leeds Cockpit
Sunday 25th November 2012 – Birmingham Academy 2
Monday 26th November 2012 - Nottingham Rescue Rooms
Wednesday 28th November 2012 – Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
Thursday 29th November 2012 – London Shepherds Bush Empire (already on sale)
Friday 30th November 2012 – Oxford Academy 2
Midweek gigs generally receive a different reaction to the weekend party fests. They’re a subdued affair with attendees trying not to drink too much, with one eye on the clock and keeping the big dance moves to a minimum. To combat this Tuesday night dreariness, The Milk are adamant to recreate the jubilant atmosphere of a Friday night by playing for 45 minutes without a single moment of silence. No easy task, but one they can deliver.
This Essex rock and soul four-piece have been on a steady climb to fame over the past few years, receiving attention from Channel 4 and DIY amongst others. Tonight they’ve sold out one of London’s trendier intimate venues to a throng of fans who not only see the band as one for the future, but as heroes for the day.
The Milk’s blend of rock ‘n’ roll, soul and funk is the perfect antidote to the Tuesday night blues. The chronic bounce-along beats keep the crowd bopping along, vibrating the floor underneath their dancing feet. The crowd are almost falling onto the low stage with front man Rick Nunn peering out over his followers who lap up every drop of the Milk.
The poptastic ‘Everyday is a Reminder’ stretches the singing strings in the throats of those down front, while ‘Mr. Motivator’ (the band’s favourite song to play on tour) kick-starts the moves – although it’s the impromptu rendition of Chase and Status‘ ‘Eastern Jam’ that momentarily lights up London. There’s nothing like a dubstep wobble being imitated on guitar to excite an indie audience.
The uplifting rock stylings of ‘Kimmi Kimmi’ and brilliant harmonies of ‘Every Time We Fight’ explore the varied palette of their in-house fans. However, it’s the interesting choice of reggae cover ‘Johnny Too Bad’ that the band usually use to sound-check – it’s a testament as to how well the Essex lads think the show is going if they start jamming out oft-unplayed reggae vibes.
Closing the night with a communal sit down before rocketing back into the air at the behest of Nunn, the party has well and truly invaded the Social tonight. It might be a grey, drizzly mess outside but down the stairs behind closed doors, the Milk have wiped all memories of the midweek rat race away with their fantastic catchy rock tunes and determination to have the night of their lives.
The Queen has been on the throne for yet another year. This means we all get to go to festivals all weekend and no sooner had Bushstock, Field Day and the Applecart shut their dampened stalls had the Queen of Hoxton opened its doors for a day of frivolities in the name of breast cancer charity Coppafeel and Festifeel.
Dog is Dead: Image by Paul Hudson
The day starts early with a bright atmosphere in the dark basement as Dog is Dead take to the stage. It’s been a busy weekend for the group but they show no signs of fatigue and kick off the festival in winning style. Showing off both their sun-soaked tracks (fan favourite ‘Glockenspiel Song’ is a highlight) as well as their deeper side on set closer ‘Teenage Daughter’ shows they’re real contenders for act of the summer.
Following this come the disappointing ska meets indie Yes Sir Boss. TGTF hopes they have day jobs. In stark contrast to this however, one lady who we hope doesn’t is rising star Kyla La Grange. Exuding both grace and grunge at the same time, the stylish singer shows she’s far more than an image with a short set of dark pop tracks from her forthcoming debut record. Her set is over far too quickly though, so TGTF goes for a wander about site.
Laid out across three floors, the Queen of Hoxton is a peculiar yet logical place to put a festival. Today there’s a photobooth, popcorn, a huge barbeque and roof garden added to the bar and club aesthetic. A ukulele band roams about playing poorly enacted covers of ’80s tracks. It’s basically a normal festival in a bar! As with all good festivals, Newton Faulkner is present and his set on the roof garden is an enjoyable one. Completely unplugged, Faulkner teaches the crowd surrounding him lines and the tracks build from there. As such, he doesn’t get time to play many, but it’s certainly something to behold whilst the weather holds out.
It’s then back into the darkness for Slow Club. Having two records and preparing a third should make for an interesting set, but when you weight your half hour with zero tracks from the widely celebrated debut and sound shaky on the three new tracks given an outing, it makes for little short of disappointment. Still, ‘Two Cousins’ is always a highlight, so at least it’s not all a letdown.
Slow Club: Image by Paul Hudson
You get used to adjustments after a while but Lianne La Havas’ set being moved into the main bar (in which everyone moves between upstairs and downstairs, also, to the bar) was baffling to say the least, but once those having conversations were shushed and a microphone was found for Havas, her gorgeous tones shone through. The endearing nature of the young singer-songwriter took those assembled into a hushed admiration and the 20minute set ends with smiles all round, none more than Lianne herself.
Then it’s back up into the daunting clouds of the rooftop for two completely unplugged sets. First Jamie N Commons mixes his own material with covers from the likes of Pink Floyd, creating an atmosphere that brings people from the outskirts to sitting on the Astroturf infront of the London troubadour. Second comes one of the strangest, yet most enjoyable few minutes of the weekend as Angus Stone and his band take to the benches and play in a half hushed, half stunned silence. It would have felt like a lullaby had everyone not been stood up. Whatever it was, it was appreciated.
The View, you remember the View right? The band that did that song about jeans. Yeah, the View; they’re next down in the basement. The lighthearted join the ‘lads’ in the crowded space as the Scottish rockers power through 45 minutes without blinking. It’s energetic, but they’ve long lost their appeal. They didn’t even do that one song that everyone knows about jeans! That said, hearing a few hundred singing “the one I love the most has turned into a junkie” brought back some nostalgia in ’5 Rebecca’.
Just like that, the weekend’s over. The Milk headline but fail to ignite as most people have already left. It’s been the strangest festival TGTF has ever been to, but that’s probably the appeal. Well done Coppafeel, Festifeel 2012 was a success.
Evolution Festival, held between Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead, has, appropriately enough, evolved considerably since it was first held as a free, 1-day event in 2005. Now in its eighth year, the event boasts a 2-day, two-stage line-up, held in the stunning location of the Newcastle and Gateshead quaysides. The event is no longer free, but at a mere £35 for the weekend, it represents fantastic, inflation-busting value. This year the event is held over the Sunday and Monday of the June Bank Holiday weekend 3-4 June: there surely can be no finer way to celebrate the 60th year of a monarch’s reign than going out and hearing some fantastic music with one’s fellow mankind. Here we break down the acts on the Spiller’s Wharf stage, just to prove what a delicious prospect awaits:
Sunday 3rd June
Kicking things off are the Lake Poets, the slightly confusingly-named solo project of Martin Longstaff of local favourites B>E>A>K. Amazing Radio favourites Theme Park offer intriguing ‘80s-style tunes with shades of Talking Heads. The local influence continues with Lulu James, a freshly-minted South Shields soul-step diva with huge potential; if her material stands the test she could go far. Melodic Nottingham indie five-piece Dog is Dead bring bits of summery Beach Boys vying with Arcade Fire-style bombast, which should go down well if the sun shines.
Next up are two chalk-and-cheese acts: Benjamin Francis Leftwich, limp-wristed posh-boy singer-songwriter who needs plenty of balls to win over the fickle Newcastle crowd, followed by Devlin – fresh from the streets of Dagenham, grime hits the big time with superstar MC Devlin and his hard-hitting flow. The real, undiluted deal. Good mate and collaborator with Alex Turner, Miles Kane brings his Mod-influenced solo material to Evolution. Take two measures Arctic Monkeys, add a twist of Paul Weller, and dilute to taste with the Coral. Can Kane carve a niche for himself at Evo?
Local lads and “very special guests” Maximo Park make their long-awaited comeback with new material and a new look. This set should give us a sneak preview of their new songs for 2012. And to wrap up the Sunday evening we have the one and only Dizzee Rascal: in between his own headline tour and masterminding the careers of several new urban artists via his own Dirtee Stank label, lovable urban pop scamp Dizzee is somehow finding the time to support the Red Hot Chili Peppers and play countless UK and international festivals this year, including several headline slots. This will be his third appearance at Evolution, making him the most popular act ever to grace the Evo stage. Let’s hope this festival holds as fond a place in his heart as it does for him, and that in return the audience are treated to new material from the forthcoming album on Island records. Given the Bank Holiday scheduling, chance of trance-pop anthem Holiday making an appearance? 97.6%.
Monday 4th June
Sore heads from the night before will be soothed by Mausi, Newcastle newcomers whose recent sunny single ‘Sol’ is brightening days across the land; and the Milk – party like it’s 1967 with their brand of big band soul and funk… Craig Charles, eat your heart out. Jessie Ware, urban vocalist and SBTRKT collaborator gets her own set; but with only two singles to her name, and SBTRKT with his own headline DJ set later on, what chance is there for him turning up to run some backing tracks for Ware?
In the middle of the undercard, we have widescreen synth-led bombast from hotly-tipped London quintet Spector; Luke Temple updates ’60s American pastoral psychedelia for the new millennium like a mini-Flaming Lips with Here We Go Magic, and Band Of Skulls bring some heft to a Bank Holiday Monday – sweat ‘n’ beer ‘n’ rock ‘n’ roll trio BoS will leave no ears unbled. Fans of De La Soul, Arrested Development and Madness will love cheeky Brighton hip-pop chappies Rizzle Kicks… who bring us to Noah and the Whale. After an astonishingly successful 2011, NatW richly deserve to be the last band on at Evolution 2012. Their album ‘Last Night On Earth’ (#1 on editor Mary’s Top Albums of 2011) is chock full of classic songs, surely most of which will make an appearance here. Expect crowd singalongs and lighter-in-the-air moments galore.
As a finale, there’s nobody better than deadmau5 (pictured at top). His atmospheric, dubstep-influenced dance music and enormous mouse head will surely wrap up Evolution 2012 in fine style. I’m anticipating a wild light show, deep, deep bass, and a massive crowd, paying tribute to the fine music which has passed over the previous 2 days – by dancing like mad into the small hours.
Phew. Not only that, but a full, separate dedicated dance music stage with a strong drum ‘n’ bass and dubstep influence (notably DJ Fresh, Jack Beats, Shy Fx, Toddla T, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, SBTRKT), an as-yet-unreleased but undoubtedly superb Americana strand from local promoters Jumpin’ Hot Club, and not to mention the chance to see the big names of tomorrow at the Evolution Emerging shows on the preceding Friday. This is an event that any city would be proud to hold, and it stands as the jewel in the crown of the North East’s popular music diary. Get your ticket now (from the official Evolution Web site)!