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Live Review: The Sunshine Underground at Oxford Academy – 5th May 2009

 
By on Wednesday, 6th May 2009 at 12:52 am
 

Sunshine Underground live (side)It’s late 2006 and a friend pushes a CD into my hands. “You’ll love this”, she whispered. Bearing in mind that this same friend had said that I’d love the new Britney album at the time, I wasn’t holding out much hope. However, when I pressed play, The Sunshine Underground blew me away. It was like the early 90s had come back, got good and very very catchy. Sadly I missed them on the NME tour in 2007 when they toured with Klaxons and CSS but finally they decided to come to Oxford, where I caught them tonight.

First, however, we had the sypport, Exit Calm and hotly tipped Boy Crisis

Take the crazy lovechild of The Verve of the mid 90s on their most drug hazed days, kasabian on their most reverb filled days and sigur ros on a very bad day and you end up with Exit Calm. Multi coloured search lights spread out over the Academy 2 (probably better known as the Zodiac for those of you who remember the days before Oxford’s premier music venue was refurbed). Perfectly competent, their 30 minute set featured dreamy, reverb filled numbers and potential titans of the record buying public. The downside? Vocals buried beneath the layers of effects peddles, barely audible. Shame, as I think Nicky Smith probably has some interesting things to say, if only we could hear them.

When Newsweek ran a cover story about falling standards among young men, a problem the magazine attributed to the “biologically disrespectful education system” as well as to the different ways in which male (compared to female) brains are hardwired. Their term for this phenomenon was “Boy Crisis”, and with that passing comment, five Brooklyn based boys thought it would be good to call themselves that, and in the process become a new buzz band of the blogging elite. But after that quick biology lesson, do they live up to the hype? Well, much like MGMT, Hockey, LCD Soundsystem and most US party bands before them, you need to be drunk to get the best out of them. Unlike MGMT and LCD Soundsystem however, when you’re sober Boy Crisis aren’t up to much – fun and funky they maybe, but ultimately they’re a poor younger “me-too” step brother to the indie dance megastars. Feel free to crucify me now, readers of Pitchfork, Stereogum et al.

After a quick clean of the stage, time for the headliners, Leeds based Sunshine Underground. Having overheard someone comment from a fellow audience member about them playing mostly new stuff, I was a tad concerned – most of times that bands do this it’s to show their “radical new direction” that ultimately leads to their lack of a record deal in coming months and a drastically shortened publicity trail and tour. However, it was great to see that this was far from the case.

The vast majority of the songs they played during their 70 minute set were new ones, and whilst I had no idea of the lyrics, they’re frankly amazing. Any band that can get their fans jumping around as much for a new track as their old album tracks is definately on to a winner in my eyes. The old songs took on a bigger sound, fuller and with a few nice changes – “Borders” with a slow and tender beginning before plunging straight in. The new stuff sounds absolutely huge – if their first album was meant to fill pubs and small clubs, their forthcoming album is going to be filling Academies, such is the power – they’re not quite at stadium sized yet, but certainly huge anthems.

“This is “The Way it Is”, and it’s my favourite track from “Raise the Alarm” – FACT!” joked Craig just over halfway through. Not the chattiest frontman I’ve seen, he lets the songs do the talking, with The Way It Is sounding particuarly huge – hypnotic at times, it seems all the “Raise the Alarm” tracks have been given a massive make over to become, well, huge.

Have I expressed my love for these four Leeds lads enough yet? Their second album is sounding amazing from their show at the Oxford Academy, be sure to check them out on tour (though many of the dates are sold out now). They’ll also be blogging their way through their tour on their official website.

MP3: The Sunshine Underground & FC Kahuna – From The City To The Sea

After the jump: More pictures.
Continue reading Live Review: The Sunshine Underground at Oxford Academy – 5th May 2009

 

Dan Black and Boy Crisis on Wonky Pop Tour/ February and March 2009 UK Tour

 
By on Sunday, 14th December 2008 at 12:33 pm
 

Boy CrisisNews of the first Wonky Pop tour of 2009 has been announced. The successful series of tours, which this year featured the likes of Alphabeat, Sam Sparro and Frankmusic, will feature two of the most hotly tipped names for 2009 – the amazing Dan Black (pictured top) and New Yorkers Boy Crisis (pictured right).

The tour whih goes the length and breadth of the UK, will see the two BBC Sound of 2009 nominated artists embark on their first major tour.

Tickets are on sale now for some dates, and go on sale tomorrow (Monday 15th) for the rest of the dates.

Catch them at:

Thursday 26th February 2009 – Manchester Ruby Lounge (on sale 15th Dec @ 9am)
Friday 27th February 2009 – Sheffield Plug (See Tickets)
Monday 2nd March 2009 – Newcastle Academy 2 (on sale 15th Dec @ 9am)
Tuesday 3rd March 2009 – Edinburgh Cabaret Voltaire (Ticketweb)
Friday 6th March 2009 – Leeds Cockpit (See Tickets)
Sunday 8th March 2009 – Birmingham Academy 3 (on sale 15th Dec @ 9am)
Tuesday 10th March 2009 – Stoke-on-Trent Sugarmill (See Tickets)
Thursday 12th March 2009 – London KCLSU (on sale 15th Dec @ 9am)
Friday 13th March 2009 – Brighton Audio (See Tickets)
Monday 16th March 2009 – Bristol Fleece (on sale 15th Dec @ 9am)
Tuesday 17th March 2009 – Oxford Academy 2 (on sale 15th Dec @ 9am)
Wednesday 18th March 2009 – Cardiff Barfly (on sale 15th Dec @ 9am)

 

Shockwaves NME Awards Shows / London, Manchester and Glasgow / January and February 2009

 
By on Tuesday, 2nd December 2008 at 4:20 pm
 

The sensational Shockwaves NME Awards shows have been announced for next January and February to start off a 2009 in great style. The likes of Franz Ferdinand, The Wombats and Simian Mobile Disco are among this year’s great gigs, with more to be announced shortly.

Franz Ferdinand‘s frontman Alex Kapranos said of their opening night honour: “We’re going to play the gig to celebrate ‘Ulysess’ coming out and Heaven is the best place to go and celebrate. The new songs are the type that should be heard in clubs so we liked the idea of playing a show in one. We want people close to us who are dancing and sweating, that’s the vibe that we want. We definitely don’t want polite theatre shows for this record- we want some excitement!”

Tickets are available exclusively at NME from 9am on Wednesday, 26th November and then go on general sale on Monday 1st December.

UPDATE: More gigs added today (2nd December 2008) – full details below.

Catch the full details of the gigs below:

Tuesday 20th January 2009 – Franz Ferdinand @ London Heaven
Sunday 8th February 2009 – The Gaslight Anthems, Frank Turner and The Polar Bear Club @ London Shepherds Bush Empire
Monday 9th February 2009 – Howling Bells @ London Islington Academy
Tuesday 10th February 2009 – The View @ London Koko
Wednesday 11th February 2009 – Ida Maria @ London Koko
Thursday 12th February 2009 – Ida Maria @ Manchester Club Academy
Thursday 12th February 2009 – Simian Mobile Disco and Chrome Hoof @ London Koko
Friday 13th February 2009 – Ida Maria @ Glasgow Garage
Friday 13th February 2009 – Mystery Jets and Little Boots @ London Shepherds Bush Empire
Sunday 15th February 2009 – Black Lips and Vivian Girls @ London Islington Academy
Monday 16th February 2009 – Secret Machines @ London Islington Academy
Tuesday 17th February 2009 – Iglu and Hartley @ London Islington Academy
Wednesday 18th February 2009 – Black Kids, Boy Crisis, Passion Pit @ London Koko
Wednesday 18th February 2009 – Tricky @ Manchester Club Academy
Wednesday 18th February 2009 – Iglu and Hartley @ Manchester Academy 3
Thursday 19th February 2009 – Tricky @ Glasgow Arches
Thursday 19th February 2009 – Iglu and Hartley @ Glasgow QMU
Thursday 19th February 2009 – Roots Manuva @ London Koko
Friday 20th February 2009 – Tricky @ London Shepherds Bush Empire
Monday 23rd February 2009 – Wombats @ London Shepherds Bush Empire
Tuesday 24th February 2009 – Metronomy @ London Koko
Tuesday 24th February 2009 – Wombats @ Manchester Academy
Thursday 26th February 2009 – Wombats @ Glasgow Barrowlands

 
 
 

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