Tuesday, 15 November 2016

GIG REVIEW | VANT - The Cluny, Newcastle 12/11/16 | Dr Martens #SFSTOUR16

Happy Tuesday everybody! Today, as promised, is the review of what was easily one of the best gigs I've been to this year; VANT at The Cluny, Newcastle, for Dr Martens STAND FOR SOMETHING Tour 2016.

Last month I published a preview of this years iconic Dr Martens STAND FOR SOMETHING Tour focusing on the headliners of the Newcastle date, VANT. As this is a band that I love, I was of course very excited for this opportunity, even more so because the gig was set to take place in one of my favourite places in the world. I've missed Newcastle so much since graduating university; its an incredible city and I feel so at home there, Bradford seems exceedingly dull in comparison.

As the gig was on a Saturday I suggested to two of my best friends in the world, and flatmates of the last two years, Harriet and Sam, that we have a little reunion. They didn't take much tempting, and a reunion was unanimously and instantly agreed upon. As Sam lives in Sunderland, he offered to have Harriet and I stay for the weekend.

So on Saturday morning I caught the train from Leeds arriving in Newcastle around noon to meet up for lunch with one of my best friends from home, Cam, who is studying in Newcastle. We took the occasion as an excuse to visit Quilliam Brothers' Teahouse, which remains one of my favourite cafes in the city. I'd recommend their seasonal toffee apple tea, and the peanut butter brownies!

Harriet's train arrived a few hours after mine as she was travelling up from London. As I headed towards central station to meet her, I happened to bump into of my darling friends Beth from my course and her boyfriend Marc, who were also visiting for the weekend to see VANT play The Cluny. Utterly delighted and surprised we had a quick chat and agreed to meet up at the gig. I arrived at the station practically shaking with excitement at the thought of seeing so many of my friends in one weekend, as another of our old flatmates, Matt, who is still studying in Newcastle said that he was free to come along to the gig too. I found Harriet where upon we became even more excited, (if that was possible) and from Newcastle we caught the Metro to Sam's house where we were reunited, and greeted with vegan cupcakes made by Sam's lovely mum Denise.

After a long needed catch up over our cupcakes, we got dolled up and headed back into the city. Upon arriving in Newcastle, so happy to be back there together, we headed to NUDO for some much needed sushi and a glass of wine. After much hilarious deliberation upon the route we should take down The Cluny, we set off, wandering past many of our old haunts and reminiscing.

When we arrived we found Matt as well as Beth and Marc, who disappeared to watch the support act, LIFE, who they knew from their home city of Hull. We however stayed at the bar for a drink and a catch up with Matt as we hadn't seen him since May(!). Then about five minutes before VANT were due to come on stage we headed into the performance area and the six of us settled ourselves in a spot in the middle of the crowd in eager anticipation.

I was extremely elated by this point to finally be seeing VANT play live; I discovered them around April time, and Harriet and I had actually planned to see them play The Cluny in May, however our final year deadlines were upon us and we decided much to our devastation we'd have to miss it. I've loved them from the first time I heard 'Parking Lot', however since being asked along to review the gig and writing the preview, discovering more about the band's political views on Brexit and the US election and what they stand for, they really fascinated me and I was curious to see how they would portray that live. If you follow them on Facebook or Twitter you've probably seen the video they uploaded last week of their impromptu street performances around London aiming to inspire discussions amongst people concerning the US election. Following the result, front-man Mattie publicly spoke out about his devastation concerning the new President elect very eloquently in an interview with NME. Their passion and use of music to promote equality, consideration and protection of the environment inspired my huge admiration of them. At last, I had the privilege of being a member of their adoring audience.

REVIEW

VANT's performance on Saturday night was one that they could be nothing less than proud of; they gently enticed the crowd into a contagious admiration of their playing and spirit, so by the end of their set, every audience member's mind and heart was galvanised.

I'm ashamed to say I did not recognise the song they opened with, and the atmosphere felt like it needed a kick within the first few tracks, but not even a song later, and almost subconsciously, the whole room suddenly lifted and we were all in a weightless animation. 'Karma Seeker' and 'Do You Know Me?' were met with glorious episodes of dancing and chanting, and then Mattie treated us all to a front row view of 'Birth Certificate'.

It took me a moment to work out that somehow he wasn't on the stage anymore and then spot him walking through the crowd in our direction. He put down his mic stand right behind where Harriet, Matt, Sam and I were standing and so by a stroke of unbelievable luck, we had the best seats in the house as he beautifully sung out some of his most poetic lyrics. On his return journey to the stage at the end of the song, he received countless pats on the back by his grateful audience, the band then continued with their exceptional show.  They also treated us to a half-pace arrangement of 'Peace & Love' halfway through their set which seemed to make the lyrics all the more heartfelt.

There also seemed to be a turning point about halfway through, in conjunction and inspired by their playing 'Parking Lot'; what was dancing towards the front of the crowd, turned into full and unashamed slam dancing, and it was brilliant. The need for release overcame the audience and the unbeatable ecstasy that only comes with hearing your favourite songs being played live was instantly in abundance. From what was a wanting start, the show had insidiously built and by the time they played 'Fly-By Alien' the entire room was magnetised.

Towards the end of the show, Mattie took a moment to thank the audience for supporting them and fuelling their ability to perform and speak out about current issues. Almost as soon as he mentioned the US election, the whole crowd seemed to all at once throw their middle fingers in the air and begin to chant "FUCK YOU TRUMP! FUCK YOU TRUMP!" which Mattie was evidently very grateful for. It was really nice to see the political motifs in their music come through so clearly in their set and song. They of course, finished with 'Peace & Love' which was the perfect way to round of the gig; it filled us all with such a strong contentment and a humbling appreciation of what was an amazing evening of incredible music. We left with such smiles on our faces, and my hunger to see VANT perform live was thankfully appeased.



My front row seat for 'Birth Certificate'...






'Parking Lot'










(Aw you guys *blushes*)





Dr Martens boots of course!



"Have a wonderful night, have a wonderful life."

VANT were the perfect band to headline the Newcastle show of the STAND FOR SOMETHING Tour; they're so outspoken about the things that truly matter and they possess all the ferocity and gumption that the Dr Martens embodies. They're a perfect match for Newcastle as well, a city full of spirit, diversity and love.

I would just like to say thank you to The Zeitgeist Agency for inviting me along to the show, and a huge congratulations to VANT on an exceptional gig. I'm also very grateful that the show gave my darling friends and I a wonderful excuse to surround ourselves with each other in the city where we met. I had such a wonderful time. 

That's all for now however I will be back soon, so don't go anywhere.

Holly.


VANT:

Friday, 7 October 2016

GIG PREVIEW | VANT - The Cluny, Newcastle 12/11/16 | Dr Martens #STSTOUR16

Hello everyone! I hope you've all had glorious summers!

I have something incredibly exciting to tell you all today, something that I'm incredibly proud to be involved in. This autumn, Dr Martens' invincible STAND FOR SOMETHING tour is returning to the UK. Hold on to your hats ladies and gentlemen, because this is going to be something else.

Photo Credit: Curtesy of Dr Martens

Music has been intertwined in the Dr Martens identity since their conception in 1960; the classic workman's boots were adopted by nearly every rebellious youth tribe of the late 20th century, music was a as much a form of self expression as their distinctive aesthetics. Whether it was the skinheads or the 90s grunge kids, each of these alternative subcultures all stood for something, either collectively or individually. That's what Dr Martens is; its a movement that transcends generations and individuals.

The STAND FOR SOMETHING tour has provided some of the most deserving, unique musicians an incredible platform over the last few years to show the world what they stand for. Last year the tour featured Scottish heartthrobs Twin Atlantic, broody Lonely The Brave as well as Dutch Uncles, Palma Violets, Bury Tomorrow and The Wytches. 

The tour this year fits perfectly in conjunction with the release of Dr Martens' next generation of classic footwear, the #DMsLITE; a contemporary spin on the iconic 1460 boot with a third less weight than the original, ready for a diverse 21st century audience. 

Photo Credit: Curtesy of DrMartens.com

This year the set list is fully loaded with a variety of the most unapologetic and formidable forces in emerging music today. Three artists have already been announced, with supports yet to be confirmed and a secret London headliner yet to be revealed, let me introduce you to the burning stars of 2016's STAND FOR SOMETHING tour. 

Kicking off the tour in Liverpool in only a few weeks time, one of the most compelling electro duos in recent years, Formation will be bringing a set full of contagious and chill-inducing melodies. Set to give the male dominated grime scene a real run for their money, fierce femme fatale Paigey Cakey will be treating Birmingham to her unmistakable sound on the 29th. 

And finally onto the special feature for today's post, the attitude-filled VANT, who are explosively redefining the standards for modern rock music will be tearing down the roof of The Cluny in Newcastle this November. I'm thrilled to say that I'll be attending and will return to A Romantic Calamity with a review for you all, one that I can only hope will do justice by the band. 

Photo credit: Curtesy of The Zeitgeist Agency

I've been following VANT for about 7 months which isn't too long but this love runs deep; the second I heard 'Parking Lot' that was it, sold. I've felt recently that I've been craving a fresh, heavy bit of British rock in my life and VANT have definitely curbed my hunger. I know that the likes of You Me At Six and Twin Atlantic will always be there, but there's something about VANT; they're invigorating. 

Each song is anthem that can transport you and pulls you on your feet to dance, everyone needs songs they can sing along to and every VANT song is a song you can that you can do just that with. I've heard great things about them when they play live and I am honestly so excited to see at The Cluny. It's the perfect venue for them too, it was one of my favourite places in Newcastle when I was at university and I've had some great nights there. The performance rooms are quirky and can hold a lot of energy if the crowd is right, I have no doubt VANT will attract an amazing crowd. Located just out of town in electric Ouseburn, it's the perfect location for Dr Martens' STAND FOR SOMETHING tour; homely, well-loved and unforgettable. 

VANT released a new EP in August, titled 'KARMA SEEKER' after their seductive new single, however they're also releasing a new track on Monday 10th October titled 'Peace and Love' which they completed following the horrifying attacks in Paris. I'm intrigued to hear the lyrics on this one, especially as on their Facebook page they noted how hollow they felt those words and the phrases' meaning have become. 

So, after all my fan-girling, I hope to see many of you at The Cluny on November 12th when VANT will deliver a show that I have no doubt will be one the best you've ever seen. I honestly can't wait. 

I'll leave all the tour dates and locations for the #STST0UR16 at the end of this post as well as all of VANT's links. I've hope you've enjoyed it and keep an ear out for what these formidable headliners will do next, it's going to be really interesting. 

As always guys I'll see you soon, I've just returned from an absolutely soul-enriching two weeks in Alberta, Canada and I have a vast multitude of pictures to share with you. It might take a few posts to show them all however, I had just cause to take a bucket tonne of photographs. I hope you all enjoy your weekends! 

Holly

Dr Martens #STSTOUR16 Dates/Locations/Headliners:

15th October: Liverpool: The Scandi Church - Formation
29th October: Birmingham: The Rainbow Courtyard - Paigey Cakey
12th November: Newcastle: The Cluny - VANT
26th November: London - TBA

VANT:

KARMA SEEKER - EP out now!
'War and Peace' - Single out Monday 10th October 

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Single + Gig Review | FLAWES - Consolation - The Brudenell Social Club 15/06/16

Hello everyone! I'm back with more music today, and it's good, really good.


I'm sorry this is a little delayed but I was on holiday in Derbyshire with my friends last week so no work got done and this week hasn't been particularly easy either, but here I am finally!

A few weeks ago I was very graciously offered the chance by A Gent Publicity to see and review new, Pop/Alt band FLAWES live as they embark on their first UK tour. FLAWES are an endearing three-piece from London, who have generated quite a momentous intrigue around their debut EPs. Having conquered Radio 1's 'Introducing Track of the Week' along with appearances at Live at Leeds and The Great Escape Festival, I was eager to discover more about their music.

As is my rule when I'm contacted by bands or artists to review their music on A Romantic Calamity, I only agree if I would genuinely listen to the music. I want to celebrate great music on this blog and so before agreeing to review FLAWES I had to investigate their sound. I was thoroughly satisfied with everything I heard.

The first single of FLAWES' that I listened to was 'Don't Wait For Me' simply because it was the track the most people had been talking about. After the first chorus I had already made up my mind to review them, the torn-apart melody and spine-tingling vocals really appealed to me and so I couldn't say anything but yes!

I thought for the single review I'd go for FLAWES most recent single, 'Consolation', which happens to also be my favourite song of theirs. I'm going to follow with the style I've been practising in my first few reviews as I feel it's working, so enjoy!


SINGLE REVIEW - CONSOLATION

'Consolation' is layered with a variety of electronic melodies which engulfs the listener in a bubble, where the layered and packed lyrics also circulate before you. Close your eyes and the black seems wholly appropriate for the elusive and evading meaning of this track. Because of this, it makes it hard to place such a song, however when the lyrics are presented before you, it all becomes very clear.

It's probably only me that does this, but I have a playlist on my iPod titled 'Train Playlist'; which is full of break up/nostalgic/home sick songs mainly written and performed by alternative, American bands. This playlist is for those days when you're travelling alone or its been raining for what feels like forever and the sky looks like its never been anything but grey. Every now and again, we all have days when we just feel blue; we become suddenly reflective and a little hopeless as to what our lives have become. But we go to bed and by the next day we've shaken it and life rolls on. 'Consolation' is for those blue days.

On days such as these, I usually find myself walking a lot or taking multiple train journeys doing boring errand type jobs by myself (hence the title of the playlist), or I like to go on a walk near my village just to clear my head a little. The time I have decided I would therefore play 'Consolation' is when walking across the bracken-covered moors just above my village on such a blue day. When I was a child we lived just below them and so we would walk across them every Sunday. They're one of my favourite places in the entire world and they're incredibly beautiful, even on an overcast day they look wonderfully broody.

After listening to 'Consolation' for the first time I wanted to explore the lyrics further, and I found them elusive but full of such emotion. When delivered to your ears through Josh's textured and enticing voice they become so raw. I often turn to walking on the moors when I feel I need too centre myself again, or I'm slightly at sea, 'Consolation' is the tale of a soul at sea.

Imagine yourself atop an uneven, evergreen plain that stretches across the valley and rises up the hill behind you. Its covered in patches of bracken and sometimes reveals the copper bedrock underneath. As you walk, a soul clutching for something intangible, the wind rushes through your hair with little violence and the words "You're crowding up the stars that lit my way up to you" spill through your ears into your mind. If you completely give in to the track, release all other distractions you'll see thats its an exhausted plea disguised in deconstructed Pop/Alt. If you really let it transport you it will, and by the end of this burst of hidden expression you'll feel a cathartic reality.

The montage of electronic, instrumental and spoken melodies create a wonderfully subtle but memorable track. 'Consolation' isn't in your face but its highly impactful. This refreshing and relatable delivery from FLAWES I feel will rapidly project them into the public eye, they've generated a respectful name through their carefully curated sound and aesthetic. Listen to the track and you'll understand my excitement at being invited to watch them play.

To see the official video for 'Consolation', click here.


GIG REVIEW - THE BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB 15/06/16

I agreed with their publicity that I would attend their show at The Brudenell Social Club in Leeds on Wednesday 15th June where they were performing with Australian band SAFIA. My Dad had recently discovered the Brudenell after going to see ones of his 80s bands there and thought it was a fantastic venue, so for the past year he has been avidly searching their website for a gig that the two of us would want to go to. I had been granted a plus one and so I thought this would be a good opportunity for us to finally go to the Brudenell, (he also dragged me to see Dr Feelgood a few weeks before so now we were even, and anyway, I needed a driver!).

We'd checked the website for stage times and it said doors opened at 7.30 so we got there about twenty to eight. I'd never been to the Brudenell before but from Dad's descriptions I was intrigued; he'd told me it was in the most bizarre spot in the middle of a housing estate and that he was amazed they get the bands they do. As we got closer to venue, my slightly vague expectations of the Brudenell became even more cloudy as the area became an even less likely location. The Brudenell is quite something else, it was an old social club (duh!) and it looked like one too, I couldn't help sharing Dad's surprise at its reputable name.

When we got inside it looked even more like a social club but the atmosphere said different. We walked in to a door from which a hell of a lot of screaming and heavy instrumentals were coming, as well as FLAWES there was another gig that night. The audience and muffled roars suggested something like metal. Dad and I got a drink and started looking around for the other gig, I could hear a slightly distorted 'Don't Wait For Me' coming from the other room behind the bar so we went to investigate. We entered a room that looked as if it had been decorated in a similar style to our games in our cellar which I'm pretty sure was last revamped in the late 80s. We could hear FLAWES however and happened to walk straight into their soundcheck. Smooth.

Feeling like a pair of mugs, we walked back towards the door where there were some tables and sat down with our drinks. We didn't think it would be long till they started playing until one of their event crew up a sign saying they wouldn't be on stage till nine. Well done us; we had successfully crashed a soundcheck and arrived an hour and half before the show started. Smooth.

As it drew closer to nine o'clock however, Dad and I found that we still among a few actually in the room, the band and crew included. At five to nine a few groups of girls confusedly walked in and went and sat down near the stage so we thought we'd do the same, by the time FLAWES walked on stage I don't think there were more than 25 people in the room.

Regardless of the humble audience however, FLAWES still came on and performed a brilliant show. They had fantastic symmetry as a band and Josh's vocals stirred each member of the audience. In between one of the songs they announced that it was the drummer's, also called Josh, Mum's birthday so we all cheerily wished Christine a happy birthday as she was among the audience. FLAWES played most of the tracks off their new EP 'CTRL' finishing of course with 'Consolation' and 'Don't Wait For Me' which Josh sung beautifully.














I sincerely wish that for FLAWES' sake their was a bigger audience, I think everyone present thoroughly enjoyed themselves but obviously with a bigger audience comes a more inspiring atmosphere.

After FLAWES was SAFIA, the headline act. SAFIA are a three piece from Australia who came on about 10 o'clock I think but unfortunately we couldn't stay for all their set as Dad wanted to get home. They also played a good show, their music was a little more upbeat than FLAWES but it wasn't much to my taste I'm afraid.

Although it was a bit of an odd gig I still really enjoyed myself, I can't say that my Dad particularly connected with the music but he's not exactly into modern day alternative genres. I'd like to say hats off once again to FLAWES and SAFIA however for putting on great sets and not appearing at all disheartened at the low turnout. I think half the problem was that most of the students that usually congregate at the Brudenell and attend it's gigs had all gone home for the summer, as I had, which unfortunately didn't help the numbers. Oh well, their loss! I has a good night!

So that's all from me today, I'd like to say a warm thank you to FLAWES for inviting me along and introducing me to their music, I'll definitely be keeping an ear on them in the future. I hope you all enjoyed this post and if you'd like to check out FLAWES here's where you can find them:

Youtube
Soundcloud
Twitter
Facebook

Thank you, as always, for reading my blog and I shall see you all very soon.

Holly.


Tuesday, 14 June 2016

A Delightful Birthday At Alnwick Gardens

Hello everyone! I think it's about long time I got myself back into blogging, don't you?

I'm proud to say I've finished my BA Hons Fashion Communication degree at Northumbria University and am only waiting to hear my results and graduate, which is quite terrifying. I do now, however, have an unnerving amount of time on my hands so it's probably about time I updated you all and got myself back into a routine of writing and photography.

Today I wanted to share with you all some lovely photographs that I took on my birthday. I turned 21 last month and now can no longer find a respectable argument for my not being a real adult. Despite this daunting fact, my 21st birthday weekend was one of the most magical and memorable of my entire life and I'm so grateful to everyone who made it beautiful.

My birthday this year fell on a Friday and so the day before my birthday my boyfriend took me out for a day in Newcastle. We went for lunch at a tea rooms near my house called Cake Stories before walking into town where we went to The Baltic Museum and then the cinema to see The Jungle Book (which I highly recommend you go see if you haven't already as it's simply charming). We then went to a restaurant in the centre of town called Lola Jeans for dinner, which was excellent, (again I'd recommend) before coming home to curl up in bed and watch The Muppets: Treasure Island. I'm afraid I don't have any pictures of that day but it was absolutely lovely, thank you Lewis.

On the morning of my birthday I awoke to a lazy morning spent with vegan pancakes and my amazing flatmates Harriet, Sam and Sean where upon they gave me my first birthday present of a beautiful Crosby Vinyl Player accompanied by Catfish and the Bottlemen's fantastic album 'The Balcony'. I cried.

We then all set off in Sean's car for an afternoon in Alnwick. We'd been talking of going to see the gardens there all year and I was desperate to visit the famous Barter Books before I left Newcastle and it was merely a 40 minute drive away. Seen as I've taken to flowers and beautiful gardens through a few compelling places I've visited in the last year it seemed only natural that we should go to Alnwick on my birthday. I know it's not exactly your typical 21st birthday celebration but I'm an old soul and it was the best so I really couldn't care less.

I of course took my camera and it turned out to be such a beautiful day, therefore I of course took buckets of pictures.



















Young love.
















Album cover.











Beauty and the Beast's rose.





Me and wifey.









From the gardens we headed to Barter Books which was incredible, it's the most beautifully curated bookshop I've ever seen and all second hand. I picked up three vintage classics to add to my growing library. Upon arriving back in Newcastle we all got dolled up and headed into town for a night out which was my favourite of the past year. Gotham then Flithy's, cheap but brilliant.

The next day my parents drove up to visit with the most incredible, champagne afternoon tea, balloons, flowers and presents. It was the best and my Mum really excelled herself. I then took them Dabbawal Street Food Kitchen for dinner where the food was amongst the best Indian's I've ever tasted. They stayed overnight and the next day we went down to the Quayside Market for a wander and then walked up to the Fat Hippo Underground for lunch (for the third time in one post, I'd highly recommend, we basically went to all my favourite places so I'd recommend them all ok?). 

Ok so it definitely wasn't your typical 21st birthday weekend, but it was absolutely perfect. I can't thank my friends, Lewis or my parents enough for indulging me so much in one weekend, they might have seemed like modest things or places we visited but they were wonderful and the best way I could think of to round up my three years in Newcastle. 

I really hope you all enjoyed this post and enjoy the pictures, I don't need to assure you it was the most beautiful day. 

I'll speak soon.

Holly