It was the Spring bank holiday weekend and another Common People Festival was just about to get going. With two sister festivals in Southampton and Oxford occurring on the same weekend, the lineup just swapped days with the likes of The Jacksons headlining Saturday and Sunday at Oxford and Southampton respectively. This was with the exception of a few bands including Dream Wife who were smashing it at BBC Biggest Weekend in Belfast on Saturday.
I managed to get up, do some work and get to the festival ready to watch Pivotal kick-off Southampton’s main stage at 11, and they did it in style. Having won their place at a showcase held at the Joiners a few weeks prior the festival, their performance showed exactly why they were an excellent pick to not only play the festival but be the first band of the weekend.
My biggest surprise of the festival was Elvana. Having heard of them and seen them on numerous festival line-ups I always thought “Elvis fronted Nirvana” would be a poor gimmick used purely to get people to watch them. In some ways, they use the weirdness of their band description to their advantage, but they certainly pull it off. Playing Nirvana songs including 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' with excerpts of Elvis songs added randomly in the middle, their performance was incredibly well thought out, and what sounds like a very strange idea works surprisingly well.
My other highlights from the Saturday have to include The Sherlocks, Honeyblood, and headliner Lily Allen. I was extremely surprised how much I enjoyed Lily Allen’s set. The British singer-songwriter performed a truly inspiring set. With the crowd experiencing throwbacks to the 2000s mixed with her new slightly more relaxed Lily Allen songs it was clear to see how she has grown as an artist whilst still producing absolute bangers.
After such an incredible Saturday, I was even more for Sunday’s Disco Day. Again, I got their early and saw Southampton based Wild Front open the main stage. Within the first few songs frontman Jack Williams had used his teeth and a violin bow to play his guitars. I then moved onto another Southampton based band, Djuno. Providing a personal favourite performance of the weekend, the rock riffs mixed with lead singer Courtney’s incredible vocals create a sound truly incredible for a band who are only in their infancy. Black Foxxes and Ben Goddard were also providing very memorable performances for all the right reasons. Both artists provide very different sounds but they both filled the Uncommon Stage which was a rare sight over the weekend. The Uncommon Stage was again filled later in the evening for Dream Wife. A band who have recently released their self-titled album and have been rocking venues up and down the country, and they did not disappoint. Then it was time for the Sunday headliner, probably the most famous musical family on the planet, The Jacksons. With Tito, Marlon, Jackie, and Jermaine gracing the Common Stage to provide what can only be described as more of an experience rather than a performance. With videos of their lives, an incredible tribute to their late brother Michael and Tito Time, it was truly a once in a lifetime moment. Whilst taking photos I even managed to get a high five from Marlon!
Common People has again managed to produce a truly incredible weekend and I would thoroughly recommend going next year, I certainly will be looking forward to it.
Dan Owen played his biggest London headline show at The Jazz Café on May 29th for the launch of his debut album “Stay Awake With Me”, which will be released through Atlantic Records on August 17th.
Dan Owen is a 25 years old singer-songwriter from Shrewsbury, Shropshire. His songs are inspired by some difficult life-changing moments such as helping a friend through a period of domestic abuse, the loss of his grandfather and a tragic carpentry accident which left Dan blind in one eye. Follow his passion for music, he has played numerous headline shows across the UK and Europe, performed for politicians at Westminster and partied with Willie Nelson in Nashville.
His forthcoming album “Stay Awake With Me” has been anticipated by singles: “Made To Love You” (which has obtained over 12 million streams on Spotify), “Icarus”, “Hideaway” and “What Is A Man” which were received well on Radio1, Radio2 and Virgin Radio as well as tastemakers and publications.
Dan’s headline show was full of energy and his songs touched everyone’s hearts by bringing his stories to life once again. He was supported by two talented singer-songwriters: Opening the show was Joe Slater from Liverpool, with his acoustic guitar and London based Hollie Rogers with her guitar and contrabass player.
The day after the concert Dan announced his biggest headline tour of his career so far. He will play 27 dates across the UK and Europe throughout September and October 2018. His tour will finish with a headline show at the 100 Club on October 24th.
Tickets will go on-sale at 9 am on Friday, June 8th and will be available via danowenmusic.com. You can also see Dan Owen this summer at Wilderness Festival where he will play the Main Stage On August 3rd.
'Stay Awake With Me' will be released via Atlantic Records on August 17th. You can pre-order it here.
The new album from the jack of all musical trades, Mobley, surfaces to SoundCloud. 'Fresh Lies, Vol. I' showcases all of the variety of styles and beats performed and produced by Mobley from his spine-tingling vocals to beautifully arranged tracks varying in different rhythms, experimental sounds, and popping tunes that’ll get you on your feet. My favourite track off of 'Fresh Lies, Vol I' is titled 'Young Adult Fiction,' which is a combination of mellow beats and soft vocals that occasionally blast you with hyperactive drum portions (I like surprises). 'Tell You' is one of the slower and quieter tracks, but it really lets you listen and feel the power behind Mobley’s voice. 'Solo' is a fun track because it carries in those “wubz” many dubstep fans will appreciate along with a few other funky and weird effects and noises. This album is an exciting listen because you never know what to expect track-by-track, which gave me a ton of enjoyment while writing this review. Happy listening!
Mobley is touring nationally and internationally over the next 6 months.
(European dates to be announced). You can find out more here.
Stuck in a rut? Uninspired? Demotivated? Then read one of the most rewarding books this year 'Creative Quest' by four-time Grammy Award-winning musician and co-founder of The Roots, designer, producer, DJ, writer and entrepreneur Questlove (is there anything this guy can't do?). In his new book, he explores creativity with enlightening nuggets of information about his own life, background and personal quest for creativity. He shares creative tips and philosophies from people he has met and life journeys he has traveled. With exercises at the end of each chapter such as micro-meditation, 'un-block party' to enable you to think of new ideas, and rewriting reviews of your work you are even more absorbed in the book and able to get in touch with yourself and your creativity.
Questlove explores various topics within what it means to be creative such as how do we define creativity? How to go about finding a mentor, maintaining a creative network (much easier to do in this day and age with easy access to social media) and how to cope with balance, success, rejection, and those who are critical of your work.
There are plenty of anecdotes so if you want to know why D'Angelo being late to a show and being forced to micro-meditate saved the da, about Questlove's 'Twin Peaks' themed dinner with David Lynch or why he described Childish Gambino's 'Awaken, My Love!" as "the train" then read this book.
How creativity is "a privilege and a blessing, but it's also at times a burden." Coming up with new ideas and how D'Angelo conquered that problem. Something I personally have never thought about "copying, over covering, is always a valuable exercise." I write for a living and even though the music I write about is inspiring it can be tough to come up with new and interesting ways to relay that to the reader. This exercise gets you going and restarts your brain encouraging you to look at how things are put together.
Questlove explores the modern world of technology and how distracting it is. Think about it. Can you just sit and watch a movie any more without checking your phone for texts, emails, your Instagram feed? Questlove agrees this is consequential. He writes, "creative work requires your time and effort". "The very same tools that let you work efficiently - word processing, Wikipedia - are connected to other tools that rob you of efficiency and focus. They don't destroy your will to live, but they do destroy your ability to live in the moment."
Read about Artists who are Type A: Achievers (Jay-Z) and Type B: Creatives, why the scene in Mary Poppins when the kids go inside the chalk drawings and have a magical experience inspired Questlove, and David Bowie's observations on creativity, that it's "one of the few human endeavours where you can crash your airplane and walk away from it."
So to quote Questlove, "creativity is a lifelong endeavour. Practice may or may not be perfect, which is why you should never stop practising."
So read 'Creative Quest' and take heed of Questlove's advice. You will be creating your next masterpiece in no time.
Taste the summer with the new single 'Make It Better' from Rave Radio feat Go Comet! via Vicious Recordings. Continuing their theme of releasing summer house anthems the DJ duo from Queensland, Australia, smash it with this track which contains all the ingredients to make you have it on repeat over the summer months. A euphoric wave of funky bass and a lush soundscape with a sunkissed chorus creates a wanderlust feel. Silky vocal chops are courtesy of Go Comet! who has previously worked with Botnekand LazyRich.
'Make It Better' follows the duo's spring release 'Morning Light' as well as 'Carry You' and 'Turn Me Out' which racked up over 3.5m plays on Spotify. The energetic pair are well known for combining live performance elements with high-octane EDM sets. They have a stream of viral videos on Facebook raking over an astonishing 19 million views. Previous videos include a satirical iPhone remix, LinkinPark going off in a club and various vlogs of their adventures. Rave Radio is currently in the middle of a massive Asian and Australian tour and will be gracing European shores soon.
Rave Radio discuss their new single and what they have planned for their own summer:
Tell me about your new single 'Make It Better'?
It's about that stage in a relationship where you're divided after a big argument or issue whether to throw in the towel and move on or work on the relationship to make it better. It’s a little ambiguous as it has such a summer uplifting feel but tells a story of deciding your problems are too big to overcome. We’re super excited to hear what everyone thinks of it.
How did you get together to form Rave Radio?
We both dated the same girl in high school. Instead of fighting it out, we became mates and started DJing…..jokes. We met at uni. But that sounds boring...
Describe a typical DJ set
Filthy bass drops and sweaty dancefloors.
Favourite place to perform and why?
Hmmm….our hometown is up there as we have so many fans plus all our friends, but also the Philippines has been amazing to play too!
What are your plans for the summer?
We’re doing our first European summer tour, hitting Electric Love in Austria, some clubs in Croatia and UK. Super stoked!
What track are you dying to remix?
As soon as we heard 'This Is America' from Childish Gambino, I knew we had to flip it. So we did. It's a free download on our Facebook page.
Who or what is influencing you at the moment?
These colder nights in Australia are great for moody songs and pulling up old songs that we’ve forgotten about.
How much time do you spend on social media per day?
Mornings, for about 10 minutes while having breaky.
Evenings, for about 10 minutes when we post a video.
We try to limit it as its essentially time wasted.
What do you love most about what you do?
We have this amazing opportunity to travel the world, get paid and play our music to strangers. Dream come true.
What's next for Rave Radio?
After this single, we’ve got our next 2 singles done, so shooting music videos and getting those ready. European summer tour is what's on our horizon and we couldn't be more excited.