If you’re looking to ease yourself into jazz, look no further than Cherise Adams-Burnett. Performing for the second time during EFG London Jazz Festival, the 23-year-old took to the stage in front of an intimate audience fuelled with anticipation and excitement. Kicking off the night, Cherise glided through the audience in the Elgar Room at the Royal Albert Hall in her floaty, white dress, looking ethereal, confident and ready to perform.
The first half saw Cherise accompanied by Gabriel Piers-Mantell on the piano, Olly Sarkar on the drums, and Louis van der Westhuizen on the double bass. Playing music from her forthcoming album – out next year – Cherise treated the audience to an insight into her love life and the trials and tribulations of a past relationship. Taking influence from Ella Fitzgerald and Carmen McRae, the music felt vulnerable and poetic. However, what Cherise lacks in age, she also lacks in experience, and often the words sounded a little contrived. Although her youthful energy and multi-faceted repertoire helped bring variety to her performance of Pretenders, her talent and vocal abilities took centre stage over the lyrics. The audience, however, lapped it up and we saw Cherise finish the first half of the set performing earthy, soulful tracks with classical influences and the odd, extremely impressive, scat.
The second half of the evening saw Cherise joined on stage by Ife Ogunjobi on the trumpets, a string quartet and backing singers for a big band sound. Bringing up the tempo, the more upbeat half had a very different feel to the first, and I could see Cherise’s famed neo soul and R&B influences making an entrance. I could feel the audience tapping their feet to the tracks performed, enjoying Cherise as she sung in harmony with the backing vocalists and occasionally played her flute – once again, showing off her conservatoire training. The hazy, smoky lights were dimmed red and the room channelled the late-night jazz sessions many of the audience hoped for. Overall the evening was a wonderful showcase of talent from everyone involved. An eclectic mix of genres and a very youthful affair, the performance perhaps lacked that rough experience that comes with time. I look forward to Cherise perfecting her own sound with her distinctive, beautiful voice. Give Cherise time to grow and she’ll flower into a deeper shade of blues.
Sounds the trumpets! The EFG London Jazz Festival has officially begun, and, this Saturday, we headed to the Southbank Centre to see Kandace Springs perform her soulful tracks to a packed-out audience.
The 10-day celebration hopes to provide audiences with a mixture of renowned artists and emerging stars from the world of Jazz. The popular event will see artists such as Camilla George, Cherise Adams-Burnett and Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra bring jazz to the forefront of London culture this winter. Kicking things off, Kandace Springs channelled her inner Dusty Springfield for a wonderful end to the first week. However, we were also treated to opening act AJ Brown and his Elton John-esqe piano renditions.
You wouldn’t be the only one to mistake Yorkshire-born AJ Brown for an American cruise ship performer. His upbeat, popular performances had strong Burt Bacharach influences (who he’s actually performed with), and his charismatic charm had the audience tapping their feet. His powerful voice carried around the newly refurbished Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre, performing his own tracks as well as many of his idols, including Luther Vandross. Closing his set with a ballad version of Latch by Disclosure feat. Sam Smith, AJ Brown revealed his vocal talents, hitting all the high notes with ease. Although, it may have not been the jazz I was expecting (the style of Michael Buble with the reach of Tom Jones), he definitely got the audience alert and ready for the next act – Kandace Springs.
The late and great Prince once said that Kandace Springs ‘has a voice that could melt snow’, and he wasn’t wrong. Captivating from start to finish, the wonderful Kandace Springs from Nashville, Tennessee performed an amazing set of meaningful and beautiful songs. Alongside the two-piece band, comprising the double bass and the drums, Kandace brought new tracks, her favourite songs and anecdotes of growing up with her father (also a jazz musician), Scat Springs, to the stage.
Kandace’s voice sounds like an old soul, despite her young age. Her husky, dulcet tones are mesmerising and send you into another world. Her range, however, was outstanding and she made sure she performed tracks to showcase her vocal repertoire. Performing songs by Dusty Springfield, Nina Simone and many other talented jazz musicians, Springs also performed her new single Fix me, which was an amalgamation of R&B, pop, jazz and classical genres – Chopin is one of her most-loved composers. Springs’ music was full of classical inspiration, merging well with her love of jazz. A welcoming and upbeat concert, by the end I felt like I knew the singer well. Kandace Springs is one to watch.
Entering its 13th year, Wireless Festival 2018 is ready to continue its dominance of the London day festival scene. Taking place across 6th, 7th, 8th July, this year’s iteration sees the heavyweights you hear on Spotify every day making their way to Finsbury Park. It’s proved to be the hottest ticket in London town, with all 3 days sold out.
Friday sees the return of J Cole as a headliner to the main stage. Since his appearance in 2016, he’s released two albums both topping the charts in the US. Friday also sees the return of Post Malone, who has had an incredible 2018 with his album Beerbongs & Bentleys breaking the first day streaming records on Spotify. Supported by PARTYNEXTDOOR, Big Sean and British behemoths Wretch 32 and Wiley, Friday promises to kick the weekend off in style. Man of the moment and king of grime Stormzy take the stage to headline on Saturday. From a late afternoon appearance in 2015 away from the main stage, Stormzy’s elevation to the main stage speaks volume of the impact he’s had on the music scene since. He’s supported by hip hop’s power group Migos and Stormzy’s heir apparent to the throne, J Hus.
Closing out the festival will be DJ Khaled and friends, with some exciting surprises in store for festival-goers. The notable headliner is supported by revered grime artist Grime and the energetic Lil Uzi Vert. Each day sees a whole host of emerging British talent taking the stage from 3.30pm onwards, including Mist, Kojo Funds, Big Shaq and Mostack to name a few. For those lucky enough to grab their ticket, it promises to be a stunning weekend. And one which will leave people already looking ahead to Wireless 2019.
I’m a huge fan of Polly, the woman beside me says: she’s the best in the business. We’re sitting on the far left of a crowded semi-circle that cups the stage. I can’t hear her exacts words, which are drowned out by both the frank invitations of Khia’s My Neck, My Back and the murmuring crowd around us.
For Underbelly Festival’s debut season, Miss Polly Rae reprises her popular show Between the Sheets with new and exclusive material. Within a cavernous spiegeltent, festooned with lights and disco balls, the lovely MC and her colourful troupe celebrate perversion, outlandish desires, and love in the 21st century. Although advertised as cabaret, the show is more a heady mixture of burlesque, striptease and variety.
Soon the lights are killed and the tent goes pitch black – save for a white, glowing sheet in front of the catwalk. Behind it lies a scene of men and women, angelically silhouetted but suggestively posed. The light flickers softly, and each time the scene shifts: the result is a kind of orgiastic moving picture. It’s a clever little teaser for what proves to be a most excellent and myriad light show.
A lithe figure, purple skinned with neon hair and lips, struts out of the darkness and across the dim stage. Beau Rocks starts us off with a straightforward, purely sensuous dance routine. It feels like a retro sci-fi mixture of burlesque and rave, with a lush chair routine to really get your rocks off. Between the Sheets is very much a millennial production – from the selection of predominantly 90s popular music, down to the costuming.
Beau less than subtly finishes up by pouring glowing, multicolored paint all over herself. After the applause a sultry voice emerges from the audience. Miss Polly Rae, from where I’m sitting, appears to be wreathed by rays of golden light. She slinks towards the stage, flirting and quipping with audience members along the way, as she introduces herself and the show to newcomers. Rae sweetly explains that we are between her sheets – her world of fantasy and desire.
The acts get along at a brisk pace. Most are elaborate stripteases, varying between pastiche or parody, with suitably elaborate outfits. If they aren’t especially sophisticated, one is easily distracted by both the dazzling lights and the troupe’s physical sensuousness. The women are voluptuous, the men chiseled, and all are very limber. Tom Cunningham and Myles Brown prove to be the mainstay of the show, featuring in at least half of it. They are the most dynamic of the bunch (at least on the ground…) both physically and emotively.
Lily Snatchdragon, as Miss Rae’s long-suffering understudy, provides two coarsely comedic interludes. Her character is a mishmash of Oriental Asian stereotypes – ‘I’m Thai but the kimono is Japanese, deal with it’ – down to the saccharine falsetto. Lily bemoans both her lot in life, (avoiding) to clean up after the rest’s escapades, and her desire for British nationality. The highlight is a very blue parody of I’d Do Anything, including raucous suggestions from backstage. Playing desperation for laughs is a tricky thing, and Lily’s momentum does flag at moments however.
Personally, my favourite part of the evening is also the least overtly sexual. Acrobatics partners Duo Visage mesmerise the crowd, almost to complete silence, suspended upon an aerial hoop. Intertwined they perform seemingly impossible feats of contortion and agility, lowering each other down and up and around, all while spinning in the air.
It was a tough one to follow. In barely-there lingerie, Kitty Bang Bang sets the stage aflame – literally so, at the climax – twirling torches and swallowing fire. Yet the striptease and the gyrating almost feels perfunctory here, and definitely a distraction. ‘Pony Play’, with Brown and Cunningham as the stallions and Rae the rider, starts promisingly but ends up feeling a little mechanical.
Wrapping up the show, to everyone’s dismay, Miss Rae proffers one last act. Kitty sweeps the stage again in a flowing black dress, a classic femme fatale, for a jaw-dropping reprise. Stripping the dress away, she climbs into a raised basin of water. I soon receive a light showering, while the Polly fan beside me gets soaked. (It’s sour, she says with a little grimace). Sweat and water dripping down my face, I behold the sexpot – clad in fiery, spinning nipple tassels – getting raunchy and wet inside a giant, also flame-rimmed cocktail glass.
Between the Sheets is an extravaganza of earthly delights, both carnal and otherwise. Director/Art Director Laura Corcoran and Klare Wilkinson have put together a fun production that rises above itself. The focus is on striptease, and the cast is very comfortable in their own skin. Yet the show makes a balancing act of titillation, erotica, laughter and serious stagecraft. It doesn’t always work, but what strikes me is how earnest the troupe appear to be.
‘Love is what it’s all about’, Polly Rae declares in the finale. I might even believe her.
It’s a moody evening in late July. An ominous grey storm cloud looks fit to burst above the already waterlogged landscape of Abbots Ripton. Tents – both those belonging to campers and ones housing DJs, bands and bars – are laden with the intermittent downpour of the past three days. But, among some 30,000 revellers stretched across every corner of the Secret Garden Party – damp with rain, covered in paint and cast with mud – there isn’t a single downcast spirit in sight, despite the glistening, beglittered eyes everywhere.
Because, as the Secret Garden Party swung open its gates for one final, triumphant get-together, a kindling of intimacy and energy, kinship and community caught blaze in the hearts of its revellers. It was beautiful and bittersweet; a heartfelt, hedonistic reverie brimming with pain and gratitude, like embracing a close friend about to set off for a long time.
It was an ending – and we all came together to make sure it would be remembered forever, weather be-damned.
Since its inception in 2004, SGP (as it’s fondly known by its devotees) has grown from a one stage, 1,000 person festival to a 15 stage, 30,000-person extravaganza. Thinking back, its genesis came at a time that seems alien now: before smartphones, before social media and before anyone had ever paired the words ‘boutique’ and ‘camping’ together. Along the way, it hasn’t lost a jot of the frontier spirit and independent ethos that set it sharp against the grain of mainstream UK festivals.
From its burn-the-house-down traditions, to its eclectic-yet-understated lineup, every element has been carefully considered to create a chaotic, exuberant festival overflowing with energy and joie de vivre. Except, in the organiser’s eyes, this isn’t a festival at all; it’s a party. With that firmly in mind, we chose to forgo pulling out the highlighters and painfully scheduling our days. In fact, we didn’t look at a programme once the whole weekend, choosing instead to follow our eyes and ears and let the flow of the crowd and word on the grapevine carry us from stage to stage.
As party plans go it was second to none; as review strategies go, it left something to be desired. Our memories are fuzzy at best. We can’t tell you everything we watched. We can’t tell you how incredible Metronomy were. We think Crystal Fighters were pretty great, but we can’t be sure. We were AWOL for Toots & the Maytals, and our editor lost three hours of party time when he passed out in a portaloo.
But, just like the sun breaking through, there are moments no amount of alcohol could cloud. At the Lost Woods, Maribou State lit up the crowd with an extended mix of Jungle’s time that could have carried on forever, and Sam Goku dropped a Greg Wilson remix of Grandbrother’s ‘Ezra Was Right’ – a groove so powerful the trees started shaking their leaves. The Palais De Boob provided a perfect setting for ecstatic singalongs to ‘Like a Prayer’ and ‘Unwritten’, and Craig Richards made 5am at The Drop feel like the start of the night when he revived tired legs with thick, boisterous cuts of techno like Helena Hauff’s ‘C45p’ and Luca Lozano’s ‘End of Line’. We’ll remember there’s no better cure for a hangover than diving into a lake, no better comic relief than drag race at The Lido and no better feeling than 30,000 people cheering in unison as fireworks light up the night sky. And yes, we’ll remember falling flat on our faces down The Drop, and waking up in a tent better described as a puddle of mud.
On Saturday night, everyone gathered together by the main stage to watch the mansion go up in flames. After being set alight, it burned away to reveal a heart on fire hiding within: just like this heart – which burned defiantly for the rest of the weekend – the final edition of the Secret Garden Party will shine brightly in the hearts and memories of everyone who attended, for a very long time.
There’s no festival quite like the Secret Garden Party. We won’t forget you any time soon.
This year, our FAULT Favourite Festival ‘Secret Garden Party’ is back with a clear message to the fame worshipping and excluding masses, “bore off, we all run this town!”
This summer the Secret Garden Party invites all into the most inclusive VIP-LOL-OFF for their 15th SGP ever themed – “Sweet Dreams. Are made of these? And who are we to disagree…”
It’s no surprise that we LOVE attending SCP each year and would likely still attend even if the lineup wasn’t to our taste but time and time again they have filled their lineup with FAULT Favourite bands and this year is no exception.
FAULT Favourites Crystal Fighters, Metronomy Toots & The Maytals Wild Beasts, Peaches, Ray Blk, Honne and Jagwar Ma are just a few names from the perfect line up to get the secret party started right!
See the full lineup below alongside booking info and we look forward to seeing you all down there 20th-23rd July 2017.
Rystal Fighters / Metronomytoots & the Maytals/wild Beasts / Peaches / Ray Blk / Honne / Jagwar Ma
Rejjie Snow / Jeremy Loops / Tom Misch / Akala / Jorja Smith /Fickle Friends / Bonzai /the Moonlandingz / Deap Vally / All Them Witches /Kate Nash / Jain / Pumarosa / Zak Abel/ Will Joseph Cook / Tom Grennan / Mabel / Etta Bond / Be Charlotte / Toothless / North Downs / Let’s Eat Grandma / Seramic / Charlotte Oc / Laurel / Aine Cahill / Cosmo Sheldrake / Mont Jake
Tickets for Secret Garden Party 2017 are now on sale at: tkt.to/sgp2017
Way Out West, Gothenburg. Nestled deep in the beautiful park of Slotskogen in Gothenburg, this year Sweden’s Way Out West promised us the likes of Jamie XX, Skepta, Morrissey and PJ Harvey.
We arrived on Thursday to the distinctive sound of French electronica band M83 who performed a healthy mix of old favourites amongst a great selection of new tracks from their recently released album, ‘Junk’. The set spanned from the upbeat and catchy ‘Do it, Try it’, to the hauntingly beautiful ‘Outro’; a perfect start to our three day festival weekend.
Priding itself as a completely meat free festival, it seemed fitting that Morrissey should headline the first day. “No meat for sale” he exclaimed, pleased with the festival’s ethical policies and then thanked us for being so “open minded” after performing ‘Meat is Murder’, through which disturbing footage of animals being tortured in slaughter houses was shown. Other sing-alongs included ‘First of the Gang to Die’, ‘Irish Blood, English Heart’, and ‘I’m throwing my arms around Paris’. One thing for sure, he’s still got it. His voice was impeccable and it seemed the whole festival, young and old, was captivated by his presence.
The morning of day two treated us to ‘Danny Says’ in the film tent, which documents the life and times of music manager and influencer, Danny Fields. Music from artists such as James Bay, Julia Holter and the legendary Grace Jones then filled our afternoon before we eagerly headed towards the Azalea stage for The Libertines; who, despite the messy set, were extremely well received by the Swedes. PJ Harvey then took to the Flamingo stage with a mesmerizing performance filled with power and passion.
Due to the diversity of the lineup, Way Out West is great for discovering new artists. We went eyes shut to our third and final day, trying our luck at stumbling across musicians we hadn’t heard of. Swedish singer songwriter Amanda Bergman was a pleasant surprise and British born instrumentalist Mura Masa got the muddy crowd moving at the Dungeon stage in the afternoon. Jamie XX was an eagerly anticipated act and he did not disappoint as the entire festival flocked to the Azalea stage for his solo performance. Despite the great music and positive vibes we couldn’t help but feel his set would have been better suited to a later evening slot.
The best was saved to last with a thoughtful and energetic performance from Massive Attack featuring Scottish hip hop group Young Fathers, who elevated the experience with their enthusiasm and rhythmic sound. As the light faded and they played into the night, the impressive light show added to the spectacle and the political messages that flashed up on screen encouraged roars of unity from the dancing crowd.
An all-around feel-good festival, Way Out West is a unique experience unlike any British weekender you’ll encounter. The park is kept impressively clean and tidy throughout the event; the food is thoughtful and healthy, focusing mainly on vegan options. This isn’t always what you fancy when feeling the cold and ankle deep in mud, however embrace the Way Out West spirit and you’ll discover numerous delicious dishes including generous sized pizzas, halloumi burgers and many falafel options. Way Out West is great for those looking for a chilled weekend away to enjoy music. Here you will find a diverse range of acts, friendly people and beautiful landscapes ready to be explored.
Last year for the first time we visited Gothenburg’s leading music festival Way Out West and it was so good we’re delighted to be returning this Thursday! Festival tickets starting from £168 hosted in Sweden’s music capital with headline spots from Morrissey, PJ Harvey, Sia and Skepta we couldn’t resist. The event will again take place in Slottskogen Park
The award-winning Way Out West spans rock, electronic and hip-hop and further cement their eclectic tastes with the addition of Swedish singer-songwriter The Tallest Man On Earth, multi-instrumentalist Daniel Norgren, genre defying Chelsea Wolfe along with American rapper G-Eazy to the 2016 line-up.
Some exciting artists that have been announced are Anna Von Hausswolff, Chvrches, Daughter, Jack Garratt, Jamie xx, Jason Isbell, Julia Holter, M83, Massive Attack & Young Fathers, PJ Harvey, Seinabo Sey, Sia, Skepta, Stormzy, The Last Shadow Puppets and Travi$ Scott. For us though, we’re most excited to finally see ‘Anohni’ formely known as Antony Hegarty of Hercules and the Love Affair who you can catch at 9pm on the Azalea stage.
Similar to what I found at the Sonar by Day event Way Out West will hold certain Music Conferences throughout with key influencers on board to discuss the future of its industry and its current position. It will be interesting to see how their views differ or relate to varied music genres rather than specifically electronic. Along with the musical offering will be the festival’s inspiring Film Festival, which features the most innovative producers, directors and premiers from around the world. To keep up the festivals impressive environmentally friendly achievements all food will be vegetarian and all milk will be substituted for oat milk to take pioneering steps to help save our planet. We’ll see how these new rules go down…
Stay Out West will be back again in some of Gothenburg’s best venues for the nocturnal offering, giving further access to some of the best artists on offer. Stay Out West gives revellers the chance to keep going long into the night across the city. Dua Lipa and Little Jinder join the previously announced Lady Leshurr, Section Boyz, Thundercat and Cherri with plenty more yet to be announced.
Tickets and more info are available at www.wayoutwest.se/en.