Austin born Alejandro Rose-Garcia or ‘Shakey Graves’ has taken over my playlist. Shakey’s a one-man band with an old country guitar pickin’ sound, accompanied by vocals that are passionate and firey. The multitasking maverick releases his first album (besides EP Donor & Roll the Bones) ‘And the war came’ on October 7th…
Roll on October!
An average, half arsed album isn’t something The Gaslight Anthem seems to know much about. Get Hurt is a glorifying victory for the New Jersey boys. This is the band’s attempt to escape from that borrowed Springsteen sound that they’re probably sick of everyone mentioning. Although still undeniably The Gaslight Anthem, there’s a sense of departure that sets this album aside to previous triumphs. As for the album cover, we’ll just have to try and overlook the horrendously tacky upside down bum heart.
Single and opener Stay Vicious is a guilty pleasure with plenty of guitar solos and undoubtedly suitable for the masses. 1,000 Years and Get Hurt offer something of more substance, both with themes of romance for the lonely kid at the party. The Gaslight Anthems decision to work with producer Mike Crossey (Artic Monkeys, Jake Bugg, Foals) appears to have brought a pop element to the mix which brings them further away from The ’59 Sound. Heart-warming Helter Skeleton bursts into polished vocals and guitars building to a climax, what TGA do best. The album slips through brilliance and gets a little lost in the middle before returning to greatness with Selected Poems. Slow and sincere Break Your Heart is simple yet captivating with soft vocals from Fallon. Lastly Dark Places, which continues with emotional build ups, strong vocals, melodic guitars and promises a good live show.
Inspired by Bob Dylan and Pearl Jam’s No Code album, the band creates another great album to add to the pile and distances themselves from former releases. Although, we wouldn’t say no to a revival of retro The ’59 Sound for the next album? All in all, The Gaslight Anthem have established and well deserve their place in rock music with custom built songs for the broken hearted.
Words: Sarah Stevens.
It’s an ordinary Monday afternoon until a buzz of excitement hits Gerard Way fans on the news that he will be playing the tiny venue The Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth. The show is a warm up for Reading and Leads Festival and since he’ll be playing songs from his yet to be released album phones and cameras are banned. Tickets went on sale at 9am before the gig the following day. Since the split of My Chemical Romance, fans have been awaiting the return of Gerard Way and this was that adrenaline punched moment. Tickets sold out in a record breaking time of 20 seconds, many just couldn’t put there card details in quick enough. Apart from a show in the US this was the first UK solo show for Gerard Way and a lucky 400 others.
Outside the queue stretches around and down the corner as anxious eager faces wait. The support comes from Portsmouth’s The Bottom Line who sing with American accents with a pop punk sound. They cover Taylor Swift We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together… an odd choice.
As the lights begin to dim and act like search lights on the crowd the atmosphere is intense. It’s like alien invasion as the hysterical and uncontrollable audience scream. The Hormones are already onstage before Gerard makes an appearance beginning with the heavy song Bureau. Gerard is looking smart and grown up in a navy blue suit and vibrant red hair, identical to his new album cover for Hesitant Alien. The well received Action Cat is one many would have heard as the official audio was released on Youtube. This is followed by Zero Zero and Millions, songs which were released online nearly a year ago.
At one point a colourful feather boa is thrown in Gerard’s direction, which he wears flaunting about. He tells the crowd how he appreciates them being there as many of the songs are from his new unheard album. At times some fans seem a little lost when hearing brand new tracks, although jump regardless of not knowing any words. Gerard at times seems to sense this uncertainty and encourages jazz hands, which the whole crowd participates in as if they were spellbound. Gerard is persuaded to put on a sparkly blue hat as he tells the crowd how hats don’t fit his head as his heads too big, he jokes that we already know that. Possibly the heaviest on the set list is Juarez, Gerard also offers a cover of The Jesus And Mary Chain’s Snakedriver. The first single to be released from his album is 80’s inspired No Shows which ends the first part of the show.
With a short encore the fans shout for Gerard to return to the stage. The song Brother is about Gerard’s brother and former bandmate Mikey Way and goes down well. Grungey Maya The Physic finishes off the spectacular night. Hesitant Alien is a new sound, a departure from My Chemical Romance although at times heavier songs such as Juarez are the closest it gets to MCR. Gerard Way’s new direction is a chunky, slower paced and upbeat reinvention of himself with nods to Bowie, he’s ready to take over again.
Gerard Way next plays Reading and Leeds festival, with Hesitant Alien set to be released 30th September through Warner Bros.
Words: Sarah Stevens.