Tegan and Sara – O2 ABC – 09/06
Tegan and Sara have always enjoyed cult status; after a decade of creating bittersweet pop songs fused with everything from folk to rock, however Heartthrob, the latest album from everyone’s favourite Canadian twin pop duo, peaked at no. 3 on the Billboard Top 200, signalling a significant mainstream breakthrough after years of cultivating a fiercely loyal fan base. Previously celebrated predominantly by the LGBT community (both twins are lesbians), their emotional but infectious music has begun to be embraced more widely, and their recent gig at O2 ABC will have undoubtedly won over a legion of new fans.
Status Quo, The Treatment – O2 Academy 10/03
Which band do you think have had more hits on the UK chart than any other? The Beatles knocked ‘em out at the rate of a classic record per year. U2 have been battering out blustery anthemics for almost three decades. Queen delivered everything from stone-cold killers to camp cod-opera. But if you’ve taken the time to read this review you might well know that the group with more charting tracks (61!) than any other is actually a bunch of three chord blues-rockers better known nowadays for cameoing in Coronation Street than tearing up the Official Top 40. Before the main event however, Cambridge rockers The Treatment are intent on causing a stir. Channelling Def Leppard, Poison and Motley Crue, they treat Glasgow Academy as if they’re headlining Wembley Stadium with stadium rock poses, cocky attitudes and low-slung riffs aplenty. They’re all good musicians but, perhaps deliberately, their songwriting is pretty generic hard-rock stuff. You could run a sweepstake on how long it takes until vocalist Matt Jones tells the audience to ‘let the good times roll’.
Olly Murs, Loveable Rogues – SECC, 16/03
Concerts based on acts who have made their name through reality TV programmes are not very cool. I, however, am also not very cool, so it was with much excitement that I made my way to the SECC. The first support act, a wee girl call Tich, has a great voice and performs a cover of Taylor Swift’s ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’, but the downside to a concert in which most of the audience a) are under 16, and b) have forked out a fair bit, is that support acts rarely get a rousing reception; everyone’s waiting for the main act.
Mudhoney, Meat Puppets, Metz – O2 ABC – 05/06
Tonight’s openers, Metz, could well be the hardest working band in showbiz; though they hail from Toronto this is their fourth Glasgow show in under a year, coming hot on the heels of two solo performances and a support slot for fellow Canadians, Fucked Up. On the strength of this evening they might also be the best punk band in the world, delivering their two minute bursts of fury with an intensity you wouldn’t expect from singer Alex Edkins’ gawky glasses. Merging post-hardcore sludge with thundering hard-rock drums, they’re a visceral live project; stretching out the fuzz bass throwdown of ‘Wet Blanket’ into a twisted thrash that sounds like Fugazi duelling with My Bloody Valentine for who can go one louder.
Halo is one of those game series which splits opinion. Some gamers froth madly at the mouth, queue up for midnight release, and generally fangasm all over the walls. Others show monstrous amounts of dismay, like every new Halo release heralds the gaming apocalypse.
These spats aside, it’s also one of the biggest, most successful game franchises out there. However, Halo 4 is the first game in the series not developed by Bungie Studios, who have abandoned the Halo series for pastures new.
343 Studios, the new creator, had a tough task ahead of them living up to Bungie’s legendary reputation, and all in all, they’ve done remarkably well. The single player campaign introduces a number of new enemies, and a whole new back story, heavily featuring the Forerunners. The story is more important than in previous games, but at times hard to follow, even for a fairly dedicated Halo fan like myself. The game does make a fair show of getting the plot across though, even if it does have to deploy more blatantly expositional dialogue than The Last Airbender to do so. (Don’t see that film. Please. As a personal favour to me, if for no other reason.)
The gameplay itself is…well, it’s a Halo game. If you’ve played any of them, you get the idea. You get some shiny new toys, the old toys are shinier, etc. Online play is, as ever, a highlight of the series, although 343 have adapted some of the better elements of Call of Duty’s online play, making it feel less original, but kind of annoyingly, better.
If you’re a Halo fan, you’ll love it. If you’re not, it’s still worth a buy, although it’s never a good idea to jump into a franchise four installations in. If you don’t like Halo, well, there’s a new Skyrim expansion out soon. That should keep you happy for another billion years or so.
O2 ABC - Tuesday 13 November, 7.00pm [£18.50]
[PINS: Live at Art School 11 October]
Conscious that my oversized hoodie and baggy jeans mark me as an outsider to the sharply attired denizens of the upstairs bar, I descend into the basement of the Art School Union (luminous fruit beer in hand) in search of some female-fronted alt-rock, and find that a curious bunch have arrived in town. Continue reading
Captain’s Rest 24.09.11
© Vince Kmeron
Hotly tipped trip-hopper Ghostpoet brought his ethereal beats and unique vocal delivery to the good ol’ Captain’s Rest, his first headline solo slot in Glasgow. Following his acclaimed debut album Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam, Ghostpoet (real name Obaro Ejimiwe) has been hailed as a distinctive, trend breaking artist in an arguably stagnating UK hip-hop scene dominated by the likes of Tinchy Strider (who incidentally was playing in Glasgow on the same night; I know where I’d have rather been). Obaro even managed to snag a nomination for the prestigious Mercury Music Prize, an award which largely neglects the alternative hip-hop scene. His album appeared alongside established acts such as Adele and P.J Harvey, whose entry Let England Shake was the eventual winner. Continue reading