Coheed and Cambria
O2 Ritz, Manchester, 01.02.16.
The NY-area progressive metallers have famously put out seven conceptual records over a decade that all tied into a sprawling science-fiction storyline and comic book series, The Amory Wars, written by frontman Claudio Sanchez. Freed off these creative constraints, Coheed and Cambria’s eighth album, The Color Before the Sun, instead delivered superb lashings of pop rock, showcased brilliantly in a career-spanning Manchester show. New tracks such as Island and You’ve Got Spirit, Kid were bona-fide singalong anthems – and their line in older material, such as the crushingly heavy Welcome Home kept the purists entertained too. Visceral, stirring stuff.
|Coheed and Cambria performing live in Portland in 2015.|
(Credit to Vortex Music Magazine.)
First Direct Arena, Leeds, 20.02.16.
Arena level shows were arguably overdue for Foals, Oxford’s biggest musical export since Radiohead. Purveyors of tropical indie pop, and renown for the chaotic, sweaty live shows, they impressively carried over that energy into concrete monoliths in February, ahead of their major festival headline debut at Reading. In part, their success lied with frantic, heavy new material such as the pummelling What Went Down and the groove-laden Snake Oil – but it was the dance-funk of My Number and the ethereal Spanish Sahara that justly captivated Leeds, Yannis Philippakis scaling sound towers and inciting mosh pits aplenty. Hectic and thrilling, Foals remain a premier live act even at this level.
|Foals performing live in London in 2016. (Credit|
to DIY Magazine.)
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Manchester Arena, Manchester, 14.12.16
On their winter UK arena tour, there was a sense that the Red Hot Chili Peppers had something to prove. The band had played a run of lacklustre festival headline shows in the summer, including T in the Park and Reading and Leeds Festivals, and questions were asked about their quality as a live act. Doubts were firmly banished at the first night of two in Manchester, with rhythm section Flea and Chad Smith as elastic as ever on hard funk classics Higher Ground, Give It Away and Californication. Frontman Anthony Kiedis shined on the melodically sweet Snow ((Hey Oh)) and guitarist Josh Klinghoffer shined on newer cuts The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie and Dark Necessities, all accompanied by a jaw-dropping lighting rig. Fortune faded? Not quite yet.
|Red Hot Chili Peppers performing live in Birmingham in|
2016. (Credit to Birmingham Mail.)
Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes
Albert Hall, Manchester, 18.02.16.
Second down on this year’s Kerrang! Tour bill, former Gallows and Pure Love frontman Frank Carter’s set was the undisputed highlight, blowing out comeback headliners Sum 41 in emphatic fashion. Backed by his group The Rattlesnakes, he blew threw a tight set of hardcore punk at Manchester’s Albert Hall that saw him stand atop the crowd itself, in the middle of an extraordinary circle pit during a visceral Jackals. By the venomous, destructive I Hate You, Carter had truly stole the show, crowning himself rightfully as one of the most exhilarating live acts in the modern British rock scene.
|Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes performing live in London|
in 2015. (Credit to Daniel Quesada.)
Manchester Arena, Manchester, 11.02.16.
Having made their name with neo-psychedelic jams straight from the suburbs of Australia, Kevin Parker’s Tame Impala made a sidestep into disco with their latest record Currents, a stylistic shift ably showcased at their UK arena headline debut. Backed by swirls of neon colour and heady smoke, the rock outfit unfurled shimmering gems such as the infectious Let It Happen and the stoner-thump of Elephant. By the time they close with the slow, sensual New Person, Same Old Mistakes, Tame Impala had emphatically justified their step up into large venues – and with such an ability to hypnotise audiences, the sky is truly their limit.
|Tame Impala performing live in Dublin in 2016.|
(Credit to No More Workhorse.)