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Award-winning, We Are FSTVL returned for its third successive year this weekend, bigger than ever and booming electronic dance music across the countryside.

The two day event in Upminister, Essex, brought in crowds from all over Europe as festival goers were offered 150 artists across 15 stages on Saturday and Sunday.

A short commute from London, We Are FSTVL has been dubbed the Best New Festival in 2013 and Best Medium-sized festival in 2014 at the UK Festival Awards.

Festival goers had high hopes this year would continue to amaze, and it did just that. Crowds began to gather early for the 10:30 start, with queues of over two hours in the morning.

Weekend and Saturday day entry tickets had already sold out by Friday evening.

Excitement has been stirring for weeks as the rabble awaited some of the most prolific electronic acts from across the world. The main stage proved to be where it was all happening, with house dominating throughout the day.

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The fun, fast and friendly atmosphere made for an intense day and evening. Leaving revellers sidestepping and shuffling on a sea of nos canisters, plastic bottles of beer and broken sunglasses.

The Main Stage continued to be graced with the best energising dance acts including the likes of Gorgon City, Hot Since 82, MK, Monki, Solomun and Secondcity, among others.

An exhausted Seth Troxler flew in from Berlin, to perform his hour and a half set. Followed by superstar Carl Cox’s penultimate performance, wowing the horde with his anthemic mix of house and techno, alongside an impressive light and fire show throughout, finishing with a brilliant fireworks finale.

However, the festival left a few with higher hopes. The outdoor stage didn’t prove as eclectic an arena, with the sounds of thumping house far better suited to a club environment, the open space proving to take off the edge of the bass.

In relation to the Sunday line-up, Saturday failed to satisfy some with its lack of electronic dance music accompanied by vocals. Constant repetitive beats proving to not be the taste of some.

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The Used + Abused stage, an impressive aircraft hanger venue, featured the likes of Noir, Oliver Dollar, Sam Divine and Masters at Work. Steam and confetti cannons filled the air as rammed revellers remained dancing to the flashing lights until the end.

Thankfully, drum and bass pumped through The What Hannah Wants stage, featuring the prolific DJ herself, alongside Cyril Hahn, Redlight, Friend Within, My Nu Leng and Waze & Odyssey.

The Defected in the House stage presented Loco Dice, Adam Beyer, Tale Of Us, Yaya and Enzo Siragusa.

The VIP area allowed ticket holders to enjoy an additional stage with exclusive performances by Mark Knight, Wankelmut, Weiss, Shiba San and Dosem in the ‘VIP Village’.

Only in Essex would you find GHD stands and an outdoor spa lurking in the VIP area. In regards to this area, it failed to overly impress with its exclusivity meaning an additional stage (Toolroom Live), an outdoor spa, and access to viewing stands at the Main Stage.

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Although an amazing weekend for the majority, the lack of space for camping proved disappointing to many who faced ‘chaos’ leaving the site once the festivities concluded.

Many reported struggling to find travel back home, of shuttle buses not being efficient and of an immense difficultly in getting taxis home, with many opting to walk along the dark roads the 2.3 miles back to the station.

Although mental and a tad exhausting, Saturday proved to be a non-stop party, filled with renowned acts and a consistently upbeat atmosphere.

We Are FSTVL should definitely be in the running to receive further rewards at this years UK Festival Awards.

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An indoor playground for electronic enthusiasts, Everywhere Festival, the largest multi-venue dance

event in the East Midlands returned to the clubs of Nottingham for its third successive year on May 3rd.

With an eclectic selection of artists and DJs, the tastes of many were catered for with dollop

presenting acts to satisfy the most passionate of electronic, house, techno, grime and garage lovers.

 

Alongside hardened veterans of the electronic and dance scene such as chart-topper Route 94 and

Leeds’ Hot Since 82 performing at Forum, came newcomers such as garage and grime goddess Flava

D adding a sense of rhythmic bass to Rescue Rooms.

 

International talent came from Cyril Hahn at Rock City and Motor City Drum Ensemble at Stealth.

Rescue Rooms set off Everywhere 2015 with a day party from 2pm, switching at night to a line-up

with an urban edge, with Melé concluding the evening with a bass-fuelled set, contrasting the

infectious house and techno pumping throughout the other venues.

 

It was Rock City’s main hall that attracted the largest crowds of the evening, as the masses crammed

themselves onto the dance floor and along the balcony.

 

Redlight gave a sterling performance, driving anthemic beats throughout with popular hits such as

Gold Teeth & 9TS ensuring the crowd continued to beat the air throughout his set.

 

“Notts was sick,” he said upon posting a picture of the audience after his set to his Instagram

account.

 

Followed by highlight of the evening Hannah Wants, who kept the masses of 20-somethings

shuffling on their feet with her cleverly driven DJ set, a seamless mix of renowned original work such

as Rhymes and clever remixes of old-school classics such as Renegade Master.

 

Her bold determination towards the end of the night left many a sweltering and heaving mess.

Aggravated bar staff and bouncers tried to stay optimistic as dawn approached and sweat began to

drip from the booming speakers upon the waning crowds.

 

Stealth offered a wind down from the smoke machines, flashing lights and visuals, as the survivors

swayed to the beats of Chunky, Paleman and Loefah, proving a more calming finish to the evening.

With bass pumping through the mind, bodies and souls of revellers for eight hours straight, most will

still have a ringing in their ears today.

 

For the partygoers of the Midlands, it is a good thing that it is a bank holiday weekend.

As seen originally for the Nottingham Post in print, and online for the Summer Festival Guide.

ArtMadina-Lake

Goodbyes are often difficult, especially when the band departing still have so much potential and have proved to be so popular.

It’s been five years since Madina Lake have graced the music venues of Nottingham and their first and last visit to the intimate and excitable conditions of Rescue Rooms.

With a mix of older and younger generations, the venue proved chatty and friendly as the alternative rock quartet from Chicago leaped into action amidst masses of fans.

They have grown a lot since their debut (and still well loved) album ‘From Them, Through Us, To You’, opening energetically with the classic track ‘In Another Life’.

The songs that followed were a mix from their other released albums ‘Attics to Eden’ and ‘World War III’ with favourites such as ‘Never Take Us Alive’, ‘One Last Kiss’ and ‘House of Cards’.

This choice ensured screeching girls, routine jumping and amplified applause in the small venue, as the crowd instructionally clambered closer and closer to the stage.

They were split as ‘Here I Stand’ began, encouraging screams, dancing and the occasional feeble mosh with the band absorbing every moment of rowdiness.

Lead singer, Nathan Leone, certainly knew how to work the crowd and his adoring female fan base. The interaction was impressive, emotional and truly personal. Waving arms, held hands and crowd surfing made it a farewell to remember.

An unusual encore of three songs followed the spirit of the evening, with the band finishing with the empowering ‘Me vs. The World’ before profusely and genuinely thanking the crowd as they frantically leapt forward past the barrier to say their final goodbyes.

Alas, Madina Lake will sadly not be returning to the UK with Nathan concluding: “you’ve been extraordinary. Just do what you love and be happy. We just can’t thank you enough.”

As originally featured and edited on the Nottingham Post website.

The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus live review at Rock City Nottingham

The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus live review

There are some bands you just love from childhood and The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus are one of mine.

Arriving at Rock City in Nottingham on a very chilly March evening I was surprised to find the bands playing in the smaller and more intimate downstairs ‘basement’ room.

Rat Attack

The first support, Rat Attack, began their set quickly. Their lead singer wearing a black sparkly shirt to die for, energetic as he encouraged crowd surfing throughout, diving in himself towards the end of the set.

The “party punk” band proved skilled and I can see their upbeat music becoming popular, one to watch.

Tantrum to Blind

It seemed crowd involvement would also be key as the Swedish band Tantrum to Blind took to the stage. Led by feisty blonde, Melanie Mohlkert, the female-led foursome proved just as impressive as their side cuts.

It was a slow and quiet start but the crowd were soon singing along and bouncing about as they got more familiar with the band, preparing themselves for the main event. Tantrum to Blind proved very fun indeed with their dabbling in electronica, rock and pop, a mix of genres to satisfy most.

The foursome appeared ecstatic as they exclaimed Nottingham as the “best crowd we’ve had this tour” and left with beaming smiles, lurking around the merchandise area to speak to their new and squealing fans.

The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

As The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus arrived the crowd went wild on their feet, appearing a lot more plentiful as people gathered around. They began the set perfectly with ‘False Pretense’ from their first (and my all time favourite) album Don’t You Fake It. The lively crowd moved and snapped along, cameras in hand. Moving  on to newer things they began ‘Don’t Hate’ from the 2010 EP The Hell or High Water with Ronnie Winters showing just how loud those screams can be.

However, it was not long before we were back to the popular and classic Don’t You Fake it of 2006 with the songs ‘In Fate’s Hands’, ‘Cat and Mouse’ and ‘Damn Regret’, encouraging a mass of mosh circles and big smiles. Winters humbly asked if we could recall the older music as people swayed to the softer ‘Cat and Mouse’, before demanding the crowd to become rowdy for  ‘Damn Regret’: ” We came all the way from Florida for you guys, get those fists in the air”.

So, what did I think of The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus live?

We then got round to ‘The Crazy Ones’ off their new album Et Tu, Brute? Unfortunately, I couldn’t really hear Winters on the microphone but the fast pace of the music kept people going and it proved itself to be a popular and anticipated song. Back to the past again with ‘Reap’ from the third album Am I The Enemy 2011. Everyone went a bit mad here, their arms flying about nicely to Winters impressive set of lungs and the rest of the bands impressive guitar riffs and drum solos.

The band from Florida then gave us ‘Justify’ with Winters saying: “not the most popular but one of our favourites” before encouraging a mosh circle and a load of screams with ‘Casting the First Stone’ from The Hell or High Water.

Onto calmer things we got an acoustic version of both ‘Your Guardian Angel’ and ‘Seventeen Ain’t So Sweet’, the latter done by Winters as a solo as he exclaimed: “I sing and you sing,  just you and me, no effects.” Calm entered the basement as arms swayed and the crowd sang along, an experienced Winters singing strongly with them.

However, this is The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and we all know they don’t do things quietly for long. The band finished with the oh so powerful ‘Face Down’, a favourite of many from their first album. I am sure that the sounds of clapping and vibrations from the movement of the mosh upon the floor echoed that intimate basement for some time after we all departed.

Do you like The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus? Have you been to one of their live shows?

Stephanie

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This gig was exchanged for an honest review

 

An INTERVIEW with luke pickett

 Your debut album is due out this year. Could you give us a confirmed date and your personal favourite track featured?
Unfortunately, there is still no confirmed release date. I keep saying it but it really is very close now and I hope people will think it was worth the wait.
It’s hard to pick a favourite track because I love all the songs for different reasons. I have a few to be honest and they keep changing all the time but the one I’m listening to most at the
moment is a song called ‘Keep Yourself Together’. It’s quite different to my older material. It’s a lot more up beat but is quite dark lyrically.
 
What genre of music would you define your work as?
I’m sure my older stuff would be defined as acoustic, but I think that will change with this new record. It’s really hard to say because people always have a different opinion. The easiest thing to say would be pop, but I’ve taken influence from soul, RnB and my more acoustic roots. So I don’t know, maybe a unique blend of all four.
 
Do you prefer working solo or as part of a band?
I’ve been in bands before and being a solo artist is definitely easier. But when I’m playing live I do like having other musicians accompany me on stage. It takes the pressure off a bit I guess and you can feed off each others energy.
 
When did you realise that you wanted to become a singer?
It probably wasn’t until I was about 16 that I knew for sure that’s what I wanted. I had sung in bands before that but once I started writing my first EP I think I grew more confident in my vocal ability and felt that it was something I could pursue.
 
You have been hailed as an excellent live act, what is your reaction to this and what do you enjoy about these performances?
It’s obviously great to know people are saying good things about the live aspect of my show and I’m very humbled by it. It lets me know I’m doing something right and it’s something I’m proud of.
I think what I enjoy about playing live is seeing people’s reactions to the songs. It’s the one place where you truly get an honest reaction to your work. It’s a great feeling coming off the stage knowing you’ve given a great performance and the audience has enjoyed it.
 
You are a skilled guitarist, any advice for other budding musicians?
I’m never sure what to say other than the usual clichéd stuff, but keep on plugging away, practice hard and you’ll keep improving. It’s always good to try playing with other musicians and test yourself as well.
 
How do you feel about the reactions to your EP releases on iTunes?
All in all I’ve mostly had a pretty positive reaction to my EP’s on iTunes so I’m pretty happy with what people are saying. It’s great to know people are enjoying my songs and it gives me the confidence to continue writing new material. I keep striving to better what I’ve written before so hopefully I can continue doing that.
 
As a songwriter, do your lyrics come naturally or are they a reflection on your own personal experiences?
My lyrics tend to be a reflection of my personal experiences, and I like to set the stories in an almost fantasy like world. I’m a massive fan of mafia/gangster films like ‘The Godfather’ etc, and I use a lot of references to those types of movies in my lyrics. Hopefully, people will pick up on that and can relate to the story I try to create in my songs.
 
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
I’d love to say selling out the O2 arena but we’ll see. Honestly, as long as I’m still making music that people appreciate and I can make a living from then I’ll be happy.

Thank you for your time and we wish you the best of luck in the future!
Thank you also!

What you stand for, and an interesting fact about yourself?
I hope I stand for music that’s original and authentic.  In my music life and my normal life I try to be an independent thinker and general proponent of weirdness.  Interesting fact: my second toe looks like ET.
Who was the most enjoyable artist you have performed with and why?
I just finished a great run with Wallpaper.  He’s got this totally crazy outlandish stage persona, and it was really fun to watch him transform each night.
What is your favourite mix up on MASHed Potatoes?
Crazytown.  I think that we live in age in which corporations and institutions suppress a lot of natural – and potentially beneficial – psychological variation in the name of “mental health” and that as a society, we suffer for it.  Feeling insane, depressed, out of control – those are the ingredients for great art and interesting people.
You like to manipulate your music and manage to create something beautifully unique. What instruments can and do you prefer to use?
I do a lot of sampling, which means I sort of have the whole musical instrument spectrum at my fingertips.  But in terms of what I actually play, it’s mainly controllers and guitar.
Any plans for your own tour?
Right now I’m enjoying life as an opening act.  I think it’s important to be able to adapt your live show to different kinds of crowds and learn from other, more experienced artists.  Plus, the vague threat of getting booed off stage means you have to make sure you aren’t completely terrible.
Best performance to date and why?
I actually think my best show was my latest show, in London the other week.  Often, when I’m performing, I find my mind wandering off – everything’s so automatic that I don’t have to think about it.  But I was super stressed that day, with jetlag, meetings, travel, and I was able to release all that energy on stage.
You are credited on your educational success often, are you glad you went to University and at the same time pursued your musical career?
I’m extremely happy that I finished university.  At the end of the day, when the show’s over, I’m stuck with myself.  So I’m glad I like reading books.  Because books are more interesting and less frustrating than me.
What are your inspirations for your music?
The things I see and feel.  I’ve been in a very introspective space as of late, so a lot of my writing has stemmed from that.
Your work is original, are you looking to create your own genre?
Not really.  Just trying to make music that’s a bit surprising, a bit left of center.  I’m still figuring out my sound, but I’m getting closer to where I want to end up.
Who came up with the stage name?, was it a previous nickname or just a play on words?
K.Flay was my nickname in college.
Do you prefer to perform in the US or further afield?
I’ve only performed a bit outside the US but it’s been awesome.  I definitely hope to do more international touring this year.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In a studio, working on some new shit.
Something about you that others perhaps would not expect?
I cry during movies.
A message to all your fans?
Thank you!  And stay tuned for new music.  Loooots of new music.