Just Listen To This – 2015 In Review
As this year comes to a close, we at JLTT thought we might share some of our favourite moments and happenings ( and images) of the year with you, our readership. The mainstream magazines bombard you with lists of the ‘best’ releases of the year, but of course there’s no such thing. You get what you can or want from works of art or creative endeavours. Is Newton Faulkner ‘better’ than George Benson? Of course not, they both create what they do from the influences they have picked up plus their own original input.
So, is your venue in this roundup? Is your act or one you are promoting in this roundup? Read on to find out BUT we do want to thank the players, singers, venue operators and staff, label personnel and PR experts, promoters, bar and ticket staff, security teams, sound and lighting crews, the merchandise folk for enabling us to maintain this admittedly evangelical site. All we ever try to do is connect you with things and acts you may enjoy and encourage creators. Regardless of budget.
By the way, if you are one of those punters who stand in the crowd and talk loudly during performances, please remember that YOUR name is not on the ticket. We have not come to listen to you and moreover we are trying to review the performance to help the act.
Sinead O’Connor, Barbican, London, United Kingdom
Sinead O’Connor performed to a sold out Barbican in London with her full band. She performed tracks from her latest album ‘I’m Not Bossy, I’m The Boss’ as well as her extensive back catalogue. The performance was effortless.
You can read our review with a photo gallery by Kieran White at KW Media here: http://justlistentothis.co.uk/live-reviews/sinead-oconnor-the-barbican-centre-13th-april-2015/
Ron Sexsmith Solo Acoustic – Union Chapel, Islington, United Kingdom
This singer-songwriter seemed to love Union Chapel and the crowd sure loved this solo presentation. We have many searchable items on the site on this Canadian original.
Joanne Shaw Taylor – Jazz Café, Camden, London, United Kingdom
If it’s possible to play guitar with more drive and passion than our Joanne, I didn’t hear it live anywhere this year. Her two gig stint at London’s Jazz Café showed her trio firing on all six, a better vocal mix than usual and even a tender acoustic interlude.
Ben Montague – St Pancras Old Church, London, United Kingdom
Singer-songwriter Ben Montague has returned with a new album ‘Back Into Paradise’ and this was the first date of his October 2015 UK Tour. In the beautiful intimate church surroundings, Ben treated us to a selection of new material and classics. A highlight of the show was Ben going a capella on ‘A Love Like Stars’. A true original.
You can read the full review with a photo gallery by Kieran White at KW Media here: http://justlistentothis.co.uk/live-reviews/ben-montague-with-special-guest-emma-stevens-october-2015-st-pancras-old-church-london-united-kingdom/
Kenny Wayne Shepherd/Laurence Jones – The Hawth, Crawley
Kenny’s band of great US musicians tore it up at this well-supported gig, with is excellent vocalist Noah Hunt prowling the stage and veteran and ex SRV drummer Chris Layton seemingly doing little while a barrage of beats thunder out of the kit. Masterful stuff, indeed. But our own Laurence Jones and his trio blazed tonight with a set that impressed many new to his act. His adventurous and inspired guitar work was satisfying and his voice gets better and better.
Sonny Landreth – Under The Bridge, Stamford Bridge, London, United Kingdom
Our Southern blues rock and roots slide boss seemed to love this room and sure knows his way around his FX board. A great set with icing on the cake via a splendid opening set solo from the raspy voiced Jon Allen, songsmith extraordinaire.
The Magic Band – Under The Bridge, Stamford Bridge, London, United Kingdom
With bass king Rockette Morton indisposed, still nothing could stop these Beefheart original or inspired players fuelling a great set of classic songs and lesser-known gems. The slashing guitars and roaring harp filled the room. Singer John French mentioned the presence of Mr Abramovich, dancing to Ant Man Bee ! He also explained to me after the show how Grow Fins ended up in the set….
Warren Haynes – St John’s, Smith Square, London, United Kingdom
A trek south of Westminster found me lapping up the Ashes & Dust album-centred set. Plenty of Allmans-style solo streaming on the guitar and a fine roots band keeping up with Warren in his roots element. A lot of Allmans fans and DeadHeads attended, going by the t shirts!
You can read the full review here: http://justlistentothis.co.uk/live-reviews/warren-haynes-featuring-the-ashes-dust-band-jeff-sipe-chessboxer-november-2015-st-johns-smith-square-london-united-kingdom/
Go West/Nik Kershaw/ Carol Decker – G Live, Guildford, Surrey, United Kingdom
Splendid package tour including not only all the acts’ greatest hits but some excellent choices form other acts given the ensemble’s own treatment. These included Everybody Wants To Rule The World and the Sam Sparro nugget, which – talking to Pete Cox after the gig – is a favourite with the team. Oh and well done Go West for supporting Princess Alice Hospice (as my own band did in December, thanks guys)
You can read the full review with a gallery by Kieran White at KW Media here: http://justlistentothis.co.uk/live-reviews/go-west-and-nik-kershaw-together-in-concert-with-very-special-guest-tpau-november-2015-g-live-guildford-united-kingdom/
The Overtones – G Live, Guildford, Surrey, United Kingdom
Five spirited singers bashing their way through soul classics, to the delight of their (mainly female) following and backed by some great musicians who also star with other acts. Whilst not that original, these chaps know how to entertain and you can’t help but feel uplifted as they roll through the setlist.
Joe Bonamassa – Brighton Centre, Brighton, United Kingdom
Joe brought his top-notch band to this venue for two nights and rocked it up, horns and all. This Ain’t A Love Song was a highlight, as was Bernie Marsden dropping in on night number two.
Ramblin’ Man Festival – Mote Park, Maidstone, Kent, United Kingdom
One sunny day and one wet, but the music was fine and seeing Blue Oyster Cult rattle through GodZilla justified the trip. Some things need improving, eg pass collection and journalists’ facilities/ IT links. But overall a high-quality event reported in full with our gallery here on this site. And this coming year’s lineup looks just as good!
You can read the full review of the weekend with a photo gallery by Kieran White at KW Media and John Bull at Rockrpix here: http://justlistentothis.co.uk/live-reviews/ramblin-man-fair-july-2015-mote-park-maidstone-kent-united-kingdom/
Cornbury Music Festival 2015 – Great Tew Park, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
One of the best musical moments of the year was the ebullient Trevor Horn bringing on Seal who started with a fantastic take on Slave To The Rhythm before sending the audience wild with other renditions of his songs PLUS I’m Not In Love AND with Lol Crème in the band! Other star acts were Joanne Shaw Taylor, Joss Stone guesting, Martha Reeves, Dave Hanson’s band and the bushy-tailed Roger Hodgson. Full report on this site: http://justlistentothis.co.uk/live-reviews/cornbury-festival-2015-july-2015-the-great-tew-park-oxfordshire-united-kingdom/
Tony Allen – Royal Festival Hall, London, United Kingdom
This man is a major figure, drummer and bandleader. For this show he included Damon Albarn and Baba Maal. An exciting and warm evening’s music with a very good sound mix and endless variety of styles.
You can read the full review here: http://justlistentothis.co.uk/live-reviews/tony-allen-september-2015-royal-festival-hall-london-united-kingdom/
Glenn Hughes/Jared James Nichols – Electric Ballroom, Camden, London, United Kingdom
A staggeringly good setlist from the whole of Glenn’s career, delivered in power trio format and with some astonishing gurgling bass fx from the man himself, singing in top form. Jared rocked it up with his Southern Rock guitar antics and a fine Robert Johnson tune. Terrific night out and well-attended.
Kid Creole & The Coconuts – Clapham Grand, Clapham, London, United Kingdom
It seems Bongo Eddie didn’t want to come on this trip but the ebullient August put on a splendid performance with the current gorgeous Coconuts and a robust horn section. Mixing in hits with some dance classics and moody material, the crew pretty much covered all bases and had everyone dancing, Including me. A bit.
Black Scarr – The Spice of Life, London, United Kingdom
As part of an Americana afternoon bill, this splendid duo deliver acidic and satirical material, world weary but funny and with guitar and violin colouring. She can be quite tender at times, he is resolutely in Meldrew mode. It works, they deserve an audience.
Blue/Ksyran – The Roundhouse, Camden, London, United Kingdom
Blue have a following 90% composed of very loud females with enormous chests and no singing talent at all. Which doesn’t stop them singing. The four-man group however display more talent than you may have thought and good crowd rapport. But the instrumentalists backing them are first-class, so everything sounds crisp and colourful. Great support from Norwegian actress/writer/ singer Ksyran in Euro dance pop mode and with a fine guitarist for her spot
Robin Trower/Joanne Shaw Taylor – O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, Shepherds Bush, London, United Kingdom
Joanne turns in a hard-hitting and soulful set with Les Paul and Tele blazing. Robin has a young singer / bassist and drummer and gives us classic after classic. He leaves most of the singing to his bass man who does have a lot of the late James Dewar in his vocal style. Robin has an impressionist’s touch, making single notes tug the heartstrings.
You can read the full review with a photo gallery by John Bull at Rockrpix here: http://justlistentothis.co.uk/live-reviews/robin-trower-joanne-shaw-taylor-april-2015-o2-shepherds-bush-empire-london/
Toto – Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom
We know from our friend Steve Lukather that a lot of the crew on this tour are unwell. But with their best albums for decades just out and hits galore, nothing is going to stop this star act from delivering. Best moments included ‘Burn’ from the new album ‘Toto XIV’ and the classic ‘Hold The Line’.
You can read the full review here: http://justlistentothis.co.uk/live-reviews/an-evening-with-toto-may-2015-eventim-apollo-london-united-kingdom/
JD & The Straight Shot – The Half Moon, Putney, London, United Kingdom
Fine Americana from a larger than life character and his group, which includes his son, sterling guitar interplay and keening electric violin. A wonderful rendition of ‘White Bird’ met the crowd’s approval.
You can read the full review here: http://justlistentothis.co.uk/live-reviews/jd-and-the-straight-shot-july-2015-half-moon-putney-london-united-kingdom/
King King (Album Launch Show) – Jazz Cafe, Camden, London, United Kingdom
Now over the past couple of years I heard people talking about this blues rock band King King and how they were really special. Now I knew they had toured the UK with John Mayall but I hadn’t heard anything by them or seen them live. Well I was invited to King King’s launch show at The Jazz Cafe in the heart of Camden for their new album ‘Reaching For The Light’ and I was blown away by the songwriting and first class musicianship.
You can read our full review with a photo gallery by John Bull at Rockrpix here: http://justlistentothis.co.uk/live-reviews/king-king-with-special-guests-hatfitz-and-cara-may-2015-jazz-cafe-london-united-kingdom/
The Tubes – Clapham Grand, Clapham, London, United Kingdom
For the narrative and images of this electric evening head to our full report and gallery, please. As entertaining as a musical evening can be.
You can read our full review with a photo gallery by Kieran White at KW Media here: http://justlistentothis.co.uk/live-reviews/the-tubes-40th-anniversary-uk-tour-august-2015-clapham-grand-london-united-kingdom/
The Monkees – Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom
A good natured night out with a fabulous band including Dolenz’ sister – all the hits and plenty more. They even did my request for Saved By The Blues! Thanks, Peter.
You can read the full review with a photo gallery by Kieran White at KW Media here: http://justlistentothis.co.uk/live-reviews/an-evening-with-the-monkeesseptember-2015-eventim-apollo-london-united-kingdom/
Squeeze/Dr John Cooper Clark – G Live, Guildford, Surrey, United Kingdom
A round of acidic poetry and jibes from the stick-thin Dr, followed by a mix of well-received hits and new TV series material in support of a new album. Plus a chance to buy a CD set of that evening’s music as you departed. Organised or what?
You can read our full review with a photo gallery by Kieran White at KW Media here: http://justlistentothis.co.uk/live-reviews/squeeze-john-cooper-clarke-september-2015-glive-guildford-surrey-united-kingdom/
Gary Clark Jr. – Electric Ballroom, Camden, London, United Kingdom
US blues cat Clark brought his US touring group to the Electric for what turned out to span four nights. Highlights included ‘Bright Lights’ and his respectful tribute to the victims of the Paris terrorist attacks which took place the day before this show when he played ‘Hold On’ from his latest album ‘The Story of Sonny Boy Slim’.
Leadbelly Fest – Royal Albert Hall, London, United Kingdom
A host of stars in tribute to the blues/roots great, please see our full report and gallery. We had a chance to give a print of one of our images of Walter Trout to the man himself at an Autumn gig and he was very appreciative.
You can read our full review with a photo gallery by Kieran White at KW Media: http://justlistentothis.co.uk/live-reviews/leadbelly-fest-june-2015-royal-albert-hall-london-united-kingdom/
Bill Kirchen – Half Moon, Putney, London, United Kingdom
Tongue in cheek and picking away at that Telecaster, Iggy Pop’s school mate and ex Commander Cody guitar man Kirchen sprays his audience with songs, instrumentals, impressions of other players and even offers KIrchendise. I got the chance to blame him in person for the cost of having to buy a baritone guitar like his and he laughed in my face.
Duran Duran/Bloom Twins – BIC, Bournemouth, United Kingdom
Well this was the first of the last three shows on Duran Duran’s sell-out UK Paper Gods Arena Tour and it was a fantastic mix of tracks from the new album ‘Paper Gods’ as well as the classic hits. The band have so much energy in a live environment and it was a really fun evening filled with great music. The opening act were Bloom Twins from Ukraine whose ‘dark pop’ and electronic sound was well received by the Bournemouth crowd on a chilly Wednesday night. Look out for a feature on The Bloom Twins on Just Listen To This very soon…
Dave Davies Band – Islington Assembly Hall, Islington, London, United Kingdom
After a fabulous set of Kinks classics and solo works backed by his American band which includes Smithereens drummer Denis Dikken, nobody was prepared for a cloth-capped brother Raymond to walk on at the close of the show and do You Really Got Me…after 19 years the Davies brothers are on stage together and we were there! The crowd went nuts. Deservedly so.
Leo Sayer/Michael Armstrong – The Hippodrome Casino, Leicester Square, London, United Kingdom
Armstrong’s own songs hit home, with a soft charm and tuneful delivery. Sayer having recovered from illness turned in an ace show mixing hits from all eras with new material, acknowledging Lulu in the audience and ending the night rolling on the floor with guitar man Ronnie Johnson. Playing fluid blues harmonica! A true original, our Leo.
Beth Hart Solo In Concert – Union Chapel, Islington, London, United Kingdom
A solo performance to a keen following who were captivated by Beth’s powerhouse vocals and her beautifully written songs. A magical evening.
You can read the full review with photos by Kieran White at KW Media here: http://justlistentothis.co.uk/live-reviews/beth-hart-december-2015-union-chapel-islington-london-united-kingdom/
….these are only some of the year’s live highlights, of course. Before we part company with 2015, Glenn and Pete want to thank Imperial Trust/Hammersmith Hospital, St Mary’s A & E, Epsom A & E, various paramedics, St George’s Tooting, Clavadel at Guildford, Linden House and anyone else who helped us both stay alive this year. We were in no hurry to leave the planet, there is much to be done…
(Pete. Glenn, Kieran – and our good friend John Bull)