So much has happened in 2016 in the worlds of politics, entertainment, music, sport, film and more that it is incredibly difficult to try and coordinate and create theses rundowns and year in review type of articles because everything changes so quickly that the minute something is published it immediately is changed. However, here is our part two of our 2016 In Review articles and we hope you enjoy…
- In early January 2016, Kentucky rockers Black Stone Cherry performed a very special and intimate gig at the famous London venue The Borderline to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust. This band is no stranger to holding charitable events both in the UK and the US and as they performed rarely played tracks and rarities including the sublime version of ‘Built For Comfort’ there was not a dry eye in the house. They even had special limited edition t-shirts made and donated merchandise from the last tour to TCT! Warm-hearted guys with bundles of energy.
- Another January show that was very good value for money (£10 for three acts) was Fred Abbott gig with special guests Hollie Stephenson and The Villainy. Promoting his new album, ex-Noah and The Whale member Abbott took us all on a musical journey which was full of fluid musicians, melodic songs and his Tom Petty-esque vocals. Stephenson proved that she was in possession of a soulful voice as her swinging band kept the music flowing whilst The Villainy kicked it up a notch with a rocking set and songs that were similar to The Fray.
- February saw me take on a trip of absolution (well, a trip to Alistair Griffin’s Tour of Absolution at The Forge, Camden anyway). This individual has crafted songs such as ‘Drive’ which have been synced on sports programming and the thought-provoking ‘I Have Lived’ that reminds me of Hampton Court Palace. Griffin is a very good songwriter and although people know him from television music reality series Fame Academy he is so much more and he hasn’t let it define him.
- Singer-songwriter James Morrison returned to the stage at The Roundhouse, Camden in March with new release ‘Higher Than Here’ and when he sang new track ‘Demons’ it was like he had never been away. A welcome return to the world of music and the band were incredibly tight too.
- Over 2016 I have found myself getting into my heavy rock music more and some friends invited me to see a Canadian rock band called Monster Truck who were at the 100 Club to support their new album ‘Sittin’ Heavy’. They had Welsh band Buffalo Summer as their special guests and they played tracks from the album ‘Second Sun’. A band with a bright future. MT’s ‘The Enforcer’ saw people head banging to the extreme and everyone sang to ‘Don’t Tell Me How to Live’. Having toured with Nickelback, Monster Truck has secured a whole new fan base and rightly so.
- Toseland are a rock band led by former world-superbike champion James Toseland. Performing alongside the psychedelic rockers Colour of Noise in support, Toseland had a show at The Borderline, London to support the release of their new album ‘Cradle The Rage’. Highlights included ‘Renegade’, the head banging ‘Puppet on a Chain’ and ‘Hearts and Bones’. This band has a really strong sound that is helping them sell out venues around the globe.
- Sometimes you have a gig which over time becomes legendary and people say that they were there to be cool but they weren’t. One of those types of shows was Birmingham four-piece Broken Witt Rebels who shook the foundations of The Water Rats in King’s Cross, London with their brand of British rock. New tracks ‘Guns’ and ‘Low’ had Danny Core writhing all around the stage to the crowd’s delight. A powerful quartet who put a smile on your face.
- Jeff Lynne’s ELO returned after performing at BBC Radio 2 Festival in a Day in Hyde Park, London with new album ‘Alone in the Universe’. The album was supported by an extensive UK Arena Tour in April and I attended the first of 4 sold-out O2 Arena shows in London as Jeff Lynne backed by a majority of Take That’s band took us in time with ELO’s best tracks including ‘Mr Blue Sky’, ‘Turn To Stone’ and ‘Telephone Line’ amongst others.
- In April 2016, the world lost a music genius; Prince. The tributes poured out as people tried to come to terms with this huge news. All around the world tribute shows were being planned and performed and I was fortunate enough to attend one of the June London shows at the Eventim Apollo. It was arranged by charity Autism Rocks and all of the proceeds would go to them. Larry Graham and Graham Central Station performed a glorious ‘Purple Rain’, Cee Lo Green mixed Prince Classics with his own material such as ‘Work’ and ‘Crazy’, Morris Day and The Time received a hero’s welcome and proved that they were still funky as Morris Day compared himself to a bottle of champagne whilst he sweated under the hot stage lights. DJ sets by DJ BFG, DJ Fever and Mark Ronson worked well and got the crown on their feet. This was especially significant when Ronson played ‘How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore?’ An evening of respect, music and love.
- Canadian pop sensation Shawn Mendes announced two shows at Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith for early May and they both sold-out in record time. I managed to secure a pair in the rush though and went to see what his live show was like. Tracks such as ‘Stitches’, ‘Something Big’, and ‘Three Empty Words’ are incredibly catchy as he switches between acoustic and electric guitars. His acapella version of ‘Aftertaste’ without a microphone was a fantastic idea but with a screaming fanbase is quite hard to execute as it requires pure silence. He did it though so well done Mr Mendes.
- In May I took one of my last visits to The Barfly in Camden as it has now been closed and rebranded. Again, it was a very good value for money show (3 acts for £10) and was one of the dates on Hannah Trigwell’s UK Tour. Her friends Corey-Fox Fardell and Kelvin Jones joined her as special guests and the evening went extremely well. Jones smiled throughout as he treated us to tracks from his debut album ‘Stop the Moment’ such as radio favourite ‘Call You Home’. Hannah Trigwell arrived with just a microphone and guitar and blew everyone away with ‘Another Beautiful Mistake’. The show closed with Hannah, Kelvin and Corey playing Stevie Wonder’s ‘Superstitious’.
- Mid-May saw Sargeant Snr and myself trek down to The Hawth Theatre in Crawley for a package tour of British blues rock titans King King and South African guitar slinger Dan Patlansky. A well-thought out pairing with memorable moments including King King’s ‘You Stopped The Rain’ and ‘Fetch Your Spade’ from Patlansky’s new album ‘IntroVertigo’.
- A Thousand Horses travelled to the UK to perform their debut headline show at the now closed Barfly in Camden and you could not move in the 200-capacity room. As a nine-piece band shuffled onto the stage no one really knew what to expect. Tracks ‘Southernality’, ‘Trailer Trashed’ and American hit ‘Smoke’ were great moments. You could feel the electricity in the venue. A special show which evolved into a short winter tour in November for the band.
- On a mild-summer night in June, The Dan Reed Network played a sold-out show at the iconic 100 Club in Oxford Street, London in support of their new release ‘Fight Another Day’ and they really funked the place up! The new material sounded very much like a high-octane video game soundtrack and ‘Rainbow Child’ was a highlight.
- Barry Manilow announced that he would embark on his last UK Tour entitled ‘One Last Time’ in June with the last date at The O2 Arena in London. Interestingly, this tour coincided with the anniversary of the hit ‘Mandy’ which was released in 1975 so they issued a limited amount of £19.75 each tickets for every show. That was an incredibly classy and kind thing to do as it allowed me to go. On arrival at the venue after horrendous train problems, our tickets were upgraded at no extra charge and we witnessed Manilow and his 13-piece band of musicians and singers perform ‘Mandy’, ‘I Write The Songs’, ‘Could It Be Magic’ and the spine-tingling ‘The Best Seat In The House’. An evening I will always treasure.
- Nocturne Festival is held at the glorious Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire and always has an all-star lineup – this year was no exception. The Corrs were headlining as part of a summer outdoor festival tour and they had Jack Savoretti as their special guest. His hit ‘Written In Scars’ got everyone moving and The Corrs kicked everything off with new single ‘I Do What I Like’ from their sixth studio album ‘White Light’. It is a perfect blend of the band’s original sound with a contemporary pop twist. They have one of the best music back catalogues as they treated us to ‘Breathless’, ‘What Can I Do’, ‘Runaway’ and their version of ‘Dreams’. A magical summer evening.
- I have always tried to have an open-mind when it comes to music so when I was offered a chance to see a new band from Nashville called Tyler Bryant and The Shakedown at The Boston Music Room in Tufnell Park I decided to attend. I’m so glad I did! Getting down the front, I had no idea what to expect and as soon as they started playing my mind was blown as 25-year old Tyler Bryant gave it his all on ‘Loaded Dice and Buried Money’. The personal highlight for me was when the band’s drummer Caleb Crosby grabbed a huge tom drum and as he jumped off the stage he held onto me so that he didn’t fall. After they finished their set in the audience he spun round, hugged me and gave me his drumsticks before they continued their set! They are some of the kindest and friendliest guys I’ve ever met and they are incredible live performers. If they play near you in 2017 then get a ticket!
- Busted headlined Jockey Club Live at Sandown Park Racecourse, Esher, Surrey and played all of the hits including ‘Year 3000’, ‘That’s What I Go To School For’ and ‘Glad I Crashed The Wedding’. They also played new track ‘Coming Home’ which was a new electronic pop song from their new third studio album ‘Night Driver’.
- I’ve never really been a huge fan of The Jonas Brothers but when Joe Jonas announced new project DNCE and the summer hit single ‘Cake By The Ocean’ swam up the charts (sorry), I knew that I had to see a DNCE headline show. They played to a packed (and probably oversold) O2 Islington Academy and played tracks from their self-titled debut album including ‘Body Moves’ and ‘Toothbrush’ to a mainly female audience. A funky outfit that are probably influenced by the music of Chic, The Bee Gees and Kool and the Gang to name a few.
- Jockey Club Live followed Busted’s set at Sandown Park with a headline set by none other than Bryan Adams for August! Starting at 8.40pm, the set spanned Adams’s career and included tracks ‘Brand New Day’, ‘Can’t Stop This Thing We Started’, ‘Heaven’, ‘All For Love’ and more. In fact, it was a 28-song setlist!
- The legend that is Billy Joel decided to headline a one-off show at Wembley Stadium, London on a Saturday night in September and it was epic. His band consists of multi-talented individuals with one of them performing a spellbinding ‘Nessun Dorma’ in front of thousands of with so many songs, Joel opted for ‘fielder’s choice’ whereby the crowd chose the setlist based on the reaction and applause. ‘My Life’ was spliced with ‘Ode to Joy’ and everyone went nuts. ‘Just The Way You Are’ created a choir of voices as people swayed back and forth. I have grown up with Billy Joel’s music and I was honoured to have been there.
- A chilly September at The Union Chapel in the heart of Islington, London to see a headline show by the silky smooth voiced Shaun Escoffery who was showcasing tracks from 2016’s ‘Evergreen’ and 2014’s ‘In The Red Room’. ‘Evergreen’ filled the chapel with his powerful lead vocal and the flute on ‘Perfect Love Affair’ was stunning. A consummate performer who has time for his fans and is truly humble.
- Country-pop twins Ward Thomas released their second album ‘Cartwheels’ on Sony Music this year and embarked on an extensive headline tour in October. This included a show at Bush Hall, London on my birthday so I went along with family and friends. The support artist was Una Healey (from The Saturdays) who has recorded a new solo country pop album ‘The Waiting Game’ and she was well-received by the sold-out crowd. Ward Thomas were bubbly throughout their set as they performed a mixture of tracks from their two albums. They met fans after the show and wished me a happy birthday as well. Incredible voices which blend beautifully.
- Thomas Rhett is a country artist who is making waves in the UK having sold out his debut UK tour in November. His show at O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, London included his father Rhett Akins who captivated the 2,000 strong crowd with tracks he had either written or co-written for artists like Luke Bryan’s ‘Huntin’, Fishin’ and Lovin’ Everyday’. The crowd knew the words to every song and it was stunning. Thomas Rhett is fortunate because he has a voice that both men and women can sing along with like Maroon 5’s Adam Levine or Train’s Pat Monahan. ‘Crash and Burn’ showcased the band’s strength and ‘Vacation’ is just a lively party song that you can’t help but dance too. But it was when Thomas performed One Direction’s ‘Whole Lot of History’ with the song’s original writers that allowed us to see his versatility as an artist. I will definitely see him live again when he returns to the UK.
- Katie Melua returned to the world’s airwaves with her new album ‘In Winter’ which features the Gori Women’s Choir from her home country Georgia. It is a heart-warming album that shows a different side to Katie but the richness of the vocals really does make this an important album in her career. She decided to tour with the choir and I went to see them at one of my favourite venues G Live in Guildford, Surrey. The packed-room enjoyed rarely played tracks including ‘Belfast’ and Black’s ‘Wonderful Life’ alongside ‘Crawling Up A Hill’ and ‘Closest Thing To Crazy’. An incredibly successful return.
- Blogtober – Now what a great evening this was! This was the first event JLTT had put together and with the help from the awesome team at Lost In The Manor, we were able to create a great evening with an even better line up. – Kieran White
- Ramblin Man – Another awesome year at RM with a great line up and some great fellow photographers. We had to contend with a 13ft stage… but an off duty decorator bought along his ladder (not naming names) ha! Looking forward to Ramblin Man 2017! – Kieran White
- Finally (if briefly) meeting Judith Owen. This was at Bob Harris’ Under The Apple Tree Festival Day, at Cadogan Hall. We had been at the new album launch, bumping into bassmeister Lee Sklar, who enthused about the new songs. My piece on the new record had been seized upon by Owen’s management and read worldwide by many hundreds of people – gratifying, as it is a fine set of songs. If ever a female hissed ‘trouble’ it is Ms Owen. From her ever-waspish stage comments, elegant dress sense and burning eyes anyone wanting a calm existence would run a mile yet her LED presence stops you in your tracks. I tell her politely that I find her alluring but scary and she explains that she is just ‘passionate’. This is someone I would love to play guitar for, but I suspect I would be dangled above the shredder within ten minutes. A one-off, a big talent… – Pete Sargeant
- Watching a thrash guitar player dressed as a Viking disappearing due to a dry ice cannon on stage at the Metal Hammer Awards show at Hammersmith Apollo. The heavy metal audience must be the most conformist crowd of followers in music as regards appearance and accoutrements. What once might have been rebellion is now standard issue identikit gear, tattoos and piercings. Don’t get me started on guitar tones similarity! There is obvious talent but so much playing safe and barking orders from the stage. If i want to clap, buddy – I will clap, OK? – Pete Sargeant
(Many thanks to all of the photographers, artists, PR companies, record labels, venues, festival organisers and of course all of our readers around the world who help keep our website going and for all of their ongoing support)