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LATE REVIEW: Boardmasters Festival 2017

Howdy ladies and gents, today I am going to talk to you about the Boardmasters Festival that went down in Newquay over the past weekend. I was actually meant to write about this on Monday, but because the weekend was so long and I had to work soon after I just put it off. But I had to at least do some kind of review for it on the blog so here I am. 🙂

So yeah after the longest 9-10 hour journey ever via coach to get down to Newquay I got into the festival on Saturday morning with my friend and it was a lovely area. Even before the various stages were housed by the different artists, there was a lot to see, do and buy. With several stands for buying food, merchandise, and loads of other stuff, and then there were the different sound stages just blaring out music, benched areas for sitting and of course numerous toilet areas too. I just appreciated how well everything was placed in just the right area and there was a nice variety in the food you could eat, the places to chill, the places to go to the loo and a good distance between stages with the various musicians so the sound did overlap/overshadow each other.

When it comes to the musical acts I’m not gonna I only knew about 3 or 4 acts, everyone else was new to me. And do a degree I feel bad because about 90% of them were really good to bloody incredible. But at the same time, I liked coming into this thing completely blank as I had no expectations so to be blown away and discover all this music I didn’t know I would love was a magical feeling.

Firstly there was Kioko which my friend and I found while randomly walking around and their sound caught our immediately with their song “Deadly Roots”, and from there the rest of their set was just a delightfully cool and addictive. Next major act of interest was Will Heard, I have never heard of this guy, but he had such a lovely voice and a nice sense of humour, he also had a wonderful band and backing vocalists, and together they delivered an incredible session which was great for chilling and jamming. Heard and his people really brought the main stage alive. There was a nice variety of Heard’s music and it got a lot of people dancing, me included and it was so much fun. The next musician to catch me by surprise was Laura Mvula, she had such a beautiful voice and an incredibly engaging presence through her music and charisma, her music really touched the soul and like my friend said, it sounds like her music belongs on film soundtrack like maybe the upcoming live action Lion King film that Disney is doing, she’s that good. 🙂

Next highlight of the day for me was Lethal Bizzle, now I knew Bizzle would do well, but I had no clue it would be nearly as fun as it turned out. Besides one other act, Bizzle had drawn in the most people to the main stage area and I was in the middle of that when it all kicked off. Bizzle stepped on stage and asked the crowd to start up some mosh pits and what followed was a chaotic mess of energy, excitement and a loss of items from the crowd. I had the best time ever, but trying to avoid, the moshing, getting hit in the face and being shoved around left, right and centre was crazy. Bizzle had a great selection of all of his most popular material and some new material too and everyone had a great time, whether it was “Dude”, “Rari WorkOut”, “The Drop” or “Pow 2011” it was damn good, but of course “Fester Skank” was the highlight, that was just incredible, oh and can I just say I’ve never seen people so willing to throw shoes, shirts and hoodies out up in the air until that concert haha. And after that was The Vaccines, a band I’ve heard but never really listened to and their material was pretty good and a lot of the crowd going for sure.

And finally to close off the day on the main stage Jamiroquai came and bloody killed it. I saw them once before in Guilford at the Magic Summer Live Festival 3 years ago, so I knew how good they’d be live, but considering the awesome material that the band have crafted with Automaton I knew they’d have some awesome new live material and they did not disappoint. They started out with the opening track from their latest album, Shake It On which was a lovely way to get everybody jamming, but when they went straight into “Little L” I lost my mind. 😛 We also had the gorgeous sounds of “Automaton”, “Dr Buzz”, “Cloud 9” and some of the classic jams like “Cosmic Girl”, “Canned Heat”, “Love Foolosophy” and sexy new arrangement of “Emergency on Planet Earth”, to some unexpected jams like “The Kids” and “Supersonic”, the latter of which is one of my absolute favourite songs to chill to, and the fact they used it to finish out the concert was the icing on the cake for me.

So to conclude the Saturday session I had at the Boardmasters Festival was hella fun and it was totally worth the trip with a great selection of artists, a great venue and a good sense of organisation too. I would totally recommend it if you’ve never been. 🙂

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2017 in Life, Media, Music

 

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RIP Chester Bennington & Top 8 Linkin Park Songs

Good day to you ladies, alas I am back in the blogging world to discuss some sad news from yesterday, the passing of Chester Bennington former lead singer of Linkin Park. I was hoping I would have to make another post like this for a while, but alas it seems like depression has gotten the best of another talented individual and man does it suck. Now I’m not gonna act like I was the biggest fan of Linkin Park, however, to say they didn’t have a huge impact on my music taste and life, in general, would be a big lie. Along with songs like “Nothing” by A and “Blurry” by Puddle of Mudd, “In the End” was part of my journey into the world of rock and metal, and their music helped me through a lot of the internal drama going on in my mind especially during my teenage years, but on top of that their music was incredible and a big part of that was Chester’s vocals which were so distinctive, intense and gorgeous and to know that he will sing no more hurts me the more I think about it.

So I thought I’d just share my favourite Linkin Park songs based not only on personal preference but also where I Chester’s vocals stood out the most, so in no particular order:

Easier to Run

For a good few years, this was my favourite LP song, it had a sense of drama and emotion that I latched on to pretty easily and the lyrics felt like they related directly to my life during some of those dark days, so this song was always comforting. It is the chorus that gets me every time, Chester’s vocals are gorgeous and you feel the passion especially towards the end with the instrumental side of things building up. Still awesome.

One Step Closer

What can I say? I love the classics, I’ve always loved shouting “Shut up, shut up, shut up, Shut up when I’m talking to you!” especially when you hear it at a night club where rock/metal music is the focus. Everything about this song just screams of pure energy and power and Chester’s vocals play a big part of that for me.

Crawling

I’ve always been attracted to this song because of the lyrical content and again how it felt like it spoke to me in my younger years, and the way Chester sang that chorus is what hooks me every time.

Bleed it Out

Ah man, this is one of the songs I played endlessly during my college years and since then it has been the one LP song I can put on repeat and never get tired of. It is on the shorter side and yet has the right about of style and drama in the music and vocals to stand out as one of my favourites from Minutes to Midnight. My favourite lines: “I’ve opened up these scars, I’ll make you face this, I’ve pulled myself so far, I’ll make you face this now!”

Pts.Of.Athrty

The original “Points of Authority” is still a great song, but the remix is the sound I fell in love with especially during the early 2000’s when it was used during a TV advert/music video for either Toonami on Cartoon Network or the channel CNX in the UK. The way the song has the rock elements but also these extra beats and variations on the original composition is wonderful. And once again Chester’s vocals along with Mike’s raps carry you through the song in a swift, badass and beastly way.

Forgotten

The sad thing is I never experience Hybrid Theory properly until I went to university which was 6 years ago so there are so many great songs I never heard until that point, and this song falls into that category. Well, actually I’ve never been sure if I have heard this song before 2011, but regardless this is easily one of the best songs on the album. Musically it is perfectly crafted with most of subtly and intensity, and Mike and Chester kill it with the rapping and singing, Chester’s vocal is so smooth, delicious and badass, frigging love it!

With You

At this point in time, this is my favourite LP song. There’s an intensity that you appreciate about this song from the first 20-30 seconds and the lyrics paint an emotional picture and good gravy the way Mike and Chester work together on this song is something special, its pure emotion and I adore everything about this song. The whole composition is aggressive and in your face and Chester’s vocals are fantastic.

The Little Things Give You Away

I remember the first time I heard this and good gravy I almost cried. The way the song starts up, with the soft guitar and vocals and then builds to that incredible ending with full on drama with all the instruments and Chester’s vocals washing over the track all the way until the end. Pretty much perfection. This was one of the first songs that I noticed as one of those key songs that finish off an album in a spectacular manner, and now that Chester’s no longer with us it makes the song more powerful than ever.

So yeah there’s my list, I could have done so much more with songs like “Numb“, “The Catalyst“, “Somewhere I Belong” and “Nobody’s Listening” to name a few, but I didn’t want to make this any longer than it needed to be. In the end, I just want to say that Chester, I appreciate everything that you and your band gave me and I’m going to miss you. RIP.

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2017 in Life, Media, Music

 

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Remembering the awesomeness of Chris Cornell

Howdy ladies and gents, how’s it goin? For me, not too jolly. Alas another great individual in the world of music has passed, its been reported over the course of several hours today that singer Chris Cornell most known for his work with Soundgarden and Audioslave had died. Details on his passing at the time of me writing this post hasn’t been made clear, but there’s been talks that it could be related to suicide. Whatever the case is, I’m very saddened by this news and just wanted to share my thoughts/memories on what Cornell brought to my life.

A few hours ago I was skimming through my news feed on Facebook and a mate posted a BBC article about the passing of Chris Cornell and I was vocally like: “What? No! No way!” Unfortunately it was real once I looked it up on Google, I was gutted. It was just the other day I was thinking about Audioslave and Soundgarden and thinking that I wanted to go back to their material for the long walks I do when I go to and from work, but now knowing that Cornell is gone, it hurts, it hurts real bad. Now I’m not gonna at like I was the biggest fan of all of Cornell’s endeavours, but I’ve listened to his music a lot since I was 18 and I couldn’t imagine my life without the music he helped create.

I first became aware of Chris Cornell’s vocals when I heard “Black Hole Sun” in my childhood/teenage years and the song really resonated with me, the was a powerful and melancholy nature to it that as strange as it sounds made me feel at ease. Along with Staind’s “It’s Been a While” A’s “Nothing” and Simple Plan’s “I’m Just a Kid“, I had these rock songs that helped me cope with any troubled thoughts I had when I’d heard them. I then heard Cornell’s brilliant vocals again with his song, “You Know My Name” from 2006’s Casino Royale, and I frigging loved it! It was a dramatic change in the types of James Bond theme songs we’d had in the past, but considering that it was a reboot with a hard-edged and more realistic take on the character it suited so well and ended up being in my top 3 Bond songs. Fast forward a few years and then I found Audioslave in college, like I mentioned in a previous blog post I didn’t start listening to Audioslave in 2008/9 and I fell in love with their sound immediately. While there was a lot to love with the self-titled album, it was Out of Exile that hooked me. I adored that album and it was just the synergy of Chris Cornell’s vocals and the former Rage Against the Machine’s music that made it extra special. And finally there’s Soundgarden, I started listening to them after they released “Live To Rise” for The Avengers soundtrack, a lot of long-term Soundgarden fans hated the song and thought it was too soft, but I loved it. And so I went through Superunknown and discovered so much joy especially with the badassery of “Spoonman“! And then with King Animal, that became something of a special album for me, hearing the band sound old and new at the same time and knowing that Cornell hadn’t lost anything as a vocalist. What I love about Cornell’s singing is how you can hear the passion and intensity, how he could be super soft and then aggressively screaming, it had a unique, distinct and recognisable sound and I it was SO good!

So here’s some of my favourite works from Chris Cornell:

In conclusion I just want to say that I love you Chris Cornell, I cannot thank you enough for what you contributed to the rock genre and I will miss you a lot. RIP.

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2017 in Life, Music

 

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ALBUM REVIEW: Jamiroquai – Automaton

Howdy ladies and gents, how’s it going? Today I’m doing a music review, yes, one of those! Its been almost 2 years since I reviewed Jack White’s Lazaretto album in 2015, but I knew I had to come back and talk about this album in particular. For those not aware, Jamiroquai are my favourite band of all time, I’ve been listening to their music since childhood and the wait for their 8th album, Automaton, has been the longest and most painful wait of any album in recent memory (other than Red Hot Chili Peppers’ The Getaway). So after listening to the album 3 times and finally getting free to blog I’m ready to review it!

Like I mentioned above, I’ve been jamming to Jamiroquai since childhood, probably around 1996 with the sounds of “Virtual Insanity“, “Cosmic Girl” and “Space Cowboy (Classic Radio Mix)” being my video into their sound. After that I had all of their main singles until 2004 and 2005 when I got The Return of the Space Cowboy and Dynamite and that’s when I really dove deep into their song and became a fan for life. Back in 2010 I really liked Rock Dust Light Star, I will admit it did take a few listens to truly appreciate some of the songs, but on the whole I thought it was solid. But after a while of hearing little to no updates as to when the next album would drop, especially after 2015, I thought I’d be waiting forever for something new. But thankfully 2017 was the year when Jamiroquai reemerged and I couldn’t be happier.

Now before we continue I just want to say as I always do, I’m no music buff, I just like the sound of music and like many people in the world I have an opinion. So don’t kill me if I don’t use the right technical jargon when I’m describing the music okay? Good, let’s continue.

So to start things off, Automaton is a damn good album, there’s no two ways about it. Jamiroquai have come back with a sound that is familiar, yet fresh and it has one hell of a presence. The best way to describe the sound of this album would be if Jamiroquai took the funk, disco and electronic sounds they’ve done in the past and mixed it in with some Daft Punk and this album would be the end result. It is not like the band have completely abandoned their acid jazz flare completely as there are increments that can be found throughout the album, but this album feels more like a follow-up to A Funk Odyssey with elements taken from Rock Dust Light Star too. Automaton has an eclectic set of songs and yet they all work in cohesion with each to create a wonderful listening experience which is fun, upbeat, heartfelt and groovy as hell.

The album begins with “Shake It On“, and it is good way to open the album with an upbeat and groovy song with a lovely chorus and has a mixture of electronic, funk and disco sounds. And then we have “Automaton“, the first single released from this album and I don’t care what some fans say, I love this song. Upon first listen it was a little strange with the flow of the music, distorted sound effects and modulated vocals of Jay during the verses, but once that chorus kicked in, the song had me. And since then the songs only become more addictive with its futuristic electronic sound with a bit of that classic sound sprinkled in around 3:25. “Cloud 9” was the next single released from the album and good gravy is it a good one, unlike “Automaton” which rubbed some fans the wrong way, this song feels more in line with the sound that the band’s done before. It is a chilled out and very groovy kind of song that gets better with every listen, and part of the reason I like so much is it feels a little like a combination of Daft Punk and Justice. “Superfresh” is another nice track that has a marvelously crafted disco-like sound that opens well and has a lovely chorus too.

And there’s “Hot Property“, good gravy that song is awesome. The way the song starts up with that bass and main melody, it reminded me of “Supersonic“, from there you have a song with a catchy chorus, a lovely breakdown around 2.27  which switches perfectly back into the normal sound around 3.10, the song is great especially for dancing. Something About You” is an enchanting little song that’s chilled out and not as flashy as some of the other songs on the album, but it has a feel-good vibe, its relaxed and has the lovely Jay Kay vocals too. This was when I was really getting those Daft Punk vibes where I was reminded of songs like “Something About Us” and “Fragments in Time“, very different songs but sort of similar in feel. I also really enjoyed around 2.41 where the guitarist is definitely channelling that Nile Rodgers style of work, and the final minute or so of the song with whimsical music and wonderful vocals, its magical to me. Then there’s “Summer Girl“, on my first listen this became my favourite song on the album. It feels like a spiritual successor to the band’s free song “Smile” from 2011. It’s GORGEOUS, the way it flows, and perfectly captures not only the vibe of summer and that feeling of elation when you’re in a relationship, but also channels that perfect Jamiroquai song it is insane. This song  is pretty much perfection to my ears with the groovy music, incredible chorus and the blend of Jay Kay and the female backing vocalists works perfectly together. “Nights Out in the Jungle” is a song on my first listen I kind of liked, but on subsequent listens I’ve dug it more and more. I like the beat, the chorus is addictive and it has a subdued yet playful nature to it.

Dr Buzz” stood out a lot on my first listen just because it felt more story-driven, dramatic and atmospheric, and yet it is still incredible. There’s a melancholy and somber tone that I get from this song and yet there’s so much beauty to be found from the musical composition (shout outs to the saxophone and guitar work towards the end of the song), but there’s also the vocals which are amazing especially with the verses, and chorus. Then there’s “We Can Do It” which has a nice sound and vocals, but it is my least favourite song on the album just because it doesn’t really grab me like other tracks. “Vitamin” is a song that caught me off-guard with its crazy upbeat tempo, ferocity and intensely groovy sounds, and yet it got its hooks into me and I feel in love. It feels like a true transformation/transition of the Jamiroquai sound from the late 90’s to now with the new beats and classic instrumentation. And the album ends with “Carla“, a track that’s wonderful in its music composition, and has great vocals, but what makes the song so special is the fact that its tribute to Jay Kay’s daughter which can clearly be heard in the lyrics and its beautiful.

My favourite songs for this album is tough as the whole album is pretty much amazing, but if I had to narrow it down these would be my choices:

  • Automaton
  • Cloud 9
  • Superfresh
  • Hot Property (personal favourite)
  • Something About You (personal favourite)
  • Summer Girl (personal favourite)
  • Dr Buzz (personal favourite)
  • Vitamin (personal favourite)

In conclusion Jamiroquai’s Automaton is a fabulous album that gives you what you want as a fan of this band, but at the same time they deliver new sounds which you didn’t know you wanted until I hear them. The album is great to listen to if you want to dance or chill out, it’s just delightful and I’m SO happy that Jamiroquai are bringing the funk back. If you’re a fan you owe it to yourself to check this album out if you haven’t already, it is one delicious session! 😀

Rating: 9/10 (This is the sound you need in your system)

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2017 in Media, Music, Reviews

 

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Jamiroquai – Automaton (Single) Review

Howdy ladies and gents, how’s it going? Normally I would be here to give you a film review, however that is not the case today as the first single from Jamiroquai’s upcoming 8th album has been released and I just have to talk about it!

jamiroquai-automaton

Let me just start by saying if you didn’t know already I am a MASSIVE Jamiroquai fan, have loved them since childhood and just behind the Red Hot Chili Peppers they are my all-time favourite band. It was also a life goal to see them live and I got to live that dream in summer 2013. And so their last album Rock Dust Light Star came out in 2010 and I have been waiting for what feels like an eternity for some new material, following every tiny bit of information about the band, their studio time and what not, and I knew something would be going down this year, but I had no clue the info would drop so soon. In the last week we got info on the name of the album, track listing, tour dates and locations, a teaser for the music video of the first single, and when the first single would get its first play.

Yesterday I saw on Twitter that the song would drop on Jo Whiley’s show on BBC Radio 2 so I downloaded the app just to hear it and unfortunately I didn’t catch the whole thing because I got lost in a game demo, but I caught the last half of it and what I heard, I liked. 🙂 Then I found out the song, “Automaton” would be officially released today and now that I’ve heard the song in full and seen the video I’m ready to give my thoughts on it.

Here’s the song:

Firstly let me talk about the song itself, wow, what a jam, it sounds so good. The cool thing is, it is different and familiar and I’m really feeling the style of music. The best way to describe the song is that it feels primarily electronic with disco mixed in. I felt shades of A Funk Odyssey and Rock Dust Light Star but with a Daft Punk edge from the Tron: Legacy soundtrack. During the first verse the difference in sound did take a little adjusting, but once that chorus kicks in with Jay Kay’s gorgeous vocals, everything slots into place. But then towards the latter side of the song there’s a lovely breakdown where the song taps into the more familiar Jamiroquai sound with the funky disco sounds and it feels so nice! I feel like this song is an evolution of the sound from “White Knuckle Ride” but on another level. This sound is bold, in your face and just oozing with flair and personality.

As for the music video, I really liked it. I watched it around an hour ago so I may miss some details, but I thought it was very sci-fi/otherworldly with Jay Kay playing some kind of man who was either: 1) A cyborg. 2) A human with robotic tendencies. Or 3) An alien. Either way it was an interesting video to watch this character move through the underground train stations, abandoned trains, out in the fields and in the room with that other guy watching all those monitors among other places. And that ending when he found the hat (which I believe is the same one from the cover of the High Times compilation album from 2006) I got so giddy, but then UFO’s showed up with a spotlight on him and that was a crazy, the way I interpreted the video was that this character was an alien sent to earth to learn and somehow contact his people to get picked up. I liked the colour scheme of the video, from the outdoor locations, to the glowing robot hat to the cool mirror room Jay was moving around in, plus this was the first video in ages to see Jay Kay dancing again and it was hella fun to see him busting some moves on the underground.

So that’s my quick thoughts on “Automaton“, I think it’s a really cool song which will grow on me and I will bleed the hell out of for weeks to come. And while I can see old school fans of the acid jazz days of the first 3 albums not being too captivated by this material, I think that this is a sign of good things to come. Anyway, for you Jamiroquai fans what did you think of this new song? Drop me your thoughts in the comments below so I’ll see ya on the next blog post, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2017 in Media, Music, Reviews

 

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Late End of Year Review 2016

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Howdy ladies and gents, 2016 is technically over and normally at the end of the December I do my  annual END OF YEAR REVIEW, however because of timing issues, work and New Year’s Eve plans I never got around to releasing it on time. And so I’ve debated with myself over the last few days as to whether or not to write it, but after 5 years it felt wrong in my mind not to, so, even though it’s late, my review of 2016 is here now! 2016, was one heck of a year and while there was some good times here and there, it was somewhat of a surprising and melancholy year due to a lot of the events that took place. And while I can’t cover everything I’ll do my best to cover what I remembered. As with previous entries I will talk about the year as a whole from my perspective, break it down into sections and then conclude with a summary. You ready? Cool, let’s go!

Video Games

games-of-2016

I think 2016 was a good year for games, even if I didn’t play too many of the new ones because I didn’t have the console to play them on, initially. Most of my gaming was Nintendo-based again with my 3DS and Wii U getting a lot of play time. I spent a fair amount of time trying to perfect my skills in Super Smash Bros. 4, also played a fair amount of Xenoblade Chronicles X and went back to Xenoblade Chronicles for some level grinding too, Lego Marvel Superheroes got some love and I was even able to fit some time in for Super Metroid, a game I’m not too good at but find a lot of enjoyment in when I’m in the zone. My 3DS got the most play time, I finally finished Fire Emblem: Awakening and was emotionally saddened when I finished it, kept going back to Sonic 2 3D and for a little while Fire Emblem Fates had my love attention, but just didn’t have the engagement level that Awakening did. However, once Pokémon Sun came out I was on lock down, it was easily my most addictive new game of last year, and while the wow factor wasn’t as intense as X & Y, the game was just really fun, accessible and changed so many of the core game mechanics and progression in subtle and great ways. Oh and speaking of Pokémon, Pokémon GO yeah that thing, i was on that hype for around 5 weeks and then fell off, and after the game became incompatible with my phone I was obviously gone for good, but those first 3 weeks were frigging full-on walking, catching and chilling in town at PokéStops haha. Oh and last year I got a PS4, finally. Spent a few days of Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens and then went straight into Final Fantasy XV, the whole reason I got my new console and during 2016 it was very different, and took time to adjust to, and while there were some issues I had with the combat, choice of buttons and game mechanics, it was hella fun and exciting, and the main four characters are some of my favourites in recent gaming memory. I’m really looking forward to gaming in 2017 especially when the Nintendo Switch drops, I need that thing to be good! 😛

Films

fav-films-of-2016

For me 2016 was a solid year for films, and while there was a fair amount of disappointment with a good deal of the popular films, there were some absolute gems that popped up over the course of last year. I had a fair amount of fun in the cinema and did a bit of catching up at home as well with some of the films I didn’t watch when they were released, I also just got around to checking out some films I hadn’t seen or wanted to rewatch like Enter the Dragon, Attack the Block, Stargate and Get On Up. I luckily didn’t watch too many bad films because I was smart enough or lazy enough to stay away, though Ben-Hur, while bad, it wasn’t the worst I watched last year and in some ways I found it quite funny haha. Anyway I technically did a top 10 film post already, but for those who haven’t seen it I will list it below and as usual I’m only counting films released in 2016, films originally released in 2015 that got UK release this year DOESN’T COUNT! And with that out of the way, these are my favourite films of 2016:

Top 10 Films of 2016

  1. Sing Street
  2. Captain America: Civil War
  3. Kubo and the Two Strings
  4. Rogue One
  5. Midnight Special
  6. Jungle Book
  7. Doctor Strange
  8. Zootopia
  9. Hell or High Water
  10. Green Room

Special Mentions

  • Moana
  • Deepwater Horizon
  • The Accountant
  • The Nice Guys
  • Don’t Breathe
  • The Edge of Seventeen
  • Arrival
  • Hunt For the Wilderpeople
  • Ben-Hur (for being unintentionally hilarious)

Top 5 Worst/Disappointing Films of 2016

  1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2
  2. Suicide Squad
  3. Independence Day Resurgence
  4. Batman V Superman
  5. X-Men: Apocalypse

Television

fav-tv-2016

TV last year was pretty filthy, I was watching a lot. From the Marvel/Netflix material with the great yet flawed second season of Daredevil and Luke Cage which had a great first half and questionable yet decent second half, but it was Stranger Things that was my favourite show of last year. It was a frigging revelation and I’ve not loved an origin TV show like that show for a long time. I also got around to finishing The Wire (which was awesome, checked out Luther and started Prison Break (better late than never). has been the most crammed one yet with me taking on multiple TV shows, new and old over the course of the year, sometimes overlapping several shows at the same time! One of the most heartbreaking experiences I had this year was seeing the end of Parks and Recreation with season 7. I also got to rewatch Fringe and relive all that awesomeness, and after around 2 years I finally finished the Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Oh and I finally finished Hotel Babylon after all this time.

On top of that in the Fall/Autumn there was a lot of good TV with the first good season of Arrow‘s since season 2, a pretty awesome first half of season 4 of  Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. thanks to Ghost Rider and The Flash’s season 3 which has been good but a little lacking when compared to the previous seasons. Star Wars Rebels was a little up and down but had moments with season 3, Game of Thrones definitely delivered with season 6 when compared to last year, Atlanta was another surprisingly fun show, Preacher while a little patchy at first got better towards the latter half and The Walking Dead’s latest season hasn’t been as terrible as I thought it’d be. But Blindspot and Lucifer were the real surprises of last year, but of those second seasons were much better than expected and featured some really solid character and story material. Still need to finish Mr. Robot and Black Mirror, and finally start Westworld and Ash vs. Evil Dead.

Top 10 TV Shows

  1. Stranger Things (season 1)
  2. Daredevil (season 2)
  3. Game of Thrones (season 6)
  4. Mr. Robot (season 2)
  5. Arrow (season 5)
  6. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (season 4)
  7. Lucifer (season 2)
  8. Luke Cage (season 1)
  9. Blindspot (season 2)
  10. Atlanta

2017 promises a lot for the world of TV but I’m mainly hyped for Iron Fist, The Defenders, and the return of Preacher, Master of None and Stranger Things.

Music

Music this year has been surprisingly decent, I mean overall there’s been a great deal of crap that I’ve been subjected to at certain parties, gatherings and just at work on the radio and stuff, but it is surprising how many songs that have been either genuinely good or absurdly addictive.

Top 6 Songs

  1. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dark Necessities
  2. SG Lewis – All Night
  3. A Tribe Called Quest – We The People…
  4. Kungs vs Cookin’ on 3 Burners – This Girl
  5. Justin Timberlake – Can’t Stop The Feeling!
  6. Bruno Mars – 24k Magic

My Experience

2016, to be honest hasn’t been too bad of year for myself, I’ve dealt with a lot of shit, but my troubles haven’t been as severe as previous years. I did a lot that I never got around to doing in previous years, had a lot of fun with friends and family and got to have a high school reunion 10 years after I left school in May of 2006, something I thought I’d never get to experience and it was amazing. Also like previous years I returned to the Children’s Media Conference and make new acquaintances, went back London MCM Expo October 2016 Review, attended two wonderful weddings too, and also got finally see Alien Ant Farm live and got to see Red Hot Chili Peppers again too. Another random fact, last year I worked in a total of 4 different places and hopped 3 jobs before I landed the job that I have now, and 5 months on I’m in a much better place than I was before.

In addition to that I obtained my first long-term job that lasted longer than 6 weeks and got back into drawing in a big way for the first time in a while. But the key thing that makes me smile is the fact that I’ve been able to have such great experiences with my family and friends and that’s really helped me deal with some of the regular bullshit. Blogging-wise things were fair messy/lazy and I feel like last year was the worst year I’ve had on WordPress so far, but hell I pushed on and I hope to rectify the lack of content this year. Plus my podcast, while it started out well and I got better at it, there was a lack consistency for sure, so again hopefully I’ll get things sorted this year.

But does need to be noted about all the crazy stuff that went down last year like: 1) America allowed Donald Trump to become president, I knew its happen, I just hoped that it wouldn’t. 2) The UK voted to leave the EU, I also had a feeling this would be the case but again hoped it wouldn’t happen. And 3) Celebrity deaths, holy crap last year was just pure pain for all of the notable musicians, film and TV stars that passed on last year, and while there are too many to mention, for me I’ll miss Muhammad Ali, Ron Glass, Prince, Anton Yelchin and Alan Rickman. But the one’s that hit me hardest were Phife Dawg (because of his contributions to A Tribe Called Quest which affected my life in my late teens/early twenties), David Bowie (who after college I couldn’t imagine life without his music), George Michael (who had music which was part of my childhoo), and Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (the timing was awful and Carrie’s passing made my heart sink). And while these wonderful people are no longer with us, we gotta show love and continue to celebrate their achievements, RIP peeps of 2016.

Conclusion

In conclusion 2016 wasn’t a complete waste especially on a personal level, but at the same time let’s just all agree that a lot of the bad outweighed the good and I think we’re ready for this year to be over. So goodbye 2016 and let’s hope 2017 is a better year.

Well, thanks for reading. So how was your 2016? Please be sure to comment below and finally, have a happy new year and I hopefully I’ll see ya in again 2016. Laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2017 in Films, Life, Media, Music, Television, Video Games

 

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My Top 7 George Michael Songs

Howdy ladies and gents, hope you’ve had a good Christmas session and if you’re still off work at the moment then I hope you’re enjoying that relaxation to the maximum. So, 2016 is almost over and with the amount of depressing, chaotic, and troublesome stuff that’s gone down this year, you’d think things would finally stop… And yet, yesterday, I hear the news that George Michael was death and I’m like “No way! You’re kidding.” And yet I look online and its confirmed by several news sites and I felt so deflated, and on Christmas Day of all days. I seriously thought at that point, “2016, seriously just fuck off.” And so I just wanted to share with my brief memories of the man and the music that affected me over the years.

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Now I’ve never been the biggest fan of George Michael, but to ignore his contributions to the world of music would be rude and unfair because the man’s talent was undeniable. I sort of grew up on the hearing the sounds of Wham! and Michael’s solo work through the 90’s to early 00’s and some of it I loved, and some of it not so much, but his music was inescapable especially if you live in the UK like I do. Before I reveal my list I want to say that I’m going to cheat a little and include both Wham! and Michael’s solo work because I couldn’t exclude the Wham! material, also while I enjoy the sounds of “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go“, “Careless Whisper“, “Faith” and “Amazing” they won’t be making the list because I enjoy the following songs a lot more.

So yeah the following songs I’ve compiled based on their replay value, dancing quality and emotional engagement. 🙂

7. Flawless (Go to the City)

This is one of those songs that I forget that George Michael worked on, and every time it dropped on the radio I was like “Oh yeah, this is a jam!” I really enjoy the upbeat/electronic nature of the song and it so different from Michael’s other song because its house sound, but it makes for an unexpectedly good sound.

6. Jesus To a Child

You know when you hear a song for the first time and it hits you? Like in that super dramatic/emotional way? That was what happened to me when I heard this song in my childhood days. The drama and sense of saddness in this song is so intense and beautiful, it is not a very happy song, but that is one the reasons I love it. Sometimes I feel like one has to listen to songs that aren’t necessarily happy just to gain some perspective, appreciate life and learn more about certain musicians. Over the course of Michael’s career this has always been one of his most notable songs.

5. The Edge of Heaven

This song represents one of the key reasons I love music from the 80’s; the sound is so charismatic, upbeat and makes you dance, it’s simply so gorgeous in its musical composition and the lyrics are easy to up and sing along to. The funny thing about this song is that I heard it a lot during my teens but never knew it by name until I looked it up today, but it’s one of those songs that whenever I heard it I got in a happy mood.

4. Fastlove

This song in the 90’s was my frigging jam, not only was the song badass, but the video was quite notable because it was always in circulation on the music channels and it was overly sexual which was a little strange/awkward to see as a child. That being said, the song was far too cool to ignore so just tried to look past the visual imagery. This song just has a delicious, sexy and funky groove, the bit towards the end with the use of Patrice Rushen’s “Forget Me Nots” is damn good too. But it’s just the words “Gotta get up to get down.” Those are words to live by and in this song they are repeated with style and conviction that its hard not to let those lyrics get inside your head.

3. As

I know this is cover of Stevie Wonder’s song, but screw it this version has my heart yo. For the longest time this was my favourite George Michael song, not because the amazing vocals from Michael and Mary J. Blige but also because of the music video. When I saw the video as kid I was amazed by the multiple versions of Michael and Blige singing, dancing, chilling, etc, it was insanity to my feeble mind but it was also the best thing ever. I adore Michael and Blige’s vocals, they blend well so well and you can hear the passion in their voices that makes it feel so much more engaging.

2. Everything She Wants

This Wham! song is one hadn’t heard until a few years ago and after I heard it was annoyed that I hadn’t come across it sooner. This is absolutely one of the Michael’s best songs, the lyrics tell a very interesting and dramatic tale about complexity of a relationship where one is giving everything and the other half just takes. It has a wonderful and emotionally engaging sound which is both thought-provoking and nice to listen to at the same time.

1. Club Tropicana

If you want a song that’s gonna make you feel good and want to dance look no further than this song. For me, this is one of the most feel-good songs in the history of existence, ever since I saw this song on TV, it’s become one of the key songs that represents good times and works especially well in the summer. My sister and I always insist that we’ll play this when we go on holiday at some point because it feels like a holiday-kind of song. I honestly love everything about this song, its great for karaoke, has a lot of catchy lyrics and the music from the horns, piano, bass guitar and so on, it is all on-point.

So even though it is sad that George Michael’s no longer with us, like the other celebrities that have passed on we just gotta keep their spirit alive and celebrate what they accomplished. RIP dude, you were awesome.

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2016 in Life, Music

 

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LATE REVIEW: Red Hot Chili Peppers @ The O2 Arena

Good day to you ladies and gentlemen, today I am back once again to give you a review of a gig I went to on Monday and it will be on the Red Hot Chili Peppers at The O2 Arena in London. Now I know that this review should have been out on Tuesday and the latest but I’ve been so busy with work, drawing and playing Final Fantasy XV and Pokemon Sun that finding the time to write this review was next to impossible. But regardless I just had to share my thoughts on the awesome night I had.

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So for those not aware, the Chili Peppers are one of my all-time favourite bands and I saw them the first time back in 2011 when they were playing at Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield. It was a significant occasion for me because not only was I totally loving the I’m With You album, but they were also my first band I’d seen live. It was a beautiful session and it pretty much kicked off my love for live music. So fast forward 5 years, we have their latest album; The Getaway (which I really like by the way) and a new tour, so you knew I had to get on that, and the 3 months after I bought the tickets flew by pretty quick.

Before I get into the awesomeness of the RHCP, I’d be incredibly rude to not mention the supporting act; BABYMETAL who left quite the impression on me after their performance ended. Now this band I’d heard of through friends but I never really knew much about them besides the fact that they were a Japanese girl band who did metal music and I heard some of their music briefly while in Tokyo Toys in London last year, but they were still an oddity to me. However, seeing them live was one of the most different and unique experiences I’d ever have with a live music performance. Seeing all the musicians rocking out so heavy and loudly while these three again ladies ran around, danced and performed all these actions at the same time was mental. I’ve not seen a band so theatrical and charismatic like this ever, it felt like I was watching a butch of excited kids singing and moving around with such a cray level of energy, but they were so bloody cute, beautiful and charming. I was surprised by not only how much I liked the ladies, but also how much I got into the music considering that I’m not super into metal music. Overall they were great and I definitely will be looking into their music in the future.

But let’s move on to the RHCP, when they came on stage it was like the room set ablaze, the energy was completely on another level. And from there the band went on play a collection of notable and newer songs, but in between we got really cool jamming sessions between Flea, Josh and Chad and I adore those so much, they were varied, upbeat and kept the momentum going. I also have to comment on the presentation too, there was this awesome set of cylinder-shaped lights that lit up in various colours and moved up and down via cables and formed waves, big rectangles and other crazy shapes which was so cool. And then there was the screen behind the band that showed them playing with interesting colour filters or had these crazy abstract videos with “2D or cut out animation which was so strange and badass.

As for the set list it was really good, the band played 5 songs from their latest album, a few from By the Way, Blood Sugar Sex Magik and Californication, and one each from I’m With You, Mother’s Milk and Stadium Arcadium. When the band came on-stage and then started with “Can’t Stop” as the first song I lost my mind. That is my all-time favourite Chili Peppers song and to hear it first got everyone moving. Then from there was a lovely selection of songs and most of them I really enjoyed, though some definitely got me more giddy than others. Getting to hear “Dark Necessities” life for the first time was a lot of fun and hearing the sound of “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie” live again brought back memories of good times back in 2011, while “Go Robot” really got people moving and I loved hearing it live as it was still really groovy. My favourite choices included: 1) “Sick Love” I think it was both luck and fate that this song ended up being played, but my god I loved them for playing it as it was my favourite inital song off of The Getaway.  2) “Right On Time” is such a swift and beastly song and the fact that tit got played made me SO happy. ) 3) “Higher Ground” felt like the icing on a fantastic cake, its one of my favourite covers of any song in existence and hearing it live set my soul on fire! 😀 But the biggest happy moment I felt must have been from hearing “Under The Bridge“, for a while I thought to myself that there hadn’t been any songs from that BSSM so the band had to be saving it and sure enough they were, that is the song that sing together with friends or fans and it was absolutely stellar. I think the biggest responses the band got were from “Otherside“, “Dani California“, “Californication“, “By The Way” and “Under The Bridge” and “Give It Away“, those songs got everyone freaking out and singing along in unison. If I had any nitpicks I would say that sometimes I wish Josh’s guitar volume levels would have been turned up on a few of the songs, also I wished that Anthony would have reached just a little higher with his vocals on a few songs and finally I wish that I could have heard “Encore” and “Dreams of a Samurai” from the new album, but these are just minor nitpicks at best.

In the conclusion the Red Hot Chili Peppers at The O2 Arena was such a delightful time. As someone who had seen them before, I felt like time hadn’t passed and I was getting more great music and more of the awesome charisma, charm and badassery from the band members. The set list was good, the atmosphere was wonderful and the visual presentation was kick ass. Besides some nitpicks I had with some of the song arrangements, they pale in comparison to all of the great material that I experienced. If you’ve seen RHCP live let me know what you thought in the comments below, and if you haven’t seen them live you should, it is worth it for sure! 😀

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2016 in Media, Music, Reviews

 

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TAKE TWO! Begin Again

Howdy ladies and gents and welcome to a new series I’ve been wanting to try out on this blog for a little while entitled “TAKE TWO!” where I take a look a film I haven’t seen for a while and see if it still holds up, and today’s choice is Begin Again.

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Now for those not aware, Begin Again was this delightful little film from 2014, musical focused drama where the two main characters played by Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo both from two different areas of the music industry team up to create a unique album recorded in public locations all over New York City. When I saw it in the cinema I really liked it, I was pleasantly surprised as wasn’t sure what to expect but mainly wanted to check it out because of the reviews and Mark Ruffalo’s casting, but it was one of my favourite films of that year. So when I watched Sing Street not too long ago, I wanted to rewatch this film to see how it compared to director John Carney’s latest film, but also see if the story, characters, music and enjoyment level held up. And you know what? It does!

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One of the reasons I loved the film before and now is because its suck a feel-good film, and while there’s a focus on the drama and heartache, there is so much happiness, humour and joy that shines through the story, characters and music. What I liked about the story that is that its heartfelt and covered relatable issues like love and loss, the highs and lows of life, taking chances, forging new connections and following your dreams in the face of adversity. I also love the cast, everyone involved does a great job of making you care about these characters, you invest them and see their talent, strengths and flaws, unique qualities and personal drama and they work really well just as individual but also together because that’s where you’ll get a lot of enjoyment in this film. If you had told me back in my teens that I’d ever enjoy a film with Keira Knightley in it then I’d say you’re insane, but here she surprised me a lot, she was tolerable and dare I say likeable and I enjoyed her performance a lot. But then there’s Mark Ruffalo who was just incredible, he was very versatile, charming, charismatic and fun. This was I think the first film that introduced me to Hailee Steinfeld and she was really good too, I mean everyone’s great from Mos Def to Catherine Keener and CeeLo Green and James Corden were especially fun too. But I also have to mention Adam Levine, mate, I LOVE that dude’s voice, have done since the Maroon 5 days back in 2004. And even though I’m not overly keen on his band’s sound these days, his performance in this film reminds me of why I fell in love with his voice way back when as he still sounds incredible.

But on top of all that you have the music, and that is the soul of this film. This film really is about the music. Carney does a great job of making the music in this film, whether it is original or well-known, an integral and enjoyable part of this film. It feels like a celebration of music and makes you appreciate the art of creating music from the lyrical content to the creation of new sounds to way it can affect people emotionally. The use of popular artists like Stevie Wonder, The Walls and Frank Sinatra is great and further illustrates the film’s appreciation of music and its varied sounds, but the original songs are also great too, they quite varied, but are also catchy, personal, beautiful, joyful and some can even an emotional response from you too (I know it did for me). Even though a lot of this music isn’t my usual cup of tea, because of the way it’s presented in the story and the emotional content that’s tied to the musicians as they play, there’s a deeper level of appreciation for the songs, plus it also helps that the songs are wonderfully crafted and feature really good instrumentation as well as vocals. All of the songs have a sense of beauty, depth, wonder and emotion which you can hear in the lyrics and instruments. “Lost Stars” whether you’re talking about the Knightley or Levine version, there’s something about that song that gets me right in the soul every time I hear it, the same rule applies to “Like a Fool” which just hurts me when I hear those lyrics, but it’s so good at the same time. But then you have the sound of pure happiness with “Tell Me If You Wanna Go Home (Roof Top Mix)” which sounds and feels SO good, and just seeing such a varied amount of people come together to create such a great sound in a unique setting makes me so elated that its hard to describe.

So yeah if you couldn’t tell already I really enjoyed Begin Again and it definitely falls into the department of films I can watch over and over and never be bored with and if you haven’t seen it I imply you to do so because it is really fun and the music is great. And if you’ve seen the film already let me know what you thought of it in the comments below, until next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2016 in Film Reviews, Music, Reviews

 

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QUICK REVIEW: Alien Ant Farm @ KOKO

Howdy ladies and gentlemen of the internet and welcome to another live gig review. Now Alien Ant Farm are one of those bands that some people know for their cover “Smooth Criminal” and that’s it, but there’s so much more to them than that, and after the Anthology album of 2001 they still continued to release good stuff (Always and Forever may be an exception to that rule), and for me they are one of my favourite bands that no one today really knows about. So when I heard they’d be playing live in London I jumped at the opportunity to see them live.

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Firstly I have to talk about the venue, this was my first time at KOKO and I have to say that it’s a nice venue with a great sense of style, an intimate kind of setting on the ground floor near the stage and I got some Brixton Academy vibes but just on a smaller scale. I also have to talk about the supporting acts; The Dirty Youth and InMe. While The Dirty Youth don’t have a sound I’m usually down to jam to, some of their songs was really addictive especially that Hurricane one, and InMe, damn, those guys were a revelation to me, their sound was SO good and I think they got a better reception than AAF did when they eventually came on.

But let’s finally talk about AAF, man it was good to hear their sound live especially since I’ve been listening to their music since 2001 and have wondered what a live session would be live, and while some of the songs were slightly different in their pacing and composition, overall they were just like I remembered them. And lead singer Dryden Mitchell was a lot of fun, he was funny, strange and a little foul with his use of profanity and spitting, but he delivered where it counted; in his vocals for the songs, .and while he did get as aggressive or as high-pitched for certain songs, overall he was great and so was the rest of the band. As for the songs themselves I did no expect the band to play the entirety of Anthology and it was great for them to start out with “Courage” and “Movies” as they were my favourites, and the sounds of “Sticks and Stones“, “Whisper“, “Attitude” and “Calico” were also welcome too. However it was when I heard “Summer” and “Stranded” when I really freaked out, “Summer” is one of my favourite jams, but “Stranded“, my god! That is my all-time favourite song and with the discography I didn’t think it’d get played, but it did and I was in heaven. And when they played “Glow” and “These Days” off of Truant I was having such a good time. But the crowd really went mad for “Wish” and “Smooth Criminal“, with the latter really creating a mad frenzy and starting the filthiest of mosh pits.

Now I will admit that my experience was hampered by a few things:

  1. Firstly there was a very annoying brick of a man who wouldn’t move out of my way and really squashed me into the left side of the floor and ever so often he’d look at me awkwardly and I’m just thinking”Yeah I’m having fun, you got a problem with that? Then move over!”
  2. Also the sound in general was a little messy, with the bass from the drums and bass guitar being too overpowering when it came to the vocals of the singers and guitars.
  3. And finally with AAF having 5 albums (4 fully formed ones anyway), I was surprised that the gig ended so soon without more songs being played off of Truant and Up in the Attic, heck I even listened to the new album Always and Forever because I assumed they’d play at least a few songs from that one, but nope, it was over fairly soon.

In conclusion Alien Ant Farm at KOKO was a good time for sure, that being said I was hoping for more songs from their other albums and which the sound and bass coming from the instruments was balanced better. However, to hear some of my favourite jams live was an experience I won’t forget any time soon.

So did you get to see Alien Ant Farm last night or any time during their previous or current live shows? And if so what did you think? Be sure to leave your comments below and I’ll see you all on the next blog post yo! 😀

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2016 in Media, Music, Reviews

 

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