Wednesday, 17 April 2019

i travelled to london to see the maine and made a vlog about it

Hi there! I went to London recently for the first time in my life (i.e. instead of my usual few hour flying visits). And I vlogged about it!

We went over to see The Maine play the final show on their You Are OK European tour at the 02 Forum in Kentish Town. We also ate some unbelievably good food at The Diner in Camden (the best vegan burrito of my entire life, I dunno what kind of magic they put in their guac but it is unreal) and The Breakfast Club (go after 12 and you can get the PB&J pancakes pictured above. Incredible). We also just zipped about on electric scooters for quite a bit.

Watch it all below!

Friday, 1 February 2019

january 2019 was weirdly really good for new music

Does anyone else feel like we were really blessed with new music so far this year?? A new Bring Me The Horizon album, another iconic Ariana Grande track, and finally, the long-awaited return of Vampire Weekend, among others - in terms of music, 2019 is off to a seriously good start. Here's what I've been listening to!

Mid-January, Ariana Grande finally dropped 7 rings on us, and even though we'd waited so long, I don't think any of us could ever have been ready enough for that. Guaranteed to be the biggest flex of the year, I love it from start to finish. Lines like "I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it" and "you like, my hair? gee thanks, just bought it" are already so iconic. "Happiness is the same price as red bottoms", "Ain't no budget when I'm on the set, if I like it then that's what I get"? Ariana rapping?? I can't wait for the thank u, next album. I loved sweetener and how experimental Ariana got with her sound last year, but I'm so excited for an album of bold, in-your-face pop anthems like what she's been serving us recently.

Bring Me The Horizon brought us amo and like literally every BMTH release since Suicide Season in 2008, it divided a lot of opinions. Personally, I think it absolutely slaps - I've listened to heavy metal, and sugar honey ice & tea several times a day since the album dropped last week. Other honourable mentions: nihilist blues (featuring Grimes), in the dark (which sounds a little Justin Timberlake to me for some reason, and in the best way) and lead single MANTRA.

Speaking of albums: let's talk teal. More specifically, Weezer's surprise Teal album, featuring iconic covers from artists like TLC, Black Sabbath, Michael Jackson and of course, Toto. I love it so much, from start to finish - I mean, who'd have thought we needed Rivers Cuomo singing No Scrubs so badly in our lives? Mr. Blue Sky, Happy Together, the bops are all there, and the Teal album is the album we needed to kick off 2019.

Vampire Weekend are finally expected to make a proper return this year, with forthcoming album Father of the Bride. On January 24th, they gave us two tracks - Harmony Hall and 2021, the former including lyrics from 2014's Finger Back. I mean, I like both tracks, they're pretty run of the mill Vampire Weekend, but I'm really intrigued to see what they bring to the full length album later in the year.

Only yesterday, Fall Out Boy announced and released a previously recorded track with Lil Peep, featuring vocals from Patrick Stump and ILoveMakonnen. I've never really listened to Lil Peep, but I love FOB, and I'm kind of obsessed with this song. Like, I think I listened to it three times on my twenty minute bus journey to work this morning.

We also got a glimpse into what The Maine have in store for us this year, with new single Numb Without You. It literally sounds like a Panic! At The Disco verse and a Fall Out Boy chorus and I'm extremely here for it. They just got announced for Reading and Leeds this year and I can't wait to see them on their UK tour in a few weeks.

As for live music, we caught The 1975's tour at the start of the month, and although I'm not their biggest fan, there's a few tracks from last year's A Brief Enquiry Into Online Relationships that I can't stop listening to since. Pale Waves and No Rome supported, the former I've seen before and always enjoy, the latter who was completely new - but I'm now obsessed with his track, Narcissist, also a collaboration with The 1975 themselves.

During the week we saw Hayley Kiyoko's first ever Irish show, the first of two sold out nights at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin. It was such a lovely, wholesome evening and honestly since I've sworn I want to go to more pop concerts this year because their energy and levels of fun are just incomparable. Dutch singer-songwriter Naaz supported, and was excellent - I'm making my way through her debut album, Bits of Naaz at the minute, and I already love Up to Something.

Next month we're getting an Ariana album, and I'm seeing Hippo Campus! Nice!

If you want to listen to any of the music mentioned, you can check out most of them in my 2019 Spotify playlist - I'll be throwing any and all new discoveries and rekindled loves in there throughout the year! Feel free to slide into my DMs with any music suggestions too, on Twitter or Instagram, they're always welcome x

Thursday, 25 October 2018

State Champs @ The Academy, Dublin

Monday, 22nd October: we went to see State Champs play their first show in Ireland in three years.

We arrived a few minutes late into Woes' set, but didn't really miss much. Not that they were bad, just kinda forgettable.

What we did want to see more of was Australian band Stand Atlantic, who we've loved for a while now, since their debut EP Sidewinder dropped last year. Sadly, a few technical difficulties meant their set had to be cut short and we missed out on a few bops from said EP, but new singles Lavender Bones and Lose My Cool still went OFF (stream Skinny Dipping from October 26th!!)

Seaway also dropped a sick album last year, and included a good chunk of Vacation on their setlist. I think you forget just how many absolute bops these guys have until they play another, and another, and another... Scatter My Ashes..., London, Luna on the Beach, Curse Me Out, all great tracks and pretty damn good live too.

We kind of half-watched State Champs twice already this year, from various queues at Warped Tour, so I was interested to see how a headline show would go down. Their latest album, Living Proof, has some great tunes on it, and some good but slightly more forgettable ones too, and that pretty much sums up the accompanying tour setlist. They're a great live band, blasting out an endless loop of energetic pop punk, and hardly took a chance to slow down -  with the exception of one acoustic song in the middle. Newer tracks like Mine is Gold and Dead And Gone were brilliant and went down a treat, while everyone popped off to classics like All You Are Is History and Elevated. Secrets is a really sick closer too, but everything else than came in the middle was... fine? Maybe I'm just not enough of a ~stan~ or whatever, but they're good live, we had some bops, but I think three State Champs sets in one year is enough for now...

Check out supports Stand Altantic and Seaway on Spotify, if you're looking for new music. I'd definitely love to see Stand Atlantic somewhere again in the new year!

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Reading Festival 2018

Reading Festival feels like such a distant memory, now that festival season is officially over and outside is cold and crisp and covered in falling leaves. This was my first ever Reading festival and I gotta say, straight off the bat, I'm so in love with it. Out of all the ones I've done, in Ireland, the U.S. and now the U.K., this one is by far my favourite - and for such Old Person reasons too. It's just really well organised, there are dozens and dozens of different food trucks and toilets and everything and the simple joy of not having to queue makes the whole experience ten times better. Security were wonderful too, even through dealing with Lil Pump's onstage temper tantrums (more on that later lol).

But Ciara, you cry, forget all that shit - what about the bands?

Well, let's get into it.

Obvious highlights first: Waterparks (duh - also our ninth and final show of this year excuse me for a second while I cry) Going from seeing them play to less than seventy people in a tiny club in Switzerland in the spring to the huge main stage crowd at Reading made me feel like a proud mom; Fall Out Boy headlining (despite a few sound issues and a slightly unenthusiastic crowd towards the back, they're still excellent and I will fight anyone who says otherwise) - particularly Patrick's really weird Elton John impression during his verse in Save Rock and Roll. I'm still not sure if that was intentional or what was going on but it was... something.

The Regrettes played between Big Shaq and Waterparks on Friday (you can see us standing at the barrier during Big Shaq's set on the BBC feed, because where else would you be at 11am on a Friday). The Californian quartet absolutely killed it - I've rarely seen a lead singer with half as much charisma and cool like Lydia Night, and she's literally only seventeen. The Regrettes are definitely going places, watch this space.

We caught the gist of Bring Me The Horizon's secret set from the queue for the Waterparks meet and greet - new track Mantra sounded fucking wonderful, as did That's The Spirit highlights Happy Song and Throne. I also finally got to see Icelandic trio Dream Wife - seeing singer Rakel Mjoll pure screaming out the lines in F.U.U. was incredible. We caught a few seconds of Dua Lipa's Blow Your Mind (Mwah) en route to Rex Orange County - which was a lovely and wholesome time (read all about his recent Vicar St show). I love love love hearing Loving Is Easy live, coupled with a crowd-wide singalong and colourful confetti falling everywhere, it's so magical and nice.

We skipped out on Travis Scott to cram into an already wedged tent, safe from the rain, to watch The Used, who despite being really, really late, were still excellent. Pretty Handsome Awkward just went OFF and I loved every second. Singer Bert McCracken also recited some Shakespeare and had everyone circle-pit to it, which just about sums up the whole experience.

Saturday meant two things for us: Brockhampton and Panic! At The Disco (the real Saturday night headliners, sorry Kendrick). In our wait for Brockhampton at the barrier of the BBC Radio One stage, we watched Australian band West Thebarton, Chase Atlantic and Mabel - Playboi Carti was supposed to play but called in sick that day, giving Brockhampton a whole hour set. I have literally never experienced anything like the crowds at Brockhampton shows. I've witnessed Bring Me The Horizon pits as a young'un, and thought I'd had the life squished out of me at The Blackout shows back in the day, but this is on a whole other level. My life flashed before my eyes several times at that barrier, and five security guards came up to me at different points to ask if I wanted to be taken out, but I persevered (it was all for Boogie at the very end to be honest, and it's always worth it). Don't get me wrong, Brockhampton are great live, and I've never experienced a crowd with as much adoration for the artist performing for them. At least not like this.

I ticked so many bands and bops off my teenage bucketlist over the course of Reading weekend - some of which being seeing The Used play PHA and The Taste of Ink, as well as going sick to Sum 41 during In Too Deep and most importantly, Fat Lip - but Panic! At The Disco blew all of these out of the water. I mean, Brendon Urie really is That Bitch. The charisma, the glamour, the vocals, ugh. It was so wonderful from start to finish - even though the set was largely songs from their latest album, Pray For The Wicked and other recent bops I hadn't heard of, it was still a wonderful experience. I haven't stopped listening to PFTW since - Hey Look Ma I Made It and Dancing's Not A Crime in particular. We got treated to classic bops like Nine In The Afternoon (played on a giant golden piano, nonetheless) and of course, I Write Sins Not Tragedies. I can't believe in the year of our Lord 2018 I've finally become a Panic! stan, at the ripe old age of 23, but they were that good. An incredibly theatrical and wholesome experience (especially when Brendon pranced about in a Pride flag and sang Girls/Girls/Boys, my heart!)

It absolutely pissed rain Saturday night and all Sunday morning, so we only showed up to the muddy arena late Sunday evening for Hippo Campus, and then The Vaccines - who were so bloody excellent, and definitely one of my favourites of the weekend. All In White was a particular highlight but new bops Your Love Is My Favourite Band and I Can't Quit went down a treat too. They're just an all round excellent band, y'know?

We closed out the weekend with Slaves (I just wanted to bop to Cheer Up London, which was great), and left early during the slightly snoozy headline set from Kings of Leon. Well, we gave them roughly half an hour, waiting for a hit or two, and none were forthcoming...

The weekend wasn't without its bum notes (see aforementioned Kings of Leon) - we left The Vaccines during the last song to catch the final few minutes of Lil Pump's set (just for Gucci Gang, because gotta get that Instagram story content, tbh). It turns out, Lil Pump's show down at the BBC Radio One stage was, in fact, an absolute hellfire. The seventeen year old had shown up thirty minutes late to his set, but was insisting on finishing it out regardless of who was set to play after him. I think we witnessed about thirty seconds of actual music, between the rapper trying to scrap with the crowd, the sound techs who tried desperately to cut him off (I'm pretty sure the whole set was being broadcast live on Radio 1) and the security - between calling everyone bitches, f*****s, and threatening to fight anyone who glanced his way, he still found the time to encourage the crowd to chant 'fuck you' to the security team. The whole thing was just gross, and I really don't understand how cancel culture hasn't come for him yet.

Anyway: all that being said, Reading was, for the most part, a great experience and a nice environment (we didn't camp, so we didn't experience all of that madness, thank god). I'd 100% go back if next year's line-up is as sick as this year's. Loads of people complained on Twitter about this year's line-up (but won't they always, says you) but I thought it was a great mix of classic and contemporary, and largely emo and hiphop acts - with a bunch of great female and LGBT artists too, which is good to see.

And on that note: one of the things I absolutely wanted to do this year was to learn how to edit video - thus, I made it my mission to film bits and pieces at Reading this year and lo and behold: the results are now on YouTube for all the world to see. Watch it below, and forgive my slight iPhone shakiness - I did take a lot of these mid-dancing...

What did you think of this year's Reading & Leeds line-up? Have you ever been?

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