Now in its 38th Year, North Sea Jazz never fails to please and, this year, with Stevie Wonder and Pharrell Williams topping the bill, it was better than ever... It's a marvel of good organisation, as the sound is impeccable, everything starts on time, there's never really any crush and everyone's good natured.
This is the second in a series of New Breed blogs introducing some of my favourite breaking bands that have captured my ears in 2014. Every summer hails the emergence of a new breed of young, up and coming bands heading out on festival season opening up muddy fields and tents across the country ready to make their name known to the world. Here are 3 of the best new bands destined to make big waves through the end of 2014.
What is it about rock stars that won't make them quit while they're ahead? ... I mean, just think of some of the more hedonistic behaviour - eating bats (Ozzy Osbourne), the shark episode (Led Zepellin), urinating on the Alamo (Osbourne again) - if any of them behaved like that in a nursing home then they'd be dosed up and diagnosed with senile dementia.
I spoke to Rou Reynolds (vocals) and Rob Rolfe (drums) on the night of their much anticipated return to the live scene. A homecoming show, on the eve of a stint of global touring hitting Russia, Eastern Europe and the United States before coming back to a huge slot on this year's Reading and Leeds main stage.
Before a foot had trodden on the hallowed Donington turf, many an armchair promoter and naysayer wailed at the 2014 offerings. With competition from other festivals and the memory of 2013 there was always the expectation that this year would be a quieter one for Download. Well as quiet as a rock and metal festival can be.
For those of you who haven't heard Crossfaith before. They're a genre busting band cut from a cloth not that dissimilar from former tour mates Enter Shikari. They mix up hardcore, punk rock, metalcore and electronics from trance to dubstep to produce a sound that's brilliantly fresh, heavy and most importantly unique.
It is here in Milan, far north in the Bel Paese [Italy, the "beautiful country"], that a cultural pragmatism has attracted those of a more refined musical streak. And it is at Biko, a club not far from the throng of the city centre, that Trio Valore has convened to play to a Milanese crowd intent on devouring live music as would they their mammas' pasta e fagioli. It's a crowd of stylists who want to dance, and they do.
Iggy Pop is one of the most seminal figures in music. Without Iggy Pop there would be no punk, and rock/pop music would not have evolved such deviant shades. The revolutionary influence of his eclectic career is antithetic to his lack of commercial success in the first half of his career, from the 60's to 1986.