NME Radar Tour @ Koko 17th May 2011

This was the second NME Radar Tour I had attended. Last year saw the likes of Hurts + Everything Everything playing towards the start of the year while The Joy Formidable + Chapel Club were on the tour last October. My first NME Radar Tour was in 2009 when Golden Silvers headlined and Marina & The Diamonds was on the same bill. We know come to 2011 this year Anna Calvi is headlining with the likes of Grouplove and Big Deal all on that same bill. The line up was mouth watering and that is why I purchased a ticket. It was a complete surprise that the show did not with the fact Calvi was headlining. Previously she had sold out Hoxton Hall in January and 2 nights at Bush Hall in April. When the doors came to open there were about 20 people queueing which was a shock. Maybe this was down to the fact the tickets said doors at 7.30pm and they really opened at 7pm. Who knows??.

This was the last night and The History Of Apple Pie were playing as well. This five piece band consisted of Stephanie Min, Jerome Watson, James Thomas, Kelly Lee Owens and Mark Ellis. Now I really liked their brand of pop music. Also the set was extremely loud and this was probably down to the electric guitars used. You could feel the barriers vibrate!!!!. Unfortunately the time they began their set at 7.45pm the venue was no were near full. I would say there was about 30ish people there. It was ashame really because The History Of Apple Pie were a fantastic band and those who weren’t there missed out on a band whom I think will go far. The set was a showcase of material which should appear on the debut album when released. One of those tracks was You’re So Cool.

Next on the bill were Big Deal. This duo consist of KC Underwood and Alice Costelloe. What was to follow was 30 minutes of mellowing folky music. The set lasted for 30 minutes and in that time they crammed in 8 songs. 5 of these songs I had heard before and the other 3 were completely new to me. It is surprising that this band have not released an EP because they certainly have enough tracks to serve as a little taster. I really liked the set it was gentle. KC was on a acoustic guitar while Alice was on a electric one. Both their vocals compliment each other and the songs were fantastic. Homework is slightly depressing in lyric content. The opening lines are “Can’t do my Homework, Can’t concentrate, It’s ruining my grades, I can’t think straight”. Chair started off at a fast pace and continues throughout the song. The take on Big Star’s 13 was fantastic. The current single Talk ended this wonderful set. Other songs that were Locked Up which served as the B side to Talk plus new songs I Want To Be Older and I Don’t Want To See You (I am guessing those titles as there was no set list). Although I enjoyed every minute of the set the lighting was awful.


I Want To Be Older
Locked Up
I Don’t Want To See You

Grouplove are an American Indie Rock band which formed in 2009 by Hannah Hooper, Christian Zucconi, Sean Gadd, Andrew Wessen and Ryan Rabin. I actually thought I wouldn’t like the music but the moment they launched into Don’t Say Oh Well that was when I was captivated. The song was rather energetic and it oozed fun. Even though the Los Angeles band already had a debut EP out it didn’t stop them from singing songs which I anticipate hearing the studio version to. Lovely Cup was very upbeat and it went down well with the crowd. Itchin On A Photograph was next and this being the forthcoming single. The lyrics were brilliant and this song has to serve as the first release from the full length debut album. Another newie was played and this being Love Will Save Your Soul. This song was fantastic but it wasn’t my favourite during this 9 song set. It was then onto a double header of songs from the self titled EP. These songs were Gold Coast and then Naked Kids. Now the song Naked Kids got a few squeals of delight. This was a song for the summer and was extremely chilled out. It was then onto Chloe and this song was sung by Sean Gadd. The song was both catchy and extremely upbeat. Yet another new song followed on and this being Tongue Tied. “I know you guys have a best friend” Hooper said before going on to say that this song was about going over to your best friends house. Again this upbeat song oozed energy. You picked up that is was a fun song from the vibe. The 40 minute set came to a close with the debut single and the EP opening song. This was to be Colours which was a real audience pleasers. The way the song starts up was amazing.


Don’t Say Oh Well
Lovely Cup
Itchin On A Photograph
Love Will Save Your Soul
Gold Coast
Naked Kid
Tongue Tied

This was completely different to when I saw Anna Calvi 4 days prior. Yes the set list was almost the same but there was one difference. This being the fact that Calvi played the guitar throughout the set. Her shoulder was clearly troubling her. Kicking off the set was the instrumental Rider To The Sea. Anna sailed through this at ease showing the audience what a formidable guitar player she is. Once over it was straight into the next song and this being No More Words. Now her vocals are extrodinary and there are no limits on her vocal abilities. After this stunning song it was onto the current single and this being Blackout. Now I like this song purely because it is belted out. Anna puts every ounce of energy into this epic song. After the rapturous applause it was then onto I’ll Be Your Man. This song started off with a guitar solo. The song was both powerful but had it soft moments. I actually found it to be slightly haunting. There were a few squels of delight for Suzanne & I. The song itself sounded a touch operatic but I think that falls down to the fact how strong Calvi’s vocals were. “Thankyou” Anna said to the audience during the rapture of applause. It was then onto First We Kiss. This song again showcased her fantastic vocal range and her ability to hit the high notes at ease. After Calvi thanked the audience again it was then onto Morning Light. This song which sounded more sombre compared to the other songs sung up the night sent a chill up my spine. “This is an Elvis song, it’s called Surrender” Calvi said to the audience before launching into her own take of Surrender. Basically she put her own twist on the song and it sounded incredible. The song itself actually featured as the B side to current single Blackout. Following straight after was the forthcoming single Desire. Now this was an uptempo powersong which Calvi put everything into making it sound incredible. After the song Anna went onto say her thankyous before launching into the final song of the night and this being Love Won’t Be Leaving. This haunting song was on epic preportions and Calvi completely nailed it. The lyrics are truly amazing and they fit with the melody perfectly. Once the song was over it was no surprise that the crowd were left wanting more. So seconds later Calvi and the rest of her band returned to the stage for an encore. “Thankyou” Calvi said when she took to the stage. The first song of the encore was The Devil. This song was ever so haunting. The Devil blended Anna’s love of Classical and Flamenco. “Thanks so much for coming everyone, this is Jezebel” she then said before launching into the final song of the night. Now Jezebel is originally a Edith Pia song and Calvi put her own stamp of originality on the song. She was flawless when came to hitting the high notes and the song itself was delivered powerfully.


Rider To The Sea
No More Words
I’ll Be Your Man
Suzanne & I
First We Kiss
Morning Light
Love Won’t Be Leaving


The Devil

OVERALL: Just seeing Anna Calvi perform live is something truly remarkable. The fact she played the guitar throughout the set gave her extra points in my book. It was clear to see that the shoulder was troubling her but Anna soldiered through it to deliver what was 50 fantastic minutes of music I adore. There is something special about Anna Calvi and she definately has what it takes to be huge. Now I was surprised this last date of the NME Radar Tour did not sell out as it was known that Calvi would be headlining. Still by the end of the night the venue looked like it was a sell out as it was packed for the headline prformance. In regards to the support acts I can say only one word Amazing. The History Of Apple Pie I had never seen play live before but I liked their music after hearing it on Myspace. Big Deal I fell in love with straight away the day I saw them support Summer Camp at The Lexington last year. Grouplove were a complete surprise I thought I wouldn’t like but after the first song oozed both fun and energy captivated me till the very end of their set.


One Comment Add yours

  1. Jason Wright says:

    Thanks for going into detail it worth definitely worth reading.

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