Hannah Farrell

Guitar Art

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Foo Fighters

Ethiad Stadium: 19th June 2018

Best way to start a stadium gig?  Run out shouting and storm straight into hit All My Life aka Dave Grohl.

It didn’t stop there, during the evening we were treated to nearly 3 hours of pure rock, the band stopping only for a short break, teasing the thousands of adoring fans (many adorned in their favourite Foos t-shirt) before the encore.

Foo Fighters

Foo Fighters

Whilst celebrating a career most bands only dream of, the Foo Fighters have an amazing back catalog to choose from. They played songs from each of their albums ensuring fans young and old could all have a sing/shout along.

Each band member was also given their own time in the spotlight. Taylor Hawkins and his drum-kit were elevated into the air, plus he swapped places with Grohl to sing a cover of Queen’s Under Pressure.  I also enjoyed guitarist Chris Shiflett’s version of Alice Cooper’s Under My Wheels.

Taylor Hawkins

Taylor Hawkins

My particular favourites included encore Times Like These, This is a Call and Everlong, plus Rope, Monkey Wrench, Best of You.

This was my fourth or fifth time seeing the Foos and they never disappoint, with Dave Grohl proving he can still scream and shout with the best of them.  The only difference being each time I see them there’s another great album to add to their increasing back catalog.

 

 

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Hollywood Vampires and The Darkness

MEN Arena: 17th June 2018

Whilst walking to the Hollywood Vampires gig a crazy drunk guy walked by us saying, “Hollywood Vampires, they just sing about dead people!”

Having not seen them before I had no idea what he was going on about, but as it happened he had a certain point. The band, whose core members are Alice Cooper, Joe Perry and Johnny Depp, themed their show around dead friends in a homage that included original songs (e.g. My Dead Drunk Friends and Boogieman Surprise) and a load of covers.

I have to admit I never thought I’d see Alice Cooper sing The Doors (Five to One / Break On Through to the Other Side) or Johnny Depp do a brilliant cover of David Bowie’s Heroes. Up until recently I didn’t even now Depp played guitar but he was probably the happiest rock guitarist I’ve seen, waving to fans with a massive grin on his face throughout the gig.

We were also treated to songs by the member’s other bands including Aerosmith’s Sweet Emotion, which was one of my favourites.

 

Hollywood Vampires

Hollywood Vampires

The encore borrowed from Alice Cooper’s own tour with a fantastic medley of School’s Out and Another Brick in the Wall.

Support band The Darkness were what sold this particular gig to me.  Having seen them at Kendal Calling I am familiar with the spectacle and humour injected into each of their performances.  With Justin Hawkins larking about dancing, doing handstands and inevitably removing his top they are so fun to watch, plus the music is great too.

Within their short time-slot they managed to fit in both new and classic tracks from debut album Permission to Land, ending on hit I Believe in a Thing Called Love. The crowd were well and truly warmed up and in good spirits for Hollywood Vampires.

The Darkness

The Darkness

Hollywood Vampires Set List:

I Want My Now
Raise the Dead
I Got a Line on You (Spirit cover)
7 and 7 Is (Love cover)
My Dead Drunk Friends
Five to One / Break On Through to the Other Side (The Doors cover)
The Jack (AC/DC cover)
Ace of Spades (Motörhead cover)
Baba O’Riley (The Who cover)
As Bad As I Am
The Boogieman Surprise
I’m Eighteen (Alice Cooper cover)
Combination (Aerosmith cover)
People Who Died (The Jim Carroll Band cover)
Sweet Emotion (Aerosmith cover)
Bushwackers
Heroes (David Bowie cover)
Train Kept A-Rollin’ (Tiny Bradshaw cover)
School’s Out (Alice Cooper cover) (with ‘Another Brick in the Wall)

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Bryan Adams

MEN Arena: 24th May 2018

There’s a few things you can guarantee from a Bryan Adams gig:

  1. You will hear all the hits
  2. He can still sing (59 is young these days right?!)
  3. You’ll get 2 to 3 hours of pure Bryan Adams – no support acts required
  4. You’ll have a good night out with your Dad (ok this one is just for me)

I think I got Dad into Bryan Adams circa Waking Up the Neighbours (1991) when I was just 10 and thought I was cool and ‘rocky’. Clearly I didn’t realise the pull of the boybands like most of my school friends, but look who did and didn’t last the test of time!

Anyway, I digress.. This was my sixth outing to see the Canadian ( MEN x 3, Alton Towers, Stoke and a random festival in Nottingham) and it was no exception.

Bryan Adams

Bryan Adams

Opening with new song Ultimate Love, then powering through all the hits from past and more recent years, the gig was also interspersed with good banter and little touches that show what a nice bloke Bryan is.  As well as having acoustic number Here I Am sign language interpreted to raise deaf awareness, he gave away his guitar pick to an 8 year old at her first ever gig and took a photo of the arena lit up to send to his 80 year old mother who is in hospital.

I particularly enjoyed classics Run to You, Heaven, Back to You and 18 ’till I Die (a song that gets more poinant the older you get!). I’ve put the full set list below to show the full extent of the back catalog that was covered!

The encore was a perfect end to the evening that included an eclectic mix of covers and classics such as I Fought the Law, Whiskey in the Jar (solo acoustic) and Straight from the Heart (solo acoustic).

Set list:

  1. Ultimate Love
  2. Can’t Stop This Thing We Started
  3. Run to You
  4. Go Down Rockin’
  5. Heaven
  6. This Time
  7. It’s Only Love
  8. Please Stay
  9. Cloud Number 9
  10. You Belong to Me
  11. Summer of 69
  12. Here I Am
  13. When You’re Gone
  14. (Everything I Do) I Do it For You
  15. Back to You
  16. Somebody
  17. Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?
  18. The Only Thing That Looks Good on Me is You
  19. Cut’s Like a Knife
  20. 18 ’till I Die
  21. I’m Ready
  22. Brand New Day.
  23. I Could Get Used to This (Encore)
  24. I Fought the Law
  25. Whiskey in the Jar
  26. Straight From the Heart
  27. All for Love

 

 

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Alice Cooper

MEN Arena: 15th November 2017

An Alice Cooper show is a spectacle of rock, theatre and pyrotechnics!

Pure showmanship exuded the man himself as he donned multiple jackets and hats whilst orchestrating his musicians with a cane.

I have to admit to only being familiar with 4 or 5 hits, but an Alice Cooper gig is so much more than the music. Throughout the show the 4 guitarists dashed around stage, whilst the drummer was placed high on a pedestal above the action.  All the while Alive Cooper was transformed from mad doctor in a poof of smoke and fireworks into a 7ft frankenstien, was strapped into a straightjacket and had his head chopped off in a guillotine!

My obligatory blurry photo

My obligatory blurry photo

He’s not a man of many words, speaking only at the end to introduce the band but this just added to the onstage personal of slightly unhinged rock god.

His original band joined the show for the last few hits, which were topped off (without the pomp and charade of an encore) with hit School’s Out / Brick in the Wall medley. An amazing end to the night as new band joined old, equating to 6 guitarists and 2 drummers as giant confetti filled balloons were released into the audience.  Definitely a show worth catching!

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Secret Sisters

Union Chapel, London: 6th November 2017

Our first visit to Union Chapel, first time seeing Secret Sisters headline!

Union Chapel is similar to Manchester’s Albert Hall but is smaller and still very much a church when it isn’t being used for events.  Coupled with the sweet harmonies of the Secret Sisters, this made for a very special and almost spiritual gig.

As a current non-drinker, the café/brew bar was also much appreciated and I happily warmed up with a peppermint tea and a marshmallow on this cold winter night.

Me enjoying a brew

Me and Dan enjoying a brew

IMG_0699 DAN

We first saw Secret Sisters support Ray Lamontagne at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester (in my pre-blog era) and were amazed by their sounds, which is unique to my record collection, that we became instant fans.

Secret Sisters

Secret Sisters

What I had forgotten was the banter and storytelling that adds to their live performance. Funny and poignant stories peppered the set and left you feeling like old friends of the sisters from Alabama.

Entertaining the crowd with songs from all three albums using just a guitar and pure vocal talent was a sheer joy to watch, with many a harmony raising the hairs on the back of my neck.

I particularly enjoyed The One I Love I Love from their first album and Bad Habit from their second album Put Your Needle Down.

More tour dates are promised for 2018 in intimate venues across the UK so keep an eye out!

Secret Sisters

Secret Sisters again

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Star Shaped Festival

Ritz Manchester: 19th August 2017

Take a trip with me back in time to the 90s for a day!

On this typical summer’s day it was pissing down, making the organisers choice of indoor venue a godsend. We would have been truly soaked had this been outside!

Even better was the addition of a bonus exhibition by renowned photographer and album cover designer Brian Cannon, who showcased his most famous creations. It was great meeting him and his wife and seeing the collection. I advise a visit to his online shop!

The obligatory first beer photo

The obligatory first beer photo

I was mostly in high school and college during the 90’s which means some of the more obscure bands that didn’t make the Top 40 countdown on a Sunday night or Top of the Pops did pass me by. However, Salad (Undressed) did a good job of kicking off the day’s festival and even managed to incorporate a melodica into the set!

Salad (Undressed)

Salad (Undressed)

My Life Story were also really good fun, showing what a difference an enthusiastic front man makes (whether you’re familiar with their music or not). They even managed to get the whole room to partake in a Bruce Forsyth signature move in tribute to the recently deceased star.

My Life Story

My Life Story

Dodgy began the more mainstream of the music on offer, but I was really looking forward to Space (who were next on the billing) having loved hits such as Neighbourhood and Female of the Species back in the day.

Space

Space

Lead singer Tommy Scott has taken on an altogether more ‘American’ persona than the indie kid of the 90s. Dressed in a stetson and cowboy boots, he was backed by what looked like an alt rock trio (I’m not sure how many were part of the original outfit). I’ve also never noticed how most songs begin with a kind of spooky backing but it all added to the nostalgia. They certainly were a lot of fun, playing some songs heavier than I remember. The craziest of sets was added to not only by banter but the introduction of a crudely dressed skeleton to sing Cerys Matthew’s part in The Ballad of Tom Jones. You had to have been there!

Tommy Scott during The Ballad of Tom Jones

Tommy Scott during The Ballad of Tom Jones

It’s a shame some of the bore off Bluetone fans stood near us who had planted themselves on the front row for the duration of the day didn’t see the funny side because it was hilarious.

The binge drinking 90s was well and truly alive and kicking too with bands swigging a combination of bottles of wine, beer and straight JD throughout their sets. It was definitely a party atmosphere!

Sleeper were also amazing and probably the only band we saw who could release their original material today and it still sound new and current. Louise Werner has kept her cool girl style. I’d say most girls want to emulate her and most guys want to hang out with her.  She is very cool on stage, showing you don’t need a short skirt and shit loads of make-up to be amazing. Loved it! She even teased of new material (oh no you think) only to be taking the piss and storming straight into all the classics. I loved dancing to Sale of the Century!

Louise Wener heads up Sleeper

Louise Wener heads up Sleeper

Having been inside the Ritz since 2pm (only leaving for a quick pizza for tea), it was getting incredibly warm and people were getting incredibly drunk (and pretty annoying). With this in mind we headed to the balcony to watch The Bluetones. Dan loved them, though to me a lot of their songs sound similar. Front man Mark Morriss had the crowd in the palm of his hands and progressed with a steady patter of banter throughout the set. A great end to the day and hopefully the front row bore offs also had a smile on their face at this point!

The Bluetones

The Bluetones

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Hope and Glory Festival

Liverpool: 5th August 2017

“Welcome to Hope and Glory Festival. No one here owns a f**king watch!”

(Matt Bowman, The Pigeon Detectives)

Hope and Glory festival was like having a nice cold pint and a bird shitting in it (which did actually happen to me yesterday – maybe it was a sign of things to come!)

First pint, sun is shining!

First pint, sun is shining!

All in all we did have a good day and there were positives such as finding new bands like the Jackobins and Haunt the Woods.

The Jackobins

The Jackobins

Nice and spacious early on

Nice and spacious early on

The first couple of hours were great. Sunshine, picturesque setting, lots of space and a friendly vibe.

At least these birds don't shit in my cider!

At least these birds don’t shit in my cider!

Lots of space early on!

Lots of space early on!

Chilling early doors

Chilling early doors

Acrobats add to the festival vibe

Acrobats add to the festival vibe

Why the first couple of lesser known bands on the main stage weren’t scrapped to ensure the rest of the day went more to plan I don’t know. Our enjoyment was truly a result of the excellent line up and bands that stuck around and played their hearts out despite the delays (the schedule was three hours behind being by the time The View came on!)

Just after this photo Dan was asked if he was in Ocean Colour Scene!

Just after this photo Dan was asked if he was in Ocean Colour Scene!

Only 15 mins to change around between bands was a big error

Only 15 mins to change around between bands was a big error

We got near the front for The Pigeon Detectives who stormed through their most well know sing/dance-a-longs. Loved seeing them as much as usual! (For a full set, see them later this year).

The Pigeon Detectives

The Pigeon Detectives

However, long delays and dangerous overcrowding will unfortunately taint memories of the day (also, who serves glass bottles at festivals these days?!).

Luckily both the crowd and bands displayed incredible patience. The Fratellis, Embrace and The View were all ace, cramming in as many hits as the delayed scheduled allowed. I really enjoyed seeing The View for the first time, The Fratellis made me dance and smile as always and Embrace were a trip down memory lane that was much loved.

The sun bouces of many a bald head during Embrace

The sun bounces off many a bald head during Embrace

Using the time between acts to make friends with other festival goers (including the drummer of The Allies) was great but I expect many in the crowds were displaying athlete bladder control, desert like thirst or taking part in an extreme version of British queuing during most of the day.

Having seen most of the bands before we were looking forward to seeing Charlotte Church’s Pop Dungeon, Razorlight and James for the first time. Unfortunately Charlotte Church was pulled from the massively delayed set list last minute and we were so far at the back during Razorlight that although we could see them on all the screens (which were good), we couldn’t hear their set, which led us to leave before James came on – we’ll wait and see them in a better venue next time they tour!

My folks always say if something seems to good too be true it probably is and I think Hope and Glory with it’s great venue and location, reasonable ticket prices and an amazing line up falls into this category. Just too many negatives (overcrowding, queues, delays, cancelled sets, bad sound and lack of safety) outweighed the positives for most visitors.

City centre festivals when executed well are a true joy (see Manchester’s Sounds of the City and Sheffield’s Tramlines).  It’s a shame this one fell short of the mark.

 

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Aerosmith

Download: 11th June 2017

Our first time at Download added to a run of visits to the major UK festivals over the last few years. To be honest the main attraction was rock gods Aerosmith who closed the festival as part of their Farewell tour.

We spent most of the day hanging out with mates who’d been camping since Thursday and taking in the atmosphere. The attire was noticeably more black than our usual indie gigs, but it did mean it was easy to spot Dan in his blue Fred Perry t-shirt in the crowds throughout the day. The general friendly vibe was the same as you get in any deserted field that is suddenly thrust into a haven for music lovers for the weekend, making it a chilled place to wonder round.

Em, Hannah and Dan with our new friend (centre right)

Em, me and Dan with our new friend (centre right)

In the lead up to the main attraction we watched Steel Panther whose enthusiastic fans were adorned in leopard print Lycra and 80’s mullet wigs in a homage to this Spinal Tap-esq rock outfit. A set packed with plenty of laughs and inappropriate banter and lyrics, they were really entertaining to watch, definitely a band I’d love to see again live. I’d also recommend their you tube for a taste of their unique brand of exaggerated 80’s glam rock.

Steel Panther

Steel Panther

Steel Panther rocking out!

Steel Panther rocking out!

Airbourne were another example of classic rock, this time of Australian origin. Akin to ACDC they were a great warm up to the grand finale.

In a self imposed window of time to re-hydrate we took a break via rides on the big wheel (creaking in the gusts of wind) and the dizzying waltzers, then food and drinks stops before talking our place back at the main stage.

Me and Dan waiting for Aerosmith

Me and Dan waiting for Aerosmith

Aerosmith have always been on my wish list to see live and they didn’t disappoint.  Steven Tyler was a vision in his extravagant pink shirt, embellished in a multitude of  necklaces, long hair blowing in the wind as he twisted around his trademark microphone adored in coloured scarves.

The set opened to a montage of clips and images that spanned over four decades and built the crowd into an excited buzz. It was great to see the Toxic Twins back and rocking out. Steven orchestrating his band as they tore through an extensive back catalogue.  My personal favourites were Dude Looks Like a Lady, Sweet Emotion and Come Together, plus Dream On and Walk this Way that formed part of the encore. I did think it would be more of a run through hits collection ‘Big Ones’ but actually the more varied set list was actually better.

Aerosmith

Aerosmith in the sunset

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Sheryl Crow

Albert Hall Manchester: 20th May 2017

Sheryl Crow is one talented woman! Bringing together a range of genres and thoughtfully putting together a set that celebrated old and new tracks, this was a night to remember.

Beginning with Every Day is a Winding Road and rattling through hits Change Would Do You Good and All I Wanna Do, the crowd were treated to all the favourites plus a lesser heard country song (that according the Sheryl was only purchased by her Mum and cousins). That didn’t matter to the adoring onlookers though as she tore through a solo section on her harmonica, one of the many instruments she perfected that evening.

Sheryl Crow at the Albert Hall, Manchester

Sheryl Crow at the Albert Hall, Manchester

Switching from bass to guitar to pure lead vocals was showmanship at it’s highest level. She even recovered well after knocking her pint all over the stage!

I imagine you’d struggle to get as close to the star in her hometown of Nashville, but Manchester’s Albert Hall once again proved the perfect venue for stars to shine.

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The Pigeon Detectives

Gorilla Manchester: 13th March 2017

The return of the Pigeon Detectives to Manchester was everything you’d imagine; energy, enthusiasm and a bunch of hits.

Pigeon Detectives

Pigeon Detectives: our view from the front

We’d got there early and bagged a front row space, which was prime position to witness the crazy onstage antics, microphone hurling and stage dives (and falls).

Although they’ve a new album out the night wasn’t short of crowd pleasers, with a great mix of hits being thrashed out at full speed.

Pigeon Detectives at Gorilla

Pigeon Detectives at Gorilla

I also don’t think I’ve been in as big a sweat pit for a while but it was worth the heat and the band clearly felt it too as they consistently chucked out bottles of water to their melty, rowdy crowd throughout the night.

I can’t believe it’s 10 years since debut album Wait for Me was released but as ever I’m always happy for an anniversary tour, however many years later. The Pigeon’s promised to return to Manchester later in the year to honour the last ten years and if it’s anything like tonight it’s going to be fun!

Me ridiculously warm at the end of the gig!

Me ridiculously warm at the end of the gig!