Review: Jeff Lynne’s ELO – Wembley or Bust

In the 1970s the Electric Light Orchestra were one of the biggest bands in the world.

Often dismissed as Beatles soundalikes, they certainly filled a Moptop-shaped void but then swiftly outgrew it. Disco was coming through at the same time and front man Jeff Lynne’s masterstroke was to combine irresistible melodies to a four-on-the-floor disco beat, then soak everything in rich strings. The Beatles reinvented for the dance floor.

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Review: Jackie Shane – Any Other Way

It is difficult to tell the story of Jackie Shane without mentioning her sexuality. Born a boy, the few photographs of Shane usually show a man in drag, or dressed in a man’s suit with bouffant hair and full makeup. The extraordinary voice is difficult to pin down as male or female. But there is no escaping the fact that, were it not for her sexuality, this incredible performer would very likely be lost to the archives – another talented soul singer who nearly made it. Finally, at the age of seventy-seven, now living as a woman, Jackie is enjoying a renaissance.

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Review: Michael Kiwanuka

Halfway through Michael Kiwanuka’s gig something great happens: his guitar stops working. I had just been thinking about leaving early. His award-winning mix of ballads and funk tunes just weren’t doing it for me, but this malfunction proved to be a turning point for both of us…

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Review: Joshua Burnside – Ephrata

With his first album, Ephrata, Joshua Burnside is attempting a difficult balancing act, by using an often twee genre as a vehicle to smuggle something more subversive. For the most part he succeeds. Don’t get me wrong, I love a banjo as much as the next waistcoat-wearer, but the market is so saturated with folk pop that a guy can’t even watch Ant & Dec’s Saturday Takeaway without being assaulted by fiddles, ukeleles, jaunty whistling and bloody accordions during the ad breaks (Accordions. Possibly the least rock’n’roll instrument on the planet). 

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