fri 19/04/2024

New Music Unlocked 1: Reef, Supersonic Festival, Elton John and more | reviews, news & interviews

New Music Unlocked 1: Reef, Supersonic Festival, Elton John and more

New Music Unlocked 1: Reef, Supersonic Festival, Elton John and more

A new weekly preview celebrating the gradual revival of the live music industry

Reef with Duran Duran guitarist Andy Taylor

The lockdown which began in March is now noticeably easing, although in the realm of gigs and festivals things are still nowhere near operative. Nonetheless, theartsdesk is responding to the changes by ceasing our many weeks of New Music Lockdown Specials and looking forward to an increasing amount of actual live events.

This week, we can only offer one, alongside plenty of streamed entertainment, but it’s early days. Here’s to the future. Dive in!

Supersonic presents Sofasonic

Birmingham’s Supersonic is one of the only shindigs in Britain’s jammed annual summer festival calendar that truly represents vanguard, underground and avant-garde music. This year their virtual version takes place here and it’s a packed schedule (check here) which includes a much more imaginative range of events and activities than is usual for livestreams. These include bingo hosted by noise merchants Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, poetry from post-metaller Steve Von Till, DJ sets from ex-Sepultura drummer Igor Calavera and alt-hip hop don Will Brooks (of Dälek), a film by grunge progenitors The Melvins, Q&As (including one with Faith No More maverick Mike Patton), lectures, recipes, cocktails, panels and, of course, some actual edgy music.

Reef: Live from the Drive-In Tour

Reef, the Somerset blues-rock outfit who achieved their greatest success in the mid-Nineties, have been one of the first bands to announce concerts in a format appropriate to the COVID era. In August and September, they will be criss-crossing the country with a series of twelve drive-in concerts at venues such as the Lincolnshire Showground and Newmarket Racecourse (details here). To add oomph to the package, they will be joined onstage by their pal Andy Taylor, once of Duran Duran, so who knows what songs may turn up. A valiant attempt at flying the flag for live rock’n’roll, it’ll also be a test-case to see whether an atmosphere can be generated at these kinds of gigs.

25 Years of Manchester’s Arena

To celebrate a quarter of a century, Manchester Arena is putting on a pre-recorded event this Friday (17th July) at 8.00 PM, with monies raised going to four charities. There will be sets and other material from a wide range of artists including Lionel Richie, Kodaline, Emeli Sandé, Alice Cooper, Everything Everything, Pixie Lott, Badly Drawn Boy, The Hoosiers and The Slow Readers Club. The concert will also be drawing awareness to the Let The Music Play campaign which has been shining a light on the plight of Britain’s music venues during the ongoing crisis. The event is free with donations encouraged and details are available here.

Elton John: Classic Concert Series

Elton John has been sharing concerts from throughout his career to raise funds for his AIDS Foundation during the challenge of COVID-19. They appear weekly on Saturdays at 5.00 PM here and stay available for a few days (supposedly 48 hours but actually longer!). The concerts are appearing chronologically and, having already dipped into the Seventies, this weekend they continue with the appearance of a set from 1995 in Verona, Italy, with the following weeks taking in Rio, 1995 (25th July), Madison Square Garden, 2000 (1st August), and the whole lot concluding, appropriately, with the giant spectacle of Elton live in the Great Amphitheatre of Ephesus in Turkey on 8th August.

Music is the Answer

The organizers of Fly Open Air, who put on Edinburgh-based dance music festivals, have joined forces with film production company Ground Level Up and gig sound outfit FELive for a series of events where artists perform beside iconic Scottish locations, adding a visual punch to the livestream concept. These begin tomorrow (Thurs 16th) at 7.00 PM here with a DJ set at 17th century loch-bound mansion Kinross House by Glaswegian DJ La La. The following week (23rd) features disco-pop duo HYYTS beside the Forth Bridges, then, in a fortnight’s time (30th), Scottish grime paring Ransom FA vs Oakzy B beside McCaig’s Tower, the huge 19th century folly that overlooks the town of Oban. Future weeks will see visits to Glenfinnan Viaduct, Inveraray Castle and Dunottar Castle by artists such as electronic wunderkind Sam Gellaitry and rising pop princess Be Charlotte. The sets will all be available indefinitely afterwards.

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