review

All posts tagged review

Those of you who do Facebook might be aware that after the press night of Carousel, I decided to do a spontaneous Facebook live video to tell you all about it.  It went well and you all seemed to like it and so I wanted to share it with those of my readers who don’t do Facebook:

Bear in mind that this was a live video so I was able to respond to viewers as the comments were coming in – and if you like comedy cats as well as Alfie Boe, this might well be the video for you!  Click here for the written review of Carousel.

This is my first foray into the world of vlogging and I’d love your feedback – leave me a comment with your thoughts and I’d also love to know if there’s any other vloggers that you watch.

thanks for watching, reading and sharing

leave a comment!

xx

I’ve got a confession – I have never before last night seen either the film or a production of Carousel, although I had a fair idea of the synopsis and some of the staging in the current production at ENO, not to mention most of the songs. This lack of prior knowledge meant that I came to Carousel almost entirely free of preconceptions about the show.  Having said that, prior knowledge would have prepared me for the huge amount of dialogue in the show – modern musicals tend to have very little spoken word in them and I’d forgotten that older shows don’t just rely on the music to carry the show.  Indeed, it is the dialogue that is integral to the storyline here.

The role of Billy Bigelow is Alfie Boe’s third musical theatre role in short succession (but his first in a newly opened show, albeit in a short, five week run) and his first appearance at ENO for over six years.  Alfie is on stage for most of the show and copes effortlessly with the physicality of the role, particularly in the soliloquy, which involves singing whilst using the whole of the stage, ladders included.  As you might expect, Alfie’s glorious tenor voice is a delight; soaring vocals when necessary, tender and soft when the music requires, yet blending in perfectly on the ensemble numbers.  Alfie has recorded If I Loved You and if I’m honest, I’ve never really liked his version because I felt that despite the beautiful vocals, there was no emotion behind the words.  It is a totally different experience to hear Alfie sing the song in this production – the emotion, especially in the second act reprise, bursts out.  You are left in no doubt as to how Billy feels and that is down to the acting.

As mentioned earlier, Carousel is Alfie’s third musical theatre show in a short time but since both of those were on Broadway, this was my first opportunity to see Alfie in an acting role on stage.  I wasn’t disappointed.  The vocal demands are all in the first act and I felt Alfie relaxed into the role more as the show went on.  However, the characterisation of Billy was always totally believable and although there were moments when Alfie seemed almost awkward, I felt that was part of the character; Billy, as we understand from the opening dream sequence, is an awkward character who has not had the easiest start in life and it would be wrong, in my view, to have him portrayed as someone who is happy in own skin.  Anger is an emotion that is never far from Billy, always bubbling under the surface and Alfie plays this to perfection – he’s on a knife edge the whole time which lends an air of unpredictability that is central to both the character and the storyline.

Billy’s relationship with Julie Jordan is the the plot driver in Carousel and the role of Julie carries high expectations.  Katherine Jenkins makes her stage debut here and honestly, you wouldn’t know it. At no time did I feel I was watching an actress who had never performed in a stage musical before. In Katherine’s hands you felt that there was no other way for Julie to behave – of course she would run off with an unemployed carousel barker and inexorably start down the road of unhappiness.   The difficult relationship between the two lead roles is fully explored, with Billy going from the confident barker to an angry husband who resorts to domestic violence and Julie doing her best to save and reform him.  The violence is not shown on stage but much more powerfully, it is the constant belittling of Julie by Billy that remains with the audience and you understand just what compels women in Julie’s position to stay in such relationships.  Integral to this sensitive portrayal was the cracking chemistry between Alfie and Katherine which made the relationship believable.  Both were outstanding.

In addition, the whole cast and ENO chorus were sublime, with Alex Young as Carrie and Brenda Edwards as Nettie being in especially fine form.  Nicholas Lyndhurst’s role is tiny but pivotal to the plot and he displays his mastery of comic timing (Alfie also uses his natural gift for comic timing throughout) to devastating effect.  However, the laughter that greeted Lyndhurst perched on a ladder has possibly nothing to do with Carousel and everything to do with his previous incarnation as Rodney.  Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote some wonderful tunes for this show and the ENO orchestra make the most of them, beautifully conducted by David Charles Abell (yes from the 25th Les Mis concert).

Carousel is a show that I think will stay with me for a long time and not just because Alfie Boe stars.  Both he and Katherine Jenkins were outstanding but it is the overall story of redemption that sticks with you.   Does redemption mean that our earlier deeds are forgiven?  Perhaps yes, but not forgotten.  During the finale, having achieved his aim, there is nothing left for Billy but to disappear from the scene and it is entirely fitting that we are left with the happy ensemble.

Carousel is on at the London Coliseum until May 13 – tickets are available here and I urge you to go – you won’t regret it.

thanks for reading and sharing

if you like what you see, why not subscribe?

all your Alfie news straight to your inbox

plus 4 exclusive photos

xx

 

Oh yes, definitely worth waiting for!  Despite being a fan since seeing the band featured on TV on the NME Awards Tour in 2005, I had never seen Kaiser Chiefs live so when they announced a UK tour, I was determined to get a ticket.  And so it was that I found myself in Leeds this weekend for the last date of the tour – end of tour and home town shows have that extra special magic about them, so to have the two together was fabulous.

Singer Ricky Wilson, as live a wire as I’d expected, kept the near capacity crowd entranced from beginning to end.  In addition, the chemistry between the group as a whole, borne from years of making music together, was evident and meant that the set moved seamlessly from new to old; songs that must have been played hundreds of times sounded as fresh as those from the most recent album, Stay Together. The opening track was the title track from that album and proved that the band’s somewhat controversial journey into the world of synth pop easily lends itself to guitar led live shows.  Playing these songs, amongst them Press Rewind and Good Clean Fun, served to remind us that whatever else, the Kaiser Chiefs still know how to write a cracking tune with catchy lyrics that manage to be thought provoking at the same time.  The crowd seemed to agree with me, singing along full throttle to Parachute and the stand out song of the album, Hole in My Soul.

Bands with a long back catalogue of hits face the problem of what to include when touring, or probably more likely, what to leave out and the Kaiser Chiefs’ relative longevity means they are no exception.  Mega hits like Ruby, I Predict a Riot and Every Day I Love You Less and Less are a given but the rest must be more tricky.  The set list was a great mix of old and new, with Angry Mob, Everything is Average Nowadays, Oh My God, Modern Way and Never Miss A Beat mixing flawlessly with the rest of the set list.  Kaiser Chief’s previous album, Education, Education, Education and War, was represented by the epic Coming Home and Meanwhile Up In Heaven, whose lyrics I can’t listen to without tears appearing…and yes, this concert was no exception.

Although I loved every minute of this concert, the highlights for me were Hole In My Soul, a song that fills me with joy whenever I hear it and, more surprisingly, Every Day I Love You Less and Less.  I say surprisingly, as in spite of loving this song when it was first released, it came to be associated with an unhappy time in my life and I haven’t been able to listen to it since.  On Saturday though, I was up, dancing and singing along with everyone else and I absolutely loved it  – the mark of a great band / singer is when they make you love a song you previously hated.  All in all, I can’t wait to go to another Kaiser Chiefs gig!

Kaiser Chiefs are playing numerous gigs in 2017 – click here to see the dates.

Stay Together is available here:

thanks for reading – please share

xx

 

 

Cast your minds back to the summer of 2016 and thoughtsofjustafan’s summer playlist, for which I teamed up with Flo at Angry Baby.  One of the featured artists was Albert Man; fast forward to February 2017 and Man has a new EP, Nothing of Nothing Much.  Through a series of serendipitous events, I was lucky enough to attend the launch show for the new EP at a hub of London’s live independent music scenes, St. Pancras Old Church, Kings Cross.  This venue looks and sounds beautiful and is the perfect setting for an intimate gig – next time though I hope it’s summer as it was absolutely freezing!  You know it’s cold when not only most of the audience but also half the support act keep their coats on throughout.

The best thing about hearing independent musicians perform live is the wealth of live performance experience they have. Touring their music is often the best and sometimes only way to get their music heard and produces a well honed sound that usually manages to sound raw and authentic at the same time. Luckily, Albert Man was not an exception to this rule, playing a set comprised of songs from his previous album, Cheap Suit, and the new EP, with David Bowie and an as yet unreleased song thrown in.

The highlights were Diamond in the Rough, a co-write with one of the supporting acts, Joe Garvey, and You Had Me At Hello. Angry Baby Music recently reviewed Nothing of Nothing Much and says of Diamond in the Rough

What do we miss when we’re looking for perfection? Taking a philosophical turn, Diamond In The Rough questions the value of love vs money, when plenty of the former can’t seem to compensate for a lack of the latter. Showcasing the bitterly poignant side to Albert’s vocals, the track builds from the simplest scaffolding of story-telling, leaving recollection space for the listener’s own experience.

Given that this was a co-write with Joe Garvey, who also played on the EP and was a support act, I would have liked to see him join Man on stage for this song. However, it was still a stonking song. You Had Me At Hello featured Louize Carroll on vocals and she also features on the live version (recorded in Dublin last year) of the song that comes as a bonus track on the EP. Angry Baby’s review says

Opening with tinkling chords and introducing Collette Williams’s delicate vocal harmonies, You Had Me At Hello is a testimony to love at first sight. With a classical/country crossover flavour, beautifully supported by Sarah Lynch’s violin (previously heard with Mumford and Sons, Ed Sheeran and The Strokes, to name a few), this is a reflection on the million little things that make relationships last – right from the first hello. If you’re looking for a song to dance to at your golden wedding anniversary, this could well be it.

Click here to read the rest of Angry Baby’s review and to get a FREE Cheap Suit track. This is one of the songs from Nothing of Nothing Much, Riding Shotgun:

Man will be playing more live gigs in the near future, check out where here.

Man had two support acts, Craig Gallagher and the aforementioned Joe Garvey.  Gallagher’s guitar led ballads had the crowd singing along while Garvey, as the second act on stage was a joy from beginning to end; funk, jazz, pop and rock sizzled from the band and ensured that the crowd was pumping for the main event.  Garvey was nominated in the Unsigned Music Awards 2016 and is surely someone to watch for the future.

Nothing of Nothing Much is available here:

thanks for reading and sharing

if you like what you see, why not subscribe?

great new music straight to your inbox

xx

Into the last week of the Alfie Boe Michael Ball Together tour 2016 and Hammersmith was last night’s destination.  Another full house was out in force, amongst them Sir Cameron Mackintosh who proved game for anything when picked upon to sing during Alfie’s singalong Keep Me In Your Heart, and actor Con O’Neill, star of the original Blood Brothers.

After seeing the show on three previous occasions I knew the set list and some of the set piece comedy moments, some of which have developed during the tour itself (Dec and Ant anyone?) but the highlight of the first half was the lady who modelled her newly bought fleece, ably assisted, or should I say forced (?) by Alfie.  This very enterprising fan then rushed to help Alfie back onto the stage – lucky her!  Further on, Alfie’s difficulty in getting onto his stool before What A Wonderful World was solved, not by Michael’s helping hand but by a helpful fan shouting out that she “can help you, Alfie” – needless to say, Alfie hopped up on that stool in no time at all!

In my previous reviews, my favourite songs (apart from Keep Me In Your Heart obviously) have been A Thousand Years, which according to Michael last night is in the “twilight zone” and Speak Softly Love.  Having heard both these songs again, they’re still my favourites although the swing section, particularly Alfie’s Kick in the Head is fast growing on me.

For Alfie’s solo section, the addition of film footage of the end of the Quadrophenia film as a backdrop considerably added to the power of Alfie’s Love Reign O’er Me, although I’m conflicted as to whether I liked it or not.  To me, it was a distraction – Alfie’s voice is powerful enough not to warrant it.  Having said that, I wasn’t sitting in the centre this time so perhaps if I had been, the film would have been right in front of me, thus creating even more drama.

Those of you who were at the Palladium on 12 November or read the review will be aware that Rick Astley joined Alfie and Michael on stage to sing Just Keep Singing – well, he was back in Hammersmith too!  They sang the same song which was amazing (the style suits Alfie to a tee, reminded me of his 2013 album, Trust) and then Rick presented Alfie and Michael with a pair of gold discs for Together.  They were completely bowled over by this and clearly not expecting anything of the sort.

Overall, another fabulous evening in the company of Messrs Ball and Boe – roll on the TV special this evening!

If you would like to send Alfie and Michael a message about the tour, to be given to them in a card next week, click here.

thanks for reading and sharing

if you like what you see, why not subscribe?

all your Alfie news straight to your inbox

plus 4 exclusive photos

xx

It’s December and for what seems like weeks now all the shops have been playing Christmas music – by this time, you’re either totally fed up or thoroughly enjoying every shopping trip.  Either way, odds are that at some point, you’ll find yourself singing along with the majority of songs you hear, from familiarity if nothing else.  Let’s face it, Christmas is a time of year when we look back and reminisce and for most of us, Christmas songs play a huge part in our festive memories.  Interestingly, despite the numbers of Christmas albums released each year, it’s the much loved songs of yesteryear that still mean the most.  Nostalgia plays a big part in this but might it also be a national reluctance to move away from the sounds we know and love?  If the latter is the case, then the new Christmas album from Gareth Malone might well reverse the trend and become a future Christmas classic.

Choirmaster extraordinaire Malone is releasing his first Christmas album on 2 December which aims to bring an essential British sound to the festive music scene.  The album, A Great British Christmas, is a mix of traditional and new which concentrates, unsurprisingly, on voices. Along with a number of community and school choirs, Malone’s own professional choir features on almost all tracks, with the exception of Only You – this features just the voice of Malone himself, albeit layered to form a one man choir.  Although as a nation we have listened to Malone teaching countless people to sing, we haven’t really heard his own voice before, something that is remedied on two songs, the other being an original composition, Restless.

Christmas albums don’t usually lend themselves to new music, perhaps because as alluded to earlier, tradition is everything at this time of year and nostalgia reigns.  However, A Great British Christmas features, in addition to Restless, a new song written by Malone and Kaiser Chiefs front man Ricky Wilson.  Paradise Street isn’t actually very festive but fits in perfectly to a Christmas album as it instantly calls to mind the magnificent Fairy Tale of New York that has been a Christmas staple since Kirsty MacColl and The Pogues took it to number one.  Wilson is of course an extremely talented wordsmith and his bittersweet lyrics combine effortlessly with the melody to take the listener on a musical journey; for me, Paradise Street is the stand out track.

A Great British Christmas features several traditional carols, of which O Come All Ye Faithful is the (appropriately enough) most faithful interpretation; Silent Night is the carol I favour most, not only because it has a beautiful arrangement but it’s still my favourite Christmas carol of all time.  As a regular member of a congregation with a large number of children in attendance, I’m quite used to hearing new carols and one such has been included on this album.  In fact, A Child Is Born was Malone’s very first composition and with its traditional arrangement makes an excellent addition to the already full band of Christmas carols.

Of the remainder of the tracks, Keeping The Dream Alive is the best, not least because it had me up dancing along although A Spaceman Came Travelling is also great.  I wasn’t taken with the Frozen song but then again I think I’m the only parent who’s never seen the film.  Overall, Malone’s first Christmas album is a delight with something for everyone – Christmas albums can usually be divided into two camps: those that have a Christian feel and those that don’t.  It seems entirely fitting that an album celebrating a British take on Christmas should firmly plant itself in the middle of those two camps and successfully embrace them both.  At the end of a turbulent year, this album is just what we need for Christmas.

A Great British Christmas is available here:

british-christmas

thanks for reading and sharing

if you like what you see, why not subscribe?

lots of new music straight to your inbox

xx

My third concert review of the Together tour with Alfie Boe and Michael Ball and for me, the outstanding moment of the night, amongst many outstanding moments was Alfie’s Love Reign O’er Me from Classic Quadrophenia.  Majestic, powerful, vocally astonishing, touching, moving, emotional – there just aren’t enough superlatives and adjectives to describe how Alfie sang this song last night.  I’ve now heard Alfie sing this a number of times and each time I find something more to love about the performance.  This time, I even found myself with a few tears by the end of the song.  Judging by the audience response, this powerhouse performance was hugely appreciated by everyone else in the arena.  Take a look at Alfie’s photo from Twitter:

15034548_598859770300472_3616302050222014464_n

As for the rest of the concert, there was only one thing I didn’t like…it was over too soon!  The music and the onstage antics and banter of Alfie and Michael swept me along that I couldn’t believe it when they came to the end of the first half and said “see you in a bit”.  In this first half, Speak Softly Love was another emotional song for me (the first lot of tears – previously, I hadn’t cried at all on this tour!) but the song that got the best reaction from the audience was a gorgeous rendition of Tell Me It’s Not True (thanks Linda W for sharing):

As you can see from this video, Alfie’s had a bit of a hair cut this week and, dare I say it, I’m not all that keen (sorry, Alfie).  You may all have different thoughts?

One of the joys of seeing more than one concert on a tour is comparing songs and performances along the way.  This is particularly applicable to this tour where the set list seems to be the same for each concert – for newer Alfie fans, previous concerts have had more flexibility in this regard, even though there is a basic set list.  Although I’ve seen Michael in concert before, it’s only been one concert on a tour so I have no means of knowing if he sticks rigidly to the same set list for the whole tour.  Thinking about the Together tour, the concert seems smoother and slicker each time I see it (which is lovely but sometimes those moments where it all goes wrong make it all the more special) but this has the unexpected advantage that I pay more attention to the different nuances in performance.  The beginning of the second half seemed much more relaxed to me, even more so than the Palladium; Alfie and Michael have slipped into an easy working and performing relationship that enables them to adapt and ad lib without upsetting the overall performance level.  Jokes and other improvised moments enhance the balance of the duets without ever letting the audience feel that the wheels might come off at any minute.

In my previous two reviews, I’ve necessarily concentrated on Alfie’s performance (not surprisingly you might say) but now I feel compelled to write something about Michael’s solo spot in the show.  His opening number is Gethsemane from Jesus Christ Superstar and after giving us a rather sweet story of his introduction to the musical, he launches into a superbly acted and sung performance that got better as the song went on.  In previous shows I felt that there were a few too many overly theatrical flourishes (yes, I know it’s a musical theatre song and he’s a musical theatre star) and indeed the opening bars of the song in Leeds went the same way.  But then, something magical happened and Michael gave us a fantastic interpretation of the turmoil of the song that made me totally believe in the character and not just Michael Ball singing a song.  A deserved standing ovation duly followed, with another for Love Changes Everything hot on it’s heels.  Bravo Michael.

I have two more opportunities to see the fabulous duo of Ball and Boe do their thing but they’re a while away now so I’m already having withdrawal symptoms.  See you in Hammersmith and Manchester, boys!

Together is available here:

together-album-cover

thanks for reading and sharing

if you like what you see, why not subscribe?

all your Alfie news straight to your inbox

plus 4 exclusive photos

xx

…and a few of my closest Alfie friends of course!  So many friends were there last night which made the evening all the more special – thanks as well to everyone who came to say hello.  This was the first time I’ve brought a non Alfie friend to a concert and needless to say I got home to a text from Lucy saying she is his newest fan (Alfie and Michael sang her childrens’ favourite song)!  Mission accomplished – we may well be seeing her at more Alfie events in the future!

The title of this review is Heaven is a Saturday Night at the Palladium and the show really was a slice of heaven from beginning to end and, coming together with the perfection of Bournemouth, served as a welcome reminder just why thoughtsofjustafan came to,  and continues to, exist.  In other words, I fell in love all over again. This isn’t just because of the inclusion of my favourite song of all time, Keep Me In Your Heart (all together now, my favourite line is……..) but the overall balance of the show to accentuate the best qualities of both singers.  Michael’s cute and cuddly charming persona is well and truly on show but this encourages rather than hinders Alfie’s quieter stage presence; both are in their element and a week on from the start of the tour, are becoming more relaxed with each other, the set list, the short dance moments and the audience.

The stand out songs were once again Love Reign O’er Me from Classic Quadrophenia, Love Changes Everything and the Les Mis Medley but this time around, I was in a much better position to appreciate the vocal delights of Music of the Night and the Bond segment.  Alfie’s last note on Thunderball was exceptional and how I failed to mention that last week is a mystery!  The duet on Skyfall was also a goosebump moment and I’d like to hear a full length version some time.

Loved the Elvis segment although Alfie’s guitar was missed (bring it back for Leeds Alfie), especially the barn storming Suspicious Minds which evoked sweet memories of Carfest South three years ago.  With events across the pond this week Tell Me It’s Not True took on a whole new meaning and Alfie and Michael lost no time in exploiting it to the full.  Of the other album tracks we heard, A Thousand Years was again wonderful but on this occasion, I think Speak Softly from The Godfather was my favourite.  Perhaps this is one of those tours where I’ll have a new favourite song at each concert…I’ve got three more opportunities to find out.

Another highlight was the surprise appearance of Rick Astley who of course is also a guest on Alfie and Michael’s ITV special – no rehearsal but you would never have guessed (thanks for sharing Linda W):

In case you missed the fabulous news this Friday, Alfie and Michael Together entered the album charts at number two – awesome result (unless you’re Robbie’s dad from last night’s audience)!

Also, don’t forget Alfie and Michael are appearing on BBC Breakfast tomorrow (Monday 14th) and it’s a day of double delights with Children In Need Rocks for Terry televised at 8.30pm that evening.

Together is available here:

together-album-cover

thanks for reading and sharing

if you like what you see, why not subscribe?

all your Alfie news straight to your inbox

plus 4 exclusive photos

xx

 

The day was here, no more days to wait, the Alfie Boe and Michael Ball Together tour was finally underway and my first opportunity to see the two in action was the second night, at the Bournemouth International Centre.  It seems as if I’ve lived and breathed this tour since tickets went on sale back in May and although the anticipation was immense, it wasn’t until my first ticket dropped onto the door mat this week (talk about cutting it fine Ticketmaster!) that I really allowed myself to think about hearing Alfie and Michael sing live together for the first time. Although I have been aware of Michael and followed his career for a long time (indeed it was him who introduced me to Alfie via Sweeney Todd and Les Mis) and been to see him in concert a few years ago, I admit that I was curious and slightly concerned as to how his voice would blend with Alfie’s in a live setting.

I needn’t have worried – from the first note to the last, Ball and Boe were outstanding.  Starting with Somewhere, with both off stage and progressing through more tracks from Together as well as nods to Sinatra, Elvis and James Bond, Alfie and Michael complemented each other beautifully and yet highlighted their differences too.  Michael’s Elvis was from the later years, although I do love his song choice, The Wonder of You, whereas Alfie’s That’s Alright Mama was the closest we got to rocking Alfie, complete with guitar!  The harmonies were gorgeous and the arrangements were clearly chosen to enhance the strengths of both voices and their very different approaches to singing which meant a perfect balance between the two throughout the whole concert.  My favourite Together song was A Thousand Years but the finale of the Les Mis medley was absolutely spine tingling – immediately after the concert I mused that I would have liked to have heard Bring Him Home all in one go but on reflection, it was actually really lovely to hear a new way of performing a song I’ve heard lots and neatly finished the Les Mis segment, coming after the soaring vocals of I Dreamed A Dream.  The encore of You’ll Never Walk Alone was also pretty special…what it will be like in Liverpool with the Kop choir I can’t imagine.

As befits two vocal giants, each had their own segment of the show and Michael gave a superb performance of Gethsemane before leading into his trademark song, Love Changes Everything.  He must have sung that song thousands of times in his career but it was still magical.  However, for me, the two highlights of the night came with Alfie’s solo spot.  Come on, you’re not surprised by that, are you?  Firstly, came my favourite song which contains my favourite line (yes, the one that goes “buttons on your blouse”) and I had to restrain myself from jumping up from my seat there and then.  Luckily, Alfie had us all up on our feet singing and dancing anyway so I was a happy bunny.  Here is Keep Me In Your Heart from Cardiff, thanks to Linda W for sharing:

I was even happier when Alfie went on to perform the fans favourite Alfie Boe song in our recent poll, Love Reign O’er Me from Classic Quadrophenia.  Although I don’t think anything could match the intensity of that first performance at the Royal Albert Hall in 2015, last night was a close second for me.  Sitting exactly in front of Alfie (I couldn’t have got a better seat if I’d tried) I could see the intense concentration and vocal technique necessary for that level of performance which once again bowled me over.  Judging by the roar of applause from the almost packed arena, I wasn’t the only one either.

Overall, my first Ball and Boe concert was a triumph and I can’t wait to see where they take it by the end of the tour (I have a few more opportunities to judge).  The show itself was very well rehearsed and choreographed, although I’m pleased to report that not everything went perfectly in that regard.  You know you’ve been at an Alfie concert when something goes wrong and Bournemouth was no exception.  Alfie’s long time MD Murray Gould and fellow guitarist, Sam, had to play a very long intro to A Wonderful World due to Alfie’s repeated corpsing and even when he eventually got the first line out, it was through gritted teeth as he was still inclined to giggle helplessly.  Michael of course was no help, openly laughing until he cried.  Michael and Alfie have chemistry in spades and this was abundantly clear in the banter between songs, as was the mutual respect with which these two fabulous singers hold each other.

Bravo gentlemen!

Alfie and Michael’s new album, Together was released on Friday and is available here:

together-album-cover

Click here to see remaining dates on the tour.

thanks for reading and sharing

if you like what you see, why not subscribe?

all your Alfie news straight to your inbox

plus 4 exclusive photos

xx

 

It’s safe to say that Kaiser Chiefs completely wrong footed both their many fans and the world of music in general when they released the first single from their new album back in June this year.  In contrast to their previous guitar led indie sound, Parachute showed a distinct pop / dance style and to begin with, a fair amount of fans were really not happy.  I loved it and felt the same about the equally catchy second single, Hole In My Soul, which followed in August and vies with Parachute for best video:

The title track, Stay Together, kicks off the album and instantly showcases the rest of the album: catchy, upbeat, synth pop, dancey and something that has you singing along in no time at all.  Dancing along seems to be compulsory for me at least which makes writing a review somewhat tricky – taken longer than normal as I keep having to get up and dance!

I opened this review by saying that Stay Together is a completely different sound for Kaiser Chiefs and yet…it’s not.  Strip the synth pop sound away and most of the tracks would sound like the guitar led KC sound we all know.  I suppose this is not a surprise as they are an extremely well honed band live and several of these songs have already been played live at KC shows so far this year.  My favourite songs are Hole In My Soul, Press Rewind, Indoor Firework and High Society, the latter for the novelty value of hearing Ricky sound more like Mika than Mika!  I hasten to add that I could have chosen most of the other songs too.

Kaiser Chiefs’ previous album, Education, Education, Education and War was a blistering return to form after the departure of Nick Hodgson and certainly their most cohesive album since their early releases; Stay Together continues in that vein.  Despite a difference in sound and subject matter (Stay Together speaks throughout of the tricky business of relationships – which relationships, it’s up to the listener to decide), this sixth album is very definitely to be taken as whole rather a collection of disparate songs.  If you’re not keen on your favourite bands taking a new direction then this album might not be for you but you’ll definitely be missing out.  Can’t wait to see where Kaiser Chiefs go next.

Stay Together is available here:

kaiser chiefs