A Table Is For Dancing On

My Life In Music

Muse announce new album and tour!

It doesn’t feel that long ago when my boyfriend and I were curled up on the sofa watching Muse play the festivals on the telly last summer, or it could have been the summer before. Vito that. It doesn’t seem that long ago when my boyfriend was curled up on the sofa watching Muse on the telly; I was up dancing with my can of beer in one hand and the remote control in the other increasing the volume to a ‘live music friendly’ level. It was during this period that my boyfriend confessed he had never seen Muse live. Shocked I was not, but I did feel pity for him. Having experienced Muse live for the first time on the Absolution tour at the Manchester Evening News Arena many years ago and 3 times following that, they quickly became one of the most mesmerising live bands I have known and I felt a sense of responsibility to ensure that he had the chance to experience Muse live too. I wanted to be the one to introduce him to that experience so I promised him, “the next time Muse come to Manchester I will treat you to a ticket”.

A few days ago I was innocently trawling through facebook and I came across a link to the XFM website. I saw the photograph of Matt Bellamy at his piano and this image triggered goosebumps all over my body. Muse were to release a new album, finally! Titled The 2nd Law and due for release 17th September 2012 in the UK, I couldn’t think of anything more exciting. But then it happened. Only days later, XFM announced that Muse would be touring the new album. My emotions: butterflies, excitement and anticipation. I cannot wait for my boyfriend to experience one of the most incredible live bands ever, and yes I will keep my promise; Muse tickets are on me. What a lyrical and musical genius Matt Bellamy is.

The 2nd Law is due for release on 17th September. As far as I am aware of, Muse gig tickets go on sale on Thurs 14th June at 10am (I’m sorry if that’s wrong!), and they play the Manchester Arena on Thursday 1st November 2012. I advise you attend!

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Manchester Gig Venues: Some of the smaller ones

A Review of various Manchester Venues

Sound Control – New Wakefield Street

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I have only attended one gig here so far and that was Nina Nesbitt last month on 24th April 2012. The history of this venue is exciting (for me anyway). I knew Sound Control when it was a music shop and my friends and I would go in and ‘play’ the guitars and the drums. When I discovered that it was being relaunched into a venue/club I was intrigued to see the transformation.

Nina played her set on the ground floor, which is the perfect size for a cosy, intimate gig. The stage itself was quite low and as I was standing towards the back of the gathered crowd, I did struggle to see Nina. I would therefore advise that you get near the front if you attend a gig at this venue (or stand behind some not-quite-so-tall people). The music and acoustics sounded great here. My only criticism is that the bar closed what felt to be a bit early, but that’s just me.

The Deaf Institute – Grosvenor Street

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There’s such character and soul in this venue, which adds to the Manchester gig experience. It also makes for fantastic acoustics. It has 3 floors and is beautifully decorated throughout (not that has much to do with the music but I feel it adds to the overall experience). Again, I have only attended one gig at this venue and that was Kate Walsh on 27th September 2009 (see the photo below). She played on the top floor and it was perfect for an intimate gig. It did have seating, but the seats were fixed and were right at the back of the room. My Mum and I therefore found a comfortable spot on the floor right near the stage and we were happy here. I am attending another gig here next month so I can see if it has changed much.

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Kate Walsh playing The Deaf Institute

Band on the Wall – Swan Street, The Northern Quarter

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I experienced the genius David Ford twice at this venue; once on 21st December 2009 and again on 26th April 2011. Recently renovated, the venue has retained its original charm whilst feeling clean and modern. The iconic face of Band on the Wall has been revamped, adding neon light and clean, sharp lines (as seen in the photo above), which connotes the growth of a new era of music in Manchester.

The venue is deceptively large, whilst still retaining an intimate feel for the smaller gig experience. As well as the main floor, the venue also boasts a balcony area which is perfect for ensuring a good view of the stage if you don’t want to be in amongst the crowds. The bar staff have always been friendly and helpful, which is always a good thing. Overall, one of my favourite gig venues.

Academy 3 – Oxford Road

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University of Manchester’s Student Union

Set deep within the heart of the University of Manchester’s Student Union, Academy 3 is a must-have gig experience. The gigs that I have attended here are Aqualung in 2007 and Idlewild in 2010; both fantastic gigs. The intimacy that this venue offers cannot be described but has to experienced. Upon seeing Aqualung here in 2007, my brother and I managed to stand at the front of the audience and we were actually leaning with our elbows on the stage, gazing up at front-man Matt Hales in awe and admiration.

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The set list for Aqualung gig: 10th April 2007

The emotions that were felt by Matt when he was singing washed over us; so much so that although the gig was 5 years ago, the experience has stuck with me. Isn’t this the ultimate goal of the intimate gig experience? This is the gig whereby I fell in love with the singer/songwriter support act Kate Walsh and I believe that the intimacy this venue offers was involved heavily in this.

Due to the venue being set within the heart of the student community, deep within the Student Union, it can be slightly intimidating trying to find Academy 3. However, it is definitely worth it if you enjoy your intimate gig experiences.

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Upcoming Gigs

Here’s a list of the gigs that I have tickets for (so far):

New Artist alert!

Nina Nesbitt – Friday 13th July 2012 at The Deaf Institute (Grosvenor Street, Manchester), Standing ticket

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Nina is an incredible new artist whom I discovered recently after ‘you-tubing’ Ed Sheeran. She sang a beautiful cover of Hallelujah with Ed and her voice was so compelling that I had to find out more.

I want to compare her voice loosely to Ellie Goulding, although her music is a similar style to Ed Sheeran’s. I recently had the pleasure of seeing Nina live at Sound Control last month and she has a beautiful, mesmerising and captivating presence on the stage. I anticipate that Nina will quickly become a big name in mainstream music. She has recently released an EP called ‘The Apple Tree’.

Blink 182 – Tuesday 24th July 2012 at the O2 Apollo, Standing ticket

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I only purchased my ticket for this gig last Friday so the fact that I’m going hasn’t really sunk in yet.

I was a massive Blink fan back in my teenage days (over ten years ago!). My friends and I would sit in the school corridors and recite the lyrics to Enema of the State repeatedly. I did manage to get a ticket to see them in 2001 but they cancelled and never managed to get my hands on tickets to see them again… up until now! Although I haven’t listened to their music for a long time, I am looking forward to borrowing them all from my brother and putting them all on my i-pod (I think Dude Ranch was my favourite album back in the day). A much eagerly anticipated gig, especially as they’re playing at my favourite venue, the O2 Apollo. I have always imagined seeing Blink on their arena tour so the fact that they’re playing a smaller venue adds to the excitement of this gig. I am also curious as to what the set list will consist of. I can’t wait to experience Blink!

Morrissey – Saturday 28th July 2012 at Manchester Arena. Seated.

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All I can say is “wow!”. Morrissey, as you know, needs no introduction. I am a big, big fan of The Smiths and so I couldn’t pass up a chance to see this man perform.

Muse – Thursday 1st November 2012 at Manchester Arena. Seated.

This will be the fourth time (I think) that I will have seen Muse live. In my opinion they are easily one of the most incredible live bands I have ever had the good grace to experience. I expect the best from this band and I’m sure I won’t be disappointed. What should be a mixture of old classics (I’m hoping for Plug in Baby and New Born at least) and new material, this will be an eagerly anticipated tour! I’m just gutted I didn’t manage to get a standing ticket, but with seats in block 116 I’m sure the view and atmosphere will be just as good, if not better (for those who aren’t familiar with the M.E.N. seating plan, block 116 is right next to the stage). My boyfriend is accompanying me to this gig and this will be the first time seeing Muse live. This will be part of the excitement for me.

Bon Iver – Friday 9th November 2012. Manchester Arena. Standing.

I last saw this band in Leeds late last year. I am eager to experience them on my home turf in familiar surroundings this time around. However, I am finding it difficult to comprehend the concept that Bon Iver have decided to take on an arena tour. Surely a band so intimate will struggle to create the same atmosphere on the big stage. Having said that though, I do remember the music itself being ‘big’. I remember the thumping of the beat literally in my chest and I am excited to have this feeling amplified on the arena tour. Such beautiful music with incredible harmonies that could rival Simon and Garfunkel, that will surely make me smile again.

Hopefully I can make some additions to this soon! I will also blog about the gigs to share the experiences too.

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