All posts by Allan Maxwell

[Concert Review] Jessica Lynn @ Audio Glasgow – June 14th

Jessica Lynn, for those who don’t know, is soon to be country music’s next superstar.

Currently mid-way through a European tour ahead of her next single release “Let’s Don’t” (to be released digitally on June 25th) Jessica Lynn stopped off in Glasgow on Thursday night for a show at Audio, a venue known for its punk roots.

Birmingham’s Gasoline & Matches kicked off the evening in style with their own blend of country rock, including their hit single “Fools Gold” which reached number one on the iTunes UK country chart.

Jessica Lynn was next to grace the stage in her Daisy Dukes, full of energy and excitement, as she powered her way through a 90 minute set of original songs, including hit single “Crazy Idea”, as well as a couple of unexpected covers such as “All Right Now” and “Bad Case Of Lovin’ You”. Despite the poor sound quality, Jessica and her band never skipped a beat and never stopped smiling. Her brand of country is making waves across the water and it’s only a matter of time before she hits the big time in the US.

 

[Concert Review] Anne-Marie @ O2 Academy Glasgow – March 27th, 2018

Essex girl Anne-Marie Nicholson first came into the public eye as one of the Rudimental backing singers. I remember first seeing her singing their chart smash hit “Free”. The track originally was released with Scotland’s Emili Sande taking lead vocal duties. Anne-Marie completely blew the original version out the water with her rendition and immediately you know this girl was going to go places.

Fast forward a few years and here she is. Out across the UK on her own headlining tour with a couple of top ten singles under her karate black belt. Many dates of which have already sold out, with rest close to following suit.

Anne-Marie shows exactly why she is where she is, as a role model for many of her fans she expresses with her between song chat (that could rival Adele) that she too goes through the same issues as the everyday girl. With songs like “Bad Girlfriend” she tells us her method of dealing with a cheating boyfriend is to cheat back.

With her set covering around an hour and a half it is still evident that although she has a few great hit pop songs, there is still some room for more. All the highlights came from the top forty singles “Alarm”, “Heavy” and the massive Clean Bandit hit “Rockabye” in which she sang lead vocals with Sean Paul finishing the main set.

The encore brought the remainder of the songs that everyone was here to see her perform beginning with her first solo top ten single “Ciao Adios” and closing the evening with her highest placing solo chart single “FRIENDS”.

It’s clear to see that Anne-Marie won’t be going away any time soon. Her energy emits from her, infecting every single audience member making them sing and dance to every song. Her lyrics are relatable and fan interactions make her a pleasure to watch. All she needs now is a few more good hit singles before she becomes a major player in the UK chart scene.

[Concert Review] Bowling For Soup – O2 Academy Glasgow 02/09/18

Usually when Bowling For Soup come to town you know you’re in for a party.

At the February 9th, 2018 O2 Academy Glasgow show, the band’s opening song “The Last Rock Show” set the tone from the very beginning with each member performing at a high level as if it were the last rock show they were ever going to play. Playing their “Drunk Enough To Dance” album in full you would be forgiven for thinking that the evening would be predictable, however Bowling For Soup mixed it up with other classic hits throughout their brilliant twenty four song set.

The band’s huge hit “Girl All The Bad Guys Want”, appeared early on, with the fan favorite “Almost” coming shortly thereafter to get the crowd singing along at the top of their lungs. “Punk Rock 101” brought their usual mid song breakdown which gave the audience their ‘Bowling For Soup musically enhanced photo’. The band’s strong set finished with the track “Greatest Day” before the band returned for an encore of “Today Is Gonna Be A Great Day”, “(Is The World) Falling Apart”, “Star Song” and their mega hit “1985”.

Bowling For Soup are as good as they ever have been. Despite their ups and downs in their personal lives they never fail to bring the joy to their live set.

[Concert Review] Steel Panther @ O2 Academy – 01/20/2018

There’s not much you can say about Steel Panther that hasn’t already been said before. When they first came onto the scene back in 2009 you didn’t know if these guys were for real, or if they were a comedy show. As we all grew to either love them or hate them, we realized that this was a comedy act playing a part as if they were a modern day Spinal Tap. Their lewd sexual jokes, their lycra trousers, ripped T-shirts and big hair all came as a bit of a shock to today’s pretty boy rock stars. Fast forward 9 years and Michael Starr and co are still churning out album after album of the same sexually explicit glam metal.

The same can be said for their live show. Whilst it is certainly entertaining, you definitely can not say they are doing anything new. I have now seen them a few times here in Glasgow, and it appears the only thing to have changed is a few more wrinkles in the old boys and the songs in the set list.

This being said, you don’t exactly go to a Steel Panther show, unless you know what you are going for. You go to the show because you are expecting the sexual deviance, the toilet humor, the bad hair, the lycra trousers showing everything on offer. You get all this in truck loads. Two songs into the set and we are delivered the first of the seemingly rehearsed comic routines between Starr and Satchel, all the whilst Lexxi re applies his lip gloss for what must have been at least 5 minutes. Whilst it is entertaining, it is a little tired. The set continues following the same format throughout.

There is no denying the musical genius within these four. Starr and Satchel possess enough talent on their own instrument to rival any of the greats throughout rock history.

All in, it was an entertaining show. Although I feel the time is slowly running out for the Panther guys, they are going to continue to squeeze every moment they can out of their success.

[AltWire Interview] Steven Page

AltWire Contributor Allan Maxwell recently spoke with Steven Page. Read the interview below!

Best known as ‘the guy from the Barenaked Ladies’, the band that blew up back in the late 90s early 00s, Steven Page has toured the globe playing to millions of people. Since leaving BNL he hasn’t played a show in the UK. As he gears up for for his first run of UK shows in 10 years we catch up with Steven to see what he has been up to.

[AltWire/Allan Maxwell]: Hi Steven, how’re things?

[Steven Page]: Couldn’t be better.  After 30 years I still get to make music for a living with people I like being around, so I’m feeling pretty lucky.

AW: So it’s been 10 years since you were last over in the UK. What made you stay away for so long?

[SP]: I was pretty uncomfortable with you guys being part of the European Union.  Actually, I’ve been wanting and trying to get back to the UK since I left Barenaked Ladies, and have been back on holiday and to see my friend and co-writer Stephen Duffy several times, but haven’t been able to make gigging work out until now.  It’s mostly for mundane reasons (like lack of any record label support, followed by lack of any record label at all) that I haven’t toured the UK as a solo act, and eventually I just got sick of telling fans I was coming back without actually doing so, and worked with my booking agent & manager to finally make it happen.

[AW]: What are you looking forward to most about coming back?

[SP]: I love being in the UK and would take any opportunity to come over there, so to be able to play shows whilst doing so is exciting.  The audiences there have always been great for BNL and for me, and I think the fans feel possessive, like I’m their little secret.  I’m more than happy to oblige.

[AW]: How does touring on your own compare to touring with BNL?

[SP]: I’ve been performing as a solo act for over eight years now, so I’ve gotten pretty used to it. My touring setup is much leaner than it used to be with BNL, even when I’m doing  a full-band setup.  This tour will be as the Steven Page Trio, with Craig Northey (of Canadian band Odds) on guitar and Kevin Fox on cello, so it’s pretty easy to get around these days.  This trio has been playing together quite a lot over the last few years and we’ve grown very comfortable with each other and with the songs, so the shows are really easy and enjoyable for all of us – and I think they are for the audiences as well!

[AW]: How does it feel touring the world again as yourself, rather than a member of BNL?

[SP]: In some ways, it feels like starting all over again, particularly when it comes to profile and making people aware of the gigs and who I am (without always having to tell them I’m the “It’s been” guy from “One Week”), but then when I sing the songs, and the audiences join in, it’s as if I never left. I play a lot of shows in North America but it will be really nice to show people over there what I’ve been up to since leaving BNL.

[AW]: You’ve already sold out the first night in Glasgow, and added a second night. Do you think Glasgow has a connection with you?

[SP]: King Tut’s was the first venue we ever played outside of North America where the audience sang along with our songs – it was a life-changing moment for us – so I’m really looking forward to being back.  From gigs like T in the Park to the Barrowlands I have a lot of great memories of playing in Scotland, and I’ve always said that Glasgow was one of my favourite places to play.  I’d be pissed if it wasn’t great this time!

[AW]: What can people expect from this run of shows?

[SP]: The set lists will include songs from my three solo albums, including my latest, Heal Thyself, as well as a lot of songs I sang in Barenaked Ladies – a mix of singles like “It’s All Been Done” and “Brian Wilson” along with songs like “Break Your Heart” and other than people have been requesting on social media.

Thank you!

 

You can Catch Steven on his UK tour on the following dates:

‪SUN     22-Oct   Leeds – Wardrobe

MON    23-Oct   Cambridge – Emmanuel United Reform Church          

WED    25-Oct   Luton – Bear Club

THU     26-Oct   Portsmouth – Wedgewood Rooms

FRI       27-Oct   London – Bush Hall

MON    30-Oct   Birmingham – Hare & Hounds

TUE     ‪31-Oct   Manchester – Deaf Institute

‪WED    01-Nov  Glasgow – King Tuts

THU     02-Nov  Glasgow – King Tuts

[Concert Review] Jaret Reddick – O2 ABC Glasgow September 13th, 2017

Every once in a while there comes a gig that is a little different from the usual run of the mill. Jaret Reddick’s solo show was one of them. Normally when you see Reddick perform it’s as the front man of Texan pop punk band Bowling For Soup, a show packed with more fart jokes than an Adam Sandler movie.

The Heartbreak and Hilarity tour is something completely different, it is stripped bare to a single acoustic guitar, with a chance to learn more about why the songs were written, and about the man himself.

The evening kicked off with Southampton’s The Lounge Kittens. At first glance they’re a trio of beautiful women, in sequinned outfits, singing lounge music that takes you back to the 40s/50s. A few seconds into their set and you realize that it’s something a little different. Their set was made up of covers ranging from Steel Panther and Limp Bizkit to Slipknot and All American Rejects, all rearranged in their own special way. Plenty of witty banter and honor in between songs.

Next up was the main act. Jaret casually walked onto the stage before heading straight into “If You Come Back To Me” and was accompanied by a vocal Glasgow audience.

The evening was designed to be a showcase of songs from across Bowling For Soups back catalogue featuring not only the hits, but also the lesser known gems. With a set made up of Jaret’s personal favorites and crowd requests we were treated to the back story of each song giving a unique insight to how the songs came to life.

Titled Heartbreak and Hilarity the set included plenty of both. All the usual humor that you would expect, but with an insight to the more personal side of things. From the untimely passing of his former best friend to his personal battles with anxiety and depression.

Overall the whole show was a pleasure to witness. From the opening act to the very last note every second had you singing and listening along to every word.

[AltWire Interview] Jessica Lynn

Photos by Allan Maxwell Photograhy

Jessica Lynn is one of the rising stars of country crossover music. Perfectly blending country and pop music, she has already accomplished much in the early stages of her career. Allan Maxwell managed to have a sit down with her on the Glasgow leg of her mammoth European tour.

How’s the tour been so far?

The tour has been amazing so far. We have met so many incredible people and experienced such fun shows. It has been a dream come true to travel the world playing my music and to open for bands like ZZ Top!

How do you feel travelling round Europe in light of recent (terrorist) events?

I just don’t think about it. If you are afraid of everything you will never have the courage to get out and experience life! We are very excited to be here and have only positive thoughts about this trip!

What got you interested in music?

Both of my parents are musicians and I grew up with them always playing and singing so it was a big influence on me. Being in a musical household definitely rubs off on you and I wanted to be a singer / songwriter for as long as I can remember. Now, my parents both play in my band. My Dad is my bass player and my Mom is my background vocalist!

You’re currently being hailed as the new Shania Twain, how does that feel?

I have always been a massive Shania Twain fan and that is really the utmost compliment. I was always fascinated by her ability to mix so many different genres together to form her own new brand of country and it was a big inspiration as I began to want to make my own way and path in to country. Being from New York, I have always been different within the genre and people like Shania have made that okay!

In your career already you have been invited to sing in Madison Square Garden, shared stages with Brad Paisley, Keith Urban and Hank Williams Jr. What has been the highlight so far?

That is such a hard question to answer because we have been so lucky to play so many exciting shows, however, the highlight of my career so far for me has been opening for Phil Vassar. Phil was one of my earliest country music inspirations and I am a MASSIVE fan. When he called me up on stage to sing with him I could have fainted! Watching the video back I still don’t believe it actually happened. I look up to him as a performer and songwriter very much.

Your husband (Steve Sterlacci) plays guitar for you, how do you get on when you’re on the road?

It is so nice having my husband with me on the road. Getting to experience everything together makes it all that much special and you never feel like you’re far away from home!

You receive a lot of attention through social media, with a fair amount of pretty sleazy comments. How do you react when you read this sort of thing?

My husband and I actually just take those comments with a grain of salt and get a laugh out of them. Unfortunately, people are going to do what they are going to do and a bad reaction on my part isn’t going to change that. They give us lots of free entertainment lol. Just make the best of every situation!

Your new single “Crazy Idea” has just been released. Where did you get the inspiration from the track?

I think that everyone can relate to developing feelings for a close friend and thinking that you are crazy for doing so! My husband and I started out as friends and when I started to like him as more than that, I really thought it was a “Crazy Idea” that we could get together, but as the song says, “just maybe crazy’s alright.”

Tell us more about your new EP Look At Me That Way.

This EP was really exciting for me to make because I traveled to Belgium to do it and was very fortunate to work with the acclaimed producer Patrick Hamilton (Katherine Jenkins, David Garret) It was so much fun mixing my New York and country musical influences with the team in Belgium’s European Pop influences to create something new and fresh!

What does the rest of 2017 hold?

We will be releasing the EP in America on September 1st and I will be doing more touring in support of it. We have a music video coming for “Crazy Idea” and I hope to get signed to a record label this year!

Do you have a message for your fans?

Thank you so much for all of your support and belief in me.

Do you have any advice for young girls looking to follow in your footsteps?

My advice for young girls is to always follow your heart and your dreams. You can seriously do anything that you set your mind to and don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. If you have determination and heart, you can accomplish even your wildest aspirations!

Connect with Jessica Lynn

Web | Facebook

[Concert Review] Jessica Lynn in Glasgow

Country music artist Jessica Lynn brought all the "Yee-haw" you can handle to Stereo, Glasgow last week.

Photos by Allan Maxwell Photograhy

New York and country music isn’t a combination that would usually come to mind. Last week, country musician Jessica Lynn brought all the “yee-haw” you can handle to Stereo in Glasgow.

The evening kicked off with Birmingham’s own Gasoline & Matches, formed in 2016. The band is fronted by Sally Rea and Steve Marks. The band worked their way through their set of contemporary country with beautiful heart-felt vocals and blistering guitars. Rea informs the audience that this show is the bands first ever show as a five-piece ensemble, but you couldn’t tell because they were oozing with confidence and style. A definite band to keep your eyes and ears open for in the future.

Next up was the headliner. Jessica Lynn and her band, which includes husband Steve Sterlacci (lead guitar), mother Victoria Calamera (backing vocals) and father Peter Calamera (bass guitar) took to the stage and turned the party up to 11.

They deliver an infectious blend of country and pop. The opening song, “Play Something Country,” sets the mood for the whole show. Jessica’s boundless energy and positivity fills the room and is absorbed by an enthusiastic Glasgow crowd.

What followed was a 90 minute set packed with perfectly crafted original songs and a few well known covers from artists such a Elvis Presley, ZZ Top and AC/DC. Throughout the evening, Jessica shared stories of how each song came to be. We were even treated to the delight that was the legendary Uncle Bob Riedel who, when the crowd started to chant his name, broke into an impromptu dance solo.

Jessica’s latest single, “Crazy Idea,” was one of the many highlights of the night. The single has already gained great success in the states. The evening came to a close with an energetic cover of Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode.” At the midpoint, Uncle Bob made his way to center stage took over lead guitar and vocal duties. While this was happening, Jessica took over on drums, wowing the audience with her skills. After the set, the crowd was invited to a meet-and-greet. The crowd left the venue at the end of the night wanting more. We can only hope that it’s not too long before Jessica graces our shores once again.

Move over Shania, there’s a new queen of country around.

Jessica’s latest EP, Look At Me That Way, is available now in the U.K. and will be available in the U.S. in September.