Saturday Deluxe / 26 May 2018

Live Frenzy. A week of gigs.

It’s been a busy week here at SDE HQ. I’ve been to four gigs in the last week, with two of them on the same night! I do enjoy going to live concerts, but I’m also a bit of a lazy git and like to stay in and watch a good TV drama (current favourite, BBC’s The Split).

So this much ‘going out’ is quite unusual for me, really, and the reason for mentioning it is that I’ve decided seeing live music is one of the best ways to find ‘new music’ as well as seeing favourite acts. I’m lucky, because I live in London, and there’s loads of opportunities to see cheap – or sometimes free – live music. The key thing is to have someone in your network of friends who has similar, but not identical taste. And when they suggest someone you’ve never heard of, trust their judgement and just go with the flow.

It was exactly that situation last Sunday that lead me at The Scala to see South African singer-songwriter (and Berlin resident) Alice Phoebe Lou. Her story is amazing, really. She started out busking in Berlin in 2013, aged 20, and has stayed fiercely independent, self-funding her 2016 debut Orbit, by selling a live album. No one I know has heard of her, but she was brilliant. I expected indie-rock, but got something much more delicate and restrained. Her voice is stunning and someone described her as a female Jeff Buckley, and that’s not a bad description. The songs do share the Buckley vibe. On stage, if anything, comes across as younger than her 25 years, but the crowd loved every minute and I bought the record at the end of the show. Below is a video of her playing Girl On An Island (which is the first track from Orbit) in a London park!

Longtime SDE readers might remember me interviewing Corinne Drewery and Andy Connell from Swing Out Sister way back in 2012. They’d just reissued It’s Better To Travel and we had a great chat about the making of that album. Initially, ‘relations’ hadn’t started too well, when Andy took exception to my post Swing Out Sister reissue: A Complete Waste Of Space?, but to his credit, he saw some merit in my suggested improvements and Swing Out Sister ended up implementing them and the two-CD deluxe of It’s Better To Travel was subsequently great, in the end. An early ‘win’ for SDE!

We’ve stayed in touch and as some of you will have been aware, the band have spent the last three or four years working on their PledgeMusic-funded album Almost Persuaded. That album is their first for almost 10 years and is now out (for Pledgers) and gets a wider release next month. I was delighted when Corinne got in touch at the beginning of the week and suggested I come along to an intimate showcase they were doing at The Hospital Club, a private members club for ‘creative industries’ in Covent Garden. They performed to a crowd of 100 or so people in the ‘Oak Room’ of the establishment (co-owned by Dave Stewart) and hung around at the end to sign autographs and chat to fans. The tracks from the new album sounded very good and of course they played some hits. Inevitably, Breakout got an airing and they also performed Twilight World from their debut. See a small clip of the latter, filmed (not particularly well) by yours truly.

#SwingOutSister playing Twilight World last night @sosister

A post shared by Music. Reissues. Box sets. (@super_deluxe_edition) on

Swing Out Sister was short but sweet, so the evening was still relatively young. That left me and my friend time to jump in a black cab and head off to East London pub The Old Blue Last to see LA punk rock band The Regrettes perform a sweaty set upstairs (it was free!). This was the polar opposite to the sophisticated jazz-pop of Swing Out Sister, but what a blast! Fans moshing, singer Lydia Night jumping into the crowd with guitar, and pure punk energy. I didn’t know any of the songs, except a cover of the Sweet‘s Ballroom Blitz, but who cares! A kebab from Mangal in Dalston, on the way, home topped a great night out.

Lydia Night of The Regrettes gives me ‘a look’

Finally, with only one night off to recover, I was back out last night at The Barbican to see the immensely talented Field Music. From the North East of England, the band have been going for about 14 years, but I only discovered them recently. Their latest album Open Here that was issued in February this year. The record is phenomenal – a quirky, poppy delight. Check out Time in Joy below.

Live in London last night, they were immense. There was up to 13 of them on stage at one time, including a string quartet, percussionist, two keyboard players, fugelhorn and saxophone. Brothers David and Peter Brewis (who write all the songs), effortlessly swapping over from drums to guitar depending on who was singing and/or leading a particular track.

The band just seemed to represent all that is good about music. There was a real warmth to proceedings and just so much creativity in the arrangements and performances. Also, while I think having quite so many musicians on stage wasn’t the norm for Field Music, it was refreshing to see actual musicians up there, earning a wage and not keyboard players triggering samples at the appropriate times. The Barbican is an excellent venue, too. Even though we were at the back of the stalls, it was comfortable and the view was great, thanks to some steeply raking seating. Having listened to the new record on Spotify, I was pleased to pick it up on vinyl at the merch stand (along with a few others).

So with Alice Phoebe Lou, Swing Out Sister, The Regrettes and Field Music you have four very different acts at various stages of their career but all with something to offer. It has been a memorable week, but tonight I have an appointment with the TV to watch the Champions League final!


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I am looking forward to the Swing Out Sister album. Such an underrated band.

Paul Fraser

I was at the Alice Phoebe Lou gig. A great performer ploughing a truly independent furrow. I recommend everyone to check out the live version of ‘She’ on YouTube.

I also recommend checking out Banquet Records’s website for live gigs. They have a great set-up whereby you preorder a new album from them and that gives you free entry to a small launch gig the night before the album comes out. I’ve seen Ash, Vaccines and Franz Ferdinand this way. Recent other gigs include James Bay and Snow Patrol.


I discovered Field Music after reading a review in MOJO about 7 years ago, and fell in love. Smart, poppy, well-played, and wonderfully recorded, whats not to love really?


Great to read about the Swing Out Sister peformance in London and the new material coming out. Any plans to re-release a remastered version of Get In Touch With Yourself, complete with single edits / remixes? One of my favourite albums of the 90s, still listening to it frequently, and imho way better than It’s Better To Travel.

Dr Volume

Glad you enjoyed Field Music. Excellent band, I’ve followed em pretty much since the start.

As for s.o.s Mute Records have been reissuing the A Certain Ratio back catalogue. They’re best known as a Post-punk/funk band but they also made a brilliant, sophisticated 80s Pop record the excellent ‘Force’ LP when Andy Connell was their keyboard player and Corinne guests on one track.

Brenez Alain

Field Music are great. I’ve followed them right from the start and purchased all of their albums except for the 2nd one and their instrumental lp which is a soundtrack to a documentary. I eventually bought those 2 albums on vinyl at their Antwerp gig early April. I had the chance to chat with one of the brothers who was holding the merchandising stall. Superb musicianship which unfortunately we don’t hear a lot of these days anymore.


Thanks Paul! Going to check these bands out on Apple Music, and buy it on CD if I like it. I usually discover new music thru my kids, Im going to one up them with your help.
Living in a big city is a huge advantage when it comes to gigs. I really should go to the smaller gigs in NYC and check out some new bands. This article is great inspiration that big cities have more to offer than a Starbuc


Thanks Paul! Going to check these bands out on Apple Music, and buy it on CD if I like it. I usually discover new music thru my kids, Im going to one up them with your help.
Living in a big city is a huge advantage when it comes to gigs. I really should go to the smaller gigs in NYC and check out some new bands. This article is great inspiration that big cities have more to offer than a Starbucks at every corner.

Larry Davis

Hey Kawgompie…I always check out newer and buzzbands from the city or who pass through…at smaller venues like the Mercury Lounge or Arlene’s Grocery preferably…going to see Northern Irish stalwarts ASH at fairly new venue Baby’s All Right on Wednesday (literally ASH Wednesday, HA!!)…they have a brilliant new powerpop/punk masterpiece called “Islands”… will keep u posted on gigs…lots of killer free ones this summer, like London, NYC has loads of free and cheap gigs and I prefer small intimate venues and bands who are still hungry and thrive off intimate settings… And Paul, no wonder we get along…i love and have seen live both SOS (once supporting “Shapes And Patterns”… Big reason I love and follow UK sophistipop songstress RUMER…she’s a HUGE SOS fan too) and The Regrettes recently at NYC’s Mercury Lounge… Opening band Best Behaviour blew me away too with their excellent powerpop..
I bought their CD and hung with both bands afterwards at the merch table… The 3 gals and guy drummer all teenagers, like ASH when they started…the Regrettes were big fun, lots of energy, great tunes, and their drummer was like a young Keith Moon…they signed my CD, white vinyl Christmas single and cassette EP!! Bought a T-shirt too…as for Alice and Field Music, both sound great and will investigate further… And I hope we get more SOS SDEs in the future, espesh my fave, KW…one of my peeves is when a fave artist with a sizeable catalogue gets an SDE of one album but none of the others… You have no idea whether to buy regular CDs of back catalogue or wait for other SDEs…like you are in limbo with no answers…hate buying CDs only to sell em cuz a better version or remaster is coming and when it’s close to release date, no one will take the old ones cuz of the improved new ones they’d rather have… It’s all great tho…cheers Paul and Kaw!!

Larry Davis

Oh yeah…excited about this new SOS record as well, lest I forget, with the catalogue and SDE of Travel…will check out A Certain Ratio too…


Thanks for the article Paul – we go to a lot of live music, and as mentioned by a previous poster try to ‘see’ artists (choosing smaller venues on tours etc.) – we had a great experience this week, as the recently-opened Rough Trade Bristol have a dedicated music room off the back of the store. Great sound, small, neat, and intimate. Aidan Moffat and RM Hubbert were great, with Siobhan Wilson supporting (and in their band), and Arab Strap’s David Jeans on drums. Cracking night ….


If we’re talking live music I have to recommend Desperate Journalist, described by more people than just me, as the best band in Britain right now (no hype – seriously:)). If you like the idea of a mixture of the Smiths, Savages and Joy Division don’t hesitate! Was blown away by them in Bristol last night for the fourth time.

Dr Volume

Yep, totally agree they’re a bit special and really exciting to see live.

Sean L

Support local gigs guys the likes of U2 don’t need your money, up and coming bands don’t make any money off Spotify etc they can only make money and continue their development if you buy gig tickets, T-shirts and Cd’s at their shows….join the community of encouraging new talent, get out there, be involved, the rewards of seeing a band perform in front of 50 paying punters at the Dog & Duck to finally playing gigs in front of thousands is immense. :)

Thomas Davis

Paul, I love this, don’t know any of the groups or venues but I will some day, hopefully soon. I am school administrator in Illinois USA and a huge music fan. I have been to London twice past two years and went everything rock and roll I could find. My retirement dream is to live in London for a year and do exactly what you did this last week, while also seeing the country and historical sites at a slow pace. Sell my house here, live there for a year, and then find a nice condo back in the States and enjoy my collection, much if which lately I discovered through SDE articles.

Jeff G.

I saw David Crosby, Peter Hook & the Light and Hot Snakes on consecutive nights this past week. All great shows. It’s nice living in a place (Austin, TX – which is no New York or London, of course) where most acts who do full tours of the US will usually come through.

Stephen DC

I only usually go and see artists live where I can see them – not on a big screen. Norwich Waterfront is excellent for this. Gary Numan, Heaven 17 and Blancmange were stunning.

Clearing my drawers today [steady!] I found my original Swing Out Sister Fan Club material. I love them.

Todd R

Wow! I saw Ceelo Green and Marc Cohn (two different shows) last night,…road trip to cle?

Matthew Jessee

Hi Paul. It was great to meet you at the Swing Out Sister gig. Great picture! And thanks for taking one of me and Corinne. I thought they were fantastic, especially on the new tracks. :)

Darren Briscoe

Yes…. The Split is well worth watching!


I discovered Field Music when I heard Let’s Write a Book on BBCs 6 Music just before the release of their Measure album. Been a fan ever since. Immensely talented brothers with shades of XTC, 10cc, Peter Gabriel and Prince (to mention just a few).
I would also recommend the Brewis brothers solo albums particular Peter Brewis’ The Week That Was album.

I would love to see them live but haven’t managed it so far.

Erick Haight

More than a little jealous that you saw Field Music at such a cool venue. I love their new album — for some reason, I hear bits and bobs of “Around The World In A Day” here and there. Thanks for the travelogue!

jason spaceman

I’ve really enjoyed this article…I’ve given up going to gigs as just could be bothered. I’d rather the album and don’t care really for crowd input..having said this I’ve seen Shame and Sleaford mods this year but that’s really out of respect. |I think going to see gigs as you say is a bit of a habit and I’m going to take your steer and get back on it,,thanks Paul!


I saw The Dear Hunter recently, and highly recommend it. One of the best parts was toward the end when they band said they do not play encores, don’t believe in that false exit bull shit. They have 5 more songs to play and will leave the stage .. and be out in 10 to hang with everyone.

Mike the Fish

I’ve become less inclined to go for live stuff, as I felt I wasn’t enjoying it so muc. The cheer after a song try to get an encore seems more expected behaviour than the passion it felt like when I was younger. That said, most if not all I’ve been to over the last five years or so have been really enjoyable. The best for me perhaps was when I nearly didn’t go to see King Creosote as I’d be going on my own and didn’t know if I wanted to sweat it through the support. Well I went, got a seat at the front in the small bar/venue, and support was really enjoyable (with a playful heckle), as was KC. One of my most enjoyed gigs, I reckon.


Paul, are you a LFC fan? Or just a footie fan?

p.s. I’m a big LFC supporter and are currently very nervous!

Ed May


Well that was cr*p, wasn’t it?

Ramos the thug and Karius, hopefully the ex-LFC goalkeeper….

Next year is our year…where have I heard that before?


Perhaps Kaleidoscope World will get the same decent quality re-issue like the first album. It think that one is up for anniversary recognition next year?

Johnny Buck

There were rumors a few years ago of KW being issued as a DE but it never happened.

Chris Squires

Very Nice Paul. I listened all the way through the Alice Phoebe Lou track and it reminded me strongly of early Sally Oldfield. Water Bearer in particular and even parts of the Sallyangie.

It’s only certain phrasing and warbles but I could really hear some similarities. Further investigation is needed.

Bob McCartney

I love live music too. Just travelled from KC to Omaha to see an absolutely fantastic U2
show. At 54, live music gives me hope and still makes me feel like anything is possible.