The Vamps UK Arena Tour 2016 – Event Review

Date: 02 April 2016

Location: O2 Arena, London

Band: The Vamps

Touring Albums: Wake Up and Meet The Vamps

Support Acts: Hometown, Conor Maynard and The Tide.

Costs: Varied

Concert Length (Including support acts): 19:25 – 22:30

My Thoughts: Yesterday I read The Guardian’s review of The Vamps concert and have to say I was very displeased with what they said as I feel like they didn’t really give any proper comment on the music at all and definitely did not tell me what I would want to know if I were going to buy tickets for their next tour. Although I admit I’m coming to you as a fully dedicated Vampette and they probably weren’t but I still think their review could have been better than what it was. Anyway…

I saw The Vamps last May at the O2 Arena when they were on their UK Arena Tour 2015 and it was absolutely amazing and my tickets were really cheap! This time my tickets were quite a bit more expensive but it paid off because our seats were absolutely incredible! We were so close!

I have to admit the wait before the concert actually started got a bit tiresome as we got into the arena just after six and then had to wait for over an hour before anything actually happened but it did give as some selfie opportunities!

I’d never heard of Hometown and didn’t check them out before going to the concert, they were good but I felt they consisted of way too many people (six). They did sing a song which was said to have been written for them by Liam Payne from One Direction, it was actually a really good song! Whether it was actually written by Liam Payne I cannot say.

Next on was Conor Maynard who I was mildly excited about seeing as he sings this really great song R U Crazy? which he sang at the concert and it got everyone really excited (including me!). He also sang other songs which I believe to have been hit singles at some point but my knowledge on Conor Maynard is minimal. Sometimes he was a bit too quiet and you couldn’t really hear him but I’m not sure if that was because of the audience, the speakers/microphone or actually him himself…

The last support group to come on was The Tide who I had seen last year when they were supporting The Vamps and had left a mildly good impression but not as much as they could have done if they hadn’t made up some fictitious story through most of their set! So this year I was slightly weary to what they might actually do but luckily this time it was just singing! To finish their set they sang their new single Young Love which was a good song and really got you ready for The Vamps who were on next! So I was all pumped up and ready for The Vamps but then there was a twenty minute break while they prepared the stage and presumably they thought it was necessary to have a toilet break in the middle of the concert… so my mood went from concert mode to very annoyed in about ten seconds.

It was well worth the wait though as once The Vamps were on they brought the house down (not literally, the O2 is still standing, or it was when I wrote this!) they opened with Rest Your Love and from there it was a non-stop party!

They sang Wild Heart with a really lovely acoustic intro from Brad Simpson on piano and it was so, so beautiful! If I went to the concert and that was the only song they sang it would have been good enough for me!

It was really refreshing to see Tristan Evans come out from behind his drums when they sang Volcano as I always feel sorry for him as he’s always stuck at the back! Not only did Tristan come out from behind his drums but there was fire and it was so cool! The set was just amazing through and through, there was fire; smoke; sparks; confetti, the stage was extended into a little runway so they could come down and people like me could see them better! Anything you can think of they probably had!

One of my favourite parts of gigs is when people sing soft, slow songs and everyone gets out their lights and sways to the music, it is truly one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen and I say this every time I go to a concert but that’s because it continues to be true, it’s truly mesmerising!

Brad sang a really lovely song called Stay, it was really beautiful and it was just him and a guitar and for the first time in the entire gig everything was completely silent, everyone was moving as one and swaying to the music and it was amazing! I love Brad’s voice so much so to be able to hear him sing like that in complete silence from the audience was a truly great moment!

It was really admirable seeing bassist Connor Ball performing enthusiastically and energetically given that he’d recently had surgery on his knee! It was very impressive and it didn’t seem to affect his ability to give an absolutely great performance!

I was slightly disappointed when they sang covers firstly because I was there to hear them sing their own songs and although I understand they do it because when they started they were just a bunch of kids singing covers on YouTube but I feel like continuing to sing covers because it’s how you started out is trying to live in the past and actually all their songs were better than the covers they sang, I also felt like the medley of covers they did was slightly messy and hard to hear.

I was also disappointed when instead of singing Oh Cecilia (Breaking My Heart) themselves (which is a song I really truly love!) they got some random band I had never heard of called New Hope Club to perform it in the middle of their set… I mean, they weren’t bad but they also weren’t The Vamps you know?

One of the highlights of the concert was when The Vamps sang Last Night as it was a song that was really energetic and I think it was the song that got the audience the most excited!

Their encore songs were Stolen Moments and Wake Up. I really, really love Stolen Moments and seeing them perform it live was really something special especially when you include the swaying audience with their lights! When they sang Wake Up there was this massive V covered in flames at the back of the stage and it was really cool although I did think Tristan was going to end up setting fire to himself as he was playing drums right in front of it! Wake Up was definitely one of the highlights of the concert because the audience went crazy and it was performed really well and there was confetti everywhere and there were sparks and smoke and it was the perfect end to an already amazing concert!

I was really, really sad when the concert was over as it was such an amazing night! If you’re a Vampette or Vampion I really think you would enjoy seeing them live! Their better than you ever imagine they’re going to be and every concert they just get better and better!

5/5 stars! One of the highlights of my year so far!

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Folk By The Oak 2015 – Event Review

Date: 19 July 2015

Location: Hatfield House Grounds, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK

Costs: Varied

Performers: Main stage – (in order of appearance) Moore Moss Rutter, Lady Maisery, Keston Cobblers Club, Nancy Kerr and the Sweet Visitor band, The Unthanks, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Bellowhead. Acorn Stage – London Youth Folk Ensemble, Gnoss, Jess Morgan Trio, Blair Dunlop, The Young’uns, Moulettes,

Description: Folk By The Oak was a festival where folk acts of all different ages and from all over the place came and performed at Hatfield House Grounds. It was a fantastic day and evening with some amazing acts, loads of food, vintage and folk stands, raffle prizes run by the Willow Foundation (a charity to give young people with terminal cancer the opportunity to have one last perfect day, for more information click the link: https://www.willowfoundation.org.uk/)  and a beautiful firework display along with the headliners – Bellowhead – at the end of the festival.

A Note: I have lots of photos that I still need to sort through and edit, but I will edit them into the blog as soon as I can and also put them in the gallery. I have already posted some and they can be seen over at my twitter account: https://twitter.com/bloggingreview

My Thoughts: I went to Folk By The Oak but I’m not much of a folk fan myself (and don’t start thinking I’m going to say I left as a folk fan!) but I was pleasantly surprised because although I’m not a folk fan I can enjoy basically all music and I enjoyed the day, the weather was lovely and the music was good and  there were good and unique things about everyone that I saw, although unfortunately due to having to look after my stuff I couldn’t see everyone that appeared on the Acorn Stage. Firstly I’m going to review everyone individually and then summarise my entire Folk By The Oak experience.

Moore Moss Rutter: These were the first people I saw at Folk By The Oak and they started the festival off beautifully with a great collection of energetic and sad songs spaced out very well in their set. It was also very refreshing to see a group of young men passionate about not so common music – they weren’t interested in being in a boyband and playing the music that would make them most successful and get girls attention – they were interested in playing the music they were passionate about and it was really clear that it was what they were passionate about. They were really enjoying themselves – or they seemed to be – and their enjoyment was infectious and by seeing them have a good time you had a good time.

Lady Maisery: They sang a very impressive song that involved lots of ‘diddles’ I think and it seemed like a really hard song to do but they did it so well and were completely in unison and it must have taken hours of rehearsing and they’re synchronisation and the way they moved on stage together was really good, they looked like true professionals. They always looked like they were having a good time and they were always smiling. They did an acapella song (no instruments) and it was really beautiful and it was only close to the end that I released that it was completely acapella and the reason I hadn’t already noticed was because it was so nice I kind of lost myself in it a bit and it was so good you didn’t even need the instruments. It was mesmerising.

Keston Cobblers Club: A group of young energetic artists who played a range of instruments very well. They all seemed like good friends and got on, on stage – although who knows what happens off stage – but it was really refreshing to see them, I feel like Folk By The Oak did an absolutely great job at spacing all the artists out and I never would have guessed that there were so many young people who played folk music. The audience seemed to enjoy their performance as they had quite a crowd at the standing area and they all enjoyed themselves. They’re music was very well rehearsed and I found them very enjoyable to watch, they were very good at using the space of the stage. They reminded me a bit of Mumford And Sons but in a good way and they were actual folk.

Jess Morgan Trio: This was the first and only act I had the privilege of seeing on the Acorn Stage and I’m glad I did because these were artists that you didn’t want to miss. I found myself liking their music, it wasn’t the same as lots of the other music that I’d seen so far that morning, it was more emotional and although they were on the Acorn Stage and therefore had a smaller audience they certainly put on a show, they acted as if they were performing to a stadium not like 100 or so people. They knew how to draw in the audience and they talked between songs and it was nice, I felt like I could connect with them in a way that maybe I didn’t connect with some of the other acts I’d seen. I felt like I could get an idea on their personalities. Jess sang one of her own songs and I thought that was really nice because usually folk music is like traditional and it’s just another cover of a songs that’s been done loads of times and I thought it was really nice that she did one of her own and it was actually one of the better songs that I heard them do. Jess had an absolutely beautiful and soft voice, and I’m glad she’s using it. She definitely has talent.

Nancy Kerr and the Sweet Visitor band: They were definitely the most folkie act I had seen in the day so far. There was a wide variety of different instruments and tunes and Nancy had a nice voice to listen to, and their harmonies were really nice. There was a song that Nancy did called “gingerbread” that was one of her songs and it was about summertime and love and not having much but making do with what you did have and it was really nice and had really beautiful lyrics and you really did feel like it was summer time (partly because it was). I thought Nancy was very political and had lots of good opinions and she talked about issues and the problems in the world both in her songs and in between them and it was inspirational. Nancy sang a song from her Elizabethan Time Session and it was the best song I’d heard so far, it had folkie vocals and lyrics but the instrumental bits were much more rocky and fun.

The Unthanks: They have some lovely vocals and Lizzy Jones was great on the trumpet and the piano playing was good too! Some of the songs they did just made you want to dance and they were quite rocky and then other songs were more haunting and folkie. Their last song was amazing, they ended their set magnificently! It was a really haunting and sad song and it brought complete silence over the entire audience, it was phenomenal I hadn’t seen anything like it so far that day and I never saw anything like it again. They set a peace through the entire site, you could have heard a pin drop and it was in a field! Everything was in complete silence (or that’s how it felt!) and it felt like we were all united as one, and the world felt completely peaceful, it was such a great atmosphere! Then for their encore song they sang a song which I think they sang at the start to kick their set off and it was very good and they did a bit of tap/clog dancing and it was really nice.

Mary Chipin Carpenter: I didn’t like Mary as much as I had liked other acts throughout the day, although I do think she was very energetic and friendly and pleased to be there and she’d travelled a long way to perform at Folk By The Oak and she had a massive audience, loads of people were standing at the front of the stage and I think she was good, but I didn’t like her as much as I had liked some of the other people. But she enjoyed herself and other people enjoyed her set so that’s all that matters really, you can’t please everyone.

Bellowhead: These were the headliners and I think Folk By The Oak made a very good decision to make them the headliners. I had already heard some of their music in advance and I thought it was alright but I wasn’t a fan as such. But that was before I knew how brilliant they were on stage I was mesmerised by them, they all performed so well, they’re like born performers, I’ve only ever seen that much energy on stage and that’s when I’ve seen boybands and Bellowhead are definitely not a boyband. They were just the most fantastic people to finish off the festival, it was such a great ending and I have to give huge praise to whoever did the fireworks at the end of their set, it was so good, completely in time with the music. Just amazing! It was a great night and everyone enjoyed themselves and once Bellowhead came on I felt like it had started to get the true gig atmosphere, and I was lucky enough to be stood by the front. And Jon Boden’s pink jacket was really nice!

The Gig Itself: I had never been to a music festival before, the only gigs I’ve ever been to have been in huge stadiums or at least indoor venues and I wasn’t sure what to expect atmosphere wise. I think it was really well organised and the stages were a nice size and the location was quite good, it was away from roads so you couldn’t hear the traffic. The day was fantastic and sunny, and it was just nice to be out enjoying the music. I would definitely go again, it was really good. If you like folk music or just music in general and have the money I think it’s worth going along.

Links: http://www.folkbytheoak.com/ https://twitter.com/FolkByTheOak https://www.willowfoundation.org.uk/

Bishop Gundulfs Morris – Event Review

Date: 14 July 2015

Location: The King’s Arms (Pub) Upnor, Kent, UK

Costs: Free

Description: Bishop Gundulfs Morris are a Traditional Morris Dancing side based in Medway, Kent, UK. They have a Men’s side, a Women’s Side and a Children’s side. They’re next dancing at Sompting Morris Ale, Shornham-By-Sea, West Sussex, UK. I was told that they’re always looking for new members! For more information please click the link http://bishopgundulfsmorris.com/

My Thoughts: I went down to The King’s Arms to see Bishop Gundulfs Morris dance it wasn’t something I was familiar with seeing, as it’s not very common that you have Morris Dancers dancing outside a Pub. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised.

They were all very friendly and easy to chat to and they all seemed to be having a great time when dancing, everything seemed well organised and the dances were very impressive – some more than others. The woman who were wearing green dresses with patterned yellow aprons danced with sticks with bells and ribbons attached and pretty flowery handmade garlands. The men wore black trousers, white shirts and lovely green waistcoats that they pinned badges all over, they danced with big metal swords with wooden handles and made what they call a ‘star lock’ which meant that they locked all of the swords together so that it made the shape of a star. It was very impressive!

The musicians played a set of Folk Dance tunes and there was a very good selection of musical instruments all played by cheerful players. Some instruments that you wouldn’t expect – such as the recorder which isn’t an instrument that very many people take seriously, but there was a very talented recorder player that made recorders seem very professional and serious; because of course, for quite few people they are. There was also a violinist, banjo player, drummer, an accordion player and a melodeon player all of the players were very talented and because of the different range of instruments it was very pleasing to listen to and really added something to the dances.

Another thing that was good was there was a big variety on age in both the dancers and the musicians so it didn’t feel like it was just an older persons thing or just a younger persons thing and everyone seemed to get along even though there was a difference in age between all of them and that was really nice.

There are quite a lot of Morris Dancing Festivals that you can pop along to and see Morris Dancers from all over the country, if you’re not familiar with Morris Dancing I suggest you Google it because it’s a very unique and fascinating form of traditional dancing, and I’m very glad that Bishop Gundulfs are the morris side I saw last night, it was a very fun night. And after all of their tiring dancing they go into the pub and play and sing tunes! I was very sad when it all came to an end.

Please go and check out their website http://bishopgundulfsmorris.com/ and if you have Twitter go and follow them @bishopgundulfs

Forensics: Anatomy Of Crime – Event Review

Date: 26 February – 21 June 2015

Location: Wellcome Collection, London

Costs: Free

Description: Forensics: Anatomy Of Crime was an exhibition on Forensics work, crime and how people solve cases. There were paintings of fictitious crime scenes, evidence kits, autopsy tables and much more.

My Thoughts: I have an interest in crime, which first bloomed after watching FOX crime drama ‘Bones’ and I was interested in going to this exhibition to see ‘the real deal’ and see if it’s really like what the TV show makes out, and quite a lot of it is, although much more interesting to see in physical form rather than digital and luckily no real dead bodies or living maggots although I do think they had some dead maggots in a jar. . .

I was more interested in the modern stuff and the actual ‘solving the case’ stuff than I was in the fictitious crime scene paintings. There was a real evidence kit which had all the different bottles and scissors and stuff that they use when collecting evidence which I thought was really interesting to see. They had an examiner report which I found really exciting as my favourite character in ‘Bones’ (the TV show I was talking about) is always mentioning them and filling them in, unfortunately and disappointingly along with everything else, this is sealed in a glass container (that’s not the disappointing part) but is placed in such a way that you can’t read what the paper actually says.

They also had an actual post-mortem table which my friend and I at first couldn’t figure out what it was as it looked a lot like a bath – just without any sides – and then I read the plaque and it explained. After I knew what it was I was very interest in it as it was another commonly featured thing on ‘Bones’. Nowadays post-mortem tables tend to be made of metal, but this one was very old so it wasn’t although it did have a drain which is one of the reasons we thought it was a bath.

Another thing that I found very interesting in the exhibition was this book that had previously belonged to a French detective which had pages that were covered in blood stains, and the point of the book was recording how the blood spatter had landed on the surface it was found on and this was supposed to tell the detective the angle and velocity of whatever it was that caused the blood to get there. And I thought it was really interesting and it wasn’t something I’d ever seen before.

I found this exhibition really interesting and insightful. Although it’s horrible to think that people do actually get murdered and people do have to solve the case and find the killers, it’s good to know how people do it and that it’s efficient work.

My Favourite Part: Was seeing how people collect evidence and solve crimes, and the book by the French detective.

Things To Check Out: If you liked the sound of this exhibition then although it’s over now I found two free courses that you might be interested in

–  https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/identifying-the-dead

https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/forensic-psychology-3/details

The Bentlif Open Art Prize 2015 – Event Review

Date: 14 March – 3 May

Location: Maidstone Museum & Bentlif Arts Gallery

Costs: Free

Description: The Bentlif Open Art Prize was an exhibition of art work that was made by local people of Maidstone, not one piece was like another.

A Note: I know that the exhibition started and closed quite awhile ago, but it’s only been recently that I thought of starting this blog, and although within my blog I hope to inspire you to go see, read, watch, or listen to some of the things that I have I feel like this blog is also going to be a way for me to re-live some great memories of things I’ve; seen, read, watched, or listened to.

My Thoughts On The Exhibition: I went to The Bentlif Open Art Prize as part of a project I was doing and to be honest I didn’t really expect to get anything out of it, but I thought I may as well do it for the purposes of my project. I was pleasantly surprised because it was so much better than I thought it was going to be, there were some absolutely beautiful works of art displayed and if I were rich I definitely would have bought some for my bedroom wall. The first time I went, I went with a friend, but it was so good I went a second time – and alone – to really appreciate it in a way you can’t do when you’re with someone else.

The exhibition really inspired me and it showed me all the beauty that there is in the world; beauty that sometimes we don’t notice until someone points it out to us, or that we get used to and over look as we get older. There were also some paintings that highlighted some of the bad stuff that there is in the world, but all paintings were beautiful and unique in their own way.

There were a few paintings that particularly stood out to me and although I don’t have pictures I have the power of words.

There was this beautiful painting by Kay Gretton called ‘Four Seasons’ and as you probably guessed it was a painting of all four seasons in a sequence and all painted in squares, every single season was very beautiful and some had signs of people and dogs and some didn’t. I think the reason it particularly stood out to me is because although sometimes we moan about the season; “it’s too hot!” or “it’s too cold!” I think it’s because we can’t see the season from an ‘outside’ perspective because we live on the inside, but once someone draws or paints that ‘outside’ perspective you see how beautiful nature is during all seasons and how differently beautiful every season is.

Another beautiful painting was by Mandy Broughton and it was called ‘Fisherman At Sunset’ and I remember this one for its detail, it had such a strong detail of the beach, the reflection of the sun on the water, the waves as they kissed the shore, and in the distance you could see this shadowed figure of a fisherman. It was so realistic it gave you the feeling of happiness and content you only get when on the beach. I feel like if you had this on your wall on a boring frustrating day of homework or office work then you would look up at the picture and for a moment forget all the trouble and stress and be completely peaceful.

I really wish I had started this blog sooner so you could have gone to the exhibition yourself and seen the beauty of all the art but it’s a yearly event, so if you live near the area or don’t mind the travel look out for next year’s Bentlif Open Arts Prize.

I didn’t only take away with me all the beautiful memories of the art that was on display but an appreciation for all art and a love for exhibitions and museums I had never had before, maybe it was the art or the way it was set up and presented within the museum or maybe a mixture of both but it was definitely a good use of my time and hey, I got a good blog post out of it, I hope!

My Favourite Part: Was seeing how people still consider making art a good use of one’s time even though there’s so much electronics and media that often distract people nowadays.

The Vamps UK Arena Tour 2015 – Event Review

Date: 1 May 2015

Location: O2 Arena, London

Costs: Varied

Description: ‘The Vamps UK Arena Tour’ was basically what it says in the title a tour of UK arena’s, by the band ‘The Vamps’, performing their debut album ‘Meet The Vamps’ along with a few covers and three support acts.

My Thoughts: Any respect you ever had for me or my blog has probably gone now that I’m reviewing The Vamps concert but I go to events that I’m sure all kinds of people are interested in, there will hopefully be a review for everyone on my blog. Anyway, back to the concert.

I’m lucky because this was the second time I had, had the pleasure to see The Vamps Live and I was also lucky enough to get tickets for only £9.50, and The Vamps – as always – didn’t disappoint.

Even though The Vamps didn’t have any new material other than one new song (Hurricane) the set was still completely different and the atmosphere was absolutely brilliant! The O2 is my favourite concert venue although admittedly I haven’t been to many venues (or gigs for that matter).

The Vamps had three support acts; Luke Friend (who also supported them on their ‘Meet The Vamps Tour’ in 2014), The Tide who were really amazing and had some great songs! And Union J (X Factor 2012 contestants) and they were very good and got you in the concert mood.

The Vamps started with my second favourite song ‘Wild Heart’ and it got everyone up and dancing, and it was really fun and then they sang my favourite song by them – and their new single – ‘Hurricane’ which is such a great song and I was so excited to hear them sing it live

I won’t go through the whole set list as that would be really boring to read but they sang every song on their album except maybe two or three and they sang some covers including ‘Uptown Funk’, ‘Seven Nation Army’, and Taylor Swift.

All four members of The Vamps did little solos, Tristan (drummer) did a really impressive drum solo, Connor (Bassist, and singer) sang a cover song with Brad on drums and James on guitar, James (Guitarist and singer) sang The Vamps’ song ‘Move My Way’ which he wrote when he was just fifteen years old, and Brad (Lead Singer, guitarist, pianist) sang The Vamps’ song ‘Another World’ on piano, all of these solos were a massive hit with the audience and it was very nice to see them doing their on thing as well as being in a band together.

As I mentioned before ‘Wild Heart’ and ‘Hurricane’ are my favourite songs by The Vamps but I have to say they do an absolutely amazing and beautiful version of ‘Risk It All’ and when I see them live that might just become my favourite song.

The Vamps have a new album coming out on the 27th November 2015, which they announced at the concert and I was so excited my reaction was literally “OH, MY GOD!” so that’s something to look forward to. If you didn’t manage to see The Vamps live they also recorded their performance at the O2 and are going to turn it into a live tour DVD which will be coming out in November along with their album.

Seeing concerts has its own speciality no matter who you’re seeing and The Vamps definitely put on a show, the bands energy never ends, they jump and dance the whole way through the concert and by them having lots of energy you have lots of energy. The Vamps are not only great singers and musicians but they are also great performers. I will never get bored with seeing concerts and definitely not seeing The Vamps, if you like The Vamps, even if it’s a tiny bit, then it’s worth going to see them live (if you can) I promise it will definitely be a night to remember.

My Favourite Part: Was when The Vamps came on (obviously) and they kicked it off with ‘Wild Heart’ and then ‘Hurricane’ and then of course their unique performance of ‘Risk It All’. Another favourite part I have of all concerts is the atmosphere and the audience (especially when they get their phone lights out and sway).

Links: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJibZdn8b8w

The Vamps guitarist, James Mcvey, singing his solo 'Move My Way'.

The Vamps guitarist, James Mcvey, singing his solo ‘Move My Way’.

The Vamps bassist, Connor Ball, doing his solo cover of 'In Too Deep'.

The Vamps bassist, Connor Ball, doing his solo cover of ‘In Too Deep’.

The Vamps bassist, Connor Ball doing his solo cover of 'In Too Deep'. With Brad on drums and James on guitar.

The Vamps bassist, Connor Ball doing his solo cover of ‘In Too Deep’. With Brad on drums and James on guitar.

The Vamps as they start to sing 'Risk It All'!

The Vamps as they start to sing ‘Risk It All’!

One of the support groups to The Vamps.

One of the support groups to The Vamps.