Busted

You have no idea how much this night meant to me, despite the claims that this would never happen I have been waiting years for this reunion. Busted were a massive part of my childhood and now I was finally living the childhood dream. It was such a friendly, buzzing atmosphere upon arrival as everyone looked forward to what would be a fun evening that would bring back the memories and emotions.

The opening acts for the night was Youtuber turned singer, Emma Blackery, and US rock band Wheatus. Now before this I had never known that Blackery was, or had plans to be, a singer. I had recognised her name from the suggestions section on my Youtube homepage where her channel has over a million subscribers, but I was pleasantly surprised. Her larger than life voice and short set of catchy, upbeat pop-rock songs had a old-school feel, something from the early noughties pop-punk/rock scene, like think of how Avril Lavigne used to sound like. Whilst not being the most groundbreaking new material I have ever heard, I do look forward to hear what else she has to offer. There was a further blast from the past when Wheatus hit the stage. Even if you don’t know the name you will have almost certainly have heard ‘Teenage Dirtbag’  at some point in your life. With a short set of classics like ‘A Little Respect’, ‘Lemonade’ and, of course, ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ everyone got excited for what would be a nostalgic filled evening.

Soon the wait began for Busted and the teasers started, which first included a large pig balloon floating around the arena and sudden pauses of the music playing with brief films of people wearing pig masks in random locations that helped to excite everyone with what they were about to see. A rather scary technique I might add. The films got longer and the official intro started that concluded with all three members of the band appearing on screen and the onstage pig sty was revealed where lucky fans were given to opportunity to watch and be a part of the show.

Busted opened with their new song ‘Coming Home’, an instant reminder to everyone that Busted was back and then going straight into ‘Air Hostess’ and, for me at least, the emotions and memories git me all at once. The set was filled with classics like ‘You Said No’, ‘Crashed The Wedding’, ‘Falling For You’ and ‘Sleeping With The Light On’, along with a section where they moved to a central stage and played slower songs ‘Meet You There’ and new song ‘Easy’. I think it was at this point that I realised how much I loved going to gigs when I saw everyone with their phone lights on and singing along during ‘Meet You There’.

There was never a dull moment. The evening ended perfectly with an encore of ‘3am’, which had previously been one of the last singles released before the band’s split in 2005 and their most famous anthem ‘Year 3000’ which during no seat was sat in.

In the days leading up to this I was worried if this would end up being a huge disappointment, but as I sat there with my friend at the end in shock in that we had just seen our childhood I knew that it had been worth the twelve year wait.

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Simple Plan

This is the first gig that I have been to on my own and, whilst originally being nervous, a lot of things happened before and during the gig that put me at ease.

Now usually I hope to make friends with people while I’m queuing up and/or when I get into the venue but without someone being there with me I was convinced that I would end up being awkward and not speak to anyone. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was not as shy as I originally thought I would be and over the course of the day I chatted to about six people in the queue and had a cute goodbye from one of them at the end of the night.

Another thing that I was surprised by was that the band themselves were hanging out with fans during the day. Like they were just walking around talking to fans and at one point chose four of them to do a video with, and at times were just wondering back and forth between the venue and the tour bus with the fans queuing up not freaking out when they appeared. I just loved the respect that they had for the band members and vice versa. On top of that I got pictures with Chuck and Jeff. I’m just gonna leave these here…

Simple Plan had two opening acts; London based pop-punk band, The Bottom Line and rock band Ghost Town from Los Angeles. The Bottom Line had a 30 minute set filled with loud, pounding songs that got the crowd buzzing, which also sold me based on how lead singer, Callum, crowd surfed on an inflatable, a cover of Wheatus’ classic ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ and all three members doing shots onstage. More maturer Ghost Town played a mix of songs from their three studio albums including the single ‘Spark’ which I have seen being played on Kerrang, certainly a band who I would recommend checking out.

Soon Simple Plan were onstage and everyone was buzzing. Now, as you may know from my previous post, the last gig I went to, The 1975, I had a horrible experience with the crowd (pushing, inconsiderate people, etc) so I was nervous about having a repeat of events. But yet the audience were so chilled, there was no pushing whatsoever, I was so surprised! Simple Plan are officially the most relaxed gig that I have ever been to.

Now I need to say one thing; Pierre Bouvier is one of the most cutest human beings I have ever seen. Like you know when you watch someone and you can just see that they’re having the time of their life? Yeah, that’s what I saw with Bouvier.

The gig was filled with classics, such as ‘I’m Just A Kid’, ‘Welcome To My Life’, ‘Shut Up’, and ‘Your Love Is A Lie’, along with recent hits ‘Boom!’, ‘Can’t Keep My Hands Off You’ and ‘Opinion Overload’. There were moments of humour, such as with the band’s tour crew doing a dance routine during a mash-up of ‘Uptown Funk’ and ‘Can’t Feel My Face’, and banter between David and Pierre about each other’s family and longing to be raised British, along with moments of sweetness, such as with Pierre dedicating ‘The Rest Of Us’ to those who don’t feel like they fit in and telling everyone not to let anyone control your life when introducing ‘I Refuse’. While being quite cheesy at times, it was fun for everyone involved. Plus I held Bouvier’s hand during ‘Crazy’ (cue inner screaming).

They finished their set with ‘This Song Saved My Life’ a song written and dedicated to their fans and ‘Perfect’, a slow, sweet way to end the evening. And to make it better when I went to the merch stand I found that they were selling signed copies of recent album ‘Taking One For The Team’, AH!

The 1975

I have previously been to see The 1975 on two other occasions with the last time I had seen them was in Sheffield. At that gig the crowd was slightly inconsiderate of people around them in terms of pushing and let’s just say that this time round it was much worse. Now, I love The 1975, their music is interesting, covers a range of topics and there is an obvious growth in maturity and sound when you compare their two albums ‘The 1975’ and ‘I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It’. And having been treated to a small preview of the album on their last tour with ‘A Change Of Heart’ and ‘She’s American’ I was so looking forward to this show.

The opening act came in the form of The Japanese House, a, what has been described as, “alien-pop” project created by Buckinghamshire-born Amber Bain, who have previously been named the last of Zane Lowe’s hottest records before he had left Radio 1. I can only really describe them as being quite dreamy and trippy, like they were nice to listen to and were quite unique, but at the same time I wouldn’t say I was the sort of person that they would be aiming at. Yet I do recommend them if you enjoy mellowed out, dreamlike pop music.

Soon the wait began, at about 8:45 smoke started to slowly fill up the stage, a low humming was heard and the lights started to dim. Over the course of 15 minutes the humming began to get louder and louder until on the dot of 9 o’clock where it stopped altogether, the lights went off and the stage projections came on. Sure enough the screaming started and the opening notes of ‘I Like It When You Sleep…”s lead single ‘Love Me’ started to play.

But unfortunately this where things went downhill for me. The band themselves were amazing, the set was filled with a huge mix tracks from both albums, ranging from ‘Heart Out’, ‘Girls’ and ‘Robbers’ from their debut album, to newer tracks like ‘Ugh’, ‘Paris’ and ‘The Ballad Of Me And My Brain’, along with pretty visuals and Matty Healy’s stage presence.

However the same cannot be said for the crowd. Fans of The 1975 have a bit of a reputation for being quite inconsiderate at shows, and based from what I experience a few months ago at their Sheffield show I thought that would be the worst of it as it only lasted for about ten minutes or so and in fairness was more fun for the rest of the show. But for this gig it was a hell of a lot worse.

Of course there was pushing, which happens at most gigs to be fair so I can handle that. What I can’t handle is people pushing their arms against my face and head, being elbowed past and being pulled down. There was one point where I was stuck between two girls in front of me and two behind me who didn’t seem to care that I was there. Honestly it was like no one in that crowd knew how to behave at a gig, in fact I’m pretty sure that this was like the first concert for 90% of people around me.

This ruined the first half of the set for me but luckily I was pushed to the left hand side of the stage where it was a lot more relaxed and people were just as annoyed as me about how petty the crowd was. I had a better experience for the last half of the set in that area, so a quick tip for you, if you go and see The 1975 and you have standing, go to the left or right hand side of the stage as everyone in the centre will push and it is horrible.

For the encore The 1975 played ‘If I Believe You’, and three of their biggest tracks ‘Chocolate’, ‘The Sound’ and, to finish, ‘Sex’, which still remains one of my favourite songs to experience live.

I love The 1975 and will continue to see them live when I can but honestly to anyone here who is a fan of them and is going to/planning to see them live then please don’t be an idiot and be aware that there are others around you who want to have a good time. Don’t push and try and get to the front as it won’t work and you will come across as rude to everyone else. Just enjoy the fact that you’re there and don’t get hung up on not being front row.

Obama’s EU Opinions

During an interview last year in the UK, Barack Obama gave his opinion that the UK would be better off staying in the European Referendum.

The reasons being that he believed that the UK’s membership with the EU “gives us much greater confidence about the strength of the transatlantic union”, and it is believed that during his upcoming visit to the UK, which most likely be his last visit as President of the United States, he will pass further comment on the Referendum.

However, the Major of London, Boris Johnson, has criticised  the President’s opinion in his daily column and has claimed it to be “outrageous hypocrisy” for him to intervene the EU referendum debate.

He wrote; “We will be informed by our most important ally that it is in our interests to stay in the EU, no matter how flawed we may feel that organisation to be. Never mind the loss of sovereignty; never mind the expense and the bureaucracy and the uncontrolled immigration…(the Americans are) urging us down a course they would never dream of going themselves”.

10 Downing Street think the opposite of Johnson’s viewed and believe it to be worth listening the opinions of international leaders and allies.

A spokesperson said “”These are people who wish Britain well and they are worth listening to.” Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond also commented that it was important the public knew how global powers such as the US and China felt.

I asked Olivia Sharp, from Leeds Trinity University Student Union, her opinions on Obama getting involved with the Referendum:

Sleeping With Sirens

So this will mark the first occasion that I have bought VIP for a gig, mainly due to other concerts I have attended were selling it for extortionate prices, it had sold out, or there there was no VIP to begin with. But with the upgrade being only an extra £30, along with my sister telling me that she bought hers in “panic”, I decided to for for it and buy it for me and my friend.

Arriving at the venue two and half hours early was a wise decision considering how packed it got in the half hour before people who had VIP were to go in, and the fact I got to be reunited and catch up with my internet friend was a bonus. The only downside of having to wait two and half hours before we went in was the fact that we had to wait outside in the heavy snow, soon turned rain, which was hell with the freezing cold temperatures and with how upon arrival me and my friend were covered in snow. Luckily though we were under a sheltered bit outside the building so it wasn’t too bad, and to be honest the experience we had upon entry made the whole situation worth it.

4 o’clock soon came and gradually everyone made their way inside and queued up by the photo-shoot set up in a atmosphere filled buzzing excitement. Whilst waiting about half an hour for Sleeping With Sirens to arrive my group and I made friends with a guy who had followed the whole of the band’s European tour by attending each show and buying VIP for every single one of them, which has resulted in them becoming friends and having the occasional jagerbomb together.

5 o’clock came and they arrived. There were only about ten people ahead of us in the queue and we watched in a mixture of excitement and nervousness fans meeting them as we mentally prepared ourselves for what we were going to say and do when it was our turn to meet them.

Now I know I may sound biased when I say this, but honestly Sleeping With Sirens are some of the most sweetest people I have ever met. I think it was slightly obvious that I was nervous to meet them but they made me feel very welcome and were nice and chatty when I talked to them, along the picture coming out as being really sweet. The VIP upgrade was completely worth it.

Now the gig itself. Typically I’m used to there being only one or two opening acts for artists I’ve been to see live, but this will be a rare occasion where I’ve experienced three support acts. So a summary of each of them. Beach Weather; a decent sounding band who had only just formed in the past couple of months. Whilst sounding good, they’re not the sort of band I’d have expected to have opened for Sleeping With Sirens, I’d have expected them to have opened for bands like The 1975 or Catfish and the Bottlemen. This Wild Life; a duo who consisted of a lead singer playing acoustic guitar and a guy who swapped between playing the bass and drums. Again, not the type of band I would have expected to have opened for Sleeping With Sirens, but yet I enjoyed them. They were really nice to listen to and I loved their slowed down cover of Bring Me The Horizon’s ‘Sleepwalking’. Go and check them out! As It Is; I was the only one in my group who hadn’t listened to them before, but by the end of their set I was just pleased to have witnessed them. Their 40 minute(!) set was filled with fast pop-punk tracks from their debut album and every member of the audience seemed to have the time of their lives. Only after the gig I found out that lead singer, Patty Walters, had done covers on YouTube and had done a few covers of Sleeping With Sirens’ songs, so I imagine that this tour must have been a dream come true for him. If any of you need to a new band to listen to, I seriously recommend As It Is.

Half an hour later and Sleeping With Sirens came onstage. Opening with ‘Don’t Say Anything’ their set was filled with classics like ‘Congratulations’ and ‘If I’m James Dean, You’re Audrey Hepburn’ along with newer songs from their recent album Madness including the fast paced lead single ‘Kick Me’, ‘Better Off Dead’ and ‘The Strays’ which Kellin Quinn dedicated to those who didn’t feel like they fitted in and added that there nothing sexier and cooler than guys and girls who have confidence in themselves. I need to say this now; Kellin Quinn is one of the most adorable people who I have seen live. Honestly, him running and bouncing around the stage made him come across as a small man-child who needs to be protected at all costs. By the way Kellin, I’m also sorry, but at the same not sorry, for laughing when you tripped over a wire. The only thing I would say though is that the sound system was rubbish that night, like I couldn’t hear Kellin at some points, which annoyed me so much. The night ended with a three song encore of ‘Do It Now, Remember It Later’, ‘Satellites’, and ‘If You Can’t Hang’. I don’t think there wasn’t anyone in the room who were screaming along to the lyrics. A great end to the day.

I’ve only become a fan of Sleeping With Sirens in the past few months and I’m so happy that I have had the opportunity to meet them and see them live. I’ll hopefully see you at Leeds Festival!

Do you want to see Adele live? That’ll be £24,000 please

Gigs

How much are you willing to pay to see your favourite artist live? Some would refuse to buy tickets if they were higher than face value but other people seem to be willing to spend more in desperation to see the artists that they adore.

Molly Russ, 19, a psychology and child development student at Leeds Trinity University admitted to once spending a small fortune on concert tickets but remains shocked at the price; “I got ripped off…I spent over £400 for One Direction when it should have been £100.”

The second-hand ticket industry has been going for many years with touts being infamously known for buying large quantities of tickets as soon as they go on sale with some sites having partnerships with official ticket websites, such as with Getmein and Ticketmaster, making it a nightmare for fans to buy tickets.

Emma Perry, 18, a psychology student from Leeds Trinity University said; “It’s wrong for ticket touts to sell things at inflated prices.” Tattooist Lewis Brown, 25, from Horsforth also agreed and said that he would avoid using second-hand websites as he fears of being ripped off.

This comes with the news of a ticket to see Adele live on Getmein had reached the price of £24,000. But even if you do decide to buy this ticket you risk the chance of being denied entry into the event. Her official website released this statement; “Resale of tickets through any channel other than Twickets will not be accepted; you risk having them cancelled and being denied entry to the show. This applies to all UK shows.”

But it’s not only fans of major artists having to spend a fortune on tickets. On the 22nd February indie rock band, Catfish and the Bottlemen, announced their UK tour with a pre-sale for their dedicated fanbase. However during the pre-sale and general sale fans of the band discover the shows to be instantly sold out but yet a large quantity of tickets were then immediately found to be on sale on second-hand websites like Viagogo with prices being as high as £328.90 when the original price had only been £27.

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Catfish and the Bottlemen

The band’s management commented in an article by The Guardian, “We watched the presale and the general sale for the Catfish and the Bottlemen April tour dates very closely. The demand for tickets was truly exceptional, however we were really disturbed to see a very large proportion of the total tickets available in the pre-sale appearing for sale within minutes on secondary ticket sites priced at up to five times their face value…Artists’ pre-sales are intended to reward a band’s most loyal fans with an early opportunity to buy tickets, not for professional touts to profit.”

At the same time there seems to be some hope for music fans as several ticket sites are now beginning to tackle the problem of ticket touts and automatic bots from buying large quantities of tickets by putting in place “fill in the blank” and “tick this box” questions, along with some artists creating systems that will make it difficult for touts to resell tickets. For example, Kate Bush created a name system where the person who bought the tickets had to put down their name, or the person who would be ‘leading’ the group, on the ticket and had to present ID on the day of the show in order to enter the venue.

But it still remains unknown as to whether over inflated ticket prices will soon come to an end, or if we still have some work to do.

 

 

 

EU Referendum

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So it’s official, the date for the UK to vote on whether we should stay or leave the European Union has been set. (23rd of June for those of you who don’t know.)

For many this has been a vote that they have been waiting for, but for others this is something that they feel to have little knowledge on for they remain unsure on as to whether it would be wiser to stay or leave the EU.

So why is the referendum happening? Originally there had previously been a vote to leave or stay in the European Union in 1975 shortly after the UK joined it 1973 with the result being to stay in. But, according to the BBC, there have been calls for another vote from both MPs and citizens after claims that the EU has changed over the years and is now controlling the aspects of daily lives as more countries join.

Why should we leave the EU? Some people are extremely critical in how the EU is run by a Brussels elite that runs on the idea of Europe running on the idea from a “blue print”. Those who wish to Brexit believe that the UK will be able to organise economic and social affairs spontaneously, not from a “deliberate design from the top down”, should be able to make its own decisions on immigration, are unhappy of the UK paying direct membership of £17.4 billion and believe membership to be undemocratic. In simple terms they believe that the UK is being held back by the EU.

Why should we stay in the EU? Some people believe that the UK is unable to work independently outside of the EU, in economic terms, and are concerned that the UK’s status in the world could be damaged and therefore it better to stay in the union. Being a part of the EU means that trade is easier, the flow of immigrants help to benefit the economy and helps to pay for public services.

Is it better to leave or to stay? That is up to your perspective, but regardless of the result of the referendum it is difficult to know of the official outcome of whether it will do bad or good for the UK. But the only thing I will say to those who will be voting; think and choose carefully.

 

Cold Temperatures despite the Sunshine in Horsforth, Leeds

Despite the on and off snow it seems that Spring is on its way.

In contrast with the frost on the ground and the leafless trees, there is blue skies and growing flowers.

But despite the sunny spells there is a chilly northwesterly wind with temperatures expected to go as low as -1 degrees in the night and more frost to be expected.

Not only that but there is expected to be more snow and rain over the next couple of days, with some weather warnings in the north of England.

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Blossom starts to grow

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Clear skies and leafless trees

Good Charlotte and All Time Low

This was my third time seeing All Time Low live and, based what I had seen before, I knew I was going to be in for a treat. So, both as a result of this and the fact that I was standing, I decided that my friend and I were going to queue up for nine hours. Yes, you read that right, nine hours.
Despite the long wait though, and the bloody freezing temperature we sat in, it was completely worth it. For one I got to meet my internet friend after months of talking and we managed to get second/third row for the gig, HELL YEAH!
All Time Low weren’t the only reason why I was so excited for this concert, opening for them were Against The Current who played well known songs ‘Gravity’ and ‘Outsiders’, along with a cover of ‘Uptown Funk’, and I need to say that Chrissy Costanza is one of the most beautiful girls I have ever seen in my life, and recently reformed Good Charlotte. Good Charlotte were on for about 40 minutes with, despite not everyone in the arena knowing who they are, everyone going crazy with their set of classics like ‘The Anthem’, ‘Girls and Boys’ and ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous’, and new song ‘Makeshift Love’. I just want to quickly apologise to anyone near me who had to endure my terrible singing and dancing.
The major moment of excitement came as soon as All Time Low went onstage. For about an hour and a half they entertained their fans with hits such as ‘A Love Like War’, ‘Coffee Shop Soundtrack’ and ‘Damned If Do Ya’ and new songs from their album Future Hearts. Other moments of entertainment included when Jack got my sister’s bra, which she had thrown onstage, and a hilarious version of ‘Don’t You Want Me’. Although I will admit that I genuinely wish that they had included ‘Time Bomb’ on the setlist and for some reason I preferred the energy from the other two times I had seen them, I can’t explain why, I just felt like it was better if that makes sense?
They finished their set with an encore of ‘Weightless’, ‘Something’s Gotta Give’ and ‘Dear Maria, Count Me In’, but unfortunately there was incident that ruined the end for me and my friend. Just before the encore when they were playing ‘Old Scars / Future Hearts’ there must have been a mosh pit behind us or something that caused us to be pushed away from the rest of our group. In our place were two girls who we tried to get past at first but resulted in them calling us “f**king c**ts” so we decided to wait until the song finished. We then tried again asking if we could just get back to our group who were just on the other side of them, they said no but then there was a gap behind them which we used to get past them, but they obviously weren’t happy. They didn’t really do anything with me, although they made me feel massively uncomfortable, but then they proceeded to target my friend. They started to elbow her which she managed to defend herself from, but then they decided that they would snatch the beanie that she was wearing off her head and throw it somewhere, which resulted in them running off after she confronted them about it and in her having a panic attack. I feel so idiotic because I saw them point to her hat obviously plotting what they were about to do but I thought that they wouldn’t be that immature, but I was wrong.
I just don’t get why someone would act like that, I have been to so many gigs before and this was the first time I have ever experienced someone so vile. What’s the point? You’re wasting your time, you’re ruining someone else’s time, you’re just coming across as a dick (people were looking really concerned for my friend and someone even came up to us and told us where they threw her hat, whoever that was thank you so much as we managed to get it back, so trust me no one thought you were being clever or cool) and frankly you’re wasting money as you’re paying to be there and instead you’re spending it bullying someone. If the two girls who did this to my friend are reading this, I hope you are satisfied. Congratulations, you’ve just come across as being some of the most vile people I have ever met in my life, do you want an award or something?
But despite that, the concert was incredible. All Time Low put on an amazing show and certainly proved Alex Gaskarth’s statement of All Time Low being an arena band. I honestly would recommend anyone to go and see them live as you will have the time of your life. I also want to thank them for having Good Charlotte come on tour with them as I got to experience my childhood, and I will be definitely be going to the tour that they plan on going on in autumn.

Junior Doctor’s Strike

The second twenty-four-hour junior doctor’s strike started today which, in the build-up, has led to a mixed reaction from the British public. Some people argue that they are making a stand on changes to their contracts and the NHS as a whole, while others say that they are simply being greedy with money and are doing more damage to the NHS rather than aiding it.

So what are they protesting against? The uproar started when Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, claimed that junior doctors do not work at weekends and was going to introduce a contract which, while offering a pay rise, was going to cut pay for ‘unsociable’ hours by a quarter, would hire more doctors at weekends for lower pay and, according to the BBC, have “guaranteed pay increases linked to time in the job are also to be scrapped and replaced with a system linked to progression through set training stages.” This led to protests that this contract was unfair on junior doctors, would affect the NHS and would cause more risks to patients.

To get a viewpoint from someone who worked as a junior doctor I asked the opinion of Andrea Lascelles, 51, who, during the 1980s, trained and worked as a radiographer for the Royal London Hospital. When asked about her experiences working for the NHS, she said the students who she worked with “were all on low pay but made the NHS” due to their enthusiasm and that the on call system was where they “made the most money.”

Her opinion of the situation was that “nobody would strike if it wasn’t necessary” and added, “hours are too long. Training is a lengthy progress, young doctors need to be valued… (There are) little doctors and radiographers as nobody wants to do a job for little money.”

She also believes that the strikes will help to change the NHS for the better as it points out the problems in the system. “They’ve lost apprenticeship in the NHS, that’s what makes me sad…everyone’s training to be a manager rather than a person of care…that’s what’s ruining the NHS. They’ve been squeezing and squeezing and there’s nothing left to give.”