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Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Cargo, London

As far as album titles go, II is a pretty open admission that you’re not shaking the formula up too much with your second album. Playing tonight on the very day of their new record’s UK release, Unknown Mortal Orchestra showcase some of the material which forms their strong second album, one which continues to mine psychedelic, sixties-rock wig-outs without any shred of wry knowingness or irony. Unsurprisingly, the material of the two albums coheres into a seamless whole tonight, but the set also successfully spotlights the newer material as being significantly more assured and well crafted, in spite of its deceptively looser and freewheeling feel, played alongside the songs of the debut.

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METZ, Birthdays, London

The Canadian trio, known for their raucous and tumultuous live shows, are arguably Toronto’s best kept secret. Exploding onto the scene last year with their self-titled Sub Pop Records debut, the band quickly became known for their outrageous velocity and extreme performances.  For many (including myself) tonight would be the first time they would experience these notorious shows, and see if METZ could successfully transcend the energy of their album onto the live stage.

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Folks, The Cockpit, Leeds

In the current climate of the northern music scene, making a name for yourself has become a task of Everest proportions – but a task which Folks have nevertheless achieved through the endless talents of their six members. Emerging from the prestigious but privy elevation of being ‘Manchester’s best kept secret’, Folks have ascended apace in the last couple of years, and now seem sure to taste the heights of the bands to which they assign their loyalties - none more so than Oasis. But unlike many victims of their genre, Folks have not tried to imitate, plagiarise or even mimic such a colossal band; they have simply embraced the work ethic of them and used it to their advantage. This puts them on a pedestal in the northern live music scene, which their performance at Leeds’ Cockpit certainly shows.

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Dinosaur Jr., Leeds University Union: Stylus, Leeds

After being warmed up by supporting act Little BarrieDinosaur Jr. show that they are a band who get straight into things, kicking off with 2012’s ‘See It On Your Side’. Helped by a perfect mixture of strong vocals, rhythmic drumming and guitar solos, the crowd are very much involved from the word go. Quite simply, the atmosphere is immediately awesome and everyone is absorbed within the trio's aura.

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Smoove & Turrell, The Globe, Cardiff

Remote, cavernous places have always attracted soul-searchers and Cardiff’s The Globe is no exception. Established in a residential area in 2009 for the purpose of paying tribute to the music of the past (often quite literally), The Globe is a gentrified grotto for grown-ups. In an apparent effort to thwart the constant threat of noise complaints (which led to the closure of similar venue The Point early 2009), it appears that The Globe has both re-branded and re-plastered in recent years. It now paradoxically boasts a space-age, Jetson’s-style exterior but a roughcast-walled interior which is as soundproof as it is Flintstones. Nonetheless, this identity crisis matters little when you are able to book the likes of Geordie movers and shakers on the soul scene, Smoove & Turrell. Soul-searchers will surely flock to see such acts, wherever they are located.

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