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Cold Specks, Southbank Centre, London

It’s only a year since Al Spx released her startlingly well-formed and engrossing debut LP I Predict A Graceful Expulsion, but the young artist is already starting to show signs of restlessness about showcasing the old material. This generally manifests itself positively, especially through the promisingly enrapturing smattering of new material offered up tonight. Of course, there is undoubtedly something a little deflating about hearing her admit how sick she is of singing minor-detonation show stoppers like ‘Winter Solstice’. But the discomfort largely translates as a creative eagerness to move onto the next chapter of a career which has started on an arrestingly good first step. Certainly, tonight’s set sounds like the cream of a lesser artist’s whole discography, not a selection of songs from a debut along with a few new ones, too.


The Filaments, The Underworld, London

It’s been a long time, a semi break-up, a reformation and various side project releases since the last Filaments’ album What’s Next? showcased the musical innovation and talent that lurked within the South East punk scene. As such, a release party for the long awaited new album, including some of the finest punk and ska punk bands the UK has to offer, saw Camden station swarming with punks clutching cans of cider and falafel wraps from nearby takeaways. It didn’t take long for the local boys in blue to completely give up on attempting to enforce the rules of a no drinking zone - better luck next time lads. Arriving at a gig soon after doors open can often end up in the awkward position of being part of a crowd of three or so people watching the opening band and feeling sorry for them.


My Bloody Valentine, O2 Academy, Birmingham

Many, many column inches have been dedicated to just how loud My Bloody Valentine are during their live shows, but nothing actually really prepares you for it. Conversations stop mid-flow as Bilinda Butcher strikes a tentative chord before launching into opener 'When You Sleep'; even unaccompanied, the sound of her guitar is deafening. By the time bandmates Deb Googe, Colm Ó Cíosóig and Kevin Shields join her, the noise is so all-encompassing that you're left swaying, stunned and dumbstruck.


The Creeping Ivies, The Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh

Lux is dead; Long live Lux. Imagine therefore if you will Poison Ivy gaining a few inches in height and joining forces with Lightning Beatman. And them both becoming Scots. Got that?If so then you will have grabbed the nub of what makes The Creeping Ivies tick and the rest of the world bop along. Duncan Destruction hammers the bejesus out of his snare & floor tom (the one duff note in the whole performance being a cymbal seemingly lacking a mic) whilst Becca Bomb sings and churns out some seriously driving riffage on guitar. With their Stay Wild album set for imminent physical release on Deadbeat Records (you can currently obtain a virtual copy via here) tonight's set was naturally composed of rousing versions of cuts from that, the earlier Rock 'n' Roll Party and Ghost Train eps and forthcoming single 'Black Cat'.


Deap Valley, King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow

Returning to the city where they filmed their video for 'End Of The World', Deap Vally, on a chilly Monday night in Glasgow of all places, finally, convincingly and permanently proved that firstly, they’re here to stay, and secondly that rock and roll is back. Throughout a thumping set of the foot-tapping, classically catchy rhythms they seem to produce exclusively they demonstrated a passion and a love for rock and roll that will take them all the way. Though an album is in the works, singles 'Gonna Make My Own Money' and 'End Of The World' have cemented Deap Valley's postition as the two Californian ladies most proving rock and roll is cool again.

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