TOVE STYRKE interview – Evening Standard, 8 June 2018

Among Tove Styrke’s victories this year – invites to tour North America supporting Lorde and Europe with Katy Perry, and the release of a third album that is her best by some distance – the Swedish singer also experienced her most embarrassing moment as a musician.   “On the first night of the Lorde tour, I sang with no music… Read more →

ARCTIC MONKEYS, Albert Hall – Evening Standard, 8 June 2018

Arctic Monkeys chose a suitably chintzy venue for the UK debut of their new lounge lizard personas. The bearded flamboyance of the Sheffield band’s latest album, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, has divided fans, a piano-led concoction containing nothing for the lager-chuckers to bellow along to, but also featuring frontman Alex Turner’s most fascinating lyrical excursions. While too many working… Read more →

LIONEL RICHIE, Hampton Court Palace – Evening Standard, 6 June 2018

Ever since his ecstatically received set in the Sunday Afternooon Legends Slot at Glastonbury in 2015, Lionel Richie has been on an apparent lap of honour. With more than enough hits for an enjoyable if predictable 90 minutes, the 68-year-old hasn’t needed to release any new music since 2009, and it’s not just gig bookings that keep rolling in –… Read more →

THE XX interview – Evening Standard, 25 May 2018

It’s a few days before the Royal Wedding and the gates of Buckingham Palace are surrounded by scaffolding. Yards away, members of the public queue to meet quiz show host Alexander Armstrong. Meanwhile, all anyone wants to talk about is Star Wars.   I’m at Elstree Studios, currently home to Netflix series The Crown and BBC television’s Pointless, where the… Read more →

CIGARETTES AFTER SEX, Brixton Academy – Evening Standard, 25 May 2018

I received a few startled replies when I asked if anyone fancied Cigarettes After Sex in Brixton with me this week. The Texas-formed, Brooklyn-based band have a saucy name that sticks out on those all-important Spotify playlists, and a smouldering, post-coital indie rock sound that suits it precisely. A self-titled debut album from last year has been a word of… Read more →

THE ROLLING STONES, London Stadium – Evening Standard, 23 May 2018

  At a time when a farewell tour would be easy to announce and simply putting their collective feet up would be even easier, there’s satisfaction in seeing The Rolling Stones speeding onwards with no sign of a brake pedal. A strutting, peacocking advert for the joys of working beyond retirement age, the heavily furrowed septuagenarians were as entertaining as… Read more →

ALMA interview – Evening Standard, 18 May 2018

When you’re a singer from a country that hasn’t produced a major pop star before, the normal rules don’t apply. Alma-Sofia Miettinen, who trades as Alma, lives in Helsinki with her parents and is both visually and geographically a very long way from mainstream pop’s glossy perfectionism.   “I never had dreams of being Katy Perry. That’s unreachable for me.… Read more →

SINGING WITH NIGHTINGALES, Barcombe, East Sussex – Evening Standard, 14 May 2018

I am walking in deep darkness through Sussex woodland, part of a shoulder-holding chain of about 25 other audience members, to attempt to hear a singer who’s going to come on very late and may not show up at all. No, not Pete Doherty – Luscinia megarhynchos, the nightingale, who’s just back from Africa and noisily looking for a girlfriend… Read more →

BIG NARSTIE interview – Evening Standard, 11 May 2018

“Please tell the Evening Standard what you saw me do,” Big Narstie asks me. “I smashed this breakfast!”   It’s 2pm in an east London caff and the plus-sized Brixton rapper is prioritising an all-day fry-up over a photoshoot for which he is already late. Five rashers of extra well done bacon, two sausages, double scrambled eggs, toast and apple… Read more →

AURORA interview – Evening Standard, 4 May 2018

Aurora Aksnes has just returned to Norway after a trip to perform at Coachella, the huge music festival in the Californian desert. I’ve rarely met someone so happy to be home. The singer-songwriter, who performs under her first name, didn’t like all the dust, which hurt her eyes, and worried for the plants, which looked so dry. Here in Bergen,… Read more →