Weekly Listen: James Bay brings the Chaos and the Calm to our ears

This week, I’m spicing things up and doing a weekly listen instead of the usual Weekly Watch. (This will be a rather short post as I’m currently in the stressful deadline period for my last year at uni!)

James Bay’s debut album, ‘Chaos and the Calm’, hit the shelves today and I’ve been listening to it as I’ve been working throughout the day so I thought I’d share my opinion.

This may be one of the most anticipated albums of the year after James Bay won the Critics Choice Award at this year’s BRIT awards and sold out his entire UK tour. It’s pretty impressive to sell out a tour before the release of the first album.

The single, ‘Hold Back The River’, received a remarkable reception and set James off to a great start in gaining support from the public and critics.

On to the album, it certainly has both the chaos and the calm as named. I was partially expecting this album to be slow ballads but there is a real change of tempo throughout the album.

James Bay has a beautiful voice which I have fell in love with. It’s soulful, powerful, soft, familiar and different all at the same time.

I think there is many relatable songs on this album, it is clear the lyrics are from the heart.

One of my favourite more upbeat songs is ‘Best Fake Smile’, which is not a style I was expecting from James Bay. Also, it has a brilliant name!

My favourite slower track is ‘Need the Sun to Break’. It really exposes his voice and shows how wonderful his voice is.

The only criticism I have of the album is James’ voice is pretty similar throughout, which is great if you fall in love with his voice like me, but if it isn’t your cup of tea then you’ll be disappointed with the entire album.

This album is definitely worth listen. I won’t say too much and let you judge for yourself! (Also, because I need to go back to writing essays!)

If you’ve not heard of James Bay yet… Have you been living underneath a rock? Don’t worry if you haven’t heard of him, go listen to the album now and you’re all caught up! Hope you enjoy the new music as much as I am.

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Review: Hudson Taylor in Bristol

Folk-pop duo, Hudson Taylor, took to the stage at Bristol’s Trinity Centre last night and wowed the audience with an impressive set.

The Irish duo is made up of brothers Alfie and Harry who are set to release their debut album, Singing for Strangers, on the 30th of March. Since 2012, Hudson Taylor have released a number of EPs including Battles, Cinematic Lifestyle, Osea and Weapons.

The sold-out show was full of surprises with guest appearances from singer-songwriter, Gabrielle Aplin, and support act, Jack Morris.

Hudson Taylor kicked off the show with ‘Just A Thought’ which features on their debut album, Singing For Strangers. The band went on to play their popular tracks ‘Weapons’ and ‘Second Best’,  before introducing the audience to the new track ‘Don’t Tell Me’. The song had the audience dancing and Harry confessed that the “song is in danger of being too fun to play”.

The duo, accompanied by their band, played additional tracks that feature on the debut album including their next single, ‘World Without You’, ‘Wildfires’, ‘Trouble Town’ and ‘For The Last Time’.

Hudson Taylor also treated their fans to many of the popular songs from their EPs including ‘Called On’, ‘Chasing Rubies’, ‘Care’ and ‘Cinematic Lifestyle’.

Local to Bristol, singer-songwriter, Gabrielle Aplin, joined Hudson Taylor on stage to sing a beautiful rendition of ‘Beautiful Mistake’. Aplin, later returned to the stage with support act, Jack Morris, to sing ‘Don’t Know Why’, a bonus track from Singing For Strangers. The duet got the audience involved which created an electrifying atmosphere.

The band treated the audience to a completely acoustic version of ‘Holly’ by turning off the microphones to play to a memorised and silent audience. ‘Holly’ received a remarkable reception from the audience with huge cheers for the duo’s performance.

Hudson Taylor shook things up when playing ‘Stranger’ turned in to a cover of AC/DC’s ‘Back in Black’ that instantly got the audience singing along to the rock hit.

The Irish duo finished their set on ‘Drop of Smoke’ from the 2012 EP, Battles. The crowd sang their hearts out to the final song and Hudson Taylor received an incredible roar of cheers as they left the stage.

Hudson Taylor put on an exceptional and intimate show and are certainly one to watch after supporting some big names such as the Rolling Stones, Jake Bugg, Kodaline and The Script. The debut album, Singing for Strangers, is available to pre-order now.

Review: Tea on the Quay in Mevagissey, Cornwall

TOQ_Circular

This review is slightly different to my usual posts as I’m reviewing my first food and drink establishment. Tea on the Quay is a family owned tea room located in Mevagissey Harbour in Cornwall.

The views from Tea on the Quay are beautiful as it is situated along the harbour and is a perfect stop for a light lunch, coffee or a cake! Tea on the Quay is the perfect place to visit during a sunny day by the sea but also on a winter’s day when you want a hot drink to warm you up!

Mevagissey is a pretty village and fishing port near to St Austell and St Mawes in Cornwall, South West England. The village has a selection of cute shops including a sweet shop, arts and craft shops, a Cornish fudge shop and jewellers. Mevagissey is a perfect day trip where you can browse the shops, stroll across the harbour and visit Tea on the Quay.

Mevagissey Harbour

Mevagissey Harbour

I visited Mevagissey Harbour with my family on the weekend and between us we sampled a variety of the cafe’s hot drinks and cakes. I ordered the hot chocolate deluxe and the chocolate sponge cake with chocolate ganache filling, strawberries and raspberries (chocolate overload!). This was a delicious combination if you’re a chocolate lover, the sponge was light and the filling was tasty.

My family opted for the less chocolatey option and had scones, victoria sponge cake, teas and coffees which they said were tasteful. The victoria sponge cake was light and mouth-watering and the fruit and plain scones were scrumptious.

Tea on the Quay also has a lunch menu including a selection of sandwiches, jacket potatoes, quiches and omelettes.

Tea on the Quay's Hot Chocolate and Cake

Tea on the Quay’s Hot Chocolate and Cake

You can take a look at their food gallery which shows off the wonderful foods you can taste at Tea on the Quay.

The staff were exceedingly friendly and their happy, bubbly personalities added something special to the atmosphere of the tea room. You get the sense of the close-knit family business which makes you feel like you’re spending your money in the right place.

I highly recommend visiting Tea on the Quay if you are near the area as it is a lovely tea room located in a beautiful harbouring village.

Tea on the Quay is open 10.30am to 6pm, Tuesday to Sunday, all year round. You can visit their website here.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight Review

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Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?”

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith is a simple and romantic tale of young love.

Hadley is a typical teenage girl who is travelling from New York to London for her Dad’s wedding. The trip hits a bump in the road as she misses her flight by four short minutes but if she hadn’t she would have never met Oliver.

Oliver is an English boy, carrying out his studies in America, who is extremely likeable from the moment he offers to help Hadley with her luggage at the airport. He also happens to be on Hadley’s flight and they spend the many hours to come laughing, flirting and getting to know each other. Hadley opens up about the nature of her trip and about her relationship with her father. She tells him how she’s not seen him in over a year and never met his soon-to-be wife because she’s still angry about her parent’s divorce and her Dad’s move to London.

The pair have a wonderful bond as they land in London. Oliver kisses Hadley as they are about to get separated at border control and when they do, they have no way of getting in contact with each other again. Will they see each other again? Of course not! The flight is only the first half of their love story as they both go on wild goose chases round London to find each other.

The characters in the book are likeable characters and relatable to its young adult audience. Hadley is the fiesty but kind-hearted teenager and Oliver is the charming and funny young man. The reader could easily imagine themselves in the situation of the two lead characters.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is an incredibly easy read which is short and sweet. This book is a light read which tells the tale of how two teenagers fall in love during a flight across the world. However, this book is not for you if you’re looking for a challenging read as there is not much complexity to the story, it is very predictable in places and the title says it all.

Details

Title: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

Author: Jennifer E. Smith

Publisher: Headline Publishing Group

Published: 5 January 2012

ISBN: 9780755384037

The Rosie Project Review

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The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion is a wonderful book which reminds us that love will find us when we’re least expecting it.

The book focuses on the life of Professor Don Tillman and his search for love. Don devises ‘The Wife Project’ by creating a questionnaire to find a suitable romantic match but when he keeps failing, he focuses his time to help his new friend Rosie find out who her father is.

Don Tillman is a thirty-nine year old geneticist professor who has trouble of getting to a second date in his love life due to his autism creating a lack of social skills. He has a resemblance to Sheldon Cooper from the American TV series, Big Bang Theory. As a lead character, he is very likeable and will have you feeling sympathetic towards him but also laughing hysterically.

Rosie is a Psychology student who has grown up never knowing her father. Rosie is a wild, unpredictable character who is the complete opposite of the protagonist, Don Tillman. She is an exciting and fascinating character who will have you wanting to read on.

The novel is incredibly well-written from the perspective of Don in an intellectual, concise and to the point manner. Although, the book feels repetitive at times, overall, the book is enticing from it’s likeable and intriguing characters.

The author, Graeme Simsion, is a full-time writer who previously worked as an international IT consultant and taught at four Australian universities.

The love story of Don and Rosie is unique, fun and heart-warming which tells a tale of how opposites really do attract! You can buy The Rosie Project from Amazon here.

The Rosie Effect, the sequel to the book, is due to be released on the 25th September so now is the perfect time to pick up a copy of The Rosie Project and have the next book ready and waiting for you!

Details

Title: The Rosie Project

Author: Graeme Simsion

Publisher: Penguin Books

Published: 2 January 2014

(First published 11 April 2013 by Michael Joseph)

ISBN: 9781405912792

Review: Shrek the Musical

Photo courtesy of the Bristol Post.

Photo courtesy of the Bristol Post.

Shrek the Musical left the West End and headed to Bristol with the green, fun-filled musical. The show embarked on two and a half weeks of shows at the Bristol Hippodrome and wowed the audience with an all-singing and all-dancing musical.

Shrek the Musical is based on the storyline of the Dreamworks animation film, Shrek, with the addition of new songs and wonderful costumes.

Visually, the show was a wonder to the eyes of the audience with numerous set changes each revealing a magical new set. The costumes added to the outstanding appearance of the show with bright coloured and creative outfits.

Photo courtesy of groupleisure.com

Photo courtesy of groupleisure.com

The cast included Dean Chisnall in the lead role of Shrek, Faye Brookes as the beautiful Princess Fiona, Idriss Kargbo as the hilarious Donkey and Gerard Carey as the extremely small Lord Farquaad.

The Dragon was captured perfectly on stage towering above everybody with her ruby skin and mesmerising eyes.

Photo courtesy of ATG Tickets

Photo courtesy of ATG Tickets

Photo courtesy of sheptonmalletjournal.co.uk

Photo courtesy of sheptonmalletjournal.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The popular character, the gingerbread man, was as funny and likeable as in the original film. The gingerbread man was voiced by the fairy and it was brilliant how the gingerbread man well-resembled his animated character.

The musical also featured Princess Fiona as a child who impressed the audience with her brave solo at such a young age.

The highlight of the show was the finale of the show where the cast sang ‘I’m a Believer’ which is the fun-loving song that features at the end of the film.

Shrek the Musical is undoubtedly cheesy but if  you like the film, you’ll love the musical as it brings the story to life on the stage.

Shrek the Musical is the perfect theatre trip for the whole family with both children and adults enjoying the show. The tour now continues onto Nottingham, Belfast, Dublin and many other locations across the UK. If Shrek’s coming to a town near you, be sure not to miss it!

Review: Reading Festival 2014

Photo Courtesy of Ticketmaster

Photo Courtesy of Ticketmaster Blog

The line-up for Reading Festival 2014 was pretty impressive which resulted in a fully sold-out festival. If you’ve ever been to a festival you know you’ll have an amazing time by listening to some of your favourite music, meeting new people, having campfires and discovering new talents. Here’s a look at the music across the stages throughout the weekend:

Headliners

Friday night made history with the festival’s first co-headline sets from Paramore and Queens of the Stone Age. Paramore took to the stage first and wowed the audience with music from all four of their studio albums. The band put on an energetic performance with lots of confetti and flashing lights. Paramore faced a technical problem when the sound cut out during their set. This led to the magical moment of Hayley Williams singing ‘The Only Exception’ a cappella with the audience. The technical issue turned out to create the most unforgettable memory for the audience and the band with Hayley exclaiming “Oh my gosh, I’m never going to forget this”.

Queens of the Stone Age closed Friday night with lots of lasers and classic rock songs. The band played an amazing set but it felt like the connection with the audience was missing.

Arctic Monkeys headlined Saturday night and gathered possibly one of Reading Festival’s biggest crowds in history. The crowd went crazy for their old classics such as ‘Fluorescent Adolescent’ and ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ but also went mad for the more recent songs from the number 1 album, AM. You can watch the band finish their set with ‘R U Mine?’ below:

Sunday night saw Blink-182 bring the festival to an end and had the crowd singing and dancing along. However, the American pop-punk band did not sound brilliant and were out of tune at times. This did not affect the audience who loved every minute of their performance and the show had a great atmosphere. Blink-182’s set was certainly fun and they had the audience laughing at their jokes.

Main Stage Acts

Jake Bugg played the main stage before Arctic Monkeys on Saturday night. He put on a remarkable performance as the sun set on Reading Festival. Bugg played many of his popular songs such as ‘Two Fingers’, ‘Me and You’ and ‘Lightning Bolt’.

You Me At Six played an energetic show on Sunday afternoon as they played songs from various albums. They welcomed Alex from All Time Low on stage to sing ‘Fresh Start Fever’ with them and to announce their UK co-headline tour taking place in February. The band as always were very grateful to play to such a large crowd on the main stage.

A Day To Remember played a brilliant rock show on Sunday performing many of their top hits including ‘The Downfall of Us’, ‘All Signs Point to Lauderdale’ and an acoustic version of ‘If It Means A Lot To You’. Lead singer, Jeremy McKinnon, got into a giant hamster ball and crowd-surfed during one of the songs in the middle of the set. Watch Jeremy in the giant hamster ball below:

NME/BBC Radio 1 

Lead singer of My Chemical Romance, Gerard Way, made his debut solo performance on the NME/BBC Radio 1 Friday morning. A huge crowd formed for his debut performance, most likely hoping for a few MCR songs which never got played. The frontman play a great set on his own but all the songs were new and unknown so the audience weren’t able to sing along.

Bombay Bicycle Club played an amazing set on Saturday night and had a huge crowd gathered with the tent overflowing. The band welcomed Lucy Rose on stage to sing ‘Lights Out’ and ‘Wherever, Whenever’ and Rae Morris joined them on stage to sing ‘Luna’. Bombay Bicycle Club were magical as they lit up the tent with bright colours and amazing sounds. I’m sure it won’t be long before the band play the main stage.

Smaller Stages

Hudson Taylor played the Festival Republic Stage on Friday afternoon and played an amazing set to an overflowing tent. Hudson Taylor are a folk-pop band formed by two brothers from Ireland, who have built their fan base from posting videos on YouTube. The band had a large crowd come to watch them perform which is impressive considering they are yet to release their debut album. The band also made their first UK TV debut during the festival which you can watch below:

American rock band, Mayday Parade, took to the Festival Republic Stage on Sunday night and put on a great performance of their biggest hits, including ‘Jersey’, ‘Jamie All Over’ and ‘Three Cheers for Five Years’.. The band’s fans were there in force with the audience singing along with every word. The only downfall of the set was that it was not long enough to play all the songs the crowd wanted to hear.

Alternative Stage

The alternative stage offered entertainment away from the music with many comedians performing stand-up comedy.

Bill Bailey was hilarious and incorporated music into his comedy on Friday afternoon. The comedian, who is best known for his role in Black Books, had the audience in stitches as he told jokes and played variations of songs, such as singing Miley Cyrus’ ‘Wrecking Ball’ in German and Lady Gaga’s ‘Poker Face’ in a West Country accent. The Alternative Stage tent was rammed full with people laughing.

Bill Bailey. Photo courtesy of Viagogo.

Bill Bailey. Photo courtesy of Viagogo.

Seann Walsh. Photo courtesy of Reading Festival.

Seann Walsh. Photo courtesy of Reading Festival.

Seann Walsh took to the stage on Sunday and put on a humorous show about living with his girlfriend. The stand-up comedy was relatable to the audience with many people laughing and nodding in agreement. Seann Walsh made his first comedy performance in 2007 and went on to win Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year within two years.

Reading 2014 was a remarkable year for the festival and will be tough to top in 2015!