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: 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

Photo courtesy of

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

Photo courtesy of









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!

Russell Howard at Bristol Zoo

Russell Howard in the limelight. Photo courtesy of

Russell Howard in the limelight. Photo courtesy of

Stand-up comedian, Russell Howard, took to the stage at Bristol Zoo Gardens on Saturday Night. He put on a hilarious performance and the show was worth every penny.

The zoo is not a conventional venue for stand-up comedy but it certainly was a good one with ticket holders having the opportunity to visit the animals beforehand. The unique night was named ‘Giggle for Gorillas’ in aid of raising money for Gorilla conservation.

Russell Howard is a stand-up comedian from Bristol who is well known for his TV show ‘Russell Howard’s Good News‘ and his many appearances on ‘Mock the Week‘.

The night was held together by Mark Olver who had the audience laughing throughout as he filled the gaps between the stand-up acts. Olver is well-known as a television warm-up act and has worked on many shows including Bristol’s very own Deal or No Deal, 8 out of 10 Cats, Vicar of Dibley and Jonathan Ross. He bounced off the audience’s energy and had every person hysterically laughing.

Howard was joined by a variety of comedic guests including Steve Williams, comedian and fellow writer of ‘Russell Howard’s Good News’. The welsh funny-man made jokes the audience could relate to about everyday life and his home town of Newport.

Steve Hall also joined the line-up with a focus on his childhood and a slideshow to accompany him. Hall was hilarious and had the audience giggling away.

George Rigden also took to the stage with his guitar and jokes. He began with a comedic song, told some jokes in the middle and even attempted to woo a lady in the audience by singing her a funny love song.

When it was Russell Howard’s time to headline, the audience went wild and he did not disappoint by having the audience laughing until they cried. A large focus of the comedy was on his family including pulling pranks on his Mum, his younger brother running round Naked as a child and going on holiday with his mum.

Russell is clearly a down to earth man who has a love for his home town of Bristol and his family. He was hilarious and lived up to his witty appearance on TV.

Howard returned to the stage for an encore which resulted in unrehearsed jokes with the audience. Mark Olver jumped into the crowd with a microphone so the banter could be heard by all. It was a great way to finish the show and really involved the audience.

Russell Howard is about to embark on four sold-out nights at the Bristol Hippodrome and Bristol Zoo Gardens was the perfect place to warm-up for his Bristol shows. If you’re lucky enough to have a ticket, you are in for a funny treat!

The Shock of the Fall Review

“I’ll tell you what happened because it will be a good way to introduce my brother. His name’s Simon. I think you’re going to like him. I really do. But in a couple of pages he’ll be dead. And he was never the same after that.”

The blurb had me hooked before I even opened the book itself. Although, it does not tell you much about the novel’s topic, it does certainly intrigue the reader.

The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer is a heart rendering tale of Matthew Holmes’ struggle with mental illness. The ‘COSTA Book of the Year’ winner is written from the perspective of the mentally ill main character and focuses on the death of the narrator’s brother. It unchronologically follows Matthew Holmes from his childhood until his young adult years.

The novel is incredibly well-written, easy to read and will have you hooked throughout. The Shock of the Fall will perfectly capture a mixture of your emotions from shocked to humoured and sad to emotional.

The style of writing and tone has a resemblance to Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time which makes The Shock of the Fall personal and makes you feel like you know Matthew Holmes.

The Shock of the Fall is the first novel written by author, Nathan Filer, who is a registered mental health nurse and performance poet who regularly contributes to literary events. Filer also lectures at Bath Spa University for the Creative Writing course.

The book is based in the city of Bristol and for locals refers to many famous streets and attractions. As a Bristolian, it was relatable and created a sense of knowing. However, if you’re not familiar with Bristol it will not in anyway make the book less enjoyable. The book is an amazing read from anywhere in the world.

The Shock of the Fall is an incredibly well-written book which is a gripping read that will have you on the edge of your seat. You can pick up a copy of the book here.


Title: The Shock of the Fall

Author: Nathan Filer

Publisher: The Borough Press

Published: 7 January 2014

ISBN: 9780007491452

Lee Evans warms up in Bristol

Lee Evans under the spotlight. Picture courtesy of

Comedian, Lee Evans, took to Bristol’s Colston Hall for two nights of comedy to warm-up for his upcoming tour. The Bristol-born funny man had the audience in stitches as he tried out his new material on Friday and Saturday night.

Lee Evans is known for his energetic performances, excessive sweating and comic impressions. The show did not disappoint as the comedian delivered a standing-ovation performance and made it worth every penny with the comedy rolling for over two hours.

Evans was overwhelmed with the audience’s reception and shared his love of how he loves to perform at the Colston Hall and in the city he was born in.

The audience went wild for his impression of the Bristolian accent and his use of the city’s slang!

Lee Evans takes everyday, normally boring topics and makes them hilarious. Each audience member can relate to the jokes and the comedian himself.

Even though, Evans was reading from notes throughout his performance with just him, a microphone and a table, this did not take anything away from the comedic value and it showed that his talent can shine on its own.

The fresh material proved to be a success as the audience cried with laughter. If you’ve got tickets to his Monsters tour later this year then you’re in for a real treat!

Russell Brand in Bristol

Brand’s Messiah Complex Tour Poster

Eccentric comedian, Russell Brand, took to the stage at the Colston Hall in Bristol on Monday evening for two nights of sold out stand-up comedy.

Comedic poet, Mr Gee, supported Russell Brand and warmed up the audience with his jokes and rhymes. He had the crowd laughing with his relatable jokes and had them reflecting on life with his deep and thoughtful poems.

Brand bought his Messiah Complex world tour to the city of Bristol and without a doubt gave the audience an entertaining show focusing on many powerful leaders throughout history, including Jesus, Malcolm X, Gandhi, Che Guevara and Hitler. Brand argued how he was similar to some of these leaders in the most comedic way possible.

As the funny-man took to the stage he spent time interacting with the audience, especially his female fans. He was giving out hugs, accepting presents and making jokes out of the crowd.

Brand took his geographical location into consideration and attempted his very own Bristolian accent, brought the local newspaper onto stage with him and even mentioned some areas of Bristol.

Russell Brand was a ball of energy on stage as he moved around the stage, carried out imaginary sexual actions (even pretending to have sex with a chair!), and constantly moving throughout the show.

The crowd went wild anytime Brand spoke of Jeremy Paxman after their heated interview on Newsnight last week. If you’ve not already seen the interview, you can watch it here.

The audience certainly got their money’s worth as Brand gave around a two hour long performance.

Russell Brand live is all you could imagine and more. If you get the opportunity to see Brand in action, you will be laughing through the entire performance.

Date: 28th-29th October

Venue: Colston Hall

Genre: Comedy

Performers: Russell Brand and Mr Gee.

Lauren Aquilina at the Fleece.


Last Thursday night in Bristol’s iconic music venue, The Fleece, Lauren Aquilina left the audience in absolute awe with her angelic voice and beautiful piano melodies.

The 18-year-old singer-songwriter spent her early childhood years living in Bristol and told the crowd how astonished she was to be headlining a sold out tour, kicking off in a city close to her heart.

Lauren Aquilina is an independent artist, making her music heard through YouTube, and even though she has only just completed her A-levels, Lauren is making her way up the music ladder with a sold out UK tour, a headline spot at Reading and Leeds Festival on the BBC Introducing stage and her latest E.P. ‘Sinners’ reaching the top 5 in the UK iTunes chart.

The show got underway with the first support act, Archie Smith, who Aquilina discovered on YouTube from a cover of one of her very own songs. Archie’s breathtaking sound certainly got the attention of the crowd, even from the audience who were still entering from the queue outside the venue. You can listen to Archie’s music, along with his cover, on his YouTube:

Orla Gartland took to the stage second playing songs that have been made famous on YouTube, such as ‘The Ground’ and ‘Devil on my Shoulder’. The singer also previewed a brand new exclusive song from her soon to be released first E.P., and did an astounding, unique cover of Avicii’s ‘Wake Me Up’. Orla’s excitement and talent came across to the crowd and definitely warmed up the audience. At only 18 years of age it seems the Irish singer-songwriter has a bright musical future ahead of her. Keep your eyes peeled for her first E.P. You can check out Orla’s music here:

Aquilina’s current tour is the first time she takes to the stage with her live band. As the band took to the stage, followed by Lauren, they began with ‘Ugly Truth’ which features on her second E.P. ‘Sinners’. Performing with her band only enhanced her powerful songs and increased her professional appearance.

The singer-songwriter was kind enough to share some brand new songs with the audience, including ‘Stung’ which the audience seemed to love from their enthusiastic cheers and wonderful wooo’s.

The Aquilina family were there to show their support with Lauren’s Dad humbly watching in the audience and her mum proudly running the merchandise stand whilst singing along to her daughter’s songs.

As Aquilina introduced that she would be singing her song ‘Wonder’ she warned that she may start to cry and the emotion of the song came across to the crowd as they peacefully watched in amazement.

Nevertheless, Aquilina was slightly too powerful on the odd occasion but she keeps on growing as she releases more and more music. The amount she has grown musically, between debuting ‘Fools’ and realising her second E.P., is phenomenal and she is on track to carry on blossoming into a successful music career.

Lauren played a cover of Avril Lavigne’s ‘Complicated’ and looked incredibly happy singing a song that she must have grown up with. The audience thoroughly enjoyed the rendition with many of them singing at the top of their lungs.

Aquilina finished the show with ‘Fools’ the title track of her first E.P. She encouraged the audience to sing along and it was a brilliant way to finish her wonderful set.

The singer-songwriter has developed a large fan base with a fan at the gig making her a cake. Lauren showed her grateful thanks to her fans by signing and having pictures taken for over an hour. She certainly knows how to treat her fans well.

If you missed Lauren Aquilina in concert this time, keep your eyes out for the announcement of her third tour where she will be playing Bristol’s famous musical boat, The Thekla.