Posts Tagged ‘Arena’

25th March 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Skylights have been making waves of late, especially locally. But then, the question of local success is, to what extent can it translate regionally, nationally, and beyond? Recently, there has been significant coverage of the band playing a brace of major shows (two due to such high demand for the first) at a large-capacity venue – in a village on the edge of York. Now, I applaud their DIY ethic, the fact they’ve sorted these Easter weekend shows themselves and sold them without press or PR or label backing. Recent years and moths have really shown just how far bands can go independently, with Benefits in particular really owning independence to the point that they’re selling out bigger venues nationally with no backing beyond word of mouth and Steve Albini.

Of course, there’s always an element of luck, but outside of the world of manufactured success, it’s largely down to whether or not what you’re selling has demand, and in Benefits’ case, the demand is there by the spadeful.

Skylights may not be as unique as Benefits, but they’re carving their own niche, and on the evidence of the first single from their debut album, they’ve clearly got game.

‘Outlaw’ packs that mid 80s post-punk Leeds sound with heavy hints of The Rose of Avalanche and Salvation, with a big dose of The Cult thrown into the mix. ‘Outlaw’ isn’t exactly a ‘She Sellls Sanctuary’ life, but the guitar break definitely takes some cues from the Bradford band’s major smash. If Editors and Interpol and White Lies spearheaded a new wave revival around the turn of the millennium, the latest crop of revivalist acts definitely offer something different.

The production balances pomp and haziness, the defining factors that allude to the ‘big’ sound of the 80s; it’s ultimately an amalgamation of goth, indie, and arena-rock, and some thirty-five plus years on, it’s a sound that seems to be coming back in vogue. Skylights have the sound absolutely nailed, and better still, ‘Outlaw’ says they’ve got the songs to back it. The future is looking bright for Skylights.



30th April 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

Ten months on from last year’s ‘Summer ‘ EP, headed by lead track Recovery, Sleep Kicks return with ‘My Own Demon’, and it’s a solid second single to say the least, putting meat on the bones of the live acoustic version that featured on the EP.

The comparisons I drew to A-Ha and Editors in reference to its predecessor are again applicable here, as the Norwegian foursome spin a hypnotic atmosphere through the medium of strolling bass and chiming, reverby guitar to carve a song that’s a balance of taut 80s pop and brooding new wave, and anthemic is the only word to describe its epic finish. With a wash of guitars and a powerful, uplifting ‘wo-ah-hoh’, you could easily picture this being played in front of a packed arena with several thousand hands waving aloft in time.

Yet, at the same time, the delivery of this big, soaring chorus, is quite a contrast to the lyrical content, which are so striking in their intimacy:

Always feels like someone’s coming after me

Never seem to find a cure for this anxiety

Every day it stays the same, I fear tomorrow’s call

Would be better if it never came at all

We all have our demons and our anxieties, but tend not to talk about them, despite the fact we probably ought: free and open discussion is the only way we will change attitudes to these things, and normalise the topic of mental health, and how it feels to wake up wishing you hadn’t. But we’ve all – or nearly all – been there at some point. It takes real strength to not only commit such lines to paper, but also actually sing them out loud, but it’s that investment of emotion that resonates, and – as I often say – in the personal lies the universal. And this, this reaches out and touches the soul in a special way.



Christopher Nosnibor

Ernie Ball’s 10 Gauge set is tagged as ‘skinny tip, heavy bottom’ – and it’s an apt description for the sound of this Hertfordshire quintet whose blues-based classic hard rock stylings are chunky on the riffery while packing in no shortage of lead detail.

Because ‘I’m Broken’ is very much in the vein of so many other bands from the last thirty years, there’s an almost instant familiarity to it, and that’s much of the appeal. Not every band can break new ground, and nor should they want to. Moreover, certain genres seem to demand a certain adherence to trope, and as such, it’s more about how well an act does it which determines how they should be judged.

There’s no question that they’ve got a knack for a big chorus, and ‘I’m Broken’ boasts a whopper: Rob Jewson’s powerful vocal is pushed along by the crunch of a dual guitar attack. That they pack it all in tightly into under three minutes is admirable, too: there’s nothing indulgent or excessive here, just a suitably solid, focussed song that balances ballsiness and melody just nicely.

Lonely Robot, the project masterminded by producer, guitarist and singer/songwriter John Mitchell (Kino, Frost*, Arena, It Bites), are set to release their fourth album ‘Feelings Are Good’ on the 17th July 2020. Now, a second track from this record has been released featuring an impressive video by Miles Skarin of Crystal Spotlight.

Watch the video for ‘Spiders’ here:


John Mitchell has the following to say about this song: “’Spiders’ is a song about a woman, nay wolf in sheep’s clothing, who chose a path of greed and wretchedness and exploited her position of trust at a time of weakness when she COULD have done the exact opposite. Long since gone but never forgotten for all the wrong reasons.”

‘Feelings Are Good’ marks sort of a fresh start following the conclusion of the ‘The Astronaut Trilogy’ as John explains: “‘Feelings Are Good’ is a bit of a departure from the first three Lonely Robot albums. On ‘Feelings Are Good’, I wanted to explore more personal themes and the songs are very much about individual experiences and narratives that I believe had been the cornerstones, good and bad, to my life. The long tall and short of it is that we’re back on planet Earth, and I have a personal lyrical axe to grind!”


Lonely Robot will hit the road in December 2020 for some select headline dates, as follows:

Dec 13th  Islington Assembly Hall, London, UK

Dec 16th  Riff, Bochum, GER

Dec 17th  Das Rind, Rüsselsheim, GER

Dec 18th  Muziekgieterij, Maastricht, NL

Dec 20th  De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, NL