Amy Gravelle (@AmyGravelle) checks out a host of acts about to tour, here’s her recent highlights that will be playing a UK venue near you soon.
Courtney Love has always been something of a talking point, but after most recently wracking up column inches via Nirvana’s Hall Of Fame induction, speculating on the coordinates of the missing Malaysian plane MH370 and teasing the possibility of a Hole reunion, I was curious to see whether the 49-year-old is still a rock star or now merely a social media agitator with a band. Walking on stage puffing an E-Cigarette at London’s 02 Shepherd’s Bush Empire earlier this week (12 May), Love didn’t waste much time settling into her surroundings or the latter role, quickly stripping down to slinky black shorts and a revealing vest. Launching into hits like Miss World and gritty new single You Know My Name, it soon became clear that the singer’s bat-shit-crazy persona is just part of her stage facade, as her weighty back catalogue and grungy vocal tone combine to create a truly captivating performance. Not that the set isn’t chaotic, as roadies flap around her tangled microphone and she often tempts fate suggesting it all could all go horribly wrong at any moment. Yet she keeps the sold out venue on its toes for the whole gig. As the infamous power-chords of Celebrity Skin ring through the night’s climax, it was clear Love is a bona fide a rock’n’roll icon (who enjoys a re-tweet or two).
On the road: 02 Academy Leeds (16 May), 02 Academy Birmingham (18 May), O2 Academy Bristol (19 May), Rock City Nottingham (20 May)
Swedish singer Lykke Li has slowly earned her place in the UK charts, with her third studio album I Never Learn offering a fusion of mainstream electro-pop beats and alternatively witchy, yet heartbroken charms. Playing Shoreditch’s Village Underground (8 May) Li converted the east London warehouse into a haunting location full of draped black cloth, expressive lighting and invoking smoke machines. It was a gothic visual spectacle, but that wasn’t the point of the show for the singer. “Can we chill a bit with all these phones? Let’s have a heart-to-heart and forget about Instagram,” she urged the hordes of wielding mobile users a few tracks in. Clearly more relaxed and in her comfort zone as the gig developed, No Rest For The Wicked showcased Li’s ethereal vocals as she flailed around the stage. With the crowds finally adjusting to her technology freeze, by the time the singer got to I Follow Rivers all eyes – not screens – in the room were glued to Li, as she weaved her way through entrancing percussion and delicate lyrics. It might have taken a while for Lykke Li to achieve true popstar status here in the UK, but having witnessing her latest incarnation live, she revealed she’s so much more.
On the road: Glastonbury Festival (25-29 June), Latitude Festival (20 July)