Live Review: Maximo Park, Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London

Once upon a time I used to a bit of street teaming and merch selling for bands. It started with little known indie touring bands that would pass through Liverpool. All I had to do was hand out some badges or stickers or, occasionally something a bit more interesting like branded chocolates or frisbees in exchange for a name and email address on a mailing list. This is how I first became aware of Maximo Park, many moons ago.

Maximo Park

2004 seems like an awful long time ago when you look back but I remember it like it was yesterday. I was upstairs in the loft of The Barfly in Liverpool and there were 5 Geordie lunatics on stage making me feel rather under dressed in my denim. Fast forward 7 years and here I am in The Shepherd’s Bush Empire with that exact same feeling of wishing I’d spent a bit longer digging around my wardrobe.

Maximo Park are one of the best live bands I’ve seen in my twenty something years and they just continue to get better and better. I guess this is how they’ve survived the past 12 years!  Everything about them is super tight (apart from a slight wobble on Write This Down) and you can’t help but surrender to them whilst they’re on stage and judging from the non-stop dancing of the crowd I wasn’t alone!

I was a little anxious that the set-list would be new album heavy, only because I hadn’t had an opportunity to familiarise myself with the material, but I needn’t have worried. After opening with The National Health and charging through a couple more new tracks we were treated to Graffiti and all was well in the world. The set was an excellent mix from their entire back catalogue and even the fair weather fan of  my OH heard enough to leave grinning like a loon.

Ending the set on Apply Some Pressure was a masterstroke, there was more noise coming from the crowd than the stage and obviously left the audience begging for more. We weren’t disappointed and Smith’s incredible performance of Acrobat left the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end but I couldn’t sit in my bubble for long, there was a sing-along to be had! I Want You To Stay was swiftly followed by Our Velocity and with that it was all over.

Maximo Park are impressive, talented and still relevant even after all these years. None of their material sounded dated and I had the best time I’ve had in a while.

Are you an MP fan? Where you at this show? What did you think?

Kisses

Lojo

Live Review: Billy Talent, The Roundhouse

When the Rock Sound Riot Tour was announced I got pretty excited. I love Billy Talent. Then, when Don Broco were added to the line up I was over the moon. My excitement was totally justified though, what a brilliant night it was!

Rock Sound Riot

Knowing that Don Broco were kicking the Rock Sound Riot Tour off meant I was at the venue early. I honestly haven’t done that for years so boys, if you’re reading this, you should feel pretty damn special. Sadly not everyone had the same idea and they performed to a half empty Roundhouse. A fact he was probably secretly pleased about as he went flying across the stage. Apart from this tiny mishap, their co-ordinated dance routines, infectious songs and excellent presence mean they’ll be facing crowds far bigger than this soon.

Don Broco

Awolnation are, what can only be described as, a genre-spanner. But my word, they’re good at it. They somehow manage to skip from electronica to post-hardcore and reference everything else in between. Yet Aaron Bruno still manages to make it all perfectly coherent. A feat few bands can actually pull off and these guys do it with aplomb.

Awolnation

When Billy Talent hot the stage the crowd went wild and unsurprisingly they dived straight into their set. You don’t get a crazy floorshow or any microphone acrobatics with Billy Talent and you know why? You just don’t need it. They play perfect, passionate punk rock and their fans idolise them for it.

Every word that fell from Ben Kowalewicz’s lips the crowd sang right back at him. Unrelenting hero worship, right from opener Lonely Road all the way through to the encore of Fallen Leaves, Surprise Surprise and Red Flag. If you’ve seen Billy Talent play before, there was absolutely nothing that would surprise you, but then again, why change something that works so well?

In an unusual, but rather touching moment, Kowalewicz drew everyone’s attention to it being Remembrance Day and dedicated The Navy Song to “everyone’s granddad who fought in the war”. I’m pretty sure this is the first gig I’ve ever been to where grandparents got one of the largest cheers of the night.

Billy Talent

 

All in all, The Rock Sound Riot tour had a great selection of bands that really complimented each other well but at the end of the day we were there to revel in the greatness of Billy Talent and revel we did!

Did you go to this show? Do you like Billy Talent? What do you think?

Kisses

Lojo

This review was first posted on Glasswerk

 

Just My Type

I’m not sure if it’s because I studied and work in communications and content…. writing basically but I love typography. I’m really drawn to art with words in and I’m even getting my dad to make me a huge red L & T as part of my wedding decor. So recently I was browsing on Etsy, looking for a Christmas present for my very best bezzie and I got a bit distracted, as I tend to do so very often and found myself coveting a couple of things for myself.

Vintage Typewriter Turquoise Blue Smith Corona Corsair DeLuxe Manual Baby Blue Typewriter

Vintage Typewriter Turquoise Blue Smith Corona Corsair DeLuxe Manual. $170. Etsy

I have the skinniest T shaped hallway in all the world. I don’t think I could actually fit a table in there and be able to still get in and out of my rooms but more than anything I want a vintage turquoise typewriter in there. This one from Good Bones Vintage Co is just perfect. *sigh*

Another thing I’m obsessed with is scatter cushions. My OH’s mum made us some out of some brilliant 50s style hule girl material I found but now I think they’re lonely and need more ace cushions to keep them company.

I Never Finish Anyth Black and White Pillow

I Never Finish Anyth Black and White Pillow. $32. Etsy

I think this is absolutely ideal! Not only am I loving it because of the typography but also because it’s so true in my life at the moment. Every time I have a look at it, it makes me chuckle and if it can make me laugh I’m all its. Well, that’s how the OH got me! The fact that Yellow Bug Boutique, where this cushion comes from, say themselves that they specialise in handmade geekery and artsy-fartsy things makes me love them even more!

I’ve mentioned before about my love of getting things through the post and this poster just echoes my sentiments perfectly.

Write More Handwritten Letters

Write More Handwritten Letters. $25. Etsy

This is a gorgeous reminder that every once in a while we should go a bit crazy and actually pick up a pen and paper to let someone that we’re thinking about them. I know a text, tweet or email is easier but the extra thought and effort it takes to write someone a real letter means a lot. It means more than, if not as much as, the actually words contained in the letter, at least to me it does anyway. If this one doesn’t float your boat though Mary Kate McDevitt has a lot of gorgeous illustrations and screen prints in her Etsy shop.

I broke my rule of three with this post but I couldn’t leave this last one out!

Pocket Moleskine . Hand-Lettered Calligraphy . Small Writing Journal . Red Ink on Brown Kraft . Write What Should Not Be Forgotten

Pocket Moleskine. $20. Etsy

With all my talk of loving writing on things I couldn’t really leave out something this lovely to write in could I? I love keeping a notebook in my handbag. It’s the most useful thing in there and is always handy. I writes to do lists (I love lists), reminder notes, ideas, numbers, addresses, anything and everything that pops into my head that I don’t want to forget. That’s exactly what this gorgeous pocket moleskin tells you to do. Not only is it adorned with a fabulous Isabel Allende quote each book is individually, hand decorated. Sparrow Nest Script also make cute greetings cards, amazing stationery (gosh, I love stationery!) and even take on custom calligraphy projects.

How gorgeous are these things? Do you love typography too? Or are you another stationery addict like me?

Kisses

Lojo

Live Review: Nicki Minaj, O2 Arena

I’ve always viewed Nicki Minaj as a bit of an oddity to be taken with a pinch of salt. After seeing her live at the O2 Arena at the end of October I now realise, she sees herself a bit like that too. On stage she is an over the top caricature of what people perceive her as. She lives up to the hype and I had one of the best times I’ve ever had at her show on 30th October.

Nicki Minaj At The O2

Nicki Minaj may have been late hitting the stage but, my word; she made up for it when she emerged from her big pink space rocket. She looked every inch the hip hop bitch Barbie but swore like an absolute sailor as she stormed through Come On a Cone, Roman Reloaded and Did It On ‘Em.

The show was an absolute spectacle and I got the idea that the music was secondary to the pantomime as she performed over the top of her tracks. This upset me a bit to begin with but soon I was whipped up into a frenzy and bobbing along in the Minaj bubble like everyone else. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t just the crowd that was having the time of their lives, Nicki in all her wide eyed glory looked like she was having a great time too.

The camp spectacular was sprinkled with a handful of costume (and wig) changes and some fantastic props; including an inflatable pink limo and a crystal studded bath tub! As talented a rapper as she is the highlights of her show were definitely the big hits; especially her big finale of Starships. The place was bouncing even after she’d left the stage.

As if her fans weren’t eating out of the palm of her hand from the moment she hit the stage she confessed to having an obsession with Britain; which led to a number of random forays into a dodgy Mary Poppins style English accent. Personally, I loved it.

There isn’t a better place on this fucking planet than motherfucking London!” she screamed and right at that moment everyone in the O2 agreed.

What do you think of Nicki Minaj? Is she as bat shit crazy as she comes across?

Kisses

Lojo

This review first appeared on Glasswerk.

Friday Favourites

It’s taken me a while to get a chance to do this today. I don’t know where the time seems to be going! Oh gosh, I sound old. Moving on… this week’s round of smiles…

#     It’s only 39 sleeps to Christmas now and I have just ordered a Christmas tree. Hopefully I’ll get to go Christmas decoration shopping this weekend too.

#     I have to buy Christmas cards to send this year, now we’re engaged and being grown ups I feel we should send our own. This isn’t too exciting but having to buy new pens to write them is! I love stationery.

#     Yesterday I was informed that kitten cam exists. Yes this is a live stream to 4 super cute little kittens. You will never be grumpy again with these in your life.

#     I have hot water again. My boiler broke on Monday and I had no heating or hot water until Wednesday. I will never take hot water for granted again!

#     My new blog design is finished (wooo!) and I’ll be moving over to that and lojovstheworld.co.uk soon 🙂

#     My dad has been so worried about me having no water he keeps ringing me. I’ve not spoken to him so much since we lived in the same house. It’s nice.

#     Despite not having any Christmas decorations to put up yet Hannah has been sending my pictures of her tree and snowglobes to keep me feeling festive.

Hannah's Christmas Tree

Hannah’s Christmas Tree

#     I’ve also found this sweatshirt in Topshop and I really want it!

KAPOW! SWEAT

Kapow! Sweat. £28. Topshop

So yeah, that’s what made me smile this week. What about you? Good things happening?

Kisses Lojo

Twit-Twoo – At Home With The Owls

The OH and I moved into our new flat in March. It was brand spanking new and everywhere was white. It was the first time we’d properly lived together where all our stuff wasn’t crammed into one room and we soon realised that although we have ridiculous amounts of “stuff”, none of it was particularly cohesive and we certainly couldn’t decorate an entire flat with it.

So much stuff

Some of our stuff packed to leave the old flat!

So, slowly we have been decorating and gathering things to make the flat our home. I stress on the slowly. Interior decorating is expensive! One of the things the OH and I share a love for is owls. They’re just so cute and, lucky for us, appear to be quite on trend at the moment. (Hopefully flamingos will be next because I bloody love them too!)

So I was mooching around the interwebs the other day, looking for pretty things to break up the stacks of book in my new living room bookcase and stumbled across these little wooden owls. How cute?

Walnut Owls

Walnut Owls. £25 each. How Kapow.

They are hand-turned from sustainably sourced walnut-wood in Bath by local designer, Matt Pugh, and I need the three of them to live together on my shelf. I couldn’t separate them or choose one that I preferred over the others. My living room colour scheme just happens to be black, white and red too so they’d sit perfectly amongst it.

How long has it taken you to get your place just right? Where else can I find cute homeware? Can I have everything on How Kapow please?

Kisses

Lojo

I NEED these shoes

I was doing a bit of early morning internet window shopping, getting a few Christmas present ideas and the like and found myself wandering on over to Missguided. Clearly I’d given up on other people and was looking for Christmas presents for me instead now. Selfish, I know, but if I don’t know what I want how will other people eh?

Anyway, I stumbled across these bad boys and they need to be added to my shoe collection pronto!

Sydnie Peace And Love Slipper Shoes

Sydnie Peace And Love Slipper Shoes. £19.99

How cute are they? I pretty much live in flat black pumps (although I’ve moved on to flat black boots at the moment) because they go with everything and are so easy to just throw on. I love that these are a little bit different though and the gold embroidery is wicked. They’re clearly super popular because they only have sizes 7 and 8 left. Luckily I’m a 7 so all is well there.

They shall indeed be my next payday purchase I think. Maybe I should make that a monthly feature? What do you think?

Anyway, I’m off to think through all the outfits I can make from my wardrobe to go with my soon to be new shoes 🙂

Kisses

Lojo

New Video: Imogen Heap – You Know Where To Find Me

Imogen Heap is perfect soaking in the bath music and here is her new video for You Know Where To Find Me. Not that I’m sugesting you read my blog in the bath, unless of course that is your “thing” and what you like to do, but I am asking you to switch up your bathing music every now and then.

If you don’t believe me here’s her new video.

In June 2012, Artangel invited Imogen to ‘A Room for London’, a one-bedroom (boat) installation that overlooks the Thames from the roof of Queen Elizabeth Hall. First she installed a customised audio visual egg-shaped ‘listening chair’ into the Southbank Centre below, to gather information from passers-by about what the river Thames meant to them. Then, having absorbed this material, she spent a night in the boat and began to write the latest Heap Song, ‘You Know Where To Find Me’.

Talking about ‘You Know Where To Find Me’, Heap says;

“There are many different personalities in this song because people experience the river in different ways. A place for play, for rest and for some, to visit the ashes of their loved ones. The Thames has its dark sides too; in lives and love it’s taken.” 

Having part of the lyrics and music intact, the next stage was to record piano parts. As ever continuing to collaborate, Imogen turns to Edinburgh based, piano-owning Twitter followers to let her into their house, wear their clothes and record elements of the song. This was done in just one day in Edinburgh, involving 13 pianos, filming the music video as they went. Heap improvised and wrote the song on these pianos and finished it off at her studio in Essex.

So there you go. Do you listen to music in the bath? What do you think of Imogen Heap?

Kisses

Lojo

Back To The 90s – Grunge

As I’m currently sporting pale pink, washed out hair that is fairly reminiscent of the 90s, I thought I’d embrace the grunge. Now I was just a littleun in the 90s, making all those ridiculous fashion faux pas that you do in your early teens and I never managed to develop a grunge look for myself. I was far too busy channelling Cher from Clueless!

Now it’s back though and it incorporates a lot of my favourite things… plaid, denim, chunky soles… so I thought I’d share a round up of the things that have caught my eye and that I may be forced to spend the money I should be using on other peoples’ Christmas presents on!

First up I’ll start with my favourite thing – shoes!

ABOUT STUD LACE UP BOOTS

About Stud Lace Up Boots. £88. Topshop

I really, really love boots. Especially flat black boots that can be worn with everything! These are just perfect. They’d look brilliant with a pair of skinny jeans or leggings but equally toughening up a girly, floral dress. These boots and a leather jacket and I’m done!

ASOS Mismatch Cross Earrings

ASOS Mismatch Cross Earrings. £6

Crosses are a really popular motif when it comes to this trend and these earrings are super cute as well as being a good nod to grunge without being OTT. I love mismatched earrings anyway. That’s probably because I have 5 holes in my ears so pairs don’t always work so well.

Liberty - Grunge Maxi

Liberty – Grunge Maxi. £154. Wildfox Couture

Doing grunge well is the art of looking like you’ve just thrown anything on and it still looking great. This dress will take any heartache and confusion about what to wear to nail this look immediately. Pair it with a long sleeved T-shirt and an over sized army jacket and you’re done. Winner all round.

I could go on but you know I like to stick to 3 items in these things. I think it’s because I worry you’ll get bored otherwise. I do have a tendency to ramble if I’m not reigned in.

What do you think? You grunging it up this winter? Or is this look totally not for you?

Kisses

Lojo

Friday Favourites

I missed out on doing this post last week and I didn’t even realise until Sunday! The weeks just seem to be zooming by at the moment, at an alarming rate. Does this mean I’m getting old? I’m sure I used to remember my mum saying things like this when I was younger. Anyway, I’m going to amalgamate a couple of weeks into this post. Here goes…

#     I’ve made a good start on my Christmas shopping but I still don’t have any decorations, cards or wrapping paper.

#     We’ve booked a DJ for the wedding. It’s very exciting even though it’s ages away yet. We have to have a musical consultation with him some time apparently.

#     I’ve started knitting again and have nearly completed a scarf. Yeah, I can only knit in straight lines at the moment but it’s a start! By next Christmas you’ll be queuing up for my Christmas Jumpers!

#     I went to see Nicki Minaj. It was possibly the most surreal evening of my life. I was surrounded by chubby white boys with no rhythm attempting to booty bounce.

#     I now have pale pink hair. I like it although I think I’d like it to be a bit more pink.

#     The Urban Outfitters Winter Catalogue arrived on my doorstep (well, my post box under the stairs. I live in a block of flats) yesterday and I need pretty much everything in it. Particularly this jumper…

Cooperative Polar Bear Pullover Sweater

Cooperative Polar Bear Pullover Sweater. £45

#     I also love everything in their home and gifts section too. I love that their Christmas part is called Ho Ho Home. I’m trying to work out where in my house a neon pink skull lamp will fit!

Neon Pink Skull Lamp

Neon Pink Skull Lamp. £40

So yeah, that’s it. I could write an entire Christmas list from UO but I think that’s a whole different post entirely. What made you smaile? What do you want for Christmas?

Kisses

Lojo