Ladyhawke live at O2 Institute, Birmingham

It was 6:35pm and I was stood fourth in line in the freezing cold winter. I was waiting for one of my most anticipated gigs of the year – Ladyhawke live at O2 Institute in Birmingham. This was the gig I’d been waiting for since late last year and I couldn’t quite believe it was finally here.

I had been to the O2 Institute before and so was aware of what to expect from the mid-sized venue, or so I thought. It turned out that the venue was in the lower level of the institute in a very intimately-sized bar. This was even better than I had expected.

As soon as I entered I emptied my bladder, got a coke and took my place front row, center of the all-standing crowd.

Support Band: Isle

I hadn’t heard of Isle before, but liked them as soon as I heard them play. They were just two guys – One on guitars / vocals / synth pads; the other on drums and backing vocals. They packed a lot of punch into their thirty minute support set and got the crowd revved up well for the main act. I kind of felt sorry for the front man when he asked if we “Manchester” were doing well. But he did soon apologize and was noticeably bashful over it.

Isle’s set was sometimes ethereal in sound, which often broke out into frantic, energetic bursts with powerful performances from both. Mixed in there were some effective uses of synthesizers and pads too.

Between the support set and the main act to come, we were treated to a thirty minute selection of Prince songs followed by “Fashion” by David Bowie. This only helped build up my anticipation of what was to come.

Main Act: Ladyhawke

When Pip and band walked out I couldn’t quite believe the wait was over. After listening to her music so much after only discovering her about 10 months previous, the moment was finally here. In fact I think it took about three songs until I could actually believe that Pip and band were actually stood there, about eight feet away, performing the songs I have come to love.

Some of the songs they performed came across heavier live than on the new album “Wild Things“. “Let It Roll” was one that stood out as sounding particularly heavier. This was specifically due to the heavier drum sound, which isn’t surprising considering I was within spitting distance of the bass drum. My only issue with standing so close, was that for me the drums tended to drown out Pip’s vocals a bit on some verses.

Pip came across as very reserved on stage, seeming almost shy at times. This only added to her endearing charm and when it came time to blast out the songs, which the whole band did with gusto, she soon opened up and didn’t disappoint.

I think my favorite song they performed was the title song from the new album “Wild Things”. This song, performed live right in front of me, gave me goosebumps just like I knew it would. It is by far my favorite song on the new album, and one of my top five of her’s overall, and she nailed it.

Although Ladyhawke are a band recognized worldwide, they still felt very much to be the kind of band you’d see at your local bar on a Friday night. They came across as a very down to earth band who weren’t afraid to perform within arms reach of their adoring fans. Each and every song was performed with precision and is a band I would definitely see on their next tour – albeit not so close to the drum kit next time.

Ladyhawke – Wild Things Video

I can’t express how much Ladyhawke’s music has grown on me in the short month since I discovered her.

The song “Wild Things” was immediately one of my favourites from her latest album of the same name.

I have just seen the music video for this song and it has somehow made me love the song even more. Such a powerful song, and powerful delivery, make this one of my all time favourite songs I think.

Wild Things by Ladyhawke

I made my finger bleed playing along to one of my favourite songs on this album – the titular song, “Wild Things”. The song isn’t fast, and I’m not particularly great on guitar – I had simply been bitten on the index finger of my fingering hand by our hamster, Moomin. But I didn’t care, it’s a great song to play along to. I didn’t know what key it was in, so I just found a couple of notes that sounded good and pretended I was on stage with Phillipa Brown herself.

Extremely catchy, infectious electro pop.

This is my first time hearing any music by Ladyhawke, and I’m already completely hooked. Listening to her sing, she sometimes reminds me of the vocal sound of Bananarama and even Chrissie Hynde from The Pretenders.

The music throughout this album feels like it’s constantly driving forward with ever-increasingly infectious grooves and power. “Wild Things” is a consistantly brilliant, idiosyncratic album and even though each song is unique, the album has a strong consistency throughout which is tied together by Phillipa Brown’s stunning vocals.

This is what a great album sounds like

The opening song, “A Love Song” pulls no punches. It immediately pulled me into its infectious electro-pop groove and built me up to its big chorus. These huge, unashamed choruses are a staple of this album’s core.

The third song is one of my favourites on the album. “Wild Things”, the titular track, builds up slowly with its ambient electro sounds. Then from out of its electro-atmosphere we can hear a voice rising, singing what will be the album’s chrous. As soon as her voice has risen into coherence we drop into a slower, more reflective sound than has been heard up until now.

Your heartache is not forever
It’s another road that we walk together
And our lives become much stronger
As the world goes on much longer
I wandered far to find the answers
What keeps me alive while taking chances

When you’re always almost lonely
You forget to take it slowly

There’s a fire
In the heartland
We dance around it like the wild things in the night

“Wild Things” from the album “Wild Things” by Ladyhawke

“Chills” burrows its way into that part of the brain that makes you bob you head and tap your feet without realising. As I am writing this along to the song, I realise that I am almost full-on dancing where I sit. God help me when I’m driving home listening to this.

“Golden Girl”, although having lyrics of what I think is about unrequited love, feels like one of the album’s most upbeat-sounding songs.

There’s no way up, there’s no way down
You stole my heart but you throw it around
You give it up then you give it away
Your golden girl waits another day
Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh
Your golden waits another day

This is the daughter of love running wild
We are the children that play on the other side
But here I am holding cards that will show you
My aching heart’s all too easy to cut through

“Golden Girl” from the album “Wild Things” by Ladyhawke

The album’s closing song, “Dangerous”, is also up there as one of my favourites. Phillipa sings so seductively on the song’s bridge before throwing you into one of the album’s biggest, and definitely my favourite of the album’s, choruses.

This is an album that goes out with a huge bang, and I can’t help but want even more of it once it’s finished.

Underneath it’s spell

The front cover of the album reads “Recorded in spectacular 100% stereophonic sound”. Now I have no idea what that actually means, but I do know that this album does sound 100% spectacular.

Although my thinking of this as an electro-pop album, “Wild Things” has a much more “real band sound” than other electronic albums tend to have – especially the drums. Perhaps that’s part of the whole “stereophonic sound”.

This feels like an album that only comes along every once in a while and is definitely going to remain in my repeated playlist for a long time to come.

This is what a great album sounds like.

https://youtu.be/855oIILQNP0