O2 forum kentish town

Adrianne Lenker is a treasure for the ages 

You could very well sum up their differing approaches to American roots music from how they were dressed. Both wore cowboy hats and both wore trousers, but Adrianne Lenker’s were faded denim, while Lainey Wilson went with shiny brown leather. Lenker, looking austere and speaking and singing softly, played music plucked from eternity, demanding you concentrate on her stillness. Wilson, on the other hand, was here to make the crowd feel good; a little melancholy on the big ballads, sure, but she’s an entertainer in the grand tradition of country music. Wilson’s set was divided between bangers and ballads, and the best of them were very good You might draw

Never admit that your band is prog – it’s the kiss of death

Sensible prog-rock bands try to ensure no one ever realises they play prog. What happens when you are deemed a prog band is that you are condemned to the margins – little radio airtime, few TV appearances, barely any coverage in the mainstream press – because it has been decided you exist solely for the delectation of a tribe that baffles the rest of the world. Once non-proggers have decided you are prog, that’s it. There is no way back for you. Just collect your Campaign for Real Ale membership card, go home and practise your drum solos. Once non-proggers have decided you are prog, that’s it. There is no

The new Pogues: The Mary Wallopers, at O2 Forum Kentish Town, reviewed

I was listening the other week to a solo album by an ageing rock guitarist, once terrifically famous. It was really very good, but I couldn’t bring myself to care about it because it clearly didn’t matter: this man’s career is static and it is likely to remain so. The album will make no impact on the wider world and, despite liking it, I felt no need to listen again. Had it been the debut by a band of 21-year-olds, on the other hand, I would have been all over it. Rock and pop musicians are most interesting in the transitions; that is, on the way up or on the

Confounding and fantastic: 100 Gecs, at O2 Forum Kentish Town, reviewed

Let me introduce you to the two poles in pop and rock. One is marked by authenticity, musicianship, a certain traditionalism. This is the pole that in critics’ discourse is called ‘rockism’ – the assumption that rock (or, at least, real people playing real instruments) is the normative state of music. The other is artificiality, brashness, a disdain for heritage – a celebration of everything that is inauthentic, where a good idea is worth 100 guitar lessons. And that pole is known as ‘poptimism’. Poptimism is why you end up with learned essays in the New Yorker analysing the singer Ariana Grande nicking a doughnut from a shop with reference

I would be surprised if his next tour included arenas: Louis Tomlinson at Wembley reviewed

You don’t need to be a historian of pop to realise that having been part of a huge manufactured group is no guarantee of subsequent success. Most boy and girl band stars, after a brief flurry of passion, are forced to descend into the netherworld of panto, reality TV, and ever-diminishing returns from the actual music. The problem seems to be that the wider world doesn’t have the mental space to accept three, four or five people competing for attention. In almost every case, the wider world can only be bothered to embrace one person after the split, and it’s not always the one you expect. Gary Barlow – the

Felt like being caught on the moors in a storm: Keeley Forsyth, at the Barbican, reviewed

It took a moment to realise Keeley Forsyth was there. There were already three musicians, faint figures on a dark stage, wreathed in dry ice. And then, to their side, one became aware of a patch of darkness that was a little darker than the rest, and which seemed to be moving. Even when she moved into the slightly less gloomy part of the stage, Forsyth remained hidden: this was a show of startling unease and intensity. ‘Well, she’s spectacular,’ one chap ahead of me said to his friend as they filed down the stairs at the end. ‘Not sure I could manage more than an hour of it, though.’

One of the most exciting hours I’ve spent in ages: Turnstile at O2 Forum Kentish Town

Even leaving aside its origins as prison slang, punk has always meant different things on either side of the Atlantic. Forty-five years ago, in New York, no punk band sounded like the next one: the only thing that linked Ramones, Talking Heads, Patti Smith, Suicide, Blondie and Television was that they played the same club, CBGB. Over here, by contrast, punk was rapidly codified into people shouting angrily over buzzsaw guitars. These days, it can seem as though the opposite applies. It’s the American punks who stick to a formula, while in the British Isles, the punk label seems to apply to any band with a guitar and a modicum

Teenage Fanclub are not a dramatic group, but they are lovely

They may no longer get many teenagers at their shows spending all their money on merchandise, then throwing up on the way home, though that certainly happened at the end of the 1980s, when they began, but people do love Teenage Fanclub. Their teenage fans are now middle-aged, and have spent the intervening years growing up with the band. They’ve listened as the group started singing about parenthood, long-term relationships, ageing, and they’ve stayed with a group who reflected their own lives back at them. The music, too, has changed. Where the early Fanclub records were sparky, messy alt-rock, they have spent the decades refining themselves so their songs are