September sees Cambridge’s live music scene awake from its summer lull.
Having risen through the ranks of the UK indie world, championed by pop stars and indie icons and collaborated with Suede legend Bernard Butler on her stunning 2013 self-titled album, Natalie McCool returned this year with her sophomore album. The singer-songwriter’s brilliant debut was built on a foundation of deliciously dark, gloomy indie-pop, but ‘The Great Unknown’ is an awakening – emerging from the shadows and rising victoriously with a number of prickly pop tunes. Natalie Mccool brings her breed of slick alternative pop to The Portland Arms on the 26th.
Sticking at The Portland, on the 29th you could catch veteran bluegrass ensemble The Coal Porters or Cambridge Pop-punk outfit Standing Like Statues on the 23rd.
Down Newmarket Road, Travis Waltons return to the Corner House on the 10th. Formerly Cambridge based – but now in Bristol – Travis Waltons are a powerful two-piece playing indie-rock in the vein of Tellison or the Get Up Kids. Support on the night comes from Cambridge newcomers Superstars of Track and Field, expect 90s slacker indie rock influenced by Buffalo Tom and Sugar.
Our pick of the ‘lesser known’ acts playing the Corner House this month goes to the indie rock stylings of Tribute, catch them on the 3rd.
Doe bring their ridiculously hooky, heavy rock songs (FFO The Breeders, Weezer and Sleater-Kinney) to the Corner House on the 25th.
There’s a host of excellent shows down Nolfolk Street at the Blue Moon this month. First up we have Crumbling Ghost on the 17th. Crumbling Ghost are purveyors of doom-infused psychedelic rock who use folk standards for their inspiration and incorporate the rhythms and cadences of traditional music in their sound. Sticking with psychedelia Psychic Lemon, Moonstrips and DiG join forces for what will be a great night of psych rock at the same venue on the 2nd.
This is followed by the excellent bill of The New Tusk, Pet Grief and Grieving on the 23rd. Brighton’s The New Tusk produce lo fidelity short attention span punk which is a refreshing post hardcore’ish mixture of punk rock, lo-fi, and emo. Pet Grief bring a more scrappy Slob-Rock sound to the party. Expect loud, then quiet, and then usually loud again from this London outfit.
It’s a busy month at the Cambridge Junction. Catching our attention is the Silver Apples gig in the J2 on the 5th. Decades after their brief yet influential career first ground to a sudden and mysterious halt, Silver Apples remained one of pop music’s true enigmas: a surreal, almost unprecedented duo, their music explored interstellar drones and hums, pulsing rhythms and electronically-generated melodies years before similar ideas were adopted in the work of acolytes ranging from Suicide to Spacemen 3.
O’Hooley & Tidow are an English folk music duo from Yorkshire. Singer-songwriter Heidi Tidow performs and records with her wife, singer-songwriter and pianist Belinda O’Hooley, who was formerly a member of Rachel Unthank and the Winterset. Together they are regarded as one of British Folk’s mightiest combinations and their highly anticipated new album ‘Shadows’ was released last month, catch them performing tracks from it on the 6th.
Beth Orton has been one of the most unique and beguiling voices in music for the past two decades. Her debut LP – Trailer Park – pioneered a synthesis of electronic and acoustic songs to huge acclaim. The follow up – Central Reservation – brought international success and the Brit Award for best British female. On the 25th Orton brings her latest record, which sees her return to her experimental electronic roots, to the Cambridge Junction.
The Cambridge Junction also plays host to two of this year’s hyped acts, both Blossoms (26th) and Rat Boy (27th) were featured in the BBC Sound of poll for 2016 back in January and between have been tipped by many outlets. Hotly tipped Mancunian outfit Blossoms have picked up stellar album reviews for their mix of chugging melodies and play on 80s rock pop. Jordan Cardy is Rat Boy. Pre-music he was fired from Wetherspoons and was turned down by McDonalds. As a musician he has found many followers with his indie guitar riffs and homegrown raps that paint a lyrical dissertation of suburban Britain.