live music

Grimly compelling: The Whitney Houston Hologram Tour reviewed

14 March 2020 9:00 am

‘No matter what they take from me,’ sang Whitney Houston towards the end of a peculiar evening in Hammersmith, ‘they…

Dazzling and nonsensical in equal measure: Madonna at the London Palladium reviewed

7 February 2020 10:00 pm

You might have thought Madonna was not a singer but a professional footballer judging by the talk before she took…

You have to be a terrific snob not to see the appeal of Slipknot

1 February 2020 9:00 am

Every development in heavy music is derided by mainstream critics. When Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin emerged in the late…

Best gig of the week: the fuzzy, slacker melodies of teenage quintet Disq

24 January 2020 10:00 pm

Come January, when the proper pop stars are all in the gym working off the pounds before they emerge, blinking…

Range and power – and amazingly she sang all her songs: Christina Aguilera at Wembley reviewed

23 November 2019 9:00 am

In every respect bar its austere pews, the Union Chapel is one of the best venues in London: beautiful and…

Fascinating and compelling: Bruce Hornsby at Shepherd’s Bush Empire reviewed

16 November 2019 9:00 am

In the unlikely event that Bruce Hornsby and Morten Harket, A-ha’s singer, ended up featuring in the Daily Mail for,…

At their best the Psychedelic Furs are fantastic

19 October 2019 9:00 am

It’s amazing what the movies can do. In 1986, the John Hughes teen flick Pretty in Pink — the one…

Why I’m done with Fleetwood Mac

29 June 2019 9:00 am

There is something inexplicably exciting about pop’s notion of a ‘scene’: young musicians of similar outlooks drawn together by a…

Enveloping and gorgeous: Cate Le Bon reviewed

22 June 2019 9:00 am

The last time Bikini Kill played in London was in a room that now serves as the restaurant of a…

‘We’re not a group, we’re a movement’: the Spice Girls on stage in Coventry

Way more fun than the media would have us believe: The Spice Girls tour reviewed

15 June 2019 9:00 am

If you’ve paid even passing attention to early reports of the Spice Girls comeback tour, you will be aware of…

Addled, horrible, uproarious brilliance: Sebastian Murphy of Viagra Boys

Deeply unpleasant and thrilling: Viagra Boys make Primal Scream look antiseptic

1 June 2019 9:00 am

May was a cruel month for those middle-aged liberals who treasure their old alternative rock heroes. There was Morrissey, appearing…

The odd couple: Sting and Shaggy on tour in 2018. Photo: Zoltan Balogh / EPA-EFE / Shutterstock

A very odd two hours: Sting and Shaggy reviewed

25 May 2019 9:00 am

Many is the pop star who has craved gravitas. Only Sting, however, has pursued it by covering John Dowland on…

A delightful time machine to a distant past: Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets

A Saturday-night variety show: Take That at the O2 reviewed

18 May 2019 9:00 am

Being old is big business in live music nowadays, in a way it wasn’t even 25 years ago. When Take…

Aspiring to profundity: Robyn at Ally Pally

At her best Robyn is magical – but her contribution to pop is hardly unique

20 April 2019 9:00 am

Last autumn, anyone who a) has an interest in pop music, and b) reads the weightier end of the press,…

Decency comes into its own: Bryan Adams

An undervalued songwriter and decent man: Bryan Adams at Wembley reviewed

9 March 2019 9:00 am

On 29 June 1991, a record called ‘(Everything I Do) I Do It For You’ by Bryan Adams entered the…

Money to Byrne: David Byrne deserves every penny he makes from this tour

Why David Byrne deserves every penny he makes from his tour

10 November 2018 9:00 am

Let’s get the ‘was-it-good?’ stuff out of the way first. Yes, it was good. It was better than good. It…

No one would want this gig to be the final memory of them: Soft Cell at the O2 reviewed

6 October 2018 9:00 am

When Soft Cell first appeared on Top of the Pops in summer 1981, miming along to their version of Gloria…

Paul Simon says farewell with a daring and inventive show that left some restless

21 July 2018 9:00 am

Early in 1987, a middle-aged woman approached me on the record counter of the Slough branch of Boots. ‘What do…

Taylor Swift, and her adoring fans, at Wembley Stadium

An extraordinary, brilliant spectacle: Taylor Swift at Wembley Stadium reviewed

30 June 2018 9:00 am

Imagine living Taylor Swift’s life. She has been staggeringly, life-dominatingly famous since she was 17. Not for a single moment…

Embarrassing – but electrifying: Bernstein 100 reviewed

18 November 2017 9:00 am

‘There is something enviable about the utter lack of inhibition with which Leonard Bernstein carries on,’ wrote the critic of…

Make mine a double

14 October 2017 9:00 am

If two concert pianists are performing a work written for two grand pianos, there are two ways you can position…

From desolation to euphoria and back again: Nick Cave at the O2

Mourning glory

7 October 2017 9:00 am

On the face of it, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds aren’t exactly a natural fit with the O2. Cave’s…

Time to end authenticity

12 August 2017 9:00 am

They say the first step towards recovery is admitting that you have a problem. So I’m staging an intervention and…

Hadyn recreated

22 July 2017 9:00 am

‘Rarely, rarely, comest thou, Spirit of Delight!’ wrote Elgar, quoting Shelley, at the top of his Second Symphony. He should…

We want them not to give us what we want: Radiohead at the Roundhouse reviewed

4 June 2016 9:00 am

Radiohead have been at the top of the musical tree for so long now that it’s easy to forget what…