Sunday, 29 May 2016

Charlie Puth, o2 Institute Birmingham

Finally, a slightly less boring (I hope) post about music!

I love this time of year as it usually means gigs EVERYWHERE! The last gig I went to was The Vamps at the start of April, so I've been suffering from a bit of the old gig blues. Luckily, last Sunday meant that it was gig time again as I went to see Charlie Puth at the o2 Institute in Birmingham. I was super excited as it was my first time seeing him live and we got to meet him too!

We (mum and I, as usual) bought tickets for Charlie's gig as soon as they went on sale and a few weeks later, they released VIP upgrades. I opted for the special 'dressing room' package (cheers Maximum Pop for that Ticketmaster gift card I won last year haha) which basically meant having the normal meet and greet with Charlie, spending time with him in his dressing room and a load of merch - sounds incredible, right?!

Once we arrived at the venue, we had to hang around for a bit outside before being checked in. There were six of us with the dressing room option and another 30 or so with normal meet and greet, so we got to go in first. Soon enough, we were escorted through the venue and into Charlie's dressing room!

As we walked in, Charlie was already there just chilling. He looked different in real life, in a way that I can't explain. He was just so casual, to the point that mum didn't recognise him for ages haha. We spent a good 10-15 minutes with him in the dressing room as he cracked jokes and chatted to us briefly. One of the perks of the dressing room package was an exclusive performance from Charlie. He sang his new song 'We Don't Talk Anymore' and it gave me goosebumps - his voice was just as incredible in person as it is on record! Before we left his dressing room, we had time for a hug and some selfies. His selfie skills were a little questionable but he evidently had a great time snapping away on my phone!

selfie central lol

We were then escorted to the front of the meet and greet queue and had a professional photo with Charlie. The picture was emailed to us a few days later - how cute does Charlie look please?

cute as a button :)

After the meet and greet, we had to go back outside until the doors officially opened. An hour or so later, people with VIP were allowed in and those of use who had the dressing room option got to go in first, meaning we could grab that perfect spot at the barrier. As time went on, the venue filled to capacity and quite frankly I've never been happier to have a barrier to lean on (standing gigs get less fun when you're approaching your quarter life crisis hahaha). The atmosphere is always better down the front too!

Before Charlie came on stage, we were treated to a support act called Kloe, a 19 year old Glaswegian singer. She performed original material combined with some interesting dance moves! I've never seen a singer dressed so casually - black sweats and trainers - and whilst she didn't look like your stereotypical popstar, she definitely made a statement and let her unique vocals do the talking.

After the crowd started a chant, it was finally time for Charlie! He didn't make a grand entrance onto the stage, instead he casually strolled on and took the time to look out into the audience at the appreciative crowd he would be entertaining for the evening. The screams were already deafening, which boded well for the reception he would continue to receive as the night went on!

He opened with one of his hit songs 'Marvin Gaye' and it was evident from the moment he played the opening piano chords that we were in for a treat. Charlie proved to be an extremely passionate performer, wowing the crowd with his vocals and piano skills.

Charlie then went on to perform songs from his album Nine Track Mind. 'Dangerously', 'Some Type Of Love' and 'Losing My Mind' prompted the audience to do their best Charlie impressions. It was heart-warming to hear the audience sing along to every song, including those perhaps lesser known album songs.

snapchat of 'Dangerously'

In between songs, Charlie spoke to the audience and was charmingly awkward. He doesn't come across as cocky like a lot of performers do - he was in fact very humble and down to earth about everything. The fact that he napped before the show and came on stage with a bed head and wearing the same clothes as he did in the meet and greet says it all. There's no airs and graces, he is as he is and I love that about him.

Next up was 'Left Right Left', with his band prompting us to sway our arms from left-right-left as per the chorus lyrics. I turned round at one point and it was incredible to see the entire venue getting involved, even the people up in the balcony! 'My Gospel', aka my favourite song, was next and Charlie did not disappoint. It sounded incredible live and was made complete by an epic piano jam out at the end. Charlie is beyond talented and at this point it made me realise just how bloody underrated he is.

snapchat of 'My Gospel', the jam session

For the next section, Charlie took a seat next to his guitarist as he switched to an acoustic set. He sang 'Up All Night' and 'Then There's You', both of which were pretty perfect. There were times when Charlie himself didn't even need to sing because the audience were doing the singing for him - it was an incredible thing to experience and gave me goosebumps, it must have been mesmerising for him!

Whilst I would have been happy just hearing his own material all night, Charlie also performed a John Mayer cover. I'm not familiar with John's music but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Following that, Charlie performed his latest single 'We Don't Talk Anymore' which reminded me of our dressing room experience. Of course, this was a different version again, complete with his band and Charlie beatboxing! Seriously, his talent knows no bounds. Mum filmed the performance and you can see how overwhelmed Charlie is at the 3 minute mark when everyone sings back to him!

He also went on to perform 'Suffer', one of the most intense ballads on his album, which once again received a great reception. His supposed last song of the evening was 'One Call Away', which is one of my favourites. Charlie was full of emotion and performed his heart out. As the song came to and end, he took a bow before making his way off of the stage.

Of course, there was still one big song left to perform and the crowd knew it. They made sure Charlie had no option but to return by chanting his name at the top of their lungs - I've been to far too many gigs to remember, but the crowd reaction at this one is something that will stay with me for life. I haven't heard a reaction quite like it in such a long time.

Charlie made his way back to the stage for 'See You Again', one of the biggest songs of last year and one that has touched the hearts of many. He gave it his all during this song and it was a really special moment. I was so emotional during it and felt tears in my eyes, it's such a powerful song! Every word was sung back to Charlie which added to the experience. Unfortunately, the song came to an end all too soon and it really was time for Charlie and his band to take their final bow and leave the stage.

Charlie's gig was one of the best I've been to in a long, long time, Everything about it was perfect - Charlie's vocals are stunning, and combined with his incredible piano skills, he really captured my heart. The crowd reaction was also unreal. He commented a few times about how it was the loudest crowd he'd performed to, and whilst every artist tends to say that, I genuinely felt as if it could be true. Every word was sung back to him and the screaming, chanting and cheering was on another level.

It was also incredible to see such a humble performer take to the stage. Charlie was genuinely so thankful for his life right now. He spoke about how he's been in the business behind the scenes for a while, writing for other people, but to get to perform in his own right was a dream come true. His talent is superb and he most definitely deserves far more credit as a performer. I hope this is the first of many occasions that I'll get to see him live, as he is definitely on my 'can't get enough of' list!

Hwyl am y tro ✌️

Monday, 23 May 2016

#MusicMonday 7

It's Monday once again (don't they come around incredibly quickly?!) and therefore time for me to share the songs I've been listening to this week. Click here for last week's #MusicMonday.

1. DNCE - Toothbrush

From their SWAAY  EP, 'Toothbrush' is the next single from your new favourite band. The best part for me is when Joe sings 'I just, I just can't let you go' - there;s something about his voice at that point that makes me go all weak and I'm not even sorry about it.

This week, they released the music video for 'Toothbrush' and I must applaud them for their choice of female lead. Joe's love interest is played by plus size model Ashley Graham. Well, she's only a size 16 but that's deemed as "plus size" apparently. She is BEAUTIFUL, as is every woman whether they've been in a music video or not, but it's so refreshing to see a band say 'eff you' to the norm by choosing a slightly curvier female lead for their music video. Being plus size myself, it's nice to see ourselves being represented positively (albeit my figure is potato-shaped compared to Ashley). I'm so excited to see DNCE live again in August and who knows, maybe I'll finally get to meet the teenage LOML.

2. Everyll - Blah Blah Blah

I was introduced to Everyll last week, who's just released her debut single 'Blah Blah Blah'. She has been making a name for herself on YouTube with her feisty pop/rap infused covers and now she's showcased her talents on her own single. 'Blah Blah Blah' is a catchy, sassy pop song and the video is hilarious. It replicates the TV talent show set up that everyone is familiar with.

3. Sigma X Take That - Cry

Sigma have teamed up with my ultimate man band Take That for the powerful track 'Cry'. I wasn't sure how a collaboration between the two would work but I think it's perfect. The chorus is anthemic and I can't wait to hear it in Hyde Park in July. Both acts are renowned for their successful songs so I have no doubt that they've got another hit on their hands. 'Cry' is indeed a contender for song of the summer.

4. Lawson - Where My Love Goes

To mark the pre-order of their new album Perspective, Lawson have released a new song called 'Where My Love Goes'. Once again, the four-piece band have delivered another bit of catchy pop however the video is the real talking point on this occasion. Lead singer Andy Brown actually proposes to his real life girlfriend Joey in the video! When I heard about a proposal, I thought it was just a video storyline, I didn't realise it was a genuine thing! It's really cute though, congratulations Andy!

5. Adele - Send My Love (To Your New Lover)

Finally, my last song for this week is Adele's latest offering 'Send My Love (To Your New Lover). This song is SO unusual for Adele, and looking back at the singles from 25 so far, you can hear a pleasant difference in her material. Still iconic, but generally appeals more to my taste. This song reminds me of M.I.A's 'Paper Planes' (it took me forever to find what song it sounded like haha). The video is due soon with Adele supposedly dancing in it - can't wait!

What have you been listening to recently?
Hwyl am y tro ✌️

Monday, 16 May 2016

#MusicMonday 6

Hey, hello, hiiii. Another Monday means another music post! Half of the songs this week are brand new, and the other half are ones you might be fairly familiar with! As usual, you can recap on last week's post here. Just thought I'd also let you know that there will be a few more posts coming soon, something a bit different. Also, it's gig time again on the weekend! Read on to find out who I'm going to see...

1. Joe and Jake - You're Not Alone

Joe and Jake represented the UK at the Eurovision Song Contest over the weekend. Yes, we were near the bottom of the leaderboard as usual but we actually received far more points than what we have done in recent years (including 12 points from Malta - we love you!) and the song was a great one. I think they should be proud of themselves as they certainly did the country proud - they deserved far more than what they got. Fun fact for you, this song was actually co-written by Siva Kaneswaran from The Wanted but the band never used it on any of their albums! (They would have sounded great on this track too.)

2. Birdy - Wild Horses

This song is EVERYWHERE at the moment. I've heard it numerous times on my local radio station, on the telly etc and it's really grown on me. I've never been a Birdy fan but I adore this song.

3. MKTO - Superstitious

My favourite American duo are back with a new single, and it's most definitely one of their best! 'Superstitious' was released on Friday 13 and is full of clever lyrics as well as Tony's incredible vocals and Malcolm's crazy raps. I really hope this song cuts them the break they deserve, as they're the epitome of underrated. Also, I want them to come back to the UK as it's been nearly two years since I first/last saw them (and I've yet to witness them performing live which is a travesty).

4. OneRepublic - Wherever I Go

OneRepublic are back with a new single called 'Wherever I Go'. True to their style, it's an epic sounding track and is sure to be a hit over the next few months. If you need someone to add to your 'I need to see them live' bucketlist, these are your guys. I saw them at Jingle Bell Ball in 2014 and they completely blew me away - Ryan Tedder is unreal.

5. Nick Jonas - Chainsaw

In the lead up to his new album release, Nick Jonas has been dropping tracks for those who've pre-ordered Last Year Was Complicated. His latest offering is 'Chainsaw', which he describes as his 'most personal song yet'. The maturity in Nick's music is evident and he's poured his heart and soul into this single. It just makes me even more excited for the release of his album - every song so far is incredible.

6. Charlie Puth - My Gospel 

I've included an extra song this week, in honour of Charlie Puth who I'm going to see on Sunday. I HAVEN'T BEEN TO A GIG IN AGES, I'M SO EXCITED! It's also my first time seeing Charlie live AND I'm going to be meeting him - too much to deal with! I love his music and his album Nine Track Mind is really underrated. One of my favourite tracks from the album is 'My Gospel' which I've shared with you. I hope he sings it on Sunday, and I'll be writing a post about the gig once I'm home.

Have a great week!
Hwyl am y tro ✌️

Monday, 9 May 2016

#MusicMonday 5

Hello again! So it's that time of week again, where I share what I've been listening to over the past few days. (I swear Mondays come around quicker for me since I started doing #MusicMondays, which is both a good and bad thing aha). If you missed last week's collaboration filled #MusicMonday, check it out here.

1. Justin Timberlake - Can't Stop The Feeling

J-Timberlake is baaaaaack! (cue excited screams). It feels like SO LONG since he last released anything, but he's back with a top tune called 'Can't Stop The Feeling', which appears on the soundtrack to the new Dreamworks animation, Trolls. Justin voices the character of Branch in the movie, and he is joined by fellow voice contributors in the video, including James Corden, Anna Kendrick and Gwen Stefani. It's such an infectious song - it's got 'big hit' written aaaall over it.

2. James Morrison - I Need You Tonight

Like the granny that I am, (my approaching quarter life crisis is real), one night last week I fell asleep on the sofa and woke up randomly to see a repeat of Michael McIntyre's new comedy show. James Morrison was the guest performer and he sang 'I Need You Tonight', which I've never heard before, however, I instantly loved it! I'd forgotten how good his music is, and subsequently this song has been a big hit on my playlist this week.

3. Nicky Byrne - Sunlight

On Friday, my local radio station was interviewing former Westlife star Nicky Byrne, who will be representing Ireland at this year's Eurovision Song Contest. After working on his solo material since the band split, he has finally unveiled his debut single (and Ireland's song choice for this year). Nicky's chosen a potentially enormous platform providing that people take to the song! I didn't really know what to expect from him, as he wasn't a prominent singer in the band but I was pleasantly surprised! It's an upbeat offering, with no key change in sight, and with a loyal following behind him, I'm sure he will be very successful at this year's contest.

4. Busted - Coming Home

If a reunion tour featuring ALL THREE MEMBERS (yes, even Charlie!!) wasn't enough to excite, Busted have just released their first single in over 12 years. Nostalgia is a wonderful thing, and I'm so excited about them reforming - but new material is just the cherry on the cake! 'Coming Home' is so different to their old material, which is a great thing tbh. Whilst I adore their classic tracks, it would be odd if their new material was a carbon copy of their songs from over a decade ago! There is a maturity in this track as well as an anthemic feel - this song is going to sound incredible live. Welcome back Busted. I'm so excited to see them at Fusion Festival later this year!

5. Fifth Harmony - Write On Me

I'm notorious for being a boyband girl. I always have been and I always will be, however, where girlbands are concerned, I very much like Fifth Harmony. Their singles are always SO. CATCHY. but I've yet to tackle their album material until now. The girls recently released 'Write On Me' as a pre-order from their second album 7/27 and I really like it! It's so different to 'Worth It' and 'Work From Home', but it's nice (as a sideline fan) to see another side to them. It's definitely made me want to download their album once it's released.

See you next week!
Hwyl am y tro ✌️ 

Monday, 2 May 2016

#MusicMonday 4

Welcome to the fourth #MusicMonday! As it happens, collaborations seems to be a common theme on my playlist this week, so here's five awesome partnerships that I've been playing on repeat. Don't forget that you can check out last week's #MusicMonday here.

1. Beyoncé featuring Jack White - Don't Hurt Yourself

One of the biggest news stories in music recently was the return of Queen Bey, and the surprise release of her latest album Lemonade. The twelve track album, which was released following an hour-long visual extravaganza showcasing the tracks on HBO, is easily Beyoncé's most talked about work to date. There's been plenty of speculation as to the messages garnered from the song, including husband Jay-Z's alleged cheating.

Whatever the truth may Bey (sorry, couldn't resist that pun!), she has managed to create an iconic album with many different styles. 'Hold Up' and 'Sorry' are faves of mine, but I have to say that Beyoncé's collab with Jack White slays everything else. 'Don't Hurt Yourself' is so far removed from what I expect from Bey, but it's just so right. It's angry, hardcore and savage on every level, I can only imagine how insane it would sound live. Check out the visual for it below - the full version is available to stream/download on Tidal/iTunes etc.

2. Calvin Harris and Rihanna - This Is What You Came For

Calvin Harris and Rihanna have teamed up once again for 'This Is What You Came For', which has all the credentials to be a summer smash! Lots of people have been raving about this track since its release on Friday, and I don't blame them at all. I can imagine that it's going to be a popular track at all the festivals and party places this summer.

3. Nathan Sykes featuring G-Eazy - Give It Up

Nathan Sykes is back with a new single, due for release on May 13. He has been performing an acoustic version of this song on Little Mix's tour for the past two months, and on Friday he released the video for the official version, which also features rapper G-Eazy.

I really love this song, it's sultry and shows another side to Nathan. (Let's be honest, he could sing the phone book and I'd pay a lot to play it on repeat haha). The accompanying music video leaves very little to the imagination but I guess it very much plays on the 'different side' to Nathan! Apparently it got banned on the music channels due to the end scenes, which I find hilarious as I've followed Nathan's career since he was an innocent child in The Wanted. You can probably see why it's a bit steamy from the thumbnail below, but regardless of the video, it's a great song.

4. Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello - I Know What You Did Last Summer

Shawn Mendes and Fifth Harmony's Camila Cabello teamed up for this track late last year but it's only now starting to get UK airplay. It's such a great song which acts as a conversation between two people in a dying relationship. The chorus is catchy and the song also samples Bill Withers' 'Ain't No Sunshine' which holds a special memory for me, and adds to my enjoyment of the track. It's great to see Shawn and Camila (as well as Fifth Harmony as a whole) start to get the recognition they deserve in the UK.

5. Zedd and Kesha - True Colours

'True Colours' is a song from Zedd's second album of the same name, which was released in 2015. A few weeks ago, following an on-going legal battle with Dr Luke and Sony, Kesha made a triumphant return to the music industry by performing 'True Colours' with Zedd at Coachella. On Friday, an official recording was released, marking Kesha's first music release in over three years. Zedd has allowed Kesha to share her beautiful vocals again, with the lyrics proving to be extremely poignant following her ordeal. It's good to have you back Kesha ♥ 

That's all for this week! Don't forget to share what's on your most played lists this week :)

Hwyl am y tro ✌️

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Unwrapping May's TreatBox

It's the 1st of May, meaning that it's time to unwrap another Not Shabby Very Chic TreatBox. (How quickly is this year going please?!) It only feels like yesterday when I was unwrapping April's goodies!

I have a slight confession - being the fab person that she is, Zoe sent this month's boxes out early to make sure that we received them before the bank holiday. I received my box a few days ago, and being an impatient so-and-so, I had to open it immediately!  

However, I decided to wait until the first of the month to share its contents, and what a lovely little box it was! The theme of this month's box is 'Pretty Chic', something of which I absolutely adore. I'm obsessed with anything decorative, from things with sayings on to cute little trinkets, so I was super excited about opening the package. As usual, there was an inspirational card included in the box, with the message "She believed she could so she did", which I will definitely turn to when I'm in need of a motivational boost.

welcome note and inspirational card ♥

On to the main event, the actual box unwrapping! This bit never fails to make me smile - just wondering what lovely treats awaits in the box makes me super excited.

unwrapping the TreatBox...

this month's Pretty Chic TreatBox ♥

My TreatBox contained:

'She Believed She Could So She Did' inspirational postcard
'Follow Your Heart' cushion cover
Dangly hearts decoration
Spotted decorative tape
'Life Is Too Short To Be Anything But Happy' wooden decoration
'Queen Bee' bookmark
'You Look Lovely Today' compact mirror

I love the cushion cover and as you can see below, I've already put it to good use! Looks great, doesn't it?

The hearts decoration is so pretty and the spotty decorative tape will sure come in handy. I adore the wooden plaque - I think the message is cute, you've got to try and make the most of life and be as happy as you possibly can. My favourite item in the box this month is the Queen Bee bookmark, which as a book reader, suits me to a tee. It'll definitely find a happy home among many of my books!

Finally, I opened this adorable little pouch to find the loveliest compact mirror, with 'You look lovely today' written on the back of it. What a perfect gift to give you a confidence boost!

Not only is this month's TreatBox full of the prettiest little things, there's also a running theme of motivational messages. Everyone is guilty of forgetting their worth at times, and it's nice to be reminded that we are strong and can do anything we want to if we put our minds to it.

May's TreatBox has definitely been my favourite so far, although I am super excited to see what will arrive through my letter box next month! If you want to subscribe to TreatBoxUK, you can do so here. (Again, this is not a sponsored post, I'm just a sucker for pretty chic goodies!)

Hwyl am y tro ✌️