Live review: Coldplay at Wembley Stadium, London

Taking in the first of the band’s four sold-out nights at the home of football.

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Originally published in The Edge

For what would certainly be the pinnacle of my career as an interviewer and the nadir of his as an interviewee, I hope one day to sit down with Chris Martin. Over afternoon tea in a swanky London hotel, we’d talk about how the whole Coldplay thing would have panned out had they never consciously uncoupled from the name Pectoralz when Guy Berryman came along. I’d be armed with the most pertinent queries from their ardent fanbase, such as what the hell Mylo Xyloto actually means, how one should best attempt to pronounce it, and why the 42-second title track that opened the album of the same name wasn’t just properly bundled into the start of ‘Hurts Like Heaven.’ If the venue didn’t have a strict policy against such a thing and the inevitable PR folks in the corner weren’t glaring at me too furiously, I’d present him with a goose to see whether his natural reaction would be to say a gentle boo with a smile or to crouch to its height, leap across it to the nearest pastel-tinted piano, and begin a tender falsetto. Why bother with this palaver? Well, after 16 years of being Coldplay for Martin and his silent accompanists Berryman, Jonny Buckland, and Will Champion, surely the time has come for a little fun. Continue reading “Live review: Coldplay at Wembley Stadium, London”

Super Bowl 50 half-time show review

Coldplay form an all-star cast of Bruno Mars and Beyoncé for a fitting tribute to our zeitgeist and the circus of handegg encapsulating it for the fiftieth time.

The fiftieth Super Bowl, a mildly-farcical advertising hoarding won by an ageing out-of-place Budweiser-swilling sexual harasser who happens to be one of the finest quarterbacks in the history of the National Football League, fell subject to its traditional half-time excursion into the world of popular music on Sunday night in not-San Francisco’s Levi’s Stadium. Contrary to the most earnest efforts and headline billing of British quartet Coldplay, the show – or, at least, cultural perception of it – was seized by a duelling Beyoncé and Bruno Mars before an estimated live television audience of, according to an industry insider, “one absolute fuckload.”

Chris Martin and his bandmates took to a temporary stage on the churned field much like any other stadium show they’d put on, surrounded by screaming fans and Pepsi logos atop a chromatic stage shaped like the centrepiece of the cover of recent record A Head Full of Dreams and travelling around it with an assured blend of timidness and arrogance. Martin began by repeating the opening lines of ‘Yellow’ to soundtrack the flooding of the field with peripheral extras, before launching into the more fitting tones of ‘Viva La Vida’ and ‘A Sky Full of Stars.’ Regardless of the context or inevitable financial incentive, to see people – Martin included – rhythmically bouncing to Coldplay as if they were in a Las Vegas superclub with Calvin Harris on deck feels somewhat incongruous yet, as Martin loosened up by removing his patchwork jacket and relieving his knees from their unique gravitational exertions, the frantic medley of the band’s more joyous pop material soon settled into a chromatic groove aided by the card panels distributed throughout the venue. Continue reading “Super Bowl 50 half-time show review”

Single review: Coldplay – ‘Adventure Of A Lifetime’

The dawn after the night of Ghost Stories, Adventure Of A Lifetime is an enticing sniff of Coldplay’s happiest album yet.

Originally published in The Edge

Where did Coldplay go after Ghost Stories? Back to the studio to make their happiest album yet, apparently. After teasers in the tube, our first taste of A Head Full Of Dreams comes in the shape of ‘Adventure Of A Lifetime’, where Chris Martin oozes swagger with surprising aplomb. Continue reading “Single review: Coldplay – ‘Adventure Of A Lifetime’”

Album review: Avicii – Stories

Avicii falls with a case of second album syndrome that may have improved instrument choices but ultimately holds the record back from delivering upon its potential.

Originally published in The Edge

Whereas Avicii’s 2013 debut album True favoured banjos in a flamboyant display of its bluegrass and country influences, his new release Stories incorporates a far wider gamut of styles. The result, however, is not dissimilar, as the variation within tracks and perplexing curation produces an incoherent yet steady album experience.

On occasions where Tim Bergling introduces uncultivated ground with Stories – and there are indeed many – contrasting styles don’t quite meld sufficiently. The trap breakdown of ‘Pure Grinding’ after bluesy mumblings on work ethic – “started out with nothing and still got most of it left” – does nothing to inspire, and its companion promotional single ‘For A Better Day’ meanders along with only a tambourine and staccato piano beneath Alex Ebert’s strained soul. The honour of the most startling track falls to ‘Can’t Catch Me,’ a nostalgic reggae duet between Wyclef Jean and Matisyahu. Continue reading “Album review: Avicii – Stories”