Playlist #02 – Arctic Monkeys

It’s hard to believe that it’s been five years since the last album release, and the moment that the infamous intro to ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ became a staple of every late night playlist. I vividly remember listening over and over to AM in both disbelief and awe, at the fact that such a strong return could come seemingly out of nowhere.

I know that for many of those growing up around the time this band began to make music, there are plenty of memories, whether good or bad, associated with at least one of their albums or songs. Despite having seen the Arctic Monkeys in Finsbury Park in 2014 and absolutely loving their set, one of my most vivid memories around their music comes from a very different setting. It was Glastonbury 2007, nearing midnight, and I was sitting on my sofa (very much not at Glasto) on the phone to my best friend, who was also watching the festival. We sang along at stupid volumes down the phone to ‘This House is a Circus’ and then, suddenly, there was a point when neither of us spoke for a whole song- it was just too perfect to interrupt. Needless to say, 505 will always remain one of my favourite songs of all time, along with the associated memory embedded forever in my mind.

Here’s of a little celebration of the Arctic journey- from the glamour of Yorkshire all the way to LA. Let’s hope the release of ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’ tonight is just as strong as albums gone by!

(There’s a sneaky little not-quite-arctic-monkeys track in this playlist, but it’s one of my favourite covers of all time- the last minute of the song is quite possibly my favourite minute of music ever made!)

 

Playlist #01 – International Women’s Day

Seeing as it’s International Women’s Day, it seems only fitting that my first playlist is dedicated to all the great gals of music. From front women, to drummers and solo artists, I think this one is self-explanatory.

I usually keep my playlists a little shorter, but on this occasion, there were too many wonder women to choose from! Who are your favourite leading ladies of the music world? Is there anyone you’d add to your playlist?

(On a side note- thank you to both Gwen Stefani and my mum, for teaching me that every day can be a red lipstick day…)

 

Back to Basics

Every music lover remembers their first gig- the sudden dimming of the lights, the rush as you catch the first glimpse of your heroes, the crush as the crowd moves in on the hits. Of course, there’s also the downside of the bruised ribs after being trapped against the front barrier (oh hello there youthful, eager, too-young-to-be-worried-about-spilling-my-beer Halyna), the sticky floors, and the blissful ignorance of not knowing what the suspiciously warm liquid that just hit your back was.

When I think back to my first gig, there are only fond memories. I was a 13 year old, who had discovered the happiness that combining heavy guitars, a disco drum beat and a well-placed bass part could create, and it was only just the beginning. Franz Ferdinand were playing at the MEN Arena (now known as the Manchester Arena), and as we queued at the entrance, little did I know I would become addicted to the gig life. I remember knowing the band’s first album, ‘Franz Ferdinand’, inside out; everything from the lyrics, to the fact there was a cough at the end of the song, ‘Michael.’ Looking back, it might seem pretty excessive, but I find something quite endearing about the idea that I was only just learning how much I really loved this genre of music, meaning every little detail felt so important at the time. Over the years there have been albums and bands that I’ve fallen in love with and who have become part of my story, but in all honesty, I don’t think I’ve ever known an album in as much detail as I knew that black and orange classic. Even if you don’t think you know any of their biggest hits, you do. After all, ‘Take Me Out’ is a staple of any self respecting Rock/Indie disco. ‘I say don’t you know, you say you don’t know, I say…’ – Let’s not lie now; you know exactly what I say.

I was recently lucky enough to be able to see Franz again at Manchester’s Albert Hall, a whole 13 years after the first time- be sure to look out for the review, including chats about their support, Albert Hammond Jr, which will popping up in the near future! As for now, back to the past.

Snap band
The snap band I bought at the gig – if you don’t know what a snap band is, you’ve never lived.

The support acts that night were two lesser-known bands, Editors and The Rakes. Editors were playing their new album at the time, ‘The Back Room’, which later went on to become one of their most well known albums to date. Their quick fire, whining riffs and ‘00s feel made their style unmistakable, with songs such as ‘Blood’ and ‘Munich’ increasing their fan base shortly after the tour. They’ve gone from strength to strength over the years, with their new single ‘Magazine’ having been recently released in 2018, plus an album to follow shortly. The Rakes unfortunately got lost in the indie madness that the decade brought with it, and didn’t go on to have many more popular releases- ‘22 Grand Job’ probably remains their most well known track of the noughties.

Looking back to my first real gig made me feel quite nostalgic, and got me thinking about the point in time when I first realised that rock was about to be added to my list of life loves. I can vividly pinpoint two songs that made me stop in my tracks and rethink music- I’ll give you a clue, it was 2002, and the video to one song involved a young Anthony Kiedis, a long yellow pipe and John Frusciante dancing in a dustbin. Any ideas? That’s another discussion for another time (or at least the next chapter).

Until then, have a little reminisce and get in touch to share your first gig experiences – even if it was the Spice Girls, I want to hear about the things that made it memorable for you.

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About Halyna

I’m Halyna, the face behind the Blue Light Beat.

portrait

I’ve always been a firm believer in the idea that every minute of life runs to it’s own rhythm and has it’s own beat; you create your own soundtrack every day, simply by existing. From a stress filled, fast paced morning commute, to a lazy, melodic Sunday afternoon- you’re writing your own playlists without realising it.

As a medical doctor based in Manchester, much of my day, and occasionally night, is spent in and around hospital. There are times when I don’t know if things will go to plan, I don’t know if it’s going to get complicated; hence my life runs to the beat decided by the next blue light.

The Blue Light Beat is my own little ode to great music, everything it has done for me in the past, and no doubt everything it will do for me in the future. It’s particularly focused around rock, alternative, indie, Britpop… maybe some occasional surprises in there too. Expect gig and album reviews, thoughts and music news, as well as playlists filled with everything from established rock gods to up and coming talent of the future.

This project has been on my mind for a good number of years, but the work-life balance wasn’t equal enough for me to make it a reality- something needed to change. Music and writing make up a huge part of my life, and I’d go as far as to say, they are probably my biggest, if not only true passions. Being seen without earphones in, or singing out loud to old but gold classics, with radio turned up to full blast, used to be a rare thing. As a drummer, singer and very (*massively below) average guitar player, watching live music and going to gigs is also really important to me, and something I’ve loved since the pre-teen years.

The further I climbed into my medical career, the more I began to notice that less time was being spent on the things I truly love and I was becoming miserable without realising the reason. It wasn’t an active choice, but the work end of the weighing scales had somehow managed to tip the seesaw over to one direction, and I’ve no doubt there are even bigger challenges still to come. Even when I was off the clock, my head was very much still in office hours. I knew something needed to change, and soon.

This is where the background picture for the BLB logo becomes relevant. The image used is a photo I captured, very much by chance, at the Maccabees ‘Final Farewell’ tour at the Manchester Apollo. It was taken during a song that has always been particularly significant to me for a number of reasons, and is now significant for one more. As ‘Something like Happiness’ roared through the Apollo, the whole crowd united at the top of their voices, bodies rushed inwards, and I felt a sudden moment of clarity. For a second, the stars seemed to align and my plan became clear. As the lyrics say:

‘You just know when you know, you just know.’

That’s when I knew; for my own sake, this needed to be the beginning of the Blue Light Beat.