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Shepherds Bush Empire

The Plastiscines, Shepherds Bush Empire, London

The Plastiscines had created that sense of anticipation that use to follow me in my youth; the excitement before a gig. So there I was, surrounded by youngsters, with glow sticks, hot pants with bare legs unafraid of the cold, and drinking cider and giggling.

Bat for Lashes, Roundhouse, London

When Natasha Khan asks "shall we carry on with a bit more dancing?" she might as well be talking to herself. The trademark cape has a bit more sparkle than previously, but tonight's audience is not looking for a big pop performance. They stand in awe as she powers through the best of Fur and Gold and Two Suns.

Alela Diane, Shepherds Bush Empire, London

In the true tradition of folk, singer-songwriter Alela Diane's shows are a family affair. Her father Tom Menig plays guitar and mandolin, while her boyfriend is the bassist.

Pearl Jam, Shepherd's Bush Empire, London

Yes, they're still alive. Almost two decades since the band's formation, and 18 years since the birth of a grunge movement that propelled their debut, Ten, into the history books as one of the biggest-selling rock albums of all time, Pearl Jam remain a potent force, despite an almost paranoid avoidance of the limelight.

Coming soon: A new musical explosion

The NME Awards shows dominate the diary throughout February, kicking off tonight with the Gaslight Anthem (pictured) at London's Shepherds Bush Empire (0844 477 2000), and Howling Bells at Islington Academy (0844 477 2000) tomorrow.

Music & Me: Russel Mael of Sparks

The first record I bought was...

“Happenings Ten Years Time Ago” by The Yardbirds in Los Angeles, in the late Sixties.

The first gig I went to was...

The Rolling Stones in Los Angeles when I was 18 years old. I was dressed to emulate them, trying to look like I was in an English band.

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