For editor Mary's coverage of SXSW 2013, go here.
For TGTF team coverage of Liverpool Sound City 2013, go here.
Don't forget to like There Goes the Fear on Facebook
and follow us on Twitter
! ~TGTF HQ x
After the exhaustion of last night’s Crookes set at Tramlines, Sunday had come right on cue. With an eclectic mix of acts on both of the specially erected city stages, it’s finally time to visit the main stage for local legends The Everly Pregnant Brothers. After seeing them on the busking bus last year, their step up to opening the main stage was one to celebrate as their set of ukulele based Yorkshire-ised popular hits including ‘Chav World (Mad World)’ and ode to Amy Winehouse’s ‘Rehab’ with more Yorkshire than you can shake a pasty at lightens up Devonshire Green with a brilliant atmosphere.
Leaving the main stage for now to return to the Nando’s New Music Stage, Holland (above) play a set of as or yet unknown tracks, one to keep an eye on perhaps? Either way they’re followed by the guitar-pop sounds of Let’s Buy Happiness. The sound is uplifting even if the lyrics are rooted in dark undertones of sarcasm for loves-passed-by. Neither band are in line to set fire to venues and charts, but they’re enjoyable enough for a relaxing afternoon in the sun.
Going off route a bit, its time to venture to new venue The Hop for a band who’re following in the steps of Sheffield duo Wet Nuns with their blend of hearty rock with a twist of blues and energy for good measure. The Blackbirds (below) are loud and riff heavy with some thumping drums and whilst the band have a lot to do before they achieve such levels as their local peers, the promise is undeniable even if the crowd is limited to around twenty people.
Everything in the day has been leading up to one thing though. Whilst across Sheffield, everyone’s winding up to their final headliners including a hugely notable homecoming show for 65daysofstatic on the New Music Stage; indie underdogs and all round nice guys We Are Scientists are due to close the festival on the main stage. The buzz for their support Field Music (below) is sadly nonexistent; you feel the group would have been better off surrounded by their more devoted fans inside somewhere like the Harley, but the band stick to a tight set that sounds a bit amiss in such a setting.
We Are Scientists come on stage though and Devonshire Green starts to dance. Playing a singles collection of their by now well known indie rock tracks with a few new ones added in to test the water on their upcoming fourth record the band haven’t put many notes out in years and that’s appreciated by the gathered Sheffield masses. Sadly though, once again the stage is running late so in order to catch a few minutes of another local band on the rise, TGTF heads off up to Soyo.
Screaming Maldini are by now underground favourites. The enthusiasm with which they play their fresh breed of music that treads between the singalongs of pop and the eccentricity of math-rock on a delicate line (landing a bit more on the pop sound) makes for a highly enjoyable finish to the weekend. Of course acts continue late into the night, but it’s once again last-train home time and even with the occasional disappointment; Tramlines has once again proved that you can achieve a hugely enjoyable and bustling festival of solid acts without charging a penny to the fans. This time next year, Sheffield?
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 31st May 2012 at 1:00 pm
After a happy meetup with my NYC PR friend Marni and some finger food from the final press reception of this year’s Great Escape, I was on my own again. As a wheat allergy sufferer, finding food to go can be a bit of a challenge; for example, pasties aren’t too good for my body, and neither are sandwiches. I can have an occasional hamburger bun, but I try to avoid bread and pasta where I can. Knowing I had hours ahead of me for my last night at the festival, I decided to duck into the Yo Sushi! across the street from the Hub that I’d been eyeing for days. After a particularly unsuccessful time – I guess Brighton’s locals aren’t fans of raw fish, as I only managed 2 plates of salmon sushi after sitting there for 40 minutes – I up and went. Gutted.
My evening had to be restructured entirely on the announcement that Reverend and the Makers would no longer be supporting Africa Express Soundsystem, so to this day I still have yet to set foot and cover a show in the Dome. Next year. I had a difficult choices to make: I sadly had to give a pass to Perfume Genius at St. Mary’s Church because there was no way I’d get back up to the Pavilion Theatre and get in successfully for Beth Jeans Houghton and the Hooves of Destiny, a band I’d circled in red early on as a must see. Then there was some confusion in my mind who I should see before then. In a fit of slight desperation, I started reading the band descriptions in my now dog-eared schedule book for some guidance. I’d heard of Fanzine and thought maybe going to see Novella the band before them, might be interesting. Maybe. “Encountering drone and dream-pop with the same glassy-eyed nonchalance, London trio Novella may seem dazed, but their grass-roots credentials prove they’re far from confused.” They had also graced the Dome prior to Maximo Park’s appearance on Thursday night, so I thought, hmm, that’s a plan.
The Audio sign was relatively easy to find. I breathed a sigh of relief. However, a mix of drunk stag party participants spilling out on the pavement and actual festival goers made for bewilderment requiring me to ask the two bald guys out front for help. I don’t know what is up with most of the bouncers that work the Great Escape, but geez, when a woman comes and asks you a question nicely, is it so hard to answer truthfully and without nastiness or sarcasm? I got another “there’s no way in hell you’re getting in there” kind of response. Then I asked about Above Audio. “Oh, you can go right in there. There’s no queue.” Now you’re talking my language.
Funnily enough, Above Audio was where my mate Ed and his mates had gathered. “You’re not going to like this very much,” he commented about the first act up and Brighton locals Regal Safari. He meant because they’re chillwave, and this is true, I’m not a fan of that genre. But perhaps it was all the alcohol that was flowing, but I quite enjoyed their style of dance music so much I could feel my feet, though sore, still itching to move to the beat. After the set, my friends soon departed but I wasn’t alone for long.
Suddenly it was Blog Up all over again when Shell Zenner, Mike Bradford of the Recommender, Robin of Breaking More Waves and I found ourselves in the same patch of club space. Seriously, given the number of shows happening at that very moment in Brighton, what are the odds? (Also, how do we NOT have a single photo?!?) We exchanged advice and moans of conflicts remaining for our weekends and at Robin’s advice, I stayed for Gold and Youth, a Canadian band Paul Lester has compared to Depeche Mode. They’re an electronic band but in the ‘80s sense that seems to be a nostalgic bent a lot of bands are trying to ape. Not sure if I agree with their label Arts and Crafts’ description of “neo-noir Los Angeles, cinematic haze and midnight solitudes”. But there is a definite dark, brooding nature that history has shown works extremely well with industrial synth action going hand to hand with great songwriting, and if this one performance is anything to go by, I think this band – now augmented with a female singer and bassist! – will be going places. Watch some live videp of the band below. (Sorry for the guy who was walking back and forth in front of the camera; that was their roadie and I was already taking my chances standing on the stage…that said, I have to say that I love the fact that in most UK venues, you can video as much as you please. Not the way with American venues…)
I am sure it is quite ironic, seeing that I’m an American, that I’ve not seen Howler live before. However, I shouldn’t have even bothered to head to Komedia, as it felt like the whole of Brighton descended on that very venue’s upstairs for Alabama Shakes. (Zzz.) Should I tell you what the bouncer there said to me? I should. (Incidentally, he is the same bouncer that took a horrible photo of me with the Crookes that morning and demanded 5 quid for his trouble. Very funny.) I asked where Komedia upstairs was. “You’re not getting in, it’s one in, one out now.” (Please keep in mind that I had arrived an hour before Howler was due on stage, and nearly 3 hours before Alabama Shakes’ set time.) I asked if this was the line he was giving every single punter who asked (insinuating he was just putting out false information). He gave a stern look. “No, I’ve been saying that all night to compensate for my small penis.” And there you have it, folks.
You really can’t follow that up with anything else, so I asked how the capacity for the Komedia’s Studio Bar. Wordlessly, he pointed his bald head in the direction of the door. I have no idea why Komedia downstairs doesn’t put on shows at night – they have the space, so they should, why not? – but after getting a little lost (admittedly still buzzed from the cider imbibed at Above Audio) I finally made it to catch the last couple songs of JD McPherson, who is best described as a white man having a go at being Little Richard and succeeding. After the disappointment of not getting into Howler, this was an impressive find and unlike anything I expected to hear at the Great Escape this year. I imagined this must have been the way the Beatles felt when they first heard ‘Tutti Frutti’. Watch his video for ‘North Side Gal’ below.
I gave up the illusion I was getting close enough to take photos; the bar was packed full of sweaty revelers who hooted their approval for their new god. It might not have been the most inventive or original music at the festival, but who cares when you’ve got a whole room of very happy people? I was situated in the back, next to a group of girls in cute dresses and flower headband contraptions that must have taken forever to arrange. When I inquired – successfully – if they were part of a hen party and went on to declare my admiration for their outfits, I got hugs all around. Apparently they had not been treated well by the festival punters they’d spoken to, who had all declared that they were there specifically to get pissed. Their spokeswoman quickly clarified to me that it was the bride to be’s request that her hen do take place around the Great Escape because music is so important to her. That’s it. You’ve all been informed. When I’m getting married, I’m having my hen do around a music festival. That’s the way to do it!
Seeing that I had been thwarted on getting in on the venue Howler was playing way before the fact, I decided it was probably best if I stopped swanning about and headed to the Pavilion Theatre, where I would stay for the night. Not really sure how queues work for this place; maybe they counted everyone in the downstairs bar in the capacity? I arrived at the Club Uncut stage with the room half full, people sitting cross-legged on the floor while Hans Chew played. Jazz and blues are not my forte, unless there’s a definite rock ‘n’ roll edge to it (see JD McPherson above), and while he and his guitarist sounded well matched, I wasn’t feeling it.
I had another band to sit through, but “sit through” is the wrong phrase to use, because they actually got me up and hopping. Solar Bears, a Irish electronic duo, brought the beats and had me and my new friends (friends who actually enjoyed Django Django the night before and were being respectful and not shouting at each other!) and I were dancing up a storm. Yes, there were people being stupid and sitting on the floor still, but man, it was their loss. Apparently film scores and soundtracks play a big part in their musical upbringing, but I enjoyed what I considered a quite dynamic and fun electronic music experience.
Beth Jeans Houghton and the Hooves of Destiny. Ooh. I don’t think I was adequately prepared. I was disappointed they weren’t dressed up in multi-coloured outfits. But Beth herself explained to the audience that they had just come back from a tour of Europe and were exhausted, and she was wearing a t-shirt that belonged to a bandmate and after a cursory nasal check, announced that it smelled. (Er…TMI.) When people say a woman’s voice sounds like a songbird, I usually am let down when I finally hear the woman and find she sounds nothing like a bird. Beth Jeans Houghton doesn’t sound like a bird but her operatic tones give any bird on a tree near you a run of its money. On paper, you’d think that her style of singing wouldn’t work in the pop environment, and that’s where you would be wrong. But listen to a bit of the live performance of below and decide for yourself.
EMA followed with a down and dirty, grungey sound. And she had props! What looked like a hollowed out mirrorball hung from Erika M. Anderson’s mike stand. And for ‘Angelo’, she festooned herself with strings of lit Christmas lights; if you don’t believe me, watch the video below.
And that’s how my Great Escape ended, hanging with new friends and checking out a band I knew little about. Both things are what this festival was about. And I feel incredibly lucky I got to experience it this year, see 21 bands, and interview the Crookes. I feel quite isolated and alone in Washington, so something very special about the Great Escape was that it gave me the chance to meet so many bloggers and people involved in the music business in the welcoming realm of UK music that it gives me a fuzzy feeling just thinking about it. Same time, next year? Make mine a Kopparberg pear cider and I’ll see you down the front.
Deep in the midst of the Peak District National Park, the sister festival to 2000 Trees is shaping up nicely. Winning the Grassroots Festival award and the coveted Best Toilets award at last year’s Festival Awards, Y-Not Festival is back to prove itself worthy of more trophies in its cabinet. Taking place on 3-5 August, there are six stages of the best British music from an array of scenes and sounds.
Headlining the Main Stage throughout the weekend are the UK indie mainstays the View (pictured above), the Wombats and We Are Scientists. With enough big radio hits under their cumulative belt to form the basis of a ‘Now That’s What I Call Mid-00s’ album, get your lungs ready for a sing-song. Backing them up are other indie stalwarts the Pigeon Detectives, British Sea Power and the Subways.
But it’s not just an indie festival, across all the stages are diverse acts from the hip-hop of Roots Manuva to the harder edged Pulled Apart By Horses. The Giant Squid stage is the haven of ‘heavier’ music over the weekend with big names Rolo Tomassi, Lower Than Atlantis, Turbowolf and Brontide gracing the Midlands.
If this sounds your thing – and if you’re a fan of UK music then surely it must be – then head on over to the official Web site to purchase tickets. Priced at just £75 for the weekend, there’s no reason not to visit the heart of Derbyshire for a weekend of summer music antics.
By Mary Chang
on Sunday, 6th March 2011 at 9:00 am
The kooky We Are Scientists have announced a handful of club dates for June. Methinks these are timed perfectly for the UK festival season, don’tcha think? Actually, they are perfect, as they’ve confirmed appearances at Isle of Wight (10 June), Rockness (11 June) and Beachbreak Live (16 June). Tickets to this short jaunt are available now.
Monday 13 June 2011 – Middlesbrough Empire
Tuesday 14 June 2011 – Leamington Spa Assembly
Wednesday 15 June 2011 – London Koko
Friday 17 June 2011 – Brighton Concorde 2
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 2nd December 2010 at 1:00 pm
This Friday marks the last episode of this series of MTV Gonzo, but don’t be sad: some special guest appearances are planned for the show. DJ and producer Mark Ronson, who released the album ‘Record Collection’ with his Business Intl. in September and recently worked with Duran Duran on their new album, stops by to talk with Alexa and shows her his drum pads. (No, that’s not innuendo for something else.) Now sporting shocking platinum blonde hair ala Simon Neil of Biffy Clyro, he comments, “I’m worried my hair might fall out from the bleach”. But rock ‘n’ roll is all about taking risks, isn’t it?
The Drums from New York also make an appearance, no doubt to talk about their amazing success this year. Everyone’s favourite American jokers (and rockers) We Are Scientists phone in for what is sure to be a comical video chat. Mat Horne, who guested on last week’s Gonzo, suggests a new band to watch: you’ll have to watch the show to find out who he’s tipping. On the video front, Gonzo queues up Paramore‘s ‘Playing God’ as well as the new promo video of White Lies‘s ‘Bigger Than Us’, and the London post-punk band is in the studio to talk about what went on behind the scenes of its filming.
Watch this series’s final episode of MTV Gonzo tomorrow night, Friday, at 7 pm on MTV Rocks, with a repeat at 9 pm on MTV.
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 24th November 2010 at 2:00 pm
Words by Jason Thomas
Photos by Thomas Roundell Greene
So last Thursday I ventured into the cold London night, as We Are Scientists had invited me to a special showcase at Village Underground, in deepest darkest Shoreditch, East London. The gig was part of their ‘American Barbarians’ UK tour. My best mate Tom was given photography duties for the night, so you have him to thank for the snaps, though I was the one who got a sore arm filming a video of ‘Chick Lit’ (which, sadly, wasn’t up to our exacting standards for posting on TGTF). This was one of two We Are Scientists gigs of the evening. The latter, which I couldn’t obtain passes for, was a ‘Little Noise Session’ for Mencap at Union Chapel in Islington, with support from the Kooks and Example. Next time lads, next time!
Tonight’s gig at Village Underground was the band showing their support for UK charity Live Unltd International, an organisation built upon rewarding young entrepreneurs with funding for community based projects related to music, sport and the arts. The room was set with an automated rodeo bull, coconut shy, its own tin pan alley and a few scantily clad glamour girls. Come to think of it, where’s the pictures of them, Tom? That’s the problem with married photographers! I was originally expecting to review a ‘full’ live gig from ‘We Are Scientists’, but upon arrival I realised this was not the case; air drums sound and look pony by the way! Acoustic it is, to the bar then. After draining a couple of beers from the ‘one per industry bar’ (they really should keep better tabs on us) and devouring an enormous spit-roast pig sandwich, it was time for the band to take to the stage.
It’s always a nice treat to hear a band’s songs played acoustic, and the lads didn’t let the party down. All crowded around one microphone they rattled through past hits and new tunes alike for thirty minutes, to the delight of competition winners, charity founders and ‘beered up’ industry wigs alike. Highlight for me, and the stand-out tune of the night was ‘After Hours’ (“time means nothing”) probably one of the band’s best-known tracks to date. The band were their usual jovial selves and complimented the party atmosphere of the night well; jostling over the mic, ducking in and out for harmonies, narrowly avoiding a lonely shaker, which was only doing its job I hasten to add. I was surprised at how well the songs came across in this format, but hats off to the three of them, I really enjoyed the set.
The band were whisked off stage and on to their second gig of the night, and it was left to Nihal from Radio 1 to fill the arches beneath Shoreditch tube station with audible pleasures. After spending a few minutes mincing about to dubstep, we decided it was time to take our nigh on thirty frames back into the horizontal drizzle of the London streets, to reflect on the nights activities over a pint of Badger. And that’s when the inevitable happened; sitting in the pub garden we were accosted by a particularly rude and unsavoury character offering substances concocted by a totally different sort of scientist than the three we had just so recently witnessed….we knew we were in East London! We quickly left by the way, exactly the way we had come in.