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Tim Wheeler / November 2014 UK Tour

 
By on Wednesday, 10th September 2014 at 8:00 am
 

Tim Wheeler, perhaps best known as the frontman of veteran Northern Irish band Ash, has announced a short list of UK tour dates to support his upcoming first-ever solo album ‘Lost Domain’ on Sony Red.

Set for release on the 3rd of November, the album is a tribute to Wheeler’s father, whom Wheeler recently lost to dementia. A portion of the album’s sale proceeds will be donated to The Alzheimer’s Society. VIP tickets for the following shows are available now via Wheeler’s PledgeMusic campaign. General admission tickets for the London and Manchester dates are also available now.

Tuesday 4th November 2014 – London Bush Hall
Wednesday 5th November 2014 – Manchester Deaf Institute
Thursday 6th November 2014 – Glasgow ABC
Friday 7th November 2014 – Belfast Oh Yeah Centre

 

Kendal Calling 2013: Day 2 Roundup

 
By on Friday, 6th September 2013 at 2:00 pm
 

Is it just me or was Kendal Calling 2013‘s Saturday on the main stage “Lad’s day”? The Twang, The D.O.T., even Ash seemed to bring the inner Manc out in everybody. At least Dutch Uncles were there to bring a bit of thinking man’s rock to the party. Is it just me or do Dutch Uncles get better with every viewing? Duncan Wallis (shown below) is a frontman perfectly at ease with himself, proudly showing off his pristine, angular moves, particularly on ‘Flexxin’’, where the famous moves from the video are reproduced even more lucidly onstage. The band display a limber structure within which they explore their compositions, with a confidence only a group who have toured together for countless months can display. And they seem to have avoided becoming bored with each other or their songs, as have the audience.

Dutch Uncles Kendal Calling 2013

The D.O.T. came widely anticipated. A joint venture between Mike Skinner, ex of The Streets, and Rob Harvey, ex of Leeds rockers The Music, promises to bring some urban smarts to indie music, to replace guitars with electronics, but still within a knowing framework that appeals to both indie kids and hip-hop heads. In reality, it all falls a bit flat. Certainly there’s nothing here to compete with the intensity of the previous night’s Public Enemy onslaught, but conversely it would be more exciting with a bit of live instrumentation. Harvey strums a guitar every now and again, but they fail to excite the crowd at all; Skinner’s deadpan sneering doesn’t help, an attitude which apparently carries through to his DJ set later in the evening. There are occasional glimpses of the urban tenderness of The Streets, but glimpses is all they are. There’s potential here, but they need to have a bit of a rethink on how to engage anyone other than diehard fans of both The Music and The Streets at the same time. How many of those can there be?

The most surprising thing about The Twang is that they’re actually still going, given a steady decline in album sales over the past decade, let alone how they’ve managed to bag a decent main stage slot at a big festival. Well, the answer’s in the laddism. They appear to have two singers, plenty of guitars and energy, and some singalong bits – who am I to argue that what they actually need is class and talent?

Tim Wheeler (pictured at top) from Ash is lacking in neither class or talent – it takes class to maintain a brand for 20 years, whilst keeping people interested and even devoted to its music; it takes talent to continue to wield a Gibson Flying V with the sort of aplomb which would make a 12-year-old boy say, “that’s cool”. Both of which are achieved within a few bars of Ash’s set commencing. Moreover, they command the rain: it pours down at the first note of their set, and would continue for 12 hours. Clearly God is a fan. Nobody has really taken Ash’s place: as survivors of the tail end of Britpop, their offer is clearly still relevant today, and not just by way of nostalgia. Their songs are evocative of teenage yearning, of big guitars, and simple, overriding emotions still capable of commanding a big festival stage. Carry on, sir.

Sweet Baboo Kendal Calling 2013

Sweet Baboo’s delicate, witty, poignant Welsh ditties bring us back to the Calling Out tent. Such assertively sweet music from such an unassuming chap is quite the contrast. By the time the set climaxes, the horn section is parping as if Steve Cropper were in the crowd, taking notes. Which, in a spiritual way, he was. To be followed swiftly by Sons and Lovers (shown below), who tread that fine line between cliche and true excellence. In the cold light of day, their Mumford-esque sound is their downfall: inevitable thumping floor toms, incessant quiet-loud-quiet-loud arrangements, and hopelessly romantic themes do them no favours, but on this day in history, Sons and Lovers provide set worthy of headliners. Such are the complex vagaries of live music.

Sons and Lovers Kendal Calling 2013

London Grammar remain to be assessed another day – their autumn tour should set the record straight as to whether they are simply xx wannabes, or whether they have something truly original to offer. Now… it hardly needs stating that there’s more to music festivals than stroking one’s chin at bands. So Saturday night was as good a time as any to relinquish any thought of sobriety, any notion of “reviewing”, and simply have a bit of a party. A date had been made for 10 pm to watch a delightful bunch of ladies called the Hooping Harlots perform a spectacular LED hula-hoop display, with the added bonus that they let any old punter (e.g., me) practice their dubious hula skills with some of their less precious hoops. Even though I can keep it up indefinitely (that’s what she said!) I can’t do anything more exciting than that; the talented Harlots, however, can do the lot – spinning around the wrist, neck, and unbelievably, the shoulder, and swapping between them all with a fluid ease that defies description. Add to that the LED light show within the hoops, and it’s a spectacle guaranteed to scramble already delicate festival minds.

The whole thing took place at the well-named Tipple Taxi, a London cab converted into a bijou drinking den, one of many micro-venues scattered around the site, making an evening stumble around the place into a voyage of one exciting discovery after another – from the Chai Wallah’s tent rising from the horizontal for a bit of a boogie finale, to the lucky dip of sounds that is Riot Jazz. The climax of any good Saturday night at Kendal has to be the Glow Dance Tent, however.

Which is where it should, and does, become a little hazy. There are photographs – oh, what photographs. The essence of the sublime confusion of a properly executed night in the company of dance music is expressed therein. Please take a look. Musically, Krafty Kutz expressed their unsurpassed UK hip hop beats and flow, assisted by A Skillz. Needless to say there was dubstep bass all over the house, the constant battle between vocal lines, sub bass, and 8-bit melodies proving too much to bear for some. Check out the Dirtyphonics remix of Pounding for more information, and to experience the enormous bass which sets the level for a Krafty Kutz experience. The level reaches even higher with the introduction of the mentalist blend of wound-up beats, vocals, and samples that comprises ‘Happiness’. Spotify it out.

Suffice to say by the time Maribou State took over at 2 AM, the tent was in great need of a bit of glitchy, soulful techno to rest weary limbs. But even then, the subtle electronica coalesced into an irresistible hole of bouncing heads and knowing looks as the next hour passed in a haze of exhaustion. We were to stagger, spent and silent, to a wreck of flooded, ransacked tents… but that’s a story for another day.

 

SXSW 2013: Pre-Festival Shenanigans with the Dig at Clive Bar and the [email protected] showcase at Latitude 30 – 10th and 11th March 2013

 
By on Thursday, 21st March 2013 at 2:00 pm
 

You may think it’s mental showing up a full 2 days before the madness known as SXSW officially begins on a Tuesday, but it was part of my concerted effort to ease myself gently into the maelstrom. That’s the benefit of having been through the craziness at least once before; not only do you not get lost every 5 minutes in Austin, you also have the foresight to take it easy as you can.

I arrived in Austin Sunday afternoon after a very bumpy, turbulence-filled plane ride from California shaken up but undeterred with the upset stomach and the chill in the air. (Not kidding. I must have looked strange wearing my winter coat and hat around town the first 2 nights and I am sure everyone knew I was from the East Coast, but I was freezing!) My first night’s goal was to see Brooklyn’s the Dig play the imgur / Brooklyn Brewery SXSW Interactive party at Clive Bar on Rainey Street, on the far southeast corner of downtown. It should be obvious that any party offering up free booze will translate to a good time, and in this particular case, the good people of the Brooklyn Brewery hosted this night of Brooklyn bands, with punters plied with all the free beer they wanted.

The Dig imgur Brooklyn Brewery party

This night was unusual in the sense that on Sunday before the Music portion of SXSW, the only people in town are Film and Interactive festival attendees, so the vibe was different but cool all the same. Not sure it it was the booze or it was because Interactive was winding down, but the Dig had plenty of fangirls and boys squealing to their music and kicking up their heels to their music. The majority of songs they played were either from 2012’s ‘Midnight Flowers’ or were brand new songs only that night seeing public light of day for the first time, so I felt very special being there for their premiere. The lighting wasn’t great but seeing that it was being supported by imgur, it made sense in the SXSW world that animated images lit up the tent under which they were playing. The next day I also sorted an interview with the band, which we posted on TGTF last week; listen to it here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzuJ7G6-10U[/youtube]

Monday was another relatively relaxing day, with few shows going on but really only one showcase I cared to catch. alt-J was playing some showcase on 6th Street and the only reason why I knew this was there a massive queue in the middle of the street and I finally had to stop and ask someone who they were queueing for. (Yawn.) Me? I was headed for the [email protected] showcase at Latitude 30. Not sure why they do this but the Northern Irish contingent likes to have a showcase the night before the festival properly begins, so I was glad I was in town to see it. (According to the video above, they do 2 days at SXSW before going on to Nashville.) The line-up had been up in the air for some time and it was not until I arrived at Latitude 30, the home of the British Music Embassy for the week, that I saw the final bill.

Girls Names SXSW 2013

First up was Belfast’s Girls Names. (No, that’s not a mistake, there is no apostrophe in their name. In an interview coming up soon on TGTF, all will be revealed…) How is it possible that I have not heard of this band before? Guh. It is hard for me to describe what they sound like to anyone else because I had such a visceral reaction hearing them for the first time. A little shoegazey, a little Joy Division-y, a little Smiths-esque, with gorgeous, gorgeous guitars. I cannot overstate how amazing their guitars sounded with Cathal Cully’s dreamy vocals. It reminded me why I stepped away from dance in the last couple of months and have been hankering for guitar music again; there is so much artistry that can be made from a person’s hands on the fretboard of a guitar that too few people in the world truly appreciate. One song had plenty of guitar feedback, with Cully walking straight into his amp; it’s not just for Ritzy Bryan anymore, folks! Check out their new album ‘The New Life’, you won’t be disappointed.

Tim Wheeler SXSW 2013

There had been a rumour that Tim Wheeler sans the rest of Ash would be performing. I think everyone had assumed he would headline the night but he didn’t. As expected he played some of Ash’s major hits, but what was more heartwarming was his closing number, in which he covered the Undertones’ ‘Teenage Kicks’, as if he was offering up a love letter to the Northern Irish music scenes of the past. I chatted with him briefly, telling him I barely recognised him without his beard and him wearing a three-piece suit. He replied glibly, “I like to confuse people!”

Girl from Mars
Burn Baby Burn
A Life Less Ordinary
Oh Yeah
Shining Light
Teenage Kicks (Undertones cover)

The Lost Brothers SXSW 2013

The next band were the Lost Brothers, an Irish duo who, according to their Soundcloud, actually met in a library in Liverpool. They look the part of world-weary folk performers, with their long hair and leather outfits, but they are the real deal, straddling that all too fine line between country and western and folk. Their harmonies are peerless, as if they had been separated at birth and reunited by the stars to make music together. At times they could be bluesy in the Johnny Cash way, and other times they were more straight forward folk. When I was small, my mother had a running joke with my father that country and western songs were either about being in love or having a broken heart. In the case of the Lost Brothers, they have both happy and sad songs, but they are all marked by excellent guitar playing and those all too beautiful harmonies.

I did not hang around for Belfast techno purveyors Psycatron; the evening had begun an hour and a half late and I was already flagging. Besides, I needed my strength for the official start of the festival the next morning. I was ready to take whatever Austin and SXSW 2013 would dish out.

 

Top Gigs of 2012: Editor’s Picks

 
By on Friday, 21st December 2012 at 11:00 am
 

Another year, and another top 5 gigs by bands that should not be missed live. How odd that three of them came one after another, but that’s the cool thing about Washington DC. Except for December through the beginning of February (the dead of winter) and June through August (festival season), there is always a reasonably good selection of bands coming through here. But that hasn’t always been the case.

I am often asked on my travels why I became a music blogger, and the simple answer has always been this: when I started covering shows in March 2009, I was getting increasingly upset about how many bands (American or international) would skip Washington entirely, either in favour of going to Philadelphia instead or would only consider New York, or maybe Boston, as the only cities worthy on the East Coast for a tour stop. I have had the opportunity to meet so many bands in the last 3+ years that Washington DC has now become considered on the list of cities bands sincerely wish to play in – or on the list that bands say they will definitely pass through on their next headline tours of North America. To know that I have been involved in making this paradigm shift a reality means so much. It means that I have done something for the city I’ve called home all these years and more importantly, have exposed thousands of music fans from varying walks of life who either work, go to school, or pass through our fine city to incredible music.

All five bands whose gigs landed them in my top 5 gigs of 2012 are worth every red cent you can put forward to go see them, either in their own gig or at a festival in 2013. Here’s the list…

5. Ash‘s 20th anniversary tour at DC9 (Thursday 15th November 2012) – what a surreal experience, finally seeing Ash live, in one of the smallest places to see bands in Washington. Even more surreal was after, when I actually got to talk to all of them and Tim Wheeler said I was a more appropriate panelist for Steve Lamacq’s Roundtable than he was. (This made me smile.) The set itself was brilliantly hard rocky, much more so than I ever would have imagined.

4. TGTF’s stage at Liverpool Sound City 2012, starring the Temper Trap, Clock Opera and Dear Prudence Liverpool Academy of Arts (Friday 18th May 2012) – maybe this is cheating, choosing our own stage at Liverpool. But this night couldn’t have been any better, starring our friends since I took over as Editor of this Web site, the Temper Trap, our new friends from SXSW, Clock Opera, and a band from Brighton destined to bigger things, Dear Prudence. All we can say is THANK YOU to all the bands for making it such a memorable night and THANK YOU Sound City for letting us host this amazing stage.

3. Husky at Red Palace (Friday 17th November 2012) – it’s a sad day in Washington, as Red Palace, similar in intimate size to DC9, will be closing its doors at the end of 2012. But before then, I managed to catch the Melbourne band we befriended at this year’s Great Escape. Just check out this video from the show of the band performing an a capella version of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Lover Lover Lover’ and you’ll understand why they’re so good live.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqF6k9afzeM[/youtube]

2. the Joy Formidable at St. Stephen’s Church (Saturday 10th November 2012) – the Welsh band have consistently placed in my top 5 gigs of the last 2 years; last year they were at #4 and in 2010, they were at #2. What made the difference and put them higher up this year? Seriously, how often do you see such a power house band in a space as small as a church’s rec room? (Well, it was a little bigger than that…but still.) Absolutely fabulous. And their new album ‘Wolf’s Law’ will be huge next year; just check out this live version of first single ‘Cholla’.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjwp3jV2PvM[/youtube]

1. Two Door Cinema Club at 9:30 Club (Tuesday 2nd October 2012) – I was having serious reservations about Two Door’s live show, or rather some of their less than nice fans, after seeing them in Baltimore in June and getting shoved – hard – out of our positions down the front. I almost swore I’d never see them again. But I’m glad I changed my mind.

What was the first date on the autumn 2012 North American tour to sell out? Washington DC, of course. There is still some confusion on whether or not Barack Obama is a fan, but one thing is clear: of all the bands that I’ve known and loved, I did right by Two Door Cinema Club – and helped them become the superstars that they’ve dreamt of being since they started as kids in grammar school. I used to be able to see them after shows and hang out with them, but even as those days are over, they’ve never forgotten me. They are true gents.

Honourable mentions:

St. Etienne at U Street Music Hall (Thursday 25th October 2012) – there’s something to be said for Sarah Cracknall, who may be over 40 but still rocks it out every night as if she was in her 20s.

Divine Fits at 9:30 Club (Thursday 18th October 2012) – it always feels incredibly validating when you see a ‘new’ band who hasn’t been touring much…and they turn out to be absolutely fantastic.

Keane with Mystery Jets at Strathmore Hall (Thursday 14th June 2012) – it’s effin’ Keane, for god’s sakes. And with Mystery Jets, who never tour in America! Win-win, really.

Paula and Karol at 93 Feet East in London (Tuesday 15th May 2012) – what do you do between music festivals? Go to a gig, of course. And at this one, I felt welcomed by the entire Polish population of London. What atmosphere.

First Aid Kit at Black Cat (Friday 30th March 2012) – this show was so spirited, the elder Soderberg lost her top right before the encore. Hardcore.

After the cut: the full list of all the gigs, in reverse chronological order, that I’ve been to in 2012 so you can have some idea how difficult my job was to choose favourites for the top 5 list. The runner-up gigs are also marked.
Continue reading Top Gigs of 2012: Editor’s Picks

 

Live Review: Ash with Reputante and Dot Dash at DC9, Washington DC – 15th November 2012

 
By on Monday, 19th November 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

As I was telling the man himself, Tim Wheeler of Ash, after their show at Washington’s DC9 on Thursday night, I had been waiting what felt like an eternity to see the Northern Irish band gig for some time. So had many Washingtonians; it had been 7 long years since the trio graced our city, and this time around in 2012, they had chosen to play in really small venues, so when word got out they were playing the 200-capacity club, we pounced on tickets. Even now, a couple days after, it feels incredibly surreal that I has been stood just feet away from a band I had only heard either in recordings of ‘Life on Mars’ being played on 6music or when Wheeler guested many times on Steve Lamacq’s Roundtable. (Note to the BBC and Lammo: Tim Wheeler says I should be on Roundtable pronto. Please, sort that out 🙂

But let’s start this gig review first with the openers. The first was Reputante, whose description on DC9’s Web site read like this: “Reputante is a recording collaboration between James Levy and Tim Wheeler of Ash, and a band with James Levy, Jimmy Giannopoulis, Emiliano Ortiz and Raviv Ullman. Jon Wiley and Pete Moses also participate.” This led me to believe that Tim Wheeler actually played in the band, so I arrived early, thinking he would be onstage for their set. Mmm, no.

Levy, the frontman, was quite taciturn and never said where they were from. (Their Facebook says Brooklyn. I guess this is how he knows Wheeler, who lives in the Lower East Side.) He had this odd stance while he was singing, like he was trying to perform a lunge; I described it to Cheryl as a half Guy Garvey (no rocking). Further, when Levy sang, his slow, dirge-like intonations reminded me of Ian Curtis. This band is more fun when they’re upbeat, even if Levy’s voice still has an edge of sadness. Another thing that irked me about this band was that all their songs were so short and seemed to end just as they’d gotten started; they’d play a grand chord and then…nothing. The song would stop.

Weird, abrupt endings of songs was not a problem for the next band. I was really looking forward to hearing locals Dot Dash again, after seeing them open for the Drums at a sold out Black Cat in April. They didn’t disappoint, striking a nice balance between the shoegaze of Evan Dando’s Lemonheads and the Stone Roses. Perhaps it was because the acoustics were better this night at DC9 than at the Black Cat, but this time I could fully appreciate how great the guitars and drums went together on Dot Dash’s songs. Just watching Bill Crandall rip it on guitar made my head spin. So few bands these days are truly musically talented and write great songs. Check out the video for ‘The Past is Another Country’ below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWPuwqwDZvs[/youtube]

Having reviewed both of Ash’s Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 of the ‘A-Z’ single series in 2010, I was more excited than should be allowed for the band’s long-awaited return to the Nation’s Capital. Maybe it is because I have never experienced them live and have only listened to their songs either through headphones o n my mp3 player or on the computer via the BBC iPlayer or Spotify, I really wasn’t expecting how loud the gig was. (I should have probably put on the highest filter on my earplugs before the gig started. Whoops.) Or maybe it was because I was standing right in front of Tim Wheeler, so close that he could see the bandage on my face I was complaining about on Twitter hours before that after the gig, he said he recognised me and asked how my nose was? Whatever the reason, their sound was huge and overwhelming. In a good way.

They had dubbed it their 20th Anniversary Tour, so as should be expected from any greatest hits anything, the massive hits from yesteryear were trotted outand played loudly and with so much passion for an ever appreciative Washington audience. Lammo must like ‘Girl from Mars’ because it comes up quite often in his playlists, but I really wasn’t prepared for the live version. The band barely had a segue from ‘A-Z’ single ‘Arcadia’ right into it; watch both below. The funny moment of the night belonged to drummer Rick McMurray, who complained that he needed to resituate his private parts (you had to be there to fully appreciate the jokes but you can get some of the humour before they play ‘Arcadia’).

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4_9555wyOY[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q39vPAksWz4[/youtube]

Instead of going offstage only to return for an encore, Ash did away with this, by launching directly from ‘Return of White Rabbit’ (completely with absolutely manic bass lines delivered by Mark Hamilton, who wins the gold medal for the night for the most wild guitar playing poses) straight into ‘Joy Kicks Darkness’, both from the ‘A-Z’ collection. Truth be told, I was kind of bummed they didn’t play ‘Space Shot’ (my favourite of all the A-Z singles) or ‘True Love 1980’, but no worries, guys. They can play those when they return to DC – something that Tim Wheeler himself promised now that he and Mark live in New York City. Result!

After the cut: Ash’s set list.
Continue reading Live Review: Ash with Reputante and Dot Dash at DC9, Washington DC – 15th November 2012

 

MP3 of the Day (and more!) #707: Ash

 
By on Friday, 16th November 2012 at 3:30 pm
 

I know, I’m breaking our usual rule of posting free mp3 downloads at 10 AM, but this time I have a good excuse!

Last night the DC branch of TGTF went to go see Ash make their triumphant return to Washington DC after 7 long years. That’s right. SEVEN. It ended up being one of the most amazing and mental gigs I’ve ever been to: I seriously thought the bloke to my left was possessed, he was rocking out so hard, and the one next to Cheryl I recognised as Mister Super Dancer from the Delphic gig at the same venue, DC9, 2 years ago.

The song that was supposed to be the closer before the encore, ‘Return of White Rabbit’, is now being given away by the band this week, so yeah, what are you waiting for? Go get it! And you can watch the promo video for the song below as well.

Expect a rambling review of this gig, crammed with photos and videos, on TGTF next week.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dm2q2MIHnY[/youtube]

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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