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MTV Gonzo tour / Bloc Party / Kaiser Chiefs / Foals / October 2008

 
By on Monday, 8th September 2008 at 7:21 pm
 

MTV’s Gonzo has announced it’s annual round of birthday shows for October as they stop off at a series of Barfly venues over two weekends.

Tickets for the below dates go on sale on Friday (12th September) at 9am.

Friday 10th October – The Automatic and Iglu And Hartly at Liverpool Barfly
Saturday 11th October – Mystery Jets, Noah And The Whale at Birmingham Barfly
Sunday 12th October – Kaiser Chiefs and Late Of The Pier at London ULU
Friday 17th October – Foals, Esser at York Fibbers
Saturday 18th October – Glasvegas, Friendly Fires at Aberdeen Moshulu
Sunday 19th October – Bloc Party, Magistrates at Glasgow Barfly

 

Hydro Connect: The Complete Review

 
By on Sunday, 7th September 2008 at 5:41 pm
 

Hydro Connect Festival was my first proper music festival, and quite possibly one of the furthest away from home we could get. After a 9 hour drive leaving home at 5am on Friday morning, we arrived at one of the most beautiful festival settings I think you’ll find this side of Coachella.

After the horrible trek from car park to campsite (we were warned it was 20 minutes, but we’d suggest you double that if you’re carrying a tent), we set up our tent and went out to explore the main arena.

First up were Noah and the Whale and Ladytron on the Guitars and Other Machines Stage (otherwise known as the second stage for those of you who are Glastonbury / Reading / Leeds fans), before a wander around to see Amy MacDonald sporting a rather fetching kilt. I’ve never been a huge fan of her Radio 2 – lite tunes, but the Scottish crowd certainly loved the Glaswegian girl.

Manic Street Preachers were up next, and were on absolute fire as they did an amazing set. I’d heard people rave about them, but now I really can understand why – they were amazing. Kasabian headlined, but frankly were nothing on the Manics. Tom Meighan is an amazing frontman and certainly can whip everyone up some, but frankly they don’t have the tunes that the Manics do.

After an interesting night in the campsite, we slowly started our Saturday in the Speakeasy cafe on the sofas, listening to some amazing acoustic music. Quickly time rolled around and we had to amble back to the Media tent to catch a quick chat with Paul from Glasvegas and Kele and Matt from Bloc Party. After coming down from that little bit of excitement, we went to catch Friendly Fires on the Guitars and Other Machines Stage. We knew they were good having stumbled across them several times around the blogosphere, but weren’t expecting the amazingly high-energy set they provided us with. Black Lips disappointed, failing to energise the rather small crowd. Glasvegas had one of the biggest mid-afternoon crowds of the weekend, and provided the anthem of the weekend around the campsites.

A bit of food, and back to the main Oyster stage for the evening. We had high hopes for Grinderman, but simply didn’t appreciate Nick Cave’s new project, with it sounding largely inaccessible to us. Paolo Nutini I wasn’t holding out high hopes for, but he plain and simply blew me away, with his songs providing some great sing alongs. Oh, and his cover of Will Smith’s Fresh Prince of Bel-Air? AMAZING.

We’d been excited about Bloc Party since their confirmation as Saturday night headliners, and with the announcement of their new album, Intimacy, just 10 days before the festival we were all the more excited. Kele and co didn’t disappoint, blasting through everything we’d hoped for and a bit more.

Somehow getting almost 6 hours sleep on Saturday night, we were woken by the pouring rain on Sunday morning, and took the decision to put our tent back in the car to prevent it from floating away in the increasingly boggy waters around our tent. Making the way back to the main arena we couldn’t decide who to catch, so caught snippets of a few different bands. Santagold looked rather out of place in a metallic blue dance suit compared to the muddy audience, but none the less was amazingly good, with her indenti-kit backing singers coupled with her backing band providing some surprisingly good tunes.

I’d heard about the Levellers from friends, but never actually caught them live. They were a true festival band, getting everyone moving, and really warming things up a bit. Elbow I’ve never been a huge fan of, however they again surprised me. Lead singer Guy Garvey was decidedly chatty, commenting that “this is my sort of weather – I don’t like the hot weather ‘cos people take off their clothes and it isn’t pretty from here! In Manchester just about every beer garden looks like it has about 2 dozen red eggs in it anytime there’s a mildly warm day!”

Goldfrapp were so-so. I’ve never been a huge fan of their stuff, on the basis lots of it is a bit too arty-farty for my liking. Plus, I was simply excited for Sigur Ros, who were next up and closing Hydro Connect 2008 for us. They didn’t disappoint.

With that, we left leaving Franz Ferdinand to do probably much what they did last time I caught them, and to make an exit from the car park (with the help of some amazingly nice girls who pushed us out of the mud).

What was hot:

  • Amazing setting
  • Great food at good prices
  • The lineup… simply amazing for a festival so young and small
  • The speakeasy tent with its comfy sofas and free newspapers
  • Friendly and helpful security

What was not:

  • Mobile reception was always hampered by “network busy” responses… if Hyde Park can cope with having upwards of 40,000 people all with mobiles, why can’t Connect? This was also the reason for a big lack of live updates from Connect – we didn’t take a laptop, and had been planning on there not
  • The hideously long trek to and from the carpark
  • A massive lack of toilets and washing facilities on the campsites.

Overheard:

“I now know where they let the oldies out to: we were by far the youngest in that tent!” (joked two mid-20 somethings on the walk back to the campsite)
“When you fail to perform, it really knocks your confidence… then you just can’t perform next time!” (overheard one morning at the campsite… you can only guess what it’s regarding!)
“This is SO overrated!” said by a guy completely covered in mud after wrestling his mate

Want more coverage?
Why not check out these Flickr Streams:
jjbuchan’s flickr stream
Taburetka’s flickr stream
Foofango’s flickr stream
Aaron Bassett’s flickr stream

… or these other reviews:
NME.com’s review
Sunday Herald’s review
The Lancashire Herald
The Independent
The Times

Thanks go to:
Lee and all at Burt Greener Communications for looking after us so well and sorting out the tickets.
Dan for the photos and putting up with me for a weekend.

Roll on Hydro Connect 2009 is all we can say!

 

Hydro Connect: Day 2 review: Bloc Party

 
By on Thursday, 4th September 2008 at 8:55 pm
 

“We’d love it if more festivals were like this – all small and lively” commented Matt Tong of Bloc Party mid Saturday afternoon before their sensational headlining set at Hydro Connect 2008. It had been threatening to rain all afternoon, but thankfully it held off long enough for us to have a quick chat with Kele and Matt from the band.

Already pressed for time and running late, the lads didn’t stick around for long, but enough for us to get two quick questions in, which in hindsight weren’t exactly the most insightful we could have asked, but still. Kele was in a jokey mood – when we mentioned their set at Reading the previous weekend and asked if it was a homecoming for him and Russell (they met at Reading ’99) Kele gave us a heart-in-the-mouth moment as he goes “Oh, I never went to Reading… it was just a joke I told people to like us more!”, before conceding that he actually did meet Russell at Reading. Matt on the other hand commented that it was a homecoming of sorts for him – whilst he didn’t meet Kele and Russell at Reading ’99, he spent his summer shuffling paper around offices in Reading.

Having been exceptionally excited about their new album, Intimacy (reviewed here), we were hoping for a set heavy with the new songs. However, whilst we only got two new songs, their set didn’t fail to disappoint and they certainly silenced any critics who said that they weren’t ready to be headliners.

Playing 16 songs over 75 minutes, Kele seemed remarkably chatty compared to when I last saw them and other gigs I’ve seen on TV etc. From their opener Mercury’s chant of “My mercury’s in retrograde” to “Positive Tension”‘s yell of “so f***ing useless”, we knew that both crowd and band were happy to work as one, and made for a magical closing to Saturday.

Still enjoying the gorgeous settings, Kele thanked “our favourite elephant polo playing duke” for asking them to play personally. Hydro Connect marked the last time Daniel Lindegren would be standing in for bassist Gordon Moakes, and Kele took the opportunity to dedicate “So Here We Are” to him “as long as you don’t cock it up!” he joked.

“One Month Off” was the only other new song they played all evening, the disco stomp fitting right in with all their older work perfectly.

“Ah, I meant to say, did you like my kilt?” Kele asked the crowd in reference to his tartan red kilt. “The question is: what am I wearing underneath?! It let’s more air in, if you know what I mean!” he joked shortly before the first song of the encore, “Blue Light”. “Flux” heated things back up again as their green laser was cracked out, making the Scottish rain look beautiful for once as the laser hit the castle and trees.

Coming back one last time, they burst into “She’s hearing Voices” as Kele dives into the crowd chanting “Red pill, blue pill / Red pill, blue pill/ Milk of amnesia”, leaving the security unsure of quite what to do and ensuring they went down as one of the best headliners of the festival.

After the jump: setlist and bigger photos

Continue reading Hydro Connect: Day 2 review: Bloc Party

 

Album Review: Bloc Party – Intimacy

 
By on Monday, 25th August 2008 at 12:50 pm
 

This post originally appeared on MoreMunkeyBiz

Bloc Party have never been a band that you could pigeon-hole into a specific category, musically or personally. They further showed us this last Monday when completely out of the blue they announced that their third album, Intimacy, was to be released – on Thursday, just three days later. Not quite doing a Radiohead, they managed to stun and beat the pirates, and get people to buy it – some of my friends who don’t normally buy music actually paid money to hear if the new Bloc Party album was just as good as Silent Alarm – and it is.

Their sophomore album, “A Weekend in the City” was a bit marmite-esque for many people – you either loved it or hated it. Personally, I loved Kele’s story-telling and mystical meanings, the atmospherical sounds and bleeps and bits which showed a bit of a growing up compared to the lyrical vague-ness and punchiness of Silent Alarm. “Intimacy” seems to take the lyrical strength Kele and co found on last year’s album, mixed with the anthems of “Silent Alarm” and updated to 2008 – and it sounds good.

Co-produced by Paul Epworth (producer of “Silent Alarm”) and Jacknife Lee (producer of “A Weekend in the City”), Intimacy manages to combine the two albums to create one that is greater than the sum of its parts. Kele commented to Zane Lowe that they wanted the “rawness” of Silent Alarm, but the “experience” of A Weekend in the City.

Opening with the three-pronged attack of “Ares”, “Mercury” and “Halo”, they are all brutal yet anthemic, they’ll no doubt go down amazingly well next weekend when they headline Scotland’s Hydro Connect Festival – glow sticks at the ready! If you loved Mercury from first listen, then you’ll most likely love these three.

Electronic drum beats and a synth drone are big on “Biko” and the jangly “Signs” sees a return to “So Here We Are” era Bloc – they’re wearing their hearts on their sleeves, and are so much better for it.

“Trojan Horse” is my least favourite track – a bit chaotic, it sounds like they’re trying too many things at once, and it doesn’t exactly gel compared to some of the other stompers they have on the album.

Surely the next single will be the fast paced “One Month Off”, we see bitterness rear its ugly head in the shape of a dancefloor filler. “Translucent and sun-bleached skin / Yeah, when did you get so LA? / How can you desert me after what we’ve been through?” asks Kele over Helicopter style guitars.

It all comes together at the end of the album with “Ion Square”, which is possibly the greatest Bloc Party song done to date. Building slowly, you’re just waiting for it to explode, and when it does you just know it’d be an amazing set closer at the festivals. Kele commented that it was his favourite song on the album “because it evokes a really great time in a relationship when everything was going right”.

Kele commented ahead of the release that Intimacy was his “breakup” album, following on from the end of a relationship at the end of last year, and whilst some of the lyrics are a lot more personal and feels like he’s bearing his soul, they also haven’t forgotten to get us to move – you simply cannot stay still whilst listening to Intimacy. Go and download it now, or wait until October to buy the CD – it’s worth it.

Top banner image comes from Bloc Party’s official website’s photos archive and was taken by Emma Svensson. Bloc Party’s Intimacy is available now from their webshop, and in shops from Monday 27th October.

 

Daily Roundup: Sunday 24th August

 
By on Sunday, 24th August 2008 at 6:16 pm
 

So, I’m trying a new thing this week: A “daily roundup” of everything that doesn’t merit a complete post of its own. It won’t be literally every day (I do go out sometimes you know), but will be a collection of new MP3s, Videos, music etc.

It’s scary how quickly this Reading and Leeds festivals have been and (almost) gone. I’ve not really caught much coverage on the BBC of the festivals, but have checked out some of the ace videos and pictures. Particuarly loving the fact that Red Light Company are getting so much coverage from Zane Lowe, following on from my live review and initial introduction. Bloc Party look to have been amazing too – check out their live set available here for 7 days.

MP3: Red Light Company – Fascination
MP3: Red Light Company – Scheme Eugene
MP3: Red Light Company – With Lights Out

This time next week I’ll be in Scotland at Hydro Connect Festival, getting mouth wettingly-excited for the closing nights combination of Sigur Ros and Franz Ferdinand. I’ve spent much of today sorting out some pretty mundane things about the festival, like driving and what sort of coverage we’ll be having. I’ve had a look at the brilliant Winston’s Zen, who was at last weekend’s V Festival and getting a few ideas about how to live-blog the festival, amount of coverage etc. It’s gonna be hard to judge just what’s best until we get there, so don’t be suprised if you get tonnes, or next to nothing coverage wise.

One thing we’ve been having to look at is how to camp – I originally requested camping tickets, but got non-camping tickets, so have been looking at other options for us, from Tangerine Fields‘ bespoke camping options, to the goregous wendy-house style Podpads via the eco-friendly myhab‘s – I’d honestly never really considered anything other than a tent, or a hotel for the posho’s.

Traditionally, August is quite a quiet time for the music industry – bands are off playing the festivals, people are on holidays, and generally the live music biz is taking a well-earned break ahead of the onslught of year-end tours. However, this week we’ve had no end of new tour announcements, with The Fratellis, Kaiser Chiefs, The Whip, Laura Marling, Joan as a Policewoman, Slipknot and Martha Wainwright all announcing stints around the UK this winter. I’m not expecting this week to have quite as many new tour announcements, but fingers crossed – this winter’s shaping up to be a great live experience.

 

Daily Roundup: Friday 22nd August

 
By on Friday, 22nd August 2008 at 8:56 pm
 

So, I’m trying a new thing this week: A “daily roundup” of everything that doesn’t merit a complete post of its own. It won’t be literally every day (I do go out sometimes you know), but will be a collection of new MP3s, Videos, music etc.

I first got sent Dan Black‘s HYPNTZ back at the end of July, and fell in love with it, however couldn’t help but feel it was a tiny weeny bit too cheesy – sounded like some schoolboy rapper from North London trying to be ghetto. Then I heard it on Zane Lowe the other night and then heard the new one, “These Things Take Time”, which sounds like it has a sample of Nelly Furtado‘s Maneater in it.

Dan says:

“I knew what kind of music I wanted make, but at first I found it hard to get these conflicting desires to blend well outside of my head. I’d been making these weird remix/mashups for my occasional Djing, so I thought, I’ll take the method I’ve been using for that but use it for song writing instead. The very first thing I tried was HYPNTZ.”

Download and enjoy.

MP3: Dan Black – HYPNTZ
MP3: Dan Black – These Things Take Time

We found out earlier this week that we’re off to Hydro Connect festival in Scotland next weekend, so you can expect a lot of coverage next week from the festival. However, this weekend of course is the mighty Reading and Leeds festivals, where many of the bands I’ll be catching next weekend are playing. Friendly Fires went down a storm, and I can’t wait to see their show after only getting into their album the other week. Meanwhile Crystal Castles caused chaos – I’m not a big fan of them musically, but might have to catch them just for the entertainment factor.

The two bands however that I’m looking forward to most at Hydro Connect are Sigur Ros and Bloc Party. Sigur Ros’ new video for ‘Inní mér syngur vitleysingur’ (‘Within me a lunatic sings’)is pretty bland, but my God I love that song! Next Sunday, as the sun sets around Inveraray I can see them completely capping my weekend, and providing an amazing atmposphere. Bloc Party’s album has been on repeat since I downloaded it yesterday morning at 9am – I’m yet to be as hooked as I was by “A Weekend in the City”, but it’s definately a grower (in a good way).

On a slightly different musical side of things, Dido has released a new song ahead of releasing a whole new album in early November. Needless to say, it sounds pretty much the same as her previous two albums of stuff, with a bit more musical accompaniment (is that an orchestra we hear?) Yes, some might say it’s bland and boring, but I love it.

MP3: Dido – Look No Further

 
 
 

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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.

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