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Video of the Moment #2904: Blood Red Shoes

By on Wednesday, 24th October 2018 at 6:00 pm

Blood Red Shoes‘ latest musical missive is fantastic. ‘Mexican Dress’ is a high-octane number that’s a great introductory salvo to their upcoming album ‘Get Tragic’, which will make its appearance on the 25th of January 2019. This is one of those cases where it’s more appropriate to step back and let the music do the talking for itself. Let it punch you in the face below. We haven’t written about Blood Red Shoes lately, but our past articles on the Brighton duo are through here.

[url=][img]h[/img][/url][url=]Blood Red Shoes top[/url] by [url=]Mary Chang[/url], on Flickr


2000 Trees Festival 2014 Roundup: Day 2 (Friday) – Part 2

By on Tuesday, 29th July 2014 at 2:00 pm

The first half of John’s Friday coverage of 2000 Trees 2014 is here.

Following up from Itch, were a three-piece described by my camp next-door neighbours as “his new favourite band of the last year and a half”. Arcane Roots, have undergone an extraordinary rise through the ranks of British rock, to become one of the most well thought of bands in the UK at the moment. They’ve toured with the likes of Muse and Biffy Clyro and seem to be taking the same path as the Scottish behemoths of rock. Building an underground following with complex riffery, high-pitched screamery and dreamy beardery, they’re only a ‘Puzzle’ away from exploding onto the world scene in a big way.

At Upcote Farm, they opened with their newest standalone single ‘Over and Over’ and immediately began about dominating the vast stage, by swinging themselves around as they picked away. On the times I’ve seen Arcane Roots they’ve always opened with ‘Energy is Never Lost, Just Redirected’, which has a slow build up and normally has the crowd bursting with energy when the riff drops,. However in this shorter festival set, there were a few changes which meant the set as a whole was less fluid then in the past.

Still, the delivery from the three-piece was frenetic and superb and left a lot of the crowd joining in with my neighbour. “They’re my new favourite band! I’m going to download their back catalogue when I get home.” Success. (7/10)

I was surprised by this next act. Mainly due to the fact I forgot they were still a functioning entity, after being dropped by their label. But low and behold You Me at Six-lite… I mean Kids in Glass Houses strode onto stage as if not a year had passed since ‘Give Me What I Want’ had been the anthem(ish) of the year.

It was a joyful last hurrah from the Kids, seeing as they are ready to embark upon their farewell tour after 11 or so years of peddling pop-punk. The songs were catchy and poppy enough to sing along to, especially if you were one of the 1,000 girls clad in denim shorts that just aren’t big enough for you. Some of the older rock purists gathered around me near the sound desk scoffed at the lovelorn tales of teenage angst. I suppose Kids in Glass Houses are a generational thing.

But, to anybody who was looking for a shameless good time, as well as a little dance in front of the Main Stage the Welsh five-piece were exactly what the doctor ordered. Songs like ‘Undercover Lover’ may sound like they’ve been ripped from a High School Musical soundtrack, but in the Gloucestershire sunshine they proved popular. I won’t be one to shed a tear when the group say their final good byes, but after their bouncing, peppy 2000 Trees set, I certainly won’t be saying ‘good riddance’. (7/10)

From preppy, plucky, pop-punk plush to sweaty, sweary screamcore. Everybody in The Cave knew they were in for an ear battering from Trash Talk’s Lee Spielman. Having seen them for the first time only a week previously at Sonisphere, I knew unless I wanted to be caught up in a swirling mass of enforced circle pits, I should stand a good distance to the back of the circus tent which formed The Cave.

From the moment the four-piece arrived on stage the crowd were battered by wave after wave of short, sharp bursts of sound. Trash Talk aren’t the type to mess about and frontman Spielman isn’t the kind of man who enjoys the confines of a stage. No, he’s far more at home amongst the crowd, inciting violence at any opportunity and giving any punter a go with the microphone. (8/10)

Back at the Main Stage, Blood Red Shoes provided one of the most memorable sets of the weekend for two reasons. Firstly, for the fact that as a live outfit, the twosome are a superb band, with a great set of DIY credentials and a fast paced live show like none other. The other reason being that Laura-Mary Carter took offence (for good reason) with a fan in the crowd who looked like he was giving the band the Vs for the entire set. Not cool. Not cool at all and although I hate the word vibe, completely out of touch with the festival’s extremely friendly vibe. Carter midway through the set looked up, pointed in the crowd and told the offending gentleman that he was a “wanker” and he could “fuck off”. The only problem with that being, that pointing out from the Main Stage, half the crowd thought she was pointing at them and looked horror-struck at the accusations.

Unpleasantness aside, it’s no surprise that in the programme the Trees organisers claimed they’ve been trying to get Blood Red Shoes for a number of years. They’re still young, they’re innovative and even after 10 years of touring, they’re still one of the bands championing good, honest British rock music.

Drawing from their immense back catalogue and partly from their most recent self-titled album, the duo roared through an lively hour-long set where the band failed to miss a note. Steven Ansell played the drums like a man possessed and held no quarter when smashing two shades of shit out of the kit at times. Carter, fired up with rage, stomped around the stage like a rock goddess, full of fury and presence. (9/10)

Now, I had some reservations when I saw Band of Skulls (pictured at top) as the headline act on the bill. They put on a superb live show, of that there is no doubt. But do they have enough big tunes to close a festival? Even a small festival like 2000 Trees? How wrong I was proved over their hour and half set.

At quarter to 9 when the three-piece strode on stage, the light was just leaving the sky and the immense canopy behind the Main Stage was lighting up magnificently, showcasing all of the beauty I’d come to expect from the Upcote Farm stage.

Despite the glorious scenery around the stage, it was what was happening right in the middle of it all which held be captivated. Matt Hayward on the drums put in arguably one of the most perfect drumming performances that I’ve ever seen. The power behind every beat was insurmountable and sent a wave of bass across the small arena. It’s a good job Upcote Farm is out of the city, as if Hayward was smashing away at that time at Reading Festival, he’d have sent the entire population barmy with sleep deprivation. Hayward’s immense showing on the drums was matched by the marauding presence of bassist Emma Richardson, who strut about the stage like a giant. Finishing it all off was Russell Marsden, who took every opportunity to thank the ever-appreciative 2000 Trees crowd, who loved every second of the set.

I thought it was a risk playing their most well-known anthem ‘I Know What I Am’ early on in the set, but as a live outfit ‘You’re Not Pretty But You Got It Going On’ and ‘Death by Diamonds and Pearls’ were given a revitalisation and pumped out of the speakers with a ferocity which caused the Trees crowd to get worked up into a frenzy.

Every song had an enormous stomping beat to it and a singalong chorus to boot. The perfect end, to a superb day of British music – and undoubtedly unearthing headline talent of the future. (10/10)

Enjoying TGTF’s coverage of 2000 Trees 2014? More of John’s reports will post soon.


Live Review: The Joy Formidable with You Won’t and Blood Red Shoes at 9:30 Club, Washington DC – 21st April 2013

By on Thursday, 25th April 2013 at 2:00 pm

I don’t think I need to tell you in excruciating detail how The Joy Formidable‘s career has jumped by leaps and bounds in the months following Dave Grohl’s emphatic pronouncement in summer 2011 that the Welsh group was his favourite new band, saying to MTV’s Matt Pinfield, “they’re a killer live band with great songs”. It would be far too easy to say that their success could be attributed to Grohl’s taking of the band out of the road with Foo Fighters, which of course exposed them to new audiences far and wide who might not have otherwise heard of the trio. But the Joy Formidable story goes much further back, the band having shed loads of blood, sweat and tears through their hard work writing, recording and gigging.

As a Washingtonian, I’ve been able to see their steady progression as they made their way up the food chain of venues in our fair city. First they played to a small audience in the dive-y Black Cat Backstage in November 2010 (where I almost got impaled by singer Ritzy Bryan’s guitar’s neck); the next time, just 4 months later, they sold out the upstairs main room at the Cat; and then a year later, the band sold out our venerated 9:30 Club, which is no mean feat for any indie band. Despite how massive they’ve become, last November I was lucky to witness a very intimate charity gig at a local church, and to me, the band agreeing to do that gig says a lot of about their character. They aren’t a bunch of divas, that’s for sure.

We hear all too many times that some band has been catapulted to superstardom, selling out arenas, never wanting or bothering to be in the presence of their adoring fans except when they are onstage. It’s obvious in the Joy Formidable’s case that they wholeheartedly appreciate the audiences that come out to see them and they never take any of this fame and success for granted. I can testify, having seen them last Sunday at yet another sold out, blow out show at the 9:30, that they are still the same people that I met several years ago, before Mr. Grohl came out and said how great they were. Because I didn’t need to hear that from him. I already knew this long ago. They’d already made a huge impression on me on record and then I saw them live for the first time…and I was hooked.

You Wont with TJF DC

There were two openers on this evening. The first was You Won’t, a duo from Lexington, Massachusetts, not all that far from Boston, where the terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon there had taken place just days before. As a nation, we had all been in paralysed fear over what would happen next and would they catch who did it, and then afterwards, we were all were suffering from varying levels of post-traumatic stress disorder. In that respect, I suppose what You Won’t delivered might have provided you some badly needed humour. Their singer/guitarist Josh Arnoudse sings in a manner that teeters between nasal Woody Guthrie / Bob Dylan and what can only be best described as baby talk ala Tiny Tim. I can’t take borderline folk music like this seriously. Well, almost. The “machine room” of Raky Sastri, playing adeptly the drums, melodica, xylophone, and god knows what else I couldn’t see, looked and sounded amazing.

Blood Red Shoes with TJF DC

The other opener should be familiar to TGTF readers, as they’ve gigged and festivaled their way through the last 9 or so years. Brighton’s Blood Red Shoes brought their punky sound to the 9:30 and capped of their last night on the Joy Formidable tour with a bang. Older fan favourites like ‘I Wish I Was Someone Better’ were interspersed with tracks like ‘Cold’ from their latest album ‘In Time to Voices’ released in 2012. Maybe it’s because I’m used to listening to them in videos but for some reason they sounded so different to me live – it just sounded loud and not much else – and I didn’t like them as much. The crowd, however, used their set as an effective warm-up for the main event.

When it came time for the Joy Formidable’s set, the crowd was vocally expressing – loudly – that they were pumped to see their favourite band. The band bounded on stage, with frontwoman Ritzy Bryan dressed rather shockingly (for her) in a red dress that she later explained to me was because she felt like being a rebel that night! Also lending to the rebelliousness was a Blood Red Shoes trucker hat on her head, which she wore as a visual thank you to their departing openers.

Starting strong with last year’s single about a horse, ‘Cholla’ rang through the club like the starting bell of something amazing. With barely a breath and little more than maybe a change in axe between songs, the band thundered through an all too short collection of tunes that showcased their raw rock power live. ‘The Maw Maw Song’, which I have previously described as their ‘Led Zeppelin song’, was as raucous as you would expect it; ‘I Don’t Want to See You Like This’ was delivered in a similar way, with punters screaming along to the words.

The only real time the band slowed down was to play newer song ‘Silent Treatment’, which was bassist Rhydian Dafydd on acoustic guitar while singer Ritzy Bryan emoted heartbreakingly about the end of a relationship: “I’ll take the silent treatment / off your hands unbeaten / I’ll take the easy sequence / less people, more freedom”. Oh, and whenever Ritzy desired to take some humorous pot shots at drummer Matt Thomas, who was more than willing to take the bait for a few jokes. Ritzy commented that maybe Matt should get his own mike on the next tour, but then thought better of it, saying that he’d never stop talking and the show would be delayed. Ha!

Joy Formidable DC 2013

Also, while it builds up to a blistering song both on record and live, I got a lump in my throat when the electronic buzzing notes to herald the start of ‘The Greatest Light is the Greatest Shade’ started up. When I had interviewed the band in March 2011 just prior to the sold-out show at the Black Cat, afterwards I had thanked and hugged Ritzy for writing this song because not only is it an absolute rocking tune that gets even the most (usually) demure person like me headbanging like nobody’s business, it is so emotionally charged and pointed at its ending when she wishes the other person “you’re the greatest light the greatest shade, that means I can be happy for you, happy for you…”

When I had initially loved this song, it meant to me that when you’re looking back at a broken relationship and can be happy for the other person, even if he/she was with someone else, being able to say “I’m happy for you” is a major breakthrough for yourself, because you are acknowledging that you yourself are okay with not being with that person anymore. It no longer hurts. However, upon further contemplation of the live version of this song, Ritzy sings it so angrily and with these faces that make it clear that there’s something more combative under the surface. Maybe not quite Alanis Morrisette’s ‘You Oughta Know’ but certainly it’s a much more thoughtful, and in my opinion much more effective way of getting across being scorned. ‘The Everchanging Spectrum of a Lie’, which rounded out their set before the pause prior to the encore, has the forceful words, “can’t you see I’m good?” and is another emotional one disguised in loud, brash instrumentation.

The encore consisted of a scorching trio of songs. First and second were ‘Forest Serenade’ and ‘Wolf’s Law’ from the new album. But the Joy Formidable would never leave an audience without a total balls to the wall track. And that on Sunday night would be ‘Whirring’, which ended up having a massively loud and extended outro that I dare you to stack up against any other hard rock band currently in existence. Breathtaking is the wrong word; when you’re there in the moment, surrounded by like-minded fans and there’s this sea of people who are experiencing the same body throwing around during a song like this, it’s reassuring in a weird way that so many other people just like react in the same mental way when faced with such a monster of a song. Leave them wanting more? Yep. Sunday night, the Joy Formidable left the stage with all the important boxes ticked. Job well done.

After the cut: the Joy Formidable’s set list.
The Joy Formidable’s Set List:
This Ladder is Ours
The Greatest Light is the Greatest Shade
Silent Treatment
Maw Maw Song
I Don’t Want to See You Like This
The Everchanging Spectrum of a Lie
Forest Serenade
Wolf’s Law


Interview: Steven Ansell of Blood Red Shoes at Reading 2012

By on Friday, 14th September 2012 at 11:00 am

Steven Ansell, one-half of Blood Red Shoes, is about all that TGTF can handle at Reading Festival. The man is a walking, talking dynamo. You can’t keep him still!

Literally, keeping eye contact with the man is task enough! But we nevertheless tied him down on day 2 of the festival and had a brief chat with him backstage.

“Playing the Main Stage with the two of us was just wicked. With just two of us it was a bit daunting, but we went out there and did great I think. It’s great to play at Reading; I mean this is one of those festivals when you start out as a band you think, that is where I want to be playing. On THAT stage.”

Now while Blood Red Shoes are just a two-piece, let’s just say they didn’t seem like it when they absolutely ran the Main Stage earlier that day. Laura-Mary Carter looked ever the rock chick poster girl she is quickly becoming. Sorry Hayley Williams, just not a ginger fan!

“I don’t feel like it is difficult being a two-piece, it’s what we know and we love doing it. The music we play is what we are passionate about, so when we are going onstage, we just kind of, zone out and play away.

“We still get a great reception for older songs like I wish ‘I Was Something Better’. But the new ones are getting a really good reception too, I mean, it’s just great that what we are doing is being appreciated on the scale it is.”

Now while Blood Red Shoes have been around for a while, it has been a slow build up for them. But breaks have popped out in their own way. One such break was in 2010, the band’s song ‘It’s Getting Boring by the Sea ‘was featured in the film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

“We want to keep on growing as we both just really enjoy what we do together. The plan for the future is to really just hit the road, hammer the promotion of our newest record and just enjoy life!”

Special thanks to Steven for chatting with us and Joe for sorting this interview out for us.


Reading 2012: Day 2 Roundup

By on Friday, 31st August 2012 at 2:00 pm

What rhymes with ‘shredding’?

Not Leeds, Glastonbury, Creamfields or Latitude, that’s for sure.

The rumours were traversing the Twitter/blogosphere all week preceding Reading Festival and at 11 in the morning, it turned from rumour into fact. Green Day (pictured above) arrived on the NME and Radio 1 Stage and from that moment, no matter what happened in the next 24 hours, the day was theirs.

The three American boys, led by the imperious Billie Joe Armstrong, burst on stage, the crowd arrayed before them erupted. Grown men cried, teenage girls swooned and ‘Welcome to Paradise’ rang out across the sprawling mass of bodies in front of the punk superstars. With a back catalogue as enormous as theirs, it was no surprise that their set was a long one, with over 20 songs from their entire 2 and a half decade long career played.

Frontman Billie Joe commanded the troops like a first class general, leading the crowd in a number of “whoops” and “hey ohs!”, which intertwined with the collection of hit after hit that Green Day played. New track ‘Oh Love’ was met with the same adoration as stalwarts like ‘St. Jimmy’ (which was played at a speed of the likes that would not be seen at the festival all weekend).

While the set did seem constrained by time, as ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’ was interrupted midway through the intro, the band did still manage a set to go down as one of the Reading Festival’s classics. ‘American Idiot’ was screamed back at the band by every single member of the crowd; such is the admiration for the band. A classic set in all ways. (10/10)

The unenviable task of following up Green Day fell to Post War Glamour Girls and in the impossible task, the Leeds-based rockers sadly didn’t provide much excitement. But in all fairness, they were following up Green Day, and it was barely even lunchtime. Credit to the band, they came on and they gave it their all. (5/10)

A trip to the Main Stage was in order next, to see Brighton-based duo Blood Red Shoes, performing for the first time on Reading’s Main Stage. The band were anything but overwhelmed by the situation, though Steven Ansell powered away on drums while Laura Mary-Carter proved an outstanding talent with her soaring vocals, which intertwined with ‘Ansell’s.’

The highlight of the set was near their set’s close as the band played ‘I Wish I Was Someone Better’. However, it should be noted that opener ‘It’s Getting Boring By The Sea’ which appears on the Scott Pilgrim vs. The World soundtrack was definitely an impressive performance. The two members of the band may have looked small in their expansive surroundings, but they made the stage their own with their mix of garage-y, bluesy indie rock and roll. I can only see them playing higher up the bill next time around. (7/10)

Back to the NME Stage I went to see Scottish heroes Twin Atlantic, in a set which was likely to be described as a bit like Biffy Clyro. What a lazy comparison. Yes, they are Scottish, whoop dee dee, so are Frightened Rabbit, but they don’t get followed by comparisons to Simon Neil’s band of rock titans, do they?

Twin Atlantic deserve plaudits of their own and on the strength of the set they played; I won’t be the only person giving them. As their brand of radio-friendly, visceral guitar music is exactly what any festival needs to pour some life into it. ‘Free’ was roared to the heady heights of the NME/Radio 1 Stage, while ‘Make a Beast of Myself’ brought on the same kind of sing-along that Green Day provoked earlier that morning. (8/10)

Staying on the NME/Radio 1 Stage, next up were one of the breakthrough acts of the past 12 months, Dry the River, who brought their hauntingly poignant brand of indie-folk mash-up to Reading.

For a band that sounds so outstanding on record it’s safe to say, hearing them live was rather disappointing. The performance seemed labored, as if every track was as difficult for frontman Peter Liddle as passing a kidney stone. ‘No Rest’ offered a glimpse of the kind of quality that this band can produce, sounding like a less energetic, but more honest Mumford and Sons. But overall, this festival may be one to forget and move on from, as this band can and will be so much better then they were on Saturday. (5/10)

From a somber set in the tent, to a riotous screaming collision of genres on the Main Stage I moved to see Enter Shikari, a band who are so eponymous with Reading Festival, I’m surprised they haven’t been booked as the house band yet. Their new album delves even more into the politically charged work they have been creating of late. So ‘IMPORTANT’ political nonsense aside, they provide entertainment in its droves.

Classic ‘Sorry You’re Not a Winner’ is roared from the stage by Rou Reynolds, while new track ‘Arguing with Thermometers’ is greeted with a singalong of huge proportions. They may not have matched the sheer mentallness of 2 years ago, but their set went down well. (7/10)

I moved from British DIY stars, to Canadian punk troubadours next, in the form of Billy Talent. A band that certainly brought the tunes, but sadly the performance did nothing to match them. Often all you could hear was frontman Benjamin Kowalewicz wailing down the microphone incomprehensively. Set closer ‘Red Flag’ brought a riotous reaction, but in a formulaic set with very little merit to it, it all felt just a little bit contrived. Come up with something new, Billy. Then we’ll talk. (4/10)

To close the day there was another choice to be made. At the Drive In or Kasabian. A choice which I now regret, not for musical reasons, but for the fact that the former of the two has announced that their gig on Tuesday 28th August will be there last as a band.

As you can tell then, I saw Kasabian. Hardcore legends aside (At the Drive In) the Leicestershire based lad-rockers served up a set of unashamed arrogance and brilliance.

Tom Meighan swaggered around the stage like he owned it and for those two hours he absolutely did. The hits were reeled out at breakneck pace and each one was greeted with the adulation such a spectacular performance deserved. The band was fantastic, from start to finish with set closer ‘Fire’ bringing an end to a set which should quite rightly go down as one of the band and even Reading Festival’s best. (10/10)


Video of the Moment #941: Blood Red Shoes

By on Monday, 27th August 2012 at 10:00 am

Muscles aren’t attractive in my books, and neither are arm wrestling matches, but who am I to judge the new video by Blood Red Shoes for ‘In Time to Voices’? For sure, it’s the first video I’ve been emailed with the words “incredible muscle-bulging video”. Watch it below. The song is out as a single today on V2 / Cooperative Music.



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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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