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Reading 2016: Sunday Roundup

 
By on Tuesday, 6th September 2016 at 2:00 pm
 

As so we came to the final day of Reading Festival 2016. Where those who couldn’t quite cut it have left, and those that remain are ready to see the festival out as they started; with no inhibitions and a fantastic soundtrack.

Activities on the main stage Saturday gave a preview as to the heavy-fest that Sunday would be. Bar A$AP Rocky and The Vaccines, the lineup for the day could also have been found at the heavier British festival staple that is Download. The weather decided it didn’t feel like baring it’s sunnier disposition and instead graced us with its greyer, cloudier and wetter side. As pointed out yesterday though, this is where the British thrive, and thrive they did.

Albany, New York pop punkers State Champs opened up the main stage, bringing a brief respite from the dismal weather at Reading with their take on summer anthem genre. For a Sunday morning, the crowd were particularly excitable and offered back a sincere response. Following on from this spot of sunshine were The Virginmarys, a definite band to watch in the UK rock scene, with their brutal vocals, hard-hitting guitar lines and a savageness reminiscent of early punk. Though the crowd may have mildly dispersed post-State Champs, this didn’t stop the band from Macclesfield from delivering a completely brutal set worthy of a much higher billing.

Mancunians Spring King who have had quite the quick ascent to fame, which you can read about in our interview with drummer and singer Tarek Musa back here at LeeFest 2016 in late July, gave a performance to a completely packed out tent. Though the sudden downpour may have instigated this mass collective, the band made sure to capitalise upon it. The set brought fun and tunes in equal measure, with both band and fans having a Another band who had to deal with what the weather dealt them were Coheed and Cambria who were faultless, giving a ferocious performance all the while being on the main stage and open to the elements.

As the rain continued to slowly drizzled over the Reading festival site, the crowds gave up hiding from it, revelling in the weather. Back on the Radio 1/NME Stage, Deaf Havana used their set wisely as a promotional opportunity, announcing the name and release date of their upcoming album. Appearing on stage with only a white sheet across the back of the stage, as the set went on the words “All These Countless Nights” were painted in black, followed by “21.1.17”. The set was a special moment, secured it as one for the band’s history.

What was The Pit for the past 2 days had now reverted back to its original name The Lock Up for the final day. Beach Slang, the American punk band who are bringing back the old school ethos to the genre, completely dominated the tent. Their set was summed up well in the immortal words of frontman James Alex: “We are Beach Slang, and we’re here to punch you right in the heart!” The Lock Up stage continued with its earnest punk environment with Modern Baseball. Having released their third album ‘Holy Ghost’ back in May, they’re finally on our UK shores, giving their diehard fanbase a run-through of these new offerings. Even though A$AP Rocky was ruling the main stage and causing a surge in crowd flow, The Lock Up was still over capacity for the American four-piece. The excited audience simply did not stop moving until the final chord finished, and the speed at which crowd surfers ran from the security to pit and back into the throng was astounding. Another standout set from this year’s festival.

The evening was an anticipated delight from co-headliners Fall Out Boy and Biffy Clyro. As eight pm swung around, the skies were still cloudy but the atmosphere was as electric as ever. A sea of Fall Out Boy merchandise seen around the festival over the course of the weekend was a concrete measurement in exactly how big a draw band were, and for good reason. A show that featured non-stop fireworks, pyrotechnics, choreographed fire dancers and visuals, Fall Out Boy knew they had a massive opportunity, and they ran with it. Running through a majority set that consisted of songs from the last two albums plus a few golden treats, especially finale ‘Saturday’ from 2003’s ‘Take This to Your Grave’, Fall Out Boy certainly ensured that the ravenous crowd were delivered the set they yearned for.

Finally, it was time for the final headliners of the entire weekend at Richfield Avenue. Biffy Clyro were given the honour and duty of closing out this year’s edition, giving everything they had and fully delivering. With a stage show that reflected the precision and grandeur we’ve come to expect from the Scottish trio, it was a set that will surely be remembered in the festival’s history. From opener ‘Wolves of Winter’ to closer ‘Stinging Bell’ that featured a fireworks display, they somehow managed to dwarf the explosive affair that Fall Out Boy had previously.

Using a popular Scottish battle cry, halfway through the set singer Simon Neil roared out, “Mon The Reading!”, whipping the crowd into a frenzy. Biffy Clyro’s ascension through the ranks of musicdom has been made by leaps and strides, and this was the largest of them yet. A perfectly executed set that ran through a majority of newer material – plus the appearance of ’57’, a cut from 2002’s ‘Blackened Sky’ as a pleasant treat – the trio seized the moment and are now reaping the rewards. As the Reading crowd finally dispersed ar the end the festival for another year, the only question on everyone’s mind was, “how are they going to top this next year?” We’ll find out in 2017.

 

Handmade Festival 2016: Day 2 Roundup

 
By on Thursday, 12th May 2016 at 2:00 pm
 

If you missed Steven’s review of Leicester’s Handmade Festival 2016 that covered the bands he caught on Friday, you can catch up right back this way.

Now that the event had settled into full swing, the Saturday of Handmade Fest came along like Christmas morning. Beginning earlier at 3 PM, the second day of the festival kicked off with a band so ridiculous in concept yet perfect in execution, missing them was simply not an option. Jurassic Pop solely write songs based around the Jurassic Park franchise, going as far as to have their bass player wear a velociraptor head. The songs were rifftastically solid, especially the rendition of ‘All That She Wants’ by Ace of Base, adapted so that the velociraptors from the scene where Robert Muldoon, the Jurassic Park gamekeeper, dies with the infamous last words “clever girl…”, are the focal point of the lyrics. (Though the band state they wrote it first—jokingly, of course—we don’t want any affidavits created from this article, please).

Taking to the stage in the allowed 15-minute time afterward, Happy Accidents were a surprising breath of fresh, chipper, air. Bouncing around like sweet-filled children, they brought the second day, which had thick grey clouds looming over it, into a metaphorical rainbow-laden field filled with fast, poppy punk music and smiles.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/XWgJ1C2cnWk[/youtube]

Sadly, I missed Cleft, who according to numerous people I spoke to, were one of the bands of the weekend. I did however manage to catch OhBoy!, who were phenomenal in every sense. Their powerful show matching the strength of their songs, the future is definitely going to be bright for this stellar band. The main talk of the entire weekend though were the later slots on this fine evening, kicking off with Cambridge’s own Lonely the Brave, who gave one of their most powerful performances I’ve seen to date, with their new songs creating a fierce, undertow to the already epic songs from their debut. After their set finished, the majority of the crowd, in the typical sheep fashion of this small festival, flowed down to The Scholar Bar where we awaited Scottish pop punk band The Xcerts. You got the sense that a lot of the crowd had been waiting to see the raw emotion and power of The Xcerts for a very long time, and the atmosphere in the room reflected this perfectly.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/Ns7dgqjn6JI[/youtube]

Headliners of the night were fellow East Anglians Deaf Havana (pictured at top), who, also road testing new material, created an explosive atmosphere which was fuelled by the crowd’s response to their heartfelt and angst ridden material. Overall, Saturday proved to be the strongest of the 3 days of the festival, with Sunday proving slightly weaker through no fault of the festival’s own. It cannot be stated enough that festivals such as Handmade are important in not only developing the cultural scene of whatever city they happen to be in, but they also give bands who otherwise wouldn’t get the opportunity to play in an environment like this, or to get the exposure that would give them even one more fan that will fuel their passions. Moving past that slight digression, we will enter the final day of Handmade 2016 in part 3 of my review, which will appear on TGTF tomorrow.

 

Deaf Havana / November 2015 UK Tour

 
By on Tuesday, 10th November 2015 at 9:00 am
 

Deaf Havana have recently announced a short run of tour dates to follow the release of their recent single ‘Cassiopeia’.  The new track will likely feature on Deaf Havana’s upcoming fourth studio album, which is expected out sometime next year.  You can watch the video for ‘Cassiopeia’ just below the tour date listing.

Tickets for the following live dates are available now, except for the already sold out show in Leeds.  You can read TGTF’s previous coverage of Deaf Havana right back this way.

Thursday 19th November 2015 – Leeds Wardrobe (sold out)
Friday 20th November 2015 – Edinburgh La Belle Angele
Saturday 21st November 2015 – Dundee Buskers
Sunday 22nd November 2015 – Liverpool Academy 2
Monday 23rd November 2015 –London Islington Assembly Hall

[youtube]https://youtu.be/Putm6Xvigns[/youtube]

 

Preview: 2000 Trees Festival 2015

 
By on Tuesday, 3rd February 2015 at 9:00 am
 

We’ve all done it. Looked at that empty field down the road on a stuffy summer’s day, with a can in one hand and said, “yeah, I could put a festival on and that place over there would be fucking great. All my favourite bands would play, on the cheap of course, tickets would be tuppence and the cider would blow your bloody head off”.

Of course the difference between most people and the legends at 2000 Trees is that they bonny well went out and did it. And do you know what, it’s gone great.

2015 is set to be the eighth year where revellers descend on sleep Gloucestershire for some folk, fun and fornication and a whole whack of the best UK rock you can get your ears around. This year’s event takes place 9-11 July.

The first announcement for this year’s bash sees rejuvenated six-piece Deaf Havana topping the bill to make their bow at the festival. It’s been a while since the band stopped singing about ‘Friends Like These’ and moved on to a smarter, more mature sounding edge. In fact, their most recent record, Old Souls is testament to their transformation, into the UK’s very own Gaslight Anthem. Sure, James Veck-Gilodi may be one of the harder to like frontmen in Britain at the moment, but if one thing has gone down well at Upcote Farm in the past, it’s been a wholehearted, air-grabbing singalong. Just ask Mr Turner, he’s got a camp named after him. With the assets in Deaf Havana’s armada, it’s pretty obvious these guys will go down brilliantly at Trees.

Joining them on the bill are Arcane Roots, who will have likely be releasing their third studio album this year and went down incredibly well at last year’s bash. That aside, they fulfil the criteria for a Trees band perfectly: just under the radar British talent with incredible riffs and even better beards. Leeds trio Pulled About By Horses, another of those bands whose chaotic live show will surely ensure a rapturous reception from the Trees faithful, is also scheduled to appear.

Lower down the bill are the fantastic, Frank Turner-endorsed Solemn Sun who hail from that part of the woods. So you can expect the kind of hometown heroes welcome they’ll get. Tickets are currently £87 for the 3-day weekend plus fees. For more information, visit the 2000 Trees official Web site.

 

Deaf Havana / April 2014 UK Tour

 
By on Thursday, 14th November 2013 at 9:00 am
 

Pop punk rockers Deaf Havana will be touring the UK in April 2014. Tickets go on sale tomorrow, Friday the 15th of November, at 9 AM.

Tuesday 1st April 2014 – Norwich UEA
Thursday 3rd April 2014 – Newcastle Academy
Friday 4th April 2014 – Leeds Academy
Saturday 5th April 2014 – Manchester Academy
Monday 7th April 2014 – Glasgow ABC
Thursday 10th April 2014 – London Clapham Grand
Sunday 13th April 2014 – Oxford Academy
Monday 14th April 2014 – Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall
Tuesday 15th April 2014 – Cardiff Great Hall
Wednesday 17th April 2014 – Brighton Concorde 2

 

Reading 2013: Day 2 Roundup

 
By on Thursday, 5th September 2013 at 2:00 pm
 

The second day of Reading 2013 was marked by a sudden influx of a creature I like to call the bellend. A bellend is normally attracted by loud drum n’ bass, Chase and Status and Eminem. The bellend’s natural habitat over the August Bank Holiday weekend is normally the area outside of Liverpool that hosts Creamfields. Tucked nicely into a steamy tent with a gentle supply off ketamine being drip fed into the bloodstream, they fist pump and gurn their weekend away.

With Reading and Leeds Festival looking to cater for a more varied audience than the heavy metallers/indie rockers of the past, these days the line-up choice was entirely justified and while it did lead to a far more diverse crowd, it also heightened the risk that in a mosh pit someone would, and I quote a rather lovely gentlemen in the crowd for Eminem, “twat me in the back of the ‘ead with a pen”.

As I navigated the mire of bellends, I actually managed to see some bands. The first of these, Night Works, were on the sparsely populated BBC Radio 1 Dance Stage. I’d been recommended these guys by a tweet before the festival, saying that as a hometown show for one of the band they would be pulling all the stops. If by pulling all the stops the band meant singing like a cat that was being wrung out like a sopping wet sponge, then it seemed I was in for a treat. Their lead singer wailed and moaned for about two songs before I really could take no more. The dancey beats were good fun, but that’s where any sense of joviality ended. Beer tent, please. (3/10)

After the mental trauma of Night Works, a pop-punky injection was required. Stat.

That medical procedure came courtesy of welsh sextet The Blackout, who were a booster shot of energy in a morning of lethargy. Sean Smith, with his utterly ghastly flock of reddish pink hair, started with some technical problems, which was probably caused by his insistence on flinging the microphone round. The brutal incisiveness of ‘STFUppercut’ was a great way to start a set, and the dual vocals of Sean Smith and Gavin Butler ensured that you always had something to affix your gaze to onstage. (7/10)

Speaking of looking at something on stage, the next band I caught on the BBC Radio 1/NME Stage were Deaf Havana. Frontman James Veck-Gilodi seemed intent that he didn’t want anybody to look at him on stage, sporting a eye-gougingly bright tye-died t-shirt. Their stage show has definitely evolved from the post-hardcore, grungey shows of 5 years previously, when they were touring ‘It’s Called the Easy Life’. They’ve got a backing singer who reminded me, in her sass alone of Beyoncé’s character in Austin Powers: Goldmember, Foxy Cleopatra.

They’ve grown into a really competent, soul-ish feeling band. Veck-Gilodi even managed a brooding smile throughout the set, and the roaring singlong that accompanied ‘Boston Square’ thoroughly put them in the same category as We Are The Ocean and The Gaslight Anthem. Real chest-pounding anthems for a group of twenty-something year olds to scream out while swilling cider. (8/10)

From heart-wrenching tunes, meant to uplift and inspire to a doom laden set on the Main Stage, it could only mean one thing: White Lies were back, touring their new record just released a few short weeks ago, ‘Big TV’. Harry McVeigh, Charles Cave and Jack Lawrence-Brown brought their misery-laden set to the Main Stage with ease and even the new material, namely lead single ‘There Goes Our Love Again’, were received with welcoming arms by the now extremely pissed-up Reading audience.

The sound wasn’t all it could have been to fully encapsulate Harry McVeigh’s booming vocals, but that can’t be put down to the band, who were obviously putting their all into this set. As a band who I’ve seen dominate Wembley Stadium when warming up for Muse, it did appear apparent, that with only the three of them on stage the set lacks energy and movement. But that can’t detract from the sheer booming power of the vocals on show. (7/10)

Bands growing in prowess and live ability were the theme of the weekend it seemed, and no band has come further in the last 5 years than Foals (pictured at tip). From that annoying indie band with that catchy-as-balls song ‘Cassius’ with a frontman lacking the stones to look the crowd in the eyes, flash forward a good few years from ‘Antidotes’ and we’ve got a man in Yannis Philippakis, who in his slinking hips and screeching yelps has become a complete frontman. Leading the line a la Didier Drogba in his pomp (it’s transfer deadline day and I’m all footballed up), commanding the crowd and showing the movement of a seasoned pro.

Their triumphant set at Glastonbury was a high benchmark for UK festivals this year, and in comparison, they seemed a little flat. They erred on the side of the newer material when this varied crowd craved for the poppy stylings of ‘Cassius’ and ‘Balloons’. That’s not to say that ‘Inhaler’ didn’t go down a storm, in a set which saw them sound more like a grunge band than the indie band they began as. Post-punkers, indie rockers or whatever you call them, after their set there was no doubting their credentials. Higher billing awaits. (7.5/10)

Now, the entire music journalist inside me said that I should stay for Chase and Status. Sadly, the pessimist inside me had the inside track and whisked me back to camp for a pre-Eminem beer. For the best it seemed as Festival Republic head-honcho, Melvin Benn, had to instruct the crowd to step back.

Closing the Saturday night was Eminem, a man who is best known for live shows of chainsaw hackery and well foul-mouthed outbursts galore. Luckily, if you had your young ones watching (unlikely, but it’s Reading), The Real Slim Shady’s microphone was extremely low. Whether that was a sign of Eminem’s inability to perform live or dodgy sound work, is a case to debate. My opinion is it was a 60-40 kind of mix.

Oh and he brought on DIDO. FUCKING DIDO. Remember how fucking good ‘Life For Rent’ was/is? Remember how good ‘Stan’ is? WHY DID NOBODY UNCONTROLLABLY LOSE THEIR SHIT LIKE ME. I FELT LIKE AN OCTOGENARIAN REMEMBERING THE GOOD OLD DAYS. IT’S DIDO! DIDO!

I was definitely the only one going apeshit for that, I would have gone apeshit for a rendition of ‘Purple Hills’ with D12, however Slim-Shady decided to air a set of 50% new songs, with a sprinkling of the old hits. It was satisfying, and exactly what the vast majority of the crowd wanted, appeasing their teenage dreams that they concocted when they first ‘Lost Themselves’ to Eminem. But for the world’s most successful rapper alive at the moment, you expected perhaps a bit more theatrics, maybe something more inventive. But instead we got a bog standard Eminem set. Enough to appease the dickheads I suppose. (6/10) (DIDO GETS 10/10, FOR BEING DIDO.)

 
 
 

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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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