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Live Review: Boy & Bear at Manchester Club Academy – 21st February 2016

 
By on Monday, 29th February 2016 at 2:00 pm
 

Boy & Bear have a unique ability to transport you from whatever your location is, even a dreary, rain soaked night in the middle of Manchester, to a sunny paradise. With their pure form of folk rock that utilises the kind of hooks that stay with you long after the band has left the stage, twinned with heart-on-sleeve lyrics, they have all of the charm and talent of a band twice their career length. It’s noticeable from the get-go that singer and guitarist Dave Hosking has the kind of charismia that makes you follow his every word and motion, even though it can seem reserved at times. The band behind him are perfect executors of his sound and vision.

Touring in support of their third album effort ‘Limit of Love’ (video of title track here), the band have more than enough material to entice fans in and create a relaxed atmosphere without losing energy. Opening with a cut from the new record, ‘Where’d You Go’, the instant the guitar bursts across the PA system, their hold begins. Harmonies between the rest of the band and Hoskings are immaculate, each member contributing to form a Beach Boys-worthy accompaniment. Everything just seems so effortless.

A cover of Amy Winehouse ‘Back to Black’, perfectly executed with solemn grace, is a mid-set break from the tropical paradise we’re audibly on, almost like thunderclouds. This is by no means a negative thing: the cover itself is dark and brooding, and the familiarity of the song ensures those who may not be entirely accustomed with the back catalogue of Boy & Bear are brought back to attention just in time for the big hitters. 2013’s massive hit ‘Southern Sun’ is greatly received, with the crowd singing along joyously during the chorus.

Even between songs, the band are able to charm the crowd with their stage patter, in particular telling the story of the band missing support act George Crosby due to security issues. In the venue next door, Americans Twenty One Pilots were playing a sold-out show that was under high security and that meant unfortunately for Boy & Bear, they were denied permission to the backstage car park after going out after soundcheck. This didn’t stop them: they simply reversed their van and with the tour manager guiding them, they mounted the curb and drove through a hedge to get around the barrier. Who says rock ‘n’ roll is the only genre that can fight the system?

Finale ‘Walk The Wire’ is by far the most welcomed track of the evening. It loses none of its power live, something that can plague even the most tenured of acts. It’s an absolutely perfect way for the band to leave an impression on the crowd, ensuring that upon their return the rooms will be larger and folk rock can continue its storm into the mainstream.

 

Adem / February and March 2016 UK Tour

 
By on Wednesday, 24th February 2016 at 8:00 am
 

Post-rock artist and composer Adem will set out on a tour of the UK at the end of this week in support of his third album ‘seconds are acorns’. Though Adem has kept quite busy, producing Philip Selway’s 2014 album ‘Weatherhouse’ as well as scoring music for film, television and theatre, the new album is his first release of new solo material in 9 years. Below the tour date listing, you can find a stream of the first shared track from the album, ‘by everyone’.

Tickets for the following live dates are available now.

Friday 26th February 2016 – Edinburgh Bongo Club
Saturday 27th February 2016 – Aberdeen Lemon Tree
Monday 29th February 2016 – Glasgow Hug and Pint
Tuesday 1st March 2016 – Manchester Fred’s Ale House
Wednesday 2nd March 2016 – Bristol Louisiana
Thursday 3rd March 2016 – York Basement
Saturday 5th March 2016 – Margate Tom Thumb
Tuesday 8th March 2016 – Exeter Phoenix
Thursday 10th March 2016 – London Old Queen’s Head
Saturday 12th March 2016 – Reading South Street Arts Centre

 

(SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Live Review: Brian Fallon and The Crowes with Jonny Two Bags at The Rock, Tucson, AZ – 11th February 2016

 
By on Tuesday, 16th February 2016 at 2:00 pm
 

The Rock in downtown Tucson is a gruff and gritty dive bar, known mostly for its willingness to host heavier rock bands than other Tucson music venues. Many of the bands on the docket are underground metal bands or local hard rock groups, but last Thursday night The Rock’s stage was graced by two nationally-known acts, though each was appearing in a new and novel guise. Brian Fallon, playing here with backing band The Crowes, is best known as frontman for New Jersey rock band The Gaslight Anthem, while his support act for the evening, Jonny Two Bags, is the current guitarist for Southern California punk band Social Distortion.

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Having co-written tracks with Social Distortion frontman Mike Ness on two of that band’s albums, Jonny Two Bags (aka Jonny Wickersham) was no stranger to songwriting before he embarked on writing a solo album. But his own debut release, 2014’s ‘Salvation Town’ has an unexpectedly low-key “pub rock” feel to it, as described here by Rolling Stone. I had never heard of Jonny Two Bags before Thursday night, and I was only familiar with Social Distortion in passing. Despite my personal lack of knowledge, Wickersham clearly had a fair few longtime fans in attendance at The Rock. Several punters cheered and called out song titles, all of which were unfamiliar to me, but Wickersham seemed genuinely pleased with the attention and with the warm response his solo songs received from the Tucson crowd.

Wickersham played through most of ‘Salvation Town’ in his 45-minute set, opening with the album’s first single ‘One Foot in the Gutter’ (streaming just below) and closing with the surprisingly infectious ‘Hope Dies Hard’. ‘Ghosts’ and ‘Forlorn Walls’ were popular choices among the crowd, but the song that most captivated my attention was a cover of Elvis Costello’s ‘Lip Service’, which Wickersham cleverly disguised by crediting it to Costello’s given name, Declan McManus. (As an interesting sidebar, Costello’s drummer, Pete Thomas, also played on ‘Salvation Town’.) Well played, Jonny Two Bags, both in the banter and in the music.

Brian Fallon and The Crowes made their appearance on stage around 9:30 PM, with the lineup including Gaslight Anthem member Alex Rosamilia on keyboards and Fallon’s Horrible Crowes side-project partner Ian Perkins on guitar. The band played an hour-long set that shifted focus between Fallon’s new solo album ‘Painkillers’ and the Horrible Crowes’ 2011 album ‘Elsie’. The crowd appeared remarkably familiar with the new songs from ‘Painkillers’, starting right away with opening number ‘Red Lights’, especially considering that the album isn’t due for official release until mid-March. As for the Horrible Crowes numbers, Fallon mentioned early in the show that the band had been “waiting a long time to play some of these songs again”, and the crowd were evidently equally eager to hear them. All around me, voices sang along with every chorus in the set list and diehard fans alternated between dancing and ecstatically recording video on their smartphones.

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Fallon appeared relaxed and at ease on the stage, his boyish smile and improvisatory banter bringing a sense of energy and spontaneity to the songs, while the sheer number of guitars in the live arrangement rounded out the sound nicely. His between-the-songs monologue included a lengthy fable of acoustic guitarist Jared Hart’s proclivity for winning large sums of money playing dice along the Boardwalk. Aside from his dice-wielding talents, Hart displayed a lovely singing voice when he joined in on harmony vocals, as did bassist Catherine Popper (Molly and the Zombies, Ryan Adams and the Cardinals).
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Fallon’s mid-set acoustic break featured those sweet harmonies on ‘Painkillers’ tracks ‘Honey Magnolia’ and ‘Steve McQueen’. His obligatory Springsteen cover came in the form of ‘Atlantic City’, which is a personal favourite of mine and which Fallon performed with an admirable level of restraint, capturing the intimacy and urgency of the original. With their audience’s spirits lifted by that familiar tune, the band then broke into another popular choice, the rousing recent single ‘A Wonderful Life’. From that point forward, Fallon and company were in high gear. They raced through ‘Open All Night’ and ended the show with three Horrible Crowes tunes, finishing the night on a satisfying note if not a truly exhilarating one with ‘Behold the Hurricane’.

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Brian Fallon and The Crowes’ set list, 11th February 2016

Brian Fallon’s debut solo album ‘Painkillers’ is due out on the 11th of March on Virgin EMI in the UK and on Island Records in America. Fallon will play a run of live dates in the UK this spring following his scheduled appearance at SXSW 2016; you can find a listing of those dates right here. Our collection of current coverage on Brian Fallon is this way, and our previous coverage of The Gaslight Anthem can be found here.

 

Live Gig Video: Glen Hansard continues his ‘Winning Streak’ on The Late Late Show with James Corden

 
By on Friday, 12th February 2016 at 4:00 pm
 

Irish singer/songwriter Glen Hansard was in Los Angeles last week for an appearance on The Late Late Show with James Corden.  Corden, himself an expat from the UK, has a history of featuring musical guests from across the Atlantic on his show, and his reach has now apparently extended to Ireland as well.

In the video featured below, Hansard gives a polished performance of his charming track ‘Winning Streak’.  The song appears on Hansard’s latest LP ‘Didn’t He Ramble’, released last autumn on Anti- Records.  TGTF’s collection of previous coverage on Glen Hansard, including a review of that album, can be found by clicking here.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/56cJn4Umt6M[/youtube]

 

Live Gig Video: Lewis Watson and band perform first taster of new material, ‘Maybe We’re Home’

 
By on Thursday, 11th February 2016 at 4:00 pm
 

Oxfordshire singer/songwriter Lewis Watson wowed me live 2 years ago with tracks from his album ‘The Morning’. This month, he’s previewed upcoming material with a taster, ‘Maybe We’re Home’. While most of the tracks on ‘The Morning’ LP favoured a more folky, simpler feel, this new single is fuller and richer, suggesting Watson’s songwriting is maturing at a good clip. That said, there is still plenty of emotion in the shades of Watson’s voice, which I consider one of his greatest gifts to us. Watch Lewis Watson and his band perform ‘Maybe We’re Home’ below. Let’s hope we hear much more from him soon!

All past coverage on Lewis Watson on TGTF is through this link.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CS_55derpyk[/youtube]

 

(6 Music Festival 2016 and SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Live Gig Video: Bloc Party perform ‘Exes’, from new album ‘Hymns’, live in London

 
By on Friday, 5th February 2016 at 4:00 pm
 

Bloc Party released their latest album ‘Hymns’ – their first in 4 years since 2012’s ‘Four’ – exactly a week ago. (Read Steven’s review of the LP back here.) As they say, sharing is caring, and Bloc Party – now original members frontman Kele Okereke and co-guitarist Russell Lissack, plus Justin Harris on bass and keys and Louise Bartle on drums – have now shared a live gig video of ‘Exes’, taken from the new album effort, filmed in London. Watch it below.

The band will be making two major event appearances this month and next. They’ll be playing the 6 Music Festival in Bristol Sunday night the 14th of February at Academy, as well appearing in America at SXSW 2016 in March in Austin. Oh, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the NME Awards tour they’re currently headlining through next Friday, the 12th of February at Birmingham Academy. Phew! For more on Bloc Party on TGTF, head this way.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TElXFXG61U[/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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