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Interview: Field Music – Part 1

 
By on Friday, 5th February 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

Just as Field Music travelled all the way from England for Saturday night’s gig at the Bell House in Brooklyn, I made the almost 5 hour trek up from Washington, DC, and had the privilege of interviewing them after the show (check out the TGTF review). Apologies in advance for the slightly shambolic nature of parts of the interview. We were in a room that was supposed to be private and quiet, but it didn’t quite turn out that way. Big thanks to David(above, left) and Peter(above, right) Brewis for taking almost an hour to sit down with me, even though they hadn’t slept for over 24 hours, to Skippy and the staff at Bell House for being so hospitable, and to Matt at Memphis Industries for setting it up. Below you’ll find part 1 of the interview, with part 2 to come on Monday.

Note: Descriptions of what is happening have been placed between asterisks, i.e. “*Peter enters the room*”

So this is Mary Beth Howard, and I’m from the UK music blog There Goes the Fear, and we’re here after the Field Music show at the Bell House in Brooklyn. So thanks for taking the time to talk with me.

David: You’re very welcome.

So I thought the show tonight was great, how do you think it went?

David: Um, we were physically not entirely up to the task. Mainly through airplane dehydration. But other than that, pretty good! I enjoyed it, even though about 40 minutes in, the prospect of me singing in falsetto dwindled dangerously.

It’s like “that’s not happening!”

David: [Makes screeching noise] That’s about as close as I can get now.

This is a rescheduled gig, so what was the deal with the original one, somone was sick?

David: Yes, during the paranoia around swine flu, both here and in the UK, we were in a situation where I had flu-like symptoms, and we…if, erm…we probably wouldn’t have been allowed on the plane. If we did make it on the plane, and I was seriously ill while we were here, because it was something I had symptoms for, our insurance wouldn’t have covered it! Our holiday insurance wouldn’t have covered it, like a pre-existing condition, and hells bells, I could not afford any kind of medical treatment in this country!

Of course! No one can!

David: Erm, and as it turned out, I wasn’t really ill, I wasn’t very ill, just the kind of little ill that people often are over the winter.

A cold or something?

David: Yeah, which made it doubly frustrating, because it really felt like we’d wasted everybody’s time, so that’s the long version of that story.

Okay, so how did you decide to come back just for this show, I know you’re doing some shows in March or something, why didn’t you just do it then?

David: Umm, for a number of reasons. Partly because Skippy, who runs this venue, really, really wanted us to come and play. Partly because we’ve always had good gigs in New York and Chicago, people always want to come and see us. So it felt like the sensible thing to do before the album came out, just to remind people, like…

Like, “It’s coming!”

David: Like, oh, we’re back, we’re starting to play again and we’ve got a new record. And it’s very difficult for us to judge, erm, whether people in the US care.

Some of us do, the ones who know!

David: Yeah! And we only really find out when we come to play. It’s not like at home where…Well, I find the UK to have a very kind of insular music industry, which is kind of…somebody sneezes, and it’s like news! And here, I mean one of the things that we found in the past is that we’ll put a record out and then two weeks later, for instance…I mean, people probably haven’t discovered the record yet.

Continue reading Interview: Field Music – Part 1

 

Live Review: Field Music with the Spinto Band and the Mugs at the Bell House, Brooklyn – 30 January 2010

 
By on Monday, 1st February 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

Located in a slightly run down industrial area of Brooklyn, there’s not much about the Bell House from the outside to recommend it. Once you get inside, however, the venue is fabulous. There’s a cozy bar with very friendly servers open from 5pm, which is convenient if you’re mental like me and like to show up hours early for gigs. Inside the performance space, which is built in a converted 1920s warehouse, there are “25-foot wooden arched ceilings, a 450-square foot stage, and unobstructed views from any part of the room.” Three large chandeliers light the room between acts, and their playlist was fantastic (Phoenix, Yeasayer, Field Music, Fleet Foxes, the Beatles and Travis, to name a few). Although this was my first visit to the Bell House, I’m fairly sure that it would be impossible to have a bad gig experience there, and that was certainly true of the phenomenal Field Music show on Saturday night.

The first of two openers, the Mugs, are a local band who according to the barman play at Bell House so often they’re practically the house band. Featuring great harmonies and driving beats, this four-piece was very energetic, dancing around on stage through most of their songs, and had the crowd moving with them as well. A couple of highlights for me were the guitar breakdown in their third song and the song later in their set where the singer brought out a megaphone. Although the venue wasn’t packed yet and the crowd mostly hung back from the stage, they seemed to have a strong local following.  By the end of their short 30-minute set the crowd was yelling for an encore. While they sound much better live than they do in recordings, the Mugs are definitely worth a listen.

Second opener, the Spinto Band, came all the way from Wilmington, Delaware, for this gig, their first of the year. The band’s six members contributed to their rich, full sound. In all, they boast 3 guitarists (1 acoustic, 2 electric), a bassist, a drummer and a keyboardist. Their set was full of energy from start to finish, and their music was very dance-y.  While they definitely sounded like a modern indie band, something about their sound, most likely their harmonies combined with “oohs” and “aahs” and hand claps, reminded me of an earlier era. They made their set even more fun with the addition of the ukulele and the kazoo on a couple of songs. The only minor complaint I can make about their set is that it was sometimes hard to hear the vocals above the music, but overall they were a great opener, and they got the crowd energized before Field Music took the stage.

But of course the real highlight of the night was Sunderland band Field Music. They were originally scheduled to perform here in late November, but they had to reschedule because David came down with flu-like symptoms in the middle of the swine flu pandemic. They flew all the way from England (and returned the next day!) for this one-off gig because they felt they owed it to the fans and to Skippy, the venue’s booker, on whose birthday they were supposed to play in November.

In an industry that’s rife with gimmicks and auto-tuning, it was very refreshing to see the real thing: four men sitting down at their instruments to play their own distinctive style of pop music. Saying “we’re not very good at jokes,” they let the music do the talking, with just a short “thank you very much, indeed!” between songs.

Their set was a mix of about half “classic” Field Music songs from before their hiatus in 2007 and half tracks from their new album, ‘Field Music (Measure),’ due out in the UK on 15th February and in the US on 16th February. While the two live-only members, Kev and Ian, stayed on the guitar, keyboard and bass throughout the show, David and Peter Brewis rotated every couple of songs between drums, guitar and keyboards, with David even coming up front for a few songs from his side project, School of Language. The Brewises  later admitted to me in an interview that they’re terrified of playing the new songs live and are more comfortable with the others, but they seemed to have a great time playing them and they sounded fantastic. It’s a testament to both their performance abilities and the brilliance of their new material that the audience was just as into the new songs as they were their old favorites. The band’s signature complicated rhythms and intricate sound were somehow even better live than they are on the albums. For two men who have a very clear vision for their sound and control every step of the recording process themselves, it’s great that they’ve been able to find two men to play in their live band that can both fulfill their vision of the songs and add a little something special on top.

This was one of the best gigs I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been to quite a few, so I’m begging you, if you get the chance to see Field Music, then by all means, take it!

After the jump: set list and photos.

For more Field Music goodness, keep your eyes on TGTF over the next couple of weeks. We’ll have an interview with David and Peter Brewis, as well as a review of the new double album, ‘Field Music (Measure)’.

Field Music will be embarking on a three-week tour of the UK and Ireland starting on 15 February 2010 in London. Visit their myspace page to see if they’re playing near you.

Continue reading Live Review: Field Music with the Spinto Band and the Mugs at the Bell House, Brooklyn – 30 January 2010

 

Field Music / January, February and March 2010 UK Tour

 
By on Sunday, 29th November 2009 at 5:00 pm
 

Field Music have announced a string of dates around the UK and Ireland for early 2010. Expect more to be added as time goes on.

Thursday 7th January 2010 – London Hoxton Bar & Kitchen
Wednesday 24th February 2010 – Glasgow Nice N Sleazy
Thursday 25th February 2010 – Leeds Brudenell Social Club
Friday 26th February 2010 – Manchester Islington Mill
Sunday 28th February 2010 – Sheffield University
Monday 1st March 2010 – Birmingham O2 Academy 2
Tuesday 2nd March 2010 – Oxford O2 Academy 2
Friday 5th March 2010 – Dublin Crawdaddy

 

Field Music / November 2009, January 2010 Tour

 
By on Tuesday, 27th October 2009 at 5:00 pm
 

Sunderland’s Field Music have announced a string of UK gigs for November and a one-off in London in January.

Friday 13th November 2009 – Liverpool, The Bumper
Thursday 19th November 2009 – Manchester, Deaf Institute
Saturday 21st November 2009 – Glasgow, Captain’s Rest
Sunday 22nd November 2009 – Edinburgh, Sneaky Pete’s
Friday 27th November 2009 – Newcastle, The Cluny
Saturday 28th November 2009 – Newcastle, The Cluny
Thursday 7th January 2010 – London, Hoxton Bar & Grill

 
 
 

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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.

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