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Foy Vance / November and December 2013 UK and Irish Tour

By on Friday, 15th November 2013 at 2:00 pm

Northern Ireland Music Prize winner Foy Vance has just completed a string of shows in America and is set to embark on a full tour of the UK and Ireland. Following the dates listed below, Vance will play a short series of gigs in Europe (see his Web site for information on European dates). Tickets for the UK and Irish shows are available now, with the exception of the Belfast date, which is sold out.

Sunday 17th November 2013 – York Duchess
Monday 18th November 2013 – Cardiff Clwb Ifor Bach*
Tuesday 19th November 2013 – Norwich Arts Centre*
Thursday 21st November 2013 – Birmingham Hare and Hounds
Friday 22nd November 2013 – Liverpool Epstein Theatre*
Saturday 23rd November 2013 – Manchester Gorilla
Sunday 24th November 2013 – Nottingham Bodega*
Wednesday 27th November 2013 – Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
Thursday 28th November 2013 – London Koko*
Friday 29th November 2013 – Sheffield Leadmill
Saturday 30th November 2013 – Dundee Non Zero’s
Monday 2nd December 2013 – Aberdeen Tunnels
Tuesday 3rd December 2013 – Stirling Tollbooth
Wednesday 4th December 2013 – Edinburgh Electric Circus
Friday 6th December 2013 – Galway Roisin Dubh
Saturday 7th December 2013 – Dublin Whelan’s
Sunday 8th December 2013 – Londonderry Sandino’s
Monday 9th December 2013 – Belfast Limelight (sold out)

* with Rams’ Pocket Radio


Interview: Foy Vance

By on Friday, 13th September 2013 at 11:00 am

Amid the trolley cars and bustle of an afternoon in Dublin, Foy Vance took the time out to talk to Cheryl about his week old release ‘Joy of Nothing’. The album includes Cheryl’s current frontrunner for song of the year, ‘Closed Hand, Full of Friends’. Curiously, the video for that song was filmed just days ago and caused an uproar of its own. Makes us all a little more anxious to see the final product.

Until then, Foy tells us a little about what’s going on in his life.

Last week was release day, but you were here in NYC. Why there instead of back at home?
It was just the way it worked out, I was out there doing radio stations and interviews and stuff. The record label is out of New York, the publisher is out of New York, the managers are out of New York, so that made sense. It was a beautiful evening. I mean we were in Electric Lady Studios, come on! It has the consciousness of the world.

When I compare the new songs to the ones on ‘Hope’, the old songs are kind of vague in their structure and ‘Joy of Nothing’ seems to have a more distinct song structure, more form and they stick in your head better. Tell me about the change to your songwriting style.
You know I find it really hard to categorize songs and genres, I’ve never really been good at that. I do know these songs have a bloodline, they have a thread, a similarity. But I don’t know how much of that is what’s beyond the songs themselves, or how much of that is how they were recorded, or the musicians that we used, or the producer I worked with. It’s really hard to know. With this record, we were a bit more efficient. When I recorded ‘Hope’ I really didn’t know what I was doing. I was producing it myself and I never should have done that. It was a steep learning curve and I’m glad I did it, but you know it produced some quite lumpy results as far as I was concerned. I was always happy with the songs, I still am, but I don’t feel like I delivered the album that I would have wanted. With this record the songs were like family, they knew they belonged together. There was a real coherent vision for making this record.

When the songs came out of you, could you tell that these songs were going to be able to take you all the way around the world like your tour is about to take you?
No, I think that’s the beauty of music that is often lost at times. You know, when people treat it like an industry – you need to write a really good chorus and you have to have a strong bridge, and it has to be no more than one minute before you get to the chorus because it’s this that or the other. I think the beauty of songwriting is that you do it for itself, you know what I mean? There’s no other reason bar just the joy of writing it.

Do you prefer to write on the piano or on the guitar?
I write on whatever, really. I’m a big fan of not having a set formula. I know people that do that, most of them write formulaic music. There are some great songwriters out there in the world, some songwriters historically that have co-written together every morning at nine and stop at five and they’ve written some of the world’s greatest hits, but I’m just not one of those people. It works better for me if I sort of just do whatever feels right. If I feel like playing guitar, I’ll play guitar and I’ll just mess around and improvise with chords and if I find something that I like I’ll stick with it, maybe sing something to it. It’s always different. Sometimes it comes with the lyric, sometimes it comes with the melody, it’s everchanging and I like it that way.

‘Closed Hands, Full of Friends’ is probably my favorite song of the year so far. Can you tell me a little bit about how it came about? I know it was the first one that you wrote for the album and that caused the rest of the album to flow but can you tell me how that first one started.
I had been living in London for seven years and I have the opinion that London in one the greatest cities in the world, it’s a great city. But the thing with living there, sometimes you have to work so hard to facilitate your life there that you don’t get to enjoy London for all its treasures. So I found that all I ever did was tour and the world had become one big city, connected by flight paths and motorways. Then I’d come home to rest and I’d be in a city again. And I’d get woke up at 6 a.m. every morning by this tire company across the road unscrewing tires every morning and I’d be thinking ‘Why am I here? I need to be somewhere quiet.’ So I thought I’d had enough of this and I needed to go somewhere quiet. So I moved up to the highlands of Scotland and the second I got there the dust seemed to settle and I could see things clearer and I could think more clearly. And I started to refine things that were going on in my life.

I’m curious, what does it look like up there? Just how far out in the wilds are you?
Well I’m actually in a town which is in the wilds, in the middle of a valley, quite a small town but a very amenable town. It’s very artisan, it’s got a couple of galleries and a 1950s art deco cinema there. But when I open my door, morning, noon or night, there’s no sound whatsoever. Aside, if you listen close enough, you can hear the River Tay run by the house. This town is right on the River Tay and a few miles away from Loch Tay and when you stand on the first mountain, and for a 130 odd miles north there’s nothing but mountains.

On Twitter the other day, you said happy birthday to “Janey”. Who is she and how does she feel about having a song about her?
Oh Janey loves it. Janey’s pretty much my best friend; she’s a great girl I’ve got to know over the last 10 years or whatever it’s been. We’re just very close, her and her husband. I guess it’s an ambiguous song, it sounds like it’s a song for a lover, but it’s just a song for a friend. She’s a beautiful girl and she loves the fact that she’s got a song written about her. We laugh every time.

One of my other favorite songs is ‘Indiscriminate Act of Kindness’, but on this new album it seems like you have abandoned the third person storytelling like in that and ‘Gabriel and the Vagabond’. Are you happier, more satisfied writing more personal songs?
More satisfied, yes, but I think it’s whatever comes naturally I think. Like I said, I don’t like to sit down and try to write a song of any type or style. Other people can do that better than I, I think it’s important to figure out your strengths and play to them. And embrace your weaknesses. So I write whatever comes naturally and that’s what came naturally this time. The next record may be not very personal at all, but I can’t ever see that happen to be honest. It seems natural to write what I know.

I saw you play in January with Ed Sheeran. At the time I thought it was an odd pairing but was blown away by how well you two meshed. And now you’ve gone and recorded your most famous yet to be released track ‘Guiding Light’ with him. How did you decide to do that?
It did seem like an odd pairing to me and to be honest there was a time a few years ago when if someone like Ed had asked me to go on tour with him, I would have turned it down because I would have turned them because I would have thought, “that’s not my crowd’. But what I realized about Ed was that even though he’s got this pop persona in the media, and that’s what we perceive him as, a pop-star, what he does with his audience is really heartfelt. He’s a very sincere guy, he really means what he does. That’s the only thing that really matters in music, you know, do you mean it? There’s not good music or bad music, is it true or is it not? Is it felt, does it have an ulterior motive? I think Ed has that, he’s just 22. He writes about stuff in a 22-year old way. He articulates himself to his generation. And it’s apparent because the guy’s a superstar the world over. But him and I got on really, really well. It was a song that was always important to him. He would close his sets with it for a while before I met him. So we sang it together in the Ryman one night [a historic theatre in Nashville, Tennessee] and we thought we should give this a go together. To see what it’s like. The last thing I wanted to do was appear mercenary because he’s a superstar, and I’m completely not. And I was fully prepared to not use it if it didn’t feel right. I didn’t want it for his name, I wanted it for his heart. There’s not contrived on this album, there isn’t anything on this record that doesn’t belong there, as far as I’m concerned. Whether it’s good or bad and whether people like it or not is another thing. But for me it’s articulate and it’s honest.

Do you have a favorite track to play live?
No, I wouldn’t say I have a favourite, it changes from night to night. Some nights a song works brilliant and other nights another one does. You just get up each night and try to get into the songs as much as you possibly can.

Thanks so much for taking the time with us and see you on your tour in the autumn.
Cheers. See you then.


Album Review: Foy Vance – Joy of Nothing

By on Monday, 26th August 2013 at 12:00 pm

Foy Vance Joy of Nothing coverBlue-eyed, Bangor-born bluesman Foy Vance is one of those artists I have been following for a couple of years in the hopes that I would one day be afforded the opportunity to fully experience him live. His debut album ‘Hope’ was a distant 6 years ago, although he has kept up a presence with several EPs and soundtracking last year’s Academy Award winning short film ‘The Shore’. With the release of his second album ‘Joy of Nothing’, I may finally get the chance I crave. I had the delight of a truly too short support set for Ed Sheeran earlier this year, but I want more. The new album has fired my desire even greater.

‘Joy of Nothing’ starts out with what is easily one of my favourite songs of the year, ‘Closed Hand, Full of Friends’, covered by TGTF previously here. Building quickly to the pounding refrain, “But I’m feeling alright now!”, ‘Closed Hand, Full of Friends’ can pull you out of a foul mood by the sheer force of its exuberance. The addition of piano and deep, resonant strings right at the beginning of the album ensures we know that this is a different Vance from the ‘Hope’ days.

The rolling, soaring path of the titular track that follows alludes to the grace Vance found by moving to the wilds of the remote Scottish highlands. He illuminates the little nothings of everyday life, the simple bits that make life joyous and worth living. Keen observation and genuine appreciation transforms what could have been a simple account of ‘joys’ into a stunning treatise on paying attention to the little things. Fellow Bangor musician Gary Lightbody wrote the same kind of song – a list of things that would make him happy – in last year’s ‘Lifening’. Insomuch as I am a fan of Snow Patrol, Vance has far outshone his more famous countryman with this song.

Later on the disc, two former tourmates lend their vocals to the album. This summer’s UK tour with Bonnie Raitt sparked the lovely ‘You and I’ and last winter’s American tour with Ed Sheeran forged a duet version of the already classic ‘Guiding Light’. Just as ‘Guiding Light’ regularly closes out Vance’s live sets, it takes this album out with a commanding presence, cementing Vance as the quintessential wandering Irish troubadour.

With a sound that sinks into you with grace and power, the music on ‘Joy of Nothing’ floats over and through you like a sweet scent on the breeze, with Vance’s rasp, honeyed and rough, anchoring it so it doesn’t blow away: “Let me fill your soul like you fill mine, let it be this way ‘til the end of time, draw me close to your breast, let us close our eyes”. This is a gorgeous album that stands up to and deepens with repeated listens. Vance has been streaming a new song every couple of days on a different music site for a few weeks. By release date, they will all be available on his own Web site. But you should run, not walk, out to the high street and purchase this beauty as soon as you can.


‘Joy of Nothing’ is available today from Glassnote Records today (26 August) worldwide, except in Australia and New Zealand, where the album does not come out until 13 September.


In the Post #109: Foy Vance reveals ‘Closed Hand, Full of Friends’

By on Tuesday, 13th August 2013 at 12:00 pm

Northern Irish soul troubadour Foy Vance is allowing us a sneak peek at yet another track from his forthcoming second full length album ‘Joy of Nothing’.

‘Closed Hands, Full of Friends’ starts off with an insistent throb, filled in with resonant piano notes, it then builds up to the shattering release of “But I’m feeling alright!” Crafted with a perfect mix of strings, piano, and voice, oh my god that voice, it’s 4 minutes that was on a loop for me as soon as I heard it. With a rallying cry of “I will find my means to an end with an open-hearted home and closed hand full of friends”, you can feel the swelling of grandeur within the space between the notes. The song builds to a sudden end that provides instant closure, yet leaves me clawing for more. I simply cannot wait for this album later this month.

Vance is also offering his b-side ‘Dark Horse’ for free via Noistrade. Grab it, listen to it below, pre-order ‘Joy of Nothing’ and fall in love with this man. ‘Joy of Nothing’ will be available 26 August on Glassnote Records.



Video of the Moment #1142: Foy Vance

By on Saturday, 2nd March 2013 at 10:00 am

‘Joy of Nothing’ is the title of Foy Vance‘s new album scheduled to be out this summer. And here is the video to accompany it. Watch it below.



Live Review: Ed Sheeran with Foy Vance and Rizzle Kicks at Rams Head Live, Baltimore, MD – 29th January 2013

By on Monday, 4th February 2013 at 2:00 pm

A more respectful bunch of crazies, I have never witnessed. Seriously, Ed Sheeran fans take the cake. I know U2 fans queue for days, but they have a spectacle to see. This is for a boy. And a guitar. And nothing else. Even the venue tweeted a picture of the queue that morning saying it was the earliest they had *ever* had a queue. That’s the crazy. I’ll get to the respectful later.

I’d seen the ginger play five times before, so it was for opening act Foy Vance that I made the hour and a half trek north. I had been warned about the power of his live show, but was still taken by surprise when this Belfast-born, blue-eyed bluesman ripped open my soul. And it wasn’t just me. The sea of youngsters around me embraced his every heartfelt note having never even heard his name before. “I’m in love with that Foy guy” was exclaimed quite near me at the break. So the wisdom from years of honing his craft, the pain and longing that drips through his lyrics and the emotion that tears through his raw delivery transcends age and genre. From the opening notes of ‘I’ve Got Love’ to the soaring sing along of ‘Guiding Light’, Vance won over an audience that had likely never heard of him, and further more probably never would have heard of him if Ed Sheeran hadn’t brought him along for the ride. Cheers to you Mr. Sheeran for taking the incomparable Foy Vance with you through America.

Foy Vance Baltimore

Next on the bill was Rizzle Kicks; a much more simpatico pairing with Sheeran’s style. These Brit School buds went down a treat with the crowd. With ‘Mama Do the Hump’ and ‘Down with the Trumpets’, the duo blasted the largely female crowd with their beats and moves. It didn’t hurt at all that they both sported local sports teams’ shirts – including a Baltimore Raven’s AFC Championship shirt. (The Ravens were set play in this year’s Super Bowl, just days away.) Quite popular at home, Rizzle Kicks are finding a welcoming new audience on these American shores.

Rizzle Kicks Baltimore

But back to that respectful crowd. Girls who scream and faint (yes, two of them went down that I saw) over their favorite singer are not typically known to be the respectful kind. But having seen the man play multiple times now, I am pleased to say that I am most impressed with the crowd he draws. Or perhaps they are all so in love with him that they would do anything for him – including being totally silent. Yes, a gig where the singer asked the audience not to sing along, and NO ONE did. Impressive.

Ed Sheeran Baltimore 1

So whether it was a raucous sing along like ‘Drunk’ or a delicate number like the ‘Kiss Me’ duet with Vance, everyone standing there gave it the proper treatment. Sure there was the random ‘I love you’ screamed out, but even that was less than I have seen at other gigs. The encore was particularly special consisting of deluxe album version only song ‘Gold Rush’ – complete with a nod to Bobby McFerrin’s ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’, hidden track ‘The Parting Glass’ and Sheeran’s biggest hit ‘The A Team’.

Ed Sheeran has been on a grueling touring schedule since he broke in mid-2011. He is a talented bloke and an immense performer, I hope for more great things from him. And I honestly hope he gets a bit of a rest soon. Then again, he is only 21. Ahhhh, youth.

Ed Sheeran Baltimore 2

After the cut: the set lists.
Continue reading Live Review: Ed Sheeran with Foy Vance and Rizzle Kicks at Rams Head Live, Baltimore, MD – 29th January 2013


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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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