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Top Gigs of 2013: Editor’s Picks

 
By on Tuesday, 17th December 2013 at 11:00 am
 

2013 did not disappoint to deliver another year of brilliant live performances for me here in America and in Britain. Which shows will I remember the most from 20-13? (I wrote it out that way, because I was told this last time in England that me pronouncing it that way makes it obvious I am an American. Do you reckon that’s true? I’m trying, folks, I’m trying, but as the majority of you know, I am American, born and bred!) Read on about the most exciting shows I’ve been to this year…

5. the 1975 at U Street Music Hall (20th June 2013) – I’ve been lucky enough to have seen the 1975 5 times this year, with 3 of those times in DC, and unusually, the one show that sticks out in my mind among all others is not their largest show in DC, nor their smallest, but the one in between.

The energy at U Street Music Hall, coupled with the screaming fans down the front, made it clear I was witnessing history. So what if “she’s got a boyfriend anyway”? We’ll be singing and bopping to the music like we don’t care, that’s what.

The 1975 Washington June 2013 1

4. Savoir Adore at DC9 (25th September 2013) – DC9 doesn’t have a great reputation for sound quality, but on this Wednesday night, all the stars aligned for a near perfect sounding show, highlighting the shiny, glittery ambiance that Savoir Adore brings to their shows.

Deidre Muro and Paul Hammer now have an impressive back catalogue to draw from, and this was just a wonderful gig to showcase their music, with punters having such a good time dancing to their tunes.

Savoir Adore Washington 2013 live 2

3. the Crookes at Sheffield Shakespeare (19th May 2013) – as the American editor of a UK-centric music site, all too often I’m left banging my head against a table or a wall when I come to the disappointing conclusion that I can’t attend a show I really want to be at. (Maybe one day when I have my own private plane…)

While the travel to Sheff was a pain in the arse – I must have taken the slowest Sunday train known to man from St. Pancras to the North East – and I’d not slept the night before, as John and I had been in Brighton all weekend to cover the Great Escape, it was all worth it for this chance to see one of my favourite bands in a teeny tiny gig in their hometown. As soon as I’d arrived at the place, I knew I’d made the right decision, having been greeted with the singing talents of a good friend wafting ‘Dance in Colour’ out of the top windows of the pub. You can’t make this stuff up, folks. Read my review for further musings.

2. OMD at Gateshead Sage (13th May 2013) – where do you go to see a favourite Northern band when possible? The North, of course. Martin had alerted me ahead of time that the Sage was quite a posh place and to expect people to be dressed fancier than I was used to seeing in clubs.

Hate people talking on their phones at gigs? The Sage has high-tech mobile phone blocking technology. The beautifully lit, swiveling panels suspended in the air above us and the band were awe-inspiring, as were Andy McCluskey’s seemingly inexhaustible singing and dad-dancing talents. ‘Electricity’? Why, yes.

OMD Gateshead live 1

1. Little Comets at the Hamilton (13th August 2013) – for the longest time, it seemed all my music friends had seen this Geordie band live and I hadn’t; further, so many of the bands I was personally friends with either had toured with them or had become friends with them after being impressed by their live show at a festival.

Well, it took 4 long years but I finally got to see Little Comets live, and I’m pleased to report they were well worth the wait. The dinner theatre-style setup of the Hamilton means at most shows, punters will remain sat at their tables, chewing on their tapas. Not this night: with fans shrieking and letting out catcalls of delight, stomping to their favourite songs and singing along word for word to tracks like ‘Isles’, it was definitely a moment in time I will never forget. More of this, please!

Little Comets Washington 2

Honourable mentions:

Franz Ferdinand at Strathmore Hall (17th October 2013) – I was under the distinct impression I would never see Franz Ferdinand live, unless maybe I was lucky enough to catch them at a festival. It had been 7 years since they’d played in DC. Great show punctuated with Alex Kapranos’ Olympic-effort leaps and bounds, and I have to say, you haven’t lived until you’ve been sat next to Nick McCarthy’s extended family at a show. Just saying.

Kodaline at Jammin’ Java (13th October 2013) – it must be nice to be on your first headline tour of North America and arrive in a city to find out you’ve sold out your gig there. I’ve seen quite a few post-gig fan queues in my day, but this one for Kodaline stretched to about forever. We hung around for over an hour and a half, watching the band say hello, sign autographs and take photos with each and every fan that wanted to meet them. If only all bands were as considerate.

the Static Jacks at DC9 (2nd October 2013) – this guys just get better and better every time I see them. They managed to turn a humdrum Wednesday night in Washington into a disco, with appreciative fans cutting a rug to their music. Doesn’t really get any better than that.

Villagers at Rock ‘n’ Roll Hotel (13th June 2013) – this was the first time I’d see the Villagers full band setup, having only seen Conor J. O’Brien solo in 2010. If you had reservations that ‘Becoming a Jackal’ was a whimper-y kind of record and you weren’t sold on their new direction in ‘{Awayland}’, go see them live now and watch them rock out.

the Joy Formidable at 9:30 Club (21st April 2013) – I prefer to see this Welsh band in smaller, dingier confines because I think their music suits that kind of environment better, but still, this was an amazing show. Hard to believe the first time I saw them was in November 2010, barely filling half of Black Cat Backstage’s capacity of 200.

After the cut: the full list of all the gigs, in reverse chronological order, that I’ve been to in 2013. The runner-up gigs are also marked.

Continue reading Top Gigs of 2013: Editor’s Picks

 

Video of the Moment #1389: Franz Ferdinand

 
By on Wednesday, 20th November 2013 at 6:00 pm
 

Franz Ferdinand‘s latest promo video is for next single ‘Bullet’, from their current Domino Records album ‘Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action’ (reviewed by John here). The single will drop on the 24th of January 2014. And the video takes you round. Literally. Watch it below.

 

Live Review: Franz Ferdinand with Frankie Rose at Strathmore Hall, Bethesda, MD – 17th October 2013

 
By on Tuesday, 22nd October 2013 at 2:00 pm
 

There are certain bands that sit in my head filed under ‘Never Going to See Them, Ever’, with the assumption being that they’ll only ever play stadiums or festivals I won’t want to or aren’t able to physically be at. So when indie rock giants Franz Ferdinand were announced as a headliner, oddly enough in the symphonic hall-cum-sometimes rock show venue when hired by the 9:30 Club people, located in the DC / Maryland suburb of Bethesda, I couldn’t say no.

Frankie Rose 2013 live 2

The oddest of the posh splendour of the place was not lost on opener Frankie Rose, who announced to everyone when she first came on stage, “this is odd!” I understand her confusion: just days prior, she’d played with the Scots at the famous Emo’s in Austin, which isn’t known as a concert hall. At all. To give you some idea about Strathmore, the place is covered in this beautiful smooth, blonde wood and if you’re there for a rock show, you almost feel like you should be whispering at a band, not shouting. To her credit, Rose played a wonderful set even though predictably, many of the ticketholders for the night showed up later only for Franz. As you all probably know from reading TGTF, I generally avoid female singers entirely, and in this particular case, the only research I’d done was pull up Rose’s Twitter account to see if I could glean any information about her style based on what she revealed about herself on there. Her description reads “CHAOTIC NEUTRAL”, all capital letters. This goes back a while, but I grew up with a brother who was obsessed with Dungeons and Dragons so much that ‘chaotic’ became part of my early childhood lexicon, so I imagined her genre to be ‘riot grrl with face paint, black nail varnish and ‘tude’.

Frankie Rose 2013 live

Thankfully, I was completely wrong. The beautiful Miss Rose came out onstage with a full band (guitarist, bassist and drummer) to complement her singing and her own guitar playing. I’m mildly psychic and can usually sense things about people, and there is just something about her that made me think, gosh, she must have been a palm reader in another life, because she seems such a kindly, wise old soul. This was further evidenced by the way she talked to us as if she was speaking with old friends, sweetly and entirely unpatronising, entirely self-deprecating while also aware that she was playing to a very large venue and quite a lot of people that probably what she’s used to on her own. Her style on brand new album ‘Herein Wild’ is more poppy than I would have ever expected: see: ‘Question/Reason’. But some songs also had New Wave and heavier rock elements to them (the wonderful ‘Street of Dreams’, ‘Into Blue’) that provide a nice segue from her previous roots in Crystal Stilts and Dum Dum Girls.

Franz Ferdinand 2013 live 1

Even before Franz Ferdinand took the stage, you could tell this was going to be an event. Full stop. Guitarist Nick McCarthy has equipment that reads “Franz Ferdinand” in an Old English (errr, Old Scottish?) style on it. (Complete with fake insects attached to it, I might add.) And you know how the new LP is called ‘Right Words, Right Thoughts, Right Action”? Three axes on stage = three amps marked with either “WORDS”, “THOUGHTS” or “ACTION”. In the right order, left to right. I don’t care what you think, that’s just cool. My first giggle of the night was when frontman Alex Kapranos – who, admittedly, I had a huge crush on when their debut album came out – announced, “hello. We’re Franz Ferdinand, and we’re from Glasgow”. Um, shouldn’t everyone already know that if they’ve bought tickets to be here? I snickered.

Franz Ferdinand 2013 live 2

While the biggest hits and fan favourites would no doubt be played -their career-breaking hit ‘Take Me Out’, and the deliciously sneering attitude of ‘Do You Want To’ and ‘No You Girls’ – the variety of a set like this reminds us why Franz Ferdinand have such a huge worldwide following, even if they made fans wait 4 years after 2009’s ‘Tonight: Franz Ferdinand’ for their latest album. They’re just so damn entertaining. I’d forgotten the beauty of the lyrics and the Beatles-esque simplicity of the guitars in ‘Walk Away’ from 2005’s ‘You Could Have It So Much Better’. The hand and arm waving antics of both Kapranos and lead guitarist McCarthy to usher in ‘Ulysses’ were hilarious. Aforementioned ‘Do You Want To’ let Kapranos act as preening rock star, getting us to chant back at him the incredibly infectious refrains of “lucky, lucky / you’re so lucky!” again and again. While everyone was on their feet from the get go, I can’t leave out the dancing. As its name suggests, ‘This Fire’ turned the place into a boogie inferno, while ‘Can’t Stop Feeling’ and new single ‘Evil Eye’ (the latter with McCarthy on keys) were totally funky.

The set proved even more special in that unbeknownst to us, sat directly behind us were McCarthy’s second cousins who were local to the area. I’m still not exactly sure why the McCarthys who emigrated to America decided on DC as their landing point, but we have them to thank for requesting ‘Jacqueline’ as the opening song to the encore, to which Kapranos quipped, “you see? We do take requests occasionally!” This is one show I won’t soon forget. The last time the band played a headline show in the DC area was 2006. Next time, guys, don’t wait 7 years to come back, ok? We love ya.

After the cut: Franz Ferdinand’s set list.

Franz Ferdinand 2013 live 3

Continue reading Live Review: Franz Ferdinand with Frankie Rose at Strathmore Hall, Bethesda, MD – 17th October 2013

 

Franz Ferdinand / March 2014 UK/Irish Tour

 
By on Monday, 23rd September 2013 at 9:00 am
 

Scottish rock heroes Franz Ferdinand will be touring the UK and Ireland next March. Tickets are on sale now.

And if you want a laugh, watch the video for ‘Evil Eye’, from their current Domino Records album ‘Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action’ (reviewed by John here) embedded below the tour dates. A bit gruesome but funny gruesome.

Friday 14th March 2014 – London Roundhouse
Monday 17th March 2014 – Brighton Dome
Tuesday 18th March 2014 – Bristol Academy
Wednesday 19th March 2014 – Southampton Guildhall
Friday 21st March 2014 – Birmingham Academy
Saturday 22nd March 2014 – Manchester Academy
Sunday 23rd March 2014 – Dublin Olympia
Tuesday 25th March 2014 – Glasgow Barrowlands
Wednesday 26th March 2014 – Leeds Academy
Thursday 27th March 2014 – Newcastle Academy

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIR5vBiC3ig[/youtube]

 

Live Gig Video: Franz Ferdinand cover Grimes’ ‘Oblivion’ for a French radio station

 
By on Thursday, 29th August 2013 at 4:00 pm
 

This is the cover that no-one ever saw coming. Franz Ferdinand doing their take on Grimes‘ ‘Oblivion’ for French radio station Oui FM. I’m being serious. What’s even weirder is that the lyrics being sung by Alex Kapranos actually work in this situation, because for once you can understand Claire Boucher’s words. Watch it below.

John’s review of the Scots’ latest album ‘Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action’ can be read here.


Franz Ferdinand – Grimes cover – Session… by radioouifm

 

Live Gig Video: Franz Ferdinand reveal behind the scenes Come Home, Practically All, Is Nearly Forgiven short film

 
By on Tuesday, 20th August 2013 at 4:00 pm
 

Less than a week now to go for the release of Franz Ferdinand‘s newest album ‘Right Words, Right Thoughts, Right Action’ on Domino Records this coming bank holiday Monday. (John reviewed the new LP here.) And with that, Alex Kapranos and co. have thought it best to release a short film with interview tidbits, studio clips of them writing in Alex’s studio in Scotland and even funny moments on a carpet to give you a behind the scenes look at the making of the new album. Watch it below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bQTjLlXf3k[/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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