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Live at Leeds 2017 Preview: editor Mary’s best band bets

By on Wednesday, 19th April 2017 at 11:00 am

Please note: as we always recommend in all of TGTF’s festival previews, the information we post here on Live at Leeds 2017 is current at the time of posting. We strongly encourage you to check in at the Live at Leeds 2017 official Web site closer to the start of the event to confirm venues and set times. Wristbands for the event in Leeds on Saturday the 29th of April are still available at the bargain price of £32.50 plus handling if purchased online; VIP tickets are sold out. More information on where you can purchase your tickets in person or online is available here.

SXSW 2017 alums: Here’s a list of artists we either saw last month in Austin who we enjoyed AND/OR we previewed ahead of the festival -AND- will also be appearing at Live at Leeds in 2 Saturdays’ time. For your convenience, I’ve listed them in order of appearance on the day so you can slot them into your growing schedule. The best of the best are marked with an asterisk. (*)

LIFE (2:00 PM, Leeds Beckett Union Stage 2 [Dr. Martens Presents]) *
Ten Tonnes (2:00 PM, Chapel) *
Airways (3:00 PM, Leeds Beckett Union Stage 2 [Dr. Martens Presents])
Jade Bird (4:30 PM, Faversham Patio)
Annabel Allum (5:00 PM, Social)
Be Charlotte (5:00 PM, Faversham)
IDLES (7:15 PM, Key Club [DORK Stage])
She Drew the Gun (8:00 PM, Wardrobe)
Temples (8:00 PM, Church)
Lewis Watson (8:15 PM, Holy Trinity Church [Clash Stage])
The Academic (9:00 PM, Lending Room [WTGR Stage]) *
Dream Wife (9:00 PM, Brudenell Social Club [DIY Stage])
Slaves (9:00 PM, Academy)
Flamingods (9:45 PM, Leeds Beckett Union Stage 2 [Dr. Martens Presents])
Rag‘n’Bone Man (9:45 PM, Leeds University Union Refectory)
The Big Moon (10:00 PM, Brudenell Social Club [DIY Stage])
GURR (10:45 PM, Brudenell Social Club Games Room [DIY Neu Stage])
AJ Tracey (11:00 PM, Faversham)
Let’s Eat Grandma (11:00 PM, Chapel)

To add to the best 3 from above and round things out to a even 10 acts, here are an additional 7 I recommend from the fantastic Live at Leeds 2017 schedule:

The Gallery (Wakefield; 12:00 PM, Lending Room [WTGR Stage])
Wakefield is, of course, famous for being the birthplace The Cribs. But the Jarmans should probably get used to sharing the city with another band. The jangly guitars of The Gallery, reminiscent of Arctic Monkeys before they turned into Queens of the Stone Age, will take you back to the simpler times of British indie.

Wyvern Lingo (Wicklow, Ireland; 1:00 PM, Nation of Shopkeepers)
While already deemed national treasures in their country, most people outside Ireland have only heard of Wyvern Lingo from their association with Irish megastar Hozier, their members Karen and Caoimhe providing him backing vocals at live shows and the group supporting him on UK and Irish tours. Imagine the Staves if they’d gone pop and r&b.

Matt Maltese (London; 2:00 PM, Wardrobe)
It took Morrissey a while to be anointed the title ‘The Pope of Mope’. That said, given the current state of world affairs, it stands to reason that there should rightly be more artists coming out and telling it like it is without sugarcoating it. Piano playing Matt Maltese is one of them, coming out with the sweepingly beautiful ‘As the World Caves In’ to convey his despair. Seriously, close your eyes, and you could swear you’re hearing The Moz.

The Wandering Hearts (London; 3:15 PM, Holy Trinity Church [Clash Stage])
A stark contrast to all the indie and pop acts at this year’s Live at Leeds are The Wandering Hearts, an Americana / alt-country group from the big smoke. Recent signees to Decca Records, the band will provide a welcome midday set different from nearly everyone else invited to this event, with their lush harmonies smartly picked guitar.

Paris Youth Foundation (Liverpool; 5:00 PM, Oporto)
The return of Ride to the record shops this year proves the washy guitar wall of sound era isn’t over. Liverpudlians Paris Youth Foundation takes this and does one better by adding synthpop to the mix, lending an anthemic feel to their tracks. Having released their debut album late last year, this is still early days for them, but I reckon now is time to get on the bandwagon.

Tender Central (Devon; 5:15 PM, Holy Trinity Church [Clash Stage])
India Bourne is a Devon-born, classically trained cellist who now goes by the stage name Tender Central. It’s a good description of her sound, which takes full advantage of her ethereal vocals and her careful crafting of an equally evocative, all-enveloping soundscape. Take a moment and consider the thought of seeing such music being performed in a church. Got it?

The Pale White (Newcastle; 5:30 PM, Church)
While Patrick Carney is busy remoulding his girlfriend Michelle Branch, now is an excellent time to discover the band who will dethrone the Black Keys when they aren’t paying attention. While we can’t be sure their successors will be Newcastle’s The Pale White, their brand of down and dirty blues rock is a suitable North East alternative to that of Southampton’s Band of Skulls.


SXSW 2017: Germans and Swedes at Swan Dive, and an Italian and Norwegians at the Sidewinder (Saturday night, part 1) – 18th March 2017

By on Wednesday, 5th April 2017 at 2:00 pm

Remember what I said in my Saturday afternoon review about relaxing and picking up bands you missed at SXSW? Sounds like conflicting advice. After you’ve done this festival for a few years, you actually get a weird sense of calm coming over you on the last night. You’ve got this, and you know you’re going to have an amazing time tonight. Your feelings are also tempered by the fact that tomorrow, you’re go home and back, begrudgingly, to Real Life. So you might as well make the most of it, yeah?

Before I went out to the Latitude 30 for the final time at SXSW 2017, I had a few more bands to experience. I had never spent much time in Swan Dive during past SXSWs, but I can say from this year’s times I really enjoyed both the indoor and patio venues. The staff there were always super nice and eager to get us scanned and into the venue as soon as possible. Was it because the venues are on the smaller side and they weren’t hosting the most hyped bands? Most probably.

Still, even though I might not have made this obvious in my mad dash through 70+ bands in my reviews, you can’t and shouldn’t discount the human element in making (or breaking) your time in Austin. While some of the volunteers at the convention center could have used a lot more training (there’s a problem when I know more about the building and what sessions are going on than you do), you must remember that we are guests in this city in the Lone Star State and for a week, they have been our gracious hosts. Every act of kindness, for every smile, for every attempt to keep us safe, all of it: we should be appreciative of everyone’s hard work, time and energy in pulling this thing off.

Gurr, Swan Dive, Saturday 18 March 2017

This is what I was thinking when I was watching Berlin girl band GURR (say it with me) play to a packed Swan Dive to start my evening. Happy, peppy pop with the occasional wail of garage rock. Are they sweet or a little bit devilish? That’s the kind of question no-one is going to think about too heavily Saturday at SXSW; all anyone cared about was dancing to the music. If you live in the UK, you’re in luck: they’re embarking on their first-ever headline tour of the Isles with Brighton’s Yonaka later this month through May. They’re also playing Live at Leeds and The Great Escape.

Simian Ghost, Swan Dive Patio, Saturday 18 March 2017

Around the corner and down an alley with no queue, and that was all it took for me to witness Swedish alt-poppers Simian Ghost at the Swan Dive Patio. Compared to the much newer acts getting their first close-up in Austin, they’re relative veterans in the music world, and this showed in singer Sebastian Arnström’s relaxed manner onstage, even giving me a thumbs up as I tried to photograph him. Their syncopated new single ‘Stop Moving’ (ironic, that) is out now on Heist or Hit, and it actually sounds brasher than I remembered them. They’ve always had a light touch with their music, keeping things dreamy, echoey. Is it wrong to say they sound so…Scandinavian? A fourth album is purported to be on the way, so we’ll have to see if they plan to diverge from the wistful sound of their past.

I ducked into the Sidewinder for the first time ever, and what a cute little place. I could see how this would totally be a cool place to see a band for the first time. Both stages here were showcases being put on by The Burning Ear, whose showcases I had partaked in past years in other venues. I had arrived a little too early for who I wanted to see on the outside stage, so I thought I’d hang around for a few minutes for the act who was performing inside. Here I am, trying to snap a photo of a slight girl with long hair from the side of the stage, and it turns out I’m in the wrong place at the wrong time.

GIUNGLA, Burning Ear showcase, Sidewinder inside, Saturday 18 March 2017

Without warning, GIUNGLA (aka one woman band Ema Drei from Bologna, Italy) leaps out into the crowd, and with her guitar no less. I don’t think the stage crew had any idea she would do this, as I’m the only person who can throw out her lead behind her so she can continue attacking her guitar in the middle of the room. This was the classic case of don’t judge a book by its cover. I’ve no idea how anyone could classify GIUNGLA as pop: she’s a riot grrrl and wants to wail on her guitar, and it just happens that she has a drum machine. According to The Line of Best Fit, she’s signed to London collective Some Kinda Love, so expect to hear more from her soon.

It can’t be too hard to imagine that any band out of Norway wishes to match the success of a-ha or better yet, surpass it. The last Norwegian band I thought who would go the distance, Casiokids, received a grant from those highly successful ‘Take on Me’ blokes; the last time I talked to them, they told me their collective had started to fall apart once band members were having kids. Enter Chain Wallet, the Scandinavian pop band of my dreams.

Chain Wallet, Burning Ear showcase, Sidewinder outside, Saturday 18 March 2017

Like Casiokids, they are from Bergen, the second largest city in Norway after Oslo. Yes, there are synths. Yes, there are washy guitars. And yes, Stian Iverson’s vocals perfectly match the dreamiest pop imaginable. Give in, because you’re going to get lost in these songs in the end. I recognised ‘Faded Fight’ from their set, which sounded incredible. Just 3 days after I saw them in this back garden in Austin, they were playing with Flyte at London Old Blue Last. Unbelievable. Just remember, you heard about them here first.


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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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