Because of COVID-19 travel restrictions and show and festival cancellations,
no new content has been added here since February 2020.
Read more about this here. | April 2019 update
To connect with us, visit us on Facebook and Twitter.
SXSW 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | Live at Leeds 2016 | 2015 | 2014
Sound City 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | Great Escape 2018 | 2015 | 2013 | 2012

Live Review: Here We Go Magic with Big Thief at Valley Bar, Phoenix, AZ – 15th November 2015

 
By on Thursday, 19th November 2015 at 2:00 pm
 

After the tragic events in Paris last weekend, which struck close to home with an attack on the Eagles of Death Metal concert at Le Bataclan on Friday night, even the hardiest of gig-goers might find themselves hesitating to venture out for a show. Such was my situation on Sunday night, when I headed to downtown Phoenix’s Valley Bar to see Brooklyn indie pop band Here We Go Magic. It was unusually cold and rainy in Phoenix that night (a recurring theme with my recent trips to Valley Bar, as you’ll know if you read my review of David Ramirez’s show last week), and I had half a mind to stay safely and snugly tucked away on my sofa at home rather than making the 2-hour drive. However, I felt pulled to make a show of resistance against the fear inspired by the Paris attacks, if only in a small way. Since I already had the ticket in hand, off to Phoenix I went.

I arrived a little after the announced time for doors at the Valley Bar, but it turned out that the bands, Here We Go Magic and support act Big Thief, were running a bit late as well. When Big Thief took the stage about half an hour behind schedule, there were only a handful of people in the venue, mostly hanging back near the bar area. Undeterred, lead singer Adrianne Lenker and company drew the small crowd in with their alt-rock style songs. The hesitant punters slowly crept nearer to the stage during their set, and by the end, the band were receiving enthusiastic applause and genuine shouts of approval.

Big Thief 1

I was pleasantly surprised to hear that Big Thief weren’t just another one on the rapidly growing list of female-led garage bands. So often, those bands come off sounding a bit feckless or somehow apologetic for making a loud noise. Not Big Thief. Lenker’s songwriting does have that self-conscious introspection in its lyrics, and the breathy tone quality of her singing voice falls somewhere between Patsy Cline and Chrissy Hynde, but the band’s folk rock style musical arrangements lean more toward the rock end of the spectrum and are anything but frail and delicate.

Their brash sound was displayed to full advantage in the instrumental interludes, when Lenker stepped away from the mic and led her male bandmates through a series of screeching guitar solos. That being said, one of the most memorable moments in Big Thief’s set came when guitarist Buck Meek performed a contrasting a capella version of his solo song ‘Sam Bridges’, which immediately called to mind the folk roots of Bruce Springsteen or Bob Dylan.

Big Thief 2

Meek and Lenker are both a solo artists aside from their work with Big Thief, and when I stepped out to the merch table after the show, Lenker was selling copies of her own solo CD ‘Hours Were the Birds’ as well as Big Thief’s latest offering (recorded as Adrianne Lenker and Buck Meek, and titled ‘A-sides’). She mentioned that most of the songs on their current set list were new and will appear on their upcoming album, to be released sometime next year. In fact, Big Thief’s recent single ‘Masterpiece’ was just released at the end of October, as a prelude to their tour with Here We Go Magic.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/YgKJe3uiJ9g[/youtube]

Luke Temple and his Here We Go Magic colleagues opened their headline set without preliminary chatter, starting with a pair of new songs from their recent LP ‘Be Small’. As it turned out, ‘Ordinary Feeling’ and ‘Stella’ served as a nice warm up for the more energetic ‘Make Up Your Mind’ and an extended version of ‘Hibernation’. I was immediately surprised by how much more vibrant Here We Go Magic sounded in live performance, as I’d always heard their studio recordings as being very muted and mellow, more atmosphere than tangible presence. But on this night, they played through the new tracks and the older ones alike with the smooth, spellbinding grace of a jazz combo, each band member watching and responding naturally to the others, the main focus always at stage right on frontman Temple.

Here We Go Magic 1

The centerpiece of Here We Go Magic’s set was clearly the infectiously quirky lead single from ‘Be Small’, ‘Tokyo London U.S. Korea’, whose catchy title line inspired a bit of singing along among the tiny Valley Bar crowd. That’s not to imply that the audience wasn’t engaged with the performance; on the contrary, the vibe in the room was one of captivated attention and appreciation for the musicianship on display. It’s just that most of Here We Go Magic’s songs aren’t particularly of the singalong variety. Despite that reputation, I’m willing to bet that very few could walk away from ‘Tokyo London U.S. Korea’ without catching the earworm. Find out for yourself below.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/HK5qqlLAcm4[/youtube]

While Here We Go Magic’s setlist was predictably slanted toward the new album, the band did touch on each of their older recordings. Songs from their self-titled debut album and their excellent 2012 record ‘A Different Ship’ made notable appearances in the first half of the set, and a pair of tracks from 2010’s ‘Pigeon’, the mildly hypnotic ‘Land of Feelings’ and the psychedelic coda of ‘Collector’, came nearer to the end. The band wrapped up the set proper with brand new single ‘Falling’, and finally, the small audience’s reward for braving both the weather and weekend’s earlier events came in the form of a brief encore, featuring my own favourite Here We Go Magic tune, ‘How Do I Know’.

Here We Go Magic’s latest album ‘Be Small’ is available now via Secretly Canadian. They will play a single UK show at XOYO in London on the 22nd of February as part of a 2016 European tour, which is also currently scheduled to include several dates in France.

Here We Go Magic setlist

 

Preview: Evolution Festival 2012

 
By on Friday, 2nd March 2012 at 9:30 am
 

Evolution Festival, held between Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead, has, appropriately enough, evolved considerably since it was first held as a free, 1-day event in 2005. Now in its eighth year, the event boasts a 2-day, two-stage line-up, held in the stunning location of the Newcastle and Gateshead quaysides. The event is no longer free, but at a mere £35 for the weekend, it represents fantastic, inflation-busting value. This year the event is held over the Sunday and Monday of the June Bank Holiday weekend 3-4 June: there surely can be no finer way to celebrate the 60th year of a monarch’s reign than going out and hearing some fantastic music with one’s fellow mankind. Here we break down the acts on the Spiller’s Wharf stage, just to prove what a delicious prospect awaits:

Sunday 3rd June
Kicking things off are the Lake Poets, the slightly confusingly-named solo project of Martin Longstaff of local favourites B>E>A>K. Amazing Radio favourites Theme Park offer intriguing ‘80s-style tunes with shades of Talking Heads. The local influence continues with Lulu James, a freshly-minted South Shields soul-step diva with huge potential; if her material stands the test she could go far. Melodic Nottingham indie five-piece Dog is Dead bring bits of summery Beach Boys vying with Arcade Fire-style bombast, which should go down well if the sun shines.

Next up are two chalk-and-cheese acts: Benjamin Francis Leftwich, limp-wristed posh-boy singer-songwriter who needs plenty of balls to win over the fickle Newcastle crowd, followed by Devlin – fresh from the streets of Dagenham, grime hits the big time with superstar MC Devlin and his hard-hitting flow. The real, undiluted deal. Good mate and collaborator with Alex Turner, Miles Kane brings his Mod-influenced solo material to Evolution. Take two measures Arctic Monkeys, add a twist of Paul Weller, and dilute to taste with the Coral. Can Kane carve a niche for himself at Evo?

Local lads and “very special guests” Maximo Park make their long-awaited comeback with new material and a new look. This set should give us a sneak preview of their new songs for 2012. And to wrap up the Sunday evening we have the one and only Dizzee Rascal: in between his own headline tour and masterminding the careers of several new urban artists via his own Dirtee Stank label, lovable urban pop scamp Dizzee is somehow finding the time to support the Red Hot Chili Peppers and play countless UK and international festivals this year, including several headline slots. This will be his third appearance at Evolution, making him the most popular act ever to grace the Evo stage. Let’s hope this festival holds as fond a place in his heart as it does for him, and that in return the audience are treated to new material from the forthcoming album on Island records. Given the Bank Holiday scheduling, chance of trance-pop anthem Holiday making an appearance? 97.6%.

Monday 4th June
Sore heads from the night before will be soothed by Mausi, Newcastle newcomers whose recent sunny single ‘Sol’ is brightening days across the land; and the Milk – party like it’s 1967 with their brand of big band soul and funk… Craig Charles, eat your heart out. Jessie Ware, urban vocalist and SBTRKT collaborator gets her own set; but with only two singles to her name, and SBTRKT with his own headline DJ set later on, what chance is there for him turning up to run some backing tracks for Ware?

In the middle of the undercard, we have widescreen synth-led bombast from hotly-tipped London quintet Spector; Luke Temple updates ’60s American pastoral psychedelia for the new millennium like a mini-Flaming Lips with Here We Go Magic, and Band Of Skulls bring some heft to a Bank Holiday Monday – sweat ‘n’ beer ‘n’ rock ‘n’ roll trio BoS will leave no ears unbled. Fans of De La Soul, Arrested Development and Madness will love cheeky Brighton hip-pop chappies Rizzle Kicks… who bring us to Noah and the Whale. After an astonishingly successful 2011, NatW richly deserve to be the last band on at Evolution 2012. Their album ‘Last Night On Earth’ (#1 on editor Mary’s Top Albums of 2011) is chock full of classic songs, surely most of which will make an appearance here. Expect crowd singalongs and lighter-in-the-air moments galore.

As a finale, there’s nobody better than deadmau5 (pictured at top). His atmospheric, dubstep-influenced dance music and enormous mouse head will surely wrap up Evolution 2012 in fine style. I’m anticipating a wild light show, deep, deep bass, and a massive crowd, paying tribute to the fine music which has passed over the previous 2 days – by dancing like mad into the small hours.

Phew. Not only that, but a full, separate dedicated dance music stage with a strong drum ‘n’ bass and dubstep influence (notably DJ Fresh, Jack Beats, Shy Fx, Toddla T, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, SBTRKT), an as-yet-unreleased but undoubtedly superb Americana strand from local promoters Jumpin’ Hot Club, and not to mention the chance to see the big names of tomorrow at the Evolution Emerging shows on the preceding Friday. This is an event that any city would be proud to hold, and it stands as the jewel in the crown of the North East’s popular music diary. Get your ticket now (from the official Evolution Web site)!

 

Preview: Electric Picnic 2010

 
By on Friday, 7th May 2010 at 4:00 pm
 

Electric Picnic has been regarded by some as Ireland’s answer to Glastonbury. Judging by the line-up released on Wednesday, I’d argue it might have a more interesting bill than Glasto this year. ’70s glam rockers Roxy Music will play their first Irish festival performance ever at Electric Picnic, after having reformed long after we diehards had assumed they’d never play together ever again. I think seeing Bryan Ferry croon his way through ‘Love is the Drug’ and ‘Avalon’ is worth the price of admission alone.

However, if Roxy isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other wonderful acts to ring your bell. London electronica act Leftfield have decided to come out of hibernation to play selected festivals this year, including a headlining set at Electric Picnic; Bristol’s Massive Attack (pictured above) will also headline. Expect an epic dance party with these two along with sets by Booka Shade, Hot Chip, the Bloody Beetroots, LCD Soundsystem, Liquid Liquid, Friendly Fires and the Big Pink. Indie rock will also be well represented by appearances by the Fall, the National, the Horrors, Eels and Modest Mouse.

This year’s festival will take place at Stradbally Hall, County Laois, Ireland, on 3-5 September 2010. Weekend camping tickets are €240 (approximately £206) per adult (up to two children under the age of 14 are allowed to attend per paying adult, and all children must be pre-registered through the festival Web site). Please note that except for children who are pre-registered this way, the festival is 18+ and photo ID may need to be presented on-site. Camper van tickets are €60 (approximately £52). Tickets for the festival can be purchased from Ticketmaster.


Catch the full lineup (so far as of Wednesday 05 May) after the cut…

Continue reading Preview: Electric Picnic 2010

 
 
 

About Us

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.

All MP3s are posted with the permission of the artists or their representatives and are for sampling only. Like the music? Buy it.

RSS Feed   RSS Feed  

Learn More About Us

Privacy Policy

Keep TGTF online for years to come!
Donate here.