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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

 

Live Gig Video: Blonde Louis’ Josh Clarke performs new song ‘Over and Over’ in the Letchworth snow

 
By on Thursday, 31st January 2013 at 4:00 pm
 

Blonde Louis have released this new video for ‘Over and Over’, a new song of theirs that they filmed of lead singer Josh Clarke, walking around the desolation of a winter’s snow as the sun is setting, acoustic guitar in hand. Really lovely stuff. Watch the video below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yx37dcw89vk[/youtube]

 

Live Gig Video: Delphic release stylised performance-type video for ‘Memeo’

 
By on Wednesday, 30th January 2013 at 4:00 pm
 

Delphic released their second album, ‘Collections’, on Monday on Polydor. (John discusses the good and the bad of the album in his review here.) Late last week, the band released the video for another song from ‘Collections’. The visual for ‘Memeo’ is highly stylised with some fancy effects that make this different from the usual performance video. If it looks familiar, no, nothing’s wrong with your eyes or your memory; the video is awfully similar to the video they released last year on Halloween to drum up interest in the new release.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abu4oTXdFC0[/youtube]

 

Live Review: Two Door Cinema Club at Manchester Apollo – 25th January 2013

 
By on Tuesday, 29th January 2013 at 2:00 pm
 

Words by Edward Chapman

Friday night, Two Door Cinema Club got the Manchester Apollo bouncing. Literally. Dunno about the basement people, as the band’s hardcore following is called, but the balcony was moving, with seats ignored for the most part. I was reassured it wouldn’t fall down, would it? And this was before the massive pendulous net of balloons had been unleashed.

Good evening Manchester we’re madferit and I predict a musical riot, in the nicest possible way of course. This, after all, is Two Door Cinema Club: a band surely winning new friends with every performance. The blizzard outside was matched by a flurry of lights, which was effective as anything Coldplay can muster, albeit on a more intimate scale. That’s not to say Two Door don’t have the presence for a bigger venue already – they do – but that’s probably a couple of albums down the road, should they want to go there.

Two Door kicked off two nights at the Apollo with the instantly catchy ‘Sleep Alone’ from their 2012 album ‘Beacon’ and the crowd – already nicely warmed up by the storming Bastille (who have been with TDCC for UK tour) and Swim Deep – was happily raucous from the first note. For now, the band have managed that significant step of creating their own sound, which is no mean feat 50-odd (insert exact number of your personal opinion here) years into rock ‘n’ roll and they do this with ‘straightforward’ guitars, drums and occasional piano. But could they reproduce it live?

The answer is 100% yes. It all stems from the guitar work, similar but not the same throughout. The lead axe sound on ‘Sun’, the second single from Beacon, is along the Isley Brothers’ ‘Summer Breeze’ lines, and one you get the feeling Sam Halliday could play all day on his upside down white guitar, loud, aggressive and delicious and even better live than on record. A bit Big Country at their twin-guitar finest. The never flagging set of all the familiar and mostly strong tunes from the band’s two albums were there, with faultless singer Alex Trimble switching smoothly from rhythm guitar to piano front centre stage. He can also switch from super-charged, speedy rock to sensitive ballad and his vocal dexterity at times conjures up a baritone reminiscent of Editors and somehow a bit of New Order, and not in a bad way.

Solid bassist Kevin Baird didn’t seem the least bit troubled by what looked like a bandage on his wrist – maybe it was an extra large sweat band? He certainly worked up a sweat and enjoyed his ventures to the edge of the stage, especially so during next single ‘Next Year’ (to be released on the 18th of February), which was the best received song of the night. Two Door are really gathering a dedicated following in London, as I was told by a savvy music biz fan based in the capital who really knows her musical onions and on the strength of this Apollo gig, it was obvious as the snow outside to see Manchester agrees. They closed with ‘What You Know’, and everybody who hung around until the end trudged home happy.

 

Live Gig Video: Dirty Projectors cover Usher’s ‘Climax’ for triplej

 
By on Friday, 25th January 2013 at 4:00 pm
 

As part of their ongoing Like a Version series, influential Australian radio station triplej just had Dirty Projectors come into the studio and do this live cover version of Usher’s ‘Climax’ on Tom and Alex’s breakfast show. Watch the surprising performance below.

Watching the video, it was surreal and a bit squeal-worthy to see Tom and Alex again, as they’d been right in my face during the triplej ARIA Week showcase at Oxford Art Factory back in November when I was in Sydney. (Read all about that here.)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-_K-IbJYvE[/youtube]

 

Interview: Huw Stephens at Propaganda Lincoln

 
By on Wednesday, 23rd January 2013 at 11:00 am
 

Photo above of Huw Stephens holding court at SXSW 2012‘s UK Trade and Investment showcase at Latitude 30 – 17th March 2012

After our lengthy discussions about the BBC Sound of 2013 acts, it only seems right that TGTF spoke to one of Radio 1’s big hitters to find out who they ‘really’ thought was going to make musical inroads this year. Luckily for me, one of those just happened to pitch up on my doorstep, if only briefly. Huw Stephens, the youngest DJ to ever have had a slot on Radio 1 at the time, popped into Propaganda Lincoln at The Engine Shed last Saturday night (the 19th of January).

So we know what he tells the airwaves what he enjoys, but what would he tell me? “There’s a band called The 1975 [who we’ve written quite a lot about! – Ed.] that I really rate very highly who didn’t make the Sound of 2013 list, and there’s a band called Bastille [who popped up at #2 on the TGTF 10 for 2013 poll – Ed.] around at the moment that should do quite well.”

Being tipped by a Radio 1 DJ, though, can often be enough to properly make it in the big bad world of modern music. But Huw argues that while being on the BBC Sound of… list mat be a good start, it depends on a variety of factors whether you can hit it big.

“It depends on how commercial they can sound and if they are going to end up scaring people away by doing that. There are some bands on the Sound of… list who might find it difficult to sell records, but who are really good. But I am really enjoying at the moment The 1975 and they aren’t on the list. I also just bought an album by a guy called Matthew E. White, which is something I am really enjoying at the moment. He’s kind of a very soulful guy from America and he’s made a really good record.”

While Huw may spend a lot of his time scouting out and championing new music, sets like the one he played at Lincoln’s Propaganda aren’t really the place for the new tunes.

“Well, at nights like Propaganda, you’ve got the fact that it’s Saturday night, people want to have a good time. I’ve tried playing some of the new stuff before and it doesn’t always go down well. It’s great on the radio playing the more innovative new stuff, and it’s great at live gigs if that’s what you’re going for. But Propaganda is famed for like the big indie hits so I try and keep it to that.
“Obviously a few bands do make it into the playlist.”

So with Huw aiming to take the crowd by storm in Lincoln, I popped the question, what’s his biggest Propaganda banger?

“I always play ‘Song 2’ by Blur, and ‘Fat Lip’ by Sum 41 always makes an appearance along the line.

 
 
 

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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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