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Wychwood Festival: Day 2 Roundup

 
By on Monday, 13th June 2011 at 2:00 pm
 

After the blazing sun of the first day, Wychwood wakes up to grey skies and blustering winds. This, however, doesn’t alter the festival atmosphere as thousands of revellers are roaming the site looking for something decent for breakfast. Once the distress at paying an hour’s wages on a burger has subsided, it’s time to find some more great music.

Opening the Main Stage are the hotly-tipped My First Tooth. Their current release, ‘Territories’, has seen rave reviews from the likes of the Fly and The 405. Their style of indie-folk, influenced by the likes of Eels and the Decemberists, captivates the small crowd at the Main Stage. Perhaps a higher place on the bill next year?

Over on the BBC Introducing stage are one of Oxford’s finest exports: The Black Hats. Bringing their new wave tones to an ever-filling tent, the dancing is underway. Although, it should be. However, the tent been filled with tables and chairs since yesterday, which hinders the atmosphere of the tent and the capacity. Despite this, the post-punk trio give Wychwood a taste of their talent with tracks ‘We Write Things Down’ and ‘Just Fall’ lifting the spirits of the windswept masses.

Another treat for the BBC Introducing crowd are another Oxfordshire troupe, Alphabet Backwards. With hints of the Postal Service and Tilly and the Wall in their music, the synthpop quintet entice Wychwood into a dancing frenzy! Having recently released a new EP entitled ‘The White Russian’, Alphabet Backwards have definitely made some new fans here today. Ending on the ever-so-pop ‘Elton John’, the band dance about on stage a la an OK Go video to the sound of a synthline so bouncy you could turn it into a powerball.

Keeping the BBC Introducing tent alive and kicking are the Cardiff two-toners the Method. With hundreds of people either inside the marquee or gathered outside (due to the chairs creating a blockage), the Method have amassed quite a following in their few years together. Recently signed to See Monkey Do Monkey records, the band are headlining AFF Festival in Belgium in August so this could be the last time they’re seen on a small stage. Keeping the garage rock momentum going throughout the band’s short set, ‘We Don’t Know’ proved the favourite amongst the Wychwood audience.

Over on the Main Stage is the legendary Robyn Hitchcock. Having started his recording career in the late ’70s with New Wavers the Soft Boys, Hitchcock has gone on to become one of the most eccentric performers in the UK. Not necessarily on a physical level, but his crowd banter is surreal to say the least. Playing the entirety of Captain Beefheart‘s ‘Clear Spot’  with his Imaginary Band, Hitchcock has gathered the older crowd who can still remember the album’s initial release. With his odd ramblings about tiny snails living inside people and each song played fantastically, Hitchcock did Beefheart proud.

Another big name from the ’70s is the singer from the SpecialsNeville Staple. Playing a raucous set of ska and two-tone hits including ‘Monkey Man’ by Toots and the Maytals and a number of hits from the Specials including ‘A Message To You, Rudy’ and ‘Too Much Too Young’. Staple’s set of reggae and ska dancehall tunes created the biggest dance-along on the entire festival; hopefully he’ll be back next year.

The dancing is kept to a minimum for the next act, though. The Bluetones (pictured above) deliver a somewhat stagnant Britpop set, despite having a repertoire of 10 albums to choose from. Although the band are not receiving the greatest ovation, frontman Mark Morriss is met with boos and jeers after announcing the band are to split in September after a farewell tour. The band’s breakthrough track ‘Slight Return’ gives the crowd an excuse to get out of their camping chairs to have a dance, but on the whole it’s not the band’s best performance.

Back at the BBC Introducing stage are tonight’s headliners Dub Mafia. Playing their third show in the past 24 hours, the drum and bass mob are destroying the tent with their dirty bass and dubstep rhythms. Powering their way through an hour long set including ‘Dub Specialists’ and ‘Under The Radar’, Wychwood is left shaken from the wobble bass and filthy drops. Frontwoman Eva Lazarus is the focal point of the entire crew, with her energetic dance moves and MC skills comparable to Warrior Queen, the band quickly amass the biggest crowd of the day at the BBC Introducing stage – the chairs and tables have even been pushed back to accommodate the all the dubsteppers. Heading out on a run of festivals this summer including Glastonbury and Europe’s biggest drum and bass music festival Outlook in Croatia, these bringers of bass are going to explode in the UK next year.

With another day of varied music under its belt, the Wychwood crowd head back to their tents for a Saturday night of drinks, dancing and deafness after Dub Mafia’s frantic set. A highlight of the weekend for all involved.

 

Wychwood Festival: Day 1 Roundup

 
By on Thursday, 9th June 2011 at 2:00 pm
 

The somewhat unknown summer festival of Wychwood is now into its 6th year and has hosted the likes of the Levellers, Super Furry Animals and Divine Comedy since starting in 2005. Held at Cheltenham racecourse amidst the beautiful English countryside, there is something quintessentially British about the whole weekend. Whether it’s the two red double decker buses which serve Pimm’s and tea or the complaints about the ever-changing weather, it’s definitely one for us Brits.

Despite there being two bigger stages at Wychwood, a lot of attention is being paid to the BBC Introducing tent. Featuring acts from the surrounding regions (Gloucestershire, Bristol, Oxforshire, etc.), some of the hottest talent and stars in the making are giving it their all. The second artist of the day is the Warwickshire-based songstress Milly Winter. Despite only playing to a handful of festival-goers, this didn’t hamper her performance. Comparable to the likes of Kate Nash and an acoustic Amy Macdonald, Milly Winter’s repertoire has the potential to break through into the mainstream. A fantastic rendition of ‘Wasps are Sharks’ rounds off the set as more people begin to file into the tent.

Next up on the BBC Introducing stage are the Coventry trio Voodoo Kings. Their rockabilly sound, equipped with a double bass, at first sounds fresh and has a certain groove about it, but unfortunately there’s not enough going on to keep you interested. As more people arrive to see them, just as many are leaving for the Main Stage to see one of the biggest acts of the day.

Setting up on the Main Stage are one of the big boys in ’90s indie rock – Cornershop. Having spent two decades together as a band, a perfectly structured and timed setlist is on the cards. However, Tjinder Singh must have left the setlist and stage presence at home, as the band just don’t seem to be working the crowd over. Admittedly, a large crowd has gathered and some are singing along, but it’s a disappointing display from Friday’s sub-headliner. A surprise cover of Bob Dylan‘s ‘The Mighty Quinn’ does lift some spirits, but the whole crowd are waiting on one song, the band’s breakthrough smash hit ‘Brimful Of Asha’. A song which found notoriety through Fatboy Slim‘s remix, the band seemed to play up to the populus and play the track slightly dancier and faster.

Cornershop’s lacklustre performance doesn’t seem to have affected spirits over in the Big Top, though, as Shaun Buswell and his indie folk troupe bask in the adoration of the hundreds of people before them. With over 10 performers on stage, including a string and brass section, the sound the band made filled the Big Top and kept it swelling throughout the set. Definitely one to watch.

Headlining the first day of Wychwood Festival are one of the big names in Britpop, who started back in 1989, the Charlatans (pictured above). Despite forming over 20 years ago, the band are still on top of their game. Frontman Tim Burgess is like a child trapped inside a 43-year old man’s body, darting around the stage and whipping the crowd up. The Charlatans are having the time of their lives. Playing a greatest hits set, crossing the majority of their 11 albums, there’s something for everyone. Blasting out ‘This is the End’ and ‘Smash the System’, the past six hours of partying have not been in vain – the drinking and dancing is in full swing as ‘The Only One I Know’ rings out into the ears of 10,000 people. Ending the set on an incredible ‘Sproston Green’, everyone in Cheltenham is satisfied, although the calls for an encore were not heeded (which led to a small amount of booing from the front).

Once the Main Stage had emptied it’s time for either a headphone disco, some late night comedy or partying back at the campsite before a full day of live music on Saturday.

 

WIN / Tickets to See the Coral in Bournemouth -or- Bristol

 
By on Thursday, 9th June 2011 at 11:00 am
 

Psychedelic band the Coral will be playing two intimate, warm-up shows just prior to their appearance at Glastonbury this month. And we’ve got 2 pairs of tickets for each gig to give away to 4 lucky winners.

Wednesday 22nd June 2011 – Bournemouth Old Fire Station
Thursday 23rd June 2011 – Bristol O2 Academy 2

Keen on seeing the Coral on us? To be in the running, leave us your name and email address in the form below. Also include which gig you want to attend (Bournemouth or Bristol). We will choose two winners for each gig from all the entries received. Easy peasy, yes? Contest is now closed and the winners will be contacted by email.

 

WIN / Tix to see WU LYF in England or Wales This Month

 
By on Friday, 3rd June 2011 at 11:00 am
 

WU LYF‘s star has been rising by leaps and bounds as of late. The Manchester band have released to the wild their song ‘Dirt’ (video below) as a taster to their album to come out on the 13th of June, ‘Go Tell Fire of the Mountain’ (a cheeky dig at the Christian spiritual ‘Go Tell It on the Mountain’, perhaps?) The album is being released on their own Lyf Recording label. Matt Wilkinson of NME is already a massive fan, dubbing them “fucking amazing”: time will tell where and how high this band will fly in the coming weeks and months, no doubt.

In the meantime, if you’re already sold on the band or need some encouragement because you aren’t completely converted yet, we’ve got two pairs of tickets to some upcoming shows of theirs this month, and we want to give them away to you. If your name is chosen from the entries received, YOU get to choose the gig you want a pair of tickets for. Simply fill out the form below with your name, email address, and choice of gig, and you’re in the running. This contest is now closed. The winners will be contacted soon. Thanks for entering.

Wednesday 8th June 2011 – Leicester Y
Thursday 9th June 2011 – Cardiff Clwb Ifor Bach
Friday 10th June 2011 – Liverpool Kazimier
Saturday 11th June 2011 – Sheffield Queens Social Club
Friday 17th June 2011 – London Village Underground

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-l5tM_Za1cE[/youtube]

 

Kaiser Chiefs / June 2011 English Tour

 
By on Wednesday, 1st June 2011 at 9:00 am
 

Kaiser Chiefs have announced a couple of English tour dates for June. The band will be releasing their fourth album – details hopefully soon.

Tuesday 7th June 2011 – Falmouth Princess Pavilion
Wednesday 8th June 2011 – Falmouth Princess Pavilion
Thursday 16th June 2011 – London Electric Ballroom

 

Album Review: Lavotchkin/End To Empires – Split EP

 
By on Friday, 27th May 2011 at 12:00 pm
 

What do you do if you want to showcase two brutalising and captivating bands at the same time? Sure you could form a supergroup and massacre each other’s material. Or you could use the age old technique of a split record. Rarely seen in mainstream music stores, but there’s splits aplenty across most British labels, and 30 Days Of Night have just released a doozy.

Available on vinyl (in three different colours) and as a digital download, the Lavotchkin/End To Empires EP is worth every penny. Featuring two tracks from each band to showcase their skills, it’s a short sharp burst of noise which is resonating across the north of the UK and is sure to spread.

The Newcastle hate-mongerers Lavotchkin (pictured above) kick off the record in suitable style, ‘Ben Gardners Head’ hits you like a whirlwind of pummelling hardcore metal. At just under 3 minutes, the five-piece manage to crank up the carnage and unleash a flurry of big sounding music and distorted vocals. Akin to the likes of Botch and Converge, Lavotchkin are unrelenting in their quest to destroy your brain through their genre of math/hardcore. ‘Arkady’ is equally as heavy and crushing but on a slower scale, but the ferocity is still there. For a small angry band from up north, they’re playing like the biggest metal band in the world.

Following Lavotchkin are the Leeds noiseniks End To Empires. Their first offering is the thrashy yet constructed ‘Kill The Epidemic’. Building up and up into a frantic blast of hardcore with one of the most menacing voices in UK metal, circle pitting is compulsory. Following on is the longest track on the EP at 3:02, ‘Heaven’s Vultures’. The opening chugging riff keeps the groove throughout and creates an unashamedly metal feel. The constant pounding of drums and Yorkshire screams leave your speakers gasping for breath whilst you chant the words “Heaven’s Vultures” repeatedly – a chant you can expect to hear coming from your local Barfly soon.

Coming in at under 12 minutes, it’s a four-song glimpse into what British metal is doing and how the North is keeping it as ballsy and angry as possible. The chaotic nature of the EP will leave you dizzy but clamouring for more, which, given the rise in popularity for both bands across the UK, won’t take long.

8/10

Lavotchkin will be touring with Crocus and Run, Walk! in June at the following dates:

Tuesday 7th June 2011 – Sheffield Earl
Wednesday 8th June 2011 – Edinburgh Banshee Labyrinth
Thursday 9th June 2011 – Newcastle Northumberland Arms
Friday 10th June 2011 – Leeds Well
Saturday 11th June 2011 – Kingston Cricketers
Sunday 12th June 2011 – Southampton Crushtival @ Hobbit
Monday 13th June 2011 – Brighton Hydrant
Tuesday 14th June 2011 – London Old Blue Last
Wednesday 15th June 2011 – Birmingham Flapper

 
 
 

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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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