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Live Review: Bellowhead at Lincoln Engine Shed – 23rd November 2012

By on Friday, 30th November 2012 at 2:00 pm

When the bloke handing you your ticket, grins and says you’re in for a good night, you know something special is on offer. And that’s what happened on Sunday at the Engine Shed. Bellowhead, serial winners of Best Live Act in the annual BBC Radio2 Folk Awards, showed a packed house just why they are so highly rated.

Eleven musicians – but about a hundred instruments – assault a range of folk classics, drinking songs, new works and mash-ups in a 2-hour romp that brings the verve of a garage band, the knock-about of minstrelsy and a light show on a par with venue rock. If you’ve never seen a helicon player (or don’t even know what a helicon is*) bouncing about the stage whilst wrapped in several yards of brass or a battered loud hailer used as an amplifier. then you really do need to check out Bellowhead next time they’re in town.

Fronted by Jon Boden, they came together 8 years ago for a festival gig and are still first and foremost a live act. The CDs and DVDs obviously matter – they’re too well-produced not to – but performance is what Bellowhead are really about. It shows confidence in their programme and audience rapport that the song that has got them onto mainstream radio this year, ‘10,000 Miles Away’ is third up on the set list when most bands would keep the latest ‘hit’ back as a banker.

If many of their songs are about drinking, sex or death (or any combination thereof) that tends to be the way of traditional songs, but this no night of woolly jumpers and acoustic warbling. A folk standby like ‘The Wife of Usher’s Well’ starts with a darkened stage and a phalanx of fiddle players striking rather than bowing their strings and builds to a dark and menacing climax. The reflective ‘Life of a Man’ is played to a faux Cossack rhythm, and that old military band warhorse ‘Lilli Bulero’ becomes a stomping folk-rock march.

A generous encore gives the now bouncing audience ‘New York Girls’ and a pair of reels and Bellowhead finally depart with the cheers of Lincoln ringing in their ears. If they were at their best that night, they had to be because the support was terrific too and set the bar pretty high. A punk-Zydeco trio from that hotbed of Cajun cross-over, Switzerland, Mama Rosin deserve a review of their own some time soon.

*It’s a relative of the tuba. Yes, you needed to know that.


Live Review: Ben Howard at Lincoln Engine Shed – 20th November 2012

By on Thursday, 29th November 2012 at 2:00 pm

Words and photos by guest reviewer Joe Coleman

Having listened to Ben Howard for numerous years now, I finally got the chance to see him live on Tuesday evening at the Engine Shed in Lincoln and It wasn’t what I was expecting. The venue itself isn’t a huge arena, accommodating to only about 1,500 people, but on the night you couldn’t move for love nor money.

But while the arena was a commotion, the audience were not. There was an odd feeling of almost lulled excitement; people just didn’t seem as excited as they should have been about arguably one of the biggest performers this year. As Ben took to the stage, the crowd finally erupted into life, empty beer cups were thrown and elbows were dug in. But Ben then started with two new tracks, both as dark and mellow as many of the tracks on the album, but almost with a little more zip. If it was supposed to build anticipation, it certainly achieved it. People were clapping and singing along to every word, albeit a second after they had heard it.

With the new tracks done, Ben cracked on with what everyone wanted to hear. With Ben’s debut album ‘Every Kingdom’ now having sold over 160,000 copies, people were anticipating everything off the album to be as clear cut and as on the nose as the album versions. But what followed were a cacophony of extended versions and re-jigged performances of everyone’s favourites, but boy did he nail it.

‘Diamonds’ turned into a crescendo of bass, electric guitar and drums with Ben standing proudly at the front of his fellow band-mates, but it still retained the essence of the original that everyone loved. ‘Only Love’ followed and again, everyone was in harmony singing and Ben even remarked after that the crowd were the best he had heard at clapping along. In between songs, Ben was conversational with the crowd, something I hadn’t expected having heard he was a bit of an introvert, especially to the press. But his anecdotes about playing in Lincoln’s under construction club last year were genuinely funny and had people laughing along.

As the stories slowed up, as did the songs; ‘Oats in the Water’ was followed by two new songs from his latest EP ‘Burgh Island’, due out on the 10th of December on Island. Both followed the same trend as the previous new tracks; melodic, foot tapping, and shoulder swaying folk songs. But then Ben upped the tempo again, coming back with ’Everything’ followed by ’Black Flies’ and ’Old Pine’. And then the summer classic ‘The Wolves’ had everyone oohing along and drowning out Ben.

At times, Ben just stood for a few moments before a song and just interacted with the crowd, telling jokes and thanking everyone for their support this year. As everyone stood back and listened, you could tell Ben was enjoying the night, a cute smile kept appearing across his face á la the ‘Call Me Maybe’ video. The two songs that topped off what was an incredible night for Lincoln, were the two easiest songs to sing along to, ’Promise’ and ’Keep Your Head Up’. As the crowd fell silent, Ben sat down on a chair for the first time of the night and let his unorthodox way of playing the guitar do the talking.

You’d be hard pressed to find someone who hadn’t at least heard of Ben Howard, but many people wouldn’t recognise him if they saw him walking down the street. His exponential rise to fame this year and his sold out tour will only see him gain more and more popularity, and all credit to him.


Interview: Pure Love

By on Thursday, 15th November 2012 at 12:00 pm

Pure Love are your new favourite band and if they’re not, well go see them live and experience the sheer pandemonium of ex-Gallows frontman Frank Carter and ex-The Hope Conspiracy and The Suicide File guitarist Jim Carroll’s new project, a band that have already made a name for themselves with their raucous, high-energy shows.

Jim Carroll said, “it started out when we got a lot of the songs together that a lot of the actual songs had been around for a while, it was the same with Frank, I mean he had a lot of the lyrics and we started with that as kind of the foundation and then we went from there.

“Most of the songs that ended up on the record were fairly new songs like all brand new songs that we had worked together on. Some of them are based on older pieces or riffs that I had in the past; most of it though is kind of newer stuff that came fresh when we started working together.”

As the two rock stars sat opposite me in their dressing room at Lincoln’s Engine Shed, Jim with a beer in hand and Frank eagerly waiting to get back to watching Dead Set on his Mac, it was obvious that beyond the music there was a truly special friendship between these two musicians. Nothing contrived or forced but a sense of camaraderie and mutual respect.

“It’s definitely been an easy partnership. I mean song-writing wise; it just kind of came very, very naturally. It’s a great dynamic to have, the core of the band the two of us so we can have all the pressure of decision making and everything so it makes it easier for the other guys playing with us.”
Frank said, “when we started the band, keeping it as the two of us was something we took very seriously. It was a very conscious decision to keep the core of the band as just the two of us, because well we’d written all these songs and when we started looking for musicians to play with us it was just finding people who are really versatile.

“So it is a full band of musicians, not just a bunch of kids playing their instruments (make of that what you will Gallows fans) almost everyone is multi-instrumental. So for us it’s really awesome. The partnership is the best and easiest band situation I could have asked for.”

Frank and Jim look like proper rock stars. Frank is covered almost head to toe in tattoos and when asked about anything remotely musical oozes passion, while Jim is rocking the long hair and the classic lead guitarist charm.

When asked whether they are partying like rock star every night the answer isn’t exactly the perennial rock star answer. They’re not as calm and controlled as, say, Them Crooked Vultures who while away the evenings playing Scrabble. However, Jim does admit it is a little different than a decade ago.

“I feel like I used to be a party guy [beer in hand], but touring now is extremely different to how it used to be. I mean there is still the drinking and the having fun.”

Frank added, “I mean just socialising on any level with your friends is fun. I mean we also throw knives together; it’s something that we got into together. We’ve started to get competitive with it and it’s definitely something we’ll bring on tour with us next year as we perfect our technique.”

So they throw knives and that isn’t the end of it. Guitarist Jim does yoga and regularly will break out a headstand before he goes on stage.

“It makes me feel good [doing yoga] and well I’m old [he’s not; he’s 30] and I want to feel good as much as I can. If you watch how hard we play every night you see that it takes a toll on your body over time.

“I started because I was having a lot of back issues and back problems and it was really the only thing which stopped the pain and helped me out.”

Pure Love went on the day in which I interviewed them to absolutely destroy their short set supporting Lostprophets. A Pure Love gig is definitely one that you won’t forget in a hurry.


WIN / Tix to see Lostprophets on tour in Manchester -or- Lincoln

By on Friday, 2nd November 2012 at 3:00 pm

Lostprophets are on tour in November, and we’ve blagged a pair of tickets each to their Manchester Apollo (Thursday 8th November) and Lincoln Engine Shed (Tuesday 13th November) shows. Want to win then? Then enter our lucky draw below.

Fill out the form below with your name, your email address (we’ll use this to contact you if you’ve won) and which show you want to win tickets for (Manchester or Lincoln). Then answer this question related to their touring schedule this year: What is the name of the American shoe company that is sponsoring their show at Ally Pally on the 10th of November? (Hint: all the details of their November tour, stopping in Preston tonight, are here.)

Be sure to get your entries in by 12 noon on Tuesday, the 6th of November. We will contact the winners shortly thereafter. Please note: winners must be UK residents. Good luck!

This contest is now closed. Winners will be contacted by email shortly.


Interview: Lisa Hannigan

By on Thursday, 11th October 2012 at 1:00 pm

On first meeting, Lisa Hannigan comes across exactly as you’d expect from one of the acoustic music scenes young darlings. She’s gorgeous, down to earth and charismatic to boot. The Irish songstress is probably best known for her Mercury Prize-nominated album ‘Sea Sew’ in 2009, but when I met her she was getting into the flow of things with tour supporting the legendary Richard Hawley at the Engine Shed. “My impressions of Lincoln are really good so far, as I’ve got to see the lovely Cathedral!

“The tour has been going really, really well with Richard and it’s great to be able to listen to his music every night. I mean I knew some of his records from before but the new songs I think it’s been really great to hear them over and over again. I’m really getting into it and Richard, well, he’s just such a brilliant songwriter and the band are all brilliant, and it’s kind of all been a bit of a dream tour.

“I only found out a month before that I was doing a tour and I was really excited, as I’ve been around the UK a lot, and it’s just nice to do a support tour now as they don’t know you, and that’s a nice feeling. Often as a support band, you’re fighting a battle. But there’s something satisfying about trying to win an audience over, and Richard’s audiences are great for that. He’s not a just hyped up and everyone is here to hear one song, no, he’s a career artist, so people listen and are far more receptive.”

Lisa’s set at the Engine Shed proved that she could win over any audience. She strolled onstage somewhat nervously it seemed. But once she had an instrument in her hand there was no stopping the girl as she bounced boisterously around the stage. But while here songs are beautiful and lightly strung, Lisa does admit to a wilder side.

“I am a bit of a rock chick, all the moshing if there’s any goes on in my gig. I’ve crowd surfed before. My crowd surfing was sort of combined with stage diving, in that I kind of climbed up on a barrier and jumped back, but I suppose I haven’t technically stage dived from the stage. It was awesome, but I think for a lady it’s a rather perilous experience, or it can be, I think it was all right when I did it, I don’t remember any grope-y feelings! In fairness to people, they might even be groping you, but they are just trying to hold you up!”

‘Passenger’, Lisa’s newest record, has been out for over a year now and took her a while to write. “I was writing while I was on tour and it did take some time, however we did manage to record it in only a week, so quick to make but long to prepare.”

And here is where my research fell down…as you see Lisa’s Wikipedia page said that “Her blog posts are noted for containing recipes for baking cakes.” This is a statement that Lisa told me was completely incorrect! “I tried to change the page but Wikipedia won’t let me!

“I hate Wikipedia, they’re awful! My Wikipedia I would say is 50% absolute shite.”

Many thanks to Rob for setting this interview up for us.


Live Review: Richard Hawley with Lisa Hannigan at Lincoln Engine Shed – 30th September 2012

By on Tuesday, 2nd October 2012 at 2:00 pm

You can tell when you enter a room how revered an artist is by the demeanour of their fans, for this gig it was obvious that the respect in the room was huge. Sunday the 30th of September saw 2012 Mercury Prize-nominated singer/songwriter Richard Hawley and Lisa Hannigan grace the Engine Shed and a beautiful gig ensued. The stage was kitted out with a plethora of floral arrangements. What for? Well, that was difficult to know. But it didn’t half look nice!

The setting was perfect for the ethereal acoustic driven melodies of support act Lisa Hannigan, who was playing her first gig in Lincoln. Hannigan opened her set in a typically understated way, with just her, the audience and an acoustic guitar during opener ‘Little Birds’. The song was a brilliant statement from Hannigan, as it showed off her fantastic voice and had the audience on her side immediately.

‘Passenger’ was an equally ethereal and beautiful track which showcased her astounding vocal range and showed everyone the talents of her full band. The softly-spoken Irish songstress wasn’t just there to leave everyone spellbound by her fantastic acoustic music. No, she was also ready for a casual rock-off, which during ‘Kind’ saw Hannigan don her rock shoes and stomp around.

To finish off her short set the three members of her band, Hannigan included, huddled around a microphone for the finale. It was a stirringly, soulful effort which had the entire audience encapsulated. Many of them may have just come for Hawley, but I can imagine many left with Hannigan fresh in their minds.

The atmosphere in the room changed as the lights dropped for the main attraction, Richard Hawley, who entered the stage and the crowd of 40-somethings proceeded to roar in approval. Their hero had arrived.

The set chugged into life with the title track of Hawley’s new album, ‘Standing at the Sky’s Edge’. As a slow-burning, heavy brute of a song, it had the entire crowd bobbing their heads to the massive beat. Hawley’s legendary status meant that once the epic of a song finished he could take a breather and generally just have a chat with the audience.

Now while he may only have been to Lincoln for the first time today, the crowd were obviously warming to him. His regular anecdotes in-between songs provided a witty commentary to an intimate gig. His crooning style of delivery made for a slightly one-toned gig; however, the sheer force and power of the music it was played to made up for it wholeheartedly.

Songs like ‘Remorse Code’ and ‘Soldier On’ were performed with a power the Engine Shed hadn’t seen for a while. Sure, the Subways may have ran a great 30-minute set the night before, but they can’t even compete with the level of epic Hawley was reaching for in this gig.

The gig finished with a well-earned encore where Hawley tore through renditions of ‘Lady Solitude’ and ‘The Ocean’. Let’s be honest, Hawley could have come on stage and rested on his laurels, but he instead Hawley rose to the occasion and delivered a set which made me realise how much he deserves his legendary status.


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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.

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