Things changed here in April 2019. Because of COVID-19 travel restrictions and show and festival cancellations, no new content has been added here since February 2020.
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

Top Gigs of 2011: Editor’s Picks

 
By on Wednesday, 21st December 2011 at 1:00 pm
 

It’s always hard to nail down your favourite gigs of the year. Sometimes it’s the company you keep; sometimes it’s the excitement in the crowd; sometimes it’s the sound that blows you away. These top 5 gigs were the cream of the crop of my gigging life in 2011.

5. the Coronas at Washington’s Red Palace (Tuesday 8th March 2011) – When you play in a town for the first time, you need to endear yourself to the audience. This Irish band lit up the crowd at this relatively newbie club on the DC scene.

4. the Joy Formidable at Washington’s Black Cat (Friday 25th March 2011) – Any naysayers of ‘The Big Roar’ were quickly turned into fans after the Welsh trio released their sonic wall of fury.

3. White Lies at Washington’s 9:30 Club (Friday 20th May 2011) – The first time Harry McVeigh, Charles Cave and Jack Lawrence-Brown strolled into town (with Friendly Fires as co-headliners at the Cat), they looked very uncomfortable and unsure of themselves. Two years and 2 months later, they returned, dripping with confidence and swagger. They first appeared to us as boys; now they are men!

2. Dutch Uncles at Manchester Deaf Institute (Friday 2nd December 2011) – Manchester band at the top of their game, at home, in front of an adoring crowd. ‘nuff said.

1. Casiokids at Washington’s DC9 (Monday 17th October 2011) – Not too many bands can turn a sleepy, cold club on a Monday night in Washington into an all-out dance party. But Casiokids can – and did. Unbelievable. Definitely the most fun at a gig I’ve had all year, all courtesy of a couple of guys from Norway.

After the jump is a full list of all the gigs, in reverse chronological order, that I’ve been to in 2011 so you can have some idea how difficult my job was to choose favourites for the top 5 list. The runner-up gigs (gigs that fell were in my top 10 but did not make my top 5) are also marked.
Continue reading Top Gigs of 2011: Editor’s Picks

 

Top Albums of 2011: Editor’s Picks

 
By on Tuesday, 20th December 2011 at 1:00 pm
 

As we get ready to bid adieu to another year of fantastic music, your faithful editor has made a list and checked it twice to choose what she considers the best of the year. Agree? Disagree? As always on here on TGTF, comments are welcome.

1. Noah and the Whale – ‘Last Night on Earth’ (Mercury) – With all the bad news about the economy in our faces each day and scandals rocking public institutions and public figures, we could really use something that can lift our cynical spirits. The third album from Noah and the Whale was unfairly maligned by critics bemoaning that they sound “too American” on this effort; what’s more important to me is the strength of the songwriting on this outing compared to their previous sombre material.

Not only is Charlie Fink happy, his writing is so grand it could finally bring Noah and the Whale into the big time. The most emotional moment is proffered in ‘Waiting for My Chance to Come’: “when you’re walking next to me / I can feel my body speak”. While the song title appears in the tune ‘L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.’, the defining lyric of the album is in here as well: “what you don’t have now will come back again / you’ve got heart and you’ll go in your own way”. In March, I stated this “will be 2011?s most optimistic, inspiring, life-affirming album” and months later, I still feel strongly about this album. Read my review here.

2. Lykke Li – ‘Wounded Rhymes’ (LL) – If you were expecting more of the same from Lykke Li based on her debut ‘Youth Novels’ (1 part strange ‘folk’ music, 1 part infectious dance), you’re sorely mistaken. Instead though, the Swedish songstress pushed new boundaries with her new partner in crime, Peter Bjorn and John’s Bjorn Yttling, and showed her songwriting abilities go far beyond a forgettable pop song. Maturity suits her, and even if she herself doesn’t like her fans being fixated on her in rapt attention at her concerts instead of dancing like they just don’t care, there’s no denying that her heartbreak makes for good song. Read my review here.

3. Young Rebel Set – ‘Curse Our Love’ (EMI) – Paul Lester damned this band with faint praise in this New Band of the Day feature in 2009 and I hope he ate his words upon listening to the band’s debut album on EMI. Singalong choruses in rock have become somewhat of a cliché in these Coldplay days but I like what these guys from Stockton-on-Tees are doing: a little bit of folk on rock. Sounds like what Noah and the Whale used to do, doesn’t it? ‘Walk On’ and ‘Fall Hard’ are ready made festival winners, and ‘If I Was’ is probably the prettiest love song you haven’t heard yet. If only the Brits took to them as much as the Germans already have…

4. Patrick Wolf – ‘Lupercalia’ (Hideout) – Multi-instrumentalist Patrick Apps presented himself to the world in 2003 with ‘Lycanthropy’, filled with teenage angst. This was followed by ominous autumnal musings in 2005’s ‘Wind in the Wires’, freewheeling happiness in 2007’s ‘The Magic Position’, and “stick it to the man” ‘The Bachelor’ of 2009. This year’s album is a celebration, literally (Wolf drew from on an old Roman holiday designed to avert evil spirits and for purification for his thematic inspiration) and absent is the brooding, pensive Patrick, a mode he knows well. But who cares? The man is in love, the songwriting is top notch and this is an album you can listen to again and again. Read my review here.

5. The Whip – ‘Wired Together’ (Southern Fried) – As the year went on, I was getting really worried that there wouldn’t be a dance album in 2011 to truly stir my restless soul, to make me feel alive again. Trust Manchester to come through with a corker: the Whip’s ‘Wired Together’ ticked all the boxes. ‘Shake’ is an in your face, dirty dancing delight. It starts slow and cool before you are compelled to put your hands in the air and you start seeing the coloured lights. Read my review here.

Under the cut: albums that almost made the top 5…as well as some albums that disappointed.
Continue reading Top Albums of 2011: Editor’s Picks

 

Quickfire Questions #25: Editor Mary Chang

 
By on Friday, 25th November 2011 at 11:00 am
 

So we’ve shared with you the Quickfire Questions answers from our writers and I was thinking some of you might be wondering how I would answer them…

1. What song is your earliest musical memory?
My dad was a crazed maniac when it came to fidelity of sound; the house I grew up in is still littered with the many speakers he bought over the years, after painstakingly researching each one through geeky audiophile magazines including one from this company that came into existence before I was in existence). So it’s really not surprising that my first musical recollection is something from his classical collection, probably ‘Nessun Dorma’ from Puccini’s Turandot (aka Pavarotti’s big number).

2. What was your favourite song as a child?
Madonna’s ‘Borderline’ was the first song I learned all the words to. I still know all the words, but it rarely gets played on radio these days. At the time, I didn’t understand that Madonna was this sexualised being that girls wanted to emulate and boys wanted to be with. All I wanted to do is sing along to it on my hairbrush. And dream about being a pop star one day.

The Rolling Stones’ ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ was my favourite when I got older. The awesome guitar riffs are there, the lyrics that you want to sing along to loudly at the top of your lungs are there as well. It came back to me years later in a introductory biology class in uni, when the professor was discussing respiration and said in passing, “it’s a gas, gas, gas!” and I sniggered loudly. With both pride and embarrassment, he identified me as the only person in the cavernous lecture hall to have gotten his joke.

3. What song makes you laugh?
Fine Young Cannibals – ‘She Drives Me Crazy’. There is a good way to do falsetto. (Exhibit A: Hayden Thorpe of Wild Beasts.) Roland Gift, he’s an example of someone with an embarrassing one that will now go into history thanks to the record-buying public. It’s not that he was a bad singer. ‘Good Thing’ proved he could sing, given the right material. In the right key. Generally anything by Art Brut also guarantees sniveling and snorting of the good variety.

4. What song makes you cry?
Coldplay – ‘The Scientist’. This probably sounds odd, as I don’t like Coldplay and think they’re massively overrated. When the song came out, I was very ill and I wasn’t sure I was going to live. I don’t care what anyone else says: coming to terms with your own mortality is the single most scary thing you will ever have to do in your life. I remember hearing it for the first time, breaking down in tears, thinking, “does this mean I am going to die before I’ve ever fallen in love?” The melody’s not great, but the lyrics “tell me you love me / come back and haunt me” gives me a lump in the throat every time.

5. What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)
Stephen Duffy and the Lilac Time – ‘Salvation Song’. My first love dedicated this song to me. He said I gave him great inspiration for songwriting. And he gave me a glimmer of hope, a beacon of light when everything in my world was dark. I have no idea where he is now, but I would think he would get a kick out of finding out I now run a UK music blog and play bass.

6. What song makes you think of being upset / angry? (Example: maybe you heard it when you were angry with someone and it’s still with you, and/or something that calms you down when you’re upset, etc.)
I blame both my parents for this: I have a really bad temper. Crossing me is not advised. I cannot sit through Hoobastank’s ‘The Reason’. The last time I sat through this song, I was in my car, trying to find the hospital where paramedics had taken my father after he had collapsed at work, and this stupid song was mocking me. Seriously, every time I hear it now, I want to put my fist through a wall. Or a window.

7. Which song (any song written in the last century) do you wish you’d written yourself?
The Stone Roses – ‘She Bangs the Drums’. Mani’s thudding opening bass line, the minimalist taps on the drums, then the melodic guitar into Ian Brown’s sweeping vocal. I don’t know why it took me so many years to realise how dirty the song is (!) but it’s a prime example of being able to write a very good rock ‘n’ roll song that can mean different things to different people. It’s also very weird to me now knowing that the Stone Roses have reunited and are touring next year. In a good way of course: anywhere close to Washington they decide to gig, I am there.

8. Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
I really don’t read as much as I should. (I’m listening to music. All the time.) I think Stuart Maconie’s dry humour in both his music and UK heritage books is great. The writers I aspire to be like are Dorian Lynskey and Dave Simpson of the Guardian. It doesn’t matter the topic: I know when a piece has either of their names on it, I’m in for a balanced, intelligent, wonderful read.

9. If you weren’t writing for this blog right now, what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
I’m a science editor, which is as good a job as any if you still want to remain in the sciences but you can’t be a wet bench scientist (working in a lab). If I could give it all up, I’d pack up my things and move to a major city in England and be a music journalist. My dream job when I was little was to be a singer; I was in choir and did all the things in school you could do to prepare yourself for a career in music. Unfortunately, I just don’t have the voice for it anymore.

10. If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why?
If I died tomorrow, I’d chose Mystery Jets’ ‘Serotonin’ (pictured on top, review here). Admittedly, I’ve listened to it a whole lot since it came out last summer. There aren’t too many albums that distill love and lost love in pure pop form as perfectly as this one. Listening to it, I’d never forget the people who had graced my life over the years.

 

Top Gigs of 2010: Editor’s Picks

 
By on Tuesday, 14th December 2010 at 11:00 am
 

I went to a lot of gigs this year. (If you need the evidence, my gig list is under the cut, click the link further down in this post.) The more amazing gigs you go to, the more difficult it is to choose your top 5 performances for the year. I haven’t taken this task lightly, and without further adieu, here are my top live picks of 2010:

5. Delphic at Washington’s DC9, Liberation Dance Party (Friday 8th October 2010) – Most of my local friends do not share my enthusiasm for gigging – or music, for that matter – so it took a special band to get most everyone I know to DC9 for Liberation Dance Party at the end of the work week.

Washington often gets a bad (and unfair) rap for stoic crowds – I’ve seen far worse in my travels. This night, the DC9 crowd were going mental for the Manchester band’s electropop/guitar rock sound, and I couldn’t have prouder. (Exhibit A: two blokes were stood right in front of James Cook, described by my friend Silvia as “Mister Super Dancer and his 7-foot tall friend” going absolutely crazy, dancing like loons, “it looked like this was the most exciting thing that ever happened to them”. Haha. If you were interested, Mr. SD was later seen picking Rick Boardman’s brain after the show.) I’ll be the first to admit, there is a touch of bitter sentimentality about this gig for me, as for a long while I thought this might be the last dance ever put on at DC9. (DC9 was closed since 15th October after a tragic death [cause of death still unknown] occurred on the street outside the venue. I was really sad about this, because I’ve seen some of the best gigs of my life there. But it looks like the club will reopen on Wednesday [15 December]!)

4. the Futureheads at Washington’s Black Cat (Friday 4th June 2010) – I remembering Tweeting earlier that Friday afternoon about how I was going to see the Sunderland band for the first time that night, and what did I find in my messages but a personal note from Barry Hyde saying, “we’re going to knock your socks off. see you B x”. Being the professional I am, I refused to let that touch of thoughtfulness bias my opinion of the evening, and I really needn’t have worried. They played hit after hit after hit with no signs of the onslaught abating. At one point, Hyde even yelled at an inconsiderate drunk who was causing trouble, and everyone cheered. Well done, Barrington Hydeous! For a while I was almost sure this was going to be my top gig of 2010.

3. the Temper Trap at Boston’s House of Blues (Wednesday 29th September 2010) – You know how sometimes you can just feel greatness? Just two gigs in on a month-long tour of North America, you could just feel that this band from Melbourne, you could feel them at the top of their game. While I wasn’t impressed by the audience reaction and I am sure DC would have given them a better reaction based on their show in April at the 9:30, the sound quality at HOB was amazing. Afterwards, I ran into half of the band, smiles all around. (Who wouldn’t have been happy with a performance like that?) I would love to see them again, but I think their days of playing clubs are over.

2. the Joy Formidable at Washington’s Black Cat Backstage (Thursday 11th November 2010) – Ritzy Bryan knows how to rock it. I mean, I never expected her to go for it as much as she did when the Joy Formidable played DC for the first time last month. WOW. Talk about unleashing pure, unadulterated power. I’d been having such a hohum month that this gig kicked me in the arse and said, you know what? Music – and how you feel it – is what it’s all about. Cannot wait for ‘The Big Roar’ to come out next year, accompanied by full tours in the US and the UK, of course.

1. the Postelles at Washington’s DC9 (18th September 2010) – The Postelles, four incredibly fun guys from New York City who play the most fun guitar pop ever, haven’t even released a full album yet. Like the Joy Formidable, they had nothing to lose and everything to gain by throwing themselves 1,000x into their performance. And judging from the Saturday night crowd assembled to watch them – and go crazy for them – full scale Postellementalism is just around the corner.

After the jump is a full list of all the gigs I’ve been to in 2010 (in reverse chronological order) so you have an idea how difficult my job was to choose favourites. The runner-up gigs (gigs that fell were in my top 10 but did not make my top 5) are also marked.
Continue reading Top Gigs of 2010: Editor’s Picks

 

Top Albums of 2010: Editor’s Picks

 
By on Monday, 13th December 2010 at 11:00 am
 

Another year has gone, which means with the whole load of albums released in 2010, your faithful editor has gone through and chosen what she considers the best of the year. Agree? Disagree? As always on TGTF, comments are welcome.

1. Delphic‘Acolyte’ (Polydor/Chimeric) – It’s always dangerous to say an album released so early in the year is wonderful, because you leave no room for anything else that comes after it. But after minimal internal debate, it was obvious which album I would choose as #1. The timelessness of this album wasn’t immediately apparent until I started listening to it, from start to finish and voraciously, for the first 3 months of 2010. It’s one of those debut albums that I know I’m going to look back in 10, 20 years and wonder how it was even possible for three guys to write such a sonic masterpiece in a cottage in the Lake District. (And later realised with producer Ewan Pearson, of course.)

The first time I heard ‘Submission’, still my favourite song on the album with its clean electronic sounds, the ever so funky bass and drums and crashing guitar, I was near tears. (As I wrote on the official Roskilde blog in May 2010, “…I consider [this] to be one of the best songs ever recorded. It’s that good. Should I run into them at the festival, I want to give them all hugs and weep on their shoulders.”) I’ll be honest, I’m a little scared about where the band is going for their sophomore album, but I’m confident in the band’s talent that whatever the three of them agree on for the new release will be great.

2. Two Door Cinema Club‘Tourist History’ (Kitsune) – It was a real struggle to figure out which of my top two albums would have to be the runner-up. The only reason why I put Two Door Cinema Club’s in at #2 is that there are two songs on here that feel like filler that I could do without. (I will say however that these two as live versions are a different story, because having seen the band twice this year, I actually liked the live versions a whole lot better than the ones committed to disc.) These are songs that will never leave your brain, because they’re so damn catchy. You can read my review of the album here. Definitely looking forward to the next album, bring it on boys.

3. The Hundred in the Hands‘The Hundred in the Hands’ (Warp) – Sleigh Bells? Overhyped. LCD Soundsystem? Good but ‘This is Happening’ pales in comparison to this. Sorry. The Hundred in the Hands: now this is the sound you should be listening to. This is 2010 synthpop with guitars, the way ’80s New Wave bands did it and did it right. This couple from Brooklyn have taken the best from New Wave and added emotional fragility with Eleanore Everdell’s beautifully expressive voice. Brilliant. You can read my review of the album here. I kick myself every time I remember I missed seeing them at teeny tiny DC9, headlining Liberation Dance Party.

4. Broken Bells‘Broken Bells’ (Columbia) – James Mercer’s voice couldn’t be beat. He’s just cool. And Danger Mouse? Put two cool cats in the same room with their ‘toys’ (all those wonderful instruments they can play and electronic gizmos aplenty) and let them go to town. The instrumentation is chill, dude. This is lounge music for the masses with a touch of sci-fi thrown in there for good measure. Good stuff to relax to. I hope this is one of those ‘side projects’ that turns into something more permanent, because not only are their recordings great, they’re pretty good live as well.

5. Villagers‘Becoming a Jackal’ (Domino) – The UK market has been saturated with indie folk pop acts. Some of them will be one trick ponies, never to be heard from again. And then there’s Conor J. O’Brien. You can’t teach someone how to write a good song. You either have it or you don’t. And without a doubt, O’Brien has it. He sings with the experience of someone decades older yet he’s not even 30 yet. After leaving me near breathless live this summer, I’m expecting great things from this ‘kid’ from Malahide.

Under the cut: albums that almost made the top 5…as well as some albums that disappointed.
Continue reading Top Albums of 2010: Editor’s Picks

 

Best Gigs of 2009

 
By on Thursday, 17th December 2009 at 2:00 pm
 

Now halfway through December and getting ever closer to the end of the year, it’s high time to write those “best of” end of year posts. As much as a nail-biter it was to choose my five favourite gigs of 2009, it allowed me to reflect on all the great gigs I’ve had the opportunity to go to in the Washington D.C. area and elsewhere. And it was a wonderful reminder on what great music is out there if you just open your mind and let yourself feast on what the current music scene has on offer. I encourage everyone one of you to go out to more gigs in 2010 and support the music community!

As USA editor of TGTF, I’d like to note that the majority of the gigs I’ve been to this year have been on my side of the pond and usually in my hometown of Washington D.C. But I think you’ll recognise most of the bands I’ve had the pleasure of seeing live this year. Here’s my top five of 2009:

5. Pains of Being Pure at Heart at D.C.’s Black Cat (Wednesday 30th September) – This didn’t feel like just any show. It felt a reunion and you were surrounded by friends, because the Pains have many friends in the Washington area. The guitars, the synths, and vocals from Kip Berman and Peggy Wang – they all combined to create something heavenly.

l-pains4

4. Camera Obscura at D.C.’s 9:30 Club (Sunday 21st June) – This gig featuring songs from their album released this year, ‘My Maudlin Career’, like ‘Honey in the Sun’ and the gorgeous ‘Swans’. Other previous gems like ‘Lloyd, I’m Ready to Be Heartbroken’ brought the house down as Traceyanne Campbell’s beautiful voice rang throughout the club. One incredible show. So disappointed they skipped over D.C. on their autumn tour.

traceyannecamob6pwsm

3. Dot to Dot Festival in Nottingham (Sunday 24th May) – My first music festival, ever. This was my second time seeing Friendly Fires and their first time headlining a festival to boot. It was amazing to be among lots and lots of their devoted English fans who turned Rock City in a sea of bodies dancing to their beats. It was also great to see Patrick Wolf again and Ladyhawke for the first time (the two acts directly preceding Friendly Fires at Rock City). Earlier in the day I was able to take in Matt Abbott and Skint and Demoralised at Nottingham-Trent Uni’s Glo Bar, followed by part of the Pains of Being Pure at Heart’s set in the uni’s student union main room.

Skint and Demoralised
sand4

Patrick Wolf
patrick3

Ladyhawke
ladyhawke4

Friendly Fires
edmac-edgib1-ffnotts

2. Friendly Fires at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg (Thursday 13th August) – Not a fan of getting bruised up by the drunks who stormed the stage like maniacs during the ‘Ex Lover’ encore, but this one gets high marks for the incredible crowd energy – so much energy that I worried that the floor would break out from under us from all the jumping around and dancing going on during their set. Further, Ed Macfarlane jumped down into the crowd during ‘Paris’, causing additional mayhem. This is probably one of the last times he’ll ever launch himself into the audience because I doubt his personal safety from this point forth can be guaranteed (!)

p-mhw-ff10

1. Elbow at D.C.’s 9:30 Club (Tuesday 4th August) – Somehow Washington managed to score one of only three American headlining dates in all of 2009 from the Manchester quintet. They didn’t disappoint, the whole crowd singing along to every word of Guy Garvey’s. The man has one amazing voice and kept everyone in the club spellbound. The show was simply brilliant. It didn’t hurt that Guy came out an hour before the show and kindly agreed to take photos with us fans who queued up early outside the club before doors opened.

i-elbow6

After the jump is a full list of all the gigs I’ve been to in 2009 (in reverse chronological order) so you have an idea of the banquet I had to choose from.
Continue reading Best Gigs of 2009

 
 
 

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.