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Live Gig Video: 2/3rds of Trophy Wife performs an acoustic version of ‘Canopy Shade’ for Cock and Bull TV

By on Monday, 18th June 2012 at 4:00 pm

Last month I posted an acoustic version of ‘Microlite’ that Jody Prewett and Ben Rimmer of Trophy Wife did in St. Kevin’s Park in Dublin while they were in Eire for the Dublin version of Camden Crawl. I hadn’t realised there was a second track recorded until I got an email from the Cock and Bull TV folks about this video for ‘Canopy Shade’. I feared the worst, as the opening track from their ‘Bruxism’ EP released in 2010 was a dance number, and dance numbers generally don’t translate well to acoustic settings. However, this pleasantly surprised me. Watch the video below.



Liverpool Sound City 2012 Live Gig Videos: Mystery Jets perform ‘Show Me the Light’ and ‘Behind the Bunhouse’

By on Wednesday, 13th June 2012 at 4:00 pm

Mystery Jets played a packed Academy of Arts on the Thursday night of this year’s Liverpool Sound City. Here are two of the sons they performed: ‘Show Me the Light’, from 2010’s ‘Serotonin’, and an old favourite, ‘Behind the Bunhouse’, which they used to close out their set. Enjoy both below.

You can read about this performance, along with the others I caught on the first night of the festival, here.




International Pop Overthrow 2012 Live Review: Van Susans at Liverpool Cavern – 19th May 2012

By on Wednesday, 13th June 2012 at 2:00 pm

International Pop Overthrow is the name of a series of mostly free but well organised sets of gigs taking place in cities all over the world. The 2012 Liverpool one happened to coincide with my time in the Northern city, and rather conveniently and auspiciously timed, my final night in England on this trip was the same night Van Susans played a headlining festival slot at the Cavern.

Yes, that Cavern that you’re thinking of, but not the actual Cavern the Beatles played in the early ’60s. That health hazard is long gone now, but in its sentimental place is this ‘new’ Cavern, which is still a pretty cool place to visit and certainly the best place to see one of my bands to watch. However, the actual timing appeared to not be ideal, as it seems most everyone in the club was interested in the outcome of the Chelsea / Bayern Munich Champions League final, which included punters, other bands and Van Susans themselves. Still, it made for an evening that had a “it could only happen in England” stamp in my mind that I will always remember. (Actual conversation at work when I returned: “what did you do on your last night?” “I watched a gig at the Cavern, then watched the rest of the UEFA Champions League final on a big screen with the band I was watching. So surreal.”)

Unlike the far too short set I witnessed in Biggin Hill, Kent the previous Sunday the band played as part of a charity programme in a pub, this was a full set of songs. The band’s debut album ‘Paused in the Moment’ was released digitally and in a limited edition CD (1000 copies) run on Jubilee Monday, accompanied by a full-scale assault on the British capital with impromptu performances, bubble blowing and generalised hamming it up across London Town. I’m kind of glad I was treated to this reasonably intimate show at the Cavern, however. I promised myself I would keep the blubbering to a minimum in this post, so let’s see how well I do…

I probably have a strange way of writing reviews compared to my contemporaries out there on the Web. I spend a lot of time in traffic on my daily commute to and from work, and it’s often when I’m stuck somewhere that my mind will wander, trying to figure out the best way to convey what I want to say about a certain band. One of my philosophies about life is that we meet the people we’re supposed to meet when we are ready for them in our lives. For every band that I’ve tipped and written about, helping them along in my (small) way to their achieving success, there was some instigating factor that wasn’t just coincidence, someone or some things made sure I was to hear them, and within the right context so that I could appreciate the music.

With Van Susans, it was receiving in my inbox a demo for a song 3 days before Christmas 2010, during one of the darkest periods of my life. That song was ‘Bones’, which singer/songwriter Olly Andrews admitted during this Cavern show to be “the first song I ever wrote, and it means a lot to me”. As I heard the song for the first time live, I had to blink back the tears while filming the video clip below. The chorus soars with the words “sometimes it takes a long hard fall / to find out you’re not invincible after all / and these things you’ve been and all the victories you’ve won / you thought you were carved out of stone / turns out all it was / was bones”. From the first time I heard it on mp3 to every time since, I am amazed at how accurately that is my life, splayed out in lyric form. My writers have commented to me that they admire my dedication, that I must be made of steel to keep up with everything I do with this site. But like everyone else, I am human. Disappointments, heartache, pain whether physical or psychological: it happens to everyone, even people made of steel. Who aren’t really made of steel, as this song rightly points out. At those times in our lives, even if we think we’re beaten and bruised, we have to and will get back up, to learn from the mistakes and just be, and stronger. Ok. Sorry. I’ll take the psychiatrist spectacles off and we’re back to the ‘normal’ gig review…


As should be expected for a young, budding band with a debut album done and dusted, the set previewed new songs from ‘Paused in the Moment’ I was not familiar with. ‘The Road’ sends a similarly positive message as ‘Bones’, with an emphatic “I will carry on” that I suspect will be anthemic for years to come. The new songs sounded effortless and fit in perfectly with songs from their ‘We Could Be Scenery’ EP released last year (‘Bones’, ‘Plans’, ‘Glow’ and closing number ‘Cha Cha Bang’). Sadly, they could not play their current single ‘Fireworks’ (promo video here) because the Nord loaned to keyboardist Olly Groome didn’t have enough keys!


Piano and fiddle don’t normally make for such compelling music in my book, but Van Susans seem to have gotten the right balance of uplifting rock ‘n’ roll, stadium anthem and folk rock and with the right chemistry of six people – 3 of them are brothers , and other three have rhyming names (Olly, Olly and Holly). Coincidence? I don’t think so. Do yourself a favour and catch this band before they start playing in places where all you can make out on stage of them are little toothpick figures from miles away. Don’t believe me? I met the lovely editors of UnderSong blog at Sound City and convinced them to come along to the Cavern show. They went to see the band the following weekend at the Bull and Gate and editor Kelly remarked afterwards, “Next Big Thing – @vansusans. You can quote me on that.”

My job in breaking the best new bands is never done, but I consider this a job well done – so far – for Van Susans. Good luck my friends, now it is time to shoot for the stars.

After the cut: set list.
Continue reading International Pop Overthrow 2012 Live Review: Van Susans at Liverpool Cavern – 19th May 2012


Live Gig Video: The Temper Trap perform live at Sydney Opera House

By on Tuesday, 12th June 2012 at 4:00 pm

On the 31st of May, the Temper Trap returned to Sydney to play an epic show for their countrymen. If you missed them on their last UK tour and/or their appearance on the TGTF stage at Liverpool Sound City, shame on you. But you’re forgiven. And even better, the band forgives you by offering up the entire stream of their performance at the legendary Sydney Opera House. Watch it all enfold below. It’ll only be available for a short time, so catch it while you can.

Read all about the TGTF stage that the Temper Trap headlined on the 18th of May here.



Live Review: Jake Bugg with Natalie Findlay at London 100 Club – 31st May 2012

By on Tuesday, 12th June 2012 at 2:00 pm

Down in the foundations of Oxford Street, among the walls lined with pictures of 100 Club’s illustrious musical heritage, 18-year old folk singer Jake Bugg is set to continue his dizzying trajectory into the public consciousness. With his debut album set for release on the 22nd of October and having stolen the show at both Dot to Dot festival and on BBC’s ‘Later… with Jools Holland’ in the past fortnight, it is plain to see why so many critics have been quick to make hyperbolas comparisons to some of music’s biggest names.

Supporting is upcoming London soul songstress Natalie Findlay, who takes to the stage with an a capella intro, punctuated by percussive strikes on the microphone to create a dynamic reminiscent of blues legends Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday. Soon Natalie is joined by the final parts of her raw three-piece, who drop in to an upbeat Bo Diddley-style riff, as she ducks and winds provocatively while singing of ‘Gin on the Jukebox’.

The anticipation of the 200 or so gathered for this night is palpable as Jake Bugg fights his way through crowd to the stage. Rifling through his opening track – the as yet unreleased ‘Kentucky’ – he sets a swift pace and bare country tone that are continued throughout his burgeoning portfolio. He follows with a rare mellow punctuation that synchronises his characteristic vocal hum with expressive acoustic arpeggios in ‘Love Me the Way You Do’.

After a haunting solo rendition of early single ‘Someone Told Me’, Jake Bugg is joined by the rest of his minimalist three-piece for ‘2 Fingers’; an escapist number telling of joy at permanently leaving old haunts, his vacant stare and midlands patois add a sincerity to swamp country sounding ‘Ballad’, which belies his meagre years.

As his set progresses through the driving folk rhythm of ‘Seen It All’ and playfully absent lyrics of ‘Slide’, it begins to feel as though he is somehow reluctant (as with most great folk forefathers) to stick to the material that is currently fuelling his ascendancy. There is some relief in the crowd as he drifts seamlessly into the 21st century hobo ramblings of ‘Trouble Town’ and his organically simplistic solo on the much publicised ‘Country Song’ (currently the winning ingredient to brewer Greene King’s advertising campaign).

He tracks this rich vein through new single ‘Lightning Bolt’, which possesses an up tempo rhythm and transcendental lyrics that draw comparisons to both Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan circa 1965. While the innocence of lyrical love letter ‘Saffron’ wouldn’t jar the ears of ‘Abbey Road’-era Beatles fans (and is currently available free from his official Web site). He closes with the relatively unknown quantity of ‘Green Man’, whose shuffle has the crowd swinging, but a lack of depth and focus on regional charm may allude to a direction in which he may not wish to be pushed.

Having written solo material since age 14, it’s doubtless that a much larger back catalogue is propping up the peak of the iceberg we currently see, as his material matures into more adult worries. Tracking the success of Jake Bugg could turn in to a life long occupation, but the nature of such pure (and at times rebellious) form of music means us plebs will have to wait for him to do it on his terms. To use an agrarian analogy; a man who is so clearly making music out of natural compulsion should not be stressed until the milk turns sour.


Slam Dunk South 2012 Roundup

By on Monday, 11th June 2012 at 1:00 pm

What started as a ska/punk club night in Leeds in 2007 has grown exponentially over the years into a staple part of the festival calendar. Held each year over the May Bank Holiday, Slam Dunk takes over Leeds and Hertfordshire universities on consecutive days to thousands of fans of hardcore, pop-rock, punk and metal. Eight stages of acts from across the world grace Hatfield on this sun-soaked Sunday to an army of baying fans who are queuing for hours in the dizzying heat to get to the front from the start.

In an exclusive performance to Slam Dunk South, the Orange County pop-punkers Zebrahead get the warmed up crowd bouncing with 45 minutes of positivity and smiles taken from their whopping nine-album back catalogue. Despite never reaching mainstream success, the California quintet have always had a strong following at festivals like Slam Dunk, and their set doesn’t disappoint the diehards. ‘Falling Apart’ and ‘Hello Tomorrow’ see the chanting and dancing escalate, accompanied by the traditional British lager chugging. The party has started.

Inside the maze that is Hertfordshire University, the marvellously mathy Marmozets are tearing apart the Vans Off the Wall stage to an audience of captivated onlookers. Having received praise from the likes of Kerrang! and Rock Sound in the past year or so, the Yorkshire yobs have lured in a few hundred revellers from the sunshine to bear witness to the deafening delights that frontwoman Becca Macintyre bellows and wretches for a stunning half hour of power. The confines of the stage are no match for these noisemongers, though, as the band throw themselves into the crowd for a round of spinning and thrashing to an audience that appear too petrified to move.

But back outside the mood is not one of aggression but joy as the LA party-bringers Say Anything launch head-first into a set of crowd-pleasers. The afternoon sun is basking the 1000+ fans at the Jägermeister stage who have been waiting for the energetic six-piece to return to the UK for years, and they’re not left disappointed. ‘Hate Everyone’ and ‘Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too’ see pints and bottles thrust into the air as the sunburnt Brits show their appreciation but it’s closer ‘Alive with the Glory of Love’ that sees the crowd erupt with cheers, chants and poorly coordinated dance moves. But the smile on the faces of the band and floor says it all, there’s no doubt a British tour is in the works as Say Anything definitely have the fanbase.

Away from the sunlight, the metalheads are amassing in the darkened room of the Honour Over Glory stage for the fastest rising stars in heavy music today: While She Sleeps. Hailing from the land of industrial steelworks, this band are all-out pure metal. The second largest stage of the festival is full of pitters and partiers who are ready to throw down with the best heavy band to come out of Sheffield since Rolo Tomassi. Opener ‘Dead Behind the Eyes’ kickstarts the air grabbing and elbow throwing as the floor opens into the Sarlacc with bodies for teeth. New track ‘This is the Six’ – the title track of their upcoming album – lifts the spirits and adrenaline levels to new highs but ‘The North Stands for Nothing’ is the real highlight. The room swells with the sound of over a thousand pairs of lungs screaming the words until throats are raw and bloody.

The sweat on the walls hasn’t had a chance to dry before everyone’s favourite Canadians, Cancer Bats, catapult themselves into a set of crowd pleasers to a fit-to-burst pit of punk. As frontman Liam Cormier rushes on stage they break into Beastie Boys‘ ‘Sabotage’ to a baying audience who kick, punch and push their way through to the front and shout appreciation for the fallen comrade MCA. The Bats have arranged a mixed bag of old and new treats that are created for days like today. ‘Trust No-one’ and ‘Bricks and Mortar’ are bellowed with such gusto from the stage and floor alike your pint begins to shake. ‘Drunken Physics’ is a welcome addition for fans of new album ‘Dead Set On Living’, who shout and snarl their way through the brilliant lyrics relating to chaos theory and multiple dimensions. New set staple ‘Roadsick’ rears its furious head for a high octane flurry of limbs on the floor, but closer ‘R.A.T.S.’ moves the droves to a near riot as blind carnage ensues and the metal masses plough toward the stage or into each other for one last round of hardcore’s finest.

The pace changes outside at the Red Bull Bedroom Jam stage as Forever The Sickest Kids‘ brand of happy-go-lucky pop-punk packs the tent all the way to the back. It’s another long time coming for the Texan four-piece who rarely visit the British shores, despite their legions of fans who are out in force this evening. A crowd full of bright colours and neon provides the ideal surrounding for a band so full of bubblegum joy the air tastes of sugar. Dancing and whoa-ohing their way through a selection of favourites including ‘Hey Brittany’, ‘Crossroads’ and ‘Hip Hop Chick’. ‘She Likes’ sends the teenie boppers into a stupor of high-pitched wails and hand waving while ‘She’s a Lady’ ends the show with a round of wide-mouthed grins and before filing out for the headline sets of the night.

Shutting the doors on the Honour Over Glory stage today are the south coast screamers, Architects (pictured at top). With new album ‘Daybreaker’ going on sale the following day, these Brighton boys treat Hatfield to a handful of oldies and new ‘uns. Opening on the London riot-themed ‘Devil’s Island’, the rampant orgy of sweaty bodies in front of the stage resemble the chaotic nature to which the song concerns, but do so with such glee that there’s no animosity held in the recklessness. As front man Sam Carter peers into the darkness the battered bodies give more and more energy to the tune of ‘Learn To Live’ and new single ‘Alpha Omega’ that leaves the floor resembling the pandemonium usually reserved for a battle royale.

The band seem genuinely humbled to be headlining the stage today as Carter often repeats to the dazed crowd – it’s hard to believe the sudden rise in popularity in the last six months. ‘Hollow Crown’ and ‘These Colours Don’t Run’ are enough to finish off the most seasoned mosh master for the evening and it’s with the last note ringing out that Slam Dunk South comes to an end. Bruised, dizzy, and broken bodies fall out into the street and onto the shuttle bus to a baffled driver. It’s over for this year, but no doubt 2013 will bring another 12 hours of noise and nuisance to Hertfordshire ready to slam dunk it for the win.


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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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