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Live Review: Public Service Broadcasting with Smoke Fairies at Dublin Button Factory – 5th May 2015

 
By on Friday, 8th May 2015 at 2:30 pm
 

Early start times for European gigs always seem counterintuitive to me, but there is one major benefit for shows starting in the 7 o’clock hour: you aren’t left waiting ages for your favourite band to go on. Doors were at 7:30 at the Button Factory this past Tuesday night in Dublin, and less than 10 minutes had passed before the opening band, Smoke Fairies from London, took the stage, looking very rocker grrrl chic in figure hugging black and gold short dresses.

The duo released their fourth and self-titled album last year, and their set in Dublin was a nice mix of tunes from that album, 2012’s ‘Blood Speaks’ and 2010’s ‘Through Low Lights and Trees’. While album title track ‘Blood Speaks’ is a dreamier number showcasing the ladies’ fine siren voices, ‘Eclipse Them All’ from the most recent regular album is a slower burn; older and uber catchy track ‘Hotel Room’ proves to be at home with the newer set opener ‘Shadow Inversions’, reminding everyone of their bluesier roots.

Smoke Fairies at Dublin Button Factory

I feel very lucky to have the means to travel and see my favourite bands outside of America. Public Service Broadcasting are, from my impression, doing quite well for themselves in Britain, easily selling out venues across the country; and judging from the crowds that assembled to see them in March at SXSW 2015, their popularity is on the way up stateside too. On the recommendation on PSB head guy J. Willgoose, Esq. during my chat with him in Austin, I was able to include their show in Dublin on my current holiday, as he assured me the Irish capital were always “their best crowds”. If you are scheduled to see them play at a UK music festival this summer, have not seen them this year in the UK and wish not to have spoilers, stop reading.

Public Service Broadcasting at Dublin Button Factory

In addition to the curly-haired Wrigglesworth on drums and assorted percussion who has been with him even before the first time TGTF ever saw them play at Newcastle Cluny back in May 2013, Willgoose is now joined by jack of all trades J.F. Abraham on guitar, bass, tambourine and yes, even flugelhorn; in the back in a much less conspicuous location is the mysterious Mr. B., in charge of the visuals and one particularly important piece of stage equipment I have so far neglected to mention. PSB’s ‘pet’ for this UK/Irish tour to support ‘The Race for Space’ is Sputnik, a lighted, silvery sphere with lighted ‘legs’ that a child of a NASA scientist such as myself was all too familiar with in my younger years. In addition to the two large screens at the back of the stage and the towers of antiquated tellys at opposite sides at the front of the stage, Sputnik provides an unusual yet perfect focal point for the evening’s proceedings.

Rising up magnificently and totally unexpectedly from an otherwise non-descript black cloth-covered box centre stage, Sputnik is deployed and first appears, during initial relentless thuds of the song bearing his name, introduced by the now famous robotic voice from Willgoose’s Macbook saying, “this is a new one about Russians.” Within Sputnik is a coloured light display so that he can flash the letters “PSB” during ‘Theme from PSB’, images of ice skaters in action during ‘Elfstedentocht Part 2’ (“who would like to hear a song about ice skating and the Dutch?”) and a rolling display of the colours of the rainbow during ‘ROYGBIV’.

Public Service Broadcasting at Dublin Button Factory

Production values for a PSB gig have never been better, and this is great, because the band has never sounded better either. One could easily argue that their sophomore album ‘The Race for Space’ shows the band at their funkiest ever, and Wrigglesworth’s handiness with his drum kit along with various drum pads to ‘play’ xylophone is a joy to watch. Mumford and Sons may have ditched their banjoes but Willgoose hasn’t, proving there is a way to include the folk instrument into ‘ROYGBIV’ and contemporary music without causing an audience to fall asleep. Smoke Fairies, whose guest vocals graced PSB’s ‘Valentina’, took to the stage again to massive cheers as a live collaboration otherwise only available on record took place right before our very eyes. When it came time for the encore, we were in for another surprise: during ‘The Race for Space’ lead single ‘Gagarin’, their own astronaut in full spacesuit came out to funk out to the music. Ha! Brilliant.

A particularly uplifting moment offered up on ‘The Other Side’, chronicling the Apollo 8 mission and during which the moon was successfully reached and orbited in 1968, is super humbling given that we’re in the year 2015. We live in a time in mankind that the International Space Station is now a thing and the Cold War is over. Just decades before, putting man into space was considered a monumental feat, let alone having human beings living and conducting experiments up in the heavens.

Public Service Broadcasting at Dublin Button Factory

‘Everest’, which has become PSB’s closing number, was a bittersweet ending, given the recent earthquake in Nepal. The niche Public Service Broadcasting fits in our music business is a special one: for sure, they are for the thinking music fan, but their music reminds us of our own humanity, of our successes, of our frailties. Long may they continue to make us think and make us dance.

After the cut: Public Service Broadcasting’s set list. For more on PSB on TGTF, head this way. For Smoke Fairies’ coverage, go here.

Public Service Broadcasting at Dublin Button Factory

Continue reading Live Review: Public Service Broadcasting with Smoke Fairies at Dublin Button Factory – 5th May 2015

 

Live at Leeds 2015: Editor Mary’s Roundup (Part 2)

 
By on Thursday, 7th May 2015 at 2:00 pm
 

Part 1 of my Live at Leeds coverage is this way.

After the highs achieved and all before the 5 o’clock hour at Live at Leeds 2015, I suppose it was inevitable that there would be some kind of letdown ahead. Any music writer will try and map out a reasonable festival schedule that doesn’t have you running yourself ragged, but that too is an inevitable part of the festival experience for us, whether we’re in Austin, New York, Sydney, Liverpool or Brighton. However, the one thing you can never really plan for technical difficulties or cancellations.

There was no mention at all on her Facebook page – and the complete lack of a Twitter account didn’t help either; take note, bands: your fans really do want to know if you’ve decided to pull out of a major event – so it was with much disappointment to learn at the press area Saturday morning that Lonelady, the only show I had pencilled in at the Belgrave Music Hall and the main electronic draw for me all day, had been replaced by someone else. I will say that the sting was slightly taken off by the Patty Smith’s Dirty Burgers Chris and I had eaten there for lunch, as they were without a doubt some of the most delicious burgers I’ve ever had.

In my mind, it was to be left to Worcestershire’s astronomyy to pick up Lonelady’s slack and bring out the beats. I will say first that I have no idea about all the specs and details it takes to run a music venue, but the HiFi on Central Road certainly upset a whole lot of people Saturday in Leeds. What should have been a huge celebration of all things electro and soul in their basement venue turned into a massive problem, which I should have guessed when I ran from the Academy down to the club and astronomy hadn’t even started performing yet. After waiting probably an additional half hour after his appointed starting time, venue staff announced astronomyy would not be going on at all. Boos and jeering began and sadly, it would not be the last of such at the HiFi.

I used the downtime to visit with my Wakefield friend Matt Abbott, a friend of mine who formerly made a name for himself in music as the wordsmith behind Skint and Demoralised, is now a spoken word artist, performing as part of A Firm of Poets, who were at the featured lineup at the Black Swan, part of the Fringe portion of Live at Leeds. I mention the Fringe, as even if you’re skint (no pun intended) or don’t fancy paying for a wristband to Live at Leeds proper, there is still plenty on in town during the weekend that’s free and open to the public if you fancy it.

After we said our goodbyes, I thought it would be a good idea for me to head up to A Nation of Shopkeepers to see what the fuss was about BAD//DREEMS. I have pretty bad claustrophobia – I famously requested my biology midterm exam seat assignment in a university lecture hall be changed one semester, as I had been given a desk directly next to a wall – so this turned out to not be ideal for me at all; the place was packed, which was great, but after I had successfully passed the event bouncer who let me into the place, I found myself pinned in from all sides from people either trying to get drinks from the bar or those who refused to be kind and to make way for anyone else.

I suppose it’s your right to be territorial if you’ve gotten to a venue early and wish to stay, but some people were getting very tetchy and unhappy and it got to the point where I felt like I was going to faint and I had to leave. I did hear BAD//DREEMS’ music through a window outside and I very much enjoyed the guitar rock I did hear. If anything, the crammed in like sardines atmosphere suggests that the people of Leeds were very keen on seeing and hearing the Aussie band play, which is really fantastic for a band so far away from home. They’ll be in Sheffield tonight (the 7th of May) at the Rocking Chair, and I hope I get out of the airport quick enough to see them.

A return to the HiFi to see electro soul duo Honne and their full band setup including a bass player, drummer and a backing singer was worth the wait. However, because of the delays introduced by the astronomyy set that never materialised, the entire day’s lineup was delayed, causing some already drunk by then Yorkshire youths to start acting up, shouting insults in Honne’s direction. I feared a riot , which wouldn’t have been great since the HiFi space is in a basement, so you’ve really got nowhere to run.

Thankfully, they were able to get their act together (literally) and played a truncated yet satisfying set, including the Hype Machine favourite ‘Warm on a Cold Night’, which I imagine will be the song all of their fans will request for years to come. The equally soulful ‘All in the Value’ was another set highlight. Seek out their just released this week EP ‘Coastal Love’ on their own Tatemae Recordings.

As I was stood down the front for Honne, I couldn’t help but fret that I really should have left in the middle of their set to get to Leeds Town Hall for Dutch Uncles, who released their third album ‘O Shudder’ in February. If I’m entirely honest, I was hoping for an appearance of Muncan alongside frontman Duncan Wallis for the track ‘Decided Knowledge’. While I was fretting, I was scanning Twitter to see if there was any point to head there, figuring that the Cribs’ appearance later in the evening likely meant there’d be a massive queue for the hometown boys. Someone had posted a photo of the queue already forming hours ahead of the Cribs’ set, so I skipped them in favour of food, which is a necessary part of festival life, even if you have to force yourself to eat!

Trudging back up to A Nation of Shopkeepers, I arrived at the venue in the middle of a set by all-girl group Jagaara from North London. Punters were gushing over their music, which doesn’t sound all that unique to me: guitars, electronics, female voices, this is well-trod upon ground, folks. I guess I’ll have to investigate them more to form an educated opinion.

I was really at Shopkeepers for Boxed In, whose appearance at Blackjack London and AIM’s Friday night showcase at SXSW 2015 was super fun. I, along with Boxed In mastermind Oli Bayston, were about to be bowled over by the reception in Leeds. I spoke to several people in the audience prior to their set and they all said they had Boxed In’s debut album released last year and couldn’t wait to see the band perform. (Bayston and co. weren’t supposed to be my last band of Live at Leeds; I had intended to stay for the last band Real Lies. But due to technical difficulties at the venue and nearly an hour of waiting after Boxed In, getting my ears pummeled by squeals from the speakers that weren’t supposed to happen and no actual music, I called it a night.)

Running just a mere 5 minutes behind schedule, as soon as Bayston played his first keyboard note, the crowd turned the place into a vibrant dance party. The irrepressible rhythm of ‘Foot of the Hill’ encouraged the ladies to my right to do the dance equivalent of Peter Crouch’s robot moves, arms and legs flailing; ‘Mystery’, the Boxed In radio hit everyone was waiting for caused everyone to shake their tail feather.

As someone who spends a good part of her time trying to promote dance music as a fellow fan, to be able to witness such a spectacle and with so many people enjoying themselves watching a electropop act was equal parts validating and exciting. Fantastic. What a wonderful way to end my first Live at Leeds experience. Fingers crossed I will return next year!

 

Live at Leeds 2015: Editor Mary’s Roundup (Part 1)

 
By on Wednesday, 6th May 2015 at 2:00 pm
 

It’s always a bit daunting to come to a brand new city and hit the ground running at a music festival you’ve heard about for years and have only heard the highest praise for it. Such was my personal trepidation ahead of Live at Leeds 2015, the 9th annual installment of an event where artists descend on the West Yorkshire town, drawn in like moths to a flame.

I’ve no idea how anyone ever did this festival prior to the advent of the smartphone. It seemed by the time I finally sussed the lay of the land and knew where all the venues were, it was all over. In between 11 AM of picking up our press credentials at the First Direct Arena until midnight, the 13 hours were packed with bands; running around to see said bands; catching up with friends, many of whom were in some of those said bands, but others who were new mates; and familiarising myself and falling in love with nearly every venue I had the pleasure of stepping into. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their kindness, hospitality, good food, and of course the amazing music that makes an event like this so worthwhile, ensuring my first Live at Leeds experience was a good one.

Longfellow at Leeds Wardrobe 1

Despite the intention I set for myself at every festival – “Don’t get lost!” – construction and obstructed signage at the Leeds Coach Station turned me around and made me late for Longfellow performing at the Wardrobe on the east side of the city centre. The group from London recently released the new EP ‘Remedy’ on Fierce Panda Records (read my review of it here) and were eager to perform in front of their first-ever audience in Leeds. Ever the testament to the city as supportive to the British music scene, the 1 PM gig was well attended. Good on you, Leeds!

I arrived just in time for EP standout ‘Where I Belong’, showing their knack for anthemic songwriting. Their set also included BBC 6 Music stalwart ‘Kiss – Hug – Makeup’, another EP number ‘Chokehold’ and what frontman Owen Lloyd calls “their birthday song” they bring out for celebrations, ‘May the Light’, which appears on their 2014 mini-album ‘Prelude’. Longfellow’s set ended on a high note with live fan favourite ‘Medic’.

Longfellow at Leeds Wardrobe 2

Staying put at the Wardrobe, I got a full dose of Racing Glaciers. I have to admit in recent years, I’ve had a jaded eye for any band that has a synthesiser set up centre stage; I’m half expecting a couple of plinky-plonky notes being dropped not for any good reason but just because it’s required these days. Seeing that they appeared directly after Longfellow and also have a keyboard player, logic would dictate that the sound system would make Racing Glaciers’ anthemic style I sussed from them on record translate to something similar sounding to the Londoners who played before them. Instead, the massive loudness and brashness from the band from Macclesfield, including, dare I say it some funky bass notes live, suggest to me that they’re a band who should not be so easily pigeon-holed. Their self-titled and ‘Don’t Wait for Me’ EPs certainly deserve further attention.

After a brief catch-up on the way with TGTF friends The Orielles who had just finished their own gig at Leeds Beckett Stage 2, I was on to my third band of the day. I had a general idea that I would be trekking north and upwards towards the Mine in the Leeds Uni Student Union, but I had no idea the labyrinthine path Google Maps had laid out for me would take me up steps of Rocky-isian proportions. But if there’s anything that will inspire me to get somewhere and quickly, it’s a band.

Half out of breath by the time I reached Leeds Uni, I arrived just in time for the final soundchecking by Oxford indie pop band Pixel Fix, whose ‘Running Thin’ EP of summer 2014 was one of my favourites from last year. They have that poppy, bouncy synth thing going that’s not quite as dancey as Friendly Fires but nearly there (see ‘Lungs’) and that’s where they shine; I’m not as convinced by the oozy, woozy, r&b jam attempts but hey, that’s what sells on Radio 1. What is entirely evident is the undeniable energy that can only radiate from youth, with frontman Marcus Yates definitely looking the part with his spiky blonde hair. With the right kind of promotion, Pixel Fix are the kind of band you expect playing to a crowd of screaming teenagers in a venue near you. Soon.

Pixel Fix at Leeds Uni

Despite my prior impression that the place would only be filled with hipster uni kids bopping their heads side to side to the beat, there were plenty of adults too, many of them chatting with each other and saying how good this band was and how quickly they expected them to “make it”. This isn’t a common occurrence from where I come from, so I base on these overheard conversations that the older generation of Leeds music fans has excellent taste and hopefully good prescience!

What goes up must come down, yes? Or so the saying goes. Once I figured out how to get to and up to Leeds Uni, it was reasonably quick work to get back into the city centre. In my rush to not be late to my next band appointment, rushing through the corridors of Leeds Student Union, I nearly collided headfirst into Tom Ogden (you can’t miss him with that gorgeous, flowing Pantene hair of his) and the rest of Stockport psych band Blossoms, who were checking out bands before their set at the Stylus later that day.

Following a quick hello and a run back into town, I was at the Academy, whose front door oddly shares frontage space with pretty amazing Gothic architecture (the whole thing is a Grade II listed building). As much as I adore Oxford’s Stornoway, Leeds Academy has a capacity of 2,300 in the main space, and I had a hard time believing their folk pop sound would translate well into such a cavernous location.

Boy, was I wrong. As I am sat here typing this up while on holiday in Ireland, it occurred to me yesterday while seeing a larger than life mural of U2 on the side of a building in Temple Bar that Bono has nothing on Brian Briggs at this point. I enjoyed a good portion of their third and latest album ‘Bonxie’ that was released a short time ago on Cooking Vinyl, but I found the collection uneven and hoped against hope that the new tracks would sound amazing live.

Stornoway at Leeds Academy

At least I was right on the mark with that prediction! My feeling is they had such a good time working with an outside producer for the first time, it freed them as both musicians and people, and it gave them just the right encouragement to step outside their comfort zone that perhaps they might not have felt without working with Gil Norton. Straight out of the gate, frontman Briggs seemed much more at ease speaking to a throng of people than I have seen him ever, which was incredibly good timing, seeing that a massive crowd had assembled at the Academy to see his band play.

Their opening salvo ‘Between the Saltmarsh and the Sea’, smartly continuing the Stornoway tradition of artfully arranged harmonies, was simply and devastatingly beautiful, its expansiveness reaching into every nook and cranny of the Academy and certainly into each and every heart present in the venue, and album single ‘The Road You Didn’t Take’ followed suit. The uplifting nature of both ‘Get Low’ and ‘Lost Youth’ can’t be beat, and in a surprising turn of events, a rousing, folk-ified cover version of Yazz’s ‘The Only Way is Up’ had fangirls and fanboys of all ages singing along – loudly, I might add – to the Oxfordians. Nods to their early years with 2010’s ‘Beachcomber’s Windowsill’ were also included, including an unexpected but completely appreciated dedication to your humble editor on ‘I Saw You Blink’. All in all, it was a performance that you couldn’t ask for anything more from. Except more songs: calls for an encore went sadly unheeded.

Stay tuned for part 2 of my Live at Leeds 2015 review, which will post tomorrow here on TGTF.

 

Stealing Sheep / May, September and October 2015 UK Tour

 
By on Thursday, 30th April 2015 at 9:00 am
 

Header photo by Amy Ryan Brew and Hannah Bitowski

Liverpool synth-pop trio Stealing Sheep, who just released a new album ‘Not Real’ this month, are about to embark on a short list of live dates in May ahead of their scheduled appearance at Liverpool Sound City 2015. They have also announced a set of autumn dates to follow the summer festival season. A full listing of Stealing Sheep’s live shows can be found here. Tickets for the following UK dates are on sale now.

Saturday 2nd May 2015 – Belfast Black Box
Sunday 3rd May 2015 – Bristol Louisiana
Monday 4th May 2015 – Cardiff Clwb Ifor Bach
Thursday 7th May 2015 – London XOYO
Friday 25th September 2015 – Guildford Boileroom
Monday 28th September 2015 – Glasgow Broadcast
Wednesday 30th September 2015 – Birmingham Rainbow
Thursday 1st October 2015 – Cambridge Portland Arms

 

WIN / Tickets to see Brandon Flowers at London Brixton Academy, 22nd May 2015

 
By on Thursday, 23rd April 2015 at 1:30 pm
 

May is almost upon us: that wonderful month that brings us Live at Leeds, The Great Escape and Liverpool Sound City, not to mention two delectable bank holiday weekend. It’s all about to kick off!

Thanks for our mates at Gigs and Tours, we have a way to make your second May bank holiday weekend even sweeter. How about if we offered up three pairs of tickets to see the man, the legend that is Brandon Flowers performing at London Brixton Academy on Friday the 22nd of May to start the second holiday weekend? Are you game? You are? Then you’ll want to enter our contest below, naturally.

You’ll need to fill out our form below completely. First, give us your full name. Second, give us your email address. (We need a way to contact you if you win, silly.) Third, give us your postal address. (These are hard tickets, so we need to be able to post you your tickets if you win.) Finally, to prove you’re not a robot or maybe even one of those evil touts, answer this question any self-respecting Killers / Brandon Flowers fan knows the answer to in their sleep: what major American city is Brandon Flowers from? Couldn’t be easier, right?

That’s it. Of all the correct entries we receive, we’ll choose three winners at random to receive a pair of tickets apiece to the concert on the 22nd of May. Sound good? Be sure you get your entries in by 5 PM British time Friday, the 24th of April, when we’ll close the contest. As mentioned above, we’ll contact the winners by email, so make sure you’ve entered your email address correctly. Good luck! If you’d rather not chance it and want to buy tickets to this show or any of the other’s on Brandon’s UK/Irish tour, all the details are here.

Please note: this contest is open to UK residents only and you must be able to get yourself to London for the show at Brixton Academy. Please note that this show is 8+, and all under 14s must be accompanied by an adult (these are Brixton Academy’s rules, not ours, and TGTF won’t be held responsible if you’re turned away at the door for being underage and not meeting the venue’s age requirement). All duplicate entries will be discarded.

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

 

Eaves / May 2015 UK Tour

 
By on Monday, 13th April 2015 at 9:00 am
 

Leeds folk rock singer Eaves, aka Joe Lyons, has announced details of a full-band headline tour of the UK in May, along with the video for his new single ‘Pylons’. The song is the lead track on Eaves’ debut album ‘What Green Feels Like’; both the album and the single are due for release on the 27th of April via Heavenly Recordings.

Tickets for the following shows are available now. Below the tour date listing, you can find the official video for ‘Pylons’, which was filmed on the Dorset coast and directed by James Alexandrou.

Tuesday 5th May 2015 – Glasgow Berkeley Suite
Wednesday 6th May 2015 – Leeds Belgrave Music Hall
Thursday 7th May 2015 – Manchester Castle Hotel
Friday 8th May 2015 – Nottingham Chameleon
Saturday 9th May 2015 – Bristol Louisiana
Monday 11th May 2015 – Brighton Prince Albert
Tuesday 12th May 2015 – London Sebright Arms

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EplthGATqCQ[/youtube]

 
 
 

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.

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