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(SXSW 2014 flavoured!) Live Gig Videos: The Crookes play ‘Sal Paradise’ and ‘Sofie’ at New York’s Bowery Electric

 
By on Tuesday, 7th January 2014 at 4:00 pm
 

Just like Little Comets featured in our Live Gig Video feature yesterday, we’d been writing here at TGTF about the Crookes for a long time before they actually made it out to America to play some shows. Technically, their first American gig was at the Bowery Electric in New York City on the 17th of September last year, and I’m pleased to bring you two videos of ‘Sal Paradise’ and ‘Sofie’, aka tracks 7 and 8 on the band’s second album ‘Hold Fast’, filmed live that very night. Enjoy them below.

At 8 PM GMT tonight, I’ve been told personally that the Crookes are going to make a pretty special announcement about their third album; check in at their Facebook page at that time for more. Read the Bowery Electric review here and the review of the Brooklyn Union Hall show 2 nights later here. The band are scheduled to perform at this year’s SXSW in March.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cuCD1D9JmyM[/youtube]

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

 

Live Gig Video: The Crookes perform ‘Bear’s Blood’ and other songs and are interviewed by BreakThruRadio in New York

 
By on Wednesday, 30th October 2013 at 4:00 pm
 

Okay, so after a long 6 weeks, a live and session and interview the Crookes did while they were in New York last month for BreakThruRadio have finally surfaced. The entire almost 30-minute audio version is here; it’s not intuitive, you need to click that Play sign up at the top to play the feature. But for those of you requiring visual gratification, here’s a video featuring the full live version of ‘Bear’s Blood’, snippets of ‘Afterglow’ and ‘Where Did Our Love Go?’ and parts of the interview, which, admittedly, doesn’t give you a whole lot of new information because if you’re a Crookes fan, you already know where ‘Bear’s Blood’ came from, yeah? Watch it below.

Our tag team coverage of the Crookes’ visit to New York included Carrie’s review of their Bowery Electric show the day after this BreakThruLive session and on guitarist Daniel Hopewell’s birthday, and my review of their appearance at Union Hall in Brooklyn.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIXwqr9lKDQ[/youtube]

 

Live Gig Video: Little Comets perform ‘Jennifer’ in New York City for Relix

 
By on Friday, 11th October 2013 at 4:00 pm
 

The North East’s latest act to break America Little Comets, who I had the pleasure to see gig at the Hamilton and chat with when they stopped through DC in August.

Just 2 months after the release of ‘Life is Elsewhere’ on American indie Dualtone Records, they’re coming back this way to America in a couple days, and I couldn’t be happier for them. (Admittedly, I’m just sad they can’t come to Washington again!) Here is live video they’ve shared of their time visiting with Relix while in the Big Apple. Performing ‘Jennifer’ in a water heater shack on a rooftop never sounded so good. Watch the video below.

[vimeo]https://www.vimeo.com/74971767[/vimeo]

 

Live Review: Tired Pony at Housing Works Bookstore, New York City – 25th September 2013

 
By on Thursday, 3rd October 2013 at 2:00 pm
 

Photos by Julia Gray

Have you ever had that perfect storm kind of gig? You know the kind where the performance is exclusive, you’ve been personally asked to attend, friends from all over the country meet up there, and you hang with the former members of R.E.M. afterwards? No? Oh, sorry, then you better stop reading now.

Indie supergroup Tired Pony gave their one and only concert on the east coast last week in New York City (they did one in London and will do two in LA and that’s it!) It was a benefit gig at the Housing Works Bookstore and proceeds went to support the organization’s mission to end the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS through advocacy and services. Additionally, it was the launch of Heaneyville, lead singer Gary Lightbody’s (Snow Patrol) new label. Named in honor of the recently departed Irish national treasure Seamus Heaney, it will release the band’s new album ‘Ghost of the Mountain’ in America. (Read Carrie’s review of the new album here.) It had been billed as an acoustic set with only about half of the members in attendance, but it turned out to be much more than that.

Tired Pony New York City 2013 1

Crammed on to the tiny back-of-the-room stage were eight – count ‘em EIGHT – players. All that was missing was Irish singer-songwriter Iain Archer who was ably replaced by Mike Mills (ex-R.E.M.) on Archer’s signature song. Not a bad substitute if there had to be one. Not so much a small acoustic set anymore, the band opened with the lead track from their new album ‘I Don’t Want You as a Ghost’. Quipping that they only had two albums to draw from Lightbody and Peter Buck (ex-R.E.M.) tore through a perfectly sequenced set that had the two floors of the bookstore buzzing.

Tired Pony New York City 2013 3

Songs like ‘Northwestern Skies’ and ‘I’m Begging You Not To Go’ had such a rich and complex rise and fall that I could barely take it all in. And has anyone noticed that Peter Buck is a truly spectacular guitar player? No? Well, I’m glad I got to clear that up. Stood directly in front of him, I was completely mesmerised by his playing. The guy isn’t flashy or animated, but the punctuated style he plays with is so eminently identifiable. Uber-producer Garrett “Jacknife” Lee (Snow Patrol, R.E.M., U2) was also there just killing it on guitar.

With as little an opportunity they get to rehearse, the band were remarkably tight. That’s what you get, though, with the caliber of people you have in this band. Rounding out the ensemble were drummer Richard Colburn (Belle and Sebastian), two keyboard players Scott McCaughey (ex-R.E.M.) and Troy Stewart (The Windsor Player), and locals bassist Richard Hammond and singer Rosi Golan. ‘Wreckage and Bone’ was a highlight of the show; identified as Lightbody’s favourite on the album, it was more complicated, almost syncopated, than the recorded version. ‘Blood’ also stood out with its driving opening and five guitars. It gave the chance for both Buck and Lee to shine with parts much more elaborately arranged than on the album.

Both Tired Pony albums are readily categorized as country-tinged Americana, but little of that comes through in the live performance. They have taken a truly outstanding set of music and transformed it into an exquisite live experience. Now if only they could tour this show!

Tired Pony New York City 2013 2

After the cut: the set list.
Continue reading Live Review: Tired Pony at Housing Works Bookstore, New York City – 25th September 2013

 

Live Review: The Crookes at Union Hall, Brooklyn, NY – 19th September 2013

 
By on Tuesday, 24th September 2013 at 2:00 pm
 

Union Hall chalkboardGetting to the further reaches of Brooklyn, away from the bright lights of Manhattan that are more familiar to the regular NYC tourist, can be a bit of a daunting task if you don’t know exactly where you’re going. Like if you’re not from around there. However, I do my research and knew exactly where Union Hall in Park Slope was.

The problem was the subway: due to nightly reconstruction of the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy last autumn, my friend Lizzie and I had to take a train from Queens back into Manhattan and around again to the bottom half of Brooklyn to make it. Then we realised we had to get off much further away than we thought, then needed to hoof it to some 10 blocks south to get to the place. To say I was perspiring and nervous we’d be late would be putting it mildly. I’m sure the bouncer at the door was amused by my wheezing.

Compared to the show 2 nights previous at Bowery Electric in the East Village that Carrie captured perfectly in this review, this time the Crookes weren’t headlining but the second support band to local band Los Encantados (whose name, by the way, was embarrassingly misspelled on the chalkboard outside the entrance to the performance space). Because of the entirely unforeseen fiasco with the subway, we arrived at Union Hall too late to catch Young Rising Sons, the first opener from New Jersey, though it was a nice, unexpected touch to find venue staff Jack, a native of Brighton (and therefore possessing a beautiful English accent in the middle of Brooklyn) at the door when we went in.

While the set list was identical to the one at Bowery Electric, there were two main positive differences in the Union Hall show. First was singer George Waite’s less nervous manner, which led to funnier onstage banter. Early on in the set, he commented that they had expected American crowds to be less stoic and the audience being “so polite” reminded them of being back home in England. ‘American Girls’ was dedicated to “1/2 of this country’s population”.

The Crookes Brooklyn 2013 2

Then immediately prior to guitarist/lyricist Daniel Hopewell’s star turn with the opening and closing notes of ‘Sal Paradise’ on an acoustic guitar, Waite reminded everyone that it was the week of Hopewell’s birthday. First he told everyone how old he was, but then went back on his word, saying with a grin, “…he’s actually only 21”, eliciting a similar grin on Hopewell’s face. A excited fan down the front next to me kept shouting for ‘Hold Fast’ (an egregious omission at these two shows, in my opinion) and Waite initially pretended to not understand the request and then offered up ‘Honey’ as a suitable alternative.

To be honest, the songs are two entirely different animals and therefore we do the band no favours to compare them side by side like that. But I appreciate being given ‘Honey’ twice in a 3-day span, because the ‘Afterglow’ b-side is probably one of the most emotionally charged songs of theirs lyrically that Daniel Hopewell has written. It is the story of every self-conscious, self-loathing individual who wishes he/she could “rip out my pages to be somebody else”, while hearing from a loved one that it’s all in their head and “oh honey, you’ll be fine, it just takes time”, the last thing that person wants to hear. Like newer single ‘Dance in Colour’, it too is worthy of further introspective contemplation as Waite alluded to at the London Scala show in May. Also, the Crookes had good reason to play ‘Honey’ too: it is one of three bonus tracks on the American version of ‘Hold Fast’, digitally available on the 30th of September here in the States.

The Crookes Brooklyn 2013 1

Musically, they sounded very tight. Straight out of the gate, the band wowed with ‘Where Did Our Love Go?’, with its infectiously brilliant one-liner, “we don’t dance alone”. The sheer rocking goodness of lead guitarist Tom Dakin’s solo in new-ish single ‘Bear’s Blood’ was simply kick arse, as he threw his entire body into its energy. Beer spillage occurred during the band’s closing number, an acoustic version of the crowd-pleasing ‘The Cooler King’ that had punters clapping enthusiastically in time. Admittedly, it was during this number that someone else’s beer got spilt all over my sandals and my feet were wet, but I barely cared. This is the kind of music I find real to me now, true to who I am as a person in this point in time. I feel it in my feet and my head, and most importantly, in my heart.

Perhaps it being the second of their two gig commitments, the band sounded better in the smaller, one-level format of the Union Hall downstairs room versus the disjointed two-floor setup at Bowery Electric because there would be no further gig anxiety after this one. After the Brooklyn show, I caught up with Waite to ask him which show he felt went down better; he said he thought the first one, though I disagreed. The newer converts at the Union Hall show were certainly more excited to see the band, hanging out afterwards to chat with the band to learn more about them. As a music editor, this was really great for me to witness first-hand, as I’ve heard and seen so much potential from the Crookes from the very beginning, and now they’re starting on the next chapter of what I’m sure will be a long, brilliant career.

The Crookes Brooklyn 2013 3

After the cut: the Crookes’ set list.
Continue reading Live Review: The Crookes at Union Hall, Brooklyn, NY – 19th September 2013

 

Live Review: The Crookes at Bowery Electric, New York City – 17th September 2013

 
By on Monday, 23rd September 2013 at 2:00 pm
 

Photos in this TGTF article are by editor-in-chief Mary Chang. Our friend and Prefix Magazine contributing photojournalist Ken Grand-Pierre hung out with the Crookes on the day and took photos of them before and during the show; you can see his amazing photos here.

Sheffield New Pop quartet The Crookes made their American debut at The Bowery Electric in New York City last Tuesday night, and let me just say that I would have hated to be either of the acts (Love Jupiter and Andrew James, for the record) who had to follow their early show. The Crookes’ energetic set lasted just under an hour, and the following acts simply couldn’t meet the exuberant energy they displayed. Even as I write this review, several days after the fact, The Crookes’ infectious songs are still enthusiastically twirling through my head.

The Crookes NYC 2013 1

If lead singer/bassist George Waite seemed slightly nervous on the night, he found a way to engage both the audience and his bandmates via his onstage interactions. The crowd response started out tentative and subdued as well (with the possible exception of yours truly: I dance at gigs, especially to songs as danceable as these), but a small group of hardcore fans helped to warm up the rest. The band wisely stayed close to the studio recordings of their songs, which helped the audience get comfortable with the more familiar tunes. By the time ‘American Girls’ appeared in the set list, the American girls (and boys) on the dance floor were clapping along with the beat, and more than a few fans sang along with the “oh-oh-oh-oh” chorus of ‘Afterglow’. The final song of the set ‘The Cooler King’ was played as a sort of encore, with the band in front of the stage among the audience, who sang, clapped, and harmonised right along with them.

The Crookes NYC 2013 2

I was amazed by how much guitarist/lyricist Daniel Hopewell looks like a very young Neil Finn (Crowded House), and his lyrics are similarly esoteric, by turns broodingly literary and demonstratively emotional. Indeed, if Crowded House were supposed to be the next Beatles, The Crookes could give them an anachronistic run for their money. Waite’s passionate, sensitive voice is the perfect instrument to interpret Hopewell’s lyrics. Guitarist Tom Dakin’s backing harmonies were a lovely surprise (not to mention his playing on those hooky guitar riffs), and Russell Bates’ unrestrained drumming kept my toes tapping and hips shaking throughout the show.

The Crookes NYC 2013 3

After the show, the band hung out in the bar, chatting with fans and selling a small collection of merchandise. Unfortunately, their merch didn’t include CDs, which would undoubtedly have sold, because their most recent album, ‘Hold Fast’ (reviewed by Mary here), hasn’t yet been released in America. American fans, stay tuned for that release on the 1st of October.

While not sounding exactly mainstream, The Crookes’ brand of bright, melodic guitar rock seems tailor-made for American radio. Their live performance on Tuesday night certainly added to the allure. By the end of the show, the frenetic energy of the performance had put The Crookes’ squeaky clean New Pop appearance, along with their audience, into a state of breathless disarray. These guys have some serious talent and some serious heartthrob potential. Lock up your daughters, America…

The Crookes NYC 2013 4

After the cut: the Crookes’ set list.
Continue reading Live Review: The Crookes at Bowery Electric, New York City – 17th September 2013

 
 
 

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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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