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Preview: Reading and Leeds 2014

 
By on Tuesday, 18th February 2014 at 9:00 am
 

Nigh on 100,000 beer-swilling under aged lads and louts in a field – coupled with loud music and flashing lights – sounds like a less than ideal scenario looking at it from that perspective. Flipside: some of the best bands in the world at the moment, playing their hearts out at the festival they all seem to have gone to as a kid.

Every band wants to pull a set that people will look back to and say one of two things: “Fuck, I was there”, or “fuck, I wish I was there”. Reading and Leeds Festivals (this year on the 22nd to the 24h of August) have produced some of the most memorable festival sets of the last decade – Them Crooked Vultures in 2009, Foo Fighters in 2012 and Biffy Clyro’s triumphant headline debut last year, just to name but a few. This festival delivers memories that last a lifetime – whether it’s hailing and raining sideways, or the kind of glorious sunshine which has you reaching for gallons of After Sun – Reading and Leeds are a staple of the British festival calendar.

This year is no different. Whilst Blink-182’s headline set in 2010 was hardly the kind of note perfect spectacle which you expect of acts like Arcade Fire, their set was an emotive, nostalgia-driven, fart joke-driven manifestation. The kind of blast through the hits you want at festivals like Reading and Leeds and with a new album on the horizon this year, we’re sure to be treated a Rock Show Like No Other.

Joining them at the top of the bill are Arctic Monkeys, fresh from a domination of the popular music charts in 2013 with their fifth album ‘AM’. Their Glastonbury set last year was a triumph from the 21st century’s finest likely lads: the set was dripping with hit after hit, hook after hook and the swagger of Turner just shows the frontman he has become. Another behemoth of a headliner.

Lower down on the bill there’s a veritable plethora of new and emerging talent, coupled with some more established stars. Picks of the bunch have to be new boys on the block, Royal Blood, who will also be appearing at SXSW 2014. Their material aired of late has hints of the bass groove you’d expect from a Queens of the Stone Age album, whilst some of the drum beats feel like pre-‘Origin of Symmetry’ Muse.

Whilst The Lock Up Stage is no more, Of Mice & Men will bring some metal to the proceedings. For the masses, there’s Radio 1 darlings and TGTF favourites The 1975 and 2013 Mercury Prize-nominated stars Disclosure. Throw into the mix Metronomy and take into account we still have another headliner to announce, alongside umpteen more acts lower down the bill, I know where I’ll be spending my August Bank Holiday. Simple.

Visit the official Reading and Leeds festival Web site here for more information on tickets and such.

 

Interview: Devon Portielje and Dylan Phillips of Half Moon Run at Reading 2013

 
By on Tuesday, 1st October 2013 at 11:00 am
 

On the most overcast afternoon of Reading 2013, as the sweaty mugginess drips off my nose mixing with the coagulated Gaymers ‘tache forming on my upper lip, I had the fortune of a brief chin-wag with Canadian alt-rockers Half Moon Run. At a rickety picnic table in the mysterious (it wasn’t, but I wish it was) guest area of Reading Festival I parked my bum opposite from two of the band, Devon Portielje and Dylan Phillips. Immediately they struck me as the uber-cool their music suggests they are, shades firmly wrapped around their heads, trendy vests donned – staring back at them they had me: a distended mess suffering from a lack of sleep, the effects of the night before and a serious lack of vitamin C.

Their reaction was to be polite and amicable as anything, a sign of true gents from across the pond if I’ve ever seen it. But I expected a kind of humility from this band, because of where they hail from – Canada, kind of like the USA’s less shouty and brash brother. [I’m trying not to take offence at this. – Ed.] Half Moon Run were typically the British’s view of Canadians, easy going and cool as finely diced cucumbers.

Did they seem out of their depth for a band making their bow at Reading, in their show on the Festival Republic Stage? The crowd was *almost* as packed out as it was for Radio 1 darlings the 1975, which is testament to just how well thought of Half Moon Run are in the UK. Whether that was because one of their songs has been used in the trailer for Assassin’s Creed Black Flag, which looks wicked cool, or for the fact that their inimitable brand of warbling harmonies has struck a chord with UK audiences already, it doesn’t matter. How do they feel about the reception they’ve received in the UK? Devon thinks it’s just great: “I think the audience in the UK have really warmed to us, which is nice as we were a bit nervous coming over here.”

What nerves, as they cruised through their eight song set and a triumphant version of ‘Call Me in the Afternoon’ which had every lyric shouted back from the crowd, to their immense finale of ‘She Wants To Know’. “We’ve been excited about Reading since we knew we were booked for it, as we know how special it is in the UK, and worldwide, it has a great reputation. I mean, doing Glastonbury was obviously very special too, because well IT’S GLASTONBURY! But to play Reading Festival so early on in our career is really, really special.”

After a recent tour with bonafide stars and now (somehow) Glastonbury headliners Mumford and Sons, this Canadian four-piece look set upon perhaps not the same path as the British country rockers, but one which could lead them on the same trajectory, perhaps at a more manageable rate? The boys certainly have their feet on the ground: “Touring with Mumford and Sons was one hell of an experience, coming out for the encore almost every night with them and playing in front of huge crowds like they do. Can we see ourselves doing something like that, one step at a time, please?”

 

Interview: Arcane Roots at Reading 2013

 
By on Monday, 23rd September 2013 at 11:00 am
 

To say Arcane Roots have only just hit the scene would be incredibly naïve. The arrival with ‘Blood and Chemistry’ in 2013 can only be likened in senses of arrival to the impending noise of a bomb whistling above your head and crashing down near you, with the sonic boom passing over you and sending your eardrums into overload. ‘Blood and Chemistry’ has to be described as their breakthrough, but for a band who have been around since 2005, the dues have most definitely been paid by the Kingston-on-Thames hailing three-piece.

I was lucky enough to watch the band at their most raucous and raw, when they played at Liverpool Sound City 2013 at Screenadelica. Our head photographer Martin Sharman, who up to then had been enjoying the acts from a distance, jumped headfirst into the undulating, sweating masses of writhing flesh who were enjoying the heaven for head-banging that was Arcane Roots’ set.

A few months on and they’ve conquered stadiums with titans of progressive rock, Muse and now Daryl Atkins and Adam Burton find themselves face to face with me, backstage at Reading Festival, following a chaotic set on the Lock Up/Rock Stage. Frontman Andrew Groves is busy attending to other media commitments, but that doesn’t keep him away for long.

With the Sunday performance being their first-ever show at Reading Festival it was obvious that drummer Atkins had thoroughly enjoyed the experience: “We played Leeds on Friday which was alright, but with Reading it seems like we are all really happy with it.” To anyone who had the privilege to watch their set, that answer will probably be met with a big shrug and a “well duh!” Why? Well you only had to look on the math-rocking threesome to see the Cheshire Cat-style grins creeping across their faces every time a circle pit opened up.

“It’s really good when people are passionate about our music, they go crazy and they get into it. You can only tell so much when you are on stage, what things sound like. I mean, you have a sort of monitor engineer and a house engineer and we brought our own front of house engineer who mixed the album and knows it well, so it sounded great.”

Bassist Burton chipped in with his perspective on how well the set went, in the tight confines of the Lock-Up, with limbs flailing in front of him: “As long as everyone is having a good time out front and they want to go crazy with the sun out and everything, then we’re going to have fun.”

Normally when you talk to a band after a triumphant Reading Festival set, the answer you’re inevitably given is that THIS was the festival they went to. A kind of Mecca for rockers, misfits and the men and women destined to grace the stages of the future? Not Arcane Roots though. “We’ve never been to the festival, never at all and everyone seems really surprised about it. In fact, the only major festival I’ve been to is the Isle of Wight Festival.” As an islander myself, I resist the urge to gush about proper sand, island life and sheep.

After explaining to the duo of Daryl and Adam that ‘Blood and Chemistry’ has effectively been the soundtrack to the last 2 months of my life, waking me up for those harsh breakfast shifts and delivering a sucker-punch to my eye ducts to remove the sleep dust during the commute to work- we’re joined by a splendidly-dressed Andrew Groves (the nicest man in rock, sorry Dave Grohl).

Andrew is resplendent in the gear he wears for the ‘Belief video’, which if you haven’t watched it yet, is Arcane Roots at their best. We reminisce about how I chatted with Andrew in May at the Great Escape 2013 for about half an hour about how the band’s name came about, how the album came together and why fish and chips in Brighton are fucking great, we move on to more important matters. Namely the burrito pedal, which Atkins explains: “Andrew was probably smiling so much on stage because he found the burrito pedal, which is a pedal for your rack which I’ve invented. You press it and then, WHOOSH out comes a burrito.”

The discussion quickly moves to the festival food of choice, a burrito, a pulled pork baguette? Suddenly I’m explaining to the band how I was watching Green Day on Friday covered in pulled pork and absolutely loving it. Slob rock, people, it’s the future.

Two weeks on from the festival ,and Arcane Roots as promised by the band on site have delivered a succulent headline tour to whet anyone’s appetite and after the experience of playing in stadiums with Muse has galvanised their sounds, can you imagine what the band will sound like in a small club, bar or venue?

Stop imagining. See you in November.

I’ll be in the pit.

 

Live Gig Video: watch Biffy Clyro’s entire headlining set at Reading 2013

 
By on Monday, 26th August 2013 at 4:00 pm
 

Wherever you were this bank holiday weekend, Reading or not, and maybe as long as you aren’t Trent Reznor busy throwing a hissy fit and being an ugly American, thanks to the BBC you can watch Biffy Clyro’s entire set from last night here. (As usual with BBC videos, it looks to be UK only, so apologies to anyone outside the UK.)

I haven’t actually talked to John yet but assume he’s alive and will be bringing you coverage of the sets and exclusive interviews here on TGTF shortly.

 

Preview: Reading and Leeds 2013

 
By on Friday, 30th November 2012 at 8:00 am
 

Now that we’re heading straight headfirst into winter, are you longing for those long summer days, with hopefully relatively dry conditions at your favourite music festival? It seems slightly mental to be talking about Reading and Leeds, but in case you haven’t heard, the tickets go on sale in 1 hour (9 AM) today, Friday 30 November. The festivals return August Bank Holiday, Friday the 23rd August to Sunday the 25th August 2013 at Richfield Avenue, Reading and Bramham Park, Leeds.

Already announced for the event are Californian band Deftones, who will headline the Main Stage, Mercury Prize-winning Cambridge alt band alt-J (pictured at top), who will headline the Radio1/NME Tent, and producer Sub Focus will headline the brand new BBC Radio1 Dance Stage. More bands will of course be announced in the coming weeks.

For the November/December presale only, 2013 tickets are frozen at 2012 prices, plus applicable booking fees: weekend tickets are £197.50, early entry permits are £15.00, campervan permits are £60.00 and lockers are £15.00. Don’t have all the cash right now? No worries: you can put £50.00 now to reserve your spot, with the rest to be paid in March 2013.

If you buy your full-price tickets now, you will be entered in a lucky draw from some pretty great prizes across both Reading and Leeds: 2 x VIP packages (including the chance to watch a band from the side of the Main Stage and five cases of Tuborg); 4 x Backstage tours, plus a Spotify premium account for 3 months and a Reading and Leeds t-Shirt; 10 Backstage tours; and 20 x Reading and Leeds merchandise bundles. Book now (or, er, get ready in an hour to book) to avoid disappointment!

 
 
 

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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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