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Liverpool Sound City 2013: John’s Day 1 Roundup

 
By on Monday, 13th May 2013 at 3:00 pm
 

Header photo by TGTF Head Photographer Martin Sharman

The weekend of sun, and brand spanking new music in Liverpool for Sound City was kicked off for me with somewhat of a whimper. The first band I stumbled upon were in the Academy of Arts, a local Liverpudlian band of rogues called Broken Men, who wouldn’t have looked amiss in their attire on the set of Pirates of the Caribbean. The tunes are solid, if a bit unspectacular and the band are not helped by the sound problems which dog the short set.

Their bearded frontman could do a little more to try and egg the crowd on instead of standing lazily affixed to his microphone, affixing his gaze firmly on the back of the venue. The raw materials of a good zest were there though, as musically they were tight and the tunes managed to attract some veneer of a crowd. A little more heart though, from these Broken Men, is needed next time. (6/10)

A stark change of scenery followed, as attention turned to the Cathedral, where Noah and the Whale were playing their headline set. Mary will give you her take on that portion of the night here.

To close the evening it was the turn of TGTF’s good friend Jon McClure, aka The Reverend, of Reverend and the Makers (pictured at top). Standing at a formidable 6’7” he strikes an imposing figure as he struts with ‘swag’ (bleugh, sorry I said that) across the Arts Academy stage with the venue swelling o capacity with music fans and local revellers all mixed in with each other.

Gone is the usual decorum of these gigs at festivals like Sound City and the pure lad rock excitement that a Reverend and the Makers gig brings comes over everyone who beholds it. As the reverend conducts his sermon from the alter every hit is busted out to a raucous reception, with the best saved for ballad-come rip-roarer ‘No Soap in a Dirty War’. Standout single Heavyweight Champion is, as expected, brilliant with McClure seeing the audience worked up into a frenzy of bouncing, bobbing bodies.

As the band leave the stage there is a genuine yearning for more from the crowd, they don’t want the man whose every word they’ve hung on for the last 90 minutes to leave the stage in front of them, and who can blame them. He may be abrasive and a bit rough on the edges, but the man emits charm in absolute swathes and as a live performer, he never disappoints. (9/10)

 

Liverpool Sound City 2013: Mary’s Day 1 Roundup

 
By on Monday, 13th May 2013 at 1:00 pm
 

As it happens on the Tuesday at SXSW, Thursday at Sound City could be said to be the ‘ease-in’ day of the 3-day festival, with less mental scheduling across Liverpool. Admittedly, I took the easy route compared to John and Martin, as you will read below. Howeveer, before we tried to do anything, we had TGTF tapas and drinks powwow, which ended up being pretty cool, as Reverend and the Makers were assembled at the next table over, and Jon McClure, having recognised me from SXSW, came over to say hello and give me a hug, after which I introduced him to John and Martin, John being a bit starstruck having seen the Rev and co. play at Guernsey Live years ago. I often say that SXSW is one of the best places I go to where I am bound to run into people I know, but when I’m in Britain for things like this, the probability quotient goes way up!

By the Sea Liverpool Sound City 2013

The TGTF crew then separated for the start of the festival evening. My first port of call was the Anglican Cathedral, a venue I’d not been able to visit last year for Sound City 2012. My first band of this year’s festival was the Wirral’s By the Sea. I was sort of expecting another MGMT retread with a band with a synthesiser, but what I got instead was more of a softer Bombay Bicycle Club with not so obvious keyboards. As a local band, it was great to see they had lads of local support. Maybe all they need is a little more oomph, more stage presence? Watch live video of the band performing fab single ‘Eveline’ below.

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

Noah and the Whale do not come over to America very often, or DC for that matter. So while to many of you it may seem odd that with TGTF’s indie-centric roots, we would pay attention to a band like theirs, who have already made great strides here in Britain, being part of the ‘folk pop is more mainstream’ movement. But they’re such a live rarity to me, I couldn’t not go. I’ve given some reviews of the festival a cursory glance, and several seem to make great pains to emphasise that they all expected this show in a church to be an acoustic one. Why would you ever think that? Have you ever seen this band live? Or recently? While the requisite Oriental rugs were wheeled and rolled out ontage, this was like any other Noah and the Whale gig I’ve been to. (All of two. I know. Depressing, isn’t it?) Rocking and full of life. (Granted, they did have a four piece, all-female string section that made a couple appearances in their set. But still. Come on!)

Liverpool Anglican Cathedral vicar

This portion of the show was prefaced by the cathedral’s own very jolly vicar coming out and saying a few words to the audience, starting with the mere fact that we should have expected a sermon, having come into a place of worship. He was quick to point out Noah and the whale pictured in the church’s stained glass windows (no surprise there, obviously), stating that it was as if the cathedral had been built and had been waiting for this moment for a long time. The vicar also didn’t miss a beat when a punter shouted, “religion sucks!”, to which he responded with a smile, “thank you!” (Snort.) Then the show was underway. As a nearby punter astutely pointed out, primary songwriter Charlie Fink seems to have a continuing preoccupation with the passage of time (see new song titles ‘Lifetime’ and ‘Now is Exactly the Time’, plus new single ‘There Will Come a Time’) and I’ve wondered if he’s still carrying a torch for former famous flame Laura Marling, as there are definitely wistful, nostalgic moments in their just released new album ‘Heart of Nowhere’ (reviewed here by Carrie).

Noah and the Whale Liverpool Sound City 2013

It’s tough selling a new album that most everyone hasn’t heard (well, I guess, unless you’re a cheeky / cheap pirate), so it’s no surprise songs from ‘Last Night on Earth’ (my favourite album of 2011) like ‘L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N’ and ‘Give It All Back’ along with perpetual crowd pleaser ‘5 Years’ Time'(turning into the evening’s loudest singalong) went over the best of all. Still, Noah and the Whale proved that they’re a fun band live and they can bring in loads of people to a venue, it’s just that fans will have to heard ‘Heart of Nowhere’ a couple times properly before they’ll get the right kind of crowd reaction they deserve. Watch ‘Blue Skies’ from ‘First Days of Spring’ and ‘Waiting for My Chance to Come’ from ‘Last Day on Earth’ below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhH1bS3IKTU[/youtube]

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

Noah and the Whale Set List:
Give a Little Love
Tonight’s the Kind of Night
Blue Skies
Heart of Nowhere
Waiting for My Chance to Come
Give It All Back
There Will Come a Time
All Through the Night
Love of an Orchestra
Old Joy
Now is Exactly the Time
Lifetime
5 Years’ Time
L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.
//
First Days of Spring

From the Anglican Cathedral, John and I left and moved swiftly eastward, following what looked like a mass exodus towards…the Zanzibar. In hindsight, we shouldn’t have bothered, but I thought, when in Liverpool, what the heck. Let’s see if we can blag our way in with our press passes. Who were we trying to see? The 1975, of course. Unfortunately, and as I had rightly predicted earlier in the day, the place was way too small for the crush of people who were trying to get in and as a result, well before we arrived, the Zanzibar was entirely rammed. There was a massive queue outside and even Martin couldn’t get in to see the band prior, Swim Deep. It was now one in, one out, and there was no chance in hell we were getting in. Luckily though, I had a contingency plan, and John and I headed to Wolstenholme Square.

As we approached the Arts Academy, I could have sworn it was a very loud PA system blaring a song that I recalled hearing on Lammo’s drivetime show on 6music. As we stood outside on the cobblestones, I noted it was so loud and distinct, I was sure it was a recording. Hmm, that’s sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Haha. It turned out we had arrived just in time for the end of Manchester’s Findlay wrapping up her set with the soulful words of ‘Your Sister’.

No, I wasn’t there for her. I had purposely brought John over to sell him further on the Reverend and the Makers’ live set. Having seen them at this year’s SXSW and been absolutely bowled over by the performance, I was positive this would be the set that would make us forget that we ever considered trying to get into the 1975 gig. And funnily enough, Jon McClure hilariously alluded to that other show happening at the same time, with comments that can’t be reprinted in a family newspaper. No matter. Everyone who was in the Arts Academy for the Rev was in good spirits, most probably hopped up on too much alcohol and was in the mood to party. Those of you who have met me know I’m small and that’s why I always queue early for gigs because I actually want to see the stage! So we started out down the front but an overexcited Liverpudlian bloke in a military jacket pushed me from the barrier and proceeded to slam his arm into my head so many times, I backed off from the barrier. Moshing was the order of the night and I was so thankful John, who towers over most other men and can puff himself up to tell others to back off, had my back. Thanks, John!

I was struck by how different this show in the UK was to the ones I saw at SXSW; totally mental, with the punters eating up every quip of McClure’s, such as how if he ever left Sheffield, he’d move to Liverpool in an instant. And would they have him? Did he even need to ask? ‘Heavyweight Champion of the World’ fit perfectly alongside newer ‘The Wrestler’, and Also very funny was when McClure tried to do a tender version of ‘Sex with the Ex’, with just guitarist Ed Cosens accompanying him, were all the girls and boys yelling at him. The boys just wanted to egg him on; the girls wanted desperately for him to follow them on Twitter. (Oh, social media…) It capped off a nearly perfect evening, and the first in a 3-week holiday for me.

 

Quickfire Questions #44: Tim Digby-Bell of Duologue

 
By on Tuesday, 30th April 2013 at 4:15 pm
 

Tim Digby-Bell, the frontmand of London group Duologue, kindly answered our TGTF Quickfire Questions ahead of what will be an exciting week for them. The band appear at the Arts Academy on Friday night (err, early Saturday morning) at this year’s Liverpool Sound City at 1:30 AM.

What song is your earliest musical memory?
‘Scarborough Fair’, I used to sing it to my brother when he cried. Still do, actually.

What was your favourite song as a child?
‘Happy Birthday’.

What song makes you laugh?
Tom Waits, ‘Frank’s Wild Years’: Frank settled down in the valley and he hung his wild years on a nail that he drove through his wife’s forehead”.

What song makes you cry?
Bon Iver, ‘Holocene’ (video here).

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.)
My first kiss ever was to ‘Kiss’ by Prince.

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.)
Pretty much every song by the Black Eyed Peas makes me feel this way.

Which song (any song written in the last century) do you wish you’d written yourself?
Steve Reich, ‘Music for 18 Musicians’. Might as well dream big.

Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
I think my favourite writer would have to be Samuel Beckett. Musically, probably Nick Drake.

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
Struggling playwright.

If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why? (Sorry, but double albums do not count.)
I don’t believe in God or Heaven so this is tricky but if I had to live with one album for the rest of my life, I think it would be by Frank Sinatra, as he makes me feel happy.

Thank you for your help answering these QQs. And thanks also to Ellie for making this possible!

 

Video of the Moment #1194: Duologue

 
By on Sunday, 28th April 2013 at 6:00 pm
 

London’s Duologue have a great new video for their song ‘Cut & Run’, and I love it: it’s their tour diary of their time at SXSW 2013, and it brings back so many wonderful memories for me. (See that Blackheart emblem? I saw them there!) Watch it below.

The band will be performing at both Liverpool Sound City and the Great Escape next month.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeziZZh1YC8[/youtube]

 

Video of the Moment #1190: The 1975

 
By on Friday, 26th April 2013 at 6:00 pm
 

It’s been a stellar year so far for Manchester’s The 1975, and this re-released version of ‘The City’, is to appear on the ‘IV’ EP available on the 20th of May. So it makes sense that they would record a new video, one that looks miles different than the one we posted in my Bands to Watch feature on them in July 2012 but maintains the dramaticism that frontman Matthew Healy explained in my interview with him DC last month. Watch the video below.

The band will be appearing at both Liverpool Sound City and the Great Escape in May.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6Y2FVD5JVw[/youtube]

 

Video of the Moment #1188: Dutch Uncles

 
By on Wednesday, 24th April 2013 at 6:00 pm
 

Marple’s Dutch Uncles never do anything by the book. That includes their latest video for ‘Bellio’, off their January 2013-released album ‘Out of Touch in the Wild’ (it’s great; read the review here). It’s a biologist’s dream. Including this one. Watch it below.

Catch the band on tour in the UK in May, including a stop on the Friday night at Liverpool Sound City (the Garage).

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uozB2b5wX9s[/youtube]

Wednesday 1st May 2013 – Nottingham Spanky Van Dykes
Thursday 2 May 2013 – London Scala (16+)
Friday 3 May 2013 – Liverpool Sound City (The Garage)
Saturday 4th May 2013 – Leeds Live at Leeds (Leeds Uni Stylus)
Sunday 5th May 2013 – Edinburgh Big Day In (Electric Circus)
Tuesday 21st May 2013 – York Fibbers (14+)
Wednesday 22nd May 2013 – Cambridge Portland Arms
Thursday 23rd May 2013 – Bristol Fleece (all ages, under 16s accompanied by adult)
Friday 24th May 2013 – Southampton Joiners (14+)
Saturday 25th May 2013 – Norwich Waterfront (14+)
Sunday 26th May 2013 – Leicester Handmade Festival (Firebug)

 
 
 

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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.

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