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Great Escape 2013: Mary’s Day 3 Evening Roundup

 
By on Tuesday, 4th June 2013 at 2:00 pm
 

I’ve now done SXSW, Sound City and the Great Escape all in the same year, in both 2012 and 2013. Each comes with its own perks and challenges, but I think the one underlying thing that ties all three of these events together is the mental exhaustion, on top of the physical you already put your body through. Admittedly, I knew John and I had to leave the flat at 7 in the morning on Sunday to catch our trains to go back north (Sheffield for me, Lincoln for John), so that terrible thought weighed heavily on my mind while I tried to sort just how exactly I was going to work my Saturday night. Before I’d left America, I had grand plans to crisscross Brighton up and down on the final evening, but by the time I’d actually reached day 3 (and over two weeks in Britain), my mind was saying no way to that.

After getting shut out of the Zanzibar a fortnight earlier in Liverpool during Sound City, I made the conscious choice and made good on my promise to Matthew Healy of the 1975 that we would cover them at one of the two festivals in May. Directly before them on the CMJ-sponsored showcase bill at the Paganini Ballroom at the Old Ship Hotel were China Rats, who I’d seen at SXSW 2013 at the PRS for Music / Kilimanjaro showcase on Friday night with the Ruen Brothers and the Crookes, and Young Kato, who I’d written a Bands to Watch piece on last summer but had not seen live yet.

It sounds a bit textbook and far too easy to decide to stay in one place for nearly an entire evening, but it turned out to be the right decision in the long run for me, because as John described in his Saturday report, the place was later oversubscribed and full up with people that probably should not have been let in. This was pretty annoying, since I as editor was the one to make sure John was on the press guestlist for the Paginini Ballroom and I know it wasn’t the press office’s fault either. To be honest, I still feel very bad about John missing the 1975, because I’d seen them twice before and John still hadn’t. I offered to give up my spot and told John to tell the bouncer I was coming down if it meant he could come back up, but like the professional he is, John said no and decided to head up to the Dome to catch the fuss surrounding Bastille instead.

China Rats Great Escape live

I don’t know if they were feeling especially confident, or because it wasn’t so hot, or it had to do with playing in England. But China Rats looked and sounded 100x better in Brighton than they did in Austin. It wasn’t even the crowd so much that lent to this atmosphere; as you can probably guess, most people who had arrived early were primarily there to stake their places for the 1975, who were to be followed closely behind with late night programming of Tribes. No, there was just something about them that when they played, you could tell they meant business. ‘Nip It in the Bud’ was loud, raucous and just pure fun. The “ai yi yi yis” of ‘To Be Like I’ reminded of the early Beatles, and in an entirely good way.

Young Kato Great Escape live

Cheltenham sextet Young Kato look primed for Radio 1 exposure. Talking to other punters, I’m pretty sure no-one there had any idea who they were, so I knew they had their work cut out for them. To be honest, I was a little worried; they are all so young, how are they going to take it if the audience doesn’t like them? I shouldn’t have worried. Their single from last summer, ‘Drink, Dance, Play’, has a tribal beat-themed second half; it’s like they took the best bits of Bastille and put it into an indie pop song, which can only be a good thing, and the crowd just ate it up.

The anthemic ‘Lights’ is another great singalong, I’m seriously wondering why they haven’t been picked up for more airplay. I thought for such a young band, they sound remarkably polished and it was nice validation after hearing them on recording and writing a feature on them to discover that they’re excellent live. After watching them, I silently thanked myself for choosing the Paganini Ballroom for that night.

And then came the piece de resistance for the night, who everyone was waiting for, the 1975. Oh my. I already knew I was going to enjoy this, but I didn’t know how much I was going to enjoy it. They only played seven songs, but they had so much energy and the crowd assembled was so ready for this, there was only one way this could go: all the way up. The crowd jumped up and down to the infectious beats and you could feel the room literally shifting from side to side from all the bodies bouncing. I didn’t expect him to but Matt Healy did see me down the front during ‘Girls’ and smiled widely at me. He knew this performance was huge and they were having the times of their lives playing this grand ballroom. I’m sure it’s a moment they will always remember, and I was glad that I’d made a special effort to be there.

The 1975 Great Escape live

The only blemish was towards the end, when I felt a sudden breeze behind me. That’s not right; the ballroom is rammed and there was a massive wall of people behind me. What’s going on? I looked back to see that a circle of people had parted and backed off while two blokes, probably heavily intoxicated, were going at it with each other. Bouncers quickly got involved and it was clear both men were hot-headed, one of them giving the bouncer that was holding him a murderous look. Whoa. My first experience with violence at the Great Escape, and luckily, it looked like no one was seriously injured. It was a good thing it was over soon after that, as the crowd dispersed quickly once their set was over and I think everyone in there needed some air.

The City
Head.Cars.Bending
Milk
Chocolate
Girls
Sex
You and I

My last port of call for the Great Escape 2013 was to be all the way up the hill back towards the train station. I knew there was no way in hell I’d be able to leg it quickly enough to catch Teleman‘s set, so I flagged down a taxi driver to take me. Unfortunately I must have wasted at least 10 minutes yelling at the taxi driver because at first he refused to take me (grrrr). There was a taxi van in front of him, but it was full of a band’s gear and with my patience being tried, as nicely as I could I explained that the van was currently not in service. Finally, he let me in and drove me to the Green Door Store.

Then began the most infuriating moment for me at this year’s festival. I was desperate to see Teleman so I’d requested guestlist for the venue, figuring I’d have a better shot at this venue than some of the others. I get to security and tell the bloke there I’m on the press guestlist, and he decides to give me lip, claiming there is no guestlist. I hadn’t come all that way up to the Green Door Store to be denied entry. I insisted that I was on the guest list, I was press, and that was legitimately supposed to be there. Finally, he decides to pull out a ripped piece of paper out of his pocket, looks my name up, and what do you know, I’m on there and suddenly I’m allowed in. ::facepalm::

Not that this really did much good. Through the arguing with the taxi driver and the bouncer, I’d missed the first half of the set, and there was so much pushing and shoving inside the venue, I couldn’t get any closer to the stage than the brick archway leading into the main room. A funny moment was hearing someone say to their girlfriend, “can we get any closer?” and to turn and see it was Stephen Black of Sweet Baboo saying it; he’d played that same stage earlier in the evening We had a brief moment to say hello, so that was unexpected and nice.

I wasn’t a fan of all the pushing, especially from the very tall men with pints in their hands, obviously not caring that the group of girls I was with, all much shorter and unable to see anything, would have appreciated some graciousness. Occasionally, when punters would leave the main room and come back out through the archway, I could see the outlines of Tommy Sanders and band briefly. I could hear the notes of ‘Cristina’ but couldn’t really enjoy it. I recalled 2 years ago when I’d seen Pete and the Pirates up close in Islington’s Buffalo Bar a week before my birthday. One day, Teleman, I’ll see you up close and personal too. Just you wait.

The next morning, somehow John and I got out of our respective beds. I remember fighting my suitcase to get it shut so we could leave Brighton on time and make our connections in London. I nearly forgot my purse on the kitchen table. (Thank god we hadn’t dropped the keys through the letter slot yet.) But the Great Escape and our time in Brighton was over, and for me, it was time to switch gears…to be reunited with friends in Sheffield.

 

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.

 

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]

 

Live Review: The 1975 with PLOY at DC9, Washington DC – 30th March 2013

 
By on Monday, 8th April 2013 at 2:00 pm
 

“You guys are so loud, I can’t hear myself!” These were the words of Matthew Healy, frontman and lyricist of Manchester-based band The 1975 in front of a sold-out crowd on a recent Saturday night at Washington’s DC9. Grinning ear to ear when he said this, you just knew it was one of those moments that was sure to be remembered by him and his band.

As explained by Healy himself in this interview with me in their dressing room just hours before, just years before the band had only decided to release music and try to break out of their previous mode of just gigging and being popular on the local Manchester scene. Two big things have happened this year that have proven the decision was a good one: on the strength of their live performances at SXSW 2013, they became indie darlings in America overnight, while back home their lead single off their newest EP ‘Music for Cars’ cracked the top 40 UK singles chart. Not bad for a couple boys who previously preferred to write and skulk around in Healy’s darkened bedroom…

PLOY Washington live

We missed the first opener Midnight Faces as we were down U Street getting some drinks, but we arrived just in time to catch a full set by local electronic duo PLOY, made up of Gil Wojcik (bass / electronics) and Justin Victoria (vocals / synths / electronics). It could just be post-SXSW 2013 fallout and having seen so many great guitar bands that don’t use synths, but I’m having a hard time stomaching electronic-based acts. My friend who came along with me said, “I’m expecting to have Erasure coming out of their laptop”. We also commented on their song ‘X I X’ (read ‘Nineteen’) as a recent recollection, as they look like pretty young guys. (Sorry, we’re being snarky older women.)

Soulful pop crooning by Victoria was good if not exemplary, and I very much appreciated Wojcik breaking out a real live bass guitar to play at the proceedings because, let’s face it, even bass can be synthesised if that’s your intention. I can see them becoming fixtures at the U Street Music Hall dance nights if they play their cards right, as I can see that crowd lapping it up, but there weren’t any obvious standouts from their set.

The 1975 Washington live 1

As I commented to staff while I was watched The 1975 soundcheck at DC9, it’s been a very long time since a Manchester band has graced their stage. Nearly two and a half years, if my calculations are right. This tour was scheduled before SXSW, so there was no predicting how they would go down in Austin. Maybe the band themselves knew and had the confidence within themselves that it was perfect time for their close-up? Either way, the post-SXSW American tour ended up being a entirely triumphant one, with sold-out dates not only in DC but also in New York. And let’s face it, when you’ve captured the imagination of one of the two largest music cities in the U.S., you must be doing something right!

As I commented about having seen bands both in daytime and nighttime at SXSW, there was considerable excitement in me getting to see the band hold court in my hometown. Even better, this time, Adam Hann’s synthesiser was in full working order, compared to the Blah Blah Blah Science show I’d seen on the Wednesday at SXSW, which Healy explained in our interview was probably to do with their gear having been bounced around on the plane ride over. That night in DC, the band sounded, in a word, brilliant. I’ve heard good sets at DC9, and I’ve heard great sets. This was a great set: it was insanely energetic, as the band whipped the crowd into a dancing frenzy that became a huge singalong around their singles. Healy, revered by the Washington crowd to near god-like status by the second song they played, was even able to shush the crowd quiet enough to give us this solo rendition of ‘Woman’.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cc4NqOu250I[/youtube]

Rather hilariously, after he asked for quiet for ‘Woman’, a man shouted, “just as long you don’t forget ‘Sex’!” Healy, smiling broadly, replied with a suitable punchline: “who could forget about ‘Sex’?” Haha. Another source of humour for the night were two tall, young fanboys. Both were dressed in denim and seemed to be facing off to who was going to be the bigger 1975 fan for the night. It started as disconcerting – to be honest, I wasn’t sure if the two boys were totally pissed and would jump onstage and do something to cause the band or their instruments bodily harm – but with no such things happening, it was more so overwhelmingly gratifying for a music editor like who, to be honest, was quite concerned that every punter there besides a small handful would know any other song but ‘The City’. These two, plus many others in the club, knew all the words to every song that The 1975 have released to date. I know the melodies of all of them but even I don’t know the words by heart! This wasn’t lost on the band, as last Wednesday Healy gave us a shout-out on Zane Lowe’s Radio1 show as the most memorable of their American tour, even over SXSW. So there, Austin! To the last shouted “she’s got a boyfriend anyway!”, it was definitely the best time I’ve had IN A LONG TIME at a show in DC.

The 1975 Washington live 2

The band will be returning to America in June for a month-long tour as support for LA’s The Neighbourhood; Zane Lowe recently commented that “that’s a good-looking group of men on the road there”. But forget the good looks; The 1975 is a sure thing when it comes down to it and you’d be a fool not to catch them on tour before…well, just look what happened to Two Door Cinema Club.

After the cut: the 1975’s set list.
Continue reading Live Review: The 1975 with PLOY at DC9, Washington DC – 30th March 2013

 

Interview: Matthew Healy of the 1975 at DC9, Washington, DC

 
By on Friday, 5th April 2013 at 11:00 am
 

After The 1975‘s soundcheck at Washington club DC, I was able to nab frontman, singer, guitarist and lyricist (whew, that’s a mouthful!) Matthew Healy for a chat in their dressing room. We talked about how the band started, their many names they went through (there are a lot!), their SXSW experience and the 11 (yes, 11!) shows they played in Austin and much more. Listen to it below.

Matthew Healy of the 1975 30 March 2013 TGTF sm

 

SXSW 2013: Day 2 afternoon – British Music Embassy at Latitude 30 and Blah Blah Blah Science Party at Maggie Mae’s Rooftop – 12th March 2013

 
By on Monday, 25th March 2013 at 2:00 pm
 

Probably the greatest thing about SXSW is that nearly any time of day or night – or maybe any time before 11 AM – there is someone, somewhere gigging. The numerous day parties given by blogs, magazines, labels, PR companies and anyone else with the money and the get up and go to put on a show are often free and provide an entirely different atmosphere than the evening counterparts. I mean, seriously, where else can you see a show with wonderful sunshine framing the stage? And not to make you jealous or anything, but we had 5 straight days of perfect weather: around 30 C or above and not a cloud in the sky. Many day parties are free too, making it possible to see amazing bands for absolutely nothing if you don’t have the means to buy one of those expensive badges.

On Wednesday, the festival was already in full swing, which meant there was a whole host of great parties to drop in on. The British Music Embassy’s first full afternoon line-up beckoned, and I arrived just in time to miss the complimentary fish and chips (darn) but partake in the open bar (yes!). And then I was off to an interview in the afternoon sun with Adam Kane of Cave Painting, which you can listen to here.

Man Without Country SXSW

After the interview and a quick photo op with the whole band (see photo at top), I snuck back into Latitude 30 to learn if strobes work at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. I arrived just in time to catch the second half of a set by Southern Welsh electronic outfit Man Without Country. I liked what I was hearing – dense, complex soundscapes with an occasional guitar – but I wondered if it was just too early in the day, if people were still hungover from the night before, or if there had been insufficient alcohol flowing that Wednesday afternoon, but the crowd reaction was less than stellar.

Cave Painting SXSW

Next up was something I’d been waiting for for months. It was Cave Painting’s turn on the British Music Embassy stage. This year I noticed there was much more fog being used at Latitude 30, but of all the acts I saw on that stage, it was the Brighton band’s set that used it most effectively, making for a bewitching atmosphere that fit songs from their debut album ‘Votive Live’ perfectly. Singles ‘Leaf’ and ‘Gator’ were more beautiful live than I ever could have imagined.

Sadly though, instead of staying put and relaxing with friends old and new I’d been reunited with at Latitude 30, I had to depart – and miss NZCA/Lines – in attempt #2 to catch the 1975 at the Blah Blah Blah Science party at Maggie Mae’s Rooftop. Your worst enemy at SXSW is often the clock; I had hoped I could fit in the 1975 neatly before the reinvented Charlotte Church went on back at Latitude 30. (I’m still kind of gobsmacked that we saw Charlotte sat cross-legged on the sidewalk, doing her makeup in a handheld mirror. Talk about down to earth. )

Wildcat Wildcat SXSW

Unfortunately, this plan was soon dashed. The Blah Blah Blah Science party was running an hour late, and equipment and successful soundchecks were proving difficult for all bands, including the first band I eventually saw on the rooftop, Wildcat! Wildcat! I’m not sure what the great appeal of this band was to the SXSW crowd. I know I am cynical because I hear so much music, but the rock/electro formula made famous by MGMT is starting to get stale now. I’m not a fan of male falsettos, much less falsetto harmonies. And a repeated theme throughout the week was ill-advised covers, of which Wildcat! Wildcat! became involved with trying to do a reimagined ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World’ that Tears for Fear wouldn’t welcome. Sorry, but there is only one band – Dutch Uncles – that is allowed to cover that song. After they were done, I kept looking at my watch and getting anxious. When would the 1975 start already? There was something wrong with the adapters for their Macbook and synthesiser, so they would just have to go on without either of them. Groan. The synthesiser is a massive part of their sound…

The 1975 SXSW

However, I was buoyed by the number of punters crammed in on the rooftop to see this band, no doubt having heard the word around town that they’d killed it the night before at Huw Stephens’ UK Trade and Investment showcase (if you recall, that was the same appearance your fearless editor was stuck stood outside Latitude 30 with no hope of seeing anything from the window). Despite the technical difficulties, the 1975 looked ubercool, as a gentle breeze wafted through under the tent roof, tousling singer Matthew Healy’s hair and the band rocked out to ‘Chocolate’ and the audience-demanded ‘Sex’. Before I had to rush back to Latitude 30, I had a word with Matthew to “big up Manchester”, telling him we would be sure to catch them with their full equipment set up in DC on the 30th of March. Then I was off again.

After powwowing later in the week with new band, photographer and blogger friends, Charlotte Church was their biggest draw all week. And I missed her. Sigh. Nevertheless, I had headed back to the British Music Embassy to see a band I’d been wanting to see at last year’s Great Escape. In Brighton, I was thwarted on the third day of the Great Escape 2012 by their frontman being poorly, only to find out they’d been replaced at the Dome by Splashh. I am, of course, speaking of Sheffield’s Reverend and the Makers. There seems to be some weird disconnect with nearly every single British friend of mine who does not like this band; I don’t know how you could *not* like them. I love to dance and I love electropop, so the Rev and his crew fit me to a T.

Reverend and the Makers SXSW 1

Remember how I said that strobes didn’t work a couple hours earlier? Well, wipe that image out of your head because the crowd did a 180 when it came time for Reverend and the Makers. This was also my first encounter with a very energetic American bloke super dancer in a Hurts t-shirt who Jon McClure later in this set anointed as the best dancer in the club. (The same man later showed up at several other gigs I attended- it’s nice to know there are Americans who love British music and with such dedication as much as I do. British bands, take note: there are more of us from where I came from.)

Reverend and the Makers SXSW 2

Playing mostly from their third UK album and debut American album released this month, ‘@Reverend_Makers’, the band wowed, turning the British Music Embassy into an unlikely but an entirely enjoyable and hedonistic rave even before tea time. I can say without a doubt as an American that this was one of the most incredible shows I’ve ever been to. Equally chuffed with the American reception was McClure himself, who I nabbed after the set for a lovely chat. Listen to the interview here. It was only the second day of SXSW Music and I was already getting a delightful Northern – specifically Sheffield – vibe and I couldn’t have been happier. And that’s what SXSW is all about, isn’t it? Getting closer to the music that means so much to you in a way that you never imagined. Only the afternoon of day two, and I was already on cloud nine. You’re brilliant, SXSW.

 
 
 

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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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