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Preview: Live at Leeds Festival 2014

By on Friday, 2nd May 2014 at 1:00 pm

Live at Leeds is one of the most intense examples of one of the most intense of gig-going events: the one-dayer. Leeds boasts more than its fair share of fine venues, and Live at Leeds brings them together under one banner for 12 hours of fine new music. Your brave correspondent has attempted to listen to every one of the over 200 artists on offer – and failed. Therefore here’s a list of what stands out as a possible way to negotiate the myriad of combinations.

The Brudenell Social Club has a strong offer all day. We Were Evergreen (3 pm) trade in Parisian twee-pop blended with indie tunes: a fine, summery start. And after that, because the Brudenell has two stages, it’s one band after the other, every half hour. No time to even visit the bar. Dive In are from Glastonbury and offer chiming melodies and a voice uncannily similar to Brian Molko, if he was full of happy pills. Coasts have the nerve to call their latest single ‘A Rush Of Blood’ – and although there is a touch of Coldplay in some of their soaring choruses, they’re unlikely to be confused with the London behemoth: there’s a nice discordant solo in ‘Stay’, and ‘Wallow’ is almost like Bastille with big guitars. A mixed bag then, but certainly one worth assessing live.

Jarbird bring some admirably minimalist electronica overlaid with a lot of twisted, vocodered singing. And with a song called ‘More Bad Celebrity Poetry’ betraying a humourous cynicism, what’s not to like? Happyness, despite being from London, bring sunshine-on-a-string Americana – ‘It’s on You’ properly chugs like the Lemonheads, chock full of classic melodies and a college-rock slacker sensibility; ‘Montreal Rock Band Somewhere’ is a slow-burner, with a lazy bassline sketching out a groove and slurred vocals about drawing letters on one’s person. As you do. Woman’s Hour are a bit like a cross between Wild Beasts and The xx – which gives them a lot to live up to. They sound capable of it. With their debut album coming in July, now is a great time to check them out.

From smooth electropop to guitars – both Creases and Primitive Parts supply lo-fi riffing and retro rock ‘n’ roll beats. Primitive Parts clearly have one or two Graham Coxon records in their collection. Onwards: I can’t stop playing ‘Hiroshima’, a fine example of orchestral pop from Norway’s Highasakite. Ingrid Helene Håvik’s vocals are stunning, framed beautifully by the delicate instrumentation.

The 8 pm hour provides a dilemma – whether to make the 10-minute walk to The Packhorse to catch TGTF favourites The Orielles; perhaps a taxi ride to the Belgrave Music Hall to see the suave chamber delights of New York’s San Fermin, coming over all Tindersticks and Hem; or to stay at the Brudenell for an increasingly noisy night, kicking off with Montreal’s hard-riffing duo Solids. Indeed, the picture of where to be and what to hear becomes increasingly distant and hazy as the night draws in. Several hotly-tipped acts will have already been missed: Courtney Barnett, Flyte, Arthur Beatrice, and the headliners are either heavy-ish (Pulled Apart By Horses, Catfish And The Bottlemen (pictured at top), The Hold Steady), or poppy-ish (Clean Bandit, King Charles). Leeds’ very own I Like Trains set up a homecoming gig at Leeds Town Hall, celebrating 10 years in the biz.

In short, there’s something for everyone, and nobody can see everything, so it’s probably best to go with the flow and not worry too much about it. Or just spend all day at the Brudenell. See you there…


The Hold Steady / February 2011 UK/Irish Tour

By on Tuesday, 19th October 2010 at 9:00 am

The Hold Steady have announced four gigs in the new year, all in February. Tickets go on sale Friday (21 October) at 9 AM.

The band released their fifth album, ‘Heaven is Whenever’, last spring.

Friday 4th February 2011 – Southampton University
Saturday 5th February 2011 – Bristol O2 Academy
Sunday 6th February 2011 – Birmingham O2 Academy 2
Tuesday 8th February 2011 – Newcastle O2 Academy
Wednesday 9th February 2011 – Glasgow ABC1
Thursday 10th February 2011 – Dublin 02 Academy
Friday 11th February 2011 – Belfast Spring and Airbrake
Sunday 13th February 2011 – Manchester Ritz
Monday 14th February 2011 – Leeds Met Students Union
Tuesday 15th February 2011 – Norwich Waterfront
Thursday 17th February 2011 – Cambridge Junction
Friday 18th February 2010 – London O2 Shepherds Bush Empire


Preview: Glastonbury 2010

By on Friday, 23rd April 2010 at 12:00 pm

Surely I don’t need to explain to you what Glastonbury is – it’s simply LEGENDARY. Even as an American (though, admittedly, an Anglophile), every year I drool over the lineup, despair at not being able to attend and then scour the internet for pictures and videos when it’s over. Each summer, the enormous site at Worthy Farm (about a mile and a half in diameter) turns into a mini-city for the  largest greenfield festival in the world. Since the first Glasto was held 40 years ago in 1970, the festival has come to be known for its truly amazing lineup, and this year is no different.

One of the perks of being the biggest festival around is that you can get the biggest artists around. This year, the Pyramid Stage will be graced by some of the most recognizable names in music. On Friday night, Irish rockers U2 are headlining, with support from Dizzee Rascal, Vampire Weekend, Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson, and Corinne Bailey Rae. Saturday night sees headliner MUSE share the stage with the likes of Scissor Sisters, Shakira and Jackson Browne. And on the final night, legend Stevie Wonder tops the bill, closing out the festival after performances from Paloma Faith, Norah Jones, Jack Johnson and guitar legend Slash.

But it’s not only the main stage that’s worth visiting. Punters will get quite a workout running between that and the other 12 stages, of which the Other Stage, the John Peel Stage and the Park Stage look the most promising. Over the course of the weekend, the Other Stage lineup reads like the index page of NME: The Flaming Lips, Florence and the Machine, La Roux, Hot Chip, Phoenix, the Courteeners, the Cribs, Kate Nash, Editors, Two Door Cinema Club, LCD Soundsystem, MGMT, We Are Scientists, Temper Trap, the Hold Steady and more.

Originally called the “New Bands Tent,” the John Peel Stage features a mix of old and new favourites. Friday night sees Groove Armada share the stage with the likes of Mumford & Sons, Ellie Goulding and Bombay Bicycle Club. Saturday night is jam-packed with bands we’ve featured here on TGTF, like the xx, Foals, Marina and the Diamonds, Delphic, Wild Beasts and Field Music. And Sunday night remains epic with sets by Ash, Julian Casablancas and the Drums.

All the way across the site, the Park Stage will play host to buzz bands like the xx, Broken Bells, the Big Pink, Midlake, Laura Marling, Stornoway, Beach House, Frankie & the Heartstrings and Dirty Projectors, ending with a headlining set by Australian electronic duo Empire of the Sun on Sunday night. And at the risk of making your heads explode by listing even more bands, at the other stages festival-goers will be treated to performances by Mos Def, Phenomenal Handclap Band, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Turin Brakes, Imelda May, DJ Fatboy Slim, Crystal Castles, Good Shoes, Fanfarlo and Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip.

If you’re not already overwhelmed by the sheer massiveness of the festival, then you can click here to view the complete lineup. But if you don’t already have tickets for the sold out spectacular, then be warned, it will turn you green with envy.

Glastonbury 2010 is completely SOLD OUT. It will be held from Wednesday, 23rd June to Sunday, 27th June 2010 at Worthy Farm, Pilton.


Live Review: The Hold Steady and Iran at 9:30 Club, Washington DC – 29 August 2009

By on Thursday, 3rd September 2009 at 3:00 pm

My relationship – if it can be called that – with England’s fans of Brooklyn-based band the Hold Steady is a tenuous one. Back in May, I nearly missed getting stoned on the Dot to Dot Festival Facebook page for relaying a report from BBC 6music News that the band would be appearing at the Nottingham half of the festival, on 24 May. (Turned out this was later proved false. Yikes.)

Well you know, I missed them there too, so like some of you, I had not seen this band up close and personal yet either until they were scheduled to be in town for the last weekend of August. Saturday night was a warm-up gig for the band if you will for the next day, when the band would be playing the Virgin Mobile Free Fest (yes, sponsored by that Virgin behemoth company owned by ‘your’ Richard Branson) at Merriweather Post Pavilion (yes, where the name of the latest Animal Collective album came from).

The opening act for the night was Iran, a side project of TV on the Radio‘s Kyp Malone (who, by the way, was not present for his band’s gig because that other band of his was performing clear on the other side of the country, at San Francisco’s Outside Lands Festival this weekend). Iran play growly, experimental rock, and I’d venture that if you like the Hold Steady, you’d probably think they’re cool too. A set highlight was “Evil Summer”, a drum-driven song Iran singer Aaron Aites introduced as a song they did not play very often but had been requested the last time they played the 9:30.

p-holdsteady12You read about bands in the media but you’re never really prepared until you are face to face with them for the first time. (Everyone’s heard about wicked cool Franz Nicolay and his crazy moustache, right?) So that said, the Hold Steady looked nothing like I imagined they would. Frontman/guitarist Craig Finn looks like a computer geek – and I say that with the utmost respect, because my own brother is an actual computer geek. Finn looks so ‘guy-next-door’ that you would never imagine that he is a rock star. And yet he is…

n-holdsteady10Sporting a baby blue electric with a Grateful Dead teddy bear sticker on it, Finn could have channeled his inner Jerry Garcia – but didn’t. Instead, he led the Hold Steady tirelessly through a strong, 22-song set that spanned the band’s catalogue, smiling broadly and bouncing up and down like a Mexican jumping bean throughout as adoring fans turned the night into a massive singalong, their fists raised high in the air in excitement. At times I felt like he was smiling right at me, which was a little unnerving – perhaps the notepad I’d furiously scribble on between songs and the camera I trained on him and his posse were a dead giveaway that I was one of those ‘music journos’. I hope he agrees with what I’ve written.

‘Stay Positive’ was an obvious favourite, the crowd happily pogo-ing whilst singing along with Finn on the infectious “we gotta stay positive / oh oh oh” chorus. The adrenaline rush of hearing this performed live from the first time, compared to only previously hearing it on 6music through computer speakers, was pure pleasure.

So to anyone out there who has a ticket to the Hold Steady’s sold-out show at the 02 Islington Academy gig on 10th September – you’re in for a treat! The band will also make appearances at County Clare, Ireland’s Cois Fharraige Festival (12 September) and Salisbury’s End of the Road Festival (13 September) before returning to America later this month.

After the jump: setlist and photos.


Continue reading Live Review: The Hold Steady and Iran at 9:30 Club, Washington DC – 29 August 2009


The Hold Steady / September and October UK Tour

By on Wednesday, 23rd July 2008 at 1:05 pm

Brooklyn based five-piece The Hold Steady have announced a series of 8 shows for September and October around the UK.

Tickets are on sale now priced between £14 and £16.50 each.

Monday 29th September – Oxford Academy
Tuesday 30th September – Manchester Academy
Wednesday 1st October – Glasgow ABC
Thursday 2nd October – Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall
Saturday 4th October – Bristol University Anson Rooms
Sunday 5th October – Nottingham Rock City
Monday 6th October – Portsmouth Pyramids
Wednesday 8th October – London Roundhouse


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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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