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Split Festival 2011 Roundup

By on Monday, 3rd October 2011 at 2:00 pm

Each festival is defined by its terroir: the land on which it takes place that gives it its atmosphere and reason for being. Where would Glastonbury be without its mythical rumours of ley lines and King Arthur, for instance? At first glance, the city centre of Sunderland wouldn’t be considered prime real estate by festival goers. But Split Festival have found a very accommodating venue in Ashbrooke Sports Club, a cricket and rugby venue with a proud tradition of sport, and a rather fine clubhouse, which is given over for a weekend a year to all manner of musical, comedic and gourmet endeavours. Some of the rugby team even double up as security.

Inevitably a festival on a tiny scale, there’s one large tent, a ‘fringe’ tent, and a food tent, laden with all sorts of edible goodies. The clubhouse is off-limits for regular punters, being reserved for staff, performers and press – and the regular sporting participants and their families, who continue to absorb their rugby league and Premiership football in the bar, even as the racket emanates from the tent below, whilst many a music fan’s Adidas wreak their havoc on the previously hallowed cricket outfield.

Sunderland clearly deserves its own festival; even though there are big national and international names on the bill, the roll-call of local talent is rather impressive, with Saturday’s Vinyl Jacket, B>E>A>K, Beth Jeans Houghton and Little Comets holding up the North-East corner. Beth Orton played a superb, brave solo set in the fringe tent, proving that even shorn of instrumentation, her songs still hold the power to captivate. The Rifles somehow manage to sound like an indie Madness, which is no bad thing when you get your head round it.

The Mystery Jets’ epic, thoughtful set is well-received, Blaine Harrison managing to deliver plenty of excitement despite being sat down throughout the set. The Drums bring a touch of flouncy transatlantic glamour to the affair – sticking to their new material, the set is tense, sparsely arranged, aloof. Something of an acquired taste, and not the most likely choice to bring a crowd to an excited climax on the end of day one, but certainly a class act. (Further, I got a chance to chat with them; you can read my interview with them here.)

On Sunday (day two), Hyde and Beast continue their meteoric ascent with a note-perfect rendition of the best bits of recent album ‘Slow Down’ (review here). Unsurprisingly popular, with the sprinkling of Futureheads in the line-up, the crowd give a justified warm welcome to the downtempo, subtle psychedelia. The only festival I can remember that actually runs ahead of time, Ganglians are off almost as soon as they are supposed to have begun, looking nonplussed about the whole affair.
Dinosaur Pile-Up’s stripped-down, Ash-on-steroids set is slightly incongruous in the late summer sunshine, and there’s a feeling of killing time until the utterly wonderful Frankie and the Heartstrings take the stage.

Arguably the biggest band in Sunderland at present, a truly deserved accolade, practically every song sounds like a hit single, with plenty of that jerky, assertive rhythm that distinguishes a Sunderland band. Frankie himself is a classic frontman, throwing shapes with abandon, the crowd enthralled. An apparently unplanned power cut in the last song couldn’t have been better timed, Frankie whipping the audience into a frenzied chant of “Sunderland!” in the darkness, until persuaded to leave the stage minutes later by a bouncer who himself couldn’t help but hold his fist aloft, proud as punch. Every festival has its ecstatic moment which sums up all that is special about the weekend. This was Split’s.

After such a strong set, the Charlatans had a tough job, and they sort of got away with it by dint of being a professional, well-rehearsed unit, with a popular body of work behind them. Great for fans, but missing something of the connection of the previous act. And after all that, it’s a short hop home. Festivals in cities are something of a rarity, but there’s something to be said for good transport links, and being in bed in time for getting up for work on Monday morning. On this showing, Split 2012 should be an unmissable event.


The Rifles / October 2009 UK and Ireland Tour

By on Monday, 15th June 2009 at 8:00 am

The Rifles have recently had quite a busy time – their second album went top 10 on iTunes, they’ve had sell-out shows at Shepherd?s Bush Empire, The Roundhouse, Brixton Academy and a sold out German tour. So it’s no surprise that they’ve gone and announced a pretty sizeable October UK Tour.

Tickets are on sale now, priced at £12.50 for all dates except London which is £16, Dublin which is €13 and Belfast which is £10.25

Thursday 15th October 2009 – Leeds Met Academy (See Tickets)
Friday 16th October 2009 – Newcastle O2 Academy (Ticketweb, See Tickets)
Sunday 18th October 2009 – Liverpool O2 Academy (Ticketweb)
Monday 19th October 2009 – Coventry Kasbah (See Tickets)
Tuesday 20th October 2009 – Belfast Speakeasy (Ticketmaster)
Wednesday 21st October 2009 – Dublin Academy 2 (Ticketmaster)
Friday 23rd October 2009 – London Coronet (Ticketweb, See Tickets)


Album Review: The Rifles – Great Escape

By on Tuesday, 3rd March 2009 at 1:00 pm

untitledRecently, the long awaited second album from The Rifles hit the shelves and since the Great Escape was available to buy, its been making awesome progress. 11 top quality tracks make up the record and every single one of them is easy to imagine on the radio. According to their myspace, the band are Rock/Punk/Ska in style but it’s hard to find a band more indie than these guys. Although NME slagged the group off, they’re more than just a decent band. Their sound has a true cult feel to it and is not too dissimilar to Hard-Fi.

After listening to Great Escape you’d be forgiven for humming one of the anthems for a few weeks as the contagious effect of this record should come with a warning. The album starts with a bang, as most records do, but “Science In Violence” has the punchy guitar chords, crashing symbols and catchy vocal chants. For me however, the best track on the album is “Toe Rag” which sounds just like a Rakes tune. Although it is a bit more mellow and slower than other tracks, it progresses nicely and builds with attitude and feeling with every second. Probably the most infectious tune on the album is “Fall To Sorrow” which has chants that give it anthem status but “The Great Escape” is a close contender.

The Rifles seem to get a lot of stick for no particular reason and crowd followers haven’t helped them. However, Great Escape is one of my albums of the year as every track is a solid addition to any music collection.


Daily Roundup: Sunday 15th February 2009

By on Sunday, 15th February 2009 at 5:58 pm

Busy times at the moment, lots of irons in the fire, lots of stuff coming up.

First up, you’ve probably heard about The Maccabees (pictured top) return, thanks to all the exposure they’ve been having on the likes of Radio 1 and XFM recently. I quite liked their debut, Colour It In, with its interesting tales – a sort of poor man’s Wombats. They’ve made a free download available, No Kind Words, however I must admit that I really really dislike it from what I hear. It’s boring, it’s repetitive and most of all, it’s just plain dreary.

MP3: The Maccabees – No Kind Words

Jamie T (side)Following on from the Maccabees, Jamie T (pictured right) has made a new track available on his Myspace page. It’s only a demo, called “Fire Fire”, however after the aceness of “Sheila” and “Calm Down Dearest” it’s a bit of a let down – overly distorted, and, well, just not that great. Still, it is only a demo, so it might get better.

On the happier end of things, Winston over at Winston’s Zen interviewed The Rifles’ Joel Stoker the other day, and is giving his readers the chance to win one of three copies of The Rifles’ amazing new album. Pop over there before Tuesday to enter and hopefully win!

We’ve mentioned Esser before here at TGTF, however we’ve never really listened to his tunes before. Just been sent a remix of his new single, Work It Out (video below), and it sounds amazing. Download and enjoy.

MP3: Esser – Work it Out (A1 Bassline Remix)



The Rifles / March UK Tour

By on Tuesday, 15th January 2008 at 9:47 pm

The RiflesI may dislike their music with a passion, but that doesn’t stop The Rifles announcing a new campaign of shows in February.

Tickets are on sale now from the usual culprits, priced at £11 for all dates except London, which is £13.50.

Tuesday 18th March – Leeds Cockpit
Wednesday 19th March – Dundee Fat Sams
Thursday 20th March – Newcastle Academy
Friday 21st March (Good Friday) – Liverpool Barfly
Tuesday 25th March – Exeter The Phoenix
Wednesday 26th March – Cardiff The Point
Thursday 27th March – Oxford Academy
Friday 28th March – London Forum


About Us

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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