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Great Escape 2012: Day 1 Evening Roundup – 10th May 2012

By on Friday, 25th May 2012 at 2:00 pm

For some reason, my phone refused to let me subscribe to the Great Escape text service, and without adequate O2 coverage, I hadn’t had a chance in hell to load the official festival app. In hindsight, either of these may have informed me that the entire Island Records showcase at the Loft featuring Lower Than Atlantis, King Charles (my main interest in this stage, after Tom’s hilarious phone interview with the man) and Tribes had been cancelled. But as I learned over this weekend, it pays to have a plan B. And a plan C and D if you can manage it.

The next closest venue with a band I wanted to see was the Haunt, with Pixie Geldof’s band Violet. During my entire time in Brighton I had nothing but good encounters with punters, except for at this venue. It was supposed to be Avalanche City onstage when I arrived at the venue but seeing that I couldn’t see nor hear very well what was happening up front, I gingerly made my way forward in an attempt to get closer to take at least one photo.

Having been inconvenienced with light shoving and pats on the back indicating someone wanted to go past me in a club for nearly all of my adult life, I was taken aback by one punter’s admittedly semi-drunk but all the same nasty complaint, “are you going to stand there all night?” If you were wondering, there were large spaces in front and back of him (he was standing by the bar) and I had hoped that standing in front of him would encourage him to move back a bit to allow me to get a decent line of sight. Fat chance. What’s even stupider was he left right after the band finished. As the saying goes, “it takes a lot more effort to be nasty than to be nice”, and after having one preferred showcase cancelled that night, I was feeling a bit grumpy and I didn’t need further aggravation.

As the sea of festival-goers parted, I made my way to the front to situate myself in a good position to photograph. Good thing I did this early: who knows if it’s because she’s Bob Geldof’s daughter or people actually wanted to see if she was any good, but I witnessed the largest assemblage of photographers seeing Violet, so much it felt more like a flurry of paparazzi with the continual bursts of flash than a meet-up of run of the mill gig photographers. Whatever happened to, “first three songs, no flash”? Even I observe those rules. Grumble. Thank goodness most of them left after the first three songs; you can tell who’s there for merely professional and not actual music-loving reasons because they bolt even before the third song in is finished.

I suppose I’ve benefited from not having grown up with gossip about Geldof’s daughters and their lives, so I went into this with no personal opinion of her and the knowledge that Luke had seen her at a Guardian New Band of the Day show in April and said she was pretty good. If you were wondering, the girl’s got chops and has a spectacular voice. She opened her set with the single ‘Y.O.U.’, a slow-burning, sultry number, but it’s songs like ‘What You Gave Me’ (video below) that exhibit the soulfulness of Pixie’s voice. Given time and more experience, I think she could become one of the most compelling voices of her generation.

She exudes the sexiness of Marilyn Monroe, yet dressing demurely in a white top and an iridescent long (and not short – shocking!) skirt, indicating respect to both the festival and her audience. Like many of the random revelers I’d see over my time in Brighton, she could have worn a skimpy clubber’s type outfit – one that would have been spread round the internet like wildfire – and yet she didn’t’. It’s a shame in this case that most people will probably not bother to listen to her, thinking that she must only be getting the limelight because of her family. And if you are one of those types, you’re doing yourself a grave disservice. Forget who her father is and follow the talent. Good on her.


One band that was on everyone’s lips all weekend was Niki and the Dove, who were scheduled to play at Horatio’s on Brighton Pier at a NME-sponsored showcase. (Note: they ended up cancelling their appearance at Liverpool Sound City due to illness, so I never got a chance to see them. Which is okay because I’m not really a fan of their sound based on the recordings I’ve heard.) Friends, an equally hot commodity but has always sounded to me too much like a Phenomenal Handclap Band imitator, were slated to perform before them. However, I’d been advised by long-time Great Escape gig-goers that if I planned to making the trip down the pier, I’d never get back up the hill in time for anything else. Seeing that it was still raining, and the wind had now picked up, the idea of standing on Brighton Pier, especially in a long delegates queue, wasn’t at all appealing. From debriefings from fellow bloggers, it sounds like I missed a great show. But you’ve got to make tough choices sometime…

Thanks to not being able to check my email, I completely missed the confirmation on Maximo Park press passes for their performance at the Dome, so I decided to switch gears again and head to Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar for New Look, followed by the guys I’d serendipitously seen earlier, Zulu Winter. New Look, not to be confused with the high street womens’ clothing shop, is a Toronto husband and wife team who make an engaging brand of electropop. In the currently crowded electronic market, they came up with their own genre, ‘futurepop’, which incorporates unashamed ‘80s synth stylings (can you say ‘keytar’?) with r&b and dubstep. Interestingly, I saw quite a few couples watching the couple onstage, dressed in matching outfits of white dress shirts and black trousers, grooving with their loved ones to the good beats. Verdict: while they sound pretty good, they risk being forgettable.

Zulu Winter followed shortly thereafter. I should probably mention here that Sticky Mike’s performance space is a basement with badly placed support poles and a low ceiling. Not only is it difficult to see if you’re standing in the wrong place, it’s quite claustrophobic and I can’t even imagine being down there if you’re very tall. The stage is also pretty small; Zulu Winter comprises five band members and keyboardist Dom and his many synths had to be placed off the stage because there wasn’t enough room for all of them. That said, if you’re up front like I was, there is no problem. I’m sure singer Will Daunt will never forget this performance, as a large Norwegian made his presence known by shouting, rather annoyingly I might add, for ‘Silver Tongue’ about 3 times between every song.

Considering they hadn’t even released their debut ‘Language’ yet (it was due to be out on PIAS the following Monday the 14th of May), they played a fun, energetic and well-received set that was not at all hampered by bassist Iain Lock’s foot injury, forcing him to get and off stage on crutches. What a trooper. Below is the opening song of their set, ‘Key to My Heart’. (If you’re wondering, the crazy Norwegian’s hooting can be heard at the end of the video.) Keep an eye on these guys; if the album does well, they could be the next big British indie pop band.


Part of the original plan was to see Mystery Jets at the Corn Exchange, so I trudged back up the hill with renewed purpose. When I inquired about the delegates queue, I was told sternly, “there’s only one line [for everyone, with wristbands or badges]. And it’s one in, one out.” I pressed further on why oh why there wasn’t a delegates queue, I was met with stony silence. I saw the queue going around the building and down the block past the Dome. Not getting in there then. I got into the queue for the Pavilion Theatre in an attempt to get in for Django Django and found myself directly in front of Mike Bradford of the Recommender (it’s amazing how many times you accidentally run into everyone at this festival!), who asked staff what the probability of us getting into the venue that night was. It wasn’t looking good. Instead of getting frustrated, Mike suggested we head down to Sticky Mike’s to round off our evening with some drinks, followed by a performance by White Arrows. If a fellow blogger recommends it, you can’t turn it down.

Oh, White Arrows. The lead guitarist looked stoned as he clicked his pair of claves together. I guess that’s okay, considering “the blackest ‘white’ band”, described by the Owl Mag as making a “psychostropical” sound, were throwing down very tropical yet electronic and funky beats. ‘Coming and Going’ is a good example as any of their jangly guitars paired with a danceable and powerful backbeat. Was it really past 1 AM? Didn’t feel like it.


2 AM is probably a good time for bed but somehow I found myself at the very crowded Queens Hotel lobby, surrounded by loud and pissed delegates from all over. Having not eaten anything solid since the afternoon, I also was the proud holder of a large cone of fish and chips procured from the boardwalk, Despite getting frosty looks from hotel security for having brought outside food in, I shared my fish with a very hungry CMU rep who was grateful for some food. That was my attempt to solidify American and English relations for the evening. I said goodbye to my new friends and tucked myself into bed at about, oh, 4 AM? 4 hours of sleep ahead of me? Eep. Well, it’s like Blaine Harrison says in the Mystery Jets song ‘Dreaming of Another World’: “sleep is for the dead”. Right?


(SXSW 2012 flavoured!) Video of the Moment #735: Tribes

By on Tuesday, 13th March 2012 at 6:00 pm

Tribes‘ debut album ‘Baby’ is just getting its stateside release today, but we’ve got the new video for ‘Corner of an English Field’ by the band for you this evening. Part tour slapstick, part live cuts, it’s a nice visual for those who think the song is a bit of a snooze. (I’m definitely not in that group; I think the song is just lovely.)

The band will be at SXSW this week but they’ve got a massive April/May UK tour lined up; all the gig details are here.


Live Review: NME Awards Tour Featuring Two Door Cinema Club, Metronomy, Tribes and Azealia Banks at Newcastle Academy – 10th February 2012

By on Monday, 13th February 2012 at 2:00 pm

Although the NME Awards Tour’s main purpose is to publicise the NME Awards themselves, with which this tour climaxes on 29 February, it is also a showcase for acts which the NME considers worthy summarisers of the state of the nation’s contemporary music scene. Looking back over the years, the Tour has had more than its fair share of fertile years, roughly every five attempts having a really standout lineup (2000, 2005, 2009); and surprisingly few misses – Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong, anyone?

Despite the copious amounts of alcohol being sloshed around the venue, tonight’s sell-out is rife with actual children, as evidenced by the army of doting parents who appear at the end of the gig clutching warm coats and offering secure taxi rides home, all the better for their delicate offspring to be tucked up in bed with hot cocoa before the witching hour. As a result of the child-friendly schedule, BBC Sound of 2012 third place winner Azealia Banks has come and gone before TGTF arrives at 8 PM; the only clue to the contents of the NYC rapper’s set are the T-shirts on sale at the back of the venue, emblazoned with the logo “I Guess That Kunt Gettin’ Eaten”. Let’s hope no young minds were corrupted: you don’t hear that sort of language on Coronation Street.

Tribes win tonight’s award for band most likely to become a Bon Jovi tribute act. They’re most of the way there: lead singer Johnny Lloyd’s voice is already capable of a convincing impression of the poodle-haired New Jersey rocker. This is frankly their only virtue, judging by the trite songwriting and bland rock-by-numbers musicianship on offer tonight. Vapid lyrical themes abound: “Hello stranger, you’re just like me / We were children in the mid-’90s” (that line is not going to age well), and a song declared to be about coming of age… imaginatively titled ‘Coming Of Age’. There’s a mid-tempo balla-dy thing in the middle of the set which progresses exactly how you would expect: quiet acoustic guitar, band kick in with distorted guitars halfway through, big ending. Granted, maybe every year needs its rock pretenders, but Tribes are neither original nor engaging – any Nirvana comparisons are laughably optimistic. As befits a band hailing from Camden, there’s nothing ramshackle or scabrous here, it’s all polished, lowest common denominator stuff – radio-friendly unit shifters, to coin a phrase. C’est Bon, mais ce n’est pas bon.

Thankfully, Metronomy (pictured at top) bring some instruments that aren’t of the six-stringed variety and songs that are based on more than a handful of repeated root chords. Their gimmick being the large remotely-controlled light beacon each member hangs around their neck, which flashes in time with the music, tonight they come across as if the cast of The IT Crowd got together out of hours to play a few tunes. Live, the subtlety of Mercury-nominated ‘The English Riviera’ is subdued, the emphasis on amplifying the pastoral electronic funk which forms the backbone to their sound. Which is still pretty pleasing stuff: despite a slow start, the set warms up nicely; there’s a fine version of ‘Corinne’, ‘The Look’ reveals itself to be a far meatier prospect than on record, and a surprisingly heavy pseudo-dubstep instrumental wraps things up. Not quite to everyone’s taste, but enjoyable nonetheless.

And finally, after all the preamble, navigating sticky floors, and avoiding spilling beer on a small child’s head, here is the main event: the young Northern Irish bucks who make up Two Door Cinema Club. They are treated to the fullest light show that modern science can muster, and they deliver, completely and comprehensively. Like an art college Arctic Monkeys studying Nietzsche, their driving, off-beat rhythms, chiming and insistent lead guitar work and impressively powerful vocals from Alex Trimble appeal to the wide-eyed fresher’s week debutant in all of us. Certainly the impassioned screams to which they take the stage bear comparison with 1964-era Beatlemania. No mean feat.

With only one released album, most material is drawn from debut ‘Tourist History’, although we are treated to a newly-recorded track called ‘Handshake’. It’s more of the same: Caribbean-influenced drums, the complex interplay of rhythm and lead guitars, and some seriously heavy bass work from the temporarily-hobbled Kevin Baird, but none the worse for that. There’s something inscrutably familiar in their sound, but in the same way that most good things appear as if they have existed forever, this is no bad thing. Trimble is just the ticket with his ginger quiff and constantly-rotating plethora of delectable guitars, and the whole band simply hang together with the impression they were born to do this. TGTF is collared by a pair of excited young ladies who notice the camera and notebook; “Make sure you say it’s good!” they insist… there’s little chance of anyone here tonight thinking otherwise.

Only time will determine whether this year’s NME Awards Tour has succeeded in showcasing bands who have the best of their career ahead of them – Metronomy may have already peaked, and the less heard of Tribes the better – but Two Door Cinema Club could very well leap onto the pages of history with their second album. It would be nice if they last long enough for their legions of young followers to be allowed into a gig without needing their parents’ consent.


Tribes / April and May 2012 UK/Irish Tour

By on Monday, 6th February 2012 at 9:00 am

Tribes will be touring the UK and Ireland in April and May. Tickets are on sale now.

Saturday 21st April 2012 – Brighton Haunt
Sunday 22nd April 2012 – Norwich Arts Centre
Tuesday 24th April 2012 – Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
Wednesday 25th April 2012 – Bristol Thekla
Friday 27th April 2012 – London O2 Shepherds Bush Empire
Sunday 29th April 2012 – Leeds Cockpit
Monday 30th April 2012 – Glasgow Oran Mor
Tuesday 1st May 2012 – Manchester Academy 3
Thursday 3rd May 2012 – Liverpool O2 Academy 2
Friday 4th May 2012 – Dublin Academy 2
Saturday 5th May 2012 – Belfast Stiff Kitten
Monday 7th May 2012 – Sheffield Leadmill
Tuesday 8th May 2012 – Nottingham Rescue Rooms
Wednesday 9th May 2012 – Birmingham O2 Academy 2


MP3 of the Day (and more!) #447: Tribes

By on Friday, 25th November 2011 at 10:00 am

Tribes‘ EP ‘We Were Children’ was released in April in the UK but is going to get a US release next Tuesday (29 November). To celebrate the Camden band’s release across the pond, we want to give you the title track for absolutely nothing. Listen to and grab it below. Also included below is the promo video, which should look familiar to London denizens.


MP3: Tribes – We Were Children



NME Awards Tour / February 2012

By on Tuesday, 8th November 2011 at 9:00 am

It’s just been announced that one of our favourites, Two Door Cinema Club (pictured above), will be headlining the NME Awards tour in February 2012. Along for the ride will be Metronomy, Tribes and Azealia Banks. Ticket officially go on sale on Friday (the 11th of November) but you can get special presale tickets through this Two Door link starting Wednesday at 9 AM.

Wednesday 8th February 2012 – Glasgow O2 Academy*
Thursday 9th February 2012 – Newcastle O2 Academy**
Friday 10th February 2012 – Manchester Academy*
Tuesday 14th February 2012 – Nottingham Rock City*
Wednesday 15th February 2012 – Leeds O2 Academy**
Friday 17th February 2012 – Norwich UEA*
Saturday 18th February 2012 – Birmingham O2 Academy**
Sunday 19th February 2012 – Cardiff University*
Monday 20th February 2012 – Bristol O2 Academy**
Wednesday 22nd February 2012 – Bournemouth O2 Academy**
Thursday 23rd February 2012 – Brighton Dome*
Saturday 25th February 2012 – London O2 Academy Brixton**

(* 14 and up only; ** under 14s must be accompanied by an adult)


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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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