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Live Review: Banners with Ellevator at Jammin’ Java, Vienna, VA – 19th April 2018

By on Monday, 23rd April 2018 at 2:00 pm

Nothing beats the special satisfaction I get when one of the acts I tipped makes it, and I was lucky to see one of my tips ahead of SXSW 2016 and near home. While Liverpudlian Banners (real name Mike Nelson) might not be a household name, he’s getting pretty damn close: in addition to some high-profile American tv syncs, he recently starred as a guest mentor for aspiring pop upstarts on American Idol, a show seen by millions in our country. For an indie artist, that’s massive. Thursday night, he came back to earth to perform at the intimate Jammin’ Java in Northern Virginia.

Joining him on the evening were Hamilton, Ontario’s Ellevator, who had just arrived in Virginia after a half-day’s drive from home. Despite the long journey, they were buoyed by the mere fact that they were performing in a town that wasn’t covered in snow. They were also eager to show off their songs, namely those on a brand new, self-titled EP to be released the next day. They were performing a stripped-back set, as their usual keyboardist Elliott was sadly at home and in hospital. Drummer Mike was then tasked to play drums and synth with his right hand. If you’re like me and have enough trouble with patting your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time, you can imagine how difficult this may have been.

Ellevator Washington 3

Despite frontwoman Nabi Sue Bersche’s admittance that their barer setup was less muscular than they normally sound, it provided the unique opportunity for a more intimate performance that saw her chatting with Banners’ fans down the front. Their set included EP track ‘St. Cecilia’, the engaging ‘Easy’ and a surprisingly good cover of Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill’. They finished on a high note with another one from the EP, the feel good track ‘New Survival’.

Banners and his band came prepared with an exciting, strobe-filled light show that would have felt right at home at any established electronic artist’s gig. To start, Nelson gave a nod to his Scouse roots with a clip of the Beatles’ schmaltzy ‘All You Need is Love’ as his walk-on music. There was loads of self-deprecating banter between songs, the kind that made the audience laugh (“I swam all the way here from Liverpool, that was quite tiring!”) or audibly “aww” (Nelson admitting he’d drop everything if his beloved Liverpool Football Club came calling for him to report to Anfield as a striker). You can take the boy out of Liverpool, but you can’t take Liverpool out of the boy. ‘Back When We Had Nothing’, from the first and eponymous ‘Banners’ EP, seems like another love letter to his days back in the Pool. The song is a sweeping, upbeat number much like the rest of Banners’ catalogue with Island Records so far: positive, based and love and inspiring.

We’re still waiting for a Banners album, but Nelson has released a series of singles and EPs for music fans to sink their teeth into in the meantime. His most recent EP, ‘Empires on Fire’ released last autumn, is full of catchy melodies. From verse to chorus, the title track smoulders and morphs from tentative pop to full-bodied pop/rock. Uplifting EP opener ‘Someone to You’ has thrust him into the national spotlight, being used by ABC in their advertising campaign for American Idol. (Read my review of the single through this link.) Instead of performing it in its normal guise, Nelson and band huddled at the front of the stage to perform it stripped back: only accompanied by Nelson’s acoustic guitar, the result was a harmonious beauty.

While the gig started slow, with the first two of three songs unknown to the audience, the three-song punch of stadium rockers ‘Start a Riot’, ‘Gold Dust’ and ‘Shine a Light’ was epic. Blowing the audience away with his memorable melodies and his band’s bombast, this was a performance the DC crowd would not soon forget.

Banners Washington 3

Continue reading Live Review: Banners with Ellevator at Jammin’ Java, Vienna, VA – 19th April 2018


The Lost Brothers / January and February 2018 UK/Irish Tour

By on Thursday, 2nd November 2017 at 9:00 am

Irish folk duo The Lost Brothers have announced details of their forthcoming new album ‘Halfway Towards a Healing’, due out on the 26th of January next year. Mark McCausland and Oisin Leech recorded this latest LP in Tucson, Arizona, and its first teaser track has the distinct feel of the American Old West about it, with stark instrumentation, distantly reverberant vocals and a faintly Spanish-tinged rhythm in the guitar line. In case you missed it, our own editor Mary has written a full review of that first single, ‘Echoes in the Wind’, right back here.

Following the release of ‘Halfway Towards a Healing’, The Lost Brothers will embark on a tour of the UK and Ireland, including stops in London, Dublin and Belfast. Prior to their early 2018 dates, McCausland and Leech will play a handful of warm up shows in Navan and Omagh in mid-December. They have also announced a single American date, in New York on the 12th of March 2018. You can find a full listing of The Lost Brothers’ upcoming live shows on their official Facebook.

Tickets for the following shows are available now. You’ll find TGTF’s previous coverage of The Lost Brothers, including a live review from SXSW 2015, collected back here.

Tuesday 30th January 2018 – London Lexington
Thursday 1st February 2018 – Sheffield Picture House Social
Friday 2nd February 2018 – Liverpool Leaf
Thursday 8th February 2018 – Dublin Sugar Club
Friday 9th February 2018 – Wexford Arts Centre
Saturday 10th February 2018 – Waterford St. Patrick’s Gateway Centre
Wednesday 14th February 2018 – Belfast Black Box
Friday 16th February 2018 – Virginia Ramor Theatre
Saturday 17th February 2018 – Ballybofey Balor Arts Centre
Friday 23rd February 2018 – Limerick Dolans
Saturday 24th February 2018 – Cork St. Luke’s


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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