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Live Review: Team Waterpolo at Oxford Zodiac Academy (12th October)

By on Sunday, 12th October 2008 at 11:32 pm

Ever since Academy Music Group have taken over Oxford’s Zodiac venue, I’ve had the chance to catch some amazing bands there – Wombats, Delays, Friendly Fires and tonight, Team Waterpolo. Granted, it wasn’t sold out – far from it – but they still put on a fast, frantic and pretty darned good show.

Defend Moscow opened up the evening, with glorious tunes that reminded me of a mixture between Canada’s Stars, Denmark’s Alphabeat and a few other bands that I can’t quite get my fingers on right now. Surprisingly good for a support act, they really are a band that I’ll have to check out again.

20 minutes later and Team Waterpolo come out – ready and raring to go. Opening with their introductory song “We’re Team Waterpolo”, they plunged their way through a 45 minute set of songs that are just begging to be heard by a bigger audience than the one they got this cold Sunday night.

“We came here to Oxford on the NME tour and just had to come back… you people are gorgeous. We were on the bus on the way in just looking at people thinking “wow”!” joked frontman Fred Davis after their first song. “Sorry if we look a bit sweaty – we got like no sleep last night as me and Lex had a bit of a heavy one!” To be honest though Fred, we’d never have noticed if you hadn’t have told us.

Current single “So Called Summer” was the penultimate song of the night, almost inspiring a mass singalong as Ruggero Lorenzini let off small cannons of confetti. Closing the set with a chaotic “Sink This Ship”, triumphant Team Waterpolo certainly won their match, but will they be back for the new championship next year? Only time will tell.

After the jump: Photos.

Continue reading Live Review: Team Waterpolo at Oxford Zodiac Academy (12th October)


Live Review: Friendly Fires at Oxford Zodiac Carling Academy (5th October 2008)

By on Monday, 6th October 2008 at 8:44 am

I’ve seen Friendly Fires before, at Hydro Connect just over a month ago, where I fell in love with them… since then I bought the album and last night finally got to see them again, this time headlining Oxford’s Zodiac Carling Academy, one of my favourite venues to see bands.

After the Justice-lite warmup from Dublin’s Jape, Friendly Fires bounce out onto stage, lead singer Ed Macfarlane sporting a bodywarmer which was quickly removed about 10 seconds into the first song, and by the 30 second mark he’d already started his rather exberant thrusting which would put most sex addicts to shame.

Blasting their way through their debut album, the songs feel as fresh as the day they were written – it may be the case that they’ve played them just about every day for the past year, but we certainly couldn’t tell.

Ending out the set with Paris before a two song encore, Ed went into the crowd, providing security with a small headache, mobbed by a mixture of teenage girls and sweaty old school ravers a bit past their best. This may have been the case, but he really didn’t care, blasting through chorus and verse as normal…

It may have been a Sunday night, but nobody had told the rather full Zodiac – come the end of their 45 minute set it felt as good as 4am on Saturday morning. This is how live music should be – it leaves you sweaty, stinking, covered in beer, and a smile on your face that you just can’t wipe off easily.

After the jump: Pictures, pictures and more pictures….
Continue reading Live Review: Friendly Fires at Oxford Zodiac Carling Academy (5th October 2008)


Live Review: Royworld at Oxford Zodiac 4th May 2008

By on Monday, 5th May 2008 at 2:08 pm

Royworld @ The Oxford ZodiacA half –full Zodiac at the Oxford Academy played host to up-and-comers Royworld last night as they embark on their debut full UK tour ahead of their album release next month.

Support came in the form of Oxford based band Cand Electric who were obviously nervous, having clearly just landed the biggest gig of their lives. Perfectly competent, they just lacked any oomph – they could play, but no personality or songs that grab you by the neck and say “LISTEN TO ME”. Quickly followed up by The Rushes who were much more capable of the supporting roll, dispatching hecklers with one-line put downs, and having tunes that with a bit of tweaking may get a couple of plays on late night XFM.

However, 9:15 and the main event soon rolled around, and Royworld unassumingly took to the stage. Opening up with recent single Elasticity they hammered their way through 45 minutes of material from their upcoming debut album. Usually, throwing in their new single and their old single in the first three songs would be a recipe for people walking out, having heard what they wanted. However, not tonight. Oh no. As the four of them get into their stride a bit more, it became clear that their singles are just the beginning of the road for these lads..

Smoke machines and extensive strobe lights gave the night a feel of a (slightly dodgy) 80’s pop video, however this more than complimented their rather unique brand of music – a sense of yearning for times gone by is immediately made clear, listening to their lyrics.

“Man in the Machine” was the last of the trio of songs that most of the audience had wanted to hear, before they closed with the duo of songs of “Tinman” and “Brakes”, showing off that Royworld are no one-trick ponies.

After the jump: Photos

Continue reading Live Review: Royworld at Oxford Zodiac 4th May 2008


Live: Palladium + Alphabeat @ Oxford Carling Academy Zodiac 28th January 2008

By on Tuesday, 29th January 2008 at 12:08 am

Palladium @ Oxford Academy ZodiacSometimes when you go and see a band you have the mis/fortune of seeing a support act who are actually just as good as the band you’ve paid out to see – tonight at Oxford’s Carling Academy was just that, when Alphabeat eclipsed Palladium‘s headlining set.

My first night back at the Carling Academy since its costly refurb, I was impressed at just how nice it had turned out – no more whiffs of the loo if you’re near the front of the stage. Still, the nicer surroundings didn’t help the first band up sound any better, The Anydays. Sounding like a reasonably competent Battle of the Bands winner, they were reasonably strong, however had a sensation of going through the motions, and frankly, not that memorable.

Next up were a band I’d been waiting to see for a considerable length of time, Alphabeat. The Danes who I profiled at the weekend didn’t disappoint, putting in a fine showing, even though the crowd was rather meagre. Performing as if their lives depended on it, what they lacked in words they more than made up for with their enthusiasm. Rattling through the majority of their self-titled debut album, they managed to get everyone humming along, even the drunk guy behind me conceeded at the end that “they’re pretty f***ing good”. Indeed they were Rory, indeed they were.

Finally came the big moment, Palladium. I’d previously seen them support the Thrills last summer, and had a series of brilliant songs, which still are brilliant. However, the rest of their album material does sound very much like filler to go between such pop-greats as “High 5”, “Happy Hour” and “White Woman”. Peter Pepper was distinctly untalkative, and the rest of the band seemed a bit hurt at the low attendance, but if we’re honest, it’s a Monday night in January – is it really going to be packed? Ending with a new song wasn’t their brightest idea, instead penultimate “Happy Hour” was my personal highlight, and one that almost got the whole crowd going. Well, some people take some warming up, others were so drunk they danced all the way through.

They’re certainly ones to watch, but after tonight Alphabeat are a better bet for me.

After the jump: More photos.

Continue reading Live: Palladium + Alphabeat @ Oxford Carling Academy Zodiac 28th January 2008


Live: Delays – Oxford’s Zodiac – 19th December 2006

By on Wednesday, 20th December 2006 at 7:13 pm

Along with the Christmas party, another British institution of late appears to be the trend of bands doing a special one-off Christmas show in their hometown. This is the case with Southampton’s Delays, who played Oxford’s tiny Zodiac on Tuesday ahead of their hometown gig at Southampton’s Guildhall on Wednesday.

Their epic, summery songs are the perfect antidote to the freezing temperatures outside, adding some warmth to the audience. After a short intense set by Oxford based Fell City Girl for support, Delays walked on stage and burst right into “Lost in a Melody”, an electronic tinged stomper that is equally at home in the fields of festivals and the caverns of clubs. With this, Aaron, Greg, Colin and Rowly ran headlong into about 20 songs of pure quality that could convert even the most hardened of sceptics.

“On” has reminded me of Hot Chip’s “Over and Over” for a while now, with its catchy repetitiveness, and rather nice use of the strobes in the tiny Zodiac made for an entrancing song. “Bedroom Scene” was a chance for three quarters of Delays to take a break, as they left Greg to do the gentle strum with a lone light and a mass sing-along that didn’t quite work. The rest of Delays returned for new song “Girls on Fire”, which is tipped to be on their new album that’s going to be out next Summer reportedly, and if all goes to plan should set the festival scene on fire.

They closed their main set with “Long Time Coming” from their debut “Faded Seaside Glamour”, and Greg’s masterful footwork and over-excitability clearly made several girls at the front’s day. This was the song that got everybody going, having shaken off the winter blues and finally embraced the warmth they were giving off to the crowd.

When they came back for an encore we got a special version of “White Christmas” with Greg solo on his guitar, which was sublime and made my evening. We then got treated to two of Delays best songs from their last album, “Hideaway” and “Valentine”, both pop-classics in the making, and both failed to make much entry into the public’s mind.

Sometimes bands just don’t make as much impact into the public’s consciousness as they should, and Delays appear to have this misfortune. However, whilst this is the case they’ll continue to play small shows of people “in the know”.


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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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