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Live Review: Kodaline with Diane Birch at Jammin’ Java, Vienna, VA – 13th October 2013

 
By on Tuesday, 15th October 2013 at 2:00 pm
 

One of the greatest blessings as the American-born editor of a music Web site with a focus on the UK music scene is being able to see those bands you saw so much potential in as they became a success in the UK, and then see that success translate stateside. This is exactly what happened Sunday night at Jammin’ Java, the venue that played host to Irish band Kodaline‘s first-ever headline show in the Washington, DC area, and wow, was it a memorable one. The show was so airtight sold out, I had friends that wanted to come and they couldn’t buy tickets even though they really wanted to be there. Not to worry, friends. They will be back soon…

Diane Birch Washington live 1

We were rather unimpressed by the lateness of the start, which was mostly caused by the tardy arrival of opener and New York City-based singer/songwriter Diane Birch, who then needed time to sound check. Luckily for her, the night was to begin pretty early, so the delay wasn’t too bad. Admittedly, I haven’t followed Birch’s career closely, and all I could remember of it was her 2009 album ‘Bible Belt’ and its whiffs of ’70s soul. On the cover of that album, she’s wearing a hat ala Blossom. So imagine my surprise when she came out in short shorts and black tights, and then proceeded to…wait for it…bring out the funk.

Diane Birch Washington live 2

It was a (nice) kick in the rear. Her set was filled mainly with songs from her brand new album on S-Curve Records, ‘Speak a Little Louder’; in a genuine way, Birch explained why the song and album had that name: because sometimes you need to speak a little bit louder to be heard. I found this inspiring hearing this from a fellow woman but I can see this applying to anyone, male or female. Her new single ‘All the Love You Got’, allows her voice to soar while maintaining the soulful edge of ‘Bible Belt’ that won her fans. As for the funk, ‘Love and War’ was a highlight, making me imagine bell-bottomed dancers cutting a rug under the mirrorball (which, hilariously, was actually spinning that night at Jammin’ Java). I especially liked her set closer, ‘Lighthouse’, in which she asked the audience to clap a syncopated rhythm along with her.

Jammin’ Java is not a big place (200 capacity) but for most international acts on their first tour of the States, it is not uncommon to play here or the other two venues in DC that are comparable in size, Black Cat Backstage and DC9. Cheryl had said to me that she was surprised that this venue had sold out for Kodaline, since when she’d seen them open for the Airborne Toxic Event in May when I was on blog work holiday in England, there were few people who even knew who they were. Credit the album coming out ahead of the tour (uh, by less than a week?), the quality of said album, Spotify, the videos, the charm of the guys themselves…and you have a sold out show. Not an easy feat for any band on their first trip to our country, so I think the band deserves a pat on the back.

Kodaline Washington 2013 live 1

Rather than rest on their laurels, the Irish group didn’t disappoint, playing track after track from their debut album ‘In a Perfect World’. Let me summarise the things we learned on this evening. ‘The Answer’ is “probably” frontman Steve Garrigan’s favourite song, and judging from a hyperactive girl who begged for it, he made her year by playing it. Despite its inevitable location somewhere in the middle of the set list, ‘Love Like This’ brings the house down. ‘Way Back When’ offers Kodaline the opportunity to take a step back in time and revisit days when they would sing in someone’s bedroom, dreaming of success one day. (Bless.) The band do an absolutely blinding acoustic version of Sam Cooke’s ‘Bring It On Home to Me’ that has to be heard to be believed. (I tried videotaping it but the lighting was terrible. If we can salvage it, we’ll post it.)

Kodaline Washington 2013 live 2

Oh, and Cheryl and I think Steve finally got over his ex-girlfriend: I’ve seen them five times now and he would always preface ‘All I Want’ explaining it was a song about her and he hoped she would never hear about it. No such intro in Washington, and with drummer Vinny May Jr. hitting the skins with such gusto, there’s no mistake that with a thunderous ending like that, it’s not entirely a sad song. Frankly, with the 100+ fans waiting for them after the show, in a pretty orderly queue I might add, I’m sure the hurtful memories of an ex are the furthest thing from his mind now. The best way to get over a broken heart? Write about it and be a huge success. That’s the best revenge.

After the cut: the set lists from the evening.
Continue reading Live Review: Kodaline with Diane Birch at Jammin’ Java, Vienna, VA – 13th October 2013

 

In the Post #112: Keane preview forthcoming greatest hits album with new song ‘Higher Than the Sun’

 
By on Tuesday, 15th October 2013 at 12:00 pm
 

Hold on to your hats, folks. Or maybe I should say geriatric vitamins and walkers, because this news should make you feel old. Piano-driven stadium rockers Keane have done the unthinkable and announced they’ll be releasing a greatest hits compilations, ‘The Best of Keane’, on the 11th of November on Island. To hook long-time fans into buying this package are two new songs, ‘Won’t Be Broken’ and ‘Higher Than the Sun’, the latter of which has already hit radio stations.

The tune starts off relatively benignly, with a pleasing drummed rhythm and it isn’t long before Tom Chaplin’s signature voice comes in: “Turn, turn up the sun / takes me higher than the sun / sing, sing from your gut / sing it ’til we become one” – ? Are you serious? Is this really from the same band that brought us ‘This is the Last Time’, ‘Everybody’s Changing’ or even more recent ‘Silenced by the Night’ and ‘Disconnected’? The one saving grace to this song is the grand build-up to the chorus, which Tim Rice-Oxley is a master at orchestrating.

The bridge is admirable – “There’s a song to ease your fears / a song to take you far from here / one for joy, one for desire, one for despair” – but seeing that the song as a whole feels lacklustre, I wonder if the words would have worked better written down in a book in poem form rather than being offered up in a song. Songs are meant to inspire. Are Keane past it? As a long-time fan, I sincerely hope not, but I wonder how much longer they can keep going like this.

5/10

Stream the song below. Watch the promo video for ‘Higher Than the Sun’ here in this previous Video of the Moment feature.

 

Video of the Moment #1351: Crowns

 
By on Monday, 14th October 2013 at 6:00 pm
 

Cornwall band Crowns release a double-A-sided single today, for ‘My London’ / ‘Full Swing’. ‘My London’ is both an affectionate letter to the city and one to a long-lost love. This is no jangly ‘Parting in the Porch’, which actually is a refreshing change. Could they be the next pin-ups on your wall? Quite possibly. Watch the tender-hearted video below. It’s making me ache terribly for London Town.

I’m also wondering why they’ve written about London and not Cornwall. “My Cornwall…” I guess it doesn’t have the same ring, eh? Also, notice they’re sat right outside the famous RAK Studios in St. John’s Wood.

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Video of the Moment #1350: Kate Nash

 
By on Sunday, 13th October 2013 at 6:00 pm
 

Kate Nash has a new – and very colourful – video for ‘Fri-end’, using the very Morrissey way of drawing out a word to more syllables than it actually has. Watch her and all her outfits in the visual below.

Nash just started a UK tour last Friday that continues through to next weekend.

 

Video of the Moment #1349: Steven Wilson

 
By on Sunday, 13th October 2013 at 10:00 am
 

The legend that is Porcupine Tree band founder Steven Wilson is gearing up for a show at London Royal Albert Hall on the 20th of October, followed by the release of a new CD/DVD set ‘Drive Home’ on the 28th of October on K-Scope, which will include live tracks recorded on tour in Frankfurt, Germany, and an orchestral version of ‘The Raven That Refused to Sing’, the title track to his most recent album released in February 2013. Here is the intriguing newsprint-based animated promo for the title track. Watch it below.

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Video of the Moment #1348: Cut Copy

 
By on Saturday, 12th October 2013 at 6:00 pm
 

A modern day Jesus Christ (played by Alexander Skarsgard, so less) in Cut Copy‘s new ‘Free Your Mind’ video? You decide by watching the new promo below.

‘Free Your Mind’ is also the title of the Aussies’ next album, out on the 4th of November on Modular.

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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 is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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