By Mary Chang
on Saturday, 4th July 2015 at 10:00 am
The Libertines‘ story is one known by many, and those of us who do know it assumed we would never see them ever play together again, mostly owing the co-frontman Pete Doherty’s continuing drug problems and erratic behaviour. Even when the band reunited for a series of shows and Reading and Leeds in 2010, I just assumed those were one offs and merely for the money and nostalgia. So when it was revealed in late 2014 that the original four members of the band – Doherty, Carl Barat (who had been moonlighting with his new band Carl Barat and the Jackals), bassist John Hassall and drummer Gary Powell – had signed a record deal with Virgin EMI and they would record it out in Thailand where Doherty had been receiving treatment in rehab, it appeared a new, exciting chapter for the Libertines was about to begin.
And it has. Foo Fighters‘ Glastonbury 2015 cancellation after Dave Grohl broke his leg at a gig in Gothenburg, Sweden earlier in June left a headliner-sized hole in the Friday night line-up. This allowed for the Libertines to be a last-minute, super secret guest for the night, wowing surprised crowds with old classics and new songs. Below, watch them perform their hit ‘Don’t Look Back into the Sun'; incidentally, it was one of the first songs I ever learned on bass, so it’s an important one to me.
One of the new songs that premiered not at Glasto 2015 but earlier at Holland’s Best Kept Secret was ‘Gunga Din’, which now has a promo video. The bromance between Pete and Carl is back and better than ever, it seems! Watch it below.
‘Anthems for Doomed Youth’, the long-awaited third album from the reunited Libertines, will be released on the 4th of September on Virgin EMI.
Last Wednesday night found me once again westbound on Interstate 10 to Phoenix, this time to see Northern Irish singer/songwriter Foy Vance at the downtown Valley Bar. I was headed to a new venue, but the road was familiar and so was the headline artist, whom I’d seen twice before, once in the cozy Washington DC area venue Jammin’ Java and once in a rather uncomfortable stadium-sized atmosphere in Atlanta, where he opened for Ed Sheeran. Vance spent May and early June this year again gracing American stages with the ginger-haired pop phenom, parting company with his friend and colleague to headline a handful of dates across the southern half of the U.S. before heading back across the pond. Phoenix was fortunate enough to host one of these more intimate shows, with Vance accompanied by fellow Northern Irish singer Ryan McMullan.
McMullan’s Ulster accent was immediately apparent as he introduced himself to the small Valley Bar crowd, but over the course of his set, we were regaled with songs of a decidedly American inclination. He engaged us immediately with opening track ‘Listen’ from his soulful blues rock-flavoured EP of the same title. McMullan interspersed the four tracks from that EP with his appealing debut single ‘Mary’, a peppy cover of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Superstition’ and a rather quaint traditional American Creole song called ‘The Lakes of Pontchartrain’, most famously recorded by Northern Irish traditional folk musician Paul Brady. In the fashion of a more seasoned performer, McMullan saved his most impressive moment for last, giving a scorching performance of ‘Holding Me Down’, which in live performance smashed through the relative restraint of the studio version below.
And then, after a brief interlude, the Valley Bar congregation were ready to receive the gospel according to Foy Vance. Taking his position behind the pulpit, er, piano, Vance quickly made himself comfortable and began not to sing but instead to speak. Before diving headlong into a set of new songs, Vance asked us to keep our phones and cameras put away, both so that we could enjoy being in the present moment with him and to avoid having “shit versions” of the new songs going up on YouTube before they could be properly recorded and released. I cringed internally, because this request always strikes me as overly precious, no matter how many times I hear it.
However, on this particular night, in this particular setting, Vance genuinely practised what he preached, quite literally losing himself in a seamless sequence of five opening tracks, including four new songs and the already popular anthem ‘Closed Hand, Full of Friends’. Among the new songs were a gorgeous ode to the city of London and a blistering blues guitar number played later in the show, both of which have enormous potential for a possible future studio recording.
Speaking of the guitar, Vance switched instruments and gears for the second half of the show, picking up the pace with a few familiar tunes from his 2013 album ‘Joy of Nothing’, as well as recent hit ‘Make It Rain’ and a track from his 2007 LP ‘Hope’ called ‘Doesn’t Take a Whole Day’, which turned out to be among the more charming moments in the set. Not content with his own array of songs, Vance also burned through a mind-boggling run of covers late in the show, including Van Morrison’s ‘Crazy Love’, Bob Marley’s ‘No Woman, No Cry’ and a version of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘I’m on Fire’ that can be best described as orgasmic. While Vance’s younger Ed Sheeran-influenced fans might have lost interest at this point in the show, for those of us who recognized the original songs, Vance’s display of musical prowess here was nothing short of spectacular.
Rather than insisting on a proper encore, Vance took only a brief moment off stage before declaring to eager applause, “I want to keep playing, shall we just get on with it?” As the clock approached midnight, Vance wrapped up the evening with ‘At Least My Heart Was Open’ and the by now customary singalong ‘Guiding Light’, which saw McMullan reappear for a brief cameo before the flock of Foy Vance faithful reluctantly called it a night.
Foy Vance will play the Barn on the Farm Festival in Gloucester on the 4th of July and Ireland’s Indiependence Music Festival in Cork on the 2nd of August. He will support Ed Sheeran at Wembley Stadium on the 10th of July as well as joining Sheeran’s Australian tour in November and December. While in Australia, Vance will also play a support slot for Elton John in Brisbane on the 8th of December. You can find a complete list of live dates and ticket information on Vance’s official Web site.
Previous TGTF coverage of Foy Vance can be found right back here.
By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 30th June 2015 at 4:00 pm
This year, on the 21st of June (aka World Music Day), Scottish rock duo Honeyblood spent the day doing a ‘flash tour’ of London as part of the Dr. Martens’ #STANDFORSOMETHING campaign. Over the course of their 10 hours in the British capital city, they performed four gigs, in Camden (The Hawley Arms), on Denmark Street (Wanjo Guitars), a skatepark in South Bank and in Peckham (Bussey Bar). You can watch a sneak peek into all the action of the day in the video below.
Keen on reading more on Honeyblood on TGTF? Follow this link.
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 24th June 2015 at 4:00 pm
Glaswegian legends Belle and Sebastian stopped by the Late Show with Seth Meyers on Monday night, their first appearance on late night American tv in some time. Watch Stuart Murdoch and co. let rip on ‘Allie’ and a web exclusive of ‘Sukie in the Graveyard’ (appearing on their latest album ‘Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance’ released in January 2015 and 2006’s ‘The Life Pursuit’, respectively) on the embeds below.
Read Carrie’s review of Belle and Sebastian’s latest here. Past coverage of Belle and Sebastian in all its glory is this way.
By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 23rd June 2015 at 4:00 pm
This week now LA-based English singer/songwriter Laura Marling has a new live performance video she wants to share with the world. From the same ‘Short Movie’ sessions that yielded these live videos of ‘I Feel Your Love’ and ‘False Hope’, ‘Strange’ gets a similar warts and all treatment. Watch the performance below.
Past TGTF coverage on Laura Marling, including several of her appearances at this year’s SXSW, is this way.
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 18th June 2015 at 4:00 pm
Everything Everything will be releasing their hotly anticipated third album ‘Get to Heaven’ next Monday. Ahead of that, they appeared in the Radio 1 Live Lounge to perform for presenter Clara Amfo. For their obligatory live cover, they decided to take the recent Kelly Clarkson megahit ‘Heartbeat Song’. Okay, so this sounds really strange to me with a male falsetto voice leading it, but there’s definitely a smooth jam feel to it, which makes it a quite unique treatment. Watch it below.
Everything (no pun intended) Everything Everything related we’ve got on TGTF is this way. ‘Get to Heaven’ will be released on the 22nd of June on Sony; catch the band on tour in the UK in November.