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Live Review: Public Service Broadcasting with Smoke Fairies at Dublin Button Factory – 5th May 2015

 
By on Friday, 8th May 2015 at 2:30 pm
 

Early start times for European gigs always seem counterintuitive to me, but there is one major benefit for shows starting in the 7 o’clock hour: you aren’t left waiting ages for your favourite band to go on. Doors were at 7:30 at the Button Factory this past Tuesday night in Dublin, and less than 10 minutes had passed before the opening band, Smoke Fairies from London, took the stage, looking very rocker grrrl chic in figure hugging black and gold short dresses.

The duo released their fourth and self-titled album last year, and their set in Dublin was a nice mix of tunes from that album, 2012’s ‘Blood Speaks’ and 2010’s ‘Through Low Lights and Trees’. While album title track ‘Blood Speaks’ is a dreamier number showcasing the ladies’ fine siren voices, ‘Eclipse Them All’ from the most recent regular album is a slower burn; older and uber catchy track ‘Hotel Room’ proves to be at home with the newer set opener ‘Shadow Inversions’, reminding everyone of their bluesier roots.

I feel very lucky to have the means to travel and see my favourite bands outside of America. Public Service Broadcasting are, from my impression, doing quite well for themselves in Britain, easily selling out venues across the country; and judging from the crowds that assembled to see them in March at SXSW 2015, their popularity is on the way up stateside too. On the recommendation on PSB head guy J. Willgoose, Esq. during my chat with him in Austin, I was able to include their show in Dublin on my current holiday, as he assured me the Irish capital were always “their best crowds”. If you are scheduled to see them play at a UK music festival this summer, have not seen them this year in the UK and wish not to have spoilers, stop reading.

In addition to the curly-haired Wrigglesworth on drums and assorted percussion who has been with him even before the first time TGTF ever saw them play at Newcastle Cluny back in May 2013, Willgoose is now joined by jack of all trades J.F. Abraham on guitar, bass, tambourine and yes, even flugelhorn; in the back in a much less conspicuous location is the mysterious Mr. B., in charge of the visuals and one particularly important piece of stage equipment I have so far neglected to mention. PSB’s ‘pet’ for this UK/Irish tour to support ‘The Race for Space’ is Sputnik, a lighted, silvery sphere with lighted ‘legs’ that a child of a NASA scientist such as myself was all too familiar with in my younger years. In addition to the two large screens at the back of the stage and the towers of antiquated tellys at opposite sides at the front of the stage, Sputnik provides an unusual yet perfect focal point for the evening’s proceedings.

Rising up magnificently and totally unexpectedly from an otherwise non-descript black cloth-covered box centre stage, Sputnik is deployed and first appears, during initial relentless thuds of the song bearing his name, introduced by the now famous robotic voice from Willgoose’s Macbook saying, “this is a new one about Russians.” Within Sputnik is a coloured light display so that he can flash the letters “PSB” during ‘Theme from PSB’, images of ice skaters in action during ‘Elfstedentocht Part 2’ (“who would like to hear a song about ice skating and the Dutch?”) and a rolling display of the colours of the rainbow during ‘ROYGBIV’.

Production values for a PSB gig have never been better, and this is great, because the band has never sounded better either. One could easily argue that their sophomore album ‘The Race for Space’ shows the band at their funkiest ever, and Wrigglesworth’s handiness with his drum kit along with various drum pads to ‘play’ xylophone is a joy to watch. Mumford and Sons may have ditched their banjoes but Willgoose hasn’t, proving there is a way to include the folk instrument into ‘ROYGBIV’ and contemporary music without causing an audience to fall asleep. Smoke Fairies, whose guest vocals graced PSB’s ‘Valentina’, took to the stage again to massive cheers as a live collaboration otherwise only available on record took place right before our very eyes. When it came time for the encore, we were in for another surprise: during ‘The Race for Space’ lead single ‘Gagarin’, their own astronaut in full spacesuit came out to funk out to the music. Ha! Brilliant.

A particularly uplifting moment offered up on ‘The Other Side’, chronicling the Apollo 8 mission and during which the moon was successfully reached and orbited in 1968, is super humbling given that we’re in the year 2015. We live in a time in mankind that the International Space Station is now a thing and the Cold War is over. Just decades before, putting man into space was considered a monumental feat, let alone having human beings living and conducting experiments up in the heavens.

‘Everest’, which has become PSB’s closing number, was a bittersweet ending, given the recent earthquake in Nepal. The niche Public Service Broadcasting fits in our music business is a special one: for sure, they are for the thinking music fan, but their music reminds us of our own humanity, of our successes, of our frailties. Long may they continue to make us think and make us dance.

After the cut: Public Service Broadcasting’s set list. For more on PSB on TGTF, head this way. For Smoke Fairies’ coverage, go here.

Continue reading Live Review: Public Service Broadcasting with Smoke Fairies at Dublin Button Factory – 5th May 2015

 

Single Review: Steve – Emergency Art Rate

 
By on Friday, 8th May 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

Snug Platters is the new record label project of Elbow frontman and BBC 6 Music radio presenter Guy Garvey, in collaboration with Fiction Records executive Jim Chancellor. The word ‘platters’ in the label’s unusual moniker presumably refers to the planned format of Snug Platters’ releases, which will be pressed onto 10” vinyl and limited to 1,000 copies of each, exclusively available at the Fiction Records’ store.

For their first release, Snug Platters have chosen the single ‘Emergency Art Rate’ by art-punk artist Steve, aka Jane Parker, formerly the lead singer of Manchester rock band Rude Club. Though the elusive Steve doesn’t appear to have an official Web site or presence of her own, the official Web site for Snug Platters features an oddly intriguing audio introduction by the woman herself. (Be warned: the audio begins to play, on a loop, as soon as you click the link.)

The grungy, uptempo ‘Emergency Art Rate’ has an anxious and insistent energy starting immediately behind its opening line “Baby, get your heart rate up”. The lyric changes quickly to the vainly repeated plea “Baby, get your heart rate down”, but the music doesn’t allow for that in the slightest as it builds in pace and intensity throughout. The song’s upbeat dynamic and relentless momentum would be a perfect soundtrack for a slick television advert, but it’s a highly infectious earworm all on its own.

8.5/10

Steve’s debut EP ‘Danger! High Failure Rate’ is due for release on the 18th of May on Snug Platters. Describing the new EP, Parker says, “Me, the guitar, the computer, the keys and the random noises all live together in one big house like The Monkees, but not as zany.” The EP will include four self-produced songs, ‘Emergency Art Rate’, ‘2 Point Nearly Zero’, ‘Flik Flak’ and ‘Electric Steam and Diesel’.

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Video of the Moment #1799: Everything Everything

 
By on Thursday, 7th May 2015 at 6:00 pm
 

Always ones to buck convention and make us think, Manchester band Everything Everything will be releasing their self-described challenging third album ‘Get to Heaven’ next month. Their newest promo for album track and single ‘Regret’ was directed by the band’s frontman Jonathan Higgs, who describes its premise this way:

The video for ‘Regret’ is a display of power; a charlatan and his followers descend into madness and chaos. I wanted to show people in the throes of ecstasy and pain, finding something strong in their faith, and becoming more and more extreme in their emotions and behaviour. It’s supposed to be a look into the minds of extremists and what if feels like to really believe something, regardless of how deep or dark it goes.

‘Get to Heaven’ will be available on the 15th of June on Sony. If you preorder the album from iTunes now, you’ll get an instant download of ‘Regret’. Catch them on tour in the UK in November.

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Live at Leeds 2015: Editor Mary’s Roundup (Part 2)

 
By on Thursday, 7th May 2015 at 2:00 pm
 

Part 1 of my Live at Leeds coverage is this way. For more of my photos from the event, check out my Flickr.

After the highs achieved and all before the 5 o’clock hour at Live at Leeds 2015, I suppose it was inevitable that there would be some kind of letdown ahead. Any music writer will try and map out a reasonable festival schedule that doesn’t have you running yourself ragged, but that too is an inevitable part of the festival experience for us, whether we’re in Austin, New York, Sydney, Liverpool or Brighton. However, the one thing you can never really plan for technical difficulties or cancellations.

There was no mention at all on her Facebook page – and the complete lack of a Twitter account didn’t help either; take note, bands: your fans really do want to know if you’ve decided to pull out of a major event – so it was with much disappointment to learn at the press area Saturday morning that Lonelady, the only show I had pencilled in at the Belgrave Music Hall and the main electronic draw for me all day, had been replaced by someone else. I will say that the sting was slightly taken off by the Patty Smith’s Dirty Burgers Chris and I had eaten there for lunch, as they were without a doubt some of the most delicious burgers I’ve ever had.

In my mind, it was to be left to Worcestershire’s astronomyy to pick up Lonelady’s slack and bring out the beats. I will say first that I have no idea about all the specs and details it takes to run a music venue, but the HiFi on Central Road certainly upset a whole lot of people Saturday in Leeds. What should have been a huge celebration of all things electro and soul in their basement venue turned into a massive problem, which I should have guessed when I ran from the Academy down to the club and astronomy hadn’t even started performing yet. After waiting probably an additional half hour after his appointed starting time, venue staff announced astronomyy would not be going on at all. Boos and jeering began and sadly, it would not be the last of such at the HiFi.


I used the downtime to visit with my Wakefield friend Matt Abbott, a friend of mine who formerly made a name for himself in music as the wordsmith behind Skint and Demoralised, is now a spoken word artist, performing as part of A Firm of Poets, who were at the featured lineup at the Black Swan, part of the Fringe portion of Live at Leeds. I mention the Fringe, as even if you’re skint (no pun intended) or don’t fancy paying for a wristband to Live at Leeds proper, there is still plenty on in town during the weekend that’s free and open to the public if you fancy it.

After we said our goodbyes, I thought it would be a good idea for me to head up to A Nation of Shopkeepers to see what the fuss was about BAD//DREEMS. I have pretty bad claustrophobia – I famously requested my biology midterm exam seat assignment in a university lecture hall be changed one semester, as I had been given a desk directly next to a wall – so this turned out to not be ideal for me at all; the place was packed, which was great, but after I had successfully passed the event bouncer who let me into the place, I found myself pinned in from all sides from people either trying to get drinks from the bar or those who refused to be kind and to make way for anyone else.

I suppose it’s your right to be territorial if you’ve gotten to a venue early and wish to stay, but some people were getting very tetchy and unhappy and it got to the point where I felt like I was going to faint and I had to leave. I did hear BAD//DREEMS’ music through a window outside and I very much enjoyed the guitar rock I did hear. If anything, the crammed in like sardines atmosphere suggests that the people of Leeds were very keen on seeing and hearing the Aussie band play, which is really fantastic for a band so far away from home. They’ll be in Sheffield tonight (the 7th of May) at the Rocking Chair, and I hope I get out of the airport quick enough to see them.


A return to the HiFi to see electro soul duo Honne and their full band setup including a bass player, drummer and a backing singer was worth the wait. However, because of the delays introduced by the astronomyy set that never materialised, the entire day’s lineup was delayed, causing some already drunk by then Yorkshire youths to start acting up, shouting insults in Honne’s direction. I feared a riot , which wouldn’t have been great since the HiFi space is in a basement, so you’ve really got nowhere to run.

Thankfully, they were able to get their act together (literally) and played a truncated yet satisfying set, including the Hype Machine favourite ‘Warm on a Cold Night’, which I imagine will be the song all of their fans will request for years to come. The equally soulful ‘All in the Value’ was another set highlight. Seek out their just released this week EP ‘Coastal Love’ on their own Tatemae Recordings.

As I was stood down the front for Honne, I couldn’t help but fret that I really should have left in the middle of their set to get to Leeds Town Hall for Dutch Uncles, who released their third album ‘O Shudder’ in February. If I’m entirely honest, I was hoping for an appearance of Muncan alongside frontman Duncan Wallis for the track ‘Decided Knowledge’. While I was fretting, I was scanning Twitter to see if there was any point to head there, figuring that the Cribs’ appearance later in the evening likely meant there’d be a massive queue for the hometown boys. Someone had posted a photo of the queue already forming hours ahead of the Cribs’ set, so I skipped them in favour of food, which is a necessary part of festival life, even if you have to force yourself to eat!

Trudging back up to A Nation of Shopkeepers, I arrived at the venue in the middle of a set by all-girl group Jagaara from North London. Punters were gushing over their music, which doesn’t sound all that unique to me: guitars, electronics, female voices, this is well-trod upon ground, folks. I guess I’ll have to investigate them more to form an educated opinion.

I was really at Shopkeepers for Boxed In, whose appearance at Blackjack London and AIM’s Friday night showcase at SXSW 2015 was super fun. I, along with Boxed In mastermind Oli Bayston, were about to be bowled over by the reception in Leeds. I spoke to several people in the audience prior to their set and they all said they had Boxed In’s debut album released last year and couldn’t wait to see the band perform. (Bayston and co. weren’t supposed to be my last band of Live at Leeds; I had intended to stay for the last band Real Lies. But due to technical difficulties at the venue and nearly an hour of waiting after Boxed In, getting my ears pummeled by squeals from the speakers that weren’t supposed to happen and no actual music, I called it a night.)

Running just a mere 5 minutes behind schedule, as soon as Bayston played his first keyboard note, the crowd turned the place into a vibrant dance party. The irrepressible rhythm of ‘Foot of the Hill’ encouraged the ladies to my right to do the dance equivalent of Peter Crouch’s robot moves, arms and legs flailing; ‘Mystery’, the Boxed In radio hit everyone was waiting for caused everyone to shake their tail feather.


As someone who spends a good part of her time trying to promote dance music as a fellow fan, to be able to witness such a spectacle and with so many people enjoying themselves watching a electropop act was equal parts validating and exciting. Fantastic. What a wonderful way to end my first Live at Leeds experience. Fingers crossed I will return next year!

 

Single Review: Esmé Patterson – Tumbleweed

 
By on Thursday, 7th May 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

Singer/songwriter Esmé Patterson has recently released her new album ‘Woman to Woman’, which explores the perspective of female characters in classic popular songs, including Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’ and the Beatles’ ‘Eleanor Rigby’. ‘Woman to Woman’ has already garnered radio play on BBC 6Music and attention from online publications such as The Guardian and The Quietus, as well as TGTF’s own earlier In The Post feature. The album’s next single, titled ‘Tumbleweed’, is Patterson’s take on Townes Van Zandt’s ‘Loretta’, which is the track that initially inspired the concept behind the record. Patterson explains:

“I was touring with my old band Paper Bird when we stopped in Spearfish, South Dakota and the venue had given us enough hotel rooms so that each of us could have our own. Alone time was a rare treat, and I decided to use the space to learn Townes Van Zandt’s ‘Loretta’ and was looking up the chords and the lyrics, and in the process started thinking about how one-sided it seemed. I imagined, “what would that woman, Loretta, say about him?” I gave up on learning Townes’ tune, and found my song ‘Tumbleweed’ rattling around in my heart somewhere. I finished it that night.”

‘Tumbleweed’ is a rebellious, uptempo track that imagines the fictional Loretta as defiant and strong-willed, in contrast to Van Zandt’s more objectified depiction. The song itself is sassy from its very outset, opening with a bending guitar riff and hand-clapping percussion over a heavy bass groove. Its initial lyrics attempt to capture Loretta’s true essence as Patterson cheekily intones “Well, you say you’ll be back in the spring / but I need a man like a tumbleweed / And I’ll keep my dancin’ shoes on long after you’re gone”. After a second verse retort about spending her man’s money and being treated roughly, Patterson’s Loretta gets to the heart of the matter in the bridge, asking “What about the way I want to be loved?”.

8/10

Esmé Patterson’s ‘Tumbleweed’ will be officially released on the 25th of May via Xtra Mile Recordings. Just below, you can view the video for another track from her ‘Woman to Woman’ LP, titled ‘What Do You Call a Woman?’. Released back in February, the track and its sexually provocative video comprise Patterson’s response to Michael Jackson’s 1982 hit ‘Billie Jean’.

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Leon Bridges / July and September 2015 UK Tour

 
By on Thursday, 7th May 2015 at 9:00 am
 

American soul singer Leon Bridges has announced a short list of UK headline dates for the first part of July, as well as a one-off show at Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London at the end of September. The July dates will follow the release of his debut LP ‘Coming Home’, due out on the 22nd of June on Columbia Records, and will precede Bridges’ scheduled appearances at the Latitude and Citadel Festivals.

Bridges and his extensive band appeared earlier this year at SXSW 2015, where I saw them on the Communion Music showcase at St. David’s Episcopal Church. Below the tour date listing, you can stream the audio for one of the songs Bridges played that night, ‘River’, which is also the latest single from ‘Coming Home’. Tickets for the following shows are available now.

Tuesday 7th July 2015 – Birmingham Institute Temple
Wednesday 8th July 2015 – Glasgow King Tut’s
Thursday 9th July 2015 – Manchester Deaf Institute
Monday 28th September 2015 – London Shepherd’s Bush Empire

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About Us

There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest tours, gigs, and music 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 idiots.

The blog is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington DC. She is joined by writers in the UK and America. It was started up by Phil Singer in Bristol, UK.

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