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Deer Shed Festival 2018: Saturday Roundup

 
By on Monday, 6th August 2018 at 2:00 pm
 

Most years at Deer Shed, it’s possible to detect a secret theme influencing the band selection. We’ve had lady bands, we’ve had Celtic, and following on from Leeds’ Mush yesterday, this year we have a plethora of Northern English bands: Yorkshire’s North and West, Wearside, and Tyneside are all represented. From this fact, combined with the utter off-the-scale brilliance of how Saturday would pan out, we can deduce that that region of the UK is producing some of the country’s, if not the world’s, finest bands.

An embryonic SLUG were at Deer Shed 2015, but this year sees Ian Black’s outfit demonstrating how far we’ve all come since then. His backing band aren’t Field Music any more, for instance, but rather a bunch of chaps dressed up as a barbershop quartet for some odd reason. They’re promoting second album ‘Higgledypiggledy’, which continues in the same obscurantist funk vein as their first. Ian Black is wearing a nun’s habit, making him a rather unlikely spectacle, but there’s nothing sacred about the sinful Devil’s music they’re knocking out. Oldies like ‘Cockeyed Rabbit’ and ‘Greasy Mind’ are now familiar sing-alongs, and when it all crescendos with a young chap plucked from the crowd to knock out a casual solo on Black’s guitar there’s the realisation that, rather than just an offshoot from the Sunderland scene, SLUG are rapidly redefining it.

SLUG-Deer Shed 2018 Saturday

Boy Azooga are the first of today’s brace of Heavenly signings and play the majority of their début ‘1, 2, Kung Fu!’ Main man Davey Newington is on bass, gazing zen-like from the stage, as his band alternately knock out laid-back melodies on ‘Jerry’, urgent riffs on ‘Loner Boogie’, and psych-tinged mellotron lines on ‘Face Behind Her Cigarette’. Seemingly appearing from nowhere to be the band on everyone’s lips right this second, Welsh act Boy Azooga manage to be indefinable and familiar; retro yet of the zeitgeist; a melting pot, yet unique. Quite some achievement, and an astute booking.

Boy Azooga-Deer Shed 2018 Saturday

Remember that feeling you get when stuck in traffic? Even when there’s no particular deadline, the tension rises, tempers fray, radiators overheat. AK/DK arrive from Blue Dot Festival with literally no minutes to spare, and the ensuing breathtaking display of groove-led mentalism surely is thanks in no small part to the traffic-related adrenaline coursing through their systems.

AK/DK Deer Shed 2018 Saturday

‘Morphology’ is a song perfect for the moment: a driving synth line and keening, distorted samples, all pushed along by AK/DK’s double drum kit attack, creates a febrile atmosphere, the audience expressing their relief and release that the band finally made it. And they are repaid by banger after banger. There’s sweat everywhere, both on stage and off, the drums are whacked with ever increasing ferocity (there’s big chunks out of the edge of one of the cymbals), the analogue sequencer in the background ticks its clock-face LEDs in metronomic rhythm, an electronic heart propelling ecstatic human souls. Exhausting, exhilarating, exponential.

Let’s revisit 2013, shall we? A little corner of the internet (yes, it was us) was insistent that an obscure band of 15-year-olds from Halifax could well be the next big thing. How did we put it? “If they’re this good this young, how good will they be in a few years time?” Now we know the answer. The Orielles are extremely good indeed. There’s some shoegaze in their sound, maybe a bit of Sleeper in Esme Hand-Halford’s lazily-enunciated vocals, walls of chorused guitar, and little synthy details atop like hundreds and thousands. The songs are expertly arranged, the faux-naïve component parts slotting together to create weird yet accessible garage nuggets.

The Orielles-Deer Shed 2018 Saturday

‘Old Stuff, New Glass’ is enhanced with bongos and yelps all over the place, ‘Sugar Tastes Like Salt’ opens with a Beatles-esque contrapuntal dance between keys and bass, continues into a pogoing off-beat middle section, and goes properly berserk towards the end of its eight eventful minutes. Henry Wade is growing into a proper guitar anti-hero in the vein of Graham Coxon, his on-stage persona is a masterclass in deadpan humour. It bears saying again: “If they’re this good this young, how good will they be in a few years time?”

Just when you think it’s safe to assume you’ve seen the performance of the day, along come Avalanche Party. Their own description is “feral garage-punk from the Yorkshire Moors”, which is a difficult description to disagree with, except inasmuch as it doesn’t really go far enough. If this is punk, it’s space-age, widescreen, conceptual, melodic punk. If it’s garage, this one is packed to the gills with cans of petrol with the lids off, a V8 motor rumbling in the corner, one discarded cigarette end away from catastrophe, the air heavy with the scent of fear.

Avalanche Party-Deer Shed 2018 Saturday

Recent single ‘I’m So Wet’ is a lazy, sexy groove, something Serge Gainsbourg might fantasise about, before running away in terror at the multi-layered screaming crescendo. ‘Solid Gold’ just kicks off and never lets up the pressure for a second. The climax of ‘Revolution’ is a triumph of four-to-the-floor heavy riffing, bare-chested Jordan Bell screaming as if his life depended on it. Like the ritual sacrifice of a lamb atop a heather-strewn heath, Avalanche Party are raw, visceral, glamorous, dangerous, sweaty, bloody and unforgettable.

Phew. Like the best underground scenester venue, Deer Shed has just treated us to a masterclass in superlative new music: five brilliant acts hot off the press, the world at their feet. Things have to calm down at some point, and it takes the folky, downtempo acoustica of This Is The Kit to do so. Warm Digits (below) are the second brilliant electronica band of the day, and with the appearance of Field Music’s Peter Brewis are a great example of what beauty happens when Newcastle and Sunderland put aside their rivalries for just a little while.

Warm Digits-Deer Shed 2018 Saturday

Gaz Coombes (below) is his usual superb self, retro and zeitgeist wrapped into one man, and Goldfrapp were the big name with the big show. Some controversial souls found themselves preferring another dose of Hyde Park Brass. Truth be told, for this reviewer the undercard had completely walloped the headliners into semi-irrelevance. What a Saturday.

SLUG-Deer Shed 2018 01 Saturday-2190

 

Deer Shed Festival 2018: Friday Roundup

 
By on Monday, 30th July 2018 at 2:00 pm
 

No sooner had we arrived on site at Deer Shed 9, son one, having attended a Deer Shed every one of his 7 years, declared he had his first wobbly tooth. And so we add another ‘first’ to the many that Deer Shed has provided over the years. Every parent will share the excitement tinged with a pang of sadness that this momentous moment brings. It represents the end of the first stage of childhood. With the arrival of the new denticulus, they will never again look the same. Yet no parent would wish their offspring to remain permanently young. To fulfill their potential, they must grow up. One’s only wish is that they retain what makes them truly themselves as they do so.

As it turned out, exactly the same sentiments could be held about Deer Shed’s growth in 2018. Instead of a new tooth, they have a new field: what luck that a second natural amphitheatre exists to the north of the site, and many an experienced Deer Shedder was to be found wandering around confusedly in the vicinity of where the main stage, big top and helter-skelter used to be, it slowly dawning that that silver edifice in the distance near the car park was, in fact, the newly-relocated main stage.

Sadly, that meant a number of dearly-held Deer Shed locales simply ceased to be. The Obelisk tent and its associated gate is no more, perhaps due to its rather exuberant dampness in the rain last year. Those of us who tend to camp on that side of the festival had a lot further to walk to get to the main stage. And there was no point in strolling alongside the lake, because there was no access to the festival that way, either. There was a lot more fencing directing people hither and yon, whereas previously the arena was just one big circle and you could pretty much go where you pleased. The reward for such palaver was a 25% increase in space for the same number of people.

So. We mourn the loss of Deer Shed’s baby teeth…. Done. Let’s see what their new gnashers are made of.

Hyde Park Brass are first up, and also almost the last. They’re intertwined around this year’s festival like ivy around a tree. Here they were in the tiny pallet stage, and slightly more subdued than they would be on latter days. Pop brass is becoming more of a thing these days, and HPB remind me a fair bit of the incredible Riot Jazz Brass Band of Kendal Calling fame. Every good brass ensemble needs a festival residency, and these guys are no exception.

If you close your eyes – and forget they’re from Leeds – Mush are Lou Reed fronting Pavement. Their 10-minute epic ‘Alternative Facts’ has a slacker undertow with punky icing, and when lead singer Dan’s not speaking in tongues, he’s all wry humour and casual delivery. Single ‘Comment Section Creeps’, of which a limited edition 7” is sadly sold out, is a cutting social commentary on the dehumanising liberty of posting on the internet anonymously. Probably.

Mush Deer Shed 2018 01 Friday (landscape)-1597

whenyoung are a trio from Dublin whose uptempo 3-minute pop nuggets hint at the time just before Britpop became a dirty word, yet shot through with a slew of Edge-isms in the guitar work. ‘Heaven on Earth’ has a boxy, chorused tone evoking U2’s earliest, New-Wave influenced work, and ‘Pretty Pure’ has the classic tropes of dotted delay and infinitely sustaining guitar notes. There’s an innocence in Aoife Power’s sweet vocals, not to mention a generous helping of fellow countrywomen Sinead O’Connor and Dolores O’Riordan, so it’s only half a surprise when they launch into a note-perfect rendition of The Cranberries’ ‘Dreams’. Touching, appropriate, bittersweet.

whenyoung at Deer Shed 2018 01 Friday (landscape)-1700

It doesn’t take long to realise that if this weekend’s bands are anything like the quality of HMLTD, we’re in for a veritable treat indeed. Clad in all manner of leather, fishnet, tartan and makeup, their stage presence is off the scale, and the music not far behind. 2017 single ‘To The Door’ is like The Stooges covering one of Ennio Morricone’s more outré spaghetti western themes, but with a dubstep coda. Eh? ‘Satan, Luella, & I’ evokes a she-devil, a proposition, and gore but is lyrically optimistic and life-affirming. What?! For all their aesthetic outrageousness, which cribs heavily from theatrical Eighties’ glam like Adam Ant, there’s an underlying understanding of songwriting which gives the entire package credibility. Properly breathtaking.

HMLTD Deer Shed 2018 01 Friday (portrait)-1877

Drenge have matured nicely since I last saw them at Live at Leeds in 2014. Then just a brotherly two-piece, now they have both a bassist and a chap on ‘things’. They pull off a headline set with skill and good grace, and even have a laugh at wearing comedy air tanks consistent with Deer Shed’s ‘Making Waves’ theme. Material like ‘Bloodsports’ has lost none of its power through familiarity, and new single “Before the War Begins” reveals a simple, honest clarity of purpose reminiscent of the Manics at their best. Completely devoid of histrionics, clad plainly in comparison with the extravagance of an HMLTD, they nevertheless still pack a devastating punch.

Drenge Deer Shed 2018 01 Friday (landscape)-2076

And that’s it for Friday. There were DJs until half 2 next to the excellent bar, TGTF needed all possible energy to prepare for Saturday. More tomorrow.

 

Live Gig Video: Mansionair share arresting live performance of single ‘Technicolour’

 
By on Wednesday, 18th July 2018 at 4:00 pm
 

Sydneysiders Mansionair began July with another live performance video. Those boys really like the colour white: back in February, they unveiled this live video for single ‘Astronaut (Something About Your Love)’ filmed in Berlin and surrounded by white walls. In ‘Technicolour’, they’ve chosen to perform in a white room and in white clothes, with some short, darker, choice colour-swathed moments. It’s another feather in the cap for the Australian trio, sounding like what has become classic Mansionair: the driving melody and mesmerising percussion combine with frontman Jack Froggatt’s painfully emotional vocals in this arresting performance. ‘Technicolour’ is available now from Glassnote Records. For all of our past articles here on TGTF on the Aussie group, go here.

 

Live Gig Video: Hudson Taylor share live version of ‘Feel It Again’ at Dublin Olympia

 
By on Tuesday, 17th July 2018 at 4:00 pm
 

Irish duo and brothers Hudson Taylor have a new live video for us this. We previously posted an acoustic version of single ‘Feel It Again’, which the pair released to the wild in late 2017. Now, they have an even more special live version of the same song, filmed in the venerated Dublin Olympia. Having seen the Staves there 3 years ago, I was able to experience the beauty of the historic theatre in the heart of Ireland’s capital first-hand. In this live video, whether you’ve been to the Olympia yourself or not, you can feel (no pun intended) the energy from the performance, as well as all the famous acts who have passed through the Olympia’s doors and played on the very same stage. Watch the performance by Hudson Taylor from March below. The duo have a whole host of summer festival appearances to come in July and August. In the autumn, they’ll be Hozier‘s special guest on his autumn American tour, then go on their own UK headline tour in November; all of their live dates can be found on their Facebook events page. For more writings on the talented Irish act here on TGTF, use this link.

 

Live Gig Video: Fatherson share ‘Making Waves’ from upcoming third album ‘Sum of All Your Parts’

 
By on Tuesday, 26th June 2018 at 4:00 pm
 

Scottish trio Fatherson have a new album out this autumn. To preview the upcoming LP, they’ve unveiled ‘Making Waves’, which shows a definite change in direction for the Scots. Frontman, guitarist and famous beard owner Ross Leighton explained the song “defined how the album would sound” and it being a “heart on your sleeve slacker tune with a tonne of groove.” Slacker is right: the guitars are loud on this new song, and with the muscle of the track, it’s no wonder that when it came time to present the song to the public, they would use a physical way to convey its feeling. In the video, the three-piece are performing the song indoors, accompanied by an interpretative dancer. Watch the video below. ‘Making Waves’ will appear the band’s third studio album ‘Sum of All Your Parts’, which will drop on the 14th of September on Easy Life Records. To read our past coverage on Fatherson, come through.

 

Live Review: Ciaran Lavery with Dustin Furlow at Jammin’ Java, Vienna, VA – 21st June 2018

 
By on Monday, 25th June 2018 at 2:00 pm
 

It isn’t too often that I attend a seated show. As some of you know, Carrie is the singer/songwriter wonk on staff, not me. I’m used to standing in front of loud amps for whichever pop, rock or electronic gig I’ve chosen for the night. I felt pretty much out of my element, but perhaps this is me turning over a new leaf. Are laidback coffee shop gigs in my future? Have I ::cough:: gone soft? I’ll chew on that thought another time.

I arrived just as American Dustin Furlow began his set. He’s from Virginia Beach, pretty much on the opposite side of the state, but of course not as far as the Northern Irish headliner had to travel. Furlow is an award-winning singer/songwriter, billed as one of the most accomplished in Southeastern Virginia. Something that is nigh impossible to reproduce as other club shows is that gentle, priceless intimacy between artist and fan in a place like this. There’d be a sense of awkwardness in those clubs from both parties if a story like Furlow’s about his drunk on bourbon, shirtless father floating in water, the inspiration for ‘Cherokee Lake’, was told from the stage. And yet, when the story is told at Jammin’ Java, it is a touching tale.

Dustin Furlow Jammin Java 2018

I admit to writing off most singer/songwriters if the melodies and lyrics they offer are weak. What became clear through the two instrumentals in the set alone is that Furlow is a virtuoso on acoustic guitar, something rare and not applauded in popular music these days. Watching his fingers dance across the fretboard was pretty incredible, and this is coming from someone who gave up on guitar because remembering the chords was too hard. When he sang, a surprisingly soulful voice came out on songs like ‘Evergreen’ from his 2017 EP ‘Solo’ or a jaunty cover of the Lindsey Buckingham-centric Fleetwood Mac foot-stomper ‘Big Love’ to close out his set.

TGTF have had wonderful opportunities to cover Northern Ireland’s Ciaran Lavery the last few years, mostly around his appearances during SXSW 2016 and 2017. I wonder why the alt-folk troubadour from the village of Aghagallon isn’t a household name yet like Frank Turner. For me, there are two things that make Lavery stand out head and shoulders above everyone else: his emotional, honest lyrics delivered in a gorgeous Irish brogue. Pretension doesn’t exist in his songwriting, as each tune shows Lavery’s heart on his sleeve.

Ciaran Lavery Jammin Java 2018

Early on, he impressed with the rawness of social anxiety chronicled in ‘Shame’ on his 2013 debut LP ‘Not Nearly Dark’. This past spring, he released ‘Sweet Decay’, his third studio album; at this show, he described how writing with others and having to worry about their opinions as an uncomfortable situation. You couldn’t hear this at all in the a cappella version of the title track he delivered stood in front of us, all in white as a model of vulnerability with aplomb. Lavery’s piano cover of The National’s ‘Bloodbuzz Ohio’ was an unexpected triumph, finally making the song palatable to me. ‘Wicked Teeth’, a song about going to the dentist (allegedly!), comes across sweetly, revisiting the theme of vulnerability and combining it with love and desire.

Between songs, he seemed entirely relaxed, as if he was giving us a performance in his front room for his best mates. When he asked if anyone in the crowd wasn’t from DC, an audience member yelled, “Dublin!” Lavery chided him with, “you know, I recently played there and with my whole band, you didn’t have to come this far!” Laughter. His story about his trip on Aer Lingus to the States and his difficulty in using their thin, tiny provided blanket was relatable to those of us who have attempted this during a transatlantic flight. Good-natured snufflings abounded. This is a down-to-earth guy with an honest heart and eager to talk to strangers in bars. If you’re lucky enough to live in one of the North American towns he has left on his tour of our continent through the start of July, spend an evening being spellbound by him and his music. He plays tonight at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto.

Ciaran Lavery Jammin Java 2018 2

 
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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 is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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