Check out our festival coverage, including that from SXSW 2017 and BIGSOUND 2017, through here.

SXSW 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | Live at Leeds 2016 | 2015 | 2014
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Live Gig Video: Titus Andronicus share full concert film of live album ‘[email protected] ROCK: FIVE NIGHTS AT THE OPERA’

 
By on Thursday, 4th August 2016 at 4:00 pm
 

A year and a week ago, New Jersey rockers Titus Andronicus played a 5-night series of sold out shows at the iconic Brooklyn venue Shea Stadium. The live album taken from recordings from the gig series have now been released on Merge Records as ‘[email protected] ROCK: FIVE NIGHTS AT THE OPERA’. To celebrate this momentous release and to provide video accompaniment to the audio experience, the band have also released a full concert film with footage taken from these shows. The live experience has been dutifully “captured in such vivid detail” so that “devotees can relive their favourite concert memories from the comfort of their own homes.” Makes sense to me. Enjoy the full film below. For more on Titus Andronicus on TGTF, right this way, ladies and gents.

 

Leefest 2016 Interview: Michael Spearman of Everything Everything

 
By on Tuesday, 2nd August 2016 at 11:00 am
 

“I guess it’s something we’ve had to learn, the learning of having to try and fill the room and when it’s an outdoor space, especially a big stage like The Other Stage [at Glastonbury], you have to sort of throw it to the back and exaggerate things a bit more”. Everything Everything drummer Michael Spearman (second anticlockwise from far right in the header photo) is currently discussing the band’s approach to playing festivals, especially after last year’s triumphant set at Worthy Farm. Spearman continues: “we’re still at that quite nice stage where we do sometimes play arenas with other bands or we play a small show, it keeps it interesting to mix it up. I think in general (singer) Jon’s always kind of adapting what he’s doing, working the space with a certain amount of charisma, which we like, [seeing] that in other bands that we see live. Watching Foals [their recent European tour mates] a lot, touring with them, they’re not stood there looking at their shoes, it’s quite an active engagement”.

Watching Everything Everything live is where you see the nature of their sound come to life. A live show filled with presence and projection, the band have no issue in staking their claim. “It doesn’t feel like we’ve trapped ourselves in to like a corner or anything. In a way, we’ve kind of made it so we can be unexpected, and people cannot necessarily know what they’re going to get from us live or on the record, but on the whole, we feel we’ve got a lot of freedom in these different areas”. This is a natural evolution for bands, especially as they release newer material. Elaborating, Spearman offers, “we’ve done three albums now and people know, for better or worse, what to expect with us a little but and I suppose that’s quite liberating in a way. We’ll also tweak the set list maybe a little bit just to make a slightly more direct engagement because some of the very small intricacies can get lost, kind of like in an arena. So I think we’ll always have our essence to us even if we play a totally different set list, we are who we are”.

Everything Everything performing live at the Low Four Studio launch in Manchester, May 2016
Everything Everything performing live at the Low Four Studio launch
in Manchester, May 2016 (watch here)

The power of Everything Everything has been strengthening since 2010’s ‘Man Alive’. Last year’s ‘Get to Heaven’ showed the band at their most unrelenting, something that Spearman agrees with. “I think the last record in particular, we didn’t want any let up until maybe the last song, and that was quite a conscious thing. The one before that (2013’s ‘Arc’) was a little bit more evenly paced, it had a bit more sort of time to it”. As their sound develops, so does the approach to give a lot more respect for those aspects that might even go unnoticed. “You know the Coen Brothers [film directors], they always talk about directing a film is totally tone management. You can’t have one scene that’s one thing and another that is too far the other way and still have a constant flow. We kind of think about that, not at first, because that’s just let’s write some songs, and then it just starts to crystallise and take some shape and you think ‘okay, we feel we want to have these songs on the record [and] not those songs’, so that we can do this with the record and that’s quite a nice feeling”.

In terms of the next natural progression to more new material, Everything Everything are already at work. with Spearman not revealing too much. “We haven’t really gotten to the lyrics yet, we’ve started writing, it’s coming quite easily, definitely easier than the last time”. Retrospectively, he remembers the process for ‘Get to Heaven’: “the first few months of the last record was a bit of a slog, and we were kind of starting to wonder what we’re doing. Then we had to sort of discard all of the songs that we had and start again, that was quite tough. This time, we kind of want to have fun with it and enjoy ourselves a bit, and so far that’s happening. We’re trying to be a bit more relaxed and easy going and, not to say the lyrics will end up like that, but in terms of the writing process, we’re trying to not put too much pressure on ourselves”.

This week also sees the band take to North America. With a sound such as theirs, Spearman describes the difficulties in translating such extremities to newer shores. “We’re quite specifically British, eccentric sounding, but I think some Americans like that. We’ve maybe made our lives a bit more difficult by being weirder than some bands, but then we wouldn’t feel like we’re not being true to ourselves. To be honest, we have a lot of work to do in America still, and we love going abroad and playing to different people, but we’re not at the same level that we are in the UK. And that’s okay, but it’s just a case of chipping away at it really.”.

If you happen to live on the American side of the pond, you can catch Everything Everything starting tomorrow night in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Wednesday 3rd August 2016 – The Sinclair – Cambridge, MA
Thursday 4th August 2016 – Music Hall of Williamsburg – Brooklyn, NY
Saturday 6th August 2016 – TIME Festival – Toronto, ON, Canada
Monday 8th August 2016 – U Street Music Hall – Washington, DC

 

Live Gig Video: Sinkane performs ‘How We Be’ at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn

 
By on Monday, 17th November 2014 at 4:00 pm
 

The super soulful Sinkane will be starting a tour of England and Ireland tomorrow evening at Bristol Start the Bus. Ahead of that, he’s released this groovy video from a show he did last month in Brooklyn at Baby’s All Right, which is turning out to be the venue where all indie UK artists end up playing the first time they’re in our country. Watch below as he and his crew perform ‘How We Be’ in front of a group of eager, dancing fans.

Sinkane’s album ‘Mean Love’ was released to critical acclaim back in September on City Slang.

 

Live Review: Fenech-Soler at Glasslands Gallery, Brooklyn, NY – 5th April 2014

 
By on Tuesday, 8th April 2014 at 2:00 pm
 

It’s in our blood, it’s in our blood,
It’s in our blood, in our blood tonight
Even if I have to dance alone,
I don’t want to go home,
don’t want to go home…

It took several years that felt like an eternity, but English electropop band Fenech-Soler are finally beginning to release their music here in America. Practically just as their debut EP ‘Stop and Stare’ released a long while ago in the UK became available in the States, the band lined a short stint including a Neon Gold club show appearance and headline shows in Brooklyn, Los Angeles and San Francisco. New York isn’t exactly my backyard but I am very fond of Fenech-Soler and made the trip up, trying to be as productive as possible, also lining up this brilliant interview with Ben and Ross Duffy while I was in Williamsburg.

Glasslands Gallery near the water in South Williamsburg isn’t that small (300 capacity with a balcony), but it has an almost urban rusticity, with wooden floorboards at the entrance, three well-maintained if oddly unisex toilets and a wonky DIY aesthetic with clusters of sawed off PVC pipe with bulbs inserted in them as makeshift chandeliers suspended above the stage. In my interview, Ross Duffy noted that they felt most at home at this size of venue, since that’s where they started when they first began gigging, and it was only recently that they headlined Shepherds Bush Empire in London before Christmas 2013.

I think the size and intimacy of the venue also benefitted the band: generally speaking, when it comes to dance music, it’s all about people being in the dark and crammed in – within health code regulations, of course – and having a certain critical mass of excited, entirely up for it dancegoers, not to mention the collective energy generated by that critical mass. Glasslands filled up admirably, so that by the time the band originally from Kings Cliffe took to the stage, there were quite a few very excited fans down the front, yours truly included. This is my kind of gig! And I was about to see songs from my 3rd favourite album of 2013 performed in a few short moments.

If there was ever any question whether Fenech-Soler are an electropop band, any confusion would be quickly brushed away as soon as you saw their complicated stage set-up. The Glasslands stage is not all that big, and I’m not sure how they managed to fit five people (the four guys in the band plus touring keyboardist and backing vocalist Tom Butler) and all their equipment, but somehow, they did it. It restricted singer Ben Duffy’s movement while onstage; I had become so sure that at some point, he was going to jump down into the crowd and dance with us. Sadly, that never happened, though I am positive with the kind of moves he had in what space he was offered, he wanted to.

The majority of my photos of the night are terrible, as the lighting wasn’t very good, but in my defence, I also have another very good excuse: none of the band members were ever stood even somewhat still long enough for me to snap any good ones. This included Ben Duffy, who was extremely charismatic, engaging the audience throughout the set, starting with the irrepressibly catchy pop number ‘Last Forever’ in its sun-kissed glory recalling carefree summer days, all backed by the punishing drumming of Andrew Lindsay. The amount of energy he and his bandmates throw into their performance is, in a word, stunning. This is what you want from a dance band: music that gets hands in the air in raising the roof fashion and bodies moving, and they achieved both of those goals, barely stopping for breath between songs.

By playing the hits from 2010’s ‘Fenech-Soler’ (the frenetically buzzing ‘Lies’, the glitter of ‘Stop and Stare’) along with the newer songs including single ‘Magnetic’, the ever expansive and dreamy ‘Maiyu’ and set closer and huge first single from 2013 ‘Rituals’, ‘All I Know’ (single review here), Fenech-Soler proved they didn’t suffer at all from the sophomore album slump and their talent in writing unforgettable melodies with strong, epic dance instrumentation underlying it all will continue to pay off for them. The crown jewels of the night for me were ‘In Our Blood’ (promo video here), their latest single off ‘Rituals’, the syncopation of its compressed synth lines as if running through Ben Duffy himself as his body contorted effortlessly to the infectious rhythm of the track, and ‘Somebody’, which I wasn’t a fan of when I reviewed the album last autumn but live, it proved a hugely wonderful surprise on the dance floor.

I’m not a big fan of being shoved around (call me crazy, but I’m little!). Mostly and thankfully, the fans I encountered were excited and dancing about, but also extremely respectful, so respectful that I never made it stage right to take photos of Ross Duffy on guitar, because I felt *I* would be rude doing so. This is how I found myself stood in front of Daniel Soler and his mad bass and analogue synth-playing skills all night. This is not at all a bad thing; as some of you know, I also play bass and so mesmerised by the nimbleness of his hands on his Fender P-bass for single ‘Magnetic’, I thought I might faint. I definitely need to compare notes with him when they come to DC, which the brothers Duffy have promised me will occur in due time. Hopefully this will happen sooner than later and America will finally come to realise what Radio 1 and the British music-buying public have been missing all these years and take to Fenech-Soler’s music in droves.

Many thanks to fellow fan Chris who kindly allowed me to use
these photos she took at the show; they were better than mine.

After the cut: Fenech-Soler’s set list.
Continue reading Live Review: Fenech-Soler at Glasslands Gallery, Brooklyn, NY – 5th April 2014

 

Interview: Ben and Ross Duffy of Fenech-Soler

 
By on Monday, 7th April 2014 at 11:00 am
 

I’d been waiting to see a Fenech-Soler headline show for quite a long time. Years, actually. (I’ll be honest, it drove me nuts that Martin had seen and experienced them in Newcastle in 2011 and I still hadn’t.) So when I found out they were finally releasing music officially and playing some shows here in America – and even better, the show in Brooklyn was on a Saturday, and therefore entirely possible for a working stiff as myself – there was no other decision but to go up to New York for it.

Further, I decided what better way to welcome the guys to our country than to have a chat with them and find out firsthand from them how things have blown up for them since the release of their hugely popular self-titled debut album in 2010. Backstage at the Glasslands Gallery in South Williamsburg where they’d be playing their first headline show ever here in the States, brothers Ben (lead vocals) and Ross (guitar) Duffy sat down with me for an intimate conversation about coming out to America and getting to finally release material here, their experience with social media and connecting with their fans, the ‘difficult second album syndrome’, playing at the Winter 2014 Olympics in Sochi and so much more. If you’re wondering what those loud thuds in the middle of the interview, that would be drummer Andrew Lindsay soundchecking his kit directly below us onstage.

I sincerely thank both Ben and Ross for being so candid and taking the time out of their preparation for the Glasslands show to talk with me on Saturday afternoon. If you haven’t noticed, I don’t tend to post photos of myself when I meet bands, but they were just some of the loveliest people ever, I couldn’t not post that photo at top of us! Thanks also to Meghan and Ian for facilitating this interview. Stay tuned for the review of the Brooklyn show to follow shortly here on TGTF.

 

Live Review: The Crookes at Union Hall, Brooklyn, NY – 19th September 2013

 
By on Tuesday, 24th September 2013 at 2:00 pm
 

Union Hall chalkboardGetting to the further reaches of Brooklyn, away from the bright lights of Manhattan that are more familiar to the regular NYC tourist, can be a bit of a daunting task if you don’t know exactly where you’re going. Like if you’re not from around there. However, I do my research and knew exactly where Union Hall in Park Slope was.

The problem was the subway: due to nightly reconstruction of the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy last autumn, my friend Lizzie and I had to take a train from Queens back into Manhattan and around again to the bottom half of Brooklyn to make it. Then we realised we had to get off much further away than we thought, then needed to hoof it to some 10 blocks south to get to the place. To say I was perspiring and nervous we’d be late would be putting it mildly. I’m sure the bouncer at the door was amused by my wheezing.

Compared to the show 2 nights previous at Bowery Electric in the East Village that Carrie captured perfectly in this review, this time the Crookes weren’t headlining but the second support band to local band Los Encantados (whose name, by the way, was embarrassingly misspelled on the chalkboard outside the entrance to the performance space). Because of the entirely unforeseen fiasco with the subway, we arrived at Union Hall too late to catch Young Rising Sons, the first opener from New Jersey, though it was a nice, unexpected touch to find venue staff Jack, a native of Brighton (and therefore possessing a beautiful English accent in the middle of Brooklyn) at the door when we went in.

While the set list was identical to the one at Bowery Electric, there were two main positive differences in the Union Hall show. First was singer George Waite’s less nervous manner, which led to funnier onstage banter. Early on in the set, he commented that they had expected American crowds to be less stoic and the audience being “so polite” reminded them of being back home in England. ‘American Girls’ was dedicated to “1/2 of this country’s population”.

The Crookes Brooklyn 2013 2

Then immediately prior to guitarist/lyricist Daniel Hopewell’s star turn with the opening and closing notes of ‘Sal Paradise’ on an acoustic guitar, Waite reminded everyone that it was the week of Hopewell’s birthday. First he told everyone how old he was, but then went back on his word, saying with a grin, “…he’s actually only 21”, eliciting a similar grin on Hopewell’s face. A excited fan down the front next to me kept shouting for ‘Hold Fast’ (an egregious omission at these two shows, in my opinion) and Waite initially pretended to not understand the request and then offered up ‘Honey’ as a suitable alternative.

To be honest, the songs are two entirely different animals and therefore we do the band no favours to compare them side by side like that. But I appreciate being given ‘Honey’ twice in a 3-day span, because the ‘Afterglow’ b-side is probably one of the most emotionally charged songs of theirs lyrically that Daniel Hopewell has written. It is the story of every self-conscious, self-loathing individual who wishes he/she could “rip out my pages to be somebody else”, while hearing from a loved one that it’s all in their head and “oh honey, you’ll be fine, it just takes time”, the last thing that person wants to hear. Like newer single ‘Dance in Colour’, it too is worthy of further introspective contemplation as Waite alluded to at the London Scala show in May. Also, the Crookes had good reason to play ‘Honey’ too: it is one of three bonus tracks on the American version of ‘Hold Fast’, digitally available on the 30th of September here in the States.

The Crookes Brooklyn 2013 1

Musically, they sounded very tight. Straight out of the gate, the band wowed with ‘Where Did Our Love Go?’, with its infectiously brilliant one-liner, “we don’t dance alone”. The sheer rocking goodness of lead guitarist Tom Dakin’s solo in new-ish single ‘Bear’s Blood’ was simply kick arse, as he threw his entire body into its energy. Beer spillage occurred during the band’s closing number, an acoustic version of the crowd-pleasing ‘The Cooler King’ that had punters clapping enthusiastically in time. Admittedly, it was during this number that someone else’s beer got spilt all over my sandals and my feet were wet, but I barely cared. This is the kind of music I find real to me now, true to who I am as a person in this point in time. I feel it in my feet and my head, and most importantly, in my heart.

Perhaps it being the second of their two gig commitments, the band sounded better in the smaller, one-level format of the Union Hall downstairs room versus the disjointed two-floor setup at Bowery Electric because there would be no further gig anxiety after this one. After the Brooklyn show, I caught up with Waite to ask him which show he felt went down better; he said he thought the first one, though I disagreed. The newer converts at the Union Hall show were certainly more excited to see the band, hanging out afterwards to chat with the band to learn more about them. As a music editor, this was really great for me to witness first-hand, as I’ve heard and seen so much potential from the Crookes from the very beginning, and now they’re starting on the next chapter of what I’m sure will be a long, brilliant career.

The Crookes Brooklyn 2013 3

After the cut: the Crookes’ set list.
Continue reading Live Review: The Crookes at Union Hall, Brooklyn, NY – 19th September 2013

 
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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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