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Live Review: This is Tomorrow Festival 2018

 
By on Wednesday, 30th May 2018 at 2:00 pm
 

Header photo by Dean Hindmarch via This is Tomorrow festival Facebook page

Starting in 2002 and for over a decade, Evolution Festival was a Tyneside event drawing music lovers to Newcastle and Gateshead during the lazy days of a May bank holiday. A few years passed with no appearance of Evolution’s return in sight. It’s unclear to me what the impetus was to create the inaugural This is Tomorrow Festival held last weekend Quayside in Newcastle. But I’d like to believe that following the last edition of Evolution in 2013 and the ensuing festival-less years that followed, festival organisers were simply chomping at the bit to provide another event to bring the music lovers of the North East together again. For 2018, This is Tomorrow was presented as a 2-day event, and I only attended on Friday the 25th. The lineup for Saturday the 26th included headliners Thirty Seconds to Mars, who were supported by locals and TGTF friends Boy Jumps Ship, Don Broco and Marmozets.

This was only my second time in Tyneside, so I made the mistake of taking the Quayside bus too far east. However, even though my trainers got soaked in the pouring rain in the afternoon, I’d argue that this music editor actually benefitted from this mistake, as I heard Everything Everything soundcheck ‘Can’t Do’ as I walked towards the box office. I’m not sure if Sam Fender was actually given a soundcheck, as I watched him dash through the rain, a guitar in each hand, onstage. Proceedings started on time shortly after 5:30 PM, with plenty of fellow locals excited to welcome the BBC Sound of 2018 nominated act and local boy done good to the stage. He began with the self-deprecating ‘Millennial’, then ran through a taut set of politically astute songs belying his relatively young age. I feel pretty lucky that I was able to see him in a club environment in March at SXSW 2018 and then got to see him play to a huge crowd in his hometown. Fender ended his all-too short set with ‘Play God’ and was rewarded with a rousing round of cheers.


Sam Fender This is Tomorrow 2018

For those not in the know, Little Comets were one of the first acts whose studio-recorded music I ever reviewed. For most of their career, they’ve been a three-piece, until relatively recently, when they expanded the core of brothers Rob and Mickey Coles and bassist Matt Hall with Matt Saxon on keyboards and Nathan Greene on drums for 2017 album ‘Worhead’, their fourth. With a pretty big back catalogue, I think it takes a lot of nerve to fill a set list with newer, probably less known tunes instead of relying on old, proven favourites. But if you know anything about Little Comets, they’ve never done anything predictable. Recent single ‘M62’ got an airing with gusto, as did the searing commentary of xenophobia in ‘The Punk is in the Detail’. But longtime Comets fans needn’t have worried: their dear ol’ girls ‘Jennifer’ and ‘Joanna’ were full of bounce as ever, and they closed their set with the ever joy-inducing ‘Dancing Song’. “This one’s for dancing!” That, indeed, it always is.


Little Comets This is Tomorrow 2018

Moving ever closer to the headline set Friday night at This is Tomorrow, the next band up were another TGTF favourite and another band with four studio albums under their belt, Everything Everything. The band originally having formed in Manchester may have lost two of their members to the big smoke, but this hasn’t negatively affected their unique sound one bit. Hard to believe that ‘A Fever Dream’ was released last summer, as its inventive songwriting has firmly been implanted in my mind. While at times I lament the loss of my favourite, earlier masterpieces of theirs like ‘QWERTY Finger’ and ‘Final Form’ to their live show, the inclusion of now perennial showpieces including ‘Kemosabe’ and ‘Regret’ alongside ‘A Fever Dream’ top tracks ‘Night of the Long Knives’ and ‘Desire’. While Sam Fender and Little Comets’ sets before them were enjoyable, Everything Everything’s set seemed to really rile up and excite the crowd right before the main event.


Everything Everything This is Tomorrow 2018

Catfish and the Bottlemen need no introduction, of course. The Welsh rockers, famous for their back-to-back hit-spawning LPs ‘The Balcony’ and ‘The Ride’ were, of course, the biggest draw for the inaugural This is Tomorrow event. The lion’s share of the shoving and pushing of the fans was all for them. While I’m not their target demographic and I consider their sound too rock by the numbers, I can appreciate that their feel good, anthemic sound resonates easily with the youth of today. The enthusiastic screams of delight rippling through the crowd were proof positive that Van McCann and co. came through with a job well done.

The festival wasn’t without its hiccups. Some fans complained they missed the performances they had being waiting for for weeks because the security queues took too long to negotiate. The rain led to widening ‘lakes’ on the festival site that were impossible to jump over, and frustration built as one such lake up front stage left prevented revelers from getting any closer to their heroes. Bottles of wine were being sold at an exorbitant £25, so naturally, I wondered how much a pint of lager or cider would have cost. Few down the front, many who had arrived to queue outside while it was still raining, were willing to brave the arduous expedition to leave the crowd to get an overpriced drink. The crush of bodies down the front eventually became too much for me, so a report about a young man having a panic attack in the midst of the festival was, unfortunately, not surprising to me. The youth of Newcastle have the infamous reputation of not dressing appropriately for cold weather, so it was not surprising to me to see kids in attendance in soaking wet clothes, shivering while the wind blew. My motherly instinct kicked in, and I felt terrible for them.

While no festival can prepare for every eventuality, it’s unfortunate that many will remember this festival for the problems they encountered. The rapid selling out of tickets to the Catfish and the Bottlemen-headlined first day is incredible validation that the music lovers of the North East are excited about an event like this and that future events will be well attended and successful. The This is Tomorrow festival organisers should be proud of this. Let’s hope that they heed all punters’ feedback, whether positive or negative, and use the feedback to make next year’s event even better.

 

Live Gig Video: Everything Everything make their American tv debut, performing ‘Can’t Do’ on James Corden

 
By on Thursday, 2nd November 2017 at 4:00 pm
 

Ever inventive rockers Everything Everything just returned 2 weeks ago from an American tour. This included a stop in Washington, DC, supported by Americans Savoir Adore. In addition to a series of massive shows stateside, another feather in their cap was their first American late night tv live appearance, on The Late Late Show with James Corden. I can’t tell if the American audience watching them was overexcited or confused, as there’s random cheering in the midst of their performance of ‘Can’t Do’, which you can watch below. I guess those of us who have seen them a few times know when that’s appropriate, ha. For much more on Everything Everything-themed articles here on TGTF, come this way.

 

Live Gig Video: Everything Everything share studio taping of ‘Night of the Long Knives’ performance

 
By on Friday, 20th October 2017 at 4:00 pm
 

In case you’ve been living under a rock: Everything Everything released their fourth album, ‘A Fever Dream’, back in August on RCA Records. This week, they are sharing another video for a song from the album, this time a live performance video shot in their studio in Manchester by Kit Monteith. If Kit’s name sounds familiar, here’s the scoop: he was formerly the drummer of another band many of us adored, the now defunct Trophy Wife from Oxford. Monteith is now in the visual arts, having taken photos of and done merch for fellow Oxfordians and past tourmates of Everything Everything’s, Foals, and others. ‘Night of the Long Knives’ is the third single to be taken from the fourth LP; it follows standouts ‘Can’t Do’ and ‘Desire’ and was anointed as Annie Mac’s Hottest Record in the World this past Wednesday.

The location? Frontman Jonathan Higgs explains: “We wanted to return to the DIY spirit of our early self-directed videos that we made in Manchester when we first started out. It therefore felt right to shoot this video in Manchester and Low Four studios at Old Granada Studios was the perfect fit. It’s a hidden gem that has managed to maintain its original late 1970s aesthetic.” Fans will recall the band were on hand to officially open the venue in the city of their birth and designed for live show recordings last summer.

This performance was filmed entirely in black and white, which is just as well, as they’re not wearing their current tour outfits: neon orange t-shirts, blue jackets and silver trousers. (You can see those outfits in all their glory in my photos of them when they stopped in Washington, DC, to do a show at the Black Cat last Saturday.) One better, actually, is the fact that they’re all dressed a bit different, seemingly representing the different aspects of their music. Higgs is all serious: who wears a trenchcoat to the studio? Guitarist Alex Robertshaw, now cool with a pair of spectacles, has on a striped shirt, long associated with hipsters. Bassist Jeremy Pritchard is in a leather jacket, being a rebel. And last but not least, drummer Mike Spearman is keeping it real, wearing a 9:30 Club t-shirt that any fan can purchase. With the 9:30 Club being in DC, of course I love this. Watch the new video from Everything Everything below. They’ll be on tour in the UK and Ireland starting in late February. For much more on the band on TGTF, follow this link.

 

Live Review: Everything Everything with Savoir Adore at Black Cat, Washington, DC – 14th October 2017

 
By on Monday, 16th October 2017 at 2:00 pm
 

When several lovely things happen at once, it seems less a coincidence and more like the stars aligning thanks to fate. Saturday night definitely felt like one of those times. The ever eclectic Everything Everything returned for a third time to Washington, DC, as part of their campaign to tour current album for RCA, ‘A Fever Dream’. (Unveiled in August, you can read my review from back then through this link.) Amazingly, they were supported Savoir Adore, by an American synthpop band I’ve followed and loved for years. In short, this show was a most excellent double-header, like a fantasy come to life.

My most recent experience seeing Brooklyn’s Savoir Adore live was at SXSW 2016, at the Neon Gold showcase on a rainy Friday night. Despite the delay and trying conditions, Savoir Adore’s catchy, synth-led tunes shone through the darkness. I found out during a conversation after this show at the Black Cat that the SXSW 2016 appearance was one of co-lead singer Lauren Zettler’s first shows with the band following Deidre Muro’s departure in 2014. Talk about baptism by fire! Fast forward a year and a half later, and Savoir Adore now have a third album to show off, summer 2016’s ‘The Love That Remains’, out now on Nettwork Records. It’s another great collection of sometimes dreamy, sometimes funky synthpop, made more special by the strength of Zettler and group founder Paul Hammer’s beautifully complementary voices.

Savoir Adore October 2017 Washington 2

With three albums under their belt, they have quite a bit of material to choose from for live performances. The uber lovely ‘Dreamers’ and the bass thumping ‘Regalia’ recalled the glory of the 2013 ‘Our Nature’ era. Newer songs ‘Savages’ and ‘Crowded Streets’ are a nice step in their evolution, the latter with an added nice, anthemic, The Naked and the Famous-esque oomph to their production. They closed their set with single ‘Giants’, an uplifting number about getting back on your feet after every of life’s stumbles. Savoir Adore are one of the best band examples of how to do life-affirming, feel good synthpop right. Leaving everyone in the Black Cat pumped up for the main event, I only wished they could have played longer.

For sure, I chose the right place to stand for this show. Stage right, I was surrounded by a nice mix of guys and girls, all massive fans excited for the show and ranging from near to full breathlessness in their devotion to Everything Everything. One girl with her sister warned us she might faint if they played ‘Distant Past’. (Spoiler: they did. I can report that thankfully, no fainting occurred.) At a venue like the Black Cat, there is a special kind of intimacy and interaction that the stars onstage can have with their audience. Except for title track ‘A Fever Dream’ that saw Jonathan Higgs sat down at the piano for a brief, quiet moment, the onslaught of the Everything Everything sound that we have come to know, all the weird and the wonderful words and music they have gifted to us, never let up.


Everything Everything October 2017 Washington 1

It’s testament to their continued inventiveness and pop songwriting approach that over a decade and four albums that they have maintained a cult status in the upper echelons of indie rock cool. They are revered and envied widely in this business, and for good reason. The first tracks for their first and latest albums, the herky-jerky ‘MY KZ, UR BF’ and ‘The Night of the Long Knives’, respectively, can stand beside in a live set, proof they have kept pushing the envelope with their sound. And intelligent fans respond to that. When Higgs pointed his mike towards the Black Cat audience on ‘Spring/Sun/Winter/Dread’ and ‘Can’t Do’ (see them perform the song appearing at the 10-year anniversary of BBC Introducing below), they answered with near-deafening shouts back to him.

If you ever get caught up in the booming sing-alongs to ‘Desire’, ‘Cough Cough’, ‘Regret’ and ‘Kemosabe’, join in, you’ll never regret it. To be surrounded by smiling, happy people who all know exactly when to sing the flute-like, high-pitched “do-do-DO-do” parts of ‘Get to Heaven’ is a moment I won’t soon forget. Clear highlights from ‘A Fever Dream’ included the brilliantly executed bursts of guitar on ‘Run the Numbers’, followed by the noodley freneticism of ‘Ivory Tower’ in the encore. The audience’s demand for “Ten more songs!” wasn’t honoured, true, but when a call like that comes through and so emphatically, you know the band must be doing a lot of things so right.

Everything Everything October 2017 Washington 2

Some of Everything Everything’s upcoming live appearances include closing out Liverpool Music Week 2017 on the 4th of November and then heading to Australia in late December into early January, performing at their summer festivals and headline shows at Sydney Metro and Thornbury Croxton Ballroom. They also have an UK/Irish tour for late February into March 2018. Check out their full list of live dates on their Facebook, and enjoy the entirety of our extensive archive on Everything Everything through here.

After the cut: Everything Everything’s set list.
Continue reading Live Review: Everything Everything with Savoir Adore at Black Cat, Washington, DC – 14th October 2017

 

Everything Everything / February and March 2018 UK/Irish Tour

 
By on Monday, 28th August 2017 at 9:00 am
 

Following the release of their fourth album less than a fortnight ago, Everything Everything have announced a new UK and Irish tour, their biggest to date, for next year. The Manchester-based band will be taking ‘A Fever Dream’, out now on RCA Records, on the road in February and March. (You can read my review of the long player through here.) The tour kicks off at the venerated Dublin Olympia on the 28th of February 2018, then continues on in blighty 2 days later. The jaunt culminates in a show at London Alexandra Palace on the 10th of March. Tickets go on sale this Friday, the 1st of September, but I’d recommend you visit their official Web site for some more information that might be useful… To read much more on Everything Everything here on TGTF, follow this link.

Wednesday 28th Feb 2018 – Dublin Olympia
Friday 2nd Mar 2018 – Norwich UEA
Saturday 3rd Mar 2018 – Birmingham Academy
Monday 5th Mar 2018 – Bristol Colston Hall
Tuesday 6th Mar 2018 – Leeds Academy
Thursday 8th Mar 2018 – Glasgow Barrowland
Friday 9th Mar 2018 – Manchester Apollo
Saturday 10th Mar 2018 – London Alexandra Palace

 

Album Review: Everything Everything – A Fever Dream

 
By on Tuesday, 15th August 2017 at 12:00 pm
 

Everything Everything Fever Dream album coverEverything Everything find themselves in an envious position artistically. No matter their ever-changing sound, the Manchester-based group have a zealous and growing global fanbase who eagerly await their next move and sell out their live shows. This re-evaluation and reinvention on each go-around has led to some very interesting results, and their latest record is no exception. ‘A Fever Dream’, their fourth out this week, is surely a different animal from 2015’s ‘Get to Heaven’. The first clue came with lead single ‘Can’t Do’, when frontman and lyricist Jonathan Higgs’ asserted, “…we don’t care[,] we just want you to dance.” Following on from the confrontational and sometimes challenging listen ‘Get to Heaven’, this seems to suggest an about face and a direction towards more mainstream fare.

The idea that a one-dimensional Everything Everything album was possible didn’t seem likely to me. The early origins of ‘A Fever Dream’ were borne out of lead guitarist Alex Robertshaw’s desire to reconnect to the electronic music that soundtracked his teenage years, like Aphex Twin and Boards of Canada. Higgs adds that it was “the electronic stuff mixed with American heavy bands of the early-mid ‘90s” that inspired his and Robertshaw’s songwriting. This tapping into adolescent feelings of excitement and spontaneity comes across in the LP. The production by James Ford is just right, too: there’s never a feeling of too much pomp or pretence interfering with or masking the band’s voice.

New electronic elements add plenty of interest to individual songs, while also never overwhelming the sonic landscapes. An anticipatory collection of synth effects, including a repetitive beat precise as a clock ticking, feel inspiring in opener ‘Night of the Long Knives’. An imposing wall of droning, compressed synths further ushers the track in, changing the mood quickly along with the repeated, regretful lyric of “shame about your neighbourhood”. A quickly spat out sarcastic, SOBBY jibe seems appropriate following the pro-Brexit vote last year. Any neighbour unlike yourself, of a different colour, religion or way of life, “the wrong kind of people”, is under suspicion. On ‘Ivory Tower’, Higgs’ anxious energy focuses on the rich and powerful, untouched by his fellow man’s struggles. His bandmates contribute a heavy frenzy of controlled chaos, as if in protest of those very people and their inaction complicit in the way things have become.

Everything Everything don’t like to stay in one place. They also like shocking you, but just enough so they’re sure to get and keep your attention. Album standout ‘Run the Numbers’ is likeable enough melodically and lyrically (“some fish swim when they don’t know the water from the air”), but it’s the punctuations of funky bass and noodley guitar notes that prove most engaging. Promising teasers ‘Can’t Do’ and ‘Desire’ (watch and listen below) are unforgettable, unabashed in their pop sensibility and full embrace of synthesisers. A nice balance of synths, percussion and vocal harmonies frame the gorgeously melodic ‘Good Shot Good Soldier’. What could be more weighty than the conflicting thoughts inside the head of those tasked to serve and protect, sometimes at cost to others?

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrLfU45Gi2w[/youtube]

Then there is the softer side to this band. ‘Big Game’ is mostly melancholic, a gentle beauty until about the 2 minute, 30 second mark, when a menacing bass line leads the charge during an oddly melodic instrumental bridge. ‘White Whale’ has a similar structure, its quieter front half arresting with Higgs’ words, “your love is like a white whale / my hand is on the third rail / I want you to be okay / I want us to be okay” and leading to a soaring, dreamy guitar trill. The song continues on in a grand cinematic fashion and is a fitting end to the album, reminiscent of ‘Get to Heaven’ closer ‘Warm Healer’. Higgs’ idea of a place where a realist concerned with the state of things and a head-in the-sand escapist can meet halfway in love is elusive and unlikely, a good analogy of where we find politics now. Given the frustration with society exhibited on ‘Get to Heaven’, the desolation of piano-driven ‘New Deep’ isn’t a surprise. And it’s beautiful.

‘A Fever Dream’ isn’t boldly confrontational as its predecessor, but I wouldn’t have expected it to be. A new album allows Everything Everything to flex their artistic muscles, while commenting on where they think things in this world have gone wrong. There’s a famous quote from Thomas Edison that goes, “Five percent of the people think; ten percent of the people think they think; and the other eighty-five percent would rather die than think.” Everything Everything aren’t afraid to try something different and think, and they make you think in the process.

8.5/10

‘A Fever Dream’, Everything Everything’s fourth studio album, will out this Friday, the 18th of August, on RCA Records. In-stores and festival appearances the group have announced for the rest of 2017 are listed here. To read through our Everything Everything archive here on TGTF, all the way back to 2009 (!), follow his link.

 
 
 

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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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