By Mary Chang on Wednesday, 29th May 2013 at 6:00 pm
Everything Everything‘s latest video is for single ‘Don’t Try’, appearing on the band’s currently top 5 album ‘Arc’. Frontman Jon Higgs rides a horse and stands on a dining table holding a candlebra in this; surely I’ve piqued your interest, yeah? Watch it below. The single comes out on 7″ vinyl on the 17th of June.
By Mary Chang on Wednesday, 29th May 2013 at 10:00 am
The Manchester/Marple brotherhood is alive and well. Need evidence? Dutch Uncles have just been announced as support for Everything Everything‘s October UK tour (all the dates listed below) and they’ve gone and done a remix of EE’s ‘Duet’ that is now available as a free download to all. Win-win for all of us!
Friday 4th October 2013 – Newcastle Academy*
Friday 11th October 2013 – Manchester Ritz* (sold out)
Saturday 12th October 2013 – Manchester Ritz*
Sunday 13th October 2013 – Liverpool Academy*
Tuesday 15th October 2013 – Bristol Academy*
Wednesday 16th October 2013 – Portsmouth Pyramid*
Thursday 17th October 2013 – Cardiff University*
Friday 18th October 2013 – Birmingham Institute*
Sunday 20th October 2013 – Norwich UEA*
Monday 21st October 2013 – Nottingham Rock City*
Tuesday 22nd October 2013 – Sheffield Academy*
Thursday 24th October 2013 – London Forum*
Friday 25th October 2013 – London Forum*
* with support from Dutch Uncles
By Mary Chang on Tuesday, 28th May 2013 at 3:00 pm
After being thwarted – twice – at last year’s Great Escape and having never actually made it inside the Dome for a show, I decided this year at Great Escape 2013, I had to do it at some point. What better line-up to go for than Everything Everything, supported by BBC Sound of 2013 wunderkinds Kodaline, eh? But first, John said he just had to take me for fish and chips at Harry Ramsden’s. He explained that years ago when he was small his father had taken him there and Harry Ramsden’s was the be all and end all when it came to chippy tea. And what better place to have fish and chips is there than by the seaside? I was all for it! (For the record, it was very good. I will say however that the waitress was less than accommodating when I asked her for a place to charge my phone…)
Besides John’s own trials and tribulations before he left Lincoln, this trip for me had been full of technological glitches and miscellaneous mistakes: my mobile charger broke into pieces literally minutes before I boarded my flight in Washington; my laptop charger bit the dust in Manchester 4 days into my trip, which meant I couldn’t do anything on my laptop for nearly 3 weeks; I left a jumper in the wardrobe of that house in Manchester (though the woman I stayed with kindly posted it to Martin’s house in Gateshead); my suitcase ripped in two places; I lost my hat in Brighton, etc. etc. So really, as we’re walking down towards the pier to the restaurant, a seagull jumping out flying from a nearby fountain and spraying us didn’t faze me as it normally would. “John, did that really happen? Did a seagull just pee on us?” We just looked at each other and laughed.
After dinner, we went our separate ways, and I decided I wanted to see Girls Names one more time. The Belfast band, if you recall, were one of my favourite ‘new’ discoveries of SXSW 2013, and I was lucky to have run into them at B.D. Riley’s, the Irish pub on 6th Street, later that week and interviewed them. They were playing Coalition, where we hosted a stage in 2011, starring headliners White Denim and a then-unknown Foster the People. However, I’d not been there previously. I then understood what John meant when he told me the place just oozed of character; the brick arches reminded me of SXSW 2012′s Hype Hotel where I’d seen Oberhofer. Coalition isn’t just a cookie cutter venue, it’s got loads of charm. I will say however that within Coalition, like other venues down by the seaside (Digital, Life, the former Horatio’s, etc.) you haven’t a prayer of getting a mobile phone signal, so if your intention is to meet someone at one of these places, your best bet is to get in contact with said person before you go into the mobile phone dead zone.
Prior to Girls Names, the previous act was running a bit late. Candelaria Saenz Valiente, the frontwoman of Pictorial Candi, part of the large ‘Don’t Panic! We’re from Poland!’ contingent, was wearing a flowery shirt, which made me initially think she was going to be yet another Florence and the Machine wannabe. Not so. She’s a DIY punk rocker; from what I read, she doesn’t know how to play the guitar very well, though is very dedicated to the music-making and creative process. What’s more punk than stepping on a lime with heels on, eh? When not playing her guitar, she also has this spastic dance that is not unlike the robot moves of one of my football idols, Peter Crouch. Unfortunately for her, I remembered the dance better than the actual music.
Next up at Coalition was Girls Names. There was a photographer to my left that I came to admire as the set went on; at the start, just like me, he had his camera at the ready for the start of their set. Then, in a split second it seemed, he turned from professional into a headbanging punter, his long hair and beard flying. I don’t really think of Girls Names as a headbang-eliciting band, but I was happy to see that based on this one bloke, they were obviously doing something right, causing someone to go completely mental at only half past 7 on the first night of the Great Escape. They recently released the official video for ‘Hypnotic Regression’ (previous Video of the Moment here); the bass line of the song alone sends me into ecstasy, so getting to hear it again live was a treat. From what I’ve seen online, they’re currently being paraded on BBC Introducing, which is fabulous news for them. I can’t wait for more people to hear them and be taken in by their at times jangly and other times washy guitars.
From there, it was a hike back up the hill to the Dome to sort out my press pass. I’m glad I went early, as there was some confusion as to where I was supposed to queue to get my guestlist pass, and then I learned even with my photo pass, I wasn’t allowed to shoot in the pit. That was disappointing. Still, not all was lost. When you step into the lower level of the Dome, there’s something wrong with you if your breath is not immediately taken away. It’s a grand place, much posher than probably most of the acts that would grace it that weekend were used to. (I am positive John will have some lovely gems of prose when he gets to describing the sold out Bastille show there on Saturday night.)
There was already a reasonable-sized group of kids already down the front who were just raring to go; remember that this was one of the few all ages shows at the Great Escape. I groaned inwardly as some under 18s were talking about the time they snuck hip flasks of vodka into a gig somewhere else; I’m sure by the time they reach drinking age, they’ll have forgotten this inane conversation. I also chuckled to myself as a hip hop song came on over the PA and the girls in front of me were humping air to the beat; this is where Western music has gone wrong and why Radio1 has a stranglehold on our children’s listening habits, isn’t it?
Earlier that afternoon, I interviewed Steve Garrigan, the lead singer of Kodaline, outside the Dome in the sun. We talked about how this appearance of theirs, supporting their friends Everything Everything, was their Great Escape debut and how absolutely massive this opportunity was. He and the other guys were, unfortunately, horribly jetlagged too, having just flown in from Toronto, having supported the Airborne Toxic Event on a tour of North America, their first real taste of touring our continent. Apparently I have a bad habit of scaring bands before the biggest shows of their lives (you’ll see in an interview with the Crookes I did in London last week, which is forthcoming on the site), though there was no way you would have known anything was the matter when they took the stage at the Dome Thursday night. Like the consummate professionals they are, they confidently took this opportunity and went for it.
The only other large place I’d seen them was the Thursday night at the Hype Hotel at SXSW this year, having supported the Specials, so the Dome was a major step up. I’m positive thoughts of “what if we don’t go down well in a place as big as this?” crossed their minds, but if Kodaline were worried, they shouldn’t have been. The sound that admirably filled two different stages at Maggie Mae’s and the Hype Hotel in March sounded huge at the Dome, and there were definitely Kodaline devoted in attendance, judging by the frequent, young girl squeals of delight. To be honest, even I was surprised, with each single and song from their previous EPs they played getting incredible response and even forthcoming album track ‘Perfect World’ going over well too.
Everything Everything are riding high at the moment, having headlined the Arts Academy the second night of Liverpool Sound City, where I’d caught them a fortnight previous. I wondered how this Dome performance would differ from the Liverpool one, and if they could match the energy. Not only did they match the intensity of that previous show, the lighting for their set at the Dome far surpassed anything I could have imagined. You know how Muse tends to go over the top with lasers? The lighting rig for Everything Everything complemented the rhythms of the songs and made for a more complete and entirely enthralling experience. ‘Kemosabe’ in this context was huge; the crowd demanded ‘Cough Cough’ at the conclusion of the encore also benefitted. I don’t even know if I want to see EE in a club again, because I’m not going to ever have the same experience again.
This night, Everything Everything played ‘MY KZ, UR BF’ and oddly, I didn’t react as manically to it the way I expected. No, it was because ‘QWERTY Finger’ made an unexpected appearance in the set list; it’s probably my favourite off ‘Man Alive’ and I didn’t think I’d ever witness it live. Earlier in the day, I had introduced John to guitarist Alex Robertshaw, when I’d learned that they were both from Guernsey. Now I was watching him rip it on his guitar, and I loved every minute of it. If Everything Everything could play venues like Brighton Dome every night, I am positive they would be the next biggest band on the planet.
By Mary Chang on Tuesday, 28th May 2013 at 1:00 pm
The first weekend I was in Britain on holiday in May, I spent covering Liverpool Sound City with John and Martin. Part 2 of my double music festival holiday, then, was to happen 2 weekends later, at the Great Escape in Brighton, my second time venturing to the seaside for emerging talent and burgeoning favourites. I had arrived 2 days in advance so I could get 2 good nights’ sleep in before John arrived, which was probably a good decision because we didn’t sleep much during the time of the actual 3-day event. While the day I arrived was marked by an uncomfortable driving rain and gale force winds that I was sure would blow off the roof of the flat we rented for the week, divine intervention happily allowed us to get away with no brollies or macs during the festival, which was a pleasant shocker to me after getting thoroughly soaked on the first day last year.
But our festival experience didn’t begin so well. I got a frantic text from John earlier in the day that his coat and keys had been nicked in a pub in Lincoln the night before. His train was late and he was pretty sure he was going to miss the one band he was so keen on seeing that first day, Brother and Bones, whom he’d discovered at the Great Escape 2011, and I was sad for him about that. I suspect he will describe the scene to you in his day 1 report, but I kind of envisioned in my head him running around like a crazy person in Victoria rail station, as he managed to not miss his train down to Brighton.
The next thing I knew, that afternoon I was shooting off from the Old Courtroom to meet him at the Hope on Queens Road to see Brother and Bones for the first time. This was entirely unplanned but looking back in hindsight, it was pretty appropriate for my first show at TGE 2013 to be at the Hope; I’d been walking around town that grey and miserable day on Tuesday and lost my hat somewhere during the walkabout, when I ambled down the Queens Road and suddenly it dawned on me what had been doing there a year ago previous. Seeing another band, the Crookes, for the first time.
However, I don’t know if it was a problem with the ventilation or what, as it certainly wasn’t hot Thursday in Brighton. But when it came time for the Brother and Bones set, it was hot, sweaty and gross inside the main room of the Hope. It compared highly unfavourably to the Crookes’ 2012 set for that reason alone; it was crowded then, but I don’t ever recalling having to wipe my sweaty forehead even before the band arrived onstage. But John has been banging on about B&B for a long time, so of course as editor I wanted to see what the fuss was about. He described frontman Richard Thomas as “a mad Jack Sparrow”. Ok. Looking at my photos now, I completely understand the description. Musically, the band is a kind of a strange mixture of Biffy Clyro and folk, and unfortunately not really my thing, so I couldn’t really gauge if this was a good set for them or not. Worse, I couldn’t breathe in the room – too many people + heat = disaster – so I had to beat a hasty retreat and leave John alone to enjoy them.
This gave me ample time to stroll comfortably towards a conference panel at the Komedia, or what is now being called Duke’s at Komedia. I should have known from the name alone that there was something terribly wrong. As I walked down Gardner Street, I could see a neon sign of stripey legs hanging from the side of a shopfront. What is that? As I got closer, my heart sank at what was before me. It honestly looked like a sweet shop had exploded, or maybe Nickelodeon had gotten their mitts on the place and decided everything needed to be day glo orange. Goodness. I saw some great bands in the spaces there in 2012 (Juveniles and JD MacPherson, just to name two) and I don’t know how obvious the backdrop is in this video interview, but part of the Komedia’s charm was that the front part when you walked in was a dive-y looking coffee bar, with wood trim that was well worn but loved. You could get a cup of coffee and a slice of cake and sit down with a book on one of the benches and be perfectly happy with such simplicity. The fact that it’s no longer how I remember it in my mind and they’ve turned into a cinema makes me a bit sick inside.
That said, I suppose for the coffee drinking, popcorn and cake eating public, the inside cafe upstairs is a relaxed, if oversanitised place to get a drink or a bit of food before a film. Me? I just went inside there to charge up my phone and pore over my 3-day schedule, and who should walk in but Everything Everything themselves and their entourage. I looked up from my papers and bassist Jeremy Pritchard smiled and waved at me, “Mary! Fancy seeing here. You all right?” It is moments such as these that make me think, gosh, how is this happening? This would never happen in my day job. Just too funny.
The band, ahead of their Thursday night headlining slot at Brighton Dome, were getting ready to be interviewed for an In Conversation panel with Xfm’s John Kennedy. I often have this conversation with other journos about why interviews go well – or terribly wrong. While sometimes it could be the fault of the interviewee, if they’re tired or entirely disinterested in the promotion, more often than not it falls on the interviewer to come up with the right kind of questions to engage and challenge the subject and maintain their attention but also to be able to tease out the information that you think your readers and listeners want. I think Kennedy did an admirable job in this case, but it also helped that Everything Everything themselves are generally funny, amiable chaps who are genuinely are glad for the position they’re in and the opportunities they’re given.
By Mary Chang on Wednesday, 15th May 2013 at 1:00 pm
Sound City 2013, day 2, began with me waking up to the strains of a Reverend and the Makers‘ YouTube playlist blaring out of John’s iPad. Mission accomplished from the previous night, I’d say. We headed into the convention portion of the festival and my first stop was a radio pluggers’ panel with heavyweights of the radio industry, including 6music’s Chris Hawkins, Radio2′s Janice Long, and 6music producer Julie Cullen. As a regular BBC Radio music listener, it was really interesting to hear the presenters and producers’ takes on why radio is still so strong in Britain.
Janice Long said, “people love the intimacy of radio…[the fact that] they’re being offered something”, and I agree. Getting to know your presenters, I find, is especially important on whether or not I trust or would listen to that person’s recommendations. While by no means do I enjoy every single band that Lammo has trotted out on his New Favourite Band weekly feature, or in the same respect Huw Stephens on his specialist show, there are so many bands I never would have of heard of if either hadn’t played them on their shows. It was also heartening to hear that the panelists all welcome hearing demos from bands, just asking that the CDRs be labelled clearly and properly with the band name and song title, or even better, be provided a Soundcloud downloadable link that can be shared and spread between colleagues, should the song take their fancy and they want to actually play it on radio. I also had a chat with Chris Hawkins and that feature on TGTF is forthcoming soon.
After having some food and drink at a very cool, nonalcoholic cafe called the Brink, it was time to split up again, and then I was off to see Vasco da Gama, named after the Portuguese explorer who circumnavigated around the tip of Africa, not to be confused with the strange typo on the programme of Vasco da Gamma, as if they had some Greek relations. They play a wonky, punky, art rock kind of style that is not all unlike their fellow DIY Liverpudlians Hot Club de Paris, who’ve gone quiet. Vasco benefitted from the delay of the start of Taiwanese band Echo, who were having trouble with their soundcheck just across the way at the Garage. Watch a bit of their performance below.
The singer of Taiwan’s Echo certainly wins, hands down, the longest note held during this year’s Sound City. Check out the video below. When you’re an unknown band to the city you’re in, you’ve got to really bring it, and Echo’s singer jumped onto the barrier and into the sparse crowd and just let loose this amazing scream. Even if you don’t understand Chinese, there is no denying that the band sound great instrumentally and have a good command of melody, as you will see in the video. Now if they could just record one song in English language…
Funnily enough, next John and I ended up at the same place, with John not even knowing I was in the same room. In a true example of regional representation, a selection of Norwich bands appeared at Sound Food and Drink, a cafe that oddly did not vacate its tables and move them in time for the evening’s performances. Bad form. Or maybe they just wanted to discourage people from cramming themselves in there. The premise of Wooden Arms was promising: a band made of mostly classical string instrument-playing members, singing in multi-part harmony. Unfortunately, live they translated to something far more boring than I would have guessed.
So I was off again and to the east to the East Village Arts Club, where the bouncer inconveniently directed me to the wrong place for Manchester’s NO CEREMONY///. Like fellow Mancunians WU LYF, NO CEREMONY/// have tried to maintain a mysterious vibe about themselves, with overly dark, goth-y videos that show no hint of what the band actually look like. So I just assumed the band must be two blokes with oodles of synthesisers. Not exactly. The band live is fronted by a bass-toting woman and while there are two men with synths in front of them, one of them does play guitar. As I did suspect, there isn’t a
It was a bit of a hike from where I was to the Black-E, with 3 nights being curated by local Liverpool-centric football, music and culture Web site the Anfield Wrap and featuring only Merseyside-based bands. But being an Liverpool FC fan, I knew I just had to be there at some point in the weekend. I was not disappointed with the Thespians, with a lead singer that looks eerily like Carl Barat. The band even wear black leather jackets and sound at times very Libertines-esque, including abruptly ending some of their songs in that sort of punky, ‘up yours’ kind of way. They explained that their album had already been put out in Japan and all physical copies had been snapped by the record-buying public over there. If that is truly the case, then we should all probably get on this bandwagon now before it turns into a steamroller.
Then it was back west and into the centre of the clubbing life for the Chapman Family at Leaf Cafe. I have a couple friends who are massive fans of theirs, so colour me curious, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. They can be depressing topic-wise, but the sheer power of their live performance, not to mention the incredible magnetism of their frontman Kingsley Chapman, make their live set a sight to behold. A hipster couple who quickly took their places right in front of the stage threw their band tote bags under the stage and proceeded to mosh (is that the right word?) to every Chapman Family song, arms and legs flailing in every which way. At some point I was sure one of them would slip and fall but it didn’t happen, they were just so excited to be there.
And then it was back to Wolstenholme Square, where I thought I had arrived just in time for Marple’s Dutch Uncles. Cripes. I am very careful about making sure I don’t have clashes in schedule, so I am positive they must have moved up the Duncles’ set by an hour because when I arrived, Unknown Mortal Orchestra was setting up. To say I was upset by the turn of events, especially after loving the new album ‘Out of Touch in the Wild’, is putting it mildly. I was on the verge of tears. But, when in Liverpool, you carry on. I didn’t feel like running to another venue, so I just hung tight at the Arts Academy for the one major band I definitely wanted to see there, Dutch Uncles’ mates Everything Everything.
When you’re thousands of miles away from home, I don’t care who you are, it is an important and touching moment when a band you have supported and followed for a long time acknowledges your presence. Everything Everything’s bassist Jeremy Pritchard, who has always been extremely kind and nice to me every time I have had the pleasure to meet him, only waved to me down in the pit, but it truly meant the world to me. Prior to this, I had only seen them live once, and in an acoustic setting for a charity show 2 days after my birthday in 2011, so I was raring to go to see them play with their full setup. While I still think new album ‘Arc’ is not as strong as ‘Man Alive’, there were plenty of punters willing to disagree with me at the Arts Academy. I thought it was quite strange that they didn’t play ‘MY KZ, UR BF’, but perhaps they are trying to wean themselves away from their past? Possibly. With singles like ‘Kemosabe’ and ‘Cough Cough’, they can afford to do that.
It’s just under a month until Brighton’s bars, clubs and venues get invaded by a host of giddy A & R reps, jubilant journalists and the best new bands the scene can offer at the moment.
The Great Escape 2013 is promising to be the biggest event of its kind in the UK and is already known as the British version of SXSW. That’s an accolade that can’t be sniffed at in any way; they may not have Dave Grohl as a main speaker, but The Great Escape convention runs alongside the festival proper and will once again host a variety of insightful industry talks, panel debates, targeted networking sessions and keynote interviews for industry professionals and music business fans.
Two of the hottest acts pitching up on the South Coast are originally from the area and will definitely be putting on some of the best shows of the festival: Tall Ships‘ album ‘Everything Touching’ is one of my stand-outs of the last 6 months and after this 2013 BRIT Awards Critic’s Choice win, Tom Odell is tipped by everyone and their gran to be stratospheric.
New additions to the bill include one of my favourite interviewees in working at TGTF, the witty Hackney hailing wordsmith Mikill Pane, who will be playing Coalition on the Saturday. (Read the interview here.) You may have heard of his track ‘Little Lady’ with Ed Sheeran, which features on Ed’s No. 5 Collaborations Project. Nina Nesbitt will also be bringing some of her fanatic Nesbians to the Brighton shores.