| SXSW 2013 | Sound City 2014 | Sound City 2013 | Great Escape 2013
Don't forget to like There Goes the Fear on Facebook
and follow us on Twitter
! ~TGTF HQ x
By Mary Chang
on Monday, 27th October 2014 at 4:00 pm
In this pretty laid back promo video with pretty colours fading in and out, we have here The Pains of Being Pure at Heart performing ‘Kelly’, from their third studio album ‘Days of Abandon’. At the front of all this activity is Jen Goma, taking a break from her day job in A Sunny Day in Glasgow. Watch the video below.
Usually, TGTF goes out of its way to cover new music, both in terms of the age of the bands themselves, and the neological styles they might come up with. Well, tonight’s show is the complete opposite, featuring the well-worn genre of commercial bluesy pop, played by Brits, but owing a considerable debt to our transatlantic cousins who, after all, kicked the whole deal off a century or so ago.
First up is John E. Vistic, a man whose accent can’t decide where it likes the best – southern USA or southern England – and conspires to combine the two, which means he sounds like he comes from somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic. A pretty damp place to live, one imagines. His music is in a similar vein, clearly indebted to Dylan in its literary pretensions and casual way with pitch, but hinting at English folk. He comes nowhere close to matching the great man’s import, of course, but Vistic himself is careworn enough to provide a decent implied back story: his incapability to look the audience directly in the eye speaks of either a rocky childhood or even rockier adult years. Previously, Vistic has played electrified rock music with a band, but tonight it’s just him, his acoustic guitar, and the occasional toot on a blues harp.
‘Gamblin’ Man’ is a straightforward ditty about the perils of having a flutter; ‘Henry Miller’ is evocative of Parisienne literary decadence, whilst giving a welcome reminder of the eponymous writer’s historical significance; while ‘Miracle Mile’ proves the futility of trying to “do Dylan” – nice try, but no cigar. All told, however, Vistic does come across as a reasonably genuine article, a young-no-longer musician just trying to make an honest penny from his bare songs.
At first glance, tonight’s all-seated audience might as well be in a cataract surgeon’s waiting room, given how much life is in them. Granted, Jon Allen isn’t exactly bleeding edge hipster fare, but surely he deserves better than the gentlest of nods, the occasional foot tap, and polite yet hardly enthusiastic applause. Tonight’s set is inevitably heavy on material from third album ‘Deep River’ – starting with album opener ‘Night & Day’ is astute, showcasing as it does Allen’s fascinating husky-yet-high-pitched voice, which combines Rod Stewart and Paul Simon in a not unappealing tonal embrace. Standout single ‘Falling Back’ is next, perhaps the highlight from the album overall. The band are sharp, experts at delivering that lithe, drums- and bass-led sound which lets the lead instruments do their thing in acres of ear-space.
But as the set progresses, it becomes apparent there’s something amiss. For Jon Allen, the world begins with ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’, proceeds through ‘Eagles’ Greatest Hits’, and then stops for coffee and puts its feet up with Eric Clapton’s 1992 ‘Unplugged’ set. And that’s pretty much it. The gig is a deeply journeyman affair, with each song knocked out with depressing competence, as, presumably it is exactly the same every night. Minor confusion over the set list becomes a major talking point – ooh, you devil Jon, you played a couple of songs in the wrong order! Don’t tell the music police! As if in an upmarket chain restaurant, everything tonight is perfectly edible, but one can’t help but become increasingly convinced that it’s all just come out of a packet, that one’s taste buds are being tweaked, not because of the chef’s passion for experimentation, but because expert laboratory research has proved that that combination of flavours offends the least number of diners. There’s a bit of cod-funk here, a touch of cod-country there: the trouble is, it’s still cod.
It’s all too trite, too smug, too safe, a toothless facsimile of styles which were originally edgy and meaningful. Music that nobody could object to, except on the pages of a non-mainstream blog. As if that hadn’t already offended enough people, try this: there’s something deeply *the south* about the whole thing. Outside parts of London, and perhaps the South West, swathes of southern England are suicidally tasteless, but not in a scruffy way – more in a new money, white-leather-sofa-and-orange-Audi-TT way, repeated ad infinitum down innumerable streets of overpriced, new-build people-hutches. Streets in which the music of Jon Allen would fit right in. Nothing to object to, nothing to engage the brain about, and just enough kudos to get one over on the neighbours. Something dirty and northern, like Evil Blizzard, would go down like last year’s hairdo. Allen himself, in his corduroy jacket and limply arseless jeans, is the epitome of such a society, making music for middle-aged south-east divorcees to get pissed and snog to. Ugh.
By Mary Chang
on Friday, 24th October 2014 at 4:00 pm
Earlier this month, Funeral for a Friend took a #STANDFORSOMETHING, playing during October’s Dr. Martens’ tour in the UK. Watch them perform ‘Roses for the Dead’ at Edinburgh Cabaret Voltaire below.
By Mary Chang
on Friday, 24th October 2014 at 2:00 pm
Scotland is a beautiful, unique place. So it makes total sense that everyone I know from there is also beautiful (and if the person is male, chances are he has a beautiful beard) and makes unique music or is involved in promoting music made by such musicians, such as “Uncle” Vic Galloway of BBC Radio Scotland. I feel quite lucky I’ve had the chance to visit multiple times now, and every time there are more new and exciting things I encounter that make me fall in love with Scotland that much harder. (And no, to be clear, Visit Scotland is *not* paying me to write this.)
That old phrase goes, “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade”. One of my planned gigs in Glasgow was cancelled, but a friend messaged me a couple days before I went up to Scotland that I could instead see some other acquaintances of mine play in Edinburgh instead. I always say things happen for a reason and I want to thank five people in particular for going out of their way of making this American feel welcome, it really meant a lot, cheers gents!
To be completely honest, I knew little of Fatherson going into this gig at the University of Edinburgh’s student union, Potterrow. One piece of trivia I did know: they call Glasgow home, which makes it all the more strange that on the Scottish leg of their UK tour this month, they didn’t actually play in Glasgow, calling instead only in Edinburgh, Dundee, Inverness and Aberdeen. However, considering I’ve just learned 2 days ago that they’ve been given a shout for SXSW 2015, the timing couldn’t be beat for me to see the Glaswegian band in action.
The main reason I’d taken the train 1 hour east (quite happily, I might add) was to see Model Aeroplanes. Regular readers of TGTF (and Generator, for that matter) will be aware that I think the world of these lads from Dundee, having met and seen them play at Liverpool Sound City this year. Despite their young age, they’re already churning out catchy guitar pop not unlike some Irish lads from Bangor called Two Door Cinema Club did a couple years ago. (And we all know what happened to them. BOOM.) Earlier this year, they released the single ‘Electricity’, which has gained them a whole new group of fans. In Edinburgh, they previewed for us upcoming single ‘Club Low’, which follows in their current vein of upbeat indie style. ‘Dive’ was another new song that got an airing, and I can’t wait until they have a full album to release, as I expect it to do massively well with well-written pop gems like this.
‘Crazy’, another previous single, is exactly the kind of thing that I would expect to blow up on Radio 1 and sounded fab, as frontman Rory Fleming-Stewart vocals bounced to match Kieran Smith drum beats, then oozed around the melody. Fleming-Stewart makes for a very charming frontman, cracking jokes between the tunes while also positively riling up the audience for what was to come. All throughout their set, I watched as Ben Buist took over his territory as Model Aeroplanes’ bassist, banging out his notes like a windmill-like, throw caution to the wind style. It was reminded why I love playing bass so much. Lead guitarist Grant Irvine looked serious all night, but I think the explanation was he was concentrating: they were supporting good friends of theirs, for what would turn out to be a huge night for the Glaswegians.
Fatherson, originally from Kilmarnock but now based in Glasgow, released their debut album ‘I Am an Island’ in April on indie A Modern Way. I can’t say I’ve even heard the album, and since it was so last-minute that I was going to show up to see them gig, I decided I wouldn’t prepare and be pleasantly surprised. I will preface my opinion of them by saying this isn’t my usual kind of music, but having seen them now and the frenzy they threw the punters in Edinburgh into with their guitar rock, I may have to rethink this. Their style is bombastic guitar rock with heart, the likes that haven’t really been seen all that much – or well for that matter – in America lately, so I expect them to do very well in America. With loads of bright flashing lights and loads of Scottish voices around me singing along to every word, it felt very strange to be witnessing a revolution of sorts, a new movement that I knew nothing about prior to this night.
The lyrics of LP opening track of ‘An Island’ may give some clues why this indie band already has very, very devoted fans in Scotland already. Singer/guitarist Ross Leighton has a booming voice (and much better than Scott Hutchison’s), and when he begins the song in a soft and measured tone, you’d have to be a robot to not feel the mourning from where these words came from. I can’t even begin to relate to the melancholic feelings that must exist in those Scots who voted yes in the referendum. In many ways, Scotland is an island: they have their own fierce identity, and damn anyone who would try and take it away from them. ‘I Like Not Knowing’, with riffs loud enough to knock you on your arse, would be a good example young indie bands should use as how to write a song with melodic guitars that builds up to a climax. Another set standout, previous single ‘Mine for Me’, starts up quickly and never loses momentum. It’s also a song that’s wonderful to sing along to.
Regardless of the referendum’s outcome, one thing I take away every time I visit Scotland is that you can never break the independent spirit of its people. I feel this very strongly every time I step into Showcasing Scotland at SXSW too. This show with Fatherson and Model Aeroplanes, with both bands seeming to be poised for the big time, was yet another sonic illustration that the Scottish music scene is alive, well and ready to rip you a new one. (Sorry! I asked around. I couldn’t come up with a more lady-like phrase to describe this.)
Hot on the heels of their first UK headline tour, Prides (who Mary just ran into last week in Edinburgh, ha!) have just announced another set of live dates for early next year. The new list includes shows in the band’s native Scotland, as well as their largest headline show to date at London’s Heaven. Tickets for the following shows go on sale today, the 24th of October, at 9 AM.
Catch all our previous coverage on those lovable Scots this way.
Thursday 5th February 2015 – Inverness Ironworks
Friday 6th February 2015 – Aberdeen Lemon Tree
Saturday 7th February 2015 – Edinburgh Liquid Rooms
Wednesday 11th February 2015– Brighton Haunt
Thursday 12th February 2015 – London Heaven
Friday 13th February 2015 – Nottingham Bodega
Saturday 14th February 2015 – Sheffield Leadmill
As the remnants of Hurricane Gonzalo arrived in the UK, it was Example who went down a storm this past Tuesday at the Academy in Newcastle.
The support acts on the night came in the form of house DJ Benjamin Please, Delta Heavy (an electronic duo from London) and DJ Wire (Example’s touring DJ). For the most part, the acts played remixes of popular club hits, much to the delight of the onlookers, who were bellowing out the words and getting involved wherever they could.
With the crowd well and truly warmed up, Sheldrake (bass / synths), Kai Kai (guitar / keys) and Chris Maas (drums) took to the stage, closely followed by Example (real name Elliot Gleave), as they broke out into the chart-topping track ‘Stay Awake’. This was followed by the 2012 hit ‘Say Nothing’, which provided the first shiver-down-your-spine moment of the night. The big stadium chorus echoed throughout the venue, before the track made the transition into the Hardwell and Dannic remix.
The onlookers, most of whom were donning Example’s “Not A Salad” merchandise, maintained the energy and liveliness throughout ‘Watch the Sun Come Up’, ‘All the Wrong Places (Quintino remix)’, ‘Perfect Replacement’ and ‘Midnight Run (Flux Pavilion remix)’ before Example slowed proceedings down with ‘Playing in the Shadows’ and ‘Close Enemies (Jakob Liedholm remix)’. At this point, Example acknowledged Newcastle as one of his favourite cities to play, thanking the fans for their continued support throughout the years. This was followed by two tracks from his 2010 album, ‘Won’t Go Quietly’, as ‘Dirty Face’ seamlessly integrated into ‘Hooligans (Spor remix)’.
Audience interaction has always been one of Example’s strong points, and this gig was no different. The rapper-turned-singer regularly encouraged fans to participate by bouncing with the person next to them, clapping along and getting on other people’s shoulders. This interactivity spurred the lively crowd on, as they raved to the Ibiza-esque beats of ‘One More Day (Stay with Me)’ and ‘10 Million People (Kove remix)’, two singles from Example’s latest album, ‘Live Life Living’. That momentum continued through ‘Won’t Go Quietly (DC Breaks remix)’, ‘Take Me As I Am’ and ‘Kids Again’, before Example and the band temporarily left the stage.
After a short break, the encore turned things up a notch, opening with the rather aptly-named ‘We’ll Be Coming Back’. And there was no sign of the onlookers tiring, as the show continued with ‘Kickstarts’ and ‘Natural Disaster (Benny Benassi remix)’, before concluding with Example’s first number one hit ‘Changed the Way You Kiss Me (Chuckie remix)’.
Despite posting a video on Facebook prior to his tour to say that this set of dates would be his “last for a while” (due to the fact that his wife, Australian model, actress and tv personality Erin McNaught is currently pregnant), Example reassured fans that he would be returning, as he posed the question: “Who’s coming to my next tour?” After the energetic performance Example and his band gave, it’s safe to say that I, along with other attendees at the Academy in Newcastle that night, will be first in line for tickets.
Example‘s current massive UK tour rolls on through to the end of November; he plays at York Barbican tonight.