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By Mary Chang
on Friday, 10th June 2016 at 6:00 pm
The current Mystery Jets single making its round on the radio airwaves is ‘Bombay Blue’. The tune appears on the band’s fifth album ‘Curve of the Earth’, which came out at the start of the year on Caroline International. (I reviewed it back then, and you can read my thoughts on the long player here.)
The promo video for ‘Bombay Blue’ was filmed by Tobias Ross-Southall in Jodhpur, India. It stars their drummer of Asian descent Kapil Trivedi “as he travels to India to prepare for his own wedding celebrations, whilst at the same time re-discovering the innocence, warmth and magic of the culture from which he sprang”. (I put that in quotes because I wanted to be clear I didn’t write that!) Seeing that most of us probably won’t be able to make a trip to the subcontinent anytime soon, it’s a nice travelogue to be able to watch, soundtracked by one of the more chill moments on ‘Curve of the Earth’. Watch the video for ‘Bombay Blue’ below. For more of our massive back catalogue on Mystery Jets on TGTF, go here.
Part 1 of Rebecca’s coverage of Dot to Dot Festival 2016 in Nottingham is here.
I’d heard a little bit about Rat Boy (pictured above) before the festival, mostly in comparison to Jamie T. After taking a break following EKKAH’s performance, and waiting for The Rubens to start, I decided to head into Rock City’s main stage to see what the hype was about. What I found was a frenetic crowd, evidently having the time of their lives, and I discovered that the Jamie T comparisons weren’t too far off. Rat Boy’s performance was raw and charged, with his music drawing together all manner of influences from hip-hop to punk. For someone so young, he’s managed to amass an impressive number of animated fans.
Catching The Rubens meant a trip down to the Rock City Basement, one of my favourite rooms that I visited due to the lofty ceilings and coolness of the air. The Rubens had travelled all the way from Australia and seemed pretty amazed when they found out that there were no Aussies in the considerable Dot to Dot audience. They seemed to genuinely love being up on stage, playing a number of their indie-bluesy tracks, including their popular single ‘Hoops’.
I arrived early at The Bodega, where I was planning on watching the start of Palace Winter’s set. As I arrived, Girl Friend were just finishing up in the packed out bar, and I felt a little disappointed that I hadn’t made it sooner to catch more of their energetic set. I headed upstairs to watch Palace Winter play in front of a moderately-sized crowd. Their melodic, balmy indie synth style was atmospheric and engaging, and I would have been happy to stick around for the full set, but I only ended up sticking around for the first three tracks.
As I wandered back across town, the plan was to see The Sherlocks next, where they were playing at the Rescue Rooms’ Subculture Live Stage. Despite being from my hometown, I’ve never the band play live, and I was looking forward to getting a chance to finally see them in action at Dot to Dot. By the time I arrived, however, the room was packed out and I popped my head through the door but couldn’t get close enough without getting bashed every time someone came into the room. It was a shame I couldn’t get in to see them, but a great sign for the band and their increasing popularity.
After deciding that I’d be unable to get a decent spot for The Sherlocks, I headed to Rock City’s main stage to watch Mystery Jets. I’d recently caught the band for about 15 minutes at Live at Leeds, so was very excited at the prospect of seeing them for a little longer this time around. They played a balanced mix of old and new songs, including the older ‘Serotonin’, ‘Elizabeth’, the newer ‘Blood Red Balloon’ from current album ‘Curve of the Earth’, and of course, the classics ‘Young Love’ and ‘Two Doors Down’. There were points during the set when the crowd, who had been in incredibly high spirits throughout the entire set, were jumping up and down so enthusiastically that I could feel the floor move beneath my feet, which were incidentally stuck firmly to the sticky floorboards. It was a great atmosphere to be a part of.
I left about 15 minutes before the end of the set, and headed back into the Red Room of Rescue Rooms to watch the last band on my schedule for the day, King No-One. When I arrived the band were in full swing and lead singer Zach Lount was twirling the microphone stand across his shoulder, evidently having a great time. The band’s star-spangled indie rock sound translated very well to their live performance; fans of their music should definitely check them out in the flesh if possible. The set ended with Lount firing a confetti cannon into the cloud, which was a fitting end to a great day.
Pretty much every band that I saw during the day was a perfect example of why, whilst music sounds great on Spotify or on your record player, you just can’t beat it live. Dot to Dot is a great example of how you don’t always have to travel across the country for the big festivals to have a truly great experience. There’s so much going on in your own city or neighbouring ones that you might not aware of. It’s really worth supporting these smaller city events because we’ll bet you’ll find more than a few new favourite indie bands to follow.
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 19th May 2016 at 9:00 am
In this day and age, there are an overwhelming number of music festivals big and small vying for your attention and your hard-earned cash. While we’ve been to the biggies such as SXSW and The Great Escape, there’s something to be said about the smaller events in the less likely places that offer incredible value. Seven years ago, I covered my first UK music festival and now in 2016, I’m chuffed to bits that we’ll be sending another of the TGTF writers out to cover Dot to Dot Festival 2016. If you find yourself not having any plans for the upcoming second May bank holiday weekend, Dot to Dot could, in a pinch, serve as a welcome musical salve to keep your weekend lively.
In case you’ve not heard of Dot to Dot, it’s like behemoth Reading and Leeds in that the bands move on to the next city of the festival, so that nearly all acts set to appear in the franchise will appear in all locations. However, for those who lack the endurance for a longer festival or indeed, for those lacking the desire to commit to more days of an event, Dot to Dot is a 1-day festival, put on at various venues in Manchester (Friday the 27th of May), Bristol (Saturday the 28th of May) and Nottingham (Sunday the 29th of May).
Heading the top of the bill are English indie darlings Mystery Jets, who released their fifth album ‘Curve of the Earth’ at the start of the year. You can read my review of their latest long player here; Rebecca caught some of the band’s set at Live at Leeds late last month too. Providing a welcome contrast, American trio Augustines (pictured at top) will also be appearing at Dot to Dot, ahead of their new album ‘This is Your Life’ out in June on Caroline International in the UK and PIAS America in America. If Steven’s impression of recent single ‘When Things Fall Apart’ is any indication, the synthesisers will be out in full force during their set.
Another big name scheduled to appear at the festival are The Temper Trap, who will be releasing their long-awaited third album ‘Thick as Thieves’ on the same day as Augustines’ LP drops, the 10th of June. They’ll be appearing at a super secret Amazon Music show this Saturday at the Great Escape 2016 in Brighton, but why wonder if you’re going to see them or not and just buy a ticket to Dot to Dot and ensure you will? Check out their teaser track ‘Fall Together’ above. Other inclusions on the lineup of note to us include Irish band Little Green Cars, whose second album ‘Ephemera’ was released in early March, and SXSW 2016 BBC Introducing stage alums The Sherlocks and ESTRONS, as well as Manchester’s SXSW 2015 BBC Introducing breakout band Spring King, whose debut album for Island Records will also drop on the 10th of June. (Seriously, what is up with that date?!?) Check out a stripped back Radio 1 Piano Sessions version of their track ‘The Summer’ they did live for Huw Stephens below.
There are, of course, a blindingly amazing list of other acts scheduled to appear at Dot to Dot in 2 weekends’ time, and we invite to check out the official Web site for the most current information on the event. Tickets are available for all three cities at the incredibly low price of £27.50 (including booking fee) directly from Alt-Tickets.
This year, 2016, marks the 10th anniversary of the highly acclaimed city-based festival Live at Leeds. I wasn’t sure what to expect ahead of the day – I’ve attended a number of different festivals in the past, but never Live at Leeds, and never with the intention of writing about it afterwards. After overcoming my own apprehension and a couple of inevitable setbacks on the day, I’d call the endeavour a success, and despite my very sore feet, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.
First on my list was Atlantic Shore at The Faversham, the music venue that dates back to 1947 and boasts of having Arctic Monkeys and The Gossip amongst others perform there. I arrived a couple of songs into Atlantic Shore’s set while the crowd was still relatively small. The unsigned band’s music is a mixture of pop, indie and rock, and they have recently been featured on BBC Introducing Merseyside. The band seemed to face a few feedback issues during the set, but they went with it and played a heartfelt set, which included ‘The Comedown’ and ‘Easier’ from the band’s latest extended single release.
Following editor Mary’s preview list ahead of the festival, I did my best to cover as many of those recommendations as possible. This meant that my next stop was to see The Jackobins at Leeds Beckett Stage 2. I arrived about halfway through the set and was immediately blown away by the sheer stage presence of the band. They were evidently having the best time and in control of the room. I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw a frontman – in the form of Dominic Bassnett, in this case – of an up-and-coming band look more like he was born to be on stage, and with such a powerful voice too. Lead guitarist Veso Mihaylov looked like he would have been happy to continue playing for the rest of the day, and the whole audience was nodding and bopping along.
After The Jackobins I dashed over to the Brudenell Social Club to watch The Velveteens. Their live sound is brasher and denser sounding than the recorded versions of their songs, but it suited the setting well. Included in the set was ’60s surf-sounding single ‘Mister Blackjack’, which is the perfect sound for a crowd to dance along to. The crowd did seem to stick to the back of the room, and had to be encouraged to move closer, which was more a reflection on the layout of the room than the band themselves. The band were comfortable having a chat and playful back and forth with one another on stage, perfectly natural in their environment.
In the neighbouring room, on the Brudenell Social Club’s main stage, Demob Happy only played for approximately 7 minutes, due to getting caught in traffic. But for those two songs Demob Happy performed with a ferocious energy that got the crowd sufficiently hyped up to thoroughly enjoy the set and lament that it couldn’t have gone on for longer. As I left the venue, amongst the group that had just watched the performance, I overheard numerous people saying they wished the band could have played for longer, and a couple of guys even started singing the lyrics to ‘Succubus’. I couldn’t help but agree with them. From the moment the band arrived, as they threw their guitars onto the stage and began hurriedly unravelling cables, the focus was on them, and the minute they started playing the crowd was evidently glad to have stuck around.
Next on my list was Dublin-based Otherkin, which meant a return to Stage 2 at Leeds Beckett. A couple of songs into the set, the enigmatic lead singer Luke Reilly had removed his shirt and was moving about the stage with the confidence of Iggy Pop as he took the occasional swig from a can of Heineken. The band’s edgy pop-rock sound translated well live, with the band playing their popular singles ‘I Was Born’ and ‘Ay Ay’. Looking ahead to a return to the city in late summer, Reilly’s final words to the crowd were, “we’ll see you at Leeds Festival”.
With a few moments to spare before the next band on my list, I managed to pop into the Academy and catch a few of Mystery Jets’ tracks. The room was packed to the rafters, with people jostling about to get a closer view, and dancing and singing along. I managed to hear a couple of songs from their latest album ‘Curve of the Earth’ (’Midnight’s Mirror’ and ‘Blood Red Balloon’) before leaving just after their crowd-pleasing early career megahit ‘Half In Love With Elizabeth’. There was evidently a big buzz around the band’s performance, but I was glad to get out of the crowd and return to the outdoors once more.
Keep an eye on TGTF for part 2 of Rebecca’s Live at Leeds 2016 coverage, which is scheduled to post tomorrow.
By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 8th March 2016 at 6:30 pm
Following the release of their fifth studio album ‘Curve of the Earth’ in January, Mystery Jets have unveiled a new video for ‘Bubblegum’, their next single that will be out at the start of April. For the promo for ‘Bubblegum’, they’ve chosen to use something entirely unconventional: the view from drones along the Red Sands region off the UK coast. The description from the press release is as follows:
Just seven miles off the British coast is a place called Red Sands, where there are giant alien towers rising from the ocean on rusted legs. Built in the Thames Estuary to defend the United Kingdom from air raids during the WWII, the forts have been decommissioned for more than 50 years. Delicate and at risk, they are usually off-limits to the public, but the Mystery Jets got special access with the help of a group of passionate volunteers at Project Red Sands, to fly a drone around the strange structures and shoot a spectacular music video. Please learn more and support the ambitious project trying to secure their future at: http://www.project-redsand.com/
Watch the unique video below. ‘Bubblegum’ is out on the 1st of April on Caroline International. For more on TGTF’s coverage on Mystery Jets, go here.
Now that we’re into 2016, it’s time to get excited for the year’s festival season. We’d already seen a few of the lineup revealed for Live at Leeds (read this previous preview post), but now we’ve been not as much teased but inundated with over 65 new acts.
Joining the already stellar lineup of Circa Waves, We Are Scientists and Jess Glynne, we have a nice variety of genres being represented, from the small and unsigned to those acts who are well established in the festival circuit.
First of the major players is Ghostpoet (picture at top), who you may remember had his 2015 album ‘Shedding Skin’ nominated for the Mercury Music Prize. His is pretty much the name on the tip of the tongue of anyone involved in the industry at the moment. On playing the festival, Ghostpoet says, “It’s nice to be returning to Live at Leeds after playing it for the first time a few years back. Should be fun!”
Another name everyone should be familiar with is Mystery Jets, who over the past 13 years have been unrelenting in their output. Flirting with a mixture of genres has ensured they always have a fresh sound that’s apt for the time. They’ll no doubt be playing tunes from their latest album effort, ‘Curve of the Earth’, which was released last month.
There’s also Stockport’s Blossoms, who return after a triumphant show at Leeds Uni Stylus last year, as well as coming fourth in BBC’s Sound of 2016 list. They are certainly going to be a crowd pleaser and not to be missed.
Milk Teeth are another band that have been gathering a lot of attention of the past few months. Their style is reminiscent of early 90’s pop-punk with a twinge of grunge, a sound that is slowly making its way back into the mainstream consciousness. Their debut record ‘Vile Child’ is out now on Hopeless Records and will no doubt leave a massive impression on those who manage to catch their show.
Live at Leeds is fast becoming a staple in the festival season and is going from strength to strength. The way this lineup is shaping up, along with announcements for other festivals slowly creeping out into the daylight, 2016 could turn out to be one of the strongest festival seasons yet.
The entire plethora of announced acts can be found on the Live at Leeds Web site. Tickets are still available at http://lunatickets.co.uk/live-at-leeds-2016.html.
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