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By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 18th April 2012 at 9:00 am
Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls have announced a massive tour for winter 2012. Tickets go on sale this Friday (20 April) at 9 AM.
He’s such a nice guy, he even switched the Norwich gig to be at the UEA so the show would be all ages. What a gent!
Sunday 11th November 2012 – Nottingham Rock City
Monday 12th November 2012 – Leeds Academy
Tuesday 13th November 2012 – Liverpool Academy
Wednesday 14th November 2012 – Swansea Brangwyn Hall
Thursday 15th November 2012 – Reading Hexagon
Saturday 17th November 2012 – Newcastle Academy
Sunday 18th November 2012 – Edinburgh Picture House
Monday 19th November 2012 – Sheffield Academy
Tuesday 20th November 2012 – Norwich UEA
Thursday 22nd November 2012 – Margate Winter Gardens
Friday 23rd November 2012 – Wolverhampton Civic Hall
Saturday 24th November 2012 – Leamington Spa Assembly
Sunday 25th November 2012 – Lincoln Engine Shed
Monday 26th November 2012 – Oxford Academy
Wednesday 28th November 2012 – Brighton Corn Exchange
Thursday 29th November 2012 – Southampton Guildhall
Friday 30th November 2012 – Cornwall Truro Hall
Saturday 1st December 2012 – Bath Pavilion
Air Cav have long been fêted by Manchester’s in-the-know commentators as one to watch. Yet despite plugging away since 2006, it was only at the tail-end of last year that the world finally got to hear the assertive beauty of long-awaited debut album ‘Don’t Look Indoors’. A clever blend of shoegaze, folk stylings courtesy of Sophie Nield’s pretty violin work, and never far away from the raucousness of punk, Air Cav are quite a unique proposition on record. TGTF caught up with them in advance of the penultimate date of their short national tour, to chat about the gestation of their album, the state of the Manchester scene, and being the musical equivalent of the city of Hull.
So how come it’s taken Air Cav so long since their first single in 2008 to visit Newcastle? Drummer Allan Gaskin takes up the story: “First of all, we took the time to perfect the live show, and learnt how to convert the songs so that they sounded good on record. We self-funded the album by begging, borrowing and stealing studio time. It’s been a long process, but we’re happy with the results, and the album has had a great critical reception. We’ve visited places on this tour that we’ve never seen, zig-zagging up and down the country, and it’s all been very positive.”
Talk turns to the state of the music scene of their native Manchester. Singer and guitarist Chris Nield opines, “Manchester’s all well and good but it’s not the be all and end all. We go down differently in different towns. Even though it’s your home crowd, Manchester can be a hard crowd. I’d rather play places like Oxford last night where the room was packed, than Manchester where it can be arms folded, chins being stroked, trying to impress people.”
Violinist Sophie Parkes concurs: “Manchester can be very trend-conscious. There’s loads of unsigned bands, which sounds really vibrant, but in reality, things can be spread quite thinly and it’s difficult to find like-minded bands to get momentum going.” Chris: “We’ve enjoyed playing with like-minded bands outside Manchester. It freshens you up.”
The obsession with bands reforming to make a quick buck is clearly something Allan takes issue with. “There’s loads of old bands reforming: The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, New Order, Inspiral Carpets… they were even going to wheel out 808 State!”
Oisín (bass): “It’s come at a bad time, just when the scene was moving away from its stereotypical heritage, for years there were new bands trying to copy the old ones, and with these bands reforming it’s happening all over again!”
Chris expands: “If you’ve not got any hype behind you, Manchester’s not interested – it’s as if it needs to be told what to like by a handful of promoters, tastemakers in a way, one or two who really call the shots when it comes to so-called trendy Manchester gigs. If you’re not in with them, then it’s difficult. The “Manchester mafia” phrase gets used quite a lot – but we’re not criticising it too much because we’ve played some of those gigs – we’re in it!”
Sophie: “There are a lot of venues now, which can mean that standards slip because there are a lot of bills to be filled with lots of bands. But it’s not all gloom: we’ve had plenty of support from people like BBC Introducing; we’ve lots to thank them for.”
Well, that’s the music scene on the ground in Manchester put to rights. So how have the band found the rest of the country on this tour? Sophie: “Our favourite city? I enjoyed Oxford, which is my hometown, and Hull was a surprise: we thought it was going to be dead, but we had a great reception, we were signing CDs – I could get used to that! Maybe it’s because Hull’s always been a very independent place and we’ve always been a very independent band – you could call us the Hull of bands!”
And what does the future hold for Air Cav?
Chris wraps things up: “We need to maximise our momentum! We’ll be clever about where we play, and not so long making the second album. We’re flying the flag for DIY, self-release, self touring, which is a great ethos. We’re not waiting for anyone else to do it for us – do it yourself!”
And with that, I leave the band to an all-important pre-gig conflab. Newcastle’s The Watchers are in support; straight out of an early ’70s West Coast acid-drowned summer festival, complete with hazy reverb, distorted vocals, and slow-burning epics that drown in a sea of droning guitar and then come up screaming for air. Yet there are songs buried deep in the bowels of these jams; the band are not just one-trick noiseniks. Watch the Watchers.
And then it’s Air Cav’s debut Newcastle performance. As on record, admirably noisy, delicately ambient, vigourously punky. Chris Nield is Brian Molko and Jarvis Cocker‘s lovechild, his mixture of avuncular Northern chap and piercing, assertive vocals dominate the performance. But this is a band greater than its parts; the rhythm section are tight yet complex, and Sophie Parkes’ violin is one moment an Irish-pub fiddle riff in the middle of ‘A Call to Arms’, the next it provides washes of colour over the more ambient moments in the set; not for nothing do the band claim inspiration from the shoegaze movement. (But doesn’t everyone, these days?)
This is a great set from a band very much hitting their stride. If there’s any criticism it’s not in the delivery. Where is the three-minute punk rollock to go with the more thoughtful, drawn-out material? Where is the power chorus that comes in before a minute is up? The band are clearly capable of invoking a variety of atmospheres – if they add the power single to their repertoire, or simply allow an editor to snip one or two of their current pieces into shape, they would be better placed for world domination. And the freedom of the city of Hull would be one step closer.
More of Martin’s high-res photos can be viewed on his Flickr.
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 11th April 2012 at 9:00 am
Orbital, who have just released their new album ‘Wonky’, will be touring England in the weeks before Christmas. Tickets go on sale this Friday (13 April) at 9 AM.
Want some Orbital freebies? Get the L-Vis 1990 ‘rewound’ remix of ‘New France’ here, and first taster and album track ‘Never’ here.
Tuesday 4th December 2012 – Leicester O2 Academy
Wednesday 5th December 2012 – Newcastle O2 Academy
Friday 7th December 2012 – Preston 53 Degrees
Saturday 8th December 2012 – Sheffield O2 Academy
Wednesday 12th December 2012 – Bournemouth O2 Academy
Friday 14th December 2012 – London Brixton O2 Academy
By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 10th April 2012 at 10:00 am
Benjamin Francis Leftwich has covered Arcade Fire‘s ‘Rebellion’, and he’s offering it up as a freebie. Listen to and download the cover below.
Leftwich is going on a massive tour of the UK and Ireland in the autumn; tour dates are included below as well.
Monday 1st October 2012 – Brighton Concorde 2
Tuesday 2nd October 2012 – Bournemouth Old Fire Station
Wednesday 3rd October 2012 – Exeter Phoenix
Thursday 4th October 2012 – Falmouth Princess Pavilion
Friday 5th October 2012 – Swansea Sin City
Saturday 6th October 2012 – Bristol O2 Academy
Monday 8th October 2012 – Oxford Town Hall
Tuesday 9th October 2012 – Newcastle Northumbria Uni
Wednesday 10th October 2012 – Edinburgh Pleasance Theatre
Thursday 11th October 2012 – Aberdeen Lemon Tree
Friday 12th October 2012 – Inverness Ironworks
Saturday 13th October 2012 – Glasgow Oran Mor
Monday 15th October 2012 – Leeds Varieties
Tuesday 16th October 2012 – Sheffield Plug
Wednesday 17th October 2012 – Birmingham Irish Centre
Thursday 18th October 2012 – Cambridge Junction
Friday 19th October 2012 – Norwich Waterfront
Saturday 20th October 2012 – Nottingham Rescue Rooms
Monday 22nd October 2012 – Carlisle Brickyard
Tuesday 23rd October 2012 – Liverpool Stanley Theatre
Wednesday 24th October 2012 – London Koko
Thursday 25th October 2012 – Manchester HMV Ritz
Friday 26th October 2012 – Stoke Sugar Mill
Saturday 27th October 2012 – York Duchess
Monday 29th October 2012 – Wrexham Central Station
Wednesday 31st October 2012 – Galway Roisin Dubh
Thursday 1st November 2012 – Cork Cyprus Avenue
Friday 2nd November 2012 – Dublin Whelan’s
Saturday 3rd November 2012 – Belfast Limelight
By Mary Chang
on Friday, 30th March 2012 at 9:30 am
The Temper Trap will be touring the UK in May in support of their hotly anticipated second album (confusingly titled ‘The Temper Trap’), which will include lead single ‘Need Your Love’. They will also be making an appearance on the Friday of Liverpool Sound City. Tickets are on sale now.
For a taste of the Aussie band’s live performance these days, read my review of their Stubb’s BBQ show on 15 March at this year’s SXSW.
Wednesday 9th May 2012 – Falmouth Princess Pavilion
Thursday 10th May 2012 – Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms (sold out)
Saturday 12th May 2012 – Cardiff Coal Exchange
Sunday 13th May 2012 – Newcastle Northumbria University Student’s Union
Monday 14th May 2012 – Glasgow O2 ABC
Wednesday 16th May 2012 – Birmingham HMV Institute
Thursday 17th May 2012 – Manchester HMV Ritz
Friday 18th May 2012 – Liverpool Arts Academy (Liverpool Sound City appearance)
Monday 21st May 2012 – London Koko (sold out)
Tuesday 22nd May 2012 – London Koko (sold out)
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 28th March 2012 at 6:00 pm
So sorry to be late posting this Spring Offensive video; SXSW is my excuse! It’s for the band’s single ‘Worry Fill My Heart’; we previously featured the video for its b-side, ‘Carrier’, as a Video of the Moment last month. Catch Spring Offensive on tour starting Thursday in London; all the tour details are below.
This video features a cameo from another TGTF favourite; hint: it’s the bass player from a band that named themselves after a town in the BBC shipping forecast reports.
Thursday 29th March 2012 – London Electricity Showrooms
Friday 30th March 2012 – Brighton Green Door Store
Saturday 31st March 2012 – Oxford (secret location TBA)
Sunday 1st April 2012 – Manchester Castle Hotel
Monday 2nd April 2012 – Sheffield SOYO
Tuesday 3rd April 2012 – Newcastle Head of Steam
Wednesday 4th April 2012 – Liverpool Shipping Forecast