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Jessie J is now so massive, she’ll be touring UK and Irish arenas in early 2013. The tickets on this tour go on sale at 9 AM today (25 May).
Tuesday 26th February 2012 – Nottingham Capital FM Arena
Wednesday 27th February 2012 – Brighton Centre
Friday 1st March 2012 – Birmingham LG Arena
Saturday 2nd March 2012 – Manchester Arena
Sunday 3rd March 2012 – Sheffield Motorpoint Arena
Tuesday 5th March 2012 – Liverpool Echo Arena
Wednesday 6th March 2012 – Cardiff Motorpoint Arena
Thursday 7th March 2012 – Bournemouth International Centre
Saturday 9th March 2012 – London O2 Arena
Tuesday 12th March 2012 – Newcastle Metro Radio Arena
Thursday 14th March 2012 – Glasgow SECC
Friday 15th March 2012 – Aberdeen AECC
Sunday 17th March 2012 – Belfast Odyssey Arena
Monday 18th March 2012 – Dublin O2 Arena
There’s not long to go before Evolution Festival, held on the quaysides of Gateshead and Newcastle upon Tyne over the Queen’s Jubilee weekend. To supplement the main festival, those who prefer their acts a little more underground can rejoice: Evolution Emerging – being put on with North East music supporter Generator, alongside Amazing Radio and Narc. Magazine – takes place on the Friday before the festival proper, taking over the cultural mecca that is the Ouseburn Valley, just a stone’s throw away from the main site. Several venues are dedicated to showcasing the best in North-East talent, with a sprinkling of proper royalty at the head of the bill: local lass Beth Jeans Houghton and her Hooves Of Destiny (pictured above), whose star has gone stratospheric in 2012 in response to their debut album ‘Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose’.
Other sources might argue that the bill is too long to preview properly. Not us. Exclusive to TGTF, here is a venue-by-venue run-down of who to watch, who to miss, and who to dance alone with your top off to, conveniently in the style of Live and Kicking’s low-brow musical critique spot Hit, Miss, or Maybe. Clearly there is far more to see than can be seen, unless one is in possession of a Tardis, so at the end there will be a clear recommendation of how to spend one’s Evo Emerging evening wisely, maximising exposure to great new music. Here we gan…
Beth Jeans Houghton – needs no introduction. HIT! [Post-Great Escape, Mary heartily concurs. - Ed.]
Lulu James – does trip-hop make a comeback with this darkly-styled songstress? HIT!
Deerhart – Trev’s mahogany voice can’t paper over the maudlin, lengthy arrangements and clichéd lyrics. MISS.
Boy Jumps Ship – American FM radio polished garage rock, no space to breathe. HIT!
Eeves – Going nowhere fast. Song Silhouette nearly five minutes long – post-punk? Not. MISS.
Total = 3/5 = 60%
Fantasy Rainbow – classy twee-pop troubadourism from Gateshead. What’s not to like? HIT!
Natasha Haws – foetal, sparse singer-songwriter with pain in her heart. She could use some warmth – could you be the one? MAYBE?
Amy Holford – despite being yet another acoustic singer-songwriter, voice has the power to amaze. MAYBE?
Let’s Away – brilliant dreamy arch-pop from the musical honeypot that is Sunderland. Bottom of the bill for not much longer. HIT!
Total = 3/4 = 75%
We Are Knuckle Dragger – like being repeatedly kicked in the brain. Resistance is futile. HIT!
Nately’s Whore’s Kid Sister – dirges for slothly moshers. MAYBE?
O’Messy Life – jaunty arms-wide-open guitar pop, best band name ever. BULLSEYE!
Acrobatic Society – completely mental avant-garde drone-pop. Drugs essential. MAYBE?
The Watchers – 60s guitar pop, 70s psychedelic trips, 90s baggy, 2012 movers and shakers. HIT!
Total = 4.5/5 = 90%
Bird Island – self-assured American-influenced guitar pop. Get that top down and go for a drive. HIT!
Iceni – underdeveloped piano-led jazz-pop. MISS.
Reckoner – nothing of any note online. MISS.
Ben Watson – nothing of any note online. MISS.
Total = 1/4 = 25%
The Cumberland Arms
Symphonic Pictures – superbly funky psychedelic alt-pop. HIT!
Collectors Club – Teesside youngsters with the catchiest products this side of a north sea trawler. HIT!
Lilliput – utterly sublime folk-pop from windswept Wearsiders. Desolation, beauty, cups of tear. BULLSEYE!
Crooked Hands – minimalist instrumentation, cracked vocals, gently beautiful. HIT!
Total = 4.5/4 = 112.5%
Star & Shadow Cinema (afterparty)
Young Liar – mute, melodic, hard-hitting. Newcastle’s answer to Mogwai. HIT!
Weird Shapes – obscurantist neophiles with their head in the clouds. Could hold the answer to life, the universe and everything. HIT!
Apollo Gets The Girl – the love between Chris Lowe and Nicolas Winding Refn as soundtracked by a Yamaha SY77. Simultaneously classy and cheesy, like a Parisian croque monsieur. MAYBE?
Ghosts Of Old Berlin – as architectural and stark as the name suggests, nevertheless display a strange beauty. MAYBE?
Total = 3/4 = 75%
Scores on the doors
Cluny – 60%
Cluny 2 – 75%
The Tyne – 90%
The Tanners – 25%
The Cumberland Arms – 112.5%
Star & Shadow (afterparty) – 75%
The Tanners’ sparse musical offerings mirror its outlying geographical location – an uphill struggle. Bird Island are the only reason to venture there, and I suspect few will bother, unluckily for them. The central Ouseburn offerings are all strong, with The Tyne showcasing a particularly strong line-up. But the Cumberland is the clear winner here. All four acts are superb, and a canny punter will ensconce themselves in a comfy chair in the corner and nurse several pints as the night unfolds. Beth Jeans Houghton is undoubtedly the biggest name of the event as a whole, and will attract the biggest audience – all the better to thin the crowd at the modestly-sized Cumberland, for those who wish to see acts who are genuinely emerging. Not all of them can be stars of tomorrow, but I’d put good money on one of these acts becoming a household name within twelve months. Be there to see it happen.
Under the cut: an interactive poster for Evo Emerging.
Continue reading Preview: Evolution Emerging 2012
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 17th May 2012 at 6:00 pm
Fancy taking a ride round the city with Ben Howard, then catching some exclusive footage of him performing with his band at Shepherds Bush? You can both with his new video for ‘Only Love’, which you can watch below.
Howard has an extensive UK/Irish tour lined up for November, kicking off at the Brighton Dome on the 2nd of November; see the dates below. Support for the tour will be Willy Mason, who played alongside Howard at Communion’s SXSW showcase in Austin at the St. David’s Historic Sanctuary church in March.
Saturday 2nd November 2012 – Brighton Dome
Sunday 3rd November 2012 – Plymouth Pavilions
Monday 4th November 2012 – Cardiff University (Great Hall)
Tuesday 5th November 2012 – Bristol Colston Hall
Thursday 7th November 2012 – Dublin Olympia
Saturday 9th November 2012 – Belfast Mandela Hall
Sunday 10th November 2012 – Glasgow O2 Academy
Monday 12th November 2012 – Manchester Apollo
Wednesday 14th November 2012 – Leeds O2 Academy
Friday 16th November 2012 – Newcastle O2 Academy
Saturday 17th November 2012 – Aberdeen Music Hall
Monday 19th November 2012 – Cambridge Corn Exchange
Tuesday 20th November 2012 – Lincoln Engine Shed
Wednesday 21th November 2012 – Leicester O2 Academy
Thursday 22nd November 2012 – Nottingham Rock City
Saturday 24th November 2012 – Birmingham O2 Academy
Sunday 25th November 2012 – Bournemouth O2 Academy
Monday 26th November 2012 – Southampton Guild Hall
Wednesday 28th November 2012 – London O2 Brixton Academy
London-based five-piece Dry the River are garnering all sorts of plaudits for their debut long-player Shallow Bed. Combining gentle, meadowy folk with grandiose post-rock wig-outs, seasoned with a peppery gothic tang, their sound simultaneously nods to decades past, whilst achieving a fresh slant on a number of styles which were in danger of becoming parodies of themselves. In an attempt to convey their sound in writing, all sorts of comparisons have been made, chiefly to contemporary populist folk revivalists Mumford and Sons; much the same point can be made by comparing a Big Mac to rare roast rib of beef.
Even at first glance of the band in the flesh, it is apparent that superficial comparisons to the Mumford mummy’s boys fall wide of the mark. There’s not a mandolin or waistcoat in sight; what there is is heavy tattoos, skinny jeans, and an AC/DC t-shirt. Singer Peter Liddle, barefoot and flame-haired, accommodates within his slight frame a voice which in its throaty delicacy displays an uncanny similarity to Jeff Buckley. The electric guitar undulates from gently overdriven picking to frantic power chords. There’s harmony vocals, a particularly animated bassist with an impressive beard, and as is becoming increasingly common these days, a violin.
Most importantly, there are songs – excellent ones at that. The set list is pretty much the entirety of ‘Shallow Bed’ (Luke’s review of the album can be read here) with the running order rearranged. Each piece is as strong as the last; the one-hour set doesn’t sag in the middle as is the risk with young bands. The songs kick in with memorable aphorisms, progress at a fine pace and never outstay their welcome. Impressively, the arrangements are both more delicate and yet carry more impact than on record. From the gentle guitar plucking and intertwining violin of ‘Shaker Hymns’, via the sweeping finale of ‘Weights and Measures’, to the mentalist noise that concludes ‘Lion’s Den’, the material works even better shorn of production fripperies, with the simplest of presentations. Most of these songs are proper pop tunes: ‘History Book’ for example, beautifully arranged and carrying quite some punch in its guitars, remains accessible and catchy as a frisbee.
They come back for one more song – the only one left that they haven’t played – and leave to rapturous applause from a genuinely appreciative sold-out crowd. A less manufactured-looking band it’s difficult to imagine, but if one had to combine several demographics – mum-friendly folk-pop, chewy chunks of teenage moshing, a touch of ’60s psychedelia, dashed with Stonehenge mysticism – this would be the result. A fascinating band who look to have a good year in front of them.
Dry the River are scheduled to play at 23.45 on the Friday (11 May) at the Corn Exchange at this year’s Great Escape.
By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 1st May 2012 at 11:00 am
Friends from Brooklyn is one of the hottest indie bands on the planet at the moment, and we’ve blagged a pair of tickets for one lucky reader and a guest to see them in Newcastle (Sunday 6th May), Birmingham (Saturday 12th May) or Bristol (Monday 14th May), winner’s choice. Now you’re wondering to yourself, how do I win these tickets? Read on my friend…
Fill out the form below with the following information: your name, your email address (we’ll use this to contact you if you’ve won) and which gig you want to win tickets for. Then answer this question correctly: What London label are the band signed to? Be sure to get your entries in by 12 noon this Friday, the 4th of May. We’ll choose our lucky winner from all the correct entries and award him/her with tickets for the gig of their choice.
This contest is now closed. The winner will be contacted soon by email.
If you want to buy tickets to any of the gigs on their May UK tour, you can use this Live Nation link to buy them for some of the gigs.
Saturday 5th May 2012 – Live at Leeds
Sunday 6th May 2012 – Newcastle Digital
Monday 7th May 2012 – Glasgow King Tut’s
Tuesday 8th May 2012 – Manchester Academy 3
Wednesday 9th May 2012 – London Scala
Thursday 10th May 2012 – Brighton Horatios (NME Radar showcase at Great Escape)
Friday 11th May 2012 – Brighton Haunt (The Agency showcase Great Escape)
Saturday 12th May 2012 – Birmingham Academy 2
Monday 14th May 2012 – Bristol Thekla
Oxford has form when it comes to birthing important bands: from influential noisegaze pioneers Ride, through the sadly defunct Supergrass, always in the kitchen at the Britpop party, to Radiohead, who not content with redefining the scope of modern rock several times, have seen fit to bless the world with a number of excellent solo works. Recently, revivalist dance-pop BBC Introducing favourites Fixers and math-rock futurists Foals have been upholding the reputation of the city of the dreaming spires.
Tonight sees the latest in this distinguished bloodline of musicians hit Newcastle. Spring Offensive have released but a handful of tracks; they are still at the beginning of their career, so any claims of belonging to the pantheon of Oxfordian greatness must be tempered with the chance that they might split up, get bored, or fall pregnant before anything of any particular note happens. But…let’s hope not.
In town to promote their second single, ‘Worry Fill My Heart’ (live video below), TGTF caught up with them over a coke in the incongruous environs of Newcastle’s only American-style burger joint, on a mission to find out a thing or two about Spring Offensive.
We learn that the drummer is called Pelham. That they met at school and live together in Oxford. That they count appropriately underground acts Menomena and Silver Mt. Zion in their influences, along with Cumbrian darlings Wild Beasts. Some of their songs deal with being dissatisfied with you’re doing with your life. They’re nervous people, easily frightened. They’re named after the Wilfred Owen war poem, which they were asked to recite live on German radio. They dress as they do (part war evacuee, part ’70s dad, fashion by charity shop consent) so people can’t judge them on their appearance. Or, heaven forfend, accuse them of being Foals fanboys.
They are a superb live band. The Oxford sound is present and correct – there’s a bit of white-boy funk, edgy mathy bits, anthemic choruses – but thankfully all filtered through a clear personality of their own. They have a talent for arrangements, and not just of the quiet-loud-quiet version, either – the songs ebb and flow with the oily fluidity of a calm midnight sea. This is the genuine soundtrack to how the Titanic really sank – gently, undemonstratively, imperceptibly sinking into inky black, all the while a quiet, unspoken unease hanging in the air. There’s lashings of deckhand vocal harmonies; in one memorable moment, the band leave the stage and play with acoustic guitar and voices only. It’s a brave insight into their capabilities; shorn of amplification the effect is if anything even more emotionally powerful.
They haven’t always dressed as they do now – somewhere in the last twelve months the band ditched the checked shirts, stripy t-shirts and skinny jeans for frayed cardigans, woollen tank tops, and beige slacks. Whether this is a genuinely spontaneous rejection of fashion, or a cleverly-worked decision, their sartoriality suits both demeanour and sound perfectly. The very epitome of Dave Gilmour’s famous ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ lyric, “Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way”, the whole package evokes a post-war shabbiness, of desolate Anglian marshes interspersed with the skeletons of abandoned hangars: an atmosphere of bleakness punctuated by the hope of regeneration. Simultaneously, they speak to the contemporary retail park mole, the burger flipper, the call centre operative: is this all life has to offer? Could things have been better sixty years ago? Is modern life indeed rubbish? These are the most important questions a band can ask; it falls to Spring Offensive to ask them.
Spring Offensive will appear on the Friday (18 May) of Liverpool Sound City, time and place TBA.