For editor Mary's coverage of SXSW 2013, go here.
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FYI our fearless editor Mary is currently on holiday (sort of, she says, since she'll be working on blog-y things for most of it) in Britain and the site won't be as updated as frequently until she returns stateside after the 23rd of May. Don't worry though, we'll be busy this month going to festivals (Liverpool Sound City, the Great Escape) and loads of great content is on its way!
With the site in glorious condition, the adverse weather tormenting the rest of the UK holding off and hundreds of the world’s finest bands waiting to play, Reading 2012 kicked off in style. Deaf Havana, who TGTF spoke to later that day, opened up the iconic Main Stage just after midday and played a rousing set.
With only a six song set to work with, the band tore ferociously through their most popular songs, opening with the hook laden ‘I Will Try’, Deaf Havana later moved into single ‘I’m a Bore, Mostly’, a track that manages to be unrecognisably epic for the middle of the day. The band closed their brief set with ‘The Past Six Years,’ a track which played live is a pleasure to listen to in all it’s pop punk glory. (7/10)
With the Main Stage suitably warmed up by Deaf Havana, it’s time for an early spot by some prog rock heroes in the form of Coheed and Cambria. The crowd is, as expected, an eclectic mix of teenagers waiting for You Me at Six, so that they can touch Josh Franceschi’s lower thigh, mixed in with your seasoned music lovers, all ready for a set of truly epic proportions.
Coheed and Cambria, deliver exactly what you’d expect from a band whose lead singer has what can only described as a small mane around his neck. A set of noodling riffs and screaming guitar solos, coupled with classic C&C stalwarts ‘The Running Free’ and the exceedingly awesome ‘Welcome Home’. Coheed didn’t need to do anything except turn up and rock out with their cocks out and phallic references aside, they did and it was awesome. (9/10)
Next up, one of the breakthrough acts of the past twelve months appeared on the BBC Introducing Stage for an impromptu secret set. alt-J are the buzz band at the moment, everyone wants a piece of them and why not? With their interesting mix of indie melodies and dubby drops, they are accessible to a huge audience. Their set was short, but too much of a good thing can be bad, and with them playing the Festival Republic Stage later that day, the few songs they played was enough to get the sizable crowd they attracted appetite whetted suitably. (8/10)
Following up from a set attracting as much interest as alt-J did was never going to be a task bands would be jumping up and down about, but the understated acoustic driven rhythms of Park Bench Society were a joy to listen to and the perfect remedy to that middle of the day hangover you get at festivals when your legs start to seize up. The three, sixteen year old lads from Loughborough performed admirably and while the crowd didn’t seem to receive them well, it’s obvious that there’s some talent there. (6/10)
After a brief interlude to schmooze around the press tent and rock out with another TGTF favourite Lucy Rose, it was time to take in the pint-sized prodigy herself on the Festival Republic Stage. Now while Rose may be known for her work with Bombay Bicycle Club most prominently, her solo work is taking off rapidly and she’s already been described by Vogue Magazine as “one of indie music’s breakout stars for 2012”.
With an arsenal of striking acoustic numbers, Lucy Rose, is an artist who doesn’t need to even try, be in complete control of the crowd. She owns it from start to finish. Tracks ‘Scar’ and ‘Red Face’ are instantly recognizable as the Radio1 stalwarts they are going to become and with these grand tunes, she’s going to be on that A-List in no time at all. Oh, and add to that, she’s cute as a button… (9/10)
With just a sort break, Lucy Rose has to up sticks and amble off to the Main Stage where she performed with indie superstars Bombay Bicycle Club (pictured at top). Now, Bombay seemed to me to have been an odd choice to be third on the Main Stage. However, by 7 o’clock when they’d finished, I had no idea why I was thinking such mad thoughts. Steadman, Rose and co. made the Main Stage theirs, drawing from all of the bands albums and busting out crowd pleasers like the ever bouncy ‘Shuffle’. Steadman’s personality doesn’t seem like the kind of person who can own the Main Stage in such a way, but he surprised me and a higher billing can only await the band now. (8/10)
Following Bombay were Reading Festival favourites Paramore, next up on the Main Stage. Frontwoman Hayley Williams was in charge from square one and backed by the ever impressive Justin York on guitar the pop punk icons ploughed through a set with enough hooks to land Jaws.
To top it off, Williams brought a fan on stage to join in with the set. Now when I see an artist do that I always think, cheesy move. But for that person, it’s an experience of a lifetime, which will live with them for all their years and for gestures like that, I can only commend the fiery haired songstress for this action. While older songs like ‘Misery Business’ and ‘Pressure’ went down a storm, in my opinion it was newer song ‘Monster’ that really captured the essence of what Paramore at Reading Festival were about. A damn good time and some catchy as hell choruses. (8/10)
To close the day, it was a choice between an ageing legend in the form of Robert Smith from the Cure, or a rip roaring set from garage rockers The Subways.
So the choice was made. The Alternative Stage was my destination and a chaotic set filled with some massive tunes ensued. HEAVY AS HELL.
Day 1 closed with one hell of a bang, which the Subways handily delivered. (9/10)
By Mary Chang
on Monday, 16th July 2012 at 4:00 pm
You know that worn phrase, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”? Last week Robert Smith treated the Cure‘s fans to some acoustic numbers – specifically, ‘Three Imaginary Boys’, ‘Fire in Cairo’ and ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ – while the band’s equipment was playing up at a festival appearance at Bilbao BBK Live in Bilbao, Spain. The ‘lemonade’ provided was a rare performance by the goth band’s frontman that is not likely to be repeated anytime soon. Watch it below.
With exclusive releases from literally hundreds of artists, Record Store Day is back with a bang this week and here’s the TGTF guide to what to pick up on the day from some of the best labels and acts. Our top tip? Check the website to see if the release you want is limited or on mass production. This will really help with panic on the day. See you Saturday!
Ben Howard – ‘Black Flies’
A standout track from his gorgeous debut album, Black Flies is limited to just 500 copies on the day. With Brixton sold out in November, it doesn’t look like Howard’s going anywhere for a while and with new material almost ready, this looks to be the swansong of ‘Every Kingdom’. (Along with the Cure, Florence and the Machine and many other artists, this is part of the Secret 7″ campaign to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust.) Watch the live video of Howard playing this song at SXSW 2012 below.
Dry the River – ‘New Ceremony’
Limited to just 1000 copies, the newest folk/pop/indie heroes’ single will be something to snap up when doors open at your local store.
Arctic Monkeys – ‘R U Mine’ (purple)
Queens of the Stone Age-y rock music from the Sheffield lads. Previously unreleased, a needed momento for any Arctics fans.
Arcade Fire – ‘Sprawl II’ (Remix)
Complete with a live version of Ready to Start on the b-side, it gives you an excuse to play Arcade Fire at a party and not be judged too heavily, which is always a plus.
Childish Gambino – ‘Heartbeat’
With Glover’s stock rising, it’s no surprise that this, his latest single is up for RSD release. Whilst not hugely limited, it’ll be in high demand, and a worthy demand also.
David Bowie – ‘Starman’ (picture vinyl)
What more could you want from RSD than a David Bowie picture vinyl? It’s a brilliant collectors item and even more, it’ll sound even more beautiful than the originals.
That’s just a tiny selection of what’s on offer. For Cure fans there’s a huge selection [for more, check out this great UK vs. US Record Store Day releases list compiled by Slicing Up Eyeballs - Ed.], but there really is something for everyone in the hundreds on sale. See you Saturday!
Editor’s note: John’s written about this from the viewpoint of Reading, but I’m sure if you’re reading this, chances are you know how the rotating band schedule of Reading/Leeds weekend works. If not, comment here and we’ll explain. Cheers.
Dave Grohl first unleashed his ferocious talent on an unwitting Reading Festival audience in 1991. Now 21 years later he is back, AGAIN, to close the Reading Festival on the 26th of August with arguably the biggest and best rock band of this generation, Foo Fighters (pictured above). Joining these already battle hardened festival veterans are relative newcomers to the headlining rounds Kasabian, who with the release of the extremely pleasing ‘Velociraptor’ (review here) are sure to bring a massive crowd to the main stage, even if they are fighting it out with post-hardcore heavyweights At the Drive In for a share of the crowd. I, for one, am torn in this instance but a first time headlining slot at Reading for Kasabian is just sounding a little too tasty to miss.
Filling the final headlining slot on this bill was never going to be an easy feat, so it had to go to a band of hugely talented legends, which go by the name the Cure. You’d be hard pressed to find a band on the roster for the weekend that doesn’t cite Robert Smith’s band of heroes as their influences. However, if these veterans of the stage don’t exactly float ya boat then take a look at the NME stage, where the Maccabees will surely produce a set to remember in the tent.
As with every year at Reading Festival though the fun is by no means over with just the headliners. Over the weekend the hallowed Richfield Avenue site will be graced by acts including the massively popular Florence and the Machine, who’ll be looking to ‘Shake It Up’ in the south warming up for Kasabian. The unenviable task has of opening for the Cure falls to that ginger haired beauty Hayley Williams and her pop punk band of miscreants Paramore. Joining Foo Fighters on the final day are the Black Keys, who after a UK tour will be fired up and ready to rock the Main Stage’s socks off.
However, if you thought those boys at Festival Republic were spoiling you already, just wait until you see the host of other bands announced. ‘I Predict a Riot’ on the Sunday with Kaiser Chiefs and for those of you wanting that guilty pleasure look no further than Welsh metallers Bullet For My Valentine on the Main Stage. For nostalgia’s sake, Coheed and Cambria are being welcomed back to Reading for some proggy goodness. If you want to stay current, check out Main Stage slots for Bombay Bicycle Club, the Vaccines and Reading (and The Boss) favourites the Gaslight Anthem.
The surface has hardly been scratched here, with the Lock Up Stage, the Festival Republic Stage and the rest of the NME Stage yet to be announced. Undoubtedly though, this promises to be the festival event of the summer and with weekend tickets still available, my question is, will I see you in the mosh pit?
Weekend tickets for Reading or Leeds Fest (24-26 August) are £197.50 plus booking and include camping. Day tickets are £85 for Friday, Saturday or Sunday (Leeds only; Sunday at Reading is sold out). Buy tickets from Seetickets from here for Reading and here for Leeds.
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 14th December 2011 at 4:00 pm
Legendary band the Cure have released two performance videos of their appearance at this year’s Bestival. Both ‘Close to Me’ and ‘A Forest’ (the audio versions, anyway) appear on the band’s ‘Bestival Live 2011′, released earlier this month.
You can buy the special 2 CD set now; all proceeds of this Sunday Best release go to the Isle of White Youth Trust. For more on this special double album, read Braden’s review.
When you’re in the Cure, you’ve got both a difficult and simple job when making a set list. When headlining one of the most reputable festivals in the country (Bestival), you’ve got to think of a few things. How many hits, how much newer music, how many fan specific favourites? If you’re Arctic Monkeys, you might want to focus on a new direction. If you’re Muse, you may want to celebrate a specific album in full. Most bands generally choose a strong mix of new and old and throw a surprise in there, but the Cure simply can’t do that. They’ve got too much music to condense down to ‘hits vs new’. What they can do however is pull out all the stops on a roller coaster through their back catalogue. This is exactly what they did in their newest release, a live album called ‘Bestival Live 2011′ that was, yep, you guessed it, recorded at the Isle of Wight event this past September. This double album is even made more special in that all proceeds from the sale of this release will be going directly to the Isle of White Youth Trust, a local charity that provides counseling and support to young people who live on the island.
For many in the younger generation, the only Cure album they’ll own if any will be the Greatest Hits one, easily located in your local HMV so with twelve crossover tracks, from ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ through ‘Close to Me’, ‘Just Like Heaven’ and ‘The Lovecats’ (a song the band have only recently fallen back in love with live), that’s that group well and truly satisfied. That leaves 20 to go. Most of the rest is filled with the nearly greatest hits like the gladly renamed ‘Killing Another’ and absolutely beautiful opener Plainsong.
When your back catalogue reads like Robert Smith and company’s does, pulling out the likes of newer tracks from 2008′s ’4:13 Dream’ album like ‘The Only One’ and ‘Hungry Ghost’ can bring a mixed response. On one hand, ‘The Only One’ is one of the strongest tracks on the album, whilst ‘Hungry Ghost’ has had limited outings, but somewhere in that huge crowd, someone just had their dream come true.
A double encore produces more from both crowd and band, as nothing can go wrong for the band on this night. As far an introduction to the Cure goes, it doesn’t get much better than this. It’s so difficult to catch them live these days, as they do one European festival every year and a rare show outside of that, so to have the gold dust wrapped up in one, 2 and half hour package is something in itself. The Cure truly are one of our greatest exports, and Robert Smith the talisman at the front of it all, big hair and all.
The Cure’s live album ‘Bestival Live 2011′ is available now through Rob da Bank’s Sunday Best label. All proceeds go to the Isle of White Youth Trust, a charitable, independent and professional organisation offering counseling, advice, information and support services to young people aged 25 and under who live on the Isle of Wight (the home of Bestival) and, in some cases, their parents or carers.