SXSW 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | Live at Leeds 2016 | 2015 | 2014
Sound City 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | Great Escape 2018 | 2015 | 2013 | 2012

Don't forget to like There Goes the Fear on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Reading 2016: Sunday Roundup

 
By on Tuesday, 6th September 2016 at 2:00 pm
 

As so we came to the final day of Reading Festival 2016. Where those who couldn’t quite cut it have left, and those that remain are ready to see the festival out as they started; with no inhibitions and a fantastic soundtrack.

Activities on the main stage Saturday gave a preview as to the heavy-fest that Sunday would be. Bar A$AP Rocky and The Vaccines, the lineup for the day could also have been found at the heavier British festival staple that is Download. The weather decided it didn’t feel like baring it’s sunnier disposition and instead graced us with its greyer, cloudier and wetter side. As pointed out yesterday though, this is where the British thrive, and thrive they did.

Albany, New York pop punkers State Champs opened up the main stage, bringing a brief respite from the dismal weather at Reading with their take on summer anthem genre. For a Sunday morning, the crowd were particularly excitable and offered back a sincere response. Following on from this spot of sunshine were The Virginmarys, a definite band to watch in the UK rock scene, with their brutal vocals, hard-hitting guitar lines and a savageness reminiscent of early punk. Though the crowd may have mildly dispersed post-State Champs, this didn’t stop the band from Macclesfield from delivering a completely brutal set worthy of a much higher billing.

Mancunians Spring King who have had quite the quick ascent to fame, which you can read about in our interview with drummer and singer Tarek Musa back here at LeeFest 2016 in late July, gave a performance to a completely packed out tent. Though the sudden downpour may have instigated this mass collective, the band made sure to capitalise upon it. The set brought fun and tunes in equal measure, with both band and fans having a Another band who had to deal with what the weather dealt them were Coheed and Cambria who were faultless, giving a ferocious performance all the while being on the main stage and open to the elements.

As the rain continued to slowly drizzled over the Reading festival site, the crowds gave up hiding from it, revelling in the weather. Back on the Radio 1/NME Stage, Deaf Havana used their set wisely as a promotional opportunity, announcing the name and release date of their upcoming album. Appearing on stage with only a white sheet across the back of the stage, as the set went on the words “All These Countless Nights” were painted in black, followed by “21.1.17”. The set was a special moment, secured it as one for the band’s history.

What was The Pit for the past 2 days had now reverted back to its original name The Lock Up for the final day. Beach Slang, the American punk band who are bringing back the old school ethos to the genre, completely dominated the tent. Their set was summed up well in the immortal words of frontman James Alex: “We are Beach Slang, and we’re here to punch you right in the heart!” The Lock Up stage continued with its earnest punk environment with Modern Baseball. Having released their third album ‘Holy Ghost’ back in May, they’re finally on our UK shores, giving their diehard fanbase a run-through of these new offerings. Even though A$AP Rocky was ruling the main stage and causing a surge in crowd flow, The Lock Up was still over capacity for the American four-piece. The excited audience simply did not stop moving until the final chord finished, and the speed at which crowd surfers ran from the security to pit and back into the throng was astounding. Another standout set from this year’s festival.

The evening was an anticipated delight from co-headliners Fall Out Boy and Biffy Clyro. As eight pm swung around, the skies were still cloudy but the atmosphere was as electric as ever. A sea of Fall Out Boy merchandise seen around the festival over the course of the weekend was a concrete measurement in exactly how big a draw band were, and for good reason. A show that featured non-stop fireworks, pyrotechnics, choreographed fire dancers and visuals, Fall Out Boy knew they had a massive opportunity, and they ran with it. Running through a majority set that consisted of songs from the last two albums plus a few golden treats, especially finale ‘Saturday’ from 2003’s ‘Take This to Your Grave’, Fall Out Boy certainly ensured that the ravenous crowd were delivered the set they yearned for.

Finally, it was time for the final headliners of the entire weekend at Richfield Avenue. Biffy Clyro were given the honour and duty of closing out this year’s edition, giving everything they had and fully delivering. With a stage show that reflected the precision and grandeur we’ve come to expect from the Scottish trio, it was a set that will surely be remembered in the festival’s history. From opener ‘Wolves of Winter’ to closer ‘Stinging Bell’ that featured a fireworks display, they somehow managed to dwarf the explosive affair that Fall Out Boy had previously.

Using a popular Scottish battle cry, halfway through the set singer Simon Neil roared out, “Mon The Reading!”, whipping the crowd into a frenzy. Biffy Clyro’s ascension through the ranks of musicdom has been made by leaps and strides, and this was the largest of them yet. A perfectly executed set that ran through a majority of newer material – plus the appearance of ’57’, a cut from 2002’s ‘Blackened Sky’ as a pleasant treat – the trio seized the moment and are now reaping the rewards. As the Reading crowd finally dispersed ar the end the festival for another year, the only question on everyone’s mind was, “how are they going to top this next year?” We’ll find out in 2017.

 

2000 Trees Festival 2014 Roundup: Day 3 (Saturday) – Part 2

 
By on Friday, 8th August 2014 at 2:00 pm
 

The first half of John’s Saturday coverage of 2000 Trees 2014 is here.

During Blitz Kids’ set earlier in the day, gradually the Main Stage arena was populated by people in fancy dress. The theme for the weekend was ‘The Box Set’. So we’re talking, Walter White, Jesse Pinkman, Jon Snow, Homer Simpson, Peter Griffin and Doctor Who. You get the picture.

The prizes were for the best individual fancy dress costume and the best group one. Now, my favourite group costume was undoubtedly a group of people with black painted beards and moustaches. They had black feathery long cloaks and carried staffs. I’m hearing you; they were most definitely Brothers of the Knight’s Watch. Surely in this year of Game of Thrones’ Mania, they couldn’t be anything else!? WRONG.

This cast of ten were dressed as Raven, the children’s game show host from the TV show Raven. Ya know, that TV show that was on a good 5 years ago and nobody has the foggiest clue what it is anymore. That. What made it even funnier is that NOBODY had any idea what Raven was and kept on saying they were Brothers of the Knight’s Watch, which just added to their frustration. Add to that the fact that it was hotter than Satan’s armpit, and they were wearing full leather and feather costumes, and you had a concoction for sweatiness.

In the end, despite their efforts, the Ravens didn’t win. They were defeated by six people who had quite literally come as box sets: seasons one to six of Lost. A stellar effort if you ask me. In the individual category, the winner was a Game of Thrones-ite, somebody dressed as Rob Snow, pre-Red Wedding…

Luckily, he was in the tent next to us too.

Its little annual quirks like this – the fancy dress competition and things like Camp Turner and Reuben – which make 2000 Trees a festival like no other. It’s got an unmatchable sense of personality and from the moment you step on the fields of Upcote Farm, it’s obvious that the people who came together to run the festival, were people who really give a shit about music festivals. What makes it even more spectacular is that the festival seems to attract people who are willing to get in on this utopic ideology. The best example of this was probably found just after the fancy dress contest, when I was walking away from the Main Stage in-between Blitz Kids and Canterbury for a drink.

The floor was completely clear. Not a fleck of rubbish on the ground – no cups, no wooden cutlery, no discarded noodles. Just freshly trodden on grass with the occasional welly print. On the final day of a festival, it’s frankly unheard of outside of Upcote Farm for this to be the case. Small things that make a big difference in my eyes.

Back to the bands and next up on the Main Stage were Canterbury. A group of four lads who obviously were very well liked by their head teacher at school, seeing as that could be the only way they’ve been let out of school so early. Either that, or god forbid they’d actually finished school? No way, they looked like they’d barely hit puberty!

Now I’ve heard a few of their songs on Spotify and been impressed, as they were catchy and seemed like a solid guitar band. Unfortunately, their set at 2000 Trees was underwhelming; even with lukewarm expectations, it was instantly forgettable, like a Commonwealth Games bronze medallist. (4/10)

After such a mediocre set on the Main Stage I made my first pilgrimage (300 yard walk) to The Axiom, which serves as 2000 Trees’ third stage. The last time I was lucky enough to bear witness to the ferocity of The Virginmarys was at Reading Festival last year.

Bizarrely, while on the Axiom Stage, the band were wearing almost identical outfits to the ones I saw them wear at Reading. Weird, I know. My first thought was, I hope they’ve been washed, before the threesome tore into their opening barrage. Their set was a breathtaking mix of catchy faux-Americana guitar music and frantic riffs that captivated the ever-growing crowd from the first moment.

Young girls of around 15 were dancing with their flower crowns in their hair, while aged retainers with Virginmarys t-shirts head-banged frantically over the railings at the front of the crowd. Drummer Danny Dolan dominated the stage with his enormous form at the back of the troupe, pummelling the kit like a man possessed and getting to his feet to completely punish the skins with his sticks.

Ally Dickaty’s rasping tones are the perfect front to this incredibly genuine Macclesfield rock band, and their debut album ‘King of Conflict’ is undoubtedly just the beginning of a very special journey for the band, one that continued in tremendous form at 2000 Trees, marking them out as one of the best acts of the weekend. (9/10)

After a brief food related interlude we returned to the fray for something the 2000 Trees audience have been waiting for, for possibly 7 years. Every year when Trees ask their numerous forums and social media outlets who should play at the festival, the cry is for a Reuben reunion. The cult-following of the 2000 Trees faithful is so powerful, so fanatic that there’s even a camp named after the now-deceased gods of underground post-hardcore.

While the band do still remain in a state of indefinite hiatus, the fact Jamie Lenman, the moustachioed frontman of the band, was gearing up for his appearance on The Cave was enough to pack the tent out, so that bodies were overflowing into the campsites. On record, Lenman’s eclectic mix of hardcore screams and then a separate album of lightly woven lovelorn ballads is admittedly a bit bizarre. However, live and with an audience worshipping his every breath, fart and most-likely bowel movements, it was always going to be a triumphant Upcote Farm debut for Lenman.

The crowd hung on every last syllable uttered by the moustachioed troubadour, whether he was screaming himself hoarse or spinning another ballad the he held the crowd within the palm of his hand from start to finish, standing on stage in his dungarees, sweating buckets in the warm red lights that illuminated The Cave. (9/10)

Closing the day’s festivities and the entire event, were the enigmatic Frightened Rabbit, a band who I don’t pretend to know anything about, apart from the fact they’re Scottish. With the serene settings and the great oak overlooking the stage, the band unleashed a set almost tailor-made for this faux-hippy festival. Part folk, part rock and with lead singer Scott Hutchison obviously humbled by the warm reception he received from the 2000 Trees crowd they brought the proverbial curtain down with enigmatic style. (8/10)

 

Reading 2013: Day 3 Roundup

 
By on Wednesday, 11th September 2013 at 2:00 pm
 

With the 5-day hangover building to its climatic crescendo on the Sunday of Reading 2013, I emerged bleary eyed and in no-way bushy tailed from my fungus-ridden excuse for a tent that I called home for the festival. My head was pounding, and the inevitability that I would be off for a stroll to the seemingly-bottomless troughs full of human shit hit me right about the face – the all too familiar scent hitting my nose and immediately frying all of the hairs that laced the inside of my nasal cavity.

With my daily pulled pork baguette (delightfully middle–classed festival truck) bought, as I entered the arena I set about a new music adventure, stumbling into the Festival Republic Tent to watch Aussie indie-pop darlings San Cisco. In direct contrast to yesterday’s new music samplings in the form of Nightworks, San Cisco were tight as a live act and had some real dynamism about their live show, plus Awkward is a tune to boot. Jordi Davieson proved to be an affable frontman, but in drummer and co-vocalist Scarlett Stevens they have a real personality behind the kit. These guys are undoubtedly ones to watch. (8/10)

The Lock-Up Stage is a haven for ear-splitting riffs and circle pits that whir with immense ferocity. So a no-frills, no bullshit rock and roll band like The Virginmarys were always going to feel at home in the tight surroundings of the tent. No light shows, no bullshit, just rock ‘n’ roll was what was contained in this 40-ish minute set. The closer ‘Dead Man’s Shoes’ went down stormingly to the crowd who had slowly milled into the tent after hearing the brutal wave of sound emanating from the tent, whilst ‘Just A Ride’ was simply ferocious, head-banging gluttony. (8.5/10)

From a rock show, to a punk rock show, with Massachusetts-based noise-mongers California X in the Festival Republic Tent. On record the band sounded tight and in time with each other, unshockingly. However, in a live setting the set seemed a touch disjointed. Perhaps nerves got the better of the band, all clad in black? The wall of noise that fell upon the slowly dissipating crowd didn’t impress anyone, and while they appropriately turned it up to 11, it seemed it just wasn’t California X’s day. An opportunity missed entirely, for the fledgling punks. (5/10)

Easily one of the highlights of the weekend was this next band, Arcane Roots. Andrew Groves’ cheekiest of cheeky smiles when the drop came during ‘Energy is Never Lost, Just Redirected’ showed just how much the band were enjoying the ensuing mass of circle pits in front of them. Adam Burton’s bass cut through the sprawled crowd like thunder cracks and Daryl Atkins’ drumming was sublime. There was no mid-set lull in their performance, instead a constant roar of frets being shredded amongst an adoring roar from the crowd. To say these guys were destined to play a bigger stage and follow in the footsteps of their contemporaries, of the headliners of the day, would just be stating the bloody obvious… But I will. Main Stage openers next year. (9.5/10)

With a mad dash across the arena, I made it to the Radio 1/NME Tent, where Glastonbury conquerors Haim were setting about their next conquest: a group of around 20,000 hungover 20-somethings. What was the reaction of these gurning revellers to the band’s set? Tittering at Este Haim’s frankly ridiculous face when the bassist concentrated on playing her instrument.

People came expecting the hits that Haim had to offer and were satisfied with early play-outs of ‘Don’t Save Me’ and ‘Falling’, which meant most of the audience could filter out in the direction of Fall Out Boy. But not this reviewer; I stuck it out to the end so I could catch the frankly gorgeous Alana Haim going full rock star and thrashing about on stage. Not exactly the most ladylike of exits from Haim, but definitely befitting the festival they were playing at. However, when what sticks best in your mind about the set is one of the band’s grimaces, it was never going to have been a classic. (7/10)

I joined the pilgrimage to the Main Stage to join in on the worship of the erstwhile stars they have now become, the stars being Fall Out Boy of course. After an electric set in 2009 that had teenage girls crossing their legs in excitement and this one teenage boy screaming every lyric back, it was nostalgia that ruled this day. The hits were rolled out like a red carpet, but it wasn’t Pete Wentz strolling up to the opening of Fall Out Boy 2.0. It was their true frontman Patrick Stump, who after the hiatus has come back re-energised, more svelte and more the frontman he is meant to be, the kind of frontman that the band deserves. Single ‘My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)’ was obviously created for the live arena, as the entire crowd became unified in a kind of hip-hop rock mash-up of arm bopping. However, while Stump looked rejuvenated, it seemed like Wentz wasn’t exactly revelling in the lack of limelight, as he wore a face like a slapped arse for the entire set, until he was released for the crescendo, ‘Saturday’. (7/10)

With a mission to avoid the psychosis-inducing catastrophe of noise that is Trent Reznor’s Nine Inch Nails complete, the headliners Biffy Clyro were gearing up to bring the weekend to a close. The worry with a band that have climbed the echelons of the festival billing, by paying their dues and performing a total of eight times across different stages, is that their sound may not be the BIG sound of a headliner. They may not have the mass appeal of an Eminem, or the tunes and fanaticism of fans of, say, a Green Day.

Within I’d say 30 seconds all worries were dispelled, as Simon Neil announced himself as the headliner to end all headliners. The understated intro of ‘Different People’ with Neil in front of a plain backdrop had all of the hairs standing up on my neck, and as the riff kicked in and the cloth dropped to reveal the album artwork for ‘Opposites’, it was obvious that Biffy weren’t here to make up numbers. They were here to conquer.

‘That Golden Rule’ proved why moshing is fucking ace, a rare playing of ‘Folding Stars’ brought grown men to tears (I had something in my eye, alright?), ‘57’ was a nod to the past in spectacular fashion and ‘Mountains’ was the sing-along that other sing-alongs aspire to.

It used to be the argument that you were either a post-‘Puzzle’ or pre-‘Puzzle’ fan, a pretender/jonny come lately or a seasoned Biffy veteran. But at Reading 2013, Biffy Clyro cemented themselves as festival headlining staples. A headline slot at Wembley Stadium surely waits in the future. Mon the Biff. (10/10)

 

SXSW 2013: Day 4 evening – hits and misses around Sixth Street, and Kilimanjaro and PRS for Music showcase at Latitude 30 – 15th March 2013

 
By on Wednesday, 3rd April 2013 at 2:00 pm
 

After a bit of a breathless afternoon running after Irish bands and in and out of venues on Sixth Street, I gave myself a break on official festival evening #4 at SXSW 2013 to have a civilised dinner at a steakhouse (paid for by a Christmas gift card from work) before I was out and about again for shows. The initial plan was simple: I was going to try and see a couple bands near and dear to some of my writers, capping off the night with one of my favourites. It didn’t entirely go to plan, but actually, later that night, things turned out better than I ever could have imagined…

The Virginmarys SXSW live

The first stop was dive bar 512 for the Virginmarys. This was the stop for WWJD, as in “what would John do?” The queue assembled outside the club was kind of what I expected: hard-looking men with or without long hair. Being a Friday, a lot of locals were trying to buy their way in with single tickets, but I was whisked right through the doors with my wristband. Then came probably one of the loudest, most punishing sounds I’ve ever put my body to the test with.

I really tried, John, I really did. But I could only hold my own against the Virginmarys for a grand total of two songs. It’s not uncommon for my body to feel like it’s vibrating when I’m seeing a dance band, but having the skin of my cheeks vibrating from a rock band some good distance away from me? Guitars crashed and the drums bellowed as frontman Ally Dickaty gave it his all in screamy, growly vocals. Yes, hard rock is alive and well in Macclesfield. You can be sure of that. While I made my getaway, I watched as Austinites headbanged with unbridled delight to the music. This band might not be for me, but they were definitely ticking off the boxes of many punters.

Jovanotti SXSW live

Next on my agenda was to head to Bethell Hall, a smaller multi-purpose room at St. David’s Historic Sanctuary, located in the same building where I’d seen the Communion showcase in 2012. I was going in that direction for the Dunwells, who Cheryl saw and interviewed in Washington when I was in hospital the previous month with flu. I had looked forward to that DC gig for so long and to have it robbed from me, the only recourse was to see them in Austin and say hello. In hindsight, I should have done some more research on what exactly this ‘Grammy Museum – Musical Milestones: 50 Years of the Beatles’ was. I arrived to hear the recognisable musical strains of ‘Yesterday’…sung in Italian. What?

I had been so confident – probably overconfident – that since nearly every showcase I’d attended had started and run late that week, I would have arrived just in time for the Dunwells. But instead on ‘stage’ was long-running and beloved by his countrymen arrist Jovanotti, oddly wearing a red knitted hat like the bassist in Y Niwl on Tuesday night at Huw Stephens’ UK Trade and Investment showcase. He made a joke about translating English into Italian isn’t always accurate, which caused a roar from the crowd. I frowned as he jauntily launched into an entirely Italian version of ‘I Saw Her Standing There’. As a longtime, longtime Beatles fan, let me just tell you, that is probably one of the weirdest moments in your life, hearing a song that is burned into your brain…but it’s an entirely different, unexpected form. Batting 0 for 2 so far for the night.

Getting to the church requires scaling a hill, and I flipped through my SXSW guide for where to go next. I decided to cut my losses and go back down the hill and straight to Latitude 30, even though I’d done no research for all but two of the bands playing there that night and had not expected to arrive so early. Helpfully, George Waite of the Crookes explained to me that Kilimanjaro was a tour promoter in Britain, so at least I knew the background of our hosts; the other ‘host’ was PRS for Music, who benevolently has granted many a UK band funding to come over to America for SXSW. I missed highly-feted Luke Sital-Singh and just hung out until the next band was due on stage. Okay. Can someone tell me when turtlenecks are ever necessary in Austin? I could say the same thing for red knitted hats, but this turtleneck thing was a first in the week.

Ruen Brothers SXSW live

The Ruen Brothers, actual brothers Rupert and Henry Stansall from Scunthorpe, get extra points for purposely coordinating their outfits and hair (white turtleneck and platinum blond hair; black turtleneck and dark hair) but I seriously questioned their wisdom wearing the turtlenecks *and* blazers even in the thick of an Austin night. Their bass player had a quiff to rival Boz Boorer‘s. This should have given the first clue to what kind of music they play. (In case you haven’t heard of Boz Boorer, he’s a rockabilly artist with his own band the Polecats but he’s also famously known as a guitarist of Morrissey‘s touring band.) And rockabilly is exactly what we got, with their lead singer fancying himself the second coming of Elvis, complete with the curled lip and swiveling hips and vaguely sounding like Roy Orbison. Okay, but not great.

Then we went from a bunch of guys in suit jackets to a bunch of kids in denim and t-shirts. China Rats from Leeds were in the building. I’ll admit, the one song that stuck with me when I looked them up for the TGTF Guide to SXSW 2013, ‘(At Least Those) Kids Are Getting Fed’, sounded pretty good live. I think what kind of irked me about them – and something that I am sure kids here in America will love and latch on to immediately – was the sneery, Sex Pistols-y, anti-establishment vibe I was getting from them.

China Rats SXSW live

And indeed, Nylon magazine here have already taken a shine to them, which shows how the tide back to guitar music has already turned here in this country: just a few years ago, the same rag was getting hot and bothered over Friendly Fires and Patrick Wolf. If anyone dares to remember, their grammatically incorrect debut single ‘To Be Like I’ is a lot sweeter and Beatle-y, sounding nothing like this punk version of themselves they are now. Similarly, ‘Take No Prisoners’ is a less frantic attempt at the Libertines. China Rats have been compared to the Clash and the Ramones by Clash Magazine, but hold up here: they’re very young and I think we need to see some longevity and in this version of the band before making any hasty comparisons!

You know how I was whinging about bands cancelling earlier in the week? This night, I was actually glad that another band I knew had cancelled, because I otherwise would have had to split the difference between a club on Red River Street, many, many blocks northeast and Latitude 30 for the 11 o’clock hour. With the other band cancelling, I was free to watch Sheffield’s Crookes without having to worry about having to up and go to see someone else.

The British Music Embassy at Latitude 30, from what I gather, is truly where British bands come to play, wanting – and needing – to shine while they are here in America. While I think ‘make or break’ is the wrong term to use because it is so final, you definitely want to bring your A game to your BME appearances, and for most bands, you only have one such shot all week to prove to the people watching you that you matter. And in some cases, that you deserve an American recording contract. For Reverend and the Makers and Cave Painting, Wednesday afternoon was when they needed to and did shine. For a poorly Jamie N Commons who did not appear on Friday night and was replaced by Berlin-based Englishman electronic artist Seams, it was an opportunity wasted. For the Crookes, they had a coveted evening slot on Friday night with I’m sure many industry folks in attendance.

The Crookes Kilimanjaro PRS SXSW 1

As a longtime fan of the Sheffield band since they got their first plays on BBC Radio and having seen them totally smash it at a daytime showcase for the Orchard at the Great Escape last year, I was now interested to see how the new songs from summer 2012’s ‘Hold Fast’ album would go down in Austin. As mentioned in my Friday afternoon report, there was a devoted American contingent of mostly Austin and Dallas natives who were following the Crookes around wherever they were playing. In 2010 I had a conversation with a punter and small time DJ from San Francisco at a Postelles show at DC9; I had recommended him that if he liked the Postelles, then he would probably like the Crookes as well. (Bit of trivia for you: both bands independently covered Wreckless Eric’s ‘Whole Wide World’. What are the odds? They were meant to be together!) “The Crookes? Who are the Crookes?” He gave me a look of confusion. And that is usually the expression I get when I tell anyone I know in DC about one “English band I like” or another. So to have a specific group of people who knew all the words to the songs, who knew when to clap or snap their fingers without being told by the band *and* them not being English themselves, that really blew my mind. I had serious reservations that I would be the only person at their shows singing along, but instead, I got drowned out!

As it should be, the band concentrated mostly on the new album material, but they couldn’t leave out old favourites ‘Bloodshot Days’ or ‘Backstreet Lovers’ (but of course). It was at this show that I fully came to appreciate ‘Where Did Our Love Go’, a song written for their former guitarist Alex Saunders, who left the band in 2011 to get a ‘real’ job: “you’re on the clock, I’m out of time / were you ever a friend of mine?…you work to live, I live to dance”. It’s a tender ode to a friend who used to be part of their tight unit of brothers, their gang, until reality ducked its head into their lives and changed things forever for the band.

It was then, as our merry group of revelers danced to the immortal words “I wonder if you know / we don’t dance alone!” that I was reminded why Daniel Hopewell’s lyrics are often compared to Morrissey’s in his Smiths days. There is something incredibly comforting in being able to dance your cares away, to lose yourself in a joyful melody, but wrapping yourself in lyrics that touch your heart in that moment and mean so much. Of the ones I have been able to decipher and put my finger on, Hopewell’s lyrics have always been a happy and emotional discovery to me and proven to me that the Crookes are not just four young, cute English boys who happen to play in a guitar band. While the first part of this is clearly true from their very devoted ‘Bright Young Things’ young fanbase who I’m guessing are mostly fond of the frenetic pace and carefree guitars of their seemingly happy-sounding songs, I’ve learnt how empathetically intellectual their songs are for me. I am keeping my fingers crossed that they will get signed here soon for the former reason and that the wealth we are being given from the latter will bleed over to the fans once they make it here.

The Crookes Kilimanjaro PRS SXSW 2

The crowning moment of their set was at the end, when they jumped into the crowd to do an impromptu version of ‘The Cooler King’. Hopewell was tasked to play acoustic guitar, while singer/bassist George Waite harmonised perfectly with guitarist Tom Dakin and drummer Russell Bates, all providing the requisite claps and wolf whistles to faithfully recreate the same feeling of the track from the album but in a live setting. Of course our group had to participate as well. Hopewell stated in a past interview with us that ‘American Girls’ was inspired by their first trip to SXSW in 2010; I hope that means that on the next album there will be a song written alluding to the magic of this night, because I don’t think it really gets any better at SXSW than this.

Just Like Dreamers
Maybe in the Dark
Where Did Our Love Go
American Girls
Bloodshot Days
Sal Paradise
Sofie
Afterglow
Backstreet Lovers
The Cooler King (acoustic and in crowd)

 

(SXSW 2013 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #263: The Virginmarys

 
By on Thursday, 14th February 2013 at 12:00 pm
 

The “return of the Great British guitar band” is the most overused cliché in music journalism. But when describing The Virginmarys, this appears the best way to describe them is as, well, a throwback to the Great British guitar bands of yonder year. I’m talking The Who, Oasis, etc.

The Macclesfield band’s debut album ‘King of Conflict’, available now from DoubleCross Records (Cooking Vinyl’s new rock imprint), is as raw as a Tesco horse/beef burger and comes at you through your speakers as a wall of hook-laden sound that is just impossible to ignore. It’s proper head banging stuff and the exact kind of stuff you can just imagine thousands of people going mental too and jumping their willies off at a festival too.

The likenings to Oasis and The Who aren’t complete without a reference to their passing similarities to Northern heroes Arctic Monkeys. While the lyrical genius of Alex Turner isn’t there, what you will get with these boys is some of the best balls-out rock ‘n’ roll you’ll sink your teeth into this year. You’ll notice them smelling slightly of The Gaslight Anthem at times with that brand of fist pump-friendly tunage, minus the southern drawl and Boss mentions of course.

They’ve already headlined one of the HMV’s Next Big Thing festival gigs in 2012, so it’s safe to expect that these boys will be a staple of BBC Introducing stages around this year’s festival circuit. And while I personally haven’t heard them live, if they can translate one-tenth of how good they sound on record, then they are definitely a band not to be missed.

The Virginmarys bring their brand of rock to this year’s SXSW; We previewed them in the rock / metal / punk UK bands chapter of the TGTF Guide to SXSW 2013. Grab a free mp3 of ‘Dressed to Kill’ from ‘King of Conflict’, recorded acoustically, here from Rolling Stone.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8ehThdbXJs[/youtube]

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2013: Rock, punk and metal UK artists showcasing at this year’s SXSW

 
By on Tuesday, 15th January 2013 at 11:00 am
 

Please note: all information we bring you about SXSW 2013 is to the best of our knowledge when it posts and bands scheduled to appear may be subject to change.

Carrying on with the genre section of the exclusive TGTF Guide to SXSW 2013 to continue through January each Tuesday, today we’re bringing you the UK bands slated to perform at this year’s SXSW that play rock, punk, metal and every combination in between. (Last week, we brought you the pop and pop hybrid acts list, which you can catch up on here.) Each part of the TGTF Guide to SXSW 2013 is a handy resource if you’re wondering which acts to catch at this year’s marathon week of showcases, parties and secret shows. But I hope it’ll also introduce you to the solo artists and bands you haven’t heard of, because that’s the most exciting thing about SXSW: at any one moment, you could walk into a bar, a club, a hotel, a warehouse, wherever…and you might just discover the next big thing in music.

What do all these acts in the rock / punk / metal genre list have in common besides being from Britain? Powerful guitars, punishing bass and drums and in most cases, vocals worthy of idolatry. How they achieve this differs from act to act, as you will read and see/hear below.

Belligerence (added 10/01/13) – heavy metal from Portsmouth. I’m finding it hard to find information on them, as there’s another band – also metal – from Prague with the same name…

File next to: Biohazard, Clutch, Pantera

The Blackout – Welsh post-hardcore band who have been soldiering on since their formation in 2003. Right, that means they’ve been around a decade. How many other bands, no matter what the genre, still exist after 10 years? They must be doing something right. Their next album, ‘Start the Party’, is scheduled to be out on the 21st of January 2013. We won’t post the name of their sweary big hit, but John mentions it in his day 2 roundup of Leeds Fest 2011.

Brutality Will Prevail – This Cardiff hardcore band had been signed previously to Alex Fitzgerald’s Holy Roar label and are now with Purgatory Records (sensing a theme here?), who this year released their latest album, ‘Scatter the Ashes’. Expect something punishing.

Touring with: Cancer Bats and Empress in March 2013 (maybe now they won’t appear at some of the dates on this previous organised tour, since the middle of it is smack dab during SXSW).

China Rats – Leeds lad rock. Legend has it that thanks to the tour bus of Bat for Lashes breaking down on the way to this year’s Benicassim, the band found themselves headlining the Valencia festival. Is ‘(At Least Those) Kids are Getting Fed’ a commentary on the North East, or a wider problem across Britain?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52bv0BorhFM[/youtube]

The Crookes – The Crookes made their SXSW debut in 2011 and when I finally met them in Brighton in May 2012, they were eager to return, so I’m really pleased for them getting another SXSW nod. This time, they’ll have the good time sounds of ‘Hold Fast’ (my top album of 2012) under their belts and I’m sure there will be a gaggle of new American fans of theirs (mostly female?) following their every move. I’ll be catching them as many times as I can, so do come and say hello.

Seeing that I’ve been a fan of theirs since the ‘Dreams of Another Day’ EP in 2010, there is a boatload of Crookes coverage you can read on TGTF, starting here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TppUoY4zpFQ[/youtube]

Crowns – Coming off of their December tour raising awareness of UK homelessness, Cornwall’s Crowns will bring their fun rock ‘n’ roll sound to Austin. I missed their show at the Cornwall Pasty Company at last year’s Great Escape (really kicking myself over this…I mean, come on, that would have been the ultimate party conversation starter, right?) but I’m determined to catch them on American soil.

Read all of our previous Crowns coverage here.

The Enemy – my guess is that the Enemy are to be the younger equivalent of and will act like Kaiser Chiefs at last year’s SXSW: pulling in a good number of fans for their perfectly good but possibly unextraordinary sets in a post-Oasis breakup world. Since they’ve been around for a while (3 albums’ worth) in the UK, they’re not likely to be high on the average UK attendees’ must-see list, but I’ve never seen them before, so if they show up at Stubb’s, I might head on over.

Read our previous Enemy coverage here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lupg5BHzH34[/youtube]

Evans the Death – This band already has a Rolling Stone description (huh?): “This London band mixes post–Smiths jangle and early–grunge sludge, as Katherine Whitaker explores varying shades of bad romance. Her raw emotion blends with slashing, whirling guitars to inject paralysis with weird power.” When you see they’ve been signed to Slumberland Records here in America (‘Allo Darlin’ and the Pains of Being Pure at Heart‘s American home), it all seems to make sense…

Sounds like: the Libertines, if they had a female out in front

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MX8VcqY8qts[/youtube]

Gallops – why do I feel the need to mention Mogwai every time I hear a proggy band? Wrexham group Gallops aren’t nearly hard enough to warrant the comparison, although with titles like ‘Astaroth’ and ‘Hongliday’ their Blood and Biscuits’ debut ‘ ‘Yours Sincerely, Dr. Hardcore’, you’d not be putting experimental band in the pop box anyhow. (Something interesting I found on the band’s Tumblr: the linked to the Kitsune Maison 11 compilation – didn’t see that coming at all.)

Gallows – they’re punks. They deliver punishing sets at festivals, such as at 2000 Trees last year. And Frank Carter left them in 2011 to start Pure Love. That’s all you really need to know, right?

Hawk Eyes – punishing hard rock from Leeds. Their 2012 album ‘Ideas’ got top marks from Kerrang! and Artrocker so you know where this is going…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1szIsuhqcUc[/youtube]

Nik Turner’s Hawkwind – the current incarnation of history’s first space rock groups.

Heaven’s Basement (added 10/01/13) – a hard rock band who has been soldiering on for quite a while (since 2008) and are releasing their debut album, ‘Filthy Empires’, this year. They’ve supported big names like Bon Jovi and Papa Roach, so is this an indicator of their hard rock prowess? We’ll see at this year’s event.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kP1u79wSdDY[/youtube]

The Joy Formidable – what can we say about Welsh rock band Joy Formidable that hasn’t already been said? When you’ve been hand-picked by Dave Grohl as the man’s own favourite band right now, calling them “a killer live band”, ’nuff said really, yeah? The other facts that they are truly some of the loveliest people we have met and are always so happy about our coverage of them? That’s just icing on the cake. I’ve seen them several times now but the only time I’ve seen them at SXSW was on a live stream in 2011, which doesn’t really count, so I’m making it a point to catch them this time around.

Read all our previous coverage of the Joy Formidable here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_t4s-HX3z0[/youtube]

Kassidy – some have called them the Scottish Kings of Leon, but that’s just lazy journalism. We’ve been following the folky rock hybrid band since their early EPs in 2010, and trust us, they’re way better than the Followills.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMiBIHqeoa4[/youtube]

Read our previous coverage of Kassidy here.

Kill It Kid – wow, I don’t have to write a piece on them, because they placed #10 on our 10 for 2013 list and Martin’s already done for me. Revivalist blues from Bath.

Klaxons – they’ve been around a while. They won a Mercury Prize in 2007 for ‘Myths of the New Future’. Their last album ‘Surfing the Void’ released in 2010 “>has a cat in an astronaut suit on the cover. Sorry, I’m having trouble sounding knowledgeable about Klaxons because I don’t really like them all that much.

Read our previous coverage on Klaxons here.

Little Barrie – ‘powerhouse’ is a word that seems to be following this Nottingham formed, London transplanted trio. But if you’re going to call Little Barrie a powerhouse trio, then surely you mean to compare to the greats of rock ‘n’ roll.

Sounds like: a more radio-polished Cream or at least a band that came out swinging in the Sixties, not in the Noughties

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/25333478[/vimeo]

LostAlone – Derby band who have been described as “breathtaking Queen-style harmonies and classic metal bite” and compared to Muse. How is it possible that we’ve never heard about them, then?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47rV458G-f4[/youtube]

New Ivory – according to MTV Iggy, these guys from London are the new knights of British indie rock. I am struggling to find a comparison, except maybe they sound like early Arctic Monkeys or Two Door Cinema Club, but not as catchy? (Yeah, I know. Damning with faint praise, aren’t I? Sorry.) Steve Aoki is a fan, having signed them to his Dim Mak Records. I dunno. Maybe they’ll actually sound better in person at SXSW.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHEJaMTQJv8[/youtube]

Orange Goblin (added 10/01/13) – formerly known as Our Haunted Kingdom, on first glance you have to wonder if the new name was for a cuddlier image. So imagine my surprise that this is a heavy metal band! Having put out their first album in 1997, they’re definitely the granddaddies of the rock/metal/punk group, but having changed their sound from stoner/doom to their current more metal sound proves that they aren’t willing to stand in one place musically. A special live album for their devoted, ‘A Eulogy for the Fans’, will be released in March.

Palma Violets – I’ve refrained about writing about Palma Violets from Lambeth, South London, as what I’ve heard from them makes me think of The Vaccines, who came out of an NME promotional campaign firestorm and their #3 placing on the BBC Sound of 2011 poll with loads of fans clamouring to see them at major festivals. It’s 2013 now and look what’s happened: Palma Violets are on the BBC Sound of 2013 longlist. Overhyped band leads to foregone conclusion…appearing as a support act to headliners Django Django on the 2013 NME Awards tour next month sounds like an NME mistake then…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poFXWUTEs1k[/youtube]

PAWS – Scottish three-piece banging out tunes in a garage-y, lo-fi style. It should come as no surprise that they have a strong DIY aesthetic, as they’re great fans of bands like Dinosaur Jr and the Pixies, even having a song called ‘Kim Deal’ in their arsenal.

Sounds like: the Cribs or Peace, if they were from far north of the border.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MiDEkoPKCkk[/youtube]

Peace – We won’t waste your time here, since the band have already been tipped on the BBC Sound of 2013 poll. Read our previous Peace coverage, including their 10 for 2013 profile (they placed #5 on this last readers’ poll), here.

Peers – 6music’s Tom Robinson was an early supporter of this Reading band in 2010, the year the young band, then all under the age of 18, played the BBC Introducing stage at Reading and Leeds. The unsigned band cite Bombay Bicycle Club as a major influence, and if you squeeze your eyes real tight, you can hear Jack Steadman’s impact on singer Matt Thompson’s vocals.

Savages – dissonant post-punk via an unusual package – four women from London. Is it their anti-establishment stance that attracted the BBC Sound of 2013 tipsters? We’ll never know for sure but I guess imitating Patti Smith and looking sullen are the highest form of flattery? They could have at least smiled for the photos on their Facebook…

Sounds like: trying too hard to be a 21st century Siouxsie and the Banshees

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6y-cVzbBBQ8[/youtube]

Sharks – usually punk is associated with a lo-fi, scuzzy sound, but this band from Leamington Spa sound remarkably polished, with hybrid punk/pop songs that could have easily slotted in with the music I listened here in America in high school.

Sound like: a grown up Blink-182, or Green Day when they weren’t so political and were still fun

Tall Ships – math rock meets indie rock in an epic way via three high-spirited lads from Brighton. John adored their 2012 opus ‘Everything Touching’ and for a Foals loving nation, it’s a wonder they aren’t bigger in the UK. Foals? Who are they?

Read our previous coverage on Tall Ships here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JYt3eYDQY0[/youtube]

Tango in the Attic – Scottish band from Glenrothes having Two Door Cinema Club-type guitars with reverb.

File next to: Smith Westerns

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ke9eHi6Ze_A[/youtube]

Throne – there’s not a lot known about this London band, except that they’re known to ‘level rooms’ with their bad boy riffage when they appear in the Capital. You have been warned.

TOY (added 10/01/13) – psychedelic rock from a band made up of some members for the group Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong. I don’t feel like it’s really necessary to write about them, considering nearly every friend of mine rates them quite highly. Not really my thing, but I’m pretty sure they will do well in Austin.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcQ2nXDvWDY[/youtube]

Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls (added 10/01/13) – I nearly put Frank Turner’s band in the singer/songwriter category, but since his appearances at this year’s SXSW will be louder and more raucous than his solo turn last year at the Xtra Mile Recordings showcase, in the end there was no contest.

We’ve written quite about the man on TGTF, and you can read all of that through here.

Virals – vehicle for Worcester’s Shaun Hencher, who with his live band have most recently supported #5 10 for 2013 band Peace in the UK. Now Hencher’s looking to make a big splash at their American live debut at SXSW.

Sounds like: a cross between Male Bonding, Two Wounded Birds (RIP) and the Vaccines. Get yer sunnies out!

The Virginmarys – Macclesfield will soon be known for more than Ian Curtis, if this trio have anything to say about it. Their sound? Hard rocking, arse-kicking tunes.

File next to: Kasabian, Biffy Clyro

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8ehThdbXJs[/youtube]

Wet Nuns – even with quite possibly one of the silliest names for a band ever, Sheffield duo Wet Nuns had a spectacular 2012, getting attention not only for their silly name but their punk crossed with blues schizophrenic sound.

Sounds like: the evil child borne from Band of Skulls and the Black Keys

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAe5OFCuLxY[/youtube]

While She Sleeps – is heavy metal more your thing? Then I suppose you should look to Sheffield and a band like While She Sleeps for your jollies. Luke caught them last summer at day 2 of Slam Dunk South.

Young Guns – this band has been around for quite a while, but it wasn’t until summer 2012 that they had an American record deal. Radio-friendly, not too hard rock sound made by youngish, good-looking boys in leather: in short, an American label signing coup.

Read all our previous coverage of Young Guns here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qk3vjIDuy9w[/youtube]

The Zombies – “What’s your name? / Who’s your daddy? / Is he rich like me?” All kidding aside, the Zombies have been around for over 50 years. Fifty effin’ years. They called themselves the Zombies before it was hip to like zombies. Though they’re down to only two original members – Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent – contrary to popular belief, it was they, not Friendly Fires, who put St. Albans on the musical map.

Read Braden’s interview with Colin and Rod from 2 years ago here.

Electronic bands and DJs are up next week. So catch us next Tuesday for the third chapter of the genre section of the TGTF Guide to SXSW 2013!

 
 
 

About Us

There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

All MP3s are posted with the permission of the artists or their representatives and are for sampling only. Like the music? Buy it. If you want a track removed, email us and we'll sort it ASAP.

E-mail us  |  RSS Feed   RSS Feed  

Learn More About Us