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Deer Shed Festival 2018: Saturday Roundup

 
By on Monday, 6th August 2018 at 2:00 pm
 

Most years at Deer Shed, it’s possible to detect a secret theme influencing the band selection. We’ve had lady bands, we’ve had Celtic, and following on from Leeds’ Mush yesterday, this year we have a plethora of Northern English bands: Yorkshire’s North and West, Wearside, and Tyneside are all represented. From this fact, combined with the utter off-the-scale brilliance of how Saturday would pan out, we can deduce that that region of the UK is producing some of the country’s, if not the world’s, finest bands.

An embryonic SLUG were at Deer Shed 2015, but this year sees Ian Black’s outfit demonstrating how far we’ve all come since then. His backing band aren’t Field Music any more, for instance, but rather a bunch of chaps dressed up as a barbershop quartet for some odd reason. They’re promoting second album ‘Higgledypiggledy’, which continues in the same obscurantist funk vein as their first. Ian Black is wearing a nun’s habit, making him a rather unlikely spectacle, but there’s nothing sacred about the sinful Devil’s music they’re knocking out. Oldies like ‘Cockeyed Rabbit’ and ‘Greasy Mind’ are now familiar sing-alongs, and when it all crescendos with a young chap plucked from the crowd to knock out a casual solo on Black’s guitar there’s the realisation that, rather than just an offshoot from the Sunderland scene, SLUG are rapidly redefining it.

SLUG-Deer Shed 2018 Saturday

Boy Azooga are the first of today’s brace of Heavenly signings and play the majority of their début ‘1, 2, Kung Fu!’ Main man Davey Newington is on bass, gazing zen-like from the stage, as his band alternately knock out laid-back melodies on ‘Jerry’, urgent riffs on ‘Loner Boogie’, and psych-tinged mellotron lines on ‘Face Behind Her Cigarette’. Seemingly appearing from nowhere to be the band on everyone’s lips right this second, Welsh act Boy Azooga manage to be indefinable and familiar; retro yet of the zeitgeist; a melting pot, yet unique. Quite some achievement, and an astute booking.

Boy Azooga-Deer Shed 2018 Saturday

Remember that feeling you get when stuck in traffic? Even when there’s no particular deadline, the tension rises, tempers fray, radiators overheat. AK/DK arrive from Blue Dot Festival with literally no minutes to spare, and the ensuing breathtaking display of groove-led mentalism surely is thanks in no small part to the traffic-related adrenaline coursing through their systems.

AK/DK Deer Shed 2018 Saturday

‘Morphology’ is a song perfect for the moment: a driving synth line and keening, distorted samples, all pushed along by AK/DK’s double drum kit attack, creates a febrile atmosphere, the audience expressing their relief and release that the band finally made it. And they are repaid by banger after banger. There’s sweat everywhere, both on stage and off, the drums are whacked with ever increasing ferocity (there’s big chunks out of the edge of one of the cymbals), the analogue sequencer in the background ticks its clock-face LEDs in metronomic rhythm, an electronic heart propelling ecstatic human souls. Exhausting, exhilarating, exponential.

Let’s revisit 2013, shall we? A little corner of the internet (yes, it was us) was insistent that an obscure band of 15-year-olds from Halifax could well be the next big thing. How did we put it? “If they’re this good this young, how good will they be in a few years time?” Now we know the answer. The Orielles are extremely good indeed. There’s some shoegaze in their sound, maybe a bit of Sleeper in Esme Hand-Halford’s lazily-enunciated vocals, walls of chorused guitar, and little synthy details atop like hundreds and thousands. The songs are expertly arranged, the faux-naïve component parts slotting together to create weird yet accessible garage nuggets.

The Orielles-Deer Shed 2018 Saturday

‘Old Stuff, New Glass’ is enhanced with bongos and yelps all over the place, ‘Sugar Tastes Like Salt’ opens with a Beatles-esque contrapuntal dance between keys and bass, continues into a pogoing off-beat middle section, and goes properly berserk towards the end of its eight eventful minutes. Henry Wade is growing into a proper guitar anti-hero in the vein of Graham Coxon, his on-stage persona is a masterclass in deadpan humour. It bears saying again: “If they’re this good this young, how good will they be in a few years time?”

Just when you think it’s safe to assume you’ve seen the performance of the day, along come Avalanche Party. Their own description is “feral garage-punk from the Yorkshire Moors”, which is a difficult description to disagree with, except inasmuch as it doesn’t really go far enough. If this is punk, it’s space-age, widescreen, conceptual, melodic punk. If it’s garage, this one is packed to the gills with cans of petrol with the lids off, a V8 motor rumbling in the corner, one discarded cigarette end away from catastrophe, the air heavy with the scent of fear.

Avalanche Party-Deer Shed 2018 Saturday

Recent single ‘I’m So Wet’ is a lazy, sexy groove, something Serge Gainsbourg might fantasise about, before running away in terror at the multi-layered screaming crescendo. ‘Solid Gold’ just kicks off and never lets up the pressure for a second. The climax of ‘Revolution’ is a triumph of four-to-the-floor heavy riffing, bare-chested Jordan Bell screaming as if his life depended on it. Like the ritual sacrifice of a lamb atop a heather-strewn heath, Avalanche Party are raw, visceral, glamorous, dangerous, sweaty, bloody and unforgettable.

Phew. Like the best underground scenester venue, Deer Shed has just treated us to a masterclass in superlative new music: five brilliant acts hot off the press, the world at their feet. Things have to calm down at some point, and it takes the folky, downtempo acoustica of This Is The Kit to do so. Warm Digits (below) are the second brilliant electronica band of the day, and with the appearance of Field Music’s Peter Brewis are a great example of what beauty happens when Newcastle and Sunderland put aside their rivalries for just a little while.

Warm Digits-Deer Shed 2018 Saturday

Gaz Coombes (below) is his usual superb self, retro and zeitgeist wrapped into one man, and Goldfrapp were the big name with the big show. Some controversial souls found themselves preferring another dose of Hyde Park Brass. Truth be told, for this reviewer the undercard had completely walloped the headliners into semi-irrelevance. What a Saturday.

SLUG-Deer Shed 2018 01 Saturday-2190

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2017: Southern England artists showcasing at this year’s SXSW

 
By on Friday, 3rd March 2017 at 11:00 am
 

Roll up! Roll up! For today’s TGTF Guide to SXSW 2017, we’re taking the train out of London and into the South East and South West of England to check out the artists there who have received shouts for this year’s big do. Except where noted, the summaries below were written by our Cambridge correspondent Steven Loftin, except where noted. Please note: all information we bring you about SXSW 2017 is to the best of our knowledge when it posts and artists and bands scheduled to appear may be subject to change. To learn when your favourite artist is playing in Austin, we recommend you first consult the official SXSW schedule, then stop by the artist’s Facebook and official Web site for details of any non-official SXSW appearances.

Alice Jemima – pop / Exeter
Super cool and smooth beats twinned with Alice Jemima’s dreamy voice makes for more than a pleasant listen. If anything, you could get lost for days in the musical wonderlands she creates, with a mixture of electronic and instrumentation stylings, if you don’t fall for Alice Jemima, then more fool you.

Annabel Allum – rock / Guildford
One of those DIY, totally be yourself types, Annabel Allum refuses to be pigeonholed or adhering to any kind of fad. What she creates is a world of her own, a mixture of punk in its true form, dark indie a la Interpol and a carefree attitude that lends itself to her lyrics. Definitely worth checking out: if you’re not at SXSW, do yourself the favour to have a listen to her at least on Soundcloud.

The Bay Rays – rock / Tunbridge Wells
With a vigour and upbeat swagger, The Bay Rays have a sound that is definitely fit for summer. That said, their lyrical content is often not of quite the same persuasion, often dealing with the idea of homelessness and the bottomless pit that is life. Latest single ‘Satisfaction’ carries all of these traits in spades. After supporting fellow SXSW attendees Slaves last year, The Bay Rays are definitely ones to check out. [As of 21/2, this act is no longer listed on the SXSW Music Festival schedule.]

Blaenavon – rock / Liphook
Blaenavon are the ultimate example of ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’. You kind of expect guys like them with long hair and sullen looks to either shoegazers or one of the many lo-fi rock groups of late, but they are neither. Their music has a dark edge like a 21st century Nirvana, yet songs like ‘Let’s Pray’ prove they can do pop as well. Their debut album, ’That’s Your Lot’, will be out on the 7th of April, so their time in Austin will allow them to preview their songs in front of a largely American audience and for a second time at SXSW (they came over for the event last year). (Mary Chang)

To catch up on TGTF’s past coverage of Blaenavon, go here.

Buggsy – hip-hop / Bristol
It was bands like Massive Attack and Portishead and the sound of trip hop that put South West England city Bristol on the map. Rasta MC Buggsy wants to change that, stood in front to lead the charge of the city’s best rappers. As mentioned yesterday in introducing rapper Safone in the Midlands edition of the TGTF Guide to SXSW 2017, it’s hard for rappers to get attention if they’re not from London. Seeing how big the genre of rap has become over the years at SXSW, he couldn’t have picked a better year to get his time in the spotlight in Austin. (Mary Chang)

Chad Valley – electronic / Oxford
Mixing beautifully layered vocals with chilled out synth work, Hugo Manuel aka Chad Valley will in no doubt be one to soundtrack to some beautiful Texas afternoons next month. Having released a plethora of singles, two EPs and a couple of albums, Chad Valley is easily racking up quite the impressive discography which he’ll in no doubt showcase expertly in Texas.

IDLES – punk / Bristol
If you’ve been wondering if there was a Southern counterpart to socially conscious Midlands group Sleaford Mods, look no further. Blistering Bristolian punks IDLES will be releasing their debut album ‘BRUTALISM’ – yes, they love those capital letters! – on the 10th of March, just a few days shy of the start of SXSW 2017. So you can bet they’ll be eager to unleash their newest tunes on the unsuspecting punters descending on Austin. I also wonder how Mary Berry feels about being namechecked in their single ‘WELL DONE’… (Mary Chang)

Lewis Watson – singer/songwriter / Oxford
Oxfordian Lewis Watson has everything you’d expect from a British songwriter: emotive and heart on sleeve lyricism and beautiful compositions. Gearing up to release his second album ‘Midnight’ shortly after SXSW, Watson is steadily building an arsenal of heart.

To read more on TGTF’s past coverage of Lewis Watson, go here.

Muncie Girls – rock / Exeter
Another act breaking through the ranks of British rock, Muncie Girls (pictured at top) are melodic punk at its finest. Though their sound is still currently quite raw, it only helps exude the emotion in their music, and over time this will work itself into a fully embellished. Expect their second album to be released at some point in 2017.

SG Lewis – r&b / electronic / Reading
Coming at you with lustrous, thick beats that erupt and pulsate around ghost like vocals, SG Lewis is here to soundtrack your dreary city nights. Having signed to his dream label of PMR (they also represent big names Disclosure and Jessie Ware), SG Lewis looks set to make his mark with electronic music paired with the thinking of a smart singer/songwriter.

Slaves – punk / London via Tunbridge Wells
Not really in need of an introduction, punks Slaves are heading back to America to cause more havoc. With their vicious and raw sound that is made to rouse and provoke, they don’t take prisoners. They demand them. You can read editor Mary’s review of their latest album that was
released last September, ‘Take Control’, through here.

To check out more of TGTF’s past coverage on Slaves, follow this link.

Sundara Karma – rock / Reading
Having just released one hell of a debut album with ‘Youth Is Only Fun In Retrospect’ in January (reviewed here by Carrie), Sundara Karma are also a part of the new wave of British music that has a saviour like feel to it. If you don’t find yourselves moving and shaking to their sounds then we can’t help you, you’re on your own.

This is the Kit – folk / Bristol via Paris
In a manner similar to fellow South By attendees Modern English, This is the Kit has a raw and vulnerable indie sound about them. From the brain of Kate Stables and performing under the moniker This is the Kit, she composes each track with her own talents and select friends to build the ideas in her head into these tangible and timeless indie pieces. [Aaron Dessner of the National is a fan, having signed their band to his Brassland label. – Ed.] [As of 21/2, this act is no longer listed on the SXSW Music Festival schedule.]

Wildwood Kin – folk / Exeter
With a name like Wildwood Kin, you can probably imagine what they sound like: delicate, soft folk music that couldn’t squeeze any more emotion or feeling into it even if they tried. The sweet sound of Americana but with English heart, this all-female trio will have you weeping in seconds. [As of 21/2, this act is no longer listed on the SXSW Music Festival schedule.]

 

Camden Crawl 2012: Day 1 – Luke’s Roundup

 
By on Tuesday, 15th May 2012 at 1:00 pm
 

Camden has always been known for music. From the hallowed venues of The Underworld and Electric Ballroom, to the local legend of Amy Winehouse, music has been the beating heart of the Town for years. To celebrate this heritage, the concept of Camden Crawl was produced. Now in its eleventh year, the annual 2-day festival has invaded no less than 27 venues hosting over 100 artists for 16 hours a day. It’s hectic, intense, and eye-opening; what else would you expect?

Kicking off the Saturday are the London-bred purveyors of Rancid-esque ska-punk Imperial Leisure. Almost filling the Wheelbarrow at the unholy gigging hour of 1 PM is no mean feat, but the skankers – young and old – are supporting some of the finest local music on display today. Managing to cram an eight-piece band on the tiny stage, including a three-piece brass section (which, incidentally, the band hasn’t had fully for years), frontman Denis Smith stands aloft pumping out crowd-pleasers ‘Man on the Street’ and the sing-along favourite ‘Landlord’s Daughter’. After half an hour of early afternoon beer chugging and foot stomping, it’s back into the daylight for another round.

All the way at the other end of Camden High Street is the Roundhouse, that today is showcasing an abundance of calmer musical outfits. Winchester’s This is the Kit‘s serene, ambient acoustics float over the 100 or so people gathered in the upstairs room. Initially the shows at the Roundhouse were scheduled to take place outside, but thanks to the lovely English weather it’s been relocated. Although the band are five-piece, today they’re a duo. The delightfully heartfelt, majestic tones fill the room that is sat on the floor soaking up the banjo and guitar like a hippy commune: if a drum circle were to start, no-one would bat an eyelid. It’s a fantastic juxtaposition to the hustle and bustle of the streets below that are just getting started.

Over at Koko, the biggest venue of the weekend, XFM’s John Kennedy is hosting Xposure, highlighting some of the hottest UK acts today. Headlining the first half of Saturday’s showcase are the incredible instrumentals of Three Trapped Tigers. Described by the Guardian as “A garage band bashing their way through Aphex Twin”, the London trio power their way through an 8-bit tinged, bass heavy assault. Reeking of dubstep dirt undertowed by rib-shaking bass, Three Trapped Tigers blast through 30 minutes of new material before uttering a single word to the pumped crowd. Sounding like the bastard child of Sabrepulse and 65DaysOfStatic, the futuristic noise and blinding strobe lights are reminiscent of the rave scene in The Matrix: Reloaded. As the three-piece keep lashing out on their keys and effects pedals – to the tune of Sonic being bitch-slapped by a subwoofer – the music suddenly stops and the house lights come up. It’s over, leaving Koko in a dazed but wholly satisfied state of deafness.

After a much needed break for food and yet more beer, Camden is ready for the evening. Taking to the stage at the most metal venue in town – The Underworld – Brontide are serving mesmerising post-rock opuses to hundreds of onlookers. The darlings of Holy Roar move seamlessly between twinkly soft sections and ball-busting, heavy breakdowns – they even throw in a few bars of ‘No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn’ during ‘MFBT’ for MCA. Flirting with ideas of metal and prog, the driving force behind the three-piece is the drummer Will Bowerman (who also moonlights for La Roux). The big, pounding drums ricochet off the walls of The Underworld as the guitars drown the audience and prove the London favourites still have more to offer.

Down the road at Dingwalls, one of the most hyped bands of the day are treating the three-quarters’ full room to a half hour of light-hearted, Caribbean vibes. Theme Park‘s dancey tones flow with a summery feel akin to ‘English Riviera’ era Metronomy. Despite having four string-players on stage, the delicate nature of the London quintet sounds as though only one guitar is playing. Combine this with the minimal drums and you’re left with a soft, yet uplifting sound. Strumming their way through the likes of ‘Milk’ and ‘Wax’, set-closer ‘Two Hours’ leaves a smile on everyone’s face.

Ending the first day’s festivities are the Japanese purveyors of psychedelia, Bo Ningen (pictured at top). Since moving to London, the erratic J-rock meets hardcore quartet have been carving a niche for themselves across the city for the past few years. Tonight their domain is a packed-to-the-rafters sweatbox called the Monarch that has bodies crammed into every corner vying for a view. Merging the styles of Deep Purple and The Mars Volta, with hints of everyone else in between, Bo Ningen highlight the versatility of Camden Crawl.

Delayed Japanese vocals echo over the frenzied guitar and drums that are thrashed out with all the intensity of a car crash. The band have a real adoration for their craft and aren’t in it for the fame – it’s a very niche audience. As the ethos of chaos leaks from the stage to the floor, the beer-drenched pit full of shape throwers and party goers get the floor bouncing. The performance culminates in a flurry of free jazz, prog, metal, kraut-rock and funk that transcends into a hypnotic breakdown that never knowingly feels like ending. But for Camden it has come to an end, for Saturday at least. Tomorrow brings on another day of new music from varying ends of the spectrum to devastate venues all over the music capital of London.

Stay tuned for Luke’s review of Sunday at Camden Crawl coming soon.

 
 
 

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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. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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