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Luke’s Alphabet Tour – T: Turbowolf at London Garage – 10th October 2012

 
By on Tuesday, 27th November 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

Firstly, an apology. If you’re an avid reader of TGTF you may have noticed this Alphabet Tour once or twice, and it’s now into the home stretch. However, I have been a little lax on them lately. So if you were one of the few people who read about my gigging exploits, here’s a long overdue review.

In the centre of the stage, overlooking the three-quarters full audience at the Garage, is a large effigy of Tutankhamun’s head. It’s an odd piece of stage bling to have for a band from Bristol, that (to the knowledge of this writer) aren’t connected to Egypt, or the Pharaoh in question. But then again, Turbowolf are a band of many surprises, and their Pandora’s Box is to be opened tonight for all to see.

The punk ‘n’ roll Bristolians might be more accustomed to playing smaller, more intimate venues than this, but they make it their own with ease and hook everyone in to their bounce-along, psychedelic metal riffs. The term psychedelic metal is used loosely as pigeon-holing this crew is nigh on impossible. Blasting through to pit-starting ‘Ancient Snake’ and ‘The Big Cut’, they plunge deep into the realm of noise with their cover of Lightning Bolt‘s ‘Captain Caveman’. Suddenly the pace is taken up a notch and limbs begin flailing down front as London comes alive now it’s been unequivocally warmed up.

The thrashy, hard-hitting vibe continues throughout the night as the crowd are treated to ‘A Rose For Crows’, as well as some newbies that are met with open arms (arms that start pounding the air at any given moment). The energetic and nominee for Mr. Moustache 2012, Chris Georgiadis, runs around the stage and the barrier whipping up his throngs of fans and ensuring the momentum never dips.

You’d think if a band drop a cover of Lightning Bolt, you know what sort of music they’re about. But at the end of the set, Turbowolf bring another belter out of their arsenal – ‘Somebody To Love’ by Jefferson Airplane. If the floor wasn’t moving already, the dancing feet of the Garage have sprung into life. Hardcore and fairweather fans of Turbowolf are singing along with every word and showing their appreciation to one of the hardest working and often overlooked bands on the UK circuit. If they’re in a town near you, you need to go along and party.

 

Luke’s Alphabet Tour – S: Sun Ra Arkestra at London Barbican – 29th September 2012

 
By on Tuesday, 23rd October 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

Jazz isn’t something that appears much on the virtual pages of There Goes The Fear. Its influence can be heard in a lot of the indier records we review but we rarely investigate the history of the genre. Sun Ra and his Arkestra released their first album back in 1956, and over time the band evolved into the Solar Arkestra, Solar Myth Arkestra and Outer Space Arkestra, before settling as the Sun Ra Arkestra which tonight set the stage of the Barbican alight with their unique mindbending jazz fusion.

The theatre’s walls are awash with lava lamp imagery and a spirograph of colourful whirls courtesy of Mystic Lights. The 12 men on stage are met with rapturous applause from a sold out audience of all ages. Eyes are transfixed on the glittering, futuristic musicians led by Marshall Allen (who himself is strutting the stage with a sax), it’s a mesmerising joy to watch and experience. ‘Space is the Place’ kicks it up a notch with Marshal Allen’s gritty vocals wailing over the top of a seemingly uncontrollable mass of trombones, drums, saxophones and trumpets.

The first half of tonight’s performance comes to a close with ‘Angels And Demons’. Everyone is hypnotised and satisfied by the music either written or influenced by the man who travelled to Saturn and back. The second half shows no signs of a mood change as the Arkestra start the party now more drinks have been purchased.

A cover of Charlie Chaplin‘s ‘Smile’ is a brilliant addition for a brief singalong – now a staple of the Arkestra’s setlist. The performance pushes on until it reaches its natural conclusion of saxophonists, trombonists and everyone else on their feet dancing and marching around the stage, off the stage, into the audience, out into the foyer and back into the theatre again while still playing. Everyone is on their feet and boogieing on down to some amazing scenes of the legendary experimental jazz pioneers. Almost two and a half hours of cosmic jazz is enough to melt the mind, but firmly create a smile on everyone’s face.

 

Luke’s Alphabet Tour – R: Race Horses at London Lexington – 25th September 2012

 
By on Wednesday, 3rd October 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

Sometimes it takes a Tuesday night out to prove that not everything in the world is bad. The weather might be continually awful, the economy is still in decline and the X Factor still exists, but outside, in the upstairs function rooms across Britain, smiley poptastic fun can still be had. Travelling all the way from Cardiff, the Welsh quintet Race Horses have ridden into London town to launch the brand spanking new LP ‘Furniture’.

The sold out crowd arrive early to load up on drink and take in the atmosphere before everyone’s favourite equine-related indie-poppers play their new album, plus a few extra treats. Wasting no time with pleasantries, Race Horses gallop through the opening tracks of ‘Furniture’, rousing an already hyped audience. Free single ‘Mates’ opens the voice strings of certain crowd members who have played it to death on their laptops, but it’s the mid-section that proves most interesting.

‘Nobody’s Son’ and ‘Old and New’ smack of Dexys with its inherent 80s vibe, and frontman Meilyr Jones vocals are staggering similar to Everything Everything‘s Jonathan Higgs. It’s during ‘Nobody’s Son’ that Jones looks his most vulnerable as he screams, “I’m just a hotel, I’m just a place you stay”, while attacking a bass drum. But throughout the performance he commands the stage with his jittery dance moves (that begin to resemble starting a fight with the invisible man), while his counterparts constantly switch instruments, keeping the sound fresh and visually exciting – there’s even a bassoon and a harp, what more do you need?

The obligatory encore is met with open arms and ears as the rabble of on stage prove their worth with yet more danceable, catchy tunes to the elation of the packed venue. ‘Cysur a Cyffro’ and ‘Hanes Cymru’ ring out joyfully in the dimly lit, booze-soaked room, as London laps up every sugar-coated morsel of fun-loving indie-pop and washes it down with a double helping of Cardiff happiness. Just what the doctor ordered on a Tuesday.

 

Luke’s Alphabet Tour – Q: Quadron at Camden Jazz Café – 19th September 2012

 
By on Monday, 24th September 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

Camden Town has long had the reputation of being one of the coolest places in London. An area of trendsetters, creatives and hip young things, all on the lookout for something fresh to call their own. As such a veritable smorgasbord of venues in Camden are operational almost every night, catering for mainstream rock acts at Koko, underground metallers at Purple Turtle a range of chart botherers at the Barfly. But there are one or two venues that offer a slightly different experience.

From the outside the Jazz Café looks like a run-of-the-mill venue conversion, but from within it’s a modern, blue-lit bar and stage with very suave clientèle. Sofas full of regulars and revellers face the now empty stage area that will soon be full of 300+ music-lovers for tonight’s sold out special.

Despite headlining the Jazz Café, Denmark’s Quadron don’t bare the hallmarks of Louis Armstrong or Miles Davis, and are often described as neo-soul thanks to their spacey, synthesised vibes and front woman Coco O’s staggering vocal ability. Tonight, though, in the confines of the high ceilinged, contemporary music lounge, the sound works and the capacity crowd are adrift in a sea of eccentric electronica.

Opening on the sublimely minimal ‘Buster Keaton’, London starts to sway to the sound of Coco’s angelic prowess. She stands at the front of the stage with flowers in her hair and a top that resembles chain mail – a juxtaposition in styles that Quadron themselves can relate to. As the funkier songs take the night up a gear, flirting with a Jackson 5-esque boogie, the band rein it in with the slower, more emotive songs in the vein of Little Dragon.

‘Pressure’ soothes in with a downtempo piano and Coco’s mindblowing operatic vocals, that leaves the Jazz Café in a stunned silence, before switching into a Supremes style groover shaker that kick starts the dancing feet of the hypnotised audience. It’s impossible to take your eyes off the stage, particularly the microphone as Denmark’s answer to Yukimi Nagano delivers flawless falsettos with ease.

For the obligatory encore, the neo-soulers try a little their hand at the King of Pop, with their cover of ‘Baby Be Mine’. Admittedly it’s not a song everyone in the venue seems to know, but in terms of musical ability Quadron cannot be faulted. They’ve managed to keep the largely non-singing crowd moving all evening, even instigating a brief bump ‘n’ grind, and it ends with a justly deserved rapturous round of applause. The Danish trio leave with Cheshire cat grins as do the fans rushing toward their bus home. No doubt we’ll be visited again soon.

 

Luke’s Alphabet Tour – P: Paul Weller at London 100 Club – 2nd August 2012

 
By on Tuesday, 14th August 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

After Converse and the 100 Club joined forces in the early part of last year, the venue has been going through a resurgence of legends and of up-and-comers returning to one of the most important venues of London’s history. Converse’s Represent series of nights is the primary reason the greats have graced the hallowed ground. A showcase of some of the biggest names including Nas, Blur and Plan B are lined up to headline the intimate basement to a capacity crowd of ticket winners. Tonight’s performance comes courtesy of the Modfather himself, Paul Weller.

The compact, sweat-filled hall is rammed to the rafters with a predominantly male audience sporting that haircut. As the clock strikes 10, the man behind the Jam strolls on stage to rapturous applause and chanting of “Weller! Weller! Weller!” until throats are dry and gasping for another lager. Kick-starting on the suitable ‘Wake Up the Nation’ the collective consciousness of central London is bouncing and singing as one, while lapping up every sly smile and nod that Weller tosses its way.

“It’s good to be back!” are the words Weller offers to tonight’s glistening crowd who again erupt in an explosion of cheers. The respect for the man on stage can be felt beaming from every body in the building who has obviously grown up listening to either the Jam or his own solo offerings. It’s his solo material that is the primary focus for tonight, mainly 2012’s ‘Sonik Kicks’, which leaves a large number of tonight’s audience looking despondent and confused that it’s not just a greatest hits set.

Contrary to Weller’s own rules, he strums out a few Jam tracks to the delight of the 100 Club. ‘Art School’ and ‘In the City’ create a deafening echo within the close music hall while ‘Stanley Road’ and ‘Broken Stones’ end the night on a high note as Weller leads his diehard fans into a frenzy that closes a career-spanning set. Not jam-packed with the biggest hits, but for true Weller fans, it’s over an hour of party anthems. What more do you need?

 

Luke’s Alphabet Tour – O: Orange at Islington O2 Academy – 26th July 2012

 
By on Thursday, 9th August 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

Remember when pop-punk was huge? About ten years ago you couldn’t move for Blink 182, Sum 41 and Offspring fans in their brightly coloured hoodies and crazy hair (as long as it abided by school rules, of course). However, we must remember that music is constantly evolving, and a decade later there simply isn’t a buzz around these fart-joke-loving pogo merchants.

That said, one of the biggest of the pop-punk bunch are playing one of the biggest venues in the UK. Although, they were supposed to be. Unfortunately, Blink 182 cancelled their appearance at London’s O2 arena so it is up to LA’s Orange to pick up the pieces at the O2 Academy Islington.

Don’t fool yourself, though. The 10,000 fans with Blink tickets have not descended on Islington this evening. In fact barely 50 members of the pop-punk contingent made it out tonight. But just with so many things in life, it’s not the size that counts…

Tonight’s crowd are as sprightly as it’s possible for a 14-year-old to be on a Thursday night. Jumping, shouting and arm flailing are must-have moves in your arsenal for an Orange gig, and certain areas of the audience possess huge stockpiles of these party weapons. The four men on stage are also packing heat for an evening of elation, but unfortunately they don’t back it up with musical prowess.

Staying at the poppier end of pop-punk, the Californian quartet are on a headline UK tour after previous success supporting the likes of Zebrahead and Bowling For Soup. Frontman Joe Dexter riles the crowd with his best Billy Joe impression and a bucketload of “whoas”, “yeahs” and “heys”, but it’s a situation of style over substance. The PG-rated performance ticks all the boxes in the foundation exam for How To Excite Already Excitable Teenagers, but it doesn’t go any deeper than the paper-thin surface hiding the mediocrity.

Dexter is the face of the band and the girls love him for it, leaning over and peering into their eyes making them weak at the knees during ‘Resist’ and ‘Hold on to Your Heart’. But the ‘Orange salute’ – also known as the OK hand gesture – is another example of shoehorning in more gimmicks to try and make themselves more appealing, and hiding the overarching dullness. Something the crowd aren’t wise to, but it’s only a matter of time before this new strand of pop-punk fizzles out before they get a glimpse of the O2 arena.

 
 
 

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.

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