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2000 Trees Festival 2012 Roundup: Day 2

 
By on Monday, 30th July 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

After the torrential downpour of Friday night, the camp site at 2000 Trees is awoken to the unmistakable proggy hum of Antlered Man inside The Cave. The London four-piece have been touring the UK and Europe for the past year promoting their unique blend of experimental rock ‘n roll. The touring seems to have paid off in terms of spreading the word as the tent is almost half-full at the ungodly hour of midday. Treating the hundreds of muddy revellers to the best bits of ‘Giftes 1 & 2′ including ‘Platoono of Uno’ and ‘Misruly Roo’, it’s the anti-race opus ‘Surrounded By The White Men’ that excites the senses and really gets the adrenaline pumping for the day ahead.

Over at the Main Stage the sun is emerging from the clouds, as Warwickshire rockers Sharks blast into the fitting ‘Arcane Effigies’. The smiles are out and the multiple layers of waterproof clothing are finally being stripped by the justly large crowd that is amassing for Sharks’ accessible, modern slant on ’70s punk. Comparisons to The Clash are lazy but just – front man James Mattock stands at the front of the stage, reminiscent of a 21st century Joe Strummer but with vocal leanings toward Morrissey. The anthemic ‘It All Relates’ is the first real singalong of the day with the 1000-or-so fans basking in the sun and filling their lungs with the cleansing countryside air – and stomach with Badger’s Bottom cider.

Back in The Cave it’s time for a visceral battering from London’s Bastions. It’s a very loud, very sharp blast of ear-piercing ferocity to a circle of die-hard fans and hardcore enthusiasts. The pumped up quartet throw themselves around the stage and into the crowd, whipping up a muddy frenzy inside the marquee. Rushing through ‘Visitant’, ‘With Love’ and a mind-blowing rendition of ‘Grief Beggar’, Bastions prove themselves worthy of their place mid-way through the day and as one of the best hardcore bands in Britain.

Over at the third stage, dubbed the Leaf Lounge, are a band who have played every single 2000 Trees festival since it began back in 2007. Jim Lockey & The Solemn Sun have been making friends in all the right places, particularly folk rock hero Frank Turner. A favourite of anyone who has ever attended this humble Cheltenham festival, the local lads have packed out the tiny tent with many standing in the flood of mud outside. The deafening renditions of ‘New Natives’ and ‘Waitress’ from the stage and crowd alike ricochet off the inside of the tent, deafening the tightly-packed crowd and spurring on the party. A short set this late in the day, but everything you could have wanted.

Sub-headlining the Main Stage are a band that 2000 Trees have been trying to book since the beginning. Pioneering post-hardcore outfit Hundred Reasons might not have released a new LP since 2007, but that doesn’t matter. This evening they’re bringing their breakthrough opus ‘Ideas Above Our Station’ to a packed Main Stage that has turned into a swamp over the weekend. Entering the fray to rapturous applause, the Aldershot mob dive into ‘Kill Your Own’ and ‘No Way Back’ with pure energy and the genuine feeling they’re happy to be back. However, the intensity fades away all too quickly as the former chart-bothering quartet slip into the motions and appear to lose the initial drive and passion. Of course the big hits still hit hard and ‘If I Could’ proves a particular highlight with 2000 20-somethings recalling their angst-ridden youth for a few minutes of delightful shouting. As the last note of ‘Avalanche’ rings out the crowd disperses with the odd mutter and moan, after years of waiting it finally happened – but it was meant to be so much more.

Closing the -da2y extravaganza of British musical beauty are the Welsh noiseniks Future of the Left (pictured at top). Their amalgamation of post-hardcore, noise and ballsy rock ‘n roll is heartstoppingly loud and charged with unadulterated rage that drowns the mud-caked onlookers. Opening on the powerful ‘Arming Eritrea’, Andy Falkous’ unmistakable yelling echoes inside The Cave, forcing its way out into the night. Following on in quick succession with ‘Small Bones Small Bodies’ and ‘Sheena is a T-Shirt Salesman’, the fists of fury are getting their nightly work-out in the ever-growing mosh pit.

Falkous is on top form with his irreverent humour and dry wit receiving a wholesome airing, making full use of the C word from start to finish and not giving the smallest of fucks what anyone thinks. Throwing in a couple of Mclusky numbers makes for a unique setlist that risks losing attention from fairweather fans, but ‘Robocop 4 – Fuck Off Robocop’ (tonight dedicated to Andre the Giant) comprises of everything Future Of The Left represent – it’s chaotic, funny, stilted yet perfectly structured. Closing on ‘Lapsed Catholics’ the dazed crowd stagger back to their tents in the pitch darkness of Upcote Farm with bleeding ears and rattled bones. The Cardiff collective prove themselves worthy of a headline set with a Main Stage quality performance. If they return for 2013, it can definitely be bigger and better…and louder.

 

Camden Crawl 2012: Day 1 – Ben’s Roundup

 
By on Thursday, 17th May 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

Music is so deeply hewn in to the tapestry of Camden’s past that even if a rogue bulldozer were to somehow escape the Olympic park and flatten the lot, the Camden faithful would still gather on the detritus (like Kevin Costner in the film Field of Dreams) to watch the ghostly echo of gigs passed. Camden Crawl has managed to do away with wrestling the country/city festival debate that plagues the likes of Hard Rock Calling and SW4 – those who assume the hardware set up should remain universal – by setting up in the across the attics, backrooms and great halls of this cultural nucleus. Since 1995 this festival has showcased the best of the new alternative scene, and this year is set to kick off the festival season with more than 100 artists across 27 venues.

If there’s a better way to kick off a festival than staring down the barrel of two trombones and a trumpet, then I don’t want to know about it. North London eight piece ska punks Imperial Leisure bring a touch of Madness to the opening bout of Camden Crawl 2012 shoehorned, like jostling commuters, on to the wooden floorboards of the archetypal Wheelbarrow pub. As afro sporting singer Denis Smith leers over the baying home crowd, they blast through the likes of ‘Bitter and Twisted’, ‘Landlord’s Daughter’ and ‘Man on the Street’ at a frenetic pace and set an almost unsurpassable benchmark for interaction and tempo.

On the way through the assault course that is tourist dodging up Camden Road to the hallowed turf of the Roundhouse, Hip-Hop Shakespeare have taken to the stage in the cool blue oasis of the Jazz Cafe. With razor sharp wit and tongue, MCs and poets alike take to the stage with the house band to recite their works and challenge the stigma surrounding hip hop as an inferior art form.

At the Roundhouse, the enigmatic Sam Lee has taken charge of the mezzanine and roof space to claim in it in the name of folk for the day. He regales the cross legged crowd with old folk tales before introducing the quintessentially English but bright and almost painfully innocent melodies of Magic Lantern. He then returns with his own modest troupe of eclectic musicians to tell stories and sing, choral and otherwise, to the appreciative gathering. It is an achievement that all festivals should strive for, where for a moment or more people experience the universality of musical and social understanding.

The greyish afternoon sun begins to dip towards the rooftops behind the indoor stage as people are ushered out on to the terrace for Melodica, Melody and Me. Close your eyes and this could be the Champs-Élysées, with people milling and reclining on the steps as the melodica strikes up. Tracks like ‘Hold On’, ‘Ode to Victor Jara’ and ‘Plunge’ are lyrically modern but classic in style, given a Hawaiian twist with the omnipresent (so much so that I’ve already missed a few) ukulele, and despite the dropping temperatures the wax jacket parade has turned out in force.

Pint-size French synthpop three piece We Were Evergreen will surely be one to watch this summer and, having come on in place of Atlantics at the Wheelbarrow earlier in the day, anticipation was growing to see how they would manage a full set at the Roundhouse. Band members Fabienne, Michael and William work independently as masters of their instrument sets – be it guitar and vocal loops, ukulele and banjo, or synth and glockenspiel – to produce a sound with the same good time vibe as the Ting Tings on tracks such as ‘Baby Blue’ or the infectious ‘Eggs’.

Back in the centre of Camden at the Black Head, and Antlered Man are laying down their own crunching brand of hypnotic metal through a loudspeaker to a packed upstairs, whilst round the corner at Underworld post rock instrumentalists Brontide are nailing a precision piece of musical hardware to the largest and loudest crowd yet gathered. In this dingy basement layers build on loop pedals in time with a surge in energy levels, driven by the relentless crash of ex-La Roux drummer Will Bowerman’s sticks.

Hindsight is a wondrous thing, a precious commodity that is lacking as band of the moment Big Pink took to the stage as only second headliners under the shimmering beams of Koko’s mammoth mirror ball. The atmosphere has gained a synaesthetic sheen to match the soundscape of this peculiarly appropriate line up; now the sound has the power to reverberate through chest cavities, and there’s enough dry ice to Beadle’s About a house fire. It is their first time in London, and with material from their acclaimed debut ‘A Brief History of Love’, as well as tracks from 2012 release ‘Future This’ such as ‘Hit the Ground’ and ‘Rubbernecking’, had the audience blown away. And, while lead singer Robbie Furze intermittently sounds like Richard Ashcroft in space, floor filler ‘Dominos’ has every pair of hands up.

Rounding off Saturday of Camden Crawl 2012 are a band who stand out on the bill as somewhat mainstream, even slightly ‘one hit wonder’ for a headline slot. It is an absolute joy to find that the proverbial ‘tip of the iceberg’ saying rings true and that ‘Hounds of Love’ was merely a marketable peak the PR team let puncture the surface of the Futureheads’ (pictured at top) early career. Below is a hulking mass of traditional folk music done as nature intended, through multi-layered harmonies and classic acoustic instrumentation. There is the oldest song in the English language, ‘Sumer Is I’cumen In’ (the one Edward Woodward is chargrilled to in ‘The Wickerman’) and ‘The Machem’ before the crowd start to lose their nerve and begin an unfortunate smattering of boos and (ironically) a capella versions of ‘Hounds of Love’. But, with an a capella album of their very own to flog in the coming months, the Futureheads continue unperturbed and round off the Saturday admirably with a more inventive, acoustic version of their biggest hit. This appeases the now swaying crowd, who leave with both cheers, and murmurs of anticipation for what Sunday could hold.

 

Camden Crawl 2012 Interview: Danny Fury and Sam Ray from Antlered Man

 
By on Thursday, 17th May 2012 at 11:00 am
 

After the release of their debut album and successful European tour, London proto-rockers Antlered Man are gearing up for festival season with a performance at this year’s Camden Crawl. I caught up with Danny Fury (guitar) and Sam Ray (bass) for a chat about Camden, UK music and masturbation.

The last time TGTF saw you guys was supporting Lower Than Atlantis
Danny: Yeah, that gig was tough for me. As soon as we got to sound-check, the sound guy wanted a bit of vocals from me, and I went ‘[croaky cough]’ and my voice just wasn’t there. And I said ‘I can’t sing’ but everyone was like ‘Oh go on, sing you cunt!’. But there was no singing voice there, if I did it would have been like a William Shatner vocal. Spoken word alternative rock.
Sam: Shatner being the word.
Danny: Shat. It was a horrible gig for me, but everyone said it was all right.

What have you been up to since then?
Danny: We did an EP – that was some guy’s bright idea, because apparently people don’t do albums any more(!) [laughs]. It’s like fucking is going out of style. And that didn’t really work out, but on the back of that we got a tour with And So I Watch You From Afar around Germany. All round Europe, actually, and it was unbelievable. We forged a really good bond with those guys and they gave us a lot of advice. We became to realise there’s a lot more outside in the alternative/underground – there is a subculture. We were always pompous enough, but you could afford us that because we locked ourselves away when we first wrote the album, and the only bands we knew were shit ones. Then when we came out we met bands like Exit International, Palehorse, And So I Watch You From Afar, all these cool bands it was like, “Sweet, we’re a part of something”.
Sam: We’ve got quite a bit of touring in the next few months. We’ll be back over in Europe in July, we’ve got a couple of festivals. A few festivals in England around June. But it’s quite sparse so we’ve got a lot of time to do the album, which is good because during festival season you’ve got one gig then a week off, then another gig, so we’ve got time to get some new tracks down.
Danny: The German thing is really exciting, in fact all round Europe. In Poland, we came out of the backstage area onto the stage, and there were three kids moshing at the front to no music. I knew it was going to be good [laughs]. We got offered so much cool stuff from that. To tour Europe is unbelievable because in this country it can be a little bit unforgiving for bands – there aren’t even places to park outside the venues, let alone a rider so you can smash up a fridge up in the backstage area if someone ‘dissed your chorus’.

What do festivals like Camden Crawl say about UK music?
Sam: I think these type of festivals are becoming more popular, rather than the standard music festival thing where people play in a massive field. It’s become more of a thing for journalists and bands to come down to and check out other bands. There’s a massive musical scene happening in one weekend and it gives you the opportunity to go find other bands.
Danny: It gives people the opportunity to see their favourite band, or bands that they’re checking out. I checked out Hawk Eyes like 6 months ago and they were unbelievable. Everyone wants the opportunity to not see those guys in a fucking sterile, big place, they want to go to a little club and see it. I’ve looked at the photos of Camden Crawl from the past 2 years, and I thought there was no fucking way I wanted to go there. I’m just a bit agoraphobic and I don’t really like too many people round me. Ordinarily this place on a Friday or Saturday is fucking nightmare.
Sam: We were going to drive down here but there’s no chance we were going to get anywhere to park and we would probably have been stuck in traffic for hours.
Danny: I’m not sure what it says about the music scene. The scene around Camden has always been thriving, but without wanting to be bitchy, not a lot of it is very good. But there’s the odd gem out there and I think they’ve got a really good line-up this year. I think there is a heavy resurgence that’s definitely occurring with Pulled Apart By Horses, Hawk Eyes, Exit International, all these guys are on the up, and there seems to be a place for it.

There are a lot of heavier bands playing this year…
Danny: I think that’s probably why it seemed like kryptonite to Superman with me for the last 2 years. It was just any old shit and we never really put ourselves forward for it. So when they floated the idea to us, we checked the listings and thought ‘fuck yeah, that looks good’.

What is it you love about Camden then?
Danny: I bitch and moan about the crowds round here, but if ever I am going for a drink I tend to do it round here. I like that there’s more of a laid-back vibe and they’re a little bit more tolerant round here. There’s the young people who come to the gigs who are enthusiastic about everything, and 90% of gigging – if you’re a London band – is done around here. It never used to be like that, about 5 years ago there used to be places in Islington but now it’s primarily here. It’s always good to bop around and sometimes be recognised.

Have you got a favourite venue in Camden?
Danny: The Barfly is cool, especially since they put the new PA in. Never played here [The Black Heart] before but I’ve heard good things about it. But I’d have to say, as far as sound and everything goes, it was always Koko. Then it started getting infiltrated by 15 year olds who are eating off their faces and freaking out, so I stopped going there. So I’d probably say the Barfly.
Sam: I like the size of the Barfly, as it’s good for an intimate crowd as well.
Danny: I would say Proud for the sound but there’s nowhere to park out there and we’ve got about four parking tickets from there and the bar staff just shrug their shoulders when you tell them.

The name of the festival is Camden Crawl, what would you crawl the length of Camden for?
Sam: Hair of the Dog at the moment, I think. It was our drummer’s birthday yesterday so we had quite a few beers.
Danny: We don’t drink before we go on, but we get hammered after. The talent to be able to play arsehole drunk – just to alleviate the hangovers – I would definitely crawl the length of Camden for.
Sam: We got drunk yesterday and tried to play the set but it wasn’t happening.
Danny: That speaks volumes for the intricacies of our parts… we went a bit prog.

You mentioned you’re playing a lot of festivals in Europe, have you got any UK festivals lined up?
Danny: The Great Escape, 2000 Trees… The Great Escape should be really fun.

TGTF’s Editor will be at The Great Escape…
Danny: I remember when we were over in Germany, staying in some fucking rural farmhouse surrounded by deer we read a really good review on There Goes The Fear of our EP. So thanks for that!

That wasn’t long after your Lower Than Atlantis gig TGTF reviewed…
Danny: I remember there being three morbidly obese kids sat outside there drinking from 2 o’clock in the afternoon. And they didn’t have any finesse to their drinking, they had a bottle of blue WKD, a bottle of Bailey’s, and about six cans of Stella. Then a mate would come along with a bottle of [Jamesons] and pour it down his throat and it got to the point where I knew they were going to get nicked, but it was a matter of when. In between playing and losing my voice, I was running outside to see the drama unfold. Then I finally saw the fat little cunt get nicked.
Sam: Hopefully they’ll read this and reassess their life.

Finally, have you heard the world is going to end at the end of the year?
Danny: No.

You missed the Mayan calendar saying the world’s going to end?
Danny: I love reading but it’s such a commitment. One book at a time. And I just don’t have time for the Mayan calendar. I’m too occupied with which badass is going to die next – MCA, man. The world can end as far as I’m concerned, as long as we finish the second album… then fire it into space, so one day we’ll get a demographic.

Well the question is, what’s the last thing you’re going to do before the world ends?
Sam: Record this album because I’d hate to think… wait, no-one would know, would they? Scrap that, it wouldn’t even matter.
Danny: I can’t think of anything quirky. For me it would be something really normal like logging onto violent anal porn and whacking off as much as possible. I’ve got nowhere to be. Might as well watch some poor girl gag for money. I’m not going to come across well, am I?

 

Update: Camden Crawl 2012

 
By on Thursday, 22nd March 2012 at 9:00 am
 

This year’s Camden Crawl just keeps growing! Yet more bands and even some comedians have been added to the already stellar lineup for the May Bank Holiday weekend extravaganza that takes over the music capital of London.

Joining the likes of Death In Vegas, Rolo Tomassi and Alabama 3, are the Scottish indie-rock titans Glasvegas, dancey post-punkers the Futureheads, and former Supergrass frontman Gaz Coombes will be performing a solo show. Also announced for the jam-packed weekend of entertainment are comedians Rufus Hound, Henning When and Andrew Maxwell plus many more, who will take over the eight comedy stages throughout Camden.

But that’s not all to be excited about because the lovely people at Camden Crawl are releasing a very special and FREE mix tape to download. If you’re heading along to the weekend (and if you’re not, why not?!) then get in the mood with some top tracks from Antlered Man, Dutch Uncles, True Tiger and Kwes amongst others. Download it here; you can listen to the songs in the widget below.

Weekend tickets are priced at £67.50 + booking fees, although day tickets and VIP packages are available. For more information and to buy tickets visit official Web site. Make sure you’re in north London this May for what is gearing up to be one of the best festivals of the year.

 

Preview: Camden Crawl 2012

 
By on Wednesday, 29th February 2012 at 9:30 am
 

Celebrate the May Bank Holiday in style this year with the 2012 Camden Crawl. The legendary sound journey across London’s hot spot for new music will feature over 300 artists and events from 4-6 May. Just one ticket will give you access to some of the best venues in Camden Town which will be showcasing the brightest stars in music from the UK and across the world.

Already announced for the all day and all night party are headlining electro-rock mainstays Death In Vegas, post-hardcore favourites Rolo Tomassi, experimental extraordinaires Brontide, progressive up-and-comers Antlered Man (pictured above), electronic wizards D/R/U/G/S and London’s own indie kids Toy to name a few.

There will also be appearances and undoubtedly speaker-slaughtering sets from Hawk Eyes, Dutch Uncles, Cymbals, And So I Watch You From Afar, True Tiger, James Cleaver Quartet and Spector.

Weekend tickets are priced at £67.50 + booking fees, although day tickets and VIP packages are available. For more information and to buy tickets visit the official Web site. Stay tuned for more announcements of bands and venues over the coming months as north London readies itself for the start of the festival season.

 

Album Review: Antlered Man – Buddhist Soup (Giftes Pt 1) EP

 
By on Thursday, 27th October 2011 at 12:00 pm
 

For a band who are still in relative obscurity compared to some of their peers, Antlered Man aren’t shy of saying what’s on their mind. Their lyrics are politically and emotionally motivated with a poetic harshness and truth that’s usually reserved for rousing speeches at various occupations around the world. Coupled with the whimsical and thought-provoking words, is the erratic and no-boundary metallic essence of a band who aren’t afraid to try something new.

Obviously influenced by System Of A Down, Antlered Man are London’s answer to the weird and wonderful offerings of Serj Tankian and co. ­– and they have a flautist. Their new mini-album entitled ‘Buddhist Soup (Giftes Pt 1)’ is the first in a double dose from the intentionally misspelled ‘Giftes’ series that is sure to pave the way for bigger things.

Opening on a 6-minute opus is a bold statement for any band, especially one who’re arguably trying to prove themselves – but ‘Outrages 1 Ta 3’ proves to everyone that Antlered Man can bring out the big guns. The ominous, quirky feel to what is essentially a prog metal track only adds to the momentum and intrigue as the crazed thrashing of distorted guitars and pounding drums (a la Queens of the Stone Age) is interspersed with poppier ambience and choir-like vocals.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63UU2X7EEyc[/youtube]

From this initial introduction to the zany proto-metal of Antlered Man, the off-beat style only continues with title track ‘Buddhist Soup’. Combining the inherent anger and mischief of metal with the majestic dream-like sound of a flute is no mean feat, yet these guys (and girl) create a very progressive almost Floydian sound that is as haunting as it is chaotic. The duality of a high-pitched flute melody with a bastardised metallic version needs to be heard and appreciated.

Closing the five track mini-album is the oddly titled ‘Platoono of Uno’ that is more of a chant than a song. Possibly about the role man plays in the world and the negative connotations attached to it, the lyrics are dying to be screamed live: “I am a man and I want to be heard / I am a man and I will never learn”. The overtly catchy and repetitive nature of the song keeps it locked in your memory bank for the rest of the day, all the while contemplating its meaning and why you’ve never listened to this band before.

8/10

‘Buddhist Soup (Giftes Pt 1)’ is available now from the band’s own imprint Goo Grrrl Records and can be purchased from the band’s Bandcamp page.

 
 
 

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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.

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