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Live Gig Video: Spector perform ‘Stay High’ in front of fans at the 100 Club and Lexington in London

 
By on Thursday, 13th August 2015 at 4:00 pm
 

Spector have announced they’ll be releasing a new single the same day their new album comes out. ‘Stay High’ As described by the band’s frontman Fred MacPherson, ‘Stay High’ “is about keeping yourself distracted while everything around you goes to shit…When all that’s left of your relationship are dates booked on Groupon and your sense of adventure’s dictated by the offers on lastminute.com it’s hard not to want to dislodge yourself from reality permanently.” After witnessing it first-hand for myself and seeing some friends going through a particularly rough patch lately, I can certainly relate.

The promo they’ve filmed for it is culled footage from the band’s shows in London in March at the Lexington and at the 100 Club in April, and the claustrophobic manner in which the footage was filmed makes it feel like you’re right there in the thick of it. You know, when those overly excited fans accidentally push you while they’re dancing, or that annoying git waves his arm in front of your face, obscuring your view for half the show in his overzealousness to connect with the band. Oh yes, live gigs, gotta love them.

‘Moth Boys’, their new album, will be released on Fiction Records on the 21st of August, alongside the ‘Stay High’ single. Catch Spector live on their previously announced October 2015 UK tour, and this month during their series of in-stores and signings (appearances listed below the video).

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skYcvaNwpgM[/youtube]

Saturday 22nd August 2015 – London Sister Ray Ace Hotel
Sunday 23rd August 2015 – Bristol Head (1 PM)
Sunday 23rd August 2015 – Marlborough Sound Knowledge (5/6 PM)
Monday 24th August 2015 – Wakefield Wah Wah (1 PM)
Monday 24th August 2015 – Leeds Jumbo (5/6 PM)
Tuesday 25th August 2015 – Newcastle Reflex (1 PM)
Tuesday 25th August 2015 – Stockton on Tees Sound it Out (5/6 PM)
Thursday 27th August 2015 – Kingston Banquet Records
Thursday 27th August 2015 – Kingston Banquet Records New Slang (full show)

 

Live Gig Video: Mew perform ‘Witness’ around dancing fans in a club in Copenhagen

 
By on Thursday, 16th July 2015 at 4:00 pm
 

There’s been such a fuss following Danish band Mew everywhere this year and with good reason: ‘+-‘, their first album in 6 years, came out in April, much to the delight of their devoted fans. It never occurred to me that Mew were a headbanging-inducing type rock band until I saw this new video they’ve released, filmed during a fans-only show they did at Copenhagen Republique Theatre around the time of the release of the new LP. It’s dark and dingy and more ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ than you remember them, eh? Watch the performance in its sweaty glory below.

Want to read all things Mew on TGTF? Right this way.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0qjL6Jh-8o[/youtube]

 

Live Review: Ryan Adams with Natalie Prass at the Rialto Theatre, Tucson, AZ – 21st April 2015

 
By on Tuesday, 28th April 2015 at 2:00 pm
 

During my tenure here at TGTF, I’ve twice been able to attend the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, TX, and probably the best part of that experience has been discovering new artists that I might otherwise never have heard. Last Tuesday night, I had the opportunity to follow up on one of my new finds from SXSW 2015, as American singer/songwriter Natalie Prass opened for veteran rocker Ryan Adams at Tucson’s Rialto Theatre.

I had never attended a show at this venue before, but neither of the artists on the bill was a stranger to the Rialto stage. Adams had graced the stage previously in 2008 with his band The Cardinals and Prass appeared here as Jenny Lewis’ keyboard player last year. Adams and Prass have spent the first part of 2015 touring together through Europe and the UK as well as in America, and they have grown comfortable enough to play a few cheeky covers of each other’s songs during the current tour cycle. Adams even donned a full costume and filled in for Prass when flight delays caused her to miss their show in Copenhagen in March.

I saw Prass’ set at Maggie Mae’s on a whim at SXSW 2015 a couple of weeks after that ill-fated Copenhagen show, and I was excited to see her opening set at the Rialto, but as fate would have it, she faced a similarly challenging situation in Tucson on the night. After playing her first song in solo fashion, Prass related to the audience that her band had gotten stuck on the road with bus trouble. She did, however, have a few friends on hand who were able to step in. Keyboard player Daniel Clarke, who also played keys on Prass’ self-titled debut solo album, came onto the stage to accompany her, and he was soon joined by the other members of Adams’ touring band, including “Spaceman Adams” himself on the drum kit. Prass said that they had been cramming on the bus, listening to her record in order to learn the parts. If that was truly the case, they did their jobs admirably, playing a nearly seamless set that allowed Prass’ sultry singing voice and country-noir songwriting craftsmanship to take center stage.

For Adams’ headline set, he stage was decorated with vintage arcade game and vending machines, along with symbolic representations of Adams’ previous album titles, including a stuffed tiger for ‘Easy Tiger’, a glass smoke machine for ‘Ashes & Fire’, and an American flag for ‘Gold’. His current self-titled solo album, number ten in his extensive discography, was presumably represented by the man himself, and he opened with its hit single ‘Gimme Something Good’. I was familiar with this track already, having heard it on the radio here in America, and while the guitar riff is hot on the recording, it doesn’t even hold a candle to the scorching impact it makes in live performance. While Adams’ older tracks have a more alt-country flavour, his guitar skills leave no doubt about the rock aspect of his music, and the most effective tracks in the set list were the ones where Adams let loose with amazing guitar solos.

Surprisingly, Adams didn’t play as many songs from his new album as I expected, but he touched on it most notably with the slow burning ‘Kim’. He played through most of the show without any banter between songs, which allowed his songs to do the talking, and up to that point I was completely mesmerised. When Adams did finally stop to chat and catch his breath, he wryly taunted the crowd for taking photos and watching the show through their smartphones, which I must admit did register a slight pang of guilt in the back of my mind. On a more good-humoured note, he also pointed out a woman wearing her sunglasses inside the dark venue, speculating that she was either hiding tears after Prass’ lovelorn set or that she was possibly high. This led to a lengthy tangent about eating boxed macaroni and cheese seasoned with instant onion soup; I’ll leave you to imagine how those things might be related.

Getting back to the music, Adams responded to a shouted request from the crowd by playing a thrash metal number I didn’t recognize. The song was received with great applause, and I found out later that it was a version of ’16 Days’, from Adams’ former band Whiskeytown. For my money, Adams’ decision to stay on stage and play straight through the set rather than taking the obligatory encore break was most welcome, and he wisely took advantage of Prass’ presence on the tour by bringing her back to the stage for vocals on ‘Oh My Sweet Carolina’ and ‘When the Stars Go Blue’. At the end of the night, after having forgotten to introduce the aforementioned Daniel Clarke as part of the band, Adams proceeded to invent an entire song centered around Clarke while the other band members gamely jammed along.

I came away from the show with a slew of new songs buzzing through my head, and I stopped at the merch table outside to pick up both Adams’ and Prass’ latest CDs. I was already a fan of Natalie Prass after her charming SXSW performance, and she didn’t disappoint in Tucson, even with her somewhat impromptu band arrangement. I was only a casual fan of Ryan Adams previously, having listened to his songs in passing on the radio and after hearing other artists such as The Young Folk name him as an influence on their songwriting. I was impressed enough to amass a collection of his music during my road trip to Los Angeles the following weekend, and his 2001 album ‘Gold’ became a fast favourite on the long drive home through the desert. Better late to the game than never!

 

Interview: Samuel Fry of Life in Film

 
By on Tuesday, 28th April 2015 at 11:00 am
 

Last week, London-based Life in Film had just started their support slot with the Wombats on their month-long tour of North America, beginning in Toronto on the 21st of April. After quite a long drive from the Great White North down to the City of Brotherly Love, I had an opportunity to chat on the phone with their frontman Samuel Fry (vocals and guitar) after they arrived ahead of a gig at Union Transfer and got a chance to do some “looking around Philadelphia, it’s really beautiful”.

It’s an exciting time for the band, as they’re gearing up to release their debut album ‘Here It Comes’ on both sides of the Atlantic in under 2 weeks at the time of this interview; Samuel describes the LP’s title as representing “a statement of it [all] coming to fruition”. I feel I also have caught Samuel at a good time, as at this point they’d only played one gig on this side of the pond at Toronto’s Lee’s Palace that he described as “an amazing show”, and everyone was in high spirits and full of energy. And also apparently full of the often maligned, indigenous to Pennsylvania meatloaf scrapple from a local diner where they’d stopped in that morning for breakfast. But rather than digress into a retelling of the band’s varied diet while out on the road here, I went straight into asking Samuel how the band got together.

“Me and the guitar player Ed [Edward Ibbotson], we went to school together. Then we both went to different universities. While at university, I met Dom [bassist Dominic Sennett] and Micky [drummer Osment] because they were at the music college I was at. We [Samuel and Edward] moved back to London after we finished, and Dom and Mick decided to move to London as well. We all got together and decided to play music together.

“But we were kind of just mucking about at first, you know? We all lived together, yeah, and we used to hang out and listen to a lot of music, really. Then we found a little practise room near where we lived, which was underneath a snooker hall. It was a dingy little dungeon, it was really nasty! But it was kind of cool because no-one else really practised there and so we could go whenever we wanted to use it , and we started to put a couple of songs together. Felt good about [them] and went from there, really.”

Samuel Fry of Life in Film, a still from Berlin Sessions, 2015
a still from Life in Film’s performance with Berlin Sessions earlier this year

I tell Samuel that from the longtime Life in Film fan’s perspective, it seems like the debut album has been a long time coming. He agrees. “Yeah, I suppose it does, it’s quite a long process. When you start off [songwriting by] doing just the odd song. You kind of record one song at a time so you can get a feel for it at first, you know? And you’re writing as you go, and you’ve just started out gigging and stuff, and that’s a bit of a process. And then you start working with different people like managers and labels, and all of those things take time. That’s the nature of a debut album, I suppose. The next album, we’d probably record it all as one…we wouldn’t go through so much demoing and kind of early development of our sound. We know where we’re at and what we want to do… So, yeah, it does feel like it’s taken time, but I’m not surprised, really.”

Famed producer Stephen Street was called into work on Life in Film’s ‘Here It Comes’, so I ask him if any or all of their band were fans of his work with the Smiths or Blur. “Very much so. We love the Smiths, and we love Blur. So when originally thought there was the possibility we might be working with him after we managed to get a demo under his nose and he listened to it, he offered to work with us on a couple of tracks, and we were really buzzing about it. It went really well and we got on with him really well, and we managed to get him to agree to do the whole album. So yeah, it was a really exciting experience, to learn from him, from a person with those kind of credentials.”

I asked further if knowing about Street’s storied work history made it harder to work with him in the studio. “I think it was a bit intimidating, initially”, Samuel admits, “because he’s worked with all these amazing musicians. But he’s used to working with so many talented people. But to be honest, as soon as you meet the guy and you chat to him, he immediately puts you at ease completely. He’s a really down to earth bloke. So very quickly, we felt very relaxed in his company, and it was a nice process to go through, basically.”

He then reveals to me he got a super special moment with a super special piece of equipment in Street’s studio: “I got to play Graham Coxon‘s guitar…well, Stephen lent to Graham Coxon [for] the first time he played the telly, a Telecaster apparently. And he let me borrow it for some of the songs. It has a really amazing sound, that Telecaster vintage sound, and I was playing Graham Coxon’s guitar…and I was really chuffed about that!”

I ask Samuel if he has a favourite song off the album. “I personally like ‘Anna’ [‘Anna Please Don’t Go’],a song Ed wrote. I think it’s got such a nice pop song kind of structure, but it’s got so much sentiment. It’s always been a favourite of mine, personally. I think as a band, we all like ‘Forest Fire’ quite a lot because for the recording process for that, we got a lot of different instruments and loaded them up, and it all fell together nicely. I think we achieved something quite atmospheric with that one.”

We touch back on the show in Toronto they played less than 48 hours previously and in a city some 750 kilometres behind them. “That first show in Toronto, the reception was brilliant”, muses Samuel. “We couldn’t have asked for more, really. Everyone’s been really friendly. So now it’s on for tonight in Philadelphia.” Many more shows and many more drives are up ahead for Life in Film during this lengthy stint supporting the Wombats around the continent, and I’m confident our audiences will take to their engaging songwriting.

Thanks very much to Samuel for chatting with me, and Anna and Jonny for helping sort out this interview.

 

Live Review: Kodaline with Gavin James at 9:30 Club, Washington DC – 23rd April 2015

 
By on Monday, 27th April 2015 at 2:00 pm
 

It’s always nice to see a band you’ve been supporting since their humble beginnings, when barely anyone knew they were, playing to a massive and loudly and vocally supportive crowd in your hometown. This is exactly what happened last Thursday night when Kodaline came to Washington for their third visit to our city, playing at their largest venue in DC to date, the venerated 9:30 Club. Their opener for their current North American campaign is Gavin James, who I saw play before Kodaline Friday at the Great Escape 2013 at an afternoon showcase at Audio (now reopened and rebranded as Patterns), sponsored by Music from Ireland.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure how Gavin James was going to go down with American crowds, seeing that he’s not exactly a household name here like Kodaline is. However, I should have just gone off what transpired when Snow Patrol made the fateful decision to bring their new friend Ed Sheeran on their spring North American tour in 2012. (We all know what happened after that…) Based on the screams of delight that nearly rivalled those received by Kodaline themselves, I’d reckon James has a very good shot of doing well here in the States. His heartfelt, tear-jerky songwriting and soaring voice were well received by the overwhelming female audience, as was his self-deprecating humour. He apologised for his Irish accent, “You probably won’t understand what I say. I’m like an Irish leprechaun Speedy Gonzales.”

Though Speedy wears a cute yellow sombrero, he’s got nothing on Gavin James. In set opener ‘For You’, he channelled the abject loneliness within an ending relationship. A childhood flame is remembered fondly in ‘Remember Me’, and James displays the full emotion of remembering what seemed like a perfect love when young and innocent when the track is performed live. For ‘Coming Home’, he enlisted crowd assistance for additional voices, which punters were only too eager to provide. The ginger singer/songwriter also took the chance of taking his guitar into the crowd on the floor at 9:30 to play a song; mobile phones from seemingly all over snapped photos and shot video of James performing, further endearing him to the punters. All in all, it was an excellent and memorable debut in Washington for an artist from abroad.

Generally, I don’t agree with bands touring a new album straight after its release. It doesn’t give fans enough time to sit and listen to the album carefully, which leads the sing-alongs (if you’re a sing-along type of band, anyway) to fall flat. Why purposely give yourself an uphill battle? Kodaline’s spring 2015 North American tour did exactly this, starting over the pond here the week ‘Coming Up for Air’ (my review here) dropped on our continent, but I guess the argument could be made that for the February release of the UK version, British fans were only given a week to learn the new album before that tour started too.

The reason I bring this up: while the deafening reception to the songs off their 2013 debut ‘In a Perfect World’ (my review here) made total sense, only the early singles from ‘Coming Up for Air’ has similar but surely less manic responses, which is a shame because I actually liked the second album better than their first, and its songs deserved a better response. New album track ‘Ready’, which would have been my choice of single over ‘The One’, kickstarted their energetic set, but one has to wonder if it had been placed further down the set list, would it really have gotten the same response? To be fair, ‘The One’ has personal significance to the band, with frontman Steve Garrigan explaining dryly that it was dedicated to their married friend Phil and Fiona, whose wedding they attended and “forgot” to bring a wedding present to, so they were ‘forced’ to come up with a song for the occasion.

‘Unclear’, which on record is punctuated by a beautiful children’s choir, didn’t have the same impact live without it; conversely, the brasher, guitar squealing ‘Play the Game’, imploring us to “dream bigger!”, is tailor made for a larger-scale production Kodaline are overseeing on this tour, which is seeing them play venues at least 2 times bigger than their last tour in winter 2014, during which they played our U Street Music Hall. And about the production values: with a pretty spectacular light display onstage, you can see how if the Irish band play their cards right, they’re set up to play and wow crowds at stadiums. As the t-shirt hanging above the merch table reads, “I’m ready for it all”, Kodaline seem poised to do just that.

However, somewhat disappointingly to me, it was left to the hits from ‘In a Perfect World’ to really send fans into a frenzy. ‘High Hopes’, with Garrigan stood not sat in front of his piano, was so well received, punters’ voices singing in the club in unison so loudly, half the time Garrigan didn’t need to sing the lead vocal. Predictably, ‘All I Want’ ended the night on a high note, but in an interesting turn of events, Garrigan invited Gavin James back onstage to share lead vocal duties on the song, thus introducing a nice change from the live version we’ve come to know after the last 2 years. Time will tell how well ‘Coming Up for Air’ will age compared to ‘In a Perfect World’, but at the moment, their live performance hits all the right notes for their devoted fan base.

After the cut: Kodaline’s set list.
Continue reading Live Review: Kodaline with Gavin James at 9:30 Club, Washington DC – 23rd April 2015

 

Live Gig Videos: Songhoy Blues perform upcoming single ‘Soubour’ and on Later…with Jools Holland

 
By on Tuesday, 21st April 2015 at 4:00 pm
 

Mali-born band Songhoy Blues arresting performances at SXSW 2015, including the Transgressive Records showcase Carrie covered on the Tuesday night of the festival, kept punters spellbound and with good reason. If you’re still in need of convincing, the band have released a new live performance video of them playing ‘Soubour’, a new single that is released on the 11th of May on Transgressive.

It also just so happens that the band appeared on Later…with Jools Holland recently, and you can also watch their performance from the telly below as well.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4FqZg12g7g[/youtube]

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SYxSD-k3m0[/youtube]

 
 
 

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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 was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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