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Arcane Roots / April and May 2015 UK Tour

 
By on Thursday, 26th February 2015 at 9:00 am
 

Alt-rock heavyweights Arcane Roots have just announced a massive UK tour in anticipation of their forthcoming full length release. The band have also hinted at a new single release around their UK live dates. They will finish this extensive tour with two shows at London Oslo, the first including a full performance of their mini album ‘Left Fire’ and the second comprising an interactive show where the band will take set list suggestions from fans.

In addition to this full month of touring, Arcane Roots are on the lineup for the Takedown Festival on the 7th of March, Live at Leeds on the 2nd of May and the 2000 Trees Festival on the 9th of July. Head this way for previous TGTF coverage of Arcane Roots, including several live reviews. Tickets for the following shows are available now.

Wednesday 22nd April 2015 – Belfast Sub
Friday 24th April 2015 – Sheffield Corporation
Saturday 25th April 2015 – Edinburgh Mash House
Sunday 26th April 2015 – Milton Keynes Craufurd Arms
Tuesday 28th April 2015 – Colchester Arts Centre
Wednesday 29th April 2015 – Brighton Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar
Thursday 30th April 2015 – Cambridge Portland Arms
Friday 1st May 2015 – Birmingham Institute Temple
Sunday 3rd May 2015 – York Fibbers
Tuesday 5th May 2015 – Liverpool Arts Club
Thursday 7th May 2015 – Oxford Academy 2
Friday 8th May 2015 – Nottingham Bodega
Saturday 9th May 2015 – Manchester Deaf Institute
Sunday 10th May 2015 – Newcastle Think Tank
Tuesday 12th May 2015 – Glasgow King Tut’s
Wednesday 13th May 2015 – Chester Live Rooms
Thursday 14th May 2015 – Bristol Exchange
Friday 15th May 2015 – Tunbridge Wells Forum
Sunday 17th May 2015 – Norwich Waterfront Studio
Tuesday 19th May 2015 – Exeter Cavern
Wednesday 20th May 2015 – Reading Bowery District
Thursday 21st May 2015 – Guildford Boiler Room
Friday 22nd May 2015 – London Oslo (part 1, ‘Left Fire’ in full)
Saturday 23rd May 2015 – London Oslo (part 2, fan assisted set list show)

 

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

 
By on Tuesday, 29th July 2014 at 2:00 pm
 

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

Following up from Itch, were a three-piece described by my camp next-door neighbours as “his new favourite band of the last year and a half”. Arcane Roots, have undergone an extraordinary rise through the ranks of British rock, to become one of the most well thought of bands in the UK at the moment. They’ve toured with the likes of Muse and Biffy Clyro and seem to be taking the same path as the Scottish behemoths of rock. Building an underground following with complex riffery, high-pitched screamery and dreamy beardery, they’re only a ‘Puzzle’ away from exploding onto the world scene in a big way.

At Upcote Farm, they opened with their newest standalone single ‘Over and Over’ and immediately began about dominating the vast stage, by swinging themselves around as they picked away. On the times I’ve seen Arcane Roots they’ve always opened with ‘Energy is Never Lost, Just Redirected’, which has a slow build up and normally has the crowd bursting with energy when the riff drops,. However in this shorter festival set, there were a few changes which meant the set as a whole was less fluid then in the past.

Still, the delivery from the three-piece was frenetic and superb and left a lot of the crowd joining in with my neighbour. “They’re my new favourite band! I’m going to download their back catalogue when I get home.” Success. (7/10)

I was surprised by this next act. Mainly due to the fact I forgot they were still a functioning entity, after being dropped by their label. But low and behold You Me at Six-lite… I mean Kids in Glass Houses strode onto stage as if not a year had passed since ‘Give Me What I Want’ had been the anthem(ish) of the year.

It was a joyful last hurrah from the Kids, seeing as they are ready to embark upon their farewell tour after 11 or so years of peddling pop-punk. The songs were catchy and poppy enough to sing along to, especially if you were one of the 1,000 girls clad in denim shorts that just aren’t big enough for you. Some of the older rock purists gathered around me near the sound desk scoffed at the lovelorn tales of teenage angst. I suppose Kids in Glass Houses are a generational thing.

But, to anybody who was looking for a shameless good time, as well as a little dance in front of the Main Stage the Welsh five-piece were exactly what the doctor ordered. Songs like ‘Undercover Lover’ may sound like they’ve been ripped from a High School Musical soundtrack, but in the Gloucestershire sunshine they proved popular. I won’t be one to shed a tear when the group say their final good byes, but after their bouncing, peppy 2000 Trees set, I certainly won’t be saying ‘good riddance’. (7/10)

From preppy, plucky, pop-punk plush to sweaty, sweary screamcore. Everybody in The Cave knew they were in for an ear battering from Trash Talk’s Lee Spielman. Having seen them for the first time only a week previously at Sonisphere, I knew unless I wanted to be caught up in a swirling mass of enforced circle pits, I should stand a good distance to the back of the circus tent which formed The Cave.

From the moment the four-piece arrived on stage the crowd were battered by wave after wave of short, sharp bursts of sound. Trash Talk aren’t the type to mess about and frontman Spielman isn’t the kind of man who enjoys the confines of a stage. No, he’s far more at home amongst the crowd, inciting violence at any opportunity and giving any punter a go with the microphone. (8/10)

Back at the Main Stage, Blood Red Shoes provided one of the most memorable sets of the weekend for two reasons. Firstly, for the fact that as a live outfit, the twosome are a superb band, with a great set of DIY credentials and a fast paced live show like none other. The other reason being that Laura-Mary Carter took offence (for good reason) with a fan in the crowd who looked like he was giving the band the Vs for the entire set. Not cool. Not cool at all and although I hate the word vibe, completely out of touch with the festival’s extremely friendly vibe. Carter midway through the set looked up, pointed in the crowd and told the offending gentleman that he was a “wanker” and he could “fuck off”. The only problem with that being, that pointing out from the Main Stage, half the crowd thought she was pointing at them and looked horror-struck at the accusations.

Unpleasantness aside, it’s no surprise that in the programme the Trees organisers claimed they’ve been trying to get Blood Red Shoes for a number of years. They’re still young, they’re innovative and even after 10 years of touring, they’re still one of the bands championing good, honest British rock music.

Drawing from their immense back catalogue and partly from their most recent self-titled album, the duo roared through an lively hour-long set where the band failed to miss a note. Steven Ansell played the drums like a man possessed and held no quarter when smashing two shades of shit out of the kit at times. Carter, fired up with rage, stomped around the stage like a rock goddess, full of fury and presence. (9/10)

Now, I had some reservations when I saw Band of Skulls (pictured at top) as the headline act on the bill. They put on a superb live show, of that there is no doubt. But do they have enough big tunes to close a festival? Even a small festival like 2000 Trees? How wrong I was proved over their hour and half set.

At quarter to 9 when the three-piece strode on stage, the light was just leaving the sky and the immense canopy behind the Main Stage was lighting up magnificently, showcasing all of the beauty I’d come to expect from the Upcote Farm stage.

Despite the glorious scenery around the stage, it was what was happening right in the middle of it all which held be captivated. Matt Hayward on the drums put in arguably one of the most perfect drumming performances that I’ve ever seen. The power behind every beat was insurmountable and sent a wave of bass across the small arena. It’s a good job Upcote Farm is out of the city, as if Hayward was smashing away at that time at Reading Festival, he’d have sent the entire population barmy with sleep deprivation. Hayward’s immense showing on the drums was matched by the marauding presence of bassist Emma Richardson, who strut about the stage like a giant. Finishing it all off was Russell Marsden, who took every opportunity to thank the ever-appreciative 2000 Trees crowd, who loved every second of the set.

I thought it was a risk playing their most well-known anthem ‘I Know What I Am’ early on in the set, but as a live outfit ‘You’re Not Pretty But You Got It Going On’ and ‘Death by Diamonds and Pearls’ were given a revitalisation and pumped out of the speakers with a ferocity which caused the Trees crowd to get worked up into a frenzy.

Every song had an enormous stomping beat to it and a singalong chorus to boot. The perfect end, to a superb day of British music – and undoubtedly unearthing headline talent of the future. (10/10)

Enjoying TGTF’s coverage of 2000 Trees 2014? More of John’s reports will post soon.

 

Live Review: Arcane Roots with Emp!re and Verses at London XOYO – 26th November 2013

 
By on Monday, 9th December 2013 at 2:00 pm
 

We were treated to the Sound of 2014 announcement last week but 2 weeks ago, revellers in London were treated to arguably the sound which has epitomized the new era of British rock music over 2013. Arcane Roots may just be on their first headline tour – in support of their impressive debut album ‘Blood and Chemistry’ – but after support slots with Muse and Biffy Clyro, they’ve honed their space-age inspired stage show into a formidable beast.

Before the Kingston three-piece took to the stage at XOYO we were treated to Emp!re, who did their best to rouse a reaction in the slowly building, Tuesday evening crowd. There was energy in abundance on show from frontman Joe Green as the band drew material from recent mini album, ‘Where The World Begins’, though Green’s Daron Malakian-esque wail wasn’t entirely well received by the early punters. Whilst even their chest pounding anthem ‘Black Heart’ struggled to rouse the crowd, as many decided to hang by the bar with a pint, instead of jumping in to the pit. They’re a band in their infancy though and in Green they have a frontman with levels of energy bordering on the hyperactive that any crowd will warm to.

In stark contrast to Emp!res, Verses were a less-than-striking mix between You Me at Six and We Are the Ocean. The main issue being that with both of those acts, you’ve got tub-thumping songs with soaring choruses the entire audience can shout back, whereas with Verses there was a lack of any real hooks for the crowd to grab on to. To that end, Verses set fell slightly flat, as Jason Danzelman’s voice got lost in to the roar of fenders which accompanied him.

A shortage of hooks to drag in the punters was not a concern that headline act Arcane Roots had to worry about, as they drew material from their debut full-length album ‘Blood and Chemistry’ and last year’s EP ‘Left Fire’.

As Andrew Groves, Daryl Atkins and Adam Burton arrived on stage and plucked the first chiming chords of ‘Energy is Never Lost, Just Transferred’, the slightest of grins was already etched across Groves’ face. “Forlorn your heart / this scratch will leave a mark” and with a screech, all hell breaks loose in a melee front of the stage, limbs fly as Groves and bassist Burton throw themselves around the stage, unleashing a tirade of Marr-inspired riffage on the capacity XOYO crowd.

Chaos ensues as the band’s latest single ‘Resolve’ evokes a mass singalong, with the audience roaring back, “Am I ever worth the wait? / Will it feel like I was never there / As I cannot live with what I’d say to you / If I save me, will you heal yourself? / As my bones grow old from needing a resolve”. Fans who’ve only just discovered the band will have been pleased by the ‘Blood and Chemistry’-dominated beginning of the set. However at the midpoint, Groves with the sheer enormity of the support in front of him, almost tearfully dedicated the furiously frantic ‘Million Dollar Question’ from ‘Left Fire’ to the fans who ‘have been there since the start’. If that wasn’t enough for the hardcore Roots fans in the crowd, this was followed by a sped-up version of ‘In This Town Of Such Weather’.

By this time, with the frothing mass of writhing flesh moshing in front of the stage having hardly relented, you’d expect there would be an element of tiredness amongst them – however, that was as far from the reality – as the one man got a bit carried away and got on to the stage, prompting the band’s tour manager to unceremoniously nudge him back in to the arms of the rousing crowd.

Groves shows off his incredible ability with a guitar on ‘Triptych’ as he is joined by Danzelman of Verses, as the former proceeds to not miss a note throughout the complex song. To finish of a rather splendid evening we were treated to the spellbindingly beautiful ‘You Keep Me Here’ – a perfect mix of power and loveliness – as Groves laments, “love, you’re better for me”.

 

10 for 2014: #6 – Arcane Roots

 
By on Friday, 6th December 2013 at 11:00 am
 

A band who started out gigging and recording in 2007 are probably seen as a strange addition to a list of the bands whose sounds will sculpt your 2014. But 2014 will be the year in which everybody and anybody has their heads turned by this Kingston Upon Thames three-piece.

Arcane Roots screamed their way in to my attention with their cover of Nirvana’s anthem ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, which provoked a mixed reaction from the twitter/blogosphere: a spread of opinions that ranged from utter revulsion in the way only commenters on a YouTube video can (Joe Jordano says, “Nice way to make a hit into the worst song I ever heard, the lead singer should consider taking some shotgun mouthwash. NIRVANA RULES, THIS SUCKS!!!”, to some people commenting that they felt it was a great take on an original classic. Covering a classic song, by a band with a cult following like Nirvana is always going to bring you in for criticism, but being ballsy and having a bit of flair while doing it is a definite way of getting in my good books.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XW7kEcw31Y[/youtube]

It’s that spirit of adventure, of innovation which reminds me (WARNING: inevitable comparison because the bands are mates and the lead singer looks a bit like Simon Neil, oh, and they sound similar) of Biffy Clyro, in their ‘Blackened Sky’, ‘The Vertigo of Bliss’ and ‘Infinity Land’ eras. Songs like ‘Energy Is Never Lost, Just Redirected’ and ‘Million Dollar Question’ would fit nicely in any of these records, whilst the anthemic choral hooks of ‘You Are’ and ‘Slow’ wouldn’t be amiss in ‘Puzzle’, ‘Only Revolutions’ and ‘Opposites’. However, it should be noted that Arcane Roots err on the heavier side of the post than the bonny Scots, bringing a more fret-wobbling sound then Biffy.

With tour support slots with Biffy Clyro and Muse, their obvious potential has been seen. 2014 will be a year of consolidation after the release of ‘Blood And Chemistry’ in 2013, but with a relentless work ethic and a live set which brings a mound of carnage in their wake, they most certainly will be one of THE rock bands to watch in 2014.

 

Interview: Arcane Roots at Reading 2013

 
By on Monday, 23rd September 2013 at 11:00 am
 

To say Arcane Roots have only just hit the scene would be incredibly naïve. The arrival with ‘Blood and Chemistry’ in 2013 can only be likened in senses of arrival to the impending noise of a bomb whistling above your head and crashing down near you, with the sonic boom passing over you and sending your eardrums into overload. ‘Blood and Chemistry’ has to be described as their breakthrough, but for a band who have been around since 2005, the dues have most definitely been paid by the Kingston-on-Thames hailing three-piece.

I was lucky enough to watch the band at their most raucous and raw, when they played at Liverpool Sound City 2013 at Screenadelica. Our head photographer Martin Sharman, who up to then had been enjoying the acts from a distance, jumped headfirst into the undulating, sweating masses of writhing flesh who were enjoying the heaven for head-banging that was Arcane Roots’ set.

A few months on and they’ve conquered stadiums with titans of progressive rock, Muse and now Daryl Atkins and Adam Burton find themselves face to face with me, backstage at Reading Festival, following a chaotic set on the Lock Up/Rock Stage. Frontman Andrew Groves is busy attending to other media commitments, but that doesn’t keep him away for long.

With the Sunday performance being their first-ever show at Reading Festival it was obvious that drummer Atkins had thoroughly enjoyed the experience: “We played Leeds on Friday which was alright, but with Reading it seems like we are all really happy with it.” To anyone who had the privilege to watch their set, that answer will probably be met with a big shrug and a “well duh!” Why? Well you only had to look on the math-rocking threesome to see the Cheshire Cat-style grins creeping across their faces every time a circle pit opened up.

“It’s really good when people are passionate about our music, they go crazy and they get into it. You can only tell so much when you are on stage, what things sound like. I mean, you have a sort of monitor engineer and a house engineer and we brought our own front of house engineer who mixed the album and knows it well, so it sounded great.”

Bassist Burton chipped in with his perspective on how well the set went, in the tight confines of the Lock-Up, with limbs flailing in front of him: “As long as everyone is having a good time out front and they want to go crazy with the sun out and everything, then we’re going to have fun.”

Normally when you talk to a band after a triumphant Reading Festival set, the answer you’re inevitably given is that THIS was the festival they went to. A kind of Mecca for rockers, misfits and the men and women destined to grace the stages of the future? Not Arcane Roots though. “We’ve never been to the festival, never at all and everyone seems really surprised about it. In fact, the only major festival I’ve been to is the Isle of Wight Festival.” As an islander myself, I resist the urge to gush about proper sand, island life and sheep.

After explaining to the duo of Daryl and Adam that ‘Blood and Chemistry’ has effectively been the soundtrack to the last 2 months of my life, waking me up for those harsh breakfast shifts and delivering a sucker-punch to my eye ducts to remove the sleep dust during the commute to work- we’re joined by a splendidly-dressed Andrew Groves (the nicest man in rock, sorry Dave Grohl).

Andrew is resplendent in the gear he wears for the ‘Belief video’, which if you haven’t watched it yet, is Arcane Roots at their best. We reminisce about how I chatted with Andrew in May at the Great Escape 2013 for about half an hour about how the band’s name came about, how the album came together and why fish and chips in Brighton are fucking great, we move on to more important matters. Namely the burrito pedal, which Atkins explains: “Andrew was probably smiling so much on stage because he found the burrito pedal, which is a pedal for your rack which I’ve invented. You press it and then, WHOOSH out comes a burrito.”

The discussion quickly moves to the festival food of choice, a burrito, a pulled pork baguette? Suddenly I’m explaining to the band how I was watching Green Day on Friday covered in pulled pork and absolutely loving it. Slob rock, people, it’s the future.

Two weeks on from the festival ,and Arcane Roots as promised by the band on site have delivered a succulent headline tour to whet anyone’s appetite and after the experience of playing in stadiums with Muse has galvanised their sounds, can you imagine what the band will sound like in a small club, bar or venue?

Stop imagining. See you in November.

I’ll be in the pit.

 

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)

 
 
 

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