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Reading 2016: Friday Roundup

 
By on Tuesday, 30th August 2016 at 2:00 pm
 

It’s that time of year again, when British youths have their GCSE results and they all descend upon either the city of Reading, or its Northern counterpart for this weekend, Leeds. Reading and Leeds festivals are a coming of age experience for the UK’s youth, and they use this opportunity to let go. Luckily for them, Reading and Leeds always have a lineup that fits this criteria, and this year is no different.

The Friday at Reading was opened by Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls on the main stage, which is the perfect way to kick off any festival. No-one encapsulates what a festival atmosphere should sound like more so than Turner, with his acoustic blend of heartfelt tales and punk rock ethos. The shining sun only cemented this feeling and for the rest of the day.

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes once again proved that festivals really are their thing. Being the first time he’d come to play the main stage at Reading, Carter made sure to make the most of this opportunity by making his way into the crowd, then leading around over 100 members of the audience on a chase around the sound desk and back again. Carter is never one to disappoint, and he did more than deliver this time.

Over on the Festival Republic stage, The Sherlocks and their soon-to-be tour mates Blaenavon both delivered fantastic sets that were met with great reception by the packed out tent, both revelling in the afternoon crowds’ welcome. At the same time, grime supergroup Boy Better Know were on the main stage proving why grime is currently one of the UK’s most promising and domineering genres. Flames included.

CHVRCHES took to the main stage as the sun began to set, and their performance could not have gone on at a more apt moment. Being the third time the band had played the festival, yet the first time on the “big boy/girl stage” as singer Lauren Mayberry put it, it was a moment that was enjoyed and surely to be remembered by both fans and band. The crowd by this point were fully into their weekend fun, so the reception CHVRCHES got was joyous and enthralled. Their early single ‘The Mother We Share’ ended the set on a particularly highest of highs.

Continuing the main stage festivities, Disclosure absolutely dominated the capacity crowd, drawing the largest crowd of the day so far. With a set filled with floor fillers and anthems, they were the perfect warm-up for what was to come from co-headliners Foals. At the same time, at The Pit tent, American rockers Thrice gave a performance that was heartfelt and connected with the modest audience like no other did during all Friday.

Being the Reading leg of the twin festivals, Foals were the final headliner on the first night. Even before they took to the stage, this was bound to be a momentous occasion for the Oxfordians, surely an act you should simply not miss out on when given the chance. It’s worth noting that Sunday’s co-headliners at Reading were Biffy Clyro, who first made their way to the upper echelons of the lineup back in 2013, proving that it’s not a feat that happens just once. Foals debut Reading headline slot not only delivered, but completely proved they’ve rightly earned their place as top billing at one of the countries most sought after slots.

From their early position as indie newcomers with their debut ‘Antidotes’ back in 2008 to now headlining Reading festival, Foals have been on a continuous meteoric rise. A set that included ‘Cassius’, a rare treat in their UK headline set after being removed from constant rotation back in 2010, along with fan favourites ‘Inhaler’ and ‘What Went Down’, it was a moment in history for the Foals timeline, and they made sure that it was remembered that way. Ending with ‘Two Steps, Twice’, for which co-headliners Disclosure also made an appearance, along with pyrotechnics, crowd surfing and fans’ complete devotion, this was Foals’ moment. They seized it, ran with it, and now the future is theirs. In the now immortalised words of frontman Yannis Phillippakis, it was “pretty fucking magic”.

 

Live Review: Everything Everything with Night Kitchen at U Street Music Hall, Washington, DC – 8th October 2016

 
By on Thursday, 11th August 2016 at 2:00 pm
 

More photos from this show are available on my Flickr here.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: there is something very special about witnessing a band from the UK you’ve known and loved for years making a meaningful connection with an American audience. The number present for the Everything Everything show Monday night at U Street Music Hall wasn’t the largest on this short East Coast tour for ‘Get to Heaven’; the Music Hall of Williamsburg gig in Brooklyn last Thursday takes that honour.

Being a DC native, I have understandable bias for shows in my hometown, especially those that elicit this kind of incredible response, and on a Monday night. It should be noted that the crowd was so heterogenous, highly unusual for a DC show usually made up of teenagers and young professionals. Young and old, male and female, regardless of age or persuasion, the devotion expressed to a band making their home some 3,000 miles across the Atlantic was vocal. And loud.

Night Kitchen 2 - U Street Music Hall

The opening band for the evening was local band Night Kitchen. I think it’s a safe assumption that upon seeing the childhood images of Hungry Hungry Hippos on a band’s EP that the band in question doesn’t take themselves too seriously. In the span of their 30-minute set, beardy, bespectacled frontman and defacto spokesman for the group Jordan Levine cracked a joke about the headliner (“How is everyone everyone doing tonight?”), and extolled the virtues of Thai iced tea (“Make it part of your life!”) and generally made for a light atmosphere that I’m sure was welcome for the youngest of gig-goers.

Night Kitchen 3 - U Street Music Hall

As for the music, Night Kitchen quickly proved why they were a good fit to perform with Everything Everything. With a similarly eclectic aesthetic, their sound takes cues from indie and funk and their songs have crazy titles. How does ‘title of first track of EP’ strike you? Breaking up their originals was a cover of Gary Numan’s breakthrough megahit ‘Cars’. It was most surprising in that there was no synth present onstage, and yet bolstered by Wyatt ‘T’ Rex’s bass playing, it worked amazingly well. Drummers don’t usually have their own cheering section, but their Emmett Parks did.

2016 marked the year that Everything Everything finally had an American release for one of their albums, for their most recent ‘Get to Heaven’, that had already been unveiled to the British public in June 2015. As long-time TGTF readers know, we’ve had a long affinity for their weird and wonderful music, going back to the 2010 Mercury Prize-nominated ‘Man Alive’. In some ways, you can say we’ve grown up together. They’ve come a long way since their BBC Sound of 2010 longlist nod, yet they’ve maintained their individuality and remained uncompromising about the music they make.

Everything Everything 2 - Alex Robertshaw and Michael Spearman - U Street Music Hall

‘Get to Heaven’ is the band’s most outspoken release to date and yet, most songs framed within pop structures, it gets the job done in catchiness while also conveying serious themes. I hadn’t been able to see them play this album properly outside of SXSW 2016 and a support slot with the Joy Formidable earlier this year. This time, playing their first headline show in Washington, the listener was afforded a special peek into this LP, while also being offered choice cuts from their back catalogue. It’s reasonable to expect the kind of enthusiastic reaction from singles ‘Kemosabe’ and ‘MY KZ UR BF’, the latter leading to a mass “whoa-oh-oh” singalong led by ringmaster Jonathan Higgs. The bass-heavy ‘Regret’ and ‘Schoolin’’ bolstered by the impressive chops of Jeremy Pritchard and the last-minute addition of ‘Photoshop Handsome’ to open the encore were nothing short of beautiful.

Everything Everything 8 - Alex Robertshaw and Jonathan Higgs - U Street Music Hall

In contrast, more challenging and less pop album tracks ‘Warm Healer’ followed by ‘Zero Pharoah’ require closer, more intellectual appreciation, the kind of appreciation that is lost on record. Michael Spearman’s atypical drumming on ‘Warm Healer’ don’t follow anyone’s past formula, yet act as a fantastic driver to the song. You can’t help be drawn into the weirdness of the rhythm. The live version of ‘Zero Pharaoh’, which on record left me cold when I was reviewing the album last year, was peerless. Lead guitarist Alex Robertshaw’s guitar lines act as a melodic driving force in Higgs’ analysis of greedy men in power, and it’s a less obvious masterpiece on the album in the shadow of ‘Regret’ and set closer ‘Distant Past’.

Everything Everything 4 - Jonathan Higgs and Jeremy Pritchard - U Street Music Hall

Whether it was the emphatic shouting back to Higgs on ‘Spring / Sun / Winter / Dread’ or the awkward boogie to ‘Fortune 500’ and ‘The Wheel’, you couldn’t find a fan in the room who wasn’t jubilantly happy with the band’s performance. The DC gig may not have been their biggest in America yet, but Everything Everything should now have the confidence to undertake a larger tour of our continent the next time they return to our shores. I, for one, can’t wait for their return.

Everything Everything 11 - Jonathan Higgs - U Street Music Hall

After the cut: Everything Everything’s set list.
Continue reading Live Review: Everything Everything with Night Kitchen at U Street Music Hall, Washington, DC – 8th October 2016

 

Live Gig Videos: Heyrocco play ‘It’s Always Something New’ and ‘Yeah’ at a South Carolinan bar

 
By on Wednesday, 3rd August 2016 at 4:00 pm
 

Hey man! Heyrocco is an American trio from South Carolina who might sound familiar to you, especially if you’re a regular reader of our live reviews here. I saw them last year, supporting Philadelphia’s Cold Fronts. They were quite memorable. I mean, how can you forget a band whose frontman is dressed up in a hot dog suit?

The band have an EP out now, ‘Waiting for Cool’, described on the press release as “a collection of 6 Weezer-when-they’re-on-form like alt-rock numbers”. Piqued your interest yet? ‘Yeah’ is a track from the new EP, and the trio – simply known as Nate, Cool and Taco – have recorded video of them performing the track, filmed at a popular neighbourhood haunt in downtown Charleston called The Royal American. Also included below is a live recording from ‘It’s Always Something New’ from the same live session. Enjoy both below. The ‘Waiting for Cool’ EP from Heyrocco is out now from Vital Music Group in the UK and Europe and Dine Alone Records in the rest of the world.

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

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgNJPO8p4pk[/youtube]

 

Leefest 2016 Interview: Michael Spearman of Everything Everything

 
By on Tuesday, 2nd August 2016 at 11:00 am
 

“I guess it’s something we’ve had to learn, the learning of having to try and fill the room and when it’s an outdoor space, especially a big stage like The Other Stage [at Glastonbury], you have to sort of throw it to the back and exaggerate things a bit more”. Everything Everything drummer Michael Spearman (second anticlockwise from far right in the header photo) is currently discussing the band’s approach to playing festivals, especially after last year’s triumphant set at Worthy Farm. Spearman continues: “we’re still at that quite nice stage where we do sometimes play arenas with other bands or we play a small show, it keeps it interesting to mix it up. I think in general (singer) Jon’s always kind of adapting what he’s doing, working the space with a certain amount of charisma, which we like, [seeing] that in other bands that we see live. Watching Foals [their recent European tour mates] a lot, touring with them, they’re not stood there looking at their shoes, it’s quite an active engagement”.

Watching Everything Everything live is where you see the nature of their sound come to life. A live show filled with presence and projection, the band have no issue in staking their claim. “It doesn’t feel like we’ve trapped ourselves in to like a corner or anything. In a way, we’ve kind of made it so we can be unexpected, and people cannot necessarily know what they’re going to get from us live or on the record, but on the whole, we feel we’ve got a lot of freedom in these different areas”. This is a natural evolution for bands, especially as they release newer material. Elaborating, Spearman offers, “we’ve done three albums now and people know, for better or worse, what to expect with us a little but and I suppose that’s quite liberating in a way. We’ll also tweak the set list maybe a little bit just to make a slightly more direct engagement because some of the very small intricacies can get lost, kind of like in an arena. So I think we’ll always have our essence to us even if we play a totally different set list, we are who we are”.

Everything Everything performing live at the Low Four Studio launch in Manchester, May 2016
Everything Everything performing live at the Low Four Studio launch
in Manchester, May 2016 (watch here)

The power of Everything Everything has been strengthening since 2010’s ‘Man Alive’. Last year’s ‘Get to Heaven’ showed the band at their most unrelenting, something that Spearman agrees with. “I think the last record in particular, we didn’t want any let up until maybe the last song, and that was quite a conscious thing. The one before that (2013’s ‘Arc’) was a little bit more evenly paced, it had a bit more sort of time to it”. As their sound develops, so does the approach to give a lot more respect for those aspects that might even go unnoticed. “You know the Coen Brothers [film directors], they always talk about directing a film is totally tone management. You can’t have one scene that’s one thing and another that is too far the other way and still have a constant flow. We kind of think about that, not at first, because that’s just let’s write some songs, and then it just starts to crystallise and take some shape and you think ‘okay, we feel we want to have these songs on the record [and] not those songs’, so that we can do this with the record and that’s quite a nice feeling”.

In terms of the next natural progression to more new material, Everything Everything are already at work. with Spearman not revealing too much. “We haven’t really gotten to the lyrics yet, we’ve started writing, it’s coming quite easily, definitely easier than the last time”. Retrospectively, he remembers the process for ‘Get to Heaven’: “the first few months of the last record was a bit of a slog, and we were kind of starting to wonder what we’re doing. Then we had to sort of discard all of the songs that we had and start again, that was quite tough. This time, we kind of want to have fun with it and enjoy ourselves a bit, and so far that’s happening. We’re trying to be a bit more relaxed and easy going and, not to say the lyrics will end up like that, but in terms of the writing process, we’re trying to not put too much pressure on ourselves”.

This week also sees the band take to North America. With a sound such as theirs, Spearman describes the difficulties in translating such extremities to newer shores. “We’re quite specifically British, eccentric sounding, but I think some Americans like that. We’ve maybe made our lives a bit more difficult by being weirder than some bands, but then we wouldn’t feel like we’re not being true to ourselves. To be honest, we have a lot of work to do in America still, and we love going abroad and playing to different people, but we’re not at the same level that we are in the UK. And that’s okay, but it’s just a case of chipping away at it really.”.

If you happen to live on the American side of the pond, you can catch Everything Everything starting tomorrow night in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Wednesday 3rd August 2016 – The Sinclair – Cambridge, MA
Thursday 4th August 2016 – Music Hall of Williamsburg – Brooklyn, NY
Saturday 6th August 2016 – TIME Festival – Toronto, ON, Canada
Monday 8th August 2016 – U Street Music Hall – Washington, DC

 

Good Charlotte / August 2016 UK Tour

 
By on Wednesday, 22nd June 2016 at 8:00 am
 

Pop-punk icons Good Charlotte have announced short list of live dates in the UK around their appearances at Reading and Leeds Festivals in August. The band’s new comeback album ‘Youth Authority’ is due out on the 15th of July via MDDN / Kobalt. You can check out the tongue-in-cheek video for the album’s first single ’40 oz. Dream’ just below the tour date listing.

Good Charlotte are scheduled to play at Leeds on Friday the 26th of August and at Reading on Sunday the 28th, with the three headline dates happening around those performances. Support for Good Charlotte’s August headline shows will be played by Waterparks, Big Jesus and Roam (Birmingham only).

Tickets for the following shows are available now. TGTF’s previous coverage of Good Charlotte can be found right here.

Wednesday 24th August 2016 – Glasgow Academy
Thursday 25th August 2016 – Manchester Ritz
Saturday 27th August 2016 – Birmingham Institute

[youtube]https://youtu.be/MMp_xIUy8L4[/youtube]

 

Preview: Reading and Leeds 2016

 
By on Thursday, 4th February 2016 at 9:00 am
 

Header photo: Red Hot Chili Peppers by Ellen Von Unwerth

Along with Glastonbury and Download Festival, there is another festival, or pair of festivals rather, that are a staple of the UK festival scene. Reading and Leeds take place in the August bank holiday weekend, which this year falls on the 26th-28th of August.

Reading Festival is actually one of the UK’s oldest popular music festivals, having been around in its current format since the 1970s. It’s become one of the prime festivals in the indie/rock scene due to its ability to gather some of the biggest names in the industry, as well as the occasional controversial headliner.

This year proves to be no different. The first of the headliners announced were Red Hot Chili Peppers, who need no introduction. They’ve been around for over 30 years, had multiple successful albums and have transcended from hard to funk to rock and everything in between. As a festival exclusive, this is the only place you can see them on the festival circuit this year. Along with the Chili Peppers’ exclusive appearance, Reading / Leeds also have the poster boys of peace and rock Eagles of Death Metal, who after the horrendous events in Paris last year have powered on and united the music world more than ever. Along with ‘Eagles…’, Imagine Dragons and Two Door Cinema Club are also exclusive to Reading / Leeds.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DyziWtkfBw[/youtube]

Recently announced to join the bill with Red Hot Chili Peppers, we have a joint headline act with Foals and Disclosure, meaning one act will be the main headline at one site, and at the other site the roles will be reversed. This is particularly exciting because Foals, who have worked from house parties to festival headliner, are infamous for live shows that turn to a frenzy, with leading man Yannis Phillippakis ending up hanging from some form of metalwork or walking above the crowd. This spectacle will be paired alongside electronic brother duo Disclosure, who have had a string of hits that have created a boost of momentum in the dance/electronic movement and brought it back into the minds of the mainstream. It’s worth noting that this pairing is not under festival exclusivity, which means we may be seeing these names elsewhere.

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

Other notable acts for this gigantic festival are the Brit indie group The 1975, who by August will be on their second album, with their fanbase growing faster and faster. We also have The Courteeners, the Mancunian band keeping the spirit of Britpop and the attitude of Oasis alive, while also keeping it fresh. In fact, calling it Britpop would to be selling their sound short: it’s developmental and massive. They have rousing choruses and songs that can get anyone moving, it’s always a great pleasure seeing The Courteeners on a lineup, and they never disappoint.

With these latest additions, this lineup is certainly looking strong. The newly announced acts have given the festival a much more varied approach, with multiple genres being represented, including hip-hop with Fetty Wap.  Now we await the final headline announcement – the safe bet is on Biffy Clyro – and we hope Reading / Leeds keep up the quality and quantity they need to stay ahead of the game in this festival monopoly.

For more information and tickets visit http://www.readingfestival.com or http://www.leedsfestival.com.

 
 
 

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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. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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