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SXSW 2013: Day 4 evening – hits and misses around Sixth Street, and Kilimanjaro and PRS for Music showcase at Latitude 30 – 15th March 2013

 
By on Wednesday, 3rd April 2013 at 2:00 pm
 

After a bit of a breathless afternoon running after Irish bands and in and out of venues on Sixth Street, I gave myself a break on official festival evening #4 at SXSW 2013 to have a civilised dinner at a steakhouse (paid for by a Christmas gift card from work) before I was out and about again for shows. The initial plan was simple: I was going to try and see a couple bands near and dear to some of my writers, capping off the night with one of my favourites. It didn’t entirely go to plan, but actually, later that night, things turned out better than I ever could have imagined…

The Virginmarys SXSW live

The first stop was dive bar 512 for the Virginmarys. This was the stop for WWJD, as in “what would John do?” The queue assembled outside the club was kind of what I expected: hard-looking men with or without long hair. Being a Friday, a lot of locals were trying to buy their way in with single tickets, but I was whisked right through the doors with my wristband. Then came probably one of the loudest, most punishing sounds I’ve ever put my body to the test with.

I really tried, John, I really did. But I could only hold my own against the Virginmarys for a grand total of two songs. It’s not uncommon for my body to feel like it’s vibrating when I’m seeing a dance band, but having the skin of my cheeks vibrating from a rock band some good distance away from me? Guitars crashed and the drums bellowed as frontman Ally Dickaty gave it his all in screamy, growly vocals. Yes, hard rock is alive and well in Macclesfield. You can be sure of that. While I made my getaway, I watched as Austinites headbanged with unbridled delight to the music. This band might not be for me, but they were definitely ticking off the boxes of many punters.

Jovanotti SXSW live

Next on my agenda was to head to Bethell Hall, a smaller multi-purpose room at St. David’s Historic Sanctuary, located in the same building where I’d seen the Communion showcase in 2012. I was going in that direction for the Dunwells, who Cheryl saw and interviewed in Washington when I was in hospital the previous month with flu. I had looked forward to that DC gig for so long and to have it robbed from me, the only recourse was to see them in Austin and say hello. In hindsight, I should have done some more research on what exactly this ‘Grammy Museum – Musical Milestones: 50 Years of the Beatles’ was. I arrived to hear the recognisable musical strains of ‘Yesterday’…sung in Italian. What?

I had been so confident – probably overconfident – that since nearly every showcase I’d attended had started and run late that week, I would have arrived just in time for the Dunwells. But instead on ‘stage’ was long-running and beloved by his countrymen arrist Jovanotti, oddly wearing a red knitted hat like the bassist in Y Niwl on Tuesday night at Huw Stephens’ UK Trade and Investment showcase. He made a joke about translating English into Italian isn’t always accurate, which caused a roar from the crowd. I frowned as he jauntily launched into an entirely Italian version of ‘I Saw Her Standing There’. As a longtime, longtime Beatles fan, let me just tell you, that is probably one of the weirdest moments in your life, hearing a song that is burned into your brain…but it’s an entirely different, unexpected form. Batting 0 for 2 so far for the night.

Getting to the church requires scaling a hill, and I flipped through my SXSW guide for where to go next. I decided to cut my losses and go back down the hill and straight to Latitude 30, even though I’d done no research for all but two of the bands playing there that night and had not expected to arrive so early. Helpfully, George Waite of the Crookes explained to me that Kilimanjaro was a tour promoter in Britain, so at least I knew the background of our hosts; the other ‘host’ was PRS for Music, who benevolently has granted many a UK band funding to come over to America for SXSW. I missed highly-feted Luke Sital-Singh and just hung out until the next band was due on stage. Okay. Can someone tell me when turtlenecks are ever necessary in Austin? I could say the same thing for red knitted hats, but this turtleneck thing was a first in the week.

Ruen Brothers SXSW live

The Ruen Brothers, actual brothers Rupert and Henry Stansall from Scunthorpe, get extra points for purposely coordinating their outfits and hair (white turtleneck and platinum blond hair; black turtleneck and dark hair) but I seriously questioned their wisdom wearing the turtlenecks *and* blazers even in the thick of an Austin night. Their bass player had a quiff to rival Boz Boorer‘s. This should have given the first clue to what kind of music they play. (In case you haven’t heard of Boz Boorer, he’s a rockabilly artist with his own band the Polecats but he’s also famously known as a guitarist of Morrissey‘s touring band.) And rockabilly is exactly what we got, with their lead singer fancying himself the second coming of Elvis, complete with the curled lip and swiveling hips and vaguely sounding like Roy Orbison. Okay, but not great.

Then we went from a bunch of guys in suit jackets to a bunch of kids in denim and t-shirts. China Rats from Leeds were in the building. I’ll admit, the one song that stuck with me when I looked them up for the TGTF Guide to SXSW 2013, ‘(At Least Those) Kids Are Getting Fed’, sounded pretty good live. I think what kind of irked me about them – and something that I am sure kids here in America will love and latch on to immediately – was the sneery, Sex Pistols-y, anti-establishment vibe I was getting from them.

China Rats SXSW live

And indeed, Nylon magazine here have already taken a shine to them, which shows how the tide back to guitar music has already turned here in this country: just a few years ago, the same rag was getting hot and bothered over Friendly Fires and Patrick Wolf. If anyone dares to remember, their grammatically incorrect debut single ‘To Be Like I’ is a lot sweeter and Beatle-y, sounding nothing like this punk version of themselves they are now. Similarly, ‘Take No Prisoners’ is a less frantic attempt at the Libertines. China Rats have been compared to the Clash and the Ramones by Clash Magazine, but hold up here: they’re very young and I think we need to see some longevity and in this version of the band before making any hasty comparisons!

You know how I was whinging about bands cancelling earlier in the week? This night, I was actually glad that another band I knew had cancelled, because I otherwise would have had to split the difference between a club on Red River Street, many, many blocks northeast and Latitude 30 for the 11 o’clock hour. With the other band cancelling, I was free to watch Sheffield’s Crookes without having to worry about having to up and go to see someone else.

The British Music Embassy at Latitude 30, from what I gather, is truly where British bands come to play, wanting – and needing – to shine while they are here in America. While I think ‘make or break’ is the wrong term to use because it is so final, you definitely want to bring your A game to your BME appearances, and for most bands, you only have one such shot all week to prove to the people watching you that you matter. And in some cases, that you deserve an American recording contract. For Reverend and the Makers and Cave Painting, Wednesday afternoon was when they needed to and did shine. For a poorly Jamie N Commons who did not appear on Friday night and was replaced by Berlin-based Englishman electronic artist Seams, it was an opportunity wasted. For the Crookes, they had a coveted evening slot on Friday night with I’m sure many industry folks in attendance.

The Crookes Kilimanjaro PRS SXSW 1

As a longtime fan of the Sheffield band since they got their first plays on BBC Radio and having seen them totally smash it at a daytime showcase for the Orchard at the Great Escape last year, I was now interested to see how the new songs from summer 2012’s ‘Hold Fast’ album would go down in Austin. As mentioned in my Friday afternoon report, there was a devoted American contingent of mostly Austin and Dallas natives who were following the Crookes around wherever they were playing. In 2010 I had a conversation with a punter and small time DJ from San Francisco at a Postelles show at DC9; I had recommended him that if he liked the Postelles, then he would probably like the Crookes as well. (Bit of trivia for you: both bands independently covered Wreckless Eric’s ‘Whole Wide World’. What are the odds? They were meant to be together!) “The Crookes? Who are the Crookes?” He gave me a look of confusion. And that is usually the expression I get when I tell anyone I know in DC about one “English band I like” or another. So to have a specific group of people who knew all the words to the songs, who knew when to clap or snap their fingers without being told by the band *and* them not being English themselves, that really blew my mind. I had serious reservations that I would be the only person at their shows singing along, but instead, I got drowned out!

As it should be, the band concentrated mostly on the new album material, but they couldn’t leave out old favourites ‘Bloodshot Days’ or ‘Backstreet Lovers’ (but of course). It was at this show that I fully came to appreciate ‘Where Did Our Love Go’, a song written for their former guitarist Alex Saunders, who left the band in 2011 to get a ‘real’ job: “you’re on the clock, I’m out of time / were you ever a friend of mine?…you work to live, I live to dance”. It’s a tender ode to a friend who used to be part of their tight unit of brothers, their gang, until reality ducked its head into their lives and changed things forever for the band.

It was then, as our merry group of revelers danced to the immortal words “I wonder if you know / we don’t dance alone!” that I was reminded why Daniel Hopewell’s lyrics are often compared to Morrissey’s in his Smiths days. There is something incredibly comforting in being able to dance your cares away, to lose yourself in a joyful melody, but wrapping yourself in lyrics that touch your heart in that moment and mean so much. Of the ones I have been able to decipher and put my finger on, Hopewell’s lyrics have always been a happy and emotional discovery to me and proven to me that the Crookes are not just four young, cute English boys who happen to play in a guitar band. While the first part of this is clearly true from their very devoted ‘Bright Young Things’ young fanbase who I’m guessing are mostly fond of the frenetic pace and carefree guitars of their seemingly happy-sounding songs, I’ve learnt how empathetically intellectual their songs are for me. I am keeping my fingers crossed that they will get signed here soon for the former reason and that the wealth we are being given from the latter will bleed over to the fans once they make it here.

The Crookes Kilimanjaro PRS SXSW 2

The crowning moment of their set was at the end, when they jumped into the crowd to do an impromptu version of ‘The Cooler King’. Hopewell was tasked to play acoustic guitar, while singer/bassist George Waite harmonised perfectly with guitarist Tom Dakin and drummer Russell Bates, all providing the requisite claps and wolf whistles to faithfully recreate the same feeling of the track from the album but in a live setting. Of course our group had to participate as well. Hopewell stated in a past interview with us that ‘American Girls’ was inspired by their first trip to SXSW in 2010; I hope that means that on the next album there will be a song written alluding to the magic of this night, because I don’t think it really gets any better at SXSW than this.

Just Like Dreamers
Maybe in the Dark
Where Did Our Love Go
American Girls
Bloodshot Days
Sal Paradise
Sofie
Afterglow
Backstreet Lovers
The Cooler King (acoustic and in crowd)

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2013: Singer/songwriter and folk UK artists showcasing at this year’s SXSW

 
By on Tuesday, 29th January 2013 at 11:00 am
 

Please note: all information we bring you about SXSW 2013 is to the best of our knowledge when it posts and bands scheduled to appear may be subject to change.

So here we are, the last week of January. Each Tuesday we’ve been bringing you genre ‘chapters’ of the UK bands that have been given the all important shout for this year’s SXSW 2013 taking place in venues across Austin the 12th to the 17th of March 2013. On the 8th of January, we brought you the pop and pop hybrid acts list, with a follow-up addendum on the 14th of January after the SXSW people updated their books on the 10th. The 15th of January saw the posting of the sound heavyweights, on the list of rock, metal and punk acts. Last week, on the 22nd, we wanted to showcase the wizards of the music world with the list of electronic and electronic-based bands and DJs.

This week? Possibly the genre that is most prolific – and the most crowded: the singer/songwriters and folk artists. Last week it was interesting to read that in an interview with SPIN, singer Scott Hutchinson of Scottish band Frightened Rabbit complained of being compared to current folk rock behemoths Mumford and Sons. Love ’em or hate ’em, they brought folk rock to the forefront of popular music and proved that that brand of ‘popularised’ bluegrass could be popular around the world. There is no doubt a whole new generation of folk rock artists that are being given a second glance, instead of being ignored, thanks to the hard work of Mumford and other acts soldiering on in this genre. And then there are the singer/songwriters: we may romanticise the image of a solitary, guitar-wielding man in front of a crowd, the reality is that there are both men and women who are pouring their hearts out into song, sitting in their bedrooms wondering what might be. In that respect, SXSW does its best in giving these folks the proper credit – and surely the proper platform – that might propel them into the big time.

What I had envisioned this weekly guide to be was simply a handy resource if you were wondering which acts to catch at this year’s marathon week of showcases, parties and secret shows. But even if you’re not attending the big event, I hope it’ll also introduce you to the solo artists and bands you haven’t heard of, because that’s the most exciting thing about SXSW: at any one moment, you could walk into a bar, a club, a hotel, a warehouse, wherever…and you might just discover the next big thing in music. And that isn’t limited to one place or one event. You can find new music anywhere. And without further adieu…

‘Allo Darlin – Australia collides with Britain in this folk pop band fronted by Elizabeth Morris. Their songs are so cute, you wish you could just pinch their cheeks! Martin caught them at the End of the Road Festival in 2011.

Sounds like: the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, with a female lead

Read our previous coverage of the band here.

Lauren Aquilina – This 17-year old is from Windsor, but knock off the Royal Family jokes, please. She independently released her debut EP ‘Fools’ in October, so what a coup to get the SXSW nod when you’re still unsigned!

Sounds like: Lucy Rose, Ellie Goulding (but minus the synths)

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

Jake Bugg (added 10/01/13) –Noel Gallagher’s young protégé who has already found fame in the last year at the Great Escape and Liverpool Sound City, the Nottingham native has made folk and country guitar rock popular again with his debut album

Read our previous coverage of Bugg here.

Bo Saris – blue-eyed soul delivered in a falsetto. It’s difficult for me to listen to, but if a Dutchman described as ” the new, male equivalent of the late Amy Winehouse” doesn’t make you shrink in horror…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-cUVZThQVs[/youtube]

Bwani Junction – Edinburgh band invoking the Afrobeat spirit of Vampire Weekend with their jaunty guitars. They even describe themselves as “Big Country were from the Soweto”. They made their Great Escape debut in 2012 with the Scottish contingent, so it seems only fitting that they make their SXSW debut this year.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbYjSamxS30[/youtube]

Matt Cardle (added 10/01/13) – the winner of the 7th season of the UK’s X Factor, it’ll be interesting if his popularity in Britain will translate into fame in America.

Jamie N Commons – Has singing the blues, just like plaid shirts, become trendy again? If yes, then Jamie N Commons is its poster boy. And if for some reason you miss him and you live in America, don’t fret: he’ll be supporting Lianne La Havas (his fellow BBC Sound of 2012 longlist alum also at SXSW) on her North American tour directly following the festival.

The Dunwells – it is unfortunate that in the post-Mumford and Sons world, other folk bands that came out in 2009 were left behind. Hopefully, Leeds’ Dunwells will use this opportunity in Austin (and New York in January and Colorado in March post-SXSW) to show everyone just how talented they are and they’re not Mumford wannabes.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDuv-cG5rtM[/youtube]

Paloma Faith – imagine my surprise to hear that Paloma Faith is now on my mum’s approved list, after watching her perform on Graham Norton. I’m kind of interested to see what kind of people would show up to see her in Austin: Amy Winehouse fans?

Read our previous coverage on Paloma here.

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

Fossil Collective – If you transported the Byrds to Leeds, what would they sound like? Probably something similar to Fossil Collective. I might have compared them to Fleet Foxes, except that in the press shots I’ve seen of Dave Fendick and Jonny Hooker, only one of them has a beard so…

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

For some mp3s and John’s review of their EP ‘On and On’, head here.

Goldheart Assembly – Having loved their 2010 debut album ‘Wolves and Thieves’, I felt like it’d been nearly forever since I last heard anything about Goldheart Assembly. When I checked on TGTF, the last thing I’d written on them, a post about their single ‘Harvest in the Snow’, was posted in March 2011. It’ll be 2 years, then, when they make their way to Austin, and not a moment too soon. Were they waiting for the Fleet Foxes love – and expected backlash – to die down? We’ll never know for sure, but I for one will be eager to see them live for the first time.

Catch all our previous Goldheart coverage here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeRse7-lXM4[/youtube]

Ed Harcourt – Compared to the other singer/songwriters on the SXSW list, Ed Harcourt is a relative granddaddy – at 35, he’s released five studio albums to date, with an sixth, ‘Back into the Woods’, to follow in late February 2013. ‘The Man That Time Forgot’, the first song to be offered up from the new album, can be downloaded for free here.

Robyn Hitchcock – When your own Web site is called ‘a museum’, you know you’ve paid your dues to the music industry. This is where cult singer/songwriter Robyn Hitchcock finds himself, revered in the UK for his English eccentricity, though I am very curious at the kind of turnout for his shows at SXSW and indeed, where they will have him play.

Jesca Hoop (added 10/01/13) – to some of us, she’s better known associated with Elbow. Not actually British (she’s a Californian transplant to Manchester after Guy Garvey discovered), she started with a very eclectic sound which turned decidedly poppier with ‘Hospital (Win Your Love)’, the last time we checked in with her.

Read our previous coverage of Hoop here.

James Hunter – from the same town as Lammo (Colchester) comes this r&b and soul singer, previously nominated for a Grammy for his 2006 album ‘People Gonna Talk’. This is exactly the kind of music I don’t usually seek out, so I’m rather keen to see him play. I’m imagining the scene to be as hopping as JD MacPherson’s at last year’s Great Escape.

Josephine – if Morrissey was a young black woman, he might just sound like Josephine. (And yes. I didn’t believe Paul Lester either until I heard ‘What a Day’.) I haven’t heard her debut album but I’ve been told the rest of it doesn’t sound Smiths-esque, so you can’t blame Manchester for it.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hngRpjPafI[/youtube]

Kodaline – Gary Barlow’s favourite new band from Dublin doesn’t show any signs of slowing down after getting a BBC Sound of 2013 longlist nod, We’ve written quite a bit about this band, so you can read all of that here. They have new EP out in March, and the promo video for its title track ‘High Hopes’ is below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4povfmX144[/youtube]

Cate Le Bon – Cate Le Bon is a breath of fresh air compared to most of the other Welsh acts tipped for 2013’s SXSW, which appear to all be thrashy, hard rock bands made up of men.

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

Sounds like: Beth Jeans Houghton with a fixation on death

Let’s Buy Happiness – happy guitar rock/pop band from Newcastle.

Sounds like: ‘Allo Darlin, without the harmonies.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-1nLr6Gl4I[/youtube]

Jim Lockey and the Solemn Sun – Jim Lockey sans band was the first band of the Xtra Mile Recordings showcase on my first night at SXSW 2012, so let’s see if he can manage to bring his entire band out for 2013. I think of his as ‘Frank Turner lite’, if that helps you imagine what he sounds like.

Read our previous live coverage of Jim Lockey and the Solemn Sun here.

My Darling Clementine – ‘country/soul’ duo from Birmingham by husband/wife coupling Michael Weston King and Lou Dalgleish. Long Facebook profiles seem overdone to me, so…

Willy Moon (added 10/01/13) – placing #6 in the TGTF 10 for 2012 readers’ poll, signing to Jack White’s Third Man Records, having one of his songs play on a new iPod advert in America? Willy Moon’s life just gets better and better. A little bit pop, a little bit soul, a little bit ‘50s styling for one hip sound.

Read our previous coverage on Willy here.

Tom Odell (added 10/01/13) – Having already won the BRITs 2013 Critics’ Choice award, the sky’s the limit for this Chichester-born singer/songwriter.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwpMEbgC7DA[/youtube]

Christopher Rees – Cardiff singer/songwriter that NME describes like this: “It’s not easy to achieve noise metal god status accompanied by a cello but Christopher Rees makes an awesome, bloody fist of it. Pumped up and snarling but managing to wrench beautiful tunes out of the wreckage… This is seriously amazing stuff”. This description has us intrigued!

Roo Panes – ‘classical folk pop’ is not a genre normally explored here, but I’m always up for a challenge. This is Andrew ‘Roo’ Panes’ project with a strong backing and voal harmonising band. He has already been singled out for his handsomeness, as Burberry chose him to model their autumn/winter 2012 collection. Given Mumford and Laura Marling‘s recent meteoric rise to fame in America, Roo Panes is the odds-on favourite to follow in their footsteps.

Sounds like: he should be signed to Communion, if Ben Lovett hasn’t come sniffing round yet

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGP-TnIoejk[/youtube]

Lucy Rose – We, of course, already knew how talented she was. But 2013 could just be the year that Lucy Rose breaks out of Bombay Bicycle’s shadow and becomes a huge worldwide success in her own right. Though I worry what would happen to Lucy if she suddenly became massive; would she stop doing the things like Tweet at her mother on Steve Lamacq’s Roundtable that make me go, “oh, bless!”? A scary prospect…

Read our previous coverage on Lucy Rose here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adBPg8Zdp2g[/youtube]

Paul Thomas Saunders – it must be hard to be Paul Thomas Saunders, a Leeds singer/songwriter in his late twenties and allergic to alcohol. But I guess he must use all that extra free time not boozing at the pub to write. Evidently I missed a “triumphant” appearance at last year’s Great Escape. Need to rectify that.

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

Jack Savoretti – part Italian, but that’s where any comparison to Paolo Nutini ends. Savoretti has already been on the road with Corinne Bailey Rae and shored up Radio2 support, but why isn’t he massive? Just wait until one of his songs gets synced on a major film soundtrack.

Sounds like: a harder, more pop Bob Dylan, a gentler Bruce Springsteen

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umBAmzf0SXs[/youtube]

Skinny Lister – this London folk band have already made quite an impact on America, through a previous appearance at SXSW and then an even more surprising appearance last year on the Vans Warped tour of North America. Could they be riding the Mumford wave? Possibly. Their debut album ‘Forge and Flagon’ gets an American release this month, so we’ll see if the momentum lasts.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsqaLfWMcp8[/youtube]

The Staves – three harmonising sisters with guitars from Watford who are no stranger to America, having toured here a couple times now with the (now defunct?) Civil Wars, I was surprised to see them get another turn at SXSW. If they do get an opportunity to sing in St. David’s again like in 2012, go, go, GO. You won’t be disappointed.

Story Books – Kent band sounding at times haunting and at times bombastic. Not really sure why they’re not more popular or, frankly, why we haven’t heard of them yet.

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

Richard Thompson – like Robyn Hitchcock, I’m not entirely sure what Richard Thompson is doing on a list of acts scheduled to perform at SXSW. Having already made a name for himself as a member of Fairport Convention and then with his wife Linda and now as a solo artist, I suspect he’ll be using the guest spot to advertise his latest album ‘Electric’, out in February.

Washington Irving – jaunty folk rock wrapped around a Scottish accent.

File next to: Arcade Fire

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

That’s it for the genre chapters in the TGTF Guide to SXSW in January. To not miss any of our SXSW 2013 coverage, bookmark this tag and of course, keep it here on TGTF for even more great content in the weeks leading up to the big event in March!

 

Festifeel 2012 Roundup

 
By on Tuesday, 19th June 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

The Queen has been on the throne for yet another year. This means we all get to go to festivals all weekend and no sooner had Bushstock, Field Day and the Applecart shut their dampened stalls had the Queen of Hoxton opened its doors for a day of frivolities in the name of breast cancer charity Coppafeel and Festifeel.

Dog is Dead: Image by Paul Hudson

The day starts early with a bright atmosphere in the dark basement as Dog is Dead take to the stage. It’s been a busy weekend for the group but they show no signs of fatigue and kick off the festival in winning style. Showing off both their sun-soaked tracks (fan favourite ‘Glockenspiel Song’ is a highlight) as well as their deeper side on set closer ‘Teenage Daughter’ shows they’re real contenders for act of the summer.

Following this come the disappointing ska meets indie Yes Sir Boss. TGTF hopes they have day jobs.  In stark contrast to this however, one lady who we hope doesn’t is rising star Kyla La Grange. Exuding both grace and grunge at the same time, the stylish singer shows she’s far more than an image with a short set of dark pop tracks from her forthcoming debut record. Her set is over far too quickly though, so TGTF goes for a wander about site.

Newton Faulkner

Laid out across three floors, the Queen of Hoxton is a peculiar yet logical place to put a festival. Today there’s a photobooth, popcorn, a huge barbeque and roof garden added to the bar and club aesthetic. A ukulele band roams about playing poorly enacted covers of ’80s tracks. It’s basically a normal festival in a bar! As with all good festivals, Newton Faulkner is present and his set on the roof garden is an enjoyable one. Completely unplugged, Faulkner teaches the crowd surrounding him lines and the tracks build from there. As such, he doesn’t get time to play many, but it’s certainly something to behold whilst the weather holds out.

It’s then back into the darkness for Slow Club. Having two records and preparing a third should make for an interesting set, but when you weight your half hour with zero tracks from the widely celebrated debut and sound shaky on the three new tracks given an outing, it makes for little short of disappointment. Still, ‘Two Cousins’ is always a highlight, so at least it’s not all a letdown.

Slow Club: Image by Paul Hudson

You get used to adjustments after a while but Lianne La Havas’ set being moved into the main bar (in which everyone moves between upstairs and downstairs, also, to the bar) was baffling to say the least, but once those having conversations were shushed and a microphone was found for Havas, her gorgeous tones shone through. The endearing nature of the young singer-songwriter took those assembled into a hushed admiration and the 20minute set ends with smiles all round, none more than Lianne herself.

Then it’s back up into the daunting clouds of the rooftop for two completely unplugged sets. First Jamie N Commons mixes his own material with covers from the likes of Pink Floyd, creating an atmosphere that brings people from the outskirts to sitting on the Astroturf infront of the London troubadour. Second comes one of the strangest, yet most enjoyable few minutes of the weekend as Angus Stone and his band take to the benches and play in a half hushed, half stunned silence. It would have felt like a lullaby had everyone not been stood up. Whatever it was, it was appreciated.

The View, you remember the View right? The band that did that song about jeans. Yeah, the View; they’re next down in the basement. The lighthearted join the ‘lads’ in the crowded space as the Scottish rockers power through 45 minutes without blinking. It’s energetic, but they’ve long lost their appeal. They didn’t even do that one song that everyone knows about jeans! That said, hearing a few hundred singing “the one I love the most has turned into a junkie” brought back some nostalgia in ‘5 Rebecca’.

Just like that, the weekend’s over. The Milk headline but fail to ignite as most people have already left. It’s been the strangest festival TGTF has ever been to, but that’s probably the appeal. Well done Coppafeel, Festifeel 2012 was a success.

 
 
 

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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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