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Live Gig Video: Enter Shikari perform ‘Gandhi Mate, Gandhi’ at London Hammersmith Apollo

 
By on Thursday, 18th October 2012 at 4:00 pm
 

Enter Shikari have released this live video from their sold out performance at London’s Hammersmith Apollo from March 2012. In it, they’re performing track ‘Gandhi Mate, Gandhi’. Watch it below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxGlykH3T-Q[/youtube]

 

Live Review: Johnny Foreigner with Bearfoot Beware and We Are the Physics at Leeds Brudenell Social Club – 11th March 2012

 
By on Thursday, 12th April 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

There’s something special about the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds. Maybe it’s the fact that they seem to have the most eclectic variety of acts on in their small space, regardless of the band’s size (The Subways played here last year not long before their show at London Koko [reviewed here] and Dry the River [album review here] are scheduled to make a stop here soon.) Maybe it’s the unassuming layout of half Social Club, half cone-shaped venue. Maybe it’s just the friendly atmosphere and affordable drinks. Regardless of the reasons, they’re always up for putting on a good night and so tonight, Johnny Foreigner and company roll into town.

The first act TGTF catches is Bearfoot Beware. The Yorkshire outfit are no stranger to the Social Club, and seem to have the confidence from that familiarity as they stride through their breed of indie math-rock with precision. Tracks such as ‘Catbus’ and ‘Lemon Curd’ capture the imagination and the group can be proud of their evening’s outing. It’s warm and static at the same time with the aesthetic of bedroom recordings whilst sounding professional. It’s a delicate balancing act, but they pull it off.

Lead support and tour buddies for tonight’s headliners, Scotland’s We Are the Physics are also in good spirits. Currently working on album number two, the group’s disregard for traditional time signatures doesn’t hold them back as far as crowd engagement going. With bobbing heads from the crowd, a buoyant WatP power through a selection of tracks that could be singalongs if the right amount of people were infront of them. The comparisons to the late Dananananaykroyd and the Futureheads are there, but it has to be said that these physicists (professions as of yet unconfirmed) occupy a slightly smaller niche. ‘Bulimia Sisters’ could be both of the aformentioned bands, but moves in different ways whilst a selection of others are slightly confusing, but somehow in a good way. We’ll keep a watch on these guys.

After yet again hitting almost every city in the country in short marathon stints of gargantuan stamina, Johnny Foreigner’s second UK tour in support of their third record ‘Johnny Foreigner Vs Everything’ (album review here) has really rallied them a dedicated fanbase, ready to singalong to anything thrown at them. Starting at various locations in the crowd, fronting duo Alexei and Kelly throw the aptly named ‘Johnny Foreigner Vs You’’s melancholy “somewhere there’s a party that you’re not invited to / I don’t know when but I’ll get there soon” around the small venue. It’s not got the same effect they might hope given this evening’s crowd, but it’s unique and for that reason, it works.

Playing a selection of material from across all three records and also throwing in ‘Champagne Girls…’ from their debut EP (all those years back) proves to create a brilliantly diverse setlist. In an age of predictable singles collections, JoFo know that their dedicated fanbase can take more. Singing along tentatively to everything including recently rejuvenated material from second album ‘Grace and the Bigger Picture’, those present are seeing the Birmingham trio on top form. New material in the form of ‘If I’m the Most Famous Boy…’ and ‘Hulk Hoegaarden…’ slots in with maturity and rock edge with the band’s style of indie-rock. Almost everything the band play these days ends up sounding even better than on record. Ending with ‘Absolute Balance’, Johnny Foreigner ghost off having made yet another lasting impact on the Brudenell. Things have broken (mainly bass-related), but tonight’s been electric.

 

Live Gig Video: Laura Marling performs new song ‘Once’ at BBC 6music 10th birthday celebrations

 
By on Wednesday, 11th April 2012 at 4:00 pm
 

Folky songbird Laura Marling, dressed in overalls, previewed new song ‘Once’ live, playing at BBC 6music’s 10th birthday celebrations last month. Watch the video of her appearance at the Southbank Centre below.

Marling’s latest single, ‘All My Rage’, was released earlier this month (on the 2nd of April) and its promo video can be watched here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vu68C4sjsfk[/youtube]

 

In Conversation and Live Review: Air Cav at Newcastle Dog and Parrot – 10th March 2012

 
By on Wednesday, 11th April 2012 at 1:00 pm
 

Air Cav have long been fêted by Manchester’s in-the-know commentators as one to watch. Yet despite plugging away since 2006, it was only at the tail-end of last year that the world finally got to hear the assertive beauty of long-awaited debut album ‘Don’t Look Indoors’. A clever blend of shoegaze, folk stylings courtesy of Sophie Nield’s pretty violin work, and never far away from the raucousness of punk, Air Cav are quite a unique proposition on record. TGTF caught up with them in advance of the penultimate date of their short national tour, to chat about the gestation of their album, the state of the Manchester scene, and being the musical equivalent of the city of Hull.

So how come it’s taken Air Cav so long since their first single in 2008 to visit Newcastle? Drummer Allan Gaskin takes up the story: “First of all, we took the time to perfect the live show, and learnt how to convert the songs so that they sounded good on record. We self-funded the album by begging, borrowing and stealing studio time. It’s been a long process, but we’re happy with the results, and the album has had a great critical reception. We’ve visited places on this tour that we’ve never seen, zig-zagging up and down the country, and it’s all been very positive.”

Talk turns to the state of the music scene of their native Manchester. Singer and guitarist Chris Nield opines, “Manchester’s all well and good but it’s not the be all and end all. We go down differently in different towns. Even though it’s your home crowd, Manchester can be a hard crowd. I’d rather play places like Oxford last night where the room was packed, than Manchester where it can be arms folded, chins being stroked, trying to impress people.”

Violinist Sophie Parkes concurs: “Manchester can be very trend-conscious. There’s loads of unsigned bands, which sounds really vibrant, but in reality, things can be spread quite thinly and it’s difficult to find like-minded bands to get momentum going.” Chris: “We’ve enjoyed playing with like-minded bands outside Manchester. It freshens you up.”

The obsession with bands reforming to make a quick buck is clearly something Allan takes issue with. “There’s loads of old bands reforming: The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, New Order, Inspiral Carpets… they were even going to wheel out 808 State!”

Oisín (bass): “It’s come at a bad time, just when the scene was moving away from its stereotypical heritage, for years there were new bands trying to copy the old ones, and with these bands reforming it’s happening all over again!”

Chris expands: “If you’ve not got any hype behind you, Manchester’s not interested – it’s as if it needs to be told what to like by a handful of promoters, tastemakers in a way, one or two who really call the shots when it comes to so-called trendy Manchester gigs. If you’re not in with them, then it’s difficult. The “Manchester mafia” phrase gets used quite a lot – but we’re not criticising it too much because we’ve played some of those gigs – we’re in it!”

Sophie: “There are a lot of venues now, which can mean that standards slip because there are a lot of bills to be filled with lots of bands. But it’s not all gloom: we’ve had plenty of support from people like BBC Introducing; we’ve lots to thank them for.”

Well, that’s the music scene on the ground in Manchester put to rights. So how have the band found the rest of the country on this tour? Sophie: “Our favourite city? I enjoyed Oxford, which is my hometown, and Hull was a surprise: we thought it was going to be dead, but we had a great reception, we were signing CDs – I could get used to that! Maybe it’s because Hull’s always been a very independent place and we’ve always been a very independent band – you could call us the Hull of bands!”

And what does the future hold for Air Cav?

Chris wraps things up: “We need to maximise our momentum! We’ll be clever about where we play, and not so long making the second album. We’re flying the flag for DIY, self-release, self touring, which is a great ethos. We’re not waiting for anyone else to do it for us – do it yourself!”

And with that, I leave the band to an all-important pre-gig conflab. Newcastle’s The Watchers are in support; straight out of an early ’70s West Coast acid-drowned summer festival, complete with hazy reverb, distorted vocals, and slow-burning epics that drown in a sea of droning guitar and then come up screaming for air. Yet there are songs buried deep in the bowels of these jams; the band are not just one-trick noiseniks. Watch the Watchers.

And then it’s Air Cav’s debut Newcastle performance. As on record, admirably noisy, delicately ambient, vigourously punky. Chris Nield is Brian Molko and Jarvis Cocker‘s lovechild, his mixture of avuncular Northern chap and piercing, assertive vocals dominate the performance. But this is a band greater than its parts; the rhythm section are tight yet complex, and Sophie Parkes’ violin is one moment an Irish-pub fiddle riff in the middle of ‘A Call to Arms’, the next it provides washes of colour over the more ambient moments in the set; not for nothing do the band claim inspiration from the shoegaze movement. (But doesn’t everyone, these days?)

This is a great set from a band very much hitting their stride. If there’s any criticism it’s not in the delivery. Where is the three-minute punk rollock to go with the more thoughtful, drawn-out material? Where is the power chorus that comes in before a minute is up? The band are clearly capable of invoking a variety of atmospheres – if they add the power single to their repertoire, or simply allow an editor to snip one or two of their current pieces into shape, they would be better placed for world domination. And the freedom of the city of Hull would be one step closer.

More of Martin’s high-res photos can be viewed on his Flickr.

 

Live Review: First Aid Kit with Peggy Sue at Black Cat, Washington DC – 30th March 2012

 
By on Tuesday, 10th April 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

Swedish sisters Klara and Johanna Soderberg – better known by their stage name First Aid Kit – have never played Washington DC before, until late last month. Their first visit was thwarted by a freak accident: in October 2010 I saw Casiokids and Delphic play fun dance parties at DC9 and expected to see First Aid Kit the week after, but after a still unexplained death outside the club, the venue was shuttered for weeks and the girls were forced to cancel. Nearly a year and a half later, on the strength and hard NPR promotion of their latest album, ‘The Lion’s Roar’, released in January (read my album review here). Washington spoke of their approval of the band and the new release with their wallets: before I knew it (and much to the disappointment of several of our local friends), the gig quickly sold out.

The opener for the evening was Peggy Sue. At first, I thought this was a bad fit with First Aid Kit, as when I think of Peggy Sue, I think of pop song with heavier drum beats. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong. The strong harmonies of Rosa Rex (the ginger) and Katy Klaw (the brunette), paired either with gently played guitar or those that were attacked for faster songs, were just the perfect set-up to First Aid Kit. I found it adorable when the two girls were up on the tippy toes of their shoes, singing their hearts into the mikes.

Self described breakup ballad ‘You and I’ dazzled, but it was two more unique songs that stole the show: an unusual and inspired cover of Martha and the Vandellas’ ‘Heat Wave’ (featured on a CD collection of ‘50s/’60s covers being sold only on this tour), and a new song called ‘Idle’ referencing the Devil and Robert Johnson. (I wonder if they’re Led Zeppelin fans.) But the song that best bridged their performance to the Swedes set later was ‘How Heavy the Quiet That Grew Between Your Mouth and Mine’, which Klaw explained as their only country number. The audience lapped up their performance.

To say that the Soderberg sisters arrived onstage looking flamboyant is a bit of an understatement. While the younger, brunette Klara wore admirable knee length cowboy boots, both sisters wore what I’d best describe as black and gold sequined ponchos. Sorry for the stereotype, but I was expecting plaid shirts and denim. But it really didn’t matter to the crowd assembled what they wore. A series of beautifully spun songs followed, filled to the brim with gorgeous harmonies, followed in quick succession. In between the songs, the sisters spoke to us like we were old friends.

Klara admitted she’d scared Johanna who, in the shower, was too easy of a target with a Psycho-themed prank. They insisted the club had to be completely quiet for the two of them to sing a particular song; shockingly to Cheryl and I, the room became so quiet you could have heard a pin drop (never happens at the Black Cat, ever) and they sang ‘Ghost Town’, the mournful chorus of “if you’ve got visions of the past / let them follow you down / and they’ll come back to you someday / and I found myself attached / to this railroad track / but I’ll come back to you someday”. What a sad song, yet so beauteous. Considering their ages (Johanna is just past 21 and Klara is still not legal), you have to wonder how girls so young can write so well about such real, complicated experiences and relationships.

With a new album out, the set was heavy with new songs (‘New Year’s Eve’, ‘To a Poet’, ‘In the Hearts of Men’) and to my relief, I liked these better live than on recording. Singles ‘Emmylou’ (video below) and ‘The Lion’s Roar’ didn’t disappoint either. What struck us completely out of character was the sisters’ inelegant headbanging. So that’s when their flowing long locks of Scandinavia hair comes into play! The funniest moment was during ‘The Lion’s Roar’, the last song before the encore; in a fit of overzealous headbanging, Johanna lost her poncho and the poor girl, she wasn’t wearing a bra, just a little tank top, so it was a bit of an embarrassing moment for her. But I give her props for totally taking it in stride, for when they returned for a rousing encore of a cover of Patti Smith’s ‘Dancing Barefoot’ followed by ‘King of the World’, she came back without the poncho and embraced womanhood. “I’m nobody’s baby / I’m everybody’s girl / I’m the queen of nothing / I’m in the king…of the world!” announced the younger Klara, and for that evening, they were kings, queens or at least certainly joined the kind of folk rock royalty that they have revered for years. While there was a part of me that was sad that I never got to see them at much tinier DC9 2 years ago pre-‘The Lion’s Roar’, I am very grateful I got to see them perform in front of an adoring all-ages crowd, circumstances they so deserved.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8bhaXDf79k[/youtube]

After the cut: both bands’ set lists.
Continue reading Live Review: First Aid Kit with Peggy Sue at Black Cat, Washington DC – 30th March 2012

 

Luke’s Alphabet Tour – G: Gazpacho at London Garage – 28th March 2012

 
By on Tuesday, 10th April 2012 at 1:00 pm
 

The term ‘Norwegian art rock’ conjures images of a minute niche group of music aficionados who refuse to acknowledge any band whose songs don’t break the seven minute barrier. Beardy weirdies who live in their authentic Jethro Tull tour t-shirt and spend their evenings on the internet vigorously hunting down the oddest and most progressive artists producing sound today. Luckily this vast generalisation is incorrect judging by the crowd who have gathered at London’s Garage tonight to witness Oslo’s Gazpacho

The north London venue is awash with prog-rock fans young and old whose eyes are transfixed at the bodyless stage full of instruments. Gazpacho is the product of six extremely talented musicians who have the same passion and drive to create the most imaginative and powerful sonic experience possible – and tonight is no exception.

Taking to the stage at 8 PM, there is no need for a support act. The band have seven studio albums to choose material from including their brand new album ‘March Of Ghosts’, which has received critical acclaim throughout the prog community. The set opens with a huge Floydian inspired ‘Monument’ that easily places them amongst the progressive heavyweights with the vast instrumentals that don’t rush but ride the atmospheric waves like an albatross in a sea breeze.

These huge swells are followed by parts I to IV of ‘Hell Freezes Over’ in its entirety to the delight of those in attendance who already have their mitts on the new record. With elements of Marillion peeking through at times, the flawless musicianship on display is so tightly structured it’s as though they’ve played this show a hundred times before yet it sounds fresh and untainted by overplaying.

Gazpacho are no strangers to playing the UK, especially London. Last year they released a live album simply entitled ‘London’ recorded on the Missa Atropos tour at Dingwalls in Camden. Tonight’s performance could easily lend itself to a new live record as the Norwegian sextet showcase a career-spanning set including ‘Vera’, ‘Chequered Light Buildings’ and ‘Winter is Never’. However, an audio only representation of tonight’s performance simply wouldn’t do it justice.

Behind the band is a large screen on which an array of colourful and provoking images are projected to boost the musical effects. Wavy colours, blinking eyes and various swirls best reserved for a PG-rated acid trip hypnotise the audience whose focus hasn’t left the stage for almost 2 hours. These visuals might not be necessary to invoke emotion, but when combined with the music and light display, the experience is taken to a new level. Of course it’s probably not the stage show they most desire, but for a band of their stature the atmosphere created is incredible.

Closing the over two-hour set on ‘Splendid Isolation’ and ‘Bravo’, the Scottish-influenced violin solo rings out of the PA system to a roar of applause. As the house lights go up you’re suddenly jolted back into reality like a defibrillator had been placed on your chest to drag you back into existence. Was what we all saw a dream? At times it felt like it with the eerie, post-rock instrumentals and Jan-Henrik Ohme’s harmonious voice drowning the audience in a Brian Molko tinged vocal tidal wave. Judging by the reaction on the faces of both the crowd and band, another UK tour could easily be on the horizon. If it’s as innovative and exciting as tonight’s performance, then don your Viking helmet and set sail for Norway’s finest export (after a-ha, of course).

 
 
 

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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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