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Preview: LeeFest Presents: The Neverland 2016

 
By on Tuesday, 17th May 2016 at 9:00 am
 

This year’s LeeFest marks the 10th anniversary of the independent arts festival, which started in 2006 in founder Lee Denny’s own back garden. Dubbed LeeFest Presents: The Neverland, the festival’s motto this year is “Never grow old”, and it promises a “stunning musical lineup” along with a host of other wide-ranging entertainment opportunities. The exact location of The Neverland’s new secret venue and campsite near Tunbridge Wells, about an hour southeast of London, will only be revealed to ticket holders near the time of the event, which is scheduled to take place on the 28th-30th of July.

What we already know about LeeFest 2016 is that its strong live music lineup presents an enticing mix of established artists and up-and-coming acts. Headliner Lianne La Havas could possibly fall into either category, after her breakthrough 2012 album ‘Is Your Love Big Enough?” She is currently supporting Coldplay on their ‘A Head Full of Dreams’ world tour and is scheduled to open for fellow soul singer Leon Bridges on his September and October dates in America. La Havas released a new EP ‘Blood Solo’ back in February, providing solo interpretations of tracks from her second full album ‘Blood’, as well as the delicately haunting new track called ‘Fairytale’, which you can hear just below.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/CjH3arNObr0[/youtube]

In contrast to La Havas’ soulful folk stylings, Liverpool rockers Circa Waves join the LeeFest headline bill in the midst of their own summer festival circuit. They recently appeared at Live at Leeds 2016 and will grace their hometown stage at Sound City 2016 at the end of this month. Circa Waves have been quiet so far in 2016, but their emergence back onto the live scene, including a handful of upcoming headline dates around the UK, might be a hint that something new from the band is forthcoming. In the meantime, you can get in the festival spirit with their video for ’T-Shirt Weather’, which featured on their 2015 debut album ‘Young Chasers’.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/S9z_cyIgE9s[/youtube]

The LeeFest 2016 docket features a wide array of other artists previously covered here at TGTF, most notably 2015 Mercury Prize nominee Ghostpoet.  The LeeFest lineup also includes a lengthy list of our SXSW 2016 alums: Manchester art-rockers Everything Everything, dance pop duo Formation, Liverpool’s own Clean Cut Kid, indie pop wunderkind Oscar, Kent ‘dirty-pop’ bangers Get Inuit, Sheffield rock duo Nai Harvest and Tunbridge Wells native Will Joseph Cook.

exmagician internal

Newer acts like London all-female quartet The Big Moon and Belfast alt-rock duo exmagician (pictured above) hope to build their reputations on LeeFest’s stages as part of their summer festival tours as well. Given that LeeFest’s past lineups have hosted such heavy hitters as London Grammar, Jack GarrattYears & Years, and Clean Bandit, it seems like a safe bet that if you’re not already familiar with the names on this year’s list, you will become so in very short order. (On that note, stay tuned to TGTF for our pre-LeeFest interview with exmagician, which will post in the coming days.)

SubmotionOrchestra internal

The live music portion of the festival will also include DJ sets from Submotion Orchestra (pictured above), The 2 Bears, Midland and Horse Meat Disco. Aside from the musical festivities, LeeFest also offers a variety of other entertainment categories comprising Comedy, Spoken Word, a generic Performance classification, and the very curiously-titled Sillyness. Divided among three so-called “realms”, The Neverland aims to provide “immersive adventures at every turn”, even including a Family category for arts enthusiasts with young children.

As a preview of the main event, LeeFest: The Neverland is partnering with the Tunbridge Wells Forum for a free festival launch party featuring a surprise headliner starting at 6 PM on the 3rd of June. Keep your eyes on LeeFest’s official Facebook page and Twitter feed, which are being updated with further details as the 2016 festival approaches.

LeeFest 2nd Poster

 

SXSW 2016: rock on the last day in Austin (Saturday, part 1) – 19th March 2016

 
By on Monday, 11th April 2016 at 4:00 pm
 

It’s been a bit of a tradition since Carrie came along with me to Austin to send SXSW off with an amazing (and free) lunch, plus Bloody Marys at the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30. However, this year, it made more sense for her to cover Lissie at the SPIN party at Brazos Hall, so I was all by my lonesome. I gobbled up back two delicious tofu wraps and two of those divine, tomatoey creations under the watchful eye of the barmaid who made them for me. It was probably for the best, though, because the music slated for the afternoon isn’t exactly Carrie’s speed…

The Northern Powerhouse showcase was a good who’s who of bands who are currently knocking about in the great North of England and showing who’s boss with their own personal brands of rock, generally on the harder side of things. Sheffield duo Nai Harvest started the afternoon on a frenetic, yet still melodic note. I think the great lesson that the success of Royal Blood, Drenge and Slaves has taught us is that despite the conventional wisdom that had been around for several decades post-Beatles and Stones, it is entirely possible to make a go of it – to be loud enough and be successful at making rock music – only having two blokes in a rock band. And going for it seemed to be the theme of the day, as it was the last day in Austin for most bands and the last time to make a lasting impression.

Nai Harvest at Northern Powerhouse at the British Music Embassy, Saturday at SXSW 2016

Based on the music videos I’d seen prior to SXSW, Nai Harvest seemed like funny guys: I mean, guys who named their last EP ‘Hairball’ can’t take themselves too seriously, right? Live, they didn’t disappoint on either the music or the stage patter front. As evidenced by most recent single ‘Just Like You’, Nai Harvest’s style is less about being massively loud than to embrace the lo-fi, slacker vibe that currently sweeping Britain. Guitarist Ben Thompson bemoaned that they’d forgotten to bring along Yorkshire Tea to Austin with them. Umm…didn’t they get the memo that there would be *plenty* of Brits at SXSW, some of whom must have had brought some over to avoid the curse of the American, non-descript dark water, black tea problem? At the very least, I could have helped them with their dilemma from my own stash specifically for travelling purposes. Well, now you all know who’s your dealer…

Following the Sheffielders on the afternoon and moving the action due north, up to Leeds, was Autobahn, who were playing their third and last show at the British Music Embassy. I’d seen them earlier in the week, Tuesday night at the felte / Part Time Punks showcase at Barracuda. As is true for nearly every act I’ve ever seen on the Latitude 30 stage during SXSW week, Autobahn’s sound was great, both in volume and pomp. I mean, really, how can you go wrong with guitars being banged and flailed about while there’s a beacon of light, via a voice in the darkness…er…in a trenchcoat. The raw and unforgiving nature of their music as described previously by Rebecca makes all the more sense to me after having the opportunity to speak with their singer Craig Johnson. He explains that there’s not only a dark melancholy that comes through their music but also the coming to grips of reality of what’s outside one’s bedroom window, of which there’s too little of in the greater landscape of manufactured top 40.

Autobahn at Northern Powerhouse at British Music Embassy, Saturday at SXSW 2016

Continuing later on the bill and whose punishing tones I heard well outside of the venue – because they were really all that loud! – were Sugarmen (Liverpool), Fizzy Blood (Leeds) and Demob Happy (Newcastle and Brighton). Lads, don’t be too discouraged that I did not join you. I’m currently going through a reboot of my hard rock loving phase and I’ll probably catch up to you soon.

In the evening (cue the Led Zeppelin song), Carrie and I got a bit of a taste of Lusts at the British Music Embassy before I left her to cover the rest of the NME / UK Trade and Investment showcase there. I needed to find a venue and I should have thought more about this at the time, as if it was some foreshadowing of what was to come later in the evening, but I didn’t. I got lost on 6th Street and when I asked around for help, a bouncer of another establishment on the block stereotyped me, warning me that “a nice girl like you shouldn’t be going to a place like that.” Uh huh… At that moment, I kind of wished Gwenno had been there to clock the meathead. I didn’t have time to waste, or else I would have started quoting lyrics verbatim off ‘IV’ or doing my now world-famous ‘Whole Lotta Love’ guitar solo humming.

Abjects at Sledge Hammer, Saturday at SXSW 2016

I finally got to where I was going (Sledge Hammer), and no thanks to any help from the chauvinist pig. As part of a coincidental continuing-on of the feminism theme and without any injury to myself, I witnessed Abjects‘ entire set. They’re lo-fi, they’re garage, they’re surf-y…they’re a little bit of everything but to be sure, a whole lot of fun. Yes, the sound can be in your face, but it’s in the name of having a good time, and the ladies were smiling the widest grins I’m pretty sure I saw onstage all week. I think the inevitable comparison will be to Manchester’s PINS, but after having seen both bands in a festival atmosphere and now being able to compare them, I think Abjects take it for their sheer audacity.

Stay tuned for part 2 of my review of Saturday at SXSW, which will post tomorrow. For more of my photos from Saturday in AustinE, visit my Flickr.

 

(SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Video of the Moment #2051: Nai Harvest

 
By on Wednesday, 30th March 2016 at 6:00 pm
 

Sheffield duo Nai Harvest and their self-described genre of slacker punk got an extra special boost in promotion early Saturday at SXSW 2016. They appeared first in an afternoon line-up at the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30 called Northern Powerhouse, which is exactly what it sounds like: a barrage of hard-rocking, loud and proud Northern acts, one after another.

While I myself questioned the wisdom of this on the last day of SXSW, when everyone’s already way past feeling rough – I mean, do you really want to get your brain bashed in again, and four times over, when you could be outside, enjoying possibly your last rays of sunshine for a while? – the crowd at Latitude were clearly up for it, chomping at the bit from the word go as soon as Nai Harvest took the stage. While the boys from Sheff admitted making a massive mistake in forgetting to pack the ever important Yorkshire Tea in their suitcases (lads, you could have *asked* me, I would have brought it to you!), whatever else they drank or ate gave them plenty of energy to get the job onstage. ‘Just Like You’ is their newest single out and available this week from Topshelf Records, and the video is, well, a little odd. Ben Thompson and Lew Currie are joined by Mancunian photography and visual artist Natalie Wardle, whose explanation to Stereogum about the promo is included below under the embed.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzKfca4-xsY[/youtube]

“This is a comical observation and short performance highlighting how we (the human race) start the year focusing on our obsession with body image, following the trend of ‘getting in shape’ and how we’re always trying to ‘better ourselves’ by making these crazy promises to ‘stop doing this…’ and ‘start doing that’…

However, things turn sour when people around us lose interest and we’re fighting a battle with ourselves to keep up the work out will power. Finally, we give up! Back to our old ways like everyone else, ‘just like you’. There’s always next year.

We shot this video in one take to illustrate that if we put our minds to something we can achieve it, but it’s never going to be perfect.”

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2016: Clash in association with PPL, and NME in association with UK Trade and Investment at the British Music Embassy – 18th-19th March 2016

 
By on Friday, 4th March 2016 at 2:00 pm
 

The British Music Embassy will return to Latitude 30 at 512 San Jacinto Boulevard, right by the heart of the action off 6th Street during SXSW 2016. On Monday and Wednesday, our editor Mary previewed the talent on show on Tuesday night (Huw Stephens with PRS for Music showcase) and Wednesday, then Thursday (Output Belfast and PIAS in association with AIM), respectively. This year’s showcases on Friday the 18th of March are set to include a host of artists from around the UK, including hotly-tipped acts from Wales and Scotland. The Welsh artists will be highlighted during the daytime show, presented by British Music @ SXSW in association with Cerdd Cymru: Music Wales. A pair of Scottish acts will feature on the evening showcase, presented by UK pop culture magazine Clash in association with music rights and licensing agency PPL.

The Friday afternoon show will feature a delightfully rich lineup of female artists, beginning with alt-folk singer/songwriter Rozi Plain and continuing with two Welsh acts, pop singer/songwriter Violet Skies and electronic musician Gwenno. Both Welsh women will be introduced in more detail in editor Mary’s upcoming preview of Welsh artists at SXSW 2016 later today.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/H4S0ME8Xyc0[/youtube]

Closing out the afternoon are two alliterative acts, our recent Band to Watch #372 Fickle Friends, followed by fellow TGTF alumnae Stealing Sheep. Fickle Friends vaulted to popularity in the UK with their debut single ‘Swim’ back in 2014 and have been on an upward trajectory ever since. Liverpool trio Stealing Sheep are sailing strong on their April 2015 release ‘Not Real’, but I wouldn’t be surprised to hear a hint of something new from them in Austin as well.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqVYDRM842s[/youtube]

The Friday evening Clash showcase is set to begin with DJ/producer/all-around-Renaissance-woman Throwing Shade, whose soon-to-be released EP ‘House of Silk’ features the above reflection on pop culture and social media called ‘hashtag IRL’. Scottish pop songstress KLOE and avant/experimental trio Hælos will fill in the middle part of the evening lineup, ahead of a rather intriguing To Be Confirmed notation at 11 PM; bets are open as to who might fill that coveted slot.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/vKakNhz2ToA[/youtube]

Playing at midnight will be Glasgow electro musician The Revenge, followed by London-based soul pop duo Honne (read more of our coverage on Honne here). The Revenge will feature in our upcoming preview of Scottish artists at SXSW 2016, along with the aforementioned KLOE.

On Saturday, the 19th of March, the afternoon show at Latitude 30 will start with Sheffield slacker punk pair Nai Harvest (read more about them on TGTF here) and Leeds goth-punk band Autobahn. Falling square in the middle of the docket, Liverpool indie rockers Sugarmen are sure to win fans with their psychedelic recent single ‘Plastic Ocean’, while grunge rockers Fizzy Blood and Demob Happy finish off the daytime slate.

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

Latitude 30 will be taken over by recently retooled and relaunched pop culture magazine NME in association with UK Trade and Investment on Saturday night, the final event at the British Music Embassy for SXSW 2016. Leicester brothers Andy and James Stone, known onstage as synth-rock duo Lusts will open the show (Rebecca’s introduction to them is here), to be followed by rap collective Section Boyz. London five-piece Pumarosa have already announced an autumn 2016 support slot for SXSW 2015 hit act Gengahr and will feature in the middle of this final night lineup.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/XA97m6L2-Dc[/youtube]

Deep-voiced Americana singer/songwriter Barns Courtney could easily follow in the successful SXSW footsteps of Hozier and James Bay before him. He’ll round out his trip to Austin with an appearance at the British Music Embassy, ahead of dance duo Formation (Rebecca’s introduction to them is here) and another tantalising to-be-announced special guest for the evening’s final set.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/ckNWtmkA2_g[/youtube]

 

Nai Harvest / April 2015 UK Tour

 
By on Wednesday, 15th April 2015 at 8:00 am
 

Header photo by Ed Crisp

Sheffield indie punk duo Nai Harvest will begin a tour of the UK later this week, supported by fellow Sheffield natives Best Friends. Following the tour, Nai Harvest’s new album ‘Hairball’ will be released on the 28th of April via Topshelf Records and Best Friends’ debut album ‘Hot. Reckless. Totally Insane’ is due for release on the 4th of July on FatCat Records.

Below the tour date listing, you can find the video for Nai Harvest’s recent single ‘Sick on My Heart’. Tickets for the following shows are available now.

Thursday 16th April 2015 – Cardiff Clwb Ifor Bach
Friday 17th April 2015 – London Birthdays
Saturday 18th April 2015 – Brighton Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar

Sunday 19th April 2015 – Nottingham Bodega

Monday 20th April 2015 – Birmingham Oobleck
Tuesday 21st April 2015 – Glasgow Broadcast

Wednesday 22nd April 2015 – Manchester Soup Kitchen
Thursday 23rd April 2015 – Leeds Brudenell Social Club
Friday 24th April 2015 – Sheffield Harley

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

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF 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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