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Live Gig Video: Factory Floor play ‘What You Say’ at Sub-Sonic Live launch party

 
By on Thursday, 9th February 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

Factory Floor was one of several big name performers at Fred Perry Subculture‘s opening launch party of Sub-Sonic Live last November (we gave away tickets to this event). If you are an unfortunate soul like myself and missed the event, we’ve got the band’s performance of ‘What You Say’ from the night. Enjoy it below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtxN9Sspt5Y[/youtube]

 

Live Gig Video: The Static Jacks’ English tour set to ‘Drano-Ears’

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

The Static Jacks were in England this past November (actually, they were in London when I was over there on holiday, but I unfortunately missed them) and they’ve committed this collection of clips into this video set to their tune ‘Drano-Ears’. It’s a little different than most gig videos we post (there is some gigging in here, I promise) but I thought it might be cool to look through an American band’s eyes of a tour of England.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlhQ9GXJUJA[/youtube]

 

Live Review: Exit Ten with A Thousand Autumns, Tomorrow We Radio and Fei Comodo at York Fibbers – 29 November 2011

 
By on Wednesday, 14th December 2011 at 2:00 pm
 

An actual conversation in Manchester between myself and ace Guernsey/Lincoln TGTF reporter John Fernandez, over a Harry Ramsden at the Arndale Centre:

Me: You’ll never guess who I’m seeing Tuesday night in York. [picks at fish and chips]
John: Who?
Me: Exit Ten.
John: Exit Ten? I didn’t know they were still going. I loved their first album…
Me: Yup, they just put out ‘Give Me Infinity’, their second album, in October.
John: Wow. I’ll be honest, I thought they’d be a bit too hard for you. For me and Luke, yes. For you, no.
Me: I dunno. The one track I listened to reminded me of Muse?
John: Wow, Exit Ten. Never would have imagined you would like Exit Ten!
Me: Oh John, there’s a lot of things you don’t know about me…

The one thing you should know about me is that depending on my mood, I can become a bedroom headbanger. This goes back to my formative years, when my brother and I would both be in the basement, me playing video games on an Apple II and him programming something or another on a then-state of the art PC. Being older, he had control over the music selection, and more often than not, I would get an earful (ok, two large earfuls every evening) of Metallica, Megadeth, or what became my favourite of all, Led Zeppelin. These days, I find it hard to locate any bands that bring the same kind of hard rock virtuosity with the pomp and swagger of Led Zep, so the number of hard rock bands I would actually go out of my way to see is a pretty small number. That and I’m a bit faint-hearted around mental crowds; I mean, look what happened to me at Roskilde watching (er, attempting to survive) Biffy Clyro. Still, the Exit Ten chaps were very nice to me on Twitter and suggested I come out and see them, so I did. And besides, I was eager to catch at least one show at one of York’s legendary venues.

The bill for the night was very crowded, so let me first divide the acts by labeling them “the haves” and “the have nots”. Having never seen any of the four acts on the bill before, I really had no idea what was in store. But it was obvious sound-wise (I imagine owing mostly to better equipment), Exit Ten and Fei Comodo were in a completely different league than A Thousand Autumns and Tomorrow We Radio. I would also say that Exit Ten and Fei Comodo also have a better command of melody, which was probably the last thing any of the punters that night cared about.

The sets by the first two openers blurred in my mind, as both featured loud, thrashy guitars and a cocksure lead singer who 1) seemed to be screaming and not to any discernable melody and 2) wanted nothing more than to get into the audience’s faces (a move welcomed by the more raucous punters down the front). Watching both bands’ official videos on YouTube, I’m really confused. Are these the same bands I saw? Maybe it was their equipment, maybe it was Fibbers’? Not sure. Either way, it sounds like both of these unsigned bands deserve a second chance in my books.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AeKxn6pOeN8[/youtube]

A blogger’s best discovery is to be blown away by a band that you weren’t expecting at all. Fei Comodo, who I’ve learned is from Chelmsford in Essex, have such a strange name, I was expecting them to go down just like the two acts before. Not well. Instead, they completely surprised me. Frontman Marc Halls really impressed me; yes, Fei Comodo is a hard rock band and yes, of course, there is some screaming. But dude’s got a very compelling voice and an amazing stage presence. Ooh, ‘Rival Tides’, I’m in love with you. I’m really wondering why they aren’t more famous. I was so impressed I bought both EPs they had on sale. Should I trade in my mirrorball for some ripped up t-shirts?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vI1plVin5i0[/youtube]

Of course, the crowd reserved their loudest cheers for headliner Exit Ten. I’m nowhere as familiar with their first album as I am with their second; as I stood there in Fibbers, I really wished John had been there with me, because he would have told me if he thought the new material stood up against the old. The crowd ate up songs new and old but I thought the new songs – and they started with ‘Life’, followed swiftly by ‘Curtain Call’ (official video below) – sounded fabulous. What a gripping way to begin a set; I wonder if Exit Ten had ordered the songs on their new album specifically for this purpose. The set went on of course but I was spellbound by the opening numbers. And I don’t know if this is an Exit Ten thing, or a York thing, or a Fibbers thing, but I was very surprised there wasn’t an encore. Leave them wanting more? I’ll say this: Reading/Leeds would be a much more interesting prospect if they’d book some of these bands for next summer.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yW4-YS2efM[/youtube]

 

Live Review: ‘Magic in the Air’ Billie Butterfly charity show at Manchester Comedy Store – 28th November 2011

 
By on Tuesday, 13th December 2011 at 2:00 pm
 

In these enlightened days, it seems like complete and utter nonsense that healthcare has, for some, become something financially out of reach. There is nothing more heart-wrenching that to hear about a child who is very ill and can’t get the treatment she needs because the treatment costs some astronomical amount. Billie Bainbridge is a 4-year old English girl. And she has a very rare type of brain tumour. The treatment options in the UK are limited for such a rare condition but the good news is that Billie has been accepted into a clinical trial in Texas (yes, that far away) and has already begun receiving experimental medication but as I mentioned before, medical treatment of this kind does not come cheap. So three great Manchester-based acts – Everything Everything (pictured above), I am Kloot and Badly Drawn Boy – performed free at a charity show directly benefitting the Billie Butterfly Fund, which has been raising money for this little girl’s treatment. (Even though they’ve reached their target of £200,000, they’re still collecting donations and whatever is left over after Billie’s treatment will go towards brain cancer research in the UK, so it’s you can still donate to this worthy cause.)

I am not an attention seeker. Far from it. (Seriously, just ask any of my good friends who live in DC.) But for the evening, I became the most talked-about person of the evening (after Billie, of course); all in good fun, comedian / local Key 103 radio personality Justin Moorhouse latched on to the fact that I was indeed American and yes, I was on holiday in Manchester, celebrating my birthday. (I’m not really clear on why the second part was so funny, but maybe you Brits can explain that one…does Manchester really have *that* bad of a reputation?) Besides me, also being mocked that evening were a joiner who was sat directly in front of me and a girl whose name I think was Chloe, who said she worked at the largest Boots in town. Anyway, just trying to set the stage…

TGTF favourites Everything Everything were up first. Having never seen them before, I didn’t know what to expect. I also wasn’t sure how their pop/rock/hip hop sound was going to translate in an acoustic setting. They started with ‘Photoshop Handsome’, which sounded amazing: without so many loud things going on like I’m sure they normally do during an Everything Everything show, this night their voices were centre stage, gorgeously harmonious with one another’s. Before they played ‘Leave the Engine Room’, bassist Jeremy Pritchard admitted, “we’ve never attempted this one before, in this context, so this is as exciting for us as it is for you.” Laughter. They weren’t sure whether it’d work or not? No worries: it did, beautifully. My favourite though (even without the trademark whistling) was their reworking of ‘Schoolin’, which you can watch below.

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

Despite the promise that there would be an interval after I am Kloot, people jumped up out of their seats while the stage was being set up for the second set. (Alcohol and swiftly smoked cigarettes, I guess.) Then I am Kloot’s John Bramwell came on stage, complaining to himself that he’d forgotten his beer crate, evidently his usual ‘chair’ during gigs. He instead used a short step directly in front Mister Joiner and myself and got situated to begin a solo performance of ‘No Fear of Falling’. Very nice indeed. The show then took a turn to a more intimate one, as Bramwell was telling us stories in between the songs like a folk minstrel, making me feel more at home surrounded by native Mancunians. Enjoy the band’s versions of ‘I Still Do’ and ‘Northern Skies’ below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQINMLW3DNk[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9s8nBdUbT4[/youtube]

After the actual food and drink interval, it was time for Badly Drawn Boy. I’d been warned by friends that Damon Gough was notoriously bad tempered and drunk at gigs, and there was a bit of a hubbub about him requesting another Jack and Coke even though the one he had in his hand was still nearly full (figure that one out), but I guess playing a charity benefit for the little girl of a close mate softened the man. One thing that was slightly annoying: Gough had wires hooked up to his guitar so he could tape himself playing certain passages and then would play them back to himself, and when he did this, he seemed so impressed with himself. A little weird when a crowd is watching you do this? Dunno. Maybe I’m just being critical…

Most Americans know him as the guy behind the ‘About a Boy’ song, so I thought it was interesting that he would play a song from a forthcoming film that he was invited to write something for. Called ‘I Keep the Things You Throw Away’, Gough insisted that it was for a “Bob DeNiro” film. You can hear it here first before everyone else. Other highlights included a tender version of ‘Magic in the Air’, from where the charity night got its name and Gough seemed emotional talking about Billie’s predicament; ‘The Shining’, which the audience got after shouting it at him all night; and the ending song, which I thought was strangely appropriate: a cover of the Stone Roses’ ‘I Wanna Be Adored’. All in all, a really superb night of music for a community coming together to show their support for one of their own.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAfN7OTLVCA[/youtube]

After the cut: more photos and set list.

Continue reading Live Review: ‘Magic in the Air’ Billie Butterfly charity show at Manchester Comedy Store – 28th November 2011

 

Live Review: Blonde Louis with Monaco Bears and Camus and the Cat at Letchworth Plinston Hall – 25th November 2011

 
By on Friday, 9th December 2011 at 4:00 pm
 

I rounded out my last night of holiday in London with a show that was outside of London – Letchworth Garden City, to be exact. What was I doing out there? Seeing Blonde Louis. If you recall, I wrote about them as one of the Bands to Watch in summer 2010. Fast forward through the end of November 2011, which saw the band playing a Christmas show (er, one month early) in their hometown. I’ll be honest, it felt a little weird being the oldest person at the gig, save anyone’s mums and dads who also happened to be in attendance. But I can tell this was totally worth it. If Smash Hits still existed, I think these guys would have no trouble getting on the cover. (This is not to say they are just a bunch of pretty faces, as you will read later…)

There were two opening acts for the night. The first, Monaco Bears, are not from Monaco but Hitchin. (Figure that one out.) I don’t know enough about the band to suss whether the pint-sized, leather-clad, ginger-headed guitarist was telling the truth when he said their lead singer was poorly and his brother was filling in, but if that were really the case, the replacement did pretty well. The beats and melodies are pretty good for a very young band (Maccabees?); they’ll need to work a bit harder though if they want to make a dent in the crowded indie market. The vocals reminded me of disaffected Blink-182 or Weezer and I heard potential in there, I just think they need to get older and need to work on things a bit more. ‘IOU’ and ‘Publicity’, their closing track’, were the best of the bunch.

Camus and the Cat were next. I wish I knew who the frontman was – their Facebook says their members are “Camus, the cat and all their friends”. Hmm. Anyway, my impression was that he screamed out Jack Johnson who, for some of you, is probably right up your alley and you’d love this. (They even have a song called ‘To the Sea’, which was a little confusing to say the least.) Instead of existentialism in the music (colour me disappointed), the sound of this band is very loose: not necessarily surfer dude but quite sunny. An multi-instrumentalist that played trumpet and xylophone, among other things, made their set-up a bit more interesting (more Fanfarlo?) than your standard guitars/drums line-up. But what made more of an impression to this jaded gig-goer were his obnoxious fans who shoved their way to the front and pushed the devoted Blonde Louis fans, who had been present long before the show started, out of the way, and I groaned when I saw little girls just crushed. Maybe this is common in Letchworth but if you ever made those kinds of moves in Washington, prepare for retaliation. Considering the age of the fans, I didn’t think this was nice or fair; whoever you are, it’s just poor form.

But to all this mostly young female audience, it was Blonde Louis they’d come out this Friday night for. Oh dear. It’s been so long since your faithful editor has been in the thick of the teenybopper crowd – I mean, we’re talking the Backstreet Boys and N’Sync era – so I stayed well enough back to observe things from a good distance. Shouting, screaming, pogo-ing: this was all par for the course. The Christmas theme was extended by a nice set of twinkly lights around drummer Jack Cox’s drum kit and the amps scattered on the stage. And the applause when the band finally got onstage was deafening. I’d been trying to video bands’ hit songs on this gig holiday in England but I was unsuccessful for Blonde Louis because there was no way I was going to get a clear shot of ‘Midnight Kiss’ or ‘Sleep on the Floor’; too many arms in the air, too much shoving in the dancing, too much jumping around.

Which is not a bad thing at all. It’s pretty awe-inspiring watching a band you first heard of via email ages ago just kill it in front of a hometown audience. What I do have are less known but equally as good ‘California’ and lead singer Josh Clarke letting the rest of the band take a break and despite being lonely, he performed a pretty cool medley of their song ‘If You See James’ (b-side to ‘Sleep on the Floor’) along with two songs that don’t really fit Blonde Louis’s genre but worked rather admirably. Watch both below. So I’ve heard on the down low that the band are planning to head out to America next year. Fingers crossed. If they do, it’d just be the next step to worldwide success, which I think the band have every chance of if they keep soldiering on and gaining fans wherever they go.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSk-VpaSfUE[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vM1beCIPUwk[/youtube]

After the cut: more photos and set list.
Continue reading Live Review: Blonde Louis with Monaco Bears and Camus and the Cat at Letchworth Plinston Hall – 25th November 2011

 

Live Review: James Blake at Manchester Warehouse Project – 26th November 2011

 
By on Wednesday, 7th December 2011 at 2:00 pm
 

For a night that was supposed to be dedicated to dance, it’s surprising how little dancing occurred. James Blake’s Saturday night appearance at Manchester’s Warehouse Project (being curated by Belgian dance label R&S) started early at 9 and ended up finishing at the wee hours of 5 in the morning, with a total of 12 acts performing altogether. Amazing! However, for the purpose of this review, I’m going to focus on the main man of the moment, Mr. Blake. I will admit here that I am not in anyway a fan of James Blake, but I will try and avoid any kind of bias. Honest!

Blake’s keyboard driven beats are hardly what you expect from a night like this; however, the tinkling and wavering of the keyboards is enough to have at least a few dance purists moving. By the time Blake arrived for the live set, the venue (under the Piccadilly railway station car park) was packed, sweaty and every shade of uncomfortable you can imagine. The bass during opener ‘Unluck’ was bordering on unbearable: while the pulsating beats had my heart pumping, it was a complete sensory overload from the start. Uncomfortable for me, yes, however in amongst the sensory bombardment was Blake’s wavering vocals, bringing order to the proceedings.

‘I Never Learnt to Share’ is an intense catastrophe of sound, with the introduction suitably dulcet, moving into an intense collision of keyboards. The post-dubstep sound he is looking for is released in the end with the crowd erupting in a sweaty, keyboard-induced mob.

This performance though was epitomized by the subtlety of this young producer’s music. It managed to fill a room while still remaining g as minimalistic as it is on a record, like the xx for the dubstep generation. The venue’s brick arched setting helped with this, keeping the sound enclosed where it could reverberate into the electronic beast it is meant to be in a live setting.

As I mentioned earlier, in this crowded setting the ability to dance was at a premium, which is bizarre for a dance-driven club night. But I don’t think anybody left the building unimpressed. Blake knew exactly which buttons to push to keep the audience ticking and on his side throughout. For a guy who is only really in his infancy in a live setting, he looks anything but an amateur.

 
 
 

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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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