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Live Review: Crystal Fighters at Newcastle University Student Union – 28th November 2013

 
By on Thursday, 19th December 2013 at 2:00 pm
 

Of all the cultural detritus left behind by the 1970s – flared trousers, tank tops, Alan Freeman – surely one of the most noted musical aberrations is the drum solo. Still popular with hair metal bands throughout the 1980s, rock (in common with the rest of civil society) underwent an enlightenment-style moment of humble clarity from the ‘90s onwards, meaning the drummer was for many years denied their one moment literally in the spotlight. Crystal Fighters, however, in their quest to visit as many genres of popular music as possible in one night, give drummer Andrea Marongiu as much time as he needs in which to demonstrate his tub-thumping chops unsullied by the indignity of overlaid melodic instrumentation. Much like Dennis Potter’s single cigarette in a glass display case, the very rarity of a decent drum solo gives it an intoxicating, illicit air. A moment which traditionally was a decent excuse to nip to the bar is transformed into a set highlight.

Crystal Fighters are perhaps the perfect Euro-band. They look far and wide for inspiration, both stylistically and geographically, eschewing the shrugged-off cool of many acts in favour of extroversion and even an occasional affinity for the cheesier side of Europop. Despite being a Londoner, singer Sebastian Pringle emerges clad in sequinned Arabesque robes, his head entirely covered in sparkling chiffon, brandishing what can only be described as two bunches of gourds, looking for all the world as if he’s just escaped from a north African souk, and has somehow managed to swap a life peddling overpriced tat to naïve tourists for one where he’s the frontman of a successful dance-rock combo.

Crystal Fighters jamming

It’s no coincidence that in this context he appears a shamanic figure, exhorting the crowd to uplift themselves, transcend their earthly cares and spread the love. This well-refreshed university crowd need little encouragement to join the love-in; the gig is effectively a soundtrack to their journey of spiritual enlightenment. And Crystal Fighters are well-placed to supply it – what they lack in mental challenge they make up for in euphoria-inducing melodies and arrangements. Let’s start with the hits. ‘Plage’ is almost childlike in its content and delivery, having only a handful of lyrics and based around a simple ukulele riff, heavy with references to hearts and love. ‘At Home’ is a fascinating lunge for the Mediterranean beach-bar market – five minutes of nailed-on Euro-chill-out-pop which attempts to transcend language barriers by making most of its vocal content: either “oh-oh”s, “yeah-yeah”s, or other nonsensical (but not necessarily meaningless) vowel sounds. The question is, not how well it’s done – very – but whether an English-speaking audience might ask for a bit more insight with their cheese.

Crystal Fighters Sebastian hands

As the evening wears on, the tempo increases. The tone of ‘Love Is All I Got’ is self-explanatory from the title – the platitudes “wake your soul with love in the morning / feed your soul with love in the evening / expand your soul with love on the weekend” are set to the classic euro-house instrumentation of kick drum, white-noise snare and filtered synth lines; this is band-as-Ibiza-DJ-set-climax. And whilst that might be the final crescendo of most bands’ sets, Crystal Fighters have yet another level to reach for. ‘Follow’ is nothing less than an ambitious blend of Omar Souleyman’s techno-dabke, eastern European klezmer and western drum and bass. The room likes it – a lot. And after almost two hours, and countless genres, they’re gone.

 

Live Gig Video: Kodaline perform for 2013 Absolute Radio Christmas Sessions

 
By on Tuesday, 17th December 2013 at 4:00 pm
 

Kodaline recorded this live session at the Garden Museum in London last month as part of Absolute Radio’s Christmas series. Sporting their Movember facial hair, they performed tracks ‘High Hopes’, ‘Love Like This’, a cover of Mud’s ‘Lonely This Christmas’, ‘Brand New Day’, ‘Way Back When’ and ‘All I Want’. Lead singer Steve Garrigan is even wearing a brilliant Christmas-themed jumper. Watch the session below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Szrt5VTOYYE[/youtube]

 

Live Review: Arcane Roots with Emp!re and Verses at London XOYO – 26th November 2013

 
By on Monday, 9th December 2013 at 2:00 pm
 

We were treated to the Sound of 2014 announcement last week but 2 weeks ago, revellers in London were treated to arguably the sound which has epitomized the new era of British rock music over 2013. Arcane Roots may just be on their first headline tour – in support of their impressive debut album ‘Blood and Chemistry’ – but after support slots with Muse and Biffy Clyro, they’ve honed their space-age inspired stage show into a formidable beast.

Before the Kingston three-piece took to the stage at XOYO we were treated to Emp!re, who did their best to rouse a reaction in the slowly building, Tuesday evening crowd. There was energy in abundance on show from frontman Joe Green as the band drew material from recent mini album, ‘Where The World Begins’, though Green’s Daron Malakian-esque wail wasn’t entirely well received by the early punters. Whilst even their chest pounding anthem ‘Black Heart’ struggled to rouse the crowd, as many decided to hang by the bar with a pint, instead of jumping in to the pit. They’re a band in their infancy though and in Green they have a frontman with levels of energy bordering on the hyperactive that any crowd will warm to.

In stark contrast to Emp!res, Verses were a less-than-striking mix between You Me at Six and We Are the Ocean. The main issue being that with both of those acts, you’ve got tub-thumping songs with soaring choruses the entire audience can shout back, whereas with Verses there was a lack of any real hooks for the crowd to grab on to. To that end, Verses set fell slightly flat, as Jason Danzelman’s voice got lost in to the roar of fenders which accompanied him.

A shortage of hooks to drag in the punters was not a concern that headline act Arcane Roots had to worry about, as they drew material from their debut full-length album ‘Blood and Chemistry’ and last year’s EP ‘Left Fire’.

As Andrew Groves, Daryl Atkins and Adam Burton arrived on stage and plucked the first chiming chords of ‘Energy is Never Lost, Just Transferred’, the slightest of grins was already etched across Groves’ face. “Forlorn your heart / this scratch will leave a mark” and with a screech, all hell breaks loose in a melee front of the stage, limbs fly as Groves and bassist Burton throw themselves around the stage, unleashing a tirade of Marr-inspired riffage on the capacity XOYO crowd.

Chaos ensues as the band’s latest single ‘Resolve’ evokes a mass singalong, with the audience roaring back, “Am I ever worth the wait? / Will it feel like I was never there / As I cannot live with what I’d say to you / If I save me, will you heal yourself? / As my bones grow old from needing a resolve”. Fans who’ve only just discovered the band will have been pleased by the ‘Blood and Chemistry’-dominated beginning of the set. However at the midpoint, Groves with the sheer enormity of the support in front of him, almost tearfully dedicated the furiously frantic ‘Million Dollar Question’ from ‘Left Fire’ to the fans who ‘have been there since the start’. If that wasn’t enough for the hardcore Roots fans in the crowd, this was followed by a sped-up version of ‘In This Town Of Such Weather’.

By this time, with the frothing mass of writhing flesh moshing in front of the stage having hardly relented, you’d expect there would be an element of tiredness amongst them – however, that was as far from the reality – as the one man got a bit carried away and got on to the stage, prompting the band’s tour manager to unceremoniously nudge him back in to the arms of the rousing crowd.

Groves shows off his incredible ability with a guitar on ‘Triptych’ as he is joined by Danzelman of Verses, as the former proceeds to not miss a note throughout the complex song. To finish of a rather splendid evening we were treated to the spellbindingly beautiful ‘You Keep Me Here’ – a perfect mix of power and loveliness – as Groves laments, “love, you’re better for me”.

 

Live Review: Brother and Bones with Noah at Nottingham Bodega – 25th November 2013

 
By on Tuesday, 3rd December 2013 at 2:00 pm
 

It would be a lie to say the calm before the storm that is a Brother and Bones gig is, technically, ‘calm’: it’s more of a shuffle for the first-timers to get as close to the speakers as possible, ready to get their ears blitzed by a pounding aural-assault, and a hive of seasoned fans standing just far enough back that they’ll enjoy the gig without losing the bits of their ears that are, well, important.

Before the Southern five-piece take to the rather small stage at The Bodega (no cloakroom; yes, I’m bitter, I had a fucking massive bag), we were treated to local two-piece Noah, whose harmonies were quite beautiful. The only gripe I would have is that their cover of Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’, sadly, was of the same quality as Bastille’s cover of Corona’s ‘Rhythm of the Night’ and conjured in me the same levels of rage and disdain.

So I’ve decided to ignore this obvious crowd pleaser and focus instead on the double’s spellbinding vocals and brilliant storytelling. Their third song, a number about how guitarist Joe stopped a father from beating his son (true story, top man) was told ever so simply and Rebeka Whittle’s voice melted in a striking and soaring harmony that remained true to their minimalist sound. A few more original songs and no more covers and they’ll be headlining shows in Nottingham, no doubt – the talent is undeniably there. Plus, they both have that whole extremely good-looking vibe going on, which tends to help in the music industry, sorry Lauren Mayberry from CHVRCHES.

Which brings me on to a conversation I had before the gig, with Richard Thomas from the headline act Brother and Bones and my compatriot for the night Alex Foxley-Johnson, where we ended up on the situation that Brother and Bones are in: a band with a fantastic underground following, a brilliant mix of carefully put together songs and yet they remain unsigned. Richard says “you’ve pretty much got to be pre-packaged these days” “Should he start twerking?”, I jest. Because falling short of taking part in the newest and grimmest dance craze, it’s difficult to see what else Brother and Bones can do to get themselves noticed.

Surely, they are the full package: a talented, charismatic and ridiculously vocally-gifted frontman, a band of brilliantly experimental musicians who aren’t afraid to push boundaries and who create one hell of a racket when they perform and a gaggle of tunes able to bring any room / festival / audience to their knees, ranging from the staggeringly poignant ‘Gold and Silver’ to the room-shaking beauty of ‘Don’t Forget to Pray’.

Somehow though, Monday’s audience were rather unreceptive to the pure showmanship of Thomas et al. The best reaction it seemed was from a small section of ladies in the middle, who later turned out to be half of the England Women’s Cricket Team, with one of the team taking to Twitter to voice her disdain for the fact the band are not signed. Even with a lethargic crowd, doing their best to suck most of the enthusiasm out of the lively Southern lads, Brother and Bones still managed to produce an ear drum pounding wall of sound. Their set was a showcase to their maturity as well, opening with their some of their most raucous barnstormers and finishing off with a majestic cover of the Black Crowes’ ‘She Talks to Angels’.

It would be lazy to say the Monday night audience were entirely responsible for the sense of lethargy in the crowd; Brother and Bones were putting their blood and grit in to the evening’s set and deserved a better response. They certainly showed why they are still one of the best live acts in the UK at the moment. Catch them, and for god’s sake it’s not a criminal offence to sing along on a Monday evening after work. You showed ’em, cricketers…

 

Live Gig Video: Kodaline celebrate Christmas early in holiday video for Vodafone soundtracked by ‘All I Want’

 
By on Wednesday, 27th November 2013 at 4:00 pm
 

Christmas is less than a month away now, so I hope you’ve already started your gift shopping. So it’s high time to get in the holiday mood, shall we? Sporting their Movember moustaches, Kodaline, in collaboration with Vodafone, have released this holiday-themed video soundtracked by their mega hit ‘All I Want’. Watch it below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5k6bDtghakU[/youtube]

 

Live Gig Video: Lower Than Atlantis play ‘Deadliest Catch’ at Nottingham Spanky Van Dykes on Dr. Martens’ #STANDFORSOMETHING Tour

 
By on Tuesday, 26th November 2013 at 4:00 pm
 

Lower Than Atlantis turned up for the last date of this year’s Dr. Martens’ #STANDFORSOMETHING Tour, stopping in Nottingham earlier this month. At Spanky Van Dykes (what’s a name for a venue, eh?) on Goldsmith Road in Notts, the band held court in front of a raucous group of punters and played fan favourite ‘Deadliest Catch’. Watch it below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kO3LXvA-5Ic[/youtube]

 
 
 

About Us

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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