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Live Review: Frank Turner at Oxford O2 Academy – 20th October 2009

 
By on Wednesday, 21st October 2009 at 1:06 am
 

Frank Turner (side live)Last night was my first Frank Turner live experience. I was pointed in his direction by the marvellous Winston’s Zen earlier in the year, and since then he’s rarely been out of my top 10 last.fm most played artists of the week. Not entirely sure what to expect, I took my sister along to the (jam-packed) Oxford O2 Academy to check him out.

First support was the ace Beans on Toast. Normally first supports are a load of cack, but Beans on Toast rose to the occasion giving a strong collection of amusing anthems that were both topical and entertaining. Though I wouldn’t have minded if he laid off his “I’ve got a GCSE in Crowd Control” spiel which he seemed to use to fill the time between songs.

Next up were Fake Problems. They’ve been on our radar at TGTF for a while, (indeed, Steve reviewed their album back in March), but if I’m honest they just weren’t my sort of thing. Beans on Toast seemed to connect with the crowd much more (at least, from where I was standing near the mixing desk), and Fake Problems just went for the “deafen them into submission” approach. It sort of worked, but just wasn’t my cup of tea. Sorry.

Finally, 9:30 rolled around and Frank came on to one of the biggest cheers I’ve heard since that fateful McFly gig last summer (yes, I still don’t know why I was dragged to see them either…). I always forget just how many amazing songs he has – just about every song on the setlist was a crowd-singalong, from the opening trio of “Live Fast Die Old”, “The Road” and “Long Live The Queen” to the closing bars of “Photosynthesis”.

“Long Live the Queen” morphed itself into a celebration of life rather than the loss of a close one, “The Real Damage” a sing-along that most bands can only dream of, and “Reasons not to be an Idiot” became a jubilant exploration of our faults. Having the audience in his hand, banter was kept to a minimum (other than a quick introduction of his Mum who was watching on the side of the stage), Frank letting his songs do the talking.

Personally, the highlight was was a gorgeous cover of The Postal Service‘s District Sleeps Alone – completely different to his own songs, he re-vamped it and gave it a unique touch. Something I completely was not expecting, and one that summed up my evening.

Unsure of what to expect at the start of the evening, it turns out that Frank Turner may well be one of the UK’s best live performers at the moment. Entertaining, aware of the current climate and talented, he is one guy that I have firmly put on my list of  “bands to see again, and again, and again”, along with Bloc Party, Ben Folds, Idlewild, Friendly Fires and Delays.

Frank Turner‘s UK tour continues till next Thursday, with all dates (except Plymouth) sold out at the moment. After the jump: some pictures.

Continue reading Live Review: Frank Turner at Oxford O2 Academy – 20th October 2009

 

Live Review: Art Brut with Princeton at Black Cat, Washington DC – 18 October 2009

 
By on Tuesday, 20th October 2009 at 2:00 pm
 

On a chilly Washington Sunday night I, warmed by the beckoning Black Cat on 14th Street, was armed with the knowledge that something fantastic was about to happen. And that something fantastic was English/German band Art Brut.

b-princeton2But before we could get “Brut-alised“, we were entertained by a four-piece from Los Angeles, Princeton. If you like the Drums, I imagine you will also like the chirpy rock/pop sound that this quartet makes. Songs like the Beach Boys-esque ‘Martina and Clive Krantz’ and the surprisingly upbeat ‘I Left My Love in Nagasaki’ will make you smile. Very interestingly, their web site says that the band started when three of them were living in London in 2005. (I maintain to this day that there must be something in the Thames that causes the inner rocker in people to rise up and form bands.)

Cute as heck twin brothers Jesse and Matt Kivel traded off lead vocal and guitar duties effortlessly, and keys from Ben Usen and the backbeat provided by David Kitz complete the band’s sound. The brothers’ self-deprecating banter between songs charmed the crowd by the end of the set. And seriously, when was the last time you were asked by a band to clap along not just to one, but several songs in a band’s set and you did so without reservation?

h-artbrut3I had been recommended to see Art Brut by several friends on the Continent who insisted “Eddie Argos is a legend!” and “Art Brut are amazing live!” I was already interested in the band through their recent single ‘DC Comics and Chocolate Milkshake’, a celebration of the best things in life from Argos’s point of view. The song is from their latest album, ‘Art Brut vs. Satan’, released on Cooking Vinyl in April. I have a yet-to-be-shaken axiom that if a band is having a great time on stage playing their songs, it follows that the audience watching them will also have a great time being entertained by them. The Art Brut gig was further evidence for this. Jasper Future and Ian Catskillkin on guitars, Freddy Feedback on bass, and Mikey Breyer on drums were all having the time of their lives, playing with so much passion that at times I was worried their respective instruments might fly out of their hands. In particular, Future pulls these hilarious faces when he sings backing vocals; then he’ll stare out at the crowd as if waiting for a reaction. Comical!

g-artbrut2And then there was Eddie Argos. He had told me earlier (after an exclusive interview I did with him, forthcoming on TGTF) that he is a show-off and likes to be the centre of attention. However, nothing could have prepared me for what can only be described as stage shenanigans. During the third song, ‘Summer Job’, Argos skipped rope with the microphone cord; I think he broke it because then the roadies had to quickly set up another microphone for him. He introduced ‘Rusted Gun of Milan’ humorously with “let’s glamourise bad sex!” Completely randomly in the middle of the song, he jumped into the crowd, the microphone cord narrowly hitting my friend and me in the face. He then went on to describe to bemused concertgoers on the floor where the glass elevator in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory leads to: “the Bat Cave. And this is all entirely true“. What did he do next? He started pogo-ing, which of course led to everyone in the club following his lead. He detailed his disappointment finding out that Iggy Pop‘s song ‘The Passenger’ was not about riding on buses but taking heroin in the backseat of a limousine, and how he decided then that Art Brut would have to write a much better song about the joys of traveling on buses and trains around Britain. If that isn’t adorable, I don’t know what is.

Later on in the set, Argos explained that when playing ‘Alcoholics Unanimous’ (the first single from ‘Art Brut vs. Satan’) live, the band will play an extended outro so that he can nip off for a drink. It should also be noted that this is the same song that has the brilliant raucous chorus of “bring me tea! Bring me coffee!” So is it any surprise that one of the best-selling pieces of Art Brut merchandise was a mug with these words emblazoned on it in large letters? No, not at all. And this is all entirely true.

After the cut: photos and set list.

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Continue reading Live Review: Art Brut with Princeton at Black Cat, Washington DC – 18 October 2009

 

Live Review: The Airborne Toxic Event with Red Cortez and the Henry Clay People at 9:30 Club, Washington DC – 12 October 2009

 
By on Wednesday, 14th October 2009 at 2:00 pm
 

Purely by coincidence, the first time I’d seen all these bands was in March – and within 2 days of each other. The Henry Clay People had come to D.C. to support the Airborne Toxic Event at the Black Cat, and Red Cortez was opening for Morrissey at the Warner Theatre. This chilly Columbus Day night, the three bands from East Los Angeles came together for 3 hours of highly enjoyable sonic entertainment at the 9:30 Club.

d-cortez4We’re called Red Cortez. We used to be called the Airborne Toxic Event, but we don’t know what happened…” quipped from Harley Prechtel-Cortez, frontman and lead singer of Red Cortez halfway through their short 8-song set. This was indicative of the humour and fun nature of their band’s music: unpretentious rock delivered with spunk. Songs like ‘Fell on the Floor’ and ‘In the Fall’ are so bursting full of emotion, I’m really not sure why these guys are still unsigned. Ryan Kirkpatrick’s bass lines, drumming from Diego Guerrera, and guitars/keyboards from Calvin J. Love, along with guitar, harmonica, and keyboards by Prechtel-Cortez, all combine for a great rock ‘n’ roll sound.

The Henry Clay People were up next. This band has two singers, brothers Joey and Andy Siara, both of whom also play guitar. I felt really bad for them, because they had all sorts of technical problems: at the beginning, Andy’s mike was working, and later, his amp was acting up for most of the set. They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and this explains why Andy decided three songs in that they should play a cover of Jackson Browne‘s j-henryclay5‘Running on Empty’ while his brother tried in vain to fix the sound problems. But the band soldiered on in the face of adversity; ‘This Isn’t a Scene’ and ‘Working Part Time’ are examples of the ‘tude that the band exhibits on stage. Further, they ended their set with Joey Siara launching himself into the crowd while the band did a medley of the Velvet Underground‘s ‘Take a Walk on the Wild Side’, David Bowie‘s ‘Heroes’, and the Who‘s ‘Baby O’Riley’. I looked around disappointedly at the kids had absolutely no clue what songs these were. Oh, I feel old.

A sure sign that an indie band has arrived? They score a headlining gig at the 9:30. Only recently, after talking with several English acts, have I realised that the club is world famous and that everyone wants to p-tate6play there when they are here in D.C. Seriously now, who would have thunk it? The Airborne Toxic Event hasn’t been around all that long, so the band playing there is a major coup. The band has a very loyal following in the UK and has sold out London’s Koko and other venues in England, but I wondered if they would be able to fill the largest club venue in D.C. By 10 o’clock, it was apparent they had, as we were packed in like sardines.

The relatively complicated stage setup included two projections screens (one on stage right behind violist / keyboardist Anna Bulbrook and singer / guitarist Mikel Jollett, and the other stage left behind bassist Noah Harmon and guitarist Steven Chen) and two sets of stairs that led up to drummer Daren Taylor‘s set up, perched high up above the action. The stairs were utilized by all of the band members, who took turns climbing up with their instruments (thanks to long extension cords to their amps); in Harmon’s case, he jumped down rather recklessly with his bass. Rock ‘n’ roll baby.

l-tate2The set couldn’t be beat. ‘Gasoline’ and ‘Sometime Around Midnight’ turned into big singalongs, the multitude of voices singing in time in the cavernous venue echoing off the walls, eliciting huge grins from Jollett. He introduced ‘This is Nowhere’ as “a song about playing rock ‘n’ roll every night” and the crowd got into the act, shaking their bodies to the music, as if copying Bulbrook’s skittish dance moves across the stage that she exhibited all night long, often with her beloved viola in hand. The band slowed things down in the middle of their set with bare, acoustic versions of the oh-so-tender ‘Letter to Georgia’ and the first track off their self-titled album, ‘Wishing Well’ (described by Jollett as “the first song we ever wrote and played together as a band’. Gorgeous. If you ever get the chance to see the Airborne Toxic Event live in your town, go. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

After the cut: photos and set list.

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Continue reading Live Review: The Airborne Toxic Event with Red Cortez and the Henry Clay People at 9:30 Club, Washington DC – 12 October 2009

 

I Like Trains / October 2009 UK Tour

 
By on Friday, 9th October 2009 at 12:00 pm
 

I Like Trains have confirmed a string of UK shows around the UK starting next month.

Catch the Leeds based band at the below dates:

Wednesday 14th October 2009 – Liverpool, Barfly
Thursday 15th October 2009 – Manchester, Deaf Institute
Friday 16th October 2009 – Leeds, Cockpit
Saturday 17th October 2009 – Glasgow, King Tuts
Monday 19th October 2009 – Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
Tuesday 20th October 2009 – Bristol, Cooler
Wednesday 21st October 2009 – Oxford, Bullingdon Arms
Thursday 22nd October 2009 – London, The Garage
Friday 23rd October 2009 – Birmingham, Hare and Hounds
Saturday 24th October 2009 – Portsmouth, Wedgewood Rooms

 

Live Review: Bajofondo with the Phenomenal Handclap Band at 9:30 Club, Washington DC – 04 October 2009

 
By on Thursday, 8th October 2009 at 2:00 pm
 

Bajofondo3Mark my words – the next wave of music to invade the global airwaves will be new-garde Latin. Not the tango and rhumba that your parents would cut a rug to in their town dancehall, no, but an updated version of Latin rhythms complemented perfectly with dance beats heavy enough for the best clubs around and enough rhythm and blues inflection to appeal to the kids. Going into this gig, I knew nothing about Bajofondo except for the spare songs on their MySpace that sounded good to my ears upon their first listen. But always in the back of my mind when I listen to songs off MySpace is the question, ‘can this band deliver the same sound – or better – in the live environment?’ Bajofondo have been touring 2 years nearly nonstop in support of their latest album, ‘Mar Dulce’ (or ‘the sweet sea’), and I am happy to report that the group’s live performance exceeded my expectations several hundred fold. They stopped by Washington’s 9:30 Club to play to a vocal, mostly Spanish-speaking crowd, and were supported by New York City’s the Phenomenal Handclap Band.

Composer, singer, and guitarist Gustavo Santaolalla is, for practical purposes, considered the leader of this group. But he is quick to compliment the many Argentinian and Uruguain people that make up this fabulous band, and one could argue that each member is at the peak or near peak of his artistic excellence on his respective instruments. What I enjoyed most about the live Bajofondo experience was the sheer variety of musical styles they traversed in one evening. I expected the ‘electrotango’ sound associated with the band as described on Web sites, but not the trip hop and house stylings that seemed effortless to them.

PHB4But first, let me describe to you the Phenomenal Handclap Band’s set. I am a very lucky girl to have seen them 3 times in less than 2 months, once in their hometown of New York (opening for Friendly Fires at le poisson rouge) and twice in my hometown of Washington, a town that, until a couple years ago, seemed to have trouble attracting up and coming artists to play here. Having eight members makes matters of space difficult when the PHB play a smaller venue, but the 9:30 Club is huge compared to the other places I’ve seen this band. So what was the benefit of them having more space? Their singers and musicians had more latitude to spread out, moving and grooving their guitars and shaking their tambourines to the beat. These folks can really get down, with their psychedelic, funky, colorful rhythms, bouncy percussion, and screaming guitars and keyboards. Simply wonderful. I wasn’t sure how the Latino gig-goers would react, but they seemed to really enjoy the band’s sound as much as I did.

In addition to classical and easy listening, both of my parents favoured Latin music as my brother and I grew up. But the Latin music they liked to play were the restrictive, to the letter type of music you’d hear at ballroom dance classes. Not really for me. There is a large Latino presence in the Washington D.C. area. Unlike my friends, I am not a salsa dance fiend, and I’ve always shied away from approaching Latin music because I don’t understand much Spanish at all and what Latin music I did hear, I wasn’t a fan of the rhythms being employed. So it was with much surprise and delight when I heard what kinds of music Bajofondo had to offer. Gustavo Santaolalla is a good bandleader in the sense that he lets each member of this so-called ‘project’ shine with what they do best. It would take me a long time to describe what each member played, so instead I’m going to lift from their MySpace their members’ names and what each plays: ‘Bajofondo is comprised of Gustavo Santaolalla on guitar, percussion, and vocals; Juan Campodónico on programming, beats, samples and guitar; Luciano Supervielle on piano, keyboards and scratch; Javier Casalla on violin; Martín Ferrés on bandoneon; Gabriel Casacuberta on upright bass and electric bass; Adrián Sosa on drums; and Verónica Loza as VJ and on vocals’.

In particular, I really enjoyed the mustachioed Javier Casalla, who I understand is a world-renowed tango rhythm violinist and could probably be playing those crusty songs my parents loved back in the day, but instead he plays the violin with this band with gusto, as if the violin is speaking its emotions to us and saying, ‘hello, I am here and I am not going to be ignored!’ This evening I was standing in front of Martín Ferrés, who plays the bandoneón (essentially is an Argentinian/Urugaian accordion) and I was really amazed with the range the instrument had. Producer and guitarist Juan Campodónico (also famed in the Latino music world) had the crowd jumping with dance beats that at first I was skeptical of being appropriate with Latin music, given what I previously and erroneously thought. At times, all members seemed to be jumping up and down inexhaustibly. Highlights included ‘Pa’ bailar’ and ‘El mareo’. Close to the end of the night, girls were invited onstage to join in on the onstage dance party. Now that’s the proper way to have a stage invasion! Besides the dancey songs, they also had slower, sultrier numbers that had women of all ages around me swooning. Maybe there is truth to the Latin lover stereotype!

Santaolalla told us early on in the show that this was their last show of their 2-year tour, an ending of sorts. Even though the band is physically separated by miles (they all live in different cities around the world), I hope they will still get together sometimes to record and make more music, because I think the world is ready to receive them. They made me a believer in just one night.

After the jump: setlist and photos.

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Continue reading Live Review: Bajofondo with the Phenomenal Handclap Band at 9:30 Club, Washington DC – 04 October 2009

 

Maps / October and November 2009 UK Tour

 
By on Monday, 28th September 2009 at 4:00 pm
 

Maps have announced a string of UK tour dates for October and November to co-incide with their new album, Turning the Mind which is out today.

Tickets are on sale now. Catch them at:

Saturday 17th October 2009 – Oxford Jericho Tavern
Thursday 22nd October 2009 – Edinburgh Electric Circus
Friday 23rd October 2009 – Manchester Eat Your Own Ears Warehouse Project
Saturday 24th October 2009 – Southampton Joiners
Sunday 25th October 2009 – Birmingham Hare & Hounds
Monday 26th October 2009 – London Cargo
Wednesday 28th October 2009 – Bristol Start The Bus
Thursday 29th October 2009 – Cambridge Portland
Friday 30th October 2009 – Brighton Digital
Saturday 31st October 2009 – Nottingham Bodega Social
Sunday 1st November 2009 – Norwich Arts Centre
Wednesday 4th November 2009 – Sheffield Fusion At The University
Thursday 5th November 2009 – Newcastle Other Rooms
Friday 6th November 2009 – Glasgow Nice & Sleazy’s

Watch the new Maps single, I dream of Crystal, below, or order your copy of their new album from Amazon or iTunes.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R–kUfj5fKQ[/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 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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