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Norwich Sound and Vision 2015: Day 3 Roundup

By on Friday, 16th October 2015 at 2:00 pm

Following on from the first and second nights at Norwich Sound and Vision 2015, I felt sad when I awoke Saturday morning, knowing that in 24 hours’ time I would be on my way home. To try and take the edge off my impending return to the States, I had a nice brunch / afternoon tea at the Iron House, where a pot of tea and a very large and very nice gluten free slice of chocolate cake set me up well for the day. (I’m a massive foodie and in addition to my predilection for British bands and taking photos of them, you can check out the food and drink I’ve consumed on my travels on my Instagram.) With a full belly and needing to get up and walk so to not fall into a food-induced coma, it was time to head on down to a library of all places to partake in an afternoon of free shows. See if you can Spot the Chang in the photo below…

Cove Hithe, Dove and Boweevil and Emily Winng @ Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library

Maybe it’s just me being a great observer of life, but it’s not uncommon for me to scan a crowd, my eyes settling on a person who reminds me of someone who is or has been in my life. When I arrived at the Millennium Library at the Forum to check out the local bands to perform, there was a beardy chap who looked oddly familiar to me…yes, he looked just like Edd Gibson of Friendly Fires, what are the odds? Fortuitiously, the man turned out to be the frontman and primary songwriter for Cove Hithe, a Suffolk folk band who were just about to start playing. The band, named after a now abandoned seaside town on the East Coast of South East England, have already received plaudits from BBC 6 Music’s resident folkies Mark Radcliffe and Tom Robinson, which makes me think they’ll be appearing at the annual summer Cambridge Folk Festival in short order.

Cove Hithe live at Norwich Sound and Vision 2015 2

The harmonies achieved between Ducker and multi-instrumentalist Till Pendered, playing drums and clapping his hands on this occasion, were divine, recalling Simon and Garfunkel at their folkiest, and the songs reminiscent of those by The Lilac Time. For most folk-focussed bands, it would be really easy (not to mention lazy) to assume that they have pretty narrow horizons. But listening to ‘The Great Deceiver’, which appears on Cove Hithe’s latest live EP, shows their talent to tapping into a darker, bluesier vein, which will prove interesting when they start working on a debut album. Ducker explained early on that their female violinist was unable to join them for this gig, so I expect that with her contribution, they’d sound even more amazing live. Keep an eye on this band.

Cove Hithe live at Norwich Sound and Vision 2015

Going on from folk tinged with occasional blues was a far more bluesier, roots rock act called Dove & Boweevil. Normally, a five-piece band, they chose to strip down to just two band members – vocalist Lauren Dove and guitarist Mark ‘Boweevil’ Howes – for the occasion. As an American born and bred, I find it both confusing and endearing how beloved blues is by people outside the United States. Growing up far from the Midwest and South and far from any true cowboy country, from where I come from in DC, wearing cowboy boots makes you, well, different.

Dove and Boweevil live at Norwich Sound and Vision 2015

For sure, Dove and Boweevil have gotten the roots rock thing down pat: if you weren’t aware that they were from this part of England and didn’t hear Dove speaking in between the songs, you’d think based on ‘Food for Love’ and ‘Lady Lavoo’, two standouts from their new album ‘This Life’, that they were actually from the Mississippi Delta. While their two-person operation at the library made for a more intimate show, I’m imagining an incredible spectacle on a grand scale when the full band makes a festival appearance.

Emily Winng, formerly of Norwich’s Sargasso Trio who graced the pages of Clash and NME back in the day, concluded the free afternoon of music at the Millennium Library. I had been warned that Ms. Winng was a bit saucy and used colourful language. I thought, hmm, this should be interesting, given how many children are in attendance at the moment! Then it was pointed out to me that Winng’s own daughter was somewhere in the crush of screaming, running around sprogs in front of me. Ha. Wearing a straw hat and all black, Winng struck a balance between country and western and blues.

Emily Winng live at Norwich Sound and Vision 2015

Winng shone brightest when she chose to stretch her potent voice, going beyond what one might expect for a woman playing an acoustic guitar. The most notable thing about her set this afternoon? Somehow, the Norwich Samba group had been called in to ‘duet’ (if you can call it that) with Winng and her band on their final number, ‘Love Song’. I can say for certain I’ve never seen a samba group and all their percussion join in with an indie artist live, and for the colourful spectacle that it was, it’s not an experience I will soon forget. (You can watch the performance below that was filmed by the bloke who was stood with his video camera directly beside me during Winng’s set.)


Daisy Victoria, Fossa and SuperGlu @ The Mash Tun

A short time later, it was time to get back and stuck into the more ‘traditional’ side of Norwich Sound and Vision 2015 programming. While I considered seeing Claws first at Norwich Arts Centre, after reading that they were yet another surf-y indie band and having seen so many like them in Norwich in the past 2 days already, I wanted a change of pace. German band The Picturebooks had to pull out of the festival due to an undisclosed medical emergency (looks like the drummer was in a motorcycle accident from this Facebook post), moving all the artists on the Mash Tun’s evening bill around.

That meant Daisy Victoria went on at 9 instead of 8:15, which I’m guessing helped in filling in the venue space. Daisy, from nearby countryside town Diss, first came onto our radar this summer during the promotion of her single ‘Pain of Dancers’, a great little glittery pop number. Although I think the comparisons of her to Kate Bush and PJ Harvey were inevitable, especially to the former based on Daisy’s love of vintage dresses and putting her hair up when she performs, it was quite intriguing to me that neither strong female artist of recent history had been a major influence to her.

Daisy Victoria live at Norwich Sound and Vision 2015

She’s got a song named ‘Heart Full of Beef’. Yes, you read that right. Daisy Victoria isn’t just a pretty face, she – along with her songwriting and performance partner and brother Sam – is out to do something novel, using her powerful voice, catchy melodies, and sometimes wonky yet imaginative guitar lines to create a truly unique sound. With BBC Introducing Norwich already behind her and her band, she’s such a refreshing discovery in a world populated with too many predictable female singers without any substance.

The music of London band Fossa is difficult to describe. I suppose you can call them soundscape-y like Mogwai, as they’re not straight indie, as they’re not pop in the conventional sense, but I wouldn’t class them as prog either. If you listen to their EP ‘Sea of Skies’, some of the instrumentation sounds like it’s been lifted from ’70s psychedelia (except less chill, such as on ‘Five Days’) or Talking Heads (‘Butterfly’). Sandwiched in between artists totally unlike them put Fossa in a difficult position, as they were neither as poppy as Daisy Victoria or had the spunk and craziness of Superglu, and their music presented a more difficult listen, definitely more than I think the average punter wanted on a Saturday night.

Fossa live at Norwich Sound and Vision 2015

Funnily enough, I had been tipped off about SuperGlu (note there is no ‘e’ on the end of their name) by a nice waitress who served me and an American friend at my favourite pub in Brighton when I was there in May for the Great Escape. I didn’t think too much of it, figuring that despite liking what I heard on SoundCloud, I’d never actually get a chance to see this band live. Yet by some divine providence, SuperGlu were given one of, if not the best slot of the whole festival in Norwich.

The four-piece from another neighbouring town Manningtree closed out the Mash Tun, and boy, did they end the festival on a high note. In extreme contrast to Fossa’s cerebral music, Superglu’s is all about having fun with your mates, shouting at the top of your lungs with their singalongs and bopping to the rhythms. Although I wasn’t familiar with their songs by name, it became quickly evident by the glee of the punters, dancing to the music and raising their hands and fists in solidarity, that this band had made a lasting impression on them. They lined up in droves after to buy merch, which is always a good barometer of success to come.

SuperGlu live at Norwich Sound and Vision 2015

After I returned to the States, something else weird happened: I got an invite from a promoter friend of mine in London who was putting on a show starring SuperGlu in November. Who’s not going to believe fate now? I might be wrong of course, but given all the ducks that lined up in a row, I think it’s more likely that 1) I was supposed to be in Norwich to see this band, and 2) they’re going to do very, very well.

And as if in a blink of an eye, that was it. My first experience with Norwich Sound and Vision was over. Though I walked home in the cold and was aware that after one more sleep in Norwich I would be going home, as I passed drunk, partying uni students reveling in their temporary freedom as uni students, I also felt an unusual sense of freedom, an enthusiastic one in myself. Having a great experience in Norwich, feeling the great creativity that exists in this part of the country, could only have a positive effect on my writing and my life going forward.

Thank you Norwich, and thank you friends old and new. You’re all wonderful. I hope I won’t be a stranger to you.


Norwich Sound and Vision 2015: Day 2 Roundup

By on Thursday, 15th October 2015 at 2:00 pm

After a fantastic lineup of bands on the first night of Norwich Sound and Vision 2015 Thursday, I was raring to go for another round on Friday. Of all the artists to appear at the event in East Anglia, the one I wanted to see most and had marked with big red asterisks on my schedule for my time there would be appearing at the Norwich Arts Centre that night, so I was very excited.

EKKAH, Hannah Lou Clark and Lonelady @ Norwich Arts Centre

Regular readers of TGTF know that I enjoy a good dance band that I can shake a tail feather to. So I was delighted to see EKKAH – made up of two Brummie girls named Rebecca Wilson and Rebekah Pennington, naturally – up first at the Arts Centre. Loudly self-described on their Facebook page as purveyors of “DOWNTOWN DISCO”, they didn’t disappoint with their colourful live presentation, which included the girls on vocals and their own instruments (Pennington on guitar and Wilson on keyboards), backed by an energetic band to give their sound added oomph that filled the venue well.

Ekkah live at Norwich Sound and Vision 2015

EKKAH’s songs have a sultriness that Donna Summer would approve of on ‘Figure It Out’. Yet there is plenty of glittery pop and r&b referencing in their music that make them totally relevant here in 2015. Even if they did a cover of ‘Forget Me Nots’ by Patrick Rushen (aka where Will Smith lifted a catchy line for ‘Men in Black’) while I was rushing out of the room to catch a glimpse and earful of my next band. They’re on tour in the UK now through November and have a bunch of festival appearances lined up, so you really have no excuse not to see them live.

A famous friend in London pointed out to me that in another life, Hannah Lou Clark was the mastermind behind FOE, a weird misfit band she fronted several years ago that both John and I adored, so no way was I missing her latest solo venture. I got a chance to see FOE perform to a packed upstairs space at LIFE club at the Great Escape 2012 during my first visit to Brighton and was reasonably impressed, so maybe my expectations were placed unreasonably high?

Hannah Lou Clark live at Norwich Sound and Vision 2015

Unless I feel moved emotionally by their music, I usually palm off the singer/songwriter artists to Carrie, because unless someone has an amazing voice or has some unique characteristics that set them apart from their contemporaries, they all start to sound the same to me after a while. Unfortunately for her, Clark played after EKKAH, so going from a full band with coloured lights and sparkly presentation to a single woman with a guitar onstage with no other backup couldn’t have provided more contrast. She had local support in the audience, having released her ‘Silent Type’ EP last year on Norwich label Gravy Records, whom she thanked and then got whoops of cheers in response. ‘Kids in Heat’, which appears on the EP, was a good effort live, though I couldn’t help wondering that if the volume was louder and/or she had a full backing band behind her, the effect would have been that more arresting. Guess we’ll see where she goes with it.

In London just days before, I was asked by a radio presenter mate of mine who I was most excited to see at Norwich Sound and Vision. “LoneLady. I was so upset when she pulled out of Live at Leeds.” “Was there an explanation of why? Hmm, well, she’s a fragile flower…” That isn’t how I pictured Julie Ann Campbell from Manchester at all. So I have to admit I was happy to be right, when I finally saw her onstage at the Arts Centre wielding a guitar, wearing in a dark jumper with what appeared to be a Sesame Street-themed alphabet jumper and “BEAT” emblazoned on it in coloured letters. Ha!

Lonelady live at Norwich Sound and Vision 2015

I had several conversations in Austin this year with male electronic artists and how there are so few female ones that have been able to rise above and become prominent on the scene. Just by name, ‘LoneLady’ seems to evoke this disparate nature, that what she is does is different and unique, separate from everyone and everything else, and this difference is refreshing. The unrelenting beats of current radio single ‘Silvering’, with its staccatoed guitar notes, couldn’t be beat (no pun intended), while the funk of the earworm that is ‘Groove It Out’ never lets up either, which worked well to get punters moving under the cover of darkness. I didn’t leave disappointed.

PINS, Beach Baby and Black Honey @ The Mash Tun

I’ve never been a fan of PINS. When their star first started to rise, I had a listen to their early stuff and was nonplussed by it. Okay, so it’s lo-fi with guitars, and it’s nothing special. What exactly wasn’t I getting? The clue probably was that it was the kids who were responding to their music, as it completely passed me by. Or at least now I can say I think I was searching too hard and looking for the wrong thing in them. When I finally saw a whole set by them in Norwich, it finally clicked for me like it had when I saw the Vaccines play live in DC 2 years ago.

PINS live at Norwich Sound and Vision 2015

While there’s an attempt at aloofness on the lyrical delivery on one of their earlier hits ‘Girls Like Us’ and more recent song ‘Young Girls’ (gee, notice a trend?), this isn’t the kind of music you should be taking a magnifying glass to, or to have some deep emotional bond to either. It’s the kind of music you jump up and down with your friends when the band invite you onstage to do so, which several very excited fans – both girls and boys – got to do with much glee. If you can leave your pretensions behind at the door, you can have a pretty good time getting drawn into the world these girls have created. (You might not even have a choice: I was invited by their lead singer to stand close to her while they performed, but I got away with not doing so as I was taking notes!)

Continuing the fun at the Mash Tun were London band Beach Baby, who are currently in New York this week. This should tell you something about the hype behind them; until I saw them on the bill for Norwich Sound and Vision, I’d never heard of them but apparently their cool factor must be up to 11 if they’ve already made it out over here for CMJ, including two shows at Baby’s All Right, aka where the most hyped UK bands always seem to land first when they come stateside (Glass Animals would have played their first American gig proper there last May if Dave Bayley hadn’t fallen ill).

Beach Baby live at Norwich Sound and Vision 2015

As you might rightly guess from their band name, their sound is pretty surf-y, with plenty fanciful guitar work and a disaffected vocal suggesting they’re so cool, they’re over themselves already. I suppose this is a good way to think, to be egoless, as they already have two massive (drunk) fans in Norwich: danced like no-one was watching, the pair stood near the singer and kept yelling “mega!” at him all night. To his credit, the band’s singer took this ball and ran with it, humouring them, saying they were going to name their next single ‘Mega’ in their honour. Snort.

My final band of Friday night were initially another mystery to me too, but they turned out to be so much more than I had expected. Although they’ve been trying to maintain an aura of anonymity in a way similar to what Mancunian recluses WU LYF were doing back in the day, after their appearance in Norwich, Black Honey can hide no longer. The Brighton group have that scuzzy, lo-fi sound that is all the rage these days with the indie kids. But the difference with this band over many others of the same genre – even PINS can’t compete on this level, I don’t think – is the charisma of their blonde, bass-playing frontman Izzy B. Phillips.

The way she talked to the crowd, it suggests she doesn’t really give a monkey’s, which is subversive in a Johnny Rotten kind of way, but it’s also oddly endearing. I don’t think it’s an act; when she told the audience they had new t-shirts for their current tour and they were selling them after they got offstage, she reminded everyone that, “you know, we need to eat.” Within the confines of lo-fi, the elements of psych and surf rock are there, and I can even hear a bit of No Doubt and Wolf Alice when Phillips puts her guard down long enough to expose her softer side, if only briefly. Oh boy, did the kids go mental over Black Honey, cheering and screaming for them after every song. If their first reception in Norwich is anything to go by, this band has got it in the bag.

Oh, and they also have a stage prop (unfortunately, I did not get a photo of him). A lawn flamingo, oddly named Jerry. You work that one out. Poor thing almost got his head bashed in by one of their guitarists, overexcited by the gig. Hope they have a spare…


Norwich Sound and Vision 2015: Day 1 Roundup

By on Wednesday, 14th October 2015 at 2:00 pm

For Norwich Sound and Vision 2015, the venues weren’t too far apart (and in two cases, they were in the same building), which meant you could rush from one place to another and get a flavour of nearly every band performing. Or, if you so preferred, you could hang out and stay for nearly all of an artist’s set and then go off to get a nip of something else nearby. Very pleasingly to me as a music editor, there were never queue, which meant I got to see everyone I wanted. Massive thumbs up!

Let’s Eat Grandma and Best Friends @ Norwich Arts Centre

Appropriately, my first band at Norwich Sound and Vision 2015 were a Norwich band. Already drawing comparisons to out there and anarchic artists like Bjork and Micachu and the Shapes, it just so happens that it was one that not only has an awful lot of local hype behind them, NME and BBC 6 Music’s Stuart Maconie of the Freak Zone have already gotten on their bandwagon, and from what I understand, there is already label interest in them. This is all pretty damn amazing considering Let’s Eat Grandma – yes, that’s really their band name (upon further reflection, I’m assuming it’s an editor’s joke, hur hur) – are a pair of young girls who’ve just reached the age of 16. When I was 16, I was in high school, too busy steering clear of bullies to even think about writing songs or being artistic.

Let's Eat Grandma live at Norwich Sound and Vision 2015

Two pretty teenage girls, with teased and tousled hair; sequined, sparkly tops; and midriffs showing: that’s certainly an image, isn’t it? (At Festival No. 6 last month in Portmeirion, Wales, they appeared in white ballerina outfits and metallic leggings.) While there’s a lot of talk in the industry right now about women in music being objectified unfairly, I expect Let’s Eat Grandma’s music more than anything else to be what will keep these youngsters riding high. Jenny Hollingworth and Rosa Walton, who look like twins when they’re up onstage, say take what they like best out of pop music, then insert it into their own quirky song structures, playing a multitude of instruments while they’re at it. The sound is a little too out there for me, but given the way mainstream pop music is going these days, it can always use a kick in the arse.

In contrast, Sheffield band Best Friends I suppose could be considered ‘settled’, in that they’ve already found a label (Brighton’s FatCat, who signed them this past spring) and they’ve already found their niche in today’s emerging music ecosystem. Unexpectedly to me, their lo-fi surf-y sound was a subgenre to be repeated several times among the artists I saw showcase in Norwich. It hadn’t occurred to me until several different folks pointed out to me that many British bands like the American surf pop thing an awful lot and are not just having fun with it, but are actually doing well with it, filling venues and keeping their fans happy, wild and dancing.

Best Friends live at Norwich Sound and Vision 2015

Best Friends actually sounded way better to me live than on recording, and this probably best explains their devoted following who come out to their shows. With their loud, brash psych guitar-playing and pounding drums, conducted at an unrelenting tempo, you can’t help but get drawn into their sound. Those devoted fans? They were already down the front, getting lost in the music as they cut a rug in time to the music. Well, as much as you can to such a frenetic noise…

Abigail Blake and True Adventures @ Norwich Arts Centre Bar

Just adjacent to the main stage at the Norwich Arts Centre was another small stage in the bar, which was used mainly for acoustic acts during the festival. At just 20 years old and a self-admitted uni dropout, local singer/songwriter Abigail Blake represents the hope and dreams of many a young, struggling artist wishing to make it big one day. The Coventry-born, Kent- and Norfolk-bred Blake released her debut EP ‘Etches’ earlier this year.

Abigail Blake Norwich Sound and Vision 2015

Initially, she was sat on the stage playing her harp and singing, and while her harp-playing was certainly serviceable, the instrument seemed more of a gimmick and less of a real addition to her songs. I can’t recall whether I’ve ever seen a harpist at a music festival, but maybe I was just I was just looking for something more to sink my teeth into while at Norwich Sound and Vision and this wasn’t it. When she switched to acoustic guitar, Blake seemed more believable. As evidenced on ‘Air’, she has a really nice, gentle, sweet voice, but time will tell where her talent will take her.

True Adventures live at Norwich Sound and Vision 2015

True Adventures is the stage name of Samuel Leonard Keith Leonard (yes, that’s one person’s name), formerly (or maybe still?) associated with Norwich alt-rock / classical band Wooden Arms, who we covered a few years ago at the Norwich Sound and Vision showcase at Liverpool Sound City. Though it might seem odd to see one man onstage versus his six-person strong band, Leonard is a deft hand at folk songwriting. While his debut single from earlier this year, ‘North Atlantic Ocean’, features his Wooden Arms’ bandmates’ beautiful strings, the beauty of the song still shone through with just Leonard’s warm, robust voice and acoustic guitar. I can also get behind a 21st century musician who favours red legwarmers, proving you can be comfortable, yet still fashionable!


Ducking Punches, Tigercub and Clarence Clarity @ The Mash Tun

Everyone you talk to who was in Norwich in 2013 for that year’s Sound and Vision speaks of a then unknown, then unsigned Royal Blood playing to a room full of A&R men here, so The Mash Tun’s important place in rock history is assured. So it seems natural that the majority of the bands chosen to play the performance space on the top floor of the pub were of the raucous, loud variety matching or at least similar to that of the Brighton band. Ducking Punches are a Norwich band self-described as of the folk punk genre, and when you hear that heavily tattooed frontman and leader Dan Allen has also worked as Frank Turner‘s guitar tech, things start to make more sense.

Ducking Punches live at Norwich Sound and Vision 2015

While I couldn’t catch most of their set, suffice to say it’s a no-brainer that if you’re a fan of Mr. ‘Wessex Boy’, Ducking Punches are up your alley, with barnstorming tunes, shouty bits of social commentary and a DIY attitude. Seeing Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) badges on their merch stand also made sense in the context of ‘Six Years’, a song Allen wrote for a friend he lost to suicide. It was a stark reminder that suicide is the single biggest cause of death in men 20-45 in the UK and is preventable. For more information on the CALM campaign, go here.

Though Brighton band and Royal Blood’s buddies Tigercub came highly recommended to me by many in town for the conference, they didn’t wow me. Their style of “escapist, post-ironic, post-everything “music isn’t reliant on a clear melody, which is fine when you’re in the mood for that. But what nagged me more was that they sounded like a 21st century retread of Nirvana; having been there for the original, they just weren’t exciting to me. To their credit, if their primary intention in Norwich was to create a wall of sound, they did it. It just ended up sounding very loud and of little else. Am I getting old?

Clarence Clarity and his band from London were also loud, but there was so much going on onstage, you didn’t know where to look, and you couldn’t *not* look. I saw his name on the Great Escape 2015 bill but couldn’t see him then, so I was delighted I’d get the opportunity in Norwich. You can point to similarities between him and the aforementioned Let’s Eat Grandma at the start of my day 1 coverage: to these artists, being ‘normal’ and like everyone else is an anathema, and their rebellion against the mainstream is through their musical expression, however mental their route might be. Elements of electronic, hip hop, pop and rock make their way into the man’s music and live with his band, the experience is feast for the eyes and ears.


Live Review: East India Youth with The Harpoons at Coventry Tin – 3rd October 2015

By on Tuesday, 13th October 2015 at 2:00 pm

If you didn’t know where you were going – and unlike me, you didn’t actually see a staff member open one of the blue and white-painted vault doors facing the canal and go in – you might walk by the Tin Music and Arts centre in Coventry and completely miss it. This literal hole in the wall turned out to be a venue that oddly made me feel at home, a sentiment that was echoed by the night’s headliner, who said it reminded him a lot of DC9. It’s a non-profit entity, so in addition to being an independent live venue, the fine folks there are also doing good works for the good people of Coventry. Definitely the kind of place I like to put my money into. (Feel the same way? You can donate to them directly here.)

The Harpoons Coventry live

The opener for the evening were The Harpoons, whose name sounds like a band from a city with a seafaring past and an aggro look, playing hard rock. So imagine my shock when the four-piece from Melbourne, Australia took to the stage with one guitar and no drum kit (two of their band members are on synths). Even more surprising was when their female lead singer opened her mouth, releasing a soulful croon. Whether her voice is meant to be paired with programmed drum beats, I haven’t quite decided yet (the latter, I guess, was why they were chosen as support that night in Coventry), but they’re a different kind of band than I’m used to from Melbourne (The Temper Trap, Husky, The Delta Riggs). She made light about the fatal bus accident earlier in town and how she has managed to mispronounce the town’s name, and I realise both quips may have been down to nerves but nevertheless, it was awkward.

Having read that there would be precious few chances left this year to see East India Youth (aka Bournemouth-born William Doyle) perform his current album for XL Recordings, ‘Culture of Volume’, before he goes into hibernation to write album #3, I’d made it a special trip to Coventry for this Saturday night show. Off the back of seeing him showcase on the opening night of SXSW 2015 at the Huw Stephens’-curated Music Wales showcase at the British Music Embassy, then an afternoon show Saturday for Brooklyn Vegan, I had some idea of what to expect: kinetic, frenetic, sweaty, emotional. I did wonder, however, how it would be possible to segue between tracks on ‘Culture of Volume’ and his 2014 Mercury Prize-nominated debut ‘Total Strife Forever’: to me, they seem two completely different animals, written in what I understand to be two very different headspaces.

It speaks well of Doyle’s talent that except for those brief moments cueing up his Macbook, synth or any one of his sequencers, his set was amazingly cohesive from the moment he spoke, practically whispering into his microphone, “hello Coventry. Let’s start.” Despite that opening whisper, the live versions of ‘Turn Away’, ‘Hearts That Never’ and ‘Beaming White’ from ‘Culture of Volume’ saw Doyle whip about onstage like a maniac, whether he was frantically playing notes on his synth, pressing buttons or turning dials, or had taken to the free area behind his setup to go mental with his bass. (Headbangers unite!) Pausing once to express his annoyance with and to admonish some loud talkers in the audience, it’s clear he’s an artist for whom being in control of how his music sounds from the stage is really important.

East India Youth Coventry live 4

As Doyle said when I chatted with him in Austin in March and in many other interviews since, he is committed to making sure the live experience for his fans is an animated one, not confined to synth button-pushing. I can appreciate an artist who becomes completely swept up in his music like this, letting go of inhibitions to become one with his art. ‘Heaven How Long’ from his first LP, although it begins serenely enough, turns into a crazy experience with pounding beats that led many of us in the room to sway our bodies to the euphoric, life-affirming rhythm. (Actually, I’m on the fence on whether the song is meant to be life-affirming or not. But that’s a matter for my other site Music in Notes, not here at TGTF.) As the most manic track on ‘Culture of Volume’, ‘Entirety’ is a monster on record; live, Doyle’s treatment of the song is even more bonkers, and delightedly so to any electronic music fan who revels in watching his favourite artist completely go for it, throwing all caution to the wind, limbs flying.

East India Youth Coventry live 2

While as a solo artist Doyle has made his name on his experimental, sometimes challenging, primarily instrumental soundscapes, it cannot be overemphasised how good his voice is when he chooses to use it. On ‘Culture of Volume’, he made the decision to go more pop, spending more time and vanity in front of the microphone. From this Hot Press interview, it sounds like his third album may see him take a step back from it, which I think is a travesty. On ‘Looking for Someone’ live, there’s a forlorn starkness to the opening spare drum beats and the words “just for me and no-one else / I need something for myself”, yet Doyle’s voice is comforting, Everyman, when he sings that he’s been misinterpreted as being emotionless: “you think I feel nothing, you think I feel nothing / you don’t know how wrong you are”. Being a fan of the genre for years (and also always in the minority, being a woman), it’s been my perspective that electronic itself is nearly always misunderstood by those on the outside, that it cannot possibly convey emotions anywhere near as well as others.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Those of us who know, who feel it all, we can sense those emotions from the music. And deeply. Closing his set in Coventry with the slowest, most cinematic and breathtaking track from the current album, Doyle came out from behind his electronic setup, choosing to instead stand in front of us to deliver ‘Carousel’. Holding on to that one last beautiful sung note, he left everyone in the place mesmerised. Fantastic.

East India Youth Coventry live 3

It will be some time before we get another album from Will Doyle. But in the meantime, we can take consolation and hold fast to the elation, the poignancy in his first two albums. And hope he will hurry back soon. As of this writing, East India Youth has three live UK appearances this year at a festival in Brum and two gigs in Scotland (Edinburgh and Aberdeen); for more details, go here. Past TGTF coverage of East India Youth is this way.

After the cut: East India Youth’s set list.
Continue reading Live Review: East India Youth with The Harpoons at Coventry Tin – 3rd October 2015


Norwich Sound and Vision 2015: an introduction to editor Mary’s coverage

By on Tuesday, 13th October 2015 at 1:00 pm

The knowledge we’ve gained collectively at TGTF as a UK/US music Web site from major industry events has been absolutely amazing since I joined up as USA Editor in the spring of 2009 and while under my leadership as Editor since summer 2010; I’ve personally covered major music events on three continents and have had life experiences that I wouldn’t have traded for the world. But there came a point in my blogging career this past summer, over 6 years since I began, when the usual suspects on the music professional calendar felt like they just weren’t cutting it anymore. I needed to broaden my horizons, to reboot, to find something fresh to add another notch to my belt.

A friend of ours at Generator NI suggested I look into a conference and festival taking place in October, not my usual time of the year to visit the UK. Further, I was told it took place in East Anglia, a place I’ve not had the opportunity to visit in my 9 years of travelling to the country. Sounded like a good shout, eh? Starting today and through the rest of this week, I hope to give you a better idea of and a flavour for Norwich Sound and Vision, the East of England town in which it takes place in and why everyone – from music professionals to the obsessive fan – would do well to look into this boutique happening. Though it’s smaller than The Great Escape, it’s one of the better-run events on the calendar, staffed by passionate local leadership and staff truly devoted to the cause.

I had been aware of the strength of Norwich’s musical community, having noticed that at every Liverpool Sound City we’ve attended (prior to this year when the event was moved to the docklands, at least) always had a Norwich-sponsored showcase. Of course, you wouldn’t put on such a regional showcase unless 1) you had secured the financial support from local culture-related offices (read: there are people in your area who are excited about and want to help you spread the word about local talent) and 2) you felt the quality and potential of the artists in your area were incredible enough to want to shout about it to a wider audience outside your region.

I had the good fortune of having the time to attend both days of the conference and all three nights of the festival. Though the number of delegates is significantly less than that who attend the Great Escape, I thought the programming was excellent, covering a wide range of topics that would appeal to music professionals already in the industry, those looking to make moves into other parts of the business, and budding artists. (In the coming days, I’ll also be bringing you my thoughts on the showcasing artists I witnessed live while in Norwich.)

As the industry landscape changes, especially in terms of how an artist makes enough money not just to survive and break new markets, most usually without the backing of a major label, it’s obvious there is no ‘one size fits all’ standard model towards the yellow brick road of fame and fortune for a new artist. Nor is there one single benchmark of success for every artist to denote he/she/they has/have ‘made it’. Despite both acts first growing their fanbase in Britain and then made successful forays into America and beyond, success achieved by Bear’s Den and Public Service Broadcasting came to be via different paths. Stories like theirs give me hope for the future, and I hope they do the same for you, too. Syncing and streaming, also discussed in their own panel talks, are two topics that should be important to every new band, with the potential for revenue in either or both that could prove significant.

I have to admit that living in TGTF’s little corner of music industry land for quite a few years now, I haven’t needed to give much thought to how many little details must be sorted out, and in good time, to put on and to promote a major music festival and make it successful: sorting out event licences; keeping the local residents happy; making sure there is adequate police, fire brigade and medical emergency services in case god forbid something terrible happens. I know now why there are so many people I have come to know and become friends with that are involved with them, and I will certainly leave those kinds of headaches and heartaches to them. Case in point: Paul Kennedy, cofounder of The Zeitgeist Agency, who PR for Kendal Calling among many other festivals during the year, an event our Martin has covered for us several times including this year, had the unfortunate task of dealing with the fallout of a punter’s death this year at their festival.

The sad example serves as a reminder that although music festivals are big business and are about the organiser’s bottom line and yes, money talks, but it’s important to remember that we’re all part of a greater community, and we can and should be looking out for each other. Ultimately, I feel there are enough of us, with the good in our hearts, all in this together, and we will keep this industry alive and thriving. That’s something we all should feel good about. But that doesn’t mean we should ever rest on our laurels. From there, we need to keep going. And keep pushing.

I recently said, in tears to a manager friend, that as a music editor I often feel like a soldier in a war that will never end, where artists are fighting with each other for regional funding and festival slots and they can’t count on album sales because young people are stealing their music and not respecting their hard work. Quite often, I don’t feel like I’m ever doing enough to help new artists. If I can speak from a purely selfish standpoint, hearing the varied points of view from so many people from different walks of life in our industry made me feel a bit more comfortable at least with my own position, and where TGTF fits in with all of that.

Wherever you are, whoever you are in the music world – whether you’re a professional supporting an artist, you’re an artist making music or you’re a fan who buys concert tickets – what you do and how you act within this world does and has an effect.

Keep fighting the good fight, everyone!

Norwich canal
Just in case there was any doubt that I was actually there, here’s a photo of the canal near where I stayed in Norwich. Not going to get that kind of view at most festivals!


Rival Consoles / October 2015 UK Tour

By on Friday, 25th September 2015 at 9:00 am

Ryan West, better known by his electronic stage name Rival Consoles, will be going out on his first proper headline tour next month. He’ll be touring in support of his newest and third album ‘Howl’, which will be released on the 16th of October on Erased Tapes. (Buy the album directly from the indie label here.) He’s currently in Colombia at the moment for MUTEK Bogota – yes, it IS unfair that electronic artists get to go to such exciting destinations – but I imagine he’ll be in fine form for his tour in October, which includes a stop 2 days before the album release at the esteemed Corsica Studios in London on the 14th of October. Tickets to all the non-free shows listed below are on sale now.

Catch all of my previous coverage on Rival Consoles on TGTF, including my interview with him on the last day of SXSW 2015, right this way.

Saturday 10th October 2015 – Manchester Texture
Sunday 11th October 2015 – Teesside Sound It Out Records (free in-store show at 4 PM)
Monday 12th October 2015 – Glasgow Hug and Pint
Tuesday 13th October 2015 – Brighton Green Door Store
Wednesday 14th October 2015 – London Corsica Studios
Thursday 15th October 2015 – Bristol Start the Bus (free show)
Friday 16th October 2015 – Leicester Firebug


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.

All MP3s are posted with the permission of the artists or their representatives and are for sampling only. Like the music? Buy it.

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