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Preview: LeeFest 2017

 
By on Thursday, 22nd June 2017 at 11:00 am
 

Of all the smaller festivals that have popped up over recent years, LeeFest (10-12 August in Edenbridge, Kent) is perhaps the best one. Somewhat a mini-Glastonbury-style festival, ‘The Neverland’ as it’s become known, is a place where fun and imagination are encouraged to run wild. Three separate sections are dedicated to different aspects of the lineup, with Skull Ridge being my personal favourite, where the pirates (yes, pirates!) roam free to the sound of punk, rock, grunge and grime. Last year’s lineup, including the surprise Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes set, was filled with some of the loudest and heaviest new acts around.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9XwFecNXyU[/youtube]

For those of you who aren’t into the same flavours of music as I, fear not: the full lineup for this year’s LeeFest has some great names from all across the spectrum. Topping the bill this year are two voices who will convey their outlook on current society with their own individual brand of lyrical poetry. Jake Bugg and Kate Tempest, one of the UK’s youngest and brightest songwriters and one of the UK’s most prominent spoken word poets, respectively. With them both at LeeFest, you can’t help but feel like things could get a little bit magical.

Slightly, ok, very away from that spectrum are Wild Beasts, who last year released ‘Boy King’, one of the funkiest and sleaziest – in a good way – honest! – albums we’ve ever heard. It’s amazing, and so are they, and this will be the perfect environment to see them live. LeeFest is a place that prides itself on being a real-life Neverland. You’ve already heard about Skull Ridge and its pirates, but there’s also The Neverwoods aka the main arena, where the Bangarang stage (YES) and Tootles Circus stage take pride of place. Completing the festival’s trio of sections is Mermaid’s Lagoon, or the dance arena, which includes hot tubs. That’s right. Hot tubs.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTvrv30b7C0[/youtube]

Steering away from hot tubs and mermaids of LeeFest, looking in on the lineup once more and the brightest names in UK music at the moment, and all stand out. Representing indie pop is Fickle Friends who never fail to compose a banger: latest track ‘Glue’ is a testament to this. For rock, Milk Teeth more than hold their own. The foursome are prepping to release a new EP in the coming months and with the incredible work that was their debut, ‘Vile Child’ in 2016, the future is bright for the Gloucestershire-based band. While Jake Bugg may be a well-known name in the songwriting world, a new up-and-comer is Tom Grennan. Against his soulful and often crushing tracks that radiate honesty, his sharply contrasting persona filled with confidence and swagger works incredibly well. You’ll have to catch him live to see what I mean.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMkIIvc-8J0[/youtube]

LeeFest is often likened to being a small, more accessible version of Glastonbury, and all of these claims are accurate. Seeing is believing, so get your tickets quick because the last bunch are on sale and these won’t hang around long. You can still get tier two day tickets, but full weekend tickets are now only available on the final tier. Go here to see all available ticket options at the moment.

You can read my coverage on it last year, including chats with Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Everything Everything and Oscar, through here.

 

Preview: Cambridge Folk Festival 2017

 
By on Wednesday, 21st June 2017 at 11:00 am
 

Fifty-two years is quite a long time for a festival to be running, but when it’s something as revered as The Cambridge Folk Festival (27-30 July at Cherry Hinton Hall in Cambridge), you can understand why. Always attracting the biggest and brightest of the folk world, this year is no different. Alongside the already announced top billing of Jake Bugg and Indigo Girls, there is also now the addition of unstoppable juggernaut of Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls.

Having taken place every year since 1965 at the beautiful Cherry Hinton Hall, it’s the world’s premier event for folk and acoustic music. Its history is steeped in some of the biggest legendary names in the genre from Emmylou Harris and Joan Baez through to Mumford and Sons, and even with Scottish rockers Idlewild. While these names from past events and the ones performing this year are all fantastic, the real magic lies in the social and ‘give it a go’ ethos of folk, with stages that give amateurs and audience members alike a chance to get their folk chops out.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cf5O2M5GaEA[/youtube]

Of course, the larger names at the top of the bill are the real draw for the majority of the crowd, and with one of the UK’s most prominent, and youngest songwriters keeping it acoustic, you can be sure that Jake Bugg will cement his place in folk history at this year’s Cambridge Folk Festival. Speaking of folk history, the seemingly always touring Frank Turner has played the festival multiple times now and always brings a good show. With his punk/folk hybrid sound a stark contrast to Bugg’s solo acoustic efforts, you get the best of both worlds. So it’s definitely worth hanging around for the entire festival.

Another name that you may want to check out is Benjamin Francis Leftwich, who’s so rooted in being himself and with his acoustic guitar that it’s hard to tell where either begins: utterly beautiful, and soul crushing songs. Perfect. There’s also the current hot artist in UK country, Ward Thomas. The London duo have been making some serious waves in their circles for some time, and those waves are suddenly getting bigger. You also can’t miss Hayseed Dixie, Americana at its finest. Interpretations and originals galore, they’re old hat at this now and will get you dancing, no worries.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Pnp9RDHJWw[/youtube]

If you want something even further off the beaten track check out Amelia Coburn, who, in a similar fashion, though less in your face to Hayseed Dixie performs interpretations of everything from Bowie to The Specials, and all with a ukulele! At only 19 and with a sense of music like this, she’ll be going places very soon.

Tickets have pretty much sold out for this year’s event, though there are a few tickets kicking around for each day, so head to the site now to get yours.

 

Preview: Reading and Leeds 2017

 
By on Thursday, 8th June 2017 at 11:00 am
 

Looking toward the end of summer and the culmination of this year’s festival season which, if you’re a UK citizen, means only one thing. Reading and Leeds Festival, taking place 25-27 August. The mammoth twin fests once again return to the North and South of England, and with a lineup that is going to have you bouncing all the way home on the Monday morning after.

The thing that makes Reading and Leeds so special is the eclectic mix of bands. (Err, bar Glastonbury’s Katy Perry supporting The National: that’s something else entirely.) The stages opt for a core representation, meaning if you head over to the Pit Stage you guaranteed to find a band thrashing the life out of their guitars, as opposed to the BBC Radio 1 Dance Stage where, well, you’re more likely to find some thunderous beats and want to shake a tail feather. The one thing the stages all have in common is you’ll have a bloody good time at whichever you choose.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lk5iMgG-WJI[/youtube]

You’re going to need to bear with me on this one because this year, the line-up is so jam-packed with acts that you can’t miss out on, it’s hard to not just pop the poster up and circle the entire thing. Without a shadow of a doubt, the headliners this year are strong, though Muse could have chosen to take a break from the top slot for a while to give some new blood a chance, to be honest. Kasabian will really making the top of the bill theirs, with a formidable arsenal in the form of their back catalogue that will echo for miles around, especially post-show with all the chanting that follows. The one name on the bill that stands out is none other than Slim Shady himself. Eminem is returning to the UK after a prolonged absence. A man who needs no introduction, his set Saturday will be something you won’t forget for a long time.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVkUvmDQ3HY[/youtube]

Now that the headliners are out of the way, we can get into the gubbins of the lineup, the gems and the up ‘n’ comers. While we don’t have the stage splits yet, here’s who you should keep in mind for when that time arrives, based on the Reading location lineup:

Friday

Start your festival off nice and easy with SXSW 2016 alum Barns Courtney on the Festival Republic Stage. He’ll be spilling some blues rock that should soundtrack the (hopefully) sunny mid-morning perfectly. Of course, with it nearing the end of the festival season by the time we get to the end of August, you should make the most of being able to get a bit silly in a field with your friends, so head to the NME Stage where Chicagoans The Orwells will stir up a riot with their snotty punk attack. Stick around after their set to catch Declan McKenna. The fresh-faced singer/songwriter who also impressed at SXSW 2016 is on his way to becoming the soundtrack for a generation, and what better way to experience that than in a field full of kids who have just finished their exams.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FafAfiWtog[/youtube]

The Pit stage has one of the quickest up ‘n’ comers in the UK rock scene, Puppy, at the early end of the list while heading it up will be Billy Talent, who will instigate a surefire sing-a-long fest. The Festival Republic stage also has Toothless, a majorly strong contender for one of the albums of the year. Ex-Bombay Bicycle Club bassist Ed Nash has created a beautifully coherent indie record that is just as well executed live.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8WPIU8XJmY[/youtube]

Saturday

Now that you’ll be all warmed up for the festival, and Kasabian have got you well into the spirit of losing all inhibitions from their show the previous night, take that feeling and get involved in the ruckus that’ll be, once again, on the NME stage with Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes. After his main stage performance last year – quite literally surveying the crowd with one of the longest mic leads we’ve ever seen – all eyes will be on what madness can ensue this year. The main stage has a double run of blood, as in, you get the one-two punch of Scottish indie duo Honeyblood, then pop-punkers Moose Blood.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0P1WIpgKqcA[/youtube]

Also playing the Saturday are Canadians Japandroids who, quite frankly, released one of the records of the year with ‘Near To The Wild Heart…’. They’ll be over on the Festival Republic stage. You can also catch the sweet summery sounds of Glass Animals, Sundara Karma and TGTF favourites Everything Everything all on the NME Stage too. Just prior to seeing Eminem, it’ll be a right throwback to the 90’s and early ’00s with Korn. What a time to be alive, I’m exhausted already.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRGrNDV2mKc[/youtube]

Sunday

Somewhat a more reserved day, which is quite possibly needed after the assault of the previous 2 days. Kick things off with Fickle Friends on the, you guessed it, NME Stage. More summery sounds that will soothe your assumed titanic hangover. But, since this is it, the last day, go have a riot in the Pit stage with Norwegian punks Slotface. Easily the band of the moment, their long-awaited debut should also be out by then! The main stage has some real treats in the form of UK punk spokes-band VANT, who then lead nicely into the current kings of the UK metal scene Architects.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GCSUSwcDwg[/youtube]

One name that’s being billed as an apparent exclusive, although it’s appeared on the Glasto lineup is none other than Liam Gallagher. Having completed a recent tour of a few small UK venues where he’s sounded back on top form, including one benefit show for his (and my) beloved Manchester, and is performing some classic Oasis tracks, excitement for his appearance is an understatement. Muse should surely bring a good show: spaceships, drones, lasers, you name it, they’ll probably bring it!

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4ozdiGys5g[/youtube]

That’s a lot of information to go forth with, but the most important thing to do when experiencing Reading or Leeds Festival is have fun. It’s the blow-out fest, the last of the majors in the UK for the season, and is a beast in its own right.

Tickets are still available for both Reading (here) and Leeds (here).

 

Preview: Dot to Dot Festival 2017

 
By on Tuesday, 16th May 2017 at 11:00 am
 

As the months of the smaller festivals are now upon us, it’s time to look at which are worth going to. We’ve already given you the lowdown on The Great Escape, but there’s another one that is equally as worth your time. Dot to Dot Festival, which started back in 2005 in Nottingham, is now a 3-day touring wonder. There’s the main festival lineup, a plethora of bands playing over the 3 days in the three different cities – Manchester, Nottingham and Bristol – plus local acts making each day’s lineups unique.

Metropolitan festivals are still on the rise as people look to cheaper options for that “festival feeling”. The giants will always be giants, but the smaller festivals tend to be gems that appeal to those who can’t afford £200+ for a weekend away. Also on the rise are touring metropolitan festivals. Taking their lineups around the UK to strategic North, South and Midlands locations to give everyone a chance to catch their show, but the fact Dot to Dot makes sure to specifically highlight local acts, making them a first of their kind.

Heading up this year’s core festival lineup are Sundara Karma (pictured at top at SXSW 2017), who released one of the debuts of the year back in January, ‘Youth is Only Fun in Retrospect’. Powerful, contagious indie rock filled with spirit, the group led by Oscar Pollock are a necessity for not only the new generations but the old. They’re the quintessential festival band you need to see. Another band you can catch on all 3 days of Dot to Dot are Scottish indie duo Honeyblood. Having released their highly-anticipated sophomore album ‘Babes Never Die’ at the tail end of last year, they’ve been on tour since and they’re simply captivating live. So far, so good: Dot to Dot seems to be delivering well on its lineup.

It would simply be rude to not have a deeper look into these local acts. It’s a rare opportunity for a fairly large chunk of the respective music scenes to come together and show off their homegrown talent.

Manchester

There will always be a strong, vibrant music scene in Manchester. Its musical history is quite literally littered with iconic names and faces that are known throughout the world, but who’s stepping up to the plate and coming up the ladder? The name highest up the bill for the local bands is The Slow Readers Club, and it’s easy to see why. Everything about their sound is Mancunian, from the dazzling indie guitars to the marching beat that echoes back to Joy Division. You’ve also got PINS, the punk foursome who are kicking asses and taking names, especially with their latest release, ‘Bad Things EP’ that features none other than punk godfather Iggy Pop. None too shabby, eh?

Bristol

Another one of those spots around the UK where creativity shines. Filled with a surplus of differing genres and talent songwriters, Bristol has a pretty special lineup, and one of those names is Willie J Healy. Crafting indie pop songs that are filled with his quirky mind workings, Willie is one of the brightest new names coming through the ranks. Van Zeller is an even fresher band, but they’re slowly taking over the DIY live circuit down in Bristol. Raucous and riotous: two of the music’s most important aspects.

Nottingham

Perhaps not quite the same musical melting pot as the other two locations, though it certainly has had its moments, Nottingham has a few treats in store in its lineup that are definitely looking to change that mindset. Kagoule have been making a few waves in the British scenes for a little while now, their debut came out back in 2015, but it’s still as fresh as it was then. Though he’s not actually Nottingham based, Tom Lumley is a name that needs to be mentioned, plus he’s on the Notts poster. A songwriter from Cambridgeshire, his tracks are as new as they are old. Flavours from the rock spectrum dot his songs, bringing out a modernity that’s often missing from other artists, so his repertoire doesn’t feel.

So there you have it. A brief glimpse into the wonders that await the landscape of the UK with Dot to Dot festival. Go forth and roam the country with some bright newcomers and find some local talent. Tickets are still available for all 3 days of this festival, which stops in Manchester on Friday the 26th of May, Bristol on Saturday the 27th and Nottingham on Sunday the 28th. Before booking fees, Manchester tickets are £12, while Bristol and Nottingham’s are £20 each, a real bargain. Buy your tickets through here.

Editor Mary Chang contributed to this preview.

 

Preview: The Great Escape 2017

 
By on Thursday, 11th May 2017 at 11:00 am
 

Now May is upon us, and 2017’s festival season is beginning to rear its beautifully sunburnt and rain-soaked head. Before all the festival giants appear later in the summer, your Glastonbury, Reading & Leeds, etc., it’s the turn of the smaller gems, including The Great Escape. A festival noted for both its industry focus and incredible ability to highlight those new acts worth following, The Great Escape is now a rite of passage for those in, around or outside the industry. We’re sure you’re more than aware of The Great Escape and all it offers, but just in case, think SXSW just far less warmth and people: this isn’t Texas, after all. It’s filled with industry-based conferences, which may or may not be your thing, it appeals to movers and shakers as well as opportunists, all with a lovely seaside setting in Brighton.

For its twelfth outing, the 400 act-strong lineup is littered with the best and brightest from around the world, including Spotlight shows at the Dome with Brit-punk duo Slaves, current household name Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, as well one at the Old Market by grime forefather Kano. There’s a little something for everyone spread out over the 3 days and 30-odd venues, from hip-hop to indie, and everything in between.

It would be amiss for us to not give you a little help on deciding who to see, so here’s a few of our choice picks, starting with the ridiculously funky and impossible not to dance to Artificial Pleasure. With echoes of Bowie and Talking Heads – a winning combination if there ever was one – the foursome create true earworms and are definitely ones to watch. Getting things a bit punkier are Norway’s Sløtface. At the forefront of the new class of punk, they support equality and aren’t afraid to call out bullshit with ridiculously catchy melodies and choruses you’ll be singing for months after. Considering they’re four college students, they’ve already made waves bigger than the English Channel, including a successful trip over to SXSW. We also suggest nine-member Canadian jazz group Busty and the Bass. A fusion of jazz, hip-hop and electro-soul, this group will give you a guaranteed good time filled with beats and breaks that will have you reeling for days.

As with all events like this, you never know quite what could happen. Bands pop up all around the vicinity doing last-minute shows, collaborations between new and old friends. Like we mentioned in last year’s preview piece, Brighton is already a melting pot of creativity and arts: The Great Escape is just more fuel for the fire. So get yourself down to The Great Escape next weekend for a few days of sea, sun (hopefully) and music. Throughout this little festival, it’ll be impossible to not find an act you like. It’s a special, vibrant time that’ll guarantee you a good time.

Only 3-day festival passes are currently available. Passes for 18+ festival-goers are £65; a cheaper alternative giving 16- and 17-year olds access to the venues they can enter is available for £32. While Slaves and Rag ‘n’ Bone Man’s Spotlight shows at Brighton Dome are now sold out, you can register here to enter the giveaway for tickets to their shows and Kano’s show at the Old Market. Full delegate badges giving access to both the convention and the festival showcases are still available for £250; convention-only badges are sold out. Watch an early trailer for the festival below. To read more of our coverage of past editions of The Great Escape, go here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PyzNEeTjEw[/youtube]

 

Live at Leeds 2017 Preview: editor Mary’s best band bets

 
By on Wednesday, 19th April 2017 at 11:00 am
 

Please note: as we always recommend in all of TGTF’s festival previews, the information we post here on Live at Leeds 2017 is current at the time of posting. We strongly encourage you to check in at the Live at Leeds 2017 official Web site closer to the start of the event to confirm venues and set times. Wristbands for the event in Leeds on Saturday the 29th of April are still available at the bargain price of £32.50 plus handling if purchased online; VIP tickets are sold out. More information on where you can purchase your tickets in person or online is available here.

SXSW 2017 alums: Here’s a list of artists we either saw last month in Austin who we enjoyed AND/OR we previewed ahead of the festival -AND- will also be appearing at Live at Leeds in 2 Saturdays’ time. For your convenience, I’ve listed them in order of appearance on the day so you can slot them into your growing schedule. The best of the best are marked with an asterisk. (*)

LIFE (2:00 PM, Leeds Beckett Union Stage 2 [Dr. Martens Presents]) *
Ten Tonnes (2:00 PM, Chapel) *
Airways (3:00 PM, Leeds Beckett Union Stage 2 [Dr. Martens Presents])
Jade Bird (4:30 PM, Faversham Patio)
Annabel Allum (5:00 PM, Social)
Be Charlotte (5:00 PM, Faversham)
IDLES (7:15 PM, Key Club [DORK Stage])
She Drew the Gun (8:00 PM, Wardrobe)
Temples (8:00 PM, Church)
Lewis Watson (8:15 PM, Holy Trinity Church [Clash Stage])
The Academic (9:00 PM, Lending Room [WTGR Stage]) *
Dream Wife (9:00 PM, Brudenell Social Club [DIY Stage])
Slaves (9:00 PM, Academy)
Flamingods (9:45 PM, Leeds Beckett Union Stage 2 [Dr. Martens Presents])
Rag‘n’Bone Man (9:45 PM, Leeds University Union Refectory)
The Big Moon (10:00 PM, Brudenell Social Club [DIY Stage])
GURR (10:45 PM, Brudenell Social Club Games Room [DIY Neu Stage])
AJ Tracey (11:00 PM, Faversham)
Let’s Eat Grandma (11:00 PM, Chapel)

To add to the best 3 from above and round things out to a even 10 acts, here are an additional 7 I recommend from the fantastic Live at Leeds 2017 schedule:

The Gallery (Wakefield; 12:00 PM, Lending Room [WTGR Stage])
Wakefield is, of course, famous for being the birthplace The Cribs. But the Jarmans should probably get used to sharing the city with another band. The jangly guitars of The Gallery, reminiscent of Arctic Monkeys before they turned into Queens of the Stone Age, will take you back to the simpler times of British indie.

Wyvern Lingo (Wicklow, Ireland; 1:00 PM, Nation of Shopkeepers)
While already deemed national treasures in their country, most people outside Ireland have only heard of Wyvern Lingo from their association with Irish megastar Hozier, their members Karen and Caoimhe providing him backing vocals at live shows and the group supporting him on UK and Irish tours. Imagine the Staves if they’d gone pop and r&b.

Matt Maltese (London; 2:00 PM, Wardrobe)
It took Morrissey a while to be anointed the title ‘The Pope of Mope’. That said, given the current state of world affairs, it stands to reason that there should rightly be more artists coming out and telling it like it is without sugarcoating it. Piano playing Matt Maltese is one of them, coming out with the sweepingly beautiful ‘As the World Caves In’ to convey his despair. Seriously, close your eyes, and you could swear you’re hearing The Moz.

The Wandering Hearts (London; 3:15 PM, Holy Trinity Church [Clash Stage])
A stark contrast to all the indie and pop acts at this year’s Live at Leeds are The Wandering Hearts, an Americana / alt-country group from the big smoke. Recent signees to Decca Records, the band will provide a welcome midday set different from nearly everyone else invited to this event, with their lush harmonies smartly picked guitar.

Paris Youth Foundation (Liverpool; 5:00 PM, Oporto)
The return of Ride to the record shops this year proves the washy guitar wall of sound era isn’t over. Liverpudlians Paris Youth Foundation takes this and does one better by adding synthpop to the mix, lending an anthemic feel to their tracks. Having released their debut album late last year, this is still early days for them, but I reckon now is time to get on the bandwagon.

Tender Central (Devon; 5:15 PM, Holy Trinity Church [Clash Stage])
India Bourne is a Devon-born, classically trained cellist who now goes by the stage name Tender Central. It’s a good description of her sound, which takes full advantage of her ethereal vocals and her careful crafting of an equally evocative, all-enveloping soundscape. Take a moment and consider the thought of seeing such music being performed in a church. Got it?

The Pale White (Newcastle; 5:30 PM, Church)
While Patrick Carney is busy remoulding his girlfriend Michelle Branch, now is an excellent time to discover the band who will dethrone the Black Keys when they aren’t paying attention. While we can’t be sure their successors will be Newcastle’s The Pale White, their brand of down and dirty blues rock is a suitable North East alternative to that of Southampton’s Band of Skulls.

 
 
 

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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