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Preview: Kendal Calling 2013

 
By on Tuesday, 9th July 2013 at 3:00 pm
 

What do you need to know about Kendal Calling? It’s taking place this year 26 to 28 July and it’s situated in a beautiful part of the Lake District, easily accessible from Scotland, northern England, and even somewhere like Coventry is less than 3 hours away. The entertainment lineup is superb this year, possibly one of the best ever, and the festival has already been dubbed “The Glastonbury of the North”. This may be so, but its sensible size means there’s still a pleasant local feel to the event. The great news for TGTF readers is that at the time of writing there’s still a handful of tickets left for Kendal Calling this year, so let me tempt you with some tasty morsels of what’s in store…

There’s two excellent places to watch bands – the Main Stage with its big names, and the equally promising Calling Stage with up-and-coming and alternative acts. The big headliners appear to come in pairs each night, and Friday sees Chuck D, Flava Flav and DJ Lord taking a brief holiday in rural Cumbria – yes, it’s Public Enemy, fresh from a triumphant Somerset set, looking just as angry as ever, and ready to rip your ears off with their politically-charged flow. And who better to get the first evening’s party started than Basement Jaxx, the perennial pop-dance outfit with a string of hits longer than a wet weekend in Barrow-in-Furness.

For those of a less party persuasion, the Calling Stage has some real gems on the first day. Concrete Knives were twice superb at Liverpool Sound City, and they’re back across the channel for a rare UK apperance with their funk-laden musique raffinée. Foy Vance and his incredible voice will surely deliver a soulful, acoustic interlude, Waylayers add an early afternoon dance vibe with their summery, Balearic-influenced tracks, and TGTF favourites The Heartbreaks (who editor Mary just interviewed in London a couple weeks ago at the Scala) will supply their stylish, upbeat, typically British guitar-pop sound as the sun goes down.

And for night owls, there’s any number of DJ sets, the biggest of which take place in the Glow Dance Tent, where your late-night shenanigans are enhanced by the no doubt head-scrambling presence of LEDs, lasers and enough UV light to bring on cataracts ten years early. Friday will see Oneman, remixer of The xx and TLC and purveyor of minimalist yet grimily atmospheric techno, young Brightonian Dismantle who specialises in “sort of dubstep”, young Lancastrian duo Bondax and their intimate, blissed-out electronica, before climaxing with Artwork, who, as one-third of Magnetic Man, released one of dance music’s biggest albums in 2010.

And then it all happens again on the Saturday! Highlights from the Calling Stage include Welsh art-pop from Sweet Baboo, delicate folk stylings from Fossil Collective, and an opportunity to see what all the fuss is about London Grammar – are they just an xx rip-off or is there something more there? Unmissable on the Main Stage are Mike Skinner and Rob Harvey’s intriguing project The D.O.T.; there’s an opportunity for people of a certain age to rock out like it’s 1996 with Ash, and I Am Kloot bring their delicate songwriting and ensemble melodiousness to life just before Saturday’s headliners The Charlatans (pictured at top) reveal whether or not they’re any good any more.

Sunday is surely the strongest Main Stage lineup – having had to suffer the ignominy of being Tom Watson’s favourite band, hopefully Drenge will play with even more venom and spirit today; and I don’t really need to explain anything about what is effectively a triple-headline bill: Johnny Marr, Seasick Steve and Primal Scream bring the whole affair to a resounding climax. As if that’s not enough, there’s a distinct drum ‘n’ bass flavour to the Glow Tent on Sunday, with Grooverider warming up for none other than Sir Roni of Size. World-class stuff.

And of course there’s stacks more going on around the site. There’s an entire jazz strand called Riot Jazz. Chai Wallahs have their own acoustic and chill out stage. The Houseparty is apparently someone’s front room transported to the middle of a field with loads of random stuff going on: world-class DJs, punk bands, and perhaps a bit of karaoke – and don’t forget Leeds’ Wind-Up Birds – the underground tip for set of the weekend. There’s the Woodlands stage (maybe that’s in, um, a wood?), where all the acts with the best names are playing; the Soap Box, a lighthearted variety show which has previously hosted Howard Marks and John Cooper Clarke; and a tea shack run by Tim Burgess himself! Not forgetting the little ones: there’s the Ladybird area with different fancy dress each day, and crafts and workshops galore.

With so much going on, and the festival capacity limited to just 13,000 people, Kendal Calling is surely every decent festival rolled into one – the music is top-class, but with just a fraction of the crowds which you could expect at a bigger event. As we go to press there’s just a handful of tickets left (go here for more information), so you’ll need to be quick if you want to be there!

 

Leeds 2011: Day 3 (John’s Roundup)

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

The final day of Leeds Festival 2011 brought with it dryness and a relative calm that I hadn’t seen all weekend, no frantic rushing to tents. Just good music. Well, for most of the day anyway… Speaking of music that just is not good in the slightest, my first port of call for the day was the Main Stage to watch Pigeon Detectives. Beginning with their set with arguably their most popular track ‘I Found Out’ was their first mistake, as they had my attention for that brief point. But from then on though, it was as I expected. A set as tragically flawed as the band themselves, riddled with album tracks that nobody cares about at home, let alone at a festival. Truly a thoroughly dour start to my final day.

It was only fair that after such musical torture, I was gifted with the brilliant music of Seasick Steve, doing what he does best, getting crowds to love him with his brilliant style of DIY bluegrass rock ‘n’ roll. Halfway through his set he does what anybody who is third on the Main Stage at a festival wishes they can do to get the crowd going: nothing huge, just something like bring on a member of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band of all time, Led Zeppelin. Yes. John Paul Jones. With JPJ on bass, Steve hammering his bizarre instruments and a drummer with a longer beard than Steve himself, the trio on stage was a force. ‘Can’t Teach An Old Dog New Tricks’ sounded positively fierce and ‘Thunderbird’ was easily the highlight of the first few bands of the day.

Two Door Cinema Club strolled onstage, and within seconds girls all around me were clambering over each other to be as close to these Irish charmers. Two Door surely could not have anticipated what a success ‘Tourist History’ was going to be, so the thousands upon thousands of people mimicking every track back at them must have been quite a shock. [Editor’s note: not really to us at TGTF. We wrote about a couple of their songs in a Kitsune sampler in January 2010 and then mused on the actual album 2 months later.] Their delivery was fantastic though, and throughout the gig they had the crowd placed firmly within the palms of their hands.

To follow Two Door in the form they are in can hardly be seen as an undaunting task. So it probably helped that the guys to do it are the most seasoned pros on the bill: enter Madness. Beginning with classic ‘One Step Beyond’, the crowd were already in full swing, gone were the attempts at mosh pits and in their place, everyone doing a strange minimalistic rendition of the running man. Their set was riddled with classics: ‘Baggy Trousers’ was greeted to a huge reception and ‘House of Fun’ was literally the most ‘fun’ song of the day.

From a band centred on dancing about like there’s no tomorrow to a band who in all honesty aren’t exactly the jolliest fellows around, this of course was the pioneers of emo kids Jimmy Eat World. Their set was by far too long for the amount of material they had; while ‘Bleed America,’ ‘The Middle’ and ‘Sweetness’ were fantastic, nobody cared about ‘Coffee and Cigarettes’, let alone enough to hear it when you could be heading over to see Bombay Bicycle Club…hey, wait a minute. That sounds like a good idea! So I did!

Bombay’s crowd was, as expected, huge, as is the hype around these nervous little boys. While they may not look the most confident bunch, they still manage to capture the crowd brilliantly. Sure, it helps that they have some seriously solid tune,s but I think the nervousness plays well for them. New single ‘Shuffle’ from their new album ‘A Different Kind of Fix’ (review here) sounded note perfect live and could easily grow into one of the biggest strings on their live bow. They finished with ‘Always Like This’ to bring an end to a set which they breezed through, the crowd hooked on every word.

Next up were co-headliners the Strokes (pictured at top), who turned out to be truly awful. They are a band with such a reputation but who managed to look as uninterested from the beginning as I became halfway through their dry, unimaginative set. Julian Casablancas looked as if he wanted to be anywhere else but here and that was how I started to feel as the hits faded into plugging of the new album. The one highlight had to be ‘Juicebox’, which added some much needed energy to the proceedings. Bar that, disappointing is the only word I can use to describe their set. Devoid of any showmanship, any invention.

 

Preview: Electric Picnic 2010

 
By on Friday, 7th May 2010 at 4:00 pm
 

Electric Picnic has been regarded by some as Ireland’s answer to Glastonbury. Judging by the line-up released on Wednesday, I’d argue it might have a more interesting bill than Glasto this year. ’70s glam rockers Roxy Music will play their first Irish festival performance ever at Electric Picnic, after having reformed long after we diehards had assumed they’d never play together ever again. I think seeing Bryan Ferry croon his way through ‘Love is the Drug’ and ‘Avalon’ is worth the price of admission alone.

However, if Roxy isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other wonderful acts to ring your bell. London electronica act Leftfield have decided to come out of hibernation to play selected festivals this year, including a headlining set at Electric Picnic; Bristol’s Massive Attack (pictured above) will also headline. Expect an epic dance party with these two along with sets by Booka Shade, Hot Chip, the Bloody Beetroots, LCD Soundsystem, Liquid Liquid, Friendly Fires and the Big Pink. Indie rock will also be well represented by appearances by the Fall, the National, the Horrors, Eels and Modest Mouse.

This year’s festival will take place at Stradbally Hall, County Laois, Ireland, on 3-5 September 2010. Weekend camping tickets are €240 (approximately £206) per adult (up to two children under the age of 14 are allowed to attend per paying adult, and all children must be pre-registered through the festival Web site). Please note that except for children who are pre-registered this way, the festival is 18+ and photo ID may need to be presented on-site. Camper van tickets are €60 (approximately £52). Tickets for the festival can be purchased from Ticketmaster.


Catch the full lineup (so far as of Wednesday 05 May) after the cut…

Continue reading Preview: Electric Picnic 2010

 

Seasick Steve / November 2009 UK Tour

 
By on Tuesday, 8th September 2009 at 8:55 pm
 

Seasick Steve, who is about to release a new album, ‘Man From Another Time’, on October 19th, will play ten dates around the UK throughout November.

Tickets go on sale tomorrow, 9th September, at 9am.

Monday 2nd November 2009 – Newcastle City Hall
Tuesday 3rd November 2009 – Edinburgh Picture House
Thursday 5th November 2009 – Leeds Academy
Saturday 7th November 2009 – Liverpool Olympia
Monday 9th November 2009 – Manchester Apollo
Tuesday 10th November 2009 – Birmingham Academy
Thursday 12th November 2009 – Cardiff Millennium Centre
Friday 13th November 2009 – Warwick Arts Centre
Sunday 15th November 2009 – Cambridge Corn Exchange
Tuesday 17th November 2009 – London O2 Academy Brixton

 

Preview: Bestival 2009

 
By on Wednesday, 8th April 2009 at 2:00 pm
 

Bestival (side)Bestival is a three-day, action-packed music festival held every year at Robin Hill Country Park on the beautiful Isle of Wight. The bash is well-known for being one of the final music festivals to be squeezed out of the last of the summer months, and this year Bestival will be taking place appropriately late – between Friday 11th to Sunday 13th September.

The festival initially started out 5 years ago and has grown in both size and popularity since then. The brainchild of Radio 1 DJ Rob da Bank, Bestival is renowned for both it’s diverse line ups as well as it’s super fun atmosphere.

Headliners confirmed for this year’s event include Elbow, Massive Attack and Kraftwerk. Other quite simply amazing acts taking to the stage this 2009 include (and we stress, include!) MGMT, Fleet Foxes, Doves, Seasick Steve, Klaxons, Lily Allen, Friendly Fires, Florence and the Machine, Little Boots, Esser, Passion Pit, Chew Lips, La Roux and Jack Penate.

Meanwhile, DJs who’ll be spinning the decks at the Isle of Wight bash this year include Annie Mac, Huw Stephens, Zane Lowe and the boss himself, Rob da Bank.

Yet this is only a minuscule look into the massive selection of artists and DJs confirmed for this year’s event. You can grab the complete line-up over at Bestival’s website by hitting this link.

But music, no matter how impressive the line up may be, isn’t completely what this festival is about. Bestival is also a celebration of fun, and this year looks set to be one hell of a party.

Every year, for example, the festival has a fancy dress theme, and this 2009 the theme is ‘outer space’! So why not visit ‘The Dressing Up Area’, complete with a ‘Pimp My Outfit Booth’ to adorn yourself in such clothing wonderment while at the festival?

If fancy dress isn’t your thing, how about you check out ‘Heavenly Healing’ or ‘The Pamper Lounge’, two beautifully relaxing retreats providing festival-goers with a range of therapeutic treatments between their sweaty head banging sessions.

Other delights you can experience while at this dreamy festival include the tasty treats of ‘Buttercupcakes Afternoon Tea Hut’, the dizzying heights of the ‘The Big Wheel’, the jam-packed ‘The Village’ (complete with a farmers market and sushi stall!), ‘The Kids Garden’ for wee festival goers, and the famous ‘Inflatable Church’ should you fancy getting married along the way!

Wow! So, to learn more about this rollercoster of a festival, check out Bestival’s website. An adult weekend ticket for the event costs £140, and this includes camping. Tickets are still available for the fest and can be purchased from most ticket outlets. Check out the site for more information on where to purchase yours. Have fun!

Top photo is taken from alex_lee2001’s flickr stream under the Creative Commons License.

 

Preview: V Festival 2009

 
By on Wednesday, 18th March 2009 at 12:00 pm
 

Oasis (live, V Festival, credit)It’s undeniable that V Festival is a lot more commerical than other music festival’s across the country, and while the bash has certainly recieved the odd bit of criticism for it’s uber radio-friendly line up, the fest is no less fun in our eyes. Certainly – going by the awesome line-up, it’s unsurprising that the event managed to sell out in just two hours this year.

The summer bash – which is happening on Saturday 22nd to Sunday 23rd August – will be taking place across it’s two usual sites this ’09: Hylands Park, Chelmsford and Weston Park, Staffordshire.

Oasis (pictured right) and The Killers are the two big name headliners confirmed to be playing the festival’s top spot this year. Other major acts gracing the fest’s main stage (aptly titled ‘V Stage’) across the weekend include Razorlight, Snow Patrol, The Specials, Elbow, Biffy Clyro, Lily Allen, James, Seasick Steve and, intriguingly, Taylor Swift.

The smaller sized ‘4Music’ stage will also be featuring further super cool artists including Fatboy Slim, Pendulum, The Ting Tings, The Wombats, Keane, The Enemy, Katy Perry and Dizzee Rascal.

If nothing has still managed to catch your eye (or ear!), why not head over to ‘The Arena’ where you can check out a varied selection including MGMT, Lady GaGa, Happy Mondays, The Streets, Pete Doherty, and latest girl band sensation, British Sea PowerThe Saturdays.

If that’s still not enough, the festival has another 50 acts up its sleeve to announce in the coming few weeks. Exciting!

As I told you earlier, tickets for the Chelmsford leg have sadly sold out. There are still some available for the Staffordshire event, however. For more information regarding ticket outlets, check out V Festival’s website.

Top photo comes from stevec77’s flickr stream, and side photo from John Griffiths’ flickr stream under the Creative Commons License.

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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