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Live Review: Foy Vance with Trevor Sensor at Valley Bar, Phoenix, AZ – 21st September 2016

 
By on Monday, 26th September 2016 at 2:00 pm
 

As promised in my interview with him from earlier this year, Northern Irish singer/songwriter Foy Vance brought his ‘The Wild Swan’ tour to American shores last week, starting the festivities with a show at the Valley Bar in Phoenix. It was only last summer that I saw Vance in this very same venue, but it’s been an exciting year for him in the interim, including tours with Josh Groban and Elton John. On his current trek through the States, though, Vance is the headline act, and this occasion was the first time I’d seen him perform with the luxury of a full band.

Trevor

Vance’s support act on this tour is American singer/songwriter Trevor Sensor, who came from Chicago to join the tour in Phoenix. Sensor’s onstage persona, much like his singing voice, came across initially as a bit harsh, but the underlying appeal in his songwriting soon became apparent. He touched on songs from two EP releases ‘Texas Girls and Jesus Christ’ and ‘Starved Nights and Saturday Stars’, most notably his recent single ‘When Tammy Spoke to Martha’. Sensor also included in his set list a piano-based cover of Bruce Cockburn‘s ‘Pacing the Cage’, and he seemed surprised that someone in the audience recognized it, remarking sardonically, “Congratulations on knowing who that is.”

[youtube]https://youtu.be/6KWXNO33xiw[/youtube]

Sensor’s moodiness carried over into Vance’s headline set as well, but it reared its head more in the between-songs banter than the music itself. Vance hit the stage running with ‘Noam Chomsky is a Soft Revolution’, which as he mentioned in our interview from this summer, works best with the complement of a full band behind him. The band was indeed a welcome addition to the live performance of Vance’s new songs from ‘The Wild Swan’, and he ran through a list of them to open the show, including the smile-inducing ‘Upbeat Feelgood’ and the populist anthem ‘Ziggy Looked Me in the Eye’.

Foy

It might have been politics that dampened Vance’s mood as he started the North American leg of his tour. Though he said he was glad to be back on American soil, he did make a disparaging comment about presidential candidate Donald Trump, which fell a bit flat among an audience who might have preferred to put their political concerns aside for the evening. That statement being made, however, Vance quickly moved on to songs of a more personal tenor, seating himself at the piano for an ode to his own ‘Bangor Town’ and ‘Be Like You Belong’.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/Uxsf_QUYxzY[/youtube]

Focusing mainly on his latest material, Vance didn’t spend much time rehashing old favourites. ‘The Wild Swan’ tracks ‘She Burns’ and ‘Casanova’ were well-received by a crowd of mainly new fans, as was recent album single ‘Coco’, though Vance prefaced this last with a sharp tongue-lashing for music critics who might have misinterpreted its meaning. As it turned out, perhaps the strongest connection he made with his audience all evening was in the heady gospel of ‘Closed Hand, Full of Friends’, from previous album ‘Joy of Nothing’.

Altering his usual course, Vance closed the set proper with ‘Guiding Light’, leaving those of us “in the know” wondering what might be next. Not typically given to ostentatious encores, Vance left the stage only very briefly before returning for a short postlude. He ended the show on another personally significant note, with the classically poetic ‘The Wild Swans on the Lake’, changing its third verse lines to sing “a child is on the way” and pausing proudly to announce a due date. If congratulations are indeed in order, our most sincere ones are extended to Foy Vance as he completes his American tour and heads back across the pond for winter shows closer to home.

A full listing of Foy Vance’s upcoming shows can be found on his official Facebook. Vance will finish the year with live dates in Ireland and the UK in November and December, which are listed here. TGTF’s complete previous coverage of Foy Vance is back this way.

Foy Vance final internal

 

Live Gig Video: The Wytches perform single ‘C-Side’ with an animatronic buddy

 
By on Friday, 23rd September 2016 at 4:00 pm
 

Brighton band The Wytches – now a four-piece, with Kristian Bell (vocals, guitar), Daniel Rumsey (bass), Gianni Honey (drums) and Mark Breed (guitar, organ) – are gearing up to release their sophomore album. ‘All Your Happy Life’ will drop next Friday. Previously announced single ‘C-Side’ proved the band were continuing on with their uncompromising lo-fi and punk swagger. Now the song has its own promo video, the band accompanied by a high-tech buddy.

Animatronic artist John Nolan, known for his work in such fanciful films as Harry Potter, Where the Wild Things Are and Warhorse, is a Wytches fan and was eager to work them after falling in love with the band’s 2014 debut ‘Annabel Dream Reader’.

“The Wytches are a top band and I wanted to work with them since hearing the first album. A lot of their previous films were shot low res and feature the band and their friends dressing up and messing about, I wanted to honourthis but introduce some sort of narrative and creature fx. I wanted to play around with the human form and create something that looked normal from one angle but growing into something completely freakish as the camera moves across it. Elongating the neck proved to do this brilliantly and it led me to research into Rokurokubi, a type of Japanese apparition where the human head leaves the body stretching out the neck. The act of the head separating from the body represents the spirit’s soul wandering.

The band we’re completely open minded and gave me their full blessing so we committed to the idea. I’d worked with Conor Craig-Stephens before as he was the lead creature in The Hallow, I knew he would be perfect as our guy. We spent 5 weeks at the studio building a full mechanical animatronic human head with the long neck blending into something that Conor could wear. The face was controlled by two puppeteers using radio control transmitters and the head and neck movements performed by either by Conor or lead puppeteer Rob Tygner. The film uses a number of effects disciplines including animatronics, puppetry, motion control camera work, rod removal and a full cgi neck animation in the final outro, so with a very low budget it was ambitious to say the least.”

You’ll be amazed by the results. Watch the video for ‘C-Side’ below. ‘All Your Happy Life’ will drop on the 30th of September on Heavenly Recordings. For past coverage on the Wytches on TGTF, head here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_BixyTrY7o[/youtube]

 

Live Gig Video: The Crookes share their American tour video set to ‘The Lucky Ones’

 
By on Wednesday, 21st September 2016 at 4:00 pm
 

Sheffield group The Crookes have been spending quite a bit of time on our side of the pond this year to promote their fourth album. ‘Lucky Ones’, released at the end of January on their own label Anywhere Records in the UK and Modern Outsider in North America. You can read Carrie’s thoughts on the long player through this link.

During their time in our country playing their own shows and supporting San Franciscan band Geographer, they took advantage of the relative exotic locales they visited, including SXSW 2016 and a redwood forest, videotaping their tour shenanigans. Guitarist and lyricist Daniel Hopewell played editor on the footage, resulting in this mashup of clips set to album track ‘The Lucky Ones’. Watch it below. For more of TGTF’s back catalogue of coverage on The Crookes, go here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEOdC18iruI[/youtube]

 

Live Review: Butch Walker with The Wind and the Wave at Teragram Ballroom, Los Angeles – 17th September 2016

 
By on Wednesday, 21st September 2016 at 2:00 pm
 

Less than a month ago, I reviewed American producer and songwriter Butch Walker‘s outstanding new album ‘Stay Gold’, and my lasting impression of the record was that these yearning, high energy anthems would better suited to live performance than the relative constraints of a studio recording. Based on that impression, I trekked westward last weekend to Los Angeles, to catch Walker live at the relatively unknown Teragram Ballroom. Though this was the penultimate show on Walker’s current tour, his enthusiasm and energy were in full force, and the audience in his adopted hometown were equally excited to see him grace this stage.

Wind and Wave internal

Walker’s support act on the night, The Wind and the Wave, are a country-rock duo from Austin, Texas, comprising guitarist Dwight Baker and singer/songwriter Patty Lynn. They released their first album ‘From the Wreckage’ back in 2014, and their second LP ‘Happiness is Not a Place’ (produced, perhaps not coincidentally, by Butch Walker) is due out on the 28th of October. Naturally, their opening set was somewhat abbreviated and focused on the new songs, touching only briefly on a pair of older tracks, ‘My Mama Said Be Careful Where You Lay Your Head’ and ‘This House is a Hotel’. But their energy and charisma on stage seemed to grow exponentially as they went along, and they made their own strong impression with both the title track from ‘Happiness is Not a Place’ and more recent single ‘Grand Canyon’.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/–zhov5kpbQ[/youtube]

The music on the PA system between sets, laced with throwback television theme tunes from the 1980s including ‘Magnum, P.I.’ and ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’, seemed designed to set a retrospective mood for the headline show. Indeed, Butch Walker’s new album ‘Stay Gold’ has a decided undercurrent of nostalgia in the aggressive pulse of its songs, and he constructed his entire set list on the night around a theme of reminiscence and reflection.

Butch 2

Walker and his band took the stage and opened their set by tearing through the first four tracks from ‘Stay Gold’ at breakneck pace, starting with the title track and proceeding in order through ‘East Coast Girl’, ‘Wilder in the Heart’ and ‘Ludlow Expectations’. For my money, this opening sequence was the most effective part of the show, partly because these were the songs I was personally most familiar with, but also because Walker and his colleagues proved my own initial hypothesis correct, and in a most emphatic fashion.

The Wind and the Wave’s Patty Lynn made the first cameo appearance of the evening when she returned to the stage to duet with Walker on ‘Descending’, the next track in the ‘Stay Gold’ sequence. Walker took a seat at the piano for this song, giving Lynn center stage, and though their voices blended nicely together, it was the raw emotion in Walker’s delivery that came across as singularly captivating.

Descending internal

From that point forward, Walker dived deeper into his catalogue of older favourites, much to the delight of his diehard fans. The smouldering vocal quality of ‘Descending’ carried over into an intensely sensual performance of standout track ‘Bed on Fire’, from previous album ‘Afraid of Ghosts’. Striking a lighter note, Walker then thrilled the “California girls” in the crowd with his spur-of-the-moment geographical adjustments to the lyrics of ‘Closest Thing to You I’m Gonna Find’, from 2011 album ‘The Spade’.

Butch 1

Walker introduced his next cameo guest simply as “Jake Sinclair of the Black Widows”. The Black Widows, for those not already in the know, were Walker’s band from a few years back, with whom he released two albums, ‘I Liked it Better When You Had No Heart’ (2010) and ‘The Spade’. Sinclair did play in the band and garnered production credits on both albums, but they might not be his greatest claim to fame—he’s worked more recently with Weezer, Panic! at the Disco, and Fall Out Boy. On this night, though, he and Walker fit comfortably back into their old groove, performing the humorously self-deprecating (and surprisingly pop-oriented) ‘Synthesizers’. Sinclair seemed mildly surprised and greatly amused when Walker segued briefly into ‘Come On, Eileen’ by Dexy’s Midnight Runners, asking aloud, “Are you really still doing this schtick?” But Walker’s high spirits were undeterred by his protégé’s momentary insolence, and his audience, familiar with the routine and roaring with laughter, were more than happy to play along.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/uz0EAMDsyVc[/youtube]

Walker and his talented entourage of backing musicians touched on two other covers late in their set, a vocally harmonised version of Bryan Adams’ ‘Summer of ’69’ and a fleeting allusion to The Who’s ‘Baba O’Riley’. But the real showstopper of the night was a final cameo by Walker’s young son James. James is apparently a regular fixture at his dad’s gigs, and though he appeared to be a bit sleepy, he showed no signs of stage fright as he regaled us with a song and a joke of his own. (Q: Which pencil won the art contest? A: It was a draw!)

James internal

Walker and his band didn’t break for a formal encore at the end of the show, playing straight through ‘The 3 Kids in Brooklyn’ and ‘Hot Girls in Good Moods’ before leaving the stage. But Walker did indulge himself in a final solo appearance, holding forth on the virtue of times and places past, especially the fading tradition of browsing through brick-and-mortar music stores. He made the rather unusual choice of leaving us on a pensive note with ’Stay Gold’ track ‘Record Store’, but then again, by that point, he’d already established a memorable and lasting impression.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/orgjnGCB4Dk[/youtube]

The Wind and the Wave set list:
Wind Wave setlist

Butch Walker set list:
Butch Walker setlist

 

Live Gig Video: Tom Chaplin and band play single ‘Quicksand’ ahead of debut album release

 
By on Tuesday, 20th September 2016 at 4:00 pm
 

Keane frontman Tom Chaplin will be stepping out on his very own next month with a full album of songs he’s written himself. ‘The Wave’ will be released on the 14th of October on Island Records. The first single from the album was ‘Quicksand’, and I wasn’t entirely sold on the song, cringing at some of the word choices. I think the mental block I had was mostly because I still see Tom as the lead singer of Keane, animated as all heck on stage, with the most expressive face to join his expressive voice.

Throw all of this out the window when you watch this studio version of ‘Quicksand’, which is nothing but spine-tingling. In it, Chaplin is accompanied by the talented group of musicians who will be joining him on his intimate UK tour in October. All multi-instrumentalists, they’ll be able to switch in live perfor what they play as Tom’s richly layered songs demand. His band features musical director, drummer and programmer Sebastian Sternberg; Rosie Langley on violin, synths and guitar; classically trained pianist and violinist Tobie Tripp; and Beau Holland on guitar, synths and piano. Watch the spellbinding performance below. For our past coverage of Tom Chaplin’s solo career on TGTF, go here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bD4v3rzxeCw[/youtube]

 

Live Gig Video: Radiohead perform an intimate version of ‘Present Tense’ in California

 
By on Monday, 19th September 2016 at 4:00 pm
 

Radiohead have released a new live video showcasing another song from their current album. ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’, their surprise release in early May, was reviewed here on TGTF by our Steven.

In their latest visual directed by filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood), the band takes to far more intimate environment than their fame would normally dictate. Seemingly as small time and low key as friends around a campfire, Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood, accompanied by their guitars and a Roland CR-78 drum machine, are shown performing album track ‘Present Tense’ in this unusual video made in California. Watch it below. For more of TGTF’s coverage of Radiohead, go here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hgVihWjK2c[/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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