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LeeFest Presents: The Neverland 2016 Roundup

 
By on Friday, 5th August 2016 at 2:00 pm
 

When you think of Neverland, you consider the following synonymous: timelessness, youthful vigour and a certain transcendence. In the middle of a forest in Kent, near Edenbridge, Neverland became a reality through the help of Lee and his homegrown festival Leefest 2016. Though the weather was not quite ideal upon first landing, it was far from an issue. The moment you wandered into the main arena, it was clear the only thing that would stop a good time being had would be those adult thoughts that should’ve been, at this point, relegated to the outside world. Neverland’s sole purpose over these 3 days was to be a vehicle for your removal from society and instead to provide you a good time.

Split into three main sections, The Neverwoods (main arena), Mermaids Lagoon (rave central) and Skull Ridge (rock city), you were never far from some form of entertainment. The introductory day, Thursday, saw the smallest of the lineup but definitely the strongest. With only Tootles Circus, your average festival tent, operating as a stage, all four acts were nice and accessible. Peluche and Loyle Carner eased the gaining crowd in, but it was the main attractions of Everything Everything and Ghostpoet (pictured at top) who garnered in the big numbers. With Everything Everything, they perfectly stoked the crowd’s fire and brought their unique blend of rapturous choruses and genre bending music. Conversely, Ghostpoet gave the tent a dark atmosphere with his blend of hip-hop-cum-rock-assault.

Friday brought forth the first full day affair, with Peluche once again kicking proceedings off, but this time on the main stage, aka the ‘Bangerang’ stage. The overall setup of the main arena was easily navigated but with the two stages being centrally located, sound spill was inevitable. Fortunately this didn’t happen frequently, though it’s a dangerous game to play. Highlights from the second day included Corey Fox-Fardell and his brand of songwriter electro melding, which was a particularly pleasant listen whilst grazing in front of the Bangerang stage. Little Simz proved why she is one to watch in the UK hip-hop game, leading the enthusiastic crowd through numerous chants as she dominated the beats surrounding her. In a similar fashion, Roots Manuva brought domineering and commanding beats that just reinforced the entire notion behind LeeFest: you can be who you want, and listen to what you want, as long as you have a good time. Rockers, hip-hoppers and the like were all moving and shaking to the sounds that flowed from the Bangerang stage.

Current London-based pop troubadour Oscar provided his blend of melodic darling instrumentation and baritone vocals. One thing’s for sure, you can’t not have a good time at an Oscar show, no matter the crowd size or venue. Dinosaur Pile-Up sat on top of the kingdom of chaos and noise after a headlining set at the Hook Rock stage in the Skull Ridge. It’s was a venue reminiscent of small clubs, where the noise cascades from all orifices and you’re able to lose yourself in the darkness amongst your other perspiring peers. Barrelling through their grunge/punk hybrid hits, the volume was overbearing at the front. We recommend you watch from a safe distance if you’re stupid enough to forget ear protection (a particular note to self).

The final day started off in stereotypical British style, with grey clouds and intermittent rain, but this didn’t affect the atmosphere. Hannah Lou Clark was a particular highlight: sans band, she used both her pure talents and an iPod to create a wonderfully relaxed and charming environment. Everybody’s favourite indie twosome We Are Scientists provided a particularly raucous set that included singer Keith Murray venturing deep into the crowd during ‘Textbook’, where he proceeded to enlist the help of a particularly fluorescent orange Poseidon who was amongst the crowd. Following these shenanigans was current electro-indie darling Shura, having released her debut album ‘Nothing’s Real’ in July. Delivering a captivating set that never failed to both strike you emotively and melodically, the biggest draw of Shura live is the fact she is clearly there because of the sheer love and devotion for her art. She knows what she likes to dance to and fortunately, we do too.

Originally announced to take place on the Thursday, after a mishap with the programs and the cat being let out of the bag early, the not-so-secret secret set from Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes Saturday evening was the perfect climax to this weekend of escapism and release. The pure fury that comes with any Frank Carter show is cathartic enough to make sure you leave with a weightlessness, one that can only be achieved by taking part in both a circle pit and storming the stage, two things this fortunate writer was seen doing.

After all is said and done, the aforementioned sole purpose of LeeFest was achieved. With pirates and lost boys running around shooting each other with water pistols and climbing aboard the decorative dens around the stages, it was impossible to not get lost in the affair. A festival that catered to both families and those of all ages looking to simply cut loose, the promise this event holds is even grander than its current fasthon. Considering this was Leefest’s largest year yet, the sky’s the limit. And with the lead lost boy at the helm, LeeFest could very well be a major player for years to come.

 

Album Review: Shura – Nothing’s Real

 
By on Wednesday, 27th July 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

Shura Nothing's Real album coverWe here at There Goes The Fear have been long awaiting the release of English singer/songwriter Shura’s debut album. If you don’t believe me, you can check out our editor Mary’s previous thoughts on earlier unveiled tracks ‘White Light’ and ‘The Space Tapes’. ‘Nothing’s Real’ was released earlier this month on Polydor Records. Without a doubt, it goes above and beyond any expectations we had of the album since our first taste of Shura back in June 2015.

Placed in an equally effective order, these are 13 incredibly well crafted songs, each of which gather many influences from the ‘80s synthpop era and shed a new light on it by combining the sound with a hint of post-Noughties European house music. The LP keeps the listener in a constant state of ecstacy, no matter the setting. Songs such as ‘Touch’, ‘Kidz ‘n’ Stuff’ and ‘2Shy’ reveal the romantic side to the album. With lyrics about lust, longing after the one you want, and the promises made between couples, these tracks could be envisioned at an ‘80s slow dance prom. ‘What Happened to Us’, ‘What’s It Gonna Be’ and ‘Make It Up’, on the other hand, could be used to soundtrack a feel good indie teen summer party movie. Either way, ‘Nothing’s Real’ is sure to provide the listener with the dying need to dance in any setting.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gtREooYQ9w[/youtube]

The album opens with a short intro track simply titled ‘(i)’, lasting only 1 minute and 30 seconds long. The minimalistic nature of ambient pads and the soothing sound of vinyl hiss transports us into dreamlike state in. In a way, it’s as if Shura anticipated the impact her album would have and wanted her listener to feel as comfortable as possible before transporting us back to the 1980s seen through the eyes of a New Wave, indie hipster of 2016.

Next on the track listing, the title track of the album bursts through the introductory soothing feeling set in place by ‘(i)’ with a sound totally reminiscent of late ‘80s Madonna, but with the production approach of European DJs like Todd Terje (‘Inspector Norse’) and Tensnake. All melodic elements, from the Motown-inspired bass line to the string embellishments in the chorus, even down to the tone of Shura’s voice and phrasing of the vocal melody, point towards Madonna’s ‘True Blue’ and ‘Like a Prayer’ albums. The sounds used in producing these elements, however, are extremely modern. The bass is rounder with more grit, making it sound overall more full, the guitars are sharper, and the lead synths act as sound effects more so than a melodic element. The only thing, if anything Shura lacks in her songs is the use of head-filling hooks. However, this is not to say she doesn’t make up for it in harmony and chord voicings, which themselves act as hooks.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpZCRfrVI48[/youtube]

The same electronic influences in ‘Nothing’s Real’ crop up throughout the album, particularly in tracks such as the previously unveiled ‘Indecision’ and single ‘White Light’. Although they appear 6th and 12th on the album, they both stick closely to the fundamental sound presented in the title track. The main difference between these and ‘Nothing’s Real’ is that they provide a moodier, emotional sense of harmony and melody. ‘Tongue Tied’ also veers slightly from the pre-established EDM vibe, into a more chilled out down tempo performance, mainly by featuring normal pop instruments like guitars to introduce the groove and melody, rather than relying on processed synth sounds to fill out the song. That’s not to say the track stands any weaker than the others. It merely means the unaffected sound gives way for Shura to showcase her keen ear for melody and rhythm in her vocal parts, and her microscopic attention to detail is showcased too by working them perfectly around the surrounding music.

Romantic, fun and thought-provoking, ‘Nothing’s Real’ is many things, but above all it is virtually flawless. It acknowledges the hype of post-Noughties pop music, which seems to be a throw back to the ‘80s, best exemplified by The 1975. But instead of following it, it’s as if Shura almost has been studying the trend from a distance, then picked out the weak points to discard them, whilst easily making the strong points stronger. Be sure to pick up a copy, as this album is definitely not to be missed as a great soundtrack to the summer.

9/10

‘Nothing’s Real’, the debut album from Shura, is now available from Polydor Records. For more on Shura on TGTF, including our coverage of her performance at the Cerdd Cymru: Music Wales night at SXSW 2015, go here.

 

Video of the Moment #2057: Shura

 
By on Thursday, 7th April 2016 at 6:00 pm
 

London via Manchester and Russia electropop artist Shura has been hiding out and no doubt been hard at work at new material. How do we know this? She’s unveiled ‘The Space Tapes’, 9 and half minutes plus of ambient goodness. This is all ahead of her debut album ‘Nothing’s Real’, which is scheduled to be out this summer. ‘The Space Tapes’ represents a step away from her more poppy direction on previous singles ‘White Light’ and the incomparable earworm ‘2Shy’, the latter included on a three-track live performance video here.

Shura’s debut LP ‘Nothing’s Real’ will be available from all good high street and digital retailers on the 8th of July. She’s been announced to be performing at the Great Escape in May (supporting Oh Wonder at an already sold-out Dome ‘Spotlight’ show) and LeeFest Presents: The Neverland in July; I’m sure many other summer festival announcements are to follow.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbQeO_t6KF0[/youtube]

 

Video of the Moment #1835: Shura

 
By on Thursday, 25th June 2015 at 6:00 pm
 

Shura has premiered this week her latest video, this time for the track ‘White Light’. The actor in the video looks eerily like a male version of the electropop artist herself, and the sci-fi storyline is filmed in the gorgeous confines of Cheddar Gorge in Somerset. Watch the video below.

Catch all our previous coverage on Shura, including this self-described ‘performance film’ with the singer/songwriter performing three songs with her band I posted last week, this way.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-MTZ4bF-0c[/youtube]

 

Live Gig Video: Shura shares ‘Three Years’ performance film, playing ‘2Shy’, ‘Touch’ and ‘Indecision’

 
By on Tuesday, 16th June 2015 at 4:00 pm
 

London via Manchester and Russia electropop artist Shura has revealed a new self-described performance film called ‘Three Years’ for her fans to enjoy. In it, she and her band perform three popular singles she’s released over the last year, all with a decided ’80s synthpop touch reminiscent of early Madonna: ‘2Shy’, ‘Touch’ and ‘Indecision’. It’s a lovely video with clips of Shura on tour as well as of contemplative moments alone with her music, as if it’s a peek into her personal life. I wish more artists had the money and desire to put out something like this that’s different than a straight live video put out as a promo. Watch it below.

Just last week, Shura announced a new UK tour for September and October 2015; all the dates are listed here. She showcased at this year’s SXSW 2015, and you can read my thoughts on her appearance at the Huw Stephens-curated Music Wales : Cerdd Cymru showcase Tuesday night in Austin here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTWrMp_tYx8[/youtube]

 

Shura / September and October 2015 UK Tour

 
By on Monday, 15th June 2015 at 9:00 am
 

Manchester electropop artist Shura has announced a new UK tour for the autumn, taking place in September and October 2015. In addition to a previously announced date on the 17th of September at London Electric Brixton, seven other UK dates have been added and are on sale now.

Shura performed as part of Huw Stephens’ Music Wales : Cerdd Cymru showcase Tuesday night at SXSW 2015, and you can read my review of her live performance at the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30, along with thoughts on fellow artists on the night Kate Tempest, Catfish and the Bottlemen and Until the Ribbon Breaks here.

Thursday 17th September 2015 – London Electric Brixton
Wednesday 23th September 2015 – Nottingham Rescue Rooms
Friday 25th September 2015 – Manchester Gorilla
Saturday 26th September 2015 – Glasgow King Tut’s
Monday 28th September 2015 – Leeds Brudenell Social Club
Tuesday 29th September 2015 – Birmingham Oobleck
Wednesday 30th September 2015 – Brighton Old Market
Friday 2nd October 2015 – Bristol Marble Factory

 
 
 

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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