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WIN / Tix to see Sounds of the City at Manchester Castlefield Bowl starring Guy Garvey

 
By on Tuesday, 31st May 2016 at 11:00 am
 

The weather has turned warmer, the sun has made more than a few brief appearances, and hooray, it’s summer! For yet another year, Manchester’s Castlefield Bowl will play host to a series of fantastic gigs at the start of July as part of the ongoing Sounds of the City series (formerly known as Summer in the City). Ushering in the five-pack of shows at the outdoor music and entertainment venue – which includes appearances by mega stars James Bay and Catfish and the Bottlemen on the 6th and 8th of July, respectively – is a hometown hero who really needs no introduction, Guy Garvey.

Last year, Garvey embarked on a solo career away from his usual buddies in Elbow, releasing debut album ‘Courting the Squall’ last autumn. On Friday the 1st of July, the Garvinator will be ringing in this year’s Sounds of the City, headlining the first night of the concert series. Joining him on stage will be fellow Mancunian Badly Drawn Boy and ex-Beta Band founder Steve Mason, who himself released a new album, ‘Meet the Humans’, in February. We’ve got incredible news: we’ve blagged two pairs of tickets to the big show on 1 July, and we want to give them to two lucky TGTF readers!

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78MhIAtsmnM[/youtube]

How does one go about winning a pair of these golden tickets? Well, my dear reader, you’ll need to fill out our form below and send it along tout suite. Give us your full name, your email address (so we know you’re a living, breathing human being), and your postal address (so we can post you the tickets if you’ve won). The clincher? You’ll need to tell us what brass instrument Guy Garvey play live in the Elbow song ‘Starlings’. If you’ve seen Elbow live before, this should be a piece of cake. If it’s not, have a search through Wikipedia and you shall find it.

That’s it! We’ll keep this contest open until 12 noon BST this Friday, the 3rd of June. The two lucky winners will be contacted by email. To make this fair, all duplicate entries will be discarded. Please note: this contest is open to UK residents only and you must be able to get yourself and your guest to the Castlefield Bowl in Manchester. Please also note that all under 14s must be accompanied by an adult (these are the venue’s rules, not ours, and TGTF won’t be held responsible if you’re turned away at the door for being underage and not meeting the venue’s age requirement). Good luck!

If you’d rather not chance it and would like to buy tickets to this Guy Garvey show in advance, visit this Gigs and Tours page. Many thanks to our friends there for ‘lending’ these tickets to us for this great giveaway.

This contest is now closed. Winners will be contacted by email shortly.

 

Video of the Moment #2047: Steve Mason

 
By on Thursday, 24th March 2016 at 6:00 pm
 

Last month, Steve Mason released his third album as a solo artist. The songs of ‘Meet the Humans’, reviewed by me here), show Mason’s chosen lighter, simpler touch in songwriting on this go around. The same could be said about the new promo video for his tune ‘Alive’, which is animated but has a decidedly simplistic look to it. I am also wondering what is going on with those red devil beings hanging in the air all over the place. I’m sure that given it’s something of Steve Mason’s, it’s likely political commentary that I’m not picking up at this late hour while I’m writing this, so just have a listen and watch of it below and check out the tune.

‘Meet the Humans’ is out now on Double Six Records. For more Steve Mason on TGTF, go here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6pII42seo8[/youtube]

 

Steve Mason / April 2016 UK Tour

 
By on Thursday, 25th February 2016 at 9:00 am
 

Scottish singer/songwriter Steve Mason has announced a short run of tour dates for this spring, to support the release of his third studio album ‘Meet the Humans’. The album is due out this Friday, the 26th of February, on Double Six Records, but our own editor Mary has already reviewed it right back here.

Tickets for the following headline shows are available now.  Mason will also play FestEVOL in Liverpool on Sunday the 1st of May, as well as appearing at the End of the Road Festival in September.  TGTF’s collected coverage on Steve Mason, including his recent 6 Music Festival 2016 appearance, can be found by clicking here.

Sunday 24th April 2016 – Manchester Academy 2
Monday 25th April 2016 – Leeds Belgrave Music Hall
Tuesday 26th April 2016 – Edinburgh Liquid Rooms
Thursday 28th April 2016 – London Electric Brixton

 

Album Review: Steve Mason – Meet the Humans

 
By on Tuesday, 23rd February 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

Steve Mason Meet the Humans album coverAround this time 3 years ago, ex-Beta Band founder Steve Mason released the political-in-concept double album ‘Monkey Minds in the Devil’s Time’. In it, he chose to explore his own demons – namely personal struggles with depression and being lonely – while also taking public events, such as the 2011 London riots, and giving them a place in popular song. I imagine that in the ensuing years that passed, Mason, intellectually spent from a songwriting standpoint, was eager to move on to some lighter fare for his third solo album. While running your hand along the smooth surface of early taster single ‘Planet Sizes’, one might think this seemed to be the case, closer inspection revealed Mason had simply changed direction but not in might. (To read more on ‘Planet Sizes’ on its own, you can read my review that posted in mid-January, in which I extol its virtues.)

Recorded at Blueprint Studios in Salford with his touring band mates and Elbow‘s Craig Potter as producer, ‘Meet the Humans’ is Mason’s latest, greatest opus, and even with the conscious decision to go more simple this go around, the songs presented here are definitive proof he still maintains his unique, astute perception of our world. Mason has described ‘Meet the Humans’ as “an album where each song is a separate entity, where there is no great narrative running through it.” For most other artists, the incongruity of a LP’s worth of seemingly unrelated tracks would be a massive problem. However, as you listen to the album from beginning to end, you are treated to the interesting ways Mason crafts his songs, whether they be of folk or rock origin, leaning in a pop or more sweeping anthem direction.

Marked by Mason’s sweetly delivered vocals almost at a whisper, gently shaken tambourine, restrained strings and a powerful piano backing, ‘Ran Away’ is a clear album standout. As the title suggests, it’s a song about love that got away, but Mason’s voice is not full of deep-seated anger or regret or but an acceptance that things happen for a reason: “I know you ran away / I know you ran away / but what I find, is I don’t mind, anyway.” The mellow ‘Another Day’ is another tune of acceptance, but of the opposite variety. He tries to beg for forgiveness for his own emotional weakness: “I found it hard to say my piece, the words they slipped away / a dream to have you by my side, but I’m a fool who walks away.”

Mason takes two more stabs at explaining himself this later on in the tracklisting on ‘Like Water’ and last track ‘Words in My Head’. His tack is humourous, as he describes his failings “like rock fall, raining on your head / they may hurt you, but they’ll never make you dead”, but he also looks for understanding for his depression (“it’s that simple, tale you never hear / about a boy, who fights against the fear”). The dance beats that ‘Words in My Head’ is laden down with seem out of place. But the message of unconditional love in spite of the frailty of mental illness is appreciated.

Another tender treatment is used for ‘To a Door’, as the fragility of human life is broached. We’re given a host of different images to think about – the seashore where we spent fun and lazy days, all of our loved ones, the idea of choosing one favourite tree before leaving – as Mason asks us what we would do in the moment as our life here ends. If you haven’t contemplated the end, you should now, thanks to this inspirational guide. Less successful is ‘Through My Window’, in which he contemplates through a largely nebulous melody the existence of a benevolent, loving power he wishes to harness and keep forever. Is it about God? Perhaps.

You will notice Mason begins this new album with ‘Water Bored’, an incredibly catchy track that touches on the futility of opposing The Man. While it seems like an obvious bridge from ‘Monkey Minds…’, it’s ultimately a positive track in which he encourages, “‘cos you can break it, don’t think the pain is forever…won’t you hold my hand today, and show that we won’t take it?” That’s what ‘Meet the Humans’ is, writ large. The human condition is not simple or clean. Along with moments of happiness, it’s riddled with painful scars. No-one said ever life was easy. But we can get through it – with love, caring and understanding – if we stick together.

8/10

Steve Mason’s latest and third solo album to date, ‘Meet the Humans’, is out this Friday, the 26th of February, on Double Six Records. Mason has several in-stores lined up in the coming days, starting on Friday, as well as a UK tour for April; for all the details, visit his official Web site. For more on Steve Mason on TGTF, go here.

 

(6 Music Festival 2016 flavoured!) Single Review: Steve Mason – Planet Sizes

 
By on Friday, 22nd January 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

While I am certainly not saying that he wasn’t adequately celebrated while he was alive, one of the biggest lessons I think we should take away from David Bowie’s passing is that we should truly acknowledge the gifts of the greatest musical talents we idolise, whose music we hold dear in our hearts, and while they’re still living. We’re all mortal, and one day too soon, it will be too late.

And one such person I wish that would get far more attention than already does is my subject for today. Scottish singer/songwriter Steve Mason used to be most famous primarily as a founding member of The Beta Band, then pioneering a genre that was then not even termed folktronica. Since The Beta Band’s disbanding in 2004, Mason has had a moderately successful solo career, having unleashed his debut album ‘Boys Outside’ in 2010, followed by ‘Monkey Minds in the Devil’s Time’ in 2013. Having my interest piqued by the effortless folky soul of ‘All Come Down’, I’ve been keeping tabs closely, ever keen to hear more from him.

Earlier this month to start off 2016 on a positive note, he announced his third solo outing, ‘Meet the Humans’, will see a late February release. Coinciding with the new album news, he also unveiled new single ‘Planet Sizes’, and it seems too perfect to be writing about such a song the week that a possible ninth planet in our solar system has been discovered by Caltech astronomers.

In my mind, Mason’s politically-charged double album ‘Monkey Minds…’ would be a tough act to follow, especially in the wake of Britain’s current political climate, not to mention the entire world’s. Since that last album, Mason has had a change of heart, at least with respect to his songwriting process, and this new, simplified approach is crystal clear upon listening to the new single. In a different yet oddly similar guise to that of ‘All Come Down’, the genius of ‘Planet Sizes’ is its driving melody, paired handily with Mason’s sweepingly positive vocals in the chorus.

He’s always been a deft hand lyrically, and he doesn’t disappoint here. The verse “know my 6 times table / I learned where the planets lie / I know my planet sizes / the universe makes me cry” suggests that he has an intellectual understanding of how the world works through the practical (maths and science). However, he wants to go against the grain, beyond what he’s been told is possible, beyond the planet sizes that are accepted as fact, concluding, “the universe is mine” to have. What an inspiring concept.

Even the single’s animated promo video is another take on (relative) simplicity. Coloured, indistinguishable blobs that turn out to be humans toil apathetically on earth while planets and constellations play and dance above society’s heads. Well, until society finally gets the hint and joins them. How many of this world’s ills would be solved if we all stopped long enough to be kind to one another and dream of the positive energies that lie beyond our usual realm of comprehension? (In his own way, isn’t that what Bowie did for most of his career too?)

9/10

‘Meet the Humans’, the third album from Steve Mason, will be released on the 26th of February on Domino Records. Mason will be playing Saturday night at Motion at the 6 Music Festival 2016 in Bristol next month. For past articles on him on TGTF, go here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJUJTGUH0mc[/youtube]

 

Video of the Moment #1327: Steve Mason

 
By on Sunday, 22nd September 2013 at 6:00 pm
 

I bloody love Steve Mason. Check out his new video for upcoming single ‘Fire!’, the second video from his solo album ‘Monkey Minds in the Devil’s Time’ released in March on Domino. It continues the protest theme of his recent previous releases.

‘Fire!’ the single will be out on the 4th of November.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKUEq_FNlSE[/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.

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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