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2000 Trees Festival 2014 Roundup: Day 2 (Friday) – Part 1

 
By on Monday, 28th July 2014 at 2:00 pm
 

The concept of a lie-in at a festival is a flawed ideal. That was my initial discovery as I scraped myself of the floor of my tent – unsticking my back from the plastic ground sheet after all the sweat had caused the tent and I to have become moulded together in some unholy union. The problem being that on a beautiful summer’s morning – like the one every 2000 Trees reveller woke up to on the Friday morning – tents effectively become mini-greenhouses, where huddled safely in your sleeping bag, you become a pig roasting in a blanket. But far less delicious. 2000 Trees frowns upon acts of cannibalism.

Once I’d extracted myself from the pressure cooked vacuum that was my tent, I staggered towards the nearest vender and bought something palatable enough to be called food. I think they were churros. Questionable food selection aside, my early mid-morning stagger brought me to the Main Stage. Overlooked by the canopy of some beautiful oak trees the Main Stage at 2000 Trees is mightily impressive (especially at night when the aforementioned canopy is lit up), the stage is around the same size as the Other Stage at Glastonbury if you’re looking for a worthwhile comparison.

First up were a band I had planned to get stuck into, Emp!re. Partly because I enjoyed them on record and thought they were underwhelming supporting Arcane Roots at XOYO a few months back. But mainly because our camp next door neighbours all had Emp!re tattoos and one of them was the lead singer’s girlfriend (despite how camp Joe Green is, he is most definitely straight), so they would probably have beaten me up if I’d missed them.

To my delight, Emp!re were the polar opposite of the band I laid eyes upon in the clammy confines of XOYO. Gallivanting around the stage with hands flailing everywhere, Joe Green was a bastion of enthusiasm, even at midday. The perfect cure for any badgers cider induced hangover if you spent too much time last night propping up the Big Lebowski Bar. The set had all the hallmarks of a classic: James L’Esteve, Dave Thomas and Jon Tupper all looked as up for it as you could be on the first day of a festival. Revellers even laid down their swing ball bats as they were entranced by the siren like yelps of Joe Green from atop the Main Stage.

Green’s maturity as a frontman has come on in leaps and bounds in the past few months and while there was some witty impromptu banter – interspersed with gasps for air – Green let the solid tunes in Emp!re’s arsenal do the talking. Understandably due to obvious factors, Green will always draw comparisons with Skindred’s Benji Webbe, but little could be further from the actual truth. The two are as similar as the Queen and Kim Jong-Il. (8/10)

From an energetic lively frontman, bursting with charisma and charm – to an utterly charmless carbon copy of any indie band doing the rounds at the moment, next up were Natives. Showing about as much presence on stage as a sack of potatoes, Natives chugged through a disappointingly lazy and predictable set, which showcased absolutely none of the reasons why they’ve been touted as potential stars of 2014.

The songs were utterly forgettable and the crowd had absolutely no time for it, as vast swathes of the crowd which had gathered for Emp!re trudged their way back to The Cave, disappointed and unfulfilled. (3/10)

Luckily, we were treated on the Main Stage to the polar opposite of Natives, Slaves. Two men, a pair of drums and a guitar.
• D.I.Y credentials, check.
• Punky sense of energy, check.
• Ability to not give a shit how they sound, check.

The Main Stage was in for a pounding.

Slaves provided arguably the soundtrack for the first true day of the festival. ‘Where’s Your Car Debbie?’ is a song which Isaac Holman and Laurie Vincent say was inspired by a time “when they were walking through a forest and looking for a car with a girl named Debbie”. The gloriously simple songwriting, with a touch of ‘Teddy Bears’ Picnic’-esque suspense in the middle makes for a huge tune that every member of the crowd loved.

The impact of the entire set was obvious, seeing as afterwards everyone around the Main Stage was still shouting, ‘where’s your car Debbie!’. A superb slab of DIY punk, delivered with no bollocks, no pomp, just passion. (8/10)

From the most underdressed punks, to a motley crew of overdressed punks in the form of The Computers. Once purveyors of brutal garage punk, their last album ‘Love Triangles Hate Squares’ was dripping with soul. It was left-field that’s for sure, but with catchy toe-tappingly jazzy tracks like ‘Bring Me the Head of a Hipster’ littering the record and Alex Kershaw’s effervescent sense of exuberance, the set was bound to turn a lot of heads at Trees.

Drawing primarily from their most recent album, the band tore through a frantic set. The funky, soul styling Computers were going for a mid-afternoon set that went down a storm as oldies and young’uns alike got themselves swinging. The crescendo was a glorious ‘Wall of Death’ orchestrated by Kershaw, which saw the lead singer screaming his lungs out in the middle as a torrent of a thousand people crashed in from both sides. If you want evidence of how it looked, take a gander this live footage filmed from a safe distance away. ‘Oh My Soul!’ (9/10)

Next up was Itch (pictured at top) of former The King Blues’ fame, who is cutting his teeth as a solo artist now. In 2009 the full band went down as one of the weekend’ highlights, so it was a shame that on one of his returns, as a solo artist Itch managed to provide one of the more lacklustre performances of the weekend.

Flanked by a creepy backing singer in a creepy crying baby mask – who to my view was androgynous in gender – Itch strutted around stage lazily, blurting out songs with some kind of lightly-veiled political sentiment. In reality, in the baking summer heat after the aural assault of The Computers, all people wanted to do was dance. Instead they were treated to a lethargic journey through the increasingly twisted psyche of Jonathan Fox.

In some instances, when his backing singer kicked in with an overly autotuned interlude, it felt like I was listening to the next in the conveyor belt of BBC Radio 1 rap stars, not the best new and underground British music. I wasn’t coming to watch Itch to see a Professor Green wannabe; I wanted something with an edge, something with a little venom. Regrettably though, it was a performance from one of 2000 Trees favoured sons that should most certainly be forgotten by both crowd and performer. (4/10)

More of John’s coverage of 2000 Trees 2014 will continue soon on TGTF.

 

Album Review: The Computers – Love Triangles Hate Squares

 
By on Wednesday, 15th May 2013 at 12:00 pm
 

The Computers Love Triangles Hate Squares coverWhen you say a band has burst onto the scene, it’s usually the digging up of a worn-out old cliché. But for The Computers, there is seldom other ways to describe the Exeter-based five-piece. They arrived with a 24-minute debut album of punk rowdiness that was extremely raw and reminiscent of Pulled Apart by Horses debut record ‘Meat Balloon’.

So what did I expect from The Computers’ new album, ‘Love Triangles Hate Squares’? A bluesy, ’50s inspired quasi-homage to jazz was not the first place I was going to. In fact, it was pretty far down on my list of avenues the band would go down. It’s always worrying when a band tries to dramatically U-turn on their style, but The Computers I can confirm have done it with class, elegance and seamlessly have kerplunked themselves as a much more radio-friendly outfit altogether.

They’ve still got a raw kind of edge, and that’s blatantly obvious on the honky-tonkery of ‘Selina Chinese’. The gruff roars of ‘Group Identity’ and ‘Cinco De Mayo’ are replaced by piano grooves and a toe-tappingly catchy drum beat provided by the bands effective as ever engine room. Almost from start to finish, ‘Love Triangle Hate Squares’ is a thoroughly pleasant trip down memory lane, transporting you back to the dance halls of the ’50s, but spicing them up with a bit of 21st Century brashness. It’s an odd mix and at times, like on lovelorn lament ‘Cruel’ it all gets a bit too much.

But if you’re looking for some unashamed giggles and something which you will most definitely not bump into with any other band, then ‘Love Triangles Hate Squares’ is a solid bet, as with mainstream music at the moment, you won’t find something this original and uplifting anywhere else.

The record was mixed and recorded with producer Mark Neill, who has worked on The Black Keys‘ music, in Valdosta, Georgia, and the producer’s impact is underlying in the entire album. Whether that’s too much, could be an issue, but with the band’s new sound it seems like the band have met with Neill at the right time to produce a funky new sound for The Computers.

7/10

The Computers’ latest album ‘Love Triangles Hate Squares’ is out now on One Little Indian.

 

WIN / Tickets to see the Computers in London -OR- Manchester in May

 
By on Thursday, 18th April 2013 at 11:00 am
 

Exeter blues/punk band The Computers will be releasing their second album ‘Love Triangles Hate Squares’ on the 29th of April on One Little Indian, so it makes perfect sense that the group will be touring in support of it in May and June. So what does the tour have to do with TGTF? We’ve managed to blag a pair each to their London 100 Club (Wednesday the 8th of May) and Manchester Deaf Institute (Saturday the 11th of May) shows and we want to give them away to two lucky TGTF readers. You’re asking yourself, how do I win a pair of these tickets? Well, keep on reading…

To be in the running for the pair of tickets of your choice, complete the form below with your full name (seriously folks, I need your real first and last name), your email address and which city you want to win tickets for (London or Manchester). Then answer this question: what is the name of their lead singer? (Hint: Find this out on their last.fm page.) Get your entries in by noon British time on Monday the 22nd of April. We’ll choose a winner from all the correct entries received then. Good luck! Please note: this contest is open to UK residents only, and duplicate entries will be discarded.

If you fancy buying tickets to see the Computers instead, their upcoming UK dates in May are listed below. Support comes from Crowns and the Dead Formats. And to get you in a Computers mood, I’ve embedded the video for title track ‘Love Triangles Hate Squares’ at the bottom of this post.

This contest is now closed and the winners will be contacted soon.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bdaVOAFKxg[/youtube]

 

Live Review: The Subways with the Dancers and the Computers at London Koko – 4th October 2011

 
By on Friday, 14th October 2011 at 2:00 pm
 

Koko is crammed. Tickets tonight sold out almost as soon as tonight’s headliners released their latest album. The bill has two rising acts on it worth checking out and on a Tuesday evening, what could possibly be better than going to a show such as this one? Yes, tonight, the Subways are in town touring their third offering, ‘Money and Celebrity’, and they’ve brought the Computers and the Dancers along with them for good measure.

The evening starts off with a pop offering from new French act the Dancers. With a sound not too dissimilar from Alphabeat, it’s undeniable that they’re catchy, but it’s hard to tell whether that’s a good thing or not. Their Subways-style lineup with indie pop never really lights up the place but they’re endearing to the point of smiles even if the music lacks genuine character.

Thankfully, bringing a whole different sound to Camden tonight are the Computers. Self professed as the Hives meet Black Flag is a big ask, but within seconds of their more than electric set beginning, you can tell why. If Pulled Apart By Horses have opened up a gap in the industry, the Computers have definitely come along at the right time to fill it as screaming with catchy tracks is what they do best. Choosing to spend more time off stage than on, their front-man is certainly enigmatic and the tunes aren’t half bad either. Hopefully you’ll be hearing a lot more from the men in white in the future.

Tonight’s main event is the Subways. With their Pledge Music project gaining them fan recognition as well as involving a whole lot of planning, this tour is the big one in which we find out if it was worth it. Opening with debut single proper ‘Oh Yeah’ and racing through five well known old tracks from ‘Young for Eternity’ and ‘All Or Nothing’, ‘We Don’t Need Money To Have A Good Time’ is greeted with plenty of enthusiasm as the packed crowd really seem to have taken in the new record with open arms. The new single nestles in well with old material as do the likes of ‘I Wanna Dance With You’ and ‘Celebrity’. It’s of course the older hits that give tonight such a special feel as first album opener ‘I Wanna Hear What You Have Got To Say’ brings a respite for jumping and instead gives a room filling sing-along to Koko’s glorious layout. ‘Rock and Roll Queen’ is getting old these days and the trio don’t drag it out like they used to, now content on playing it mid-set and letting it live amongst the back catalogue. Closing their main set with ‘With You’ feels fitting, with “my best days are with you. They are so easy” being the last words of the main event.

In true rock and roll style of course, there’s an encore. Not content with the earlier circle pit for ‘Turnaround’, which engulfed most of the main standing area, frontman Billy Lunn chooses ‘Money and Celebrity’’s lead single ‘It’s a Party’ to do some of his trademark stage jumping and plays around in the crowd for a while before setting his sights on higher things. Making an ambitious 15-foot dive from a balcony, the willing crowd takes him with outstretched arms and sends him back to the stage. Even security look mildly impressed as they’re thanked for their good work.

‘Money and Celebrity’ may be the Subways’ most pop album to date, after all, they’ve gone from being in the studio with Butch Vig (Nirvana, Foo Fighters) to Stephen Street (Blur, the Smiths), but it’s still a rock party when the Subways roll into town. Add a bit of gloss, and you’ve got a killer Koko show.

 

Live Review: Lower Than Atlantis with Antlered Man and the Computers at Camden Barfly – 4th July 2011

 
By on Thursday, 7th July 2011 at 2:00 pm
 

Hanging around the Barfly in Camden tonight are the hardcore fans, not necessarily of genre but in dedication toward tonight’s headline band. Everyone queueing both in and outside the venue is here for one band, Lower Than Atlantis. The intimate 220 capacity venue is playing host tonight to XFM and their X-Posure show, so all bands are out to impress the airwaves and the apprehension inside is increasing rapidly. Before tonight’s bill topper are due on stage, though, it’s Antlered Man‘s turn to impress the 150+ music fans in front of the stage.

London locals Antlered Man might not be the biggest name on tonight’s lineup but they’re doing their hardest to rectify this. Dotting about the stage like a man possessed, frontman Damo Ezekiel-Home’s high-pitched vocals were a juxtaposition to his band’s progressive sludgy metal. Opening with ‘Platoono Of Uno’, the air is filled with the constant plea from Ezekiel-Home: “I am a man and I want to be heard!” The pseudo-grunge nature of Antlered Man is similar to that of early System Of A Down, especially during the politically charged ‘Surrounded By the White Man’. Ending on a vigorously energetic rendition of ‘Misruly Roo’, the whole crowd are in appreciation of what could be a big thing in metal circles.

Now the crowd are suitably warmed up, it’s time to turn up the hate with Devon quartet the Computers. All playing in smart white shirts and jeans, the image is quickly destroyed in a mash of headbanging, sweat and spit. Frontman Alex Kershaw is screaming his lungs out and trying his hardest to heat up the crowd. Sadly, despite the passion on the stage, the majority of those off stage aren’t moving. After rushing through fan favourite ‘Teenage Tourettes Camp’ and a number of other short sharp tracks from 2011 album ‘This is the Computers’, Kershaw heads into the crowd with guitar in tow to end the set standing on the bar and screaming. Although the performance was without flaws, the general crowd response was, unfortunately, lacklustre.

Heading in for the kill tonight, though, are tonight’s main players – Lower Than Atlantis. Charging on stage into a frantic ‘(Motor)Way Of Life’, the Hertfordshire mob have the crowd in their hands. The floor literally bouncing underfoot; Camden has come alive to the sound of post-hardcore. Playing songs spanning both albums and even 2008’s ‘Bretton’ EP. Keeping the talking to a minimum, LTA tried to cram in as many songs as possible. As 200 fans primarily aged between 14 and 18 are screaming the words “We are the kids of the recession!” it’s obvious Lower Than Atlantis have found their target audience. Ending the night on a the ever-popular ‘Beech Like the Tree’, frontman Mike Duce entices the entire crowd to sit on the beer soaked floor before launching back into the air for the final verse.

As the sweaty, band t-shirt wearing mass amble back outside for the journey home, there’s a genuine sense of satisfaction amongst fans. The intimacy and intensity of the headline band made the whole night worth it for the dedicated LTA fans because they know it could be a long time before they play a venue of this size again.

 
 
 

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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 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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