Sonisphere Secret Session – You Me At Six at Kingston Peel 15/06/11
‘We haven’t played the f****** Kingston Peel in three years!’ shouts frontman Josh Franceschi in a vicious bid to get the 250 strong sold-out crowd to abide by his instruction to get more involved. These three years Franceschi speaks of have been key in the rise of the Surrey band, who have strived to achieve their goals and beyond. With a top five album, numerous sold out tours and two Kerrang! Awards under their belts, its obvious that tonight they are home to prove their worth.
With no support, the night progresses quickly. No one seems to need a warm-up, the fans are already buzzing with anticipation and itching to catch a glimpse of their local heroes. The opening riff of ‘Save It For The Bedroom’ kickstarts the show and it’s the ideal choice. A familiar song to all being their first single meaning that everyone is in possession of the correct lyrics to reiterate. Though every song of their set is identifiable, even though they’ve been out in LA recording their third record, they make clear that tonight is about ‘having fun’ and playing the songs that everyone wants to hear. Personally, they should have played something off of their new record in order to give everyone present a snap shot of what’s to come. Nevertheless, it’s a greatest hits show, going down a treat among the crowd and is a fitting celebration of their success so far, especially in such a local venue.
Favourites like ‘Finders Keepers’, ‘Take Off Your Colours’ and ‘Stay With Me’ are performed, before a fan manages to persuade them to play ‘Gossip’, which they are eventually swayed by, even after Franceschi makes clear how much he loathes the track. During ‘If I Were In Your Shoes’ the chaotic crowd show their passion. They carry out the band’s wishes of jumping off the speakers, ceiling beams and engaging in circle pits. Guitarist Max Helyer shows his crazy streak, crowd surfing over the adoring fans, as they hold him high like a superior figure. I’ve lost count of the number of crowd surfing devotees who have managed to grace the stage, awkwardly sing and then claim his or her prize, in the form of a hug off the lead singer.
After all the commotion, the band takes it down a notch for the audience to recoup their energy. ‘Fireworks’ is the chosen track, a slow meaningful offering with a sea of waving arms, scattered phones and a lighter as accompaniment. ‘Liquid Confidence’ returns the crowd to their previous state, bouncing to the beat in a drunken-like manner coinciding with the nature of the words. ‘Hold Me Down’ track ‘Underdog’ closes the set with the same amount of enthusiasm and charisma that’s been filling the tiny room all evening.
Tonight has shown how the band’s musicianship and personality has enabled them to grasp the hearts of individuals, represented in the fanatical crowd here. ‘The Consequence’ features the refrain ‘I got real big plans and such bad thoughts.’ Though, after the showcase seen this evening I don’t think the band have anything to worry about regarding their future, they’ll be around for a while yet.
Some fine American indie-rock hitting our shores this summer in aid of Glasto. The five-piece’s melodic tunes of their first EP features the solid vocal of frontman Christian Zucconi with a delicate and precise offering from the voice of Hannah Hooper underlying freely in the mist, undoubtably their USP. Throw in some breezy riffs and a simple beat also and it’s proven that Grouplove are ready for festival fever.
Alice Gold is yet another astonishing British female artist to emerge, filed next to the likes of Ellie, Marina and Jessie, she’s another ready to hit the big time. The certain ‘pop’ touch in ‘Runaway Love’ makes it radio-worthy and effortlessly infectious. ‘Orbitor’ has a an opening bassline to rival all basslines and a ranging vocal, boasting her potential. On tour with Female Duo, The Pierces and another candidate for Worthy Farm, she’s sure to pick up a lot support this summer.
Alice Gold – Orbiter
‘There is nothing but chemistry here, and with that in mind we have nothing to fear’ sings Ric Phethean in a soothing, laid back tone and he’s not mistaken in his honesty. Within Tall Ships, there is a great deal of chemistry. The instruments intertwine with ease, the sharp picks of the guitar strings, deep plucks of the bass, which moulds itself around the beat. It’s an impeccably tight effort from the falmouth-based trio.
Example’s risks and hard work have paid off. As he sings in his chart topper CTWYKM ‘I’ve never been afraid of the highest heights’ and its a good job, standing tall at the top of the charts for the first time this week. And I’m not afraid to say that I love Example. From his witty quips on society in ‘From Space’, ‘I got brand new socks, pack of five I’ve been down the shops’ and ‘Blogspot I’ve reclaimed the topspot, Come down in Kate Moss your topshop.’ To the fabulous use of synths and beats, Elliot Gleave AKA Example knows exactly how to get a crowd going as well as now having the perfect ingredients for a number one. Much deserved after 7 years of grafting, Good On Ya!
Dutch Uncles played a stripped down set at Kingston’s Banquet Records last night. The Mancunian five-piece released their first album signed to Memphis Industries, ‘Cadenza’ back in April. Prior to this they were signed to a Tapete Records, a German label which saw them release their debut after recording it in only two weeks. ‘Cadenza’ is genre-fusing. There are elements of pop, indie and classical which have uniquely crafted the album with their use of time signatures.
Dutch Uncles played three songs, ‘Dressage’, ‘Cadenza’ and ‘Face In.’ The band looked relaxed and content whilst performing, incorporating a Xylophone and a single Congo drum, giving their sound more depth, in comparison to a conventional acoustic set. They are incredibly passionate about their music and what they want to achieve.
I caught up with frontman Duncan Wallis, a friendly and focused character, to discuss the album, the festival season and their dislike of the word ‘Jamm.’
How did you find the instore today?
Yeah it’s great, it’s something to do in the day of doing a gig. Doing instores is probably the hardest part about being in a band because it’s a strange experience, in that it’s such a weird boundary between the crowd and the band and you’ll never get used it. As long as you’ve got a good bounce in an acoustic set, then it’s good for everyone. It’s hard for us to translate our stuff acoustically as we write our stuff in riffs not chords.
Do you enjoy stripping your songs down and hearing them in a different way?
It’s a challenge and challenges are usually interesting. We were always reluctant about doing acoustic stuff originally. We did this one gig in Manchester, which wasn’t really an acoustic set in the end as we had some keyboards and drums but we even managed to get a Talking Heads cover in, which we wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise. It felt like we were getting somewhere though and it keeps us on our toes.
Would you say that Talking Heads were your main influence?
Yes, definitely. We all watched the ‘Stop Making Sense’ video and from there we thought that in terms of reacting to a crowd, well crowds never usually dance anyway, especially when your working in time signatures. If we all look like we’re dancing, it brings unity to the whole thing and that’s what they opened up to us. Then we listened to their albums and realised what an incredibly innovative angle that David Byrne has as a lyricist and the funk they started to bring to art punk, where before it had just been The Ramones. So they brought a bit of a bounce to it, which is very important.
You released your album ‘Cadenza’ in April, are you pleased with the reception it’s had.
Yeah, I think we’d all like to have a few more radio plays but if we don’t get radio, we’ve gained some committed fans along the way. It’s all very rewarding. When we first wrote it, we were trying to write the most ‘pop’ and ambitious album that we could. Maybe our ambition was a bit to far-fetched but realistically we’ve made ourselves a platform so that for the next album we can concentrate on singles and have a bit more fun with it, pushing the boundaries.
Our German album seems to have done a lot better for us than we thought, as we always thought that it stunted our growth as band as it wasn’t released here and it was a live album almost, done in two weeks. There are still some songs on there that people are crying out for us to play at gigs.
Do you feel that you’ve massively progressed from then?
Definitely. I think that we always felt that we could bring it live, for us recording was always the challenge. The way we write on the computer and listening to everything as a sample we already feel as if we know the song already when we start to learn it. We don’t Jamm; jamm is a four-letter word to us, unlike other bands like ‘Egyptian Hip-Hop’ who can do an eight-hour jamm. We used to practise next door to them and it was ridiculous. One day they even started to jamm our songs!
You’re playing some notable festivals this year such as Bestival and Latitude, what can we expect from these performances?
We’ve got a few festivals this year and until we’ve played two or three and actually really know what a festival crowd are like, because before this we’ve only done Kendal Calling. This time around we’re more wary about the crowds and how to keep them going. It’s going to be all our hits, and some classic covers, that everyone will know. We’re also going to mix every song in to another so that people don’t have the choice to leave.
Do you think that the festival culture is important nowadays to an artist?
I think from a band’s perspective it definitely is. For example, the festival run that ‘Everything Everything’ did last year set them up for the tour that we did with them afterwards. It was amazing, there were sold out venues everywhere and I think that the festivals is what opened them up because the TV coverage and how people get talking. With the industry festivals everyone starts talking and you get a lot of hype all of a sudden, also Industry people go to most summer festivals so they see all of the same bands.
Dutch Uncles have progressed significantly in the last year through your signing to Memphis Industries, singles and of course your album. What does the next year hold after the festival season?
We should finally get to go to Europe again because we were on that Europe label a couple of years ago and we only got to go once or twice and then everyone started Uni, so we haven’t been for years. We’ll be touring until December and then we’re going to record the next album in January. We’re going to move on really quickly, so basically we’ll have another album out this time next year.
Will your next venture have a similar sound?
I really don’t know about that. Our bassist, who writes the music, has just passed his music degree and he had to do a half an hour composition piece and there are three songs that we made on this album from that so we still have another twenty minutes, which we can take what’s there and turn it into something. It would be nice to go classical.
Are there any current acts that you draw influences from?
Our friends ‘Egyptian Hip Hop’ and ‘Everything Everything’ influence us because everyone else’s successes are always spurring you on. Also in terms of artistic influence, because we have some similarities and differences to them and you need to look at each other and learn to push away. So that everyone will stop staying that. We like new British artists like ‘Fiction’ from Manchester and we just found this band called ‘Cardiacs’ who are ‘Pronk’ (prog-punk) and that’s a really interesting sound. I think we’ll listen to more classical music as well; we just want to break the mould of being a five-piece band. We’ve got up to five session players so we can do these things, we just want to keep doing it. There’s a good side to not blowing up on your first/second album because it’s not just going to be downhill from here it could actually be up hill from here and that could take up the rest of our lives and that becomes a career, which is a good thing.
Thanks to Duncan and the rest of the band for talking time out to talk to me and for their performance. Also thanks to Banquet for organising this brilliant instore.
Like the illusionist, ‘Houdini’ this song is mysterious. The LA five-piece released their debut album, ‘Torches’ last month and the classy, memorable synth patterns and frontman Mark Foster’s varying pitch draws comparisons to fellow americans MGMT.
Blitz Kids have had some pretty big support slots recently, which has helped them to start making their mark on the UK rock scene. They’ve supported the likes of We Are The Ocean and Mayday Parade and have just released the video for track ‘Story’ which is availible for free download on their site. It also features a guest vocal from Aled Phillips of Kids In Glass Houses. Its a big song for a band with a promising future.
Singer/Songwriter, Benjamin Francis Leftwich’s soft, husky vocal compliments the clean strums of his guitar. Refrain, ‘I’ve got a plan, I’ve got an atlas in my hands’ is wonderfully uplifting and perfect words for an acoustic track. Leftwich releases his debut, ‘Last Smoke Before The Snowstorm’ next month and it’s sure to be a hit judging from his previous EPs.
Sibling trio, Kitty Daisy & Lewis show their cross-genre influences on this record. A fusion of Country, Rock n’ Roll and Swing makes them unique in this day and age. The vocal is shared between the three members of the Durham family, who also play a range of instruments including the harmonica, accordion and guitar to name a few. ‘Smoking In Heaven’, their follow up to their 2008 self-titled debut was released last week. It was recorded in their home studio, without using any form of digital equipment, keeping with their vintage 1950′s feel. It sounds like the soundtrack in an American diner and you get the instant urge to bop and click your fingers along to it. Brilliant!
‘Going Up The Country’
‘I’m So Sorry’
Kids In Glass Houses at WAMA 2/06/11
Tonight’s sold out show is a special one, marking Kids In Glass Houses’ first show of 2011. It’s evident that after six months off the road, recording their third album, that the Welsh five-piece are back with excellent intentions.
Support comes from electro-rock band ‘Proxies’, who give their all, showing off their potential. ‘We don’t usually do covers’ explains member Jordan Fish but they show how it was the right decision in doing so. As the first bars of Pendulum’s ‘Propane Nightmares’ kicks in, the crowd show their appreciation in a resounding cheer and erupt in to a sea of appreciative movement, exciting the crowd for the headliner. It’s the perfect way to get the people on their side, and it worked though I’m sure many, like myself were already on their side in light of their polished performance.
There’s a slight delay in the entrance of the headliners this evening, though this doesn’t faze their followers. If anything it creates mass anticipation and suspense of what the band are going to bring to that stage tonight, what will they open with? It also gives the crowd a chance to plan their route to that much-desired barrier…
KIGH take to the stage and open with a taster of what’s to come with ‘Gold Blood’, a song that was previewed to fans only last week thus through their dedication, the majority already know the lyrics.
The good reception spurs the band to progress on to their energetic (and sweaty) set. Proceeding with tracks from album ‘Dirt’ such as ‘The Best Is Yet To Come’, ‘Youngblood (Let It Out)’, ‘Undercover Lover’ (minus Frankie) and ‘For Better or Hearse’, the band show that they are back on their game.
Frontman Aled Phillips informs how ‘usually we’d slow it down now, but we won’t.’ Slower songs are avoided in tonight’s showcase, though one wouldn’t have gone a miss to aid the crowd in recovering. Fortunately, KIGH make room for a selection of classics, taken from their early days and debut, ‘Smart Casual.’‘Saturday’, ‘Easy Tiger’ and ‘Give Me What I Want’ are performed. These tracks are still relevant as a reminder of how far this band have come and what they have achieved since they started out. It’s also a treat for those fans who have been supporting them from the beginning, like I’m sure many of the fans here tonight have.
Closing their set with ‘Sunshine’ and ‘Matters At All’ it’s a perfect send off. The crowd shove each other in the final opportunity to engage in the atmosphere and feel in awe of everything that KIGH have to offer tonight. After their six months in hibernation, preparing for their new release its proven tonight that the band are back on top form and are ready for whatever the future may hold for them.