It’s been a while since video / track of the week has been a thing over at Skint, however The Xcerts’ new track ‘Feels like Falling in Love’ is too good not to share, and that video, well, incredible. Check the video out below, it’s also available to stream on spotify now. If you’re heading down to 2000 Trees this weekend, look out for our next post on a packing guide, but also these guys are now playing the Saturday. I had the pleasure of interviewing them and watching their 2016 set, including a crowd proposal and they’re definitely not ones to miss.
By Casey Cooper-Fiske
Anglo-French band prove they’re ready for bigger venues and larger crowds.
Savages’ career began, like many others, with small scale gigging around local venues in East London, bringing a similar aesthetic to Placebo with perhaps a little more charm. When they first arrived on the scene in 2011, they were branded pretentious by many. This didn’t seem to phase the band however, naming their debut album Silence Yourself and slapping an essay of a mission statement on the cover. The accusations of pretention were not helped by the signs put out by the band telling the live audience not to record anything, as they felt it prevented the audience from “Totally immersing themselves” (Probably true).
With the release of the band’s second album, Adore Life, Savages appeared to attempt just that with drummer Fay Milton exclaiming to DIY Magazine “We did humour”! Lead singer Jehnny Beth has previously shown an unwillingness to become involved with this entertaining take.
Tonight at Brixton Academy however, at their biggest live show to date, the whole band appear to be in ‘Adore’ mode, giving a powerful and moving performance from start to finish.
“I am here, no more fear”, Jehnny Beth, a.k.a. Camille Berthomier, boldly proclaims as the band announce their arrival on stage with the fitting ‘I Am Here’. The band’s rhythm section acts as torch in the dark, guiding Jehnny Beth’s vocals through the gloomy clouds of feedback from Gemma Thompson’s guitar mastery. As the song reaches its crescendo, Thompson’s guitar turns to thunder aliening with t
he line “Are you coming for the ride”? We certainly are in for this ride.
As the band plow on through ‘Sad Person’ and ‘City’s Full’, it’s clear the audience have decided to take up Beth’s earlier proposal. They are all in. During the first three tracks, Beth casts her androgynous spell on the crowd as she glides around the stage and punches the air with anger.
The energy however seems to whimper a little as the band introduce a calmer track, suitably named ‘Slowing down the World’. Not a bad song by any means, however they have a lot more potent songs that were omitted from the evening. Songs with a similar tempo such as ‘Marshal Dear’ and ‘Waiting for a Sign’, missing from tonight’s setlist, would, most likely, be received with more enthusiasm from the audience.
Saying that all the slower material brought the evening down would be criminal, tough the band brings a more solemn tone as the end draws near. Double header of ‘Adore Life’ songs ‘Mechanics’ and ‘Adore’ stuns the audience into silence as Beth’s voice echoes around the Academy. ‘Adore’ is a particularly special moment, bringing tears from some members of the audience as Beth asks “Is it human to adore life”?
Another special moment came as the rhythm section departed the stage, leaving only guitarist Thompson and frontwoman Beth to cover Marianne Faithful’s ‘Why’d Ya Do It?’. The two share a tense energy on stage, staring each other out, one seemingly tries to outdo the other. The two share a unique chemistry when left alone, one that seems part driven by equal amounts of aggression and adoration.
Fan favourites such as ‘The Answer’, ‘Shut Up’ and ‘Husbands’ are received raucously by the crowd. With the later showing the faultless bass playing of Ayse Hassan in all its glory, providing a nervy undertone as she skitters from fret to fret.
Breaking the barrier between band and crowd, Beth walks right into it on a path of hands provided by adoring fans. The climax comes during ‘No Face’ as she “have a message for all the young men in the room”,then proceeding to approach the young men of the audience, personally looming down on them with full on eye contact and an instructional point of a finger. Her message of equality and respect is delivered with a tone of voice which is part annoyed and part hopeful.
The thought provoking words of Jehnny Beth describes the tone of the night. Fused with the focused choreographed playing of bandmates, Hassan, Thompson and Milton, make for both an intense and emotional evening at the Academy. The only downfall being the setlist’s favour of accessible tracks, setting aside some of the band’s more interesting tunes. The evening is well rounded off as Savages is joined by support group Good, Sad, Happy, Bad for standalone single ‘Fuckers’, with its bouncy riff sending the more than satisfied crowd home filled with adrenaline.
An act that never disappoints is the best way to describe Will Varley, in the last year I have had the pleasure of seeing him on numerous occasions but last night was truly special. The venue, the Komedia is magical itself the evening took place in the basement in a cabaret esque set up. At first glance I was dubious, it’s not a venue I’d of usually placed him in but with the accompaniment of the supporting 7 piece band it fitted perfectly.
The support act Cocos Lovers provided a tranquil soul soothing performance, their sound combines folk and roots which provides for a easy listening. Will described the Kent based ensemble as dear friends of his and it set the tone for a night full of powerful lyrics and smooth tunes.
In light of recent political uncertainty and changes in the UK and beyond Varley adapted his lyrics to fit a new audience and time. A large issue at concerts recently has been audiences spending less time engaging and more time recording the gig on their phones to brag about on social media or enjoy later; however Varley put on a show that was very much for in the moment and few phones were in sight.
The tour comes just after the release of his new album, ‘Kings Down, Sundown’. The first track of the album ‘To Build A Wall’ is of strong political importance, even more so after President Elect Trump’s rise to power, speaking of how we cannot let political unrest divide us. However not one to solely dwell Will breaks the set up with cat humour and joking about budget hotel chains.
‘When She Wakes up’ talks about Varley’s friends daughter and what she’ll experience and was written after watching her nap with strangers fighting in the street outside.
In no uncertain terms with Bob Dylan esque guitar and a powerful message and husky vocal Varley is set to be one of the defining players in folk for this generation. I highly recommend seeing Will live, you can see him in London at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire.
You can purchase tickets here.
Fun fact: Will Varley walked over 130 miles with a tent and guitar on his back, from London Bridge to Deal, Kent where he resides.
Words by Gaerth Daivd Mahtias
Standing in the crowd at the Bataclan, waiting where so many innocent people lost their lives felt strange, almost disrespectful, as if the masacre had happened hundreds of years ago instead of just one. But I was assured by a Parisian fan that this was the best thing to do, to continue in defiance of the evil that had been committed; fear would not win here.
There was a moment of silence for the departed before a massive applause, a few shouts of “Fuck Isis!”, then Pete (or ‘Peter’ as was written on the ticket) made his way to the front of the stage and led the crowd in a drunken rendition of La Marseillaise.
He wore an expensive black suit jacket, beneath it a white vest which clung to a rather chubby torso, on his head, of course, his trademark fedora and a sweaty fringe was swept across his forehead. Looking somewhere between a young Tom Waits and tipsy Barnabas Collins, he sauntered over to the mic and gave a blasé kind of “bonsoir” before the crowd erupted again in applause.
A languid Pete kicked off the show with ‘I Don’t Love Anyone’ and was joined by two cabaret dancers. Jack Jones, the lead singer of Trampoline, played guitar, shirtless with Nick Alexander written across his chest. Nick Alexander being one of the first to be killed while he was selling merchandise for Eagles of Death Metal near the entrance.
The newer songs got heads moving, self consciously nodding in approval, but it was songs like ‘Last of the English Roses’ and ‘You’re my Waterloo’ that got beer spilling.
Carl Barat made an appearance and played his solo on ‘Up the bracket”. Pete shared his microphone and Carl sang along, albeit with slightly less enthusiasm.
Pete threw many instruments into the crowd, including a harmonica and a few guitars, but it wasn’t Finders Keepers for the fans unfortunately as all was retrieved by the faithful crew guy, who was waiting by the side of the stage like those kids at Wimbledon who wait to retrieve the balls.
Towards the end an ominous red light filled the stage, as a solitary drum was beaten slowly. It was a tribute to the ones who had been slain, the ones who had gone to the Bataclan for a night of music and fun, but had instead been tortured and murdered. Pete held up the French tricolour after the song which read, ‘Fuck Terrorism Forever’. It received a roar of applause. The defiant French spirit that had filled the room for the whole night seemed to peak at that moment. Just before the instruments stopped playing and were left on the stage, leaving just enough reverb to recreate some of the dissonance from that night just after the first shots would have been fired.
It was absolutely immense! At first thought, this is all I came up with.
Bring me the horizon, the five piece from Sheffield are one of my favorite bands, they’re the first one I ever listened too and got into. I adore them and haven’t had the opportunity to see them live since an £18.50 ticket to their Brixton o2 Academy show almost three years ago to the day. I remember that show so vividly, a 14 year old me with a friend that was determined to guard me from mosh pits and literally anyone bashing into me. This time, 17 years old armed with only the camera my phone came with and my best friend, had to dive into this huge o2 arena crowd and just enjoy listening to music I live for.
Their show was so amazing, their stage set was phenomenal I can’t think of a better word to describe it, every aspect of it was absolutely wonderful. Their energy on stage was so contagious I wish I could be back tonight. Oli’s vocals were so good in my opinion, he sounded great and each of them nailed each song! The set list was perfect, though most of it obviously centering around the September 2015 album, they fiercely performed plenty from Sempiternal and a couple from suicide season. They stopped a heart warming amount of times between songs to check everyone was okay, they spoke to the crowd and at times the emotions filling the room from the thousands of people filled my heart. It’s an amazing show and the entire tour is so well put together, one surly not to be missed. They’ve grown so much since I last saw them and it’s been my first chance to hear any songs from ‘That’s the spirit’ live, and seeing this show, I cannot wait to see them again on their next tour, they’ll have a lot to live up to, that’s for sure!
“Parachutes are life saving devices. We rely on them to bring us back from the brink of death. Whether we fall or jump they are the only things keeping us alive. Such as with life, we are all just falling or plunging to an eventual end, but the love of my family and my ability to create art and music has always been my parachute.
The act of living can be random and strange, beautiful and ugly at the same time and the only thing that is undeniably certain is eventually we are all gonna hit the ground. Some of us plummet at an incredible rate and it’s over in a flash, but some of us get saved and are able to enjoy the view for a little while….
This album is one of my parachutes. xo frnk.”
This Sunday the much-anticipated Winterbottom film, On The Road, premiered on the BFI London Film Festival.
Michael Winterbottom, the brilliant director is of Wonderland and 24 Hour Party People is back again, this time with a rockumentary staring non other than British rock band Wolf Alice.
Winterbottom brought his crew literally on the road, following London-based Wolf Alice as they toured their debut, My love Is Cool, around the UK and Ireland for weeks. Capturing the tour reality, whilst integrating a line of a fictional love story sounds complicated on paper, yet Winterbottom and his team made it seem effortless.
On The Road is peculiarly narrated by actress Leah Harvey who plays Estelle, a young, new member of the band’s management team. Estelle meets Joe, played by James McArdle, a Glasgow roadie with a baggage of family issues, and they develop a somewhat romantic relationship. The blurred line between the fiction of Estelle’s storyline and character, and the reality of touring we actually get to part take in makes the film a fascinating viewing experience.
A romantic relationship developed in the isolated bubble that is tour life is an interesting take, yet the most outstanding feature in this film is how the moments are weaved together using live footage and audio captured both at gigs, and behind closed doors on tour.
About 75 percent of the film is an honest, high quality documentary about the My Love Is Cool tour, staring live clips, real life dressing room anecdotes, post-show comedowns, hangovers, endless amounts of rigging, sound checking and the general obligations that keeps bands busy whilst on tour. This might make the constructed storyline brought on by the actors that came on tour feel superfluous, yet they seem to blend so perfectly in that if you weren’t aware you’d think they usually did tour management or worked as a roadie on a daily basis.
Winterbottom seems in many ways to work the relationship around carefully selected live clips and recordings, counterpointing intense sex-scenes with sweet tune ‘Bros’, and ode to girl’s friendship. The musical moments featured in the film is in it self a work of art, and works as the seam holding the movie together.
More interesting is the reality check-up, even for the fictionalised character as the tour comes to an end. The bubble burst, reality smacks your face and your on-the-road-family is suddenly scattered around like beads on a tile floor. It is harsh to get back to reality.
The picture On The Road gives of the creative industry, – in this case – the music industry, is a lot more open and in depth than most tour diaries you come across. It also gives us a rare insight into how hard, yet how amazing life on the road can be, through the repetitive frequencies of bus drives, setting up, sound check, gigging, packing gear and getting back on the road, you don’t see just the glamour of the concert experience, but the whole, much more harshly detailed picture. Yet you also see the beauty of friendships formed and that kind of human care that only comes from living in a very tiny space together over a longer period of time. The most important thing Winterbottom expose us to is the reality of touring and the rough side of life on the road, proving to all of us the passion and drive that must lie behind all this to make everything go around.
On The Road is possibly on of the greatest documentaries in a long time, and if you’re even slightly interested in music, or just a fascinating film experience, it is a film you definitely have to watch.