Monday, 19 November 2012

I don't care what you think, I'm falling back in love with Fall Out Boy

Yes, a very funny title, I know.

Anyhow, I have, as you have read in the title, fallen in love with this band. I love them to bits. Their style effortlessly shift around the genre that they hold like they created it. Patrick sings the lyrics as if he wrote them personally, when in fact it was Pete. Just scrolling through my iTunes, I came across their albums and played their first and second albums all the way through.

Now tell me this, is there a bad song? Secondly, are there any better song titles around too?

I highly doubt it.

Now, that does not in anyway represent the quality of the music, but the lyrics literally speak fr thm slvs:

"Am I more than you bargained for yet? I've been dying to tell you anything you want to hear
Cause that's just who I am this week"

"We're the new face of failure
Prettier and younger but not any better off
Bullet proof loneliness
At best, at best"

And this ones play on words are really creative: "champange for my real friends. real pain for my sham friends"

After Patrick's wedding, can we hope for a re-union? Yes. If I was a betting man (I must stress at this point that I am as far away from that title as the North Pole is from the South), I would say that next Spring a tour for US and a November tour for Europe. Seeing as I don't bet wrong, that will be wrong. Patrick is adamant they will only reform if it is for new music. That would push the Spring tour to November, and the European tour to February.

I'll see you on that tour, I'm sure of it.

Monday, 12 November 2012

The Shermans // Marina - EP Review

Before me I have a brand new EP from a band from Essex called "The Shermans." Knowing two of the people personally, I managed to nab a copy, and decided to review it track by track below for your eyes to delve on. This is a as-I-listen review, so all initial thoughts (whether negative or not!) are plain to see. Enjoy!

Wyatt's Green
The quick opening to this acts as a surprise and it has a nice melody. The lyrics are not as good as the rest of the EP, but a fabulous start to the proceeds nonetheless. 

The band chose to release this as a taster for the album earlier last week, and it was very impressive. The melodic opening is pitch perfect, and when the full band come in the song really gets into the swing of things. The voice sounds almost Strokesy in this one, but more laid back. Out of all the tracks, this is the most "band" sounding song, with the laid back rhythm and melody all merging together. The drums sound particularly loud in this one however, but otherwise good.

The Kick
This most definitely has a kick, and a good one at that. The excellent guitar really steals the show, just a shame once more the distorted vocals let it down. The melody just before the chorus is confident and the roar of the chorus wouldn't go out of place in a late night, sweaty, jump-until-you-drop gig in Camden.

Soho Blues
I love the structure of this, as opposed to Marina, where the chorus comes too late. This doesn't have one, and the guitar really is different. The variety of this EP is astonishing, in particular this one screams confidence and know-how.

The evidence is clear that this band should go on to achieve, I hope they do. A clean, polished sound from the off helps. If they can write catchier lyrics, that are more individual, then they will be off. But, they already are, all the best for 2013!


Monday, 5 November 2012

Inhaling "Inhaler" by Foals

They said expect the unexpected, which made the unexpected expected, which, confusingly (I know this sentence sounds confusing, but bear with) wasn't unexpected at all. I fully expected them to go heavier if anything. It was music to my ears however when Ed said on Radio 1 that this was the heaviest Holy Fire gets, and that the rest of the album is different.


They're back, and it sounds like a very Foalsy layered and developed track. It comes from a 27 minute jam they had recorded, and they cut it down and rerecorded in one take. With some post-production it sounds lovely and grungy. Definitely what the world and his best mate needed.

I for one can't wait for the rest, let's hope Holy Fire is just as godly good.

Friday, 2 November 2012

One night in November - my Little Comets Live review

What a bunch of melodic fun this lot are. I went to this gig expecting £11.50's worth of entertainment and got a lot more bang for my relatively low buck.

Unfortunately, I had an open day that was 4 hours away in Worcester. A nice uni, if you're interested, but my interest lies elsewhere. I arrived at the gig half-way through General Fiasco. I've heard about them being destined for big things, but that was 3 years ago, so it was bizarre to see them supporting a band who are also destined for great things.

The band themself worked relentlessly hard to get their album sound across live: and it worked. The high pitch kitchen sink-style guitar's worked effortlessly together like pen and paper. The vocals blended with the melody, and the lyrics as clear as they are clever. Needless to say, I was impressed.

Although I love the new album, either I am going deaf or Koko didn't have it loud enough, but it didn't sound loud enough to come across as well. No, it is not a particularly "loud" album, but I've really adored "Violence Out Tonight" and it sounded like the sound crew were out tonight instead. The subtle growing in sound guitar just didn't grow. A shame, as I was certain this would and will be a live favourite, but the crowd just swayed like it was that 9th track filer that you find on albums.

Favourites like "Adultery" and "Isles" came across fabulously, with the crowd knowing the songs word for word. It is always great for a relatively small band like Little Comets for them to hear people like me singing back line for line a song they had written. "One Night In October" was my favourite that night, and it certainly sounded like the crow agreed.

I for one agree it was a great, great night, and that they should go on to better and bigger things. Onwards and upwards!

Turns out I like other things // University

So, it turns out I like other things as well as English. Not that I didn't know that, but you might no of, from the concentrated title of my blog. So from now on I will try to blog on anything else remotely entertaining not just for you, but for myself. So, look forward to that. Or not.

And I've decided after my huge break from this that I just need to write. Any writing is better than no writing. It is what I want to do at university, after all, being a Journalist. From here on in, I will post as much as possible alongside my ridiculous studies. Feel free to follow me on twitter too @harrybarnes, as I usually am on there 24/7.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Doesn't Kele Look Awesome Still? Bloc Party Return!

They're back. It's bloody brilliant isn't it? After a 4 year hiatus of recording, they announce their  new album 4 which also happens to be their 4th album. And the album cover has 4 rings on it. And in their new video for "Octopus" the colours of the ring flash at random points. And and octopus has 4 tenti... wait. At least they've thought this through, pretty well I might add.

I've been speaking to Russell on Twitter, their guitarist, and the new pedal board he boasts about is indeed pretty awesome. The left to right freeze effect on the guitar is fresh, and sounds great for a unique comeback sound for Bloc Party. It also helps the lyrics are pretty good. Only criticism would be I only know about 4 lines of the whole song for the verses, pretty poorly mixed to my ears.

Overall it is a good comeback song, and if songs like "Real Talk" and "Truth" on youtube are anything to go by, "Four" should be an exhilarating return to form. But then again, when have they ever been off it?

In other news if anyone is remotely interested, I just ordered the rather awesome Nirvana logo mixed with Rihanna that Kele wears in the picture above. Their first press photo for 4 years, cute.

Monday, 30 April 2012

"So how was your weekend?"

"Oh nothing special... just went to Tribes at the Shepherds Bush Empire. Pretty good gig."

That's what I expected to say on Monday morning. But, after 32 extraordinary hours, I was ready to tell a different story.

"Oh not much... just met Miguel, drummer from Tribes, who was very, very awesome, got a picture and signed my shirt.. oh yeah, and met THE DOCTOR, MATT SMITH ASJDASLJ."

Ignore that bit at the end, sorry about that - I'll explain Matt in a bit. But yes, I needn't tell you that Tribes was amazing. The setlist was really well thought through. They played (I think) 3 songs that weren't on the album, but were from early EPs - glad to see they hadn't left the excellent older material behind. You can see a YouTube video I found below to get a picture of how good the atmosphere was in the Bush that night:

The best part had to be waiting outside the stage door, behind a silly security barrier and even sillier security guard (you could just run round the other side, more on that later). Miguel came out after 5 minutes or so and greeted some friends from Camden before coming over. I just asked him for a signature and he was more than happy to do so and even gave me a great profile picture in the process - ignore my face, it was such a random occurrence I didn't know what to do!

And here's the signed shirt:

Big Love indeed Miguel. Now, you can imagine I was absolutely ecstatic. They are one of my favourite bands at the moment, and having just released a debut album in January, I am looking forward to a bright future for these Camden boys.

...But it doesn't stop there.

I MET MATT SMITH. After the gig, we waited for the band and Miguel came out promptly. Then, out of nowhere, the Doctor strolls past security after a bit of an argument and gets past it to get to the stage door. At this point everyone was looking at each other like "...why's he here?" so me and my friend naturally think straight away to sprint round to meet him. I'll brush over the fact it was one building to the left, compared to my running route of 29509 to the right.

Me and Callum got round and walked over, and stood about 3m from him, patiently waiting for him to finish his argument about trying to get in. "I'm very good friends with the band, I don't need a wristband to get in" could be heard. I wasn't sure whether he was or if he was just using his celebrity status. He then walked off past the gate, which the security guard gave me a "how'd you get there" look, and he then strolled into the now closed venue. But then out again and across the road. Couldn't get a taxi. Walked back inside the venue. Then out. By this time I thought I'd leave the man alone and be on my way before noticing he'd stopped to take photos in the corner. Queue sprinting and the lucky photo you see before your very eyes above you. Thank you, for stopping Matt Smith.

And thank you Tribes for being as amazing live as I expected and remembered from Latitude last year. Part 2 in a bit, and my Bombay experience.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Probably the most perfect 32 hours of my life

Hopefully, anyway. Tonight I will be seeing for the first time since Xfm's Winter Wonderland Tribes! I love this band to pieces, and cannot wait to see them once again. I've been listening to 'Baby' non-stop since it came out - and the singles way before that. I don't care that they 'copy' so many bands, I just like how they bring it all under one really cosy umbrella that I enjoy. Shepherds Bush Empire will make it all the better, too. It's a great venue if standing, and hopefully will meet Johnny and the rest after!

Secondly, I'm getting paid for not going to work. Yes, that's right. I booked 'holiday' so £25 purely for doing what I love: gigging.

Also, I'm seeing Bombay Bicycle Club tomorrow. I love this band EVEN more. They're just delicious to my ears, and just as near to perfect as possible. Their first album was sensational in my eyes, and grabbed a hold of many music lovers ears. The second album took everyone by surprise, but their back to electric third album brought them to the limelight once more and really pushes them up one notch. I can't wait to see how they are received at both Reading in August and Ally Pally on Saturday. Might even see them too.

So yeah, nothing special really.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Nothing special, but... TRIBES FOLLOWED ME ON TWITTER!

At exactly 2:49pm on Monday the 9th of April 2012, Tribes followed me on Twitter. This has literally made me unbelievably happy, and re-enforced my love for the great band that they are. The fact they have time to break away from already recording their second album, touring - and even on a bank holiday - to follow a mere (dedicated) fan like me, is just great.

They still aren't that famous, and my friends constantly tell me to shut-up about them. But I honestly believe they're what music today needed and I hope they go on to prove me right. To be their 44th person to follow on Twitter is just awesome, and I can't wait to see them at Shepherds Bush on the 27th of this month. Oh and Reading, whenever they decided to finally announce they're playing there.

Well-done Tribes, well-done.

P.s. Thank you Charlotte Fewins for mentioning me in the tweet that basically resulted in me getting followed. Oh, and to Johnny, you absolute star.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Planning my 'how to run a festival' EPQ

First of all, thank you to everyone that filled in my survey, all twenty of you. Fingers firmly crossed that it shows how hard it is to pick bands for a festival and please everyone in the audience.

This is for my Extended Project Qualification, EPQ. Mine is on what factors are there in order to run a successful music festival. So in simple terms what are they?

  • Money, and a lot of it. It cost's hundreds of thousands of pounds to book bands for a festival. You're going to need a budget from the start in order to keep the festival going, and started. Not only is there the bands, there's staff and fee's for the site and advertising. There is a lot more to consider than you'd think
  • Food & drinks. Again, lots of it. Most festival have a wide range of food on offer, and this is what the consumer looks for. Normally to make more profit, they fix prices up a couple of pound, as they do with drinks.
  • The site. It needs to be *massive* or tiny depending on the atmosphere you're going for. Latitude for example has a bigger site than Reading overall, but just over one third of the people.
  • Music that appeals to a wide audience. Will you be seeing Paramore at Reading or Leeds this year? I certainly won't be, but thousands will be. You have to take in to account people listen to a more varied range of music these days compared to ten years ago. Would anyone of expected a rapper to headline Glastonbury ten years ago? I very much doubt so.
  • Toilets, excuse the pun, but are always shit at festivals. Doesn't matter whether they are portaloo's or the disgusting long-drops-we'll-clean-it-up-whenever toilets, they just aren't very nice really. Still, you're going to need a lot of them to keep the festival goers running and alive.
Yes, there is much more to a festival, such as volunteers and advertising. But as I get started on this I'm sure even more will arise.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Survey: Which 8 acts would you and wouldn't you want at a music festival?

So basically for my EPQ I've chosen something that actually interests me compared to what I've heard most people are doing. I'd be really grateful if you could complete the below survey, which will hopefully prove how hard it is to please everyone at a music festival!

For any acts that aren't there, such as Justin Bieber or Eminem, just put them in the 'other' field at the end of the question!

Also, to cover my own ass mainly, this is if you created your own music festival. Not the one you are already going to as someone thought it was!

Thank you!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Tempting fate: The King Blues are no more.

When I said "Who's next?" in my blog yesterday, I didn't expect bands to be queueing up or anything. Nonetheless, today The King Blues announced after their new album comes out in July called "Long Live The Struggle" they will split. They say they feel they have taken things as far as they can go, and do not want to cause a scene like some bands do when they split up, ala Oasis.

Monday, 2 April 2012

'Viva' Brother? // Apparently not, thanks to NME.

Yesterday Viva Brother officially announced they were splitting up - perhaps announcing this on April Fools' Day wasn't the best idea, as many fans didn't believe it, with many being over the moon. I contacted their manager who replied in his own words to my question if they had split up with "Tis true" (I know what you're thinking, how lazy). He also confirmed this once promising band had already finished their second album. Whilst many thought this band were the next Oasis, the next big band for NME to launch into the limelight, they just never made the cut, with a poorly received debut album and abusive comment after abusive comment about their 'copy cat' style of music.

They formed in late 2010 and signed to EMI in November of that year. Things looked up for them in 2011, with NME running several articles about their singles and covering one of their tours. However, they later came back to bite them. In what would probably be their last every tweet, Viva Brother wrote "And as for NME. Shame on you.". So how did this comment came to be and why did it end so badly for such a 'promising' band? In their first NME appearance they were proclaimed as band of the week in late October of 2010, with every sign of making it big. The band boasted "people might think we’re arrogant, but it’s just belief. We know how amazing we are." and NME gave them their shot at the lime light, with their stamp of approval, as did many other blogs and music magazines.

But things didn't last for long. Once the album was finally released in August 2011, after being forced to change their name from Brother to Viva Brother due to a legal battle, their career slowly started to go downhill. It was poorly received, and music fans agreed. Whilst the music wasn't atrocious, it was blatant in it's rip-off nature of Oasis and other britpop bands. The NME gave the album a 5/10 slating it as formulaic and that other bands are just "writing better songs."

Then the NME awards of 2012. They were nominated for Worst Band of the year. That is some feat, from going from the 'next big thing' to the 'current worst thing'. With 170,000 less views than another NME hype band, Tribes, who have been around for a similar time, the magazine clearly can have a massive influence. But the need of good music is also still a requirement in today's music, no matter what.

Their last song to be recorded was posted on YouTube yesterday following the announcement. Annoyingly, it doesn't sound that bad, aside from the cliched and not really thought through lyrics ("I don't want to be loved, but I need to be loved.") You can view the song below:

Viva Brother have every right to be annoyed at NME for them building them up before letting them down with a heavy thud - now, who's next to fall off the hype train?

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Interactive Reading & Leeds poster with videos!

Now this is quite cool: scroll over the image to view videos from the bands playing this year. Annoyingly, it just goes to show how many of these bands have played in previous years, with most of the videos taken from the last two years. Nevertheless, enjoy!

Foo Fighters // Sell out Saturday at Reading

So Foo Fighters did the inevitable, even more so than them playing the festival this year - they've only gone and sold out the Sunday day tickets. Tough luck if you were planning on going for the unquestionably best day, but it's sold out much quicker than last year.

Last year it took weeks to sell out a day ticket, and overall took 127 days for weekend tickets to go. That's right, onehundredandtwentyseven days. Gone are the days of the site crashing and only coming up to be sold out minutes to midnight (speaking of which, why aren't Linkin Park there this year?).

But at least it is showing some signs of recovering. Selling out a day ticket at Reading this year, considering the just-about-acceptable-compared-to-previous-years line-up, is quite an achievement. However, when will they reach the ultimate goal of selling out the whole weekend? With the economic climate, and the line-up taken into account: June. I hope it sells out in May or April; but being honest it is unlikely. Almost unlikely as people actually enjoying Paramore at the festival.

Monday, 19 March 2012

“The best is yet to come” for Reading Festival

This article was written for my English AS GCE after getting an interview with the head of Reading Festival. Ace, right? After completing the awesome interview, I had to type up what you see before you - enjoy (please?)!

Revealing plans ahead of this year’s Latitude and Reading festivals, Melvin Benn, organiser at Festival Republic, dismisses the past and looks towards the future as he claims that this will be their best year yet.

As Melvin Benn finishes his third coffee of the day, he receives another email on his computer. After last year’s slow sales, this is a man who needs to get it right this year. But the pressure hasn’t got to him quite yet as he thumbs through his packed schedule for the day. He explains how there is rarely a day where he isn’t up before 6am, which only adds to the stress and pressure of the job. He quickly flicks past this year’s line-up, before adding “not quite yet” and turning away from the computer with a wry smile.

The powers that be have already called off The Big Chill due to the presence of the Summer Olympics, and with the absence of Glastonbury this year, will this affect his festivals this year? He doesn’t know. “The truth is, nobody knows really” Melvin shrugs as he suggests that perhaps “weaker” or “smaller” festivals will be hit the hardest. I question whether he believes any of his festivals are one of the supposedly weaker festivals. Almost annoyed at the suggestion of this he quickly disagrees, going as far to say that Latitude and Reading are among the strongest festivals in the world. He also dismisses the view that Glastonbury would help in anyway. “I don’t think it will hinder it but I don’t think it will help it." The Festival Republic organiser kindly orders me a tea, as he ignores another email coming though.

Although he argues his festivals are among the strongest in the world, this doesn’t hide the fact neither of the festivals sold particularly well last year. Reading took 127 days to sell out compared to mere hours of previous years ; Latitude took until the day of the festival itself to sell out. There are two explanations as to why this might have happened: the line-up and the recession. "I think it's a bit of both actually, I think the recession and the line-up might not have been as attractive to the Reading festival goers as some of the other line-ups were or are."

After the hard work and countless hours he puts into festivals year upon year he hesitates to say that Reading wasn't as strong, but after stating so he explains how he plans to rectify that this year. I asked him whether he had gone bigger or for something different this year, with his response that "bigger or better are quite subjective but I'd like to think we have gone more relevant this year." Taking a sip of his coffee, it's clear his experience with his first event of a Margaret Thatcher protest have stayed with him in regards to avoiding answering questions directly.

In 2006 he launched Latitude as a new festival with the eye to add something that he felt festivals were missing. "I genuinely do think it’s a complete innovation in what a festival can be," he proudly states. It has started something different, with it not just being about the music, but with a new focus on comedy and theatre. However, with it not selling out as quickly last year, has he got any plans to correct that this year? He believes it may be down to the unique style being copied now. "They say that being copied is the ultimate praise, and I think Latitude is being copied all over the place now."

I wouldn't blame you at this point if you fancy a tea break, or coffee break, or an alcoholic beverage even. Feel free, but when you're done the second part of my article is below for you