THE LAFONTAINES set to play The Cluny | INTERVIEW

THE LAFONTAINES set to play The Cluny | INTERVIEW

The LaFontaines set to play The Cluny

They hit Newcastle on 19th September 2018

Jamie Keenan talks about the upcoming tour and other LaFontaines plans…

You’ve been playing a LOT of shows this year, things seem to have stepped up on that front even by your standards?

We’ve been playing a tonne of gigs this year. It’s amazing being busy and long may it continue. We’ve been right round the UK and Ireland and loads of shows on the continent too. The prestige of the festivals and also the slots have went up another notch as well.

There seems to be a real momentum behind the band- what sparked it?

We’ve done loads of great support tours as a band but were never able to capitalise on it by doing our own gigs a few weeks after them. This is the first time where we’ve had the opportunity to go back out and play the same places and create more of a following, especially in Europe. The calibre of songs we’re beginning to produce is stronger than ever too and it’s all finally starting to take shape.

Of course, you’ve signed a deal how big a boost was that after so many years of near-misses and being messed about by the industry?

It feels for the first time that someone in the industry has actually got our back and has the same vision we do for the band. We’ve been doing this since we were at school 10 years ago and there’s been a lot of people involved over the years but with no fruit to bear. It’s been a fantastic start with the label things are looking to get even better.

The new music is sounding phenomenal with real potential crossover vibes – do you feel that way too?

Definitely! The songs we’re working on just now are by the far the best we’ve ever written. The new single ‘UP’ was a different sound for us and getting on good Spotify playlists and on radio has helped to push the music out to different people who wouldn’t necessarily have seen us play live before. We’re noticing a lot of engagement on social media from new people.

Was it something you consciously decided to do after the rage of the last record, to be more upbeat, or did it just happen with the change in line up etc?

It’s not a conscious decision to be more upbeat, however, the confidence and the optimism that we currently have as a group is at an all-time high. That might just be from the way everything is starting to pan out. Also, the producer we’re currently working within Glasgow is also the best person we’ve ever used and has let us do our own thing.

You got your first ever play on Radio 1 – we know just how big a deal that is for a band who have been ignored by them and others for so long- how did that feel? Must have been real vindication?

It was a really nice feeling to get a track played on Radio 1. They had been saying it wasn’t their thing for a few years now. However,  it’s important not to put all your eggs in the one basket and trying to emulate other songs that appear on Radio 1 because most of it is flash in the pan stuff.

Where are you in terms of music- I know you’re writing all the time, when would you like to have a new record out?

We’ve got a massively busy few months ahead of us and booked right up until next summer so far. Anytime we’re home, we get back into the studio even if it’s just for a day or two. There’s maybe another 5 or 6 songs nearly finished and the bones of another 10 or so. We’re thinking of spending a good few weeks in January doing as much as we can. I reckon there will be another album late summer 2019

You’ve got the ‘Up’ Tour coming up – what can we expect? The fonts are legit the best live band in Scotland, is this about getting out there and showing that to people who haven’t yet been indoctrinated into the cult of Kerr?

For the first time, we are actually selling a good amount of tickets outside the home turf. This is exciting and the venues have all been another step higher on the circuit ladder. This will be by far the best headline tour we’ll have done. We just need to keep going back so the crowds get bigger to the size of shows we’re used to playing in Scotland

What sparked this sudden slew of European dates this year and the sell-out crowds etc? 

No idea! We played in September in a tiny club in Hamburg called Molotow as part of Reeperbahn Festival and it seemed like it was just another normal rowdy drunken crowd. But from the back of that, we got a good amount of festival bookings and club shows and also got introduced to who is now our European booking agent ‘Mario’. The audiences in Europe seem to be taking to our music extremely well and it’s probably where we’ll be looking to concentrate on more next year if this year is anything to go by!

Jamie’s book was the surprise hit of the end of last year – are there plans for a sequel and how are you keeping his ego under control?

There are plans for book 2, possibly to go along with album 3. Another collection of out-there tales from the road and from native sub-urban Glasgow life. At the moment though, we’re currently in talks to have a few pilot episodes made so we’ve been working away at a screenplay which is a very exciting development

You opened TRNSMT at 3 days notice, after being awake for 36 hours – typical Fonts move, but how was it? Can you remember?

We had just landed at Dusseldorf airport when the offer came through on the Thursday afternoon. Our flights were due to land at Edinburgh on the Saturday around 5PM but then had to change these to fly from Cologne at 6AM. We were playing about 11PM on the Friday night and then had to pack the stuff down and drive straight to Cologne where it turned out the flight was delayed. Made it to Glasgow with about an hour to spare. It sounds like a hassle but it was really exciting.

You’re going to India in December. How the hell did that happen and can we come?

Cannot wait to go to India! It came about from sitting next to one of the guys from the label at dinner one night. He had just bought John Lennon’s old flat in St Johns Wood in London. I was telling him that I was a massive fan. He had been in India extensively prior to this meeting, and he was saying how he was working on a new Beatles film about their time in India as loads of new footage had been discovered. I told him I’d always wanted to go and jokingly asked if he could get us any gigs over there. He said he could. And a few days later, we had an offer in for what’s known as ‘The Happiest Music Festival’. It’s going to be something else.

Finally, to those looking at the UK tour and thinking- why should I go see these rapscallions with their accents and big loud noise- what would you say?

I’d say that you should come along and check us out. We are just simply too good. It will beggar belief. You will rub your eyes upon seeing us perform and exclaim “ oh my goodness, this is simply wonderful”

SWANS: SACRIFICE AND TRANSCENDENCE book release

SWANS: SACRIFICE AND TRANSCENDENCE book release

Swans: Sacrifice and Transcendence by Nick Soulsby book release announced

SWANS: SACRIFICE AND TRANSCENDENCE”, the first book to focus on Michael Gira’s legendary troupe of sonic terrorists is out now. 125 interviewees tell the story of how a cluster of frustrated artists and poverty-struck musicians in the fertile chaos of post-bankruptcy New York City morphed into one of the most fearsome live acts ever to grace a stage: the reputed “loudest band in the world.”

MICHAEL GIRAI’m no stranger to failure, and I’m aware it can arrive at any minute – as it often has. You have to keep things close to your chest and be aware of what’s really important: the work, not everything around it. If you have faith in the work then the people will come… It’s an artistic imperative, it has nothing to do with public perception or career or any of that crap.”

Working construction by day, rehearsing by night; near penniless and living on cheap beer; SWANS immediately won a reputation for creating the most vicious intensity to grace a stage anywhere in NYC – as well as for shell-shocked crowds, police intervention, fights with venues, complete alienation. Clawing their way forward, the band self-funded recording sessions and emerged with material that still sounds original at 35 year distance: ‘Filth’, ‘Cop’, ‘Greed’, ‘Holy Money’. The book, including the remembrances of more than 30 former band members, follows them as notoriety became reputation, as audiences embrace a sound like no other.

At the centre of the book stands Michael Gira, a man determined to realize his artistic vision, an approach to the building blocks of music struck through with startling originality and honesty. Surveying the band’s collapse in 1997 in the light of its triumphant return in 2010 with acclaimed albums including ‘The Seer’ and ‘To Be Kind’, the book asks whether there is something unique in Gira’s approach that has allowed SWANS to weather the years, never compromising, never repeating, always making work of singular impact. It also tallies the cost in lost friendships, fractured relationships, public displays of frustration and crackling tension on stage.

The first and only book to tackle SWANS – and with a wealth of first-hand accounts from individuals ranging from Thurston Moore to Jim Thirlwell, Bill Laswell to Lydia Lunch – ‘SWANS: Sacrifice And Transcendence- shows how far a band can be willing to go, how much a human might endure, to unleash their music on the world.

JENNIFER GIRAMichael as an energy – as a force – was one of the greatest things I’d ever seen… the New York shows were the utter peak. It was the end of summer, literally 110 degrees, you could cut the air with a knife. I see this man furiously playing – I seriously thought, ‘This is insane, he’s going to drop dead!’ The crowd was roaring, and he played until he collapsed, basically. Maybe a year later, he admitted to me that he hadn’t been in a good place, emotionally – that he’d been trying to die that night. I certainly saw it. They all looked like they were going to die.”

“SWANS: Sacrifice And Transcendence – The Oral History” (Jawbone Press/Quarto, 2018) http://smarturl.it/swansbook

Hear author Nick Soulsby read a chapter from the book.

ORBITAL | 11.08.18 | Sage Gateshead

ORBITAL | 11.08.18 | Sage Gateshead

Orbital – 11th August 2018 – Sage Gateshead

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

Turning the Sage concourse into a huge club for a night certainly paid off tonight! Suitably warming up the clubbers as they arrived and got used to the surroundings 586 Records owner and DJ Anthony Daly played out some wonderful warm vibes tunes.

Then up next were Plaid And The Bee (Warp Records) playing a live set the trio were silhouetted in front of giant video screens pumping out their electronic beats to an appreciative audience


By the time it was time for Orbital to hit the (very high) stage crowd were in full swing and the Hartnolls were given a huge reception as they went into opening track Lush 3-1 . From atop the 25ft riser they kept the party dancing with classics like Halcyon + On +On, Wonky, Satan and slipped in new tracks (P.H.U.K, Tiny Foldable Cities & The End Is Nigh ) from the forthcoming album Monsters Exist along the way amid more crowd pleasers . Belfast and Chime as always get the huge response they deserve and even after a rousing closer of The Box and Doctor? The party keeps going with a Man Power DJ Set into the night

Through the evening the video screens play a huge part of the experience adding visuals to each track along with the light show BUT for me one of the biggest stars of the night was the Sage building itself. It’s shape and structure added so much to the feel of the event the way the windows almost became extra screens reflecting the lights and videos and having the Tyne Bridge and city scape looking on just gave the whole event a unique feel. Having the stage / riser built up to the height of the first level of the building worked perfectly and the sold out crowd was just a sea of smiling dancing happy people!

It’s always odd taking photos of events like this where the artists are essentially playing the tracks from banks of keyboards and technology so I have tried to capture the feel of the night with lots of lights and building

PHOTO GALLERY
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Images Copyright Gordon Armstrong. For permission to use these images please contact G’s Gig Shots


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RUSSO | 24.08.18 | Newcastle O2 Academy

RUSSO | 24.08.18 | Newcastle O2 Academy

Russo – 24th August 2018 – Newcastle O2 Academy

On tour with Gomez! Here’s a full photo gallery from their set.

PHOTO GALLERY

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Photos are Copyright Graeme J. Baty. All rights reserved.

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GOMEZ | 24.08.18 | Newcastle O2 Academy

GOMEZ | 24.08.18 | Newcastle O2 Academy

Gomez – 24th August 2018 – Newcastle O2 Academy – Review and photos

Gomez – 24th August 2018 – Newcastle O2 Academy

Tonight is an unapologetic nostalgia binge. Almost 20 years ago I popped my gig cherry with a chance to go see Six by Seven and Gomez (plus the Bluetones but I left before they came on!) as part of BBC Sound City in 1998 which was hosted in Newcastle. That night would mark a turning point in my life and spawn my new addiction… gigs!

20 years later I’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of bands, but I still look back on this one with some warmth, the night was also made special by the fact that we had John Peel, a hero of mine was comparing for the evening. It was in the old Student Union basement at Newcastle Uni. Seeing the gig advertised I couldn’t quite believe that was 20 years ago. Count me in!

Gomez – 24th August 2018 – Newcastle O2 Academy

This marks the third time I’ve seen Gomez, the last being in 1999 and it’s quite a privilege to return to see them and get to photo them. Tonight they’re back in Newcastle after a long long break, last seen here in 2011 I believe. They play the Newcastle O2 Academy main hall, I wasn’t sure of how well they’d be remembered but I needn’t have worried. The gig appears to have sold really well and there of hundreds of adoring fans dancing and singing along word for word to their classic debut Bring It On. Which tonight they will play in full and in order, with a sparkling of other songs as an encore.

Gomez – 24th August 2018 – Newcastle O2 Academy

Get Miles stood out to me 20 years ago and hearing the roar of Ben Ottewell tonight sent shivers down my spine. It’s the big hit Whippin’ Piccadilly that gets the biggest crowd reaction of the night. A tremendous and very welcome return from the Gomez boys.

PHOTO GALLERY

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REV MAGNETIC | 22.08.18 | Leith Theatre Edinburgh

REV MAGNETIC | 22.08.18 | Leith Theatre Edinburgh

Rev Magnetic – 22nd August 2018 – Leith Theatre Edinburgh – Photos

Here’s a full photo gallery from Rev Magnetics’s support slot with Mogwai (review here)

PHOTO GALLERY

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MOGWAI | REV MAGNETIC | 22.08.18 | Leith Theatre Edinburgh

MOGWAI | REV MAGNETIC | 22.08.18 | Leith Theatre Edinburgh

Mogwai and Rev Magnetic – 22nd August 2018 – Leith Theatre Edinburgh – Review and photos

Mogwai – 22nd August 2018 – Leith Theatre, Edinburgh

Mogwai play the first of two nights at Leith Theatre as part of the Edinburgh International Festival, both nights appear to be sold out or at least very near sold out. Tonight I decided to drive up from Newcastle for the gig and drive back straight after. They’ve only played Festival slots recently and this was the only proper chance to catch a full set. It was worth every effort. As they approach the end of the touring for their latest album; Every Country’s Sun (not including the extensive soundtrack work they’ve done). 

I was happy to see they’ve picked some gems for support acts, Kathryn Williams supports on the 23rd but tonight I get to see Rev Magnetic perform again. Stuart was in attendance at their Glasgow show with Superchunk. Tonight they are in a much more comfortable setting and you can really sense a band coming together nicely, their confidence is beaming as they stalk a much bigger stage tonight. They are a remarkable act, brimming with talent. I noted the last time I saw them that their music might require a few listens to fully appreciate and understand. Tonight I really enjoyed their set, as did the audience in attendance. A band to watch out for! We’ll have a separate photo gallery coming for their set soon

Rev Magnetic - 22nd August 2018 - Leith Theatre Edinburgh
Rev Magnetic – 22nd August 2018 – Leith Theatre Edinburgh

As Mogwai took to the stage, I got a first glance of just how full the venue was. A sea of fans to greet Scottish music Royalty, the venue appears is packed! They came out to a really dark and smoke filled stage, the atmosphere was quite tense with anticipation.

We were treated to a rather brilliant set, largely drawn from ECS but with a dose of old classics mixed in for good measure. I was hoping that we might get a preview of some of the KIN material but it wasn’t to be. That said, we did get a rather rare and utterly stunning performance of My Father My King, which I’ve only ever heard them play once before at Glasgow Barrowlands for their 20th-anniversary shows. Don’t Believe the Fife is also a highlight, such a strong song.

Setlist;

  • Heard About You Last Night
  • Crossing the Road Material
  • Party in the Dark
  • Cody 
  • Kids Will Be Skeletons 
  • Don’t Believe the Fife 
  • I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead 
  • Coolverine 
  • Old Poisons 
  • Remurdered 
  • Like Herod 
  • New Paths to Helicon, Pt. 1 
  • My Father, My King

I walked away ecstatic and slightly deaf for hearing My Father My King and kicking myself for not buying tickets for the following days show. However, it’s not too long to wait until the next outing, they recently announced a November UK tour with our favourites The Twilight Sad! 

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EMMA RUTH RUNDLE | On Dark Horses | Album reaction

EMMA RUTH RUNDLE | On Dark Horses | Album reaction

Emma Ruth Rundle | On Dark Horses | Album reaction

Emma Ruth Rundle is set to release her fourth and possibly finest release to date On Dark Horses on 14th September 2018. It’s a densely rich, layered aural experience and is further evidence that Sargent House can do no wrong!

The press release that accompanies the album reveals that the album was conceived in late 2017/early 2018. Engineered and produced by Kevin Ratterman at La La Land studios in Louisville, Kentucky in just ten days. It is quite a remarkable feat of work in such a short time frame. It’s an album of superbly crafted songs, further highlighting Rundle’s evolution as a talented songwriter, as showcased on Marked for Death and hinted at in her previous recordings. 

On Dark Horses makes for a perfect for Sunday morning soundtrack. I’m sat writing this, whilst drinking a coffee in a busy city on a cloudy Sunday morning, watching the world go by as I indulge in the sounds on my headphones. It’s quite a calming and soothing experience. Shoppers are rushing around me, as I sit here in a world of my own escaping in the dreamy sounds of Darkhorse.

Light Song is undoubtedly an album highlight for me. The lyrics really speak to me and my own battle with inner demons this year, wading and struggling through life. Guest Jay Jayle perfectly compliments the vocals providing a nice contrast and balance to the track with his deep tones. I just adore the reverb-drenched guitar on this track.

You Don’t Have To Cry closes the album with a beautiful crescendo that reminds me of Low, building and building on the same motif. 8 songs done in 43 minutes, seems too short and I’m left craving for more. However, I feel that is a good thing. It encourages me to put it on again and it’s an album that rewards with multiple plays. You really need to take time to digest the arrangements and subtleties. It certainly will appeal to fans of Chelsea Wolfe, albeit in a restrained and perfectly subdued fashion.

Emma is touring the UK in November including a show in Newcastle on the 7th November at the intimate Cluny 2 which is the perfect setting for her. As an added bit of good news Jaye Jayle is also opening on the tour!