Editor’s Letter: From Brighton to Shepherds Bush in four short years
By Andy Malt | Published on Friday 2 March 2012
On Wednesday night I went and saw Gotye headline the Shepherds Bush Empire. I’ve always liked him, but I’d never really thought to go and see him play live before. I’m not sure why. Thankfully, my little sister picked up a taste for his music while in Australia last year and insisted that we go.
I’m not really sure what I expected of his show, but it wasn’t what I got. On record his songs are heavily reliant on samples, but rather than whacking the bulk of these on a backing track, a huge amount of thought has clearly gone into how to trigger as many as possible live. And not just how to trigger them, but how to make triggering them look good as part of a performance too. This was no more apparent than on ‘Heart’s A Mess’, which saw Gotye and his four bandmates all poised at various pads, recreating an entirely electronic song manually.
The rest of the set was a mixture of electronic and analogue, Gotye singing pitch perfectly and manning a variety of instruments, while proving himself to be an accomplished drummer along the way – and being backed with another great drummer made for some great sections of live percussion.
Kimbra being the support act meant that their number one single ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ could be performed as originally intended, which brought a certain completeness to the set, both of their vocals locking together perfectly. And the visuals, I haven’t even mentioned the visuals. HD short films filling the entire back wall of the stage meant that at points there was almost too much to look at.
He’s come a long way, that boy, since he played The Great Escape in 2008. And… what? Yes, I am about to start banging on about The Great Escape again. What of it? Four years ago Gotye was a little known musician from Australia, now he’s topping the charts. Imagine what stars of tomorrow you could be watching if you come to this year’s TGE. Actually, there’s no need to imagine, because this week the festival announced another 90 bands on its line-up for this year.
Maximo Park have joined Africa Express Sound System on the Dome Show line up, and other acts on the bill include Mystery Jets, AlunaGeorge, Alabama Shakes, Lianne La Havas, EMA, Madeon, Willy Mason, Foy Vance, Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves Of Destiny, Forest Swords, Maxxi Soundsystem, We Have Band, Tanlines, New Look, Koreless, Jackson Firebird, Massmatiks and Martha Paton.
But why am I talking about this festival? It is, of course, because the mighty CMU is responsible for its music industry convention section. Last year we had people like DJ Shadow, Frank Turner and Paul Epworth speaking. Would we be able to maintain such high standards? I don’t know, how does Michael Eavis sound to you? Because he’s coming down.
Eavis last spoke at the Great Escape six years ago when he was interviewed by Rob da Bank, then head of a young upstart of a festival called Bestival. Skip forward to 2012 and Bestival is an established name on the festival calendar, so we’ve invited them both back for round two. Though this time Rob will also chinwag with three of the festival world’s newer innovators.
As well as that, we also announced this week a panel on the trials and tribulations of running an indie label, which will feature the founders of four of our favourite indie labels, Alex Fitzpatrick from Holy Roar, Ollie Jacob from Memphis Industries, Matthew Young from Song, By Toad and Robert Luis from Brighton-based Tru Thoughts.
Add to that our previously announced radio themed panels, including an ‘in conversation’ event that will see Xfm’s John Kennedy interviewed by his former work experience helper and now 6music presenter Jon Hillcock, and I think you’ve got a pretty interesting look at three very different parts of the music industry.
And believe me, we’ve still got loads more to announce, with new announcements due every couple of weeks from now until May. But I wouldn’t wait if I was you, I’d head straight over to www.escapegreat.com to buy my tickets right now. Then I’ll see you down in Brighton from 12-14 May.
This week’s podcast, which you’ll be able to stream and download from here later this weekend, features discussion about and analysis of Merlin’s out of court settlement with LimeWire, Bryan Adams’ submission to the Leveson Inquiry and Charlotte Church’s decision to settle her phone hacking lawsuit against News International, plus Justin Bieber v Joustin Beaver and pies.
ALSO IN THE NEWS
There was sad news this week as The Monkees’ Davy Jones passed away, aged just 66. A medical examiner confirmed the cause of death as a heart attack yesterday. Read our obituary here.
Elsewhere in music news, most things of note had some sort of legal basis. So that’s fun. Indie label digital rights agency Merlin settled out of court with LimeWire for all the bad file-sharing it enabled while it was still operational. The four major labels were given permission to launch judicial review proceedings against the country’s Data Protection Commissioner over his decision late last year to tell internet service provider Eircom to stop operating its three-strike system. And Grooveshark tried to have Universal’s lawsuit against it dismissed.
In the already fairly tedious back-and-forth of the US authorities’ attempts to extradite four MegaUpload execs from New Zealand, an attempt to have CEO Kim ‘Dotcom’ Schmitz’s bail revoked failed. Schmitz then gave an interview to TV3 in which he unwittingly compared himself to Saddam Hussein.
Over in the far more exciting Leveson Inquiry, we got the rare glimpse of a musician. Well, we didn’t, because Bryan Adams only submitted a written statement, saying that he believed someone in the British police had tipped off The Sun about a stalker who was hanging around his London home. And also in the world of the phone hacking fall out, Charlotte Church explained that she’d decided to settle out of court instead of going to trial against News International over the hacking of her voicemail because the media company’s lawyer planned to dredge up all the private and distressing things she was suing the company for publishing in the first place.
There was also a further development in one of the more interesting musical legal disputes of the moment this week. A number of artists with pre-internet record contracts are suing the majors, claiming that they are owed a higher royalty on download sales. This week Toto sued Sony Music on this issue, meaning all four majors have now been hit with such suits.
All of these artists in their various lawsuits will cite a case which saw producers FBT successfully gain a higher royalty on Eminem productions they had worked on from Universal. Figures released last week show that FBT could be due several million dollars in back payments. So if the record companies lose all these new cases they stand to be liable for millions, or possibly billions, of dollars.
Also this week Sony/ATV filed its acquisition proposal for the takeover of EMI Music Publishing with the European Commission. This means inquiries into Universal and Sony/ATV’s proposed takeovers of EMI’s recording and publishing divisions are underway on both sides of the Atlantic. Will they succeed? Both companies claim to be confident that they will. European indie labels trade body IMPALA, as it did when Universal submitted its proposals last month, said it would attempt to block the Sony deal outright.
And after last week’s Channel 4 ‘Dispatches’ documentary on secondary ticketing, there was yet more comment from various people in the live industry. And Radiohead and The Eden Sessions announced that they were partnering with ethical fan-to-fan ticket exchange’ Ticket Trust for the resale of their tickets.
Away from the legalites and disputes, Facebook announced that its Timeline format is coming to fan pages, which has certain repercussions for artists who have default landing pages set up on their profiles – that feature having been axed. Apple, meanwhile, is rumoured to be working on a new audio format, which could be very exciting indeed if it comes to fruition.
Over at Radio 1 there was a rejig of presenters, which saw Greg James promoted and Chris Moyles incredibly still in a job. This year’s Eurovision entrant has been announced as Englebert Humperdinck. Obviously. And finally, a record shop is opening in Southsea that will also sell pies.
FEATURES AND NEW MUSIC
The first episode of the new Black Cab Sessions TV show started this week. Did you see it? If not, check it out here. And also check out our interview with one of the men behind it, Chris Pattinson.
Also this week we had a playlist from Dry The River (it is amazing), Eddy Temple-Morris rejoiced in the niceness of the modern music industry, there were an epic number of festival line-up announcements, and we remembered some of our favourite moments in the first 100 Beef Of The Week columns.
This week I have mostly been listening to ‘White Foxes’ by Susanne Sundfør on repeat. I strongly urge you to go and listen to it too. She wasn’t the only artist to feature in the CMU Approved column this week though, you should also go and listen to Lone, Traams, and New Build.
And if that hasn’t satisfied your need for new music, well you’re in luck. You should definitely go and listen to Team Me‘s debut album, plus other new tracks from Tom Jones and Jack White, Spiritualized, Hodgy Beats, Shabazz Palaces, Japanese Popstars, Julia Holter and Dent May, and Real Estate‘s contribution to Domino’s Record Store Day flexi-disc. You probably shouldn’t listen to Dappy and Brian May performing ‘We Will Rock You’.