Samuel Abrahams’ Offline Dating ★★★★

‘Nice lamp…Would you like to go on a date with me?’

In the space of 6 short minutes, Samuel Abrahams’ film beautifully captures the romantic intricacies attached to the old-school ways of dating, making us question whether dating technology has taken a large chunk out of traditional romance?

Offline Dating is an endearing, romantic and heartwarming short-film documenting the whimsical attempts of the protagonist Tom to ask a girl out on a date completely offline. The film attempts to topple the recently manifested view that asking a girl out in the middle of the street is ‘taboo’.

In fact, in an interview with Vimeo, Abrahams said that the film was an attempt to show “the difference between the ‘us’ we present online and the ‘us’ that exists in real life.” As Tom is rejected time and time again, started on by a boyfriend and lulled into exposing a sense of his endearing vulnerability, the optimism of Abrahams as a filmmaker shines through – it is not an attack of online dating, but more a plea for a return to the fun nuances associated with face to face interaction.

Not only is the concept of this film superb, but the way in which it is shot and edited should be a lesson to all prospective filmmakers. The observational point of view coupled with the fact that the camera is constantly moving, pulling in and out of focus but maintaining smooth tracking shots, creates beautifully shot sequences. During the 6 minute film, the camera compliments Tom’s charming efforts as it doesn’t force interaction with the people it is filming. Instead, Abrahams naturally captures the small gestures and heartwarming intimacies that all contribute to making this film authentic, funny and inspiring.

Although a film itself, Offline Dating demonstrates how these romantic stories don’t just happen in fictional films. This just might be the film that cultivates a returned wave of actual romantic gestures through real encounters…and a movement away from creepy GPS systems and misogynistic messages over a phone.

You can see the film below:

Drenched in Drenge at Camden Electric Ballroom ★★★★

“Goodnight”

These were the only words spoken by lead singer Eoin Loveless. Static, uncharismatic yet utterly brilliant, the band formed by two bored countryside brothers demonstrated in Camden how their music more than compensates for the lack of ‘spectacle’ at their live gigs.

Camden Electric Ballroom played host to Drenge, a hard rock trio who have moved themselves from an early hard rock band with a niche fanbase, to a band that appeals to the mainstream (with a political edge). MP Tom Watson praised them back in 2013 in his resignation letter from the shadow cabinet, and as the general election was looming, Drenge’s music, intentionally or not, captured the angry, bored and restless youth culture of the UK.

Take that culture, put them in a dark room with loud speakers, and blast riot inciting songs like Running Wild or We Can Do What We Want – all of a sudden, rioting becomes acceptable with a mutual sense of “I am going to smash into you…but I don’t want to hurt you”. It is utterly brilliant.

In this way, Drenge are more of a service; they don’t need the bravado of over-exuberance on stage as they seem to find their own personal solace in creating music. Instead, their live performance allows the audience to, quite literally, express themselves (most often in a mosh pit).

I see at as a perversion of the traditional gig; a return to the old-fashioned, pre-Elvis method of performance (i.e. very little charisma, movement or general attention to physical entertainment on-stage), yet a dramatic change of the previously passive audience. At the Electric Ballroom, I witnessed every audience member harness the energy of Drenge’s headbanging songs and express it in an explosion of flailing limbs and complete disregard for human safety.

Drenge’s new album Undertow is accessible, nostalgic and completely focussed on the actual music. They have reinvigorated grunge, appealing to an audience from sweaty, emo teenagers to politically disgruntled grandads, all of whom were happily and caringly smashing into each other to the complete apathy of the band.

 

 

 

Neighbourhood Noise guide to Field Day

(header and feature photo courtesy of Carolina Faruolo) 

I KNOW we are still in February, and whilst we don’t like to wish away our time, the sun is beginning to peek through here at the Neighbourhood Noise HQ and we can’t help but get a little excited for what is promising to be a musically magical Summer 2015, kicking off with London Field Day Festival.

Field Day 2015 tickets have been released and the line-up is the best yet. Amongst the clutter of UK festivals, Field Day is set to be the haut monde’s favourite. It’s the weekend in the summer where everyone who lives in Hackney and the surrounding E8 neighborhoods descend on Victoria Park – if you’re from these parts of London, then make sure to buy a ticket to Field Day, if not for the line up, then for avoiding a massive case of FOMO when you smell other’s sweet ciders, see the splash of colour on the streets outside, the cycling dj’s on London Fields, and the incredible music erupting from Victoria Park.  If you’re from outside of this hipster membrane, the charm of Victoria Park and the incredible talent gracing it will certainly draw you in.

The first day of the weekend doesn’t hold back. Caribou, Ben Klock, Kindness, not to mention FKA Twigs are to name a few that are playing on Saturday 6th June. These are serious acts. Caribou stormed last year (see our Pitchfork Paris review) and is headlining Saturday; Brit nominee FKA Twigs is also performing and judging from her recent performance at the Roundhouse, she is one seductive R&B act that we are extremely excited for. Along with the coolness of Kindness and the sisterly London trio Jagaara, what we are most looking forward to are Berghain residents Marcel Dettmann and Ben Klock. These two are reigning the techno scene and if you haven’t been fortunate enough to experience their set at the Berghain (what with the inverted and sporadic entry requirements of this Berlin powerhouse) then you are in for a rare electro treat here.

***Caution*** –  deciding whether to party on through the night with the many DJ’s playing after Saturday’s daytime line-up, not to mention the surrounding after parties, is at your discretion and fully advised…if you can hack doing it all again the next day…

For, Sunday 7th June, Field Day’s line-up is looking just as good, if not better than the day before. Usually, the Sunday has been a bit of a ‘take it or leave it day’, and although Sunday has always been the more chilled day of the festival, being on form this year for the 70’s inspired Allah-Las would be recommended. We’ve been desperate to see them live for two years and to much avail we have not been so fortunate. Hearing they were playing at Field Day though has got us revved up for the Sunday with ‘Worship The Sun’ being one of our favourite albums of last year. It’s sun driven, hazy, dream-like style has progressed even further in this album; although still preferring their first self-titled album ‘Allah-Las’, the second album does not disappoint, and to see this live, slightly hung-over, on a music high and, hopefully, with the heat of the sun beating down, this sounds like an ideal way to spend our Sunday.

Field Day has always had some sort of musical legend grace their Sunday stage and this year it is none other than the singer, poet, artist and style icon Patti Smith. This remarkably talented and inspirational lady has been on our all time list of artists to see and thanks to the genius programming, Field Day is fulfilling one of our dream gigs. From listening to her music, mimicking her style, reading her memoir at least once a year “Just Kids”, words can’t describe how momentous it will be for us and every local artist to see her live. This is a woman who hung out with Janis Joplin, co-wrote with Bruce Springsteen and received musical advice from Jimi Hendrix. She lived in the artistry hustle of New York experiencing the beat, hipster life that us artists now aspire to. She is literate, informed and passionate about her craft and the message she delivers and she will be showcasing this all on our very own doorstep.

Step down please we have a winner. Neighbourhood Noise’s Field Day 2015 coverage begins now.

 

Anticipation: 9/10

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Panama Red at The Gladstone Arms, Borough ★★★★

(Images courtesy of: www.kaamilah-nahaboo.com)

(Images courtesy of: http://www.kaamilah-nahaboo.com)

‘When you closed your eyes, you could have been anywhere.’

THIS IS THE ESSENCE OF PANAMA RED. And the audience that packed out the downstairs of this hidden pub in the heart of Borough firmly shared this belief.

With pints in hand and Pieminster pies (worth a trip, even if it’s just for one of these) on every table, you would have rightly thought you were in a quiet London pub on a Tuesday. But as 9 o’clock struck and the lights went down, we were grabbed by the scruff of the neck and thrown into the middle of an Arizona evening, driving fast with the top down, aiming right for Hollywood.

Hollywood was the peak of Panama Red’s seven-song set; a catchy track that got the audience going, who loved every note, ever since the first string was plucked.

For forty-five minutes, Panama Red filled The Glad with a timeless, relaxed sound, created effortlessly by this quintet, whose vocals rolled off each other just as easily as each of their songs rolled into the next. Purple Bees was a fan favourite, with some demanding it twice. Regulars of The Glad seemed to enjoy hearing a band with a lap steel; Joe Harvey-Whyte caressed it with great panache, bringing a rich country sound to the end of every guitar riff.

The Glad has hosted big names in the past (Ellie Goulding, Noah and the Whale), and Panama Red certainly did not look out of place here. The venue is big enough to get a good crowd in, yet small enough to retain an intimacy between the audience and band. At intervals, Joe Harvey-Whyte asked after the fans, speaking between songs to involve the crowd who were more than happy to respond. Such a relaxed stage presence put everyone at ease – not only could you almost touch the band, you could almost certainly enjoy a pint with them after the gig.

(Images courtesy of: www.kaamilah-nahaboo.com)

(Images courtesy of: http://www.kaamilah-nahaboo.com)

One would-be fan remarked, “I’m here because I just love their name”. However, in their fifth live gig, Panama Red are quickly showing that there are several strings to their bow.

Panama Red are residents at The Glad every Tuesday this November:

 

For further updates check them out on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/panamaredlondon?fref=ts

Neighbourhood Noise guide to Pitchfork Festival Paris 2014

SATURDAY 1st NOVEMBER – PITCHFORK FESTIVAL’S closing night in Paris. Having previously hosted the likes of James Blake and Belle & Sebastian the two nights before, along with some amazing pre-parties (most notably, Kindness), neighbourhood noise were graced with an equally impressive line-up: Foxygen, Jungle, Jose Gonzalez, Tune-Yards and – act of the moment – Caribou.

An unusually hot summer’s day of chilling in the bars of Le Marais created a perfect and surreal setting for this Autumnal festival. Hopping off the metro, the lights of Pitchfork at the Grande Halle allured a rush of excitable and alternative festival goers – this was to be a festival that would exceed all expectations.

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The venue was overwhelmingly grand. With two stages placed at either end of the hall, people were dancing their way over from one act to the next, with no wait in between to stop the mood – it was neat, tidy and run to precision. In between the two stages, merchandise was being sold, but not just standard tour stuff, (although you never can ignore a tote saying you were at a Parisian hip festival) but antiques such as old French vinyls that intoxicated Pitchforkers were rummaging through. As if that wasn’t enough, there was a playground with swings, a large twister board, stalls offering jewelry, clothes, hats, beard trims and a do-it-yourself party mask construction stall.

Before paying any attention to the music, the artistic atmosphere of the festival alone had got the crowds buzzing. The music, in fact, became an added bonus to an already fun-filled festival. Movement, the Australian band, pleasantly surprised us with their slow heavy bass and impressive, faultless vocal performance; but, there was an obvious distraction in the crowd, who were itching to see Foxygen on stage.

Foxygen are famed for their energetic performances, but we certainly felt exhausted from watching (and trying to keep up with) Sam France’s energy. A little contrived, his performance was reminiscent of Mick Jagger and Freddie Mercury – it was flamboyant and attention grabbing but that is about as far as the comparison went. France’s voice was lost through all the movement and we found ourselves watching and listening to the backing singers to decipher what song he was actually singing. He was fluttering around the stage, kicking his legs in the air and then occasionally picking up on the song.

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Without a doubt, he is a mesmerizing character and has real charisma – working the crowd was definitely not a difficult feat – but as big Foxygen fans, it was a shame that we had to strain to hear the song through France’s wild and unnatural performance. Let’s face it, if you have to sit on the amps to catch your breath, maybe it’s not a bad idea to just stand and sing sometimes. Having enjoyed their last album, ‘We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors’,  playing “San Francisco” on repeat, there were high hopes for their latest release “…And Star Power”. With its take on modern psyche rock through wonderful harmonies and well written lyrics, Foxygen still have an album that we continue to love, with “Could’ve Been My Love” slowly becoming a neighbourhood noise favourite this year. It was just a shame that the focus wasn’t on the music but rather France’s theatrical performance.

A quick interlude from Jose Gonzalez – not sure why he was placed so late – and the night was back on form with fun and groovy performances from Tune-Yards and Jungle. Big on Radio 6’s playlists this year, both did not fail to provide. It is hard to not move to the beat of both and they certainly put everyone in a good stead for Caribou who was next to follow.

Opening with “Our Love”, the crowds went wild, bobbing up and down to the contagious beat that Caribou has infected everyone with this year. The simple yet spellbinding sounds Dan Snaith creates is one to put you in a good mood, breaking out smiles on usually unbreakable faces. The addition of balloons pouring out above certainly added to the electronic experience, but then who isn’t a sucker for a little kitsch in the early hours of the morning? Caribou is an electronic-lover’s dream to see live and if given the opportunity, make sure to catch him.

Pitchfork Paris was mind-blowing. The scale of the festival was nothing we had experienced before. A great line-up, chilled atmosphere, arts and crafts, with a good amount of drunkenness, some silly dancing and an honest, if too serious, game of human twister, it is everything a festival should be. And its in Paris.

neighborhood noise recommends: La Petite Chaufferie – organic drinks, food and electro music for the perfect pre-gig warm up.

8/10

ZABA! Oval Space played host to Glass Animals ★★★★★

‘The last time we played this, the roof fell down!’

GLASS ANIMALS ARE on the cusp of something truly great. Zaba is a good album, their live performance was entertaining and the group (especially Dave Bayley) have a certain panache on stage that will take them far. But they have a way to go to ensure they survive in their self-created jungle.

Oval Space’s roof didn’t fall down for Glass Animals this time. It is too structurally sound. The space perfectly demonstrates why a venue is so important in the overall experience of a live gig. Despite having a surprisingly low stock of cranberry juice (as a mixer I might add), Oval Space contributed to the mystic, cryptic and quirky nature of the Oxford four-piece band through its charming setting, alluring lighting and effortless nature. It isn’t a place that tries to be cool; it is naturally cool, in true Bill Murray fashion. Set at the foot of a derelict gasworks that is now a landmark in Hackney, Oval Space does any band a favour even before instruments are played with the stunning view, the great service and the fact that you are in a 6000 square foot space dedicated to entertainment.

Glass Animals @ Oval Space

We wondered from the fairy lit terrace bar into the main gig room, drawn in by a melodic voice, reminiscent of Lana Del Ray, along with a basey rift. Laura Cope was the special guest, but she acted more as a timid support act. Cope and her band didn’t have much of a stage presence, becoming more of a background, interval artist as oppose to someone who would stand out and make a name for herself. Having said this, Cope has an incredible voice that is complimented by bass heavy music. With such mellow music, live performances are difficult to master, however, after watching Glass Animals, I’m sure Laura has a few ideas of how to ramp up her seemingly shy persona on stage.

9 o’clock hit. A few double gin and cranberries down and we were ready for the main act, not sure of what to expect. Paul Epworth, the man who has worked with Friendly Fires, Bloc Party, Florence and Adele, signed Glass Animals to his record label ‘Wolf Tone’ as his first signing. However, despite this great name backing them, Glass Animals have been closely compared to the likes of Alt J, Friendly Fires and even Vampire Weekend, with many critics claiming Glass Animals to be pretty unoriginal. This gig would help us decide if these critics were correct or not. 9.30pm, and the band emerge onto the jungle dressed stage that represents their tribal, electronic and bass heavy sounds.

From the off, Dave Bayley blessed the stage with his child like excitement, bouncing around in a disjointed form of dance. The band had clearly altered their album, making it more lively for the live audience. The drummer solos were a welcome addition to transform the previously mellow tunes into a dance inducing frenzy, whilst holding the signature sounds of the well-known songs intact – effortless, just like the venue.

The promising thing about this band is the fact that they (with the help of Paul Epworth) have recognised the need for them to adapt their ‘Zaba’ album for a live audience and still make it work. Bayley’s energy on stage gets the crowd moving, and with his modest and appreciative grin throughout the performance, its difficult to not like this down to earth band. Sure, their sound isn’t as unique as we initially thought, but they have hooked people nonetheless, including us at neighbourhood noise.

Glass Animals have the makings of a truly great band, and I reckon their second album will exceed all expectations following this, bluntly put, good debut.

 

 

Look out for future Oval Space events, with our next Oval Space feature covering their Halloween special film screening of ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remastered’. 

Neighbourhood Noise guide to Dot to Dot Festival (Port Isla review)

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Dot To Dot festival brings the UK’s talented music scene to three cities across the space of three days. Each city provides a unique experience of the vast lineup. This festival can be seen as more of challenge to each artist or band to adapt and continually impress each city with its respective demographic. Dot To Dot is one of the toughest festivals for any musician to confront especially when the festival’s main aim is to provide a platform for smaller artists and bands to make an impression upon the varying yet ruthless audience; the nightmare that you are booed off stage and pizza is thrown at you whilst performing a rendition of the Velvet Underground is most likely to occur at this festival where bad and good music is made known by the merciless audience.

The festival itself is at the forefront of up-and-coming music, where music is the only interest. Transport issues? Toilet issues? Having to fight your way through a crowd to get a beer? Dot To Dot Festival qualms all of these common festival problems. With nine venues at the Nottingham Festival day, buses, beers and bladders are not an issue; the abundance of bars and toilets means that taking in a piss in a bush in the middle of a city will definitely be frowned upon. With all these features of your normal festival out of the way, Dot To Dot becomes less of a festival, and more of an atmospheric, music-filled bank holiday.

neighbourhood noise had the opportunity of going to Dot To Dot festival in Nottingham, with the intention of seeing the Norwich based band Port Isla. This small band of normal blokes with a passion for music were the standout artists of the day. Not only did they have to confront the disorienting Red Room attached to Rescue Rooms, but they also had to confront the terrifying Nottingham crowd who had previously showered beer and boos all over Macaulay Culkin’s The Pizza Underground; the crowd rejected free pizza (some of whom saw as a bribe to tacitly accept the slaughter of an iconic band, The Velvet Underground), and instead resorted to launching their drinks at the parody act. This is a clear sign that the Nottingham crowd prioritises music over free pizza, and even beer to that extent.

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Port Isla performed songs that they had kept close to their chest until this festival. Unreleased on their soundcloud or youtube page, these honest songs created an unbreakable rapport with the audience. A band that presents itself in such an accessible and honest manner, and yet can produce festival headline worthy music is a band that commands attention from all facets of the music industry. Songs such as ‘Steamroller’ capture their genuine nature through accessible lyrics that bring an audience together with the band through a sense of shared experience. These songs united the audience, the band and the venue as Port Isla’s incredible dedication, passion and talent were made known for the half hour that they were on stage at Dot To Dot festival.

Being recently signed to Parlophone Record Label, Port Isla are the next big thing – keep an eye out for them!

Dot To Dot Festival: 8/10

Port Isla: 8/10