Live – The Hot Damn! | The Addiction | Ghosts of Men at The Old Salutation Inn

The Hot Damn, Addiction & Ghosts of Men at The Old Salutation Inn, Nottingham, 15th October 2021

The Hot Damn! Gals at The Sal

Resident ghosts at The Old Salutation Inn, Nottingham must have been rocking last Friday (15th October) as The Hot Damn! gave a show of dynamic proportions relative to the size of the venue, much to the delight of everyone in attendance!

The whole evening, promoted by local guys, The Public House Brand, had a great vibe, with top music from 3 great bands.

There may be only 2 band members, but Essex openers, Ghosts Of Men, made a massive impression on an unsuspecting audience, bringing the house down with their own distinctive Heavy Alt/Rock sound, gaining a host of new fans in the process.

Local band, The Addiction, have introduced a new singer and drummer since they last played the venue. Effie Wilson promises raw power vocals, alongside intense percussive energy from drummer, Dean Cruxon , giving the band a commanding Punk/Alt/Rock sound, warming the crowd up nicely before the headline act.

The Hot Damn! are a 4 piece with an impeccable Rock pedigree, harnessing experience from their times variously with The Amorettes, Tequila Mockingbyrd, Aaron Buchanan and the Cult Classics and New Device. They know just how it’s done and should be cited as inspiration for any young women with their hearts on rock stardom.

It was also heartening to note a diversity of ages and gender in the crowd, an accolade to the band for the appeal that their music conveys.

With a large inflatable banana doing the rounds of the audience as the band began to play, The Hot Damn! showed just why they are worthy of their name. These girls rock! A full 45-minute set of high-octane Rock and Roll left the audience calling for ‘more!’

Personal highlights were the incredible dual guitar riffs of Gill Montgomery and Laurie Buchanan, (taking me right back to the early years of Thin Lizzie’s Phil Lynott and Scott Goreham) and an exciting rendition of the band’s debut single, Dance Around.

The Attic at The Old Salutation Inn is an intimate venue, probably much smaller than the headliners are used to, but lucky for us, they gave an outstanding show, allowing us the chance to feel that this was just a little bit more special than usual.

All in all, an excellent night! Well done, The Public House Brand for a great show!

The Hot Damn! | The Addiction | Ghosts of Men

Words and Photos by Tina Sherwood

19th October 2021

Live – Manic Street Preachers | Low Hummer at Portsmouth Guildhall

Manic Street Preachers & Low Hummer at Portsmouth Guildhall, 8th October 2021

Manic Street Preachers have been around for a while. 35 years in fact, and their career has seen them hit huge highs and crushing lows along the way. Most recently, The Manics have been celebrating their second UK number one after new album The Ultra Vivid Lament became only their second to hit the top spot of the charts following the success of This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours back in 1998. Tonight’s show in support of their latest triumph is a 20-song journey covering both new and old material that blends seamlessly together, and you can sense that the band are loving being back on the road.

Support this evening comes courtesy of Low Hummer, a six piece from Hull. Right from the off, each member of the band is locked into a tight groove that propels their 9-song set along nicely. Take Arms starts with a driving synth drone before the drums and bass come in to add a nice krautrock feel to proceedings. Guitarist/singer Dan Mawer then sings, ‘For all the Northerners pretending to be Southern, take arms, take arms.’ You’ve got to admire that for an opening line down here on the south coast. The guitars come crashing in shortly before the chorus, but not before Dan is joined on vocals by guitarist/singer Aimee Duncan. The interplay between the pair adds heaps of variety, whilst the rest of the band take charge and enjoy the ride. Their debut album Modern Tricks for Living is out now, and if you like the idea of your favourite garage rock, post punk and the more weirder indie bands around covering Bis, then you might just find what you’re looking for in Low Hummer.

Opening with Motorcycle Emptiness, The Manics mean business and they are as tight and powerful as you would expect from a band who have been at it this long. Orwellian then follows and it is a reminder that The Manics still have a knack for writing songs that have something to say about the state of the world. Frontman James Dean Bradfield is more than happy in front of the microphone and around it as he dances about the stage, all whilst bassist Nicky Wire, drummer Sean Moore and touring members Wayne Murray and Nick Nasmyth pummel the audience with precise rhythms and infectious melodies.

At the halfway point, we’re treated to a solo acoustic version of La Tristesse Durera (Scream to a Sigh) from 1993’s Gold Against The Soul. The rest of the band then reappear to join James for a cover of Guns N’ Roses’ Sweet Child o’ Mine. Not just the opening bars, but the whole thing. All six minutes of it, note for note. The Manics are clearly enjoying themselves at this point and to be fair, so is everyone else in attendance. After a couple of slower tunes, the band are back firing on all cylinders with Slash ‘n’ Burn before they finish off tonight’s show with fan favourites Ocean Spray, You Love Us and A Design for Life.

Tonight’s performance was solid, and the tributes and moments dedicated to Richie were genuinely touching (Still Snowing in Sapporo). The Manics will always be the undisputed Welsh kings of crowd-pleasing anthemic rock, and tonight was a reminder of how truly great they are.

Manic Street Preachers | Low Hummer

Words by Ryan Howarth
Photos by Hannah Mesquitta

13th October 2021

Live – The Ninth Wave | Youth Sector | Priestgate at The Hope & Ruin

The Ninth Wave, Youth Sector & Priestgate at The Hope & Ruin Brighton, 9th October 2021

Another tour that’s been on the receiving end of postponements and rescheduling finally made its way to Brighton on Saturday; The Ninth Wave ensuring that everyone was left feeling the wait was more than worthwhile.

Supporting the supports is always important. It’s where all your favourite artists started out, it’s a chance for newer acts to play in front of different crowds and get their name out there. But if you needed any further reason to get down early, this line up offered it up in bucketloads.

First up, an absolute killer set from Priestgate. Making a quantum leap into seemingly everyone’s ‘best new bands’ lists (and rightly so), it feels like lockdown has given them an opportunity to tighten up everything to bursting point, the inevitable implosion of which results in some off the scale tunes and a performance to match. Love that feeling of finding something special and wanting to see and hear more – don’t miss them if they’re playing anywhere near you.

A change of pace and tailoring as Youth Sector picked up the middle slot. With their riffs as slick as their suits, they didn’t put a foot wrong as they treated the crowd to their zippy brand of art rock. It was certainly shaping up to be quite a night.

Finally, the return of The Ninth Wave, the packed crowd delighted to see them back on stage. From the almost tribal  Happy Days to the beauty and melancholy of Piece and Pound Coins, it’s clear that it’s not just the old songs but the new songs too that are firm favourites with the crowd. While there’s always a theatricality about their shows, the band also look like they’re enjoying what they do and it’s fair to say that everyone else in the room is of the same frame of mind. The Ninth Wave keep going from strength to strength, it will be intriguing to see what comes next.

The Ninth Wave | Youth Sector | Priestgate

Words and photos by Siobhan

12th October 2021

Live – The Subways | Lauran Hibberd at The Wedgewood Rooms

The Subways & Lauran Hibberd, The Wedgewood Rooms Portsmouth, 2nd October 2021

Another great night at The Wedgewood Rooms as The Subways brought their 16th anniversary Young for Eternity tour to Portsmouth. They played 2 nights in a row at the Wedge as the original show had been booked at The Pyramids, which sadly no longer exists as a venue. Support came from south coast favourite Lauran Hibberd.

Check out our gallery below…

Lauran Hibberd

The Subways

Photos by Hannah Mesquitta

11th October 2021

Live – Nick Cave & Warren Ellis at Royal Albert Hall

Nick Cave & Warren Ellis, Royal Albert Hall London, 6th October 2021

From the mayhem of The Birthday Party to the wonder of The Bad Seeds, through collaborations with PJ Harvey and Kylie amongst numerous others, Nick Cave has emerged as one of the most outstanding performers you will have the privilege of seeing live. Captivating, intense and funny by parts, it’s hard to think who could accompany him and still manage at times to steal the show, until of course you consider Warren Ellis. Accomplished in playing an assemblage of instruments, and with a wonderful sense of both humour and theatricality, Ellis is the perfect partner in crime and the pair delighted fans by recording and releasing Carnage during lockdown, their music the perfect escape from the harsh reality of the pandemic.

Taking the album on tour, with an eclectic mix of songs from different eras added for good measure, their production is simple but slick and holds the attention of the audience from start to double encored finish. The setting of Royal Albert Hall provides a suitably dramatic and elegant backdrop for the music and, despite its size, Cave executes that magic trick of his that makes it feel like the smallest, most intimate of settings for everyone.

Music to heal the soul, a fantastic venue, a night to be remembered.

Nick Cave & Warren Ellis – Carnage

Words and photos by Siobhan

8th October 2021

 

Live – The Wendy James Band at Patterns Brighton

The Wendy James Band, Patterns Brighton, 30th September 2021

Shooting to fame in the mid 80s with Transvision Vamp, who’d have thought that Wendy James would have the crowd eating out of her hand all these years later? After multiple postponements due to lockdown restrictions, the band finally managed to get out on the road, last night stopping off in a very wet and windy Brighton.

Starting strongly with You’re So Great, Wendy explained that everything had kicked off for her musically in Brighton, and the first of many stories evoking memories of people and places from the past ensued, culminating in an impromptu jam of Suicide’s Ghost Rider.

I saw Tom Jones, the famous name-dropper, in Brighton the other week and, to be honest, I’m not sure his stories were as good. When your anecdote book is littered with appearances from the likes of The Stooges, Bowie and Kurt Cobain, there are bound to be some good tales to tell.

But really everyone was here for the music, and they weren’t disappointed. The band were faultless and a shout out to the sound team at Patterns was well deserved.

Standout track from Queen High Straight was the beautiful Marlene et Fleur, amidst a set filled with fan favourites including I Want Your Love and Baby I Don’t Care. At the close of the set Wendy noted that it had been a great night and that she was really happy. Judging from the crowd’s reaction and the queues to meet and greet at the merch stand, she wasn’t on her own with that feeling.

There are a couple of dates left on the tour; if you’re up for a singalong get yourself along to O2 Academy Islington tonight or The Parish in Huddersfield tomorrow, full details here.

Words and photos by Siobhan

1st October 2021

 

 

Tour News – White Lies

There’s been a buzz of expectation emanating from the White Lies’ camp lately, as the band have posted teasers for new music and live dates. Yesterday saw confirmation of a new album As I Try Not To Fall Apart, due for release in February 2022, plus a string of UK & Ireland tour dates in March before heading across Europe.

The band have also shared the title track from the album, saying, “We wrote this song quickly, late one night, and often the songs which come quickest are written from the gut and the heart, not with the head. We wanted the melody to feel like a hymn, to give the confessional lyrics weight despite being wrapped up as a pop song. It’s about accepting vulnerability as a man, and knowing it’s ok to be broken. There’s never been a more pressing time to spread the message that it’s ok to not be ok”.

UK/Ireland tour dates are as follows:

10.03.22 – NOTTINGHAM – Rock City
11.03.22 – MANCHESTER – Academy
12.03.22 – NEWCASTLE – Boiler Shop
13.03.22 – BIRMINGHAM – Institute
15.03.22 – GLASGOW – SWG3 TV Studio
16.03.22 – LEEDS – Stylus
18.03.22 – BRIGHTON – Chalk
19.03.22 – BRISTOL – Academy
21.03.22 – DUBLIN – Vicar Street
22.03.22 – LIVERPOOL – Grand Central Hall
24.03.22 – NORWICH – UEA
25.03.22 – OXFORD – Academy
26.03.22 – LONDON – Hammersmith Apollo

Tickets for all shows go on sale at 10am Thursday 30th September
Pre-sale tickets are exclusively available from 10am today via www.whitelies.com/live

The album can be pre-ordered here

28th September 2021

Live – Ash | Indoor Pets at The Wedgewood Rooms

Ash & Indoor Pets, The Wedgewood Rooms Portsmouth, 16th September 2021

Originally scheduled to take place at the Portsmouth Pyramids back in March 2020 (literally two days after the country went into lockdown 1.0), tonight’s show is the second of a two-date residency taking place at the revamped Wedgewood Rooms. After several attempts at rescheduling these shows, we’re finally able to celebrate Ash’s long-delayed tour in support of their recent compilation, Teenage Wildlife: 25 Years of Ash – a career spanning best of that showcases the band’s hits and more. But was it worth the wait?

First up we have Indoor Pets, a spiky four piece from Kent. Having not heard them before, I checked out a few tracks from their recent album Be Content, and I wasn’t overly impressed. However, they are a totally different experience live. Indoor Pets are a band that have plenty of good songs at their disposal that showcase a knack for writing a decent pop hook, but when experienced live, the band’s songs are played with a heavier sense of urgency transforming them into something completely different. Something weirder and much more engaging than on record, so be sure to check them out if they’re playing a town near you soon.

So now for the main event. Three things become apparent to my eye throughout Ash’s set. One, bassist Mark Hamilton doesn’t look a day older than when I first saw them at this venue back in 1997. Two, frontman Tim Wheeler is incapable of not smiling (he clearly loves his job, which is great to see after such a long career) and three, drummer Rick McMurray has the best posture of any drummer I have ever seen. Aside from these observations though there’s not much else happening on stage, so it’s up to the tunes to do the talking tonight.

Ash kick things off with a fine version of Goldfinger, a song dripping with nostalgia and one that helps transport the room back to a time when we didn’t have to worry about deadly viruses and a never-ending sense of doom. The band then launch into another one of their undeniable gems Oh Yeah, and from there it’s just hit after hit really.

Orpheus – a single from 2004 album Meltdown that begins with the line, ‘Yeah, that summer I did nothing’ – feels oddly topical considering current events. It also has one of the most infectious choruses the band have penned to date. It’s then time for the lesser known but yet still decent enough later singles to shine. Here the set drags somewhat, but it doesn’t take long before we’re back into full-on banger territory.

We have A Life Less Ordinary, which is dedicated to a friend of the band who has recently gotten engaged (aww), followed by Petrol, Lose Control (including the TIE Fighter sample that will always take me back to the time I first heard 1977 on cassette as I waited in my parents’ car whilst they went food shopping) concluding with an extended version of fan favourite Kung Fu before the break.

We’re then treated to a cover of The Undertones’ Teenage Kicks followed swiftly by arguably the band’s most loved song Girl from Mars. Things come to a satisfying end with Burn Baby Burn (a song that I think does miss the addition of a second guitarist) and as the lights stay low, Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes’ (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life plays over the PA. Rick treats the crowd to a little dance before the band wave goodbye, and we leave with smiles that could almost rival Tim’s.

So, was it worth the wait? Oh yeah.

Words by Ryan Howarth
Photos by Hannah Mesquitta

Ash | Indoor Pets

26th September 2021

Live – Hallan | Public Body | Safety Jacket at The Hope & Ruin

Hallan, Public Body & Safety Jacket at The Hope & Ruin, Brighton, 10th September 2021

Blending post-punk spoken word with infectious tunes and a splash of dry social commentary, Hallan are deservedly making a name for themselves and standing out against the glut of new young bands emerging in a similar genre.

Friday’s Brighton gig showcased their ability to transfer this to an accomplished live performance full of fitful swagger and with a big response from the crowd. The future’s looking bright for the four piece, catch them if you can.

Gallery from The Hope & Ruin below – Hallan with local support from Safety Jacket and Public Body.

Safety Jacket

Public Body

Hallan

Words and photos by Siobhan

13th September 2021

Victorious Festival 2021

Victorious Festival, Southsea Common, 28th – 29th August 2021

Sunshine, live music and a whole bunch of happy people gathered by the seaside for a long awaited return to festival life at this year’s Victorious. With a stack of great artists to choose from on the line up, the weekend was a huge success; check out our gallery below for a selection of the delights on offer …

Black Honey

The Lathums

Noon Garden

Idol State, Porridge Radio

The Clockworks

Glasvegas

Kawala

The Mysterines, Fugitive Orchestra, Me and the Moon


Nile Rodgers and Chic

Fontaines DC

Manic Street Preachers

Early bird tickets for Victorious 2022 are on sale now here

Words and photos by Siobhan

3rd September 2021

Live – The Cribs at Pryzm Kingston

The Cribs at Pryzm, Kingston for Banquet Records, 18th August 2021

After a run of postponed dates at the end of last year, The Cribs announced that their show at Pryzm in Kingston, an out-store performance for Banquet Records, would go ahead on Wednesday. Seeing the band return on top form felt like a proper return for live music, and a set containing songs old and new made for a very happy crowd. Kudos goes to all at Banquet and Pryzm, and those attending, for making this feel like a safe place to be, with pre-testing and lots of mutual respect on the night.

New music from The Cribs is always a treat and, for those wanting a regular fix, you can subscribe to the Sonic Blew Singles Club here for a series of 7″ releases. Check out our gallery from Wednesday night below.

Words and photos by Siobhan

20th August 2021

Live – BlitZ at The Old Wine Vaults

BlitZ at The Old Wine Vaults, Eastwood, 19th June 2021

BlitZing the House Down

It seemed like forever, yet no time at all, as Nottingham rockers, BlitZ re-ignited audience passion at The Old Wine Vaults, Eastwood last Saturday.

Frontman, Stuart Corden, warmed up the ears of those who had been missing live sounds for so long,  with an acoustic covers set before the main event.

Within the first few bars of their opening number, Damage, The Spirit of the BlitZ was back & regular band fans and new audience members alike were riding high on a set list of great classic rock tunes from the band’s first two albums.

BlitZ are an extraordinarily exciting band to see live, reminiscent of the big rockers of the 70s/80s. You can catch them next in Nottingham at The Old Salutation Inn on August 1st, with guests: Blues Rockers, Yesterday’s Gone from Chesterfield and, as part of their first ever tour of England,  young Sleaze/Glam rockers from the Highlands of Scotland,  Bad Actress. Tickets are available here.

Catch up with BlitZ here

Words and photos by Tina Sherwood

We’re delighted to welcome Tina to the Breaking Glass photography team and look forward to featuring more of her stunning images as live music continues to open up; do check out the rest of her work too.

21st June 2021

Tour of Wales / Taith Cymru

An electric guitar leaning against a stool plus details for the Tour of Wales (Taith Cymru) streaming events for Independent Venue Week

Tour of Wales / Taith Cymru (Independent Venue Week 2021)

This time last January, preparations were in full swing for a flurry of gigs across the UK to celebrate Independent Venue Week. This year a more innovative approach is required and as ever, Horizons (the music project from BBC Wales and the Arts Council of Wales) has stepped up to support and promote breakthrough artists from the current Welsh music scene. Each day this week, the team will be broadcasting sessions from a different grassroots venue, bringing a cross section of musicians and genres.

Weekday performances come from hip hop artist Mace the Great, country singer Jodie Marie, rock band Those Damn Crows, R&B singer Faith, urban brother & sister Leila McKenzie and K(e)nz, singer-songwriter Rona Mac, lo-fi / spoken word artist Ennio The Little Brother, blues rock pairing Alffa, electro pop artist Malan, new duo Body Water and a solo performance from Gwilym frontman Ifan Pritchard. Additionally, the weekend brings more Welsh rock from Holding Absence on Saturday 30th and Junior on Sunday 31st.

Tour of Wales / Taith Cymru is supported by Creative Wales and BBC Introducing and the venues taking part are Le Pub Casnewydd / Newport, Sin City Abertawe / Swansea, Queen’s Hall Arberth / Narberth, Galeri Caernarfon and Neuadd Ogwen Bethesda.

Sessions will be broadcast at midday each day this week, starting today, so set your alarm for some lunchtime tunes and check out the wealth of talent on display. It’s so important, now more than ever, that we keep supporting musicians, venues and everyone involved in the industry, and this will serve as a sweet reminder why. You can tune in here.

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Words by Siobhan

25th January 2021

 

Best Music Shots of 2020

Picture this!

Given the devastating impact on the live music scene this year, we debated whether to go ahead with the annual Best Music Shots gallery. However, popular opinion said yes so here we are and, looking at the photos submitted, what a good call that was. All images have been taken either outside of lockdown or at Covid-safe / socially distanced events and it’s definitely good for the soul to remember those moments. Hopefully, things are slowly mending; whatever happens next one thing’s for sure, we’ll never take easy access to live music for granted again.

Delighted to have some of our regular photographers involved here – your contributions are always massively appreciated. And equally it’s great to have some new faces taking part – you’re all most welcome and we hope to see more from you in the future.

Photos are in no particular order, mixed by genre and style, so find a comfy seat and check them all out to avoid missing anything… enjoy.

(Header photo above by Mark Cartwright, details in article)

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1. The Darkness
2. Catfish & the Bottlemen
Alcatraz, Milan, February 2020

By Oriana Spadaro – Website | Instagram

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1. Simeon Hammond Dallas
The Old Joinery, Greenwich, London, October 2020
2. Bandini
The Old Joinery, Greenwich, London, December 2020

By Petra Eujane Photography – Website | Instagram

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1. Jamie Bower of Counterfeit
Manchester Ritz, February 2020
2. Lazarus Kane
Georgian Theatre, Stockton, February 2020

By Steve White – Flickr

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1. Gordon James & the Power
Strathpeffer Pavilion, Ross-shire, February 2020
2. Forgetting the Future
Potting Shed Garden Festival, Inverness, July 2020

By Alan Cruickshank Photographic – Facebook

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1. Lauren Lo Sung
Liverpool Digital Music Festival, EBGBs, August 2020
2. Callum of The Bottom Line
Jimmy’s, Liverpool, January 2020

By Sarah (Shots by Sarah) – Instagram | Facebook

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1. Dominic Corry of The Battery Farm
2. Paul Worrall of The Battery Farm
The Club Academy, Manchester, October 2020

By Gary Hough (allthecoolbandsphotography) – Website | Instagram | Twitter

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Rein
Berns, Stockholm, January 2020


By Catarina Olausson – Website | Instagram

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1. Conor Marshall of Sylosis
Islington Assembly Hall, London, February 2020
2. Markus Vanhala of Insomnium
Islington Assembly Hall, London, January 2020

By Chris Andrews – Instagram

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Sugarstone
Night People, Manchester, January 2020

By Alana Thomas – Instagram

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1. King Nun
Bodega, Nottingham, February 2020
2. Emzae
Rock City Beta, Beat the Streets, Nottingham, January 2020

By Nigel King – Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

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Brian Shuck & the Local Legends
Sneaky Pete’s, Lewisville, Texas, September 2020

By Robert C Maxfield II – Website | Instagram | Facebook

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Kelly Jones of Stereophonics
Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham, March 2020

By Tina Sherwood (Rock Shotz Live Music Imaging) – Instagram | Facebook

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1. Accident
2. Gemišt
Monte Paradiso Hardcore Punk Festival, Pula, Croatia, September 2020

By David Gasson – Website | Instagram | Chasing the Light Art

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1. Beatles tribute show put on by staff, students & alumni feat. Alex Mullins
Paradise Valley Community College Fine Arts Theater, Phoenix, March 2020
2. Jared & the Mill
Desert Botanical Gardens, Phoenix, February 2020

By Jennifer Mullins – Website | Instagram

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1. Obongjayar
Village Underground, London, February 2020
2. Fat White Family
Windmill Brixton, London, February 2020

By Anna Louise Yorke – Website | Instagram

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1. Ríoghnach Connolly
2. Caoilfhoinn Rose
Carlton Club, Manchester, November 2020

By Ingrid Turner – Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

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1. John Robb of Goldblade
2. Keith Warren of The Adicts
Great British Alternative Festival, Butlins Minehead, February 2020

By Mark Cartwright – Flickr | Facebook | Twitter

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1. Dry Cleaning
The Green Door Store, Brighton, February 2020
2. Lynks
The Rossi Bar, Brighton, February 2020

By Siobhan (16 Beasley St Photography) – Website | Instagram | Twitter

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Enormous thanks to all the talented photographers here for sharing their awesome shots – fingers tightly crossed that you’ll all be back in the pit in 2021. You can see more from everyone featured and follow their socials via the links shown. Stay safe everyone.

All pictures are copyrighted by the photographer credited; please do not use without gaining their permission first.

17th December 2020

Playing through the Pandemic

An insight into how the global Coronavirus pandemic has affected the lives of musicians

By Bethany Clayton

2020 has been the year that no one would have been able to predict. If someone had told me last year that there would be a deadly disease that would spread across the entire globe resulting in millions of deaths and in a raise of unemployment and potential poverty for thousands – I would have thought that they had just told me the outline to a new apocalypse movie conceived by Hollywood film writers. However, that is the unfortunate reality that many of us find ourselves in this year. Many people and industries have been affected by this pandemic in different ways. I talked to two musicians who are at the beginning of their journey within the music industry to see how the global Coronavirus pandemic has changed their lives this year. I spoke to Nottingham’s Connor Harrsion, a solo artist who goes by the pseudonym Stature. Connor produces innovative garage music available to listen to on Spotify. I also spoke to Wakefield’s Andrew Horn who is a multiple band member of two folk bands, Aelfen and Moss, and modern-rock band Possum whose music is available to listen to on Spotify and Bandcamp.

For many musicians there have been a number of challenges that they have had to face due to the current pandemic. The main and potentially disastrous challenge is the cancellation of concerts and tours for these artists. Live performances serve as a main source of income for many musicians and are a vital lifeline for smaller solo artists and bands that are trying to earn a living within the music industry. Solo artist Connor Harrsion revealed that many of the musicians that he knows personally, or would have worked alongside prior to the pandemic, have had to sadly find alternative jobs within the music service industry or elsewhere due to no longer having the means to support themselves as musicians because of the effects of the pandemic on people’s livelihoods. Andrew Horn told me that, “It was when a gig for my band Moss was cancelled in Todmordon that I realised things were going to be very different for me.” This was one of the first cancellations that Andrew and his band members had to face this year as well as his third tour with his band Possum cancelled and a venue for his folk band Aelfen to play at what would have been 2020’s Boomtown festival also cancelled, following the UK restrictions on large outdoor events and temporary nationwide lockdowns. There were many musicians facing the same issues as Andrew as events and tours were cancelled resulting in a loss of income for many. However, Connor Harrsion noted an inventive way that many musicians have been able to still secure some income and revenue. Many bands and solo artists have opted to host live performances over social media, utilising formats such as ‘live mode’ on social media platforms like Instagram, as a way to gain donations to allow them the funds to keep on making music for their fans and continue to work in a profession that they love. This mode of virtual performance displays a temporary solution to the challenges posed by this current pandemic displaying the creative ingenuity of our favourite artists and bands.

(Stature on Spotify)

Additionally, Connor revealed to me that his solo work as Stature creates a current source of income through streaming services. “A lot of people have been listening to more music which means more streams and royalty income,” Connor then stated; “which is generally nothing in comparison to what a musician would earn playing live”. For example the streaming service Spotify provides a rate of £0.0028 in royalties for one stream so it would take one thousand streams for a musician to earn £2.80 in royalties. Therefore, it is important to note that the revenue made from streaming services and virtual performances does not compare to the income a musician would earn from in-person live performances. Andrew told me that he believes that live in-person performances could still happen during the pandemic in a safe and Covid-secure way by utilising social distancing measures. This would then allow for many musicians to earn a liveable wage once more, provide business to venues and event holders and keep fans happy. This revelation came to Andrew during his time performing at the Cloth Cat Open Mic Night at the Packhorse in Leeds during the summer, when the UK restrictions temporarily relaxed. The event implemented socially distanced measures such as audience members had to sit at tables in groups no larger than six and wear a mask whenever walking about the venue. Andrew told me that, “all our lives we have taken things for granted like live music and it’s only now that there are restrictions that we realise the importance of such things!”. From this experience Andrew believes socially distanced events could be a new and profitable future for the music industry and we could once again appreciate the pleasure and importance of experiencing live music. These types of performances would supply a means of overcoming some of the most damaging effects of the pandemic as these socially distanced events would allow for the music industry to regain business and for musicians to once again earn a liveable income.

(Possum on Spotify)

As I discussed the obstacles set by the pandemic with both Connor and Andrew they both noted some positives that have also arisen from this uncertain time. For Andrew, during the first UK nationwide lockdown he was unable to meet and rehearse music with his fellow bandmates. Andrew decided to utlise this time instead to work on his first solo album which will be released and available to download on Bandcamp. If it was not for the lockdown, therefore, we would not be gifted with this fabulous new album by Andrew Horn. Connor also stated that the free time that lockdown provided allowed him to work on new music. He also noted that because of the free time that many people have found themselves with during lockdown that “new labels are popping up and have been on the hunt to add to their roster so that in a sense it’s created a higher chance for smaller artists getting noticed”, a silver lining therefore for new musicians looking to be signed. It is evident then that along with the negative effects that the pandemic has created there has also been some positive impacts made on the music industry. Solo artists have had more time to create and release new music which will no doubt keep fans smiling. New businesses such as new record labels have been founded providing more opportunities and business for musicians.

Throughout this apocalyptic Hollywood movie that has somehow seemed to become the reality that our society is living in, there have been numerous effects evident that the pandemic has created upon the livelihoods of musicians and the music industry at large. Such as, some positive effects: brand new music being created and the introduction of virtual performances as a new means to experience music, and some negative effects: the loss of jobs and incomes. However both Andrew and Connor share a consensus that the future remains hopeful and, once some of the disastrous effects of the pandemic begin to de-escalate, then these talented musicians can continue with their livelihoods without disruption and fans can once more enjoy the thrilling venture of listening to new music and watching live performances.

You can listen to Stature and Possum on the links above; Andrew’s solo album is due for release soon.

Words by Bethany Clayton

19th November 2020

When Covid-19 Stopped the Music

When Covid -19 Stopped the Music
by Jennifer Mullins

This refrain from Joni Mitchell’s song Yellow Taxi, ‘Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know you’ve got ‘til it’s gone,’ seems to sum up the situation of live music at venues being put on hold to stop the spread of the virus. Hopefully, the small venues and musicians that have created a community there will have a place to return once this pandemic is over.

Alex Mullins at the Rebel Lounge

I began to get into music photography when my son, Alex, began playing open mics. His first show was at Joe’s Grotto in Phoenix, Arizona. Because he was underage, I had to accompany him. It was the first time that I had seen him perform, though I had heard him play in the house. I was blown away at how calm, confident, and talented he was as he took the stage. A year into his playing at different venues, I began to take photos and videos. My primary photography focus at this time was on nature.

Top: Fans at Pub Rock
Middle: Alex Mullins
Coyote Tango at the Rebel Lounge

Once Alex formed his band, Alex Mullins and the Royal, I began going to different venues with low light. It was a whole new photography learning experience as I had to learn to adjust to low light photography. I met some of the nicest young photographers who helped me with camera settings and encouraged me to move from shooting in auto to manual mode. They also helped me with editing techniques as I found my unique style.

Top: El West at Crescent Ballroom
Bottom: Holiday Extravaganza at the Van Buren 

In the beginning, I would stay and photograph only Alex’s band, then head home. As time went on, I began to stay and watch other bands. Before I knew it, I was driving around the greater Phoenix area to different venues to discover the vibrant local music scene. I found not only so much musical talent, but a community. Music is meant to be heard live with other people who come together to share their love of the sound the musicians create.

All at Crescent Ballroom – Top: Rival Coast
Middle: Luxxe  
Bottom: Harrison Fjord

A camera gives you a different way of seeing the world and that’s true when photographing a gig. You have to move fast to capture the moment because each set is non-stop and there are no second chances. Since my focus was on the viewfinder, I would forget that people were seeing me in action. I was also posting on Instagram and people would get to know who I was through there as well. I would always introduce myself to musicians and they would say, “I know who you are.” It’s been great to not only see Alex grow as a musician but to get to know other musicians and fans.

Top: Jared and the Mill at Rhythm Room
Bottom: Jared and the Mill at the Rebel Lounge

Now all the venues are closed, the musicians are not playing live and the music community can no longer gather safely. It’s great when my favorite musicians livestream but I miss seeing them on stage as much as I’m sure they miss playing. The collection that I created was capturing the musicians and fans. The connection that only music creates can be seen in both the musicians’ faces and the fans’ reactions.

WHSTLE at the Van Buren

All words and photos are © Jennifer Mullins – you can find more of Jennifer’s work on her website and follow her on Instagram 

We recently featured some of Jennifer’s lockdown photos; you can view them here 

10th July 2020

 

Interstellar Food Drive – Online

Interstellar Food Drive Online, 20th June 2020

For a number of years now, Portsmouth’s Strong Island Recordings have hosted a day of live music in exchange for donations to the local foodbank. With gigs and festivals still currently a pipe dream, on Saturday they took their Interstellar Food Drive online, in collaboration with Pie & Vinyl, Honeymooner Records, Velvet Candy, Hard of Hearing Music and Thank God For Sinners, bringing streamed performances from artists around the world. The event ran in association with Love Record Stores Day and encouraged donations to the Trussell Trust and other charities.

LA Peach

Tom Bryan

Given that the novelty of taking photos of the beach has long since worn thin, I thought it would be good to shoot some musicians again so spent a strange chunk of the afternoon pointing my camera at computer screens. And yes, I’m aware there’s such a thing as a screenshot but if people are doing photo shoots over Zoom then why not. Oddly, I found I still defaulted to my favoured slightly to the left front of stage position, make of that what you will.

Thyla, Sunfruits, Freya Beer

Hussy, Tugboat Captain

Rosie Alena

As well as seeing favourite bands, a lot of us are missing that chance to find something new, and the food drive gave just that opportunity with a whole bunch of talent from far and wide. Kicking things off, an Australian trio of laid-back psych from Sunfruits, kaleidoscopic riffs from Dear Doonan and some fine indie tunes from Badgers. Closer to home, there were great mini sets from local south coast artists including Megan Linford, Barbudo, Ban Summers, Public Body and Thyla. A stunning showcase from Speedy Wunderground’s new kids on the block Tiña (header photo) suggests that they will very definitely be on the ones to watch list, and no less chaos and ripped denim than you would expect from the illustrious Lynks Afrikka, proving that sofa performance is not to be taken lightly. Too many more to mention individually (see poster for complete line up) but suffice to say that every artist was well worth the watch and I have to give a shout out to LA Peach for the shower cap and shades combo, sure to catch on.

Lynks Afrikka

Fake Turins, Megan Linford, LIME

Tropa Magica

The final set came from LA’s Tropa Magica, closing an excellent day with some suitably festival fuelled cumbian-punk. Am so looking forward to when we can do all this in person again but, for now, if you haven’t had the chance yet, you can watch the full stream on the YouTube link here. If you’re able, you can donate directly to the causes listed below via their links.

The Trussell Trust
Helping food banks to provide practical support to people in crisis

Brixton Soup Kitchen
A Brixton based service for the homeless and people in need

Portsmouth Hive
A local cooperative from the voluntary and community sector helping people to build independence

Words and photos by Siobhan

22nd June 2020