Jake Flowers releases ‘bumper selection pack’

My friend Jake Flowers has just popped a whopping 15 tracks on his Bandcamp.

 

They’re available to download as a set for just £3 – which is a bloomin’ bargain. The songs were recorded between 2007 and 2011 – but Jake is still recording and you can hear new materials and demos on his Soundcloud.

Perfect for Summer, don’tcha think?

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BBC New Comedy Award 2012 hits Birmingham

Tonight I’m returning to Birmingham for the next heat of the BBC New Comedy Award 2012.

We’ll be at the Glee Club from 7.30pm with ten more comics looking to earn themselves a place in one of our semi-finals.

So far the standard has been ridiculously high and I’ve had great fun meeting everyone and filming the shows. Here’s the films I’ve produced so far:

I’ve got to run and catch a train very shortly, but I hope to see some of you there. We’re also heading to Cardiff, London and Brighton on our first round tour – tickets for these shows as well as tonight’s Brummie barrel o’laughs can be found here.

Find out more information about the BBC New Comedy Award here.

The Show: Redefinition

Birmingham's Bullring Centre has always sought to be at the forefront of technological developments.

When I worked at the lovely Created in Birmingham shop at the Bullring over a year ago, I remember Chris Unitt telling me how he'd been working with the centre to help them establish a reputation as the most tech-savvy mall in Europe. As the Bullring is also a hotspot for roadshow events such as Britain's Next Top Model, Jo Frost: Extreme Parental Guidance and Gok's Fashion Fix, it appears apt that it should look to blend large scale events with their technological ambition.

The Show: Redefinition has been described in the mysterious video below as a 'breathtaking collaboration between fashion and technology'. In a nutshell, the idea is to showcase eight hot looks for the new fashion season using a combination of real and 3D 'volumetric' models and holographics, including 2010 BNTM winner Tiffany Pisani (and anyone who knows me will vouch for the fact that I'm a Next Top Model obsessive!) There're rumours of another special guest in the works, but the Bullring are keeping it zipped for the time being.

The show itself will be part of Style Birmingham Live, an event that once led to my friend being hauled onstage by Trinny and Susannah, being stripped of her things behind a makeshift quilt – held up by fellow 'victims' no less – and made over into a party girl (she's an Oxford scholar).
 

Despite the show not turning its audience into virtual catwalkers, it will be showing you where you can shop to recreate the looks and will include garments from Reiss, COS, French Connection and my current favourite Forever 21. You'll also be able to create the hair and make-up by paying a visit to Regis (in Debenhams) and The Body Shop.

Being a fashion telly show junkie, I'm most excited by the prospect of behind-the-scenes videos, which may even give away a few hints about how the effects used in the show were produced. If you can't make the show itself they'll also be style guides based around the looks in the show, revealing exactly how you can reinvent yourself as a Hollywood siren or a gothic beauty.

The run of shows kicks off on Friday and, if you missed the chance to enter the Bullring's VIP ticket competition, you'll still be able to catch a glimpse of the action by watching from the balconies overlooking the Lower West Mall at the following times:

Friday 23rd September: 10.30am, 1pm, 3pm, 5.30pm

Saturday 24th September: 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm

Sunday 25th September:  11.30am, 1pm, 3pm

Also, despite the competition being closed, I was having a cheeky browse of the Bullring Birmingham website when I discovered the Rewards page which is amazing – there's currently a Dune discount offer going on (shoe heaven)!

So will you be going? Have you got a coveted VIP seat? I expect your updates via Twitter please!

For more information, take a look here: http://www.browsebullring.co.uk/fasion-news/the-show-redefinition/

 

This is a sponsored post but don't worry – if I don't like it, it wouldn't appear on here!

Viral video by ebuzzing

What to See: The Kidnapper’s Guide

Yesterday I had the pleasure of watching a new production by fellow drama graduate, writer and director Joe White.

Needless to say, the show was an utter riot and, at an Edinburgh Festival friendly running time of 60 minutes, packed a hilarious punch.

Rather than give too much away, I thought I’d drop Joe a line and ask him to answer a few questions and let you know why you should catch the show while you can.

I’ve heard that the Kidnappers’ Guide wasn’t the original production that you were planning to take to Edinburgh. What happened, and how did you get the current show on the road, so to speak?

You heard right. If everything had ‘gone to plan’, then The Kidnapper’s Guide would never of existed. Or, at least, not existed in this time and place. We were originally planning to take an adapted version of Joseph Kesselring’s Arsenic and Old Lace (which was closer to the Frank Capra/Cary Grant classic film than it was the original play) to this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival. All was sorted: we had a strong cast, we had a funny script, we had a venue (Zoo’s Monkey House), we were in the printed fringe programme and we had great accommodation. We couldn’t go wrong!

And then, on the 17th July, I got a very unwelcome phone call.

“Hello. Is this Joe White?”, the voice said.

“Yes.”

“I’m calling from Joseph Weinberger”

“Right.”

“Are you taking Arsenic and Old Lace to the Fringe this year?”

“Yes.”

“No you’re not.”

And that was that. It was difficult. There had been complications and mass miscommunications between us and Joseph Weinberger (who own the rights to Kesselring’s play), where adaptation rights had not been properly cleared or accepted. We were denied permission to adapt and we were denied permission to perform. We were due to perform in exactly 19 days.

Luckily, I am blessed with the most talented, enthusiastic and inspirational cast, and the best producer and co-writer in Nathan Teckman, who just so happens to be the funniest people on the planet, and, after a day or so of absolute, sheer, blind panic and a desperate battle cry, there was a call to arms, and we fought back the only way we know how – and made a play.

In terms of both structure and plotlines, how did you seek and discover inspiration for the show?

Within a week of losing Arsenic, we had arranged a three-day character workshop and began working on ideas – collecting and montaging scenes scribbled during lectures or from notes or after day dreams – and came together to start creating The Kidnapper’s Guide. Loosely based (and I mean LOOSELY – we don’t need any more rights aggravation) on the 1967 flop film The Happening (none of us have seen the film past the trailer because it is truly awful), we decided to work on an Arsenic-esque farce that was about kidnapping’s that go awry.

We did our research by watching classic farces: His Girl Friday, Harvey, Some Like It Hot, Bringing Up Baby etc. and we started collecting farcical techniques and structural frameworks (frantic entrances and exits, mass human traffic, secrets, disguises etc). These films all pretty much subscribe to fairly similar formulae – there is usually a reluctant hero, a love interest, a kooky relative or friend, a flawed villain – and, armed with a canon of classics and some great character and plot outlines, Nathan and I entered a week of writing and laughing.

 You had a cast in place for a different show, how did you redistribute roles amongst your cast for the eventual performance?

Writing for 12 actors was a blessing and a curse. The cast themselves started to sculpt their characters in the workshops, so, even when away from the rehearsal room, we could imagine every detail, physical or vocal, of their creations (and we fully credit the actors in this collaborative process) and therefore knew the strengths of all involved. The Kidnapper’s Guide spans many comic genres and, knowing and working as closely with the actors as we do, it was simple to tailor to their own humours, tone and physicalities. The problem, however, lay in writing 12 parts and giving opportunities and scope for all of the actors to play and expand on ideas. However, the process of division and balancing roles was, after initial fears, actually fairly easy. The actors, their suitability to a certain role, and the roles subsequent place in the play actually evolved organically – everyone just kind of fell in to place – and after some early adjustments, we felt as though we had given everyone enough to sink their teeth into and just enjoy. I think that, in writing an ensemble comedy, it is crucial to give everyone at least one REALLY good line or bit and give every actor their share of the laughs. This sounds shallow perhaps, but it is true, and I think it works for exciting and layered characterisation and happy, confident and enthusiastic actors, which is probably paramount in performance.

 Who will the show appeal to and why should they make the effort to come and see it?

The Kidnapper’s Guide was not created for any specific age group, gender or personality. Without any crudeness or any sanitised-for-family-feel, we take the comic heroes of the past and, with modern touches, pull them into the present, concentrating on good, pure fun and respecting ‘funny’ first and foremost. All we care about is filling the room with laughter – whether they are the laughs of grandparents or grandchildren – and simply entertaining all who visit.

The Courtyard Theatre is a wonderful independent theatre and one which thrives on giving opportunities to aspiring writers, performers and companies like ours. It is a venue and organisation which should be celebrated and revered. The Courtyard is a breeding ground for the new and the unearthed and, almost pulsating with energy, the theatre reverberates an excitement through it’s theatre-makers and theatre-goers alike. It is the perfect home for The Kidnapper’s Guide, and the perfect place for you to see it!

What would you personally like to achieve in the next 5 years?

Being alive would do! I don’t exactly have a five year plan – I have hopes and aspirations of course, but remembering mice and men (the proverb, not the book) and all that, for now, I want to just keep writing whenever I can – predominantly for theatre, but also expanding to television comedy and film at some point – and hope to move into direction through my writing. My first full length play Phoenix is currently under scrutiny here and there, and I hope to see that someday – it took a bit longer than a week to write. Theatres such as The Bush, The Royal Court and Theatre 503, whose lifeblood is new writing are my ideal. But I want to keep options open. Beggars can’t be choosers. And I don’t want to be a beggar. And I’m nearly am a beggar. So, in answer to the question, I’d say either missing, presumed dead, or the Artistic Director of The Royal Court.

The Kidnapper’s Guide is on at The Courtyard Theatre from the 13th – 17th September at 8pm, Tickets cost £10 (£8 Concessions)

For further information, please contact Joe White on joemarkwhite@gmail.com

 

“And square one’s looming dangerously”

Today I received my copy of Frankie & the Heartstrings‘ debut album Hunger in the post.

The album, released by the indie label Wichita, cost a mere £4.99 (inc. postage) from HMV.com and seemed a worthy buy, particularly as the band managed to get into the Top 40 last weekend.

Apart from wanting a hard copy of Frankie & Co’s summery Pop tracks, I felt duty bound to buy the album as guitarist Mick Ross once made me a spectacular tofu curry. Plus, at less than a fiver the album is cheaper than a lot of gig tickets (but longer lasting, for the materialist out there.)

However, I have another reason to campaign for the band’s mainstream chart success. Back when I lived in Birmingham I became acquainted with a band with a fantastic guitar Pop band called Envy & Other Sins. After seeing them at a gig (one of the first after their T4 mobileAct Unsigned win) I became quite taken with their sound, which was a refreshing return to a form of more traditional, unpretentious Pop.

The band had won a £60,000 record contract with Simon Gavin at A&M Records, yet the expected promotional drive for the album, the brilliant We Leave At Dawn, never came. Although keeping venues busy on tour, the album lacked the support a competition like mobileAct Unsigned seemed to guarantee. Eventually the band split up (although singer Ali and drummer Jim are now musically reunited as the brilliant Malpas).

I still listen to We Leave At Dawn. For me the album is sheer pop brilliance, packed with catchy tunes and credible lyrics that never fail to raise a smile. It’s not all fun and lightness however – a deeper sense of shade is provided by tracks such as my personal highlight Don’t Start Fires.

The abundant joy of Frankie & the Heartstrings’ tunes remind me of the Envy & Other Sins sound. They’re different in the sound of their tunes, with the former being more fifties influenced and sparsely produced by Edwyn Collins, but they have both produced Pop independently before taking it to a national level. Frankie & the Heartstrings have worked incredibly hard, building a fanbase with stellar live performances and their own Pop Sex Ltd. imprint.

I feel a bit like preaching along the lines of ‘The People’s Supermarket’ right now (i.e irritating) but I do feel it’s a bit of a ‘use it or lose it’ situation. In other words, support your favourite bands, or mourn their loss a little earlier than expected. It kind of reminds me of the Envy & Other Sins lyrics from their debut single Highness – “Square one’s looming dangerously”

You have been warned. Got £4.99 to spare?

 

An open letter to BBC Introducing

Please note that the following is strictly of my own opinion, and not that of my employer, the Amazing Media Group (AMG).

Dear BBC,

I produce and present for Amazing Radio, a DAB digital radio station that only plays new and emerging music. Should this make us rivals? No, of course not. We want the same things… possibly.

I’ve become doubtful recently as BBC Introducing focuses on flashy ‘Masterclass’ and ‘In New Music We Trust’ events. These are valuable for artists supported by the Introducing brand, but it seems that sometimes this focus to publicly celebrate ‘the next big thing’ can forget the smaller artists recently being discovered by local BBC Introducing programmes.

Local BBC Introducing shows have to be commissioned by the Managing Editor of the regional centre and I understand this. There are different budgets, schedules to fit the shows into – which explains why some shows are just an hour, some three and others expand outside of the show with regional tours. What I don’t understand is why the BBC cannot invest a mere smidgeon of time in publishing the playlists from each show. It’s incredible that you cannot find programme information for the regional shows.

This might seem like a petty quibble, but I promise you it’s not. What do new, emerging and unsigned artists need most of all? Gigs! You can’t build a fan base (and test their dedication) without building up a loyal following that will support you and your music if you begin releasing. A label will be unlikely to sign a band without a considerable following. Public faith should not be underestimated. Promoters will be looking to BBC Introducing to provide new acts for local gigs – or at least they could be, if the BBC decided to do the simple thing of archiving a list of played acts (with links) from each show.

The BBC Birmingham Introducing website is a good example of what regional BBC Introducing sites should be starting with. The site used to house a comprehensive A-Z of local acts, but I can no longer locate it. There are, however, local artist news articles which is welcome relief from my fears that BBC Online is completely failing to provide us with the information that we pay our licence fees for.

At Amazing Radio our music programming policy is that we only play artists who have uploaded their tracks to amazingtunes.com. This means that our listeners can easily find what they hear on the radio, either by searching for the artists that they’ve heard us talk about on the radio, or by clicking on the hyper linked playlists that we provide on our show pages. We’re also on hand to answer any questions that site users or listeners may have. I occasionally receive emails that ask me about a song or artist, and I’m always happy to answer them,
(complete with a link to the artist’s profile page). Artists can write what they like on their profile pages too, so if they want to direct users to a Band Camp or Facebook fan page, we don’t mind at all!

So BBC, what would I like you do do? Well I’d like to see more effort put into the regional BBC Introducing sites – some shows don’t even have them – and I’d like to see published playlists for each show. Surely it can’t be that hard can it?

All the best,

Frankie Ward

Behind the scenes of Awake, Not Drifting

This weekend was spent in the studio at the University of Newcastle with the rest of the Get Frank guys recording our debut EP Awake, Not Drifiting.

I realised after looking at the track listing that three out of the four tracks are connected to the theme of ‘bed’ so it seemed apt to name the EP after the line ‘When I’m awake/Not Drifting’ from one of our quirkier numbers, Next Door.

Here’s a short ‘behind the scenes’ video of us in the studio. It was shot on my Kodak Zi8 and my new Casio Exilim camera (final shot only). You can occasionally hear my voice, but I’m the one behind the camera.

We recorded the EP live with me singing guide vocals behind the screen in the control room. I then rerecorded the vocals the next day. The trickiest track was Next Door as it features a variety of tempo changes – unlike the rest of the band however, most of the vocals used in the final mix were done in one take (which can’t be said for the other tracks!) We only used a click track to record ‘1 minute 20 second wonder’ It’s Not You.

We haven’t got an order yet but the EP will feature.

1. It’s Not You

2. Bedspread

3. Next Door

4. Vacant

I think one of the biggest surprises about working with the new lineup is that Vacant (formerly known as Untitled), which was the first song I wrote as ‘Get Frank’ back in Summer 2008, has become a firm favourite to play with the band. Having a real piano (and an expert musician in Neil Andrew Smith on keys) makes a real difference to the sound. Neil and Todd Green (guitar) both have solos at the end of the track and they both sound gorgeous.

The guys with Producer Rob

There have been multiple incarnations and lineup changes of Get Frank (I still feel that core member James Chester from the last couple of Birmingham lineups is present in the form of his friend, bassist David Mabbot), and it’s quite surprising that our current group has only been together for about six weeks.

More studio pics over at http://www.facebook.com/getfrankmusic

I always feel slightly overwhelmed when I hear what other people bring to my songs. I love that feeling of realisation – when you hear the track as you imagined it, with extra flourishes (such as David Mabbot’s ‘sensual bass-line’ in Next Door that felt like the natural progression from the ‘orgasma-bass’ of former player Richie B Brookes in Brum). Our last Brummie lineup felt quite ska in nature, whereas in Newcastle we’re heading towards a more organic, acoustic jazz feel. The unmixed recordings sound chaotic, but very much alive – hopefully our producer Rob Blazey will have an idea of what to do with them!

It was always a dream to record – I don’t think it’s set in that we’ve done it yet!

Now we need to find some Newcastle based gigs…

On the radio

I’ve moved to Newcastle to work full time as a producer/presenter/webbysocialmediapersonthing for Amazing Radio and I need ‘real people’ to help make my show sound fabulous.

So how can you do this? Well, in a number of ways…

Get your music onto amazingtunes.com

I know many an unsigned/independent band, particularly from Birmingham but I’ve always been a tad tentative about begging them to get their stuff onto amazingtunes.com. Therefore, consider this post asking. All of the acts that we play on Amazing Radio have profiles on amazingtunes.com, an ‘ethical’ music site where artists can upload their tracks for streaming, downloading or selling. If an act wants to sell their music it costs 79p per track and the act keeps 70% of this figure (about 52p.) This is far more than your average distribution/online marketplace (i.e iTunes) and cuts out the costly middleman. So far we’ve had some fantastic Brum-based acts on air including Tantrums, Tom Peel and OST – but I want to hear more!!!

Pick your own playlist

It’s easy… and wierdly addictive! If you create a profile on amazingtunes.com you can make playlists to your heart’s content. One of the features of The Afternoon Show is a user generated feature called The Four Tops. The idea is that you create a four track playlist, think of some reasons why it’s awesome… and then we play it! All you need to do is email it to me, and I’ll give it a good listen.

Prove your rock and roll credentials

We’ve got an awesome Operations Manager at Amazing Towers (HQ) called Kevin Read. He’s basically been to rock central and back. Every wednesday on The Afternoon Show we pit a competitor against the K-Train and see if they’ve got an edgier tale – essentially whether they can out hardcore Kev. If you think you’re up for the challenge get in touch! (It’s definitely my favourite feature of the week.)

Big up your music scene

We like to celebrate musical centres of excellence at Amazing Radio, and I can certainly think of a few musical regions I’m hugely impressed with, including Glasgow, Bristol and Birmingham. The Newcastle scene itself is incredible (more about that another time!) If you think your region deserves a week of celebration on the airwaves, let me know why.

Find an unsigned act to love

I have to admit, there’s an irresistable feeling of smugness that I get when I find a new act that not everyone knows about yet – I feel even better when I spread said act on and other people agree. We’ve got a feature on The Afternoon Show that aims to fill your weekly smug-new-music-quota called Matchmaker. All you need to do is tell me three acts you love (old or current) and our ‘matchmakers’ will find you an act from the amazingtunes.com ranks to love. The musical boffs at Amazing Towers absolutely love to compete to see who can find the best pick – so start sharing!

Promote yourself!

Got a blog? We want to celebrate music bloggers and sites by featuring a new Website of the Week every Monday. The winners will also have a special post on the site dedicated to them – it’s all about helping those who help new music. If I do have readers, they’re probably bloggers – so there’s no excuse not to get in touch!

Share your words, not just your music

I present the Amazing Folk Roots Show every Sunday at 7pm and Wednesdays at 6pm (as well as producing The Afternoon Show every weekday from 3 – 6pm), and we’re always looking for poets to send us their words and recordings, so let me know if you’d like to hear your work on Amazing Radio.

So…

Here endeth the shameless self promotion post, but I’ll hopefully return to more regular updates soon. I’m going to find a band and maybe start reviewing again, I’ve not quite decided yet. My first task is to find somewhere to live for September! I moved up to start working at Amazing before I graduated so I’m confined to a suitcase and am living without proper internet at the moment. Newcastle is fantastic, but I miss everyone back in Birmingham and Kent very much.

Don’t forget to get in touch! Email frankie.ward@amazing-media.com

You’re a sister and let me introduce mine.

Really excited about the You’re A Sister gig we’re playing for Oxjam on April 16th. It’s being held in support of Oxfam’s Sisters on the Planet campaign. Entry is a donation of £3 or more… bargainous! You can find out about more of the acts by following the previous link. We’re playing with brilliant poet and compere Jodi Ann Bickley, my most fabulously heeled/voiced friend Stav and The Electrilickers, folk star Abie Budgen and of course, the lady fronted Che. We’ll also be entertained by the Atta Girl DJs – I’m particularly looking forward to their female records, particularly as Atta Girl’s Claire is a regular in the CIB shop, which is where I spend my Sundays.

Here’s a nice picture…. use for twitter/facebook profiles if you’re feeling supportive (please!)

So, to celebrate all things sister-hoody, I wanted to introduce you to the current line up of Get Frank.

First up, we have Mr James Chester on acoustic guitar. James is former Uni Rock Soc president and the longest serving musician of the group (alongside myself.) He joined after Nick Mannix had to leave to spend more time studying rocks and stuff. James accompanies me on many a journey to many a random venue. We have played in the wind, the rain and sometimes even indoors! We played outside New Street’s tourist info centre for Artsfest and hopefully we will continue playing for the foreseeable future. James loves a bit of Ska and Rage Against the Machine so often we like to slip in the odd RATM reference (ie. HUOGH! or similiar sounds…)

Next up, the genius that is Eve Hunt on drums. Eve has helped revolutionise the Get Frank sound. Suddenly we’re tighter, more upbeat and practices are even more fun. Eve keeps things light, punchy and pacey. And she doesn’t know how good she is, so if you ever see her at one of our gigs then please do tell her! She also copes mightily well to keep the boys in check, particularly as I have an odd appreciation for putting pauses in so many of my songs and it could otherwise be hard to keep up all together!

Then we have Miss Desiree Benson on glock and keyboards. Now I know I’m guilty of going up to Dezzie in practices and telling her to play something just once but she works it out anyway, because she’s awesome like that. I’m going to start writing more stuff specifically for keys so we can start showing her off a bit more! She’s also a darned skilled stylist and I very much need her in my life to dress me for gigs. Oh, and a great Burnfm DJ too!

The latest member to join our lineup is tallest member Richard B Brookes (or Richie B Brookes for short.) Richie brings with him a love of ska and nineties hitmakers Babybird – so much so that he spent the last weekend stalking them (he calls it ‘going to two gigs in a row’) We would do a cover of ‘You’re Gorgeous’ but it’s only a ‘feminist song’ when its sung by a man… maybe.

In fact you are more than welcome to interview the above without me. As I’ve only really been interviewed once and I forgot to ask for everyone’s names to be published in the article, nor did I ask for Kate Hindley’s wonderful artwork to be credited.

So yes, any questions for the band please ask away!

We’re playing a free gig at the Bulls Head, Mosley tomorrow at 8pm with a fantastic lineup including A Bull, Greatest Hits and Boat to Row so please do come along!

Frankie x

I could have died.

Sorry to use shock tactics to get your attention! It’s not a lie – but it does require a long winded story [disguised as a review!]

Last night I popped over to Digbeth’s Rainbow for a night of sober fundraising recklessness. The University of Birmingham’s Oxfam Outreach society were holding their annual Rainbox charity event (I believe this may be a national thing – although I’m afraid I’ve not researched properly – I’m on a bit of a tight schedule atm.) £3 on the door, cakes for a donation. Bands. Brilliant!

First up on the bill was gifted singer Bethan Court, who used to sing for a band called The Harbour Lights who have unfortunately now disbanded. This may, however, be a plus for Bethan as it will give her a chance to experiment with younger, edgier material. Last night she performed a range of covers including Emmy The Great’s First Love and Radiohead’s Fake Plastic Trees. There is a fabulous ethereal quality to Bethan’s voice – it’s depth of tone lulls one into a sense of security which didn’t quite fit with the latter two songs, particularly when performed in such a musically sound way . I would love to see her perform material that she herself has written or has been written for her so that she can explore the content of the songs truthfully. That, in time, will guarantee a more affecting performance. I hope that she finds a band to work with soon, because I really want to see her perform again.

Next up, the Miles Bradley fronted LookiMakeMusic who haven’t had a great deal of gigging experience as a group. This wasn’t, however, an issue to themselves or the audience. Miles is a witty orator rather than virtuoso singer lamenting love, breakups and Supersonic Vague/Snobs in a self effacing way. Like a less enthusiastic Eddie Argos I suppose! He’s got a very good sense of rhythm, particularly when reciting very very fast passages of lyrics – almost like a MC crossed with a slam poet. Musically the band allow themselves to vary their accompaniment between sparse and robust – the robust, collective sound being particularly effective (as one would expect.) One moment where all members sang in enthusiastic harmony was particularly impressive. More please lady and gents! One thing that did stick out was the occasional use of violin by muli-instrumentalist Caitlin Price. To me I didn’t always feel that the timbre of the violin quite fit with the rest of the music, particularly at the end of a couple of songs where it was played for a couple of phrases longer than the other instruments. This was not due to Caitlin’s abilities – she is a very capable, impressive musician. It was purely a concept that didn’t quite gel for me. The synth, however, went down a treat!

Third to take to the stage were Young Runaways, an event looked forward to by many of the event attendees. The Wolverhampton wonders burst into their set and never lost a drop of energy throughout. They produced a set of well crafted, musically interesting pop songs, with a wealth of experience clearly on their side – it’s not hard to tell why they’ve been played on Tom Robinson’s BBC6 Music introducing show… Theirs is music of the heart swelling kind – that is to say, you can stand (perhaps sway a little) and watch respectfully, or you can jig to the music joyfully – the resulting rapture is still the same. Gorgeous.

The penultimate act of the night was SDF. I can honestly say that I have no idea who they are and still don’t (as I was in the bar during their set… whoops!) Although my housemate DP reviewed them as ‘confusing.’ Basically he had no idea if they were ‘trying to be ironic as they stood in a line and danced campily.’ However DP admitted that he rather warmed to the band and others I spoke to from the audience ruddy appreciated them. If you like your electro, check them out.

The act that the audience had unanimously braying for all night was uni musicians The July Days. I’ve been a fan (and, hopefully) a friend of the band for a while so haven’t written too much on them so as to remain unbiased, however after last night I really felt that seeing them for a measly £3 donation (they have the potential to command a lot more) meant that they deserved a little more of my time (and words – if they have the potential to be worth anything.) The band always kick off with singer Reece Lipman’s introduction; ‘This song is called I Said, You Said and it goes like this.’ – which is fast becoming a bit of a trademark! The band had a generous 45 minutes onstage (which rushed by as furiously as ‘badger haired flemmy skeleton’ Sam Lewis’s mighty drumbeats.’ We were treated to classics such as ‘Babe Ruth’ and ‘Hollywood’s Future’ as well as similarly older, less played songs such as ‘Broken Lyrics’ plus newer material such as ‘Empire State’ and ‘Quirky Isn’t Working.’

I think it was halfway through ‘Babe Ruth’ when I looked over at Sam Cowley (Sir Digby himself) and realised that we both knew the words so well that we should audition to be backing singers/dancers (I have choreographed a rather fetching dance, you see.) Unfortunately, from the looks of the rest of the crowd, we’d probably have a lot of competition!

For the grand ‘Quirky Isn’t Working’ finale myself and Ms Helen ‘Shaniqua’ Shepherd (one of burnfm‘s newest DJs) took to a rather wobbly picnic table and gave it some ‘Kevin Lyttle‘ dancing. When the audience demanded an encore (and the band repeated ‘Babe Ruth’) we were joined by more jubilant dancers. This, ladies and gentlemen, is where I nearly died. The table bounced up, down, forwards, and backwards, but myself and Shep did not mind. When I did get a little scared however, we hopped off and headed to the stage in preparation for invasion…. just as the song ended. Rats!

Get Frank are playing an acoustic at the Bristol pear this Saturday so I hope some of you can join us. It’s a mere minimum £1.50  donation for entry (proceeds to the DEC Haiti earthquake appeal I believe.) Rainbox raised (at last count) a massive £700 for the Oxfam earthquake appeal so I hope we can raise a sum too!

The July days also sold a special acoustic EP for charity yesterday (an amazing £1) yesterday. Here’s mine:

Aren’t you the jealous ones?

Right I’m off to rehearsals.

Frank. x

p.s

To those of you reading on Facebook, this post, like most of my ‘notes’ originated from http://www.getfrank.co.uk, just so you know!