The Next Few Weeks In Music…

It’s come to my attention that the next two weeks are going to be rather treat-packed for live music lovers in London.

On Wednesday 8th February Tom Williams & the Boat play the Jazz Cafe in Camden.

Although Tom & co are supporting their next release with the help of Pledge Music, Moshi Moshi have been providing solid support for the band of late, providing them with a juicy support slot alongside Sweet Baboo and Spector at Slow Club’s recent Shepherd’s Bush Empire gig. With a new album on the horizon and a brooding, upbeat single, My Bones, receiving regular airplay on BBC 6 Music, it’s a gig I’m especially looking forward to.

Joining the band on the lineup are Two Wounded Birds, Fiction and Becoming Real. Don’t miss it.

On February 14th Vinyl Jacket have been invited to play Huw Stephens Presents at The Social, Marylebone.

I left Newcastle less than a week before Huw Stephen’s curated an epic lineup featuring Let’s Buy Happiness and Grandfather Birds (I was SERIOUSLY gutted to miss it), so I’m properly chuffed to get to go to one of his nights at last. Worried about spending the commonly dreaded V-Day with a partner in the fear of typical cheesy activities? Surely a gig is the only way to go… As for single little me, I’m going to dress up for me and the music. In Vinyl Jacket’s case, judging by brilliant new single Red Light, this should involve a Hawaiian shirt with a neon flower print.

For the official event page head here. Other bands on the bill include Man Without Country and St. Spirit.

On Monday 20th February I’ll be heading to the Bull & Gate for the first time this year to see Fran O’Hanlon take to the stage as Ajimal.

Fran’s been working with Mick Ross of Frankie & the Heartstrings on a new EP, Childhood. The first single release from it, A Footnote to Love (part one) has just been made available on Bandcamp and is being released by the Heartstring’s Pop Sex Ltd imprint.

Mr Ross is known for his ability to bring the best out of the acts he works with, be it Waiting for Winter or Let’s Buy Happiness so I’ll be waiting for the rest of the recordings with a haughty impatience… or at least heightened anticipation anyway.

I’ve seen Fran play many times, in multiple environments. From the darkness of the Cluny 2, to the intimacy of Osbourne Valley’s Blank Studios. He’s always mesmerising. The elevated, occasionally stuffy, always sticky Bull & Gate venue will be a new challenge. I wonder if it’ll be just Fran and his guitar and keys or if he’ll be trying to bring others again like he did in the above performance for the Roundhouse Rising festival. The Bull & Gate is a venue that I’ve seen work for some bands (Shields and Holy Mammoth worked the stage like pros, but their supports didn’t necessarily fare so well), but as a solo artist Fran will need to stun the room into silence for everyone to appreciate his delicate material. But I’m not worried. It’s what Fran does best.

As always, share your gig tips with me on Twitter!

This is your blood.

The brilliant team at Generator have launched a competition with Northern Film & Media to create a music video for a track by local artist Ajimal in just 14 days.

The competition itself is called Sound + Vision: 35/45. Here’s what the organisers have to say:

“Northern Film & Media in partnership with Generator are looking for the most creative and distinctive filmmakers in the region to produce a music video for leading independent record label Domino Records as part of a new filmmakers and musicians collaboration. Sound + Vision: 35/45 is an exciting evolution of Sound + Vision which last year saw a remixed Jimmy and the Sounds working with filmmaker Villing Chong. For 2011 Sound + Vision will bring together the North East’s most cutting edge filmmakers and musicians to work with Domino Recording Co – one of the most successful independent record labels in the world and home to artists including Arctic Monkeys, Wild Beasts, Villagers and Franz Ferdinand.”

This breathtaking entry – the brainchild of lovely local filmmaker Charlotte Johnson accompanies Wolf, one of my favourite songs of the moment. I could go on about the songwriter behind the white half-mask for hours, but instead I’ll let you watch the video!

Check out the other entries here.

The Get Frank Podcast #3

It’s podcast time, and this month it’s ‘The One With… The Union Choir

I was really excited to interview Jon from The Union Choir as I’ve had the privilege of rehearsing and performing with the band. It’s one of those insights that not many interviewers are lucky to have, so I hope I made the most of the opportunity in the interview!

Frankie Ward and Jon Melvin

Hanging out with Jon from The Union Choir

The podcast is quite mellow this time, and I look back after recording it and wonder where all the female artists went – something I shall rectify in the next episode I’m sure. There are, however, some fantastic bands in this episode, and they stretch from the North East through to Southampton so hopefully I’m spreading out my regions a bit!

So who have I got on the podcast this time? Well I kick things off with one of those artists you’ll never forget seeing live; solo medical student Fran O’Hanlon, aka Ajimal. He’s the songwriter that, together with Martin Longstaff (The Lake Poets), is never omitted from debates on Newcastle’s best bands. Continuing the Newcastle trend, I couldn’t resist popping a top track by the North East’s most entertaining and witty act, Brilliant Mind.

In honour of one of the gigs I attended in June, I bring you a track from Pengilly’s, having had the pleasure of seeing the band in question play a strong set at The Lexington. In support of my interview with Jon, I also play two of the acts that played on the same bill as The Union Choir at Camden’s Dublin Castle; Southampton’s Doyle and the Fourfathers and guitar-tapping maestro Daryl Kellie.

If you’d like to be on the next podcast, please drop me a line by emailing frankiepromotes@gmail.com or tweeting @getfrank.

Head over to Podomatic to have a listen to the podcast now – and be sure to leave me a comment here (if you have one)

Transmission: Who to see and what to wear?

On Saturday I finally felt brave enough to wear the trousers displayed in this previous post.

It was a trip to see the wonderful Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. I figured that most people would be watching the film rather than noticing me, thus meaning I could go about my high waisted business without a red face.

Jacket by Religion, tee by H&M, bag from charity shop, shoes by Primark and trousers from Zara

All of the items in the above photo are from past seasons – in fact aside from the trousers, the other items are over a year old. (Although the bag is of an unknown age, as I got it second hand a few weeks ago.)

Please forgive my messy room by the way! When this room was taken my wardrobe still lacked a rail, and currently I lack a lightshade so the low attic ceiling doesn’t spread light too easily. I also need a real camera and tripod!

My next dilemma is to decide what to wear to Saturday’s Transmission gigs.

Gig one

The first gig takes place at Newcastle’s Discovery Museum and features some local acts that I really love including Polarsets, Vinyl Jacket and Ajimal. The only problem is that it takes place from 12 – 5pm! I’ve seen Polarsets play a couple of times and they’re reliably fantastic – credible electro pop tunes with above average lyrics from lead vocalist Rob.

Vinyl Jacket are practically ‘friends’ of the show I produce for Amazing Radio, but I’ve never actually seen them on stage or met them in person so I’m going to get a bit nervous about saying ‘hi!’ They’ve got some intricate, indie pop gems in their set so I expect to be pleased!

I’m not sure if Ajimal will be a solo set from Fran, the keyboard player, or a gig with all three Ajimal members. I booked Fran to play a solo set for Amazing Radio but when he brought his two fellow band members with him I got a bit of a shock! The other members Ivan and Stefan are lovely – Ivan brings an electro influence and crazy hair, whilst Stefan brings a classic ‘folk’ voice and a fiddle. I’m hoping they’ve got a full set together as I think Fran’s wants the Ajimal audience to recognise that the music he’s currently playing is destined for group performance. At the moment it’s easy to think otherwise due to the intimate solo performances a handful of us have been honoured to witness (Fran on his own is something to behold.)

The following video is from the day I recorded the Amazing Radio session with Ajimal. If you don’t want to hear me gabbling with the guys, skip about 6 minutes in to hear a fabulous stripped back performance of their song When We Were Children. It’s very special indeed.

Gig two!

The second gig, at Newcastle’s The Other Rooms takes place from 7.30 onwards and features Brilliant Mind, Waiting for Winter and The Union Choir.

I absolutely ADORE Brilliant Mind. They’re punchy, witty and never fail to pop a smile on my face. I’ve briefly written about them before and really should devote a whole blog to their pop future. (Maybe I should call it The future’s bright… the future’s Brilliant???)

I’ve seen Waiting for Winter once before at the Cluny 2 and found them really interesting so I’m looking forward to seeing them in what has been described to me as an ‘intimate environment.’ I’ve heard that they’re also mad busy with recording over the weekend so this gig will probably feel like a studio break for them.

I’ve not seen The Union Choir before (to my knowledge anyway) and I’ve not heard much of Nadine Shah but I’m interested in both, particularly the latter as I’ve not seen many female fronted acts thus far in Newcastle. The few that do come to mind include the prolific Let’s Buy Happiness, Brilliant Mind Keyboardist Kate Edward’s project Agerskow and also rock outfit Retriever.

Hopefully I’ll be amongst them in the not too distant future…

So, onto the hard part! What to wear…?

Now I could go home between gigs for some food and a change, but I don’t want to appear high maintenance. However, on the other hand I am intending to publish this and people will now be aware that I am thinking about outfits! (I’m lacking things to do everyone, honest!)

Here’s what I was thinking for the second, evening gig.

Dress from sale by Zara

Boots by Peacocks (this season), headband by H&M

Jacket by Religion at Topshop

Jacket by Religion at Topshop, 'Love' necklace by Accessorize

(Notice that the clothes are gone due to drawers/wardrobe being fixed… hurrah!)

The Zara dress is a little too big but it was such an interesting lace that I couldn’t resist. (Plus it was on sale, of course!) Lace is still ‘in’ this season, so I shouldn’t risk looking ‘dated’. Although aviator jackets are the ‘must have’ jacket of the season, a little bit of leather always goes a long way (or in my case, pleather.)

I gather that I might not be able to get away with this during the daytime, but I haven’t thought about what I could wear during the day. I know that people will be reading this (particularly those who’ve stumbled upon this on Facebook rather than the original post) will be wondering why I’m fussed, but I think it’s because I want to feel different to how I do at work. At work pretty much anything goes, so I want to separate myself physically from ‘work mode.’ I also want to feel nice!

So, time will tell if I brave the outfit on Saturday night, but if you’re at the gig and see me be sure to say ‘hi!’