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)

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A terrifying musical debut!

I’m playing my first gig as ‘Member No.11’ of The Union Choir tomorrow at The Star and Shadow Cinema with Brilliant Mind, O’Messy Life and John Egdell tomorrow… and I can hardly contain my excitement.

For this isn’t any old gig… this is a Halloween special!

Wig by Smiffy's, jacket by Religion, top by H&M and faux leather trousers, £38 by Topshop

I was going to go as a convict before realising that I should probably have some kind of matching stripy hat. I’d already ordered the handcuffs for less than a pound from Amazon so I invested another pound in a bandit mask. I don’t think I’ll wear the mask over my eyes much because it covers my nose and is a bit too wide for my face! I decided to keep the handcuffs for my costume by pretending that I’m a robber that has been ‘picked up and put in a police van in cuffs, but escaped en route to the cells.’ My amazing manager Kev at Amazing Radio found the wig in a cupboard and said I could have it so I’m wearing it to ‘up the bad girl status’.

If there’s any night of the year that you can go ultra vampy with deep, dark lips and messy black eyes it’s Halloween so I’m preparing to go all out with my crayons!

The Union Choir are playing last and I’ll only be practicing with the some of the band for the first time on the afternoon before the gig so personally, it’s going to be nerve wracking stuff! I’ve also been known for writing and interviewing bands for the radio so to suddenly make my Newcastle stage debut in front of a lot of them will be quite terrifying.

Me and Anna, the cellist from The Union Choir will be carving a couple of pumpkins before practice tomorrow so I’ll pop some photos of them on shortly. Apparently South Shields (where many band members are based) is all out of pumpkins so we may be a few jack o’lanterns down!

The doors for the gig open tomorrow at 7.30pm so I hope to see you there! And don’t forget to leave a comment telling me what you’re dressing up as!

Transmission – Ready to take off!

In my previous post I talked about some of the bands who were about to play this weekend’s Transmission events.

Unfortunately I lack a camera so have no pics of my own, but head to Jazzy Lemon’s Flickr photostream to check out some amazing shots of Tom Robinson rocking out with The Union Choir and Brilliant Mind. Here’s one of me and fellow Amazing Radio broadcaster, Tom Cotton watching the spell binding Nadine Shah.

All eleven acts I saw (completely free courtesy of the wonderful guys and girls at Generator) were on fabulous form. I particularly enjoyed cardigan clad post punk rockers Cult Image, blossoming math rock act Toyger (as in ‘Toight like a…”) Vinyl Jacket turned in a tight performance of fantastic calypso pop tracks with fantastic energy and boundless charisma. What was even more shocking was the revelation that temporary guitarist Stuart (of interesting indie band Grandfather Birds) had only been playing with the band for a couple of weeks due to the normal guitarist’s incapacitated wrist!

There are two wagons in particular that I reckon you need to jump onto as soon as possible.

The first is that of solo artist Nadine Shah. Unafraid to plough through her songs with the emotional intensity of the ‘first play’, she transfixed the audience with her ability to command the room with just her stunning, full bodied voice and a keyboard. Her track ‘The Duke’ is currently on rotation in my head. She’s been working with top producers in London, so I’m looking forward to hearing the results. Shah is going on an O2 Academy tour with Shakespeare’s Sister very soon so I’d recommend going just to see her! She is going to be big news very, very soon.

The second band that entirely enthralled me was Chased by Wolves. Their set was packed full of sexy, edgy, bluesy numbers with singer Emma Siobhan Williams’ voice adding real colour to the set. Fellow vocalist Richard Smith’s voice provided a perfect contrast as well as extra power. James Brown on bass was a particular delight and completely addictive to watch – his five string bass was grooved and thrown around the stage, as if the instrument was playing the player.

Congratulations to all the acts, a huge thanks to Generator for throwing the ambitious events, and to Tom Robinson for being ‘glad to be gay’ (joyous.)

Tomorrow (Monday 6th September) I’ll be off to see Holy Mammoth support Fang Island at The Cluny 2, and on Wednesday I’ll return to the same venue to check out The Winter Hill Transmission play alongside Elliot Brood.

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!’