Brighton’s Got Talent

For all you lucky so-and-so’s heading down to Brighton this weekend for the Great Escape Festival, you’re going to have a mind-blowing weekend.

When I think about it, it’s not luck really, it’s that you had the good sense to book your tickets, sort somewhere to kip and are probably quaking with excitement right now!

As usual, Generator will be hosting an event, and it’s all the more exciting to see hotly-tipped lady Lulu James on the bill. She’s been featured in the Metro with her debut release, the Rope Mirage EP and has received acclaim for her magnetic performances.

What’s brilliant about James is that she kickstarted her blossoming music career on one of Generator’s free UMT courses (they’re brilliant – I briefly wrote about my experience on the course here), after meeting her collaborator Domzilla. After listening to the haunting, dub-tinged stunner, Rope Mirage, something tells me the latter has a similarly bright future ahead.

Find out more about the rest of the lineup here. It’s fair to say that regular readers will be aware of my love for Vinyl Jacket and I’ve previously sung backing vocals for Martin Longstaff (aka The Lake Poets) and will always be a devoted fan.

Other bands I’d give my shoe collection up to go and see:

Beth Jeans Houghton & the Hooves of Destiny – Her debut album was well worth the ridiculously long wait

Bastille – Dan Smith and Co will be the sound of the late Summer. Their single Overjoyed is out now on Virgin Records. Invest your ears now, and feel smug once they hit the mainstream

Gemma Hayes – Will be the first lady of folk at this year’s festival. Going to be a classy gig

Man Like Me – Energetic, crazy, brilliant. The only thing predictable about this gig is that it won’t be boring. Dance your socks off and get down with the trombones

Willy Mason – So much more than ‘that bloke who sung about oxygen’

We Were Promised Jetpacks – Just because.

Are you heading down? Who are you going to see?

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.

Two and a half weeks

Any of you that follow my You Tube channel will be aware that I’ve made a video account of my time without employment.

I wanted to do this as a record for other people who, like me, have been made unexpectedly unemployed and have no idea how the system works. In some ways it was a difficult process and there were phone calls and meltdowns that I caught on camera but decided to keep out of the final edits. In the end the result was a simple vlog.

I probably come across and stubborn and ignorant in some videos, but I honestly did not know how the system worked for jobseekers. At the entrance to the job centre there’s a big banner that tells you that the idea of the place is to ‘find you the work you want’ but in actual fact they just want you in work. This is an understandable desire, but possibly one of the reasons people stick to signing on. If they are forced into a job that they don’t want and therefore have no time, help or resources to find their ideal vocation, they’re going to be even more adverse to steady employment.

Earlier this month I made the final of a competition held by Primula Cheese and Capital FM North East. The idea was to create a recipe for four on a budget using a variety of Primula cheese. I went for the simple, yummy bean enchiladas recipe I once made for my former Amazing Radio show. I knew I wouldn’t win the £1,000 prize but it was a fantastic day out that really made me feel ‘normal’ again. They even made a film of the event which is hilarious as I couldn’t stop laughing before they announced the winner. Priceless.

Ready Steady Squeeze Final from Adam Troup on Vimeo.

Another thing that kept me occupied over the last two weeks was the wonderful UMT: Play course, run by North East music agency Generator. I met two fantastic girls, Mary and Harriet, and together we formed ‘Mary Sends Out Warning’ and wrote three songs for a performance to friends and family in a mere four days. We also recorded our mini masterpieces and hopefully I’ll be able to share those with you soon!

Here are some pictures from the ‘Big Day’ as taken by the wonderful Jazzy Lemon (who I shall miss very much when I head South).

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!’