A video from last night’s gig…

The lovely Elena Dana took this recording on her camera of me performing one of my oldest songs, Vacant.

Jazzy Lemon saves the day!

I’d meant to take a picture of my outfit for The Prison Library single launch at the Cluny 2 last night but headed out the door without thinking.

I don’t take a picture of every outfit I’ve worn, but I wanted a picture because it featured a few items I picked up from the Metro Centre on Wednesday. (I’m also having a wardrobe clear out and am in the midst of deciding what looks good and what would be best placed else where!)

Luckily Newcastle’s staple music photographer Jazzy Lemon was out in force and happened to take a few snaps of me at the gig (which you can see below). You can check out the full album (amongst literally hundreds of thousands of rock and roll moments) here. There’s plenty of great shots of all the acts; this Sunday’s Amazing Folk Roots Show guest The Lake Poets, Let’s Buy Happiness in disc jockey action at the decks, soulful Indie four-piece Grandfather Birds and headliners The Prison Library, who managed to put fears about the departure of brilliant Frankie & the Heartstrings guitarist Mick Ross totally at bay.

Blazer £29.99 by H&M, cropped t-shirt £9.99 by Zara, skirt £11 by Primark, headband by Stone Bridge

I saw this t-shirt on Zara’s website and experienced one of those “HAVE TO HAVE THIS” moments where I wanted to leave my desk and flee to this shop for immediate purchase. I didn’t notice I’d picked up a larger size until I got home but I think it will still work tucked into skirts or with faux leather skinnies. The blazer is one of the comfiest I own and was a complete impulse buy when a band practice was cancelled last-minute.

Shoes by Office, socks by Primark

I decided to brighten up the muted colours, ‘chic-up the geek’ and raise myself off the floor by a good five inches with my Office platform heels. I got these in 2008 when I was paid for my performance in Days of Hope by Howard Goodall at Birmingham’s MAC theatre. Although most of the money went on student rent and a new electric piano, I just couldn’t resist these. They made me at least as tall as most of the audience which meant that I could comfortably see the bands for once!

Satchel by New Look (all photos by Jazzy Lemon)

I’m starting to get rather impatient for Spring to arrive now. I’m resisting hiding in big coats and layering cardigans and my unlined parka in an attempt to be ready lest we be treated to a sunburst or two. Tomorrow I’m heading off to Tynemouth (a bit of the coast to any Southerners reading this) so I’m hoping to find a treat or two. I’ve never been before, but I’m gagging for some good ole seaside chips!

Thanks again to Jazzy Lemon for letting me use her photos!

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!

Stone Roses

The other day I received a parcel…

 

The welcoming label!

 

I don’t really get many parcels so I was rather excited… particularly when I opened it and found a note handwritten on luxury paper just for me!

 

How pretty!?

 

I was sent the mystery package by Stone Bridge, a Kent based luxury hair accessories company that had spotted my curly tresses and thought that they could do them justice!

I lived in Kent for about eleven years so hearing that an international company was successfully flourishing not far from where I grew up was something to feel proud of. Kent isn’t really known for much other than hops and livestock, so it’s nice to see something slightly more… well… fashionable!

The company was set up by entrepreneur Melissa Hill. In 2006 she spotted a gap in the market for couture hair accessories and set about commissioning wearable works of art from around the world as well as ordering pieces from highly skilled designers from America, France and Italy (and further afield.) Due to the handcrafting processes that go into each piece, each design is of limited quantity which means I’m rather unlikely to turn up wearing the same head gear as someone else!

 

Almost real: Rose Silk Alice Band by Stone Bridge

 

Now I have to apologise for the following pics… I have finally spent some pennies on a nice compact camera, but I’m awaiting the delivery of a tripod so I can finally start posing proper. What I’ll be doing in the near future is assembling potential outfits to match one certain item, such as this alice band or other hair bands and barrettes.

My approach to fancy headgear is a bit like shoes – why own something if you can’t wear it more than once? The white colour of this headband makes many think of formal occasions such as weddings and christenings but I think it’s got potential for far more outings. I’ve often worn dramatic feathery headbands and fascinators to Get Frank gigs in the past so I’m definitely looking forward to having fun with this white beauty.

 

Lipfinity Lasting Lip Tint in #06 by Max Factor, £6.99

 

 

Click on the pic to check out more Rose Silk Alice Band colours.

 

I also like to post outfits for occasions so my next challenge is to compile something to wear for my first gig with The Union Choir on Friday. It’s at Plugged Inn in Sunderland (yup, no idea where it is exactly) and I’m going to have to head straight to the venue after work at Amazing Radio. I’m thinking that this head band is absolutely perfect for the gig because even if I’m stuck wearing my casual work clothes, this head band will provide a slice of instant glam to proceedings!

Another lovely thing about this head band is that it’s ultra comfy – some alice bands I’ve owned in the past have been too tight or snagged my hair upon removal – causing headaches in both senses of the word! Also I don’t face the problems I had with my headband in this post, where the head band kept slipping so much I’ll probably never wear it out of the house again.

My super talented friend Ruth Kilpatrick took a couple of photos of me wearing the head band at an Amazing Radio session interview I did with Charly Coombes and the New Breed for this Wednesday’s Afternoon Show so hopefully I’ll post those soon with a potential Friday gig outfit and a bit more about Stone Bridge themselves – let’s get supporting independents eh?

Where do you think I should wear the Rose Silk Alice Band? Comments and suggestions much appreciated!

 

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!

FREE FOR YOU!

I’ve popped some tracks in/on my Get Frank Soundcloud for you to download and enjoy at your lesiure.

If you like please come along to one of my gigs, at The Victoria on the 26th February or The Yardbird on the 8th March (both are in Birmingham.)

Also feel free to pass the link/tracks on. They aren’t the greatest recordings (just stuff I did in my room!)

I’m hopefully putting a band together for the gigs too so hopefully I’ll have a nice new and improved sound!

(Get) Frank x