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?

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)

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!

Must-hear viewing

“Must-hear you say? But these are videos I see below…”

Yes that is indeed correct, but they’re music videos so I hope you watch them to hear them… if that makes sense? Basically they’re videos that if you haven’t seen, you should, and if you have I heartily salute you with my well-bitten fingernails.

Firstly I present to you the wonderful Leeds-based solo artist James Owen Fender. I truly love this artist: Awesome voice, sensational tunes. Also check out his video for former single The Cloud.

Next, here’s lovely songwriter Martin Longstaff, performing live for Amazing Radio as The Lake Poets. This was recorded exclusively for the station at Newcastle’s Blank Studios. I wrote an article recently predicting big things for The Lake Poets in 2011, and Martin will be a guest on my Amazing Folk Roots Show this Sunday from 7pm.

Now I’ve been meaning to post this next video for far too long. It’s Newcastle four piece Grandfather Birds recording in The Amazing Sessions for Amazing Radio. This video was created by the lovely Paul Alton, who often attends local gigs armed with a video camera. (The song’s pretty sensational too).

I wasn’t too big a fan of previous effort Ungrateful, but I have a huge soft spot for this number, Hunger, by Wichita label act Frankie & the Heartstrings. It’s a fantastic video starring Robert Popper of BBC comedy Look Around You and features a particularly fine performance from keyboardist/guitarist/all-round-legend Mick Ross.

Finally I’m not sure if this is an official video. but we’re loving Kyla La Grange at Amazing Towers right now. Her voice might be too sugary for some, but this song, Walk Through Walls, is epic.

So what do you think? Any new acts I should check out?