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?

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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!

The all new Get Frank podcast!

I have just finished uploading my very first Get Frank podcast!

I may no longer be working for Amazing Radio, but I want to continue to support new and emerging artists, and I thought that producing and presenting my own podcast would be a good way of doing it.

I’m intending to produce a 30-40 minute episode every 2-4 weeks (depending on the response to the pilot episode). The idea of the podcast is that it will feature a mixture of acts that I have seen live (or am planning to) and will centre around a featured artist who will guest on the show by way of an interview.

The first episode features Wylam five-piece Vinyl Jacket who are currently promoting debut single Painting Stations. The single, which has been released by new Newcastle-based label The Calico Print, has found a home on many a radio station, including BBC Radio 1, BBC 6 Music and Amazing Radio, and should see the boys recruiting a strong fan base. The guys make fantastic interviewees, and I really couldn’t think of a band I’d rather have helping me out on my first episode.

Alongside Vinyl Jacket there’s also mentions for Pandas and People, Let’s Buy Happiness, Grandfather Birds and Pilots, plus plays for Craig Wosahlo, Baskin’s Wish, The Carpels, Toodar and Mammal Club (as remixed by Mr Blazey).

The real challenge I’m currently struggling with is the editing process. This isn’t because I’m inexperienced in using sound editing software, but because I don’t have a professional program intended for the task on my computer. (I miss Adobe Audition greatly!) Currently I’m editing interviews and preparing song extras (with fades/transitions) in Audacity, loading into iTunes and multi-tracking it all together in Garage Band. For the links themselves I’m recording with a Zoom H2 microphone straight into Garage Band. When I was editing the pilot I kept having to rerecord ins and outs because, unbeknownst to me, the clips kept cropping. Once I’m safely back in employment I’ll save up and invest in a copy of Logic Express, and then I can think more about audio imaging and the concept of the podcast itself.

If you have any comments, questions or would like to be featured on the next Get Frank podcast then drop me a line at frankiepromotes@gmail.com. Find out more about the podcast and how to subscribe here.

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!’