Saturday, 13 December 2014

And the Diary Gets Fuller. Rotherham at it's Best.

Well it’s been a busy time.   Finishing the Workshop element to the British Council Active Citizen Course, various Meetings and taking in some Gigs as well. 

We’re start with the Gigs and of course Live at The Trades.  Mama really are the top Genesis Tribute Band in the UK.  The show they put on for us was absolutely amazing, with faultless musicianship, lighting show and a vocalist who was able to manufacture the sound of both Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins.  It was such a pity that the Band performed to an audience of only 50 inclusive of Mama’s stage team.  Very sad.  But The Trades was not alone, there was an eerie atmosphere around Town and all venues reported being quiet.   Maybe it was the quiet before Christmas as advance sales for the Christmas Party and Seig Seig Sputnik are better than buoyant.

Hopefully we can convince Mama back to Rotherham next year and hope that the word gets around about what a super night it was. 

Then again everyone may have spent up on Friday night as two lively Gigs were on the go in Rotherham with Sneaking Stupidity playing the Titans Club and a rammed Cutlers for the much anticipated EP launch of Be The Revolution. 

I could be found at the latter.  Pinned to the wall at the back.   For support Band Round Our Way it was only their second outing as a unit.  The set list was made up of the basic fare of Punk / Indie covers.  We all have to learn, but one of the basic rules for a new Band seeking opportunities to play has to be play only what you feel comfortable with, and play reasonably well.  Unfortunately they chose three of my most favourite songs to completely destroy, “Teenage Kicks” being just one.   This was mainly due to the vocalist lacking confidence in his voice to reach the high notes of the song, which made for a strange delivery of the song as he switched from normal pitch to a rather low pitch which he struggled to hit.   I had to ask if I was missing something and whether they were putting their original arrangement to the song, but unfortunately my original fears were confirmed, they really couldn’t do the song.  By the end of a Sex Pistols classic that was given similar treatment there could be no doubt.          

While the Band were new to Gigging, it is made up of musicians with experience of the music scene, which makes it even more surprising that their set list included these songs.   If you are going to cover classic songs they need to be played well, or not at all.

Luckily we were in for a musical treat when Be The Revolution, playing songs penned by Ian Huddleston in the style of late sixties psychedelic rock, came on stage.  The songs reflect the political need for “change” in the face of the heartless and relentless attach upon the traditional working class.   I feel privileged to have been a small part in the development of the songs, having early access to the rough cuts before they were mixed.  

While the keyboards led, Royce on his cornet provided additional depth, and Ian has the vocal ability to pull the chant nature of the songs together without being tempted into over-elaborating either the guitar line or vocal.   The EP is available from Ian direct or HERE as a download.  
It was a super night of local music making, and while my comments concerning the support maybe harsh, I hope they will be taken in the constructive sense with which I made them.   And yes I did make the points to the Band via their bass player during the interval.    

A word about the Dickensian Day in Rotherham Town Centre last Saturday.   Unfortunately I was doing my Training so missed much of the day and events. 

I’m told that everyone taking part had a fantastic time, a real Christmas feel to the event especially for lots of excited children.   With fire eaters, and other Street Circus + of course a wonderful market it was a treat for the shoppers.  

There were a few critical voices who were either too early or late for the main events of the Day.  They may have a point though, e.g. perhaps there needs to be more intensity to events, either shortening the advertised hours or involving more acts / performers / mini events.   

None of that undermined the enthusiasm of all those taking part though. 

On Sunday Evening / Tea time the Button Tin special had a good attendance of hardy souls at The Imperial Building.   The building makes for a special atmosphere that we have exploited at Slamfest and other events in the past, but the weather and the temperature has to be right.   I would dearly love to come along for a few performances, including Love Comes First, but hanging around these Winter nights is for the hardy folks only.    Roll on Spring.    The picture on the right I like to think demonstrates the beacon of life and and hope offered by the Imperial Building.   Picture Barrie Jones a Wath based artist who's studio / Gallery is well worth checking out if you are in Wath.

On Wednesday tea time I was lucky enough to be amongst those at ROAR Talk where Walt Shaw had been invited to talk about his work.  What a remarkable artist.   Walt works in so many arts, from his Assemblages (probably recycled art might be a more descriptive label), paintings, experimental percussion music, collaborations and so much more. 

I find it fascinating listening to artists talking about their work, especially when the work is so abstract.  Walt had so many internalised motivational factors underlying his work that the casual observer may have missed completely………………..   and this applied to his music as it did his visual work. 

Most of interesting of all was his experimental performance work which employed not only his love for musical experimentation but his feeling for all performance genre including dance and use of the audience to create an “experience”.   

Walt has an excellent Web Site, why not go an explore the work of an exceptional artist HERE

Plenty of food for thought.  

My spies tell me that Quiet ROMP / ROMP TOO   at the New York is growing by the month.   Music and Poems from some very talented people.   Look out for details of their January gathering.

On Friday it was off to The Monkwood to take in a set from Crimson Moon a Band that never disappoints.  Playing classic Rock and Blues, we were treated to who’s who of Rock as they played through Zed   I particularly like this Band because they don’t always play the usual suspects in terms of the songs they select making it a real selection box of music.    Superb musicianship complimented by some bang on vocals.   I’m told that they will be playing all the usual venues in 2015 with bookings at The Bridge, The Cutlers and The Flying Scotsman in Doncaster already on the Diary.  Add to that Slamfest (fingers crossed) and maybe a support spot at Live at The Trades and the future is already looking great for this Band.   
Zepline, Cream, Fleetwood Mac, Black Sabbath and many more.

I hope to have some dates for the Foundation Records Saturday afternoon audition events very soon.   What I can say is that the events will be spread out over late January – March.   These are not X Factor type events.  We hope to have some “old buggers” on hand to help provide support and advise.  There will also be opportunities to register for the sound / lighting training at the same time, along with song writing and Graphic Design and Music Marketing.   Stay tuned. 

We would like to hear from musicians interest in what is labelled experimental music from the Rotherham area.   We would like to bring people with an interest in this genre together with a view to creating a performance piece that might be performed at Slamfest and other Arts Festivals around the Region.   Email HERE

On a more traditional musical note, let’s take an A  (poor musical joke)  I’ve been asked by Rupa to bring your attention the Rotherham Sangeet & Choir group.  The Choir is to be led by Kamalbirji and the music will be multi-cultural with a view to performing later in 2015.   You can contact Rupa HERE.  The next practice session, complete with tea / coffee will be held on 14th December at 5.30pm at Yoga Sanctuary.   If too late for this week why not contact Rupa for details of additional dates.

Love Comes First hole another of their Saturday evening gatherings at the Imperial Building this Saturday 13th December with another line up of top local talent.   Don’t be a light weight like me and let the cold get to you, go down and show your support.   I’m told that some of the Love Comes First plaques will be available at £25, you can now order in any colour, along with some croqueted buttons and Christmas Tree stars at £1 each.   It’s fantastic to see the Imperial Building being used in this way, and yes, behind the scenes we are trying to sort something out about heating the area for these events.   Please go and show your support.   I believe that Love Comes First will be a regular monthly feature at The Imperial Building through 2015. 

Also all the Love Comes First Merchandise can be ordered or purchased from Brian's Shop in the Imperial Building six days a week - or indeed the Button Tin.

This Saturday 13th December is also the Live at The Trades Christmas Party with healthy dose of cheese.   The Neurythmics will be performing both their Tribute to the Eurythmics and their fantastic general eighties show while, Elvis is said to be coming to life like a true Christmas ghost story with our good friend Nigel on the desks playing the best of his seasonal eighties record collection………… HELP.   Should be a great night – tickets have sold well, so get yourselves down for a knees up and sing song. 

Next week’s Live at The Trades with Sigue Sigue Sputnik, supported by My Periott Dolls and the Thurminators should be another amazing evening.    Don’t miss out on the final pre-Christmas session of quality music.   Nothing more until February, so get your fill now.   Tickets from the usual Agents, Mezmerize, The Trades and The Cutlers and Online HERE

Our friends from Kinkids will be at both events making a collection, adding to their Christmas fund for the children that their Organisation help.  Look out for a Jive Bunny Single that has been specially produced for Kinkids – I believe it’s available for download somewhere.  All profits go to Kinkids.

With the RAE Web Site looking fairly stable, work has started on updating the Acoustic Rotherham site.  It’s all very time consuming so patience please.

Don’t forget that the Listings page is updated regularly HERE

And that’s it for this week.    Apologies for not having got this Online earlier, but – yes, it’s that time of year and the Diary seems to get very full. 

So whatever you are doing in the lead up to Christmas, have great fun, please support all the events going on in the locality and support the local Traders and KEEP IT LIVE

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Busy times around Rotherham. Are you part of it? Chit Chat and News

Having the UK Subs in Town on Saturday night was simply fantastic.  Quality.  What a night at  Really big thanks to The Sons of El Roacho; Cambodia; Sneaking Stupidity; Shambolix; and Reasons to be Cheerful. 
Live at The Trades, with a support Bill made up of Bands that could have all headlined.

Rotherham turned out on mass to support this amazing night of Punk Music making for a very special atmosphere. 

What’s more the evening went off without a hitch, a near miracle given the number of Bands playing, so big thanks to Jason on the knobs for a great job. 

Once again it’s worth reflecting on just how genuine the guys who make up the UK Subs were; nothing too much trouble, they autographed just about everything!  This is me and Charlie after the show.

You can find some great pictures taken by Snapper Graham HERE

Kinkids, the Charity that RAE are supporting, raised £103 on the night as well as making some very useful contacts for the future.  Excellent work, and super generosity from you the Live at The Trades audience.  Kinkids will be collecting at some of the other Christmas promotions – your donations have already helped towards the New York Stadium Christmas Party and the purchase of gifts.   These Children are being cared for by surrogate parent Family Members, and receive no help from the State – and a number of the Children are the result of the CSE cases highlighted in the Jay Report.   The ladies on the door are Volunteers and are passionate about an organisation that provides support to the Surrogates who quite often are Grand Parents.  

Another magic night all round.  

Saturday night was an amazing night for live music and audiences in Rotherham, with bumper crowds at The Bridge, supplemented by Real Ale Punks, where 6Needles and Papa Legba’s were in full action and at The Cutlers where the Racoons were rocking the House, and even SNAFU had a good turnout for regular Band Tush.   With the full house at the Trades it was a great night.  

Magic nights are not exclusive to “Live at the Trades”.  On Wednesday night I made it out to take a look at the new RCAT facility in what used to be known as The Charters.  From a Public House that used to retain customers by sticking them to the carpet to a new fresh looking facility that will be used by the students on performing arts Courses.  Wednesday was the first night of what I believe will be series of events showcasing the work and talent of the students. 

Sorry about poor picture but my new phone had not arrived and I forgot the camera!!!

The evening opened with Band made up from the first year students performing a set of standard covers.  A demonstration of raw talent to be admired.  While there was some exciting guitar work, and on occasions some wonderful individual vocals, the harmonisation was not quite there yet.  But the promise was obvious, and it’s not easy putting eight musicians together and in short time produce a perfect 45 minute set. 

The second Band, and I really ought to know it’s name as they have performed as support for us at the Trades, were of another standard.  Simply brilliant.  The musicianship demonstrated was second to none both in terms of writing and performance.   This is what makes real talent standout from the rest, a mix of self-penned pieces mixed into some interesting arrangements of standard covers. 

It was a pity that either the mixing desk / PA was not quite up to the task.  Several times vocals were drowned out by backing from the instruments. 

Well done to them all.

More reasons to celebrate the development of former RCAT student’s.  Tom Kilner, the superlative blues guitarist and improving vocalist has negotiated a Recording Contract with an American LA based label Cleopatra Records.  We offer Tom are congratulations.

This brings me to a couple of negatives. 

Being a promoter is not an easy task and quite often breaks in communication can lead to difficulties.   For example there is one Band in Rotherham who believe that we renegaded on a payment for a support spot that they performed.   RAE/Live at Trades do not pay support acts, and in this particular case they had been invited to perform by the headline Band and not us and any promise of a fee would have come from the headline band.   However, the Band has chosen to blame us.  Sad. 

If communication between Bands can sometimes drop us in a black hole, then what we find it difficult to understand is the failure of communications between Band members.  Recently Mick took a verbal and a Facebook hammering from a Mum upset that her son’s Band were unable to play at a venue.   The Band had asked to play, Mick said fine, and the Band member then said he would check with the other Band members and confirm – the confirmation call never came!  Yet the Band turned up at the venue!! 

Please Bands communicate, it really does help.  

Young Bands – up to age 24.   If you would like to take part in some auditions in January, to be a part of the Foundation Records, recording project then please Email HERE

We aim to run an Acoustic Rotherham in February 2015.   Seems a long way off.   The intention is to take it back to it’s real roots.  The venue will be The Cutlers, and we will run across a Sunday afternoon.  We would like to feature some new people, as well as welcome some of the events close friends.  

As a mostly desk bound music jockey, I rely upon all you regular Open Micers and Folk Clubbers to bring new performers on the scene to my attention.  Please if you know of an act that would benefit from the exposure of an Acoustic Rotherham then please tell me.  Thanks.

For both wanting to play and or inform me of performers new to the scene then Email HERE

The British Council’s Active Citizenship Training is underway.   The first two sessions have been really revealing, especially about one self.  Essentially we have been asked to examine what we believe and know of ourselves and how we use the internalised values to assess what we are seeing or other people, and how often we can be completely wrong.

What I cannot understand is why the Course is so under-subscribed.   But this is not the only VAR Training that for some reason has had difficulties, a Course on Volunteer recruitment / retention was also under subscribed and postponed as a result.   

Both, Active Citizenship and Volunteers are going to be so crucial to the ability of social Organisations and Companies especially in the delivery of projects and services to the Community as the Government cut public expenditure even more. 

News of telecommunications.   Never got my old telephone back, lost into the big black hole where mobile phones gather, especially those locked from further use.   However, a new one has been purchased, beating the “yes Sir we’ll replace it but you will have to take a new two year contract”.   I have to say I was quite surprised when researching a new mobile at what you can purchase.   From Ebay I bought a “Happy Life” Smartphone, offering all the tricks and features of a Samsung Note 3 for less than a fifth of the cost.  It’s worth shopping around.   The good news is that I’m back on air using the exactly the same mobile number. 

Web Site watchers will have noted a new look to the RAE Web Site this week, with all the usual glitches.   The latest upload has cleared some of them.  We hope that the pages will load quicker and also lighten up the pages.   If you find a link not working then please let me know by Email HERE

 It’s worth again boasting that we have well over 100,000 hits on the site with an average of around 950 hits per week.  This is great news for our sponsors and advertisers.

A couple of top Festivals have invited applications and closing dates.  Top of my list would be Worcester a full weekend of music.  However this Festival normally offers places to Bands or performers based in the Worcester area.   Exceptions are made, indeed the Masher played the Festival twice.   It’s a fast developing Festival and in line with the RAE ethos of being a free Festival to the public, which means of course you would have to finance the trip yourself.   But if you or your Band are looking to break into new areas this is an excellent place to start.   Details HERE

The second is the Shuttle, Shuffle Festival.  Don’t know much about this one you can get all the details HERE

And of course there is the open invitation to play Slamfest4 in July.   Apply by Email HERE   Mick, Dick, Dan and the Cutlers are cooking up another whirlwind of stress.

This weekend it’s another bumper week for live music in Rotherham. 

It starts on Friday, when what I think is the pick of the weekend when Ian Huddleston’s “Be The Revolution” launch their heavily trailered EP.  Copies of the CD will be available on the night as will a specially brewed beer by Chantry Brewery.   The event kicks off at The Cutlers around 8:30  but you know how these nights work.  

At the Titans Club on Clifton Lane you’ll find our chums Sneaking Stupidity bouncing on the floor boards as they deliver their mix of Dr Feelgood and others music.    Always a great night.   Starts around 9:00pm

Poets – don’t forget that it being the first Friday of the month ROMP will be in full voice at The Bridge from 8:00pm.

Saturday finds the top Genesis Tribute Band, Mama, Live At The Trades.   This promises to be a great night of classic soft rock, with the Band playing the best numbers from across the various eras of the Band’s life.   Walk up and of course the way we prefer it pre- booking at all the usual Agents, The Trades, Mezmerize on Wellgate, The Cutlers or Online HERE

Saturday is National Small Business Day, and to celebrate there is Dickensian Christmas theme in the Town Centre for the day.   Be amazed by the singers, the Victorian Characters walking around the Town and much more.  So come on down to Rotherham and support your local businesses.  

At the Cutlers on Saturday Mantra will be rocking the House.  

Sunday see’s another of the Imperial Building saris, this one strangely entitled, Don’t Miss Out.  The event starts at 5:00pm and runs to around 8:00pm.     Chesterfield Band Ichadbod will be on hand to provide the music along with local favourites.   

There is a general shout for musicians who would like to play the next Love Comes First at the Imperial Building on the 13th December to volunteer.     

Sunday also has the opening of Chantry Brewery’s latest project, The Flying Scotsman in Doncaster.  I’m told that The Sherlocks are down to play the night, but since the original announcement I’ve not seen much. 

And next week there is barrel load of goodies as well,  Walt Shaw will be the guest at ROAR Talk on Wednesday at 4:30pm, with the Christmas Project, Project continuing – it’s your chance to play with the ROAR toys, everything from carvers to 3D printing………………..   and while you’re at it find out how ROAR might be able to help you with your creative endeavors.  

Links to all the above can be found HERE on the RAE listings page.

Just a quick heads up to the next weekend.   Tickets for the Live at The Trades Christmas Party are selling like hotcakes.  £7.50 for an amazing night that includes Elvis coming to life, the Neurythmics who are back by public demand after their great show last year and of course no eighties based night  would be complete without Nigel Beasley at the turn tables, with music late into the night. 

And that’s it for this week.   So whatever you’re doing have a fantastic pre Festive time, support the local artists and traders, and KEEP IT LIVE.