Category Archives: 2015

Interview with G4 – December 2015

Before the last date of their Carols By Candlelight Tour, I caught up with the recently reformed operatic quartet G4 to talk about pigs in blankets, Christmas Medleys and terrible Christmas presents.

G4 Interview – St. Georges’ Church, Brighton

How has the tour been so far? Have the audience been in the festive spirit, as some of the tour dates were in November?

It’s been interesting. Ben was reticent to begin with. For a lot of people 1st December is seen to be the start of the preparations for Christmas, but it’s been nice because for a lot of people we have literally been the first Christmas event in their calendar. I think that it’s great to have that live experience early on to get in the spirit.

Does it bring back memories from your early days singing in local choirs performing in Churches and Cathedrals?

(unison) Definitely! That is the exact background that we all come from. For us Christmas was the most memorable time of singing in the church. It’s nice to be able to choose the tracks that we sing now though. On the album there is a version of Away in a Manger with Jon singing the first verse and an old version of Jon singing when he was about 8 recorded on a cassette that we’ve used for the second verse.

These concerts have been particularly interesting for us as we have come around full circle bringing a chorister to each on to start off each performance of Once in Royal David’s City. We ran a competition called ‘G4 Search for a Christmas Star’ where we invited young singers to audition for the opportunity to lead the carol a cappella. The winner tonight is a great young singer called Toby Peters, who also opened up the first date of the tour in Norwich. He was so good that we invited him back to finish the tour with us!

G4 Interview - Christmas Star
G4 Interview – Christmas Star Competition

What has been your favourite venue on the tour and why?

Brighton of course! (I think they may have been joking) All of the venues were completely different. Lincoln had a very powerful sound, whereas Derby had  real family feel. It was great to be able to travel across the country to play in such beautiful and unique venues.

How did you first become involved with Rock Choir?

We’ve been working with Rock Choir since our reunion gig and they’ve played every gig with us in 2015. We first became involved with them when we enquired after hearing about them as a franchise. We thought that it was great what they were doing, as an amateur choir with a really professional attitude. Because there are so many of the choirs around the country, it’s great to be able to perform alongside different people each night on the tour. It adds a real energy to things where otherwise you might be lagging. From a practical point of view it makes a tour more logistically possible too. It feels like a natural marriage for us with the music and hope that they will continue to perform alongside us in the 2016.

How did you decide on the track listing for the album?

With difficulty. We started out by making a big list of all of the songs that we’d like to sing. Then we worked through some of them to see what would work best. We wanted the album to be different from the traditional Christmas album, pushing the boundaries with some obvious choices, some historic choices – like O Holy Night which was a song that we originally sung back on X Factor but never recorded – and some new moments such as the Christmas Medley and Bring Him Home, which is very fitting with the associated charity for the album, Missing People, and their #HomeforChristmas campaign.

Do you have a favourite track from the album?

The Christmas Medley. It was really fun to record. We enjoyed the anonymity of the whistling of Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer…until the live performance when everybody was looking to see who it was!

Where did you get the idea for the PledgeMusic campaign and how did you feel when you reached your target?

(Jon) I had previously used PledgeMusic for a solo project and when I put it forward to the guys they were keen to give it a go. It’s a really exciting project to be a part of, coming up with interesting incentives to give the fans more than just an album. It’s about letting them be a part of the experience from the first stages of recording the album through to its completion. Some of incentives included inviting people to the recording sessions of the album, going up The Shard for afternoon tea and going on a limo ride with one lady. It’s a great way to engage with your fans and we even managed to sell some albums too!

What are your plans before the Back For Good tour in April?

We’re on The Saturday Show tomorrow morning (Saturday 19th Dec) at 7am so we are travelling up to London after the signing after the show tonight. After that we have some solo work lined up over the holidays. (Jon) I’m in a pantomime and the rest of the guys have solo work going into the new year. Then we have some promo work to do for the new tour, rehearsals and perhaps some more recording before we start the tour. We’ll also be working on our new arrangements for the tour. We want to try some new ideas for this tour.

G4 interview - Back for Good Tour
G4 interview – Back for Good Tour

What is the most unexpected place that your music has taken you?

About 7 years ago we visited Ghana with the charity SOS Children. We went to an orphanage and saw the difficulty that people had living there, without any running water, scavenging for scraps of anything that they could eat. The people lived in shanty towns, in tiny huts that didn’t seem big enough for one person, let alone a whole family. There was one village that we went to where they had 1 TV, and people came from miles around to gather and watch it. It was a real social experience. Some of the people knew who we were through X Factor and we performed for the orphanage, helping to make some instruments for them to play along with.

Do you feel that by taking a break from G4 to pursue other solo projects, you feel more re-invigorated now you are back performing as a quartet?

There is definitely a much more healthy balance this time around. When we were first coming out of X Factor it was relentless. 24/7 for about 5 years. We only had about 3 weeks off in that time and even then we were on reserve, in case we got a call from Elton John to ask us to play a gig with him as we’d have to say yes. He never did call though… Now we are all a little older and it’s great to have the time to pursue our solo work and have more fun with what we’re doing. I think a lot of classical music and operatic singing is made too formal and we are definitely breaking pre-conceptions about classical music, reaching a mixed audience to make the music accessible to all, regardless of social background or age.

What is your favourite part of the Christmas Dinner?

Ben – Pigs in blankets.
Mike – I was going to say pigs in blankets too but actually I think it’s the bread sauce. We have a special family recipe. I would gladly have bread sauce sandwiches for days on end.
Jon – I like the meats. I like to cook a nice multi-bird roast. I buy all of the birds and then stuff them myself.

Finally, what is the worst Christmas Present that you have ever received or given?

Ben – Dettol. I was given it when I was about 9 years old. I think I still have the bottle somewhere. I was also given a leopard-print mankini.

Nick – I once got the same boring collection of poetry two years in a row from the same relative.

Jon – I like to make my friends fake scratchcards, so that they think that they’ve won like £50,000. It’ quite mean but it is very funny.

You can buy the G4 Christmas album on www.g4official.com.

www.twitter.com/g4official

Read a review of G4 at Norwich Cathedral

6 Top Music Festivals For 2016

If Glastonbury, Leeds and Reading, V Festival and the Isle of Wight Festival all seem a little oversized for your musical needs, then you will love these smaller, often independently run music festivals which will be returning for 2016. With individual event tickets, day tickets and weekend tickets, there will be something here to suit all preferences so read on to find out about some of the UK’s best lesser-known music festivals.

Cheltenham Jazz Festival – 27th Apr – 2nd  May

Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2016
Winning Photo Competition Entry by Lorea Sarobe

Where? – Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

Last Year’s Lineup? – Caro Emerald, Van Morrison, Friday Night is Music Night, Average White Band

Confirmed for 2016? – Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Tim Berne’s Snakeoil, Becca Stevens Band + more. Read more on the Cheltenham Jazz Festival Blog

Why?  – Cheltenham Jazz Festival is a lovely drop in Festival spread over the first May Bank Holiday weekend. With 3 main stages, a bandstand, an in the woods outdoor unplugged stage and a host of great food and drink stalls, it’s a great chance to see some of your jazz favourites and breakthrough contemporary artists in the modest surroundings of the square in Cheltenham. Events are individually priced. Find out more on www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/jazz

TGE – The Great Escape – 19-21st May

TGE2016 early bird

Where?  – Brighton, East Sussex

Last Year’s Lineup? – The Smiths, Alabama Shakes, Kate Tempest, The Maccabees

Confirmed for 2016?-  A new release of 50 artists for the first wave has just been released. Keep up to date with the 2016 lineup and have a listen in the playlist below.

Why? – TGE is a brilliant inner-city festival taking over the city of Brighton with pop-up venues, as well as utilising the city’s many music venues and pubs. As well at the main event, the Alt Escsape runs in parallel and is a free festival. To top it off, TGE offers a professional conference for people to attend talks about the music industry and participate in industry networking sessions and other private events. Tickets start around £50 + booking fee and can be bought online through See Tickets. Read my article on why you shouldn’t miss TGE from earlier this year – 10 Reasons To Not Miss TGE


Liverpool Sound City – 28-19th May

Liverpool Sound City - SIgn
Liverpool Sound City 2015 – Photo by Nicola Jackson

Where? – Liverpool, Lancashire

Last Year’s Lineup? Flaming Lips, Belle and Sebastian, Everything Everything, Gaz Coombes 

Confirmed for 2016? The Coral, Circa Waves, Dandy Warhols, Young Fathers

Why? – Moved to the Dockyards last year as a change from the TGE style city centre venue takeover, the idea behind Liverpool Sound City is quite an innovative one! With venues varying from an old warehouse to smaller indoors-ish tents and a main stage outside, the festival is a fun weekend -and as the music doesn’t start too early you have the mornings to peruse Liverpool and take in some of the touristy sights. Last year it was scorching there and there was the arrival of the Three Queens, so fingers crossed next year will feature something special too! Tickets from just £70 + booking fees from See Tickets.


Love Supreme – 1st -3rd July

Love Supreme 2016 Early Bird

Where? – Glynde, East Sussex

Last Year’s Lineup? – Chaka Khan, Van Morrison, Lisa Stansfield, Neneh Cherry

Confirmed for 2016? None yet  – keep your eyes peeled on www.lovesupremefestival.com and on twitter @lovesupremefest for updates.

Why? I’ve attended Love Supreme each year since it’s inception in 2013 and each year the festival has grown, refined and bettered itself. With a lot of people parking at the main stage all day to bask in the sun, and others tent-hopping to catch their favourite acts, the festival is small enough to easily get around, but big enough to have a variety of things to offer, from videos and live Q & A sessions in the Blue Note Room to a plethora of great food stalls, bandstand local jazz, big main stage headliners and night-time events to keep you going until the early hours. Early Bird Tickets were released last month and you can buy them through TicketLine on the Love Supreme Festival Website.

Ten Triumphs of Love Supreme 2015
Love Supreme 2014 – Six New Jazz Discoveries
Ten Artists Not To Miss At Love Supreme 2014

Citadel Festival 17th July

citadel-2015

Where? – Victoria Park, London

Last Year’s Lineup? – Ben Howard, Bear’s Den, Nick Mulvey, Bombay Bicycle Club

Confirmed for 2016? Sigur Ros

Why? – A 1-day festival in the heart of London for around £50 a head? Yes that’s right! Last year’s Citadel had a great line-up, although the organisation was shambolic, there were far too few toilets and food stalls and the mess at the start of the festival all around the ground was really not at an acceptable level. Saying that, I came for great music from the likes of Ben Howard and Bombay Bicycle Club and they delivered. I’m hoping that this year’s Citadel will be a little smoother around the edges, but with the same high standards of music, which Sigur Ros are already setting the bar very high with. Tickets available from Ticketmaster.


EOTR – 2nd – 4th September

End of the Road 2015
My highlights from EOTR 2015

Where? – Larmer Tree Gardens, Dorset

Last Year’s Lineup? – Tame Impala, Sufjan Stevens, Laura Marling, Django Django

Confirmed for 2016? – None yet  – watch out on endoftheroadfestival.com for updates.

Why? – EOTR is the largest festival on this list, but there’s something about it that just feels very homely. With 2 main outdoor stages, the Tipi tent and the Big Top, the festival is quite contained, but it offers so much more than just music. The comedy area in the woods was a highlight for me last year, seeing some great comedians and unexpectedly during one set Charlotte Church singing a stunning rendition of Hopelessly Devoted, accompanied by just a fella on acoustic guitar. There are activities for all the family, and the free-to-all piano stage, where I played a couple of times over the weekend, was a great place to relax. Regardless of the line-up, EOTR is a festival with the right attitude and even a spot of rain can’t dampen the spirits of those in attendance. Tier 2 tickets are available now for £170, but can be secured with a £45 deposit, with the balance payable in June 2016. Find out more on endoftheroadfestival.com/tickets/

10 Steps To The Ultimate Brighton Christmas 2015

In a special Christmas edition, here are 10 things to do this month to make sure that you have a great Christmas.

(Header image from https://brightonlite.files.wordpress.com/)

  1. Advent Calendars

Start off your December on the right foot! You’re never too old to have an advent calendar. For those on a diet, there are alternatives to chocolate; it’s really all about opening doors to see crudely drawn nativity pictures and the anticipation that the number of sleeps until the 25th of December is one fewer each day. But remember: don’t eat all the chocolates in one go. We’re not monsters!

Win prizes each day with the Metro Advent Calendar! Also DON’T FORGET – chocolate is poisonous to dogs so don’t share with your four-pawed friends!

Advent Calander
Advent Calander

2. Buy local produce/meat for Christmas Day

Times are always pretty tight around Christmas as many of us wouldn’t recognise an old-fashioned Christmas bonus from a line-up but think about your local butchers, bakers, greengrocers and fishmongers. Before flocking to the supermarkets, why not pick a couple of items from a local independent business to add do your Christmas dinner. You pocket won’t notice much of a difference, but your tastebuds certainly will. I recommend Wickenden Meats in Hove for great quality meats and excellent customer service!

Wickenden Meats - Hangleton
Wickenden Meats – Hangleton

3. Go to a carol concert

Another sure-fire way to get into the festive spirit is with a Carol concert, and what better way to hear them than with the smooth tones of former X-factor runners up, operatic quartet G4. After reforming in 2014 to mark their 10th anniversary, the group are pleased to announce a new Christmas album which was funded through PledgeMusic, and a string of 8 concerts for their ‘Christmas by Candlelight’ Tour in Cathedrals and Churches, finishing with a show at Brighton’s St. Georges Church in Kemp Town on Friday 18th December. As one of my favourite venues in Brighton, I think that it is the perfect place to hold what will surely be a spectacular and beautiful evening of Christmas songs. You can buy tickets and find out more about the album on www.g4official.com.

4. Buy thoughtful gifts

It’s all too easy to do your Christmas shopping online, led on by Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Winter Wednesdays and whatever else the large corporations come up with to sell poorly-performing stock in high quantities to clear the warehouses for the new year. This year, plan ahead and avoid the panic buying on Christmas Eve. Think what your friends and family would like, what they need, and what would end up gathering dust or in a drawer by the end of January. Think before you buy and you just might make somebody’s Christmas with that extra special gift.

Christmas gift ideas
Be thoughtful – Image from Imgur

5. Mince pies and Mulled Wine/Cider

An essential part of festive cheer comes from Mince Pies, Mulled Wine and Mulled Cider, all of which will be available to buy from pubs, bakeries and supermarkets across the country. Bakery mince pies will always beat shop-bought ones, but why not make your own with this simple recipe. Making your own mulled wine and cider is easy too. For a great mulled cider, mix any cheap own-brand cider with apple juice and a mulling kit/mixed spices and cinnamon and allow to simmer over heat until delicious. Alternatively, you can buy some sexy local cider at Middle Farm – don’t forget to check out the farm shop for local produce too and the newly born piglets in the main farm.

6. Help the homeless

It’s unavoidable in Brighton to not notice the homeless people who are living on the streets in the city. AS much as many of us would like to say that they need to shake themselves out of it, in reality it takes a lot more than that. If you have a little to spare, why not buy somebody a warm drink, a sandwich or a spare blanket that you have packed away in your overfilled wardrobe. If everybody did a small act of kindness like this, the lives of many would be very different this Christmas. Watch this feel-good video and do the right thing!

7. See a pantomime or a classical concert

Whether it’s Aladdin, Peter Pan, Snow White or Jack and the Beanstalk, Pantomime is a great part of British culture where everybody can let their hair down and have a nice time. Why no check out Aladdin at Brighton Emporium – Dec 2nd – Jan 9th – BUY TICKETS.

If that doesn’t take your fancy, there is plenty of opportunity for a spot of Classical music with TWO concerts from the Brighton Philharmonic this month – Sunday 6th December and Thursday 31st December. The first concert is featuring music from Dvorak, Bruckner and Strauss and the New Year’s Eve Gala Concert will be featuring as usual a collection of the finest Viennese dance music. With standard tickets from just £11.50 and concessions available, why not try an afternoon of culture this month and support your local orchestra in their 91st concert series. BUY TICKETS

Aladdin at The Emporium, Brighton
Aladdin at The Emporium, Brighton

8. Burning of the Clocks

Every year on the 21st December, people of Brighton take to the streets for this showcase of art, culture and fire. If you’ve never been before, then check out this video below created by my friend Jeb Harwick, a very talented local film-maker. You can find out more on www.samesky.co.uk/events/burning-the-clocks

9. Watch YouTube Christmas Dinner videos

Whether you’re cooking the dinner or eating it, watching TV chefs like Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay and Nigella Lawson cooking a Christmas dinner will get your tastebud tingling and excited for the big day. WARNING: these can be addictive! Try not to watch more than 1 video per day. The affects can last long into the new year. Here’s one to get you started:

10. Finally, watch a load of old films, Christmas Specials and of course Christmas films

With more people opting for Netflix now – see 10 great Christmas films to watch on Netflix – many people will not be watching the Christmas specials (unless they’re on iPlayer and 4oD) and re-runs of old films so it’s best to see what you can find in your DVD collection. You can get some great bargains in Charity shops, with DVDs often priced at just £1 each so do something good for charity and fill your house with festive second-hand entertainment this year.

Christmas DVD selection
Christmas DVD selection

This Is The Kit Interview – Brighton

Before her packed out show at Brighton’s The Haunt, I caught up with Kate Stables, front-woman of This Is The Kit, to talk about philosophy, influences and wooden spoons.

Hi Kate! I can see that you’ve got a busy schedule lined up, playing shows across the UK and Europe before Christmas. How do you think that gigs in the UK and Europe differ?

I think that it’s more that countries than the views that changes. European shows sometimes have more of a theatre vibe, compared to the club vibe that UK shows often have. Wherever we play we try to be warm and welcoming. When you’re opening for other bands you’re never sure if people are thinking “this isn’t what we came to see!” or that it’s a nice surprise.

This is the third time that I’ve seen you perform in 2015, the first time at Brighton’s Green Door Store in March and the second at the End Of The Road Festival in September. How do you prepare for different shows of such different sizes.

Part of it comes down to a show being a show and making sure that the audience have the best time possible. Festivals are a bit mad. You have more control over the sound of your music at a smaller gig, so at a festival you just have to go with it, and that can be more fun some times. We just try to have a nice time wherever we play.

Do you have a live performance highlight of 2015?

EOTR Festival! The show was just unexpectedly rammed and everybody seemed to be having a great time. (Editors note: I arrived about 5 minutes into the set at EOTR and couldn’t even get into the tent, it was that packed!)

If you could go back to when you were first playing and tell yourself something, what would it be?

(after some thought) Take your time. Don’t apologise to the audience so much. Maybe I still do that a bit now but not as much. I used to be quite apologetic and twitchy. I’d say just to have a nice time and that you’ve got nothing to prove to yourself.

It must be a big boost to have high profile fans of your music such as Guy Garvey (Elbow) advocating for your music. If you had a Radio 6 show, who would you be championing?

Ooh, so many people. Apart from the music of my bandmates, Richard Dawson – I have his music on repeat almost every day. There’s lots of great French bands – Moodoid, Kids Are Dead, Hyperclean – and some Belgian ones – Castus and VO.

Read my track by track review of Bashed Out, the most recent album by This Is The Kit

Having supported the likes of Lisa Hannigan and with an upcoming show with Jose Gonzalez, is there anybody in particular that you’d like to play a gig with?

All of the above! But aside from that somebody that I’d love to play a gig with is a Belgian electronic/dance artist called Stromae. Our music is so different that I don’t think his audience would get it, but I’d just love to collaborate with him on a track.

I’m currently reading a book by Japanese Author Murakami, who once ran the original marathon course to accompany an interview feature for a magazine. If you could do something to show off another talent as part of an interview what would it be?

I know it’s not very cool but I quite like knitting! Aside from that thought I think that doing a swimming interview would be fun!

Speaking of running, when is the last time than you ran and was it for pleasure or necessity?

The last time I can remember running is sadly to avoid missing an aeroplane. We had a mad dash to the airport on Amsterdam with all of our equipment and somehow made it for our flight to Cork. I should really look to do some fun runs…

Can you put the following in order of least to most influence to your music?

8. Social Media
7. Film
6. Art
5. Other popular music
4. Love interests
3. Real-life events
2. Nature
1. Personal Stories

Do you have any songwriting rituals?

I like to be on my own for as long as possible. A nice little shack away from people. I usually need solitude and time to write songs. I also like to write when I’m travelling – sat on a train or in the back of a car, but that’s just for lyrics.

Do you believe in anything after life and how does this affect your daily life?

Compost. I spend a lot of time thinking about where everything goes – all in the ground. I don’t buy many new things from shops as I just think about all of the waste. I much prefer to shop in 2nd-hand shops.

Finally, when you performed in Brighton last, a fan had kindly created some wooden spoons for you to sell at your gigs. Did you manage to sell them all?

The fan had spent a lot of time on the spoons, and so they were priced quite highly. We sold some of them, 1 was stolen and I gave 2 away as a wedding present.

This Is The Kit have a new EP coming out mid January so keep your eyes peeled. In the meanwhile, here is a video directed by Sam Wisternoff for their song Magic Spell. Enjoy!

www.thisisthekit.co.uk

What’s On Brighton November 2015

Hello one and all and welcome to by What’s On Brighton November 2015 Guide. This November in Brighton is a great month for live music, covering a wide span of genres at venues across the city.

You can see below a playlist I’ve curated of many of the acts and supports that are playing at the gigs included in my What’s On Guide (and a few extra for good measure) so why not give it a listen and see if anything piques your interest for this month. I hope you enjoy it and I hope that you find the time to see some live music this month, wherever and whatever it may be!

Nizlopi and Moulettes - Whats on Brighton November 2015 Nizlopi and Moulettes (DOUBLE HEADLINE TOUR)

Weds 4th November – 7:00pm Doors
Brighton Komedia – Tickets £16 –  BUY TICKETS

Having seen Luke Concannon (Nizlopi singer) performing a some of his solo works with a new band at The Brunswick a couple of months ago, my appreciation for his songwriting talents and on-stage showmanship and performance have only grown. I was lucky enough to have had a chat with him before the show (see my interview with Luke here) and he was a top bloke who absolutely goes for it when he’s on stage. For those who’ve not been following Nizlopi since their JCB song fame, this is the last tour that Nizlopi will be playing on for at least 2 years, so catch them now or you might not get another chance.

Joining Nizlopi for this double headline tour are a folk band called Moulettes, whom I saw for the first time performing at The Latest Music Bar in May as part of the Alternative Great Escape. With an unconventional line-up, there’s a lot about Moulettes that stands out, but mostly their music speaks for itself and is quite a spectacle that needs to be seen live to really appreciate it. This is my first gig of November and I can’t wait for it! Tickets still available online.

www.nizlopi.com
@NizlopiOfficial

Normanton Street - Whats On Brighton November 2015Normaton Street + Guests

Fri 6th November – 7:00pm
Brighton Dome Studio Theatre – Tickets £8 – BUY TICKETS

Aside from international performances, touring, music festivals, residencies, running their own label and working alongside other local artists, Normanton Street have been pretty quiet over the last year.

The band have come on leaps and bounds since I went on tour with them back in April 2014 (Read my tour diary published on BN1 Magazine Online) and are always pushing themselves to be better and do new things.This show is no exception, as one of their biggest adopted hometown shows to date at the Brighton Dome Studio Theatre, with a line up of great local talent in tow for the show including uprising star Tommy Sissons, a spoken word artist who is pushing the boundaries of contemporary poetry through collaborations with local producer St. Longplayer, BBC Radio1Xtra and Channel 4.

Their shows are energetic and full of good vibes and I have no reason to suspect that this one will be any different. Normanton Street are going places so why not let them take you with them? Here’s an old video from Normanton Street, featuring Frankie Stew who will also be performing at the show!

www.normantonstreet.com
@NormantonStreet

What's On Brighton October 2015 - Brighton Philharmonic OrchestraBrighton Philharmonic Orchestra

Sun 8th November, 2:45pm
Brighton Dome – Tickets from £11.50 – BUY TICKETS

Continuing their 91st concert season, The Brighton Philharmonic will be performing Elgar’s Sanguine Fan, Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme and Schubert’s Symphony No.9 (The Great).

Last month’s opening concert was a packed one, with a great atmosphere as ever in the Brighton Dome, a venue perfectly designed for performers and audience with its great acoustics and clever design that makes every seat a great seat. The orchestra is once again being conducted by the charismatic Barry Wordworth, whose years at the helm of the Brighton Philharmonic make him a familiar and comforting face to see on the stage. The concert also  features solo award-winning cellist Gemma Rosefield so will be an extra special performance. Don’t miss out. It’s a lovely and relaxing way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

www.brightonphil.org.uk
@BPO_orchestra

Alela and Ryan - Whats On Brighton November 2015Alela Diane & Ryan Francesconi

Tues 10th November, 7:30pm
Komedia – Tickets £12 + bf/ £14 otd – BUY TICKETS

When singer Alela and guitarist Ryan started talking at a friend’s gig last year, they realised that they were both exactly what the other one needed to get themselves out of a creative standstill. The result is the collaboration which led to the production of an album, Cold Moon, adding Alela’s vocals and melodies to Ryan’s intricate compositions made up of beautiful guitar lines.

Both established as soloists in their own fields before working together, each has a rich catalogue of solo material as well as their collaborations, so the show could be a real mix of old and new material from these vastly different artists who found each other. Support comes from Vikesh Kapoor + Ellie Ford


www.facebook.com/aleladianemusic
www.facebook.com/ryanfrancesconimusic
@aleladianemusic
@ryanfrancesconi

Mountain Goats - Whats On Brighton November 2015The Mountain Goats

Weds 18th November, 7:30pm
Komedia – £20 adv/ £22 otd – BUY TICKETS

Sure-footed and impervious to all weathers…I think I may have the wrong mountain goats there! The Mountain Goats are an indie-folk band from North Carolina who have crossed the pond to tour their latest record Beat The Champ.

The album is a concept album, based around the stories of many people working in the professional wrestling industry – certainly a bit more exciting that you’re run of the mill boy-meets-girl narrative, which still proliferates popular culture today after decades of fine songwriting from across the world. With jazz-infused harmonies and a smorgasbord of musical influences on show within their songs, this will be a night to remember. Support comes from The Weather Station + The Hornblower Brothers.

www.mountain-goats.com
@mountain_goats

Kate Daisy Grant and Nick Pynn - Whats On Brighton November 2015Kate Daisy Grant and Nick Pynn

Sun 22nd November, 7:15pm doors, 8pm start
The Old Market – £12 adv – BUY TICKETS

It was September last year when I first saw and heard Kate and Nick performing at The Old Market at the Album Launch of Kate Daisy Grant’s Portrait. (Read my full review of Kate’s album Portrait). 14 months later, it is Nick’s turn to have his album launch at the same venue, with his highly anticipated Waterproof is finally out on the shelves (and in the digital stores that we are all used to now).

Nick’s instrumental soundscapes and Kate’s delicate vocals will fuse into a unique blend of experi-pop songs and melodic avant-folk, for what Kate describes as “our last gig for the forseeable future”. With more instruments than a small orchestra on stage, Kate and Nick’s performances are far from boring. Recently announced as a special guest for the show is Beverley Martyn, the former wife of folk sensation John Martyn, and an established musician in her own right with 50 years of professional experience including collaborations with Simon and Garfunkel, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant plus many more. The show is sure to be spellbinding and I can’t wait for the weekend to roll around. Check out the live video of Kate and Nick below, shot in September 2015 for a taster of what’s to come on Sunday.

www.katedaisygrant.com
www.nickpynnmusic.com/
@katedaisygrant
@nickpynn

This Is The Kit - Whats On Brighton November 2015This Is The Kit

Tues 24th November, 7:30pm
The Haunt – £10 adv + bf – BUY TICKETS

This Is The Kit are a fantastic chilled out folk outfit that I have seen playing packed out shows at both Brighton’s Green Door Store and the Tipi Tent at End Of The Road Festival this year.

Endorsed by Guy Garvey from Elbow on his radio show, the bands’s third album ‘Bashed Out’ sounds anything but; it’s a well crafted record, and …”a triumph of what folk is meant to sound like”. Read my full review of Bashed Out. Wherever Kate Stables and her troupe go, the venue are filled to the rafters so don’t miss this chance to see This Is The Kit play an intimate show in your home town, and for just £10 too! You’d be a fool not to! Watch the video for Silver John and see if you’re not hypnotized as well!

thisisthekit.co.uk/
@thisisthekit

Communion New Faces Tour - Whats On Brighton November 2015Communion New Faces Tour

Thurs 26th November – 7:00pm
Green Door Store –  £8 +bf – BUY TICKETS

Communion Music have always had their eye on the ball when it comes to spotting new music breaking through the ranks. Amongst their discoveries are Bear’s Den, Catfish and The Bottlemen and Twin Peaks (to name just three). With this tour, they are taking 4 artists across the country to give them a nice boost to their nationwide fan-bases and help them to realise their potential as professional artists and bands.

This tour features acoustic duo Seafret, alt 4-piece Flyte, Shrewsbury singer-songwriter Dan Owen (who just released his Bad For Me EP) and his previous touring buddy, Brighton lad Jack Watts. Previous artists on the New Faces tour have included Luke Sital-Singh, Annie Eve and Eliza and the Bear, so I have high hopes for some great things at this show. Check out the artists performing in the videos below.

Communion New Faces Tour Event Page
@CommunionMusic

Stornoway - Whats On Brighton November 2015Stornoway Unplucked

Sat 28th November, 7:00pm
St Georges Church – £18 + bf/ £20 otd

Melting Vinyl presents Oxford folk indie-pop band Stornaway, fresh off the release of their third album, Bonxie, which has been described as “their most personal, engaging and best album to date”.

Performing in one of my favourite Brighton venue, St Georges Church in Kemp Town, Stornaway will be showcasing their songwriting craft through their songs about ornithology, literature and wildlife, amongst others, in what promises to be a night of great entertainment, culture and high class musicianship.

Support comes from Katherine Priddy, whose hypnotic tracks clearly demonstrate that she is a female who attended the school of Nick Drake and John Martyn. Don’t miss this chance to catch both of these fantastic acts in such a beautiful venue. Tickets are still available so book now to avoid disappointment!

www.stornoway.eu
@StornowayBand

If you have any gig suggestions, CD review requests or live review requests, please drop me a line on tom@tomsayer.co.uk

New Music Review – October 2015

Over the last few months I’ve been sent a lot of great new music which I’ve unfortunately been too busy to give a proper listen to, but no more! I’ve finally devoted an afternoon to the task and am pleased to be able to give you all my take on a selection of great local and unsigned music which has graced my ears over the summer and into the autumn. If you have a listen and like any of the music, please check out the links provided to see where you can the artists live, buy there music, or just tell them that you’re a fan. After all, it’s only fair that good work should be appreciated. Without further ado here is my New Music Review – October 2015, featuring Gavin Chappell-Bates, Lewis Bootle, Vices, Tommy Sissons and Daudi Matsiko.

Gavin Chappell-Bates – We Are The Ones EP

new music review - gavin chappell-bates

Following on from his charismatic debut EP Black Holes, Cambridge-based singer-songwriter Gavin Chappell-Bates (hopefully no relation to the Norman Bates from Psycho) has released his follow up single, We Are The Ones. Mixing influences reminiscent of melodic American pop-rock with a certain Brit-pop sensibility, We Are The Ones sounds like a new single from an established band, not a solo artist at the early stages of a promising career. With simple and catchy guitar lines and vocal melodies, the song could be a festival anthem if given the chance with its subtle simplicity weaving its way under your skin. Check out the video below and listen to the full EP on soundcloud.

Download on Bandcamp
@gchappellbates

Lewis Bootle – Friction In The Funds EP

new music review - lewis bootle

The world must be moving pretty fast for Herefordshire singer-songwriter Lewis Bootle. One minute he is getting picked up by BBC Introducing, then he releases his debut EP ‘Friction In The Funds‘, and now he has been announced as Best Unsigned Male in the Best of British Awards in association with Richer Sounds. Just like George Ezra, Hozier and Ed Sheeran before him, Lewis is somebody that you will want to latch on to now before it’s nigh on impossible to see him play live in a venue smaller than a stadium.

The EP mixes acoustic stripped back acoustic vibes with Sheeran-esque vocals (half-sung and half-rapped) in a self-aware showcase of vocal and instrumental dexterity . For fans of narrative, modern and suburban songwriting, such as that of Frank Hamilton and Brighton band Half Crown.

Buy on iTunes
@Bootytunes

Vices – Forest Floor EP

new music review - vices

Another debut EP, this time from Greg Simpson a.k.a Vices, Forest Floor opens like a bull in a china shop, hitting everything in its path. Musically it has a lot going on, with a strong American influence which brings to mind +44 in places, and elements of shoe-gaze, electronica and in a non-conventional way, jazz. There’s something slightly unorthodox about the music, but its unpredictability and variety is fresh, exciting and enticing. The 7-track EP was released on 19th October so why not try something new today with the Forest Floor EP. Listen to track 2 of the EP, ‘Catholic Funeral’ below.

Download on Bandcamp

Tommy Sissons – Summer of Discontentment EP

new music review - tommy sissons

Mixing spoken word with dance production from St. Longplayer, Tommy Sissons’ latest EP is a socio-political commentary on the events of summer 2015. In Tommy’s effortless and clear poetic style he addresses the election (Who Gives A Fuck About Politics) and respecting women (Be My Woman) amongst other topics,  all the while seeming to scream “what is wrong with my generation? Why don’t people care about anything that matters?” This sobering reality draws your attention to many shortcomings of the youth of today, and in truth the majority of society, in an easy to digest way. You don’t have to be a fan of spoken word or dance music to appreciate what Tommy is doing. He’s a one man revolution, and a true uprising talent which has already been spotted by BBC Radio1Xtra and Channel 4 . See my review of his previous EP Etchings and do yourself a favour and download Summer of Discontentment EP for free here!

Download on Bandcamp
@TommySissons

Daudi Matsiko – The Lingering Effects of Disconnection EP

new music review - daudi-matsiko

After spending a lovely sunny afternoon on the beach during The Great Escape, I’ve been a big fan of the guy as well as his music. Just like his music, he’s humble, understated and definitely something special. This cheeky little 4-track acoustic EP is like a mix of Jack Johnson’s guitar, Benjamin Francis Leftwich’s vocals and an overarching sombreness of a funeral .  The tracks are raw like flesh-wounds from falling off your bike as a child, or emotionally somewhere between heartbreak and grief. Yet somehow, hope is not lost. Listen and enjoy a live version of track 4, take me old below and check out the EP when it drops on 27th November.

Download his previous EP on Bandcamp
@hellodaudi

Folklore Sessions Birthday – Jacko Hooper Interview

This month marks the first birthday of the Folklore Sessions, a monthly acoustic night hosted by Jacko Hooper at the White Rabbit, designed to give some of the finest acoustic musicians a great platform to showcase their music to a respectful audience. In this Jacko Hooper Interview, we reflect on the first year of Folklore Sessions, his highlights and the future of Folklore Sessions.

So one whole year of Folklore Sessions! Did you think that it would last this long?

Well I sort of fell into it… I didn’t really go into it with a game plan as such. Some friends asked if i wanted to play at the pub they work at and I said that it sounded fun.
It has grown a lot since then and i realised soon after starting it that it could really grow into something.
So to answer your question no! I didn’t think it would but it’s become an incredibly enjoyable journey so far and now have some really exciting plans for it all.
Folklore Sessions Jam
Gabrielle Aplin, Hudson Taylor, Joe (Amber Run) and Jack Morris join in for a jam

How do you go about choosing the artists to play at Folklore Sessions?

Well luckily there are a lot of very talented artists in Brighton and the surrounding areas. Initially it was a case of getting friends to play and other musical friends that I have played shows with myself over the years. Nowadays it is done more on submissions, I can get anything between 10-30 submissions a week.

What makes Folklore Sessions stand out from other acoustic nights?

Well I hope that the quality is the first thing. Folklore only has the very best artists play and the calibre of music is always exceptionally high. People can come to Folklore and be guaranteed that everyone on the line up is excellent.
The fact that it is also organised by a musician who is actively gigging might help it too as too often shows aren’t organised very well. I try and put as much time and effort into the lead up to the shows as I can.
Folklore Sessions Newspaper Cutting
Fresh Off The Presses – Folklore Sessions

Do you have a favourite moment from the first year of Folklore Sessions?

Very tricky. I think running the Folklore stage at Together The People festival was a real exciting moment. When Mara Simpson first went on stage as the first artist on the first Folklore stage it was quite a satisfying and exciting moment. As it was when Aniseed Treats played to a packed out tent on the last night surrounded by fairy lights. The event for The Great Escape was a lot of fun too though…

How do you think the local scene for acoustic music has changed much in the last 12 months and if so do you think that Folklore Sessions have played a part in that?

I hope so? I mean, there has always been such a wealth of good acoustic music in Brighton. I just wanted to try and deliver a night that could represent that as well as possible. Brighton has in the last few years had such a surge in electronic based music and left field stuff and the acoustic side of things has always been there too… but perhaps without the proper ‘home’.
There are so many awesome open mics in the city and venues like The Brunswick that really support the scene but hopefully Folklore has given it another place to flourish.

What was it like to host a stage the Together The People Festival earlier this month?

Very exciting! I was really happy when the guys asked me to be involved. It was quite stressful mind you! 20 artists in two days was a lot to try and juggle, not to mention I was playing on the 2nd stage myself on the Sunday! But I loved every minute of it.
The festival seemed to be a total success and it was a real privilege to have been involved with it, especially for its first year.
Jacko Hooper TTP Festival
Jacko Hooper at Together The People Festival after hosting the Folklore Sessions Stage

Where would you like to take Folklore Sessions in the future?

There are a lot of things I have planned. Inner city festivals, an album, all kinds of exciting things. They will be kept firmly under my hat for now however regarding details or other ventures.

Have you thought about releasing a Folklore Sessions Mix Tape to celebrate it’s first birthday? I think that would be well received!

Oh Tom, you read my mind.

Folklore Sessions - Photo by Josh Harrison
A Captive Audience at Folklore Sessions – Photo by Josh Harrison

Finally, do you think social media or word of mouth have played a bigger part in the night’s success so far?

I think that social media will always play a big part in any sort of venture like this. I think for Folklore word of mouth has probably been more key. We also have a mailing list that goes around every month at the showcases. This has helped too I think.
Here is a playlist of what you can expect at the Folklore Sessions Birthday Party on Tuesday 20th October. See the Facebook event for more information.

Sol3 Mio Interview 2015

Last month when Sol3 Mio were over in the UK to support the release of ‘I See Fire’, the soundtrack to the New Zealand’s Rugby World Cup team. In amongst a busy schedule, they took the time to answer some more of my questions (see my first interview with Sol3 Mio from 2014). Unfortunately the video had some technical issues, but here is the interview for you all to enjoy and to find out some more about the powerful voices supporting the All Blacks in their Rugby World Cup campaign.

Nice to have you guys back in the UK. I know that myself and many others will have been disappointed not to have seen you live last year when Alfie Boe had to cancel the Brighton tour date due to illness. When is your next UK tour planned?

Pene: We’re definitely going to do one again but at the moment there’s nothing planned as we’re incredibly busy for about the next two years but I’m sure we’ll come back again.

Shooting the video, I get the feeling it will be used for years to come by the New Zealand tourist board. Did it feel more like you were shooting a film rather than a music video?

Moses: Yeah when we were recording the vocals we did envision the video while we singing because of the orchestra stuff and the Haka elements – it was like a film. And so when we actually put everything together it was almost like creating a short film. It was an epic little piece what with Amitai opening it and then leading into these different chants. It didn’t have a particular genre it was just cinematic.

What made you choose this song to cover as your first single from the new record? Do you think that this track will make your music accessible to a new audience who are not familiar with your operatic style?

Amitai: We definitely hope it opens the music up to a new audience as that’s one of our main goals. Not many people listen to opera so If we can open an audience to this song in particular and then they can look us up online and hopefully they will see all our other music as well. We hope we can help them to get over that barrier that they might have with opera and seeing it as an elitist genre of music. They can see that we can also do contemporary stuff and hopefully they’ll like the rest.

Did you feel the brotherly connection between the Dwarves in the Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was something that you could connect with and use to connect with your audience to rally them in support of the NZ rugby team?

Pene: That’s a good one! I didn’t think of it that way but the brotherhood that goes over to defeat the dragon and take back the homeland…this is what New Zealand’s doing right!

Sol3 Mio Interview 2015 Serious

The title of the new album ‘On Another Note’ seems to suggest that this is a move away from your debut record. How do you think the albums mainly differ?

Amitai: I guess you could look at it that way – it’s definitely a step-up. We’re staying true to our classic side but we’re taking it up to another level. People enjoyed what we did on the first album so we wanted to bring something different but also to do something portrayed us as both the group and individuals. Hopefully people will enjoy the diversity in it.

Pene: Yeah it’s not too different. People will instantly assume after listening to ‘I See Fire’ that we’ve swung that way but that’s not completely where we’re at. That song was put out first to coincide with the world cup but if they listen to the rest of the album there’s a lot of different stuff.

With such a wide range of styles, who do you imagine is your ideal listener and how do you think the album is best listened to?

Pene: We see our ideal listener as everyone which is a good and a bad thing. It’s that common saying of not focusing on just one audience but rather taking a risk and taking everyone on. But if you do pull it off you’ll have reached everyone!

Sol3 Mio Interview 2015 Laughing

When we last spoke, you said that your aim was to promote core opera as much as possible to new audience. To what level do you think you have done that with the new record?

Moses: We’ve absolutely seen the results! It has shown in everywhere that we’ve performed. When we first started our audience was little older which is normal for the kind of music that we do. But the proof is in the pudding and wherever we perform now we can have people as young as two years old coming to our concerts and absolutely loving it. And families loving it! A family will come and really enjoy what we do and they can all take something different away from whatever song and be inspired to do something.

Finally, having covered Ed Sheeran and Coldplay, is there anybody who has caught your eye/ear in the pop charts at the moment that you would like to cover?

Amitai: I’ve done a few pop covers but you probably wont hear them on this album. They’re shower songs! We’ve had a few ideas that have sprung to mind.

Pene: Yeah its not always ‘right-now’ pop; we really like those nostalgia pop songs that everybody knows but once you sing it people are like ‘oh I haven’t heard that in a long long time’. Stuff like ‘Something Stupid’ – it’s a popular song but it hasn’t been sung in a long long time.

www.sol3mio.com

@SOL3MIO

 

What’s On Brighton October 2015

It’s been a busy September. My highlights from the hectic last month include:

  • End Of The Road Festival –  4 days of fantastic live music (and I even got to play a few songs on the piano stage)
  • Getting to interview Luke Concannon (Nizlopi) and see his and Jimmy Davis’s spectacular live show
  • Releasing another single online – The Architect/ Moving On
  • Having a much needed catchup with my guitarist Tom and recording this rough demo of a track called “Is This It?”
          Is This It (live demo) - Tom Sayer

Looking on, here are my picks of what I’m looking forward to this month in my guide to What’s On Brighton October 2015.

What's On Brighton October 2015 - Hippodrome BenefitThe Golden Years of Theatre: Our Brighton Hippodrome Benefit

Sun 4th October, 2:30pm doors, 3pm start
Brighton Komedia – BUY TICKETS

Find out about the history of theatre from actor Nigel Nevinson as he talks about his mother, Nancy Nevinson, and her long career as an actress, examining how theatre has changed from the 1930s to the present day.

This event is a benefit for the Our Hippodrome charity, which is currently raising funds and awareness for the Brighton Hippodrome, and trying to bring the venue to be restored to its former glory. Even if you can’t make the event, please have a look at their website, and if you can donate some time or money to help their noble cause.  Brighton needs venues like the Hippodrome to attract  musicians, theatre companies and a wealth of other performers to our south coast so help get the building back on its feet!

ourhippodrome.org.uk
@ourhippodrome

What's On Brighton October 2015 - Brighton Philharmonic OrchestraBrighton Philharmonic Orchestra

11th October, 2:45pm
Brighton Dome – Tickets from £11.50 – BUY TICKETS

Starting their 91st concert season, The Brighton Philharmonic will be opening the bill with Tchaikovsky’s Francesca da Rimini, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.1 and closing the afternoon with Kallinikov’s Symphony No.1. It seems quite fitting that on this opening concert two of these piece were the composer’s first entries in the mediums of piano concerti and symphonies.

Brighton Dome is a fantastic venue for hearing classical music in, with its architecture giving every audience member a great sound as well as a wonderful view. My personal tip is to get seats in the circle if possible, as I find the sound carries better up and towards the back. So sit back, relax and enjoy a Sunday afternoon with the Brighton Philharmonic. And if you like it, why not think about getting a season ticket to make sure that you never miss a performance.

www.brightonphil.org.uk
@BPO_orchestra

What's On Brighton October 2015 - Rival ConsolesRival Consoles

Tuesday 13th October, 7:00pm
Green Door Store – £8 + bf/ £10 otd – BUY TICKETS

London-based producer Ryan Lee West aka Rival Consoles will eb showcasing his ambient atmospheric electronic in the confines of the dark and damp stables that is the Green Door Store.  Ryan is a kind of aural cosmonaut, exploring musical soundscapes and ideas of time and space in his music. Check out his track ‘Odyssey’ and see if you’re ready for the journey.


www.facebook.com/rivalconsoles
@rivalconsoles

What's On Brighton October 2015 - Sahara

Sahara + The Habitats + Object Object + LoupZillas

Thursday 15th October, 7:30pm
The Hope & Ruin –  £5 adv/ £6 otd

Hear the latest upcoming indie grooves with this 4 band line-up including 3 local bands and out-of-towners The Habitats. With the upstairs of the Hope (&Ruin) now completely redone, there’s a lot more space to see the bands (plus the sound man there is a dude and always gets it spot on). Get down early to avoid being stuck at the back by the bar, unless you like being at the back by the bar, in which case arrive whenever.

Check out this live video (albeit it 2 years old) to get an idea about the night. Expect jangly guitars and upbeat tracks so bring your dancing shoes.

www.facebook.com/SAHARASUCK
@SAHARASUCK

Oxjam BrightonOxjam Brighton Takeover

Saturday 17th October, ALL DAY
MULTIPLE VENUES ACROSS BRIGHTON–  £9 – BUY TICKETS

Love music? Like multi-venue inner-city festivals? Have a spare tenner? If the answer to these three questions is yes then Oxjam Takeover is definitely for you. It’s kind of like a scaled down version of The Great Escape taking place on just one day, but there is still a wealth of bands on display and with a pricetag that everybody can afford, it’s definitely worth a punt. Do so something great and help out Oxfam by enjoying a full day of live music all across Brighton. See an interview with the organisers of the festival below and see you there!

www.facebook.com/OxjamBrightonTakeOver
@OxjamBrighton15

What's On Brighton October 2015 - Brighton FolkBrighton Folk

Sunday 18th October, 8:00pm
The Brunswick–  £FREE

A monthly folk/acoustic night hosted by singer-songwriter Amy Hill in the intimate setting of The Brunswick. Each month, different hand-picked artists perform to the eager audience. I can’t find the line up for this month’s edition yet, but I’m still up for checking it out, based on the callibre of acts that have previous played on the night. So if you’re at a loss for a Sunday evening, why not pop along and ease the harsh transition out of the weekend!

www.thebrunswick.net
www.facebook.com/brightonfolk

What's On Brighton October 2015 - Folklore SessionsFolklore Sessions 1st Birthday

Tuesday 20th October, 8:00pm
The White Rabbit –  £FREE

I can’t believe that it’s been a whole year since local singer-songwriter Jacko Hooper set up this monthly acoustic showcase at The White Rabbit. From sultry solo artists to stripped down bands, Folklore Sessions is everything that Live Lounge used to be (before Radio 1 went a little bit mad with it). The music is always top notch, the atmosphere is respectful for the performers and the general buzz around Folklore is always one that you leave on a high with. Having recently hosted a stage at Together The People Festival, Folklore Sessions is definitely going places, and I’m keen to see where the next turn in the road will take it.

This month’s anniversary line-up includes some of Jacko’s favourites from the last year: Bess Atwell, Oktoba and Aniseed Treats. See you there! Hopefully there will be baloons!  

www.facebook.com/folkloresessions
@jacko_hooper

What's On Brighton October 2015 - BeardymanBeardyman: An Album Per Hour

Wednesday 21st & Thursday 24th October, 8:00pm
The Old Market, Hove – £18/16 conc – BUY TICKETS

Come and witness a truly unique event (twice if you really want) at The Old Market, Hove where Beardyman will be making a brand new album live on stage for your enjoyment. If you’ve not heard of Beardyman before, check out the video below which features this show live at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015. Don’t worry, there are no spoilers. He’ll be doing it completely fresh on the nights. Check it out!


www.beardyman.co.uk
@beardyman

More to be added as the month goes on….. If you have any gig suggestions, CD review requests or live review requests, please drop me a line on tom@tomsayer.co.uk

Luke Concannon Interview – 11/09/2015

Before opening the doors at The Brunswick in Hove, I caught up with Nizlopi frontman and travelling troubadour Luke Concannon to see what his future plans are, the recent changes in the musical climate and whether or not the JCB song was based on playing truant at school.

TOM: Hi Luke. Thanks for taking the time to have a chat with me before the show. Do you have any hidden musical talents?

LUKE: I can play the bones. You play them kind of like the spoons, but they’re just cow bones. It’s a very Irish instrument.

T: Why did you decide to do these songwriting classes as a part of the tour?

L:  With my music, I’ve got to love and believe in what I’m doing, but it can be hard to draw people in to gigs sometimes, particularly mid-week. My idea of doing the songwriting workshops came from Fiona Bevan and Kal Lavelle when they did workshops on their ‘Song Sisters’ tour. I wanted to encourage songwriting, to engage with the audience and from a PR point of view, radio stations really like it.

T: How has the standard been so far?

L: It’s been good. There haven’t been a lot of people turn out so far to be honest, but those that have all had some previous experience. It’s nice to work together with people, so that you don’t feel alone when you’re writing a song. One song that I wrote with a guy was to be performed at an intimate family occasion. It’s really special to be involved in something like that.

T: If you could pick one musical festival to headline, which one would it be and why?

L: Oh that’s a tough one. Glastonbury, for obvious reasons. But actually also maybe the Willie Clancy Festival in Miltown Mabay. It’s a tiny festival. I once saw a travelling bagpiper performing in a church hall there and I think it was probably the best gig I’ve ever been to. I’d love to be a part of that.

Luke Concannon Interview

T: When you’re not hitch-hiking to Palestine, touring and songwriting, what do you like to spend your time doing?

L: I like to go to Quaker meetings, I practice meditation and I spend time with my girlfriend . We hitch-hiked to the mountains recently, sleeping under the stars. It was just the best thing. I also watch an unhealthy amount of boxing and MMA. My dad used to fight so from the age of about 5 up til I was 12 I used to fight with him each day for around an hour. We had boxing gloves and he just let me spar with him. I had some troubles at school with being bullied from a young age. There was one particular bully who was a couple of years older than me and I’m ashamed to say that I did  get into a fight with him. I probably shouldn’t have done that.

T: If you could achieve just one thing with your music, what would it be?

L: I love to see my friends together and engaged, creating a community to work around and a harmony amongst people. I like to sing for justice. It nourishes you. It creates a sense of empathy, a sense of values and makes your work great when it is believed by others. It’s all about making music of the people for the people.

T: How do you feel the musical climate has changed since your success with the JCB song back in 2005?

L: I feel there is a real expectation of artists to use social media these days. I find it hard as I like to focus on what I am doing and social media take the essence away from that. Distribution wise, it is great that a lot of talented newcomers can make it without a big label behind them. It’s good that somebody with a really authentic voice, like Ed Sheeran, has thrived in this new generation of technology.

T: What are you views on music streaming services?

L: I feel kind of pressured into them really. It feels a bit like the days when you would play a gig for no money, even though the promoter was charging on the door, so that you could get ‘exposure’ for your music. Thinking about it, I might take my music off Spotify.

T: Have you ever considered using crowdfunding for a record?

L: I’ve thought about it before and people have asked/offered before but I guess the answer is I don’t know if I would. There’s part of me that likes to be able to go away and make a record on your own, but then again if people want to help then that’s really nice.

T: Going back a while now, I was watching the clip of you playing the JCB song on Top of the Pops and the audience looked pretty unsure what to do when you were playing. How did it feel to play to such a staged audience?

L: We were brought on as this underground act and the producers just decided that we would play in the middle of the audience and it would be very different from what they were used to. It was very strange playing to such a staged crowd and I don’t think anybody really knew what to expect from it.

T: So was the JCB song written about playing truant with your dad when you were just 5?

L: I wasn’t always in school you know! The song was about remembering a time in my life when my dad was working on that machine, that and his vibrant Irish charisma.

T: Finally, what is next after the ‘Love & Revolution’ Tour?

L: This is Jimmy’s last tour for a while, but I’ll be carrying on with more tours soon. My album Give It All is out on iTunes and there will be more new music soon!

www.lukeconcannon.com
@lukeconcannon