Tag Archive: emily jane sheppard


60487714_331289560889406_5618553556656193536_nFor the last few weeks I have been working for an events company. Although they have a background in sports talks they were putting together a “Back to the 80’s” event at Old Town Bowl, the idea being that as the 80’s revival vibe is pretty much covered by synth bands and established local cover acts, delivering a series of artists doing 80’s songs but in slightly different ways might be a different take on things. And so 80:Three, a conventional pop cover band, Emily-Jane Sheppard performing a tailor made solo set, Sonore String Quartet and Ghetto Blasters brass to headline were hired in to offer something leaning to the more unusual.

At the point of me working with the company things were well underway, or so it seemed and my role was promotion and social media, that sort of thing. It quickly became clear that there were many, many holes in the arrangements so far made, including them not having secured a PA, a task which was dropped on my desk with less than a week to go. Glastonbury week, when every PA company in the South West was hiring out and working at that not so small event.

But I managed to get them a PA, though the company was short of crew. I then managed to hire a sound engineer and between the two of us became the technical wing of the event…let me tell you putting in a 15 hour day and setting up and decanting (I’m sure that’s the word) a festival size rig really came as a shock to my out of shape body.

But it all worked, the bands all came and went…perfectly to time, the stalls all reported reasonable takings, the Bowl had a reasonable but slightly smaller than expected crowd and the event seemed like a great success. A visit from the council inspectors even left us with a warm and positive glow. Then as we were packing up and ushering people out…the complaints started. People moaned that they couldn’t bring picnics in whilst saying that here should have been more food options as well. The beer at £4.00 a pint was too expensive, the music, though delivering what was advertised was not what people want. Some said that nothing interesting ever happens in Swindon but this was too different. One person even said that they hoped that we lose so much money that we don’t get to put anything else on. A nice thing to say to people putting their first event on and learning steeply with every hour that passed. I think her wish has come true.

Then the real clincher came from an unexpected direction. On the Tuesday after the event I was told that I was being let go as (having plugged all of the holes in their event and worked my day off to help staff it) I was an “unnecessary expense.” A bit of a blow, especially after a few months earlier being told that the Swindon Advertiser was dropping my music what’s on column of 9 years for being ” no longer compatible with the on-line direction that the paper is going in*.” To lose one job in 6 months is careless enough but to loose two….

So between the organisers and the punters attitudes and lack of gratitudes, this story probably goes some way to explaining why there isn’t much out of the ordinary going on in Swindon. It also explains why most of my efforts these days go to writing about and promoting bands in the Minneapolis and Berlin, New York and London (in that order) rather than worry about anything happening in my own post code.

* it was replaced with a column cut and pasted from bands own event descriptions.

 

 

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13054996_823594491078335_3518252429045520504_oThursday continues to be the night for new, original music and it doesn’t get more original than the offering at The Beehive tonight. Paddy Steer is an enigma, a juxtaposition of seemingly conflicting interests and challenging ideas, angular electronics blended with lo-fi, futuristic soul, trance-dance meanderings and swirling vocal washes. You could call it world music, but just not this world.

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10644504_849034398474545_1266507282074302395_nIt might seem that the world has gone to hell in a hand basket this week, or worse…Hull, but at least you have a whole raft of great, original live music to console yourselves with. And as always Thursday does the perfect job of easing you into the weekend with more than its fair share of the gigs.

 

Thursday

Josh Kumra @ The Victoria

It’s great to see Josh back with a hometown show. It’s been an interesting journey for him from accessible Americana-indie influenced local shows to managing to get a foot in the bigger leagues, releasing an album and even finding himself sat at the top of the charts with a co-written song. With all that behind him it is easy to see why his stock has risen so much since those early days when I used to see him playing in the back room of pubs to a handful of people. His songs are great and his voice is surprisingly mature so it is bound to be a great show.

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13346778_10153427066772127_7056879790797654139_nObviously I am writing this in advance of the US election result but I’m sure by now there has been a tsunami of debate, opinion and analysis not to mention disappointment/anger/relief (delete as applicable) banded around. One man who has a fantastic way of taking political themes, wrapping them up in bundles of thought provoking satire and delivering them as song-bites can be found at Baila Coffee and Vinyl.

Having set himself the task of making 40 records over 20 years, armed only with his trusty upright bass, Grant Sharkey (pictured) brings a bag of social commentary, wit, wisdom, his eighth album and his secret bread recipe to Swindon. It is very likely he will have an opinion or two about the presidential election too. Support comes from the always-excellent Emily Jane Sheppard.

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13442180_888099744649311_3475199604914760277_nIt’s very encouraging to see the run of bigger acts coming through this parish continuing. And if last weeks offerings were acts that have already made a name for themselves, tonight at Level III you can catch a band still riding a fast, upward trajectory.

Lake Komo (pictured) mixes dynamic indie-pop with melodic rock, is soulful, commercial and yet will appeal to those who don’t wander the mainstream paths. Gorgeous, soaring sonics mix effortlessly with chilled pop grooves to create music which wanders the same pastoral paths as Bon Iver, only with a bit more musical meat on the bone. The support slot sees two of the best local indie bands line up to get the night underway in the form of Yves and Misfires.

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13269298_1175762365815736_8729034887665700384_nI occasionally wander through the on-line pages of the NME just to check out anything new and intriguing (obviously I don’t pick up the print version anymore just in case someone sees me…the shame of it!) I knew things were bad, but I didn’t realise just how bad. In their top stories I learned that Barbara Streisand has asked Apple to correct Siri’s pronunciation of her name, Justin Bieber has been miming at his gigs and Arctic Monkeys are still not recording a new album. ( What…no Antony Burgess Arts Journalism Award nominations?) Remember the days when you could read a 10,000 word Clash expose or a witty character assassination of the latest new-wave darlings by the likes of Charles Shaar Murray. Even Paul Morley’s dense diatribes would be a welcome break from these lower sixth form warbling’s. Does an unchallenging music scene result in boring reportage? Discuss.

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