MacMillan Fest 19′ various venues, Nottingham 7/9/19

 

At 1pm on Saturday afternoon the crowds gradually poured themselves into the infamous music venues, Rock City Basement, The Albert (formerly Spanky van Dykes), Stealth, the Red Rooms, Tap ‘n’ Tumbler and the Rescue Rooms. Saturday the 7th September 2019 marked the day that the legendary MacMillan Fest put on its last ever event. The MacMillan Fest is a charity gig for the MacMillan Cancer charity cause and had been running since 2010 and had quickly become part of the fixtures for popular music events in and around Nottingham. Over the course of its 9 year the event had attracted the attention of some of the biggest names in the music industry such as Eyre Llew, Bleed from Within, Evil Scarecrow, Shapes, Black Peaks, Jet Black, Savour the Kill and many, many more.

 

In terms of you got a fair amount of rock variety rock metal, acoustic, electro and a bit of screamo thrown in for good measure. Overall, an avid rock fan’s paradise

 

This year saw the return of band favourites such as With Tripper, Lycan, Vanity Box, Patriot Rebel, Matthew Moore and Cotton Mouth as well as new artists making their first (and sadly their only) appearance, Joey Collins, Myles Knight, Invisions, Wilted Flower and Widows.

 

Music fans who came from all areas Nottingham, even those from further afield, were treated to a selection of stalls offering alternative clothing courtesy of Hit or Miss and Alibi Clothing, whisky stalls and jewellery. There was even a food stall offering sweet and savoury crepes, yum-yum. I had 3, bit greedy I know but I was hungry. For the festival goers who like to dare two of the stalls consisted of henna body-art and another where you could either have your hair shaved or body waxed using wax-strips. Yes, there was a fair few brave individuals who braved a waxing for charity.

 

Going around each of the venues was a bit like going on a musical merry-go-round, a tiny trek between venues but totally worth if to go and see new bands come and perform. In each one the rooms were full of people and some there were fists flying in the air and the blood, sweat and adrenaline was going to the roof. Going to other areas the hype was less intense and you could sit down to enjoy the performances. If you went up the Red Rooms which were above the Tap & Tumbler you got the odd gig where the lead singer occasionally took the performance into the crowd.

 

Starting the musical extravaganza off Matthew Moore in the Rescue Rooms along with sets by Witch-Tripper, Eyre Llew and SHVPES. No shortage of crowds in the building.

Over at the Rock City Basement, which underwent an impressive refit since my last visit was Widows, True Colours, Lotus Eater, Invisions and Oceans Ate Alaska. Seriously, they knew how to get the crowds going. Blood, sweat, adrenaline and crowd-jumping ahoy.

Upstairs in the Red Rooms Take 96, My Pet Favxes and Ava Saint entertained the room. Some great artists there.
Halfway across the building in Stealth as Lycan, Veridian, The Five Hundred and Street Solider. Seriously, that venue has hosted some incredible bands.

 

Around the corner at The Albert’s was Cotton Mouth, Patriot Rebel, Crosslight and The Kut. Both levels of that place were one huge rock metal and adrenaline ride from start to finish.
In the main acoustic bar people were treated to solo musicians such as Wilted Flower, Joey Collins, Myles Knight and George Gadd. Matthew Moore, who had performed with his band in the Rescue Rooms took a slot at the last second and performed an incredible solo set. No matter where you went, there was always something worth catching.

 

However, by 9pm much the crowds gathered for one of the big finales at the Rescue Rooms where Nordic Giants put on an amazing, show-shopping performance. One of the best ways I can probably describe it as is a sweeping, sci-fi electronic landscape straight from an ahead-of-its-time film/novel. The opening sound was of an apocalyptic feel where you just know something big is coming.
Overall it was a fantastic day that was absolutely jam-packed with music, food, drink, henna and trinkets and fun for all. That just leaves me to say thank you to MacMillan Fest for some incredible weekends and everything you have both done and achieved, all in the name of charity. Sad to see you go

Florence and The Machine on The Graham Norton Show

Just been watching a rerun of Florence and The Machine with their new song Hunger and it’s brilliant. Florence Welch, the band’s front-woman has got an incredibly soothing voice which just cut right through the song and the melody, and the line ‘We all have a hunger’ is a cleverly written lyric. Florence just seems to be able to glide effortlessly around the stage whilst performing in an almost ghost-like way (or like a dalek pending on your preferred descriptions). All I can say is that as a performer she has an earthal quality whenever she performs and has a full-bodied voice. Just incredible

Notts Music Probe: Shadow of Acolyte

My new music column for Notts Musicians Network Magazine (NMNM) featuring Nottingham band Shadow of Acolyte, have a read and enjoy.

http://nottsmusicnetwork.com/nmnm/may-2018/notts-music-probe-shadow-of-acolyte/

Leon Bridges on The Graham Norton Show

Now I’ve only ever heard Leon Bridges a few times in passing conversation but never actually heard any material from this guy until now. What a voice!!! Seriously this man has an incredible voice which is absolutely soothing and packed with melody. Beyond is one of those songs is the perfect blend of smooth R&B and soul with a little bit of acoustic. I’ve caught a performance of his on TV a few moment ago with his band and he just oozes charisma and is hypnotic to say the least. Leon has just got a loving voice which unless you’re a fan of Soul it’d take you a while to truly appreciate. Seriously, America definitely knows how to create some great artists. 

🙂

 

Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa on The Graham Norton Show

Caught Dua Lipa performing her new single One Kiss with DJ Superstar Calvin Harris, and all I’ll say this this; Dua Lipa and Calvin Harris are a pair of musical geniuses quite simply waiting to happen and One Kiss is just fantastic. Their performance was abstract, incredible and upbeat to say the least, also it was on a raised-curved platform with an LED-led background and it was just the two of them. One Kiss is one of those singles that you cannot get bored of even if you play it a few times over, and I’ve heard it on the radio a few times and fell in love with it first time round.

Eyre Llew: The Atelo Interview

This was an interview I did with Nottingham-based band Eyre Llew for their upcoming album Atelo. Sadly the interview itself never saw the light of day so for all those who’re fans of the funky trio, have a read and enjoy.

How long did you work on this album?
We wrote, recorded and produced it over 2 years around touring and playing festivals around Europe
What can we expect?
It’s dynamic with ambient soundscapes and sing-along chorus. We’re really proud of it with parts recorded all over the UK
Are there any tracks to listen out for?
We’ve released two singles from it so far, Atelo and Havoc. They were released with videos from our album video series that were shot in Norway and the Gran Canaria.
What sort of album is it, sound-wise?
We’re often labelled as a post-rock/indie band. That’s definitely where our influences are.
Inspirations for the album?
We’ve got fancy pedal boards so we love reverbs and delays. Artists such as Noah Gunderson, Bon Iver, Sigur Ros and A Winged Victory for The Sullen.
Who did you collaborate with in the making?
No one. We self-produced the album. Though we did have a group vocal recording for our fans at the studio.
What are you calling the album?
The album is called Atelo.
Looking forward to touring with it?
Yes definitely, S. Korea, nine countries around Europe, UK tours and an album launch show at Rescue Rooms, Nottingham on November 10th.
How much interest has been raised?
We’ve been touring around Europe for two years now, playing festivals all over. The response has been wonderful, it’s great to get over our first album to our patient fans.
Any possible future collaborations?
Not sure yet, but we’re open to ideas.

Keale Settle on The Graham Norton Show

Just thought I’d take a moment to mention the amazing Keale Settle who I saw perform her amazing single This Is Me on TV a couple of weeks ago (yes, that long ago). It’s taken from the hit film The Greatest Showman, which I’ve yet to even see but it stars one of my favourite actors, Hugh Jackman. Anyways, her performance was fantastic to say the least and it was like watching an actual West End performance but all crammed into just a few minutes. Keale’s just got this beautiful voice which grabs your attention with very little effort and apparently she’s also in the film playing the part of the Bearded Lady, Lettie Lutz. If you ever get the chance watch it on YouTube or just watch out for her in the film. Even though this is the only song I’ve heard from her I’d happily rate her as an artist. Now is it just me or are the Americans churning out some really good artists these days?

Eurovision Song Contest: You Decide UK Entry

It’s that time again in which the UK will vote on its singing representative, who one chosen to represent the UK in this years’ Eurovision Song Contest 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal. Now I openly admit I’m not a huge almighty fan of the Eurovision but even I have to admit I’ve got something for a weakness for it (when quickly flicking back-and-forth between that and Glastonbury which I much prefer anyway, just saying). Now, this year we’ve got six new artists to choose from, and so far, there seems to be some potential.

This years’ (lucky?) hopefuls

Asanda: Legends

A solo artist who has been on UK TV before on Britain’s Got Talent back in 2013, she’ll be performing her new song Legends. Legends has a mixture of tribal beat, infectious rhythm and energy that just fuses together with very little effort and as far so solo artists go Asanda’s just amazing.

Goldstone: I Feel The Love

An all-female trio consisting of Rhiannon, Helen and Aimee who between them all have experience both acting and singing both on TV and stage who’ll be singing their song I Feel The Love. It’s exactly 3 minutes long and it’s fast-paced, energetic and upbeat from the start and the girls voice fuse together effortlessly.

Jaz Ellington: You

One of only two male solo artists in the six who is also a talented old-school soul-singer who’s got one amazing voice will be performing his song You. Seriously though he sounds really good and You makes for great listening pleasure.

Liam Tamne: Astronaut

The second of our male solo artists and West End Star who’s performed in numerous hit musicals such as Wicked, Hairspray and Phantom of the Opera to name but a few. A guy with an incredible who who’ll be putting his acting talents aside to sing his song Astronaut. Liam has got an incredible voice that captivates your attention and his entry song makes good listening.

Raya: Crazy

This woman is practically the jack-of-all-trades where the performing industry’s concerned as she’s got numerous talents; singer, dancer, vocal-coach and DJ, and to top it off she’s performed in some of the top clubs around the world. She’s also an accomplished actress to. Raya will be singing her song Crazy. It’s just under 3 minutes long and the song itself is both catchy, fresh and has that upbeat feel to it.

SuRie: Storm

Out of all of our six hopefuls she is the only one with experience in the Eurovision itself having appeared way back in 2015 as a backing singer for Loic Nottet and Blanche last year (small world). SuRie has much singing experience under her belt and will be performing her song Storm. It’s just a second over 3 minutes long and sounds very soothing and her voice glides through the song beautifully.

Paloma Faith on The Graham Norton Show

Just heard Paloma Faith sing her new song Till I’m Done on the TV right now, and all I can say is that it was amazing, and it’s off her new album The Architect. Though I haven’t heard much off it if this single is anything to go by I’m solely tempted to buy it. Till I’m Done sounds different from anything she’s done since Do You Want The Truth or Something Beautiful? It’s a seamless mixture of disco, rock, soul and R&B and is sounds energetic. And always Paloma’s voice is just incredible. As a recording artist she’s one of those where it’s always 2-3 years (or more) between each album yet when you hear the new material it just makes the wait worthwhile. Also, she’s one of those who can command 100% doing very little.

Tom Chaplin on The Graham Norton Show

Been watching Tom Chaplin, he of Keane fame, singing his newest single Midnight Mass on Graham Norton on BBC1, and I openly admit it wasn’t all that bad listening. Now I have to admit that I didn’t actually recognise him at first co’s of image change. The performance itself was quite good as it was stripped back and though there were some musicians the main bits were between him and the pianist. To some degree his song sounds quite to listen to but it didn’t quite hit the high-notes that he could’ve done which is a shame co’s if you’ve ever heard his past material he’s actually capable of doing so. Non-the-less he’s got a really nice, soothing voice and melodic vocal tones which fit the mood of the song. Anyways, all that can be said now is Merry Christmas