Where Words Fail…
Getting the Bands (Duos and Solo Acts) Together.
I’m not sure if this will be a pie-in-the-sky thing; whether I should like a demented bride planning her wedding- an idea occurred that I could not get over. To distract my mind from the horrible stress and anger of my home life; the rising tide of financial uncertainty (this month)- a wealth of other oddities and annoyances- something occurred to me. I am always being asked (by acts I have reviewed and keep in touch with) to come see them. From the Scottish warriors Universal Thee, London lovelies like Lisa Marini and Los and the Deadlines; Lincoln folk The Moth Lantern- Yorkshire wonders such as ISSIMO. I have a huge love and respect for all of them (and the acts yet to invite me up for a beer) and one thing always holds me back- exorbitant train fares. Having roughly bugger-all to survive on (for the rest of the month), I am finding I am home-bound and limited- unable to come up and say ‘hi’ to my music darlings. As I type this, another journalist has been beheaded- religion kills again, it seems. The sheer evil and scariness of life continues to fart in the Devil’s face; the lice and rats of human society are being given air time- shown in newspaper headlines and seeing themselves as martyrs and heroes. As cowardly and pathetic as they are, you cannot how unpleasant and awful the outside world is- the world is a horrible and nasty place. I am not saying it as a fatalist or to throw in the towel- there seems to be meagre glimmers of light among hailstorms of fire. Two of the constants- that have kept me ticking and busy- are music and charity. The former has seen me consecrate and solidify my music writing; start to- finally- recruit a band; get things going. I am taking on managing a new band- local to me- and looking into managing a second- keeping myself nice and busy. In addition, I am still reviewing and keeping my hand in- you can imagine how wonderfully rich my social life is at the moment (he says, ironically). Charity is something I have not often- in the past- spent a lot of time (and money) on- mainly because the ‘charity muggers’ where I live are the most irritating humans on the planet. Following family tragedies and a need to take (some form of) action, I have been involving myself in half-marathons- planning on completing one every three months (for a new charity). This sort of brings me to my main point…
There are a good 30 or 40 acts (I have reviewed) I would love to meet; see in the flesh and share a drink (with)- I have been getting requests through thick and fast. Whilst it is not economical or realistic to get all of me to all of them- it may be doable to get them all to me. I am pretty determined- nay, psychotically determined- to pull together a charity fundraiser/event. I have a list of my review subjects in front of me- there are 36 different examples listed. I wanted to get all of them together (several will be reading this right now) and put them under the same roof. I am looking at February next year- the night(s) of the 14th (and possibly 15th– depending on feedback and recruitment). The event will take place in London, and aim to get all the tremendous bands, duos and solo acts to the capital- for one night (or two) of charitable debauchery; music festivities and a Valentine’s Day massacre of sound. From Yorkshire stunners like Jen Armstrong, Allusondrugs and ISSIMO; Scots Universal Thee, London/Surrey-ites Los and the Deadlines, Lisa Marini, Nina Schofield and Chess- I want to do this. Let me explain a bit further…
Where Words Fail…
I had originally intended to have this set for Christmas time- or around the 23rd December. It is still a possibility, but what with raising funds and booking the venue- it seems like a bit of stretch. February seems to give me enough time to get those things sorted; send out the invites and plan the gig. The aim of having it on Feb. 14th was to do something useful on Valentine’s Day- give love to people that are not used to it; bring lovers, sweethearts and new faces together for one big blind date. I am sure my venue may be booked then (see below), but a boy can try, right? If there is enough demand- and lots of people want to get involved- it may have to extend into a following night.
The Aim Behind the Gig:
The show(s) will be a chance for a lot of acts- who until now do not know one another; or only connect on social media- to play together. A lot of acts will be unsigned and seeking representation. The aim is not for a record label boss to come scout, but the possibility is all there- hopefully word-of-mouth can get can them in. The main point is to raise funds for charity. Each act would nominate their chosen charity- play on behalf of them- it can be local, national or international- there will be no profit to be had. When the ticket sales are accrued and calculated, the total (that does not go to the venue) will be divided among the artists- they then would take that back to their nominated cause. Having been appalled by events in other countries; the growing tensions of the world stage- a lot of concerns and issues are being neglected on our doorstep. Working in a job where I get to read of some pretty serious cases- I work in adult social care- it is disheartening and painful to read of such woe and horror. This is no cynical spur-of-the-moment thing; not a plan I will abandon- something that should happen and would do a lot of good.
At the moment, there is only one that stands in my mind: Under the Bridge. The Chelsea-based music venue is situated under Stamford Bridge (hence the name)- it is one of the most reputable and wonderful venues in London. Take a look at the website- http://underthebridge.co.uk/- and you can see how glorious it is. Situated near Fulham and Broadway Tube- with easy public transport accessibility- it is in one of the most prosperous and nice parts of the capital. The venue is renowned for its beauty, cleanliness; quality and atmosphere- there are few others that match it. I understand there are bigger venues, yet U.T.B. holds 550 people- standing room only. The state-of-the-art sound and lighting seems perfect; the décor and setting is immaculate- just the sort of place to host a musical repas du soir. Acting as an impresario and organiser, I want to get all of my wonderful musical pals together- put them in this venue; let the capital see what they are capable of. Under the Bridge seems just the place to host this. Whether the cost of staging the event will be too exorbitant (I am not sure) – but I am going to enquire and get some quotes.
Unfortunately this is not the sort of endeavour that can be funded via a Kickstarter campaign- as it is a charity event. I appreciate that it is going to cost a bit for the acts to get down- train fare; accommodation and the like- yet I will plan to make some allowances and try and organise something. The idea is to pay the venue based on ticket sales- a certain percentage of the door will go to them. I am hoping- provided we can get full capacity crowds on the night(s)- there will be plenty of money left over- ticket prices will run at about 15.00 GBP for the night. As it is a 550 capacity venue, it seems likely there will be a healthy profit- meaning each act will have a fair amount for their charity. It is hoped I can parlay this into a second night- meaning more money can be raised. I am going to get quotes and ideas- from the venue- but hoping that bugaboo money does not stand in my way (as it is at the moment).
In the Lead-Up:
There is a long way to go, so it seems like a lot of things need to happen. Near the bottom, I have listed acts I hope can make it; others can add their name and let me know. It is important I get rough estimates of numbers- so I can go forward. Towards the end of the year I hope to raise some finances- through other sources- make some plans and get everything sorted.
On the Night (and Before):
It is going to be important- assuming this thing happens- to get all the acts together prior- rather than shove them all on stage and expect it all to click. There will need to be planning meetings, itinerary and rehearsals. This first stage- the timetable- does not need all the acts to be together- I can do this via email and social media. When it comes to run-throughs, this will need all of the acts- so they are attuned and confident on the night. I will put together a rudimentary running order prior to the get-together, but it vital everything gels and runs smoothly- it will not be an arduous or elongated practice/rehearsal. I am aiming for it to take a day to do; the acts get a chance to meet for the first time- and see each other perform.
What I Need From Each Act:
As (I hope) there will be a lot of ‘yes’ votes- it is unlikely each act will have a chance to play too many tracks. The way I see it- depending on how many are in, each artist will play a 20-25 minutes set. One of their songs will be an older/established number- the other will be a new song or cover. I am hoping each act can bring a new song to the evening- give it its first airing. That not only gives the audience something fresh, it is a chance for the acts in question to premiere their latest offering. If there is a huge demand- and a second night is feasible, then it is likely a third song can be added- split things so half the acts play the first night; the second (half) the next night. What I require in the short-term is some feedback and ideas- whether this is something anyone would be interested in doing. I will have hugs, kisses, beer and pressies waiting for any acts that are in- ensure that it is a night(s) not to forget. Being an Arsenal fan, I am skeptical heading Under the Bridge, yet it is a magical venue- there is no doubt people will get in. The venue does not have a huge waiting list, so I am hoping my intended dates are free- they are fungible at this point.
Forgive me if I have missed out any acts- literally anyone else interested is going to be included. I know so many U.S. and Canadian acts I want- I have excluded them assuming they will not be able to make it. If there are any international acts- reading this- that can make it and get to London- hell, yeah! Here is a rough list of peeps that I hope will throw their support my way:
The Moth Lantern
Eloise Lovell Anderson
The Bedroom Hour
Los and the Deadlines
Ivy and Gold
Braver Than Fiction
Emma Nadine Stevens
The State of Georgia
Sophie Sweet and Her November Criminals
Second Hand Poet
Play Record Erase
Rosie Bones (and band)
Shiftin’ Shade- with Adam Hume
Gorilla Punch Radio
Moons of Jupiter
The Updraft Imperative
The Open Feel
Black Lady Soul
Surprises and Possibilities:
I know it is going to be a feat getting this all sorted; making sure everything is realistic and workable. If it CAN happen, I am hoping to throw some surprise guests in there- if social media can spread it far enough, who knows who (the event) will attract? I am not suggesting Paul McCartney will pop by to end the night with a rousing rendition of Hey Jude– it is not unreasonable to get a few fairly well-known acts to come by. On my wish list, people like Gaz Coombes, Jessie Ware, Anna Calvi, Ben Howard, Plan B and Kate Tempest lurk; a boy can aim at least? It is not out of the question- to rope in some big draws. That will be a tertiary concern, but would certainly add some spice and surprise to a (hopefully wonderful) night. Another surprise. IF it can be put together I will put my procrastinated ideals to one side and perform- either solo or part of a band- yup! To punctuate the music; hopefully something interactive can play- Under the Bridge is known for its interactivity and facilities. Either a pre-recorded piece/comedy or snippets can play between acts. This gives chance for my actor friends; me and others to formulate something cool- add another layer to proceedings. I hope some of my actor, model and director friends can pitch in; do and provide something- make the event a fully-rounded and unforgettable thing.
I have probably left something fundamental out; negated a key chunk and element- I hope not, at least! I am pretty ambitious and can usually pull things together- I really do hope this is one of them. The mystique, magic and mayhem come from the musicians- you guys listening and reading. Initially I am keen to hear thoughts- whether this is something that appeals- and what the general consensus is. Granted people reply, I will post updated and statuses to Facebook and Twitter– earmarking the next months and outlining the future steps. Thanks for reading, get thinking and let me know. If there is a weight of popularity and approval, I can get things moving.