La Rochdale

I am writing from La Rochelle in France where I’ve been invited to attend the Francofolies festival which starts today. Superb and very exciting, and I get to go for a swim in a bit, ahead of the shows starting. I’ll post updates from this in a bit… first… let me tell you about an event I hosted last Saturday in my hometown of Rochdale.

It was a battle of the bands. Not good. Not competition this music or art, for me anyway. I don’t like having winners and losers at music. It’s one of the things that bothers me most about early evening Saturday TV. The channels laud it as arts TV programming yet they are ALL (without exception) some kind of contest, a winner, and a loser. Not just a celebration of what is good about something. Someone has to win. It’s like the Premier League and all has interrupted everything. Anyhow.

It wasn’t my idea this Battle of the Bands but I accepted it was something the council and organisers of the festival in August I am programming wanted to do. It was also a way of bumping up the amount of locals on the bills for the festival. So with that in mind I thought. Let’s do it.

Glad I am too. In spite of the competition element there was a great atmosphere. Not everyone took it TOO seriously (thankfully) and the quality of the acts was pretty good indeed. Far better than their myspaces (proof of my theory that you have to be good live above all – but that recording is an art worth spending time to master).

Congratulations to all the bands that played and whatever winners there were. I suspect especially in the North West, you’ll be hearing a lot more from all of them. (some of their names are well dodgy mind):

Dead Kestrels – all energy and confidence and powerful

Nonprofitorganisation – noisy and aggressive and singing drummer (always a winner)

Red or Black – Rock n Roll with Eddie Vedder soundalike!

The Mysterons – Morrissey adorers with two seemingly twin brothers and a chick on drums. Moody. Gothy. Would make a decent opening acts for The XX.

Valium Skies – As the name suggest, prog pretentions from the young band. They do a grand job too. (Keyboard player could use another 4 keyboards though). Have made themselves some teeshirts.

Woop Woop! I hope to help out on far more live music events in Rochdale, just not that many more of these naffy competitions please!


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