Tag Archives: The Local

Can’t be arsed

I’ve had two quite connected emails today one from an artist another from an industry person.

Artist says please don’t remove me from the bill, because in spite of not mentioning the 6-weeks confirmed show on my website I have bought a train ticket and I can start to promote now less than a week before the show. And in any case, I promote events myself and would never expect the artist to do the promoting for me.

Industry person says the argument that PAY TO PLAY PROMOTERS ARE COMPLETE CUNTS doesn’t totally stack up and that given they’re the bank, holding the risk, what’s so bad about promoters trying to protect themselves in the face of a tide of lazy bands who promise 30 mates and bring nobody.

There’s a lot of grey between the two arguments. And to start from either position is wrong.

One thing is certain: when you’re doing a show and you check the acts websites and the show isn’t mentioned, it’s just completely soul destroying. This process could be got through far quicker by just handing out some money to some acts, and not actually doing the “event” part.

Christ, my band used to make our own flyers and posters on top of what the promoters did, and hit the promo *hard*.


Sticking it out

Sam Amidon Liz Green George ThomasLook at this poster here from 2008. Lots of acts, venues, promoters have fallen by the wayside since then.

We did a few shows back in the day at Whitechapel when there was a good dude there working on a decent music programme for Fridays.

We did Agoskodo Teliverek and they were amazing. We did The Twilight Sad and they were amazing too. It got quite loud sometimes and the staff were moody, and it never really sounded good because of a glass wall, despite having superstar soundman Phil Jones (albeit in his infancy) at the desk. And it never made any significant money cos it was too small. We had Oh Ruin play there too and a man too excited shouting during the set.

But I love this poster here, done in the old style by Luke Insect. He did some excellent posters for us. Some of them visible on the Local’s Facebook Page. This show was brought to us by trailblazing groundbreaker Duncan James “Dunc le chunk” Sime, of Red Deer in Manchester. Another piece of excellence.

Great design of course, but awesome that it features two excellent artists that are both enjoying the beginnings of great success the world over. I am proud that my company The Local continues to make our contribution to that success. George Thomas who is excellent too, hasn’t really made much of a sound for a while.

Both Sam and Liz are really special too. In some similar and other not similar ways. Both can reduce a room to silence, hilarity, tears.

My favourite quote from that night, from Liz. As David Thomas Broughton had shown up at soundcheck to say hello/grab a bite with Sam, I was looking for Sam. I said to her have you seen him? Her reply was she saw him going off with DTB for “some kind of musical genius meeting or something”.

See their webs for info on their current activities. Catch them soon.

Sam is HERE ———- Liz is HERE.

Tickets for Liz in London 3 April

Tickets for Sam in London 13 April


I’m a cyclist, a driver and a pedestrian

When I experience, hear about, or witness irresponsible behaviour in a professional context it reminds me of the debates between road users who annoy the hell out of each other all the time.

You get folks saying they’re better drivers ‘cos they’re cyclists and so on.

I hear “all agents are c*@!s”, or “all promoters are slippery”.

I also hear that that which you dislike in others is what you recongnise/dislike in yourself.


USA dead quick…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I didn’t do part two and three of the US trip. I flaked out. Actually it was worse than that. I came back from the US utterly dejected, worn out, mojo non-existent, and wondering why on earth I actually DO any of this stuff. (I have yet to find the answer but the fact I have started to look is a good thing).

Austin and LA were dead good on some levels, but various factors meant I had to spend far more money than I had, than my company had, and I came back feeling sick. Lost. Hopeless.

Then after some time and some fancy footwork and you start to believe some kind of miracle will happen again, and that it might be alright. Still not sure, but it might be. Anyhow, the pictures are cool, enjoy them.


Two things, really quickly…

I have been laughing each time I see the pretentious advert for Egypt when it says “…and the stones spoke to me…”. I can’t help just replying “no they didn’t”

Any more examples of pretentiousness in ads please post below.

The other thing is here I sit at the Eurostar Terminal at St Pancras, not in a business lounge, but being online for free. Three cheers for Eurostar in this respect. I feel a bit of a fraud saying I am an international business dude, but I do travel a lot with work, and I HATE IT when airports hotels ir cafes (usually here in the UK) charge for using the internet. HATE IT.

It seems so old fashioned, and we all know it’s not something they are paying for so it’s just extra money they’re squeezing out of US.

Anyhow. Oh Ruin at Cafe Walvis in Brussels tonight. It’s Autumn Falls first ever edition! Excited!


RIP The Luminaire

I’m in Bristol for this music event which I am privileged to have been asked to speak at. I find these experiences very interesting. Sometimes annoying, sometimes energising. I like to speak, and have become comfortable enough speaking in front of people. I believe I do a pretty good job of it. Many people far more experienced and clever than me are flatly not that good at speaking, or presenting, and I wish they’d do a little more in the presentation of themselves, their important messages getting lost in mumbles and unengaging banter which can lose a crowd. I am looking forward today to listening to a couple of panels about how to get heard, and the digital world. These should prove useful. I hope the people speak clearly and are engaging!

Like many people I got the email last night from The Luminaire informing me of their decision to call it a day. My friend Al English ex of ATP now of Blessing Force first told me about the venue as he’d played there with Youth Movies. so we had Billy Mahonie play there. My first experience therefore was of playing there. It was a busy night and I can remember the fun we had. The smooth running of the operation, the nice staff and so on. So I decided to bring a few of my Local or Knom Music events there and in the subsequent years we brought a good bunch of shows there. Some shows utterly bombed. Some were mad busy. We were always treated completely professionally, and with enthusiasm and kindness by Andy, John, Molly, Frid, Arthur, Matt, regardless of numbers.

I remember the countless times Andy told people to shut up. I loved the fact they wrote it on the walls. I brought one of our Shhh! events there once and it was a (quiet) blast. I have listened with interest at Andy’s rants about inequalities in venues, and I am aware in these austere times, of the shocking losses some places have the wherewithall to make – losses even half of which would buy some new kit or a stage for a new venue. I have enjoyed Andy’s rants about Agents too!

Perhaps all of us are responsible for this.  I should have tried harder to put more shows there. Some of those shows we took into bigger venues and performed very poorly we should have rammed the Lumi with. As punters we needed to accept that Kilburn isn’t that far away, and use what is actually a very fine public transport system to get to London’s finest small venue for a great night out more often. We’ll definitely miss this place now it has gone (is going).

I think as fans, and as musicians, we are often the last to take the reality check on what is working and what is not, as we’re the least willing to call it a day “just before the miracle happens”. What Andy and his team have done is incredibly sad but also bold and I can only imagine they’re very relieved just now. I look forward to seeing what their next move is. I bet it’s pretty exciting.


Oya – Oslo, Norway

Yes I did TWO amazing festivals a couple of weeks ago. Both excellent for different reasons. One firmly established in a capital city with a great history of live music, and the other emerging in a town which has suffered through a lack of attention to an identifiable live music scene, or of and definable arts policy to speak of.

Oya festival is one very large event in Oslo Norway, which sees all manner of indies rock royalty mixing with exciting new acts both from Norway and all over the world. Add to this a special and diverse night time schedule in various bars and clubs across the city and an invited international delegation with a full programme of networking opps and showcases for new bands, and you’ve got the lot. So in the space of three days I got to spend some quality time with a whole raft of new faces in Norway who’ll no doubt become firm friends and work colleagues, but also it was cool to catch up with the UK bods and also the US/Belgian/Dutch/German etc etc folks who were there.

Business aside – I got to see Pavement, Yeasayer, LCD Soundsystem and loads more besides. For Norway bands: The Goo Boys and Simon Says No, as well as Erlend Ropstad – three different styles and yet very good all.

Early in Friday 13 I flew back to my home town of Rochdale where I had programmed a free festival with the council there, and this too had its moments of excellence. The Lightning Seeds, The Herbaliser, Kirsty Almeida, The Travelling Band, Ellend and The Escapades, Dead Kestrels, Oh Ruin, Karima Francis, Plank, Beat The Radar, Katherine Tyldesley, Red or Black, The Mysterons, Coupe De Ville, Dirty North and the students at Falinge Park high school all played their part in making the event an memorable one for a town which rarely sees an event on this scale. Having said that, you would be forgiven for thinking, if you read any of the messageboards and listen to what people say in the town, that nothing EVER happens. I have found there to be a good number of people making music, putting nights on, and going to them. More of this please.


Right behind the eyes

Alela Diane at South Bank 2007

Alela Diane at South Bank 2007

My friend Alex Highton has a song which starts “You’ve got the trees, right behind your eyes”. (it’s called You’ve got the trees) I like this line very much, it has immediate visual elements working on more than one level, so it opens up a whole host of possibilities. In some ways it reminded me of  a poster Luke Insect did for a show we did with Alela Diane a while back (it’s there on the left). He hid the trees in her hair. It looked great. There are trees everywhere it seems but it’s more the eyes I wanted to write about today.

If you can get behind the eyes of people you’re supposed to be able to see all kinds of worlds (do they really mean it when they say they love me etc etc… and honest guvnor, I never done nothing…)

I’ve noticed this just the last couple of days in the way my mum looks when she isn’t aware that I am watching her/taking a photo. Her eyes look into the distance and she’s apparently deep in thought. She certainly looks wise in the way that older people do. Alex Ferguson looks wise when he dramatically interviews looking away from the camera. Ferguson has got a kind of gravitas (sorry if you’re not bothered about the footy – I’m sure it would feel the same if Scorcese, or Martina Navratilova, looked away from camera during an interview), and you know that he has a depth of knowledge about his subject that is up there with the very best.

My mum is about 7 months older than Ferguson, and has been suffering and deteriorating with Alzheimer’s Diseasefor that last maybe 9, definitely 6 or 7 years. We went for a coffee Saturday morning and I sneaked these pictures of her looking away and contemplating I don’t know what.

She looks very proud and dignified and I wonder what it is she is actually thinking. Whether they are lucid thoughts which she just struggles to communicate, or perhaps the thoughts themselves come in the hotch-potch way she tells them. Either way, I do like to think there’s a bunch of wisdom still going on behind those eyes. Trees, Grandchildren, Nature, Holidays, Sons, Nephews, Sisters, Parents, Friends… A whole life in fact.


Blackburn Festival – The Local stage…

On Friday just gone (23 July) we did a small night as part of a new festival in Blackburn, Lancashire. It was a great pleasure. I drove up with Alex Highton and Oh Ruin, and we met Dark Sky Singers up there. More on the bands in a bit.

I have been in touch with James at Playhappy Promotions for some time now, having had She Keeps Bees up there with him before. This here is a man of great taste (naturally) and also the balls to set up a few decent shows in a town which doesn’t see much to shout about. He’s put on shows with Blitzen Trapper, the Fence Collective (King Creosote, Pictish) and many other crackers besides.

The thing with this event is that it’s similar to what we’ve been doing in Rochdale with the Feelgood Festival. It’s an attempt to get some stuff moving which is good and relevant and decent and current and I hope to get up there more. The venue was called Jazzy Keks. Honest.

Alex Highton is my friend who’s been making music for yonks and yet now as a solo dude it all seems to come together. He was excellent and the folks dug it too. Nice. Songs written about his move from the city to the country and about his kids and family. Very Ray Davies/Paul McCartney/Graham Nash.

Oh Ruin is now officially just as excellent on his own as he is with a band (he played at Barbican with band Thursday night last and that ruled). I’d never really seen him do all the bluesy stuff he can do but he did and it was great and again the kids of Blackburn dug it.

Dark Sky Singers is a band you’ll be all clamouring to see in next little while. From Newcastle, and with a bunch of excellent songs and NINE actual people on stage, they’ve a release coming out on Static Caravan soon. Pretty dark and pretty pretty too. Not your usual, and it goes all repetetive and nice. I love it.


Francofolies au revoir

MAN what a decent festival this one is. Right in town, on the port. They say it sold over 80,000 tickets over the week, and adds a whole extra month to the economy of La Rochelle. This is a good model. Loads of sponsorship though, and 26 years in, it’s pretty well established. Bands I have seen since last post are Phoenix, Carmen Marie Vega, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Dominique A, Arnaud Fleurent Didier.

All the above were pretty excellent in their ways but I am an absolute sucker for Dominique A. Brilliant Brilliant Brilliant.

Meeting up with the Phoenix guys and reminiscing about our tour in US when I was with Joy Zipper, was nice.

OK, so this one was a quick post. I ought to get better at this the more I do it. Let’s hope so.