Musicians Against Homelessness. On Sunday night I was lucky enough to be involved with the project. The charity has been set up by Alan McGee who created the campaign for the whole nation to take part. The aim of the project is to raise money for the homeless charity, Crisis, combined with providing gig opportunities for up-and-coming bands. They also intend the project to be an annual event to continue to raise money, which I think would be hugely beneficial. Spending the last two years living in Manchester, I have unfortunately seen a lot of suffering on the streets, and I was grateful to be a part of this project. This Autumn, the gigs span up and down the country, over a three week period from 18th September to the 9th October (so there’s still time if you want to catch the last few gigs!) and all the proceeds go to Crisis.
For this show, I was excited to be back on stage with my band after a month of solo gigs, it was our first opportunity to try out and reveal some new material we had been working hard on. As I mentioned in my first blogpost, one of our favourite gigs over the summer was LymeLight Festival, not only because the sound was great, but because the audience were so wonderfully welcoming and supportive. We had been invited to play Sunday night’s gig by the same organisers so we were looking forward to coming back to play. And we weren’t disappointed.
The Kings Pistol, a three piece band, kicked off the night’s proceedings. Made up of guitar, bass and drums, The Kings Pistol create a sound that is best defined as Americana with English Folk, a genre I admire (probably my Dad’s influence there). Slightly more acoustic than the other bands, I was really taken with their sound, especially a track called ‘Paperback Road’. This could almost be described as a ballad, as it was one of their slower songs with prominent stops that let the acoustic guitar ring out, making the song that more memorable.
Next up were Blackwater Trading Company, a five piece band from Stoke-on-Trent.Their experimental sound combining funk and soul with rock and acoustic elements, created a powerful psychedelic ambience. Although a busy arrangement it actually works really well, especially with the lead singer’s soulful voice. The tracks that stood out to me the most were ‘No End In Sight’, which they announced as one of their newest songs. The simple guitar riff throughout caught my attention, as I found it perfected the song, and brought the psychedelic feel to their sound.
The Red Kites were the next band to take to the stage. Made up of four members, the band were well-rehearsed which showed in their tight performance. I suppose you could describe the music as fairly rock oriented, led mainly by the guitars but there were also parts that were really ambient which, if it isn’t already obvious, I really love! Their best song for me was a new one called ‘Murder Ballad No.3’. I was immediately intrigued by the title and rightly so. Quite a mournful song, this was where the ambience shone through! The chorus melody completed the song and is happily still stuck in my head as I write this.
At 9:45pm, it was time for the band and I to play, and I’ll admit, I was quite nervous to follow after some truly great bands. I was equally as nervous to play some new songs but thankfully, I think the audience enjoyed them! The sound on stage calmed my nerves when I found that the levels were perfect and thankfully I could hear all the instruments and vocals just how I needed them, which made performing that much easier. Having the band playing with me creates such a buzz on stage. We all bounce of each other musically and there’s always that rush of adrenaline as the songs sound exactly how we want them to, especially in the tracks that build up to climatic endings! I think it’s safe to say that we all get magically lost in the music when we play. Much like the last time we played in Stoke we received a really warm reception from the audience, which, as I’ve mentioned before is so encouraging and wonderful to hear. It made me even more excited to be back performing with my boys!
To end the evening, with a name even longer than mine, was Nixon Tate and The Honey Club. In a similar style to some of the other bands, they had elements of rock and Americana, but with a strong singer songwriter feel. Because of this, one of my favourite things about this band was the lyrical content. I absolutely loved their track ‘Honeytrap’ which had me hooked on the first line “Walked in through the open door, ordered double whiskey and lime…”. The song only got better as the drums and bass kicked in with a beat that you couldn’t help but bob your head to. The electric guitar featured the rock elements it needed to put the icing on the cake!
I was so happy to have been part of such a wonderful evening. Thank you to the organisers and everyone involved for putting on such a fantastic night! All the bands are definitely worth a listen, so if you get chance, please check out all the links as there’s a load of great music available!
Also, a big thank you to Mark Vyse for all the lovely photos featured in this blog, check out his website here, http://www.mvyse.co.uk/portraits1
Till next time friends,