Saturday, November 16, 2013

The South West Music Awards 2013

So that was the South West Music Awards 2013. 

It took place at 'Charlie's Live Lounge' a new club thats by the Pizza hut in Cowick street. As you go in you get the feeling that normally its a venue that plays dance music to boys and girls in track suits and Burberry Caps. 

A truly horrid venue where they charge £10.70 for 1 glass of wine and one bottle of Kopperberg. while trying to order a lemonade and blackcurrent the barman had no idea what blackcurrant was in any way shape or form. The PA was appalling, you could not hear a single word for the first few hours as the mic was distorting to buggery. The locals were getting restless as they had nowhere to sit, many who had travelled a fair way to get there. 

Far less movers and shakers there than usual but good to chat to a few of the great and the good such as Jackson Cooper, Adam Isaacs, Chris Mockridge, Marie Belsten, Lee and Lisa Fletcher, Andy Botterill, Andrew Padfield and Sarah Woodward as well as the Sirens girls, Mozura,  the Reigning Days chaps and a few others that my brain cant quite remember the day after! And the Exeter local records guy had a stand there the ONLY local music exhibit there, and I think I was the only person from a band there doing any kind of form of active promotion by touting round promos of the new Secrets For September CD. 

Myself with the 2 Andys

It was a shame it was a Friday, as that’s a giging day for most musicians, and TSWMA is not an event that is big enough yet to warrant cancelling a gig to attend. 

Rev Hammer did a great job of comparing this year, being local he gets it and while John Robb is a pro being a Manc he thinks there is nothing in the world of music past the M62. Though Mr Robbs sarcasm was missed. People got awards, how it was voted and judged is very questionable but if you play in Exeter a lot, or have something to do with Phonic then you have a good chance of winning something. 

I was asked to present best folk award, and I had a speech all prepared but because the PA was so poor I didn't really say much at all. 

The event was on two floors as it was in a club rather than a venue (and last years venue was spot on), downstairs were several bands playing where they had a really decent sounding PA and felt like a much better place to hang out than the main event. 

The awards came through, some of my friends like Billy Bottle, Lee Fletcher and John Govier all won a gong. After the interval where Carnivala did a great set,

Above Carnivala

I was called upon to back Irish singer Olive de Ville for a 10 minute 4 song set. This was the first time that myself and Dave had played together outside the Secrets For September environment. Thankfully by that time the PA was starting to sound a little better though there was no actual sound operator present for the whole set. But we managed to get through it all ok and had there been a better PA there in a decent room (ie like last year) then it would have been quite good. 

Myself, Dave Holwill and Olive De Ville

The rest of the evening was more awards, half the attendees by this time had gone home, and not long after I did the same. 

There was no real dramas like the first one with short angry man from Wang Chung, but this time it did feel that the event was really a parody of itself. They got it pretty much spot on last year. If there is one next year a few lessons need to be learned. The award selection needs more transparency, a better venue needs to be sourced, the event needs to be on a non gig day and some proper media involvement.  

Monday, November 11, 2013

Back in the saddle..

On Saturday night I played my first solo set for a very long time. 

It was a short set just 4 songs, but was the first time in the 20 years that I have been playing there that I have played at the Cavern as a solo artist. 

The set was

Broken Child (All Living Fear song 2012)
Blue Sky (All Living Fear song 1996)
To Behold (Secrets For September song 2010)
Tomorrow (All Living Fear song 1993)

The last song Tomorrow I first performed with All Living Fear at the Cavern almost to the day 20 years ago as I had just written it while at work in one of the local music shops. As a result of this show I have been asked to play at a few more gigs, and its inspired me that in 2014 I might just finally make a solo recording. watch this space. 

The guitar I used was my little Epiphone travel guitar its got a great sound and hardly takes up any room at all.