Tag Archives: Streaming Lights

Humber Street Sesh – The Unorganised Chaos Formula

So, tomorrow is the first day of August and I’ve realised two things. One, I haven’t been successful at keeping the blog busy this year. City of Culture, I have struggled to balance you with work. And two, Humber Street Sesh is this weekend!

As with every year, my best friend is moving herself North for the weekend of Sesh. We literally only plan that one day. But so busy have we both been that this year we haven’t really found the time for even that. So, instead of my usual organised band-by-band what you should see preview, here’s my plan on ‘winging it’.

I’m usually one of those people who can write up a plan months before an event, especially something like HSS which I look forward to for most of the year (I bought my tickets on October). But when you overly plan things, it is more likely that something won’t happen. Last year, what happened was standing in front of the main stage waiting for one of my favourite bands, only for them not to go on. I could see the lead singer, I watched the lead singer waiting, waiting, waiting…

Streaming Lights - Steve & Ryan
Festival Faves, Streaming Lights

The band subsequently announced that they were no longer a band the following month.

The moral: winging it means no heartbreak. I don’t plan to see much, so I can’t be upset if I don’t see certain elements. I can simply blame the Unorganised Chaos Formula.

So, this is how it works. We turn up on the day with three acts on the Must See List. THREE. One headliner and two other acts.

Disclaimer: I will miss out on amazing acts that I would love to see. I will feel disappointed at this. I will bump into a bandmember I am friendly with and feel devastated that we missed their act. But I will simply say, “We’re winging it this year” and all will be fine.

To decide on my Must See List of three, I have to consider the bands which a) we both love and adore, and b) will ensure we are not disappointed.

So, start with the headliner. This is a lot harder than it sounds, because this year there are four headliners that I love and adore. They are The Quicksilver Kings (Speak Easy stage), Fire (The Unstoppable Force) (Strummerville Stage – many brackets), LIFE (Main Stage – and totally deserving, because they’ve had an epic year), and finally, Counting Coins (Fruit 2 stage). Thankfully, my lovely bestie helps with this decision. If I ask her which Hull band she wishes to see, especially at 10pm when we’ve spent twelve hours watching bands, she will say two words: Counting Coins.

Counting Coins
Counting Coins from a previous HSS (when I didn’t have a great camera)

We will be at the Fruit 2 stage at about 9:45pm and we will dance our tired feet off, doing a little salsa when necessary, and singing to our broken throats content. Because that is what the lady wants, and it’s actually been a whole year since either of us have seen them live.

That leave two Must See acts for my list.

First on the list, performing at 3pm on the Fringe Stage, I’ve selected Loudhailer Electric Company. I’ve seen them perform a few times at Kardomah94 but never on an outdoor stage, so it’d be fantastic to see them in that different setting. They’re loud, they’re funky, they’re amazing performers and songwriters. And the bestie hasn’t seen this band perform, so it’ll be good to introduce her to something new.

Loudhailer Electric Company Paul Newbon
Loudhailer performing at K94 (photo credit to Paul Newbon)

The last of my Must See is a little tricky. I had two bands in mind for the last slot. The Mighty and Moon are fantastic and now perform with the addition of the amazing Emma Fee. I haven’t seen them perform with this line-up of musicians, and I’ve just built up this beautiful image in my mind of how they’ll sound. But there’s one band that’s always on my Must See List, and they’re playing at the same time. Mighty and the Moon are on the Main Stage at 1:55pm, and Streaming Lights are on the Fruit 2 stage at 2pm. It’s no argument: Streaming Lights are my festival favourite, they’ve not played for ages due to various reasons, and I just know that it’ll be a set which either meets my expectations of wonderfully blows them out of the water.

So, my Must See List is 2pm Streaming Lights, 3pm Loudhailer Electric Company, and my headliner is Counting Coins.

Aside from that, we’re planning to wander relatively aimlessly around the 14 stages.

hss app

And to help with the Unorganised Chaos Formula, there’s the addition of a Humber Street Sesh app this year! It’s got an hour-by-hour guide to the line-up across all stages. There’s a map so you can see where everything is (including the Caffe Gelato stand!). And it’s going to be the most up-to-date way of finding out what’s on.

You can download the app onto the usual platforms – just search for Humber Street Sesh in whichever app store you use.

In fact, with the app in my pocket, all I really need to plan is my festival outfit.

 

If you haven’t been organised enough to sort out tickets yet then you can pick them up at a range of stores across Hull. Go to the festival’s website for a full list: http://www.humberstreetsesh.co.uk/tickets/

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Freedom Festival 2015 – in summary

The things which made my weekend:

It won’t strike you with much surprise that my highlight of the weekend was Streaming Lights.

When the initial programme came out, I was convinced that I would be camped outside the Yellow Bus Stage for the headline slot. And at 9:45pm I was stood clutching the barrier at the front of this stage, with thousands stood behind me watching the amazing Public Service Broadcasting.

At 10pm, however, I was twisting my way out from this crowd and into the one which had already formed in front of the Fruit Trade Music Stage.

And boy was I glad to have made this decision. Everyone I’ve spoken to said how amazing Public Service Broadcasting were, and I have no doubt in this, but anyone who saw Streaming Lights was saying the same thing. Every time I see these guys, they grow stronger. Their music is utterly fun, their energy unrelenting, making for a fast-paced and humorous set. Between Ryan’s intoxicated fist pumps to the guy in the audience who took control of the audience in chants and calls, this was a set which didn’t pause even for a breath. My chest hurt from laughing so hard, but the night ended on a high.

Streaming Lights - Steve & Ryan Streaming Lights - fist pump

I caught the end of Urban Astronaut on the Saturday as I headed down to the Marina. Performed by members of Highly Sprung as part of “Gone in 20 Minutes”, they told the story of the planet destroyed. The crowd was so dense however, that I could only see so much, though watching the Astronaut spinning in the air was quite fascinating.

Spotting the set up for this performance on Sunday, I parked myself on the floor and joined the front row for the entire set. With a two year old on my knee, we watched and took photographs as the story unfolded in full. In short: the atmosphere has turned toxic, leaving the ground barren and the air dangerous to breathe. A girl wearing a dress which reflected the summer sky set the stage, forming a circle with dirt and ‘planting’ flowers around. “Look after this for me,” she asked my toddler friend, engaging with key members of her audience. From up King Edward Street, four masked figures rolled a contraption which held the Astronaut in place. He bounced up and down, launching into the air above spectators’ heads. This brought more and more people. Their dance continued as a diet, the Astronaut fearing the girl who tried to comfort him and show him that life can survive once again on Earth.

It was amazing to watch as the Astronaut launched into the air, sailing above the audience who watched in awe. Children and adults alike seemed to watch with the same intrigue.

There was the chance to vote for your favourite of the “Gone in 20 Minutes” performances. However, I was watching so intently that I didn’t note the code and number down to text my vote. And the crowd dispersed so quickly that I couldn’t catch someone to ensure this was done. I’m not even sure how I check which performance won, but if it wasn’t this one then those I missed must have been extraordinary!

Urban Astronaut - Freedom Festival 2015 Urban Astronaut - Freedom Festival 2015

Taking kids to one of the days meant that I got to experience those attractions where a single lass may not be overly appreciated. “Mums and dads” were welcomed to join in with their offspring in Tangle, and so I joined two friends and their toddlers. And in doing so, I saw how this was both a wonderful idea for kids and also something… well, not. One of the little ones was just tired enough to be overwhelmed by the whole thing; surrounded by people in an environment she wasn’t used to, a tantrum ensued. Her little friend, however, enjoyed it so much that I was literally dragged back into the queue so that we could have a second go.

Such a simple idea, this was great fun and produced a colourful piece of art when complete. Absolutely loved it, and so did most of the children who joined in.

Tangle - Freedom Festival 2015 Tangle 3

Things which didn’t work for me:

The World Village Market didn’t really seem all that worldly. I saw a range of food stalls which offered cuisine from around the world – Turkish kebabs, French crepes, Chinese noodles and some delicious hot and spicy Indian curry – but little by the way of worldly goods. Considering the theme is Freedom, I would have expected more Fairtrade stalls. There didn’t even seem to be the usual extent of local stallholders as usual. Perhaps simply worded incorrectly, but I just didn’t agree that this aspect of the festival was achieved.

More of a niggle than a criticism, there were often huge crowds for events which were quite obviously going to be popular. I missed out on seeing Faust because the crowd was already six-deep when they started. I’ll accept some of the blame, as I’d not kept track of time as well as I should have to get myself to the front of the queue, but a larger space or some seating at the front of the crowd would have solved this. The Yellow Bus Stage were no longer using their deckchairs: could these have been put to use here?

I think this is something the festival-goers need to consider next year. But also something which the organisers could give some more thought to. Many of the attractions were repeated over the weekend, but sadly Faust was not one of these.

New acts I now follow:

I caught two new acts performing on the Bridge Stage on the opening night of the festival, catching the end of their sets as I wandered over to enjoy local bands I have seen many times.

Scarlet Riot - Freedom Festival 2015

The first was Skarlett Riot, a Scunthorpe-based rock group. Frontwoman Skarlett was wearing a rather impressive outfit. Their sound is reminiscent of the wonderfully heavy nu-metal and punk rock of the 2000s, guitar-fuelled and aggressive while still rhythmic enough to move to. It was a sound I could easily get caught up in, and I would love to see them perform again.

Spring King - Freedom Festival 2015

Spring King, fresh from Reading and Leeds festival stages and about to embark on a tour supporting Slaves, instantly got my attention as their guitarist threw himself and his instrument around. Whereas two of the band seemed pretty static, this guy and lead vocalist/drummer Tarek Musa seemed to exude endless energy. It was great to see a drummer fronting a band, though he was situated quite deep into the recesses of the stage.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend. The idea of Freedom was everywhere, with people being given the chance to voice their opinions as well as listening to the ideas of others. The variety of music and theatrical performances, spread over the weekend for thousands to attend. And all for free!

Here’s to Freedom 2016.

Highlights of the Humber Street Sesh

Humber Street Sesh is a moment of joy, written into my diary before the new year has even started. It is where my blog began – the moment, last year, when I decided to start writing again.

And so I decided to treat the festival like one giant Sesh.

I try to attend as many Tuesday Sesh nights as possible, which is difficult when you work a Monday-Friday day-job (and also want to attend gigs on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday). My rule for Sesh is simple: either I have to be entirely free (a school holiday with no plans to catch up with friends or other work business involving Browse) or I have to be enticed by one of the bands. This meant that I didn’t use Street Sesh as a means of finding those bands I haven’t seen before. If I stumbled past one, great, but if I didn’t, no worries. There’s plenty of time for this at other Hull festivals – we’ve got Folk Festival, Freedom Festival and Trinity Festival in the coming weeks.

So, instead of reviewing everything here (after all, you can read my reviews of the festival on other platforms), I’m going to give my highlights of the day, in no particular order.

BABIES

Ryan Smith, Babies
Ryan Smith, Babies

It’s been long enough since they announced their split for me to cool down about it. I had expressed my upset to lead vocalist Ryan, but assured him that I would support them until the end. Performing on the Newcomers Stage, it seemed haunting that this was their last performance together.

I stood before the stage minutes before they were due to start, and noticed that there was some issue with a gizmo in Ryan’s hands. This issue seemed to be fixed, but it did lead to technical difficulties throughout their set. Fortunately, Babies have become used to this misfortune (at their EP launch it was Joe’s lead which lead to us not hearing his bass at all) and performed to their best ability.

Full of energy, full of smiles, Babies performed their last set with passion. The scattered crowd – their stage placed on Victoria Pier, they seemed to tower over us – congratulated them loudly as they concluded, and I spotted a couple of faces wash with momentary sadness.

All the best to the boys of Babies and their future endeavours. I doubt this is the last we’ve heard from them; music lovers tend to get drawn back in at some point.

LIFE

Mez Green, Life
Mez Green, Life

It was this time last year when I was first introduced to Life, before embarking on my first press conference with these boys. So, I just had to see them perform Street Sesh again.

The Main Stage had the largest gap between performers and audience, with quite a drop were a member of the band to jump down and try to physically engage with the audience. And that’s a typical part of Life’s performance; Mez hurling himself at the crowd in a fit of energy.

I hadn’t needed to worry. Their set was as wonderful as ever. Mez moved around the entire stage, he and his brother Mick stepping over the monitors onto a platform just before the stage, conversing with the audience. Stewart Baxter, stepping in for Rich on drums, was all energy – it’s often such a shame the drummer gets hidden at the back of the stage.

The band had also been in the crowd for Babies, with Mez taking a moment of their set to comment on the band and wish them all well. Before launching – literally – back into the music, taking that dive off the stage to meet the crowd and circle the grass before the barrier during ‘Take Off With You’.

STREAMING LIGHTS

Another band who are all energy is Streaming Lights, who have been a highlight in the music scene for the last twelve months for me. I don’t think I’ve missed one of their gigs so far this year, and they never disappoint.

Performing on the Dead Bod stage, they were sandwiched between two equally popular acts – Folk royalty Hillbilly Troupe and the fantastic Danny Landau Band. Lead vocalist Steve Minns stated at the start of the set that their sound was quite different to that of the others which fit more comfortably into the Folk genre, though it worked to introduce the more rock sound Danny Landau offers.

Sadly, the lighting was too much for my camera. So I pinched this photograph of Streaming Lights from Paul Newbon.
Sadly, the lighting was too much for my camera. So I pinched this photograph of Streaming Lights from Paul Newbon.

Still, it didn’t matter whether or not they fit into the genre of the stage – that’s one of the joys of the Sesh, that all genres are represented and get their chance to perform to a diverse audience. The crowd remained, shifting slightly as some moved backwards to the Minerva bar and others moved forward to embrace the music.

Streaming Lights have adapted their set recently, taking on more instrumentals and with a range of new songs in addition to bringing back some of their older rockier tunes. A thoroughly positive performance, the crowd reacted with equal vitality; at one point what appeared to be an item of clothing being thrown onto the stage, to which Ryan Gibbins retaliated by hurling toilet roll into the audience.

They even teased the audience with my favourite song – possibly their only slow one – ‘Slipper Song’, Steve singing the first word before announcing “it’s not the night for it”, and instead launching into their latest single, ‘Box Room Boy’.

Fantastic stuff, keeping the energy at a high and ensuring that the cold of the darkening sky didn’t get a chance to seep in.

BABY TOOTH

This was the first time I had seen Baby Tooth perform. I only caught the very end of their set on the Green Bricks Stage, and I was impressed that their live sound is pretty much what you hear on their recorded tracks.

What captivated me even further was what happened when they realised there was another ten minutes in which they were entitled to perform. Instead of launching into an original song or a cover of a popular grunge track, which would match their look, lead singer Nanny McGee unhooked the microphone from the stand and launched into a rather psychedelic version of ‘The Real Slim Shady’. It was totally unexpected and hilariously different to their look, but executed perfectly. I was amazing, grinning throughout the performance.

COAVES

I’d expressed the difficulty in which I had in selecting a headliner when such a wonderful selection was on offer. My decision to see Coaves was based on a number of things: the Newcomers Stage was in close proximity to the Dead Bod stage where I was seconds before; it was drummer Conor’s birthday, and I’d started the day with him supporting Mark Rowland in the Acoustic Marquee; and, simply, they are bloody brilliant.

The crowd was scattered. There were ten other amazing acts on, so this wasn’t a surprise. But for Coaves, this was fine because you need space to move. Their set is fuelled entirely by high octane energy, and this is mirrored in the reaction from the crowd.

They concluded with ‘Change Your Mind’, Jonny inviting everyone to have “a really good dance”. And with the addition of a new outro, all four members huddled around the drumkit, and two confetti cannons to just clinch that loud, frantic ending which you just don’t forget easily.

I’ve heard amazing things about the all of the headliners, but as someone who’s also been a part of the local music scene for around a year the Newcomers Stage felt appropriate. An amazing day for everyone, with eleven amazing headline acts sending the crowds away from the marina with smiles on their faces and all the adrenalin to fuel whatever they planned for the rest of the night, whether that be at the official After Party or not.

Artwork on Victoria Pier
Part of the Photography Exhibition on Victoria Pier

On top of all this, I was proud to see just how involved members of Browse were in the festival. Our Arts Editor Lucy Howson was painting live alongside other artists. Three of our photographers, including my good friend Paul Newbon, featured in the Photography exhibition which spread across Humber Street and Victoria Pier. And our Editor-in-chief Mike White was a headliner himself, DJing inside the Silent Disco.

A festival for the people by the people of Hull – everyone involved, in whatever role, should be very feeling very positive right now.

Streaming Lights Headline The Sesh 30.06.2015

Last time I was at the Sesh, we were interviewing Streaming Lights. On the stunning evening of the 30th, I met up with the lads again for their headline slot and launch of their new single ‘Box Room Boy’.

Imogen Hart
Imogen Hart

A small crowd had gathered quickly, there near the front of the room to support 16-year old Imogen Hart. This was her debut at Sesh, though she has performed at other events. Imogen has a voice which you can easily lose yourself in; her songs laced with emotions. There are many young singers surfacing – from Freedom Road Creative Arts, as Imogen has, as well as other institutes – and she is one of the brilliant performers who will be taking to the In Training Youth Stage at Humber Street Sesh.

It was a powerful warm-up which got you moving to the beat. Mak compared her to Emily Moulton, stating that he was “in awe” of her talents. I have to say that I am rather enjoying these Sesh nights which start with an acoustic act: after a long day at work, you often find the need to be gently eased into the mood.

Jon Calvert - Coaves
Jon Calvert – Coaves

Next up were Coaves, who don’t do anything in moderation. They started their set in high energy with ‘Waves’, a summery upbeat number which you’d struggle not to dance to. The crowd were clapping along, singing the chorus and moving with the boys on stage. Even with their slower tracks, all four bandmembers are bouncing with energy – it’s really quite intoxicating – Jonny climbing on the furniture and Liam spinning in circles.

The only downside to their set was that it lacked their usual outro: missing their heavy attack on the drumkit.

Fronteers
Fronteers

The Polar Bear was quite busy by the time Fronteers stepped up to the stage. This band is the one I have not seen for the longest time, having seen all three others on the bill in the last couple of months, and I was glad to see that they had grown in confidence. They’re developing their sound: less cover tracks and more conversation with the audience. But I still found it was lacking something. They had regular followers dancing in front of the stage, but their set didn’t work for me with that placement: sandwiched between two physically energetic bands, I felt there was a dip in on-stage charisma. Which is a shame, because I did enjoy their set – it just wasn’t the one I remembered upon waking up the following day.

And I was there mostly for Streaming Lights, headlining Sesh for the second time this year. Mak had warned the crowd that their set would be “eventful”, stating that they were “everyone’s favourite” as he welcomed them to the stage.

Steve Minns - Streaming Lights
Steve Minns – Streaming Lights

Opening track ‘Shake It Up’ seemed to act as an instruction; the crowd quickly regaining their energy. In between songs – those from album KICK, a few older ones and newer ones – Ryan handed out CDs of their latest single. People quickly moved forward to claim this prize, though sadly the music video had not been completed on time (it is now available on Youtube) for us to take home this piece of joy.

Their funky tunes had people moving in full swing, their entire body reacting the sound. Considering the heat we’ve had, it was impressive that people had this energy left. It was certainly a rather sweaty affair; bassist Ryan Gibbins declared “I need a Solaro” before they introduced ‘Box Room Boy’, intended this to be their penultimate song. However, ending with a long instrumental, and Steve Minns telling the crowd “I love you”, we called for more. Much more: this was the first time I had experienced a double encore at the Sesh, with Steve admitting that he wasn’t sure he could remember how to play any other songs. Mak was ready to lead them into more tunes, perhaps keeping them there all night, but it was not only us on the floor who had work in the morning.

A warm night of fantastic music from four extremely talented acts: The Polar Bear was well and truly struck by a wave of scorching energy this Sesh night.

Photos by Paul Newbon

Streaming Lights

“The main benefit of being in a band is about having a good time, while also doing something you love and are passionate about. Effectively this band is our 5-a-side football team.”

Except there’s only three of them. Streaming Lights consists of Steve Minns, Ryan Gibbins and Chris Flynn.

Founded in 2010, they’ve become a recognisable name on the Hull Music Scene. Known for their energetic stage antics and Minns’ distinguishable falsetto tones, their music is incredibly difficult to pigeonhole. When I first saw them perform, in their earlier days, they produced a much heavier sound with clear rock influences. Now, I’d be inclined to use the words ‘electric’ and ‘fun’ (these words, and synonyms of these words, being ones I have certainly used when reviewing the band). And it is this which draws you in: the boyish frivolity (synonym) of their stage presence, entertaining the crowd with humorous banter and general silliness.

Their lyrics too are cleverly comical. On 2014 album ‘KICK’ you’ll find songs about the addictive lure of EBay, the all-encompassing allure of a pair of slippers and the desire to see inside someone else’s mind. With catchy choruses and buoyant beats, it won’t take you many spins before you’re singing along at one of their shows.

“a patchwork quilt of different things”

And now that their audience has become comfortable with these songs, the lads are producing new tracks in the hope that it won’t take another three years before the second album. ‘Box Room Boy’ is their new single, launched at The Sesh on June 30th, with the video being released a couple of days later.

And this weekend they are performing at The Big Gig alongside other popular Hull bands. If I haven’t already convinced you that these boys are something to experience, then get down there just for the fun of it – see what the fuss is all about.

Photograph credit goes to Chris Pepper (Jemstar Images)

Festival Fever – New to Hull 2015

On Saturday 11th July, you will be able to enjoy live music and family fun in two locations. In one corner, there is West Park Party. And in the other, The Big Gig, held at the University Union. Naturally, there are pros and cons with both, but which one best suits you?

West Park Party poster

Let’s start with the first one to be announced, back in November. Organised by Auxilium Events Ltd, West Park Party declares itself as “a music festival for all the family”. There is going to be one main stage, with a range of acts considered Heritage, Current and Local. Current Acts which have so far been announced are Labrinth, Union J (who were at the Launch Party in Princes Quay in February) and Ella Eyre: a rather diverse collection on offer. Heritage Acts currently announced include Sinitta (who is also helping organise the festival), Toploader (who headlined at Trinity Festival 2014), and Aswad. Local artists Emma King, Chiedu Oraka, Emmie Craft and Nineties Boy are also on the bill. A true mixture of genres. However, there are still acts to be announced.

Front page of flyer

The Big Gig, the first festival from local events organiser Hull Red, have given a line-up of eleven local acts, including headliner Endoflevelbaddie and the ever-popular Young Jack. The aim of this stage is to get your feet dancing, but there will also be an acoustic stage with a range of folk acts, well known and new to the scene, offering a full variety of genres.

Also pegged as “family friendly”, The Big Gig has a focus on those with learning disabilities. Red have been putting on disability friendly events for some time, on a smaller scale, and are now confident that they can produce a festival designed with these specific needs in mind. The aim is to get people together; making the area both accessible and comfortable for people with learning disabilities, while providing a fun day out for families and fans of the local music industry.

Big Gig - line up

West Park Party is also considering those who often find festivals inaccessible. They have “a whole area” specifically designed to ensure access for disabled people. They are also linked with several local charities, including Cash4Kids and Dove House Hospice, who are working with the organisers.

Families can enjoy themselves at both festivals.

At West Park Party there is a Familyzone, defined as “an area where kids can play and adults can relax” in earshot of the bands, so as not to miss anything. In this zone there will be the usual festival fun, including a marine life zone, shows from local drama groups and an arts and crafts area. The young ones will have no reason to say they are bored.

So, too, at The Big Gig, who will also have children’s entertainers and arts and crafts, alongside story tellers, dance workshops, graffiti art and bubble shows. Something for everyone and every taste.

It’s difficult for me not to be biased about this one. The family friendly activities are not at the forefront of my mind when selecting a festival, though I do attend quite a few with friends and their little ones. And, as much as I want to see international selling artists and those ‘big’ acts from around the world coming to Hull, I love the local scene. Having attended the launch party for West Park Party, I can see why people are talking about it on a grander scale than they are about The Big Gig. But, with most of this talk still seemingly hanging on Union J, I just can’t get as excited.

Give me a dose of Streaming Lights any day.

Besides, I haven’t told you about the main deciding factor for most families considering attending. Let us stereotype the two adults, two children which is often used in ticket sales. For The Big Gig, this will cost you a maximum of £20: that’s £6 per adult, and £4 per child over the age of 10 years. A family ticket for West Park Party is £70. Adults are priced at £30, with children over 5 years at £20, and “new age pensioners” at £22.50. But remember, what you are getting for that cost.

Bottom line: both festivals aim to involve everyone, offering a range of opportunities and experiences for the community. What sways your decision should be which acts you want to see. You may have seen Counting Coins and The Hubbards perform numerous times, whereas you’ve never seen Ella Eyre, who has also been announced as part of the West Park Party line-up. You may want the comfort of knowing that you will enjoy the day if you see the bands you see regularly – for many with learning disabilities, familiarity is essential, and so this is ideal. You may decide to kick off the festival season with something different.

Your reasons for attending one over the other are individual. This is a snapshot of the pros and cons of each. All I can advise is that you are there at one of them. Start the festival season as you wish.

Tickets for West Park Party are available online or over the ticket hotline on 0800 689 3016

Tickets for The Big Gig are available through Hull Box Office.

Teenage Cancer Trust Fundraiser

There were loads of events on this bank holiday weekend, but I’d had the tickets for the Teenage Cancer Trust Fundraiser on my noticeboard for over a month.

At a mere £3.50, I couldn’t turn this event down. Even with a free gig on at the Larkin’s Ale Festival, I knew I would be spending the majority of Sunday with my friends and fellow muso’s down at Fruit. Afterall, it was for a good cause and twelve bands had also given up their time to entertain us free, all for this charity. A charity which Luke Bowe pointed out was of equal significance to all in the audience as “we’ve all been touched by the Big C”.

Wayward Suns
Wayward Suns

Wayward Suns kicked things off. They’re a band of young lads, who I haven’t seen perform before. Their heavy rock sound filled the room, where quite a crowd had gathered. New to me, I noticed a similar thread to their sound as I hear in Young Jack (especially with songs such as ‘Get Along’). Sharing their vocal harmonies across the three lads at the front of the stage, the lead vocalist – who also has a mop of hair similar to Luke Bowe – had a voice which reminds me of Counting Crows’ Adam Duritz; melodic and raw.

Vulgarians lead singer Ryan Wilson-Preen
Vulgarians lead singer Ryan Wilson-Preen

Due to the scattering crowd, and the sudden sunshine, Vulgarians commented on the lack of people inside Fruit for their set. “We’ve emptied Fruit,” Ryan Wilson-Preen announced; I hadn’t even noticed until he mentioned it, but it was true that the crowd was more disperse. A shame, and rather a shock, as this band have built quite a following.

The gig was a near-sell-out and yet the venue never felt full; people came and went for the bands they knew and supported, with few sticking around for the duration. No single band had the full impact of the crowd because of this, and I felt this was a real shame.

The Froot '67
The Froot ’67

Looking rather 70s and sounding a little 60s, The Froot ’67 were exactly what I wanted to listen to on a sunny Sunday afternoon. I am most certainly one of their newest fans, will no doubt be purchasing their debut album ‘Seven Past Eight’, for which they celebrated on the 9th at Raine Club. Bouncing vocals from bassist Stevie Newby to guitarist Louie Donoghue, all four members performed with huge levels of energy. A real delight.

It was at this point that my friend and I nipped out for a spot of late lunch, missing Attack The Embassy. However, our return was quick, eager to not miss too much, and we re-entered to the loud noise and incredible power of Cannibal Animal – whose drummer had us both transfixed as he performed in a blur of swift movements – and Dead Hormones who are the band I have seen most recently. We were straight back into the swing of things, and ready for the night to continue, replenished and excited.

Dead Hormones
Dead Hormones

The line-up from this point featured some of my favourite Hull bands; those I rave, unashamedly, rather too much about. My friend and I settled into a spot before the stage, digging our heels into the concrete floor.

Tom Skelly has a stunning voice, and I am always amazed at the ferocity with which he and his Salty Beards perform. Much like the ocean and the allure as described in popular track ‘Morning Sun’, their music sweeps over you, a never-ending wave of sound, rising and dipping to cool you with Skelly’s softer tones.

BREEZE lead vocalist Aron Gilbey
BREEZE lead vocalist Aron Gilbey

Breeze, Streaming Lights, Coaves and Young Jack never get old for me. Eternally indulgent, I could write reams just about their sets.  From the point where Breeze sang ‘Goodbye, So Long’, I was my most energetic, and mirrored the vivacity of Coaves and the highlight of silliness, Streaming Lights, who always offer more entertainment than their electric tunes.

Streaming Lights
Streaming Lights

As a prelude to the final three bands, we also had experimental The Bodyfarmers, who perform with no vocals. Their mixture of guitars – during one song being played with a bow – drums and soundboard filled the space wonderfully. It can sometimes cause people’s minds to wander, having no lyrics to focus on or sing along to, but The Bodyfarmers seemed to have the opposite effect, pulling the crowd in. Their last track appeared to knock out each of the guitarists, who fell to the floor and left the stage to the drummer and bassist, who thanked the audience in an echoing quiet (with no use for them, the mics had been turned off).

The Bodyfarmers
The Bodyfarmers

Young Jack had a hefty crowd, with people moving further forward to welcome them on stage. Playing their popular tracks as well as new funky sound ‘Move’, they were the ideal headliners; indeed taking their second headline spot this week. So enthralled were the audience, we called out for more, and reacted very positively to their cover of Wild Cherry’s ‘Play That Funky Music’.

Young Jack lead vocalist Luke Bowe
Young Jack lead vocalist Luke Bowe

Overall, a very enjoyable way to spend the day – absorbed in the music which stretched from bright sunshine to the glittering night. And though the crowd altered as quickly as the bands did, there was always a buzz in the room. Taking that into consideration alongside the £500 raised for charity, you can’t argue that the event was a hit.

And a perfect warm-up to the festival season, when we’ll be able to soak up the tunes as well as those sunny rays.

13 Years of BBC Introducing Humberside

Browse Mag - BBC Intro feature Previously, I have described an evening spent at BBC Humberside radio. This was all in aid of research for a feature celebrating the radio station’s thirteenth anniversary.

So, in case you didn’t read the feature in Browse Magazine, here it is:

The Hull music scene is a vibrant one, with an effervescent assortment of talented individuals. And thirteen years ago, two organisations established themselves as a means of reflecting exactly this.

One was the Sesh, the other “Raw Talent” on BBC Radio Humberside, now known as BBC Introducing Humberside.

Back in 2002, there was an eruption of guitar bands in Hull, mirroring exactly what was happening in the rest of the UK. But there weren’t as many options for these bands wanting to spread their music as there is now. If you were unsigned and under the radar, then getting your music out on local or national radio could be difficult. People simply wanted to trust that you were good enough for the masses to listen to. And so, in our very city, it was decided that this was a platform our local artists needed.

Streaming Lights in the studio (photo by Chris Pepper)
Streaming Lights in the studio (photo by Chris Pepper)

Alan Raw, known by the BBC as a session drummer in various bands as well as having taught camera skills previously in the building, was selected as the ideal face for the show. Speaking to him about this time, he told me that he was “in the right place at the right time, doing the right thing”. Performing with a recognised band who John Peel had introducing onto London stages, he knew what it was like to both be under the radar and well and truly in sight. So, needing “someone who knew all the bands and didn’t mind telling people how much they loved them”, Alan was a natural fit for the bill.

Alan Raw, host of Raw Talent & BBC Introducing Humberside (photo by Chris Pepper)
Alan Raw, host of Raw Talent & BBC Introducing Humberside (photo by Chris Pepper)

Stepping out from behind the curtain that hangs before most drummers, he joined producer Katy Noone and John Anguish (who, in addition to Martha Mangan, still manages BBC Introducing Humberside) and “Raw Talent” was launched. He turned up on his first night with a suitcase, rescued from a skip outside, filled with vinyl and CDs and was faced with somebody on the desk who he was told to watch, copy and then take over.

And since then, he’s become a recognisable name not only in the Hull Music Scene, but further afield, as he hosts both the East and West Yorkshire shows.

In the past, there has been a stigma around Hull, which has led to bands not getting the recognition they deserve. Alan Raw described the music industry in contrast to that of football, where you have talent scouts constantly out looking for the next big thing. “In music, we’ve not had that structure… BBC Introducing is that structure.” And it started right here in Hull, and has established itself as something significant in the last 13 years. New talent can more readily make it on to bigger and better things, with the help and support of their local radio station.

In 2007 the BBC acknowledged a national need for the huge amount of new music being produced across the UK to be recognised. From Guernsey to Merseyside, from Ulster to Leicester, from Sheffield to Somerset, there is now somewhere for local bands to share their music and engage with a wider audience. Just as the Sesh in Hull provides a weekly live gig where local bands can play, BBC Radio was now providing a way in which anyone could tap in and see what was on offer.

Emma Fee in the Studio (photo by Chris Pepper)
Emma Fee in the Studio (photo by Chris Pepper)

In addition to the local scene, this also opens up the opportunity for Radio DJs to discuss the music in their area and promote them further afield. If a Hull band is touring and has a gig in Oxford (for example), then the sister show can also showcase them, expanding their profile and introducing them to an even wider audience. And the aspect of live music continues to flow through the veins of the organisation, with weekly live sessions and opportunities such as performing on the BBC Introducing stages as such events as Bestival and Glastonbury.

It all starts with the Uploader, an award-winning tool which means any band can create a profile, upload their music and direct it to their local BBC Introducing show. From this too, it can be shared with national shows at the click of a button by Katy, Alan or Martha. This is precisely how MOTHER gained airplay on Radio 1 and secured a slot at Leeds and Reading Festival. To be considered for any of these opportunities, you must start with the Uploader, which can be found on the webpage www.bbc.co.uk/introducing. There are currently over 5000 tracks in the local Uploader, with varied playlists being shared weekly.

I shall conclude with the words of Alan Raw, summarising exactly what our local BBC Introducing believes: “Hull bands are brilliant. And they need to get out and find out for themselves that they can go anywhere and easily be the best band on the bill.” One stepping stone to achieving this is getting that feature on their local BBC Introducing Humberside.


A massive thanks to Katy, Alan, Martha and John at BBC Introducing for welcoming Chris and myself into the studio, and to Streaming Lights and Emma Fee for agreeing to being photographed. As well as huge thanks to Chris (Jemstar Images) for taking fantastic images to accompany my feature. 

BBC Introducing Humberside – something to shout about

BBC Introducing supports unsigned, undiscovered and under the radar musicians from all across the country. And this month marks the 13th anniversary of Hull’s local station, BBC Introducing Humberside.

Established to offer a structured way in order to give the recognition deserved of many unsigned musicians in the area, it all started with “Raw Talent” in 2002, tying in the name of host Alan Raw. Having performed music from a young age, learning to drum in his family’s Ceilidh band and then working as a sessions drummer with a variety of bands (one of which grabbed the attention of John Peel), he had the needed connections with a wide range of bands and musicians.

Since 2007, the show has rebranded as BBC Introducing, with over 30 shows now offering the same recognition to their local acts, with Radio 1 and 6 Music adopting the Introducing concept.

As part of my research for a feature celebrating BBC Introducing, I was invited back for a second time to Hull’s BBC building in Queens Gardens – I last attended when interviewing Coaves as feature artists for Browse Magazine.

Two of my favourite Hull acts were performing: Streaming Lights and Emma Fee. Dragging our chief photographer, Chris Pepper, in, we were greeted by producer Katy Noone and directed promptly into the studio to meet Alan Raw and take some shots of the master at work. Alan is one of the many passionate people who dedicate a huge proportion of their life to supporting local arts, and he was both charming and charismatic from the initial handshake of the night.

Photographers doing their thing while Streaming Lights soundcheck
Photographers doing their thing while Streaming Lights soundcheck

From this point, we were handed a pair of ear defenders each and taken through to the main room, which is a café during the daytime. In addition to us, there was also Patrick Mateer, a photographer/videographer who is friends with the show’s organisers, fiddling with a series of cameras propped on tripods. Blinds drawn, lights dimmed, Streaming Lights were set up for their live recording. John Anguish, the sound engineer who has worked with the show since Raw Talent, talked them through the programme and we were amerced in the electronic waves of their sound. Chris and Patrick roamed the room, cameras in hand, as I took my own few sneaky snaps. It was strange for them to perform in this manner, the focus being solely on their sound, with singer Steve Minns doing a few kicks just because it felt like he should.

They performed two tracks from their album ‘KICK’ – Telepathic and Cut Of Your Jib – before heading into the studio to chat with Alan. This is my favourite part of being in the studio for the live sessions: the banter between presenter and band. Discussing their upcoming gigs and new album, the room was filled with comfortable laughter. The connections between the Introducing staff and the musicians strong, as Alan commented on how Martha Mangan, who deals with the social media aspects of the show, was pleased with them for having played one of her favourite tracks.

Emma Fee then entered the studio, a large room seemingly controlled by a single Macbook. Performing her two songs – Eyes of Mine and Wrong, both from her new album – acoustically, she sat inside the studio and not out in the café like the lads. Though it wasn’t cramped, even with the many cameras and pair of photographers, I could see more through the window panel behind Emma, and so stood with Streaming Lights to listen to the set over the speaker system. This was quite strange, like listening to the radio show while seeing it unfold before you, but a perfect way to enjoy the moment.

Emma conducted her discussion from the recording studio, with Alan behind his desk in the next room. They communicated through a set of headphones, chatting along with interjections from Mike Jessop, who supports Emma on his Cajon.

Alan Raw, Streaming Lights & Emma Fee
Alan Raw, Streaming Lights & Emma Fee

At the end of the show recording, everyone looks tired, except Streaming Lights who always have energy to spare. Chris and I helped the band transfer their instruments, and then I got to see exactly what Katy’s role involved. Alan describes her as the person who keeps everything and everyone together. After the show, both she and Alan tweak any issues, and while listening to one of the songs they’d noticed there was a swear word which needed to be cut from one of the songs. Katy explained that often they will run over the two hours quite often, to allow for any mistakes. Swear words aren’t allowed in the songs they broadcast; it’s not about watershed rules, but simply that the BBC prefer all songs to be radio-ready and suitable for all audiences. She tinkered about with this, before she and Martha headed home.

At this point, Alan would normally finish his own tinkering before setting off, but this was my chance to interview him. We discussed BBC Introducing and all it does for undiscovered musicians, as well as how he got involved in it, and then moved on to discuss his other passions and activities. He currently performs in a couple of bands, including Hull-based Endoflevelbaddie. Having played The Sesh the night before, we had to discuss this: “Last night, at the Sesh, was, you know, so good. It is incredible. A lot of people like Endoflevelbaddie for dancing to – people always dance, and loads of them – and a lot of people like Endoflevelbaddie to listen to on the recordings as well. But I tell you what though, there’s nothing like being in the band. It is an amazing experience. It’s like dancing to Endoflevelbaddie but it makes a noise when you dance as well, coz I’ve got my feet on pedals and sticks in my hand and it’s a whole different level of dancing to Endoflevelbaddie. I just love being in the band.”

We also discussed his work with the POP and HIP galleries in town, of which POP also celebrated an anniversary – their first anniversary – this week.

And, then, with all light diminished from the sky, I set off for home myself, leaving Alan with that tinkering still to do.

It’s amazing to see what happens in order to produce those two hours of radio listening, and find out all about our local show. Everyone involved is wonderful, friendly and professional at all times, with Hull’s new talent at the heart of all they do. It’s a job which you can’t simply leave at the office; as Katy pointed out, even with the introduction of the Uploader, she still loves to receive CDs and vinyl copies of EPs and albums.

What’s even more amazing, is that this brand started here, in Hull at BBC Radio Humberside. And these same people have been doing this for 13 years, in response to a need for new talent to receive the recognition so many of them deserve. Thank you BBC Introducing Humberside for inviting me into your world, and thank you for doing all that you do.

The Sesh 20.01.15

There are two ways in which a band will keep you out late on a chilly winter’s night. The first is loyalty: being one of those bands you just adore, knowing they’ll put on a good show and keep you entertained. The second is to catch you when you’re already out and draw you in for more by simply being brilliant. Often the second comes first.

In the case of this week’s Sesh, I was drawn out by loyalty. My first Sesh of 2015 featured two bands I have not seen previously and one I’m rather attached to. I’ve written quite a lot about Streaming Lights, admitting my reservations when first introduced to them years ago, and then my falling for their charms.

And so, this Tuesday, I stepped out into the cold air and made my way down to the Polar Bear. Meeting with my Browse comrades – Paul and Luke with their cameras, and Darren reviewing for the mag – I was rather giddy.

Magic Carpet Factory
Magic Carpet Factory

I arrived, as I often do, during the soundcheck for the opening band, Magic Carpet Factory. Lead singer, Adam Desforges, stepped up to the mic, a guitar around him and a maraca in his hand. Turning to Paul, I joked that they “had me at maracas”, having previously got quite anxious when Black Delta Movement hadn’t played my favourite tune ‘Butterfly’ (featuring maracas). We chatted quietly through their soundcheck, growing louder as the music over the system came on. The audience grew too; the room becoming busy but not heaving.

Magic Carpet Factory
Magic Carpet Factory

The joke turned more serious as the band started their set with a bass beat from the drums coursing through the veins of the crowd. Hiked up by the guitars, the music cradled Desforge’s voice. I struggled throughout the night to say who they reminded me of, having a rather classic indie rock sound – enjoyable easy listening which got our feet tapping. I particularly enjoyed their song ‘Midnight Kiss’ which has catchy lyrics I felt I could sing along to. An ideal warming opener, especially as I anticipated the energetic set to come.

Paul’s verdict on Magic Carpet Ride was that they were ‘very good’, giving them both thumbs up (again demonstrating why he doesn’t write the reviews).

And The Hangnails
And The Hangnails

And The Hangnails from York took to the stage next. They had been highly recommended by Black Delta Movement, who they have seen and played along previously, and so I expected a similar sound from the two men and their instruments.

Being a duo, I was quickly impressed with the power they created on stage. Martyn Fillingham, on guitar and vocals, and Steven Reid, on drums, performed with as much energy and presence as a larger band, pulling the crowd forward. I was just getting used to their sound, when Fillingham stepped up the vocals, screaming the lyrics into the mic and hooking us in once again as we became comfortable and enticing anyone not already knee-deep in their sound.

And The Hangnails
And The Hangnails

And again, as I got used to this faster rhythm and increased volume, they altered the tempo and brought everything down to allow us to focus on Fillingham’s voice during a calm moment.

They demonstrated a professionalism which many Hull bands can learn from. Two men on stage, captivating the audience with such precision, making those alterations when we’d just begun to attach a specific sound to their name. This short set was a collection of their songs, including some newer ones, which demonstrated their diversity as musicians. We’d been talking only earlier in the night about how bands we’d grown up with had lost our favour because they’d changed their style, moving on when we weren’t prepared to. I’d commented that one thing I love about the Manic Street Preachers is that they have adapted to move with the times, developing their own style to suit them as they change through the course of life, admitting that there are albums I rarely listen to but adore simply because they are theirs. With And The Hangnail, this worked to keep the audience fresh.

Their last song was a full showcase of their talent, starting heavy and powerful, then mellowing to a rhythmic drumbeat and simple chords, ensuring the Fillingham’s voice was a fierce focal point on the stage, before jumping straight up again and concluding loudly.

Paul’s verdict on And The Hangnails was a difficult one. Having not considered that he’d already used up both of his thumbs, he settled with doubling up in order to offer four thumbs.

I knew he’d struggle further with the headlining band, as we’d both come out to see them and had been sat with them for a proportion of the night.

Streaming Lights
Streaming Lights

Playing tracks for their album ‘Kick’, as well as one of their “rocky ones from back in the day”, Streaming Lights performed with the energy and excitement I have come to expect from them. All three – Steve Minns on guitar and lead vocals, Ryan Gibbins on bass, and Chris Flynn on drums – were smiling throughout the set, at each other and out into the crowd. The sheer enjoyment of being on stage filtered through the room, and people stepped forward to dance in front of them.

It’s difficult not to repeat myself when reviewing a band I’ve seen recently before or spent time with. Streaming Lights put on a show as only they do, chatting with each other and the crowd, posing for pictures when the camera came around and throwing themselves about the stage.

Streaming Lights
Streaming Lights

I have said before that it’s saddened me to see them play to scattered crowds. The last time I’d seen them, they’d played during a meal at a charity ball, giving the energy to their music but not receiving much back as their audience was more interested in the food. They’d agreed that it was difficult to engage with this crowd. But this was not an issue as they headlined the Sesh, with eager fans moving and singing along. Yet, their banter was mostly negative. However laced with sarcasm, it struck me that if they are to knock themselves down then it offers others the opportunity.

Steven Minns - Streaming Lights
Steven Minns – Streaming Lights

I am a fan of Streaming Lights. I like that their sound is different – something you may not engage with straight away, but which grows on you quickly. I like their silliness, their drunken performances which are still perfectly executed. Though Steve consistently questioned Ryan as to which song was next, they launched into each song as a team and played them all with the velvetiness of their mastered tracks. I like that they are so energetic and eager, on and off stage.

Paul’s verdict was five thumbs up, though this was slightly biased and mostly based on his previous use of the system.

Overall, it was a fantastic night. I left the house giddy with anticipation, knowing it would be a good night. Magic Carpet Factory were really enjoyable. And The Hangnails had be hooked throughout, dragging me in if lethargy even winked in my direction. Streaming Lights were as wonderful as I could expect. I left The Polar Bear buzzing with the energy of the night, convinced that it was somewhat warmer.