From the blog

March Update

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Good grief! Where do I even begin with this month’s blog?

I’ve been putting off writing this update for a few days because there is so much to write about I feared it might be more of a novel than a blog so let’s see if that turns out to be the case, shall we?

As you’ll know if you’ve visited the site in the last couple of weeks, I’ve expanded in the last month by signing two new artists which takes my number up to 4. I’ve decided to put less emphasis on the radio work for a while and make Off The Chart Promotions more of my main focus than it has been previously and so with some more time spare I wanted to take the opportunities presented to me to pick up the two new artists I did (Flux32 and The Staycations). I’ve always said I’m still learning this game but with 18 months of doing this sort of thing and 3 years of radio in Cambridge under my belt I feel the contacts and reputation I’ve built in the area will help the new bands but at the same time the signing of two new artists will also benefit my existing rosta with new opportunities. It suddenly dawned on me the other day that I’m now responsible for 19 musicians (some a lot more temperamental than others!), 18 of which are male (and predominantly teenagers) and only 1 female. What have I done?!

So, on with the blog and as usual a round up of what each band is up to.

Beginning with the longest serving band of them all, 18 months and counting! 28 Boulevard.. Well, you’ll recall from the last blog that we were all very excited when their track ‘Who Are You?’ was featured in the background of a scene from ITV soap Emmerdale. That episode was aired almost a month ago now, I have to say it was a weird but very cool experience watching and hearing something I recognised being broadcast on national TV to 8 million people! I don’t watch Emmerdale as a rule but could still appreciate the platform this was giving the band and the track. Thanks to Tim O’Mara, Director of Emmerdale and Tamsin Holleran at ITV for making that opportunity possible. Following that appearance we got a nice write up in the Cambridge News (pictured) so thanks also to Natalie Robinson at the paper for running the story.

Editorial in Cambridge News

The bands new EP is due for release on 7th April, it’ll be titled ‘Sunclouds’ and contain 5 tracks including the lead single ‘Electric Feet’ which was released on 1st March on iTunes and the usual online pay-to-download stores. Through our relationship with Super Cat PR we got the track premiered on (pictured below) the night before it’s release which was fantastic and no doubt the biggest blog the band have been featured on to date. There have been and will continue to be reviews and bits of editorial on the EP through online blogs in the coming weeks leading up to the EP release. Thanks also go out to BBC Introducing Cambridgeshire host Tom Simkins who gave the track it’s first radio play.

photo premiere from the view of an iPhone

28 Boulevard will be appearing on my Star Talent show on release day (7th April) to chat and play live and their next two gigs are on 10th April (ARU Academy alongside Leroy’s Mama) and will also make their final appearance at the Cambridge Junction of the year on 11th April alongside our own Flux32 and The Staycations as well as Soft Like Camel. I reckon 28 Boulevard have performed more ‘Fiver’ nights in the last three years than any other local band, I put this down to two reasons – the first (obviously) because they’re good and the second because they’ve outlasted everyone else! The opportunity for any young band to perform in a venue such as J1 at the Cambridge Junction is huge and one not to be underestimated but it’s important not to reach saturation point and play the same venue over and over, it starts to have a negative effect and more importantly takes the opportunity away from another band. They’ll be back but not for a little while. I should take this opportunity on behalf of the band to thank Gary Brown who promotes the Fiver night for his unreserved support of 28 Boulevard, he’s been a big fan of theirs for years and no doubt will continue to be so.

May see’s the band play their first festival of the year, playing the Saturday at ‘Stortfest’ in Bishops Stortford and they’ve a couple of private prom gigs coming up too – dust the suits off boys!

There are two exciting things left to announce, firstly the excellent music video for ‘Electric Feet’ will be given an online premiere within the next week and secondly, we’ve completed all the details regarding the bands second tour and we will be announcing that shortly as well. Watch this space…

Lost Lungs are building up to their next gig which is on Saturday, 22nd March at the Apex in Bury St Edmunds supporting the 70s and 80s singer Toyah Wilcox. It’s difficult to judge quite how this gig will go down, I’ve no idea what sort of crowd goes to see a Toyah gig and whether that crowd will be in to what Lost Lungs have to perform but one things for sure, they’ll be prepared for it and there won’t be a repeat of the ‘rabbit in headlights’ syndrome that blighted their last performance there in the BurySOUND final. We’ve taken on board some of the feedback they’ve had at recent gigs and are working on a few areas that we’ve long identified as needing improvement and by the time the 22nd rolls round, they’ll be ready.

LLQueen  LLbears
MAN DOWN! Vocal training at practice.     Helena with her entourage at ‘Bears Boutique’

Recently they played at the Hunter Club in Bury supporting ‘Tied To The Mast’, thanks to our stand in guitarist Sam Gordon for filling in whilst regular lead guitarist Dom Clarke was on holiday. They also played in Ipswich last Monday where local band ‘Checks’ came to see them and support (the two got to know each other at the final of BurySOUND where there was a backstage incident with guitarist Will’s nipples and some whipped cream.. thankfully that video never saw the light of day). Anyway, there are plans afoot for the two to play a gig together soon.

Speaking of upcoming gigs, aside from the Apex they’re performing at the Steamboat Tavern in Ipswich on April 4th, at the John Peel Centre on April 11th with Horse Party & Dingus Khan, at PJ McGinty’s in Ipswich on April 25th and also at Bury Fringe on May 3rd.  Festivals wise we’ve confirmed this week sets at Suffolk Pride and Stowfest, both on June 21st.

Finally, Lost Lungs will be recording their debut EP at Crooks Hall studios near Haverhill over Easter. We’ve booked two days to work with engineer John on 3 new tracks. Don’t get too excited though, the EP won’t be released until later in the summer!

There are lots of gigs to announce when it comes to talking about Flux32. The most important of which is their debut at the Cambridge Junction on 11th April! Mike the drummer is so excited about this gig I worry he’s going to end up doing himself a mischief! This is the sort of opportunity the band have been waiting for and one things for sure, they’ll give one hell of a show. In addition to that they’ve got a gig coming up at the end of this month at George’s in March alongside The Abstracts, on April 10th at Bar Vu in Haverhill, they’re also on the bill for the Saturday at Stortfest on May 3rd and they’re also trying their luck in the Bury Songwriters Competition, their heat is on May 7th.

The band premiered a new live track on Cambridge 105’s Stagger programme a few weeks ago, you can download it for free here:

And finally on to The Staycations who are on for a very busy time over the next few months! Firstly their new EP ‘Tied in Time’ which they recorded earlier on this year is being officially released on March 31st through iTunes etc as well as a free stream on Soundcloud. To celebrate, the group will be appearing live on Sue Dougan’s BBC Radio Cambridgeshire programme after Midday on April 7th.

The second single ‘Dearest’ is in the Cambridge 105 Unsigned Chart and will be released itself for download on March 24th.

‘Dearest’ single artwork

Gig wise, April is a busy one with things kicking off at an event I’m putting on at the Golden Hind (home of Cambridge Folk Club) on Saturday, April 5th. That’ll be followed by their debut at J1 in the Cambridge Junction on Friday, April 11th, their heat of the Bury Songwriters Competition on Wednesday, April 23rd and finally an evening at CB2 for Night of the Artisans on Friday, April 25th.

I might break my record for ‘most amount of gigs’ attended in April I think!

Away from the bands, let’s talk about me!

I was honoured to have been asked last year to record a small piece of audio to feature on the new album by Cambridge band ‘Fred’s House’. Back in October I recorded a snippet of a script telling the story behind the bands track ‘Marathon Man’ which has been woven in to the track itself and opens the album! I’m alongside local radio names Sue Marchant and Kerry Devine from BBC Radio Cambridgeshire too! The band came on to my Cambridge 105 show last week and brought me the first copy of the album and it’s amazing! I can’t wait to see them play it live at their album launch at the Portland Arms next month and to play more tracks from it on air. The album is called ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ and is available to pre order on iTunes now.

The acoustic nights continue to chug along, upcoming acts at The Avery include Tom Lumley, Shaun Colwill and From The Sticks on March 21st. If you’re an acoustic artist reading this and fancy performing at a future event, drop me an email! [email protected]

I met with the new manager at the Boathouse in Cambridge the other day, we’ve plans to work together on a new acoustic night and some other exciting music events on bank holidays and through the summer. More on this soon.

I’ve postponed the next Abbey Rocks! gig to June 21st to give me a little bit more time to work on a line up and promote it better. The original idea was to hold the night every 2 months but I think it will work better taking place every 3/4 months so it makes it more of an event. Meet Me At Dawn will be playing that night amongst other artists TBC.

Instead, on the date the next night was supposed to be happening I’m running an acoustic/folk evening upstairs at The Golden Hind with From The Woods, The Staycations, Meet Me At Dawn, Healyum and Rachel Clark performing. £5 on the door – it’ll be a great night of up and coming young local talented song writers.

Poster for ‘Saturday Night Live’. Thanks to Joe Weaver for the design.

The February edition of The NMG Sessions was a great success with our line up of Birmingham rockers DUMB alongside Treehead, Cathedrals & Cars and Lester J Allen. The next is on April 3rd with Horse Party, Stumblecol and Jack. Tickets are £5 on the door and this one will have highlights broadcast on the following week’s radio show.

Poster for The NMG Sessions 11. Thanks to Joe Weaver for the design.

Speaking of radio, the first live edition of STAR Talent went out on Monday and it was far more enjoyable than the pre recorded ones were! Nothing beats live radio and this was fun, a little nerve wracking but mostly fun! My guest was Alastair McNamara who came on to perform tracks from his solo producer project ‘Lost Boys Club’. I first met Alastair 3 years ago when he was 14 and in his band ‘Boiling Point’, it’s great to see him still enjoying his music and making such a good job of it too! I’ve always said he’s one of the best young male vocalists I know and I stick by that.

STAR Talent – me and Alastair McNamara.

This leaves me to finish with a list of upcoming guests on both shows. So, on STAR Talent I’ve got Glenn Godfrey (24th March), Harry Seaton (31st March), 28 Boulevard (7th April) and Goldstar (14th April) and on Cambridge 105 there’s Meet Me At Dawn (19th March) and Hard Actors (2nd April)

and I’m done, I think I was right – more of a novel than a blog but I hope you enjoyed reading all the same and if you made it to the end, give yourself a gold star!

See you next month!