A Word In Your Ear

I was going to write a blog post about the potential dangers to your hearing of loud music, especially at gigs. And then a post appeared about that very topic on one of the many music related websites that I follow.

So, here it is: http://sentric.wordpress.com/2013/03/27/if-you-like-it-then-you-should-have-put-an-ear-plug-in-it/

The writer has said many of the things that I would have included myself, including mention of the varying cost of ear protection. Yes, you can pay for personal moulded ear plugs, which obviously come in at the higher end of the price scale. Or, you can do what I did and find some reasonably priced, but still very good alternative options online.

Of course, as with just about anything, you do tend to get what you pay for. For example, the first pair I bought were very cheap and are nowhere near as good as the ones I upgraded to recently.

Whatever option you choose and you really should choose one, it will certainly pay dividends in the end.

Like most people who have attended many years of loud gigs, I have Tinnitus (a ringing, hissing or similar senasation in one, or both ears). I am one of the lucky ones though, in that mine isn’t too bad. I know of musicians and gig goers for whom Tinnitus can be quite debilitating and once you have it, the chances are it’s then there for life.

And don’t go thinking that Tinnitus is something that affects only older gig goers like myself. I was recently talking to an 18 year old musician who is already suffering from a permanent ringing in the ears, due to playing and attending loud gigs.

Another misconception and something that was touched upon on in the blog post above, is that ear plugs ruin the whole gig going experience. I’m sure that might be true if you buy the wrong ones, but the better quality options will only reduce the volume, not the quality of the sound.

I’m not suggesting that we should all go acoustic and unplugged. Rock music needs to be played loud, if only to piss off the people who don’t like it. You can’t expect it to be played quietly, but that doesn’t mean that you should permanently damage your hearing through your enjoyment of that music.

Some forward thinking venues even provide ear plugs for their staff and customers, which can only be a good thing. I was at Rock City in Nottingham recently and there were boxes of free ear plugs next to the stage door. It would be good to see more venues doing the same kind of thing.

It’s never too early, or too late to start wearing ear protection and it’s certainly not un-cool to do so. I’ve no doubt there are many people out there who now wish they’d worn them in the past.

As Joni Mitchell sang “You don’t know what you’ve got ’till it’s gone”.


Otti in the Castle

On Saturday Pierless Music was lucky enough to be at St Mary in the Castle, in Hastings, to see the wonderful Otti Albietz launch his brand new album ‘Bubbytone 2′, which has just been released on BBE Records: http://www.bbemusic.com/

From my point of view, part of the attraction of going to the gig was to see St Mary in the Castle once again. Many of you will probably be aware that the venue has been going through some strange times and has recently been taken over by Buckswood School.

The ‘deal’ does at least mean that this great venue will be used far more than it has been over recent years and Saturday’s gig was hopefully the first of many to come.

Proceedings were kicked off by performances from singer/songwriters Tim Hotye and Dollboy and we even had DJ’s to entertain us too.

Otti himself played a mixture of songs from both ‘Bubbytone 2′ and his first solo album ’1′. Gradually building his set from solo performance, to being accompanied by local flute player Geoff Leigh and finally with a full band, he even managed to fill the dance floor with revellers for his final song.

Special mention must be made of the visually stunning giant cardboard cut outs which decorated the stage. These were produced by bass player Thad Skews and were almost like extra band members.

St Mary in the Castle is certainly a pretty special place to see a gig. The surroundings are spectacular and not what you normally get in a venue. Add in the history of the place, which used to be a church and you’ve got all the ingredients for a special evening.

I hope that we’ll see many more gigs and events at St Mary in the Castle over the coming years and I wish it every success. It is certainly nice to see the place being put to good use once again. It is a unique space that deserves to be used and shared and it was encouraging to see such a good turn out on the evening.

My only concern is that, because of the huge space that has to be filled, the sound quality for louder and more amplified gigs can leave a little to be desired. This was even evident, to a degree, on Saturday. Maybe there is a solution? Having said that, that in no way detracted from what was a good gig and a great evening.

Andy Gunton

More info about St Mary in the Castle can be found here: http://stmaryinthecastle.co.uk/

(Otti Albietz photo courtesy of Sam Kinch Photography)

Original Songwriters Evening

Pierless Music have been made aware of what sounds like a great idea to us. An open mic evening, but with a twist.

Performers can only play material that they have written themselves. The idea being to try and encourage local singer/songwriters to get writing.

These ‘Composers Symposiums’ take place at The Royal Oak, in Rye Foreign on the 1st Thursday of every month. The next one, which will be the 5th event to be held, is scheduled for 4th April.

The session kicks off at around 8.30pm, after the pub has stopped serving food and is free to all. New writers/performers are always welcome. The evening carries on until 10.30-11pm and there is a PA system in place.

More details about The Royal Oak and the ‘Composers Symposium’ can be found on the pubs website: http://www.royaloakrye.co.uk/

This sounds like a great idea to us and anything that helps to encourage people to write their own material can only be a good thing.

If you go along to one of these ‘Composers Symposiums’ please let us know what it was like. By the way, you don’t have to be a performer to attend. You are quite welcome to just sit back, have a nice pint and enjoy the music.

Hastings Rock 2013

Well, it’s that time of year again.

Hastings Rock radio will be returning, license permitting, once again in May 2013. The station will be the on air from Saturday 4th May until midnight on Friday 31st May, probably on the usual 87.7FM frequency & also via the Internet.

This year will be the 20th anniversary of the very first Hastings Rock broadcast back in August of 1993. So there is bound be an air of celebration surrounding this years proceedings.

Local company Booker & Best are very kindly sponsoring this years Hastings Rock broadcast and the station will, once again, be supporting and raising awareness for St Michael’s Hospice throughout their 28 days on air.

I will give more information about this years Hastings Rock broadcast nearer the time, including a full programme schedule. But, for the moment I just wanted to publicise my own Local Music Shows that I’ll be doing once again on Sunday evenings throughout May.

This year those Local Music Shows will be on at the slightly later time of 8-10pm on Sunday evenings.

But, for those shows to take place I need your music. I have already started getting local music together for inclusion, but I know there’s more out there waiting to be heard. So, if your music fits the following criteria/rules please get in touch with me via Pierless Music. The email address is: andy@pierlessmusic.co.uk

  1. All music must be original material, no cover versions.
  2. No swearing.
  3. You, or your band must come from the Hastings, Eastbourne, Rye, Battle and Robertsbridge area.
  4. All music must be on CD or mp3 and be of broadcastable quality.
  5. There is no guarantee that your music will be played on air.
  6. Music doesn’t have to be classed as Rock. I can move the musical boundaries for this show, within reason. Blues, Folk, World, Jazz and other genre’s have been included in the past.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Andy Gunton

PS: For those who aren’t already aware. I am the Chairman of Hastings Rock radio and therefore have an interest in the radio station.

Local Music News in the Hastings Observer

Some good news for all fans of original local music in the Hastings area.

I have been asked by the Hastings Observer to write a monthly column for the paper, all about original local music. The first column is due to be included in this Friday’s edition (I believe) and will be published in the Hastings, Bexhill, Battle and Rye editions.

The next column will follow in early April.

As suggested by the title of this post, the columns will only be written about original music and will therefore carry on what we do here at Pierless Music and what I’ve been doing for a number of years at Hastings Rock.

The catchment area will be pretty much the same as well, as you can see from the editions of the paper that will carry the column So, it all fits together very nicely.

As for what will be included in the monthly columns? Well, I plan for it to be a mixture of news about bands/artists/musicians, new music and upcoming gigs/events etc. Also short reviews of both local gigs and new releases.

I’d like to thank the Hastings Observer for having the foresight to commit to a monthly column about original local music. Some may argue that it’s been a long time coming, but it’s here now and I intend to make the most of this opportunity.

I know I’m not alone in thinking that the original local music scene in this area is on the rise and maybe the Hastings Observer have sensed this too?

It can only be a good thing that the wonderful original music created and performed in the Hastings area is exposed to more people. Who knows where it might lead?

Happy reading.

Andy Gunton

Dorey The Wise – Backbone (Video)

We recently posted an interview that Pierless Music did with local lads Dorey The Wise. Hear it here: http://pierlessmusic.co.uk/the-pierless-music-interview-dorey-the-wise/

At the end of the interview we featured a track from the band’s brand new EP called ‘Backbone’. Well, Dorey The Wise have now released a video to go with that track. So, we thought we’d share it with you here:

Good isn’t it?

And now you know what they look like, as well as what they sound like.

Going Into The Studio?

We came across these two videos recently and thought we’d share them with you.

If you are in a band, or even if you’re a solo act and you’re going into the recording studio any time soon, they are well worth watching.

They may well save you a lot of time, effort and money.

Warning: Both videos contain very strong language!

Another word of warning. He’s not very complimentary about bass players. So, if you’re a bass player, you might want to cover your ears at certain points.

Part 1:

Here’s Part 2:

Now, go and make that record.

Rock n Roll and Beer

We all know that rock n roll and beer make a great combination don’t we? It’s a match made in heaven.

But, it has to be said that the beer served in some venues, especially for us bitter drinkers, can leave a little bit to be desired at times. Many is the time that i’ve had to resort to, whisper it, lager to quench my thirst, because the alternative just wasn’t up to scratch.

We are blessed in the Hastings area with some very good local gig venues that serve great beer and now that very fact has been recognised by none other than the beer drinkers very own organisation CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale).

The Dolphin down there in Rock A Nore, in the Old Town of Hastings, has recently been awarded the highly prized accolade of  ‘Camra, East Sussex Pub of the Year’ and very well deserved it is too.

Apart from, rather obviously, serving great beer The Dolphin is a very proud and active supporter of local music. Whether that be covers or original music.

The pub and its dedicated team have played host to such varied local acts as Blair, Liane Carroll, Sam Wills and The Sound, Slam, Roger Carey,  Pete Prescott, Blackman Band and even Claire Hamill complete with a choir!

The Dolphin also featured amongst the venues for the recent Fat Tuesday festivities. I was there myself for some of the Unplugged Saturday afternoon session, watching amongst others The Kid Kapichi and King Size Slim. A good time was certainly had by all on that occasion.

As you are no doubt well aware by now, here at Pierless Music we are very keen on supporting original local music and also those, such as The Dolphin, that help to give it the exposure that it richly deserves.

It’s also good to see a local venue get recognised for the beer that they serve to those thirsty gig goers as well. After all it is an essential part of the whole rock n roll experience. So, well done to all concerned.

(No hops were harmed in the writing of this post)

Mumm-ra are back (again)

It seems that you just can’t keep a good band down these days.

I wrote recently about how so many local bands are getting back together again, even if it’s just for the one night: http://pierlessmusic.co.uk/deja-vu-all-over-again/

I mentioned in that piece about the Mumm-ra reunion gigs of 2012 and now it seems that that has whetted their appetite for something a bit more substantial. I had a funny feeling that it might have that effect.

There have been cryptic Twitter messages coming from the Mumm-ra camp recently which have now culminated in the following statement on their website:

“Hello everyone.

It’s been an awfully long time. Five years have passed and my word things have changed. Apparently our Myspace is no longer relevant? Dark times.

Fear not, however, for Mumm-Ra have stirred from their deep slumber and decided to give a home to those songs that never made it to the elusive ‘Album Two’.

Everything’s ready to go and we hope to have something for your ears in the next couple of months. To whet your appetite until that time, here is a little acoustic number called ‘Technicolour’.

Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter for all the latest Mumm-ra news, and check out our Soundcloud page where you can stream all our tracks.

It’s good to be back.

Love always,

Mumm-ra”

Here’s the video that accompanies that new track ‘Technicolour’:

Nice, isn’t it?

It’s good to have them back once again and let’s hope that it’s for a little longer than two days this time around.

Mumm-ra website: http://www.mumm-ra.net/

 

Hastings, City of Culture?

No, this isn’t April 1st. Hastings and Bexhill have formally applied to be the UK’s City of Culture in 2017.

But, joking aside, why shouldn’t this area become the official UK City of Culture? Yes, I know that technically neither Hastings or Bexhill are a city. But then neither are several of the other 10 entries cities either.

Culture: (Noun) “The arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively” – Definition from Oxford Dictionaries.

Just think of the wealth of artistic talent that we have in this area, across the whole spectrum of the arts, not just music. And also don’t forget the many different ways that we express and celebrate those arts here as well.

How many other towns of our size has so many varied festivals celebrating different aspects of art, or culture. Let’s not forget that culture can also mean “the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society”. Sounds like ‘Jack in the Green’ doesn’t it?

I’m sure that many local people’s initial reaction to this news was along the lines of “Hastings, City of Culture, you’re having a laugh…” But, the more you think about it and the more you start to realise just how qualified the Hastings and Bexhill area is to be that UK City of Culture in 2017, the next time the accolade is awarded by the way, the more you start to think “Why not?”

So, let’s get behind this bid and help tell the rest of the world just what a great area this is for arts and culture.

For more info about the bid and the other candidates, here’s a piece from the Hastings Observer website: http://www.hastingsobserver.co.uk/news/local-news/hastings-to-bid-to-become-capital-of-culture-1-4853342