Off Axis – Fat Tuesday

(Updated 12.02.2015)

This years Hastings Fat Tuesday celebrations have several new additions to the already hectic schedule and Off Axis is just one of them.

But what is Off Axis and what can you expect to see and hear?

We have mentioned the Off Axis idea on Pierless Music before, as you can read here:

http://pierlessmusic.co.uk/off-axis-with-dorey-the-wise/

The aims of Off Axis are to “help bands to connect together and build audiences and networks across the UK”. That’s something that appeals to us here at Pierless Music and the Fat Tuesday team as well, hence getting them involved with this years festival.

You can out more and get involved here: http://offaxisnetwork.com/

This year there will be a dedicated Off Axis event at The Carlisle, on Sunday 15th February. A total of 12 bands will be playing 20 minute sets, upstairs and downstairs.

The acts are coming from as far afield as Bristol, Kent, Brighton and even Rouen in France. There will also be some local favourites to see too.

Here is a list of acts and proposed stage times (subject to change):

1.30pm: WAX – (Downstairs)

2pm: Joe Corbin – (Upstairs)

2.30pm: Native People – (Downstairs)

3pm: Follow – (Upstairs)

3.30pm: A Billion Lions – (Downstairs)

4pm: Of Empires – (Upstairs)

4.30pm: Less Than Worse – (Downstairs)

5pm: Dorey The Wise – (Upstairs)

5.30pm: Kid Kapichi – (Downstairs)

6pm: The Scruff – (Upstairs)

6.30pm: Candela – (Downstairs)

7pm: Lascaux – (Upstairs)

For more info about the bands and the event, visit the Fat Tuesday website:

http://www.hastingsfattuesday.co.uk/2015/sunday/#off_axis

SXSE 2014 – A Judges View

A musical recipe.

Take one stage, seven bands, five and a half hours of music, four judges, two sound engineers, several photographers, and countless enthusiastic observers.

Add one pre event band break up, and one last minute replacement act.

Mix all those ingredients together in The Union Bar, and you get SXSE (South by South East), supported by The Stinger magazine. Just one of the many events that took place over the weekend of Hastings Fat Tuesday 2014.

All seven bands were competing to fill the prestigious final slot on the Fat Tuesday Tour, which would see the ‘winners’ play three gigs, in three different venues, over the course of one evening.

First up were The Piercings, who various judges said reminded them of both The Housemartins, and The Lightning Seeds. Not a bad thing.

They were closely followed by Great Snakes, another of the recent surge in guitar and drums duo’s. Passion, energy and solid drumming.

To showcase the variety of the acts, next was Tom Cole, who was described as a ‘1960’s style protest singer’ by one judge. Good guitar work and a nice rapport with the audience too.

At this point, it is worth mentioning that the acts were judged on three main criteria. Musicianship and Tightness, Lyrics and Melody, Stage Presence and Charisma. All acts were given a maximum of ten marks for each category. They also had a twenty minute time slot.

Next, and upping the ante, were Wax. A tight quartet with an 80’s feel, sound effects, and even electric drum pads. Stage presence, and a sound described by one judge, and not in a bad way either, as ‘The Pet Shop Boys with guitars’.

Keeping up the quality were Irie Method, another quartet playing what they call ‘Skindie’ (Ska and Indie). Lively, fun, catchy and with audience participation, these guys got the toes tapping.

Last minute replacements Xup Sup got the house rocking. Tight, energetic pop-punk, a phenomenal drummer, and a great cover of ’99 Red Balloons’. One judge said ‘Xup Sup would not be out of place on a bill with the likes of Green Day, or Blink 182’. Praise indeed.

And so to the final act, Riddles. An air of expectation was apparent and they certainly didn’t disappoint. A trio creating a tight, intense, relentless (in a good way) sound, not unlike Hawkwind, this was a perfect way to end a musically rich afternoon. Half the judging panel said Riddles were the band they would personally choose to go and see again tomorrow.

But, there could only be one ‘winner’. There were several contenders, and no clear front runner. Advice was sought on exactly what was being voting for. Was it the best band on the day, the act with the most potential, or (as it turned out to be) the most suitable band for the Fat Tuesday Tour.

Any one of those options would probably have produced a different result. But, after much debate, Irie Method were invited to play the Fat Tuesday Tour, and by all accounts did SXSE proud.

It’s a bit of a cliche I know, but on the day local music was the winner.

The judges were very impressed with the quality of both the bands and the musicianship.

Unique among the judges, I’d seen most of the acts before, and thought I knew what to expect. But even I was pleasantly surprised by the standard of the music, and the performances on the day.

That can only be a good thing.

(All photo’s by John Powell: http://www.johnnypowell.net/)

Voodoo Fest 2013

We always like to do things a little differently here in Hastings and Halloween is no exception.

Where other towns are trick or treating and playing around with pumpkins, Hastings has Voodoo Fest.

Voodoo Fest, which is brought to you by the people behind ‘Fat Tuesday’, is now in its 3rd year. The organisers describe Voodoo Fest as the “closing music event for the Hastings Festival season. So anyone who was a pirate, got greened at Jack in the Green or blackened at bonfire, partied during old town carnival week, Fat Tuesday, or any of the other great things that happen in Hastings and St Leonards during 2013, this one’s for you”.

You can find out more on the Voodoo Fest website at:

http://www.hastingsfattuesday.co.uk/voodoofest/

As you’d imagine, the event takes place on All Hallows Eve itself, Thursday 31st October and this year the team are taking over the whole of The Carlisle pub, both downstairs and upstairs.

But, the Voodoo Fest event actually starts at 7pm at the General Havelock, in the town centre, with a ‘funeral gathering’. From there a coffin will be carried to The Carlisle, accompanied by the Hastings Second Line Jazz band.

From 8pm at The Carlisle, 5 bands and 2 DJ’s will be on hand to entertain you right through to the witching hour and beyond.

Bands performing include Junk Deluxe, made up of members of Alabama 3. Fat Whites, a band who were recently awarded ‘gig of the week’ in the NME. Local favourites The Kid Kapichi, who kicked up a storm during Fat Tuesday. The Vince Ray Rock and Roll Loser Machine and also Dr Savage and the Fat Tuesday Second Line.

Tickets cost £10 and can be bought via the Voodoo Fest website, or from Substance in Robertson St.

All guests are encouraged to dress up for the night and if you want some inspiration just have a look at the photo’s from last year on the event website.

There is also an Event page on Facebook, which you can find here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/244745675672885/

It promises to be yet another interesting and varied evening in Hastings.

Fat Tuesday – Reflections

So, have you all recovered from the festivities yet? I think i have, but i’m still buzzing from a great evening on Tuesday.

For those of you who didn’t, or were unable to attend any of the Fat Tuesday events over the past weekend, you missed something just a little bit special.

Fat Tuesday is one of those things that the people of Hastings seem to do so much better than just about anywhere. Maybe with the possible exceptions of great cities like  New Orleans, or Rio. But, for a town of our size, we sure do pack a punch when it comes to celebrations.

Pierless Music were lucky enough to have been involved in a small way and we attended several of the weekends events. All of the ones that i went to personally were memorable. Whether that be for the atmosphere around the particular event, or because of the quality of the music and musicianship on display.

The addition of Saturdays ‘Unplugged’ gigs in the Old Town was particularly welcome. 100 gigs in 5 hours, across several different venues and involving many acts was great fun. And the sheer variety of the music played and heard was stunning.

As somebody said to me on that afternoon, “Give it a couple of years and this ‘Unplugged’ afternoon will be huge”. I can’t disagree with that.

Monday evening saw me at the Brass Monkey for ‘Slim Monday’ with, appropriately enough, King Size Slim. I’d only intended to pop into the venue to see someone, but ended up staying all evening because of the quality of the music and the band. It was that kind of weekend.

Of course the big night and the one that it’s really all about was Fat Tuesday itself.

I spent the evening with The Kid Kapichi, due to our involvement with them. But, this also meant that i was at the same venues directly before the ‘Special Guests’ were due to play. Venues were so busy that they were operating a ‘one out – one in’ policy. Hardly surprising since the word had got out that Skunk Anansie were in fact the ‘Special Guests’.

What a coup it was to have got a band of their stature to come to little old Hastings and then play in such venues as the Dragon Bar, The Nelson and The Carlisle. Well done to Skunk Anansie for doing that. They certainly seemed to have enoyed themselves and the experience too.

From a personal point of view, the highlight of the whole weekend was that final gig at The Carlisle. Standing by the side of the stage watching The Kid Kapichi play a storming set and gather many new fans in the process and then to see Skunk Anansie on the same stage immediately afterwards, was something rather special.

I’m sure that everyone who attended any of the events over the Fat Tuesday evening has got their own special memories too. And all of that is due to the organisation of Adam Daly, Bob Tipler and all their team who helped to make Fat Tuesday the event that it is. Huge thanks must go out to them. Well done guys.

I could go on about the general atmosphere surrounding Fat Tuesday, the great camaradarie of all the musicians and the wonderful costumes that people wore. But, i’ve already written more than i intended.

But, i’ll leave you with a video i recorded of The Kid Kapichi at The Carlisle on that special night. For me, it sums up that gig, Fat Tuesday itself and the great time that everbody had. Enjoy.

Mrs Yarringtons Music Club

I recently asked Mick Hoad of Mrs Yarringtons Music Club if he’d like to write a post for Pierless Music all about what they are doing and how they got to where they are now.

Some of you may not be aware of Mrs Yarringtons, so this is a great place to let you know.

Some may view Mick’s post as a bit of an advert and in some ways it is. But, i just wanted to tell local people about the good work that they are doing and have done in the past.

I’ve edited the post a little, with Mick’s full permission.

“The roots of Mrs Yarringtons Music Club can be traced back to our short lived CD shop ‘Mrs Yarringtons Music Emporium’ which opened in Battle in 2002.
Alongside the CD’s we also had a few acts play live in the shop. And with Richard Hughes, of future chart toppers Keane, a regular visitor to the shop, we also held Keane’s first ever CD signing session there, for the release of the original single version  of ‘This is the Last Time’.

At the time, we had promoted a few gigs at the Memorial Hall in Battle, which featured artist as diverse as Buick 6, a Gospel Choir and rockers Budgie. But it all ended in tears, with the addition of a Noise Limiter.

We had now got the gig bug and after much chat and a few beers, we decided to go another route and find an intimate setting where like-minded souls could come and just sit, listen to the music, with no talking, no mobile phones and a good sound system, but not within a bar environment.

Move on a few years, we finally found a suitable venue at Crowhurst Park, so Mrs Yarringtons Music Club was born. the opening night was in January 2009 and the first artist to perform was Claudia Coleman a local singer/songwriter who was 14 at the time. The headliner was the legendary Martin Carthy

The Club met once a month, always opening with a local act given the opportunity to perform their own work to an attentive audience.
The headliners were always an eclectic selection, such as acoustic artists Hatful of Rain, Aynsley Lister & Zen Bicycle Band. We also had various touring Americans, such as Brooks Williams, Drew Nelson, Lisa Mills and Australians, Hat Fitz & Cara and Jeff Lang. We even had a real Bay City Roller in Eric Faulkner.
There was no distinctive style. It could be Blues, Jazz, or Americana just as long as it is basically acoustic based. We are not a Folk club.

We have come close to finishing on more than one occasion. But over the last 12-18 months we have found our audience, or should I say they have found us. We now have a nice number of people turning up to each gig which has become a bit of a social event.
2012 bought two major decisions, one was going to a more regular fortnightly format. The other bigger decision was changing our venue, to The Senlac Inn in Battle, where we are now well supported by Steve the Landlord. Another great supporter of local music

We have had a great selection of local acts who have performed & are encouraged to play their own material. These have included Zoe Konez, Logan Wilson, Tim Hoyte, Otti Albietz and Anita Jardine, to name a few. Last year we introduced a few longer showcase sets for local acts, which have included Mick Bolton, Stone Junction and Roger Hubbard.

Mrs Yarringtons Music club is now firmly established on the ‘acoustic circuit’, with applications to play arriving every day from all over the UK and from agents representing overseas artists.

Already lined up for 2013 is the usual mix of quality blues, folk & touring colonials, with the likes of U.S duo McGraw and Fer and Blues legend Dave Kelly included.

So, where did the name ‘Mrs Yarringtons’ come from? Well, that’s another story.

And talking of another story (See what we did there?)

Planning is now underway for the 3rd ‘Big Green Cardigan’ event, which will be held over the weekend of 6th-8th September 2013.

Although conceived out of the ashes of the old ‘Black Horse Music Festival’ and you will see a lot of faces from that much loved event there, it is not Black Horse 2. The Big Green Cardigan event has its own identity which is intimate, chilled, relaxed and not big and brash.
Held just outside Cripps Corner, opposite Sedlescombe Vineyard, who provide a lovely wine bar, we have created a festival we would like to go to ourselves. It’s all about enjoyment of the event and the music. Respect for the musicians, your fellow guests and the environment.
It can offer things The Black Horse Festival couldn’t, including late night music and camping.
We took the decision not to gear The Big Green Cardigan towards families. If that’s what you are looking for, there are already plenty of alternatives out there. And with that in mind, there is no admittance for folks under 14.

The Big Green Cardigan is really an old school festival with no gimmicks. It is not sponsored, it is not commercialised and if it doesn’t work, it is down to us.

We have a mixture of headliners and interesting acts from around the country. Artists that have appeared so far include, Roachford, Aynsley Lister, Achanak, Baka Beyond and they are all supported by a roll call of local artists, once again performing their own material, including Expandis, Stone Junction, Titus and Anita Jardine.

With local real ales, last year provided by ‘Old Dairy Brewery’ and enough clean toilets to go round, we can offer the full festival experience just down the road.

When we say intimate we mean it. Therefore, hundreds and not thousands of tickets, go very fast.

Mrs Yarringtons Music Club is run by Mick & Dave Hoad and is held at The Senlac Inn, Battle

For upcoming gigs and info check out mrsyarringtons.webplus.net, or  call: 07794821454. Gigs are also listed in the Pierless Music Gig Guide.

Info for The Big Green Cardigan can be found at:  www.biggreencardigan.co.uk

Thanks to Mick Hoad for writing this piece for us.

Blog Post – RNLI Hastings Beach Concert

I’m sure that just about any music lover in the Hastings area has attended one of the RNLI Hastings Beach Concerts at some time or other?

For the uninitiated, the Beach Concerts are held at the start of Old Town Carnival Week every year, usually around the first weekend of August. They have become a staple part of the local event calendar and attract hundreds of music lovers every year.

But, did you know that this year will be its 25th anniversary?

That’s quite an acheivement for the many people who have been involved with putting on the Beach Concerts over those 25 years and they all deserve much praise for all of their hard work. Not just for all the great music they’ve helped to provide, but also for all the money they’ve raised for the RNLI as well.

It wasn’t until recently though, that i came to realise myself just how much work goes into putting on a gig such as the Beach Concert.

Because of that, i asked Tony Streeter, one of the current crop of organisers, if he’d write a blog post for us here at Pierless Music, to give an idea of just what it takes to get it all up and running. What Tony writes may well surprise you, it certainly surprised me and i thought i knew a bit about these things.

You can find Tony’s post here:

http://pierlessmusic.co.uk/blog-posts/tony-streeter/rnli-hastings-beach-concert/

Don’t forget that what Tony has written is just an indication of what any promoter, or organiser of an outdoor event has to go through these days. It’s scary stuff and makes you wonder what hoops have to be jumped through to put on a festival such as Glastonbury!

Thanks to Tony for writing this post for us and we hope to have some more from him soon.

If you have any comments, please add them below Tony’s piece, we’d love to hear from you. Thanks.