Local Musical Meet Up?

Part of the recent Hastings Fat Tuesday celebrations was a two day music seminar/conference called Un-Convention, which was held over two days at St Mary In The Castle.

This was the 73rd Un-Convention event and the first to be held in the South East of the UK, that’s quite a coup. Musicians, promoters, writers, movers and shakers travelled from as far as Manchester to take part and share their own personal stories, experiences and wisdom to an engaged audience.

You can still see the aganda for the two days here, just in case you want to know what you may have missed: http://www.hastingsfattuesday.co.uk/2015/un-convention/

One of the panels was titled ‘Local Scenes – Collaboration, Co-Operations and Making It Happen’, which I chaired, and was focussed on the current music scene in Hastings, with the panellists sharing their observations of local music scenes across the UK, all with a view to attempting to see how Hastings can learn from those towns and cities and move forward itself.

One idea that came out of that session was the setting up an informal regular meet up of interested parties, whether they be musicians, promoters, venue owners, producers etc etc…

Past Un-Convention events have encouraged this idea, as getting all those people together in a room, in an informal way, can help cement and grow a local music scene. Something that Pierless Music, Fat Tuesday and The Stinger magazine are very keen to do.

On the day, people in the audience thought that a regular meet up was a good idea and that they would support it. But what about you?

Is this something that you would want to get involved with and how should we go about it? The initial suggestions is for a monthly meeting, maybe on a quieter Monday evening, in a local hostelry.

If that sounds like something you would go to, please let us know by sending an email, and any suggestions, to: contact@pierlessmusic.co.uk

As some of you may already be aware, Hastings Borough Council hosted a meeting recently all about the local music scene here in Hastings, as a part of their cultural policy.

Although this was very well attended, and the suggestion of a regular meeting was raised, many in the audience felt that any such meet up should be independent of any ‘official’ involvement. Hence why we are suggesting this idea of our own now.

Here’s your chance to get involved with the local music scene in Hastings, put your suggestions and ideas forward and maybe help make that scene even bigger and better than what it already is.

After all a collective voice is far better and more effective than a lone one.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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

The Stinger – Issue 6

It doesn’t seem possible, but The Stinger is celebrating a year in print with the publishing of its 6th Issue, which hit the streets at the weekend. Happy birthday to them.

As you can see from this cover image, you can’t miss it!

Apart from the now usual features and news items, this bumper 64 page birthday edition contains a full programme to this years Fat Tuesday festivities in Hastings and St Leonards, between 13-17th February.

There are a few new events planned for this year, as well as all the old favourites. So check out The Stinger and also have a look at the official Hastings Fat Tuesday website for more details and updates: http://www.hastingsfattuesday.co.uk/2015/

Let the good times roll.

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/)

Hastings Fat Tuesday 2014

It’s very nearly time for another one of those highlights of the Hastings year, Fat Tuesday.

It all kicks off tomorrow, Friday 28th, and details of events across the whole five days can be found on the official website: http://www.hastingsfattuesday.co.uk/2014/

There is plenty to enjoy over the course of the celebrations, but one of the best aspects of Hastings Fat Tuesday is the opportunity it gives for local original musicians to showcase their talents to a wider audience. Fat Tuesday brings visitors from far and wide to Hastings. After all, everyone likes a party don’t they?

So, I thought I’d highlight some of the events, within the five days of celebrations, that help to showcase that original musical talent.

Friday evening brings the official Launch Party at The Jenny Lind, with The Cajun Dawgs sharing their authentic Cajun and Zydeco sounds, straight from the deep south of the UK.

There’s just time to catch your breath, and shake off that hangover, before The Unplugged Tour on Saturday afternoon between 1 and 6pm. 30 acts, performing 150 gigs, across several venues in Hastings Old Town.

This is only the second year of The Unplugged Tour, but it’s one of the events that I’m looking forward to the most. Many of our best local acts will be performing acoustic versions of their songs, quite possibly for the first time. So it’s a great opportunity to see those bands in a different light and often out of their comfort zone too.

Sunday afternoon see’s the return of SXSE at The Union Bar: https://www.facebook.com/events/261077317383850/

This showcase features 8 local bands aiming to claim the final slot on Tuesday nights Fat Tuesday Tour. I’m lucky enough to be one of the judges for this and it promises to be a great afternoon.

Monday gives you a chance to catch your breath a little with Slim Monday at the Brass Monkey. Performing on the night will be the appropriately named King Size Slim, and if he’s anywhere near as good as the last time I saw him play, this is another gig not to be missed.

Tuesday evening brings us to the highlight and climax of the whole Hastings Fat Tuesday celebrations with the Fat Tuesday Tour itself. 8 venues, and 16 bands playing 3 gigs each.

2013 set a benchmark with Skunk Anansie playing to excited crowds at the Dragon Bar, Lord Nelson and The Carlisle. So, 2014 has a lot to live up to, but I’ve no doubt that the levels of excitement and quality of music will be just as good.

See the official Fat Tuesday programme within the first issue of The Stinger magazine for full details of all the events.

Overall, Hastings Fat Tuesday 2014 will feature over 250 performances, by 65 artists, across 25 different venues. Now that’s quite some party!

And possibly the best thing about all the events I’ve mentioned here, is that they’re all absolutely free.

We’ve never really needed an excuse to party in Hastings, but if one was ever needed, Fat Tuesday is a far better one than most.

Happy Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday everyone. See you there.

The Stinger – Now Online

Some of you out there may well have already seen a copy of the first issue of The Stinger magazine. We have been gradually distributing copies around Hastings and the surrounding area over the past two weeks.

Well now you can also read and even download a copy from The Stinger’s website. So if you’ve missed out so far, or live outside the Hastings area, there’s no need to feel left out.

Just go to the website and click on the download link: http://www.thestinger.org.uk/

Now that you’ve had a chance to see and read our first issue, we’d like to hear your thoughts on The Stinger. We’d like to know what you feel we’re doing right and also if there is anything about the magazine that you’re not so keen on.

We realise that we can’t get it right straight away, although the feedback we’ve had so far has been very positive. So, if you’re happy to give us your views, we’d love to hear them.

Email The Stinger via: contact@thestinger.org.uk and tell us what you think, or ask us a question about the magazine.

We’ll try and publish some of your comments and answer any questions in our next issue, which is due in mid April by the way.

Thanks.

The Stinger

February 19th 2014 see’s the official launch of a brand new, free, independent local music magazine for Hastings and the surrounding area. Called The Stinger, the magazine will be published every two months.

The Stinger will include coverage of original local music, bands and artists, across different musical genre’s and age groups. There will also be gig and music reviews, local and national music news, comment pieces and much more relating to the local music scene. Another aspect that will be covered is the musical history of the Hastings area, something that is well worth talking about and reliving.

You can keep up to date with The Stinger via its website: www.thestinger.org.uk and also their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thestingermag

The Stinger is the first project of the newly formed Hastings Fat Tuesday charity, which we’ve talked about here at Pierless Music before.

As you may remember from previous posts, Pierless Music, and especially myself, are joining up with the team behind the Fat Tuesday and Voodoo Fest events to help with the running of the Hastings Fat Tuesday charity.

I am pleased to say that I am now the Managing Editor of The Stinger and my Pierless Music colleague Richard Lock is a contributor, so you may see some crossover between the two projects in the future.

When Richard and I created Pierless Music, back in late 2012, one of our initial aims was to start up a local music magazine/fanzine for the Hastings area. But, for several reasons, we weren’t able to fulfill that ambition. So, in many ways, The Stinger is the realisation of that dream.

Sometimes things take a little longer than you’d like, and as Tom Petty said, “The waiting is the hardest part”.

But, we got there in the end and we hope you’ll agree that The Stinger has been worth that wait.

PS: We now have an official launch party and you’re invited. For more details visit the Facebook Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/801133736579983/

SXSE Sunday

As part of this year’s Fat Tuesday festivities, SXSE will be making a comeback.

Some of you may remember SXSE (South by South East) taking place at The Carlisle a couple of years ago, I know I do. Well, the organisers have decided to revive the event for 2014, but with a few changes.

SXSE Sunday will take place at The Union Bar (Formerly The Tubman) on Sunday 2nd March between approx 1 and 7pm. As with the previous event, bands/acts will be showcasing their talents in front of a panel of respected judges. But this time around the ‘prize’ is a coveted slot on the official Fat Tuesday tour on the evening of Tuesday 4th March.

More details about SXSE Sunday itself and how your act can apply to play can be found here. There is an application form to be filled in online:

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

Bands applying will be asked to perform a 20 minute set of original material on the day. They must also be available to play three 20 minute sets, at three different venues, on Fat Tuesday itself.

Applying to play may not guarantee a place on SXSE Sunday, as acts will be pre-judged to ensure that only the best, or most suitable, get to play. Bands/acts will be informed on Friday 14th February as to whether they’ve been invited to play. So, get those entries in today. Don’t miss out.

As mentioned on the Fat Tuesday/SXSE website, this event is all tied up with the new Hastings Fat Tuesday charity, which I am a part of. The charity has been set up to help support, encourage, promote and nurture original local musical talent.

To quote the website “The Fat Tuesday team are developing mentor opportunities, which will be offered to local bands/performers that demonstrate potential and whose members are driven towards careers in the music industry. These offers, grants and opportunities will be discussed on an individual bespoke basis, depending on the specific requirements of the band/performer in question. But in principle they might include: recording and mastering of demo tracks with introductions to a choice of producers and engineers; promotional video production; song writing workshops; business advice; brand development; assistance with equipment; touring and regular performance opportunities both locally and further afield.”

Acts playing at SXSE Sunday are under no obligation to get involved with the Hastings Fat Tuesday charity, but it would be a great opportunity for you to showcase your talent and potential.

It would be good to see you there on the day, whether as a performer or as a spectator. So put that date in your diary, Sunday 2nd March, 1 to 7pm at The Union Bar, Hastings.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Pierless Music would like to wish you all a peaceful and Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

Thanks for all of your support and encouragement throughout the year. It is much appreciated.

It’s been such an eventful year for us that we totally forgot to celebrate the first anniversary, in October, of the start of this Pierless Music website. I like to think that we’ve already come a long way within that time, with the promise of much more to come.

When myself and Richard started Pierless Music we had many ideas as to where to try and take this project. Some of them have worked, some haven’t quite come to fruition and some are still waiting in the wings itching to be launched.

As you may already know, we are launching a new online Gig Guide from 1st January 2014. But for that we still need your help. If we don’t know about your upcoming gig, we can’t include it in the Gig Guide.

Send your gig details to: gigs@pierlessmusic.co.uk and tell your friends to do the same please.

2014 promises to be an exciting year for both myself and for Pierless Music.

We are still working with Adam Daly and Bob Tipler, from Hastings Fat Tuesday, on the local music charity idea you may have read about recently and we hope to have that up and running early in 2014.

We have many ideas and plans for the charity already, which we are all very excited about. The first of which should be coming your way in February. So stay tuned for further details and updates.

In the meantime, enjoy the festive season and why not try and make local music a part of those celebrations. Whether by going to see your favourite local act, or by frequenting one of those local music venues that supports original talent.

See you on the other side.

Cheers :)

Voodoo Fest Video

As you may well know, Pierless Music are currently working on setting up a local music based project with Adam and Bob, the guys behind both Fat Tuesday and Voodoo Fest.

So, we thought we’d share this video of the recent Voodoo Fest event with you.

We think it gives a real flavour of the event and showcases how well Hastings does this kind of thing.

The video was filmed and produced by Sam Dobson and the main soundtrack is provided by The Kid Kapichi.

Enjoy.