Compare and Contrast

One of the many things that is so good about the local music scene is the diversity of both music and talent that are present here in the Hastings area.

Here are two videos to help show a bit of that diversity.

First up, something brand new from Otti Albietz. The song is called ‘It’s Nice To Feel Alive’ and it comes from his forthcoming ‘And The Voices’ album. I’ve been lucky enough to have heard the album and very good it is too.

This video was filmed by Ali Graham. The constructions were built by Otti and Thad Skews.

In complete contrast comes the latest video from Maid of Ace, a band that are starting to make waves within the Punk Rock community, and rightly so.

Called ‘Spittin’ Blood’, this was filmed and directed by Mark Richards and was shot around Dungeness, near to Hastings.

As always, if you know of anymore local videos that we may have missed, please tell us.

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/

Some Festive Viewing

If you’re anything like me and find Christmas TV a bit boring and overrated, it’s good to find some alternative festive viewing. And what better than a crop of new music videos from local acts.

So, here are four of the latest offerings that the Pierless Music team have come across recently. It’s a varied selection too, both musically and visually.

They are all acts that we’ve featured at some time during 2013 and we make no excuse for sharing their work with you once again.

First up is King Size Slim and the title track from his recent album ‘Milk Drunk’. This track was played on BBC Radio 2 recently by Huey Morgan, who said of it, “Taking lactose intolerance to new levels. I really like this album”.

Next we have Pantaleimon and ‘Ember, which the second single from her album ‘The Butterfly Ate The Pearl’.

Now it’s the turn of Neon and Swan aka Vile Electrodes and a live and, almost, unplugged version of their song ‘The Last Time’. This version features on their new 5 track EP ‘The Ghosts of Christmas’.

Finally we have an animated video from Virgin Soldiers and their song ‘Children’. This is taken from their forthcoming ‘Lovestrock’ EP, which is released on 9th February 2014.

I think you’ll agree that you’ve just seen some very good videos, from some great local artists.

Happy Christmas.

 

SMART

We all know that Hastings has a great music scene these days. But that’s nothing new and now there’s a great Facebook group for all those who remember the local music and bands from the heady days of the 1970’s and beyond.

It’s called SMART, which is an acronym for ‘Seventies Music and Retro Talk’.

You can find it here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/smart70s/

SMART was set up by local music lover Alan Esdaile and as he told me the group was originally started “to post a few of my cuttings and photos of friends in local bands from the 1970′s. But as more people got involved, I realised it needed to be from the 1960′s through to the 1980′s, all with a connection to Hastings”

SMART has since expanded beyond being just a Facebook group covering those decades though.

Alan now arranges regular meet ups of all interested parties. He said “I’ve now set up a coffee and chat group where we can all get together and chat about music, bands, pier talk etc. It’s great that a few musicians are talking about reforming bands and didn’t realise that other people were still as passionate about their music as they are/were.”

If you’re interested in going along and sharing your own memories, the next meet up is on Friday 22nd November in the bar at the White Rock Hotel from 3.30pm.

Alan’s main aim for the group is “Keeping memories alive”, but he needs your help to do that. So, if you have any old photos, flyers, gig tickets or press cuttings etc why not let him know?

As he told me “So many brilliant musicians and different bands locally come and go. But it’s quite sad that photos are kept in a draw or turning yellow in a box in the loft when other people can get so much more enjoyment out of them.”

Let’s not forget, this was a time before the Internet, social media and digital cameras. An age when nobody had a mobile phone in their pocket with which to record and share their personal gig going experience.

You just might have a piece of local music history laying around forgotten somewhere in your house. So why not have a search and see what you may be able to dig up?

SMART also has a family history angle too as Alan told me that he’s had a number of young people contacting him, asking if he has any pictures of their dads, uncles or other family members.

This goes to prove that history isn’t just for the older generation, it is important to everyone and the more of it that is preserved, the better.

The musical history of the Hastings area during the 1960′s/70′s/80′s and 90′s is a particularly rich one. So, it’s good to see somebody like Alan Esdaile trying to help preserve a unique part of our local heritage.

Why not give him a hand?

Pierless Music and Fat Tuesday

You may have seen the news in todays edition of the Hastings Observer concerning Pierless Music teaming up with the Hastings Fat Tuesday duo of Adam Daly and Bob Tipler. If not here’s what you missed:

Obviously this is exciting news and something we’ll be talking about here in the days and months to come.

We have many great ideas and plans for the future and we’ll let you know all about them in due course. But, as you can imagine, there is plenty of hard work to come now to get this charity off of the ground.

But, we thought we’d just share this good news with you in the meantime.

Local Music Online

After months of procrastination I finally took the plunge recently and signed up to Spotify Unlimited. So far it’s been a very worthwhile decision as the amount of music available to listen to is vast, maybe too vast at times?

As I’m sure many others have done themselves, I’ve taken this ‘Unlimited’ opportunity to explore and listen to albums and artists that I’d not heard before, for many reasons. I’ve also checked out some of those critically acclaimed and award winning albums and artists too.

This has led me to some great new music and has even had me dipping into my wallet to buy albums by artists that I would probably never have listened to without this opportunity.

But, the other thing I’ve noticed is just how often I’ve been disappointed by what I’ve heard. Many of those critically acclaimed artists and award winning albums have left me cold.

I realise you can’t like everything, but I must admit to being surprised at the lack of quality of some of what I’ve heard. That old story about the Emperors New Clothes has come to mind on at least one occasion.

Yesterday was a case in point. I spent the morning listening to some of those aforementioned albums and artists and came away unfulfilled. It was then that I saw a link on Facebook to a new album by a local act, which I duly followed. Immediately the difference in quality was apparent.

This brought home to me, once again, just how well much of the original music output of the Hastings area stands up to the worldwide competition and on many occasions actually surpasses it.

As I’ve tried telling many people over the years, just because music is local doesn’t mean it’s not any good. Often the reverse is true. After all, all music is local to somewhere.

So, if you listen to music via the Internet and want something new to whet you musical taste buds, why not have a go at listening to something from the local area?

Many of our local bands and musicians can be heard via sites such as Spotify, Soundcloud and Bandcamp. Why not search for them the next time you’re there, or just follow the links on their Facebook page or website? It is often the only way you can actually get to hear the recorded works of local artists too.

So far this week I’ve listened to such diverse local artists as Hornet, Dollboy and Vile Electrodes online.

Why not give it a go yourself? You don’t know what you’re missing.

Big Green Cardigan Festival

The kids are on their way back to school and the Summer is nearly over, but there’s still time to sneak in just one more music festival before the onset of Autumn.

Appropriately enough, seeing as the weather is cooling down, I’m talking about the Big Green Cardigan Festival, which takes place in nearby Cripps Corner on the weekend of 6th-8th September 2013.

This will be the 3rd year that this small and intimate festival, which prides itself on having no musical policy, will take place.
Therefore, you are likely to hear blues, prog rock, folk, sea shanties, gypsy swing and much more over the three days.

More info can be found on the Big Green Cardigan website at:
http://www.biggreencardigan.co.uk/

Mick Hoad, one of the organisers of the festival told me “We are definitely not The Black Horse Festival, but have more in common with that much loved festival than most of the local festival scene, due to our policy of booking critically acclaimed artists, mixed with local talent who perform their own material.
The Big Green Cardigan is really an old school festival with no gimmicks. It is a festival for music lovers where the audience is genuinely interested in listening to the acts.”

So, apart from hearing and seeing artists from as far afield as the USA, Belgium and Australia, you can also expect to see local favourites such as Buick 6, Expandis and Titus.

One of the highlights must surely be the return, after over 30 years, of local prog rockers Stallion. As mentioned in a previous post, they are playing on Friday 6th September. Read that post here: http://pierlessmusic.co.uk/stallion-ride-again/

More reasons to attend include local real ales such as Green Cardigan Ale, especially brewed for the festival by Full Moon Brewery from Henley Down. There is also camping available, so you don’t have to bother driving home again afterwards. There’s a food area with sensible prices and enough clean toilets to go round too. That makes a refreshing change doesn’t it?

Please note though that The Big Green Cardigan Festival is not geared towards families. With that in mind there is no admittance for persons under 14.

If this sounds like your kind of festival, tickets are available from www.biggreencardigan.co.uk, Hastings Tourist Information Centre & the Kings Head in Battle.

Don’t worry Summer isn’t over just yet.

Stallion Ride Again

Sometimes band reunions happen at just the right time and the re-emergence of Hastings band Stallion may well be a case in point.

For the uninitiated, Stallion were a prog rock band from Hastings who plied their trade during those heady days of the 1970′s. The many members of the band reads like a who’s who of well respected Hastings based musicians. Including the likes of the late Steve Demetri, Phil Gill, Phil Thornton, Roger Carey and Tich Turner, to name but a few.

Stallion’s career spanned nearly the whole of that musically rich decade and they have only now got around to finally releasing their great ‘lost’ album, ‘The Hard Life’.

‘The Hard Life’ is released on Prog-o-Tone Records and contains 11 of the bands tracks, which were recorded between 1974 and 1979.

Back in the 1970′s Stallion played alongside such great bands as Traffic, Curved Air and T-Rex, amongst others. Stallion also played at the Reading Festival and did headline gigs at the Marquee club, as well as being regular performers on Hastings Pier. They also won, outright, the 1976 Melody Maker Rock Contest. No mean achievement.

Stallion have been described by some as one of the great lost bands of that 1970′s Rock music era and you can understand why when you listen to the album. Unfortunately for them, their musical career happened to coincide with the emergence of Punk Rock and we all know how that affected many bands from that era don’t we?

Given a bit more luck who knows where they may have ended up? But, at least we now have the chance to relive those far off days via their music.

I suspect though that they may look a little different to when this photo was taken of one of those sold out gigs at the Marquee club in London:

So why could this be the right time for Stallion to make a comeback?

Well, prog rock is once again in the ascendency and Hastings Pier, a very familiar old stomping ground for the band, is also making a well received comeback.

And now to drive that point home, Stallion are playing their first gig for over 30 years at The Big Green Cardigan Festival, in nearby Cripps Corner, on Friday 6th September.

We’ll be talking more about the festival in a future post, but in the meantime more details can be found here: http://www.biggreencardigan.co.uk/

To get yourself in the mood for this long overdue comeback gig, you can listen to and buy Stallion’s ‘The Hard Life’ by going here:

http://philthornton.bandcamp.com/album/the-hard-life-stallion

You can also find out more about Stallion by visiting their Facebook page here:

https://www.facebook.com/stallionprogressiverock

Rumour has it that this might not be the last we hear from Stallion as a live band. Wouldn’t it be great if one of their future gigs was back on the refurbished Hastings Pier in 2015?

Maybe I’ll see you there?

Hastings Pier Rises Again

As you may well have seen in the news today, the restoration of Hastings Pier is finally about to take place: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-23699453

Work is due to start any day now and is planned to be completed in the Spring of 2015.

This is great news for the town and I’m certainly looking forward to treading those boards once again.

One other thing I’m also looking forward to is going to gigs on Hastings Pier once again. I’ll admit that I didn’t get to see a huge amount first time around, but have fond memories of those that I did attend.

Most of us are well aware of the amazing amount of musical greats that played on Hastings Pier through the years. From the Rolling Stones to Jimi Hendrix, from the Sex Pistols to Gene Vincent, the list is a roll call of worldwide musical talent. It would be great if that impressive list can be added to after the Pier re-opens again in 2015.

The published plans do include a facility for gigs/concerts to take place, as you can see both here: http://hpcharity.co.uk/ and here: http://drmm.co.uk/projects/hastings-pier-redevelopment/   

I just hope that what is being proposed are the kind of gigs that so many people remember from their own past and still talk about today.

Personally I also feel that this also needs to include a facility for gigs by original local musical talent and not just as support acts either. This could be a great opportunity to showcase local talent in a high profile venue and it would be a great pity if this was not able to happen for some reason.

Many local bands played on Hastings Pier during its heyday, so why not make that a priority in the future?

Maybe that process could be started by making the first ever gig on the brand new Hastings Pier a celebration of original local music? Now that would be something worth looking forward to.

Let the campaign start here and let me know your own feelings about this.

Andy Gunton,

15th August 2013.

PS: Pierless Music will still be called Pierless Music, even after Hastings Pier re-opens.

Carnival FM Shows on Mixcloud

As I’ve mentioned before, I recently produced and presented a series of Local Music Shows on Carnival FM in Hastings.

Well, the first two of those shows are now available to listen to again, or for the first time, on Mixcloud.

The first show, which went out on Friday 2nd August featured a pre-recorded interview and live session with Claire Hamill, as mentioned in another recent post on the Pierless Music site.

The second show was originally broadcast on Monday 5th August and featured interviews and live sessions with both Blair and Poppy Prescott.

Links to both shows are below. The remaining Local Music Shows are planned to be uploaded in due course.

Don’t forget to check out the Carnival FM YouTube channel for videos of the interviews and live sessions that I did during the programmes. Once again, these are being uploaded gradually: http://www.youtube.com/user/CarnivalFM/videos

Local Music Show Carnival FM 2013 Show 1 by Carnival Fm on Mixcloud

Local Music Show Part 2 Carnival FM Mon 5th Aug 2013 by Carnival Fm on Mixcloud