5 Years of Grassroots Music

Music

Sunday Sounds of The Estuary is a regular music event that takes place in different venues in Hull and has stages at various festivals across the region.

Lewis Mennell is the co-founder along with partners Darren Bunting (director of Music HQ) and Gareth Arend, Lewis’s cousin and one half of local act The Estuary Dwellers.

Lewis set up the event 5 years ago at a time when there was little to no entertainment in the city on a Sunday. Nowadays there is a lot more competition, especially with the upcoming year of culture in the city. At the time when Sunday Sounds was set up, there were other promoters doing nights, Darren from Music HQ, Jayney Wright from Off The Road, (who I believe attended the first ever Sunday Sounds) and of course long established original band night The Sesh. However Lewis had a different idea of what he wanted to do.

‘With Sundays Sounds, the idea was to have something a little different, not just [your] average rock band or indie band. It was to get something from all aspects of music. The focus was on music and something that represented a wide range from grassroots to more commercially based music [and] folk, rock etc. I think the whole idea of Sunday Sounds was trying to at the time, to make something free, [because] there was nothing [really] happening on a Sunday. It was very quiet on a Sunday in Hull. The idea behind doing it on a Sunday was to liven up a Sunday and get people [coming out and] not just sitting in the house. A lot of people during the week didn’t have time to go to a gig [and we just wanted] to brighten up a Sunday.’

As the name suggests Sunday Sounds of The Estuary doesn’t only promote music from one side of the Humber. There’s no fixed area that it covers, where it draws on to bring acts into the city. Obviously it does promote acts from within Hull, but it could be loosely described as the old Humberside region, covering areas such as Grimsby, Cleethorpes to Beverley and also acts from places like Leeds and York. They have even had an international act play, a band from Australia.

‘Yeah, most people tend to come from the Humberside region, rather than just Hull.  Obviously there’s not enough acts in one city to be able to produce a festival every couple of months, you’d run out of bands and acts to play, or you’d be repeating the same ones. But I don’t think there was any intention, it just fell together. We found a lot of acts from across the Humber, because there is only Scunthorpe and Grimsby that you’d class as bigger towns. So they probably didn’t have as much opportunity to be able to gig elsewhere [back then]. And Darren knew a few people from that area that he’d already booked himself.’

With acts such as The Happy Endings, popular at the time, and now regarded as one of Hull’s household names with recent plugs on Radio 1, Sunday Sounds has housed a wealth of talent over the years, The Finest Hour from Grimsby and Cleethorpes, who are to play an upcoming event hosted by The Happy Endings called bridging the gap. There has always been a crossover in acts from the southern side of the murky waters.

Other acts on the Sunday Sounds of The Estuary roster include Martin Clappison who went on to form the now popular The Mighty and The Moon, the brilliant Rebel Sell, The Ming City Rockers, who come recommended by BBC Burnsy and Katy Noon on the Huw Stephens show and have recently played in New York. Joe Solo, The Holy Orders who have had BBC 6 air play, up and coming Katie Spencer, Native Braves, Kismet Ryding, another favourite from the south bank, The Chris Cooper Band, folk favourites Crooked Weather and Hase Waits, acoustic act Mark Rowland who has released his first EP recently, Vinnie and the Stars from Leeds/York, electro wizzes Abezilla and Counting to Zero, The Final Romance. Plus the ever popular Streaming Lights who played the Fonda 500 reunion gig at The Adelphi as part of the Adelphi 30 celebrations, In Fear of Olive who later became Laurel Canyons and Phil Wilson from My One Man Band and La Bête Blooms who have also played the event.

So with 5 years in the bag and legendry Hull institutions such as The Warren and The Adelphi celebrating 30 years and 13 years of the wondrous weekly event The Sesh, what can we expect for the future of Sunday Sounds of the Estuary? ‘Outside the box’ promoter Lewis Mennell says it’s been an honour to be involved in some of the local music festivals which weren’t around when Sunday Sounds first started, and something he never though Hull would have had 5 years on. So he considers it to be a big success that he has been asked to have Sounds of The Estuary stages at Hull Trinity Festival, Humber Street Sesh, as a stage manager and of course Springboard Festival, which gave him the original inspiration for creating the one day festival style event. Lewis hopes that in the future people in Hull will become more aware of Sunday Sounds of The Estuary as a ‘brand’ although he doesn’t like to describe it in such ‘businessy’ terms as that, and that more people will be aware of the event and come and support it in the future, bringing in new crowds and becoming a little bit bigger on the radar of Hull’s music scene.

Sunday Sounds of The Estuary will happen this Sunday 7th of December with a whole host of acts and you can find out more information on the acts and venue details on the Facebook event page.

 

Advertisements

The Colour Line, Zoax and Baby Godzilla @ Welly 25/11/14

Music

With a gig in nearly every major venue in Hull Tuesday night just gone, it’s a credit to the bands and the Hull scene just how many faces we did see at this show, especially as the biggest rival of the night was happening right under out feet at Welly club.

Adelphi hosted The Warren’s gig to end violence against women, Beans on Toast played at at Fruit, The weekly Sesh at Polar Bear happened and then of course Skindred fans partied below us who would also have been prime candidates for the show upstairs, so to get 50+ to a gig on a ‘school’ night was pretty epic.

It’s been around 2 years since Baby Godzilla were in Hull and having played in packed out venues such as Ringside and Adelphi, didn’t let the enormity of a bigger room or stage phase them, nor the size of the audience. To say they used the whole performance area is an understatement, I think it would be more of an achievement to try and keep them confined to the stage only. They took control over the whole room, the two guitarist come singers wasted no time in circling the audience and proceeded to entangled us all in mic cables for the rest of the night. With one member in particular who decided to climb onto furniture he’d been dragging about, he’d also taken his amp off stage to climb on and later on clambered onto a shelf hanging above the bar and was singing from there, both of them were also swinging from the lighting rigs and other metal railings like monkeys, something I’ve seen The Colour Line do here before when they played with Yashin in the upstairs room.

Baby Godzilla are like The Colour Line x100. Their energy is unmatched by any band I’ve seen, however due to their being a lack of mosh pit the entire evening, I wasn’t as panic stricken watching this band as I would normally be whilst watching other bands with a similar performance style. Usually there’s always that uncertainty when watching The Colour Line as they can be so unpredictable, I’ve also had guitars hurtled at me in smaller venues, and that’s part of the thrill for me. I really feel they have found the perfect balance between manic chaos and precise performance, with Baby Godzilla I personally found it all a bit much. It wasn’t overwhelming, just after a while I found it a bit redundant all the flailing about, I found myself spending most of my time sidestepping the band making sure I wasn’t in their way or chasing them round, it was exhilarating for a while but they are definitely a band that make you work for their attention, it’s not a stand still shut up kinda gig, it’s a chase them around the venue at 100mph or miss everything kinda show, and I’m sure the pre-existing Baby Godzilla fans were loving it. I’d definitely look forward to see them again though, perhaps in a different setting.

Zoax who were main support had a front man and funny man combined. Charming, warm and funny the singer drew in the audience with his personality and endearing yet at times creepy little smile. I had previously been recommended this band, they’d played Hull only a few months back and I got nothing but good reports saying how amazing they were, I was working at another gig for the mag so couldn’t attend. They also played at Middlesbrough Make a Scene fest with show stoppers The 100 who played Fruit supporting Hacktivist so I was really looking forward to their set.  Starting off with a long melodic and theatrical into I was thinking this band aren’t gonna be your typical ‘harcore’ metal band, and indeed they weren’t. They introduced themselves by saying ‘We’re S Club 5’ and getting the crowd giggling with them from the outset. The singer has the ability to carry a phrase from singing to a screamy/shouty vocal in one fluent phrase, something I’ve not seen any other singer do yet and the band describe themselves as having moulded their ‘sound that sets them apart from the monotonous masses’. Mixing a heavy sound with melodies and swooping high and low dynamics they take you on a musical journey that will lift any spirit from the depths of darkness and find what any soul searcher has been looking for, a truly heavenly sound.

The Colour Line once again brought their crowd surfing, floor tantrums and swinging guitars to the stage at the Welly Club, perfectly matched to the headliners, with Zoax creating a shift in the music mid-way through. They are the leaders in the Hull music scene, and I must admit I have seen a few local support bands fall flat in the face of the sheer scale of the quality that some out of town bands bring. I can watch local bands play ‘til they’re blue in the face and they will still always impress me, but sometimes once they are pitted against bands with more experience it can sometimes show the holes and cracks in their A game. Not with The Colour Line however, they can go toe to toe with these bands no problem, they have peaked in popularity in Hull and have been playing some sold out shows on previous tours, it’s time for this band to soar, they’ve impressed us here in Hull, so hopefully we’ll see even greater feats from these hardcore heroes in 2015!

Dead City Streets come back show with The Tamed and Mastiff

Music
Photo Credit: Burning Heart Photography/Louie Scott

After Classically Handsome Brutes had to drop out last minute as did Sea of Giants, Mastiff came onto the show last minute and gave us with a three band line up. Adding a heavier note to the night, it was my first time seeing Mastiff play with new guitarist Michael Wright. Two firsts in one night and the first time ever seeing Mike playing live, I was impressed with his accuracy and diligence to his guitar parts, having joined the band not too long ago. He’s still finding his feet performance wise but has all the notes down and will soon be rocking out as hard as the others. Their mix of noisesy, doomy, sludge, very slow and so heavy it makes you feel an ache in the pit of your stomach. Not sure if it was the change in the acoustics of the room as O’Rileys have changed their performance area, or something else but the drums sounded really professional and the drummer had a very tight sound. The bassist and vocalist offering the mosh and the head banging. The middle of the set saw the band play some faster more thrashy numbers. The room had a good balance of not being too loud but being loud enough to enjoy it and still packing a punch. It was easy on the ears, if you could say that about this genre. They played what felt like a short but sweet set, perhaps for me this being the first time I’ve really watched the band and thought I can understand what they’re aiming for, maybe a change in perspective from me or good acoustics allowing the band to show off what their sound is all about. Their last song had some beautifully played high notes from the bassist higher up the fret board that created a nice contrast against the guitar, and added some more melody to the last song.

The Tamed showed themselves to be anything but, from the get go during thieir set. Singer Ash Mather threw his microphone stand in the air, barely catching it, yet didn’t miss a single note, with hilarious consequences. He didn’t stop there, exuding a different more extreme performance style than what I’m used to from this band. It didn’t shock me, as I’ve seen tons of hardcore metal singers throw themselves around the stage, and even most of the O’Rileys building but I must admit it did shock me coming from them. They were the surprise of the evening, having seen them before and really liking their stuff, tonight was different, a different energy and vibe totally, and we were digging it. It kept me thinking Darren Bunting, sound engineer and venue owner must be really laid back to have all this going on around him and not bat an eyelid. Guitarist Keiran Reilly, ex Beneath The Darkness, seemed a lot more sure of himself, moving around the stage more, yet accurately avoiding any collisions with other bodies, he made the stage his own that night. As the set progressed, things just got wilder and weirder and found myself wondering if the singer was in a really bad mood. Had he had a personality transplant since I last saw him on stage? Some kind of f*****g monster. After Mastiff had used the monitors as a springboard to bounce up and down on, Ash proceeded to flip them over like a fluffy pancake. The guitars and bass however in stark contrast to the vocalist played in a controlled and pre planned way. The army of three faced the frontline with the horror that was Ash Mather, creating chaos across enemy lines invading the audience. Drummer John Holbrook’s style has changed too, with a new found exuberance on the drums, barely containing himself in his seated position, creating a more frantic element to his style with overarching arms and manic drum beats. They have seemingly honed their sound and performance style and if they didn’t overflow with hardcore energy before they do now. For their last song Mather took a walk around the audience one last time and shouted some of his lines towards the audience’s faces, without his microphone he circled them calling out his lyrics. It was a truly spine shivering, beautiful moment, one which I rarely get from a band in this genre, giving me tingles. He then went on to skip around the floor with his mic stand in tow as if taking a dog for walkies, he managed to break two mic stands during that set, so not uneventful.

Finally when Dead City Streets tool took their place on stage, with ex vocalist Dana Schofield now on guitar, they instantly sounded more melodic. They have kept some of their songs they have written and new vocalist James Keal (ex. Down to a Death Match) delivered the same lyrics and rhythmic lines but differently in his more gruff tone. Having never seen James sing lead he did a pretty good job of leading the band and stomping around on stage like the rest of DCS. Having caused slight controversy in the summer over their set at Download the band have returned full force with their new line up ready to take back the focus on what really matters, the music, the band and their live performances. People had differing opinions on whether the band ‘deserved’ to be at the festival, but they weren’t phased by the negativity that surrounded their opportunity to play there and they have taken it all in their stride. It was disappointing for a band that usually gets everyone going that there wasn’t much movement, this changed later however, but not as much moshing and dancing about as there normally is at this venue. Keal later thanked the other bands who’d played their comeback show with them; “Thanks to Ash from The Tamed for breaking all the mic stands and Jim from Mastiff for all the [golly]’. They got everyone moving in the end and I left the show with the usual nervous energy that builds up inside me after seeing a hardcore band strut their stuff and throw instruments in and around my face, and couldn’t help but want more. As I think did the rest of the audience, so roll on the next gig and lets see what more’s to come from this excellent new five piece line up.

Hillbilly Troupe Bio November 2014

Music

The Hillbilly Troupe is a band that spans five generations and their musical influences derive from the many generations of music they’ve experienced between them, mixing their Trad. Folk and Irish influences with Ska and Punk offering a strong sense of tradition and history whilst encompassing newer genres of music to give the tales of old a new twist. They go from acapella one man show stopping numbers by front man Mick McGarry to full blown anthems played by an electric band that get the whole audience dancing and moving, such as their mash up of ‘Back in Durham Jail’ and ‘I Fought the Law’ by The Clash.

Ranging from a nine piece to a seven piece, (seven being their core group) they’re not lacking in numbers or achievements, having played at all the local festivals and being part of the celebration of Hull’s announcement of its city of culture title for 2017, after four years, their energy is not waning yet.

With their recent involvement in the local collaborative The History Troupe they have taken part in events on Remembrance Day and other events celebrating the little known histories of Hull, and stories from WW1. Their talents don’t stop there, members from the band are also involved in the Hulloween events at Halloween, an alternative night out for anyone wanting to celebrate All Hallows Eve, and as a band they are collectively responsible for the artistic direction and programming of Hull’s own Folk Festival.

With their new album set to bring more of their own original song writing to the table, there’s certainly a lot more to look forward to from this Troupe of fellows as we head towards Christmas, the New Year and into 2015. For a band that is so well embedded in Hull’s cultural future, you’d be hard pressed to avoid them and advised not to miss them!

Originally published in Browse Magazine issue 15.

Hacktivist @ Fruit 17th November 2014

Music
With Support from Contours, The One Hundred and Dead Harts

Having been to see A Day To Remember at the O2 Academy in Leeds the night before, and frankly not being that impressed, the highlight of my night was being rubbed up by someone’s back pack for most of the night. (Not). So it felt nice to be back in my home town, at a venue I know, with a lot of awesome people. I was expecting big things from this gig and usually a night at Fruit is pretty quality with the bands being impressive, this one went the extra mile. There was the usual downside of the PA being slightly inadequate for anything other than DJing or dance music, but it’s easier to ignore when the bands are really good.

Having had a bit of an extensive dental appointment only days before, even enjoying a cold 7Up was a bit of a trauma let alone going anywhere near the pit.

Contours had an exceedingly large crowd considering they were first on, a feat I think they managed to co-create doing a good job of self-promoting the gig, at least their part in it anyway.  They played a decent set with a fair amount of interest from the audience, kicking the night off nicely.

The next part of the night’s entertainment came in the form of The One Hundred. These were a band that came with recommendations from a few friends who’d seen them at Make a Scene Fest in Middlesbrough. They were immense. The singer took to the stage with movement that I’ve not seen from any other band in the metal genre. Some of it looked a bit arty but with none of the cheese or pretence. Mixing rap, and nu-metal styles into their music they were the perfect accompaniment for a night with Hacktivist. If Hacktivist are a bit too loud and your face for your tastes, try these guys, they might just get you hooked on metal/electronica cross over sound.

Dead Harts, a less than ideal support for Hacktivist someone said, nope not in my opinion. I love Dead Harts and was great seeing them on this bill, enough alike to sound good together but different in other ways to bring a mixture of kids from different scenes together. Speaking of scenes specifically the Hull metal/hardcore scene, apart from my fellow crony’s, part of a larger group of people who are core gig attenders at Fruit and other venues, there were loads of new faces, kids with Hacktivist T-shirts, a few Dead Harts ones, so my question would be why aren’t more of these guys at local shows? Sure this was a local show, but bands of a bigger scale than play Hull on the day to day, but it was a pretty epic gig, makes you wonder why they don’t turn out to other live music events and make the scene more diverse and vibrant? Watching the singer left me mesmerised as usual and I’ve enjoyed this band at many local shows at other venues like O’Rileys where they’ve played to equally large audiences, but with slightly more of a pit going on.

Hacktivist took to the stage with a massive influx of attitude and sound booming from the huge speakers. Two vocalists who were equally skilled frontmen were spitting on the mic and making the crowd bounce! The atmosphere was buzzing and everyone was really getting into, despite the lack of movement to the other bands, everyone was launching themselves in the air during their set. There was so much energy in the room, and I can safely say it’s one of the best metal gigs I’ve been to in Hull in a long time. I hope more gigs going forward in the scene can be as good as this one, attracting new faces and eventually attracting more big bands to come and play in the future.

The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets

Music
Only just over a year ago The Marmozets played one of Hull’s most iconic venues. Hull band The Colour Line played alongside them at what was to be a really hyped show. In the last two years or so I’ve been going to gigs pretty regularly (and missed a fair few good ones too). This happened to be one of the gigs I didn’t get to, despite lots of people telling me how amazing it was going to be, and how amazing it was after the fact. How I regretted not going.

Since that time playing a small yet well respected venue, they are signed to Road Runner records, one of metals biggest labels, played Download and Leeds Festival, done a string of other tours and dates, toured again this time with The Colour Line supporting them in March/April of this year and released an album. All before I managed to even hear them play a note live.

So there I was a week ago today setting up camp in the Premier Inn, Newcastle Central getting ready to see Marmozets play at the O2.

Billed as double headliners with Lonely The Brave, I bought tickets in advance without hesitation; I’d already downloaded singles and previous EPs before I downloaded the album when that arrived. So whilst getting ready and leading up to the gig I had been playing favourites of mine and the album in its entirety to ready myself for singing and shouting along live.

Arriving just as allusondrugs were still performing much to my boyfriend’s delight we caught a sizeable chunk of their set but I couldn’t help thinking that Kurt Cobain had been resurrected to play the show and was getting pretty excited that I was watching the zombie version of Nirvana. Not. It’s been done mate, do something new. However, it wasn’t all bad; most people appeared to appreciate it and even liked it.

So staring up to the stage in anticipation and questioning whether my partner and I had seen this band before (Lonely The Brave), the lights dimmed and I even took a picture of the blank stage littered with a few blue lights, thinking that I’d caption it later with, ‘waiting for Lonely The Brave’. So when band members started arriving on to the stage, (who I didn’t recognise at this point) and the music started and I caught sight of a female singer, of Becca, I was like WTF??

Shocked and taken aback Marmozets launched into ‘Born Young and Free’, I was actually startled and a little appalled, expecting Lonely The Brave to be support, with Marmozets headlining? Even Becca seemed a little flustered and pissed off but that could have just been the onstage attitude! Absolutely gutted at my position in the crowd at the gig, thinking I should be in the mosh pit.
So after ‘getting over myself’ a bit I started to belt out the lyrics I’d already seared on my brain with all the pre listening prior to the show, after a brief look of confusion to the other half thinking ‘What’s going on? I didn’t pay for this?’

Anyways on with the show, so in quick succession the band hit us with song after song from the album, pretty much all killer shots, none of the songs flopped live, and none of the album seemed to resemble poly filler in anyway, however they did ditch a few slower numbers off the album live, such as Cover Up and Cry (which is actually a really heartfelt and somewhat political song).

They hit us with ‘Is It Horrible’, which didn’t disappoint live, ‘Particle’, which is slightly more slower and epic sounding, but still really benefits from the power and excitement the band show it on stage. They had the crowd singing along and truly captivated to ‘Captivate You’, an amazing moment for the audience and I’m sure the band hearing everyone shouting it back to them. They played more well-known material from previous releases such as ‘Why Do You Hate Me’ and ‘Move, Shake, Hide’, lesser known but just as upbeat and sassy ‘Weird and Wonderful’ and had the audience enjoying another serene moment with ‘Hit The Wave’, just as sing along as ‘Captivate You’.

Having hit us with all their best material and with one song left to go I couldn’t help but wrack my brains thinking what they could possibly end on? With ‘Move, Shake, Hide’ and ‘Why Do You Hate Me’ firmly in the bag, I thought what could they play that would make them go out with just as much of a bang? And before launching into their final song of the night, Becca Macintyre delivered some hard hitting fan interaction to the crowd. She said the next song they were about to play, that some people like it because they think it is the band sticking to their roots, as a technical Math band, but she did point out that she didn’t give a fuck and that they write their own songs, so anything they write comes from them and them alone, despite any ‘new direction’ or spin fans want to put on it. You may like their old stuff, but if you like their new stuff too, then at least ‘Vibetech’ takes you back to those early less polished EPs. They have definitely honed their sound and their live performance by the looks of it, but they are not puppets at the end of the day. And you’d need a bloody good puppet master to make Becca move in the ways he does on stage. ‘Vibetech’ left some audience members looking only slightly confused and most craving more!! Definitely worthy of the headline spot, and unfortunately for Lonely The Brave, it was less captivate you and more sing me to sleep. Sorry lads.

Preview: The Female Takeover at The Warren

Previews

The Female Takeover is a project aimed at tackling the inequalities faced by young women who wish to be involved in the music industry. There has been research which suggests that women are underrepresented in the fields of music production and recording arts, less than 5% are women. The Warren also gathered testimonials and opinions from young females using the music services, and found that some women were put off by how male dominated the spaces appeared to be. After running previous projects and this being the 5th Female Takeover to happen, some men were initially sceptical, but became supporters of the project when they saw the discrimination first hand.

The project aims are not to discriminate against men, or make them feel unwelcome in The Warren whilst the project is happening, but more to raise the issues of gender equality with both parties and empower women to confidently use all the equipment that is at their disposal to make music and be creative.

Each time the project runs, guest female tutors from Hull and further afield are invited to mentor and support the young women to make music and enhance their performance skills. This time around sees seasoned tutor Ysabelle Wombwell return, who has in the past recorded at The Warren and is skilled in song writing. Donna Smith, a local community musician who leads African drum workshops and uses percussion and vocal techniques to engage with young people often in a variety of settings across Hull. She is also responsible for The Rhythm Pixies performance group who have performed at Humber Street Sesh and Freedom Festival and has travelled to different countries to learn some of the skills she now teaches.

Although the Female Takeover does not specialise in any particular genre or skill area in music, there is often an urban feel to the project and the women are encouraged to explore any type of music they feel they want to learn. With Laila Lazer K from Sonic Boom Six, a rapper and singer who performs with the 5 piece band from Manchester will also join the roster of local Hull ladies leading the week of activities.

The Female Takeover is happening at The Warren Young People’s project from Tuesday 21st of October (11am -8pm) to Friday 24th of October (11am -7pm), culminating in a celebration performance at the end of the week showcasing the achievements from the event.