On 22nd July 2006 at 02:15 Anonymous 5772 wrote...
The linking of songs is described as a medley...
Live at Fagins Bar (Halifax) on Saturday, 15th July 2006
What makes particular pieces of art, music and literature widely deemed as 'good'? I would muse that anything's worth is determined by how unique it is. Of course there are exceptions, what I would call 'the middle ground': immediately intriguing, but ultimately forgotten. These middle grounders seem to be en vogue at the moment because they represent a safe call. The industries strip them down and sell every last drop of the little they offer to the masses that have been programmed to love anything the TV tells them to.
Take James Morrison for instance; what could be deemed unique about his act? Well, he's got a stunning voice, you may retort. A valid point, but what do you get from Morrison that Blunt hasn't already provided? Newness! Western society loves all things bright, cheerful and shiny: like Magpies suckling on the fat teat of Consumerism.
I even have evidence.
Exhibit A: The new Music Zone that recently opened in Halifax. Oh they did their research all right, and good luck to them too; they give the people what they want: 'Best Of's. The Halifax branch of Music Zone is rammed full of 'Best Of's. Who said the single was dead? It has just been re-packaged! Familiarity is key to backward country folk, so leave that apple cart in its designated apple cart safety area or be hit with a Calderdale Council shaped fine.
I could do with cutting to the proverbial chase at this point; Emerge Festival was bloody good. As it drew to a close at around midnight, I sat with organiser Dan Fowler and discussed what made Emerge unique. It is taken as red that a musical festival needs bands, and Emerge had a list as long as eleven separate pages on my notepad/keyring. But before I give each band a mention (and I know all you bands really really want to know what I think of your music, as I am so high and mighty and all powerful; like some kind of green, slimey awe-enducing opinion monster) I shall consider what made Emerge such a success: those who attended.
It could have been so different.
Fagins is a small place, situated behind Halifax's very own McDonald's restaurant. Its clientele ranges from Hoboes, Emos, Vinos and passing Adidas clad Grebos. Add alcohol and loud music to the broth and you could soon have a massacre on your hands. But it wasn't so. Sorry to sound all Hippie commune, but the atmosphere of appreciation transcended all possible instances of unnecessary aggression, maan; it was totally like Jim Morrison flying on a rainbow flavoured Unicorn named freedom. Sarcasm apart, Emerge could have been just too different for your regular Joe; and when words fail, fists can often do the talking.
Instead, 3pm til 12 consisted of a community spirit unheard of in this part of the globe, and Mr Fowler and his compadres deserve as much praise as they can stomach. There has been talk of another festival taking place in September, and as the whole thing is free, I suggest you attend.
So here's the band part...
B-Side Movie: "Welcome to Halifax!" A lot of the audience, cast and supporting crew were from the surrounding tri-state area of Calderdale, but B-Side Movie settled those alien with their take on Americana. It has to be said that the running order was immaculately chosen all day, and the openers were suitably well selected. Energetic, enthusiastic and eager, the band exemplified the feeling running through the audience that today something great was happening; and stirred those present into party mode. The band didn't deliver anything out of the ordinary, but their standard of musicianship was up there with the rest of the rostrum. Ploughing the furrow of Busted's more experimental moments may reward with polite applause, but if the band feels serious about taking their music further than friend appreciation they must find their own angle. Maybe they do, maybe they don't. Answers on a postcard.
Isaac & Josh: Harmony, melody and rhythm are often a tricky combination; but this two piece from Huddersfield are obviously blessed. Ideas seemed to drip from their duelling acoustics, whilst melancholic vocals added interest to the alternative crowd. The standard was certainly raised by the time they had completed a five song stint, in which Latin influences and intricate picking sat side-by-side with aggressive strumming and Jazz interludes. An archetype for their HMS roster.
Comedy of Error: Having a gorgeous band member can often taint music reviews (see Dead Disco for examples), so I will block out memories of Comedy of Error's drummer and concentrate on sound. Comedy of Error are a Halifax based Punk band. That sentence alone would suffice, but I will elaborate. All the shambocity that a Punk band needs is present, even down to certain members being a slight unsteady on their instruments. However, this is knitted together by a rather angry frontman and some simple chord progressions. Maybe it was the summer surroundings, but today the band seemed a tad too disjointed; and even the best of squealing from our animated anarchist seemed to fall flat. With a bit more practice, and a lot more movement from other members, this band could turn into something very interesting. But there are still a few more hurdles to be smashed; even if they did earn respect for 'Yorkshire Dales', a cover of Weezer's 'Beverley Hills'. Go on, sing a long, it fits.
The Volatile Gentlemen: What do you get if you cross some Metal loving young delinquents with some huge, pounding drumbeats? An ace band, that's what. For yours truly, The Volatile Gentlemen were the band of the day: possibly even the best in Halifax. You know all that unique crap I was spouting earlier? Well this lot have it tattoo-ed on their foreheads and are ready to dish out a goats kiss. Accompanied by 'Robo-Gimp 3000', the band pummelled Fagins into submission with their dance heavy loops and bouncing distorted guitar/bass accompaniment. A surreal moment came when animal-blood soaked tampons were hurled at the audience, but it all added to how different this band are from current contemporaries. You've found yourselves a new fan here Gentlemen, and I shall be seeing you.
The Formori: This band came to me with glowing appraisal from members of the audience, and it was obvious that they were here to dish out a Metal lesson when t-shirts were discarded early on. Their performance stumbled slightly at the start, mostly due to problems with guitars and other equipment, but as they progressed I did begin to witness the ability that each member obviously possesses. However, with this genre not being my forte I was left to wonder how this relative of the likes of Iron Maiden and Megadeath can evolve and become as relevant today as it was then. The band are no doubt good at what they do, but is what they do that good? A single minded view, but my view nonetheless.
icallthebluff: I had witnessed this four piece before (Drake. P. LMS. 2006) and had commented on their promise. It seems they have been hard at it since then, and rewards are being reaped. Probably the most Pop of all the alternative bands on parade, the band obviously likes to write songs. This was refreshing, and a few well placed and well executed break-downs kept their set engaging and in toe with their audience. I still feel their angle of attack needs to be honed, but surely that will come in time; especially if this rate of improvement is maintained.
Blue Hobo: Next up were two members of the prog/folk busker's known as Blue Hobo. They provided the audience with light relief from all the fringes, whingers and swindlers that had come before; and were very well received. The multi-talented drummer was kept busy during a montage of Floyd, King Crimson and Kinks (everybody loves a montage) where he juggled between bludgeoning his drum-kit and squeezing out drones on a synth. A welcome inclusion to proceedings, and I indulged in my first Lindeboom of the day in toast of their achievements.
Illusion of Intelligence: You can often read into the mentality of a band from their name. This band is an example: Understated, Considered, Focused. Add this noun-ery to the Thrash Metal genre and you have something that little bit different in your ears. Bands that have some kind of vision often come across with more maturity than their peers and Illusion of Intelligence's thoughtful approach adds more depth than music made for the original adrenaline buzz. On this occasion the vocalist was not as harrowing as previous, but considering the occasion and surroundings that seemed more appropriate. This didn't stop their set being as raucous as ever, and I'm sure a few pre-gig looseners were downed in good measure as the audience began to revel in this particularly hazy dirge-day's afternoon.
Death Of Narnia: If IoI marked the beginning of the day's 'Heavy Hour' then Death Of Narnia just about managed to kick in the speakers. Armed with the lungs of vocalist Mya, the band shot out wave after wave of scream infested Hardcore. Just when you thought the coast was clear, and an angelic waft filled the air, another crest of sound crashed into a very sizeable pit. If it's aggression you want then get yourself some Turkish Delight and wait for the Narnians to ram it down your eyeballs: you won't be disappointed.
Fourteen Corners: Because of a last minute cancellation Fourteen Corners stepped up to the newly built Fagins outdoor stage and slotted immediately. Those who had been forced inwardly due to the sheer intensity of Death Of Narnia were welcomed back out into the evening sun by Indie melodies of a Modest Mouse kind. Again, many differing tastes were woo-ed by something different, and the up 'til now forgotten art of lyricism was thrust back into the spotlight. Fourteen Corners are certainly one of the better of the straightforward tune based Halifax bands, and I will try see them on further occasions after this showing.
Far From The Dance: Huddersfield's Far From The Dance had been given the gargantuan task of closing Emerge Mark 1, and, once their considerable amount of toys had been assembled, they duly obliged by turning in a terrific performance. An atmosphere of combined jubilance and satisfaction spilled into the courtyard to salute a band that fuses good tunes with Electro-Scuzz Punk; registering with those even as unlikely as Old Man Schitzoid (if you ever visit Fagins, you'll know what I mean). A performance fitting of the occasion.
Well, there you have it. Maybe I have said too much. Maybe an outdoor festival at a small-town pub is not that unique. Maybe the Leeds Music Scene does not care, but you are very welcome to come and find out.
The absolute Dregs.
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On 22nd July 2006 at 02:15 Anonymous 5772 wrote...
The linking of songs is described as a medley...
On 22nd July 2006 at 03:07 Anonymous 4913 wrote...
"A composite of closely juxtaposed elements".
On 22nd July 2006 at 11:26 Anonymous 5772 wrote...
medley (from AskOxford.com)
• noun (pl. medleys) 1 a varied mixture. 2 a collection of songs or other musical items performed as a continuous piece.
- ORIGIN originally denoting hand-to-hand combat, also cloth made of variegated wool: from Old French medlee 'melee', from Latin misculare 'to mix'.
On 28th July 2006 at 18:57 Anonymous 4913 wrote...