Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Considered Vinyl.

Leeds Fine Art Student Fundraiser 08

Brudenell Social Club....
Flowe, Ellen and the Escapades, Süp and Ben Graves

Leeds University 3rd Year Fine Art Students hosted a Fundraiser for their Degree Show, at the Brudenell Social Club, Hyde Park back in December. The oh-so-cheap beers were flowing from behind the working man's bar, and quaint little cakes were selling, well like hot cakes. The night began with a certain subtlety to it, with the student crowd dribbling in through the doors, acoustic chords echoed through the old aesthetics of the Social.

Charming singer songwriter Ben Graves, originally from Wolverhampton but resident in Leeds, kicked off the night’s shenanigans with a nice hat, and even nicer guitars chords, picks and melodies. Graves voice effortlessly rang through the club, obvious bluegrass influences and inspirations from acoustic folk lord Damien Rice plucked at my lobes. Graves continued to busk, singing confidently, peeling back music to a classic acoustic guitar, him and a stage. Melodic chords, deep passionate vocals and an evident narrative to his songs made Graves a hit with a less than apparent crowd.

Süp slipped on the stage with pencil skirts, guitars and violins. A personal favourite of the night Süp oozed character and originality, consisting of two charming female characters, Emma Greenfield and Emma Kraemer. Greenfield lightly strummed her guitar; “drip, drop, drip, drop” cooing at the microphone, Kraemer stood barefooted, snaking with the rhythm and flow of her violin. Quirky lyrics matched their presence, “take me away from this melancholy place, where everything is not quite what it seems, take me away to a land where they don’t say the polar opposite of what they mean”, simple, enjoyable and true to life. As they warmed the stage, the growing crowd showed their appreciation for the near perfect harmonizing and original take on naive folk.

In between a few more cupcakes and trips to the bar the night progressed and larger bands donned the miniscule stage. Ellen and the Escapades were up next, surprisingly all managing to fit on there. Crammed on to the stage they seemed to please the crowd, with their bluesy, country twangs but being technically gifted, possessing the ability to read sheet music since the age of nine and obtaining a music diploma doesn’t make Ellen and the Escapades an unstoppable midst of fresh local talent. Yes, I would be cruel and wrong to say that Ellen and the Escapades were not well equipped with the ability to play music and thread technical melodies together, but there is just too much going on all at once (and not in a good way). They seemed nervous, stringing together good arrangements and keeping it together on stage, but leaving an air of dissatisfaction, on my part at least. Ellen and the Escapades cross the folk, melodic-indie barrier, at times unpleasantly tapping at a mature Radio 2 audience. Ellen’s voice has a warming quality and ‘Yours to Keep’ stripped to the bare essentials, was their best of the night. Lyrics were true and soulful with large hints of a Katie Melua influence along the line. The band have just recently released their first EP and have a string of local, live gigs lined up, including a headline at the Cockpit in March.

Flowe then hit the stage with more than enough confidence and pizzazz, showing The Brudenell that they are very much a unit, possessing their own identity and sound. Boasting a banner of Her Royal Highness stating ‘make electro history’ at the front of their set, they grabbed the crowds’ attention with their cocky take on a performance. As I listen along with the rest of the rabble, hints of very early Kings of Leon spring to mind, with Celtic influences thrown in hear and there for good measure. Flowe are a cheeky alternative/indie-folk English talent. I couldn’t help but watch the drummer; work out combinations with ease and the rest of my time was spent watching the front man swagger and swoon, his voice brimming with an eclectic 80’s cult band sound and feel. Pint after pint was consumed as the night went on, plenty more cupcakes were nibbled and songs after song Flowe persistently impressed, this quintet from a little further south of Leeds are definitely ones to watch.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Piracy & Lily Allen.

Lily has gained a strong online social network, and is not afraid to use it.

Forever tweetin' her whereabouts, insights into her appreciation for the England cricket team or winding up Chris Moyles, "I suggest we start calling him tedious Dave as he spends far more time doing his aptly named link than being funny

Lily has racked up over 1 Million followers on Twitter, directing them through her tweets to see her view on the recent dispute about P2P music file sharing.

Lily Allen, equiped with her online status and a GQ shoot, gained an impressive 14 thousand profile views whilst actively blogging about the issue.

A month on and her blog has closed, "I have shut down the blog it is getting too much". Leaving influential breadcrumbs in the social sphere.

Lily's constant tweets and her ability to network with the right people, both on and offline drove a meeting on the controversial subject to be held in London after much attention from netizens and fellow web savvy celebrities.

Tweeting mid morning on 24 September that "there is a meeting today in London where artists are meeting to discuss Piracy. My job done." It is fair to say that Lily has used social media to it's full potential, birthing a policy meeting via an online conversational networking platform.