Tuesday, 4 March 2014

A BBC 6 Music Fest , at Last!


Radio, we all listen to it, we all love it, be it news, topical chat, comedy or music. I'm old and nostalgic enough to remember as a kid every Sunday sat around with the family listening to the top 40 on Radio 1 to find out who's in the top 10 and trying to record my favorite songs onto cassette tapes, but without the adverts.

Over the years I gained a more diverse taste in sounds and always look out for a radio channel to cater for my music taste. One day around 9 years ago whilst working at a customers house he said i could use his DAB radio as my old FM was ready for the airwaves graveyard, anyway surfing through the channels i discovered a little known channel called 6 music. Phil Jupitus was doing his breakfast show and during the programme i was amazed by the eclectic choices and styles he played: Reggae, ambient, electronic, rock etc, all genre's i love. It opened my ears with it's captivating chat and new music i hadn't heard, swaying hugely away from the standard top 40 playlists many of the other stations were playing. That was me, FM in the bin and off to the nearest electrical outlet for a DAB. I'm pleased to say i have never looked back.

We all had a fright a few years back when we heard that the station was due to close because of government cut-backs. Petitions were set up and the devoted listeners fought hard to save their beloved station. Fortunately for us we won!

BBC 6 have since then continued to grow and go from strength to strength, so much so they decided to finally hold their inaugural festival ( first of many i hope ) at Manchester's fine Victoria Warehouse space, a venue i was last at for the first Warehouse Project a few years back. Lucky for me and you ( the reader ) i was there to witness the invasion and what a weekend it was!

Day 1 ( Friday 28th February ) 

Main Stage

BBC Introducing's Tom Robinson is doing just that with Liverpool's opening act Bird who proceed to cast their spell among the attentive crowd with their uplifting Gothic- Folk and showcasing their new material, the epic The Rain Song and stunning reworked I am the mountain from their debut E.P.

 During the performance i get a chat with mid morning lady Lauren Laverne who tells me she had the band on her show during the day, going on to say  " lovely ladies, speaking to me in their quiet, cute scouse accent's, telling me how they like to practice in the dark, nice band and hope they do well " I think after today and soon to release their debut album they will.


(I am the mountain live at 6 music festival )

 Stage 2 

Electric Ladyland presenter Nemone introduces Liverpool's Electro - Indie / Pop band Outfit who deliver a more widescreen Hot Chip/ OMD style attack. The summery Thank god i was dreaming and latest single House on fire were huge highlights and get a few hands in the air moment's from the Crowd.


(Live at 6 music festival )

Main Stage 

I catch the end of London Singer / Songwriter Luke Sital Singh set. Rousing tune's with full band, one man and his guitar to finish, all tender and uplifting tunes. One to watch out for.

Silent Disco/ Stage 2

Weekend breakfast lady Mary Anne Hobbs is battling in a fairly sparse silent Disco against the reverb from next door's stage ( Stage 2 )  which is nearly being destroyed by the brutal onslaught of NME Best New Band Winner's:  Derbyshire's Post Grunge Rocker's Drenge. Some racket for a two piece ( Guitar and Drum's ) backwaters being a highlight but if you like rock and punk then this might just be for you.

Back to Mary Anne who opened the darker space that is the Silent Disco and is making the most of her impressive set. We don the headphones and tune in to her vibe when she drops Manchester anthem New Order - Blue Monday and top techno tune: the classic strings of life by Detroit legend Derrick may ( who is booked to play later )

Catching a quick chat with Mary Anne after i ask 'Who are you most looking forward to seeing?' M.A: Damon Albarn and his drummer Paulie who sent me over flowers during my set. Also James Blake who i love and was the first to plug on 6 music.

Charlatans lead man Tim Burgess is up next D.J ing , sporting a Andy Warhol style hair cut, bobbing back n forth along to Talking Heads , Beyonce, Grimes and Bowie's - Modern Love. A fun and uplifting set.

Main Stage 

There's a lot of hype about the L.A band Haim, especially on 6 music and though i think their better live than on record ( over produced ) i still don't see the appeal. Some may argue they have tunes but i don't get the vibe, to me their like 80's female trio Wilson Philips with guitars, then Shania Twain and Gloria Estefan thrown in for over the pop measure. But they got a huge turn out and they'll be all over the festivals this year, think i'll leave that to you to decide.

Soul pop diva Kelis is next treating us to a real show in a figure hugging gold dress, backed by a brass section, full band and back up singers. Opening with the Nina Simone classic Feeling Good, showcasing new material from upcoming album Food.  She drives the crowd insane with Trick me and Milkshake which she introduces by saying "Nothing wrong with the classics" definitely not, great set from the New Yorker.


( Milkshake live )

Bumping in to Goldblade/ Membranes punk band member and writer/presenter John Robb near the bar we chat music and 6. I ask what he enjoy's about the station ? J.RGideon Coe i really like to listen to. Me : 'So who you looking forward to playing?' J.RThe Horrors and Damon. He goes on to tell me about his Membranes material "Yeah 6 play our old stuff but don't seem to find a place for our new Psych Rock material?" Judging by this footage ( Below ) i can't see why the evening shows or Freakshow wouldn't. Great stuff.


Shortly afterwards i spot King of Indie Steve Lamacq, only rude not to get a chat. Me: 'Hi Steve, can you give me your best highlight of all the years being on the station?' S.LBilly Bragg live at Camden Crawl '09 ( Dublin castle ) only about 200 people, he finished with New England, the whole crowd singing every word, Bragg leaving them to finish the song" Below ( home made footage from the show)


I go on to ask " Who you looking forward to seeing? S.l: " Pins from Manchester who sound similar to Savages and Damon's set, really liking his new album "

Main Stage 

Heading over to see Midlake i get a few words with Shaun Keaveny's Music news man and First time presenter Matt Everitt who's enjoying the laid back vibe of the festival with Shaun and Level 42's Slap bass ( Mark ) King

We talk the midlands ( him reigning from West and me East  ) I tell him i saw him drumming live in the 90's with former Brit - Pop Outfit Menswear. We both reminisce and agree it was a fun time for music.

( Matt second from left, i think )

  Me: So Matt, do you remember the first time hearing music? Matt : Yes, around 5 years of age, my parents playing Beatles- Yesterday, still love it today.

Me: What was your first gig? Matt: U2- Birmingham NEC ( Joshua Tree Tour '87 )

Me: Out of all the rock stars you have interviewed, who did you most think ' I can't believe i'm sat in front of '? Matt: Roger Taylor from Queen , my Drumming hero.


 Me: Favorite Queen Tune? Matt: It's late


( Live at Maida Vale )

Back to Midlake who take us in with a warm folk/rock fire and treat us to a culinary delight in musical courses like Roscoe and We gathered in spring from The trials of van occupanter. Dessert was from their sublime new offering Antiphon ( The tiltle track ) and old and the young. A surprise Brother is introduced in the shape of John Grant who plays his Sigourney Weaver tune.


It's down to the modern classic songwriter Damon Albarn, who tonight plays his first gig with his band The  Heavy Seas, to close the main stage. Mainly a chance to showcase material from his upcoming Everday Robots album, though i'm quite partial to the title track and the gorgeous Gorillaz- Melancholy Hill (all of which he plays live tonight)  i find it a bit hard to get in to, delving only once in to his Blur back catalog for a obscure b- side All your life. From the back where i'm standing he mumbles and leaves me a bit cold. I'm sure if i was more familiar with the material i would have enjoyed it more. I'm off to find something a bit more uplifting..

Which takes me to the second stage for the last time to witness legendary punk poet John Cooper Clarke who tells us he's been asked to fill in until the band arrive, which The Horrors do shortly after. The band in black sounding like long lost 80's cousin's of The Psychedelic furs. Lead man Faris Badwan stands aloft leaning in to the up for it crowd. Gothic Indy /Psych rock precedes, each tune getting rapturous applause on finishing. Re-visting their brilliant Skying album for anthem I can see through you and Still Life, both a nod to classic sound's of early post punk/ Synth pop of Simple minds. Indie kids fly across the crowd . New material from eagerly anticipated album Luminous, I see you delivers and mixes well with old.

Thank you to 6 music for the use of photo's

One last time headphones and dancing shoes are on at the Silent Disco for legendary Detroit techno hero Derrick May who impresses with his DJ in wizardry, classic hip -hop tune Planet Rock floats around our ears


He flies around the mixing deck, even dropping the needle on a stunning looking piece of red vinyl, house and techno is on the menu, and i'm dancing.

Handing the legend baton over too two producer's i haven't caught live since Wolverhampton UK Midland in 93 ( maybe , but can't recall ) X-Press 2 who play a not to lazy, straight up house set, my feet ache, i'm tired and need my bed, there's always tomorrow ..

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