Music fan, reviewer and Bunker Apprentice James Brydon went along to this weekend’s BBC 6Music Festival on Tyneside to see what all the fuss was about.
A freezing cold venue, an empty wallet and the saltiest chips on earth, these were the only downsides of BBC’s 6 Music Festival, now in it’s second year and it’s first time on Tyneside. Thankfully the positives of my afternoon in Newcastles Boiler Shop far outweighed the negatives. Surrounded by a good selection of local record shop stalls (Pop Recs, Reflex, JG Windows and On Tap Vinyl) and Specialist food stalls, there was even a combination of the two with the aptly named Pie and Vinyl. I arrived around 1ish just in time to catch the new big name coming out of Sunderland, Hyde and Beast who were fronted by a familiar face in the form of ex Futureheads drummer Dave Hyde. And while Hyde and Beast may sport that well known north eastern indie charm of the Futureheads they are a far cry from the fast paced anthems put out by Hydes former band mates. Instead Hyde and Beast deliver a more stripped back performance featuring catchy blues guitar riffs mixed with soft vocals. Keep Moving, the title track of their latest album, being the standout song in a set that captured the audiences attention and never let it go.
After Hyde and Beast attention was quickly turned to the smaller stage where Radio 6 DJ, Stuart McConie was about to deliver a talk on the popular music sub-culture and genre Northern Soul, in which he was joined by a panel of experts. This was just a number of interesting and informative talks held by the 6 Music DJ’s which also included Steve Lamacq talking to Supergrass’ Gaz Coombes who held an insightful talk on the changing face of the music industry over the past 20 years and his experiences in relation to that. By now the cold was almost arctic like in temperature but I decided to brave it out to see the intriguingly named ‘Beardy Man attempts to make an album in an hour’ and I’m glad I did, despite Beardy Man not actually having the massive beard I was expecting. Beardy Man is actually the pseudonym of musician/comedian Darren Foreman who impressively managed to make a full album on the spot based only on song names suggested to him over twitter, despite having to reboot all his equipment whilst beatboxing.
The biggest act to play 6 Musics Introducing stage that day however were North London rock band Wolf Alice who are quickly becoming one of the UK’s most talked about new bands. I was eager to hear Wolf Alice again after being impressed by their performance supporting Swim Deep a couple of years ago, a gig in which i thought they greatly outshone the headliners. Despite being swamped by technical problems upon taking the stage which delayed the performance and perhaps lowered the buzz around the venue a little, Wolf Alice still managed to deliver a blinding set and one which certainly lived up to there fast growing reputation as one of the country’s most exciting new rock bands. Their mix of powerful grunge anthems combined with elements of folk and brit pop were well received by the audience who had decided to stay and brave the cold. I unfortunately had to leave early after Wolf Alice so missed out on the other BBC introducing acts but something I did take from this event is that there are exciting and diverse times ahead for new music, especially in the North East.
Visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/e8qbj5 for video footage, interviews and more from the weekend’s series of music events.
35 years ago, The Bunker (under a different guise, at inception) came into being – offering many young people the chance to express their creativity, providing an environment for like-minded individuals to come together and play music. Originally conceived in Hendon, The Bunker now resides within the heart of the city on Stockton Road.
This year The Bunker will be providing a wide range of entertainment to signify such a milestone, aimed at showcasing the ways in which the rehearsal space has helped, is helping, and will continue to help the local community. Each month will be host to a different kind of activity so that everyone can get involved in The Bunker’s history.
Starting with Rock School in February, this will be a chance for young people to get ‘hands on’ with instruments – learn a new craft and experience the thrill of writing songs together. Rock School will be running from the 16th through to the 20th of February, 10am to 3pm every day, and will cost £80 (for more information, see contact information at the bottom of the post).
Following on quite fittingly, March will be a month of production – this mainly consists of working around computer software to edit and add effects to recorded tracks, much like what many recording studios do when mastering a record/album.
The Bunker will then be hosting a month of busking in May, which will allow many upcoming musicians the chance to get their music out there and experience what it’s like playing to potential crowds. There will be more information regarding this nearer to the time, as with many of the other activities coming up on ‘The Bunker Calendar’. It can be promised, however, that the activities will be big.
If you wish to contact The Bunker about how to apply for these activities or for more information, then:
Tel: 0191 567 1777
Starting the 16th of February through until the 20th, from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM, The Bunker will be hosting a Rock School for young people aged 8-13 during the half-term. The course aims to provide young people with new opportunities: a chance to make new friends via the power of music, and the chance to receive musical tuition, enhance abilities, and perhaps even form bands of their own.
The week begins with ‘Back to Basics’ – an introduction to the course, and an evaluation of where abilities currently are. The participants get hands-on and learn about the basics of the instruments they choose.
Then, it’s ‘Bang Your Own Drum’. This is a djembe drum session in which everyone will come together and develop their musical abilities whilst forming a bond with other young people. This will continue into Wednesday where there will be a particular focus on band dynamics, furthering their knowledge.
Thursday and Friday are dedicated to writing and recording a song together. Games will be used to, again, continue to form bonds, keep the course fun but also to help with the song writing process. Eventually, the young people will record their song and leave with a copy of it to take home with them.
Liam Huitson, Music Business Co-ordinator at the Bunker added:
‘I think this will be a great opportunity for young people to get together and have a go at something they might not have tried before. There are endless possibilities to what you can do with music, and hopefully these young people can achieve something wonderful.’
For more information on how to book a placement or to simply find out more, contact us:
Tel. 0191 567 1777
As part of a scheme aimed towards NEETs (Not in Education, Employment, or Training), The Bunker will be working with Rebecca Whitworth in order to both develop her own skills and give her the experience of being in a working environment. The funding has been provided through a pilot project with Sunderland City Council to offer such work placements to help reduce the number of NEETs in the local area.
Rebecca provided some insight into what will be going on whilst she is at The Bunker:
‘For the three months that I will be here, I’ll be helping to plan a project for the elderly. Hopefully, as I have worked with Age UK previously, I’ll be able to make good judgements as to what will and won’t be suitable for such a workshop or project.’
‘It’ll certainly benefit the people this is catered for, because it will give them a chance to sit down with their families, enjoy themselves, and maybe learn something new. It’s going to benefit me too! I’ll be able to apply the knowledge I already have, learn something new in the process.’
Thank you to all who attended the Christmas Fundraiser that we hosted at Sunderland Minster last week! We hope that everyone had a nice time at the event, as we certainly did.
For those of you who did not attend, we had a wide variety of activities and performances throughout the night – including performances from Blind Buffalo and Trevor Sewell who were kind enough to lend their musicality to us for free (obviously for a good cause ;)). They did a very good job of entertaining the families/friends who were happy to help us with raising some much needed funds, so thanks again! All in all, it was a fun event which was as much of an experience as it was a learning process – not only for us, but the apprentices too.
THEREFORE, IN THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS, BEHOLD: