Saturday, 22 February 2014

Wireless: Birmingham's biggest ever Festival

I hear local mutterings, and ruffling of feathers. Big bad Wireless Festival is coming to Brum. Get real - this is serious business, and we should get a slice.


The Largest Music Promoters In The UK, Live Nation, are plonking their flagship brand, Wireless Festival, down in Birmingham this summer. Two simultaneous festivals rotating line-ups between London and Brum over three days. This makes it, by a long chalk the biggest music event in the city: 150,000 paying customers in Perry Park over three days.

This happened without the knowledge or involvement of anyone involved in any of the well-meaning council-sponsored or other bodies trying to push the local music scene forward. Fait accompli, done deal, we're coming, thank you very much. That's business 

So is this a bad thing? I don't really think so. It's how the music industry operates when it's set up to run on an industrial scale. And maybe we should think about building links. The big boys don't need us and our local scene. But we could sure do with touting our wares on a big stage. And there are grounds for optimism.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

BRMB: 40 years ago today, a station came out to play



Inebriated geriboomer alert - there's a party this week.

Sedate? Pah. I'm expecting big fun, tidal waves of emotion and mawkish sentiment. Why? Well, Free Radiothe successors to BRMB, are throwing a bash for old staff members, on the 40th anniversary of the launch date, February 19th 1974. That's this Wednesday.

I'm one of the BRMB originals. They'd hired me the previous November, along with the great John Howard; we were the first jocks on board. John left, quite early, to make his way to Radio 4. I stuck around for twenty years, ten on them on air as, mainly, a rock jock.

And now it's forty years, two generations, on. Pretty much all the survivors from those early years will be together, in one room. With alcohol. Oh dear. It could get messy.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

A local YouTube chart: February 2014

This time last year, the Official Chart company decided not to use YouTube data when compiling the UK charts. Maybe we'd get a bit more metal if they did.

Mvula: big numbers after a big year. But not #1
I do this chart every six months. Again, there's a new leader of the pack, with big numbers. Some people are doing really well - either under their own steam, or with the help of a big marketing push, at both ends of the chart. It's fascinating stuff. Well, I think so.  

By the way, this isn't perfect - it can't be. YouTube numbers, like many Google reckonings, can wander about a bit. Not every genre - like rap battles - fits the criteria. And Ruby Turner would place impressively high if her showcase TV slots with Jools Holland were included – but these are live fan captures, not commissioned videos. 

We don't live in a perfect world. Two charts follow the break: the basic totals, and a breakdown of who's made the most progress in the past six months. Numbers were collected in the week just gone. And if I've missed you out, I'm really sorry. Yell at me in the email box at top right, or drop me a snarky comment, and I'll fix things. 

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Old Punks don't die. They go big in Japan.


Start a band. You'll be amazed what happens. 70s punk veterans Neon Hearts are.

 Neon Hearts 2014 and 1977
35 years ago, Punk was front, centre and huge. Bands who couldn't play, snotty and sneering, drenched in audience gob.

Of course it was choreographed, but it was a great bandwagon for some. The Police, Squeeze, Bob Geldof and even Tom Petty used Punk well to get themselves noticed.

Down the pecking order, Punk really mattered. Local hopefuls? Dansette Damage, Suburban Studs, Spizz, the Killjoys, Dangerous Girls, the Prefects, and more. Most faded away, of course. But this was real and valid to those who were there. The recordings survive, but now they're out of time and context, and there's nothing to hook them to. 

But that lets people pin new meaning to old music. Extraordinary things can happen.