Sunday, 31 August 2014

Lives Well Lived

There's more, far more, than one way to define success

Mick Dolan died last month. I found out as a surprisingly wide range of friends and acquaintances marked his passing online. Texts, emails, facebook, tweets: a social media thing. I'll come back to that. That's often how we do this now: appreciation rippling out across the net. Refreshingly, unusually, it was sincere and heartfelt. 

I knew Mick in the mid 70s; he fronted an outfit called Big Front Yard. They were a fine, credible band. They made some lovely stuff, but ultimately didn't get anywhere. Before that, he and his brother were in a Birmingham prog rock outfit, Hard Meat, who didn't tear any trees up but richly deserved to - check this piece from Sam Umland. And don't snigger: that was the age of preposterous band names: Heavy Jelly, or Iron Butterfly, anyone? Hard Meat, never mind the name, did a lot more than most hopefuls: they scored a proper deal with Warners, and even got to play the US. You can find their stuff online...

.... and I think it's worn well, despite the prog trappings. There's some great guitar work in there. Let it play while you read on; it's worth it.

What happened in between then and now? I really can't tell you. I knew he was around. His name would crop up in discussions and music notes. He was respected, well respected. One of those guys doing good things, quietly and well. This year, 45 years on, he was still hard at work as a producer. Here he is, with Kate Gee, and a set of musicians I have a lot of time for. 

These are scraps and fragments: brave, innocent pictures of young men with a lot of hair and a lot of skill; odd recordings posted to YouTube by people who clearly loved Mick's work. It's not a lot. It would be even less without social media, which, bit by bit, collects traces and fragments from decades of work.

Hard Meat, early 70s    
But that's what we have left: files humming in a server somewhere halfway around the world: scraps of our lives. Little virtual milestones marking random moments. It doesn't really tell the full story of how we work and try and fail and try harder. These are lives lived, and the internet flotsam that washes around them is mostly what we're left with. It never tells the full story, but I'm still glad I can look. 

Sometimes we succeed and we have our moments of success. Inevitably, we get old, without noticing, until that change slaps us in the face. Suddenly there are new people, shiny and pumped; they run through the same brick walls we too used to burst through without even noticing. The difference? Now, we notice those walls because we're bouncing off them. It goes without saying that new talent is to be cherished and supported. People helped you on your way; now it's time to pay it forward. 

Mick did that. I try to do that. In fact, I don't really know anyone in music, or radio, who doesn't see that as an obligation. I don't care to know those who don't. 

So the wheel rolls on. Spirited young talent either flies or it doesn't. And when your shining new future doesn't quite work out like you hoped - or even if it does - then there are decisions to make. You love what you do? Stay doing it. But move, shift sideways, find new approaches. If that's what you love, there are ways. And once in a while, you'll bump into someone who remembers what you did back in the day, or who you can work with, and help. Sometimes they help you.

Our media gobbles up the next big thing, and tears down last year's sensations. Social media, with its lack of self-restraint, is especially guilty: it encourages you to jump and shout about the shiny new star you've just discovered. It discourages loyalty and considered appreciation. The next time you catch a likely bunch of swaggering young blades strutting their fine stuff onstage, think of those bands you saw five years ago - the ones that didn't make it. Where are they now?

Mick in '76   © Michael Gray, 2014    
Chances are they're still playing, just maybe not with the same people. Maybe there's a few rough edges been knocked off. Some will have given up and got a proper job, the better to pay for that house and mortgage. Maybe the guys still doing it have developed into much better musicians after their five years of toil. Maybe they still harbour dreams of glory. One thing won't have changed: the love of the music. The ones who jumped in for the love of the music will still be plugging away, and those are the ones we should salute. But - horror of horrors - they're older now. 

On this blog, I write about music and radio people, and their craft. I try to tell stories, and I look at the business trappings. Personally, I adore catching new, brave young talent, fresh and fierce, stealing audience hearts effortlessly. These are people driven by the pure love of music and performance. But so, too, are those - there's a lot of them - who have lived their lives in and around music and radio, and who still pitch up to battered mixing desks and pub stages, or who work behind the scenes to try to do the right thing. It's often the bit in the middle, the ugly business bit, that loses me, despite the fact that the ugly business bit often gives me lurid blog stories that get fantastic responses.

So here's to those people who've put in their shifts, who are burnished by the years, and who add craft and wisdom to their talent and energy. The weird old guy you've never seen before, who sits down at an open mic night, comfortable as you please, and... just blows you away. The battle-scarred veteran who can read your talent and make you shine. The ones who've got miles on the clock, and who still care. The ones who put music nights on for the love of the music, not the money. The ones on whom our entire grassroots scenes depend. These are the ones who share, and in so doing leave behind those little traces of their lives for us to discover - if we're lucky.

Mick was one of those.

See also this very touching May 2015 blog post from Michael Gray

You can find other blog posts on people we've lost here 


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Sunday, 24 August 2014

Terry and Gerry! The reunion! The tour! It's only been 27 years.....

They're back. Just don't gob on them this time round, if you wouldn't mind.

Skiffle Punk? This one might have passed you by, especially if you're not of a certain age. When word trickled out that a much loved band might just be reforming, there was a muted but marked explosion of joy in certain quarters. 

Who are the band? Terry and Gerry, that's who. The guys who did skiffle punk. Who would show up on gigs with Hank Wangford. Or the Nightingales. The guys who scored Peel sessions, to the joy of many (but remember, Peel fans: we did them first at BRMB, and there's a feature length Terry and Gerry video at the bottom of this post, with lots of BRMB studio and 80s Brum footage). 

Picture the scene; it'll come back to you. You're at a punk gig in the mid 80s; elaborate mohicans, inventive mascara and piercings are in evidence; not that many tatts, though. Heavy heavy reggae bass vibes pump through the sound system, and indeed through your guts. You could cut the air: it's full of exotic smoke, and the odd whiff of stale sweat. And then - these baby faced wholesome guys walk out on stage, in tuxedos and string ties. Stand-up bass, acoustic guitars, washboard. 

You'd expect them to get slaughtered, right? Pah. Not a chance. 

Terry and Gerry's secret weapon is unstoppable, mountain-moving, ferocious, beaming enthusiasm. Breakneck, super-tight song delivery that makes the Ramones look like blissed-out progrockers. 

Terry and Gerry 2014: Su, Terry, Gerry and Mick      Photo Brian Homer
And now they've re-formed. Pretty much all the original players in one place: Terry and Gerry of course, Su Sonic and Destroyer Mick Howson. Probably no hurdy-gurdy in the set, though. 

So why the reunion? Is this for tax reasons?
Terry: Ha! We're trying to raise some VAT to try and help the Tory Government!
Gerry: To pay for our NHS bills!
There's been a spate of 80s bands, mainly pop,who – suddenly – reappear on tour after years away. I guess the royalties must have dried up.
Terry: Ours dried up a long time ago!
So, back in the day, there you were, doing benefits for the miners, doing Peel sessions. You were a very very big name, out of Birmingham, for a brief period. But all that was more than a generation ago. So why the reunion?

Terry: It's ten years since John Peel died. Obviously yourself, Mike (Davies) and John (Slater) did a lot for us locally. But John Peel got us established nationally. He had that connection. There's an October concert commemorating John Peel in Stockton on Tees, with the Nightingales and a lot of other bands of that ilk. Gerry got in touch; we were all still alive and in the same country – and all playing music.
Gerry: But we thought it was pointless getting together for one concert. So I put some feelers out. People, thankfully, weren't as rude as the promoters. We tried to find some of the original promoters – Dave Travis, in Birmingham – so now we've strung together a John Peel commemorative tour. With an EP, with new songs. It's going to be a good thing. 
So we got together to see it it still works. And it was the most amazing, magical, energetic thing that brought back everything that was good about 80s Brum, and Terry and Gerry! 
Terry: It was amazing.
Gerry: After the first rehearsal, I went home feeling 20 years younger. 
When you're doing something special, you never know at the time, do you? Because you're in the middle of it. And you guys did put your finger on something. But you never know if you can recapture those golden days...
Terry: I'm confident about the music. Whether anyone else will enjoy it as much as we do...
What about the audience? When Miles and Erica played the Hare and Hounds, there were chairs at the front for old crocks like me. When Steve Gibbons played, there were chairs all the way back...
Gerry: I don't know... we've got a few younger followers. We do get emails from younger bands who have been influenced by us – The United Stoats of America, who do some of our tracks. McCavity's Cat, a Canterbury rockabilly band. Because I've been playing in the folky world, I've heard lots of our songs as floor spots. Wait a minute? That's my song! 
That must feel great.
Gerry: Oh, it's brilliant! It's really nice. 
Of course, as is the way these days, everyone is in different bands as well – Terry is running Forro Social, and Gerry has the Gerry Colvin Band
Terry: I'm in three bands at the moment. And Mick Howson is in the Destroyers, who are fantastic. 
And here's an exclusive cut, live in the back room, recorded Monday 18th August

So at the gig, are we in for a Brum nostalgiafest? I get the feeling there will be a lot of faces there. 
Gerry: We are not resting on our laurels. There'll be an EP, with five new songs and a Yeah Yeah No song. And vintage T-shirts. But Su will play the same washboard we used twenty seven years ago. 
But it is a different climate for you guys now. That's why I kicked of with that gag about reforming for tax reasons. You won't make a lot of money off the record – although it won't cost as much to record. But you do stand a chance of making more money off the gig and merchandising.
Terry: For us, music was first. We wanted to live from our music. It was lovely to be a musician. 
I'm not for a minute saying that that's why you did it in the first place. But the other side of the coin is, as working musicians, the challenge is how you can make a living from your work. 
Gerry: It is. With records – I still call them records – somebody else is making money out of them. But live performances are different. And we never really managed to get the energy of the live performances on record.
There was a huge political impetus to the scene you were part of. I think it was largely driven by opposition to Margaret Thatcher. 
Terry. Yes. I do wonder what's happened to the kids today. What aren't they more angry?
Some of them are....


Terry and Gerry's facebook page
Terry and Gerry play the Hare and Hounds on Sunday 2 November. Tickets here

See also
The Stuff Of Wonder
Neon Hearts

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Sunday, 17 August 2014

Now, the GOOD news. After the storms, Songwriters Café is back!

A Birmingham institution returns. I'm really looking forward to this. 

Songwriters Café, led by Paul Murphy and Valeria Rispo, is back for a short season starting on Thursday September 4th, and running for nine weeks in all. Opening night is already full.

It's a magical affair. Paul and Valeria have crafted a wonderful, intimate performance space, fashioned below the treehouse Paul built years ago, and now lovingly refurbished. Paul is Master of Ceremonies; he'll do a song or two, and then four acts will each play short sets of around 20 minutes to the invited live audience and a (much larger) worldwide online audience, with an interval halfway though. 

The craft of songwriting

The emphasis is on song writing. Paul programmes a very wide range of talent, from new and edgy to consummate veterans. The trick? You won't know who's on until you get there or you tune in to the stream. But the concerts are always interesting and sometimes unbelievably fabulous. 

Donations to fund events are key. This season you can donate in advance; you then become a member to guarantee a place at each of the house gigs. That's a good thing: it helps to pay for the massive overhaul that the performance space needed. The 2012 season was a soggy affair: it rained on 12 out of the 13 weeks. Then the following winter did so much damage to the old structure, that a costly rebuild was necessary. So remember that when the hat comes round. 

The result is a watertight, slightly larger space, with a few little extra wrinkles added for those who are there on the night, and for the online audience too: this season, the live stream will go out in stereo for the first time.

A second emphasis is on the audience. Songwriters Café audiences listen; they give the performers space and respect. To me, that is so, so welcome. I've lost count of the number of times noisy idiots have disprespected someone up on stage who is giving of themselves. And it's getting worse, not better. Live music from committed talent, young or old, is one of those gifts that you can't put a price on. Songwriters Café supports that, brilliantly.
Laptop-lit: Rispo on chatbox, Valk on Virtual DJ. By Richard Shakespeare    

Online streams

Access is limited: these are private house gigs for invited audiences. But you can join in online, and you'll be very welcome: online audience response is key and very much appreciated. You'll normally find me doing online continuity from 8.30 pm UK time, warming up to the night's events with choice cuts from previous seasons. When we're live, the chatbox is hosted by Valeria. Songwriters Café is also very happy to hear from radio stations near and far who might like to relay the stream, live or deferred. Give me a shout in the first instance.

Tasters from previous years

I'm putting together a taster series of short programmes to celebrate the restart; you can also link to them from the Songwriter's Café website. Here's the first.

And here's the second.

There will be more available as specials, on the Songwriters Café pages. 

To find out more, follow this link. Access is by invitation only; Songwriters Café is a house gig.

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Sunday, 10 August 2014

Festival horror stories: when the headliners pull out the day before their gig

Taking care of business at festivals and gigs you promote is one thing. Keeping a weather eye on your own band's business? Tricky. Now do both, all at the same time.  

Fellster: not a hair out of place. Um.  
As of today's publishing date, it's three weeks until the final day of Moseley Folk 2014, and four weeks on from the end of Mostly Jazz Soul and Funk. I'm quizzing John Fell about all of this, and on the band he plays in, Goodnight Lenin, and the final final final release of their first album, later this year. He's not unbusy.

Timing is a tricky thing. Planning festivals is a year-long process. Right now, John's looking at possible acts for 2015. And he's working on the next gig for Goodnight Lenin, in three months, to tie in with the album release. So he's juggling time scales.

If that's tricky, consider the perspectives he has to navigate. A great many bands (and artists, producers, writers, broadcasters and bloggers) get so close to their projects that they wind up missing what audiences might value. I'm not saying that's a bad thing – it's part of the creative process, is all.

But it does raise issues of marketing what you've got. That means you have to look at it, see yourself as product, all that. It's not an easy process. Given that, John Fell is in a pretty unique position. Wearing his festival organiser hat, he's in a position to weight those factors up in other acts. He has to monitor the market to see who's around and who's coming up. He has to judge the audiences for the different days of both festivals and Lunar, the Nick Drake-themed festival he also works on. 

Critically, he has to step beyond his own purely and intensely personal sentiment to judge whether the music Goodnight Lenin makes has its own independent life once he and the band let it out into the public realm. 

So, quite a lot on the Fell plate. And that's before your headline act cancels on you at a day's notice. But we'll get to that.

Especially with Mostly Jazz, Funk and Soul, I'm seeing a shortage of headline acts... And maybe there's a weakness at Mostly, being so very US-oriented. There's a lot bands coming over, doing the Festival circuit in the UK and Europe. And there's an absolute ton of festivals. So maybe there's not enough talent to go around?
I think a lot of festivals now will pay way over the odds to get an exclusive, to make a difference. So their act does them and not just one of thirty dates in Europe. Neutral Milk Hotel at Green Man – that's an example, the Gene Clark Band at End Of The Road… they're earning big money, stupid money.

Moseley and Mostly can't do that.
No, we can't. So what we've got to do is to keep it varied, so the line-up's exciting. So that people don't know what to expect. We did that at Mostly Jazz with King Khan and the Shrines. I was most excited about them because I knew people would go away loving it. And I knew that no one would come to the festival just to see them. That's the card we're playing.

You had a bit of hiccup with the Earth Wind and Fire show cancelling on you at 24 hours notice.
Ahhhhh.... I got in Friday night after working from 5am that day. Looked at my emails at 1am Saturday – just to check – and it said 'Earth Wind and Fire Experience cancelled'. So what do we do? Less than 48 hours away, and it was our marquee name as well.
We didn't really sleep that night. So I went to do the Saturday work... at 5 again?...
...yes. While trying to book another band. Which we did. And then getting the flights sorted, getting the contracts out, getting the backline, getting the hotel. Getting the money wired. All that.

A Family Stoner    
You got the Family Stone, which is kind of the same level, given that it's not the original line-up. There wasn't a Sly, but EWF didn't have Maurice White either.
Exactly. In my opinion it was better, but the only downside was that we'd had them two years ago. It kind of made for a really good feel, because everyone clubbed together. This has happened. Here's a surprise. It was a story. People like gossip, people like a story.

And, unusually, you went public with it.
Funnily enough, it gave it a buzz. No-one know what was going to happen. That was exciting – for everyone else, not the organisers! And in the end about seven people contacted us to complain, out of the 2,500 who were there on the night. Lots of people on Facebook were more excited about the Family Stone.

Where were they?
In Belgium. We had to fly them in.

You were over a barrel. They could have really screwed you financially.
They could have. But we were helping them out too – they had a couple of spare days, so rather than just sitting there in Brussels, eating chocolate, they came to us, cut their costs and got paid. There were two or so other options. So we got stupid lucky, really.

So it worked. And you had your other legendary names. Ginger Baker. He kinda has... a reputation... that goes before him.
He does! If he'd have turned up and been nice, shook your hand, been all sweet, I'd have been really gutted. He has that legend, and he lived up to it. He was brilliantly horrendous.

And I notice you're looking for acts for 2015 already.
Email me!
Photo: Richard Shakespeare

Now, looking forward to the end of this month with Moseley Folk, there's some nice marquee names.
The biggest we've ever booked: Waterboys, Richard Thompson and Johnny Marr, in a park in Moseley. That's pretty cool. Advance ticket sales are up on last year - best we've had at this stage.

What about the new talent that you give a leg up to? That's what I find most interesting; that's what I want to catch, above all. I'm hoping to do another post, like last year's, on the new talent people miss if they show up late.
That's all happening now. You won't see them listed on the posters. We've got most of them sorted. It's nice to give them that opportunity, the ones that are bubbling up. But you need to look in the other places apart from the main stage and the Lunar stage. And they can say they played Moseley – which is great if it's their first time.

So let's talk about Goodnight Lenin. Last week I put up a post which charted the 50 most-viewed local acts on YouTube. It's complicated and geeky, but it is a very rough ranking of popularity for those acts who have gotten videos out in the past three years. Midnight Bonfires, your support act at the Hare last week, actually scored better on the chart than you. I find that surprising, given your band's position.
We haven't done that many videos, and we've pulled most of them.

Well, that could explain your score. Why did you pull the videos?
When we did our first videos, we just finished then, and then realised that we were looking like a band we didn't want to look like. So we've had to stop until we got it right. We weren't ready. We put our stuff out there, and as soon as we did, we were over it. We've had to go away and scrap the album, probably twice. Wrote ten songs, scrapped them, wrote another ten songs, scrapped them... We kept writing until we got the sound, until we've got to the point where we want to be. And we've done that now. We've changed as a band.

OK, here's an awkward question: why didn't you put a first album out, bish bash bosh, quick, down and dirty, just to let people know you were there? You'd have still grown as a band from that point onwards.
You know what? As we did the first EP, which we put out...

. which a lot of people really liked....
thank you! But we instantly went 'No' between ourselves. To do that with an album... A debut album is your first shot. It's really important. Now, we'd have been really unhappy of that was our first effort. Now is the time to say to everyone: Listen! And now we've got six or seven new songs ready, which are the best things we've done.

I've got to ask: you're managing three festivals a year, you're working with This Is TMRW, and you're in Goodnight Lenin. How can you be fair to everyone? Is anyone suffering?
No, not really. It's a good balancing act. The band's not suffering. There are times when I won't make a TMRW show because there's a band rehearsal or a gig. Now we've got these little projects happening which will fund the next step, and so on.  

Lots to look forward to, then. The Goodnight Lenin album, In The Fullness of Time, comes out on the 24th of November. The band play a major show at the Institute on the 28th. And those new songs? John's right – they're belters. 2015 could be a very good year.


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Sunday, 3 August 2014

A West Midlands YouTube Top 50, as of August 2014

The 50 must viewed West Midlands acts; Laura Mvula is out on top. And look at all the death metal....

Every six months, I research the most-viewed numbers for local acts on YouTube. It's a weird kind of chart: at the bottom, people who have pulled in, seduced and nagged enough views to get past the cut-off point; at the top, BIG acts like The Editors and Laura Mvula. I've done this for long enough for some trends to emerge, although I would never lay claim to this being a comprehensive index of popularity. There's just too many wildcards. Scroll on down to the bottom of the post for caveats and analysis

But first, congratulations to the new leader....

Now, the basic rules...

  • West Midlands acts, who are still involved locally, only. Tax exiles excluded.
  • Proper videos only: smartphone and fan clips are out, official vids are in.
  • The two most-viewed videos uploaded within the past three years are counted.
  • Minimum total is 10,000. 
  • No live videos unless specifically commissioned.
  • Only one version of the song - no remixes.
  • No videos of full albums ripped to YouTube with just one image to try to score ad revenue.

Now, here's the chart. 

More analysis afterwards, if you're interested...

Act Video 1 Video 2 views
Laura Mvula Green Garden That's Alright 3,430,303
Oceans Ate Alaska Clocks To Catch A Flame 3,382,885
Editors A Ton Of Love Formaldehyde 2,718,723
George Barnett Swimming Pools Where The Devil Sleeps 1,692,727
Peace Wraith Bloodshake 1,453,203
Swim Deep Honey King City 1,415,754
Lady Leshurr Look At Me Now F64 1,036,487
The Enemy Like A Dancer Saturday 682,505
Napalm Death The Wolf I Feed Breed To Breathe 554,960
UB40 Blue Eyes Cryin' In the Rain - 506,326

Robert Plant Rainbow Promo for Lullaby and the Ceaseless Roar album 490,817
Electric Swing Circus Penniless Optimist Everybody Wants To Be A Cat  425,283
The Twang We're A Crowd Mainline 210,817
Anaal Nakraath Forging Towards The Sunset Todos Sono Humanos 201,473
Dexys Incapable Of Love Nowhere Is Home 158,533
Templeton Pek Wake Me Up What Are You Waiting For 144,720
Jaws Toucan Surf Surround You 129,905
Mahalia Let The World See The Light Goldrush (with Ed Sheeran) 98,134
No Americana Washed Out Summer Wax Poetic 95,834
Troumaca Lady Colour Layou 93,191

Scott Matthews Myself Again Virginia (Guild Lounge) 75,282
Soweto Kinch Help A People With No Past 71,739
Superfood Superfood Bubbles 68,880
Claire Maguire Paper Thin Whenever You Want It 52,607
The Wonderstuff Planet Earth Oh No! 45,047
Musgraves Last Of Me So Sophia 43,651
Midnight Bonfires Lights Out Exhale 43,243
The Traps Calypso The Honeydrip 39,560
Destroyers Hole In The Universe - 37,042
God Damn Heavy Money I'm a Lazer, You're a Radar 29,402

Hanging Doll Carnival Of Sin Sacred and Profane 26,774
Rebecca Downes Basement Of My Heart When I'm Bad 26,449
Mistys Big Adventure Aggression - 25,001
Goodnight Lenin Wenceslas Square Record Store Day '14 promo 22,858
Malik MD7 I Bear My Soul Skooled By 21,326
ADO Power Waterfall 19,339
1 Eye Mr Bailiff - 18,830
Stone Foundation That's The Way I Want To Live My Life To Find The Spirit 18,290
Broken Witt Rebels Call Out The Sun All Worn out 18,189
Ali Campbell and Radio Riddler Purple Rain - 18,176

Dumb Dive Retina 17,495
Erica Nockalls Cut Them Out Manikin 17,056
Boat To Row Tightrope Grassmarket 16,116
DC Fontana Abbesses Pentagram Man 16,067
Old Dance School Swifts and Martins Chasing The Light album promo 14,874
Bluebeat Arkestra The Chillr Ghosts 13,663
Victories At Sea Future Gold Stay Positive 13,112
Xova 9 Lives Just Want To Be Famous 12,810
Brothers Groove Treat 'em Mean My Guitar 12,279
Friendly Fire Band One Drop it Like It's Hot (Sam Redmore mix) Welcome to Holland 11,340

Don't take this too seriously...

Now, I realise that, chart rankings aside, this is major geek territory. But it's also very interesting. The chart itself should be taken with an industrial-grade pinch of salt. Why?

Well, because YouTube counts aren't precise; I've seen figures go DOWN in a six month period. And the mechanism is generous to those with the tools and the chops and the money to make snappy videos. Don't let the 'accessible to all' vibe fool you: YouTube works best when you've got a slick package to push. 

So people who don't play that game lose out by this metric. Soweto Kinch has two 'straight' videos in the chart, but he's also all over YouTube doing some fine rap battles, cut live and raw. But there's so many of them that the impact is diluted.

YouTube can be hyped. Dig around, and you'll find outfits who will give you views for cash. I don't think that applies too much at this level, but it just might be present here or there. Look at the top, and there's evidence aplenty of big record company support. 
Except that George Barnett doesn't have that support, and he's up there, and with a rotating repertoire at that. Everybody else mainly leans on their same two biggest videos. So don't let them tell you it can't be done. 

Trends and patterns

Putting the four series of rankings together over the two years (February 2013, August 2013, and February 2014) you can start to spot some rough trends. A lot of bands - not all - seem to surge forward, and then... run out of steam. That's sad, but inevitable. Others sit on the chart until their videos get past the three-year cut off point, and they have nothing to replace it with. 

It's also fascinating to see how some underground genres have big followings: Look at the string of death metal and black metal bands. Equally fascinating is how loyalty can apply - or not apply - to older acts with fresh videos. There's UB40 and Robert Plant doing very nicely, thank you. Dig around and you'll spot others who aren't doing so well. 


Finally, two more geeky charts, looking at how acts have prospered, both in terms of increased numbers and increases by percentage, Here's the top 15 winners for each:

Percentage increase
Number of views increase
UB40 95.42%
Laura Mvula 613,046
Mahalia 60.73%
Editors 596,451
Dumb 41.20%
Oceans Ate Alaska 455,242
Superfood 41.15%
George Barnett 374,687
God Damn 38.03%
UB40 247,233
Jaws 34.85%
Swim Deep 238,246
Brothers Groove 29.28%
Peace 142,765
George Barnett 28.43%
Lady Leshurr 69,264
Editors 28.10%
Electric Swing Circus 56,334
Laura Mvula 21.76%
Mahalia 37,079
Broken Witt Rebels 20.99%
The Enemy 34,947
Swim Deep 20.23%
Jaws 33,570
Troumaca 17.59%
Superfood 20,082
ADO 15.69%
Dexys 18,910
Oceans Ate Alaska 15.55%
Troumaca 13,937

And if for some reason I'm missed anyone out.... yikes! My bad. Drop me a note through the blog contact page, and I will fix things. 

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