Tag Archives: surrey music

ACM LIVE — Summer Concert

On Thursday we attended the industry evening of ACM Summer Live. The series of concerts in Guildford, Surrey held this year at the Electric Theatre lasts four days (with matinee performances) and boasts over 60 new acts.

This years event was organized in collaboration with Eagle 3 Radio [Surrey and Hampshire ] and benefited MUSIC SUPPORT a charity that provides help and support for individuals in the United Kingdom Music Indsutry who suffer from alcoholism, addiction or emotional or mental health problems.

Mardhys, the 5-piece groove-orchestra…

The acts were introduced by Eagle 3 Radio presenter Jack Johnson .

First on stage were the Guildford five-nation five-piece groove-orchestra MARDHYS who are an experimental alt-folk collective fronted by the talented dreamer & chief songwriter Melatti Braam.

Songs such as “Old John” (an anti-bullying number) possessed scratched rhythms, sparkling vowels and a wriggle of violin that eeled its way through the haunting veil of harmonies. Think of English art-rock band the Moulettes playing Dylan songs to Tusk-era Fleetwood Mac beats.

The four-piece CHINA BEARS from Guildford (they seem to have mislaid Rosie along the way) provided bumptious bass-lines and kite-running anthems.

Hyrda” has seaside chirpiness with nostalgic melodies and suggestively breezy vibrations. They reminded us of Ohio indie rockers The National.

China Bears – seaside chirpiness with nostalgic melodies…

Guildford based alternative indie rock band NEON ISLANDS brought bold ‘n’ fruity tropical bass-lines and lots of fizzy guitar textures with frantic rhythms to go with flirtatious numbers.

Carlos de los Santos provided voice and more front than Harrods, while Jamie Hayes on bass guitar was simply bloody sensational and Nico Narbona (keys) offered a smooth atmosphere. Rhythms were expertly clouted out by Sam Lawson on drums. Their irrepressible charm and unmistakable ego was perhaps more significant than the total sum of their parts and outpourings, but hey! that’s what rock ‘n’ roll is all about.

London urban pop artist and singer-songwriter CHINCHILLA [Daisy Bertenshaw] who studied at the ACM Metropolis Studios academy campus in Chiswick has a mezzo-soprano range and raps in silvery cockney bursts. At SUMMER LIVE it was as if Ms. Dynamite had met Lily Allen in an Archway launderette to discuss men and moan about the weather. Last year’s wordy and grumbly “Playing With Fire” is a powerful hymn to pain and salvation. She’s unquestionably a rising star and one-to-watch!

Nabsora – exceptional

NABSORA (Brian Alejandro) is a rapper and producer originally from Colombia but is now based in London. He brought us a blast of interwoven social commentry through poety and hip-hop. His message relied on peace, love and understanding rather than rebellion.

As a poet he’s exceptional. As a rapper and lyricist he’s outstanding. His “Proud” has deep ridges of sound and is a profound crisis of contemplation set amongst vast expanses of forgiveness The vocal work is fast but accessible with elegant rhymes and melodic-hot songcraft.

Danish alternative electro-pop artist AIA creates marvelously colorful ear-tonics with decisive decency in her lyrics, taking in intertwisting rhythms to add to the drama of her performance.

AIA – intrepidly hypnotic…

She’s a fine tunesmith and an intrepidly hypnotic artist. (She reminded us of American synth-pop artist Halsey )

Also at the ACM Summer Live concert on Thursday were the Southampton based dramatic & punchy electronic duo UHURU consisting of singer/songwriter & producer Connor Daniel with Rob Jones on guitar and keys.

Plus soul and gospel singer JULY JONES and the distinctive indie-pop troupe THIS ROSE

It was a stunning evening of variety, discovery and five-star talent.

Words and pictures: @neilmach 2017 ©
Main Picture: CHINCHILLA
Link: https://www.facebook.com/acmuk/

The Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM) is a music academy in Guildford, Surrey [with sites in London and Birmingham] that offers full-time courses for guitar, bass, drums, vocals, keyboards, music production, artist development & songwriting, radio broadcasting, creative sound design, tour production & management and music business.

WEYFEST 2016 Review

Last weekend we attended WEYFEST 2016 – it is the 10th Anniversary of this perfect family-friendly three-day festival held each year at the Rural Life Centre in Tilford, near Farnham in Surrey. We arrived on Saturday.

Tthe superior SAIICHI SUGIYAMA band here with Artze Monica
Tthe superior SAIICHI SUGIYAMA band here with Artze Monica

Opening the Main Stage at the Weyfest on Saturday was the superior SAIICHI SUGIYAMA band [@SaiichiSugiyamaBand] a Surrey outfit that was started by British blues guitarist Sugiyama in the late 1960s and early 1970’s.

Their funk/soul sounds are ornamented by rich and fluent guitar-work while the band also boasts some extraordinaryly talented female vocalists. For example, at the Beekeepers Stage we were entertained by the passionate Artze Monica and the Californian beauty Joanna Pearl. Songs like their “Somewhere Down The Road” possessed ribald squelches and fervent heat.

Festival 'favorites' LEATHERAT ...
Festival ‘favorites’ LEATHERAT …

LEATHERAT have released five studio albums; most recently “Snake Eyes” but are really most famous as a ‘festival band.’

In fact the first time we saw their excellent show was at the Bearded Theory fundraiser in Guildford years ago. We also caught them at Cropredy. This year they have been exuberantly celebrating their tenth year in existence… though they have had a few ‘make-overs’ during the decade. We thoroughly enjoyed their impressive folk-rock show and loved Leon’s solo.

We were surprised how much we adored THE WURZELS. They were on after Leatherat. We hate to admit it, but this was the first time we had ever seen ’em.

Before this show we pretty much wrote off the West-country lads because we assumed [perhaps rightly] that they were just a ‘novelty band’ and it’s true their show at Weyfest was full of silliness and comedy. But actually, we dare suggest, they can actually play. And certainly they are great performers.

We were pleased to see that Darth Vader boogied to the silly beats. Incidentally, most of their melodies have been brazenly nicked from other more-famous numbers… then decorated with the legendary West Country burr.

Puncture from THE ROOZ at WEYFEST 2016
Puncture from THE ROOZ at WEYFEST 2016

We have been following Birmingham alt-rockers THE ROOZ for a while so we were pleased to see the lads at Surrey’s best music fest. Songs like their recent single “Puncture” had soaring heights and sparkling guitars.

Over at the Old Kiln Stage was the Surrey Hills Ukulele Big Band aka SHUBB. This orchestra of blighty souls armed with ukes and pipes entertained the ukulelian crowd with masterful professionalism.

Of course most revellers had come to see WISHBONE ASH and THE DARKNESS but there were plenty of other sights and smells to be enjoyed. Not least were the roaming daleks, The Racing Bug challenge [to win a scalextric] and even a Laser Quest area.

Our favorite side-show was the THE WIDDERS those purple-clad border Morris-Dancers from Chepstow [@TheWiddersBM] who stomped , cracked and clapped seven barrels of sh** out of each other.

JO HARMAN got revelers up and dancing on Sunday ...
JO HARMAN got revelers up and dancing on Sunday …

We looked forwards to the show from blues singer JO HARMAN on Sunday. She drew a large crowd even though she was on stage early-on. Her songs, for example the Hendrixy number “The Reformation” got folk up and dancing… Jo is quite something! She is playing an extra special show at St John’s Church Godalming, October 14th. Info on her site.

On at the Old Kiln were Portsmouth’s indie rock ‘n’ rollers THE BAYONETTES whose complicated yet accessible songs were lucid and effective.

THE BAYONETTES - lucid and effective ...
THE BAYONETTES – lucid and effective …

INGLORIOUS were unable to perform at Weyfest, due to illness/injury. Luckily, in their place we had the incredible BROKEN WITT REBELS [@BrokenWittRebelsUK] whose trusty-rusty roots ‘n’ ashes blues ‘n’ soul numbers oozed into our glands… It was as if we were seeing Led Zeppelin for the first time! Circa 1968. No I’m not kidding and this is not hyperbole. This young blues-rock band from Birmingham with the amazing Danny Core on vocals are that good!

Broken Witt Rebels - as if we were witnessing Led Zeppelin in 1968 ...
Broken Witt Rebels – as if we were witnessing Led Zeppelin in 1968 …

After that we had the BLOW MONKEYS and the BOOMTOWN RATS to enjoy. This was an excellent festival. With artists of quality, lots to do and see (in addition to the music) plenty of good food and drink and expert organization and administration.

WEYFEST is probably the best managed  event we have been to all year!  So congrats to all the team at WEYFEST. Happy tenth anniversary.

Right, how does it go? “Ruby, ruby, ruby…. ooh arr — ooh arr — ooh arr ...”

Words & Images : Neil Mach 2016 ©
Main Picture: Weyfest 2016 with Joanna Pearl
Link: http://www.weyfest.co.uk

The Surrey Hills Ukulele Big Band aka SHUBB at WEYFEST 2016 ...
The Surrey Hills Ukulele Big Band aka SHUBB at WEYFEST 2016 …

SKINDRED Share Secrets of Survival for Students of Surrey ACM

SKINDRED SHARE SECRETS OF SURVIVAL FOR STUDENTS OF SURREY

SKINDRED’S frontman Benji Webbe and guitarist Mikey Demus dropped into Guildford’s ACM (Academy Of Contemporary Music) in Surrey to talk to the students about how best to endure and deliver in the music business. They also played a special acoustic set.

Formed in 1998, SKINDRED have gained an enviable reputation for their ultra-high-energy live shows. The Welsh rockers have toured relentlessly, and played to crowds of up to 500K.

Their natural ability, winning ethos and dedication to hard work has earned the band a well-deserved following and durable longevity in an ever-changing industry.

“Once you write a song, you’re stuck with it for life...” SKINDRED addressed popular music students at ACM Surrey ...
“Once you write a song, you’re stuck with it for life…” SKINDRED addressed popular music students at ACM Surrey …

Aspiring students at ACM Guildford jumped at the chance to ask Benji and Mikey what their secrets were, and how they have managed to maintain and continue to build a career within an industry that is full of change.

When asked by a student what advice they would give to bands just starting to write their own songs, frontman Benji responded “Just be true to yourself.

Enjoyment is key” he added, especially when it comes to touring. Benji explained how, for him, the years have flown by and how “passion [has] kept the fire alight.” What’s more, he reminded the students: “Once you write a song, you’re stuck with it for life…

Touring can lead to some very strange experiences: Mikey, for example, told the group of students how it feels to be hit on stage by a dead fish!

What drove you to music?” Asked one student. For Mikey, it was “watching Woodstock, Jimi Hendrix, and Jimmy Page” that moved him to pick up the guitar. The likes of these greats gave him the fire to play. Mikey was also keen to point out that it is important to “Pick your own lane!

An important question was raised during the discussion “Do you think you’d still be where you are if you started out today?” Benji admitted times were different now, “We’re up against an industry that wants you to fit in a certain pocket. We don’t fit in a pocket: We do what we do.” When asked which song they’d wish they’d written – Benji responded “My Way” a song whose lyrics Benji described as “Lasting forever, meaning so much to so many...”

Not only did Benji and Mikey share their insights and secrets of success with ACM’s students, they also played an exclusive acoustic concert, with songs from their extensive back catalog such as “Nobody” and “Saying it Now.”

Links: https://www.facebook.com/skindredofficial
Link: https://www.facebook.com/acmuk
Main Image: @neilmach taken at nearby Redfest, in Reigate Surrey