A return to Southampton for this years “Music in the City”, a celebration of live music in the city. The best thing about this festival are the people that come and listen. they are amazing! Some of them make a plan of who are playing and work out a system of how they can catch all their favourites. Some just wander around the venues and discover new artists. It’s a true festival of music and something I have been lucky to have been part of since the beginning. I was actually part of the pilot project when there were just 4 of us and 4 venues.
The Trio had played a set at St Winifred’s Church somewhere else in the city, not part of the festival but as a favour. It was a pretty relaxed affair with tea, cake, kids running around. You get the idea. I had been trying to fight off a cold but, failed. My head was full of green slime and my throat was a nightmare! Nevertheless I managed to get through the 40 min set before heading of to MitC and the cool venue that was King John’s House. The wonderful Jim Chorley was just finishing his set and we settled ourselves in readiness for ours. For some reason our 50 minute set had been cut to 30 minutes for some reason, I never found out why, but we were happy to be there even if it was just to say hello to each other as we don’t get to meet often! See my last post. Despite the time of year the weather was perfect and the setting was great with people watching from high up on top of the walls as well as the seated crowd you can see in the picture. I managed about 90% of the notes attempted but my throat was beginning to let me down. I think I just about got away with it!
This was the first appearance of our new merch lady who did a great job of selling cd’s and other Nick Tann Trio products. This is a real coup for us as it makes it easier to sell our cds and things whilst we are playing, setting up or packing down.
After this session I dropped Bas home and returned to play a couple of songs at the afore mentioned West Quay stage where I was the filling between Ken Wood & The Mixers (a party type funk covers band) and the stunningly good Adam Sweet Band an originals blues band from Exeter. I had played with Adam at the Upton Blues Festival a few years earlier and it would have been great to hear him again but my throat was raw after my short set and I was craving Lemsip so I high tailed it home.
In my view Music in the City has got a bit too big and has lost some of it’s rootsy charm. Most of the artists, including myself, played our own music in groovy little spaces not usually hosts to musicians. The new stage West Quay, a big pro type affair with security and backstage fences lacked the “rootsy” feel of the festival. I would like to see MitC run twice a year with fewer acts and more unusual venues. The local artists that perform at MitC do so for free in the spirit of this free festival. HOWEVER, some of the “unusual venues” they perform at are actually music venues that normally pay artists to perform but get them for free as part of the Music in the City festival which seams somewhat wrong to me.
What Music in the City DOES demonstrate is that southampton people have a hunger for original music and it takes a well publicised festival, like this, to get them out and about. So the audience is there, they just need to know what is going on.
I think we, the music community, need to get out on the street and talk to people face to face instead of simply putting up a post on Facebook or a comment on Twitter about our gigs. Perhaps make it easier to busk in Southampton and not wait for the once a year festival that brings music to our streets?
But what do I know eh?…..
Nick Tann Trio
At some point in my late teens, I joined a band called “Twilight Heroes”. One of the guys was a keyboard wizzard with wild hair who grew his own…. herbs…. the other was a manic electric guitarist. Together they made the most amazing ethereal prog music. I joined in with my bass and had an amazing 6 months playing with them in their purpose built garage studio. I have a few cassettes of the band somewhere and I come across them every so often. I remember we only ever did one gig, some random pub in Farnborough near the army barracks. Despite many months of rehearsals, I actually couldnt remember any of the songs but fuddled my way through them. The week after, back in the studio, with the addition of the fresh herbs….. It all came back to me…..