Promoter Spotlight: Calamity Cratediggers

calamity

Calamity Cratediggers are the latest purveyors of alt, psych and garage to enter the Southsea musical landscape. CC first came on our radar in November 2017 when they put on Sonic Memory Hole, a great all dayer in support of food banks. Over a year later and they have put on hotly tipped acts from all over the map including America and Australia. They host a very special all dayer in The Edge for Independent Venue Week on the 3rd of Feb. Expect their winning formula or international touring acts and local favourites as well as a huge local arts, records and zines fair. We thought we would ask them some questions about the journey so far.

Q: How did you get involved in music?

Sam: I have been going to gigs for years but got personally involved in music when we put on the Sonic Memory Hole together. I had long had the urge to put on shows myself but never had the time, knowledge or cahoneys to have a go. Then I found Radd.

Radd: Having worked at the wedge many moons ago as well as helping the people at Pie & Vinyl put shows on I have always enjoyed the nuts and bolts for live music. When Sam came to me with his plan to start putting shows on I naturally jumped all over him (naked) and asked if we could work together. 

Q: What was the first show you put on? Any specific memories?

Sam: The first show we put on was the Sonic Memory Hole. My biggest memory of that event was the early afternoon freak out, thinking that no-one would turn out and then the feeling of immense satisfaction and pride in the local music scene when we were full at 8pm. 

Radd: Much like Sam my the first show that I was totally responsible for was the Memory Hole. I think my major memories surrounding that event come from the arrival at the memory hole concept and how excited we were to hear a full roster of local bands re-interpret an artist that both Sam and I love. I also had major meltdowns and buzzes on the day like Sam. 

Q: How have things developed or changed since then? Any difficulties/learning curves? 

Radd: In terms of developments or changes, I would say that Sam and I are in regular pinch-ourselves positions over the kind words we have sometimes heard about what we are doing. We have become probably more confident than  we should be but that is all part of the rush. The gamble is costly but when it pays of the feeling of having maybe done something that people will remember is unrivalled. 

As far as difficulties are concerned…MONEY MONEY MONEY MONEYYYYYYY. (In an O’Jays voice)

Q: What is your favourite gig/line up that you have put on so far? 

Sam: I would honestly say that my favourite show to date would be the Olden Yolk gig, the line up was BANGING, local fav’s Number 9 and Barbudo brought the psychedelic magic and sleazy funk to the party and Olden Yolk were absolutely mesmerising. They have a new album coming this year and I would love to bring them back. 

Radd: To be honest I have to agree with Sam, Olden Yolk were so lovely and by far provided our best crowd to date. I would also say that JOHN made my face slide off a little and overtime we have put on Fat Earthers the room has lit up a fair as well. 

Q: What can we look forward to in the future? Upcoming shows? Plans for the future? 

Sam: We are really looking forward to our Music and Art all dare, and having the chance to do something with the Wedge during Independent Venue Week. Its really important that we support our local venues because without them we would be nothing.

Radd: As Sam has said I cannot wait until the 3rd of Feb for the All-dayer and I am also looking forward to collaborating with other promotors such as Portsmouth Psych and Honeymooner. Sam and I are in this to work with people, so as John Donne said, no man (or any other gender for that mater) is an island, even if we all live on one.

Q: Any advice for people wanting to put on shows or local bands looking to get more gigs?

Sam: Come and talk to us. We don’t bite. We love an opportunity to promote and support our local DIY community. 

Radd: Same as Sam, come say hi. The more, the merrier. Get out there and knock on proverbial doors, they won’t always be answered the first time but the more you knock the greater your chances for getting somewhere. You’re not gonna retire on your rewards but if you really lucky (ourselves included) someone will look back and say that what you did was good. 

Q: Describe the Portsmouth music scene in one word

Sam: GNARLY.

Radd: Burgeoning.

For more info on Calamity Cratediggers IVW alternative all dayer event go to: https://www.facebook.com/events/568538440273688/

Tickets £8 in advance from http://www.wedgewood-rooms.co.uk 


Fb: www.facebook.com/CalamityCratediggers/

Instagram: calamitycratediggers

Advertisements

Promoter Spotlight: Square Roots Promotions

30706121_10155421669076723_5405048430269562880_n

Square Roots Promotions have quickly become one of the definitive sources for Americana, Bluegrass and Folk on the South Coast, putting on authentic roots acts in intimate locations in and around Portsmouth. Since 2012 the promotion has gone from regularly selling out The Square Tower to selling out the Wedge and have even graduated to The Pyramids. You might be surprised to know the man behind this promotion is also a punk rocker! Ken Brown has been a visible member of the music scene for decades now, having created Portsmouth’s first punk fanzine back in the late seventies. His story is a fascinating one and we were very excited to get his thoughts on promoting ahead of his show with Gangstagrass at The Wedge on the 30th of Jan!

Q: How did you get involved in music?

Ken: A mate and I started (arguably) Portsmouth’s 1st punk fanzine (Safety In Numbers) in 1977 – it was very much along the lines of “Here’s one chord, here’s another – now go form a band”…except we did it with words due to the complete lack of any musical ability. So we basically copied “Sniffin’ Glue”, but gave it a Portsmouth slant. And it went from printing 10 copies on the school “Gestetner” copier (memories for those of a certain age!), to being printed properly and having 2,000 copies printed. Ironically in time honoured tradition I threw all my copies away years ago – only to realise that I should have kept them to show my kids! So I have managed over the years to get a copy of most of them back again. Funnily enough I was tracking issue number 7 on E-Bay a couple of years back (it had a screen printed front cover of The Clash and local boys The Media on the back), which went to a collector in Greece for £130!!

Q: What was the first show you put on? Any specific memories?

Ken: Chris Abbott let us promote “alternative nights” at Basins in the Tricorn many moons ago now. It was a great lesson in how to lose money quickly! I think the first one we put on was either The Wild Flowers or Pop Will Eat Itself (for the princely sum of £100!). However, the one which will live long in the memory (for a multitude of reasons!) was Sigue Sigue Sputnik, or as it was a secret gig, the “Sci Fi Sex Stars”. How it got leaked to the press I’m not sure (cough cough), but it sold out quickly and it was a dynamite night. The band could play (their 3 hour sound check proved that!), and assorted hangers on (including Janet Street Porter, who was Tony James girlfriend at the time) kept us amused for hours afterwards!

Q: How have things developed or changed since then? Any difficulties/learning curves?

Ken: Technology and the advent of the digital and social media age has meant that there are multiple “tools” for a promoter to use, and that’s obviously a great thing. However, the “leg work” is still the same – or at least it should be if you want a well attended show. As a “part time promoter” (I run my own building company!) for me the difficulties are always finding enough time to do what I need to do, and do it properly! However the aim is to be professional and hopefully Square Roots Promotions does achieve that. The learning curve for me has been finding out, and having to realise that you can’t please everyone all of the time! I came to that conclusion pretty quickly, and try not to take any criticism personally although sometimes it’s hard as our shows are done for the love of the music and not for any latent financial gain.

Q: What is your favourite gig/line up that you have put on so far?

Ken: There are 2 shows that stand out immediately (although of course I would say that they are ALL brilliant!). The first at the Square Tower – we managed (somehow!)

to persuade one of the US’s top bluegrass bands Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers (multiple IBMA award winners and regulars at the Grand Ole Opry) to fly into the UK on their way to a big festival in Belgium, and play just one UK date for us! It was a magical night. The audience knew they were watching something very special in such an intimate venue (the musicianship was frightening!), and as every song ended their was an enormous roar from the crowd. They were just knocked out by the Portsmouth crowd and were genuinely taken aback by the audience love for them. Of course we’re hoping they’ll return one day!

The second – well it had to be The Dead South at the Wedge in April of last year! How did 400 people know about an obscure band from Saskatchewan? Well they did, and sang along to every song! One of those nights that just made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up!

Q: What can we look forward to in the future? 

Ken: Square Roots Promotions is now in its 6th year, and going forward I’m looking at retiring from the “day job” so that I can put more into building Square Roots up as a brand that people will trust. We’re in the very fortunate position that our audience trusts that what we promote is going to be quality – so even if they haven’t heard of the band / artist, they know that it’s got our seal of approval. We’re hoping that we can continue to grow that audience organically, and hopefully into other geographical areas (although not to the detriment of our core area). I’m also a massive admirer of other brilliant local promoters – people like PVC (Ian) and Beats & Swing, put on some amazing and eclectic shows, and hopefully one day Square Roots will be viewed in the same way.

One of our upcoming shows at the Wedge is on 30th Jan and we have an awesome genre-busting band from the States called Gangstagrass! Who’d have thought that a bluegrass / hip-hop mash up would work? Not me…until I saw their videos and listened to their album. It’s one of the most exciting and fresh sounds I’ve heard for a long time, and they’ve been flooring live audiences wherever they go. Can’t wait for that one!

Q: Any advice for people wanting to put on shows or local bands looking to get more gigs?

Ken: Advice for local bands – if you want your local promoters to support you (ie by including you on one of their shows), then you MUST support them. I’ve had numerous messages / e-mails from local bands / artists asking us for a gig. Yet when I ask if they’ve ever been to any of our shows, invariably the answer is no. So if you don’t support your local promoter / venue then don’t expect them to support you. It’s a 2 way thing.

My advice to others wanting to put on shows – 3 main things.

1. Never undersell your product. If you believe in what you are putting on then give it a realistically high value.

2. Do it as professionally as you can – if your posters / flyers / website look amateurish then that reflects on what you are promoting.

3. Work your arse off getting the message out there – and sometimes that means standing outside handing out flyers in the freezing cold! A successful show is the result of hard work. There’s no substitute!

Q: Describe the Portsmouth music scene in one word

Ken: Divergent! (which is a great thing – and the Wedge is right at the heart of that!)

Square Roots Promotions bring hip-hop/bluegrass fusion act Gangstagrass to The Wedge as part of Independent Venue Week on the 30th of January! Also upcoming at The Wedge is The Phil Beer Band on the 23rd of March. Remaining tickets for both shows available from www.wedgewood-rooms.co.uk

For a full listing of Square Roots Promotions gigs see:

Website: www.squarerootspromotions.co.uk
Facebook: www.facebook.com/squarerootspromotions/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SquareRootsProm
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/squarerootsprom/

Promoter Spotlight: Trash Arts

meeeeem

Trash Arts are a long running arts collective based in Portsmouth. Spearheaded by Sam Mason Bell, Trash Arts have been creating films and putting on gigs, film festivals and networking events for over a decade. Throughout they have maintained a fierce independence and strong DIY ethic. We thought we would ask Sam some questions ahead of their show with British/Dutch trip hop band Alcuna Wilds on the 29th of Jan.

Q: How did you get involved in music?

Sam: We started TrashArts for event promotion and film making back in 2007, and was simply inspired by the others around us, and those who were starting to soundtrack our films. We always try and make sure we feature a decent amount of local music.

Q: What was the first show you put on? Any specific memories?

Sam: First show I put on was back at Bar Black (now The Fat Fox) we put on Joe Black, Underdog and The Visitors. We used the show to raise funds for our first feature film ‘Flummox’. First thing I learnt was being horribly drunk was not the best move, happy to have learnt that early enough!

Q: How have things developed or changed since then? Any difficulties/learning curves?

Sam: Having run several Sunday clubs at Drift and The Registry we began to learn the strengths and advantages of a decent schedule. Timing is everything with live music, saving grace by hitting the curfew and not pissing off the venue!

Q: What is your favourite gig/line up that you have put on so far?

Sam: We had the oppertunity to book Sleaford Mods before they exploded, was a fantastic opportunity cramming 147 people into the Fox, plus they were very cool chilled people. Another show which was fantastic was bringing Akala to the Wedgewood Rooms, a truly brilliant artist. I also personally have loved the shows with good local bands and acts who became friends- Ben Farrant, Fugitive Orchestra, Holdfast… just to name a few.

Q: What can we look forward to in the future? 

Sam: We have the fantastic Alcuna Wilds, which we are very excited to be hosting. We aim to do more of our OPEN YA MOUTH event, an open mic night we run at the Loft once every month, and hoping to continue networking opportunities for local film makers pushing our film festival Making Waves Film Festival, which is hosted at The Wedgewood Rooms.

Q: Any advice for people wanting to put on shows or local bands looking to get more gigs?

Sam: Best advice I can give is to respect those you work with from the bands, the venue, the sound man, the bar staff, an event is not successful down to one person it is a team effort and that can never be undervalued.

Q: Describe the Portsmouth music scene in one word

Sam: Aspiring… whether thats positive or negative, that’s up to you.

Trash Arts bring Alcuna Wilds to The Edge of the Wedge on the 29th of Jan. Tickets available from http://www.wedgewood-rooms.co.uk They also have a Making Waves Networking Session in the Edge on the 13th of Feb. Follow them on social media for more details.

Fb: www.facebook.com/trashartsuk/
Instagram: www.instagram.com/trashartsuk/
Twitter: www.twitter.com/TrashArtsEvents

Promoter Spotlight: Fitz Promotions

img_6419

While we’ve focused largely on experienced local promoters in our previous entries, we thought we would start talking to some newcomers who have been impressing us. Fitz Promotions specialise in showcasing the best indie rock bands from the South Coast. Built on a partnership between Billy Fitzjohn and Conor Clements, they have only been putting on gigs since September but they’ve got off to a great start. Following a string of busy shows we thought we would chat to Billy ahead of their gig this Thursday with The Taboos. 

Q: How did you get involved in music?

Billy: I first got involved in the music industry because of a friend of mine called Matt…he was in a band and invited me to his gigs and took me along as the band got bigger. This was possibly the first time I felt like I had to get involved within music. I’d always loved music, however I began to finally get the urge to work within the industry that I love. I then transferred that into writing articles for Gigslutz and Boot Music and began helping companies run their shows with the dream of putting my own shows.

Q: What was the first show you put on?

Billy: The first show I put on for myself after creating Fitz Promotions was in September 2018 at Edge of the Wedge, a venue which I absolutely love. It featured Belles, Cascade and local band Drusila as headliner. I’ll be honest, the show seemed to absolutely fly by because I was a nervous wreck worrying about any potential problems but it was an amazing show to be involved in. The bands were great on the night and lovely people to meet, perfect way to kick off our events! Some memories of the show included a hilarious moment involving a rider request. George from Drusila had asked for some chewing gum and a bottle of wine to get ready for the show…my business partner and friend Conor Clements ended up coming back with a roll of hubba bubba, a random bottle of wine and a packet of chicken and mushroom slices…was rather a strange experience! Bet they thought we were absolute weirdos!

Q: How have things developed or changed since then? Any difficulties/learning curves?

Billy: Things have built massively over a small amount of time and I’m loving every minute of it! I spent a lot of time working out what I was doing as I honestly was winging half of it and I couldn’t have done it without the help of the people supporting me. Of course there’s been a lot of learning curves, however every knock back just makes you learn more and builds you to be better next time! The worst difficulties are always the ones you can’t control but it makes you think on your feet and when you love what you do, the difficult times aren’t as difficult anymore. Things have also developed in the way we aren’t just music promoters anymore, we’ve delved into the art of management also, so exciting times ahead.

Q: What is your favourite gig/line up that you have put on so far? 

Billy: I’m torn between two gigs for this! Firstly our line up which featured Brixton’s, Crystal Tides and HOOLi was absolutely mega! We had an packed out room at Edge on a Monday night! Who the fuck goes out on a Monday? That lot was mad for it and it’s a proud moment in my eyes.

I also can’t move past this question without mentioning the amazing Blithe gig we had in November! All the bands on that day absolutely smashed it out the park. We were lucky enough to sell out that night and it was also amazing to finally book the legends that are Glass Peaks for that show! So big up Sam Tucker and Lee Vincent from CloseUp! This is also possibly my favourite because of my brother Josh, who supports me at every show, telling me how much he loved Blithe and he’s possibly the hardest person to please!

Q: What can we look forward to in the future? 

Billy: Plenty of more shows coming up and also being involved in tours alongside other promoters! You won’t be able to get away from us that easily! We’ll be going to new places and new venues but it’ll be the same amazing show which you’re used to! Don’t worry we’ll still make sure we have our monthly show at Edge of the Wedge which I’m so proud of! Cheers to Geoff and the team at Wedgewood rooms for taking a chance on just a couple of lads from Pompey wanting to turn a dream into reality.

Be sure to check out our social media’s because we advertise everything on them! Obviously all plans have to be secret for the time being but I can officially announce our next show will be on February 7th at Edge of the Wedge.

Q: Any advice for people wanting to put on shows or local bands looking to get more gigs?

Billy: I always feel like such a dick when I get asked for advice but honestly if there’s any one out there with an idea for a show just run with it… it’ll be the best thing you ever do. The best advice I was ever given before starting putting on shows was from Rob Baker who used to work with Pete Doherty and it was never rest on your laurels, never expect to earn money from a show. You’ve simply got to do it because you love to! If you’re able to earn money out of it then that’s sick but the love of music is gotta be there! That’s why I hand pick all bands that play!

The best advice i can give to local bands to get more gigs is just keep plugging away! Go out to shows, meet people and network! If you don’t get a response from an email straight away, keep trying… never give up!

Q: Describe the Portsmouth music scene in one word

Opportunity

Fitz Promotions bring The Taboos to The Edge of the Wedge on Thursday 10th of Jan. Support comes from Colour of the Jungle, Basement Club and Moth. Tickets available from http://www.wedgewood-rooms.co.uk

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Fitzpromotions/
Twitter: www.twitter.com/fitz_promotions
Instagram: www.instagram.com/fitz_promotions/

Staff Picks – Best Gigs of 2018

2018

We had some amazing acts pass through our doors this year with over 300 shows between The Wedge and The Edge! We’ve had living legends like Lee Scratch Perry, grizzled vets like Dreadzone & The Skids and fast rising stars like Freya Ridings & Black Honey to name just a few. We thought we’d ask our staff what gigs stood out to them either as punters or from their respective work stations. Let us know what shows you enjoyed in the comments 🙂

Womble – Skindred

skindred mr teeth.jpg

Skindred photo by Mr Teeth

We’ve had so many amazing gigs this year, but by the one that stands out the most for me was Skindred! I am so late to this party – I have to admit I hadn’t heard them before – but they were incredible! There’s generally a good vibe at a sold out show, but the energy coming out of the venue that night was crazy-it was the biggest party! I’ll definitely be heading to see them next time they play!

Tiller –The Nightingales w/ Stewart Lee & Grief Daddy

the nightingales better

I’m going to be upfront and admit to being slightly biased on this one as I did play in the support band BUT The Nightingales gig was such a unique and divisive evening that I feel compelled to mention it. This night somehow merged the jazz infused post-punk of the Gales with the meta stand up comedy of Stewart Lee (yeah him) and the minimalist electro ranting of Grief Daddy. Despite the eclectic line up it retained an arty cohesiveness throughout (some might say a shared pretentiousness). Shows with more uniform line-ups are great but I really enjoy variety and gigs that go against the grain and challenge the audience. The evening as a whole might not have been to everyone’s tastes, there was palpable confusion in the crowd at times, but it definitely got a strong reaction, which is what good shows should do. Honourable mentions to Andrew WK, Gruff Rhys, Lee Scratch Perry, Sunflower Bean, all the comedians and especially to Dream Wife for taking a genuine interest in the city, the venue and it’s audience.

Andy – The Annual St Valentines Day Massacre

massacre

Its been a diverse year at the Wedge with more female acts coming through and bands like Dream Wife raising LGBT issues which is always a good thing. Being an old indie kid I enjoyed the oldies like The Bluetones and Turin Brakes. But a mention should go to The Lottery Winners who were the support for Sleeper. A real testament to keeping an eye on the support acts and being blown away. A special show was also our own night the ‘Valentines Day Massacre’. By bringing the local scene together in such a freeing and diverse manner is a breath of fresh air from all the seriousness of touring bands.

Sarah – Willy Mason

willy mason

My most memorable gig this year has to be Willy Mason, I was looking forward to it anyway as he is always so good but this time he was the first of the gigs in what we refer to as “Touring Season” where it gets quite hectic and it just hit the right note as a soothing calm before the storm moment. I was transfixed and filled with joy along with the other 300 or so audience members, who sang along, laughed at his anecdotes and just fell in love with him and his music. Perfect start to the busy season for me

Tanya – Skindred

cof

Skindred photo by Mr Teeth

I was going to write about Andrew WK which took place back in April, mainly because of the fun he brought to Pompey. He told us all to keep partying whatever happens in life, and generally gave everyone in the venue an unforgettably good time. But then along came Skindred in November – Andrew WK would have been proud at the partying capabilities of everyone in the building that night. We even got to witness the famous Newport Helicopter, instigated by Benji who literally 10 minutes before had the crowd sitting on the floor, eating out the palms of his hands. Massive respect to such an awesome front man, and a band who are more than capable of performing some amazing ass-kicking metal, a sound to die for and a room full of gig goers who appeared to have the best time ever. Definitely my top gig of 2018, purely for the energy it brought.

Charlie – Dream Wife

dream wife
I was lucky enough to be working in the cloakroom earlier this year when Dream Wife played. Aside from the awesome fact that the band ran a workshop beforehand for local non binary people and women, their set was properly, genuinely fresh. The lead singer’s fractious energy on stage was captivating for the whole gig and at times downright menacing. A band that can keep you on your toes and really kick out some unexpectedly hefty tunes deserve all the success that’s coming to them.

Alice – Dream Wife

Dream Wife rose to expectations with their set at Wedgewood Rooms. They started the evening with an intimate panel with fans to find out more about the local music scene. It was brilliant to see Dream Wife taking an interest in their fans and to see the influence their message has on them too. The panel was attended by members of support band Queen Zee and local band The Hippaes. All these talented musicians in the room passing on their knowledge and advice to young upcoming artists/promoters is something that should happen more often. You could feel the energy and excitement in the room during each support band waiting for Dream Wife to take the stage. The positive and welcoming vibes from Dream Wife allowed for the audience to feel part of their family. Every song they played the audience were full of energy singing along to every lyric; its not something you see often. I predict that 2019 will be the year for Dream Wife…. Watch this space

Final Thoughts

So there you go, some great picks from our incredibly hard-working staff. 2018 has been another strange year filled with the terrifying lows, the dizzying highs and the creamy middles associated with running a live music venue. Summer in particular was a very difficult time for us as has become the tradition. However with your support and enthusiasm for live music we’re looking up and strutting into 2019 ready to rock and reach the ripe old age of 27. Big thank you to everyone who visited us, bought a t-shirt, put on a show or played at the venue. Hopefully we’ll see you in 2019 🙂

For a full listing of 2019 shows and tickets visit http://www.wedgewood-rooms.co.uk. You can also support the venue by buying a t-shirt! More show announcements coming soon so make sure you’re following us on facebook, twitter and instagram. We also have a great line up go gigs as part of Independent Venue Week at the end of Jan. Check them out.

Last gig of 2018 is tonight with a huge NYE Party with The South Coast Collective! They will be blasting through five decades of hits from the Swinging Sixties to Noughties Indie. We will also be live streaming Big Ben at midnight and following it up with DJs until late. Just £12 in advance. Hopefully see you there 🙂

newyearseve

Promoter Spotlight: Portsmouth Punk Promotions

pppPortsmouth Punk Promotions (PPP) are arguably some of the most prolific local promoters in town, having been involved in approximately 17 shows this year alone. This shifting collective have years of experience promoting shows and playing in bands, maintaining a strong DIY ethic throughout. PPP fit into a larger punk network founded on gig swaps, hospitality and enthusiasm which has enabled them to bring in acts from all over the world. We thought we would pick their collective brain ahead of their big show this Sunday with Swedish punk veterans No Fun At All.

Wedge Bot: What inspired you to put on shows?

Jochen : I used to put on some shows at the HorseShoe (RIP) to help get my band out there and play some shows (The Shabazz Lovemonkeys now The SLM). We lived out of town and we had no where in Denmead to do it. Putting on shows is a great way of getting mates from all over the UK and Europe to come play your home town and hang out. You get to meet so many new people through putting on/playing shows. It also helps build up a scene of like minded people to have a great time with and enjoy music with. Also putting on gigs is a good way of getting gigs in other city’s doing gig swaps with other bands. Also a great way of promoting my record label Charlie’s Big Ray Gun Records and bringing the distro along with me

Jack: I started organising punk/hardcore gigs over the last couple of years up in London, putting on bands at places like The Unicorn in Camden, The Bird’s Nest in Deptford and the New Cross Inn- I saw the work that people like Umlaut Records and Be Sharp Promotions were doing, giving awesome new and not-so-new bands the opportunity to regularly play and build up a sort of community and I guess I just really wanted to be involved with that… coupled with the obvious, awkward but unavoidable fact of how lucrative a game promoting DIY punk and hardcore shows seemed to be and I was completely SOLD!! Ahem…

Wedge Bot: What were the first shows you put on?  Generally and as PPP

Joch : I first got involved with PPP around 2015 along with Joe Anderson (now Nerd Rage Bookings) Ant Harrison was the founder of PPP. There were a few promoters doing things around Portsmouth but it was nice to get involved with a group of people under one banner. My first show was 2 Sick Monkeys, Strength in Blunders and 3 local bands Dead By Dawn (Miss them) Shooting Fish (Also not around any more great band) and my band The SLM. This Sunday is 2 Sick Monkeys final gig which is a massive shame, amazing band but they have been going for many years, see you both soon Pete and Fred

Jack: My first PPP show was a 6 band bill on a Monday night back in April this year with Red Terror, Revolution Summer, The SLM, Down Love, KRANG and Sombulance.  It was my first time organising a gig in Portsmouth after having grown up going to gigs at The Horseshoe and seeing soooooooooooo so many awesome bands there, so it was a pretty big deal for me! The scene in Portsmouth is pretty small but is bulging with some of the friendliest, most talented people and brilliant bands I’ve ever met/seen. It went pretty great despite my determined insistence that 10 minute changeovers are a great idea (NOTE: They aren’t )

Wedge Bot: How have things developed or changed since then? Any difficulties/learning curves along the way?

Joch: When I first started out I had no clue really what I was doing but after watching some local promoters and playing lots more shows over the Uk and Europe you pick up on things and earn a good way of doing the gigs and looking after touring bands. Making sure you have somewhere for the band to stay and some food in at least for breakfast and some cheeky beers for after never goes a miss. Learning how to not lose too much money, promote a good night and just make everything run smoothly comes with time, also making sure there is a whole back line helps too! Also now I have Dave Sloan doing CBRG.TV filming loads of bands sets which we put on also just did the 2 new videos for local boys Misgivings and the video for The SLM ”Zombie Shark” which we also used the Wedgewood Rooms for the second half of the shoot ….. Cheers Geoff 😀

Jack: I genuinely never have a fucking clue what the hell I am doing! I 100% relied and in many ways still rely on the patience of people up and down the country that have been doing this a lot longer and lot more successfully then I could ever hope to do and I am very lucky and very grateful that, because of the help and advice I receive from people (in particular from the beautiful humans involved with PPP and Charlie’s Big Ray Gun Records) that I improve with every gig I organise, I hope?! I just try to make sure the bands have some booze, food, decent turn out and get paid fairly or whatever was agreed. Standard stuff, I guess…

Wedge Bot: What is your favourite gig/line up that you have put on so far?

Jack: It kind of sucks, but the only time I really get out to see bands is when I put on a gig with PPP, or previously with the London shows when I put on gigs as Kick the Crutches- so honestly, I get something out of every gig I put on, which is a preposterously dull answer, but that’s the truth! With PPP I have been involved with a few shows this year that stand out as being quite special for me- the Aerial Salad and Raging Nathans gig in I think, August (?) was particularly great, as was putting on Grand Collapse and seeing them absolutely destroy half a room on a Monday night… so many great bands have helped through this year, gargh!! I organised an all-dayer at the New Cross Inn a couple of years back that I somehow managed to pull off, through a slack jawed blizzard of profound drunkenness and confusion… That day had pretty much every band that I could possibly hope to see in one place, I remember feeling pretty proud of having organised that one… despite the fact I was a sweltering mess of an awful human by the end of the night. Ho hum.

Wedge Bot: What can we look forward to in the future?

Jack: The No Fun At All gig on the 16th of December is going to be a triumphant end to a pretty busy half a year or so, we can’t wait for that one and are very excited to be hosting a band like NFAA at a venue as intimate as the Edge of the Wedge. We’ve been pretty lucky and have a few gigs to announce that are pretty exciting, bands that I have wanted to put on for aaaaaaaaaaages and am finally getting a chance to do so, I can’t wait to announce 🙂

Joch: As Jack Said, keep an eye out on our FB page and random posters scattered around town 😉

Wedge Bot: Any advice for people wanting to put on shows or local bands looking to get more gigs?

Jack: I am definitely not the person that should be giving advice on running shows, ever! All the usual advice that people have heard a bazillion times over and over still applies- just try not to be an abominable prick, as a rule, is a worthwhile line to tread and one that I struggle to try and navigate with varying degrees of success with each show… For bands, I guess, if you want someone to put you on, come out to a show and say “Hi-uh” it’s always nice to hear about and meet new bands so yeah, check out who is putting on what, when and where, then just show up… Alternatively, just book a room above or in the back of a pub and bring some bands through- forget about making money for yourself, that shouldn’t be a priority or motivation, in my opinion, at all (NOTE: There is absolutely nothing wrong with making money from a show, you have put a lot of effort into organising, just so long as you are putting the needs of the bands and venue first. In my opinion!) Oh, and try to enjoy yourself, especially if you’re preoccupied with the aforementioned and taxing effort of “not-being-a-prick” … it is easier said than done but if you’re really not enjoying yourself or getting anything out of it, let someone else have a go.

Joch: Well Put Mate 😀 just give it a go make sure you have everything to do the show with, a nice sound guy. Make sure you look after the venue to as if you want to come back they need to be happy ….. Go make some noise… jump around a lot …. drink some beers and have a bloody good time…..

Wedge Bot: Describe the Portsmouth music ‘scene’ in one word

Jack: Coastal

Joch: Splendiferous

PPP bring No Fun At All to The Edge of the Wedge this Sunday (December 16th) with support from Darko, Captain Trips and On a Hiding to Nothing. Tickets available from http://www.wedgewood-rooms.co.uk  

They’re also planning ahead and look set to bring Pizzatramp back to The Edge on the 31st March. More info to be confirmed soon.

Follow them at:
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/portsmouthpunkpromotions/

Promoter Spotlight: Strong Island Recordings

sir

Brad Sked has been running Strong Island Recordings now since 2012, delivering high octane garage, noise and psych releases on cassette and vinyl.  Alongside the label he has put on shows and been a regular booker at Southsea Fest, Portsmouth Psych, The Great Escape and most recently the upcoming Dials Festival. We thought we would ask Brad some questions ahead of the big day. 

Wedge Bot: How did you get involved in music?

Brad: I got involved with music after studying Music Tech at Southdown’s College and after then I went to university and worked at a couple of record labels during my time there. In regard to what inspired to put on shows – it’s really just been down to necessity and just enjoying putting on stuff and working with artists. I don’t really see myself as a ‘promoter’ even if by all definition, I am one but we just mainly put on shows because the label (Strong Island Recordings) needs to for promo reasons or somebody is touring and we fancy having them on.

Wedge Bot: What was the first show you put on? Any specific memories?

Brad: First show I ever put on by myself was in Chichester. I learnt a lot from the experience as about 8 people turned up which was myself, the sound person, the bands and also the bar staff! The main thing I remember is feeling so bad for the bands that played and never wanting to feel like I’ve let people down like that again. It was a great learning curve long term.

First Strong Island Recordings show though was Southsea Fest 2012 which featured future label family Is Bliss, Dead Rabbits , Arrows of Love, Honeycomb Bones and Golden Hairs (who would become theboyiusedtobe) plus Battery Hens, Dirty Legion & The Demons who would play for us quite bit after. It was just a full on riot and a massive sweat-pit in a tiny room.

Wedge Bot: How have things developed or changed since then? Any difficulties/learning curves? 

Brad: The label itself has certainly grown where we’ve managed to release artists not just locally but across the country as well as as far as Australia and we’ve managed to get quite a bit of press which is always nice as it’s very much on a shoestring budget. The way it has grown really has been through momentum and just believing in what we’re doing more than anything.

Most difficult thing is just being able to afford to run things and keep everything going on. Even if you’re breaking even or just about making a profit, you still ultimately have to spend a lot of your time on something so it’s a labour of love.

Wedge Bot: What is your favourite gig/line up that you have put on so far? 

Brad: Our first food bank drive at The Cellars was amazing as it was so humbling to see people come together and help with a wonderful cause. We also signed Melt Dunes (they went under their old name then) & Curxes that day too who we would go on to release so that’s certainly up there.

Favourite show ever though has to be our bring your own booze show at The Great Escape with Acid Box. We basically taken over a youth centre gymnasium and turned it into one of the places to be that day with Demob Happy, Flamingods, Hockey Dad, Melt Dunes, The Black Delta Movement & loads more playing for just a fiver with amazing visuals from Innerstrings (Liverpool Psych Fest, BJM, Lewes Psych) and people could bring as much booze as they desired so that was pretty special and super fun and will always be hard to beat.

Wedge Bot: What can we look forward to in the future? Upcoming shows? Plans for the future? 

Brad: More releases from acts from all over the place. We tend to put out psychedelia, shoegaze, surf rock, post punk, krautrock and garage-rock and the same can also be said for the stuff we put on minus Dials.

Speaking of which we have Dials on the 6th of October which should be both stressful and very fun. We’re also teaming with Burger Records one of my favourite labels in any dimension plus Blak Hand Records, Stolen Recordings and Cassette Store Day for a free all dayer at The Shacklewell Arms in London 13 October and that same day we’re co-hosting Oxjam at The Pyarmids in Portsmouth with our Pie & Vinyl pals. Barbudo, Superdrone, Lucid Rising and a bunch of other play that one too. That same day will also be a special day as Melt Dunes are supporting one of my favourite bands being The Brian Jonestown Massacre in Falmouth. I’m trying to work out ways to clone myself to be in 3 places at a time that day…!!

We’re also bringing Kagoule back down to Portsmouth 9 November with our Honeymooner friends that features Haze plus Dad Hair & Make them All Smile at The Loft and we may have something after. We’re also hosting a psychedelic-tinted stage at Icebreaker 28 & 29 January at The Fat Fox with visuals from Velvet Candy. That should be a fun one.

Wedge Bot: Any advice for people wanting to put on shows or local bands looking to get more gigs?

Brad: Regarding putting on shows just do it. Communication is key though. If you can’t guarantee an advance in terms of fee then tell bands that. Also always ask them what equipment they can bring ages in advance if possible and work out a fair gear share (don’t just expect the opener to bring all the gear especially if the headliner is getting a decent fee and the opener is getting a few beers!), work with the venue and keep them informed, programme the show so it can run smoothly should there be delays (there always is) so you don’t have a 6 band bill starting at 8pm. Speak to the sound person if you can in advance and keep them posted. Work out a cohesive line-up so a doom-metal band isn’t opening for a solo folk singer and really just make sure you look after the artists as much as possible. That goes a long way.

Terms of looking for gigs; make sure what you do fits with what the promoter puts on and ultimately, make sure what you have is the best it can be. If you have no material yet then let the promoter know but give them a brief bit of info of what you’re about soundwise as they may well take a punt. Great music though speaks for itself. We put on the first ever Hotel Lux show after they sent an email with literally just a streaming link of the single. If people aren’t getting back to you or offering a date you need though just go and put a show on yourself.

Wedge Bot: Describe the Portsmouth music scene in one word

Brad: Bubbling.

For more information on dials festival head to http://www.dialsfestival.com

For Strong Island Recordings info visit
Facebook: @StrongIslandRecordings
Twitter: @StrongIslandRec
Instagram: @strongislandrecordings

Promoter Spotlight: Pilot Promotions

image1-e1537864866320.jpeg

Mike Hartley has been playing in bands for over a decade now. From the jump rock party antics of TFO to the heavier prog rock overtones of Underground Pilots, Mike will be familiar to those who follow the Portsmouth Music Scene. Over the last five years Mike has moved away from the drum kit and transitioned from performer to promoter, forming Pilot Promotions with his band mates in 2013. Weekly gigs at The Fat Fox would eventually develop into a full-blown music festival in 2014 with the arrival of Icebreaker. With its emphasis on local acts, Icebreaker has become a regular fixture on the Portsmouth gig calendar and a great showcase for local talent. This Saturday Pilot Promotions bring local indie favourites The Collision back to The Wedgewood Rooms for a huge hometown show. We thought we’d ask Mike some questions ahead of the big gig.

Wedge Bot: What inspired you to put on shows?

Mike: I really got involved in music during my last years of high school. In music classes the teacher would regularly put on Metallica DVDs and I began listening to Slipknot, Korn etc. which inspired me to want to perform. I subsequently taught myself how to play the drums but sadly, for noise reasons, I wasn’t allowed my own drum kit at home. I had to settle for the bass guitar which led me into joining my first band in 2001. Since then I’ve been in 4 different bands from 2001 to 2017.

I spent years and years dealing with good and not so good promoters for bands. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to put on shows which are about the acts & the venue rather than about who is promoting. I was finally given the opportunity to do so in 2013 and I was determined to make a difference to the local scene; a view was shared by the group of us that set up Pilot Promotions and Icebreaker Festival.

Wedge Bot: What was the first show you put on? 

Mike: The first show I put on as a ‘Promoter’ was 27th September 2013 at The Fat Fox. It was our former band (The Underground Pilots) with The Light Brigade, Red Seals and The Acoustic Experience. I remember it being special not only because it was the first show we put on as Pilot Promotions but mainly because people recognised it being a new local band night and came out to watch all the acts which was refreshing.

Wedge Bot: How have things developed or changed since then? Any difficulties/learning curves along the way?

Mike: The scene is very fortunate to have a good selection of venues for acts to perform in which has come a long way since 2004/2005. We’ve sadly lost some over the years but venues such as Edge of the Wedge are such an important venue for our city. We are fortunate that there are venues in our city for acts to perform in and not take the opportunities for granted.

Not so much a difficulty but a concern for me personally is witnessing acts who are repeatedly playing in venues too close together over a short period of time. It serves no positive purpose for the venues or the band long term if they are playing across Portsmouth 2/3 times a month, in my opinion.

Wedge Bot: What is your favourite gig/line up that you have put on so far? 

Mike: My favourite has to be Icebreaker Festival 2018. The biggest one to date with the inclusion of the Friday night as well as Saturday. We were very lucky to have BBC Music Introducing Solent broadcast live from site, which enabled us to reach a wider audience but also opened doors for some of the acts scheduled to perform. Some of the members of my all time favourite bands, The Cooper Temple Clause, bought their new band Type Two Error to Icebreaker Festival which was a real highlight, as well as over 160 bands performing over the two days in 12 venues in Southsea which thousands came out to enjoy!

Wedge Bot: What can we look forward to in the future?

Mike: I’m hosting The Collision show on the 29th September 2018 which will be as amazing as it was last year, if not more so. After that? We’ll be working hard on making sure Icebreaker Festival 2019 is the best one yet!

Following Icebreaker, Pilot Promotions will return in the spring.

Wedge Bot: Any advice for people wanting to put on shows or local bands/DJ’s looking to get more gigs?

Mike: My advice to promoters looking to put on shows is to gain as much experience as possible and to learn from and work with those around you. Put the bands and venues before yourself and be passionate about the job you are doing. Carve your own niche and be unique.

For local bands looking to get more gigs – keep an eye on our Pilot Promotions page for opportunities that will come in next year as well as Icebreaker Festival 2020 applications opening in February.

Wedge Bot: Describe the Portsmouth music scene in one word.

Mike: Eclectic

Pilot Promotions bring The Collision home for a headline show this Saturday (the 29th) with support from Marmalade Moonshine and Submariner. Tickets available from http://www.wedgewood-rooms.co.uk  

Icebreaker returns 25th-26th of January

Pilot Promotions
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pilotpromotions/
Twitter: www.twitter.com/PilotPromotions

Icebreaker Festival
FB: http://www.facebook.com/Icebreakerfestival/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/IceBreakerUK
Insta: http://www.instagram.com/ice_breaker_uk

Promoter Spotlight: Nerd Rage Bookings

joe andersonWhen you discuss punk and DIY here in Portsmouth Joe Andersons name is bound to crop up. Now operating under the name Nerd Rage Bookings, Joe has been putting on shows since he was in his teens, bringing acts from all over the globe to our little island. Besides promoting and booking tours he has also been an active musician, touring through Europe with former bands Ed Wood and Misgivings. We thought we would ask Joe some questions ahead of his show this Friday with Scottish Pop-punk band The Murderburgers.

Wedge Bot: What inspired you to put on shows?

Joe: I’ve been playing music and in bands since I was 13 which turned into putting gigs on at 16. I loved Punk music and it was a good counter culture to the time of Adidas popper tracksuits and over gelled centre partings. I’m sure it still is to younger rebellious teens today.

Wedge Bot: What was the first show you put on? 

Joe: The first show I put on was at my dads social club in Gosport. It was a mixture of young teens wearing flared criminal damage trousers with baggy hoodies vs my dads 40 something beer bellied drinking buddies. Super bizarre, but a successful show which laid the foundation blocks to what I do now.

Wedge Bot: How have things developed or changed since then? Any difficulties/learning curves along the way?

Joe: I’ve learnt a lot since that first show and made a lot of mistakes on the way. You need to be prepared and have a cool head in difficult situations where you have to think on your feet for when unexpected things go wrong. I think attendees for shows has declined since my earlier days, but I think that is the trend we’re currently going through. I’d say my shows are a lot more professionally ran now!

Wedge Bot: What is your favourite gig/line up that you have put on so far? 

Joe: I think my favourite show was a few years ago where one of my shows clashed with a Southsea DIY one, but we decided to merge and it ended up selling out. It was a great example of why it’s good to work with people outside of your own circles.

Wedge Bot: What can we look forward to in the future?

Joe: I’ve been mainly booking a lot of Punk tours Daggermouth, Lost Avenue, The Capitalist Kids & Aerial Salad and moving away from shows, but I think both have run their course and I’ll be taking a break next year to focus on other factors in my life. This year has been really hectic promoting, booking and tour managing!

Wedge Bot: Any advice for people wanting to put on shows or local bands/DJ’s looking to get more gigs?

Joe: If you want to put on shows start small; drag as many friends as you can and book local. Don’t over reach and keep the risk to a minimum. That way you can see if it’s something you want to carry on. If you’re in a local band go to other local shows and get chatting to everyone. We live in a social age and your music alone won’t just get you gigs. You need to be personable, get to know the people you could be potentially going to work with support each other!

Wedge Bot: Describe the Portsmouth music scene in one word.

Joe: ECLECTIC! There’s so much going on for such a smaller compared to Manchester, London etc get out there and find some new bands to love.

Nerd Rage Bookings bring Scottish pop-punk band The Murderburgers to The Edge this Friday. Support comes from American pop-punk band City Mouse, London based The Burnt Tapes and local power pop favourites The Stayawakes and Misgivings. Tickets available from http://www.wedgewood-rooms.co.uk

Facebook: www.facebook.com/nerdragebookings
Instagram: www.instagram.com/nerd_rage_bookings

Staff Picks Autumn/Winter 2018

AUTUMN.jpg

For most of us here at The Wedgewood Rooms, working at a music venue isn’t just a job, it’s a passion. From the tap pullers in the bar to the keyboard warriors in the office, people choose to work here because they love live music. With that in mind we thought we would ask some of the staff what shows they’re looking forward to over the rammed Autumn/Winter schedule. 

glasvegasAlice – Glasvegas

There are so many great gigs coming up at the Wedge that I am looking forward. To name a few… Laurel, We Are Scientists, Goat Girl, Hinds and Sunflower Bean. But the anniversary show of Glasvegas in September is the one I’m most looking forward to. I listened to them throughout my teenage years and have so many great memories to go alongside their music. Another favourite of mine is Dream Wife who play in October. This will be an amazing gig, full of energy and very catchy tunes.

the nightingalesMatt – The Nightingales

The show I’m most looking forward to is The Nightingales! They’re an incredibly underrated band and its great to see something a little off kilter in the main room. You could call them a punk band I guess but the sound is a lot more sophisticated than that, almost Beefheart like in it’s ability to change direction on a whim. They were one of John Peels favorites and for good reason. And if that wasn’t enough, Stewart Lee is going to be doing a short stand up set before they play! (oh and Unsigned Showcase 2017 winners Grief Daddy opening 😉 ) It’s going to get weird. Also really looking forward to Super Furry Animal frontman Gruff Rhys, The Cuban Brothers, Sextile & Hollie Cook.

telemanSarah D – Teleman

So many good shows coming up! Sleeper, Karine Polwart, Gruff Rhys to name a few but Teleman especially. They have a place dear in my heart from their days as Pete & the Pirates. They were always my go to happy music and I remember being blown away by them when they headlined Southsea Fest at the Wedge back in 2011. They have matured and moved on from their indie cheeky boy beginnings but still make me smile with their glorious upbeat lush pop songs.

rob newman
Andy – Rob Newman

‘There’s some fantastic Indie legends that are my bag coming up in the Autumn (Sleeper, Mercury Rev, Gruff Rhys). But I’d like to fly the flag for comedy and say I’m intrigued about Rob Newman’s show about philosophy in December. Knowing about his legendary partnership with David Baddiel and his comedy script writing, it’ll be a great experience seeing him on our stage. A high concept comedy show is a rare occurrence so I don’t want to miss it!

we are scientistsWomble – We Are Scientists

We’ve got a really exciting autumn touring season again this year! I’m definitely excited about seeing We Are Scientists – it’s always a pleasure to have your favourite band play at your work place! They’re so much fun live and always bring so much energy to their shows. Also looking forward to seeing Catherine McGrath – she supported Canaan Smith here in 2017, and now she’s back with her own headline tour! Her new album is awesome, it’s really strong and she’s so young still! Love that we get to see artists just as they’re starting their journey.

philTanya – Phil Campbell & The Bastard Sons

Saw Phil Campbell & the Bastard Sons just a few months after Lemmy died. Somehow all the sadness disappeared during that show and the spirit of Motorhead lived on. When Phil was confirmed for the Wedge 2 years on it became apparent that this was not a band he was using to live on past memories with, this was a proper full onslaught of dirty rock’n’roll, designed for all us old school rock dudes and dudettes. Really cannot wait to experience this live in my very own home from home!

skindredGeorgia – Skindred

I am looking forward to Skindred returning to the Wedge, who’s music I have enjoyed for years. They are always great fun and I find bands like Skindred bring fans with varying music tastes together.”

So that’s a few suggestions for you! Let us and your friends know who you’re looking forward to and keep supporting live music. For a full listing visit http://www.wedgewood-rooms.co.uk