The wind whipping, whirling and whoring itself all over me is almost disorientating as it serves my welcome, the kind of welcome a highwayman dreads as the town hangman approaches his cell, rapping his thumbs screws along the damp stone wall of the keep. The north shore is bleak. The uninviting streets are fifty shades of grey as if that the architects and building owners chose their palate by mixing fresh pigeon crap with the ash from a burned out street bin. The boarded up windows only serve to compliment. It’s not the way I remember.
Before I head to where I’m going I need a cash point but can only see one of those stand alone vendors that charge you two quid to use it. Sod it, there’s nothing else around. I pop my card in and nothing happens. Suddenly, some nasal rasp from a bedsit-on-high informs me that the machine is broken…I’m about to say thanks for the info when a similarly offensive squark throws down, “haha, it’s f***in’ broken you ficko!”, then come various threats of violence, for what I’m not sure, but I’ve got my card back out and can move away without having the misfortune of having to touch anything that might give me rabies.
Welcome to Blackpool.
I’ve made the trip from fellow seaside resort Morecambe with Blackheart Afterglow for a gig at the Blue Room which is one of the best venues I’ve ever been to for supporting unsigned and breaking bands, a true diamond in the rough. You can hear everything here from indie to metal, hip hop, folk and jazz, you name it they’ll have it on at some point and tonight’s line up is a great example of the diversity that BR offers.
Morecambe’s Joe McCorriston is opening the show. Joe is a singer songwriter who has penned an already impressive catalogue of folk/punk ballads most eighteen years olds couldn’t comprehend. Followed fun lovingly loud by freaky Ska outfit The Kipple from Liverpool and bringing up the rear at the top of the bill, Morecambe’s Blackheart Afterglow. Regular readers on Red Rose Music will know about the Blackhearts but if not go and read back some of the reviews within these e-pages and get familiar with the band, but better than that go and see them live. If you’re reading this you might trust me enough to heed my recommendation, you won’t regret it.
A.I. – Acronym Illness
There’s no local band on which I find strange but perhaps the pull of the line up made the venue confident enough not to bother. Morecambe have a fantastic wealth of talent at the moment, perhaps it always has but I’m living amongst the current crop and my acronym illness dictates that I currently can’t see past the present. Alongside the Blackhearts and Joe McCorriston there is Nancy Kent, Idol Minds, Massive Wagons and The Art Club all deserving of a slice of the business pie that the resort’s leaders of the pack, The Heartbreaks, are hungrily chowing down on.
However, without a Blue Room of its own how is Morecambe’s talent going to thrive? The Sandgrownun’s are homeless and off the radar, troubadours reduced to taking a donkey ride along the coast, on the rattler to the city, getting in the back of the van for the fields further ashore, just to play a venue that asks nothing of them except their art: “The Beatles used to plays here!” said the local drunk…”did they play out we know” said the landlord. Sigh.
With no-one holding regular gigs in Morecambe what then becomes of the players? I’m not talking about the old guard clique who marshall the pubs and social clubs, welly-wanging Commitments covers, or the archaic promoters flushing the council budget down the proverbial by repeatedly booking God awful tribute acts for the Summer shows on the promenade. I’m talking about the bleeding hearts and artists who, with some support, might just grow up to be something amazing. There is only so long a real person can fight on before life gets in the way and without an olive branch it fades away sooner rather than later. So shall we follow the lead of the local councillors and wait until it breaks altogether? Or shall we link up, defy the tide, and walk into the sea?
WAIT! wait wait wait. Ok, no one needs to drown. What you can do though is turn up and watch your local bands, even if you don’t know them, and if you’re in a band STAY UNTIL THE END, NOT WHEN YOUR SET IS FINISHED! Show the venues that original bands are worth while.
Whether you’re on a freezing back street surrounded by creatures who want to kill you, or a sun swept promenade peppered with honey bronzed beauties: be apart of a scene, make the scene.