Archivi categoria: Music Blog

Music Blog #5: The Mariners’ children


Yesterday I fell in love. They were 4 guys and 5 girls that went by the name of The Mariners’ Children.

They were opening for Peggy Sue at Bungalows and Bears during “an evening of music, art and poetry presented by Unquiet Desperation”, or at least that’s what the flyer said. In practise, it was an unique occasion to listen to at least three very good bands in a row, drink a lot of Bushmill and be surrounded by painters brushing all over giant white canvases.

When I arrived, Tim & Sam’s Tim & The Sam Band were playing. Aside from the brilliant mixture of indie guitar and electronic, kraftwerkian sounds, the name is probably one of the best I’ve ever heard of for a band. Of course they will have to change it if they want to become famous, because no journalist will ever want to write about something he can’t remember and fans will never want to go and see a concert with people whose name they cannot pronounce, but the fact remains that it’s absolutely brilliant….

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Music Blog #4: The Scrabble


So now I don’t have a gig to talk about, for I spent the whole time moving from one shop to another to then drink at least four cocktails in a row in a bar called Smokestock.

(Ok, I know I shouldn’t use this space for advertisement and even less to advertise places in Leeds, but they were amazing. Best cocktails ever, and I have a long experience with cocktails, trust me).
Anyway, back to music and to Sheffield. I came back to find a package from Italy with some survival kit stuff and a cd. That cd, an EP called Most Unlikely Often Happens, is very, very good.
The band’s name is Scrabble and they are from Turin, my city. Although I had never listened to their music, I was familiar with the name of the band because they are friends of friends of friends and because the singer, Lorenzo De Masi, was my schoolmate in elementary and middle school. Now he calls himself Larry. Just as Carlo, Pietro and Carlo again, the other band members, are now known as Charlie, James and Lax. You just can’t help it: English is cooler when it comes to music.

Also, from the day I started to write about English music here in Sheffield, I hadn’t heard a sound so English as Scrabble….


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Music Blog #3: The arctic monkeys


I bought the tickets for Arctic Monkeys’ concert in Sheffield three days after I arrived in the city.

It was September the 22nd, one month and three weeks before the actual gig, and I was with an Italian friend of mine in a Spanish restaurant in Meadowhall. We were both newly settled and felt we should have done something more properly local than eating ethnic stuff in a mall; so we decided to blow our budget and buy the tickets, even though the gig was sold out already and it would have cost a lot. But after all: Arctic Monkeys from Sheffield in Sheffield, how cool was that? Coming from Italy, we both had never even heard of the city before they came on the scene. Excitement mounted up day after day: my friend was a long-term fan, I used to think they were incredibly overrated but I had really loved the new album.

By the day of the concert, tension had reached its climax. It was all about looking as much of a Sheffielder as possible for the event and trying to get to the Arena on time for being in the first row. After the disillusionment of finding out that in Sheffield too there are Starbucks, H&M and all those hideous chains that simply replicate themselves over and over making any city identical to any other on a random parallel, Arctic Monkeys playing in Sheffield looked as unique as the Parthenon.

Now, before talking about the concert, I do feel the responsibility of making a preface: on that very same day some scum stole my laptop by breaking the window of my room and helping himself while I was in the kitchen preparing lunch. They immediately arrested him but not before he could get rid of my adored pc; police told me they might call again at night in case they had news, so I spent the entire concert holding the camera in one hand and my mobile in the other, begging for a phone call.

Arctic Monkeys really helped, too. As I said before, I am a converted fan, and that made me the most enthusiastic supporter of the kids. But the concert was just….

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Music Blog #2


A very rhetorical question: when you go to a club for a gig, is the sound system or the whiskey selection more important?

Obviously, the whiskey selection is far more relevant. But if you run a club and decide to bet everything on that, you should also make sure you hire a band so good that the beauty of their music will overcome the whistling and the distortion of the terrible speakers. From what I’ve seen so far, The Harley really manages to do that.

As many will probably know, above the Harley Bar there is the Harley Hotel. What is less proverbial is that when you rent a room there, included in the price they give you earplugs. A friend of mine slept there for a week and told me that this is absolutely unnecessary: it is not the music that keeps you awake, although without the earplugs you couldn’t even hear your inner thoughts; it’s the vibrations produced by the sound that makes it impossible to sleep. Apparently, he would wake up every morning with severe land sickness.

So no offence, but the acoustic is really not The Harley’s thing. Of course, the alcohol is amazing and the Lagavulin whiskey particularly fantastic, so who cares. But they must take extra care in who they invite to play, and indeed they seem to always organize little great gigs. Last time I was there I was really conquered by Dirty Weekend. They are a classic, electronic-with-soul indie band from Teesside, which…

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Music Blog #1


In esclusiva per, commenti sulla scena musicale di Sheffield…

Stockroom is a lovely club. I know that “lovely” is an adjective that fits better a tea-room but still, Stockroom is lovely. And cosy. The black floor, the worn out carpets and the random displacement of furniture make it the perfect punk venue.

It’s a tiny little hole in the middle of traffic where you can have some genuine punk time. There is even toilet paper in the loo. It is a real sign of civilization, when in the dirtiest club in town there is toilet paper.

I went to the club for the very first time a couple of weeks ago, to enjoy a gig on the corner stage where a few punk bands kept banging on the drums and screaming their guts out at the mic. Cars were passing fast outside the window, giving the impression that they would crash the corner and actually enter the building (an event which might easily turn into tragedy, but also such a Dadaist expression that no real punk could 100% wish it didn’t happen for real….).
During a pause, this guy comes up to me with a very big yellow box. “Hi, I’m from Mutiny Plot – he says without preamble – We are trying to raise money for a proper demo, would you like to buy our album?”