Independent Venue Week – Cornwall
Independent Venue Week is a 7-day celebration of small music venues around the UK and a nod to the people that own, run and work in them, week in, week out. Over three nights, the Old Bakery Studios in Truro played host to some of the best local bands in Cornwall. I was there for all three night, shooting for the Old Bakery Studios and What’s On Cornwall. I won’t ramble on too much about the bands as Lee Trewhela has got this covered with a review over at What’s On Cornwall.
And the weekend also gave me a very proud moment as one of my pictures was featured in the Weekend’s Best Photos on the Guardian website. But back to the pictures and first up, Saturday headliners Moriaty.
Review by Lee Trewhela.
There was a sense of irony that in the very week three gigs were staged to support a campaign for the survival of independent venues across the UK one of Cornwall’s most celebrated shut its doors.
Mono in Falmouth closed on Saturday with owner Charlie Stanley blaming high business rates and bureaucracy.
Many small venue owners would tell you the same thing; their plight not helped by the growth of people buying property nearby and then complaining about noise.
Fortunately the grungy Old Bakery – an intimate live venue with atmosphere like they used to make in the ’80s – doesn’t appear to suffer such problems and was a perfect place to shine a spotlight on myriad local talent as well as the important role venues like this play in the community; getting over 150 people out in Truro on a Thursday is no mean feat yet they achieved it.
That first night, staged by national indie promoters This Feeling, was a vibrant shot in the arm, kicked off by new male/female Truro College duo Swine and also featuring Cardiff’s Himalayas, who are the sound of the Manics beaten up in a back bar by The Fall.
The stars of the night were two Cornish bands, though. Annoyingly, I missed Truro’s The Rezner – who I dubbed Cornwall’s best new band last year – but all the talk was that they stole the night and have now worked on their songs. They already had the stagecraft and swagger. The world is their indie oyster.
Headliners The Velvet Hands have honed their craft and emerged as a wondrous band. Where once they came over all Libertines wannabes, they now have their own garage-pop-punk identity, with not one but two striking frontmen in Toby Mitchell and Dan Able. They were ably assisted by Cornish drummer-for-hire Ben Woods and his performing moustache. All three are now based in London but they’ll always be ours.
Friday was punk night with West Cornwall’s Bastard and their unique frontman Dick Porter and bass-playing firebrand Ele Lucas winding things up in furious fashion with a memorable encore of The Sweet’s Wig Wam Bam with members of previous bands The Eyelids, who really should be stars by now, and Swansong. For some, Plymouth’s dirty punk rockers No-Robell proved the ones to watch.
Saturday was rock night with another up-for-it capacity crowd. Karum Cooper proved again he’s something of a Kernow guitar hero with openers Hypophora, while Godstone are chasing King Creature and Kernuyck as the new metal boys with molten riffs and strong songs. Look out for their debut EP, Monument of One, in April. It’s a beast.
The three nights were topped by the two-headed heavy hydra that is Moriaty. With singer/guitarist Jordan singing a song from the middle of the crowd and downing Jagers between old favourites like Bones and Esperanza, this is what rock’n’roll is all about.
Long live independent venues like the Old Bakery and long live our amazing breadth of local musical talent, which is going through another renaissance.
Independent Venue Week – Cornwall Music Photographer