Artist review: Megan Bradley

Megan BradleyMegan Bradley is a young lady that I was first made aware of when she stepped up and spoke very sweetly introducing her first song at Recon open mic night in Malvern.

Megan is a singer-songwriter. You may think we’ve had enough of those acoustic singer-songwriter types, but this lady uses the format to her advantage. The stripped back sound of an acoustic guitar and a sweet but strong vocal are a great set-up to show her raw talent, but you can also tell she wouldn’t be dwarfed by a larger sound with a full band.

Her content is something that personally struck me. She writes with a beautiful simplicity, which reminds you the world is a nice place. The real emotion you get from her performance and lyrics is just amazing; I fail to keep the hairs on the back of my neck from rising when she breaks into quirky love songs like Letters. I’m once again in love with the world after I’ve heard Childhood and the fantastic, yet realistic, breakdown of a bedtime routine the song is about.

Some of the song structures are quite similar and a good quality recording would help but when you have choruses as quirky and catchy as Happy as Larry I feel this criticism seems much less important.

Megan’s real talent is her ability to write beautiful and catchy melodies. Her honesty and clarity in looking at the small picture is refreshing and maybe this is what sets her apart from the rest of the acoustic-guitar-and-vocal performers.

There is a misconception that local music is a bit naff. But what we must remember is all musicians were once ‘local musicians’ and that it’s largely up to us how much attention they get. This musician deserves the recognition of her talent more than most.

Megan Bradley is for fans of Laura Marling, She & Him, and Emmy the Great.

www.soundcloud.com/meganbradley8

www.youtube.com/8meganb

Pelican Morals

What’s on: live music around the county

Hereford LivePoint Zero @ The Oxford Arms, Kington – Saturday, 1 March 2014, 8pm

Will Killeen @ The Herdsman, Hereford – Saturday, 1 March 2014

Trevor Burton Band @ The Prince Of Wales, Ledbury – Sunday, 2 March 2014, 4pm

Cider City Jazzmen @ The Barrels, Hereford – Monday, 3 March 2014

Vo & Tyler @ The Granary, Leominster – Tuesday, 4 March 2014, 8pm

Worried Men @ The Golden Cross, Sutton St Nicholas – Friday, 7 March 2014

Hereford Live presents: Gulp (with support from Wynnona Ryder & Key Green) @ The Jailhouse, Hereford – Saturday, 8 March 2014, 8pm

Vaginapocalypse & Baggage Handlers @ Beer In Hand, Hereford – Saturday, 8 March 2014, 6.30pm

Weathered Hands @ The Herdsman, Hereford – Saturday, 8 March 2014, 7.30pm

Slippery Slope @ The Pandy Inn, Dorstone – Saturday, 8 March 2014, 9pm

Radnor Improvisors @ The Globe, Hay-on-Wye – Friday, 14 March 2014, 8pm

Teresa @ The Golden Cross, Sutton St Nicholas – Friday, 14 March 2014

Shenanigans Presents: Hereford Soul Choir @ The Globe, Hay-on-Wye – Saturday, 15 March 2014, 7.30pm

Skinhorse @ The Black Lion, Hereford – Saturday, 15 March 2014, 6pm

Castle Street Quartet @ The Lichfield Vaults, Hereford – Sunday, 16 March 2014, 1pm

Porridge feat. Beautiful Boy @ The Jailhouse, Hereford – Saturday, 22 March 2014, 10pm

Linerunners @ The Victory, Hereford – Saturday, 22 March 2014

www.herefordlive.co.uk

Hereford Live New Year showcase: gig review

Hereford Live have one mission: ‘to put Hereford on the live music map’. And since their launch night back in September they’ve been doing a good job of it. Their latest gig was the New Year showcase of local talent at the Jailhouse. The format was great with bands playing alternately between the main stage and the bar giving a constant flow of music from a wide variety of genres.

Unfortunately we turned up too late to see The Stoned Cherries, Cass Wortmann or Troy Redfern but for arguments sake I’m sure some people loved them and some people begged to differ!

The first act we saw was Natalie Holman. She was playing on the second stage next to the bar which was good for us as they had Wobbly Welder on tap. Playing solo and singing her own songs, Natalie had to contend with the music clearly audible from the main room and, bizarrely, an animated horror film that was showing on the screen behind her. I’m not a huge fan of acoustic love songs but when they are clearly heart-felt you can’t help but get drawn in. Her entourage of family and friends certainly enjoyed it.

On the main stage after the love song/horror film combo was Hindbrain. What a fucking treat! Their genre has yet to be named but drum and bass/experimental rock/noise/mayhem may go some way to explain this experience. This instrumentalist duo from Ledbury comprise a drummer who can hold some seriously addictive beats and a bassist who uses effects peddles to commit a sort of musical GBH. I can’t wait to see them again. Brilliant.

Back in the bar the credits had rolled on the film so the Castle Street Quartet were left to play their brand of wedding music jazz. Not really something I’d stand and listen to, although that are clearly talented and enjoy what they are playing.

The Monte Dons were next up in the main room. A bunch of talented multi-instrumentalist musicians, but I’m just not into Americana country type stuff. Some of their songs did conjure up visions of driving along wide expansive highways, but that might just have been the Wobbly Welder mixing with the mushrooms I necked before we went in! Profound statement of the night went to their vocalist who told us “hug and kiss everyone you meet as they will someday die”. I’m going to steal that one.

The next band in the bar, Slippery Slope, are a proper festival band. They would happily grace any little marquee tucked away in a field somewhere with a lovely mixture of fiddle, guitar and accordion topped off with a steel drum. Check them out.

Apologies to Jake of Diamonds and Point Zero but due to parental responsibilities Artstar were the last band I saw. And what a band to finish on. Amazing vocals, six-string fretless bass (clever bastard), awesome guitar riffs and pounding drums. Great rock music played well, always a winner. Another band I will be looking forward to seeing again soon.

Artstar

A special mention must be given to the compère for the night, Hereford Live’s Ivor Porkbelly, whose enthusiasm for local music is matched only by his enthusiasm for Wobbly Welder. Nice one, Ivor.

To catch up with what live music is going on in Hereford click here

Luther Blissett

Festive live music, a review

You’d have to be living under a stone not to notice the increasing prevalence and quality of live music in Hereford. Thanks to individual promoters and those committed people over at Hereford Live things are really on the up in the ‘shire, where live music is concerned.

And so it was that over the festive period I went forth and sampled what Hereford had to offer.

First up was the Christmas Punk Party at the Jailhouse. Unfortunately we turned up too late to see Ross-on-Wye’s Stunted Growth but by all reports they pissed off straight after their set – bit rude, fellas. The crowd was thin on the ground that night but to be fair it was a bloody freezing Wednesday night. The Delinquents were the first of the bands we saw. A Hereford three-piece, who played some quality tunes once they got past their self-deprecating intro. Their EP ‘Nuclear Generation‘ is well worth a listen especially ‘When You Fall’. The headline act for the evening was Abysmal who played a thoroughly entertaining mix of punk covers. Bloody great to hear the Sex Pistols ‘Animal’ done with such passion. Nice one fellas.

 

 

Next up was the Wild Hare Club at Lyde Court. The Wild Hare have been going for a few years now, putting on one-off gigs with a rather eclectic choice of music. Not always my cup of tea but on this occasion they put on a blinder. The band was The Urban Voodoo Machine from London and the dress code was red and black, which made us happy being the colours of the anarchist flag. The Voodoo Machine were amazing, a real knees up cabaret bunch of entertainers. They were followed by a burlesque dancer, which seemed a little pointless to me, but each to their own. The venue, made famous by a wedding brawl earlier this year, is a great place to party. A big old barn with nooks and crannies that make it warm and comfortable. Well worth a visit.

 

 

My final festive piss-up was XSLF at the Starlite Room. Those lovely people at Nightlite Promotions were kind enough to let us have a Heckler stall, which was great. A smart venue with reasonably priced local ales and cider, and a great room for the gig, although the lighting could have been dimmed when the bands were on. The first band was 36 Strategies who battled through dodgy sound to play a solid set. They were followed by Walter and The Softees who got the crowd going with some old punk covers. The headline act of ex-Stiff Little Fingers members, XSLF, were well worth the entrance fee. Full of humour, stories and jump up punk tunes. They got the crowd moshing more than I’ve seen in Hereford for a long while.

 

 

To keep up with what’s going on in Hereford’s live music scene click here.

Big respect to Ivor at Hereford Live, Rich from Abysmal, Richard from Wild Hare and Paul from Nightlite Productions.

Luther Blissett

‘Future Glastonbury stars’ to play city nightclub

By The RiversFresh from supporting Jamie Cullum, Leicestershire band By The Rivers will tonight be headlining at the Jailhouse as part of their national tour, presented by reggae, dub and dancehall promoter, Raggamuffin.

The six-piece band have gained popularity having supported The Specials in 2011, as well as sharing a stage with Fun Lovin’ Criminals, John Holt, Maxi Priest and Madness. Their alternative/pop/reggae sound and lively stage presence has seen them named as one of the BBC and Glastonbury festival’s future stars of the Pyramid stage, alongside Bastille, Jessie Ware, The Strypes and The Foals.

Having been well received at Herefordshire’s Nozstock festival, local music fans will surely be excited at the prospect of catching the band in the more intimate setting at the Jailhouse, a sentiment shared by the band.

“We’re really looking forward to playing in Hereford,” said Nile Barrow (aka Lionel), who is the co-founder of the band. “We’ve got a great set planned, with some fantastic support too. We’ve heard great things about the Jailhouse and we’re all very excited.”

Top DJ Dub Boy, who’s also played across the country and at a number of festivals, will also be playing alongside MC Tenja, as well as Ragamuffin favourites Chris M, Larsey and Congo Catty.