Although August was a relatively quiet month, on a balmy summer evening, we were treated to the fantastic lineup of YES SIR BOSS, DISRAELI AND THE SMALL GODS and MOLOTOV JUKEBOX at Spiegeltent at London’s Southbank Centre. We’d been tracking Molotov for some time and fell in love with their brilliantly fiery live shows as well as the sparkling charisma and talents of lead singer Natalia Tena (of “Game of Thrones” TV series, “Harry Potter” movie series).
One of the more unusual moments of the year was the unique performance by London-based Japanese punk band BO NINGEN at Manchester’s Salutation Hotel, as part of the AND (Abandon Normal Devices) Festival. Holed up in a tiny box-room with a couple of speakers, drumkit and guitars, the hirsute four-piece band that is Taigen, Kohei, Yuki and Monchan played to however many people were able to squash into the room with them, with London duo BLUE ON BLUE bunking up in the en-suite toilet/shower-room next door, DJing the event.
September was a big month with our FREE PUSSY RIOT LONDON FUNDRAISING CONCERT. Just when we thought it couldn’t get more intense, I arrived at the PATTI SMITH show at Manchester Academy, just two days before our concert. I couldn’t think of a more appropriate performer to give her “blessing” to the event. Amidst the continuous flow of incredible music and words from Patti, she talked about Pussy Riot and other injustices across the globe, and I met her backstage to receive a handwritten message for the jailed Russian band members: “I love you — Patti Smith.”
Our FREE PUSSY RIOT LONDON CONCERT on 9 September at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen was a hit with hundreds of visitors from all over London and beyond who joined us in celebrating freedom of art and expression. Local bands gave up their day to perform live and DJ, including SKINNY GIRL DIET, NEUROTIC MASS MOVEMENT, GAGGLE, PEGGY SUE, ZOETROPE, VUVUVULTURES, NIGHT WORKS, NOVELLA, ESBEN AND THE WITCH, NEW YOUNG PONY CLUB, and special guest Swedish musician KARIN PARK. Speakers Kerry McCarthy (Labour MP for Bristol East, Shadow Minister for Human Rights) and filmmakers Pratibha Parmar (shortly due to premiere her new feature documentary “Alice Walker – Beauty in Truth”) and Lisa Gornick joined us, together with a massive team of volunteers, making the event an unforgettable day of music, culture and politics. The next day at the same venue, KARIN PARK performed live and got the Hoxton crowds bopping away. With her androgynous statuesque image, beautiful vocals (“Bending Albert’s Law” is stunning) and unusual lyrics, we have a soft spot for Karin and brother David.
We had a cross-city double electro night with Juno Award-winner Canadian electropop musician LIGHTS at London’s Islington Academy, while the Manchester team enjoyed Brooklyn’s edgy electro duo TELEPATHE. LIGHTS aka Valerie Anne Poxleitner’s new album “Siberia” is a fun album exhibiting different styles including dubstep and hip-hop. TELEPATHE‘s Busy Gangnes and Melissa Livaudis brought it at Manchester’s Soup Kitchen basement, winning them a lot of new fans with their cool Brooklyn vibes and synth sounds to match the soul of Manchester’s trendy Northern Quarter.