The Soundbooth Sessios: Live Review

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Eight bands. Three stages. One night. On Friday, November 2, LA1:TV took on the ambitious project of creating a free concert for Lancaster students in the Great Hall. For students who could not make it in person, LA1:TV also streamed the event live to watch on the campus network. Creating an event this large was a first for the station, but station manager Josh Dean felt it was an important event to organise.

‘I think that from a media and TV perspective, it gives us a real chance to experience the frantic and high pressure atmosphere of putting on a live show of this scale and it really helps us learn a lot more about what we need to put into a production like this, both in terms of preparation and on the night itself. Needless to say, it also helps massively in introducing people to what LA1:TV is capable of doing, and helps unify the team we needed to pull the show off’, he says.

The format involved LA1:TV presenters introducing the musicians and either interviewing them before or after they performed. Three sets were organised in various sections of the room and the audience was able to sit or stand in the middle of the venue. The multi-stage set-up made for a very quick and simple transition from one act to the other and there was never a dull moment throughout the night. ‘Our presenters, Lois Swinnerton, Emily-Jayne Nicholls, and Angus Wakefield had limited or no live TV experience before this and they stepped up to the challenge and performed brilliantly. The crew worked their absolute socks off over two days and the technical team, from camera operators to sound technicians, made the event something that, as a student TV station, we’re all incredibly proud of!’ commented Dean.

The eight music acts that performed covered a variety of genres, from acoustic to punk to ‘tongue-in-cheek’ indie. Many were students or alumni of Lancaster University. ‘Our main aim for acts was that they had some sort of connection to the University or Lancaster, as we wanted to ensure we had as much variety in terms of musical style as possible without limiting ourselves to “just students”’, says Dean. ‘Many of the bands had previously played at Extravs and other events, so we felt would fit into what we were trying to achieve with the show – something that was accessible to many different tastes of music’.

The Fables, an acoustic female four-piece, opened the night. They shared to the presenters that they formed during their first year at Lancaster University. Together they exhibited excellent harmony and performed a wide range of covers from Queen, Rihanna, Kanye West, and Stevie Nicks, including one original song. Band member Hannah Mook was very satisfied with the end result of the night. ‘The night was a brilliant experience for us as a band, it felt very professional and since three out of four of us are no longer students, its still great to be involved with the Uni and these kind of projects’, she says.

The Fables were followed up by ‘indie-grunge’ band Cry Baby Aeroplanes. The four-piece recently played in Germany and were loud, aggressive, and punk-influenced. Another four-piece, Day.Week.Repeat., were similar to Cry Baby Aeroplanes in their loudness and dedication to a hard rock sound. ‘Most of our songs are influenced by women’, shared Day.Week.Repeat.

Illusion of Innocence also followed in the similar vein of music with their self-described punk sound; the five-piece are students of Lancaster University. The skinny-jean wearing band displayed remarkable stage presence and seemed to be having a great time on stage, guitars blazing and all. They covered the Paramore song ‘Ignorance’, but I think their cover of The Ramones ‘Pick up the Pieces’ suited them much better. ‘It was great to have the opportunity to perform at the Soundbooth Sessions and to play on the same stage as bands such as Thin Lizzy, Queen and Pink Floyd have performed on in the past!’ member Jonathan Doyle said. ‘Also, the entire show being streamed online live meant that family and friends away from Lancaster could also get involved. I really hope it will happen again. We had quality time and are glad we had the chance to play’.

Yellowbird proved to be the most eclectic band of the night, with their self-described ‘tongue-in-cheek indie-folk face melters’ genre. ‘We don’t take ourselves too seriously’, announced singer Matt Hayes. He and co-member Jack Fleming attend Lancaster University and performed for Bailrigg FM’s Live Lounge the prior week. Their songs were fun, with catchy riffs and lyrics, and Hayes’ voice was reminiscent of Rise Against! singer Tim McIlrath.

Room6 had more of a pop-rock sound, and are influenced by one of my favorite bands, southern-rock group Black Stone Cherry, along with the Foo Fighters. They recently performed at the legendary Cavern Club, most recognized for introducing The Beatles to the world. Singer songwriters Rob Davies and Katy Pickles both provided a relaxed acoustic vibe to their sets. Davies, who hails from Manchester and has played at Pendle Live, remarked that songs ‘must have honesty and meaning’.

The only disappointing thing about the night was the lack of audience members. It is a shame that so many people missed out on watching some really talented acts mere steps away from their rooms. ‘I think our aim for a future Soundbooth would be to get a bigger live audience in. We didn’t make as significant of a publicity push as we could’ve done, but that was partly because we were diving into the unknown. Now we know what we are capable of doing, we have a springboard to convince people that it’s a night not to be missed!’ says Dean. Adds Mook, ‘I think LA1:TV can afford to do more nights like this, and with a bit of extra publicity, get bigger crowds in to experience the fun’.

For those interested in watching the performances, LA1:TV announced on their Facebook page: ‘We’re aiming to put the full show online early this week, and then throughout the week, we’ll be uploading individual sets for each act in the order they performed in. These will be available on our website (la1tv.co.uk), on our YouTube channel – http://www.youtube.com/user/LA1TVLancs and on our Facebook page – facebook.com/la1tv’.

Overall, attendees, artists, and LA1:TV enjoyed the outcome of the night. ‘I thought the night went brilliantly from the perspective that everything we had planned worked and worked as well as we could have hoped for. The acts that we got were all amazing to work with and have been really supportive of what we were trying to do’, Dean notes. Hayes really appreciated the time and effort LA1:TV put into the event. ‘I’d just like to say that it was a great idea well executed. It’s good exposure for new bands, and it’s a great way of getting a good live recording for YouTube. If LA1:TV decide to try the event again, Yellow Bird would love to be part of it’, he adds.

There is no word yet on whether Soundstage will occur again anytime soon, but Dean believes Soundstage has set the stage for future similar events on Lancaster University’s campus. ‘Having eight acts in one night on campus in one location is something completely unprecedented and I think it’s those kind of opportunities that inspire people to do bigger and better things with the facilities that we are lucky to have at Lancaster’.

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