By Nwebo Niermann & Cristina Aragon
Well Soho was kinda empty with not much people traffic. Maybe a weather thing. Every once in a while a few sounds filtered out of the shops that suggested that these shops were part of the event. In some ally I found the event organisers, who could not really tell me who was playing when or where. I would have expected some more enthusiasm. I personally would not dare to shop and disregard the bands playing even for the 20% discount. From an artists point of view, it must have been quite unrewarding playing at these venues. As I asked why they had placed the Artists in such venues, the organisers said it was just a taster for the O2 performances. I found it not so cool that the Bands playing in the shops were less advertised than the brand shops. There was a cool band playing at Zebranos with good folky vibes but I have no idea what they were called. I thought them to be the Zebranos:-)).
The first band viewed were the Tin Soldiers. I thought they were quite good but being placed among a pile of clothes was rather distracting and on top of that, the band kept apologising that they were actually a rock band and normally did not sound like that. I am sure they are a great band under normal circumstances. The venue was just out of place. To sum it up, they did a good acoustic set with good energy and were on the point.
Conrad the Scoundrel
Again placed among clothes, here there was a bit of chaos.. Their ipod had a mind of its own and the presentation was very unprofessional. Again quite a bit of apologising. If they had not been so cute and probably embarrassed by themselves. they would have been fun and cool Hip hoppers . I was reminded of Kid & Play. Songs were actually quite catchy and I wondered why after about 20mins I could sing along. My Kid then commented that they were just repeating their songs. Let;s blame it on the ipod. There was potential though.
Now this band really went off! They probably sprayed some dancing dust in the air. No one stood still. This time the venue was clothesless and just the band was on focus upstairs. They were a highly contagious band oozing with fine reggae vibes. Writing more on this band might almost out me as a groupie or a fan. It was a great vibe with high energy and made the trip to Soho worth its while. This was the most professional band I had watched that day. Good fun.
The City Showcase was in principal a good idea but unfortunately in practice it didn’t do well.
If the idea was to give young musicians the opportunity to play for large audiences and to hopefully get the attention from people in the industry, then getting them to play in shops amongst people browsing was not the best option.
Most of the action took place at the Apple Store on Regent Street in the heart of uber-busy London. Although the area was semi sheltered from shoppers, it did not give the bands and/or solo artist the chance to be heard without any other distractions.
The ‘Feedback’ session on Saturday was a useful one for the aspiring musicians, giving them the chance to play a tune in front of a panel of industry experts and the attending audience. But again, the Apple Store location did not help them make the most out it.
The different locations gave the the festival- goers both a liberating and frustrating experience – having seen a few of bands in town to then realise that you had to go all the way to Greenwich for the rest of the performances was both a blessing and a curse.
Overall the experience was not as exciting and rewarding as one would have expected.
The acts were very varied and some of them quite good, but thanks to the background noise and mood of the surroundings , their uniqueness was lost in the environment.