Category Archives: Live Music

A PowerSolo live show is like no other gig you’ve ever seen.

At times it feels more like you’ve stumbled on a situationist comedy performance at the Edinburgh Fringe, with music breaking out only sporadically.

Eccentric frontman Kim Kix is mingling happily with the audience just before they’re about to go on stage.

The band gurn and clown around hilariously, quaffing from bottles of hot sauce and staging so many false endings that it’s hard to know when one song has finished and the next one has started.

But boy, can these guys play. Eschewing the bass player you might expect for this type of three-piece, they conjure a supercharged rockabilly maelstrom from just two guitars and Mike Sullivan’s jackhammer drumming.

Charlie Shapiro can also play some mean guitar – which is just as well, seeing as Kim frequently slings his own over his back to indulge in yet more audience banter. At one point ,Kim comes down into the crowd but then feigns that he can’t drag himself back onto the stage. “Grab his leg someone and help him up!” urges Charlie, enjoying the fun.

PowerSolo are an extraordinary experience – it’s just a shame that the Brudenell community room wasn’t packed to the rafters for one of the most insane Monday evenings you’re ever like to have.

Simon Ashberry


Best of the #BCBsessions – Eclectic Mainline 23rd April 2014

During my 10 years presenting Eclectic Mainline on BCB I had the pleasure of recording live (largely) acoustic sessions with some wonderful artists.  As I am giving up the programme, I wanted to re-broadcast some of my favourite session tracks before leaving.

BCB sessions

So, this week I played some (but by no means all) of my favourite session tracks. You can hear the full programme (plus a bonus track taking the show past the hour mark) on my Mixcloud page:

My method of recording a live session evolved over time until I ended up with a process that got the best out of the available resources.  The microphones at BCB are only really suited for speech broadcasting, and the studios are not equipped for multitrack recording. But I managed to work round these restrictions.  The microphones issue was easy to overcome, as I would borrow some from Wilful Missing.

I was restriced to recording in stereo, but I would hard pan the inputs, recording the lead vocal in the left channel, and all other instruments in the right channel.  This effectively created a 2-track recording that I could later mix to ensure a good level on the lead vocal.  But I needed to get a good live mix of all the instruments, and this wasn’t always easy because I was in the same room as the musicians.  I couldn’t monitor what was being recorded without also hearing the ambient noise of the musicians in the room. Continue reading

The Return Of The King(s), Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster, Manchester Club Academy 29/10/12.

I bloody love these guys.  When I first heard their debut Horse Of The Dog on it’s release 10 years ago, *feels old*,  I could NOT stop listening to it.  Clocking in at just over 25 minutes it grabs you by the scruff of the neck, screams in your face and lacerates you with Cramps/Birthday Party-style guitars that momentarily made me think I should perhaps listen to a nice safe band like Travis……but that didn’t last.

Fast-forward 10 years, only two more albums, an almost Spinal Tap-esque rotation of guitarists and the re-release of their single ‘Chicken’ (which was used in a recent Nike advert) and suddenly all feels right in the world.  Re-forming after splitting up in March 2010 with ALMOST the original lineup, (no Tom on drums?) there’s a real sense of excitement in the academy tonight. Andy Huxley who left in 2005 due to that old chestnut ‘musical differences’ is back on lead guitar and they sound EXACTLY as brilliant as they did back in the day, (during Huxley’s feedback-drowned solo on ‘Pyschosis Safari’ it sounded like the Kraken had been released).

Opening with the creepy ‘Freud’s Black Muck’ from 2005’s ‘The Royal Society’, it’s just a non-stop assault on the ears (in a good way you understand).  They only play songs from their first two albums, (leaving out 2010’s ‘Blood and Fire’) and a couple of b-sides but to be honest the omission of their last long player was no big loss bar a couple of decent tunes.  The crowd sang/screamed along to most of the words and there seemed to be a genuine feeling of relief to have ’em back.

And then there’s Guy.  Mr. Guy McKnight Mr. Mental himself.  What a bloody frontman, he never disappoints.  Sounding like Elvis being molested by Kurt (enduring image) with his forays into the crowd to scream lyrics into their ecstatic  faces you just can’t take your eyes off him……he won’t let you.  You just feel this is a band that gives you their all and the appreciation from the crowd is more than obvious.

So what happens now?  They play Camden’s Electric Ballroom on Halloween and then………..who knows.  HOPEFULLY another album, (please x10) but if not………well at least I’ve seen ’em tear the academy a new one.  Oh and I got a couple of cool t-shirts from the merch stall.

Here’s the setlist if you care

  1. Freud’s Black Muck
  2. Celebrate Your Mother
  3. Alex
  4. Whack Of Shit
  5. Chicken
  6. Torrential Abuse
  7. I Rejection
  8. Puppy Dog Snails
  9. Giant Bones
  10. Charge The Guns
  11. Team Meat
  12. Temple Music
  13. Morning Has Broken
  14. Rise Of The Eagles
  15. Psychosis Safari
  16. Fishfingers
  17. Presidential Wave
  18. The Way Of The Men Of The Stuff

The Mirrored Hammer

The second instalment of The Mirrored Hammer: Art, Culture and Social Change airs tonight on BCB 106.6FM at 9pm. Interviews with Dusty Rhodes talking about being a student in Bradford post ’68 and the/(a) history of The Bradford Festival. Also a chat with Nagbea (The Word/Sound Shack Records) talking about the birth of the Punk scene and resonances between African culture and the DIY music scene. Live bootlegs from Blood Sport, Guns or Knives, Jupiter and Okwess International, Jaipur Kawa Brass Band and Gerrard Bell-Fife.


You can listen to last month’s debut episode here:

Eclectic Mainline 5th September 2012 – Africa Express come to town

On Monday Bradford was treated to a visit by Africa Express, and it was truly amazing.    What they are doing, touring the country, and stopping off for pop-up performances along the way, is terrific.  Some of the musicians (I say ‘some’, for there are approximately 80 musicians involved in Africa Express) stopped in Bradford on Monday morning between their London and Middlesbrough dates.

Jupiter & Okwess International

Jupiter & Okwess International in City Park. Click for more photos.

I was lucky enough to be allowed a few hours off work to experience Jupiter & Okwess International in City Park, and to be able to cover it live for BCB. Elsewhere in the city, there were performances at Culture Fusion, the University of Bradford and BRI.  More about what happened is in this Wild West Yorkshire video:

I am so pleased that Africa Express have done this.  To be able to give so many people up and down the country chance to see and hear these talented musicians for free, and to give the musicians themselves the chance to visit places they otherwise might not have done, is utterly brilliant.  Oh, and although he wasn’t performing in Bradford, Amadou Bagayoko was among the party, and what an honour it was to be introduced to him as he reboarded the coach.

In any other week, seeing Midlake and Perfume Genius in Leeds would have been the highlight.  But, such was the nature of the Africa Express experience, that double gig at the Brudenell Social Club is merely a passing comment before I tell you what I played in tonight’s show.  As ever, if you wish to listen back to the show, you will find it on here.  Just look for the 8pm slot.  This is what I played: Continue reading

Rachel Sermanni, Wild Flag & Slow Club on The BCB Sessions!


On the show (Wed 15th Feb), we’ve got more treats than your average selection box – including a very lovely acoustic session from Rachel Sermanni!

Slow Club – The dog

Liz Green – Bad medicine

Breton – Interference

Rachel Sermanni (interview) and Breathe Easy (BCB Session) – played with Jesca Hoop at House Concerns in York. Check both out!

Timber Timbre – Black water

Those Darlins – Sirens get loose

Summer Camp – Losing my mind

Rachel Sermanni (BCB Session) – Song to a fox

Soap & Skin – Wonder

Wild Flag – Boom

Zulu Winter – We should be swimming

Waters – Take me out to the coast

Moody Gowns – Nelson skills

Rachel Sermanni (BCB Session) – The fog

If you’d like to come and do a session, send me a message: or tweet me @laurarawlings

Until next week – Wednesday night at 9pm.


p.s. if you miss the live show, listen again at



Calling artists, managers, labels…

Last but read on!

Want to find out how to go to SXSW (USA) or MIDEM (France) to showcase your music? Good news…SXSW and MIDEM briefing event is coming to west Yorkshire on Thursday (1st Sept).

It’s free to go but you need to register in advance – send your name, address, company / artist name, role and your email address to:

Guest speakers include Una Johnston (SXSW), Javier Lopez (MIDEM), Phil Patterson (UKT&I Music Industry Specialist), Pat Fulgoni (Timeless Music Project) and more.

Find out how to apply for international showcases  – more about the events and whether they are right for you – how to get there – how to make the most of your time at the events – find out about financial assistance and other support available.

Followed by networking and the opportunity to meet various music industry organisations including the BPI and AIM (Association of Independent Music).

All happening: Thursday 1st September, 6.00 pm at HIFI CLUB, 2 Central Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6DE.

Bingley Music Live on The BCB Sessions!

We’re continuing the summer of festival sounds on The BCB Sessions with a look ahead to Bingley Music Live (2-4th Sept, surprisingly enough – in Bingley)..if previous years are to go by this’ll be great.

Making the mix this week (31st August):

Wooden Shjips – Lazy bones

Fool’s Gold – Wild window

Steve Mason and Dennis Bovell – Lost and found

The Go! Team – T.O.R.N.A.D.O (Banging out tunes at this year’s Bingley Music Live – BML)

Gogol Bordello – Immigraniada (Bass nectar remix)

She Keeps Bees – Vulture

Washed Out – Eyes be closed (I’m addicted to this…)

CANT – Believe

Stereo MCs – Deep down and dirty (Sunday crowd pleasers at BML)

Stateless – I’m on fire (blue daisy flammable mix)

The Sunshine Underground – Put you in your place (currently working on a new album for release later this year – rolling out the favourite’s at BML)

Other Lives – Tamer animals

Austra – Spellwork

The BCB Sessions is live on Wednesday nights at 9pm on 106.6fm in Bradford and online at

If you can’t catch the show live then fear not – you can listen again at your leisure via BCB’s listen again service –

Looking ahead to the show on Wed 7th Sept, 9pm we’re showcasing some of the artists that you can catch at Saltaire Live Lounge (part of the Saltaire Festival, 10th Sept). It’s gonna be great – live, local acts playing in front rooms across Saltaire. As if you needed any encouragement to flock to Fanny Street…

Don’t forget you can get in touch if you’d like to do a session for m’show or if you’ve got tunes you’d like me to play:


Limetree special on The BCB Sessions!

We’re getting giddy about Limetree Festival on the show (9pm, 24th August) and to prove just how great the excitement is we’re rolling out top tunes from some of this year’s acts….feast your eyes (and ears via and 106.6fm in Bradford) on these babies:

This many boyfriends – Young lovers go pop! (fab Leeds indiepop to start the show…I wish every week could be like this)

Veronica Falls – Bad feeling

Thomas Truax – Midnight in August

M83 – Midnight city

Ariya Astrobeat Arkestra – Cross town traffic (Playing at Limetree)

Celtic Islam – Vision (Limetree talent)

Love Inks – Rock on

Planning to Rock – Going wrong

Glass Candy – Beatific (my minor indulgence this one…taking me back to 2am a few years ago, very happy at festival)

Fruit Bats – So long (best looking album of the week – beautiful thing)

Milk Maid – Dead wrong

Submotion Orchestra – Finest hour (Another Limetree lovely)

Mini Mansions – Monk

Zero 7 – Waiting line (great stuff – Limetree 2011)

Middleman – Chipping away (any excuse to play these bad boys – fellow Limetree-ers)

And on The BCB Sessions we’re continuing the festival love next week (Wed 31 Aug, 9pm) with songs from bands performing at Bingley Music Live:

There’s tons of live music to be had – the week after that (if you’re still with me! Wed 7 Sept, 9pm) we’re previewing Saltaire Live Lounge:

As ever, get in touch if you’re in a band and you’ve got music you’d like me to play…or if you’d like to record an acoustic session at BCB:

Until next week,


(listen live and again to any show broadcast on BCB – then click on listen again)

The BCB Sessions – Wednesday nights at 9pm online and on 106.6fm in Bradford

Feast of music at Myrtle

It’s nice to see Bingley Music Live continue to attract a strong line-up.
The three-day event has now established itself as a proper festival despite having no on-site camping at Myrtle Park.
On Bradford Beat we’re particularly excited about The Go! Team, Mystery Jets, Athlete, The Coral, Stereo MCs and The Sunshine Underground – all of whom we’re giving airplay on the show at the moment.
There are two local bands on the bill as well – State of Error from Queensbury and Kingheadlock, who we’re hoping to have as a studio guest on the show before BML takes place on September 2, 3 and 4