Magee, Maria Day & The Michael John McGlone Band – The Icarus Club, Blackheath

The music industry is big business.  But for every headline act announced at another sell-out festival there is a dedicated individual running a small club introducing unsigned artists to real music-lovers.  One such individual is Phil Dearing who tirelessly showcases artists across several addresses in south-east London including Lewisham, Hither Green and Blackheath at The Icarus Club.

Last week I was fortunate enough to be invited along to the latest showcase held at the grandiose Blackheath Hall.  Among the artists that night were Magee, Maria Day and The Michael John McGlone Band.

Andrea Magee is a Belfast born singer-songwriter who has been gigging in small venues across the south-east accompanied by Gary Lucas on acoustic guitar & piano.  But tonight she debuted a five-piece band including two backing singers, percussionist, Gary on acoustic guitar & piano and Gary Barnacle on saxophone & flute. Barnacle has been a top session players for the past 30 years and has played with too many artists to mention, but The Ruts & The Clash spring to mind!

Magee showcased five of her own songs starting with ‘Beating Of A Drum’ with its Gaelic flavour with Andrea beating out a rhythm on the bodhrán – an Irish frame drum. With a full band, Magee’s music comes alive and her stage presence and lively, upbeat music had the audience shuffling in their sits. She is currently working in the studio on new material, forging a new path for her musical talents, but said her folk roots will always be close to her heart and be heard in her music.

Maria Day took to the stage armed only with an acoustic guitar and performed some of the most dark and hauntingly beautiful songs I have ever heard. Her soft, mesmerising guitar style and sound reminded me of Nick Drake; and she sings from her soul, expressing words with such intensity, meaning and emotion. Her voice is simply haunting and beautiful.  Her performance left me speechless.

The Michael John McGlone Band were last to perform at tonight’s Icarus Club showcase on a small makeshift stage. A five-piece alt folk band that included bass, guitar, mandolin and a young but very competent Michael John McGlone at the helm steering the ship through some well crafted, foot-stomping tunes with insightful lyrics from someone so young.

“Just gather up my family, And any friends I’ve made.
Drink a toast to my memory, then smash the bottle on my grave.
See, life’s been pretty good to me, more than I deserve.
So the least I can do is give my body back to the earth”

Fortunately The Michael John McGlone Band err away from any comparisons with the flat, shallow contemporary folk of Mumford & Sons et al by way of the true grit & spit of McGlone’s delivery, which is more akin to Jamie T and the spirit of Pogue Mahone.

Whether it be American, Irish or English, there is a current wave of interest in anything likened to folk music, and plenty of groups playing contemporary-spun folk music to choose from.  But like the punk/garage folk of Medway’s Singing Loins, The Michael John McGlone Band are spot on with a blend of dirty, grunge-infested garage that gives their folk songs an added spice and appeal.

I look forward to seeing all three of these artists again as much as I do supporting the hard work of Phil Dearing & The Icarus Club.


Indie Club Propaganda Australia Competition

Indie Club Propaganda Australia Competition
Indie Club Propaganda Australia Competition

Entrants asked, can you spread the Propaganda for the chance of a lifetime?

For those who love music, love clubbing and love socialising, the UK’s biggest indie club night are offering the chance to win a dream job – a 12 month paid role as the face and promoter of Propaganda at its home down under, The World Bar in Sydney starting on October 1st this year! Only professional partiers and those dedicated to filling dancefloors should apply.

This dream professional socialite and front-line party soldier job will not only give one lucky winner the chance to work with the fantastic team at Propaganda and The World Bar, they’ll also get to circumnavigate the globe courtesy of round-the-world flights, party at Australia’s best festivals and enjoy holiday packages to take in the sun, surf and snow of Australia and New Zealand.

Competition Prize package includes:

  • Round the world flights (London-Bangkok-Sydney-Auckland-LA-New York)
  • Full-time, 12 month position as a Propaganda Promoter at The World Bar Sydney
  • First two months accommodation in Sydney
  • $250 weekly hospitality schmoozing allowance at The World Bar Sydney
  • Surf trip to Byron Bay courtesy of Mojo Surf
  • Festival tickets for Future Music and Summadayze
  • Kiwi Experience trip around New Zealand
  • Queenstown holiday package courtesy of Mojo Snow

What a prize! This is a REAL full-time job offer and an amazing career opportunity at Propaganda Sydney for someone able to devise and execute clever, imaginative and sometimes elaborate promotional campaigns designed to entice clubbers through the door. To make sure they pick the right candidate for this dream job and chance of a lifetime, Propaganda is asking entrants aged between 18 and 30 to prove themselves and battle it out in four rounds:

Round 1: Who are yer?
Entrants are asked to film a video telling the judges about themself, where they’re from and why they love Propaganda. Video quality isn’t important, it can be filmed it on a mobile, what the Propaganda team cares about is the passion! Entries to be submitted via the Propaganda website by August 15th.

Round 2: The Big Free Promo
The lucky entrants through to Round 2 must film themselves promoting Propaganda in the most novel free way they can think of. Judges want to see creativity here and are looking for the most innovative ideas.

Round 3: Prove It
Entrants who’ve made it to Round 3 must demonstrate their promotional ability by getting the most people possible to their local Propaganda club night. It’s all about networking those contacts here!

Round 4: Face The Panel
The select candidates who have won over the Propaganda team so far by their party spirit, promotional flair and networking skills will be grilled by the Propaganda team on why they should be the winner of this dream job.

With British summertime passing by in a blur of wet weekends and an ailing economy casting shadows over most people’s career plans, Propaganda is offering one lucky individual the chance of a lifetime whether they’re fresh out of college or university, taking a gap year or just looking for a complete change in life. And it will be Australian summertime when they arrive! The opportunity also exists for ongoing sponsorship in Australia after a year for the right candidate.

For more information and entry submission visit the Propaganda website.


Sir Peter Blake and viral master Jon Morter join Save 100 Club Campaign

British artist Sir Peter Blake has joined the growing list of stars and celebrities to get behind the Save the 100 Club campaign that was launched by blues guitarist Stephen Dale Petit last month.

Blake has designed the cover for the special limited edition Souvenir Programme for the 1st December 100 Club Benefit night that will feature Petit along with musician friends Mick Taylor, Ronnie Wood and Chris Barber.

Sir Peter’s bold and striking signed design will adorn the cover of a limited edition souvenir programme to be sold at the 100 Club event which is being staged at the iconic venue this Wednesday night. The programme also features many hitherto unavailable historic photographs of the myriad legendary performers at the venue and is certain to become a ‘must have’ item for arts and music connoisseurs alike.

Stephen Dale Petit will release the benefit single Need Your Love So Bad (Save The 100 Club) on December 1st at the gig and there are high high expectations for the single as Jon Morter, the man behind the success of Rage Against The Machine last Christmas, has joined the 100 Club campaign.

Morter is the latest in a rapidly growing list of names who are uniting to pledge support for the club currently threatened by closure due to massive rate and rent increases.

Jon Morter regards this as an important a campaign as RATM’s and has a 100 Club Facebook Campaign Army of over 20,000 to call upon to buy the single in its first week of release. It could be the highest Blues single chart New Entry EVER!

Chart pundits are watching for an historic chart entry as ALL proceeds from Petit’s appropriately-named single “Need Your Love So Bad” (already garnering vital national airplay on BBC Radio 2) will go to the Club’s rescue fund.

The Blue Aeroplanes celebrate Bristol venue buy out with new single

The Blue Aeroplanes - China Brilliance Automotive

Bristol’s legendary rockers The Blue Aeroplanes release their new single China Brilliance Automotive to mark the buying out of the city’s music venue The Fleece, which has been returned to its former glory and will re-open on October 2nd with a special performance by the band.

The single is taken from The Blue Aeroplanes sessions for their brand new album Anti Gravity, their tenth studio album which is scheduled for release next year.

Frontman Gerard Langley, still invoking Lou Reed and Louis MacNeice in equal measure after two and a half decades at the controls of this most enduring of cult institutions, explains the single title and why his band would want to buy their own venue:

“China Brilliance Automotive was written gazing from a Los Angeles hotel room at a church that looked like a wedding cake with an 80-foot charity ribbon on the front, or maybe the side. It’s about being all things to one person or one thing to everybody. Neither is likely to succeed. Musically, it’s from the sessions for the forthcoming ‘Anti-Gravity’ album, but didn’t quite make the finished record due to its resemblance to the early Who drunkenly trying to imitate Santana. Which is great, obviously, but doesn’t sound like anything else on the album, hence its release as a spiffing stand-alone single.”

“The b-side is a psycho-traumatic rendition of inner conflict as might have been filmed in a spy-movie, and was recorded on a Sony Walkman cassette recorder. On a boat. With Katie Tomlinson (17) playing violin. Then we decided to buy a venue and became the owners of The Fleece (& Firkin for those with long memories) and restore it to its former glory. So we’re playing a celebratory gig at The Fleece on October 2nd at which this single will be made available for the first time. And if you can find us, we’ll sign it.”

Tickets for the grand reopening of The Fleece, St Thomas St, Bristol on October 2nd are available from:

The Playground presents 93 Feet East – a night of electro, alternative & indie music

The Playground presents a night of electro, alternative and indie music
The Playground presents a night of electro, alternative and indie music

The Playground presents a night of electronic, alternative and indie music @ 93 Feet East, east London on Saturday 31st July 2010.

Room 1:
La Shark
Pope Joan
Twelve Clay Feet

Room 2:
DJ Mason
Les Gillettes (Kitsune)

DJ Mason
DJ Mason is the stage name for Dutch music producer duo Iason Chronis and Coen Berrier.  After their track, Exceeder topping at number one on the UK Dance Chart in 2007 they have been touring the world and ripping-up the music scene with their Breakbeat-Electro stylings.

Les Gillettes
With a ‘raving’ alter-ego in place, the Swedish-born, London-based techno DJ Les Gillettes has come from the Indie Clubs of Helsinki all over the ‘Hip n Hot’ cities of Europe ready to grace the stage behind her decks with more of her Beastly beats and ‘Devil-dancing’ style that we know and love.

La Shark
Hailing from New Cross, South London the band-of-five consider their sound to be influenced from the music of the Bee Bop era, sort of ‘Plastic Pop’ with a bit of ‘..early 20th century pornography thrown in to add that spark..’ Whatever it is that appeals to you, you won’t be left disappointed.

“La Shark offer great beats, quirky lyrics, pretty harmonies, pandemonic circus-clown percussion and overall weirdness… makes for addictive listening.”  Time Out

Having only been together a year the New Wave/ Post Punk sound of this London-based foursome have already graced the stages of the Offset Festival and the Huw Stephens-curate Swn Festival, as well as recording live sessions for BBC Radio 1, BBC 6 Music and Radio Diesel.  “..Fiction hit the rhythmic, Post Punk nail on the head on so many levels.  Fact!”  Loud & Quiet

Pope Joan
Pope Joan have clearly established themselves as part of the new wave of exciting and experimental British art-pop, with a sound that has been described a being somewhere within the realms of Les Savy Fav and early-era XTC along with the sonic spectrum of TV on the Radio, which has already played along-side the likes of New Young Pony Club, Shy Child and Danananankroyd to name but a few. “A colourful explosion of post punk adorned, effects laden guitar lines, quirky synth noises, elasticated bass lines and creative drum patterns topped off with an undeniable pop sheen.” Artrocker

“Brighton boys Pope Joan are a fantastic and quirky proposition indeed.” 

Delpic vs. Death From Above or Hot Chip vs. Daft Punk?!  East London’s Joe Boyle and Richard Williams make-up this Electro-Indie two piece, having formed from a curiosity and interest in fusing Dance with Rock music and have created such clash of sounds that the only way to describe their music is by cross-comparison.

Twelve Clay Feet
The Cambridge-based foursome have already showcased their Indie-Rock stylings along-side the likes of the Editors, Hard Fi and The Little Flames, and after having toured the country on the Radio 1 backed Transit Tour and making it to the Final of The Music League 2010 competition, the stage is set in anticipation for their urgent, beautiful and soulful musings.

The Playground presents
93 Feet East
150 Brick Lane London E1 6QL
Saturday 31st July 2010

Time: 7pm – 1am
£5 advance £7 door
tickets from