Music: They're all out of All Saints

Industry bigwigs may have cold-shouldered Sound City but it was a triumph for the indies

"MAKE SOME noise, we're going on air for our last couple of songs." It's a request that became all too familiar during last weeks Radio One Sound City event broadcast from Newcastle. A plea from band to audience to turn the broadcast into the wildest party the listeners had ever tuned into.

Thus an apathetic Bluetones, an over-pompous Gene and a disappointingly clumsy Gomez - to name but a few - were all saved by the Pavlovian magic of the on-air red light; lacklustre sets alchemised into 15 minutes of shining performance by the promise of being blasted out of the nation's trannies, courtesy of the nation's favourite of course.

Not that the thousands of locals who attended the week of gigs, seminars and workshops needed any such prompting. As a region that is notorious for its hedonistic love of going out, it should have come as little surprise that Sound City was greeted with an unprecedented wave of enthusiasm, passion and energy.

Indeed it was these very qualities that marked out the independent, unsigned and unknown from the major industry players. A divide that was typified by the tone of the seminars. Where discussions based around the independent sector were underpinned by a sense of self-belief and positivity, the major industry people remained obsessed by the recession that has hit the music world this year.

Nowhere was this division more obvious than at the multitude of showcase gigs in the city's pubs and bars. For local bands, Sound City promised a flood of A&R people, promoters, managers and journalists. Walk into any of the many live music bars in Newcastle over the course of the week and you could find bands playing as if their careers depended on it.

However, the promised industry types were disappointingly thin on the ground. A direct result of the proliferation of similar events which have emerged in recent years, says Olivier Bahzadi, international A&R manager with Columbia Records. "Too many events have diluted the standard of bands. Sadly the industry starts to frenzy at these events and subsequently too many average bands get signed. This is what has happened over the last couple of years with everyone searching for the next big thing. The fact is, if they're at an event like this, the chances are they won't be noticed by the major industry who have a definite agenda."

In the current climate of downsizing, signing unknown guitar bands is certainly not riding high on their agenda. Expenses have been cut, jobs lost and - with the exception of pop - record labels are dropping bands with alarming regularity. As a result, last year's quest may have been for a new Oasis, but this year to be on the cheque book hit list you have to be the all new All Saints. And you'd be hard pushed to find them treading the boards of any pub in any city, let alone here, on the Toon.

Despite this Sound City was witness to a series of superb gigs. Fatboy Slim offered a frenzied set of big beat and northern soul to a crammed crowd at Northumbria University, none of whom needing any prompting. Faithless delivered their chemical soul to rapturous applause at The Riverside while Mary Anne Hobbs's Breezeblock Session played host to an astonishing display of guitar montage and sudden impact crescendos from Glaswegian Mogwai.

With Six by Seven, The Freestylers and local boys Solavox also raising the temperature a few degrees, the overall impression was that despite the so-called industry slump, creatively things are extremely healthy.

Sound City '98 may well be remembered as a recession session that the majors forgot to attend, but it could also be considered the event where the indies once again reigned supreme. The message being sent out to the unsigned bands being: forget trying to get signed, embrace the do-it- yourself ethos that fired both punk and acid house and form your own labels. If you are a part of the next significant street-level sub-culture, A&R men, managers, journalists and even Radio One are sure to follow.

Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift won Best International Solo Female (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith arrives at the Brit Awards (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn's beheading in BBC Two's Wolf Hall

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Follow every rainbow: Julie Andrews in 'The Sound of Music'
film Elizabeth Von Trapp reveals why the musical is so timeless
Arts and Entertainment
Margot Robbie rose to fame starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street

Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days

Arts and Entertainment
Right note: Sam Haywood with Simon Usborne page turning
musicSimon Usborne discovers it is under threat from the accursed iPad
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
A life-size sculpture by Nick Reynolds depicting singer Pete Doherty on a crucifix hangs in St Marylebone church
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Escalating tension: Tang Wei and Chris Hemsworth in ‘Blackhat’
filmReview: Chris Hemsworth stars as a convicted hacker in Blackhat
Arts and Entertainment

Oscar voter speaks out

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars race for Best Picture will be the battle between Boyhood and Birdman

Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy), Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance)
tvReview: Wolf Hall
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Meighan of Kasabian collects the Best Album Award
Arts and Entertainment
Best supporting stylist: the late L’Wren Scott dressed Nicole Kidman in 1997
Arts and Entertainment
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey


Arts and Entertainment
Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) and Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor)
tv occurred in the crucial final scene
Arts and Entertainment
Glasgow wanted to demolish its Red Road flats last year
Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Gravelle on trial for Danny Latimer's murder as Joe Miller in Broadchurch series two

Review: Broadchurch episode 7

Arts and Entertainment
Barry Norman has predicted a Best Actor win for Michael Keaton at this Sunday's awards

Arts and Entertainment
The right stuff: 'Ukip: the First 100 Days'

Review: UKIP: The First 100 Days TV
Arts and Entertainment
Anastasia Steele with Christian Grey in his offices in Fifty Shades of Grey

Arts and Entertainment
Class act: Julia McKenzie and Keeley Hawes in 'The Casual Vacancy'

JK Rowling's story is a far better drama than it is a book

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Channel 4's Indian Summers

Arts and Entertainment
The BBC's version of 'The Crimson Petal and the White'


Arts and Entertainment
We will remember them: 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' at the Tower of London

Art Police investigate abuse sent to Paul Cummins over Tower of London installation

Arts and Entertainment
Nicole Kidman was named worst actress for her performance as Grace Kelly in Grace of Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing in The Imitation Game; the film’s producer, Harvey Weinstein, said the UK government ought to honour its subject
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower