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
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams' “Happy” was the most searched-for song lyric of 2014
musicThe power of song never greater, according to our internet searches
Arts and Entertainment
Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
books
Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy

tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special

tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Transformers: Age of Extinction was the most searched for movie in the UK in 2014

film
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Ronson has had two UK number two singles but never a number one...yet

music
Arts and Entertainment
Clara Amfo will take over from Jameela Jamil on 25 January

radio
Arts and Entertainment
This is New England: Ken Cheeseman, Ann Dowd, Frances McDormand and Richard Jenkins in Olive Kitteridge

The most magnificently miserable show on television in a long timeTV
Arts and Entertainment
Andrea Faustini looks triumphant after hearing he has not made it through to Sunday's live final

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

    The West needs more than a White Knight

    Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
    Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

    'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

    Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
    The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

    The stories that defined 2014

    From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
    Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

    Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

    Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
    Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

    Finally, a diet that works

    Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
    Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

    Say it with... lyrics

    The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
    Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

    The joys of 'thinkering'

    Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
    Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

    Monique Roffey interview

    The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
    Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

    Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

    Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
    DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

    Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

    It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
    Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

    How we met

    Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

    Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

    Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
    Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

    Who does your club need in the transfer window?

    Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
    The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015