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The Year In Review 2021

The Year In Review 2021

Full Pelt Music looks back on 2021 for our Year In Review

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2020 was a year that we all wish we could forget. Could 2021 be any better? Well, it started off just as the previous year ended; with the live music industry on its knees. Lockdown restrictions still ruled out any live in person shows, with even socially distanced shows initially outlawed.

Come late spring, things began to look up and a number of “test” events were planned. We were lucky enough to attend the Pilot Download Festival and the euphoria of being amongst fellow music fans in a field can’t truly be put into words. Things were looking up!

Live music would eventually make a full return but sadly as we write this The Year In Review 2021 feature, the sector is once again holding its breath waiting for the Government to take action. Alas, true normality may still be a long way off, but for a few months this year we got to feel alive again.

That alone elevates 2021 above 2020, but there is plenty more to unpack. We recently undertook our now annual countdown of our top albums of the year over on our social media. 2021 was a truly exceptional year in terms of album quality. Those musicians kept in lockdown last year certainly found their creativity and compiling a list of the top 50 albums of the year was highly competitive.

Read our Album of the Year 2021 feature

In our The Year In Review 2021 article, we will be revealing our end of year award winners. As with last year we will announce our Album of the Year, Single of the Year, Artist of the Year, Gig of the Year and Festival of the Year.

This year however we have an additional award to hand out. 2021 was a big year for Full Pelt Music, our first full year in existence. We’ve grown and we’ve enhanced our focus on new music. We launched initially our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist on Spotify through which we highlight the best up and coming artists.

We also launched not one but two Podcasts this year, including the accompanying ‘Discover’ New Music Podcast where we truly shine the spotlight on your new favourite acts. As such, this year we will also be awarding the ‘Discover’ New Artist of the Year award!

Before we get to those awards though, let’s run you through a few of our highlights this year. First of all, as mentioned we also launched The Full Pelt Music Podcast this year. Fittingly our inaugural guest was Frank Turner, the winner of both our Gig of the Year and Artist of the Year awards in our 2020 Year In Review.

Across the Podcasts this year we’ve had the pleasure to talk with Press To Meco, Beans On Toast, Miss Vincent, Planet Fatale, Mercutio, Light By The Sea, Freddie and the Fabs, The Damned Few, Project Renegade, Icarus and Smoke! Be sure to check out these conversations, and also to Subscribe on Youtube or wherever you listen to your Podcasts. After all, we will have plenty more for you to enjoy in 2022.

The Music Industry has seized on the opportunity to entertain this year both live and on record. We’ve reviewed 66 albums, 2 festivals and 27 gigs in 2021 as fans have been treated to incredible releases and some truly stunning live shows. Again, perhaps the enforced break has allowed creativity to breed innovation.

So with that in mind, let’s work through those award catagories!

Album of the Year

As we’ve already referenced, the pure quality of releases this year made compiling our Top 50 Album of the Year List very tricky. It was hard work but we did it, and you can read the full list here.

The quality is demonstrated best by last year’s winners IDLES only reaching a still respectable number 7. The winner however had to be ‘Blue Weekend’ from the incredible Wolf Alice who continue to go from strength to strength. After three stunning albums, there is no ceiling for this band and we can’t wait to catch songs from the album live in 2022.

Winner:

‘Blue Weekend’ by Wolf Alice

The Contenders:

‘Written & Directed’ by Black Honey, ‘Typhoons’ by Royal Blood, ‘Seize the Power’ by Yonaka and ‘Transmute’ by Press To MECO

Previous Winners:

2020 – ‘Ultra Mono’ by IDLES

Single of the Year

We move on now to our award for the Single or Song of the Year. This year has again seen us locked down for considerable amounts of time and many will have sought solace in Playlists such as our Spotify Hot List.

In selecting our track of the year we considered which songs we’ve come back to time and time again, which songs remain as fresh now as they did on first listen and what songs simply just resonate on a different level.

Our winner is an incredible track from the fantastic album ‘Transmute’ from Press To MECO. ‘A Test Of Our Resolve’ ticks all of the criteria and also sounds absolutely massive live.

Press To MECO – ‘A Test Of Our Resolve’
Winner:

‘A Test Of Our Resolve’ by Press To MECO

The Contenders:

‘My Town’ by Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, ‘Afterlife’ by Holding Absence, ‘Midnight’ by Creeper and ‘Haven’t Been Doing So Well’ by Frank Turner

Previous Winners:

2020 – ‘Obey’ by Bring Me The Horizon feat. Yungblud

Artist of the Year

Artist of the Year now and for this award we look for somebody who has had a huge, perhaps even career-defining year. Last year we gave the award to Frank Turner for his incredible work for the #SaveOurVenues campaign through his Independent Venue Love series.

This year our winners are a band that also dabbled with livestreams during that first lockdown. This year however has been a hugely important year for Biffy Clyro. A new album, ‘A Myth of the Happily Ever After’ came hot on the heels of last year’s ‘A Celebration of Endings’. It’s another quality album from a band that continue to deliver consistently great music.

The band also had a huge impact on the live music scene this year. Firstly, the band rode to the rescue by stepping in as late replacements for Queens of the Stone Age to once again headline Reading and Leeds Festivals.

Secondly, the band played huge outdoor shows in Cardiff, Glasgow and Margate to help signal the return of live music after around 16 months of lockdown. Highlights of both their Reading and Glasgow performances aired on the BBC.

Lastly, the band played a completely sold out and very intimate ‘Fingers Crossed’ Tour across the UK. Their shows this year giving fans an opportunity to witness songs from not one but two albums live for the first time.

Biffy Clyro – ‘A Hunger In Your Haunt / Unknown Male 01’
Winner:

Biffy Clyro

The Contenders:

Enter Shikari, Bring Me The Horizon, Creeper and Wolf Alice

Previous Winners:

2020 – Frank Turner

Festival of the Year

Festivals made a belated return from lockdown restrictions in late summer, although the majority of the usual seasons events were still cancelled. For our Festival of the Year however we can’t look anywhere other than the special event that laid the groundwork for all events to return, the Download Pilot Festival!

Back in June the Government test event was the first opportunity for music fans to camp in a field and rock out for three days. The camaraderie and atmosphere this situation created, combined with the uniquely intimate Download layout and line-up made for a once in a lifetime experience.

British bands took centre stage and delivered an incredible weekend of music; with bands and fans both desperate to experience live music again. Thanks to all involved we can hopefully experience a full fat Download Festival again this summer.

Read our review of the Download Pilot Festival!

Winner:

Download Pilot Festival

The Contenders:

Reading Festival and Lost Evenings

Previous Winners:

2020 – Wild Fields Festival

Gig of the Year

Last year’s winner of Gig of the Year was a socially distancing outdoor affair, this year however true live music returned! Picking a winner this year is difficult because the pent up frustration of lockdown on both musicians and fans vented fully across some amazing gigs.

We reviewed 27 of those shows this year and there were some very special moments amongst them. The winner however must go to Bring Me The Horizon who stormed the O2 Arena with You Me At Six and Nova Twins in tow.

The night was a massive middle finger to any remaining doubters and the band solidified themselves not just as arena fillers but as festival headline ready. Fitting therefore that they have recently been revealed as headliners for Reading & Leeds Festivals next year.

Read our review of Bring Me The Horizon live in London

Winner:

Bring Me The Horizon @ O2 Arena

The Contenders:

Creeper @ O2 Kentish Town Forum, Idlewild @ Electric Brixton, The Offspring @ Wembley Arena, Biffy Clyro @ O2 Kentish Town Forum, Vukovi @ Norwich Waterfront Studio and Royal Blood @ Norwich UEA

Previous Winners:

2020 – Frank Turner @ Nottingham Arboretum

‘Discover’ New Artist of the Year

Our final award is a new award for this year where we shift focus on to the future. Having launched our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist and Podcast this year we wanted to honour an act that we have featured and for whom the future is bright.

With their debut album ‘A Funeral For Youth’ cracking our top 20 for the year, Miss Vincent take the inaugural ‘Discover’ New Artist of the Year award!

Miss Vincent – ‘Rosaline’
Winner:

Miss Vincent

The Contenders:

Planet Fatale, Dead Nature and Thumper

So, it hasn’t been a usual year again, in fact at times it has been just as hard as 2020. 2021 has however reminded us of what we were missing. Stunning new music, incredible live shows and a return to some normality (nobody say ‘new’ normal!), make 2021 a year that will live long in the memory for many reasons.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our The Year in Review 2021 feature and we wish you a very Happy New Year. Here’s hoping 2022 is a good one!

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Album of the Year 2021

Album of the Year 2021

We countdown our Top 50 Albums of 2021

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2021 has been another tough year to live through. There have been some signs of normal life, for example the return of live music, but we end it as we started with true normality a distant memory.

This year has however been a stunning year for new music releases. Yes, lockdown musicians and the odds are their creativity will take over. In Full Pelt Music’s first full year of existence we have reviewed 65 albums and the quality of those releases has been exceptional.

Last year we counted down our Top 20 albums of the year, with a special Advent Calendar countdown on our Twitter. This year we have expanded! Our 2021 countdown has taken place across all our social platforms, and has listed our Top 50 albums of the year!

With that social media countdown completed, it’s now time to compile our completed Top 50 in one place. So let’s get started!

Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“there are stunning moments spread throughout the album”

Read our review of ‘Lo! Soul’

Check out:
Roddy Woomble – ‘Architecture in LA’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“there are plenty of songs on this album that rate amongst the best that the band has produced”

Read our review of ‘Waiting For Good Luck’

Check out:
The Treatment – ‘Rat Race’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“Garbage are an incredible musical force”

Read our review of ‘No Gods No Masters’

Check out:
Garbage – ‘No Gods No Masters’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“we have thrashing guitars, thumping drums, bizarre lyrics and plenty of bells and whistles to emphasise his brilliantly quirky musicianship”

Read our review of ‘The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy’

Check out:
Rob Zombie – ‘The Triumph of King Freak (A Crypt of Preservation and Superstition)’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“was anybody craving a new album from The Offspring in 2021? Perhaps not, but actually in this messed up world we live in, maybe, just maybe, we needed it!”

Read our review of ‘Let The Bad Times Roll’

Check out:
The Offspring – ‘Let The Bad Times Roll’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“this is an artist pouring all of their self into their creation and discovering magic”

Read our review of ‘Watch Me Break Apart’

Check out:
Dead Nature – ‘Watch Me Break Apart’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“this record manages to encapsulate the sound that the band has nurtured over the past few years both on record and in the live setting”

Read our review of ‘How to Ruin Your Life’

Check out:
Paris Youth Foundation – ‘The Back Seat’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“remind you how gloriously heavy yet anthemic the band can get”

Read our review of ‘The Bitter Truth’

Check out:
Evanescence – ‘Use My Voice’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“it won’t take long for people to stop and take notice of this great young band”

Read our review of ‘Fractured Party Music’

Check out:
Pet Needs – ‘Toothpaste’
What we said:

“this is Volbeat at their very best”

Read our review of ‘Servant of the Mind’

Check out:
Volbeat – ‘Shotgun Blues’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“vitality shouldn’t be mistaken for relevance and whilst the band may have peaked commercially, they remain of utmost importance to a generation of music fans”

Check out:
Rise Against – ‘Nowhere Generation’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“anybody that had any doubts about the natural talents of this group of musicians, they should now acknowledge a new force”

Read our review ‘The Battle at Garden’s Gate’

Check out:
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“over the top, outlandish, brash and most of all fun, the album not only lives up to but surpasses all expectations”

Read our review of ‘Van Weezer’

Check out:
Van Weezer – ‘Hero’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“quality continues to run throughout the entire record and there is very little ease on the throttle”

Read our review of ‘Below’

Check out:
Beartooth – ‘Skin’
What we said:

“another very good release from a band overdue commercial success”

Read our review of ‘Into the Blue’

Check out:
The Joy Formidable – ‘Into the Blue’
What we said:

“a middle finger up at the haters”

Read our review of ‘Still Sucks’

Check out:
Limp Bizkit – ‘Dad Vibes’
What we said:

“a delicate masterpiece from a songwriter of the highest level”

Read our review of ‘The Hole Around My Head’

Check out:
Will Varley – ‘Pushing Against Us’
What we said:

“an enjoyable listen and the band clearly still has something to say”

Read our review of ‘The Ultra Vivid Lament’

Check out:
Manic Street Preachers – ‘The Secret He Had Missed’
What we said:

“up there with the best that Beans On Toast has released”

Read our review of ‘Survival of the Friendliest’

Check out:
Beans On Toast – ‘Humans’
What we said:

“it really is time to stop being surprised by the quality in this band”

Read our review of ’21st Century Love Songs’

Check out:
The Wildhearts – ‘Remember These Days’
What we said:

“the extravagance of the band is what makes them great and thankfully their 7th studio album has it in abundance”

Read our review of ‘Motorheart’

Check out:
The Darkness – ‘Jussy’s Girl’
What we said:

“for their tenth album the band has set out to create their masterpiece”

Read our review of ‘Coral Island’

Check out:
The Coral – ‘Change Your Mind’
What we said:

“a strong debut album that lays the foundations of what will likely be a long and successful career”

Read our review of ‘W.L.’

Check out:
The Snuts – ‘Glasgow’
What we said:

“this is a stunning pop rock album”

Check out:
Pale Waves – ‘Fall to Pieces’
What we said:

“the album is laced with quality and shows the ease with which AFI are able to produce catchy songs”

Read our review of ‘Bodies’

Check out:
AFI – ‘Dulceria’
What we said:

“Iron Maiden doing exactly what you’d expect Iron Maiden to do”

Read our review of ‘Senjutsu’

Check out:
Iron Maiden – ‘Senjutsu’
What we said:

“this is very much Numan at the top of his game

Read our review of ‘Intruder’

Check Out:
Gary Numan – ‘Intruder’
What we said:

“the signature of a band comfortable in their skin”

Read our review of ‘Pressure Machine’

Check out:
The Killers – ‘Quiet Town’
What we said:

“the very thing that identifies their sound is their lack of boundaries, their quirkiness and willingness to experiment”

Read our review of ‘The Myth of the Happily Ever After’

Check out:
Biffy Clyro – ‘A Hunger In Your Haunt’
What we said:

“well crafted and superbly delivered album that is well worth your time and attention”

Read our review of ‘A Matter of Life & Love’

Check out:
Skinny Lister – ‘Damn The Amsterdam’

The quality of this year’s releases has been truly phenomenal as our opening 30 albums attests. The competition is extremely tight for the coveted top spot and that is clear throughout the prestigious Top 20 that follows.

What we said:

“a sublime collection of upbeat, heartfelt and powerful songs that is bound to be stuck on repeat for the foreseeable future”

Read our review of ‘A Funeral For Youth’

Check out:
Miss Vincent – ‘Rosalie’
What we said:

“The Pretty Reckless have solidified themselves in the upper echelons of Hard Rock”

Read our review of ‘Death by Rock and Roll’

Check out:
The Pretty Reckless – ‘Only Love Can Save Me’
What we said:

“you are fully absorbed by the mix of heavy hooks and catchy sing-a-long pop vocals”

Read our review of ‘Dark & Beautiful Secrets’

Check out:
Normandie – ‘Hostage’
What we said:

“Trash Boat have delivered their best work yet and they appear ready to lead the charge for British rock”

Read our review of ‘Don’t You Feel Amazing?’

Check out:
Trash Boat – ‘He’s So Good’
What we said:

“there are moments of grandeur that harness the bands expansive sound spread throughout”

Read our review of ‘The Greatest Mistake of My Life’

Check out:
Holding Absence – ‘Afterlife’
What we said:

“the album attacks your senses and gets your feet stomping and your head banging”

Read our review of ‘When Life Was Hard And Fast’

Check out:
Ricky Warwick – ‘When Life Was Hard & Fast’
What we said:

“Trivium have well and truly earned their place at the top table of metal”

Read our review of ‘In the Court of the Dragon’

Check out:
Trivium – ‘Feast of Fire’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“a stunning release from a band assumedly at the peak of their powers”

Read our review of ‘American Noir’

Check out:
Creeper – ‘Midnight’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“there is a real good mix of sounds on this album which together encompass Kennedy’s various alter egos”

Read our review of ‘The Ides of March’

Check out:
Myles Kennedy – ‘In Stride’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“the power of this album doesn’t just lie with Bennett of course and the rest of the band have summoned even more power and majesty then before”

Read our review of ‘The Hope List’

Check out:
Lonely The Brave – ‘Bound’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“the album really feels like a love letter to both the bands own history and the music of those that influenced the members”

Read our review of ‘Medicine at Midnight’

Check out:
Foo Fighters – ‘Love Dies Young’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“an album packed with rock club dancefloor fillers, designed to get you moving”

Read our review of ‘Sticky’

Check out:
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – ‘My Town’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“there are grandiose ambitions spread throughout the album with the band obviously striving for more”

Read our review of ‘For Those That Wish To Exist’

Check out:
Architects – ‘Animals’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“IDLES continue to be one of the most exciting and vital bands around”

Read our review of ‘CRAWLER’

Check out:
IDLES – ‘Car Crash’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“an album of pure, unadulterated, adrenaline-filled pop rock pleasure”

Read our review of ‘Amazing Things’

Check out:
Don Broco – ‘Bruce Willis’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“Press To MECO have always had a knack for creating ferocious yet catchy songs and this album is packed full of tasty rifftastic bangers”

Read our review of ‘Transmute’

Check out:
Press to MECO – ‘A Test Of Our Resolve’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“the band are still able to mix catchy pop melodies with hard hitting beats to create a sound equally at home in front of mosh pits and dancefloors”

Read our review of ‘Seize the Power’

Check out:
Yonaka – ‘Call Me A Saint’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“the duo however manage to amplify these electronic elements without losing their rock attitude and resonance”

Read our review of ‘Typhoons’

Check out:
Royal Blood – ‘Boilermaker’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“a rare talent that have now reinforced their passion and ability to create great music for anybody who wants to listen but without concession on their vision”

Read our review of ‘Written & Directed’

Check out:
Black Honey – ‘Believer’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“this record feels like it comes from a band at the peak of their powers, but knowing this group, they will still have plenty more to come”

Read our review of ‘Blue Weekend’

Check out:
Wolf Alice – ‘Smile’

Well there you have it! What a truly magnificent year for new music 2021 has been. What will 2022 have in store? Remember to discover the best new acts by following our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist’!

Stay tuned for our 2021 Year in Review coming very soon.

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Read our review of Creeper live in London

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Why now is the time for the Music Industry to change!

Why the music industry needs to change from Full Pelt Music
Photo by Rahul Pandit from Pexels

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As Blossoms strode onto stage in Liverpool’s Sefton Park in front of 5,000 non-socially distanced fans, the UK was reminded of just what it had been missing. The music loving island that has played a key role in the formation of the music industry as we know it, was shown again just what was at stake!

The aim of the gig which also saw The Lathums and Zuzu play to an audience starved of live music for over a year was to establish a safe route back for the music industry. Now, let’s consider something. We all love music, we all love live music and by default we all love the music industry. We naturally want to see it return as we remember it. You know from before the c-word, before the world stood still.

Where is improvement needed?

Here however is what we need to consider. Should the industry be allowed to return just as it was? Again, we all love music, that’s no doubt why you are reading this article! But, if we take even a cursory glance back then it should be clear that the industry was far from perfect. There were and still are many issues within the industry that need to be addressed. Thankfully there are many great groups and organisations working to advocate change and force improvement.

The most important step that we all must take now is the realisation that the industry isn’t perfect and that only by all aspects of the industry working together can positive change be installed. We want to do a small but important thing with this article, and that is raise awareness.

Since the inception of Full Pelt Music at the turn of the year, we have already written about a handful of subjects. We spoke early on about the relationship between music and our mental health in our blog ‘Mental Health, Music and Me’.

We have also addressed the plight of our grassroots music venues in our blog ‘Why We Need To #SaveOurVenues’; and we looked at the impact of music streaming in our blog ‘Why We Need To Fix Our #BrokenRecord Industry’. We won’t repeat ourselves here, but encourage you to take the time to read these articles.

How does change happen?

As we said, there are many aspects of the industry that need to be improved. Whilst the pandemic has had ruinous effects on the industry it has provided an opportunity to make these changes. If not now, then when?

As we return to music, we also need to rebuild the music industry. We need to actively embrace diversity and equality. This goes deeper than simply the percentage of female performers on a festival bill, although of course that is a metric which highlights the current disparity well. This requires more than social media campaigns highlighting racial inequality and abuse.

The work needs to happen at the grassroots level but needs the mainstream to lead by example. Youth programmes that aim to educate and nurture are vital, but action from the top is essential; one example being the need for tough action from social media companies.

The Government and the various regulatory authorities need to up their game as well. Actions speak louder than words, and if the pandemic has taught us anything it’s that the financial support for the industry and from the top of the industry has been too little and too late. Any support has also often bypassed those most in need.

Yes, we have faced an unprecedented situation that has devastated many industries, but the music industry has had a unique opportunity to improve. Let’s look at accessibility. With music venues closed, what better time has there been for remedial work to take place which provides greater access for deaf and disabled people to live music.

The problem has again been the lack of support and funding from those with the power to facilitate this change. With music venues, particularly independent ones, on their financial knees they can’t be vilified for not taking action. Better foresight and ambition from Government however could have seized an unwanted but ideal opportunity.

What’s the answer?

In writing this article we certainly don’t purport to have all the answers. We don’t even assume to know all the barriers to change. All we want to do is continue many conversations that are being held by organisations and individuals far more knowledgeable and industrious than us.

It is time for change. Because if not now, when? Thankfully there are many groups actively striving for this change and making a difference now. What they need is our support. With that in mind, we want to draw your attention to just a handful of these organisations. There are many more out there doing fantastic work.

Now is the time to speak up, help advocate the change required for our beloved industry to return better than ever. To return with a safe and positive environment for all!

MUSIC VENUE TRUST

THEIR MISSION

Below excerpt from Music Venue Trust

Music Venue Trust is a UK registered charity which acts to protect, secure and improve Grassroots Music Venues.

Created in January 2014, we aim to secure the long-term future of iconic Grassroots Music Venues such as Hull Adelphi, Exeter Cavern, Southampton Joiners, The 100 Club, Band on the Wall, Tunbridge Wells Forum etc.

These venues have played a crucial role in the development of British music over the last 40 years, nurturing local talent, providing a platform for artists to build their careers and develop their music and their performance skills.

We work to gain recognition of the essential role these venues fulfil, not only for artist development but also for the cultural and music industries, the economy and local communities. We aim to preserve and improve venues, making them more efficient and improving the experience for performers and audiences. Long-term we plan to acquire the freeholds of as many of these vital venues as possible.

More Information

ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING

THEIR MISSION

Below excerpt from Attitude is Everything

The future we want to see…

Deaf and Disabled People can be audience members, employees or artists at any live music event of their choice: music without barriers.

What we’re doing to make that future a reality…

Attitude is Everything works in partnership with audiences, artists and the music industry to improve Deaf and disabled people’s access to live music.

Our aims:

  • increase the number of Deaf and disabled people participating in music
  • raise awareness of the barriers that Deaf and disabled people face at live music events, and to demonstrate how to overcome them
  • show and highlight Best Practice in access, and set an example to those we wish to influence
  • develop the skills and confidence of Deaf and disabled people so that they can better engage with the music industry

More Information

SAFE GIGS FOR WOMEN

THEIR MISSION

Below excerpt from Safe Gigs for Women

Safe gigs for women is an initiative established by regular gig goers with the aim of creating a safer environment for women at gigs.​ ​Our aims are:

Gig goers
Work with gig goers to spread the word that it is not okay to grope, threaten or harass others. Encourage victims to speak out, and supporters to advocate that this behaviour will not be tolerated

Venues
Work with venues to ensure they take reports of sexual harassment and other threats to women seriously. We will work with venues to create a standard in the industry for safe venues. We will then campaign to get the standard adopted nationwide.

Bands
Getting bands on board to recognise our standards, talk about our work and get their audiences recognising and spreading what is acceptable​.

More Information

NICK ALEXANDER MEMORIAL TRUST

THEIR MISSION

Below excerpt from Nick Alexander Memorial Trust

The Nick Alexander Memorial Trust award grants for musical equipment to community groups and small charities across the UK, particularly those representing the most disadvantaged and marginalised sectors of society, be that through poverty, physical or mental illness, disability, ethnicity or age.

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JOE STRUMMER FOUNDATION

THEIR MISSION

Below excerpt from Joe Strummer Foundation

Our mission is to provide opportunities to musicians and support to projects around the world that create empowerment through music.

Our objectives are specifically:
  1. The prevention or relief of poverty, particularly of young people, anywhere in the world by providing: grants, items and services to individuals in need and/or charities, or other organisations working to prevent or relieve poverty.
  2. To promote, improve, develop and maintain the education of the public in the art, culture and science of music in all its aspects for the public benefit, in particular young musicians, including by the provision of funds for the purchase of musical instruments and studio rehearsal.
  3. To promote, improve and advance the arts, including music, for the public benefit including by the presentation of exhibitions, public events and concerts.

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SOPHIE LANCASTER FOUNDATION

THEIR MISSION

Below excerpt from Sophie Lancaster Foundation

The aims and objectives of the Charity are as follows:

Create a lasting legacy to Sophie

Provide educational group-works that will challenge the prejudice and intolerance towards people from alternative subcultures

Campaign to have the UK Hate Crime legislation extended to include people from alternative subcultures

More Information

WE ARE HUMMINGBIRD

THEIR MISSION

Below Excerpt from We Are Hummingbird

We are Hummingbird is a non-profit Mental Health awareness organisation. We are a community of music lovers who have united to spread awareness of mental health by using music as a platform to encourage people to open up and engage in conversation. 

More Information

The above are just a very small selection of charities, organisations, groups and individuals that are fighting the good fight. Take some time out to research causes close to your heart and get involved to make our industry a better place.

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Remembering Independent Venue Love

Frank Turner Remembering Independent Venue Love

We take a look back at the incredible Independent Venue Love livestream series by Frank Turner

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A necessary but shocking side-effect of the first lockdown and beyond is the impact on the live music industry. An industry that revolves around bringing people together in confined spaces to celebrate life and art. Music and particularly live music is vital to the mental health and wellbeing of millions of people, and the loss of that medication has added to the already scary situation we have all found ourselves in.

When the world ground to a screeching halt in March 2020, the primary concern for all of civilisation was rightly to fight the devastating coronavirus and to protect against loss of life. Alternatively as the government put it – “Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives”.

Read our Blog – ‘Mental Health, Music and Me’

The music industry and the incredibly talented people that make up the sector is by its very nature creative and innovative. As we all searched for new ways to connect with our loved ones and our passions, musicians had the answer. Welcome to the world the music livestream!

Read our Blog ‘Livestreams: Good or Bad for the Music Industry’

One man seemingly ahead of the curve on this front was Frank Turner. Turner is known to be “always on tour” as it were, and was in fact mid-tour as the pandemic hit. Turner was quick to hastily ready a special livestream event from his own home raising money for his touring family.

At the same time, the reality was dawning on the live music ecosystem of the potentially fatal impact caused by the pandemic countermeasures. In particular the Music Venue Trust, who do amazing work year round even in non-pandemic times, were busy mobilising. The MVT were well positioned to see the threat to the grassroots music venues of the country.

We have gone into depth on the subject in our blog – ‘Why We Need To #SaveOurVenues’, but ultimately the venues that foster and cultivate the entire music industry were in trouble. Sadly many face the threat of closure due to non-pandemic related issues. The events of March 2020 onwards however threatened these venues, the lifeblood of live music, to the point of extinction.

The perfect storm called for urgent action and one man taking notice and standing tall was that man Frank Turner. Soon we were all introduced to a new concept from Turner, Independent Venue Love. A series of livestream concerts taking place every Thursday during lockdown to raise desperately needed funds for at risk music venues.

A different venue would be supported each week and each week would see a unique set list. In creating this series Turner raised much needed awareness and financial support for venues. By doing so he helped to safeguard the future of live music; perhaps most importantly though, Turner also provided an escape from the terrifying realities of pandemic life. The Independent Venue Love series will have played a powerfully positive role in raising spirits and safeguarding mental health for music fans desperate for a distraction.

In our first ever End of Year Awards, we picked Turner as our ‘Artist of the Year’. You can read what we wrote about this decision in our ‘2020 Year in Review’. Basically we feel Turner deserves a medal for his efforts in arranging and performing these fantastic events. Turner has raised a phenomenal amount of money and has helped countless people through horrifying times either directly or indirectly.

That is why we thought it would be fitting to celebrate and remember the Independent Venue Love series here. You can peruse the posters for each event in the gallery below.

Now let’s get started in documenting the series.

Early Facebook Days

As we all adapted to pandemic life, we strived for the best communications technology. Many discovered the wonders of Zoom meetings for example. When debuting the IVL series, Turner took to Facebook Live. A learning experience for all, some early streams were impacted by connectively issues and eventually led to a change of internet provider for Turner and a move to Youtube.

The first five events featured on Facebook Live (and a dabble on Instagram!) saw Turner begin a career retrospective; with each week featuring another release in chronological order.

Vol.1 – ‘Sleep is for the Week’ for Nambucca, London

Vol. 2 – ‘Love Ire & Song’ for The Joiners Arms, Southampton

Vol. 3 – ‘The First Three Years’ for The Railway Inn, Winchester (Support from Jess Guise)

Vol. 4 – ‘Poetry of the Deed’ for The Forum, Tunbridge Wells

Vol. 5 – ‘England Keep My Bones’ for The Shed, Leicester (Support from Jess Guise)

Move to Youtube

From Volume 6 onwards Turner would move the weekly series across to Youtube with better connectivity results. Turner would continue to progress through his career retrospective to the delight of his fans. A drinking game would also emerge for fans at home based initially on apologies to either his wife Jess or his mother.

As Turner’s gameplan to play his back catalogue continued, fans were treated to rare song outings. These outings occasionally would see the odd forgotten lyric, and the terming of the phrase to Varley in ode to fellow musician Will Varley. Eventually each Varley would be incorporated into the drinking game!

Vol. 6 – ‘Rarities and B-Sides 2011-2014’ for The Parish, Huddersfield

Vol. 7 – ‘Tape Deck Heart’ for Molotow, Hamburg

Vol.8 – ‘Positive Songs for Negative People’ for Union Chapel, London (Support from Jess Guise)

Vol. 9 – ‘Rarities 2013-2019’ for The Booking Hall, Dover

Vol. 10 – ‘No Man’s Land’ for The Portland Arms, Cambridge

Beyond the Albums

With his released back catalogue now exhausted and lockdown one (known back then, simply as lockdown!) still persisting, Turner needed to explore different avenues for set list material. A demand for a ‘Disney Set’ initially failed to materialise until a special shortened bonus set one night.

Turner however would push on with additional themes to continue his herculean effort (Joe Wicks eat your heart out!). Volume 13 would also take place from inside the venue Turner was raising funds for as signs of normality began to appear. Volume 14 would be titled ‘The Final Stream’… little did we know what the future had in store.

Vol. 11 – ‘Covers’ for Phase One, Liverpool

Vol. 12 – ‘Covers by Friends’ for The Cavern, Exeter

Vol. 13 – ‘Grand Aid’ for The Clapham Grand, London (Support from Ciara Haidar, Gerry Del-Guercio & Beans on Toast)

Vol. 14 – ‘Greatest Hits’ for The Cobblestones, Bridgwater (Support from Jess Guise)

Here We Go Again!

No we are not doing Whitesnake Karaoke! A brief return to real life saw some socially distanced music possible. Turner in fact was able to play numerous shows including our ‘Gig of the Year’ as awarded in our ‘2020 Year in Review’.

Sadly the pandemic took a horrific turn for the worst. With venues still at risk and people desperate for escape, Turner and IVL would make their triumphant return in January (otherwise known as Lockdown three!). This time around Turner’s wife, Guise, would move to an important mediator role as fans got to pick the setlist!

Vol. 15 – ‘All Requests’ for The Lantern, Halifax

Vol. 16 – ‘All Requests’ for Boom, Leeds

We reviewed Vol. 15, check it out here

Catalogue Rewind

Next, Turner would return his setlists to periods of his career. Each performance featuring songs from an assigned period.

Vol. 17 – ‘First Three Albums’ for Waterloo, Blackpool (Support from Jess Guise)

Vol. 18 – ‘Second Three Albums’ for The Venue, Derby (Support from Pet Needs)

Vol. 19 – ‘Third Three Albums’ for The Black Heart, Camden

Vol. 20 – ‘Rarities and B-sides’ for Dirty Rockers, Dudley

Vol. 21 – ‘Jess Guise Requests’ for The Lexington, London

The End!

We all hope and pray that a return to normality is on the horizon. That the incredible work of scientists and our key workers will save lives and allow life to resume. Volume 21 closes the IVL series with a request set from Jess Guise herself.

Turner has achieved amazing results from the IVL series. The fact is that he didn’t have to do this, and for that he deserves recognition.

The Music Venue Trust, Independent Venue Week and all organisations and groups working to protect our culture deserve special praise also.

Sadly the end of the pandemic and the return to relative normality won’t remove the threat posed to our grassroots music venues. Please when safe to do so, support these venues, support your favourite bands, support new bands, support music!

Music Venue Trust
Independent Venue Week

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Read our Blog – ‘Why We Need To Fix Our #BrokenRecord Industry’

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Features

What are the Greatest WWE Entrance Themes?

We countdown our Top 10 WWE Entrance Theme Songs!

WWE Entrance Themes

WWE Entrance Themes aren’t all we write about! For Music News, Reviews, Blogs and more follow us on our Social Media Channels!

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… and then the music hits and the fans go mad!

It’s almost time for that famous countdown as WWE’s Royal Rumble is this month. In honour of that countdown to wrestlers entering the ring, we are going to countdown our Top 10 WWE Entrance Theme Songs.

Find out more about the Royal Rumble at WWE.Com

WWE’s Royal Rumble officially kicks off the road to Wrestlemania, so what better time than now to celebrate our favourite WWE Entrance Theme Songs? But, what are the rules?

For this countdown we will be heavily focusing on themes supplied by artists other than Jim Johnston and CFO$, as that’s another list altogether! Therefore you won’t find the likes of The Rock, D-Generation X or John Cena in this list; although I’m sure Johnston’s influence will be present.

As we are celebrating WWE’s Royal Rumble this will only feature WWE entrance themes so no ‘Judas’ by Fozzy!

So let’s get ready to rumble…

10

Boy Hits Car – ‘LoveFuryPassionEnergy’

Lita

Starting off our list at number 10 is Lita whose entrance theme was provided by Boy Hits Car. ‘LoveFuryPassionEnergy’ is a kickass theme which fitted perfectly with the legendary Lita’s rebellious attitude.

9

Story Of The Year – ‘Just Close Your Eyes’

Christian

WWE – Christian Entrance Video

When Christian returned to WWE he took on ‘Just Close Your Eyes’ as his theme song. Originally by Waterproof Blonde, we have gone for the later Story Of The Year cover as the definitive version.

Interesting Fact! When in TNA, Christian used an adapted – or ripped off – version of ‘My Last Breath’ by Evanescence!

8

Killswitch Engage – ‘This Fire Burns’

CM Punk

WWE – CM Punk Entrance Video

This awesome track from Killswitch Engage was kicked around for a while, with Randy Orton using it for a short time. ‘This Fire Burns’ found it’s home however as the entrance theme for the brash young CM Punk.

7

Rev Theory – ‘Voices’

Randy Orton

WWE – Randy Orton Entrance Video

Speaking of Randy Orton, he eventually settled on ‘Voices’ by Rev Theory and the Viper never looked back.

6

Saliva – ‘Booyaka 619’

Rey Mysterio

WWE – Rey Mysterio Entrance Video

Another wrestler to never look back having settled on an iconic theme song is Rey Mysterio who we can’t imagine hitting the ring and not being accompanied by ‘Booyaka 619’ from Saliva.

5

Disturbed – ‘Glass Shatters’

‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin

Whilst ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin is probably most remembered for his classic entrance theme, he for a while was introduced by an awesome version created by Disturbed. ‘Glass Shatters’ gave a great new twist to his classic song and we actually prefer it!

4

Limp Bizkit – ‘Rollin”

Undertaker

Limp Bizkit – ‘Rollin”

The Undertaker’s well known demonic entrance number is truly iconic, and it’s easy to forget that during his American Badass phase he actually had a few epic entrance tracks.

You could argue for ‘American Bad Ass’ by Kid Rock here, but personally we loved his spell with the classic ‘Rollin’’ by Limp Bizkit.

Interesting Fact! Fred Durst and co even played Undertaker to ring at Wrestlemania 19.

3

Living Colour – ‘Cult of Personality’

CM Punk

WWE – CM Punk Entrance Video

Whilst we have tried hard to select just one track from certain wrestlers who have been graced by multiple awesome theme songs, CM Punk is the only wrestler that had to feature twice.

After returning from a short hiatus, Punk took the incredible ‘Cult of Personality’ by Living Colour as his new entrance theme. This combination became so iconic that Punk even used the theme when he transitioned to the UFC.

2

Motorhead – ‘The Game’

Triple H

WWE – Triple H Entrance Video

If we had broken down Triple H’s theme songs and also included original WWE compositions then we could well have had a Top 10 of Triple H’s theme songs.

For the bulk of his career Triple H has been serenaded to the ring by the legendary Motorhead. Both ‘King of Kings’ and ‘Line In The Sand’ are epic but we had to pick his classic ‘The Game’.

1

Alter Bridge – ‘Metalingus’

Edge

WWE – Edge Entrance Video

If Triple H is the king of theme songs, Edge is very close. ‘Never Gonna Stop’ by Rob Zombie was epic and it was a surprise when he ditched the song.

Who knew at the time that he would pick the greatest wrestling theme song ever as its successor? ‘Metalingus’ by Alter Bridge accompanied Edge through the greatest years of his career.

Whilst we of course were excited by Edge’s return at the Royal Rumble in 2020, we were even more excited by the return of this epic theme song!

What is your favourite WWE Entrance Themes? Let us know on social media!

Be sure to check out our Features section for more Top 10’s

Check out our ‘Hot List’ Spotify Playlist

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Why We Need To Fix Our #BrokenRecord Industry

Why We Need To Fix Our #BrokenRecord Industry
Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

We look at why we need to fix our #BrokenRecord Industry to ensure fair payment of artists from music streaming platforms.

What makes a #BrokenRecord Industry?

The music industry has been changing greatly in recent years and that evolution has now been exasperated by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. With the industry shaken to its core by the restrictions resulting from the virus, there is perhaps no better time than now to take action to secure a healthy and prosperous future for this vital industry.

Music is of course vital to so many; both those that work within the industry and the customers that rely on the industry. I recently wrote about the relationship between music and my mental health in my blog ‘Mental Health, Music and Me’, and it’s true that for many people this industry is essential to their happiness and positive mental health. It is therefore imperative that this industry is allowed to thrive.

The industry however is far from perfect and many existing issues have been highlighted further by the pandemic. I have always split the music industry in two. I have written about the struggles of the Live Music Industry in my blog ‘Why We Need To #SaveOurVenues’, so in this feature I’ll be focusing on the other side, the Record Industry.

The coronavirus pandemic has of course been a horrific and sobering time for everyone and every industry. The collapse of the live music industry due to various restrictions has had many disastrous consequences on the overall music industry.

I have also written however about the few positives that have arisen from this unprecedented situation. In a creative and innovative industry, many have turned to livestreaming to reach their audiences. I explored the positives and negatives of this evolution in my blog ‘Livestreams: Good or Bad for the Music Industry’.

Another positive to come from everybody having to stay at home, is that they have had more time to listen to music. The resurrection of Vinyl continued with sales growing for a 13th consecutive year and music streaming continuing to rise in popularity. It is the negative side of this positive however that has given rise to the #BrokenRecord movement and that is what we will explore in this article.

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The way that we consume music has changed drastically over the past decade or so. The beginnings of the digital age saw the rise of illegal file-sharing where fans found they were able to swap and share digital versions of the music that they loved.

The problem with this activity was that it completely eliminated the artist from the process of music consumption by the end user, and of course the price point of zero meant that artists saw no profit from this medium.

The knock-on effect of this was the drastic decline in the purchase of physical media such as CD’s. Of course the sales of Vinyl had already almost completely diminished, and the less said about Mini-Disks the better!

In order to combat illegal free downloading of music, the industry reluctantly brought into the concept of legal paid downloads; iTunes being the go to name at the beginning. Over the pursuant years we would see many contenders emerge for both downloading music and a new concept – streaming music.

Interestingly we would also see a kick back against digital music with the resurrection and continued resurgence of Vinyl!

A global leader in the streaming of music is Spotify. This is a company that initially felt like a swear word, their platform felt too good to be true and many will have questioned the legality of it, because if something feels too good to be true, usually it is!

Fast forward to now and Spotify is accepted into homes across the world and is for millions of the people the platform of choice for music consumption.

The benefits of streaming are numerous for both fans and artists. Having entire libraries of music at the touch of a button helps fans find new acts and helps artists reach new audiences. There is however one major downside that needs to be addressed.

So, with the ongoing pandemic allowing more people more time to listen to their favourite artist, or perhaps find their new favourite artist, let’s ask a few questions regarding music streaming. Picture this – you are sat working from home and have been listening to your favourite new album on repeat, how much money do you think that said artist has just earned?

#BrokenRecord campaign founder Tom Gray shared the below table showing the rates of pay by the various streaming platforms.

Streaming payout data shared by #BrokenRecord founder Tom Gray

So, if that album you listened to has 10 tracks and you listen to it 5 times today on Spotify. Your consumption will pay 14p. Now consider that if you brought that album on CD you’d probably have spent roughly £8.

My next question is where do you think this money goes? How much would you expect the artist who wrote, performed and recorded the music to receive? Let’s explore the issues that exist when paying streaming royalties.

Physical Terms in a Digital World

Let’s consider that the artist in question is signed to a large record company. Their standard deal which they signed will likely be a Recoupment Deal. With this deal the artist will effectively have to repay all costs and expenses associated with the making of the album. Realistically this means they cannot earn royalties until they have repaid the overall cost of the album, until then all profits go to the record company.

Remember that this debt is repaid only from the artist’s percentage of the royalty. It can therefore take years for a relatively successful artist to see any earnings from their own music. You may ask why would artists sign such deals, but ask yourself how many artists have a degree in economics? Consider that even if they have three deals in front of them to choose from, they will likely all include this clause, and the alternative is no deal and likely no album.

Now consider that 14p that the band just earned from your days binge listening. It may take years before the actual artist starts earning that 14p once all recoupment is complete; and when they do there are other issues!

The biggest issue being that the record company owns the rights to the music and therefore the band will only get on average 20% of that 14p. So 2.8p. This band happens to be a standard four-piece band and therefore that 2.8p needs to be split between the singer, guitarist, bassist and drummer. Oh and the producer.

Not to mention other possible deductions. It may shock you to know that under the terms of many contracts artists still have to pay a 10% deduction for breakages! That’s literal physically broken albums… even when digital!

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#BrokenRecord

Clearly these old contracts don’t fit with the digital age and it’s always going to be the artist that loses out. That is why Tom Gray founded the #Broken Record campaign to challenge these inequalities. It should be said that nobody is arguing that Mick Jagger needs another house or Paul McCartney another car.

This campaign is designed to fight for justice and equality for the acts of the future. Hopefully you have been surprised at how little your favourite artist earns from you listening to their music on streaming platforms. You’d probably be shocked to find out that many musicians that you follow are likely living very close to the breadline. Many artists you picture living lavish lifestyles are actually struggling to pay their rent this month.

This situation has only been intensified by the coronavirus pandemic.

Reliance on Live Music

Many artists these days rely heavily on the live side of the music industry. Playing gigs, tours and festivals is how most acts will now earn the majority of their money. This is a complete 180 switch from yesteryear. Before the digital revolution of the record industry, artists toured to raise awareness of their new albums. Nowadays artists release albums to raise awareness of their tours!

Then 2020 hit and removed that income stream, leaving many artists to survive solely on income from physical and digital sales. But whilst the vinyl renaissance may help a little, the fact is CD sales continue to fall off a cliff edge and many artists are left to survive on streaming alone. Therein lies the huge problem facing the music industry right now – how, when and perhaps if it will recover.

Even if we ignore the unfairness in the discussion around streaming revenue, what we have right now are artists and crew that can’t afford to live, to pay rent or perhaps buy food. Again I don’t envisage Elton John looking down the back of the sofa for spare change, we are talking about the emerging talent of the future, the acts of years gone by who have seen dwindling success and importantly those considering starting their careers. These are the individuals having to change course, take jobs in other sectors to pay the rent and support their families. These are the individuals that may never return to the music industry!

Even when the pandemic finally goes away and life can resume, we have the looming shadow of Brexit. Whilst that is another blog topic altogether, bands are going to struggle to afford to tour beyond the UK due to new restrictions and costs.

So, for the music industry we love and rely on to emerge from this pandemic intact we need to take action.

What needs to be done?

In reality there isn’t a lot the average music fan can do. We need action from the industry and likely that will need intervention from Government. Fans can of course support their favourite artists, buying music, merchandise and tickets. Fans can also sign relevant petitions and highlight the issue by supporting the #BrokenRecord campaign.

The changes being requested by artists aren’t necessarily ground breaking. What they are asking for in basic terms is just equal pay for equal work. To be treated with respect, decency and fairness; for their efforts and their art to be valued reasonably.

That shouldn’t be hard for fans to accept. Imagine a shop worker only being given 20% of their days wage, with their manager, supervisor and company all taking the rest. Imagine they are then further deducted the costs of their uniform and the equipment they use. That wouldn’t be fair would it?

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Possible Solutions

As already mentioned, a high level thorough review and restructure of artist’s payments from streaming is required. Options that may provide possible solutions include the likes of Equitable Remuneration (ER for short!) and User-Centric Models.

Part of this discussion will form around the question of how streaming of music should be classified. Is the music purchased, rented, or is it equitable to radio airplay? Artists currently are paid via ER for radio airplay and this method is split 50/50 and therefore can be fairly summarised as equal pay for equal work.

One of the most common ways to consume music from the likes of Spotify is to use Playlists such as our own ‘Hot List’. Spotify even label these as radio such as their Artist Radio functions. So would it be reasonable to class streams in the same category as radio airplay?

As we come to a close, I want you to once again go back to our earlier analogy. Having binged that new album whilst working from home, how would you like your money to be distributed. If this month that artist was the only artist you listened to, and you pay for your Spotify, who do you think your subscription money should go to?

At present it would be added to the overall pot and divided between all artists on the platform. Would you think it would be fairer if all your subscription money was divided just between the artists that you personally listened to this month, in our case just that one band? This would be the case if streaming platforms moved to a User-Centric Model.

There are many questions here and I won’t pretend to have all the answers. What is clear is that something needs to change and that change has never been more necessary. With the combined wreckage of the pandemic and Brexit upon us, artists can’t rely solely on the Live side of the music industry. The Record Industry must act now.

The light has been shone on this issue and all stakeholders must step up and take action to fix our #BrokenRecord Industry!

Be sure to help spread the word and raise awareness of the #BrokenRecord campaign. You can share this article by clicking the icons below!

The #BrokenRecord campaign is the creation of Tom Gray, be sure to follow Tom on Twitter for the latest updates on the campaign! When discussing the subject remember to use the hashtag #BrokenRecord.

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Features

The Year in Review 2020

Photo by Expect Best from Pexels

Full Pelt Music looks back on 2020 for our Year in Review

What a year to pick to review. It’s been a year like no other and not for good reasons.

On a personal level as detailed within my first blog, ‘The Reluctant Blogger’, I was made redundant from a job I loved, just before Christmas and during a global pandemic! Not nice, but realistically I wouldn’t be writing this blog on this website if that hadn’t happened! The decision to return to writing about music also allowed me to take a look at the relationship between music and my mental health in ‘Mental Health, Music and Me’.

For the world it has been a year of pain, struggle and despair. From the fires of Australia to the flooding of the UK early in the year and now again just before Christmas; there has been no restpite in the year of the coronavirus. Unprecedented is the word of the year, but with Brexit and the ongoing pandemic looming large, the word for next year is probably uncertain.

Everybody has struggled this year, personally and professionally. This struggle is not limited to the music industry but our industry has struggled greatly. The live side of the industry is built on bringing people together and of course that has not been possible since March. The recorded side of the industry has also struggled with delays in recording, producing and distributing.

Recovery for the grassroots of the industry is far from guaranteed. The stark and sad reality is that many musicians and hard working crew members will have needed to have sought alternative employment and the actuality here is that many will never return to the music industry. The fact is many government schemes setup to alleviate the financial pressures on individuals and businesses simply bypassed these people.

Unfortunately the pandemic has also hastened the plight of many grassroots, independent music venues.  We have sadly already lost many venues and there are still many more at imminent risk of permanent closure. We have written extensively about the issues surrounding our industry in our blog ‘Why We Need To #SaveOurVenues’, and we encourage you to get involved in the initiatives highlighted.

This is of course a creative and innovative industry and through struggle we evolve. Much like the loss of my own job bred this website, the loss of touring and live shows has seen the evolution of the livestream. Many musicians have embraced technology and sought new ways to engage with their audiences. We have looked at the rise of this phenomenon in our blog ‘Livestreams: Good or Bad for the Music Industry’.

When looking back on 2020 in the future, the memories will fill everybody with dread. There has however been some fantastic musical highlights despite everything else. We recently revealed our Album of the Year in our ‘2020 Album of the Year’ blog; and the Top 20 list was highly competitive.

2020 has produced some incredible music and that’s where we are going to focus this end of year review. In order to celebrate the successes of a very difficult year we going to look at the following awards – Album of the Year, Single of the Year, Gig of the Year, Festival of the Year and Artist of the Year!

Album of the Year

As mentioned we recently listed our Top 20 Albums of the Year here. This was a highly competitive list as 2020 saw some truly phenomenal releases.

Full Pelt Music’s Top 20 Albums of 2020

We said “It has been a crazy year, and this list has been heavily influenced by that. As mentioned the top of this list is massively impacted by new music I heard during the height of the initial lockdown. ‘Ultra Mono’ was an album that I was already extremely excited to hear; and the stream of songs released during Lockdown only served to raise that excitement to a fever pitch.

Thankfully IDLES didn’t disappoint and when the album arrived it was a pure masterpiece. It shows a natural progression on the bands first two records and grows the bands sound. It still captures what made us all fall in love with the band but by incorporating new elements into the bands sound the album shows that IDLES are no one trick pony.

Above all other releases this year and those that feature in this list, this was the album that we needed this year. In a year where we have all been knocked down one way or another, IDLES and ‘Ultra Mono’ has been a call to arms, to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and keep going.”

WINNER: ‘Ultra Mono’ by IDLES

The Contenders: ‘A Hero’s Death’ by Fontaines D.C., ‘Post Human: Survival Horror’ by Bring Me The Horizon, ‘Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible’ by Enter Shikari, ‘A Celebration of Endings’ by Biffy Clyro, and ‘Sex, Death & the Infinite Void’ by Creeper

Single of the Year

It’s been a good year for both Bring Me The Horizon and Yungblud, with both releasing stunning new records. Yungblud recently hit the number one spot with ‘weird!’ which we reviewed here, and Bring Me The Horizon silenced their doubters with ‘Post Human: Survival Horror’ which we reviewed here.

It shouldn’t therefore be so much of a surprise that their collaboration together is our standout single of the year. Accompanied by an over the top video, ‘Obey’ is a rip roaring tale of corruption and brainwashing, so perfectly fitting for 2020!

WINNER: ‘Obey’ by Bring Me The Horizon feat. Yungblud

‘Obey’ – Bring Me The Horizon feat. Yungblud

The Contenders: ‘Model Village’ by IDLES, ‘Space’ by Biffy Clyro, ‘Trouble’s Coming’ by Royal Blood, and ‘Protect The Land’ by System Of A Down

Gig of the Year

I was lucky enough to catch some fantastic shows early in the year, you know BC (before Covid!), and Stereophonics, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Kaiser Chiefs and Fontaines D.C. all deserve special mention.

For my Gig of the Year however I’m again looking to the Covid era.

When life has drastically changed and you’ve been deprived of the opportunity to do something you love, you learn to savour those moments more. For me, as somebody that in 2019 attended some 93 gigs, the loss of live music was devastating. Of course, many people have endured much worse in 2020, particularly at the height of the initial national lockdown; for me however, I was just desperate for live music.

The opportunity to watch real, live music again thankfully emerged (if only for a short time) at the end of summer. Frank Turner lives by the moto “Always on Tour”, and he wasn’t going to let a global pandemic get in the way. An innovative location for a socially distanced gig was Nottingham Arboretum, basically a bandstand in a park. The result was a stunning if unusual setting for a gig which came to life when night fell and Turner serenaded the sold out crowd with his biggest hits.

A great supporting cast including Tash Bird, Holly Carter and Beans On Toast helped to make this show one to remember. The musicianship on show was fantastic, as was the togetherness and gratefulness of an audience desperate to once again forget life’s stresses and enjoy an evening of music. It was a powerful evening that brought tears to many an eye, and that’s why it wins our Gig of the Year award.

WINNER: Frank Turner @ Nottingham Arboretum (20/09)

Nottingham Arboretum

The Contenders: Stereophonics @ Kentish Town Forum (21/01), Kaiser Chiefs @ Brighton Centre (30/01), Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes @ Alexandra Palace (15/02), and Fontaines D.C. @ Norwich UEA (24/02)

Festival of the Year

The coronavirus pandemic completely obliterated the 2020 festival season, as early optimism that some festivals would survive was eventually swallowed whole by this horrible virus. With social distancing in place, festivals just were not possible. But didn’t I say that the music industry is the most creative and innovative industry? Whilst some promoters attempted to arrange socially distant shows, tours and festivals, few succeeded; with even Live Nation cancelling a huge programme of drive in shows.

I was lucky enough however to venture to two such festivals at the Norfolk Showground near Norwich. A mixture of entertainment was laid on in a specially designed arena with socially distanced ‘pods’ maintaining the necessary safety measures. Brickfest was a one day festival focussing on covers band with a handful of original acts like headliners Bad Touch thrown in. The day was a huge success given the circumstances, as was our 2020 Festival of the Year – Wild Fields Festival!

Wild Paths Festival debuted in Norwich last year with acts gracing venues across the fine city. This year the event embraced the outside arena and rebranded as Wild Fields Festival over two days was an eclectic line-up on offer. The first day featured great sets from many young artists including Lauran Hibberd, Indoor Pets, Another Sky and headliners Gengahr.

Even through the greatest adversity the power of the arts shines through and Wild Paths was a shining example of how to put on a safe, fun and thoroughly entertaining festival during a global pandemic.

WINNER: Wild Fields Festival

Brickfest at the Norfolk Showground, also host of Wild Fields Festival

The Contenders: Brickfest

Artist of the Year

Our final award is for Artist of the Year. In a such an unprecedented and difficult year this award is going to an act that has considerably contributed to making the year better. Fantastic new music has played a hugely positive role in improving a hard year. With this in mind that means that IDLES, Biffy Clyro, Enter Shikari, Bring Me The Horizon, Fontaines D.C. and Yungblud are all in the running for this award.

Beyond that however real live music when possible has been an even greater high than normal. As such Frank Turner enters the running as an act I somehow managed to catch live this year some four times including the aforementioned Gig of the Year.

But this year is different, new albums and live shows whilst normally the lifeblood of our industry almost feel insignificant when you look at the horrors witnessed across society, both inside and outside the music industry. One saving grace for many this year has been the arrival of the music livestream. A number of those already mentioned have dabbled if not excelled in this activity.

Our winner however has taken this new outlet to heart. They have provided joy and distraction to thousands of people during what must be a record setting number of livestreams. More than that, they have managed to raise an amazing amount of money for a cause I have already championed in this blog. That cause is of course the Save Our Venues campaign and our Artist of the Year is clearly that man again, Frank Turner!

In 2020, Frank Turner has probably played more real shows and more livestreams than anybody else. He has recorded and released new music including collaborations with NOFX and Jon Snodgrass. He has produced the fantastic new Beans On Toast record. He has thoroughly entertained and provided much needed distraction from the real world to thousands; and he has raised an incredible amount of money for charity.

In reality Turner deserves a medal, but what we can give him is our Artist of the Year award!

WINNER: Frank Turner

Artist of the Year – Frank Turner

The Contenders: IDLES, Biffy Clyro, Enter Shikari, Bring Me The Horizon, Fontaines D.C., and Yungblud

2020, a year we will all be hoping to forget very quickly, but there has been some great music released. All focus now however is on 2021 and those vaccinations. We hope that sooner rather than later we will be able to safely gather again in those venues and fields to watch our favourite artists in the flesh.

There will also likely be an avalanche of new music coming our way with artists having been isolated with their creatively for company. Let’s just hope that not every song is about lockdown!

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Features

Album of the Year 2020

Photo by Andrea Turner from Pexels

Who is going to make the Full Pelt Music Top 20 Albums of the Year List?

2020 – a year we would all much sooner forget. Certainly not the year we had all envisaged. Real life has been traumatic and upsetting for many. The effects of the virus have been disastrous for the music industry, with the collapse of live music and many delays and production issues for albums.

You’d think therefore that selecting an Album of the Year list would be difficult due to a lack of new music! We are however talking about the most creative and adaptable industry and in fact compiling this list has been hard for the opposite reason. Even through all the sadness and despair this year, we have been graced with some amazing new music.

More so, the uniqueness of this year has created a special connection to the music released during the most troubling times. This is therefore a highly competitive list and all 20 entries deserve high praise!

We have been counting down the list as part of our #AdventCalendar of music over on our Twitter Page. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram by clicking the icons below!

Finally, before we talk through our Top 20 Albums of the Year, a special mention to Yungblud and his new album ‘Weird!’ which we recently reviewed here. Released after the compilation of this list, the album is a stunning piece of work and had it been released earlier would have been competitive at the top of the list! But, now to the countdown…

20

HAYLEY WILLIAMS
‘Petals For Armor’

In a year that doesn’t seem to want to end, January seems a lifetime ago when Paramore’s Hayley Williams announced her debut solo album ‘Petals For Armor’. By the time that album arrived, the world had descended into chaos and all touring plans had been cancelled. When the album did emerge in May it represented a ray of light in dark times, and showed Williams has a lot to offer outside of Paramore.

we suggest you check out:

Hayley Williams – ‘Simmer’

19

DOVES
‘The Universal Want’

When Doves returned from an eight year hiatus in 2018 the band initially basked in that reformation glory. Thankfully for fans though it hasn’t taken long for the band to head back into the studio and the resultant album ‘The Universal Want’ is a timely reminder of what we had been missing.

we suggest you check out:

Doves – ‘Prisoners’

18

AC/DC
‘Power Up’

After a tumultuous few years with the tragic loss of Malcolm and departures of Cliff, Phil and Brian, AC/DC could have been easily forgiven for riding off into the sunset having had one of the greatest careers of any heavy rock band. But then that wouldn’t be the AC/DC way of doing things would it? Instead we get another classic AC/DC album in ‘Power Up’ with Williams, Rudd and Johnson back in tow!

we suggest you check out:

AC/DC – ‘Shot In The Dark’

17

REWS
‘Warriors’

The Shauna Tohill led REWS have somehow managed to equal if not surpass their debut album with sophomore release ‘Warriors’. Packed with punchy, catchy, bouncy rock and roll, we challenge you not to throw your heart and soul into this album just as Tohill clearly has.

we suggest you check out:

REWS – ‘Birdsong’

16

THE STRUTS
‘Strange Days’

With The Struts you should always expect the unexpected. This is not a band that plays by any kind of rule book. So why wouldn’t they team up with guests as diverse as Tom Morello, Phil Collen & Joe Elliott, Albert Hammond Jr and yes the actual Robbie Williams? ‘Strange Days’ solidifies The Struts reputation as the future of rock.

we suggest you check out:

The Struts – ‘Strange Days’

15

ALL TIME LOW
‘Wake Up Sunshine’

‘Wake Up Sunshine’ is somehow the eighth studio album for All Time Low, which makes me feel very old. Thankfully this isn’t an album that rests on any laurels and the band continue to deliver the goods with another very solid album added to that back catalogue.

we suggest you check out:

All Time Low – ‘Monsters’

14

THE KILLERS
‘Imploding The Mirage’

By now we know exactly what to expect from The Killers and thankfully their first album without lead guitarist Dave Keuning still delivers that classic feel. With the likes of Lindsay Buckingham instead contributing on ‘Imploding The Mirage’, there is even an air of freshness to their sound.

we suggest you check out:

The Killers – ‘My Own Soul’s Warning’

13

PHIL CAMPBELL AND THE BASTARD SONS
‘We’re The Bastards’

When Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons released their debut album, to the surprise of many they delivered a classic rock masterpiece. Any doubters thinking they couldn’t do it again have now been proven wrong with the release of ‘We’re The Bastards’ In our recent review (here) we stated “The bands fans are the loyal kind hence their lyrics proclaim “…’cause we’re the bastards, and you’re a bastard too…”.  If you’re in to good old fashioned rock and roll, give this album a listen and you too will be in that club”.

we suggest you check out:

Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons – ‘Son Of A Gun’

12

GREEN DAY
‘Father Of All…’

‘Father Of All…’ may not sit highly amongst the bands back catalogue if we are being honest, but an average Green Day album is still a very good album in the grand scheme of things. Despite this album pre-dating national lockdowns the album has remained on rotation throughout the year which is a testament to its real qualities.

we suggest you check out:

Green Day – ‘Oh Yeah!’

11

BOSTON MANOR
‘Glue’

Nobody should be surprised at the quality of Boston Manor’s albums anymore. With the release of their third album ‘Glue’, the band have now delivered three high quality albums with plenty to unpack.

we suggest you check out:

Boston Manor – ‘Liquid’

10

HAIM
‘Women In Music Pt. III’

With ‘Women In Music Pt. III’, Haim have let it all hang out with a statement of an album that takes listeners on a musical journey of wonder. Taking elements of various genres and given them that now classic Haim twist, this album is a stunning piece of musicianship.

we suggest you check out:

Haim – ‘Now I’m In It’

9

PVRIS
‘Use Me’

With the release of third album ‘Use Me’, PVRIS have continued their evolution into something majestic, enormous and vital. The bands growth had been put out there for all to see and this album just encapsulates the power of Lynn Gunn.

we suggest you check out:

PVRIS – ‘Dead Weight’

8

BLACK STONE CHERRY
‘The Human Condition’

On ‘The Human Condition’ we get the Black Stone Cherry that we all love, just doing what they do best. Full of head banging and foot stumping this record sees the band confirm that they are here to stay, and that they have plenty left in the creative tank.

we suggest you check out:

Black Stone Cherry – ‘Again’

7

TRIVIUM
‘What The Dead Men Say’

‘What The Dead Men Say’ is a stunning piece of work that captures a band that has hit their peak. Trivium have mixed the lessons learnt from their past with their recently rejuvenated vigour and have come out the other side with an album that stands up that anything that they have previously released.  

we suggest you check out:

Trivium – ‘Catastrophist’

6

CREEPER
‘Sex, Death & The Infinite Void’

The release of ‘Sex, Death & the Infinite Void’ was a rocky road for Creeper, and not just because of a global pandemic. Various internal struggles and personal demons had to be overcome before Creeper could make their grandiose return. Sadly this return coincided with a certain virus which hampered the typical over the top promotion of a Creeper release. Thankfully for the band the record itself is brilliant enough to shine through even the darkest times.

we suggest you check out:

Creeper – ‘Born Cold’

5

BIFFY CLYRO
‘A Celebration Of Endings’

As we hit the top five Albums of 2020, things are very tight. A terrible year has thankfully seem some amazing music emerge to see us through. Biffy Clyro are another band whose plans were destroyed by this horrible virus, with tours cancelled and the album delayed. The early single releases from ‘A Celebration of Endings’ however provided much joy in the early period of lockdown.

When the full album finally found his way into the public domain, little did fans realise the treat that was in store for them. Biffy Clyro always evolve with each release, but they somehow manage to retain that Biffyness to their music. This is a unique band and ‘A Celebration of Endings’ is a unique record that mixes both the beautiful and the heavy as only Biffy Clyro seem to be able to.

we suggest you check out:

Biffy Clyro – ‘End Of’

4

ENTER SHIKARI
‘Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible’

Another band whose releases were a small positive in the huge negative that was the first national Lockdown was Enter Shikari. It was clear from the start that ‘Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible’ was going to be a very special album. The connection felt now with certain tracks only serves to ensure that this album will forever be seen as one of, if not the best Enter Shikari album.

All the normal quirkiness is there, along with the more mainstream elements incorporated into 2017’s ‘The Spark’.  In fact, on this album Enter Shikari may have actually made the perfect Enter Shikari recipe and in turn the perfect Enter Shikari album!

we suggest you check out:

Enter Shikari – ‘satellites**’

3

BRING ME THE HORIZON
‘Post Human: Survival Horror’

Yes, ‘Post Human: Survival Horror’ is technically an EP, but it is just so outrageously good that it had to feature and feature high. Precursors such as ‘Ludens’ and ‘Parasite Eve’ had promised something special but I don’t think anybody predicted anything this good.

When we recently reviewed the record (here) we told you “This new EP takes the best elements from throughout their career and combines them in one stunning masterpiece of an album.”. Bring Me The Horizon prove with this album that the best is still to come!

we suggest you check out:

Bring Me The Horizon – ‘Obey’

2

FONTAINES D.C.
‘A Hero’s Death’

The battle for the number one spot this year was fierce. Actually, the battle for the top 5 was fierce this year. Fontaines D.C. are the band that gets the number two spot, but this album deserves Album of the Year. ‘A Hero’s Death’ shows that the band are no flash in the pan and builds on the basis of debut ‘Dogrel’. This album actually feels a step above that debut album, and is another that has created a huge personal connection during this tough year.

This record has already rightfully brought the band much acclaim and we can’t wait to hear these songs live. Fontaines D.C. are an unstoppable songwriting force and with ‘A Hero’s Death’ they have placed their claim to be the band of their generation.

we suggest you check out:

Fontaines D.C. – ‘I Don’t Belong’

1

IDLES
‘Ultra Mono’

It has been a crazy year, and this list has been heavily influenced by that. As mentioned the top of this list is massively impacted by new music I heard during the height of the initial lockdown. ‘Ultra Mono’ was an album that I was already extremely excited to hear; and the stream of songs released during Lockdown only served to raise that excitement to a fever pitch.

Thankfully IDLES didn’t disappoint and when the album arrived it was a pure masterpiece. It shows a natural progression on the bands first two records and grows the bands sound. It still captures what made us all fall in love with the band but by incorporating new elements into the bands sound the album shows that IDLES are no one trick pony.

Above all other releases this year and those that feature in this list, this was the album that we needed this year. In a year where we have all been knocked down one way or another, IDLES and ‘Ultra Mono’ has been a call to arms, to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and keep going.

we suggest you check out:

IDLES – ‘Model Village’

So, there you have it, the Top 20 Albums of 2020 as considered by Full Pelt Music. We are sure that your lists will be different to ours and we want to hear them, so why not share yours with us on social media!

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Full Pelt’s Greatest Christmas Songs

Just what are the Top 10 greatest Xmas Songs?

Santa singing xmas songs
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

It’s that age old debate, just what is the greatest Christmas song of all-time? Christmas Songs. You either love them or you hate them, but as the holiday season approaches they are usually inescapable. We all have our favourites, our guilty pleasures and probably those that we despise with a passion.

As I discussed in my recent blog ‘Mental Health, Music and Me’, we all have a powerful connection to certain pieces of music. Some songs fill us with joy and sadly others can fill us with sadness. This is probably never truer than when talking about Christmas Songs. Christmas after all is generally an emotive time for people, whether celebrating good times with family and friends or mourning those bad times we all suffer on occasion.

Either way, the odds are that we have an emotional connection to a particular Christmas song. We all have our favourites and who am I to argue with your choices? The rules for selecting Full Pelt’s Greatest Christmas Songs are therefore very simple.

  1. They are all true Christmas songs and not simply a song that achieved fame at Christmas and is treated as a Christmas song. Therefore no ‘Mad World’ or ‘Stay Another Day’just adding snow to a music video doesn’t make the song a Christmas song!
  2. There are no other rules! These are simply my personal choice of my Top 10 Christmas songs! Don’t agree? Tell us your favourites in the comments or on social media with #fullpeltxmas.

So what are we waiting for? Let the countdown begin…

10

Chuck Berry
‘Run Rudolph Run’

Chuck Berry – ‘Run Rudolph Run’

Released by Chuck Berry in 1958, ‘Run Rudolph Run’ is a great little rock n’ roll song and it’s also a great Christmas song!

9

Wham!
‘Last Christmas’

Wham! – ‘Last Christmas’

In 1984, Wham! gave us what is now one of the most played Christmas songs of all-time in ‘Last Christmas’. In the context of this list, I guess this could be deemed our guilty pleasure but we don’t consider it so. That’s because we feel no guilt whatsoever for loving such a fantastic piece of music that seems to tick every element required for a Christmas song, most importantly tugging on the old heartstrings!

8

The Pogues w/ Kirsty MacColl
‘Fairytale of New York’

The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl – ‘Fairytale of New York’

‘Fairytale of New York’ truly is the marmite of Christmas songs. Many hate it, many many more love it. I dare you not to sing along after a few too many sherries “…it was Christmas Eve babe, in the drunk tank…”.

7

Band Aid
‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’

Band Aid – ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’

For clarity here for a talking the original and best Band Aid that brought the world together in 1984. Bringing together a wealth of musical talent, the song ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ has transcended its origins and whilst still reminding us of the charitable endeavours required in this unfair world, it is also simply a Christmas song staple.

6

John Lennon & Yoko Ono
‘Happy Xmas (War is Over)

John Lennon & Yoko Ono – ‘Happy Xmas (War is Over)’

‘…so this is Christmas…’, John and Yoko manage to perfectly capture the essence of Christmas time in this quintessential festive song.

5

Elton John
‘Step Into Christmas’

Elton John – ‘Step Into Christmas’

As we enter the Top 5 greatest Christmas songs, competition is high! The criteria for the top five does appear to be that the Christmas songs must be feel good music. Sir Elton John gave us one of the greatest feel good Christmas party anthems in 1973 with ‘Step Into Christmas’.

4

Paul McCartney
‘Wonderful Christmastime’

Paul McCartney – ‘Wonderful Christmastime’

The second Beatle to make our Top 10 greatest Christmas songs list is Paul McCartney with ‘Wonderful Christmastime’. Celebrating the togetherness and wonder of Christmas this track is essential listening at Christmas.

3

The Darkness
‘Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)’

The Darkness – ‘Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)’

The Darkness were at the height of their powers in 2003, and they seized the opportunity to release their festive rocker ‘Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)’. The outlandishness of the band translates perfectly into a Christmas song that some 17 years later has stood the test of time.

2

Wizzard
‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday’

Wizzard – ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday’

Roy Wood and his group Wizzard made festive magic with this great Christmas song that echoes the thoughts of kids everywhere – we all wish it could be Christmas everyday!

1

Slade
‘Merry Xmas Everybody’

Slade – ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’

Who can resist screaming along to Noddy Holder on this Slade favourite – “…it’s CHRISTMASSSS…”. Enough said, ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ is a stone cold classic and deservedly takes our number one spot!

There is of course a plethora of great Christmas songs that fail to make our Top 10, if you disagree with Full Pelt’s greatest Christmas songs make your opinion known in the comments, or let us know on social media.

Enjoy our festive
Spotify Playlist

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Features

Livestreams: Good or Bad for the Live Music Industry?

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

With the removal of live music due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, musicians and fans alike have been forced to find new ways of getting their fix. The arts are by their very nature creative, so it should surprise nobody that new avenues to engage the connection between artist and fan evolved very quickly. The jump in popularity of livestreams has been one of the most startling effects of the pandemic restrictions.

Initially at the height of the worldwide lockdown these livestreams were generally through the likes of Facebook Live. Musicians (usually solo) playing to a camera set up somewhere in the home. For some that meant the comfort of their living rooms, for others it meant being strategically located in front of their trophy shelves. Either way it was a basic way for artists to play their songs to their fans when true live music just wasn’t possible.

One of the issues with this method of livestream is that of price. On one hand the fact that they are free for fans to watch is great. It provides a chance for those on low incomes, who may otherwise be unable to afford to see live music, with the ability to see their favourite artists perform. The price point therefore offers artists the opportunity to gain exposure to those who may not normally pay to see them. Then when live music returns, perhaps those individuals will invest in a real show.

On the flipside for artists who have seen their primary income source taken away, giving away their art for free isn’t going to help them pay their next bill. Remember not all musicians are millionaires, and in reality those engaging in livestreams from home are most likely not. Some artists have sought middle ground by continuing for free but asking those that can to donate or purchase merchandise. Whilst this provides a modest income for the artist, it isn’t viable in the long term and most artists feel awkward asking.

So, is there any way to make livestreams financially successful for artists? We are now seeing more and more artists trying their hand at the professional livestream; with easing restrictions allowing full bands to get together and stream a live performance. Filming from actual music venues and often featuring full production, these streams offer a product for consumers to purchase; thus providing a greater source of income to artists.

With many bands incorporating full production values however, we see increases in ticket prices. With prices for some streams now sitting at a similar value to real live shows however, you have to wonder at what point fans may be turned off. Looking at it from the negative point of view, it’s not really live in its truest sense. As a fan, I’m not there. I’m not listening to the actual sound or seeing the real in person artist. I’m not struggling to get a good view or having to buy expensive beer…

…actually, come to think of it, from the positive point of view, I’m not there. I’m not struggling to get a good view or having to buy expensive beer. I do not have to drive or catch the train and when it finishes I can go straight to bed! Of course, different people will see livestreams differently. Even ticketed livestreams give those who might not normally be able to attend the chance to see the show; whether that is due to travel or work commitments. You can watch the livestream anywhere with an internet connection.

There is another stakeholder involved also, and that’s the venue. Venues lying empty due to restrictions can receive a fee to host a livestream, which is good. In reality however, that fee would be a drop in the ocean compared to a real concert and everything that comes with it, such as overpriced beer!

So far we have identified both positives and negatives to both types of livestream event. Right now there is no perfect answer, no ideal scenario. Not for fans, artists, venues or the rest of the live industry ecosystem. Ultimately though we aren’t in an ideal scenario, far from it in fact and until real gigs can safely return we need to be creative and find ways to form a connection.

In my recent blog, ‘Mental Health, Music and Me’ I spoke of the need to have a distraction from the real world. Gigs are my distraction, but they are not possible right now. Livestreams therefore present an opportunity to scratch that itch. The same can be said of artists who are missing playing shows.

So, livestreams do serve a purpose and they are a short term solution to a hopefully once in a lifetime problem. But, how do they fit into the future? Are they here to stay? I’m sure we all hope that live music returns sooner rather than later and realistically nothing can recreate the experience of a live concert. I don’t therefore see livestreams as the future of live music, but even in the future they can play a role.

They provide artists with a chance to reach audiences they may otherwise struggle to get to. They provide fans with a chance to experience artists live that they may not regularly get the chance to see. I don’t see livestreams going anywhere anytime soon, especially as technology continues to develop. That however isn’t a bad thing, as long as they don’t become the “new normal”!

Until real live music can safely return our beloved music venues remain in trouble. To find out more you can read my recent blog ‘Why We Need To #SaveOurVenues’.