It’s not often we talk about our secret house shows here because, well, they’re secret. However, I need a little bit of help with a blog post and this seems like a good trade-off.
I’m looking for people to tell me what their first gig was, (band, year, venue, if possible) AND to add a song from the band into our ‘First gigs’ Spotify playlist. All you need to do is follow the playlist in Spotify then it’ll appear in your left navigation menu. You can then drag the song into the playlist: First gigs!
We’ll then choose one person at random next week to have FREE ENTRY x2 to our secret house show in May with Mark Morriss. This includes a set from folk/americana act Dan Hartland and dinner afterwards.
Fight the Bear at T in the Park 2011. Catch them at The Frog and Fiddle, Cheltenham this Thursday! Also on the bill are Captain Accident and the Disasters and Sam Green and the Midnight Heist
(Author’s Note: initially this blog post started with “Hey Fuckers”, but I thought that might be a little insensitive)
A bunch of you have been hurting each other of late. Frankly, I’m ready to pull contact with 99% of the humans I know, and correspond mostly with woodland creatures. But that’s…
The Gloucestershire Echo kindly ran a piece on our 100th show over the weekend. This response was posted underneath:
In the spirit of “everyone’s entitled to their point of view” this is all fine in my opinion. This was the response given back:
"Woah. So much to pick through and so little time. Still, let’s make time.
Not sure what’s most shocking, the raw nerve that seems to have been touched just by two guys celebrating their own personal milestone or the fact that you think 2008 to 2014 = 8 years.
Let’s go over it bit by bit: Where does it say they’re the only people providing an outlet for new musicians? Can’t see it there myself. Was it definitely this article you meant to post under? I can see 'Beauty Tips Straight From Beyonce's Makeup Artist' just above this box… Perhaps you meant to post under that? It’s a simple mistake so don’t beat yourself up about it. We all want to look more attractive to the opposite sex (or same sex - I don’t judge).
OK back to the maths: 100 gigs in just under six years is… *gets a better calculator than yours out* 16.666 shows a year. (I thought you’d like the recurring 666 bit especially – kind of RAWK don’t you think?) Not a bad achievement really especially when they only aim to put on monthly shows. One show a month would be *gets your calculator out* 13 shows a year. So they’re still doing well.
How dissatisfied do you actually think they are about the “Cheltenham gig-going public”? So dissatisfied that they’re now on show 100 and seek to make no money from any of it at all? They don’t sound too miffed in all fairness. Also, they’ve never moaned about the turnouts to their shows. Why? Because the turnout is always good!
You are of course referring to the blog they wrote where they let rip at those who refuse to pay to come into shows or argue or get abusive and violent. How dare they take umbrage with that?! Who are they to get upset when they’re getting abuse and hassle for putting a show. The bare-faced cheek!
So, one blog in six years where they were disgruntled about being argued with so much for £5 entry. They sound furious! You know what I’d do if I was SO dissatisfied with the gig going public? I’d probably do something else with my time like accountancy, horticulture or basically anything NOT PROMOTING LIVE MUSIC IN CHELTENHAM. I’m old-fashioned like that. Still they seem like new-fangled chumps who combat their dissatisfaction by putting on more shows and celebrating their own modest milestone afterwards. Let’s not dwell on that though.
So this is a one-sided story? It’s about The Cheltenham Underground and their 100th show. THAT’S the story! What other sides would you like?! A big bit about the 2 Pigs where they’ve never done a show? Something on G’s Bar where they’ve never done a show? A bit about preparing the perfect Caesar Salad? None of them are relevant to the story. This story has just the right amount of sides. THEIR side. It’s like criticising a square for not being a hexagon. Or thinking 2008-2014 is 8 years.
Here’s a good bit I liked about your reply: “not just Alt/Folk/Indie acts filling the gap left by Pulp & trying to be the new Mumford & sons!” Firstly you seem to be saying The Cheltenham Underground only book alt/folk/indie acts. Let’s look at their last show:
Hugh (electro/dub/soul); James Scott and the Revolution (hip-hop/RnB); Stokeley (electro/ambient). Or we could look at the 100th show, the imminent arrival of which seems to have so raised your blood pressure. Captain Accident (reggae); Fight the Bear (ska/rock); Sam Green and the Midnight Heist (roots/blues/folk). Doesn’t quite fit your stereotyping there does it? Best not to go on about the other 98 shows but we can probably take it as read that the rest have strived to be similarly varied.
You also seem to be very critical, dismissive, narrow-minded and let’s be honest, rude about acts that have played Cheltenham Underground shows. I’m sure there are plenty of local acts who’d like to know whether you have them in mind when you say they’re trying to fill a gap left by Pulp or trying to be the new Mumford and Sons. Go on who is it?! Just say – I won’t tell anyone.
By the way, what kind of point of reference is “acts filling the gap left by Pulp”?! What band in their right mind in 2014 is thinking, “I need to fill the gap left by Pulp”? Nothing against Pulp (their lyrics are witty, their songs are danceable) but honestly, who thinks that?!
In saying 2Pigs and others are more varied and open-minded, you back it up by being reductive and narrow-minded about other bands. Seems logical.
Also you seem to be confusing The Cheltenham Underground as a venue. They’ve put on shows at SoundMusic Venue and many other places besides The Frog. Your point doesn’t really make sense.
Again, a minor point, neither they or the Echo say they’re unique or alone in what they do. They’re just celebrating their own achievement. Sounds fair, right?
This is when it all gets a bit clearer: “I say the 2PIGS is more the home of live music.” I can’t be more unequivocal about this: Cheltenham is too small to be getting all tribal and possessive about things. It’s not a competition! I couldn’t give two hoots where you think the home of live music is. It doesn’t matter. Music will thrive while venues and promoters put on good shows and people enjoy going to them. If you want to argue about who has the best walls and roof, you go for it! And as much as I love 2 Pigs – their toilets would lose to the toilet facilities on the frontline of the Battle of the Somme so let’s not start comparing facilities.
The 2Pigs should be commended for putting on 14+ shows. It gives a good foot up to some talented young musicians. The Cheltenham Underground can’t do that as the venues they use have an 18+ licence. A shame.
Still let’s not get putting on 14 year old acts confused with being varied. I’ve got a pair of boxers that are nearly 14 years old. Apart from some fraying around the elastic and thinner material where my balls have rubbed it away over time, they look pretty much the same as another pair I bought last year. And they do the same job. There’s no variation. My mind isn’t blown by how CRAZY and leftfield I’ve been when I change from one pair to another. They’re just pants. Good, reliable pants – one pair with an illustrious and glorious past and the other with a bright, promising future – but pants nonetheless.
Finally, I love all the music venues in Cheltenham because they put on live music and that’s an invaluable service to the community. Venues and promoters shouldn’t be arguing and getting petty over things.
Moreover, I love the 2Pigs Chip. Yeah, let’s be honest, that pseudonym and your slight bias to the good place is a bit of a giveaway. It’s you Chip, owner of the 2Pigs. I love the place. Been going there since 1998 when I moved to Cheltenham. I’ve been there more than anywhere else for nights out. I’ve also been more than happy to send people at our shows straight to your venue afterwards to spend money there and have a good time.
I’ve also been happy to post about it on our event pages. Ask your DJs on 14 February and 21 March about it. We all had a good time on those nights. Point being, promoters and venues do their best work when they work together, not when they post catty remarks on the Echo’s website.
Damn, I’ve probably blown my cover now I think:
I’m John Madden. I run The Cheltenham Underground with Dan Base. In a CV littered with only modest achievements and modest grades, I’m proud of what we’ve done in Cheltenham. I’m proud we’re now at show 100. I’m proud to have worked with 13 venues over the course of this time and various different promoters on a wide range of music and spoken word shows.
Yes, you’ve been doing your thing for a lot longer than us and I’m sure you’ve put on hundreds upon hundreds of shows. THAT should be applauded too and hopefully the Echo will recognise what you do too. As one of our favourite bands Gabby Young and Other Animals sings: “We’re All In This Together”
For now though Chip, let Dan and I just enjoy our achievements over the last six years. We know we might not be the best at what we do nor are we the most prolific but on Thursday we WILL be celebrating along with three brilliant bands and a roomful of brilliant live music lovers. Afterwards, we’ll be having an afterparty at Propaganda. For those who don’t fancy Propaganda, we’ll be suggesting they pop into the 2Pigs – one of the best live music venues in Cheltenham.”
Next show this Friday!
Last night was a treat. I was lucky enough to be a part of an ‘invite only’ audience for Andy Oliveri's album preview.
The album that was due to take two days to complete with his mate Marcus in December 2012 is nearly finished, and Andy invited us to a house show in Cheltenham to test out the album live. The house belongs to a lovely lady called Dinah, about whom I know very little, save that she’s a great champion for live music and a bit of a local legend.
Michael King from Boat to Row (@boattorowmusic) opened the night with a solo set. I’m in Boat to Row myself, so it was a rare treat to be able to watch Mike play his beautiful and intricate songs by himself.
Andy had us all captivated as he played a perfect balance of solos, duets and full band numbers. Andy approaches both solo and ensemble pieces with a delicacy and intimacy that means you can’t take your eyes (or ears) off him. My personal favourites had an easy, laid-back country vibe… more of that please!
I’m pleased to feel a tiny part of the creation of Andy’s new album after being there last night, and I can’t wait till we can all own a copy!
You can follow Andy on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/andyoliverimusic?fref=ts
…or watch him here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnUdji9Hr6E
Best of luck Andy,