Psychedelic music festival set to sell out in Manchester

Originally published for Quays News on 26/03/2014.

PSYCHEDELIC rock bands from across Britain are heading to Manchester for a new music festival.

Tickets are selling out fast for the first ever “Manchester Psych Fest” at the Northern Quarter’s live venue Night and Day Café on May 31.


HEADLINERS: Five-piece band Toy will headline the festival

Local and established psychedelic rock bands  will play throughout the evening and organiser James Elvin believes there is a gap in the market for the event.

“The reason it started up was a selfish one, I guess,” he said.

“I’m heavily into music that comes under the psychedelia umbrella, so I wanted to put an event on with either the bands I know, want to see or want to be brought together under one roof.

“There are loads of cool events going on in the UK, Europe and beyond, so there must be a market for it. As long as the music is good and people are having fun, that’s the most important thing.”
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Salford ‘sleep workshops’ probe link with good mental health

Originally published for SalfordOnline on 24/03/2014. Below is the original unsubbed copy, see link for subbed version:’sleep_workshops’_probe_link_with_good_mental_health.html

Community centres in Salford are promoting March being ‘National Bed Month,’ by running a series of workshops over the coming weeks to help highlight the importance of sleep to our mental and physical health.

Willow Tree Centre on Littleton Road and Energise Centre on Douglas Green will be running the activities, which include sleep workshops, an introduction to Chinese medicine and mindfulness sessions.

National Bed Month is the longest standing awareness campaign of The Sleep Council, and has been running every March since it’s launch in 1990. The Sleep Council’s Lisa Artis claims that the scheme’s aim is to remind everyone of the importance of getting a better night’s sleep, and the role a good bed plays in achieving that.

“It’s worth bearing in mind that just one bad night’s sleep can have an effect on our mood, concentration and alertness,” she said.

“Keep the room cool, dark and quiet and resist the urge to check emails or catch up on Facebook- have a nice warm bath or read a book instead.”

Events such as the ones taking place in Salford are a common occurrence across the country, with The Sleep Council also using the initiative to encourage people to invest in a good quality bed.

“An uncomfortable, unsupportive bed makes a huge difference to how well you sleep,” said Lisa.

“Our own research a few years back found that when replacing an uncomfortable bed, a new bed was associated with an increase of 42 minutes sleep.”

Salford’s Energise Centre will be hosting a sleep workshop on Thursday 27 March, before a session on sleep problems and Chinese medicine the following day. Willow Tree Centre brings an end to National Bed Month by hosting a mindfulness session Monday 31 March.

For more information on National Bed Month, visit The Sleep Council’s website;

To get involved with the activities in Salford this month, contact Energise Centre and Willow Tree Centre for more information;

Review: NME Awards Tour Live at Manchester Academy

Originally published for Quays News on 21/03/2014. See link for examples of relevant online treatment:

THE annual NME Awards Tour was in town this week, with three of the most hyped bands of 2014 taking to the stage at Manchester Academy alongside iconic headliners Interpol.

Having seen the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand and The Vaccines play in previous years, the NME Awards Tour has gained itself a reputation for giving acts who are on the fringes of the indie scene the opportunity to move onto bigger things.


HEADLINERS: Interpol brought the NME Awards Tour to a close

Hoping to make the most of their shot were opening act Circa Waves. The four-piece Liverpool band have been gaining radio airplay recently with infectious single ‘Get Away,’ and delivered a short but sweet set to an Academy which was barely a quarter full at the time.

Circa Waves’ sound harks back to the dark days of 2008 and the array of generic, ‘landfill indie’ bands which polluted the music scene at the time, but despite their relative unoriginality, the band win the crowd over through the sheer catchiness of their songs and a highly energetic setlist. They’re not going to change the world, but Circa Waves are impressive live and have just enough about them to keep them from being pigeon-holed with The Fratellis of this world.

As more people began to swarm into the venue, duo Royal Blood took to the stage, and hammered out a half hour set of aggressive, heavy rock ‘n’ roll. The Brighton band, comprised entirely of drums and bass guitar, have recently released new single ‘Little Monster,’ which has drawn comparisons to the likes of Queens of the Stone Age and Rage Against the Machine.

It’s a ferocious sound, and one which is even more impressive considering it’s coming from just two people. With a support slot with Arctic Monkeys at their huge summer shows at Finsbury Park to look forward to, 2014 could prove to be a very big year for Royal Blood if they maintain this level of live performance.

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Ordsall police appeal to community to cut crime

Originally published for Quays News on 20/03/2014

POLICE in Ordsall have been encouraging residents to take more responsibility for their community in a new campaign to cut crime.

SNAP, which stands for Sustainable Neighbourhood Action Plan, has seen warnings and warrants issued and vehicles seized in a bid to get the police and the community working together to improve the area.

The scheme, which is run by Greater Manchester Police and partnership organisations such as Salford City Council and the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, has been running for approximately five years, taking place in different wards in Salford around every six months.

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Catfish and the Bottlemen join Dot to Dot Festival line-up in Manchester

Originally published for Quays News on 12/03/2014

INDIE band Catfish and the Bottlemen are the latest act to join the bill for Manchester’s annual Dot to Dot music festival.

The much-hyped Welsh group join Real Estate, Wolf Alice and headliners Peace at this year’s event, which takes place at venues across the city on May 23.

Welsh rockers Catfish and the Bottlemen are the latest addition to the 2014 Dot to Dot line-up

CONFIRMED: Catfish and the Bottleman will play at Dot to Dot 2014

And organisers have revealed that more names are due to be announced.

Winner of ‘Best Metropolitan Festival’ at the 2013 UK Festival awards, Dot to Dot has built a reputation for giving the stars of tomorrow their first taste of a festival crowd, which is something that DHP Promotions’ Mark Dennis wants to continue this year.

“We’re really proud of our record of giving fresh young artists one of their first chances to prove themselves,” he said.

“It’s about unearthing the hottest new artists alongside more established acts.

“This year it’s especially pleasing to see Dot to Dot veterans Jake Bugg, Ellie Goulding and Ed Sheeran selling out huge arena shows!”

The festival, which sees bands play across three cities in one weekend, began in 2005 in Nottingham before expanding to Bristol and, most recently, Manchester. The decision to branch out to Manchester in 2010 came after organisers noticed a distinct gap in the city’s festival market.

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New music: The Struts

Originally published for Noise Cannon on 4/3/2014. Below is the original unsubbed copy, please see the link for the subbed version.

The Struts are a four-piece rock band currently based in Derby. With regular shows both around the UK and overseas in the past few years, the band are hopeful of big things in 2014, and whilst most of today’s upcoming talent may shy away from the idea of being full-blown ‘rock stars,’ The Struts have their sights firmly set on being the next band to conquer the world of stadium rock. In 25-year-old Luke Spiller they have a frontman with the style, the confidence, and- ahem- the strut to make major waves in the world of rock ‘n’ roll over the coming months.

Citing their influences as Queen, Led Zeppelin and the Stones amongst others, The Struts are bringing big, bold, glamorous rock ‘n’ roll back to a music scene which has lately been saturated with shoegazers and those unwilling to put on a truly wild live show. With a voice made for screaming anthems to thousands, a wardrobe Noel Fielding would be jealous of and not to mention three excellent musicians behind him, Spiller, to quote himself “was born to do this- and I’ll die doing it.” Recent singles ‘I Just Know’ and ‘Could Have Been Me’ showcase the band’s ability to right a catchy hook or two, and they’re certainly songs that are aimed not at small backstreet underground music venues, but at Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage.

Above anything else about the band, the main thing The Struts have going for them is that nobody else is doing what they are doing. Extravagant, flamboyant and ambitious, they’re a band who are tearing down the concept of being ‘just another indie band’ and trying something truly refreshing.

With new single ‘Kiss This’ not too far from release, and with a growing fan base built up from extensive touring and support slots, The Struts have one thing on their mind and are determined to grasp it with both hands. As their lyrics say, they “don’t wanna look back and say…it could have been me.”