Back in 2010 I had absolutely no aspirations to be a music promoter. I did how ever desperately want to get Penetration playing on what could be considered home turf. I was trekking all over to see them play when ever I could and I attempted to get them to play locally. “Sort it out & we’ll play” was the response. So I thought why not, how hard can it be?
Some initial exploration showed that it may or may not be hard but it would be expensive. Any thoughts of holding a show went onto the back burner until I stumbled across a Facebook page dedicated to the stomping ground of my youth, the Middlesbrough Rock Garden. The creator of the page was already in the process of organising a reunion gig at Stockton’s Georgian Theatre so I got in touch & enquired as to how much it was costing him. It was extremely reasonable and thoughts of Penetration gracing the impressive stage of the venue came racing into my head. I agreed to come on board as a co promoter of the Reunion show with an agreement that we would also co promote 2 more shows, one each of our own choosing. As Rock Garden Revisited we went onto promote 20 shows rather than the 3 we anticipated. I can honestly say that I don’t think there was a bad show amongst them from a musical point of view.
Some were disasters in terms of the number of people who attended but bizarrely some of the shows with poor turn outs were amongst the best. Take a bow The Wolfmen & Scant Regard. Due to a combination of circumstances it was gig no. 13 before Penetration finally played. Sods law it was the only show we promoted at The Georgian where the sound let us down but still a great night for me.
In my opinion the best RGR show was the last one. A totally rammed venue with an electric atmosphere to see Theatre Of Hate.
I had decided somewhere along the line that as well the RGR shows I needed to promote my own events as well. I’d long been an admirer of Pete Molinari and set my stall out to have him as my first solo show. I didn’t envisage being quite as active as I am in terms of promoting shows as I am now about to promote my 54th show in total!
Its difficult not to end up repeating your self and putting the same bands on but some of them are just so damned good it’s difficult not to. Take The Fallen Leaves for example. Absolutely superb live & great fellas to boot. I’d never heard of them until one Sunday I was listening to Radio 6 waiting for an interview with Wreckless Eric (who I was promoting in The Green Room the following week) when they were played & it was one of those Eureka moments.
At this point we were still running the RGR shows so I suggested them and we agreed to put them on. Unfortunately we pulled the plug on the show as there was no interest in it. Our inexperience got the better of us, we should have gone with it but there you go.
Eventually in Sept 2014 I managed to get them back on a bill supporting Subway Sect and they stole the show. They have since been back again headlining & then supporting The Monochrome Set, again stealing the show in many people eyes. I would consider them to be my in house band now & have already got them booked for 2 further shows.
One of the first shows I promoted was ex Slit Viv Albertine for one of her very first solo shows. A sold out crowd who all stood and drooled over her and on the night remarked how good she was yet years later certain people can’t slag the event off quick enough – funny that.
One of the shows I was most pleased with was Hannah Rickard & The Relatives, a young relatively unknown band. The show didn’t get great numbers through the door but the band were really great. Good to be able to find & then put on a band like this who are young & developing.
So 5 years on, still promoting, on my own full time now & much prefer it that way. Lots of confirmed shows coming up in 2015 & the first shows for 2016 already announced.
Onwards & upwards!