Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Gig Review: The Factory May 2013 at The Roadmender

Every month, deep down in the bowels of The Roadmender's Boiler Room, the young musicians of Northampton are collecting. No, not for some sort of secret cult meeting, for The Y Factor's brand new Factory - a monthly showcase running throughout the summer that puts aspiring local talent on a pedestal and watches as they blossom. I, as ever, was down there checking out all the action.

Kicking it off was fledgling singer/guitarist Olivia Winterflood. Usually Olivia Plus One, that day she performed as Olivia Plus None belting out everything from Dolly Parton to a stripped-down interpretation of Cascada's 'Everytime We Touch'. Only one original, but she promises there's more to come.

Next to take the stage (not literally) was cheeky chappy Dave Earl aka The Attempt who mixed his lively folk pop ditties with a number of more sombre ones to great effect. Metaphorical deepness, maturity, lyrics sung straight from the heart - his 'Perfect Love Song' had absolutely none of these things, but its "I don't care cos you've got big boobs" refrain was undoubtedly the catchiest of the night.

Amongst all the notes I made for band three The Wild Youth, "Atmospheric Cajon" is the one that stands out to me the most. Sounds like the sort of thing Stuart Maconie would play doesn't it? Luckily so do they. Forget the covers, this band have progressed phenomenally since I first saw them and are now creating haunting but beautiful originals that incorporate spellbinding harmonies, melancholic guitars, keys, percussion, acoustics, a trumpet, and, of course, an atmospheric cajon.

Why bother with a new article when you can just regurgitate one you've already written? Songstress Kelly Barnes has competed in The Y Factor every year consecutively since 2010, fine-tuning her skills both in writing and performing, before she eventually cracked the final three this year as a powerfully-voiced, show-stopping, blue-guitared beauty. Lazy journalism at its best.

The fantastic Morton Piercewright also appeared in that aforementioned final, whilst I don't believe Jasmine Burns has ever played the competition before. But for The Factory her yin joined his yang to create the walla walla bing bang that is You Me Us - a soaring acoustic duet whose complementation, craft and confidence seems to grow every time I hear them. Together they sang of mermaids and Spiderman. You can only Marvel.

But why? Why are you so excited for this whole Factory malarkey? It's got nothing to do with Andy Warhol, or the Joy Division record label? Admittedly not but these youngsters - of whom I am proud to count myself part of - we are the future of music. Look at the electronic producers like Disclosure, the up and coming rock bands (The Strypes, The Orwells), the brand new stars of hip hop (Earl Sweatshirt, Joey Bada$$, Bishop Nehru)... even One Direction are hardly out of nappies.

And The Y Factor has its numerous success stories too. Previous champion Billy Lockett tours the UK with Ms. KT Tunstall in November, both Scott Booth and Tape are to support Britain's Got Talent hot shots The Loveable Rogues, and Ned The Kids Dylan has been booked to perform at Glastonbury Festival this year. Twice!

Whichever way you look at it, 2013 is an extraordinarily exciting time to be a young person in music. Now let's show 'em what us kids are made of.

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