Archive | January, 2020

Ralfe Band – Sebright Arms, Hackney (January 29, 2020)


Ralfe Band – Sebright Arms, Hackney (January 29, 2020)

Posted on 31 January 2020 by John Haylock

This was a rarish foray onto the live stage for Ralfe Band. I use the word stage in its loosest sense. It was more an end to a floor that was slightly higher than the other end.

Ralfe Band Sweat It Out

We were at the  Sebright Arms in the heart of Hackney. Fleabag country. Lots of hipsters and veggie options. But it is a lovely pub with a great intimate dungeon of a performing room.

Bearded Ralfe Band ringmaster and glittery shirt modeller Olly Ralfe leads his troops through a highly foot tappable set of wonky and infectious distinctive tunes (that’s wonky in a good way). He plays keyboards and acoustic guitar whilst barely controlled mayhem occurs around him.

The new Mrs Ralfe takes up position on his right and is a pleasant foil to Ollys voice. Due to complete sobriety (a rarity) and amnesia I have no idea of the song titles. I tell a lie. I recall the new single Sweat It Out and a delightful moment when support Piney Gir joined the band for a joyous tune.

At one point we had a gentleman at the front who appeared to be an extra from Strictly Come Dancing. He expressed himself in various dance moves best described as unsyncopated, but he did add that extra something to what was an incredibly enjoyable evening.

Special thanks to my two carers (they know who they are!) and the chilled out traffic warden who let me off outside Subway.

Words by John Haylock


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Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent Competition 2020 Details Revealed

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Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent Competition 2020 Details Revealed

Posted on 22 January 2020 by Joe

Details of the Glastonbury Festival 2020 Emerging Talent Competition, which offers acts the chance to appear on the main stage at the iconic event, have been announced.

The competition is open for entries between 9am Monday 27 January until 5pm Monday February 2020 via the official festival website.

Those entering need to supply one of their original songs on Soundcloud and a video of themselves playing live. This can be at a venue, studio or even in their front room.

As well as a main stage slot the winner is handed a £5,000 talent development prize from the PRS Foundation and two runners up will receive £2,500.

Neonfiller among the judges

This year’s Joe Lepper is once again among the longlist judges. Our job is to whittle down the entries to a longlist of 90 acts.


A panel of judges, including Glastonbury Festival organisers Michael and Emily Eavis, will then select eight of these long listed acts to appear at a live finals in Pilton, which is near the Somerset based festival site.

For the last five competitions all eight finalists have appeared at the festival. See last year’s live finals review here.

Last year’s eight finalists included Roma Palace, one of Joe’s three longlist entries for 2019. We caught up with them in August last year to review their follow up single You.

In October, we also checked in with Saachi and Laura Goldthorp, who also made our long list selection on the back of their impressive Soundcloud and video clips.

Roma Palace

Roma Palace performinh at the Glastonbury ETC 2019 finals (pic by Matt Turner)

As with previous years will be posting regular updates of the acts that are impressing us during judging and the eventual winners.

Previous winners

Previous winners have included She Drew the Gun, who have gone from strength to strength after winning in 2016. Another notable winner is Declan McKenna, who signed for Columbia shortly after picking up the top prize in 2015.

ETC 2016 winners She Drew The Gun (pic by Joe Lepper)

ETC 2016 winners She Drew The Gun (pic by Joe Lepper)

Last year’s winner Marie White has since signed with Decca Records and Universal Music Publishing Group. As well as performing at Glastonbury she also supported Keane at the Royal Albert Hall last year.

“It’s always such a pleasure to hear the latest crop of amazing, undiscovered music that’s out there,” said Emily Eavis.

“Over the years, the Emerging Talent Competition has helped us to unearth so many incredible artists from across the genres – dozens of whom have been given slots at the Festival. I can’t wait to hear this year’s entries.”

Inspired by the Emerging Talent Competition reviews the small stages each year at the Glastonbury Festival with a focus on new and emerging acts. We are looking forward to visiting these lesser known venues at the festival again this year for its 50th anniversary.

By Joe Lepper, pictures by Joe Lepper and Matt Turner


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Duncan Batey  – Little Black Classics

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Duncan Batey – Little Black Classics

Posted on 09 January 2020 by Joe

Its been a while since Glastonbury’s Duncan Batey last got in touch with us, having first impressed us with his acoustic folk Blindsided EP back in 2013.

We caught up with him again four years later at the Glastonbury Calling festival and were warmed once again by his thoughtful, melancholy songs, backed by cello and double bass.

Duncan Batey in Glastonbury 2017. Photo by Joe Lepper

With a new decade underway he’s back again with his debut album, to offer a wider audience a sample of his work.

Once again he’s backed by a welcome string section, this time with a violin added to the mix, aling with accordion, slide guitar and more.

The effect is modern and traditional, mixing a 1960s feel with melancholic modern folk and chamber pop.

This 10-song collection opens passionately with Cleanskin, with strong, often high vocals blending well with the string section beneath.

Little Black Classics, the one with the accordion, has a European feel to it and blends melancholy with pop sensibility well. Imagine Ray Davies on holiday in France.

Stoney Ground is another song to stand out, with harmonica helping further to marry the traditional with the modern. While not a direct ode to Arthur Lee’s timeless band Love, it made me want to immediately go and play their 1967 classic Forever Changes.

My favourite may be Home By Now, a simple acoustic number where vocal and string section combine perhaps the best. It also features the most catchy of this album’s choruses.

Talk Talk

Meanwhile, Run is surely influenced by those miraculous final Talk Talk albums such as Laughing Stock.

There’s a range of styles here but with a distince blend of old, new it works well. Like an old friend it has a feel that immiedately hooks me in, as the sounds of Love, Talk Talk and the Kinks swirl around amidst Batey’s vocals and those marvellous strings.


by Joe Lepper

More information is available at Duncan’s bandcamp page.


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