Posts Tagged ‘The Bluetones’
The first Tonic Music For Mental Health Festival set for the 29th Sept @ The Pyramids, Portsmouth
Tonic Music for Mental Health Ltd (company number: 8093898) is a new not-for-profit organisation based in the South Coast of England. Our vision is to challenge stigma and promote recovery with music. We aim to achieve this by promoting and raising awareness about mental health through music festivals and events; to involve individuals, groups and communities within music festivals and events and; to invest and support individuals with mental health problems through a variety of music related activities and sources. We are a small independent company relying on the support and goodwill from individuals, groups and communities. Tonic Festival 2012 at Portsmouth Pyramids is our first venture.
Tonic Music Festival takes place on Saturday 29th September at the iconic Portsmouth Pyramids venue that has hosted the likes of Radiohead and Arctic Monkeys. Located on the picturesque Southsea seafront, Tonic Festival will open its doors at 11.30am with live music commencing at 12.00 noon until 2.00am.
It will feature a variety of live bands and DJ’s over three stages – main stage, dance stage and outdoor Hipshaker marquee; an indoor market space featuring local traders from Albert Road and people experiencing mental health problems selling crafts; outside traders including established clothing and cosmetic brands; information stalls from local and National organisations; a children’s area with bouncy castles, face painting & workshops; live outdoor entertainment; food, bar, merchandise, a rare chance to see Jimmy’s original scooter from the iconic British film Quadrophenia and much more. We have been fortunate to secure some fantastic acts including Mike Joyce (The Smiths & PiL) who was in one of the most successful UK bands of all time. Mark Morriss (The Bluetones) who was in one of the most successful Indie bands in the 1990′s.
Heath:Ward and Subgiant Rock both of whom are regular features on the UK festival circuit and set to perform at Bestival again this September. Hipshaker DJ’s who have their own Hipshaker lounge at the IOW festival, have regular club nights at Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms and perform at the IOW scooter rallies. Several up-and-coming mod bands who are gaining a growing reputation around the UK and perform regularly at Pretty Green stores around London.
The Mini Band who have received worldwide internet success – their covers of Metallica posted on Youtube have received over 4 million hits alone – Metallica love them! We have so many other truly talented musicians, but this gives you a taste of our great line up at Tonic. Other bands confirmed for the Tonic Festival include Nymph, Kodiak Jack, England Road, The Novatones, The Silver Beatles, The Bog Rolling Stones, The Stealers and many more! Tickets are only £10.00 and with a capacity of 1600 we expect to sell out due to the great line up, great overall entertainment available, affordability and the message behind Tonic.
Tickets allow indoor access to the main stage and dance stages. All outside spaces to the front and back of the Pyramids will be free, therefore due to the fantastic location of the Pyramids on the seafront the expected capacity of people strolling past and coming into the grounds of the Pyramids will be limitless.
Tonic will also be organising a raffle and auction and would be grateful for any donations towards this. We have already received some amazing donations such as a signed cymbal from Suede, a very rare signed test pressing of Sean McGhee & Richard Oakes debut single “forever in negative“, Art Gallery, Clothing, signed photographs of Stephen Fry, a ukulele and many other great items.
Tonic have set up a community art group consisting of established and budding artists, people receiving mental health services and members of the public all working together to produce some creative artwork to exhibit at the festival and to transform the venue. This group is open to all and we welcome new creative members.
You can buy tickets for the event HERE.
Mark Morriss readies album number two
Mark Morriss has written the tracks, recorded the demos and is now ready to hit the studio to record the follow up to his first solo album ‘Memory Muscle‘. Mark will be releasing the album later in the year but the pre-order campaign starts here!
Working with Pledge Music, Mark is running a series of ‘Pledge’ incentives for the casual and hard-core fan alike, whether you just want a signed copy of the album or the (literal) shirt off his back, the choice is yours!
You can find out all the options by clicking HERE.
Mark has also just released a video introduction for the project, tackling the hard questions head on…
Nick Osman gives us his thoughts on the recent Mark Morriss show and even catches up with the man himself for a few words….
When Jules asked me to write a piece about Mark I had no idea what I was really in for. I’ve been listening to ‘Sleazy Bed Track‘ over and over and I just can’t get enough of Mark’s talented voice. I’ve always had something for melodies that use great lyrics, especially saucy tracks like; My Autumn’s Done Come. These sounds really do place a great feeling into your behaviour, and best of all is the way that Mark is able to move from a song that’s played with educated remorse to a sudden Latin lit effect, that is a talent for me to be honest.
Formally the lead singer for The Bluestones, the London four piece – Mark Morriss, Adam Devlin, Scott Morriss and Eds Chesters – scored their biggest hit in 1996 with ‘Slight Return‘, it ended up peaking out at number 2 in the U.K singles chart. Their last studio album ‘A New Athens‘ was released in May 2010 but the band split up soon, saying goodbye to the fans with a September 2011 U.K tour. For now Mark seems to be happy just touring solo with that laid back cheeky Middlesex vibe of his and has ventured down to the south to give us a night to remember at Lennons (Nightclub, Southampton).
Firstly a warm up from The Stealers with Hiding in the shadows, then setting the scene strumming his atmosphere at the Lennons, the crowd just lent at the bar or on a pillar grasping his sounds as they are thrown at you from one of his singles I’m Sick.
As his voice bellows around the venue from ‘Alcoholiday‘ (Teenage Fanclub cover) the crowd gather in on his warm glow from yet another great track and one person shouts ‘play more mate’ as he moves onto ‘So It Goes’. The room is sprung upon with yet more listeners arriving and before long brand new track ‘It’s Hard To Be Good All The Time’ hits the mic and you begin to get the impression of his artistic form.
After the gig I asked him few questions about how his inspired humour and comedic passion of always being happy differs from his work in the past to his solo stage performances now.
I’ll start with your solo album ‘Memory Muscle’; did you begin with that inspired life of walking away from your childhood like a real John Lennon type?
‘It’s no master play really. Things that appeal to be on the outside step, as it were, are like calculated steps for your song writing and music career’.
Playing acoustically at open mic nights in London back in 2008, how do you feel you differ from performing to now?
‘You get a feel for collective responsibility when you are playing with your band members. When I first started those long acoustic nights I was completely on my own and I guess in a way you get used to the band, it’s kind of alien really.’
If you had to choose a perfect part of your career what stood out for you and made everything work?
‘If there is an inspired moment for me it would have to be the moments that passed by within my memories. Like when we flew through the clouds and then onto the landing strip when we were doing our Japan Tour and that was a real moment for us as a band, to realise your living your dream’.
What was it like producing those mariachi sounds?
‘There was always that feel of Mexicana when producing the more mariachi sounds. But like other great artists such as (Buffalo) Springfield we just gave it our best shot.’
With yet another great solo track ‘Lay Low’ I wondered if the feeling you placed into the track came from a sense of disappointment from way back in the 70s.
‘Sometimes Fear mostly. You see you can strut around on stage and hope for the best but I’m not one for fight or flight, that sort of thing doesn’t really appeal to me.’
Back when you were swinging around touring in the 90s your melodies used a lot of emotion, when you were younger did you always think nothing can stop this feeling of creative nature?
‘Those moments that jumped at us we took as it came really. Back then you could just quit your job and go for it. Not like now where you have to work at say Tesco for nothing.’
What kind of music influences you to perform?
‘From my late teens to my early 20s I was well into Neil Young and that laid back freewill feeling. That always gives me a great emotion towards any crowd really.’
Crossing between ‘Memory Muscle‘ tracks and the more familiar Bluetones numbers can be tedious to a crowd that might not be used to Mark’s chilled out faze towards life. But with great sounds from his acoustic music I’m pretty sure by the end of one song your foot will be following that invisible beat to acoustic reel.
I asked him if there was anything that caught his ears to date and as he smiled at me he asked me to listen to Cass McCombs. ‘He didn’t really appeal to me until my brother said ‘let it grow on you man.’ Mark Morriss, a great singer, a brilliant solo artist and with new material set for release this year, exciting times lay ahead.
Words by Nick Osman
Pictures by Arron Gumbrell
Mark Morriss (ex-The Bluetones) launches new website along with free download!
Former frontman with The Bluetones, Mark Morriss, has recently launched his brand new website and is offering a free download of a brand new track to all those who sign up to his mailing list.
Mark will be a guest on the In Session show on Voice 103.9fm this Sunday (4th March) co-hosted by myself and Andrew House.
He will also be playing two shows on the South coast in March starting with The Edge Of The Wedge in Portsmouth on the 14th and then Lennons in Southampton on the 15th.
Tickets are on sale now and I am running a cheap list with tickets available at just £5.00! Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to take advantage of this special price!
Sat on the back steps at Alton College, October 1995, my mate told me about a new song he’d heard on the Evening Session and passed me a cassette single of ‘Bluetonic’. From that moment on I was hooked, every single and album from there on in was purchased on the day of release, right up to last year’s ‘A New Athens’ album (accompanied by the aforementioned friend as well). So to be going to the see The Bluetones for the final time on their Farewell Tour is quite an emotional event. Being able to get in on Mark Morriss’ guestlist does however sweeten the deal a little and certainly would have made 18 year old me think that I’d achieved something with my life… I never did have high ambitions.
The Brook is the setting for the final Southampton show and there is a capacity turnout by the looks of it, a mix of the faithful and the nostalgic, in usual tongue-in-cheek style, Mark later quips about the followers; ‘looking out at the slightly chubbier, thinning hair… it’s a constant reminder of our own mortality every night, so thank you for that’.
Despite the numbers, at times the crowd do seem a little subdued, but then this is a farewell and it is hard to forget that each song you hear is heard for the last time. OK, unless you are going to more nights on the tour smart arse.
There has always been far more to The Bluetones than just ‘Slight Return’ and tonight is a timely, or perhaps too late, reminder to all that they really have produced some great singles over the years.
It is however an ‘opening of openings’ that launch the evening with the first track from each of the first three albums being played, ‘Unpainted Arizona’ (technically a 2nd track but we’ll let it slide), ‘Zorro’ and ‘Surrendered’, all instantly evoke memories of the first time I listened to each of the albums.
Then come the singles, ‘Solomon Bites The Worm’ and ‘Autophilia’ are glorious indie tunes, the crowd clearly agrees as they receive an even warmer welcome than the aforementioned ‘Big Hit’. Latter day tunes from the commercially overlooked ‘A New Athens’ sit proudly with any of the back catalogue, ‘Carry Me Home’ displays all the usual wit and charm you’d expect from Mark’s lyrics whilst the title track, in a more ‘Britpop’ centric time would surely have been another huge hit. To be honest I have often thought that bands like The Charlatans and The Bluetones only mistake was to keep going, they should have done what the rest of the indie crowd did, disband for a couple of years and return for a highly publicised reunion cash-in tour.
Whilst never an ‘official’ member, original keyboardist Richard Payne has re-joined the band for the tour and this adds a new (or rather renewed) dimension to the tunes, especially the likes of ‘Tiger Lily’ that have not seen the light of a stage for years.
The unmistakable bass line to ‘If…’ is still a thing of beauty and the song induces a mass sing-a-long as the show gradually approaches the literal final curtain. Not before a cheeky little rendition of KC And The Sunshine Band’s ‘Give It Up’, complete with Richard’s blowy keyboard thing (not sure this is the technical term for it) and a wave of cheesy irony washes over the crowd, the majority of whom know the song inside out it seems.
Returning for a final encore and modelling some fine dressing gowns whilst carrying bouquets of flowers, Scott, Ed, Adam and Mark (plus Richard of course) bow out with the apt ‘A Parting Gesture’. And then they are gone.
The Bluetones were in imperious form, the hits dispatched with ruthless precision, carefully selected album tracks and plenty of heart meant the band went out on a high. A timely reminder of the golden era of indie that spawned them and that the latter years of their history have been criminally over looked by an often fickle media and public. Farewell then to The Bluetones, they will be missed… the wait for the reunion tour starts here.