When it comes to Preston’s music scene, two words simply spring to my mind – “vibrant” and “diverse”.
Preston has had a vibrant live band scene since ages ago, and now is no big different. There might be no common ground on why this is the case, some Prestonians or live music lovers however may put this down to some facts like Preston as a comparatively small city in the North West, has an annual influx of students helping to keep things diverse and fresh. Luckily, there have always been some great local venues willing to put the time and efforts into live music.
Having said that, the scene around Preston is pretty strong, we have a large population of bands of very high class standard and although venues are suffering, some music venues have actually closed or stopped booking gigs, there are also a couple of other good venues that are putting nights on and keeping the scene alive, so there is plenty going on.
Good venues and gigs
Mad Ferret was shortlisted as one of best small venues in the North West by NME in June 2011, It books all sorts of weird and wonderful bands from all over the UK and beyond. Preston acts are just as diverse, the Ferret is still catering for and insane variety of genres, there is always something good and quality for everyone – jazz, dance, urban and indie, etc.
Aside, if you are a young musician desperate to get on and show people your own songs/music. This is where the Mad Ferret comes in, always giving ‘up and coming talent’ a chance to play in front of an appreciative audience. If you are good enough you will be back is the message from this pub.
53 Degrees gets the biggest names generally. It is still catering for the big bands, though could do to try to get in some bigger bands, there has been so many touring bands pass Preston by. All you need to do is compare 53’s listing to the Manchester Academy’s like Academy 2 and 3, which are probably the closest similarity in terms of capacity.
The Dog & Partridge is also a cracking small pub for watching some bands. It has started putting monthly Sunday gigs on and continues to put weekly Tuesday gigs on, both having a tendency to be rock/metal, the Sunday gigs are also open to young people too, under 18’s and all that lark.
Roper Hall seems to be a new place for rock and metal, Rock On Promo (ROP) has started a night called Rampage Preston at Roper Hall every Friday with 3 great bands each week, the rock and metal music scene seems to be building again. The Roper also started to book musicians for live music on every Wednesday night.
The Ship Inn used to have great live music scene every week, now it seems to lean away from gigs, presumably it might be open to gigs again in the future.
Other venues like The Variety, Adelphi, The Continental, Withy Trees, Kolor Bar and BitterSuite.
Top five unsigned acts and who is on the up
It is difficult to say who are the “top 5 unsigned acts” and who are “on the up”, because everyone is going strong now, and there are too many to list indeed. At this exact moment some active acts in my mind are (in no particular order):
Top five unsigned acts
The 1st ever winner of Ready To Rumble Unsigned 2011 band battles, they have managed to beat off 180+ bands in the competition. Now they are taking the next step and will soon have their music video on Kerrang and Scuzz.
Music Video – This Town Will Drag You Down
March has been one of the established bands in Preston area.
Songs are available to listen here.
Jamie is getting the radio attention from BBC Radio Lancashire, and played on BBC Introducing and many other venues in Preston and surrounding areas.
Video – Jamie Brewer on BBC Introducing Radio Lancashire
This band is popular at the moment and they seem to get gigs all over the UK.
Music Video –Where Did I Sleep Last Night?
Same as Johnny5thwheel&thecowards, Mobius Loop are booked to play gigs around UK.
Video –Mobius Loop Live at the Mad Ferret
Acts on the up
Recently a couple of the more established bands have split up, but there are plenty of other acts ready to step up and fill their spot at the top of the pile.
By touring their brand of infectious, melodic and epic metal throughout the country, Storm Corporation built a loyal fan base and a solid reputation with a base of promoters and journalists.
Their debut album – A Quiet Belief In Angel has been released in March 2011.
Music Video – Never Far
The Colours are a four piece band that hail from the sunny seaside resort of Blackpool. With increasing attention from the crowd, The Colours have been played in Preston for several times.
Demo – Olivia In India
The band forged their unique sound from their shared love of all genres of music. Most songs on Jackdaw’s gig setlist are original “Jackdaws material”, which was very commendable, and this also shows that Jackdaws is a new but very promising band with potential to be Preston’s next “big folk rock act”.
Video – The Great Northern + Undertaker’s Daughter
Heavy Fluid Addicts
As a grunge band, Heavy Fluid Addicts have played a quite a few gigs in 2011. Indeed, the band members keep creating music together for the pure joy of it. The final result of their ongoing friendship and collaborative work are a combination of originality, creativity and none conformity, as well as, social, emotional and organic music.
Music Video – George, You’re Annoying Me
Based in Preston UK Subject 7 are moving fast with drive and determination. Just one month in Subject 7 are moving fast and are working on their new album Seven Rising, which would be released in around late January 2012. Subject 7 are featured on the Battle For Bloodstock PodCast courtesy of VIX The Angel Of Metal. With a list of gigs already booked throughout the year, Subject 7 are optimistic for the future and raring to go for a UK tour.
Music Video – Come Out Tonight
Again, there are so many others that are not on this list, my suggestion is quite simple, if you have the chance, just pop in the music venues above to watch a live performance and see for yourself.
With the local promoters sharing the passion with music on nearly every night the live music scene loving people of Preston are taking full advantage of their excellent venues. For more details on musicians, upcoming gigs/events, news, reviews and venues, you may find something useful on these Preston based promotional sites.
The Ark Preston
Unsigned Acts / Preston
Rock On Promo
Ready to Rumble Unsigned
Hey Bert Promotions
This is a guest post from Rachel Zhong who blogs at Unsigned Acts/Preston about the local music scene. You can also check out the monthly round-up of what is live and loud in the city with Kerrie Carlisle.
What are your views on the music scene in Preston? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.