My Philosophy… in rant form.

Aside

I almost wrote blog posts countless times about countless things this month, but each time I started to type I found that I was either boring myself or I was hitting a block & stifling myself for some reason. I soon realised that it was because I knew I was about to be controversial, and having diplomacy ingrained in me, an annoying little alarm would go off each time. I then talked to a friend and blogger who was having the same problem, however her potential ‘offendees’ were  fundamentalist Christians, which is a little more extreme, but then there are worse fundamentalists out there. Being an Atheist I naturally told her “fuck them, it’s your blog” and in turn this made me think; fuck it, this is my blog.

I won’t go into the detail I had originally intended, simply because there’s too much and it’s a bit boring. I was going to write a full blog post about a certain (rare) breed of gig promoters and venues that have pissed me off in the last month but I’m gonna restrict this section to a paragraph. I’m talking about the ones who are promoters simply because promoter sounds cool to their mates and “…’cause musics alright and that.” and that is where it ends. They’ll get you to travel half way across London to play a gig at your own expense, followed by having a go at you for not bringing half of London to watch you (my job title isn’t “promoter” although I do my best to inform people the gig is happening) while not offering even a decent attempt at a PA system… no chance of giving a good account of yourself there then. Even showing any appreciation after the set has been played or offering any feedback is highly frowned upon in these circles, it’s not cool to like anything. Another problem is the lack of even a discount on drinks for artists, this is more aimed at venues than promoters, it costs you about 40p a pint and I’m helping to keep your customers buying them for £5 each… gimme me one to help me put up with the fact the speakers on fire and the sound guy is asleep. This system is a bit fucked, and having discussed this in depth with many of my fellow musicians and friends (who unanimously agree with my stance on this) I have found that although this doesn’t occur in the majority of cases, we’ve all encountered it at some point and we hate it. I guess I’ve just had it a bit more often this month due to playing almost a gig a day.

Now i’m going to move swiftly on and talk about some of the more positive experiences I’ve had as I’m starting to feel I’ve just given a few to many column inches to what was essentially a bitch fit. Let me start by highlighting some of the top promoters and well-run nights I’ve encountered so far, if you want to play in London then this should be your to play list. If you want to see quality live music in a great setting then start here…

- Vin Goodwin & Lauren Stewart at The Bedford and The Regal Room. Both beautiful venues, professionally promoted and hosted and performances are live-streamed over the internet via webcam. The sound team are also amazing not to mention that the wallpaper in the Regal Room is very easy on the eye.

- John Televara at The Troubadour in Earls Court. They gave us free red wine, beer, some of the nicest pasta I’ve ever tasted and once again there was a top sound guy in a lovely intimate venue. When I say a top sound guy, I actually mean to the extent that not only does he know his shit but he didn’t grumble one bit when the band playing after me demanded 14 mic’s for their 3 drums, 3 vocals, and a guitar. 14′s excessive innit, but I can’t grumble too much cause I met them on the tube on the way home and we had a jam sesh (to the annoyance of absolutely everyone who wasn’t involved).

- Rach Elle and her team at the Gallery Cafe. This is what a music night run by music loving people looks like, they’ve basically commandeered a vegan cafe for one night a month and they go out of their way to make it a great atmosphere both for playing and watching live music. David the sound guy had a cast on his arm and was a bit gutted he can’t play guitar at the minute so pray for him.

- Kal Lavelle at The Worlds End in Finsbury Park. Basically Kal is a great musician herself and she know exactly what she is doing. Another perk is that she will go absolutely Jackie Chan on anyone who tries to talk during your set which is both appreciated and entertaining.

Matt Belmont live at The Worlds End.

- Tom Coyle at The Half Moon in Putney. An absolute gem of a venue which seems to be attended by an unbelievably substantial crowd for a Monday night. As they told me on the night “We don’t make a penny out of this night, we just love the venue and we’ve just always wanted to put our favourite bands on here.” that’s more like it.

This isn’t the be all and end all, there are many other good nights and I’m sure there are many I haven’t even encountered yet in my short time here, but those are the stand out ones for me so far. (Others worth a definite mention are The Camden Eye, Stevie at The Cornershop and Solo Bar in Camden amongst many, many, more…)

I’ve also discovered another singer/songwriter who’s blown me away this month. Sometimes people just get up and play and I basically want to be them for a bit… yes that sounds weird, especially in the case of Annie Eve. Who is a girl. Anyway, she played a set before me at The Gallery Cafe and I was just engrossed from first to last song, seriously enchanting music. This song’s called Elvis…

One final thing… I redesigned and relaunched my website last week and I’d really love some of you to check it out and let me know what you think, I’ve added lyrics to the songs on my EP as well as the ability to stream the EP free, and a short little Bio for each one explaining a little bit about how they were conceived. There’s also up to date gig listings and a ‘Fan Questions’ form where you can ask me stuff anonymously. Please ask something meaningful because at the minute it’s just one of my mates asking me why I don’t go on X Factor repeatedly, and its tedious.

www.MattBelmont.com

I’m gonna leave you with a link to the youtube channel of a music fan I met called Stu. Stu is a top bloke and he basically filmed my whole set at the Gallery Cafe, it’s all on his channel along with lots of other live music. Check it out and if you like it then thank him for doing it in the comments.

The GoodMusic Channel.

MB x

It’s Only Lo…ndon.

Last month I finally relocated to London. It was a daunting move and one which took forever to come off due to the total pain in the arse which is being totally busker poor and house hunting in one of the most expensive cities in the world. However, it’s proved to be possibly the best decision I’ve ever made both personally and professionally. For starters, I’ve been busking whilst looking across at this DUMP…

So let me begin by debunking an age old myth which was recited to me time and time again by friendly (yet cynical) Northern folk before I came here – “Londoners are rude, unsociable, solitary creatures. Don’t expect any help getting your busking equipment down the stairs to the tube yada yada yada…” LIES! (paraphrased lies).

In my short time here I’ve encountered and performed to some of the most friendly, helpful, and encouraging people I’ve ever met and I generally can’t move for people offering to help me with my equipment on the tube. I’ve received so much advice on good venues, promoters and music nights from fellow musicians and promoters, namely Antonio Lulic; a great singer/songwriter fresh from a tour with Ed Sheeran. Antonio has helped me out a lot since we met during a gig we both played at The Bedford in July. I’ve since played gigs with him at The Waterline in Hackney (another amazing, well attended, intimate acoustic venue) and at his self-run monthly flat gig ‘Acoustic Domestic’. Check him out, his tunes are awesome. On that note also look up The Bedford in Balham. Its a really interesting venue which strives to offer a platform for the best (ahem) emerging talent on the London music scene, recently the stage there has been home to artists such as Newton Faulkner, Ed Sheeran, James Morrison and Paolo Nutini amongst many others on their paths to success.

The Bedford has a sister venue called The Regal Room; a lovely intimate space where performances are streamed live over the internet for those who cannot make it on the night. Vin Goodwin runs these nights; a top promoter and a great host, well worth checking out for any musicians seeking gigs in the area. I’ve included a link below to a live video which was taken from our performance at the Regal Room. It’s a new(ish) song called ‘City Sleeps’. Try to ignore that annoying advert for the tank game :-/

City Sleeps - Live

So it’s been a crazy, busy month of meeting new people, playing new venues, and receiving more music industry contact in one month than I have had in the past four years, word gets around fast in London! It’s a super busy city, expensive in every way, and the scale of it all can be a little intimidating at first, but the people here have been so kind and encouraging that I can’t help but feel more at home here than I ever have in any other place.

Busking Highlights were definitely meeting a very cool jamaican council warden who approached me menacingly then smiled and said; “You have to move!! …if you were rubbish… but I like you so you can stay.” and then proceeded to be my crowd control for the remainder of my set. I’ll leave you with this picture of my smallest fan dancing during my performance on the South Bank yesterday. Why did dungarees ever go out of fashion when she makes them look this cool?