For the second year in a row BBC Introducing Guernsey headed down to the St Peter Port seafront to showcase a range of bands from the islands as part of the Guernsey Arts Commission’s Art Sunday event.
As I was ‘stage managing’ (I use the term loosely), taking photos and generally fretting about organising things, this may not be a full review but hopefully gives a bit of insight into the event.
With the seafront already busy as 100 stalls were set up selling and showcasing art of all kinds, along with a dance stage, two music school stages, the Vale Earth Fair and two dedicated music stages (including ours) the street was already busy as Gregory Harrison started the music at 11am.
As he has become known for Harrison delivered a set of his soulful, bluesy, acoustic songs mixing tracks from his debut EP with brand new songs that will appear on his second release that he said he hopes to record and release before the end of the year.
Being on Town’s main thoroughfare there were plenty of people passing with quite a number stopping for at least a few songs to take in Harrison’s sounds before continuing to explore the rest of the event, but every song was greeted warmly by those who chose to stop.
The energy certainly jumped a few notches as The Rectory Hill Skillet Lickers hit the stage with their unique rag-time, skiffle, busking, stomp. Familiar to many for their impromptu Saturday morning performances around Town seeing and hearing the band on stage and amplified really helped to bring out their lo-fi, raucous, but above all fun musicality and performance.
All seven members had their chance to shine over their 40 minute set but lead trio of Tinshack, Gemma and Clem were certainly the focus and, with the street all but blocked by those who’d stopped to listen, The Rectory Hill Skillet Lickers certainly provided one of the day’s highlights.
The upbeat sounds continued with Honest Crooks who, even if two-thirds of them were feeling a little worse for wear after the previous night’s gig, delivered a supremely skank-worthy set that perfectly suited the increasingly sunny afternoon.
While their songs (for the most part) have a bit of a socially and politically aware edge, it never gets in the way of a good tune and the trio even got a few dancing and gently skanking along while their version of Meghan Trainor’s All About The Bass went down a storm with a slightly different edge to the original performer’s version at Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Exeter last week.
Having stormed the most recent Sound Guernsey show for under 18s Static Alice certainly brought in a crowd spanning all ages and delivered a vibrant, energetic 40 minutes of music from their debut album and follow-up EP.
Dom Ogier once again headed out into the audience and drew them into the performance while the rest of the band delivered their pop-rockers in as slick and tight a fashion as always all of which left the crowd, who’d packed the road in front of the stage, calling for more.
After such high energy things got a little more relaxed with the smooth, blues-y, rock of The Elliot Falla Trio. Once again as the set went on a crowd gathered and, while the music was a bit lighter Falla’s impassioned howl cut through and added an extra edge.
Other than a cover of the seemingly obligatory Valerie and traditional folk tune Wagon Wheel (suitably blues’d up) the rest of the set drew on Falla’s own writing including tracks from his debut EP and Nebula Eyes that he announced as having been written when he was only 13!
As the event drew to a close, and the crowds began to thin, it seemed Arts Sunday as a whole had been one of the most popular yet and with every act on the BBC Introducing Guernsey stage drawing a crowd it was great to be part of an event showcasing so much of what Guernsey has to offer in the way of the arts and particularly new music.