TV Review: Black Square Sessions, Episode 1: Baby In Vain, Demob Happy and TRASH

Black Square Sessions - TT

If you’ve ever found yourself watching Later… with Jools Holland and wishing that it had a lot more raw hunger and rough-edged passion about it, or that it took a few more risks on brand new acts, you’re probably not alone.

The theory behind the format of Later… is still unique in mainstream British music television. Get a bunch of musicians together in a studio, have them play some live songs, jam together and interview one or two of the artists about their careers and releases along the way.

Each episode might throw up a gem that viewers are less familiar with, but even with its one-of-a-kind proposition and late-night slots, Later… still tends to feature artists that are achieving a certain level of cross-over or who are already firmly established in the world of music.

But what if you could take the brilliant simplicity of the format, strip away some of its current limitations and plant it firmly in the DIY space? What if you did all that and gave the resulting platform over exclusively to fiercely independent and DIY artists?

Step in Producer, Rob Stones, Director, Giannis Kipreos, Presenter, Daisy Taplin, and the ferociously hard-working crew behind the scenes at Black Square Sessions, a 35 minute sponsor-free show made by music fans and featuring 7 songs performed live by 3 artists with 2 interviews.

Black Square Sessions Ep1 001

With featured bands’ performances filmed in one continuous live take at Black Fox North in Leeds, Black Square Sessions is a truly independent televisual endeavour, and one that, free from the commercial restraints of the BBC, provides the means to beam hungry new acts straight into your music-loving eyes and ears via your nearest Vimeo-accessible device.

And with a season pass costing just £1.40 for six episodes, with 3/4 of the purchase price going directly to the artists playing on the show? You’d be a music-hating fool not to.

So what of the show itself? Episode 1, available now, attests to the genius of the concept and the passion, skill and work ethic of the people behind it.

Featuring Brighton-based alt-grunge-stoner outfit Demob Happy, punk-fueled Danish trio Baby In Vain and Chesterfield’s very own indie-pop quartet TRASH, Black Square Sessions’ first ever half-hour has a distinctly fuzzed-up feel about it. Each band brings their own electricity to proceedings, and there’s enough in this season opener to power a small city for a week. It’s precisely the sort of TV line-up that die-hard fans of independent acts have been crying out for, and the bands do themselves and their hosts proud, bleeding their music on to every recorded frame.

What’s more, Black Square Sessions looks and sounds superb. It’s production values fall in a sweet spot that is leaps and bounds ahead of someone who would rather film a pop concert on their phone than actually listen to the music, but stops short of seeming so polished that the whole thing might as well have been constructed from the contents of a can of Mr.Sheen. Sure, at the end of each performance there is no-one to hold up an “APPLAUSE!” card and whip up an audience into a lather of whooping and hollering, the studio walls aren’t dressed to within an inch of their life, and there are the odd scraps of notes visible on the floor beside the camera ops as well as metres and metres of cabling. But dammit, it works.

Finally, presenter Daisy Taplin is a real find, proving to be a relaxed and engaging presence on camera and steering clear of the typical run of cliched questions during the interview segments. There’s zero presenter ego in play meaning that, alongside the unfussy production, the focus of the show is placed squarely (pun intended) on the music.

And that’s exactly where you want it to be.

Check out the trailer for Black Square Sessions below and connect with the show via Facebook and at Blacksquaresessions.com

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Leeds music venue The Cockpit closes

The Cockpit Leeds

Renowned Leeds music venue, The Cockpit, has closed.

The club shut up shop back in July to carry out “essential maintenance work”, but the owners have now revealed that the state of the premises means that they won’t be reopening.

A statement on The Cockpit’s official website reads: “After 20 great years as a pillar of the Leeds music scene, we have decided it is no longer viable to deliver the level of service you deserve, with the building in its current condition.”

“We’d like to thank every one of you who came to watch your favourite bands, found your life partners and gave The Cockpit its reputation as one of the best live music venues in the UK.”

All the concerts that had already been booked at the venue are being re-scheduled at other locations, with Cockpit tickets remaining valid.

The news comes in the wake of the closure of other Leeds venues such as Queen’s Hall and Rio’s. The Empress in Bradford also recently closed, and The Snooty Fox in Wakefield is fighting for it’s financial future.

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Watch! Black Moth release live video for song “Tumbleweave”

Black Moth band shot crop 640x360

Black Moth have released a live video for their song “Tumbleweave”. The track is lifted from their forthcoming album, Condemned To Hope.

The clip was filmed at the band’s recent gig at London’s Barfly, and comes ahead of the new album’s release on the 15th of September via New Heavy Sounds.

Condemned To Hope is available to pre-order here, and Black Moth head out on the road later this month with labelmates Limb confirmed as support.

You can watch the live clip for “Tumbleweave” below:

Black Moth will play:

Sep 26th: Leeds Brudenell Social Club
Sep 27th: Liverpool Kazimier
Sep 28th: York Dutchess
Oct 01st: London Underworld
Oct 02nd: Birmingham Asylum 2
Oct 03rd: Manchester Roadhouse
Oct 05th: Glasgow The Attic
Oct 06th: Sheffield Corporation

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Jack White announces new UK tour dates

Jack White UK Dates

Jack White has announced details of three live dates in the UK.

White will play Leeds First Direct Arena on the 17th of November, Glasgow SSE Hydro on the 18th of November, and London O2 Arena on the 19th of November.

Confirmation of the tour dates comes after news that White’s gig at the London Eventim Apollo on the 5th of July has completely sold out. He is also due to play a set at this year’s Glastonbury festival. White will play the festival’s main stage on Saturday the 29th of June, after a set from Robert Plant, and ahead of the controversial choice of headliner, Metallica.

The US musician’s second solo album, Lazaretto, was released earlier this month and is available now from good music stockists.

Jack White will play:

29th of June: Glastonbury Festival, Somerset
5th of July: Eventim Apollo, London
17th of November: First Direct Arena, Leeds
18th of November: SSE Hydro, Glasgow
19th of November: O2 Arena, London

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