Recently in Toby Rogers Category
On the 50p tax rate, Mr Clegg said: "We can have a debate about 50p. I'm starting to think that there is no reason to think that 50p has to remain there forever.
"But it is a question about what do you do now? And now a lot of people are feeling under a lot of pressure.
It's been a hectic week. I've just written articles on Manchester-based indie-rockers Airship and Sacramento's Ganglians for Artrocker and lined up an interview with rising North East starlets Let's Buy Happiness following the recent announcement that they've landed a slot on the John Peel Stage at this summer's Glastonbury.
Having made the last twelve of the Glastonbury Emerging competition, the band impressed so much that, despite not actually winning the contest (that accolade went to Ellen & The Escapades), the festival's organizers invited them to play anyway. With a support slot with Idlewild at the O2 Academy coming up plus appearances at Newcastle's Evolution Weekender and Great Escape, it's going to be a busy few months for the hugely talented outfit.
Sticking with the competitive theme, regional music development agency Generator have announced the shortlist for Sound & Vision, a competition they're co-running with Northern Film & Media. Up for grabs for the winning track is the chance to have a professional video made with the help of mentor Dick Carruthers (Oasis, The Rolling Stones, The Killers). Songs from France & The Habsburgs, Nadine Shah, Viva City, Jimmy & The Sounds and The Hellfire Club all face the public vote on Generator's website.
Last Saturday and Sunday The Cluny held a huge fundraiser for the National Society for Epilepsy. A deluge of emerging local talent including Mammal Club, Brilliant Mind and Manila Chapter descended on the venue for a riotous double header of live music that raised in excess of ÃÂ£1,000 for the charity.
There's no let up this week either as the gigs come thick and fast on Tyneside. You'll find me watching The Bluetones at the O2 Academy on Thursday (April 15th). I've been a fan since the explosive Expecting To Fly kicked the Gallagher brothers' (What's The Story) Morning Glory off the top of the UK album chart back in '96 and, nearly fifteen years on, the band still know how to cut it live.
Also worth getting yourselves along to is Race Horses at The Other Rooms on Friday (April 17th). Hewn from the same stone as fellow countrymen Super Furry Animals, the Cardiff-based x-piece deliver a sublime slice of tongue-in-cheek pyschedelia on their well-received debut album Goodbye Falkenburg.
Finally, Sunderland's finest rock band, The Futureheads, unleashed the lead single from their forthcoming fourth LP The Chaos this week. A buoyant blast of angular art-rock, 'Heartbeat Song' is a fine return to form for the Mackem outfit. I interviewed guitarist Ross Millard a couple of weeks ago and he was hugely excited about the album. Expect it to be an absolute cracker.
Raised in the suburbs of Gateshead on a diet of David Bowie and The Beatles, I've been a near-obsessive music fan for as long as I can remember. Really, I blame my parents. Even before I could tell the difference between rock songs and nursery rhymes I had a Dansette-style record player and a basket full of old seven-inches that included most of The Small Faces' Decca catalogue plus early releases from The Who, Cream, The Pretty Things and The Rolling Stones (all thanks to my Mum's youthful fondness for Mod and R&B).
From teenage years spent riding the wave of mid-nineties Britpop to too many late nights at university analysing obscure European electronica on the dance floors of Liverpool's nightclubs, to countless sweaty gigs watching mediocre indie outfits with pen and notebook in hand, my thirst for new music has never been quenched. I've got a spare room full of CDs and vinyl and an iPod that has packed in under the weight of promo pre-release MP3s.
I've also always been hugely excited by the music in my native North East.