One of my photos

Young Turks

December 1st, 2008 · Posted by Skuds in Music · 2 Comments · Music

84MM at Bar Med, Crawley, 30/11/08

84MM at Bar Med, Crawley, 30/11/08

Sunday evening I went down to the Bar Med in Crawley, where the young people of the town were organising, playing at and going to see a charity concert.  Although I am far from young myself, they did need some volunteer responsible adults for the event and I managed to pass as a responsible adult somehow.As expected, watching the bands play I was torn between the pleasure of seeing so many people enjoying themselves and sheer jealousy that every single kid playing was a far better musician than I could ever hope to be.   Unless I lost track completely, which is not impossible, there were six acts on the bill, all local artists and all playing for free.  Bar Med let them have the place for free, because it was in a good cause, and by the end of the evening there was a £630 profit to be sent to the Great Ormond Street hospital.

Scrappy MC at Bar Med, Crawley, 30/11/08

Scrappy MC at Bar Med, Crawley, 30/11/08

It kicked off with a chap called John Refford  singing and playing acoustic guitar.  Then there were Dizzy Tales, a pair of rappers called Scrappy MC & Amo, Smile From A Stranger, 84MM and US & Them.

I had seen 84MM before but had not heard of any of the others, who all turned out to be quite good too. The headliners, US & Them ((probably not named after the Pink Floyd song, but you never know)) were especially good.  I was dead impressed by the bass player.

In parts they were, like Dizzy Tales before them, quite reminiscent of the Arctic Monkeys, but they also managed to have some cracking tunes that encourage audience participation like the Kaiser Chiefs do – lots of big choruses to get everyone going.  The term ‘crowd-pleasers’ could have been invented for them.

What impressed me was the levels of confidence shown by all the acts.  Maybe not all the music is to everyone’s taste, but they all looked totally at home on the stage.  I shouldn’t single anybody out but the taller of Scrappy MC & Amo and the singer with Us & Them really did have a good presence and way of handling a crowd.

The organisers

The organisers

There were a few nerves amongst the organisers.  There had never been a youth event at the Bar Med before, and some recent under-18s events at the Liquid/Envy night club had gone badly wrong, but it all went off without a hitch, thanks to the efficient security at Bar Med.  Obviously there was no alcohol served, there was not even any alcohol advertising visible – all the beer taps were covered, etc.  This meant that I saw local character and fellow responsible adult, Chris Mullins, with a soft drink in his hand.  I took a photo of course, because otherwise nobody would believe me.

The security staff said that the crowd were extremely well-behaved and viewed it as a quiet night. Not as quiet as their normal Sunday nights of course, when the club is closed, but it all went as well as could be hoped.  One reason for this is that all the advertising was restricted to the local area- flyers and word of mouth in Crawley schools and some plugging on Radio Mercury in the last week – so there were not large crowds of kids coming down from Croydon and London.

The audience, the bands and the organisers were all a credit to Crawley youth.  Check out the links above to the various band MySpaces and see just how many charity concerts they are all doing as well as shows in local pubs, schools and youth clubs.  There is a thriving local music scene going on that is practically invisible to us old fogeys but keeping a lot of youngsters occupied in ways I can only envy.

I did take quite a few photos, and a selection of them are on Flickr. (Note – all high-res and under Creative Commons so if the local papers who don’t send photographers out on a Sunday evening want to use them that is fine)

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2 Comments so far ↓

  • Andy's_mum

    I’m in the doghouse! Our youngest was keen to go after I told him about the gig – but I got the venue wrong. He showed up at Liquid/Envy…
    Sounds like he would have loved it, too 🙁 When’s the next one!

  • Skuds

    Ouch – you got a lot of making up to do!

    There are quite a few chances to see some of the bands again soon. 84MM seem to be playing more out-of-town shows now, but you (or your youngest) can see Us&Them, Smile from a Stranger & Dizzy Tales in Three Bridges on Dec 5th. (Railway Club xmas party – any age)

    Also there is something at Dormans on Dec 15th with Us&Them, SFAS and others.