Tag Archives: 2002

ARTICLES // The Sound Of The City (2002)

Between 2000 and 2003, I ran a music organisation in Brighton called Sounds Phenomenal. I joined them initially as a volunteer, to help out with organising a conference when I was laid off from the book trade following a merger-related branch closure. To my surprise, I ended up inheriting the organisation.

Whilst this gave me unprecedented opportunities for skills and contacts building, it also became a little bit of an albatross for me. It was inherently difficult to actually make any money from it at the time, yet I seemed to be somehow compelled to keep it going. This meant doing more and more events to ‘build the brand’ and give it a history, but that I was unable to make a living from. I guess that it contributed in its own way to my leaving the UK to live abroad.

The final event I did as Sounds Phenomenal was a 19 act live showcase at Sussex University, titled ‘The Sound Of The City 2002’. The image above is the front cover of the brochure that I designed for the event, with the ‘seagull & headphones’ image being a Brighton homage to the Woodstock ‘dove on guitar’ graphic. You can read more about the showcase itself here.

Having managed to secure a media partner to sponsor some of the showcase (The Latest), I had what was probably my first opportunity to write an ‘advertorial’. The article that appeared in their issue that week is below.

The Sound Of The City

This fair city of ours has itself many reputations. They stretch from the seaside Victoriana of the naughty weekend and the coastal escape from the demands of modern Metropolitan living, to a political test bed for Government policy initiatives or the ‘British San Francisco’ of its large gay community. The Brighton (and Hove) of the imagination is thus a multi-faceted creature. It is, however, as the cultural epicentre of the South Coast that Brighton embeds itself most strongly in the minds of its residents and visitors. Witness the quarter of a million people who turned up when Fatboy Slim announced his free party on the beach this summer. It is ‘the place to be’ to have a good time.

Although there is a common complaint that Brighton is more of a club town and that it doesn’t do enough to support live music, the evidence would often appear to contradict that. The Concorde 2 succeeds in putting on a huge range of live music, and most medium-sized touring bands fit in an appearance there. Promoters like Melting Vinyl ensure such treats as The Strokes coming here before they appeared anywhere else in the UK, and Lee Hazlewood’s only 2002 concert outside London. The Essential Festival has brought such musical titans as James Brown, Public Enemy and Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry here. And then there are the universities.

Lord Dearing, one of the government’s key advisers on higher education, was recently reported as saying that universities should become ‘giants’ in their regions, boosting the local area with ideas and highly skilled people, and promoting the regional economy and culture in addition to their more traditional academic roles.

Sounds Phenomenal has been helping Sussex University with this aim since 2000, having brought live music back on to campus after an absence of some years, and are providing the Freshers’ Week showcase of the best of the city’s unsigned live acts.

Having started life an a community arts project that provided access to to music making and training for young people in the area, SP has a pedigree of supporting music at its grassroots. We are therefore proud to present ‘The Sound Of The City 2002’, in association with Jagermeister, The Latest and Latest Homes, USSU and Sol Beer, as a sampler or ‘live flyer’ of the best of Brighton’s live, unsigned acts.

This year’s line-up offers a greater diversity than in previous years, running from the live loops of Phloot Groove and the girl on girl hip-hop action of Plan B, to Jah Love’s reggae system and the open scapes of local alt country types, JP Delph & The Mighty Fine. It also includes sets from SP guitar-based favourites such as Shark, Liquid Laugh and the Radio 1 playlisted Agent J, who will be opening and closing the proceedings.

Brighton is not only a place for a great time, but it also produces some extraordinary talent from its artists and players. Sample ‘The Sound Of The City’ and find out for yourself.

NUS cardholders only. IDs will be checked.

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