January 16, 2013 § Leave a comment
When planning a live performance, a band needs to take into consideration the pros and cons of a venue, in order to decide which venue would be best to host a live show. In the case of Beijing Bandits, I have considered 5 venues, 3 of which we have already played before, for any possible further live shows. This list includes familiar venues, as I feel that a band playing certain unfamiliar venues as a headlining act would not have enough appeal to draw a new audience, unless they were supporting a well-known band. However, the 2 unfamiliar (to us) venues that I have included, I feel have an incredibly dedicated audience who support live music. It is for this reason I have considered the venues as a possibility for a Beijing Bandits live show. All of the venues themselves focus on live music, while also providing a bar atmosphere.
The list of possible venues for a Beijing Bandits live show is as follows.
- The Full Moon, Cardiff
- Porter’s Bar, Cardiff
- Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff
- Mr. Wolf’s, Bristol
- 200 Club, Newport
The reason I have chosen primarily venues in Cardiff is because, while Beijing Bandits are based in Newport, I feel that we have more appeal to a Cardiff audience. This is because of various reasons, including the larger alternative music market which is found in Cardiff, as well as due to previous successful live shows we have already played in Cardiff.
In order to get a better idea of each venue and the benefits they have to offer, I will discuss each venue separately, including details and photos that are publicly available on their websites or social networks.
The Full Moon, Cardiff (http://www.themoonclub.net/)
The Full Moon and The Moon Club (Downstairs bar and upstairs gig room, with bar) bills itself as “Cardiff’s newest independent music venue” and is located on Womanby Street, in Cardiff. The venue is well known for putting on an incredible amount of live shows, almost daily, as well as having an excellent alternative bar/club atmosphere. The fact that the venue counts itself as a “music venue” is incredibly important when searching for venues for a live show, as this shows that there is still a live music “scene”, which audiences attend, giving an idea of success with these shows.
As for the technical specifications of the venue, they can be found online on the website and are listed below.
It is obvious that the venue is more than capable of putting on a live band and, from previous experience of working with the venue as Beijing Bandits, the staff are incredibly experienced and helpful, meaning a live show would work smoothly and without any problems. Beijing Bandits have played The Moon Club several times before, including performances for the alternative gypsy ska night Rave Revue, which had a fantastic audience and was a brilliant alternative night.
However, there have been times we have played The Full Moon and the audience itself has not been incredible, in terms of numbers. This was down to a combination of the gig not being promoted by both the venue and the band and is an issue that would need to be addressed if Beijing Bandits were to play The Full Moon again.
Porter’s Bar, Cardiff (http://www.porterscardiff.com/)
Porter’s is a relatively new bar that has just opened in Cardiff centre and is advertising itself as an “arts and artists bar”. Opened by David Wilson and Daniel Porter, the bar is “not only for actors, industry professionals, drama students and theatre lovers but for anyone looking for good old-fashioned fun”. This focus on the arts is almost essential to a live show (especially with a niche genre such as gypsy ska) as, mentioned before with The Moon Club, a live show needs an audience who feel comfortable at the venue.
The bar promotes regular open mic nights and customers are encouraged to play the available instruments onstage. This laid-back approach to live music is extremely refreshing to find in a venue today and I am positive the owners would happily welcome a live band to play a gig in Porter’s.
Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff (http://www.clwb.net/eng/)
Clwb Ifor Bach (also known as The Welsh Club) opened in 1983 as a members only club and promoted live music first and foremost. The venue went from strength to strength with larger music acts and is known as one of the best live music venues in Cardiff today, regularly hosting well-known bands and quickly selling out live shows. Located opposite The Full Moon on Womanby street, the venue is extremely close to the city centre and is always guaranteed to draw an audience.
I feel the reputation that Clwb Ifor Bach has for booking alternative and interesting bands would definitely help promote a live show including Beijing Bandits. However, we have not played this venue before and, while Clwb Ifor Bach is well known for drawing a crowd, I have doubts that a Beijing Bandits show would be successful, due to being a smaller, independent band.
Mr. Wolf’s, Bristol (http://www.mrwolfs.com/)
Mr. Wolf’s is an alternative music venue in the heart of Bristol. Beijing Bandits have played the venue many times, supporting well known bands such as Anima Circus, Manana, Sounds of Harlowe, Killamanjambo and The Ten Pound Suit Band and, because of these support slots, have gained somewhat of a fan base in Bristol. Mr. Wolf’s has been extremely supportive of the band throughout all these gigs and, due to a very healthy working relationship between the band and the venue, the live shows have been incredibly successful for both parties.
During Beijing Bandits shows at Mr. Wolf’s, there has always been an audience and a supportive, enjoyable atmosphere. The staff are all extremely helpful and more than confident while working during a live gig which, in turn, gives the band confidence. Mr. Wolf’s is definitely one of the most preferable venues to play.
200 Club, Newport (http://200clubnewport.info/)
200 Club in Newport is located on Stow Hill, which is fairly central to Newport City Centre. The club is a small, independent pub which promotes live music, arranging various bands to play throughout the week. Beijing Bandits have played 200 Club before, to a smaller audience and, while the show was a success, I feel that the pub does not have the same live music appeal or draw as clubs such as The Moon Club or Mr. Wolf’s.
In conclusion, I feel that a Beijing Bandits live performance would be more suited to either The Moon Club in Cardiff or Mr. Wolf’s in Bristol. This is due to the success we have had when playing a live show in both venues previously, as well as the welcoming nature of the venues and the appeal to an alternative audience, who would likely enjoy Beijing Bandits more than a mainstream venue. There is also the possibility of organising a live show at Porter’s Bar in Cardiff, as this also has an alternative appeal and Beijing Bandits would definitely fit with the aesthetic of the bar and the music would appeal to the alternative audience.
January 14, 2013 § Leave a comment
A video recording of Beijing Bandits performing ‘The Ship That Sinks’ for A Musical Priority magazine, live in A19 Opal Student Accommodation, in Newport, Wales.
January 14, 2013 § Leave a comment
A video recording of Beijing Bandits performing ‘Dirty Ape’ live in A19,
Opal Student Accommodation in Newport, Wales.
January 14, 2013 § Leave a comment
A video recording of a Beijing Bandits live performance, from December 2011.
January 14, 2013 § Leave a comment
My product is a Beijing Bandits album, containing several tracks written and performed by Beijing Bandits, a gypsy/ska/folk band I perform in. The album is set to be released on the 19th April 2013, as part of my Creative Sound & Music final project. We have been in the studio since November 2011* recording the foundations for our album and will be back in the studio throughout January and February, with songs ready to be mixed and mastered by the end of February and the start of March.
All songs that are being released on the album have already been recorded as demo versions, which we are currently using as a foundation to overdub and add backing vocals to. We are also adding various instrumental parts to the songs in order to “beef” the songs themselves up and add more background to the songs. The recordings will be finalised and ready to master and mix by the end of February, as they are currently semi-complete.
Currently, we have one song available on the band’s facebook page for download; a demo version of Dear Minor, which has been roughly edited and released, in order to generate interest for the upcoming album release. This demo can be found by clicking here.
While the other songs are still waiting to be completed, I am more than confident that, due to the schedule I have planned out, each track will be completed on time and ready for release by the April date.
Format and Release
The album will be released as a CD, while also available to download as mp3 files online. The online download will include a digital version of the artwork and booklet that accompanies the physical CD and most likely be available through iTunes, although I am researching the viability of releasing through bandcamp, or similar services. For the physical album release, I am going to press 200 copies of the physical CD. These will be for sale at live shows and through a bandcamp service to order. The figure of 200 copies is generated from the amount of people that have “liked” the band on facebook, as well as interest we’ve generated at live shows. I have also taken into consideration the fact that many people may choose to download the album instead of opting for a physical copy, so I do expect for than 200 copies of the album to be sold, only through online retailers.
The release date is set for the 19th April and will coincide with a live show/album release party which will take place on the same weekend, featuring Beijing Bandits and other gypsy ska bands, while promoting the album and other bands featured. The release party will be in a venue in Cardiff, most likely The Full Moon, where we have played several times before and have a good relationship with the venue.
The release show will be a way for Beijing Bandits to promote the album, while also making physical copies of the album available at the release party, as the show itself will be aimed towards fans of the gypsy ska genre.
Audience and Markets
With a product such as the Beijing Bandits album, it is difficult to define the audience specifically, as many different elements influence an individual’s music taste. However, it is somewhat easier to define the market I am aiming the product at.
Geographically, in Cardiff and Bristol, there is a definite interest in alternative music, with many venues opting to organise alternative, gypsy themed live shows and acts. Beijing Bandits have played several of these shows, including Rave Revue in Cardiff and The Roly Poly Dress Up Club in Bristol and gained somewhat of a fan base through these shows. This market is essential to my products success, as gypsy ska is somewhat of an alternative genre and does not enjoy much mainstream success. Therefore, the market for my product is fairly specific yet, with such a specific genre, the demand for new content is fairly high. This means that my product has a higher chance of success than if it were to be released into a mainstream market with no necessarily defining characteristics.
Currently, I count the project as on-schedule, as we have recorded the basis of the tracks and are ready to overdub and record backing vocals, as well as other instrumental pieces for the tracks. The success of the project obviously depends on a successful schedule, so the following is a rough schedule of where I expect the project to be during which months.
January – Record backing vocals for all songs.
February – Re-record instruments that need re-recording and add various other instrumental parts. Research artwork and printing for album artwork.
End of February – Ensure all songs are recorded ready for mixing and mastering.
March – Mix all tracks. Start work on CD artwork.
Mid-march – Ensure all tracks are mixed and album order set. Master the CD.
End of March – Finalise artwork ready for printing.
April – Send artwork for printing, limited to 200 copies.
April 19th – Release date.
This schedule, which runs right up to the release date, is organised around the time it takes to record in the studio and is based on previous experience within the studio and working with Beijing Bandits. It is also based on the following scheduling images which were given to us at the start of our production semester, outlining timescales for when certain aspects of the production should be completed.
Again, I am more than confident that this project will be completed by the April release date.
[*Edit: 16th January 2013: The date I had originally written was November 2012, an entire year difference from when Beijing Bandits started. This has now been corrected.]