As usual there is a fair amount of comment about the T Break list. It always puts me off when a band is recommended to me on the basis they are friends with / related to another band, have influential management or have other good contacts. Aerials Up for instance were first mentioned to me as a band managed by someone who once managed Snow Patrol. Sebastian Dangerfield as “something to do with the Jetpacks”. I try not to let this colour my opinion when listening but many of these bands turn out to be quite ordinary while constantly appearing at festivals, in media tips for the year, “winning” public votes for best something or other or getting “big” support slots / tours. There are about a dozen bands that crop up over and over again many of whom happen to feature in the goNORTH showcase. Again Aerials Up are at the top of that list. Some say it is a conspiracy some say it is alphabetical.
Joining Twitter was the final piece in the jigsaw of working out how some of these bands had such a high profile. Gigs nowadays can be so badly attended that you can tweet away about how well the gig went knowing that there was nobody there to disagree with you and you can constantly mention your friendship with other bigger bands. These days nobody is going to get a record deal so the best management can do is get small bands on festivals and get bigger bands higher on the bill than they should be. I can understand the frustration of others at seeing these average bands being promoted sometimes year after year as “newcomers”.
Having any sort of connection to a band may not help at all. I was surprised when I finally got to hear the Sebastian Dangerfield EP by both how good it was and by how long they had been going without any real success. On the other side are the artists that not only get a lot of support for say three years and get nowhere but then reinvent themselves and start all over again. Bands have always helped each other out and clearly there is nothing wrong in that but once management invests time and money in a band then you can see why they are loathe to give up. Much like the Eurovision song contest which I watched last night for the first time in many years in which the voting was clearly still based on ties with other countries and not on the artists’ performance to say that the picking of bands for these lists is not based to some extent on friendships and business connections would be to stretch incredulity. As for public polls on the best anything. More later.