ARTYFACTS: Rockshop - nothing fake about these kids

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Rockshop - nothing fake about these kids

Sometimes you go along to a live music event, not knowing what to expect, and you’re just blown away. This happened to me last week but none of the artists were professional musicians. All were young people who had been thrown together for just three days to write, rehearse and perform over 40 songs. I still can’t believe what I saw and heard.

The maestro behind this idea is Herbie Flowers, famous bassman who played for Bowie, Elton John and Lou Reed. Just play back, in your head, the opening bars to ‘Take a Walk on the Wildside’ – that’s the man.

But back to the show. It’s not often that you can keep me in a state of attentive rapture for 4 hours, but these teenagers did just that with a rolling series of rock, rap, blues, beautiful ballads and jazz. Lots of different combinations of musicians and musical styles but the whole thing swung and hung nicely together as we moved effortlessly (with the help of Herbie’s hilarious but genuinely admiring link speeches) through the set list.

One thing that really impressed me was the quality of the lyrics. How could people so young write song after song of such sophistication? Several of the songs gave me a lump in my throat, one (written and sung by a young lad with a ukulele) made me laugh out loud, others made my feet tap and others that buzz you get from good rock. And how professional (and brave) they all seemed, as they entered stage right and left stage left.

These were not ‘groomed’ stage school kids. There was nothing fake about any of this. They were individuals, clearly glad to be there, devoted and talented musicians who wanted to perform to the best of their ability. Rock on Rockshop.


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