Under a Banner – Gig Review – Bath Fringe Festival

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Ingenious band promotion brought me on a steaming hot summer day to the beautiful bustling city of Bath May 23rd. A bank holiday weekend hub of activity. Bath rugby playing Leicester Tigers, hot air balloons, busking, art, shopping, and the beginning of Bath Fringe Festival that Under a Banner’s gig were part of.

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At the beginning of May, Under a Banner sent out a tweet which asked if anyone lived near Bath who might be interested in getting involved with something for them. I replied back and got a DM from front man Adam asking if I would be willing to help with promotion, dropping leaflets off in key places in Bath, which I was more than happy to do (and did – HMV, Coffee shops, bars, restaurants, travel agents and hotels), in exchange for free gig entry tickets t-shirts and a copy of their new album “Close to the Clouds” so a no brainer really.

Burdall’s Yard is Bath Spa University new venue for music, poetry and the arts and new to me , but I had heard great reviews. So I wasn’t disappointed to find friendly staff, a clean welcoming contemporary environment, and reasonably priced drink. The biggest surprise was when the doors opened to the music venue revealing a mixture of tables and chairs and standing room leading towards a brick lined archway to the cool stage and impressive lighting. Personally I much prefer to stand at a gig, to give me the freedom to dance and enjoy the music completely, without the restriction of rows of chairs. However, sitting to enjoy the first act Fergusson Elliott and his accomplished musicianship worked well. He engaged with the crowd bringing an element of comedy to the night., and had a certain ease of performance which he obviously acquired through his many travels around the world. Under a Banner listened and enjoyed his set, and were quickly on the stage when it was their turn to perform. Kicking off playing “The Network” with such force and vigour they quickly whipped the audience up into quite a heightened energised state. 

This track is written about social media and the internet and includes lyrics like “Oh come on everybody look at my cat and me, Here’s a funny little picture of this evening’s meal” “Look at me, look at me, look at me, look at me”, “This network wastes my bloody time”. These lyrics reflect what we see and post everyday on the internet. However, you can really feel their frustration with the modern techno culture, passion and wryness behind the words and get a feel for the delivery of performance given.

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The band consists of Adam Broadhurst – vocals and guitar and on the night harmonica, Jake Brooks – guitars and backing vocals, Simon Hill – bass guitar, Tim Wilson, drums, percussion and backing vocals and Kat Davis – keyboards. They have a stunning ability to mix punk, rock and folk and combine it into one sound, to drive across their poetic stories. 

As well as their obvious musical talents there was great banter between the band members giving genuinely funny moments, exposing their sharp midland wit. I have a thing for drummers and I can say that Tim was exceptional, as well as being able to provide backing vocals and change hats inbetween 😉

Adam the front man and extremely talented lyricist, delivers a very powerful and commanding performance with an almost manic look. His mannerisms and actions reminded me of Ian Curtis from Joy Division. However, the music (written collectively as a band) with it’s fast pace, punchy, pulsating beats robust vocals and animated guitar riffs quickly brought memories back of past festivals seeing bands such as The Levellers, The Men They Couldn’t Hang, The Prodigy, Kasbaian etc.

This got me thinking that Under a Banner with their superb musicianship, stage presence and deft performance mixed with Adam’s frontman persona….could be outstanding in any venue with decent acoustics, but would be perfectly suited for the festival scene. The band actively encourage you to join in with their music which has many strong anthems, and to sing along to their catchy choruses….”drink with me, drink with me, stay here and drink with me”…..(Victory Time) …”Here I am impossible day, you can tell that man about impossible days…It’s an impossible day” (Impossible Day)….”But we don’t care who you are; we don’t care how you rock that look; we don’t care for the butterfly of colours in your hair; we don’t give a f**k…” (Don’t give a …).I danced through their whole set 15 tracks strong, I dare you sit still!.

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I have one criticism though… the quality of their merchandise is far to good… I did leave with a wonderful haul of goodies I had been given for my promotional support and that I had bought because I just couldn’t resist. All I can say is have a listen to their music, and GET OUT to see them live….. they’re touring now…you’ll be blown away!

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As an aside for you music lovers that enjoy words and poetry…

It was no surprise to me that a clever lyricist such as Adam joined me in a micropoetry collaboration one evening, here’s how the timeline unfurled:

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Aedifico by ForgottenBee New Spoken word you might not have yet heard 🙂 X

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@ForgottenBee The spiteful vacuum of space between baked bricks, prohibitive to air. The aedifico marvel-made from these blocks; we’re there

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@underabanner haha …….awesome that’s great #Loveit  😀 X

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@ForgottenBee Thank you 😀x if you’d like to collaborate line-by-line I’m happy to do so

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@underabanner Hehe 🙂 …..now let me see x

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The energy they shared
was such
it made her run scared
@underabanner 😉 x

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@ForgottenBee … Once created and there in new stone, lapidary, inscribed for Time to own. X

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@underabanner Each cut carved deep within their soul engraved a vision that consumed her whole 🙂 X

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@ForgottenBee and spread with dew , the lawn of the church; incense ghosts witness oaths from them both x

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@underabanner Spiritually strong illumination enhanced as together they embraced and with vitality danced 😉 X

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@ForgottenBee A flourish, a flick, a curlicue kissed by the alloy of a pen makes heart- hard in law the first whispered tryst. X

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@underabanner

The once silentwords, animated, began

flowing from the tongue
necromancy, or through their union incantations were spun X

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@ForgottenBee As spell means word, let no man cast bright words aside once words are heard. The gnomon casts a shadow slice of love’s light.

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@underabanner
And through the night
true love around the celestial pole
radiates
a beam of such light others soon
gravitate 🙂 X

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Twitter account:    @underabanner

Facebook account:    https://www.facebook.com/Under.A.Banner

Website:    underabanner.co.uk

Bandcamp:    http://underabanner.bandcamp.com/

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3 responses to “Under a Banner – Gig Review – Bath Fringe Festival

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