September sees the Cambridge music scene wake up again after a sleepy summer.
Our first tip is the inaugural Subterranean day event taking place at the Corn Exchange on the 23rd. Cambridge has dabbled with all dayers before but none has ever had the space or central location that the Corn Ex offers. The main auditorium is going to host three small stages with the crowd all around them, think Jools Holland set up. Featuring 21 acts over 4 stages Subterranean aims to please all varieties of guitar music fans with a mix of touring and local acts performing. Our tips from the bill include Manchester all-female five-piece PINS whose music combines noise, power and melody with sonic, buzz-saw guitar; The Amorettes with their hefty sonic nous and local outfits Grieving and The Baby Seals.
The same venue hosts Ryan Adams on the 21st. Ryan Adams first tasted musical success as part of the alternative groups The Patty Duke Syndrome and Whiskeytown. Following the bands’ demise, he wasted no time in launching a solo career for which he has found success in his blend of heartfelt angst of a Country performer with the brashness of Garage rock.
The first dose of a new regular night in Cambridge happens on the 8th and brings Jeppe Grønbæk across the north sea from Aarhus, Denmark, to perform the songs of his band TEARS. From the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse bar, his wistful anthems shall provide a soundtrack to the Friday night queue for The Regal. Support from the inimitable bard of the bridge PETE UM.
There is an exciting punk-jazz tagteam taking to the Blue Moon stage on the 23rd. The pairing heavyweight saxophonist Alan Wilkinson with eager young gun-for-hire Andrew Cheetham on the traps. Expect sweat, skronk and paint-stripping ferocity – starting full-throttle and going from there.
There’s a busy month down Chesterton Road at the Portland Arms. Our stand out show has to be the Mercury Prize nominated The Big Moon on the 24th. Bold, articulate, and with an insatiable ear for melody, The Big Moon released their debut LP back in April and it was brimming with nostalgic indie sounds, comic insouciance with romance and adventure, and tied up in noisy, guitar-led, hook-filled pop. Our next Portland tip is Texan songwriter Micah P Hinson who is in town on the 29th. Hinson has an immense ability to summon beautiful music out of the most bitter of experiences, he’s in the UK this month to promote the release of his latest album, ‘Oh, Spaceman’ which a take on a modern folk opera.
The Surfing Magazines is a new project from familiar faces. Featuring two thirds of The Wave Pictures and one half of Slow Club, the band’s garage rock crunch matches the menace of Link Wray to some poignantly British songwriting. Their debut album is out September 1st and they play The Portland on the 8th.
The Districts perform on the 3rd, they’re a band who put out their third record last month and it has distinctly intense sound created with charging guitars, thunderous drumming, and Rob Grote’s searing vocals. Their live show is highly recommended.
Little Barrie are Portland bound the 12th. he trio are led by Barrie Cadogan (guitarist extraordinaire for Primal Scream, Edwyn Collins, Paul Weller, Spiritualized…) and they’ve just released their first record in four years ‘Death Express’ (which features their ‘Better Caul Saul’ theme tune)
The synth duo of Ben Fletcher and Tom Higham – the long-standing friendship and musical partnership that is known as Aquilo. They released their latest album at the start of the year and it is a record full of heavy hearts and a seemingly bottomless well of lush, plaintive melodies. They bring their melancholy atmospherics to The Portland on the 19th, one for fans of The XX older material.
A busy month at the Cambridge Junction includes Woodley Taylor (7th) Jess and the Bandits (14th) and The Rails (18th). Our Junction must see goes down on the 19th when both Danny & The Champions of the World and William The Conqueror perform, both having released exceptional new records recently.