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If you enjoy discovering new live music, there will be plenty to discover at The Hunter Club in Bury St Edmunds this autumn and winter. The wonderful Washing Machine nights are into their 5th year, and to date around 200 bands have played them.
‘I got a bit emotional when I heard that,’ said Seymour Quigley, who started Washing Machine back in 2011. Horse Party, who Seymour plays guitar and sings in, played the opening gig of the latest season on 17 September. More than 1,000 pounds was raised at the gig for the nearby Riverwalk School.
Catherine Lindley-Neilson plays bass in Horse Party. She joined the band after getting to know Seymour through Washing Machine. ‘Me and my friends had no idea that anything cool happened in Bury and then we discovered that it did. I’ve now seen lots of people that wouldn’t be in bands come along and start bands. Lots of bands have developed and come out of the nights really.’
Not so long ago, one of the Washing Machine nights ‘broke’ The Hunter Club. It was a Suburban Minds headline gig back in May.
‘It was beautiful,’ Seymour explains. ‘They dismantled all of their equipment and then rebuilt it in the middle of the audience. Everyone went insane. Part of the ceiling came off, but fortunately Nick Pooley who runs The Hunter Club doesn’t mind having his house broken in the name of rock and roll.’
A few weeks prior to ‘breaking’ The Hunter Club, Suburban Minds won BurySound. Applications for next year’s competition are now being taken. All genres are welcome. There is no upper age limit, but priority will be given to younger entrants. Up to twenty acts will perform over five heats at The Hunter Club during January and February 2017. The Grand Final will be held at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds in March.
‘What I would like to see is more genres coming in, Seymour says. ‘You can’t force people to form different genre bands from the ones they actually like, but there must be people in Bury who like different music to the guitar stuff we put on at Washing Machine. There must be people in their bedrooms out there making different music, and even if they don’t want to play our nights I hope they get out and play because everyone deserves representation.’
‘A wonderful thing that used to happen and that I hope happens again is the Bury Songwriters Competition. Even though that was largely based around acoustic acts, it led to a lot of interesting things happening.’ Indeed it did. The Bury Songwriters Competition was where Horse Party formed and where Steven Barker aka Mirror Signal established himself before moving on to Latitude and Montreal Jazz. Simon Lucas-Hughes is a former Bury Songwriters winner, and he is now doing some wonderful things as part of Amethysts.
Neil Rayson is as much of a fan of Simon as I am. He has organised the Bury Songwriters Competition in previous years and I’m pleased to confirm that he is bringing it back. ‘We will be launching our search for competitors in November,’ he says. ‘Heats will take place on 5,12,19 and 26 April, with a final to take place at The Hunter Club on 5 May. Any enquiries in the meantime to firstname.lastname@example.org‘
With that in mind, if you enjoy discovering new live music, there will be plenty to discover at The Hunter Club in Bury St Edmunds next spring and summer. Perhaps one of those discoveries will be you?