Ones To Watch: 2017

There is plenty to be excited about in 2017 as far as the music scene in Suffolk is concerned. It appears that a fair few acts locally are on the edge of some kind of breakthrough nationally and maybe even internationally. With this is mind, it’s hard not to mention SuperGlu (again). The next 12 months could be their most important to date as a band going forward. In March, they head to America to perform at the SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas. It’s a big deal. A new record from the band is also expected soon.

SuperGlu performed with Animal Noise on a few occasions last year, and the latter’s performance in Stowmarket just over a year ago was one of my gigs of the year. In truth, while I knew they were good, I didn’t expect them to be as good as they were. Since joining us for a live session in March 2014, they have grown into one of the best live acts in the country for sure. It’s nearly 3 years since they played T in the Park and it would be fantastic to see them on the bill of another large festival soon. Discover and treasure their Sink or Swim EP, one of 2016’s standout releases.

We’re banking on more releases from Amethysts in the coming weeks and months. Simon Lucas-Hughes and Clarice Parrott have something very special. My Love, Stones and Alone are true gemstones which can take on a whole new entity when performed live. What next from the modern day Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks?

What next from Oktoba? Chris Athorne’s perfect set at Latitude last year drove me to tears of joy, pride, frustration, maybe even anger. I watched a friend on stage playing his best work to date in front of quite possibly his biggest crowd to date. But it should have been bigger. As should all the crowds have been at our John Peel gigs last year. Although they were well attended, these were free nights showcasing numerous new music acts that the county really should be proud of. There really ought to have been no space in which to move.

Rad Pitt front man Nick always finds space in which to move. The energy at their gigs is immeasurable. I’ve seen them a couple of times now, including January’s Peel gig, but is in no way near enough. I impatiently wait for their next album. I am wearing one of two t-shirts I own with their name on right now, and I am currently using their set list from September’s Colchester Arts Centre gig as a bookmark.

Druids, who joined us for Rock Night in June will release their debut album in early spring. A series of videos will accompany the build up to launch date. A second Yoji EP is also on the cards. She has the songs and she has the voice that sings them so well.

Is there a ceiling to Bury St Edmunds’ supply of promising new bands? Seemingly not. Gaffa Tape Sandy and Suburban Minds are two who have continued to flourish. The former’s live session with us towards the end of last year captured the energy and verve of a trio that are ready to own 2017. The latter’s victory at Bury Sound was deserved, and they will be back to headline this year’s final in March at the impressive Apex. It is well worth getting along to one of the forthcoming heats.

A final word or two for the county’s hip-hop scene. Surely it couldn’t be in better health or spirit? At Booda French’s recent EP launch at the Smokehouse in Ipswich (which has quickly become an essential new music venue), I was full of admiration for the huge numbers of talented people who had gathered in the building, and their support for one another. Deadpoole was providing the beats upon my arrival to an audience of Flexx Tyler (The Grey Code), Bhebhe, Indigo Frequency, Parris Robbo, Rye Shabby and many others. It was such a warm atmosphere and there appear to be endless opportunities for forthcoming collaborations between local artists.

Flexx’s videos for Booda’s recent tracks (as well as those for his own work with The Grey Code) are well worth a watch, and hopefully Mr French will continue to produce more work of the likes of Dead Already and Easy, no hands. Him performing again feels like the return of a jedi master.