Music Blog: Getting on a Soapbox

Kingsley HarrisOne thing I've learned about myself is that I'm not an art for arts sake kind of guy. Call me a philistine or whatever and exclude me from your club, it makes no odds to me. But if you love comedy, music and poetry, check out the soapbox scene.More about SoapboxKingsley Harris

One thing I've learned about myself is that I'm not an art for arts sake kind of guy. Call me a philistine or whatever and exclude me from your club, it makes no odds to me. I'm happy to accept that it takes more than music to make a culture vulture but nobody's perfect.

Soapbox Promotions are a small team of dedicated artisans, with main organiser Amy Wragg at the wheel and if that name sounds familiar Amy also runs the Norwich Fringe Festival.

Last Saturday I checked out the grand finale of the Soapbox 100 event; a marathon of performances running non stop from 1pm to 1am. Most of the Soapbox shows are hosted under an arts festival banner and I think I may have mistakenly put these events on my back burner for that reason.

The first act that stood out was David J, a vocal pugilist really making a name for himself. Although I find people who rap about life a bit morally preachy I was impressed to see his CV included a vast array of festivals and opening up for Patti Smith on her last tour.

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Word play acts are great. Having seen Scroobius Pip though, it's not about who's the fastest but who gets the message across without talking down to the audience. David J's act is good, although I'm not sure he gets all his messages across.

Dus-T, the humanbeat box impressed me. I've always liked beatboxing, more for the intrigue than the listening pleasure of someone spitting into a mic. It's bordering on ventriloquism especially when you can keep the beat going and sing over the top of it, very clever. Check him out at

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I was told to watch out for Grenade On Your Back, a boy girl duo. The band was the most enjoyable new discovery of the day. They covered a whole host of classic dance to and clap along covers with great style and humour, as well as their own compositions. It's a fast paced act, the group interfacing with each other and the audience was a big part of the performance which was really enjoyable in a Smith and Jones, Raw Sex kind of way.

After this I enjoyed Follow Your Heart on the main stage; it wasn't their best performance and they seemed out of sorts. They have a great-unrefined quality to their sound, akin to many bands of the late seventies; I've said it before but Talking Heads and Joy Division both spring to mind.

The night was finished in true party fashion with a capful of new tracks and a host of well-known favourites from The Barlights, that had everyone singing and dancing.

I found the event great - if I didn't like something there was plenty of other things to choose from. If you love an eclectic mix of music, comedy and poetry make sure you check out the soapbox scene.

More about Soapbox

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