Iconic Artist Images Exhibition By Norman Seeff At Proud Galleries, London

Running from 23rd November until 13th January 2019 Proud Galleries have another brilliant exhibition entitled Sessions In Sound: Photographs By Norman Seeff, an intimate collection of Seeff’s acclaimed photographic sessions featuring influential 20th Century musical icons.

Tom Waits, Images courtesy of Proud Galleries © Norman Seeff

From Johnny Cash and Patti Smith to Joni Mitchell and the Rolling Stones, Norman Seeff’s perceptive lens captures thought-provoking images of iconic artists session after session. The exhibition explores the sensitive collaboration between photographer and musician; whether photographed mid-smile or deep in contemplation, Seeff’s subjects are effortlessly captured in moments of spontaneity. Famed for emotionally engaging with his subjects, Seeff’s photographs in Sessions In Sound are intimate, lively and authentic.

‘Reflection’, Joni Mitchell, 1975, © Norman Seeff

Norman Seeff was born in South Africa, 1939. After working as an A&E doctor in Soweto, he moved to New York aged 29, eager to explore his creative passions. His break into the industry occurred when introduced to the renowned album cover designer, Bob Cato, who gave him his first major assignment – to photograph Robbie Robinson and The Band for the liner notes oftheir album Stage Fright. After getting lost on his way to Woodstock and arriving hours late, Seeff was disappointed with his own work. Embarrassed by the results, he simply pushed the only image he liked in an envelope under the door of Cato’s brownstone.

When Seeff finally gathered the courage to contact him some weeks later, Cato exclaimed “where have you been? I don’t have your number! They love the photograph and they want touse it for the album cover.” This project and its immediate recognition catapulted Seeff into prominence.

‘A Song For Norman’, Johnny Cash, 1978, © Norman Seeff

In 1973, Seeff opened his own studio on Sunset Boulevard, constantly evolving his sessions through an exploration of the creative process. His distinctive method of focusing on an authentic connection allowed Seeff to break down barriers between himself and his subject. Throughout his career, Seeff developed creative alliances with an incredible range of musicians, revealing the intimacy and vulnerability of the artist in the act of creation.

‘Ray Classic’, Ray Charles, 1985, © Norman Seeff

In 1985, Seeff photographed musician Ray Charles and later recalled how “Ray was testy at the start of the session. Ultimately, heloved the process and ended up calling me ‘brother’. It was a seminal session.”

The exhibition also features a selection of unpublished photographs, including a portrait of Patti Smith from Seeff’s 1969 acclaimed photoshoot with Patti and Robert Mapplethorpe. This session has arguably become one of Seeff’s most well known, with the photographer describing that “after Robert’s death, Patti told me these shots come closest to her remembrance of the profundity of the love between them.”

Sessions In Sound: Photographs By Norman Seeff aims to give an insight into the photographer’s process as he searches forspontaneous authenticity in his work. Remaining popular to a modern-day audience, Seeff’s images have a timeless quality, perhaps reflective of an uncanny ability to connect emotionally with each of his subjects.

Images courtesy of Proud Galleries © Norman Seeff

‘Chelsea Hotel Color’, Blondie, 1979, © Norman Seeff

His distinctive stylised approach to session photography has certified his enduring legacy in both the music and photography industries. The work on display demonstrates Seeff’s creative ethos; to constantly seek “a place with my subjects that defines pure presence, where we can stand and just look at each other without any filters.”

Sessions in Sound: Photographs by Norman Seeff, Proud Central, 23rd November 2018 – 13th January 2019, www.proud.co.uk

Images courtesy of: Proud Galleries © Norman Seeff

Balham’s The Bedford Opens It’s Doors Once Again

There has been a notable absence on the live event scene in South London over the past few months due to the closure of The Bedford in Balham for an extensive refurbishment. Steeped in history, the much-loved Grade II listed pub has been a mainstay of the live entertainment scene for decades, hosting early shows for the likes of U2, Ed Sheeran, KT Tunstall, James Bay, Daughter and Paolo Nutini to name just a few as well as being a vital local resource providing spaces for everything from open mic nights and live comedy to baby sensory classes.

Lorenzo Poulloura (Kalpesh Patel)

Lorenzo Poulloura at The Bedford (Kalpesh Patel)

Following an extensive refurbishment, The Bedford will swing its doors wide open again on 3rd December and we look forward to the variety of programming that Tony Moore and the booking team at The Bedford will bring. Operated by the award-winning Three Cheers Pub Co, Balham’s legendary performance space has a strong reputation for championing grass-roots music and maintains a lasting legacy for nurturing the stars of the future.

The Bedford - Saloon Bar Visual

The Bedford – Saloon Bar Visual

In a climate where pubs and live entertainment spaces are closing at saddening rate, it’s fantastic to see investment that encourages rising acts to perform in warm, friendly and well-equipped spaces. Outside of music, the iconic venue has been well known for their legendary comedy nights and has a special place in the hearts of South West London locals and those travelling from afar alike.

Daughter (Kalpesh Patel)

Daughter (Kalpesh Patel)

The Bedford has an impressive alumni of A-list stars and a proven track record of supporting immense talent on the rise. Those who have made it to the top understand the importance of venues such as The Bedford and have welcomed the news of its upgrade. On hearing of its reopening, Ed Sheeran commented: “I loved playing The Bedford in Balham – it was such an important venue on the circuit and always had great acts playing every night. It holds fond memories for me and I look forward to coming back one day”.

James Bay (Kalpesh Patel)

James Bay (Kalpesh Patel)

The stage at The Bedford will showcase a brand new state-of-the-art sound and lighting system, featuring top quality lighting rigs and acoustic-enhancing tools that will provide the best possible experience for its patrons all round. Programming at The Bedford will continue to be led by ex-Iron Maiden and Cutting Crew musician Tony Moore, a respected music industry veteran with razor sharp A&R and talent spotting skills. Having given him one of his very first London bookings, Paolo Nutini said: “Tony at The Bedford believed in me, gave me a stage to be seen and a platform to be heard. I loved those days, we had fun and Tony will always be a legend to me!”

Paolo Nutini (Kalpesh Patel)

Paolo Nutini (Kalpesh Patel)

Says Moore of his time at The Bedford and the work carried out this year: “Over the last decade and a half that I’ve been booking and curating music at The Bedford, I am proud of how many incredible artists have taken off since their time with us. From 2019 onwards, I know that we will be able to do even more to help artists achieve even greater success with our brand new world class, stage, lights and audio system.”

The Hamptons at The Bedford (Kalpesh Patel)

The Hamptons at The Bedford (Kalpesh Patel)

With her sixth record WAX recently released, the fantastic KT Tunstall says of The Bedford’s refurbishment “Very excited to see the results of the new makeover at the Bedford. It’s a great space to play, and an essential venue, particularly for emerging artists.”

KT Tunstall (Kalpesh Patel)

KT Tunstall (Kalpesh Patel)

The Bedford will reopen boasting five bars, four private rooms, a restaurant, a ballroom, a 250-capacity live music club and 15 boutique hotel rooms, making it an excellent place for music industry events of all types and purposes. The multi-million pound refurbishment has been managed in order to retain the venue’s unique spirit, while enhancing facilities for both audiences and artists. Original features of the 1930’s building will be combined with elements of contemporary glamour exhibiting both the venue’s history and future. The new-look Bedford will allow the stars of tomorrow to flourish in a live setting, but will also attract established acts back to where the journey began for them.


Bay Breathes New Life Live @ The Electric Brixton

Hopes For An Extensive Queen Revival

Recently we have seen the release of a film that could be one of the best music-related movies in years. Bohemian Rhapsody will tell the story of Queen’s rise to success, and more specifically the journey of legendary frontman Freddie Mercury. By all accounts it will be a largely positive account and could ignore some of the darker aspects to the band’s time as an iconic rock group. But based on the trailers, the early publicity, and a recently released clip showing the creation of “We Will Rock You,” it’s going to be an exciting and realistic account. In particular, lead actor Rami Malek, who will play Mercury, looks to have transformed himself in a fashion sensational enough to make the whole movie a success.

Bohemian Rhapsody

The interesting thing to see will be whether or not this movie leads to a sort of Queen revival. And there’s actually some precedent for just such a revival based on some other classic groups and artists that have been made newly popular in recent years. Looking at those to examples, these are some of our hopes for a Queen revival that goes beyond Bohemian Rhapsody.

Bohemian Rhapsody

New Material

New material is a lot to ask of a band that’s essentially been “done” for several decades. However, there is something of a trend of unreleased (and sometimes unfinished) material being discovered, remastered if necessary, and released. It’s happened a few times with Jimi Hendrix, it’s happened with The Beatles, and for that mater it’s even happened with some famous authors. Meanwhile, it just so happens that word did get out last year of David Bowie and Queen having recorded material that never got released. Here’s hoping renewed interest in the band from the film drives someone with the authority to release this material to do just that.

Bohemian Rhapsody

A Presence In Games

Games might not seem like the most obvious outlet for classic rock or old music in general, but the pairing has taken off these last couple of years. In particular, modern casino sites offer loads of different games and build various themes into them in order to attract interest. Some of these games of late have included what are effectively tributes to Jimi Hendrix, Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, and others. A similar game built around the hits of Queen would be nice to see, and would help potentially millions of people get to know the hits.

Bohemian Rhapsody

A Documentary Series

There are always going to be questions about accuracy in a biopic like Bohemian Rhapsody, even if the filmmakers strive to paint an accurate picture. A documentary on the other hand can do a better job of telling a true, detailed story. So, while there have been documentaries on Queen and Freddie Mercury before, including one that included, as one reviewer put it, sublime new discoveries, there really hasn’t been a hit in this category. A follow-up to Bohemian Rhapsody capitalizing on its (likely) popularity and perhaps released on a major streaming platform could be an excellent project.

Bohemian Rhapsody

A Hologram Show

This might be a controversial idea, because people are rightly bothered by the idea of entire concerts being given by holograms of deceased or inactive artists. It’s certainly not something that should be done regularly, because there’s a level of disrespect in simply pretending an artist is alive and touring who is neither. That said, a single show, an appearance at a festival, or one or two similar showcases, could be viewed as more of a tribute. It’s unlikely to happen, but a tribute to Mercury building on any enthusiasm this film can generate would be a lot of fun – and potentially very special for dedicated fans.


Holy Moly & The Crackers Release Teaser For UK Tour

Never ones to miss an opportunity to let their (and your) hair down, rabble rousing, Holy Moly & The Crackers will be hitting the road for a slew of their famously feverish live dates before 2018 is out. Eyeing up UK towns and cities the length and breadth of the land, the outfit will be embarking on an adventurous November tour kicking off at Southampton’s 1865 on the 1st November, with dates in Wales, Scotland, London, Manchester, and everywhere in between, before a heroic homecoming show at Newcastle’s Riverside at the tail end of the month (30th Nov). The full dates are below, and RockShot will join the party at The Junction in Cambridge on the 3rd, so check out the review when it is published

Ensuring their audiences are primed and fully on brief for the proceedings ahead, Holy Moly & The Crackers have released a rambunctious live version of their irresistible hit single Cold Comfort Lane as a taster of what’s in store at their well-honed live shows.

Its been a bit of a mad year for our song ‘Cold Comfort Lane’ – it just seems to have hit a certain nerve! So, we really wanted to get a live version down. You know, that’s what’s this band is all about, the live show, so it made sense. We went it Blank Studios, a local studio in Newcastle that has recently upgraded and upsized. Its proper. And the gents that work the machines know what they’re doing! So we all dressed up, drank a bucketful of coffee, and made a load of noise for a few hours. Hope you enjoy the result!” Oh yes we do Conrad and we are looking forward to the live shows.

Already included on major Spotify playlists including Fresh Find & New Noise and with the studio version clocking up over 1 million streams, the contagious Cold Comfort Lane has also popped-up on E4, BT Vision, Capital One, Ultimate Ears, KIA Sportage Cars and can even be spotted on the credit title track for the blockbuster movie Oceans 8.

About securing their single ‘Cold Comfort Lane’ as the end title credits on Hollywood’s ‘Oceans 8’ Box Office #1, Conrad told us “This was pretty mind-blowing, and came out of nowhere. The director Gary Ross got in touch personally and invited us to the premiere. He said that Ruth’s voice was what immediately grabbed his attention. It has upped the stakes looking forward to next year. No pressure then …”

Since I first stumbled across their second album, Salem,I have been chatting to Conrad, who is probably one of the nicest guys in the business, and I can confirm that Holy Moly & The Crackers’ have not had a minute of rest in a successful but manic 2018.

Floating on something of a high-water mark, the last few years have huge for the female-fronted Holy Moly & The Crackers, with demand seemingly never greater. In 2017, the ever-evolving folk-alt-rock collective released their superlative album Salem via their own Pink Lane Records label to widespread acclaim from the likes of R2 Magazine, Folk Radio UK, The Crack, Clash Magazine, No Depression, Blown Speaker, not to mention rave support at Radio from BBC Radio and Radio X, and of course overwhelming public support that continues to spread like wildfire across continent.  Selling out venues across the country and drawing heaving crowds at festivals the likes of Glastonbury, Boomtown Fair, Bestival, Beautiful Days, Bearded Theory.

“We’ve just finished up our festival season, and its been our best yet. The band is in a really good place: we’re working really well together, on and off stage, and I feel like the shows we’ve done recently are really showing that off. But this tour, we want to push it even further. More energy, more noise, always.”

Holy Moly also landed successfully in The Netherlands, France, Germany, Czech Republic and Italy where Crackers’ chatter is only getting louder. Like I said, to say it has been a busy time for the bombastic folk rockers, would be an understatement.

About touring Germany and Italy in March 2018 Conrad told RockShot Playing Europe is always a real joy for us. Its hard touring and we cover serious miles. But the vibe and reception of the audiences makes it really worth it (and of course the food – its all about the food). We’ve got big plans to go back out next year – so watch out!

With a veritable army of fans on tenter-hooks in anticipation of their next move, Holy Moly & The Crackers are also delighted to lift the lid (a little) on progress of their forthcoming third album….

“We’ve just finished our new album and we hope to release next year, so you might see a couple of songs creeping into the setlist at these upcoming gigs” says Conrad. “The new album. Ooooof. Well, we’re over the moon. From where we’re standing, it’s the best stuff we’ve made – musically, lyrically and production-ally. At the beginning of the writing process, a few months ago, Ruth (lead singer, violin) said to me: “These songs have to come from something real, from the heart, from experience – that’s how we need to connect” And you know what, I think me might just have done that.”

One of the most effervescent and entertaining bands you’re as sure to see this Winter, Holy Moly & The Crackers promise a show packed with surprises, new songs and ‘more energy, more noise, always’ at the following dates throughout November.

Special thanks to Craig Newton from Underground Photo for the fantastic live images


Holy Moly & The Crackers UK Tour

November 2018

1st – The 1865, SOUTHAMPTON

2nd – The Garage, LONDON

3rd – The Junction, CAMBRIDGE – RockShot will be covering this show

8th – The Moon, CARDIFF

9th – The Old Market Assembly, BRISTOL

10th – West End Centre, ALDERSHOT

11th – Hare & Hounds, BIRMINGHAM

16th – King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, GLASGOW

17th – The White Chruch, COMRIE

22nd- The Bodega, NOTTINGHAM

23rd- Brudenell Social Club, LEEDS

24th- The Deaf Institute, MANCHESTER

25th- The Crescent, YORK

30th- Riverside, NEWCASTLE

Keep Moving With Brent Cowles

Denver-based Brent Cowles is set to perform a string of solo shows across Europe throughout November opening for Texan singer-songwriter Israel Nash. The one and only UK show sees them at Scala, London on November 22, 2018. Cowles will be performing material across the six date tour from his critically-praised debut solo record, How To Be Okay Alone, which is out now via Dine Alone Records.

Cowles recorded How To Be Okay Alone with producer Joe Richmond (Tennis, Nathaniel Rateliff) over the course of six days spent in a rented flat situated on an isolated stretch of Joshua Tree, NV. It was the fruition of a solo project born off the back of a period of intense change for Cowles. How To Be Okay Alone is what the Colorado native found himself scribbling in a notebook one afternoon as he grappled with the complexities of a newfound and unexpected independence. His hyper-accelerated, turbulent teenage years had seen him record his first proper demos aged 17 in a friend’s basement and marry at just 18, only to find himself divorced by the age of 19. Raised the son of a Colorado pastor, Cowles then turned his back on an intensely religious upbringing to spend the following years pursuing a successful stint as part of critically acclaimed band You Me & Apollo, with KEXP amongst others tipping Cowles’ ‘Otis Redding and Sam Cooke-inspired vocals’. The band released 2 well-received albums & toured across North America before an unhappy Cowles pulled the plug, questioning at the time everything, including his pursuit of music.

Cowles’ debut EP Cold Times made fans of Paste and NPR, who chose him as a 2018 Slingshot Artist – alongside Hatchie, Nilüfer Yanya & Stella Donnelly – and praised him for his “high-energy, thoughtful rock ‘n’ roll.” Since then, Cowles has toured and performed with Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Leon Bridges, and Tennis.

Showcasing an infectious sense of melody and versatility with vocals, How To Be Alone Again swings from quavering R&B-fuelled intimacy to explosive bouts of distortion that leave Cowles rubbing shoulders with the likes of Alabama Shakes, Sharon Van Etten, and Blake Mills. Blurring the lines between boisterous indie rock, groovy R&B, and contemplative folk, the music showcases both Cowles’ infectious sense of melody and his stunning vocals, which switch-back effortlessly between quavering intimacy to a soulful roar as they soar atop his exuberant arrangements.

EU Tour

November 15 – Gamla Stan, Sweden – Debaser
November 16 – Oslo, Norway – John Dee Live Club and Pub
November 17 – Malmo, Sweden – Kulturbolaget
November 19 – Berlin, Germany – Festsaal Kreuzberg
November 20 – Koln, Germany – Stadtgarten
November 22 – London, UK – Scala

The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society At Proud Galleries

Proud Galleries, is hosting The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society, an exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary multi-format release of The Kinks’ sixth studio album, The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society.

© Barrie Wentzell

The Kinks, Hampstead Heath, London, 1968, Barrie Wentzell

On display is a selection of rare collector’s items including specially commissioned artworks by members of the band and vintage memorabilia, together with a collection of photographs documenting this remarkable period in the band’s history. Each work is hand- signed by surviving band members Ray Davies, Dave Davies and Mick Avory. The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society explores the album’s defiantly British sensibilities and commemorates what is now considered to be the high point of The Kinks’ outstanding career.

Friends, Dave Davies, 2018 © Dave Davies

Friends, Dave Davies, 2018

The Village Green was originally released by The Kinks in November 1968 and became the final album from the original quartet: Ray Davies, Dave Davies, Pete Quaife and Mick Avory. Despite a positive critical reception upon its release, the album did not performwell commercially, perhaps due to the band’s deliberate step away from the musical trends of the era. In retrospect, audiences have come to value the album’s timeless quality, with Pete Townshend of The Who describing it as, ‘Ray’s masterpiece… what makes him the definitive pop poet laureate’.

The Kinks, press photo, 1968 © LFI/Avalon

The Kinks, press photo, 1968 LFI/Avalon

Defying the 60’s typical approach to rock ‘n’ roll, The Village Green offers an affectionate and charming ode to the countryside through vignettes of English life. The album is adored by fans due to its ageless wit and multi- layered musical innovation and has become a definitive piece of British pop culture, created by a band that refused to follow fashion.

The exhibition, running from 4th October until 18th Novembera features photography from the album artwork photoshoot in Hampstead Heath, captured by established music photojournalist Barrie Wentzell. The original quartet lounge on the grass against the historic backdrop of Kenwood House, which, according to Wentzell, was “Ray’s favourite location to film”.

Wonderboy (Artist’s Impression), 2018, Morgan Howell

Presented alongside prints and memorabilia is a special edition, supersized artwork produced by Morgan Howell to commemorate the album’s box set release. The artist reinterprets the bonus track Wonderboy as a three dimensional sculpture in his trademark style, using paint and canvas to mimic the creases and wear of a 50 year-old vinyl sleeve. Admirers of the band will be given the unique opportunity to view and acquire a variety of these rare pieces, each hand-signed by The Kinks.


The Kinks performing ‘Days’ on BBC TV Top Of The Pops, August 1968, The Kinks Photo Archive (LFI/Avalon)

The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society coincides with BMG’s 26th October 2018 multi-format reissues of The Village Green album, presenting an extensive collection of works relating to this iconic record. These include newly remastered CDs, LPs, digital albums and a beautifully produced Deluxe Box Set containing remastered versions of the original album on CD and LP, a wealth of previously unreleased bonus audio material, a hardback photobook with new band interviews and previously unseenphotos, 7” singles and reproduced memorabilia.

The exhibition aims to reintroduce the nostalgia of the Kinks’ most memorable album to a 21st Century audience and offers an insight into the enduring escapism the band created 50 years ago. When asked to describe the record, Ray Davies has said that; ‘everybody’s got their own Village Green, somewhere you go to, when the world gets too much’.

The exhibition runs from 4th October tp 18th November 2018 at Proud Central 32 John Adam Street, London, WC2N 6BP.