It’s December already and soon 2017 will be a history. Despite what the popular songs says, it was a very good year for Worcester and Worcestershire groups. After numerous articles in the press, sold out gigs, sessions for BBC Introducing, national radio plays and won competitions, we can be proud of our musical scene and its accomplishments.
If you are searching for brand new bands to look out for in 2018, to quote again another popular song, please don’t look any further. Your faithful A&R’s at Vanadian Avenue spent the entire last week composing a list of emerging groups that will keep you headbanging, pogo’ing and singing along for the next 12 months. Some bands are well established, some are just starting and some have their resume filled with important names, legendary venues and songs on the charts.
This guide has two parts already and we will be adding more in the future:
You can read the next chapters here:
Please keep your eyes open and you will be attending the best concerts without the need of travelling anywhere outside of Worcester! There is so much happening in our city, it’s really hard to keep track of every event out there.
To make it easier for you music lovers, please read our guide to the bands that will rock 2018. We salute them!
Official bio: Worcester band Navajo Ace formed in 2016 and are quickly garnering themselves a reputation as an interesting underground band that make music with power and soul. The band combines a broad spectrum of influences, breathing new life into a sound somewhere between the grittier end of 90s college alt rock, shoegaze and Emo before it became a dirty word.
Named after the DC Comics Native American superhero character, Johnny Cloud from 1960’s “All-American Men of War” (created by writer Robert Kanigher and artist Irv Novick), Navajo Ace is an Americana/college rock four-piece based in Worcester. The band started playing together early in 2016 and their current line up consists of Adam Barnes (vocals and guitar), Thom Dewhurst (guitar and backing vocals), Christian Burton (bass) and Crag Sharpe (drums). On August 6th 2017, they released their 5 track EP “Five Turnings” (“Tiger in the Tank”, “Underneath Cars”, “Awkward Place”, “Five Turnings” and “Drop The Needle”). The EP has been recorded at a well known studio JT Soar in Nottingham, produced by Phil Booth & Navajo Ace and mastered by Jesse Cannon at Cannon Found Soundation (Limp Bizkit, Man Overboard, NOFX, The Misfits) in New York. In September, their song “Awkward Place” debuted on BBC Hereford and Worcester and the band received positive reviews from Andrew Marston of BBC Introducing and Louder Than War magazine.
Navajo Ace are constantly touring nationally (Nottingham, Lincoln, Bristol, Plymouth) and locally (sold out gigs at Heroes Bar with nth cave, Worcester Music Festival and acoustic set at Bottles in Worcester). They supported Moose Blood, Bivouac and legendary bassist Mike Watt (Minutemen, Big Walnuts, Yonder, Porno for Pyros, The Stooges). The band is inspired by the music of Some Skeletons, Transmissions, 36 Strategies, Thousands of Reflections and Rosebud.
Louder Than War review: http://louderthanwar.com/something-that-shines-introducing-navajo-ace/
Formed in Worcester early in 2017, Novaview is the youngest group to join the WorcesterWave scene and one with a massive potential. The group consists of four band members: Luke Rhodes on guitar, Joanna Edwards on vocals, bass player Jack Godwin bass and drummer Tate Ellison. Inspired by My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth and Smashing Pumpkins, this very young shoegaze/dreampop quarter is now working hard on their demo songs that will be released in 2018. We hope their new material will include a remastered version of “In Limbo”, a beautifully crafted and very catchy song they currently have on their Soundcloud account.
Novaview debuted in October at the Boneyard Sessions concert at The Firefly in Worcester and made a big impression on the audience and music promoters. It is worth mentioning that Joanna Edwards has an unique, almost ethereal voice that can only be compared to that of Hope Sandoval’s of American dreampop giants, Mazzy Star. Vanadian Avenue will be closely watching their progress as their prospects are big and bright like the starry skies in the middle of winter (the most luminous time of year if you wondered).
Official bio: Junior Weeb are an indie funk/alternative rock four-piece hailing from Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire. With hard-hitting bass grooves, soulful vocals and sticky guitar licks, Junior Weeb take their influences from a catalogue of different genres hoping to create a finished product that pleases your ears.
Hailing from the Worcestershire town of Droitwich Spa, former Victorian health resort and a well known beauty spot, Junior Weeb is an indie/alternative rock quartet with massive dose of energy. They easily pass it to their audience during their live performances causing serious cases of pogo, headbanging and singing along. The group consist of Chris Phee (rhythm guitar and lead vocals), Max Killing (bass guitar and backing vocals), Joe Webby (lead guitar and an obvious inspiration behind the name) and Quentin Hill (drums).
The band known affectionately as the Juniors (or alternatively as The Weebs) has been together for over a year and spent the majority of that time recording their demos and touring. They supported Muncie Girls, The Riscas, Ivory Wave, The Americas (at the O2 Academy in Birmingham) and Soeur at the sold out show at the Marr’s Bar in Worcester. They will return to Birmingham this Christmas to play alongside Mama Roux and The Icon.
On April 21th 2017, their debut single “No right” was chosen as the track of the week by this Feeling circuit and a month later, popular website GigSlutz gave the boys a glowing review describing their music as a “dreamy, psychedelic affair with just a hint of Oasis”. With recommendations such as this and a strong following, Junior Weeb is on the best way to make it to the charts in the next couple of years.
Jodie Hughes/The Lightweights
Before joining forces with The Lightweights, Jodie Hughes was a well established singer/songwriter in her own right. At the age of 16, Worcester School of Rock and Performance alumna, Jodie became the youngest person ever to perform at Worcester Music Festival and at the Independent Music Week in her hometown to support Anteros and The Assist. The Lightweights are three-piece indie/punk rock band from Worcester consisting of Jodie Hughes on lead vocal and guitar, Alex Russell on bass and Euan Richardson on drums. Second guitarist, Fiona Berry occasionally joins their performances but doesn’t seem to be a permanent member of the band anymore.
The Lightweights had a very busy summer performing at the Live Experience Festival, Battle of the Bands at the Rugby Club, MappFest in Malvern, Bowfest in Bromsgrove and Worcester Carnival. Recently the band supported Jacklines at Birmingham O2 Institute, the RPM’s and Thousand Mountain at the Marrs Bar in Worcester and participated in the 10th edition of Worcester Music Festival. The band is currently in the studio working on their debut EP.
Reverb Nation: https://www.reverbnation.com/jodiehughes
Jesse River Dylan Murray
23 year old Jesse River Dylan Murray is the singer/songwriter based in Worcester. His strong voice, impressive range effortlessly changing from falsetto to bass and striking scenic image has been compared to David Bowie, Mark Bolan and Johnny Cash. Named after River Phoenix and the bard himself (Bob Dylan), Jesse is designed for fame. His debut EP “Classical Music” has been released in July 2017 to positive reviews. JRDM has been very busy this year touring and gigging in every corner of West Midlands and beyond (The Brecon Fringe Festival, Wales) , performing with numerous local acts such as Reuben Seabright, Ben Dallow, nth cave, Nuns of the Tundra (at the Marrs Bar), Boneyard Sessions and Doozer McDooze (for Worcester Music Festival). He is often performing at the Open Mic nights at the Chestnut Pub in Worcester. 2018 seems to be another busy year for him as Jesse is already booked for summer festivals such as Breathfest.
The Ben Vickers Collective
Reggae, ska and funk musician Ben Vickers is somewhat of a Worcester music scene legend. Performing since he was 11 years old (right after he received his first guitar), Droitwich resident Ben played, jammed and shared the stage with almost every local musician. He has worked at well established music shops in the city center (RGS Worcester and Cranes Music) and tutored countless amateur musicians helping them develop better guitar-playing skills. He was also in popular Worcester band, Hometown Tourists.
However, Ben is best known for playing acoustic solo sets that draws big crowds. He has played at The Marrs Bar, The Firefly, Heroes, The Chestnut, Bottles and many other local venues. He is also involved in running popular open mic nights and jam sessions. Ben performed at Youthcomm’s Minifest, Sunshine Music Festival in Upton, Worcester Music Festival, Worcester Show and was featured on BBC Introducing by Andrew Marston. In 2015, he released 4 song EP entitled “Keep it Real Funky” which received a lot of radio play at BBC Hereford and Worcester.
Ben’s newest musical endeavour is called The Collective. It is a five-piece outfit consisting of very experienced musicians. Except Ben Vickers (lead guitar and vocals), The Collective include Poppy Waterman-Smith (piano and vocals), Matthew Todd (bass guitar), Ryan Lerigo-Jones (drums) and Pat McArdle (percussion, melodica and samples). The Collective plays a mixture of ska, roots rock reggae rhythms with touches of jazz and soul. It is worth mentioning that Poppy’s powerful voice and scene presence gained the attention of Seal, who invited her to perform as an opening act for his concert in Manchester in July 2016. In November, the band released their first EP (recording of Davis Amps live session).
Malvern native, the 29 year old singer/songwriter, Ruben Seabright is the owner of one of the most recognizable and the most powerful voices in Worcester. Ruben comes from artistic and musical family and he has been performing along with his parents and siblings locally since a very young age. He has released his debut album entitled “Depths” in 2013 and has been performing extensively ever since. Ruben shared the stage with Soeur, Nuns of the Tundra, This Wicked Tongue, Ben Vickers, Vault of Eagles, Thousand Mountain and many more. Recently he has supported Nigel Clark (of Dodgy), Heck (formerly Baby Godzilla) and Kill the Romantic. He has been featured on BBC Introducing Hereford and Worcester in 2016. Ruben is currently working on his new material to be released as an EP next year.
Ruben is hosting a number of open mic nights in Worcester and Malvern where he performs solo or in the company of his father, Paul “Toad” Seabright, member of successful Worcestershire groups Health Warning and Sons of Spock (winners of Three Counties Band of the Year award).
Please keep your eyes on the entire Seabright clan as the talent runs in the family! Ruben is married to fellow musician, Becky Rose Seabright and he is a brother-in-law to writer Katie Lowe, whose debut book “The Furies” has been purchased by Harper Collins for an international publication in 2018 (and they paid a 6 figure sum for it as well)!
Please come back soon as we are not finished yet!
The second part of our guide will be released next week (or even sooner as we are really dying to show you the rest of the bands).
Have a great evening,
Malicia and Rita Dabrowicz