Enter the Outrageous & Unhinged World of The Ears Of Xeno Group

Enter the Outrageous & Unhinged World of The Ears Of Xeno Group

Southend Who?

By Mikey Glenister

So let’s get one thing clear right from the start: there is nothing quite like The Ears of Xeno Group in Southend.

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They are a experimental psychedelic jazz trio, led by Daryl Tattoo, arguably one of the best guitarists in the country right now (check out his previous band FutureAges, we’ve been fans for a long time).

Last year they released ‘EOX‘, an ambitious instrumental abstract study that really pushes musical boundaries. It’s an effort that is full of subtle grooves, sonic depth and ladened with multicoloured vitality.

When acts this original and earnest rise up, it’s important to recognise the declaration. This is a project that you have to take notice of. The Ears Of Xeno Group captivate your senses. They demand your attention.

Expect new material and new live shows in 2017. In the meantime, plug in a good set of headphones…

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Introducing Bertie Scott – Could He Be Southend’s Next Breakout Star?

Introducing Bertie Scott – Could He Be Southend’s Next Breakout Star?

Southend Who?

By Mikey Glenister

The best thing about the Southend music scene is that every now and then, you’ll get artists that come along and demand your attention.

Bertie Scott
 is one of these artists.

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Hailing himself as alt-pop, young Bertie does things on his own terms. Despite being a relatively new artist, everything about his approach is polished and refined. His current single ‘Overdose’ is a direct and satisfying listen; the depth of the track shines thanks to it’s glossy production. There is an endearing charm to Bertie, which shines through here.

It’s refreshing to see someone apply such professionalism to their work. There is nothing amateur about this, and is rightly making people stand and take note. We will certainly be keeping an eye on Bertie Scott in 2017. We can’t wait to see what he does next. Be sure to follow his journey at www.bertiescott.com.

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Lydia Kitto – Astonishing Southend Soul, Set to Soar in 2017

Lydia Kitto – Astonishing Southend Soul, Set to Soar in 2017

My first music journalism piece of 2017. Feel free to share and comment!

Southend Who?

-By Mikey Glenister

It’s been a while since there’s been a talent quite like Lydia Kitto. In fact, I’m struggling to think of any solo artist from Southend who has presented this much potential for global domination at such an early stage in their career.

‘Ride’ demonstrates her craft perfectly. The subtle house track sits under Lydia’s voice as it takes off, which demands your attention.

2016 was the year that Kitto started to really turn heads. She had one of the stand out performances at Village Green 2016, and her debut single ‘Run To You‘ has received over 100,000 streams on Spotify. And it’s easy to understand why.
Her style and swagger makes her completely unique. Every melody oozes personality, which sets her leaps and bounds above the rest.

She’s one of the most versatile performers in Southend, storming local open mic nights. She’s incredibly comfortable…

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New Year, New Blog! Shall we reflect?

New Year, New Blog! Shall we reflect?

So I’ve finally sorted my new blog out! My old Tumblr page was becoming increasingly redundant, and with my career becoming more cemented in Social Media Management, I decided that it was probably good idea to get this up and running. Welcome to mikeyglenister.com!

Moving forward, I will be writing more opinion pieces, as well as keeping tabs on all my musical endeavours. 2016 was a surprisingly active year for me, with highlights including playing with Recreations on Southend Pier, playing with Youth Club at Village Green, and Courts releasing ‘Glass Half Empty’, a single that I recorded on a while ago. This is one of my favourite things I’ve ever played on.

I’ve also become more involved with the music blog Southend Who? Expect big progression with www.southendwho.com; more articles, interviews, reviews and news.

2017 will be a terrific year, I am very much looking forward to developing and gaining new skills and insights. There will be more Recreations shows, and I’m looking forward to writing more. Words and music. It’s going to be a blast! Happy New Year!

HOW TO DEAL WITH POST TRAUMATIC STRESS, AND 30 KICKS TO THE HEAD

So today I celebrate a pretty crazy one year anniversary. And what a year it’s been. I’ve had my highs, my lows, but man, what an adventure, etc. etc.

Last year I was attacked by two guys, kicked in the head, back and neck 30 times, then I was wrongly arrested by Essex Police on suspicion of GBH, my belongings taken and then thrown in a cell for 17 hours with severe concussion.

A very long story short: I came to the aid of two friends who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. They were in danger and I stepped in and took the beatings off these two men. Once I came to, and managed to stagger to the entrance of the scene of the crime, emergency services were called. Thinking that the medics would deal with me, I was shocked find my rights being read to me and I was placed in a police car rather than an ambulance. The guys who attacked me called the cops on me. I was confused too, trust me.

Now there were many things that happened after the actual attack. The severity of the beating I received was such that once I had been arrested and taken to Rayleigh Police Station (Southend Police station was being refurbished apparently. Painting it a different hue of grey perhaps), the medics immediately sent me to Southend Hospital, where my injuries were treated for 4 hours under police supervision.
I was then taken back to the Police station, where I was put in a cell to reflect on the crime that I committed. I mean, it serves me right for attacking their feet with my face. Lesson learnt right?

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Once I’d finally had my interview (it mainly consisted of me saying “LOOK AT THE STATE OF MY FACE, YOU’VE OBVIOUSLY ARRESTED THE VICTIM OF THE GBH, NOT THE ATTACKER!”, they let me go at 3am. They did of course lose my jacket and my phone. I didn’t get them back for 2 months.

So I was left. Literally battered and bruised. My family, friends and colleagues had no idea where I was. The absolute relief of being able to tell them that I was safe and well, and that I would heal up before they knew it. Everything was going to be okay. I was completely fine.

But the truth was that it really wasn’t. I was in denial.

I was called a hero for saving the girls, and I took a lot of comfort in the fact that it could have been SO much worse. People have received less kicks to the head than what I received and not lived to tell the tale. And for a long time, that reassurance was all I needed. My bosses and colleagues at work were absolutely incredible, and my family were a constant source of support.

Then the switch started happening as soon as my face started to heal. I looked fine, but my eye was left with a minor disfigurement. It’s so slight, that the untrained eye can’t see it, but I see it everytime I look in the mirror. A constant reminder of that completely rubbish night.

I found myself starting to get irritated at the smallest things, a rage that I never knew I held on to. Small frustrations at work would lead to minor panic attacks, and sometimes the anxiety would be so much that I’d literally have to leave the building just to get away from everyone.

Four months later, this was still occurring. What was happening? I found myself getting drunk to numb the feeling, but I made the very big mistake of not talking about it.

I didn’t really know much about Post Traumatic Stress until my close friend brought up the possibility that I might not be okay, even after all this time. The events have stayed with me, and when I started to feel a bit overwhelmed, I bottled up the emotion. I almost felt ashamed that the events were still having an effect on me.

It’s a very weird sort of anxiety. I found myself trying to rationalise with myself that I was completely fine. You fight it almost. You beat yourself up about it. I regularly found myself telling myself to get a grip in the mirror. Then when someone asked that dreaded question “Are you okay?”, I snapped at them and stormed off in a huff, almost insulted that they’d suggest that anything was wrong.

It was a mistake not to say right there and then “No. I am not fine. I am still dealing with the effects of getting kicked in the head 30 times because it was a really shit thing that happened to me. I need to talk to someone about it.”

I’ve had depression in the past, and I did a course of CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) which was very helpful for me. I dug my old notes out and revisited the techniques I learnt, and I immediately started reaping the benefits.

A couple of months ago, my anxiety flared up again at work. I had some stressful worrying things happen in my life, and it was a reminder that the events of that night will stay with me for a while and subconsciously impact on my life. This time, I spoke honestly about it with my girlfriend, my colleagues, and it immediately helped me focus again.

It was a really horrible thing that happened to me. I lost a bit of faith in the police, I lost some faith in humanity, and ultimately I lost faith in myself. But my recovery has been helped with incredible support from loved ones, and the ability to communicate how I’m feeling. I am very lucky to have people I can rely on.

The worst thing you can do if you’ve been through something terrible, is not speak to someone about it. TALK TO SOMEONE. ANYONE. YOU NEED TO GET THIS OFF YOUR CHEST. Even if you don’t think it’s that bad. Don’t lie to yourself, if you keep it locked up, it will brew and the anxiety will win.
Talking to people helped me bounce back.

1 year has passed, and I am back, loving my life, friends and family. I’m probably the happiest I’ve been for years. The bastards didn’t win.

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Love will always beat hate. Turn your love way up inside.

MY TOP 5 SONGS OF 2014

Should probably do a post about my book at some point seeing as it’s out in three days.

In the meantime, here are my top 5 fave tracks of the year!

5) DEATH FROM ABOVE 1979 – TRAINWRECK 1979
People who know me well know that I love my fuzzy bass rock. Bands like Mclusky and Reuben have always floated my boat. So DFA1979 were just one of those bands that blew my mind back in 2004. Then just like that, they were gone. 
So their comeback was so so welcome. I rarely tune in to Zane Lowe for exclusive first plays, as I’m quite a patient guy. I can wait. But I just had to hear this when he debuted it on his show. And Trainwreck 1979 didn’t disappoint one bit.

Their returning second album The Physical World is essentially more of the same big riffs and hooks I fell in love with the first time round. Neatly filed under ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.


4) MARK RONSON – FEEL RIGHT FT. MYSTIKAL & BRUNO MARS
Right at the end of the year, Mark Ronson returns and blows my tiny mind. His current band is absolutely astonishing. Collaborating with Bruno Mars on Uptown Funk was a stroke of genius, but for me this performance on Saturday Night Live stood out for me as one the best things I’ve seen all year. When this album drops next year, I’m sure it will be right up there in my top 5.


3) METRONOMY – LOVE LETTERS
I’ve always been a massive Metronomy fan. I was super excited for the new record, and it really didn’t disappoint. The standout track was the title track, a summery pop nod to the 70s. Metronomy continued to challenge and excite this year.


2) THE XCERTS – SHAKING IN THE WATER
Now I’ve been friends with these guys for many years. I must have seen them play about 60 times over the years. I just love them. Lovely boys. Their third album was quite possibly one of my most eagerly anticipated releases for years. I knew I’d love it even if it wasn’t as good as their phenomenal previous effort Scatterbrain.
Thankfully, it turned out to be a pop masterpiece. Biffy comparisons aside, this big first single shows off everything I love about the Scottish rock trio.


1) FUTURE ISLANDS – SEASONS (WAITING ON YOU)
For me this is an easy number one. This is quite simply epic pop. The simple synths and driving bass sit under Samuel Herring’s soaring and commanding lead vocal line. There’s a real vulnerability here; it’s very hard to capture passion on a record. It’s a beauty. 

Notable mentions also go to Paolo Nutini, St Vincent, Nothing But Thieves, Gnarwolves, Royal Blood and Jack White. It’s not been bad at all this year for exciting music!

GET CAPE. WEAR CAPE. FLY 2004-2014.

On Friday 12th September, I will be playing my last ever show with Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. After 10 years, Sam Duckworth is calling this project a day.

And boy oh boy, what a ride it has been.

I first met Sam back in 2002. I was 17, playing trumpet in a Southend ska band called Cisco in the Aquarium. The Southend music scene was incredibly healthy back then, with bands like The Filaments, The Big and my band Cisco leading the charge for ska punk, and bands like Engerica, Resin and Smother putting Southend rock and hardcore on the map.

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It was inevitable that mine and Sam’s paths would cross. Sam was a fresh faced 16 year old playing in a band called Silverskin (it’s hard to find Silverskin online, but in Sam’s own words: they ripped off Rival Schools. Lots). 
Even at this age, I knew there was more to this kid that met the eye. He had an infectious passion for hardcore/emo/rock that was hard to match. Here was someone that not only believed in his own band, but believed in the scene that they were contributing to. 

He would regularly put on shows at Southend Chinnerys under his ‘Emotion is Dead’ promotion. Unlike other promoters, who would put on shows just to make a quick buck, Sam’s nights always brought brilliant acts from across the country, then giving local talent a credible platform alongside these artists. The bands and the venue would always get paid, even if it was at a loss to him.

Thanks to Sam’s nights, I was introduced to fantastic acts like TANAOU, Boom In The Diamond Industry and Dave House

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Silverskin eventually called it a day, and in 2004, I got a call out of the blue from Sam, saying he wanted some trumpet on a track for his ‘random acoustic project’. Happy to oblige, I went round to his bedroom studio set up and recorded brass for what would be the fifth track on his self titled debut EP.

He invited me to play a couple of shows too under his ‘Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly’ moniker. It certainly got people talking. Sam used all his networking contacts he’d gained from his Silverskin days to get his acoustic one man band set up onto hardcore shows around the country. It was fresh and exciting. At this stage, no one had done this. Let alone get away with it. 

The brass was going down very well at live shows, so Sam continued to get me on more tracks, and play more live shows. Sam had been offered a place at uni, but decided to give Get Cape a crack for at least a year (thanks to the support of Kevin from Big Scary Monsters, who picked up Sam early on, beating pretty much every label who would go on to show interest).

Sam went on to gig everywhere. Just him, his guitar, his laptop, his rucksack, and every now and then I would also tag along. We were always skint, but hell we were always happy. We met and toured with the most amazing people in those early days. Going around the country with the likes of SecondSmile, Frank Turner and TANAOU, we were all in the same boat. 

Sam was more than just a good friend though. Sam was only 19 years old, but he was the one who introduced me to Fairtrade products. Back in 2005, Fairtrade was not in the mainstream as much as it is today. Our riders would always be Fairtrade, our T-shirts would always be Fairtrade. At the time, it blew my mind that farmers were getting a bad cut of the produce they were providing, or that there was a scheme in place that could help them. 

Even at this young age, Sam was someone who fought for what he believed in. He’d try and influence and educate people around him. 

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My band Cisco broke up in 2005, and I’d just graduated from The British Academy of New Music. I was at a crossroads in my life. I knew I had to do music for a living, but how I could do this seemed incredibly daunting. I didn’t know what else I could do. I just wasn’t wired for your usual 9-5. 

Regardless, I carried on playing with Sam. And the shows started getting bigger. The fan base started growing. This culminated in getting picked to be on the bill for Taste of Chaos at Brixton Academy, sharing the stage with Funeral For A Friend, The Used and Killswitch Engage. We played 3 songs bundled to the right side of the stage, but you still couldn’t take that away from us.

I was 20 years old, and I’d just played to 5,000 people at Brixton Academy. What a rush!

The momentum started to build, and major labels started to show legitimate interest in Sam’s creation. Until one day early in 2006, Sam called me to say he was signing with Atlantic Records, and wondered if I’d like to do this full time.

Get paid to make music for a living? Obviously I snapped his beak off!

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What followed was 8 years of some of the most incredible experiences of my life to date. One by one I started ticking achievements off my bucket list at an alarming rate. Headlining The Astoria, Playing the Main Stage at Reading Festival and Glastonbury, Radio 1 Live Lounge, a silver disc on my wall, appearing in TV shows, supporting The Flaming Lips and Billy Bragg, it was mental.

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The bigger platform meant that Sam could dedicate lots of time to organisations like Love Music Hate Racism, as well as doing countless work for Oxfam and other worthy charities. 

He helped integrate Fairtrade into everyday lifestyle trends, and was one of the unsung heroes in getting this into the mainstream. Soon people like Kate Nash were copying Sam’s Fairtrade merchandise ideology.

The whole thing was (and still is) inspiring to be part of.

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Playing at the highest level also improved my skill as a professional session player at a fast rate too. To this day, I still get lots of session work. I’ve done session work for The Walkmen, Tubelord and I currently play with the mighty Youth Club. All these things would not have been possible had it not been for the incredible opportunity that my friend Sam presented to me 8 years ago. It’s also given me the opportunity to make money through back line tech work and tour merchandise vending. The networking contacts I’ve personally gained have been invaluable to being able to stay part of the music industry.

This is of course not the end for Sam Duckworth. Having headlined the Leftfield Tent at Glastonbury with Sam last year, his new solo stuff is a fantastic experience, and I will still be active with that whenever I can. But for Sam, it is time to end this chapter of this life. And for me, it really is the end of an era.

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I’ve met the most fantastic people from around the UK on this journey, people who I will call best friends for life. I’ve seen the entire UK, lots of Europe, and had the most incredible adventures throughout these crazy 10 years. 

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I am incredibly lucky and privileged to have lived such a crazy lifestyle with Sam and the rest of the band: Andy Theakstone, Gavin Fitzjohn, Jamie Allen, Tom Pinder, Jay Malhotra, Ben Watson, Toby Hayes, Pete Fraser, Chris Bradshaw and Tim Oliver. What a joy it has been to be able to play with such fantastic musicians day in and day out. I learnt so much from all of them. 

Also massive big ups to all the fantastic crew who have always supported us, most notably, Adam Mencykowski, James Clayton, Ed Warren, Dennis Brown, John ‘Twofold’ Hayler, Adam Carr, Dave Swallow and Alex Oakley. There are so many more on top of that too. The great labels we’ve worked with, the unbelievable bands and artists we’ve had the honour to work with. If I listed them all, I’d be typing for days and days.  

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I can honestly say that being in Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly has single handedly defined who I am today. It brought me out of my shell, and gave me the confidence to believe in myself, my ability and my convictions. Personally I cannot thank Sam enough for being responsible for completely changing my life for the better.  

Sam Duckworth ladies and gentlemen. The best boss in the world. My best friend. Come and see us play for the very final time at Kentish Town Forum on 12th September. It really will be one the most emotional gigs I will ever be part of! Kleenex at the ready!

“I’ll be just fine, so here’s to moving forward”. 

Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. 2004-2014. Keep singing out, keep singing loud! x

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