It’s always nice when you see someone that you have worked with getting a step up in the world it can also show you that on a business level that you are making the right decisions about the quality of acts that you work with. Let me be more specific. Antonio Lulic is an artist that I have helped promote in the Swindon area, though most of the credit should co to my musical comrade in arms, Ed. One of the problems with the UK music scene in general at the moment, and Swindon in particular, is that unless you are a Green Day tribute band or have been playing the same blues standards for the last 20 years then it is hard to get an audience out to watch.
A couple of years ago, Antonio came up and played The Swindon Shuffle on a Sunday afternoon, the traditional wind-down session before the last big push of Sunday night and although he played to a small crowd, to say that he had them eating out of the palm of his hands, is for once, a worthy metaphor. Even the barmaid working the Rolleston bar that afternoon said “why don’t we ever get acts like that in hear normally?” Why indeed.
He has become an occasional visitor to these parts since but not as often as I would like for the reasons laid out in the introduction. So to hear him playing live from SXSW or South By South West, one of the biggest US music and arts festivals was not only heart warming to see a friend getting to a global audience but also great to know that as promoters we are championing the right acts.
With gig slots at a premium in town these days, squeezed out by narrow-minded policy or just lack of enthusiasm for new, original music, we have been turning down more acts than we are finding gigs for. Bands such as Empire and Oliver Wilde have both played free gigs to small audiences in town and since gone on to great things and national recognition. It makes you wonder how many of the other bands that we are turning away will end up with a full on career in music and only become cool to like when the national papers tell the punters that it is cool to like them now.
Anyway, I digress, suffice it to say that if venues open their arms to original artists they can be part of a very interesting musical story which in turn will do their reputation a lot of good and a good reputation drives trade in the long run. So for those who have missed Antonio up until now here is a taster of what has slipped through your fingers.