It has been some time since I last put a gig on anywhere. This one kind of evolved from a bit of a conversation into an all day charity event. The original premise of the gig was to welcome Old School Enemy back to the stage after a very difficult 6 months, coming to terms with drummer Michael Ayres’ tragic passing and subsequently carrying on the band in his honour with new drummer Luke Thomas. In reality since we started planning this, OSE have booked another couple of prior gigs, since they were ready to play a bit earlier than they expected and they had the opportunity to climb back on the horse sooner plus I think they wanted to do a couple of live performances before taking part in an all day event.
Frontman of the band, Michael’s brother (and also one of my best friends), Dave Ayres and I started discussing it and what we wanted from the gig. My own band was well up for playing anyway, as were a couple of other close friends’ bands. I wanted to plan something at the Polish Club in particular; since they have recently started hosting live gigs again after a lengthy break and both bands have an affinity with the club with several of us being members. From talks of a couple of bands, the conversation turned into an all dayer and it was decided that we could do it for charity.
As far as the charity side of things was concerned, I thought it would be appropriate to include something along the lines of mental health awareness, since Michael had suffered from depression himself before sadly taking his own life and if by doing this, we can prevent others from taking that path then surely it can only be a good thing?
Ironically, I had no awareness of any local mental health awareness programmes myself (maybe a case in point?) and so I got in touch with a friend of mine Neil Terry who has experience working in this field. After some digging, he suggested that CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) be a perfect choice, since they deal in particular with this issue. They are situated in East Lancashire and Merseyside but they do take calls from anybody within the UK, regardless of age and location. They are by no means the only organisation which deals with helping people with mental health problems and indeed there are some more local to Bradford. However, CALM specialises in dealing with suicide amongst young men.
I have a number of friends who, to varying degrees, have suffered from some form of depression and in extreme cases considered taking their own lives. Some of them try and do what they consider to be the “manly” thing and bottle it up, sometimes self medicating through alcohol and drugs instead of talking to someone. Indeed since we have started this project, this cause seems to have struck a chord with quite a few of my friends. If we can encourage even one person to talk about their problems and find a better path, then it is worth all the time and effort in the world. I would give absolutely anything to have Mic back with us.
The name “Right Up The Bracket” came from a phrase that my wife used one time, which Mic was particularly fond of. He was having a particularly hard time and she sent him a message saying that if people weren’t treating him right then she would be round to “give them a punch right up the bracket”. Just prior to the memorial gig, a compilation CD was put together including loads of Bradford bands, the proceeds of which went straight to his family. This was also affectionately called “Right Up The Bracket”. It seemed fitting then to continue with this title.
And so to the event itself. Obviously Old School Enemy were always going to be on the bill as well as Suicide by Cop. We would have liked our good buddies Iron Rat to play too, since all three bands have shared a stage a number of times but they were unavailable. However, frontman Stephen Haran will be there playing an acoustic set for us. When Idols Fall are also on the bill since they played at Michael’s memorial gig in January. That gig was supposed to include Old School Enemy and was actually drummer Wan’s 40th birthday and so it seemed fitting that they play on what would be OSE’s return to the stage. Nottingham’s Skullfunk were also added to the bill as they were due to play with OSE the week after Michael passed away. Add to the mix local legends Idiot Box and newcomers The Guilt Charm and you have a pretty cool line-up. Entry will be free but all donations will be very gratefully received and your contribution could quite literally save someone’s life.
At the time of writing, there are still a couple of slots available, so if you are interested in playing, then please feel free to get in touch.
Acts so far:
The Guilt Charm
Old School Enemy
Suicide By Cop
When Idols Fall
+ DJ Paul Goodison will be playing a mix of rock, punk and alternative music throughout the day and night
This is not necessarily the order of appearance, times will be confirmed soon.
Doors will be at about 3 o’clock and it should be a nice chilled out day.
Please feel free to forward links to this message / retweet / repost / reply etc. Really the more awareness we can raise, the better.