Last Thursday I went to The Edge in Basildon Town Centre to check out performances from three local acts: Dubious Misfits, Origami Noise and Jet Pack*. The night was hosted by Hippy Joe, and it was awesome. You might not know any of the venues, bands and local legends I just mentioned in that last sentence, but this is an article all about how my hometown of Basildon, Essex has become home to a music scene that once started off stuck in a Metallic rut, but has since blossomed into something very special.
As someone who has progressed from being a 14 year old floppy haired emo/skater hybrid into a 23 year old man who could become a credible canditate for Ambassador of Domino’s Pizza I have witnessed a transition of Essex’s music scene within the same timeframe. When I began checking out live shows and attending open nights at pubs and whatnot the sound was primarily dominated by bands attempting their best at damaging innocent eardrums across the land. Metal took control of pretty much every venue offering up a stage in a dimly-lit corner – which would have been great if you were a Metal fan, but considering the oversaturation, it was difficult to remain a Metal fan. Sure the Metal genre is a hugely respected part of music’s industry that has a huge history with all kinds of depth, and while some bands sounded good and others sounded not so good as a whole, the sound of Essex was stagnating.
It would remain this way for quite a while before exceptions to the rule began to pop up. For example, four piece band The Ends emerged with a sound that took things into a more melodic route, heading into a more Punk and Indie Rock direction instead of the tried and tested Metal. These guys were billed up against the old guard – Metal acts who would come in their established gear and crowds and just as quickly leave when their set was over, meaning any chance of a progression in sound was squashed just as soon as the band began to play their opening song.
Eventually the live audiences began to embrace these new acts that were offering up something a little different, allowing acts like The Ends, Jacksons Warehouse and Whoremoan to deliver their noise and to become established in their own right too. This sudden new connection meant that all kinds of people could attend gigs now, as Essex finally offered a live scene that was varied and vibrant with brilliant talents.
This is fortunately something that remains strong to this day. With acts like Scarlet Echo, Chase The Day, Double Headed Jester joining the ranks alongside new acts like The Penny Antics and Figures to make it always remain refreshed with a huge range of talent performing all kinds of different genres to produce some really memorable moments in this town and county.
Thursday night at The Edge was a great experience, and the amount of commitment and dedication that Hippy Joe brings into his nights for all of these different bands just sums up what it means to be a lover of music. Basildon, Essex, you’ve done me proud. Nice work.
*My Uncle’s band that wasn’t actually called that but had the name anyway. I forget the actual name – sorry Unc!