South Yorkshire has a fine reputation for it’s homegrown musical talent and the number of Sheffield based artists lining the hall of fame is certainly something to behold.
The Human League, ABC, Joe Cocker, Paul Carrack and more recently Pulp, The Crookes, Lucy Spraggan and the Arctic Monkeys are just a few.
For those in search of new music, you’ve got to look no further than your local pubs where you’ll find a whole host of interesting a varied music nights taking place throughout the city centre.
Agenda Magazine’s Editor, Charlie Barker talks to comedian, actor and musician, Carl Maloney about his passion for new local talent and how he’s making it accessible in venues near to you.
Charlie: Tell us a bit about yourself?
Carl: It all started back in May 1978 during the FA Cup final when I had a rather traumatic entrance into the world in Jessop’s Hospital. I took it in my stride though; got bigger, fell of a few bikes, went through school, couldn’t be bothered to work and picked up a guitar.
I’ve always loved guitar music, none of that dance rubbish. All my mates played so started a band called The Sound. The Arctic Monkeys supported us on their first ever gig at The Grapes pub in Sheffield, a story I’ve told a million times and never get bored of. We had a few cracking years and reinvented the band as Seven Hills, went on to play festivals and major support slots but that all fizzled out in 2005 when other members got all boring and had kids so couldn’t commit.
I was left with nothing to do. I never missed rehearsals but I did miss playing live and being on stage. So I tried to think of other things to do. I ended up on a few national TV adverts for the Halifax bank, then in 2013 I tried out stand up comedy.
I did over 65 gigs over about two years, had some shocking gigs and occasionally had some quality ones. I never really felt right in the comedy circuit, it’s full of a***holes. I can however say that there are loads of lovely folk too.
I’m really lucky, during a stand up gig in Sheffield I was spied by Joe, a film director and Sam who ran live music nights. I started to do more and more local compere ´jobs and fell into doing that. I’ve just finished a film called South of the River that comes out later this year.
Charlie: You’ve worked as a comedian and a musician, what got you into organising gigs?
Carl: I fell out with traveling as a stand up and the hosting work became few and far between so I had a moment one day about 4am, couldn’t sleep and I thought why not have a go at my own night, host it myself and call it ‘Carl Maloney Presents’? Next minute I had a meeting with Nic at the Frog & Parrot pub in Sheffield and here we are.
Charlie: Were there many people supporting you in this way when you were gigging?
Carl: Hard question, I feel like saying no not really. You are on your own at first anyway. It wasn’t till Sam from the Big Live Event company had the faith in me to make me host of Yorkshire Unplugged in 2012 and all his festivals at Weston Park, I picked up a lot of momentum from those days.
I owe that kid a lot. Now I’m working with loads of promoters and have met some cracking folk, it’s great.
Charlie: What can we expect from a Carl Maloney Presents night?
Carl: Something different. At every ‘Carl Maloney Presents’ gig each band/ act that plays for has their set filmed by Jonny and Rob my film and sound team and I do a live interview with them. I package it up and give it them to send out to the world via social media. The nights are lovely, we all have a good drink and a laugh. I want the acts to be comfortable and to have a good time.
Charlie: Tell us more about the venues you’re currently working with.
Carl: Massive respect to Nic at the Frog & Parrot. I’ve know him a while now and he is a massive advocate of local Sheffield bands and using his pub as a springboard for them to develop. I had a 20 minute chat with him one day and thought where better to host your gig than the home of Sheffield live music?
Then late last year I was nicely alight one night at the Washington and opened my mouth to the owners about my other music night and they were interested in bringing ‘Carl Maloney Presents’ over there as well. I love the Washington, I met my wife there. I’ve spent many a night cracking wise over a few beers and can’t wait to work with them. I’ve also done work at the Leadmill, Plug, Forum and others too.
Charlie: Do you personally choose the artists you work with and if so what has drawn you to them?
Carl: Oh yes, I’ve introduced loads of them over the years so had a few contacts. I have the odd out of town band on but its 95% acts I’ve seen live out and about in Sheffield. We are blessed in Sheffield at the minute, some cracking bands out there. I’m really into the guitar scene.
I’m loving the Velcro Teddybears, Two Skies, The Monday Club, Redfaces, Adelphi, The Starkins, Howarth, The Leathernecks, The Fontaines, Kid Conventional, The SSS and The Wired. I’ll basically book anyone with “the” before their name!
It’s going really well, perhaps a bit too well. But it’s a journey I’m enjoying and will continue to do so until something else pops up.
Charlie: You’re very involved in supporting unsigned music in South Yorkshire, what are your plans for the future?
Carl: I plan to go out to more gigs this year and choose gigs with bands on that I haven’t heard before. I’m going to get amongst it and establish my nights at the Frog & Parrot and The Washington. There is something in the air at the minute around Sheffield and I love it.
Get down and support some of Sheffield’s up and coming musicians on the following nights at the Frog & Parrot, Division Street and The Washington, Fitzwilliam Street…