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Old Alumni Part 1 – Ghosts and Fortune Drive

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It’s got to the stage in mine and my friends’ lives where we look back and wonder what old schoolmates are up to now. There are a few I still see, of course, but what happened to the rest? Did they meet untimely ends? Did they become major stars? Did they make millions? Did they break into the bigtime?
Well, two groups of them are just emerging as the “music bands of 2007”, amazingly. “Fortune Drive” (myspace) have a growing fanbase for their indie-rock music, and while it’s not totally my bag of chips, they are still good. In fact, this bunch were always destined for greatness – lead singer Bobby’s mum is Carleen Anderson (myspace), and he was one of the nicest guys at school. Alan Akehurst, the guitarist, was always the girls favourite – which is uncanny, because his amazing sister was always the guys’ favourite…
And then there’s “Ghosts” (myspace). They are currently playing on every radio station going, and appeared last Friday night on “The Friday Night Project“. It’s stunned me for two reasons – firstly, I *really* like their songs, and secondly, the band members are so… unlikely! The lead singer and songwriter, Simon Pettigrew, was a very intelligent guy who was better known for getting good homework grades than for musical prowess. The guitarist Robbie Smith was known for being a nice guy and very sporty, and Mark Treasure… well, Mark and I competed for top grades when we were 7, and were at school together until we were 16. He was also another clever guy, almost nerdy, and played a lot of classical piano stuff.
Ghosts are definitely heading for big things, with Fortune Drive close behind. And if they can, can’t we all?!
The final word, as usual, should go to Jac, who is getting more and more involved in the marketing side of the music. “Ghosts – lots of money behind them and the tunes to make a good first album, it’ll be interesting to see if they make a second one as good. Fortune Drive – great singer fronting powerful band, watch out for them.” So there we have it.
But wait! As I peer closely and the online videos, I can see … Mark has become almost bald! There is a god…

“Let’s keep it melancholy.”

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Jac and I have been following the band Easyworld since we were young. Well, younger. When they split, we mourned a little. then David Ford, the lead singer, went solo, and we cheered up a little bit. He is a musical genius, able to play almost any instrument you can think of, and write lyrics that are painfully incisive. Here are some of Easyworld’s videos, and some of David’s own stuff (his own site is davidford.mu.
Anyway, that’s enough of the promotion, I want to boast. David’s been touring Australia and America, and was offering a one-night-only show in London. Tickets sold out before I’d even had the chance to log on and find them. Then he moved to a larger venue – again they were sold out before I got back from work that day. So, clutching at straws, I emailed Jac, who has made some usual friends while trying to get into the music industry. “Can you get some tickets?” I asked him, resigned to the fact there was almost certainly no chance.
And then, an email from Jac. “I am amazing,”, it started, which was no surprise – he’s become a One Man Publicity Machine of late. Yes, yes, I muttered, why this time? “I have got tickets for David Ford tonight.”
As I entered The Borderline venue that night, I had to admit that for once Jac was amazing. Here we were at a sold out gig, with two free guest tickets. Ford’s supporting act were the surprisingly good Angus and Julia Stone, a brother and sister who had travelled from Australia to break themselves in over here. And then, sweet lord, it was David Ford, telling everyone who cheered to “keep it melancholy, alright?” It was the first time I’d seen him live, and he was better than I’d even imagined. Using everything he could lay his hands on to make musical sounds, he was a one man band with a difference, proving that music can be everywhere and that he actually didn’t need any other band members at all. Jac’s musical review is here. Word has it he’s doing well in America at the moment – let’s hope he doesn’t stay over there. He’s a bit of a secret on the music scene at the moment, and perversly I’d quite like him to stay that way…
And then the train drivers went on strike, meaning that I spent an uncomfortable 90 minutes in the back of a taxi with two Guildford-based indians who could barely speak English. It was worth it, though…

Matchbox Twenty at Wembley Arena

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Matchbox Twenty are a band that have “spawned more No. 1 songs and spent more weeks atop the … adult top 40 charts than any artist” (Neilson); who are the only pop-rock band in the American top 10, whose current single Unwellhas occupied the No. 1 spot on the adult top 40 chart for 18 weeks” (USAToday). Their profile at Yahoo give you everything from videos to reviews. Well worth a visit.
There’s a reason I’m telling you all this? Because they came to visit us at Wembley Arena last night. It was amazing. When you hear a band and like their music, it’s one thing. When you go to their concert and get doubly blown away by their enthusiasm, personality and musical ability… well, that’s another. 9 of us trooped up to the Arena last night and got some of the best seating in the almost full arena. After the supporting band, Maroon5, limbered us up, out Matchbox Twenty came to the cries of “Bring on the box!” from Jac. And so began what must rate as the best moment of the year so far for me. Rob Thomas, the lead singer, always manages to sound amazed that people like his band, and that he’d always wanted to play at Wembley Arena. True, he may just be saying that, but I think he means it. He also made a memorable quote about time being a currency, which I’m sure Jac will pick up and play with on his site.
The net result of all this? Well, confirmation that in our eyes Matchbox Twenty are a collection of gods (a gaggle? a herd…?). Simply Superb.

Oh, and by the way,

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Oh, and by the way, have you heard of the band “matchbox twenty“? They’re absolutely stonking. Jac pointed them out, and I’ve since invested in both their albums. The lead singer Rob Thomas was the one who sang “Smooth” by Santana last year, and the band actually sound a bit like the Goo Goo Dolls, who are also corking… just thought I’d share this with you…