Capital bands rock awards to drum up switch to city

Bwani Junction
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THE founder of a major awards ceremony for alternative music is considering moving the event to the Capital after local bands cleaned up this year.

Edinburgh-based Bwani Junction, We Were Promised Jetpacks and Madhat McGore all scooped gongs at the Scottish Alternative Music Awards (SAMA) in Glasgow on Thursday, meaning the Capital had more winners than any other city.

Now in its third year, SAMA was set up by 23-year-old Richy Muirhead to celebrate Scottish bands and artists that are neglected by the mainstream.

When asked if the success of Edinburgh bands indicates the city’s music scene is catching up with Glasgow’s, Mr Muirhead said: “I’d roll with that idea. It’s a great thing that Edinburgh, has done so well.

“The city has loads of great bands at the moment. In fact, I’m considering holding the awards there next year.”

However, Mr Muirhead also said talented bands in the city were struggling to make progress with a dwindling number of venues. “There’s certainly a lot of talent in the city but maybe not enough venues or exposure,” he said.

Mr Muirhead’s comments come after it was announced that Cabaret Voltaire – one of Edinburgh’s best-known alternative music venues – was to close for refurbishment by leisure giant G1.

And the Bongo Club is facing homelessness after Edinburgh University announced it would not be renewing the lease at its premises in Holyrood Road.

Dan Muir, a guitarist with Bwani Junction, who won best newcomer, said the success of Edinburgh bands at SAMA 2012 was a boost for the city, but added that its music scene was more limited than Glasgow’s.

“The fact so many bands from Edinburgh won this year is great,” said the 19-year-old. “Musicians in Glasgow can be a bit up themselves when it comes to their music – it’s a nice slap in the face for them.

“But I don’t think Edinburgh will ever be what Glasgow is music-wise. They’ve got some legendary venues – King Tut’s for example – and there’s the size of the venues in Glasgow.

“Edinburgh has never been able to sustain the sort of 300-capacity venue that you have in Glasgow. I don’t think you’re going to have a serious challenge any time soon.”

We Were Promised Jetpacks – named best live act – and Madhat McGore (aka David Martin) – who scooped the award for best hip-hop artist – were the other city-based winners.

Mr Martin, 26, said: “I think the musical diversity you have in Edinburgh just now is mental, especially when you think that it’s a smaller city.

“When I started out about ten years ago, the hip-hop scene was quiet. But now, through Facebook and cheaper recording equipment, it’s got bigger.”