Take Over The Corn Exchange, Newbury, Saturday April 17 and Sunday April 18
WITh the strapline “Same town. Same building. New management.”, Take Over The Corn Exchange was a weekend festival of events including a bands night, a comedy show, an afternoon talent show, a quiz, Rock Band session, films, workshops and an art project - all organised and run by young types under the age of 25. From programming to control of the sound desk, the town centre arts venue was taken over for the weekend by a host of bright young things who appeared amazingly calm and confident.
With good reason, as the two evening events, The Big Gig and The Big Laugh, went off without any apparent hitches, despite one of the comedy acts, Isy Suttie, nearly missing the event after being diverted to Disneyland Paris in her attempt to return to the UK from Australia during the ash cloud crisis.
Saturday night saw Reading punks DissolvedIN headlining a gig which also included Newbury/Oxford rockers Relik, popular locals Secret Fridge Party and youngsters The Monday Night Band. Now that there are no longer regular bands nights at open-access venues such as The Waterside this was a fairly rare opportunity for under 18s to see bands such as these, and it was a pity that more did not take advantage to attend.
With more ‘underage’ events due to take place in the town in the near future, including an Battle of the Bands under 18s heat at Avenue on Sunday, April 25 (the final will take place at the Crafty Craft) and another ‘all ages’ gig at The Corn Exchange on June 4, it would be good to see the atmosphere of the Battle of the Bands and Salvage events of the past to be recreated by today’s generation of music-loving teenagers.
The organisers of Sunday night’s Big Laugh clearly had their fingers on the comedy pulse when they secured the services of 6ft 8 headliner Greg Davies. From his role as psychotic teacher Mr Gilbert in cult TV comedy The Inbetweeners it appears that Davies is fairly well known among younger types, and despite being in his 40s, stories about his “mental” father were bound to strike a chord with anyone who has ever been embarrassed by their parents.
Able support came from the quirky Isy Suttie, not entirely unlike her Peep Show character Dobby but with a guitar, compere Jimmy McGhie, who probably doesn’t find it as hard to attract women as he claimed, and character act Colin Hoult as an unstable martial arts devotee.
Well done to all involved in the Take Over festival; and let’s hope the Corn Exchange let you return for another go in the future. Those of you who aren’t too old by then, of course.
- Originally written for the Arts pages in Newbury Weekly News. Your truly local paper. If you live in Newbury. Also available to view at its sister website:
Photo of Secret Fridge Party, on stage at The Corn Exchange on Saturday, April 17, courtesy of Bill Ainsworth and his amazing iPhone.