Friday, 20 November 2009

The Gilded Palace of Sin: The Last Waltz

Some of you may already have read our Myspace page or our website and read that we are calling it a day from promoting. Some of you have already been in touch to say nice things about the shows you’ve seen. Thank you for that: it really is appreciated. However, after very nearly nine years of Gilded Palace revelry, it’s time for us to bid farewell. Apologies if you were hoping to see Drag The River, Fruit Bats or Lightning Dust: those shows are now cancelled. We have one last belter in the bag for you – and it would be great if you could join us for what promises to be a party for more than one reason…

Thursday 26th November (Thanksgiving Day!), 8:00pm
Prince Albert, Trafalgar St, Brighton
A co-promotion with ARK PR (Thanks, Del!)
(Pumpkin pie and ‘welcome’ Thanksgiving drinks on us! Get ‘em while they last!)

Tickets £6.50 advance (£8 on door) available from Rounder, Resident and online at

Appropriately (ironically?) enough, on Thanksgiving Day, this will be the last Gilded Palace of Sin show. After nine years of promoting the best in Americana and shows we’ve chosen the biggest holiday in the American calendar to call it a day. We're very happy that - before we leave - we get a chance to host CARRIE ELKIN.

Carrie first came to my attention in March 2008, via a CD package from Medicine Music (based way up in Inverness, but omnipresent in cool Americana circles). Hers was a new name on me, but I noted the mention of Devon Sproule in the press release. Carrie (and Danny) are both friends of Devon (and Paul Curreri), having spent time on the Charlottesville scene where the Sproule-Curreris are based. Nine months after first hearing the album, Jeopardy made #3 on the Festive Fifteen 2008 (the full list, if you’re interested, is here:

Why so besotted? Obadiah, Questions About Angels, Black Lung, Roots And Wings… the list of great songs on this record goes on and on. After almost two years, Jeopardy of Circumstance album is (honestly) shaping up to be one of my favourite records of all time. And while we're at bold claims...

... there are many reviews comparing DANNY SCHMIDT to people like TOWNES VAN ZANDT and LEONARD COHEN. Normally, such claims can be taken with a pinch of salt (especially as I’m not particularly a fan of Laughing Lenny) but Danny’s an engaging lyricist and guitarist – less inclined to wallow (oh, I can hear the Cohen fans sharpening their knives already!). I have yet to see Danny play ‘live’, but everyone I know who has done so raves about his enigmatic performances. His Parable and Primes album was a favourite of some years back and new release, Instead The Forest Rose To Sing, is something special too.

There are a bunch of tunes for you to download at both Carrie and Danny’s websites - and you can, of course, pick up full albums at the show. For once I shall let the music do the talking…

Link to Carrie’s songs:
Link to Danny’s songs:

NOTE: Carrie will open the show with a ‘solo’ set, joined at times by Danny. He will then perform his own set, and will likewise be joined by Carrie. Expect live music to start around 8.30pm. Gilded Palace classics on the Jukebox of Misery before, betwixt and after the stage antics.

I approach this show with mixed – not to say, conflicting - emotions. After a difficult past few months (attendances down and band fees increasing) I’ll be relieved of the financial burden of risk inherent in promoting shows that ever-fewer people are able/willing to attend. This has never been about making money. I often describe it as a hobby that got out hand: a train-set that took over the house. No, money made on shows that did well has supported the greater number of still legendary, but loss-making nights. I shudder to think how much we’ve lost over the years, but I’m confident we leave a legacy of looking after bands (I know this to be true all the more since I started touring with bands!) and paying them well (ditto!) even when the money wasn’t always in the pot at the end of the night. We couldn’t have done this without some fantastic agents representing these artists – Bob Paterson Agency, Belmont Bookings and Toutpartout Agency should take an especially large bow. Yes, we’ve been lucky to have avoided most of the nest-feathering charlatans peopling the music industry so, after six years of involvement in (and nine years attending) The Gilded Palace of Sin, I’ll be sad to see it go.

There have been many, many happy memories and it has literally been a life-changing experience. Let me blow our trumpet: we’ve had to over the years, since we’re not cool enough for The Source (I got that from the horses mouth) and Latest 7 doesn’t seem to know on what day our shows take place – when they could be arsed to list them.

Those of you newer to this list won’t care much but we’ve had some high times over the years. The halcyon days when the Hanbury was our second home, brain-searing and sweaty nights at the Prince Albert, rare but special forays to the enormous (to us!) Concorde 2… all had their genesis in low-budget, founding shows at the Sanctuary Cella. We can be proud of our achievements…

In 2001, Tom Sheriff (Dave) and My Good Self (Charlie) simply set out to bring bands they liked to Brighton: they could hardly have anticipated that this would result in the likes of GILLIAN WELCH & DAVID RAWLINGS, MY MORNING JACKET and DINOSAUR JR coming to town under our wing, less still that we would meet and befriend artists of the stature of RICHMOND FONTAINE, THE SADIES and WILLARD GRANT CONSPIRACY.

We’ve had UK debut shows from CHATHAM COUNTY LINE, DOLOREAN, JESSE SYKES, GREAT LAKE SWIMMERS, JUSTIN RUTLEDGE, CHARLEMAGNE, JAMES ‘SLIM’ HAND and more. We even got to indulge ourselves hosting our long-standing heroes like STEVE WYNN, JASON RINGENBERG, ALAN TYLER, MARK MULCAHY, MARK EITZEL - and the first UK show in 10 years from AMERICAN MUSIC CLUB. There are lots more (almost 300!) bands I could mention here but I’ll stick to the headline grabbers.

And without the mercurial Mat Benzies (and his predecessor, Jer Reid) at the controls for 90 percent of our shows, they wouldn’t have sounded nearly as good as they did. Gold dust, the pair of ‘em. Lastly, I know I speak for all three of us (Dave, Charlie and myself) when I say I’m eternally grateful to the hardcore amongst you who have kept the faith with us – you know who you are; it’s no exaggeration to call you friends, not just casual acquaintances.

Incidentally, I know it’s almost 300, as I’ve commissioned local screen-print artist, The Pinch, to design a poster commemorating all the bands who’ve played for us – and I had to make a list. To be more exact, it’s 296 bands and 197 shows. A limited number of these posters will be for sale on Thursday.

It will be an emotional night – and I’m definitely not bringing the car into town this time ;-) It would be nice to see as many of you there as possible – for the performances of course, but also to help us go out with a bang. Do they ‘do’ fireworks for Thanksgiving? We’ll have pie at least!