BBC Suffolk Introducing Article.

By Benedict Kent
BBC Suffolk Introducing Blast Reporter

Stew, Oli and Richard want to breathe new life into Bury

Stew, Oli and Richard with lemons in their mouths

Three friends have started their own live music night in their hometown, Bury St Edmunds.

Tired of a ‘stale’ local music scene, Richard Mutimer, Oli Shilling and Stew Green have taken things into their own hands by planning a series of gigs.

Despite being university students, they are also the creators and writers of the Sucking Lemons blog.

“As soon as people realise that these are good nights then maybe other venues will put on similar things,” said Oli.

“It’s only small changes that can make a real difference in a place like Bury. It’s all about getting attention and a bit of consistency within the town.”

This isn’t the first night that Sucking Lemons have promoted in Bury. Their inaugural night in March this year was headlined by a Bombay Bicycle Club DJ set and saw support from Suffolk’s Timothy Leat and the Running.

The DJ headline slots are just a way to bring in the crowd and bring in enough money to support the night.
Oli Shilling

“Considering we’re new to promotion our first event went very smoothly and hopefully that will continue.”

Their next instalment is due to take place at Like Minded People (formerly Bar Ruin) in early September, with the hope of making it a monthly event.

The Sucking Lemons team have always been frustrated with what they see as a lack of opportunities for people to hear indie and alternative music.

“If you’re in the kind of band that we’d like to cover [in the blog] then you’re going to find it hard to get gigs in Bury because all the bands round here are quite heavy,” said Stew.

Bands bypass Bury

Geography is given as a reason for bands often bypassing Bury, with many preferring to play in Ipswich, Cambridge or Norwich.

However, Sucking Lemons hope that promotion of a regular alternative and indie night will start to change things. Especially if they can successfully pair touring artists with local Suffolk acts.

Oli, Stew and Richard chatting in a pub

The trio want to give local bands the chance to support bigger names

“The DJ headline slots are just a way to bring in the crowd and bring in enough money to support the night. If we can put on three or four bands before then that’s our job done,” said Oli.

Sucking Lemons hope the night will also promote their website as well as providing a test ground for future events around the country.

The blog went online in December 2009 with the intention of collating the friends’ shared musical interests. Additional voluntary contributors have since been recruited and the site now features record and live reviews, music videos and interviews.

“At the beginning it wasn’t that organised,” said Stew. “If an album came out we’d review it. If one of us went to a gig they’d write a live review.”

“Despite having similar music tastes we all like different bands, so if there’s three new albums out then we’ll be like, ‘well I’ll have that, you take that, and you take that’,” said Oli.

“But Arcade Fire’s album’s coming out so I think we’ll all want that one,” said Stew.

Counting on contributors

The trio are managing to balance their student and blog-writing commitments but are also looking for new contributors to keep the site regularly updated.

“We started advertising a few months ago for new writers and we’re quite surprised, we even got people from America wanting to write for us,” said Oli.

“We’re still looking for contributors – especially local ones.

“It would be good to have a few more contributors from Suffolk to keep us up to date on new bands.”

Thanks again to Benedict Kent and Richard Haugh for meeting us, and putting up the article. Brilliant.

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