Here at the marvellous Monkey Kettle HQ, we like to regularly reward local arts “things” with our praise – and never more so than via the annual Monkey Kettle Awards. And as our tentacles have stretched further and further into the Milton Keynes Music Scene, we’ve encountered many great bands and musicians. Starting from the latest Awards (2008), Monkey Kettle is therefore proud to announce that the Monkey Kettle Award for Best MK Band or Musical Act will be sponsored by The Dudebox – officially the Music Arm of the Monkey Kettle… erm… multi-limbed organism.
Previous winners of the award for Best Band include the fantastic 75% Lip who won the first award back in 2001, teenage epic-rockers Neara, the legendary Jimi Volcano Quintet and two different bands from fantastic local musician Beanie Bhebhe: The Ideas and Modus Vivendi. So it’s an elite group to be amongst. And in the last twelve months we’ve seen some really really good local bands, many of whom are good enough to have won this coveted title. Honourable mentions must go to: hip-hop crew Raw Pride; precociously-talented young acoustic star Josh Timmins; mysterious concept-rockers The Road To Corm; the incredibly emotive cello-rock of Speeding Mellow; heartaching singer-songwriter Ellie Walsh; and genius ivory-tinkler Grahame Sinclair. However… there can only be one winner (and two runners-up). A difficult choice, but we made it.
Without further ado therefore, The Dudebox Award for Best MK Band or Musical Act 2008 goes to…
"No-one knows exactly where he came from or how long he may stay. All we know is that three years ago Rooh hopped off the back of a freight train heading north and rolled into town, a guitar slung over his shoulder. The first time I saw Rooh play, he had the sunset slot on the main stage of Dudefest 2007. As the warm sun dipped below the horizon on an epic day of rock n roll, the entire field sat enraptured by his perfectly assembled blues tunes. Rooh plays like a seasoned bluesman from another time, people just don’t write music like this anymore. But there is no imitation in Rooh, he’s not copying the skills and ideas of the past, he’s adding to their canon. This is the real thing, music that could only come from watching sunsets across the desert from the back of a rolling train, with nothing in the world but a guitar in your hands and a song in your heart. Approached with honesty and modesty and delivered with cool and style, Rooh isn’t making things easy on himself, but this is the music in his heart and he’s staying true to it."
- excerpt from Dudebox Magazine - June 2008
The runners-up for 2008 are:
"French Semi-improvised Retro-Future Jazz Space-fusion. "I think that is my proper style," mused the 7ft French dude from behind a pair of impenetrable wrap-around shades. In one hand he holds a glass of red wine, in the other a hunk of bread and cheese. In the year since Alain Proviste first landed on our planet he's given us the inspired jazz of The French Troubadours alongside his own inimitable side project that melds impossibly groovy jazz to a kind of progressive constantly shifting ambient rock. Seeing him play the Dance Tent at Dudefest 2008 was a mesmerizing experience. This is music best absorbed in a dimly lit club and through a haze of smoke. Its just that kind of cool."
- excerpt from Dudebox Magazine - August 2008
"Outside the club is a huge stretched limousine; its goth-black and there's a jacuzzi in the back. You know, just because they CAN! As we pull away from the red carpet, leaving a trail of paparazzi photographers running behind us - me sitting with my back to the driver with The Style and Ms. Danger coolly sitting on the back seat - I have to shout down the length of the vast vehicle to make myself heard. Anyone who grew up in the eighties and says they weren't influenced by The Stylaphonics is a liar; we all grew up wanting to play the stylaphone like The Style or dance in the school disco like Ms. Danger. Cool and enigmatic, The Style single-handedly made guitar playing uncool and stylaphone playing cool. Even keytar players couldn't compete when it came to getting the girls. In school it was pretty straightforward; if you were playing the stylaphone you were getting laid and it was all down to this band. Controversial from the start - if you only listened to one stylaphone based band last year then it really should have been this one, all the rest are just cheap imitations!"
- excerpt from Dudebox Magazine - September 2008