Monday 14 March 2016

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Students from the University of Northampton are set to follow in the footsteps of some of the biggest bands in the world when they take over one of the UK’s best-known live music venues.

The Roadmender, in Northampton, has been a key stop-off on the nationwide gig circuit for up-and-coming acts, with the likes of Oasis, Coldplay, Dizzee Rascal and Arctic Monkeys all cutting their teeth there.

This month, 12 student bands from the town’s University will enjoy the same rite of passage, as they appear at the 800-capacity venue in Lady’s Lane.

Undergraduates on the Popular Music degree course have been given the incredible opportunity of playing the venue over three consecutive nights, with first and second-years appearing on the second stage, and the final-year students hogging the main stage.

“Our students play at various venues across the town, and when they eventually get to the final year of their course, they ‘graduate’ to playing The Roadmender’s main stage, because it’s the perfect venue for the last thing they are ever going to do with us,” said Jasmine Shadrack, Senior Lecturer in Popular Music.

“I’m going to be sad to see them go. You see them start in the first year where perhaps they don’t have a lot of confidence, or they can play a bit of an instrument, and by the time they get to the third year you can see how far they’ve come, how commited they are and I’m just very proud of them.”

VIDEO: Bands rehearsing for the gigs

Second-year student, Alice Ellis, guitarist and singer with That’s Djentertainment!, added: “I played at The Roadmender last year and I was really nervous before we went on, but when we were on the stage it felt amazing. It’s a real privilege to have this opportunity, and I just can’t wait to graduate to the main stage next year.

“There’s been so many amazing bands appearing at The Roadmender, who have been a real inspiration to us – but the most inspiring thing for me last year was  watching the final-year bands play the main stage, and seeing how good they were. They deserved to be there.”

First year Jake Palmer, who plays bass for PEAR, has been impressed with his experience of the Popular Music course.

He said: “The degree really stood out for me against other music courses offered elsewhere as it’s so much more rounded. We cover so many areas of music and, in addition to mastering the practical elements of making music and playing instruments, there’s also a strong academic side to the teaching.

“This can take you a little bit further when you graduate, compared to somebody who has completed a degree which focusses solely on playing one instrument. “There’s only so far you can go after that, but with our degree, you’re equipped with more skills and knowledge which can only improve your employability.”

The Roadmender student gigs are open to the public and free.

The first-year bands kick off the three-day concert series on Tuesday 22 March, doors open 7pm.

The second-year bands appear on Wednesday 23 March, doors 7pm.

The final-year bands appear on Thursday 24 March, doors 7.30pm.

The Roadmender is located in Lady’s Lane, Northampton, NN1 3AH, www.theroadmender.com.

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