By day, Dave Musson leads on all things social media – based in External Affairs. But, outside of work, he’s busy championing Coventry’s local music scene on his weekly podcast and through his own record label, as well as being a part of it with his own band.
For Dave, a city’s music scene is a key part of its culture. Based on what he’s seen happening in Coventry recently, he’s confident of the city’s chances of becoming UK City of Culture in 2021.
When I see the word ‘culture’ I immediately think of music. So, it’s not surprising that, when I think of a city’s culture, I think of its music scene – I’ve become thoroughly immersed in our home city’s heavy music scene recently through running a weekly podcast championing the local scene and setting up an independent record label to hopefully work with some great bands. Having seen what’s on offer, I have a really good feeling about Coventry’s chances of becoming city of culture in 2021.
Firstly, we’ve got serious musical heritage – and I’m not just talking about Two-Tone and The Specials, as vital and as brilliant as they are. Most people’s next local stars to flag would be The Enemy, but we’ve actually got some good bands to shout about too, namely death metal legends Bolt Thrower and the brilliant doomsters Cathedral, formed when frontman Lee Dorrian realised he’d had enough of being in Napalm Death – themselves a band from just down the road in Meriden.
But, having a strong musical heritage isn’t going to be enough, so it’s a good job Coventry in 2017 has a vibrant community of incredible bands!
I run a weekly podcast that shines a spotlight on the local scene and, to be honest, I’m spoiled for choice on who to talk about. Just some of the names I’ve featured on my show include the marvellous Pelugion, whose massive Black Sabbath-esque riffs have already been played over the PA to entertain the crowd during half time at the Ricoh Arena, the brilliant Kirikai, who take all of the brilliant bits of the grunge scene that took over the world in the early 90s and mix it with some punk for good measure, and the spiffing Gehtika, who smashed the Kickstarter target to fund their new EP in just two hours early this month.
There are literally loads more doing wonderful things that I feel terrible for not including here, but if I started listing them you’d be scrolling for quite some time!
And it’s not just great bands; Coventry’s musical culture is being enhanced by the sterling work of some great promoters like Fargo Tours, FATAngel, CVPNX, Underground Ascending and Rawk who give opportunities to the city’s bands to play in some great venues like The Empire, The Phoenix and The Arches.
Nowhere has there been a greater display recently of just how much musical culture Coventry has right now than at the last venue on that list. Over the past couple of months The Arches has played host to the Metal 2 the Masses competition, which offers the winner a chance to play at Bloodstock Festival this summer in front of thousands of people. My own band WAVE entered and has been fortunate enough to make it through to the semi-finals – which take place on Sunday 26 March – and every heat has been a blast. Forget your usual battle of the bands, Metal 2 the Masses Coventry has been a weekly coming together of friends to watch some great bands play some great shows and to celebrate our scene.
After a few years of decline, the local scene is buzzing again with great bands left, right and centre – just like it was when I was in sixth form in the early noughties and playing my first gigs with my first bands. It offers a substantial string to Coventry’s cultural bow and is waiting for you to discover it for yourself – who knows what it could become if our bid for 2021 glory is successful.
Looking for somewhere to start in this scene yourself? Get down to the Arches on Sunday 26 March and support my band WAVE in our semi-final!
Listen to Dave’s podcast here, or subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher.
Find Dave’s band and message them for tickets to their Metal 2 the Masses semi-final on Sunday 26 March via their Facebook page.
Find out more about Dave’s record label here.
Read other staff and student profiles:
Jonathan Vickery, Students and the city
Elena Sandu, Coventry–UK City of Culture 2021 + spring photos
Dave Musson, Coventry's music scene
Tony Howard, The story behind Ira Aldridge
Richard Harrison, Culture I can get stuck into
Carolyn Deby, urbanflows: immersed in worlds
Tarla Patel, Masterji and me
Emma Parfitt, Storytelling for Health project
Martin Price, FabLab and hands-on skills building
Rachel King Hope, Care and Civic Engagement