Bethan Shuff || January 18th
The Music Awards of Staffordshire and Cheshire (MASCs) are less than a month away, on the 11th February at King’s Hall, Stoke.
There are four more awards than last year, so a total of 13 wards up for grabs, with titles like Best Solo Act and Best Album there for the taking.
In the run up to Christmas, Lee Barber announced the nominees for each award. One or two announcements each day had us all on the edge of our seats waiting to see which local acts had been chosen.
I spoke to some of the nominees about how they were feeling about their nominations, and here were some of the responses.
The King’s Pistol featured on The Honey Box – episode 1 earlier this year, and have been nominated for two awards, Best Music Video and Best Album. ‘There is such a diverse amount of high quality music in the area that needs recognition. We are made up to get the nominations for video and album. So many people have helped us in getting both the album and video made. It's great to have it recognised.’
Yet another Honey Box featured artist, up for Best Album, was Narn, who was at last year’s awards, said: ‘the awards show was incredible last year, and I'm really looking forward to coming again this year! This album means so much to me, and I'm so grateful that it's been recognised in my local area!’
Wolf Party is the album from The Taskers which is also nominated – ‘As a band Wolf Party represents a huge leap forward for us in terms of songwriting, structure and meaning. We put everything into it and we're really touched to see that people have picked up on that. The music awards are a fantastic thing - Lee and the team are doing seriously good things for the local scene. We're looking forward to being there.’
2016 was EP galore for Stoke, with new bands springing up with a new EP all the time. Arcadia released two EP’s this year, and their most recent, Canopy is up for Best EP. The band said, ‘The Music Awards are a great idea, and many credits to Lee Barber and the people he works with for putting on a brilliant show. It's a chance for unsigned bands to get out there and get recognised for what they do, and it's a confidence boost for the members of the bands that win to see that they are being recoginsed by people. It's a brilliant thought that could have gone the wrong way, but we think it's safe to say that they didn't and that they prove that Staffordshire and Cheshire actually have a brilliant music scene, bursting with members of all generations; it's a truly wonderful sight.’
Last Orders was ALMA’s EP release, ALMA said, ‘We feel touched that our music has been recognised by the folks who run the awards, the nomination in itself makes the hard work we put in feel valued, honestly elated that we are a part of it. The awards evening as a whole is brilliant as it gives the musicians of Staffordshire and Cheshire a platform that everyone can share a sense of reward and pride for their efforts they have been putting in all year whether they win an award or not, everyone wins in the sense that it's an evening where everyone comes together to celebrate the music each of us produce, whether it's with a metal band, an indie band or a folk rock band, everyone can feel valued as a musician because of it.’
John MacLeod gathered Attack Of The Vapours to create Here Comes The Brim. ‘I'm delighted to be nominated for the EP award, it makes me proud to be even a tiny bit of the local music scene, and extremely proud to be nominated for an event that puts everyone of all genres & styles in one place and celebrates Staffordshire & Cheshire's musical talent. The music scene feels like it's strengthened in the twelve months since the last awards, and it'll be exciting to see that reflected in this year's ceremony.’
You can still vote for your favourites and purchase tickets for the evening at http://www.staffsmusicawards.co.uk/#musicawardshome
Voting closes on the 25th January.