Northwich Youth Centre
“The Music That Keeps Us Together” seems like a perfect lyric with which to kick off this set, given the nature and cause of the gig.
Supporting the Northwich AMPLIFY MUSIC YOUTH PROJECT, which aims to attract 13-19 year olds towards music and away from drugs and alcohol, Louise Distras performed in a way that seemed to emphasise and demonstrate her support for the Project. There was a definite empathy between what she was saying and singing and what the young people there were experiencing.
Louise explained quite openly her experiences in younger life – bullied at home and at school, finding drugs, skipping school and then discovering the guitar – and clearly understood, therefore, that AMPLIFY feels like home to the kids that go there.
Despite battling some sort of tour-lurgy, Louise delivered her set in her increasingly popular style – defiant, angry and determined to make herself heard. It was very well-received and no doubt struck chords amongst many of the Wednesday night gathering. She was pleased and honoured to play the gig – AMPLIFY seemed pleased and honoured to have her there!
Solid tracks like Bullets, Stand Strong Together, Black and Blue and Hand You Hold were all on the setlist, much to the delight of those who’d never seen her before and those of us who had…some of us several times!
After the gig, I spoke with another of the evening’s acts, Beth England. From nearby Knutsford, Beth explained how attending AMPLIFY for the last 2 years had allowed her to practice and develop as an artist within the alternative subculture without feeling like a minority. AMPLIFY offered a safe environment, making her feel more confident, more secure and had helped her become the artist she is today.
Youth Worker Paul Barratt explained how, along with colleague Andy Bantock, AMPLIFY organised monthly gigs, rehearsal nights, video production and online acoustic/band sessions in order to encourage ideas develop and dreams to be followed – without the reliance on pubs, bars and clubs. AMPLIFY is a drug and alcohol-free zone.
This project, supported by Cheshire West and Chester Young People Services, needs all the exposure and promotion it can get. Look them up on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and You Tube and get along to one of their events. They deserve it.
As for Louise Distras, she goes from strength to strength and seems like she’s always playing live somewhere! She also seems to have developed an effective information strategy – check out her mailing list or Facebook or Twitter or Instagram for the most up to date news. There are still plenty of dates on this current tour and her album DREAMS FROM THE FACTORY FLOOR is definitely worth adding to your collection!