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A Magazine for Sheffield
Live / stage review

VALVE and Persona

“Stay wonky!” is the takeaway message from this wonderfully compelling and conscientiously curated evening of the experimental and the avant garde.

22 October 2020

The vision of local promoter Laura Holmes, Buds & Spawn has a deliberate disregard for genre and a determination to do things differently. Having found previous acclaim with locally-birthed Discordian collective, Notwork23 (Festival23, Catch23), this is a personally-driven mission and manifesto to provide an inclusive space for complex and daring musical artists.

Undeterred by a series of setbacks including a flooded city centre and the current circumstances, Laura has persevered, motivated not only by a desire to stage bands rated by herself and her friends, but also to ensure that musicians and crew can continue to try and earn a living, and raise money for the Music Venue Trust #SaveOurVenues campaign. The result is an online extravaganza composed of performances and interviews alongside opportunities for real-time comments and questions.

Any scepticism relating to what is now a prevalent and quite often impersonal format is disavowed as a set of “sparse, intimate and creepy” (their own words) songs from local duo Persona are shared. This performance was filmed at Theatre Deli a couple of weeks prior to and the emphasis throughout is on ensuring that each act is able to present the best version of themselves before being gently grilled by the Buds & Spawn team and the audience via live chat.

Headliners VALVE maintain an unsettling but captivating ambience with refrains such as, “They’ll crush your bones and I’ll cut your wires,” underscored by Elen Evans’ ethereal harp and fragments of sound. In the midst of all this is an enlightening chat with the founder of Chaos Theory, a London-based promoter with similarly radical and uncompromising notions to Laura of what makes good music.

And with future plans to include the staging a nine-piece progressive marching band who have composed a piece of gig theatre about our place in the cosmos, what’s not to love? Sublime mind medicine for days like these.

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