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Xenofest 2009
Posted at 1:59 PM, 09 June 2009 -

The inaugural Xenofest - a mini festival/garden party to showcase six of the acts signed to Xenomania Records - was held last Friday. The Xenomania mansion was open to receive journalists, PRs and record company people.

GQ describes the Xenofest as a "hit", adding that "pop music 2009/2010 is safe" in Brian Higgins' hands. Journalist Johnny Davis writes: «Xenomania's A&R girl had spent the last 18 months globe-trotting for talent - and their roster now included a throaty funk band, two Eighties-indebted indie-pop boys and a LA singer who'll give Pink a run for her money in the hair 'em, scare 'em stakes. Higgins himself stalked the garden in a zipped-up leather jacket, looking like a cross between Mark Fowler down the EastEnders market and an over-enthusiastic teenager.»
Read the complete article ("Inside the hit factory") here.

Update: Popjustice has also posted an account of the event: "What we did last Friday afternoon/early evening"

Performing at the Xenofest were Mini Viva, Nightvisions, Pageboy, Vagabond, Alex Gardner and Jessie Malakouti. Read a few reviews:

GQ: «two girls who share a Manchester flat together, whose future disco single "Left My Heart In Tokyo" sounded irresistible»
This Must Be Pop: «I'd only heard the remixes that are on their MySpace before this, so I was hugely impressed with the proper songs. (...) Everyone was singing along when they played the studio version just after the performance, and most of us had only heard it once before.»

-- NITEVISIONS (aka The Electric City part 2)
GQ: «euphoric electro-pop was so perfectly reminiscent of the Eighties someone joked they could have been Duran Duran's children - which, indeed, it turned out they were (the sons of Taylors John and Andy; Simon Le Bon's nephew was briefly on drums but was dismissed after being found to be "crap")»
This Must Be Pop: «A male electro-pop band who were compared by audience members to Veto Silver and Phixx, but everyone agreed that Night Vision weren't as good as either of those bands. They easily got the least positive reaction of the night.»

GQ: «throaty funk band»
This Must Be Pop: «I was surprised that they didn't do their current single, which is doing quite well and has grown on me quite a lot. They made up for it with good hair, and I can see them being one of the more successful of the Xenomania acts, but I could also see them being a big flop. Only time will tell!»

GQ: «singer Brooke Gengras was discovered fronting all-female Led Zeppelin tribute act Lez Zeppelin in a New York bar and was just as brilliant a performer as that description would lead you to believe.»
This Must Be Pop: «She's different to the other artists Xenomania has worked with, more of a singer-songwriter who might appeal to fans of Feist or Regina Spektor, but of course she's adding a Xenomania twist which will give her an edge over other similar acts.»

This Must Be Pop: «A very young Scottish singer who seems like he could make a good popstar and is apparently high priority at the record label, but I didn't think any of his songs were especially good. I hope they'll find him something better to release, or he'll just be another in the track record of Scottish male popstars with disasterous careers. »

GQ: «a LA singer who'll give Pink a run for her money in the hair 'em, scare 'em stakes».
This Must Be Pop: «(...) the new stuff is excellent and apparently she's releasing a song through the Ministry of Sound label, which may be a good approach to take. She's gone from a Britney sound to a one-girl Girls Aloud, and I'm fine with that.»
Popjustice: «Jessie is destined for quite big things - her tunes are pretty incredible and she's currently on tour with The Saturdays.»

Jessie Malakouti is supporting The Saturdays on tour. Tonight is her first night.

GQ magazine writes that Brian Higgins is «notoriously exacting»: «you either work his way, or you're packed off on the train back to Victoria. Franz Ferdinand failed to see things his way for their recent album and went home with their tails between their legs (and a resulting album that dropped off the edge of the Top 40 pronto), and he'll neither confirm nor deny the rumours he once reduced Victoria Beckham to tears.»

«He expects his charges to put in long hours; something that doesn't always work with pop stars' schedules/egos and is the antithesis of producers like Pharrell Williams, who pride themselves in being able to knock out a Beenie Man b-side in an afternoon. "I can give Kylie a Top Five record in an afternoon," he once told me. "But what's the point in that?"»

«(...) Higgins' home is practically a stately home. It's certainly a house, a very big house, in the country. There's a swimming pool, ducks wandering past in the garden, rolling acres of greenery. Alice Liddell, on whom Lewis Carroll based Alice from Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, used to live there. (Higgins recently sold the Bentley, but that just left more room for the fleet of private reg cars on the gravel drive.)»

If you fancy feeding your voyeuristic side (err..), have a look at some pictures that a couple of people were twittering during the Xenofest: Xenomania toilets, Xenomania shower, Xenomania garden, Miranda Cooper's name tag + badge + beautifulrobotdancingalone pendant, performances (1, 2, 3, 4, 5), Brian Higgins and Miranda Cooper introducing one of the bands, and one of the ducks:

UPDATE: Popjustice has posted a picture of two ducks:

That's Edmund and Josephine (we think). Lovely.

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Blogger daavid said...


June 9, 2009 at 8:04 PM  

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