This editorial currently features in the January issue of The Colchester Circle, available throughout the town right now.
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Here are just some of the events taking place this month that you can go to, safe in the knowledge of hearing some great music.

Crowbar, the undisputed heavyweight champions of the New Orleans sludge sound open their UK tour at Colchester Arts Centre on 13th January. Their music was labelled Doom-Core by the European press and it’s one the band are happy with. Over 20 years have passed since they formed in Louisiana and in that time they have released 8 full length CD’s, the second of which sold over 100,000 copies and their new album Sever The Wicked Hand is released on 8th February. I personally love the fact their videos for All I Had (I Gave) and Existence is Punishment were played on Beavis and Butthead!

At the time of my writing of this column, this gig at Headgate Theatre was still to be confirmed, but I’m hoping it all comes together for Saturday 15th January. The monthly AcoustiCity night is scheduled to host the return of one and only Jon Otway. As some of you know, I work in the PR game and there’s the publicity side of Otway that I love. Grassroots engagement is essential for an effective campaign and Jon has been doing it long before Facebook and Twitter made it easier. One fine example from 1999 is when his fans voted Beware of The Flowers, a B side from 1978, to 7th place as the Nation’s Favourite Song Lyric. In case you wondering, the line “Beware Of The Flowers Cause I’m Sure They’re Going To Get You, Yeh” came higher than anything by Bob Dylan or Leonard Coen. His fans again came out in force in 2002 to grant his 50th birthday wish of a “second hit” and ensured his Bunsen Burner single charted at number 9 and a Top of The Pops appearance followed, 24 years after his Old Grey Whistle Test debut. Don’t miss out on this cult hero!

Coming to Colchester on the Thursday 27th January is Octane OK from Birmingham.   The hotly tipped pop rock band play The Twist to give their Essex fans a chance to catch them live before they embark on a tour in February that sees them play the O2 Academy’s in Islington, Sheffield, Birmingham, Glasgow, Newcastle and Manchester. To date Octane Ok have played with the likes of Kill Hannah, My Passion, Attack! Attack!, Saving Aimee, The Twang and Aiden’s Will Francis and   are building a good reputation for themselves. The band released their debut single Take Take last summer, followed by Fly Again. Their new single and video will be available in February.

Just taking this opportunity to look ahead into 2011 I genuinely believe we’ve got a top year ahead in Colchester. Established venues like the Arts Centre, Sub Zero at The University of Essex, The Bull and The Twist continue to put on bands from outside the area whilst giving local acts the opportunity to perform. Newcomers Tin Pan Alley promise live music every night of the week and bars such as Trotters, V and Twisters have worked hard to transform themselves into hot spots for showcasing new music.   And of course, we’ll be back with another Free Festival later in the year. But it’s the wealth of talent in Colchester that makes it worthwhile. It’d be great if 2011 was the year we added another act to Colchester’s musical history as a major success; it’s been a long time since Blur happened!

Ben Howard

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