Electric Proms loses some of its lustre

The Electric Proms emerged in 2006 with a varied and refreshing ideology. The BBC’s task was to produce a new and interesting spin on a somewhat overcrowded live music market.  With a series of concerts staged in the London Borough of Camden – highlighting the incredibly contrasting and historic venues of the famous North London melting pot, it combined both the alternative underbelly of the music industry as well as the grand gestures of the music hierarchy.   Art rock via Battles, the jazz stylings of the Basquit strings through to the classic cockney troubadour – Ray Davies. All genres were represented under an umbrella of youthful and innovative vigour – presented through the multi-platform expertise of our beloved national broadcaster.   The first three years seemed to follow a similar mandate – even Liverpool joined in on the act last year – to celebrate their European Cultural Capital accolade.

All of which makes this year seem a bit of an anticlimax.   Gone is the multi-venue, multi-platform broadcasting.   This year the Roundhouse will be the solo host to acts that have already had their fair share of publicity -including Dizzee Rascal and Florence and the Machine.   Sure the grand statement is represented well by the classic performers of Shirley Bassey and Smokey Robinson, but where is the youthful edge and innovation that the Electric Proms so greatly promised in its inaugural years.   Giving such valuable airtime to comeback kid Robbie Williams while ignoring a plethora of talented young bands hardly encourages creativity, let alone offers fair and proportionate representation for the license fee.


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