Sophie Brownlee

Fireworks & Rocktopia Assistant Editor
Sophie Brownlee
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Rock music was a part of my life from my first gig of The White Stripes and then Monsters of Rock at the age of twelve. It was here that I saw Alice Cooper for the first time and the world of Motley Crue, glam metal and Buckcherry quickly followed.

At first I was heavily influenced by my brother’s tastes and new discoveries, beginning with Swedish glam band Crashdiet and then more melodic bands such as Gotthard. Through my teens, however, I started writing for various publications and magazines. As well as for Fireworks, I also write for The University Paper, The Manchester Historian and I am currently seeking publication for my own novels.

The gigs I first started attending were in London; I loved the smaller, more atmospheric venues such as The Underworld and Electric Ballroom in Camden and The Garage in Islington. Bands that commanded these stages, such as Pretty Boy Floyd, Fatal Smile, TNT and Hardcore Superstar, developed my love of stage-craft and my critique of band’s rapport with a crowd. Seeing Hanoi Rocks’ last show in London before they split up was a turning point for me; I left classical guitar for bass and Michael Monroe’s energy and charisma on stage is something I still measure other bansds’ performances by! Another high point would have to be Cinderella at Shepherd’s Bush – a gig so good I feel I blinked and it was over.

Today, I’m a student of History at the University of Manchester. My favourite venues in Manchester include The Roadhouse and the Ritz, places that the likes of Breed 77 and Airbourne have recently graced. My tastes have expanded from mostly glam and hair metal to include what some might call more “modern” bands like Halestorm and The Howling. I love the contrast of old and new on the rock scene; interviewing Mike Tramp from 80s band White Lion one week and then interviewing young Finnish rockers Reckless Love at Hard Rock Hell. It’s great to see UK venues hosting so many smaller bands, both British and international, such as Sister Sin, Neonfly and Falling Red.

For the first time this year I attended Download Festival. Seeing Twisted Sister live was a dream come true; Dee Snider does not disappoint, even today. The chance to watch some smaller bands take to the stage was a great chance to see what direction rock music is going in and what other people on the scene are enjoying. I’m looking forward this year to Firehouse at Firefest and Slash in November and to many more good years of rock to come!

SOPHIE BROWNLEE

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