GIG REPORTS 2012
Rogers personal view of the gigs he has
Ray and Jack on New Years
|Monday 31st December
A very special gig at
Northchapel Working Mens' Club, to see
THE JACKIE LYNTON BAND help us to
see in 2013.
This was a personal party because The Pattendens', The Phillips' and The Coopers' had all decided to stay over at a local hotel so we could have New Years Breakfast together. We had chosen a hotel at Arundel, some way to the south of Northchapel so we could be closer to the seaside. Colin Pattenden had stopped off en route at Northchapel in order to set up the PA before he and Jacky travelled on to meet us in Arundel. Fran and I arrived first - about half an hour later than the arranged time, and Ray Phillips and Mel arrived about an hour late - but from a different direction because they had been checking out their holiday home down at East Wittering. Colin & Jacky were almost three hours later than planned - but that didn't matter. After a few drinks and laughs we all set off toward Northchapel, where we planned an early dinner at The Half Moon Pub. We met up with Chris Bryant and Sarah-Jane in the pub - and Spud Metcalf and Trisha were already there as well. After dinner we all progressed to The Working Mens' Club and caught up with Jack Lynton and Chris Bryant. Unfortunately Mike Windus couldn't make it because of previous commitments, so Gordon Sellar was depping on second lead guitar. I hadn't seen Gordon for a long time and it was good to catch up with him and his wife Julie. The club was far from crowded, and as a New Years gig was probably fairly disappointing from the bands point of view; however, all of us "friends and family" loved it because they played brilliantly. Jack was his usual generous self and let Chris have two or three guest spots to sing, and he also invited Ray Phillips up to sing a couple of songs. The best bit though, was when Ray and Jack duetted - their voices complement each other very well, and the result was staggeringly good. Despite the dancing efforts of Jacky & Sarah-Jane, the audience didn't wake up until just before midnight - but once on the dance floor they stayed there until almost 1am. After the gig Colin and I packed the gear into the back of his car and then we six friends headed back to Arundel, arriving after two in the morning. We decided that it was too late to have the champagne and cheese we had set out ready for our own private party - so bid each other goodnight. Nobody wanted the smelly cheese in their room so it stayed in the car overnight!
|Friday 14th December we
travelled over to Sunningdale
village to The Nags Head Pub to see
The Jackie Lynton Band
playing their Christmas Pub Gig. This pub is always a welcome gig
- the audience and the landlord love Jack
and his music. On Friday the band were in particularly fine shape - and
the set up was peppered with hugs and exchanges of Christmas Cards as
friends and relations joined the throng. Jack
was sporting a new hat, but the rest of the band were their own regular
selves. Colin Pattenden was
recovering from a strained back, earned while trying to carry his
step-daughters piano! He evidently had some good pain killers because he
played brilliantly and smiled all the way through.
Spuds drumming was hard, loud and very
tight - he has to be one of the best drummers on the amateur circuit
these days. Mike Windus was also on
great form, and he performed a surprise slide solo on one of the
numbers, which was not only a welcome change from the usual format - but
was an excellent slide solo in its own right.
Chris Bryant is a brilliant showman and
a great guitarist, he excelled at both at this gig - evidently on his
best behaviour because this pub is his girlfriends territory and she had
brought a few friends along to show him off to - so he was on "best
behaviour". Jack's voice was
fine and he showed us the whole spectrum from belting out Let It
Rock down to the quiet introduction to Isn't It A Pity.
The band were also complemented by Adam
Russell, who is becoming an indispensible guest musician as
he brings his great blues harmonica playing to both
The Jackie Lynton Band and
The Nashville Teens.
has always been a generous performer - and often says that he is only as
good as the band behind him. His generosity expands to letting his two
lead guitarists each present a song, while he sits out and watches - or
sometimes dances in the audience, or - very occasionally - he appears as
a "backing vocalist" on stage. This night he closed the first set
by letting Mike Windus present his
rendition of Run Run Rudolph - the Christmas song first
presented by Mike's hero,
Chuck Berry. During the second
set Chris Bryant got his chance to
sing and presented You Can't Always Get What you Want.
Jack also sang Women and Men - one of his own numbers with
a very heavy metal structure, which had for some years been dropped from
the itinerary. Tonight Jack
confessed that he had dropped it because his previous drummer just
couldn't cope with it, while Spud
delivered it beautifully. The audience had been up dancing for
most of the show, and revelled in the bands final Rock'n'Roll
medley - with it's multiple false endings - and amazing drumming
sections from Spud. A really
Jack on Friday night
Vanity Fare on Saturday night
|Saturday 8th December A trip to Amersham, to
Polish Club, to see a show put on by
Vanity Fare . Also on the bill were
The Foundations, but
although I got to meet them in the dressing room, we didn't stay long
enough to see any of their act. We've worked with
Vanity Fare before, and they
are four excellent musicians who consist of
Bernie Hagley, bass guitarist; Mark Ellen,
drums; Eddie Wheeler,
lead guitar; and Steve Oakman on keyboards
and twelve string guitar. They are an incredibly versatile set of
musicians who can turn their hand very professionally to almost any
genre of rock/pop music, and all of whom can sing really well.
Vanity Fare were supplemented throughout by two other musicians, Matt Winch on trumpet and Nick Payne on saxophone and - when needed - harmonica. The first set was part of their own act including Turn Turn Turn - which they perform brilliantly. Although they didn't play it this evening, the last time I saw them they also played Eight Miles High - and were so good that I would even guess they were better than the Byrds ever were live! Their music was then supplemented by four or five songs featuring Tony Donegan - Son of the late great Lonnie Donegan - and who looks and sounds just like his Dad! An excellent Skiffle set.
After a short break they opened with a capella song - The Longest Time - originally a hit for Billy Joel. and completed their own set - ending of course with Hitchin' A Ride, their seminal number one hit. Then Ray Phillips joined them and sang half a dozen songs including his new recording with Vanity Fare - Can't Be So Bad. (originally by Moby Grape) and, of course, his own hit Tobacco Road. Among the other songs he performed was Route Sixty Six, with brass backing by Matt Winch and Nick Payne - no doubt the addition of trumpet and sax really complements Rays voice.
The dressing room was buzzing with Ray,
Tony, Matt and Nick
popping in and out , depending who was on stage at any point in time.
Then as the second set developed the members of
The Foundations started to
arrive, so that by the time the second of
Vanity Fares sets was complete, there were more than a
dozen people chattering away in the quite cosy back room. We
weren't able to stop to see The
Foundations, but were all very excited about the prospect of
working together again soon. Overall, a good night.
Vanity Fare on stage with Ray Phillips
Bernie Hagley with Ray Phillips
Steve Oakman, Ray Phillips and Eddie Wheeler
|Saturday 24th November
In the past The Nashville
Teens have done several gigs in conjunction with
- not always a financial success, but always loads of fun. The two
bands were in the charts for the same weeks of 1964 with Tobacco Road
and Have I The Right respectively, and are great examples of the
very wide span of music types which made the sixties what they were
musically. The Honeys act
pays homage to all that was classical about sixties "pop" music, while
The Teens performance
exemplifies the Rock'n'Roll end of the musical spectrum - a perfect
combination for a sixties revival show. However, one of the downsides of
performing in the same show is that each band rarely actually gets to
see all of the other bands act, so when I heard that
The New Honeycombs were
scheduled to be playing The New Haw Club in Addlestone on
Saturday I called Paul Bonner of
The Honeys and asked him to
please "put The Teens names
on the door". On Saturday night Ray
Phillips and Colin Pattenden,
plus some of their families joined me at The New Haw Club.
It was great to catch up
with The New Honeycombs again.
Paul Bonner (drummer, ex
Smokie) is the band leader and also runs his own
entertainments agency - which has booked
The Teens before. We also got greeted with a bright smile
from Angie Rose, the bands lead
vocalist and a severe distraction to the lads in the
Teens when we play together
(as well as having a fantastic voice, she is good looking, tall, and her
stage wear is a sexy backless mini dress underpinned by four inch heels
!! ) She has a great vocal range and a real stage presence.
John Butcher came out from the dressing
room to greet us when he saw us arrive, John
plays lead guitar and was originally lead guitar with
The Fourmost back in the day. He was accompanied from the
dressing room by Jeff Malin, bass
guitarist and a well known session musician back in the sixties (he has
backed Lulu and
Tom Jones among others.) It was
evident that they really appreciated having friends in the audience at
this strange little club. The Honeys
played two sets with a fifteen minute break spent mostly drinking with
us in the auditorium! Their repertoire is a wide cross section of
sixties hits ranging from very "pop" stuff like their "Hollies Medley"
through to excellent ballads like Angel of The Morning -
beautifully presented by Angela.
Paul sings some numbers himself from
drums - which is sometimes a surprise because he's hidden at the back,
so the audience are looking for mouths opening in the front line!
One of his songs was Living Next Door to Alice, made famous by
Smokie. Much to his delight
the Nashville Teens corner
of the audience loudly joined in by singing the less commonly voiced
chorus of "Alice, Alice, Who the F**k is Alice". They eventually closed
with their classic Have I The Right after showing us that they
are eminently capable of a very wide range of sixties song genres.
After the gig we all hung around and laughed together until the club was
visibly closing around us. The New
Honeycombs are currently performing sixties duos with
The Foundations, but their
commitments suggest that the current run will peter out early in 2013,
and we're hoping we can get some joint gigs with them at end January and
in mid March. I got home just before one o'clock - but I only live
a dozen miles away, goodness knows what time the band got home, they all
live round the other side of the M25 in Essex.
Jeff; Paul (at back); Angie; and John on stage on Saturday
Life is Pain
November we travelled to The New Victoria Theatre
at Woking to see Alan Davies
the comedian delivering his
Life Is Pain tour. We met up
with some friends inside the theatre and found our seats right in the
middle at the rear of the stalls.
We were all at the theatre to watch Alan Davies performing stand-up comedy. Because of his successful TV career in QI and Jonathan Creek, this tour is his first live stand-up experience for ten years. It is titled Life Is Pain, but he didn't do a very good job of explaining why he had chosen that name. However, it was an excellent performance, with an apparently ad-lib conversation with the audience for much of the two sets, and with a hilarious set of stories around his recent parenthood and his experiences of having to cope with babies. There wasn't too much swearing and although some of the jokes were a bit tasteless he generally handled the huge audience very well.
The New Victoria is one of the largest auditoriums in the South of the country, and what works in a cellar bar with perhaps 60 people; where the artist can have eye contact with almost the whole audience; is much more difficult with bright lights between the performer and an audience of well over a thousand. Overall a great night out.
|Friday 16th November
we went to The Nags Head pub in Sunningdale Village to see
Lynton Band performing. On the way into the pub we met up
with old friends which delayed us a bit, but we eventually got into the
bar we found Mike Windus and
Adam Russell in conversation while
Spud Metcalfe and
Colin Pattenden were setting up the
equipment. Jack Lynton soon
appeared as well and we all compared notes on the previous weeks
adventures at Northchapel. About nine o'clock the band
kicked off a brilliant (but loud) gig. Jack started off in a
Status Quo frame of mind, and the
evening quickly became peppered with several
Chuck Berry numbers, which I always love. They did a
brilliant rendition of Let It Rock. Coincidentally,
the following morning Brian Matthew
played the original Chuck Berry
version on the radio - and it is clear that
Jacks version of it is the superior product!
Jack also stirred the mix with some of
his classic balladesque songs - Unchain My Heart being one
of my favourites. At the end of the first set
Jack gave Mike
Windus the floor and Mike
ushered in Christmas with Chuck Berry's
Run Run Rudolph.
In the second half Chris brought
us back into Quo territory by taking
the microphone for his version of Quo's
Caroline. Jack's daughter
Gale was in the audience and he sang Mustang Sally at her
request - always a favourite with the ladies. The band performed several
of Jacks own songs, including
Women and Men. Jack was
really rocking and in unstoppable entertainment mood with several jokes
for the audience and a lot of banter within the band. Overall a great
night, with the whole pub dancing well before the close of the second
set. The only downside was that both Fran and I had ringing ears
all night and for most of Saturday.
Lynton Band at The Nags Head
|Saturday 27th October In dire need of live musical entertainment I drove over to Pyrford on Saturday evening to see Paul Kings Skeleton Crew appearing at Pyrford Sports and Social Club.||
Skeleton Crew on Saturday night
The fancy dress crowd
|It was good to catch up with Graham and the
other club members who were celebrating Halloween in style - many of the
adults and all of the children were in Halloween fancy dress. The adult
line up is pictured below and the kids looked really cute, especially
one little witch who cannot have been more than about two years old.
There were prizes for the best disguises.
I haven't seen Paul for ages and he was every bit as good as I remember him - a natural born showman, great musician and accomplished singer. Chris Bryant was also hot and played his lead guitar brilliantly. Gregg Terry Short was grumpy about something published on Jackie Lynton's website, so I agreed to remove it; despite his unhappiness he played drums really well and sang Rock Me, which I hadn't heard him do before - and which was very good. Clearly the whole band were all buzzing, probably because this was the middle one of three gigs in a row and they were feeling the "tour" adrenalin. Colin Pattenden was on terrific form - and I love it when I see my friends really enjoying themselves, which Colin clearly was.
Nashville Teens with Adam Russell (far left)
|Saturday 13th October
I collected Ken Osborne, Wesley Phillips, and
Trish & Spud Metcalfe and drove them to
Butlins at Bognor Regis for the
FESTIVAL OF THE SIXTIES in
time for The Nashville Teens
soundcheck at 6pm. Although we got there in time the
soundcheck never happened; this is because another band,
The Move, were rehearsing
and clearly desperately needed it - they weren't very tight.
Simon Spratley was there with his
friend Alison and for once Ray Phillips
and Colin Pattenden were even later
than the rest of us, with Mel and Jacky. They were staying together at
East Wittering to make a proper weekend of the gig. I had guests who had
come to see the sound check, who were disappointed not to see
Tobacco Road (*) because The
Move were hogging the stage. It was good to meet up at last
with Libby & Neil Gausden (Libby was long term girlfriend of
Syd Barrett) - Libby and I have been
"virtual friends" on the web for ages and as she lived locally to Bognor
here was an opportunity to meet properly, and I think we both enjoyed
the meeting. Although I had put their names on the door, I'm sure they
could have easily blagged their way in - both Libby and Neil "looked"
the music business! The audience started to pour in at 7pm, about
3500 of them, some dressed in sixties fashion, some just dressed silly!
For instance there was a whole rugby team in short dresses, wigs and
high heels! The Move
came on at 8pm and played until 9pm, they sounded OK but a bit
disjointed as if they hadn't played together for ages - they did warm
the audience up for us though! We got
The Teens on for the prime
spot at 9:30 and they played brilliantly.
Adam Russell had joined us with his
daughter Isobel. Issy is only thirteen and wasn't allowed out
front of house, but she seemed quite happy hanging around in the
dressing room or in the wings watching the bands.
Adam plays harmonica for
The Flying Tigers and The
Jackie Lynton Band, and tonight he played on three numbers
with The Teens - and I
think his contribution really enhanced the quality of the performance
and I hope the band will use him again. The audience loved the
band and the dance floor was crowded all the way through. After
The Teens had finished their encore (Born To be Wild)
the auditorium almost emptied, it was quarter to eleven and the next
band - The Merseybeats -
sadly had to play to a much smaller audience.
(* The Teens don't usually do Tobacco Road at the sound check - instead they tend to use Slow Down because it uses a greater vocal range and showcases each instrument more effectively - but the Gausdens didn't know that)
|Saturday 29th September
I took the long trek to North Yorkshire with
Ken Osborn and
Spud Metcalfe - through the floods that
reflected two months worth of local rain in four days - but it was worth
it to attend THE WHITBY FESTIVAL OF
THE SIXTIES at Whitby Pavilion, along with
The Nashville Teens. Also on
the bill were Amen Corner
and our old friends Cliff Bennett
and Chris Farlowe,
neither of whom brought their bands, but instead used
Amen Corner augmented for
Cliff's act with the two
saxophonists from The Rebel Rousers.
Ray Phillips, Colin Pattenden and Simon Spratley (with Alison) turned up soon after us and we all settled into the dressing room to catch up with each others news. It was a sell out and, as usual, the timetable was running a bit late. In fact when we arrived there was an Elvis impersonator still on stage, half an hour after the lunch time session was supposed to have concluded! Never mind, the punters enjoy it.
After a lot of faffing about regarding which drum kits to use, the sound check commenced. It is usual to sound check in reverse order of appearance, and because Chris and Cliff were not performing with their regular bands, their sound checks would inevitably become mini-rehearsals and take a bit longer. Never mind, as we were first to appear, we would be last to check and as the schedule was already late, we decided we had plenty of time to go and get our annual band dosage of Fish and Chips at Graveleys Fish and Chip shop in the town. The food was as good as ever, and we were joined there by friends Peter and Renee, who were going to be in the audience that night.
In the end The Teens sound check didn't start until 18:30 - the time when the doors were supposed to open! But because the band were well rehearsed and the sound engineer was excellent, they got through very quickly and the doors opened only about quarter of an hour late. While the audience settled down we all sat round in the dressing rooms catching up news and gossip with Chris Farlowe and Cliff Bennett - we had all last been together for the Star Club Anniversary Party in Hamburg seven months before - so there was a lot of reminiscing about that fantastic party/show as well.
The Nashville Teens were the first act on and the audience loved them. The dance floor was full and the sound quality was terrific. They played through their usual one hour repertoire, ending with a false tab on Tobacco Road. Judging by their smiles on stage, they all really loved it (see picture on the right). Their encore is Born To Be Wild, during it I nipped downstairs to the dressing room to get Spud a handful of paper towels to mop the sweat when he came off stage - it was great to hear all the guys in Amen Corner (in the next door dressing room) were singing along with the act on the stage over their heads! Believe me - that doesn't often happen in showbiz! The audience were wild with appreciation and even applauded those of us who were clearing the stage!
Cliff Bennett, backed by
Amen Corner was next up.
Cliff has a really gravelly
voice and sings excellent old school R&B. We watched from the bar
in the foyer (you can see the stage through the door to the bar in the
auditorium) while The Teens
let their adrenalin settle and I checked all the equipment back into the
cars. Most of the lads were staying overnight and planning an
early morning escape to the South. However I had decided not to stay,
and was driving back alone with a car full of drums and guitars
overnight (full moon, clear skies and relatively clear roads at night),
so I waited until Chris Farlowe
came on stage at about half past ten, watched his first number, and then
headed out into the night at 10:40pm. The full moon (it was the
harvest moon that night) was brilliant over the North Yorkshire moors,
and the roads were clear. I was home at 02:40 - exactly four hours later
- and the moon was still being spectacular. A great gig.
above: Ray Phillips at Whitby on
So Long Angel at Dorchester
|Saturday 22nd September
I drove the hundred plus miles to Dorchester to see
So Long Angel performing at
the Dorchester Arts Centre as guests of Tom Hopkins
Dorset Blues Society. They are without a doubt my
favourite band and they don't play very often. Having missed a local
Berkshire/Surrey gig through being out of the Country the previous week,
I was happy to make the effort to see them a bit further away.
Indeed, I was chuffed that when she heard I might be coming,
Fran McGillivray phoned and said she
had put my "name on the door" - something I'm more used to doing for
others than I am to receiving. It's a very strange being a "fan"
when I'm more usually the manager or roadie. After an eventful journey
(reported elsewhere) I arrived with half an hour to spare and catch up
with the band members. I'd seen Fran
and Mike Burke a few weeks before,
but hadn't seen Roland Kemp
(keyboard) since the Spring so it was nice to catch up with his news.
Roger Nunn, the regular drummer was
unable to make it, so James Britten
stood in. James had played at
my 60th birthday party more than three years ago and - apparently - we
sat next to each other at The Oval Tavern gig three weeks
before, but I had left fairly quickly after that gig and we hadn't been
introduced. So this evening I got a chance to thank him for the
birthday gig and to listen more effectively to his drumming than I had
managed through an alcoholic haze at my birthday party. He is a
softer drummer than Roger, with much
more of a "jazz" syncopation to his music. A very good fit with
Rolands keyboard style and between them
a great backing for Fran and
The sound system was great and the acoustics good in the hall, so we had an excellent evening. Fran sang a great selection of songs, old favourites including You Ain't Nothing But A Hounddog; Spoonful ; Cell Phone Blues ; Be My Chauffeur; Not Fade Away and less common ones like Whisky Talking. Roland sang his standards, Going To Chicago and Walkin' The Dog. They finished with my favourite, Freedom, before being called back for an encore - of which they supplied two; When Something Is Wong With My Baby and The Blues Ain't Nothing But A Woman's Love.
The Dorchester Arts Centre is a nice little club and
the audience of about sixty people were very appreciative. The band
played extremely well and was well worth the long journey to see and
|Sunday 2nd September
I drove across the Southeast edge of London to find the Oval
Tavern at Croydon. I have often advertised my friends appearing
there, but never been before; a lovely little pub (with a barmaid named
Fran) which is much older on the inside than it looks on the outside -
the pub that is, not the barmaid! It has low half timbered ceilings
which gave nice acoustics for Fran
McGillivray, Mike Burke and Roger Nunn, who were playing
there this evening.
It was great to catch up with them again - and to apologise that I would miss TWO performances of their full band, So Long Angel, while I was away on holiday. They have been cutting a new CD - ten tracks in the can already, and they shared some of their new work with the little audience at The Oval on Sunday night. I was utterly unprepared - I forgot to take a proper camera flash and also forgot my pen and notebook, so I shall have to rely on my memory for the songs they performed. As well as the old standards, Walkin' Blues ; Be My Chauffeur ; Spoonful and Researching The Blues, among others - they sang Teardrops and Candlelight which I hadn't heard before, and after trying to close with There's Something Wrong With My Baby, (a beautiful duet) they were forced into two extra encores!
Despite the cool summer evening outside, the pub was fiendishly hot and both Mike and Fran had to keep mopping their brows. Mike was on top form with some brilliant fretting and a lot of soul being poured into his guitar work; while Frans voice was at it's sexy mellow best. Rogers drumming - both on the full drum kit and on the Djembe, was great - he has a lovely easy style - always driving, but never eclipsing the others. A really good drummer.
Fran, Roger and Mike on Sunday
|Saturday 1st September 2012
I travelled to Farnham in Surrey to enjoy the main day of
THE WEYFEST, an annual music
festival at The Rural Life Centre near that town.
Several of my friends were playing, but I actually paid for a ticket! A
rare event nowadays. I picked up a programme when I arrived and
discovered - to my horror - that I had missed performances by
Paul Kings Skeleton Crew and
by Adam Russell's band,
The Flying Tigers.
Leatherat were performing on
main stage when I got in - and were as good as I remember them -
except that it was a hot sunny day, and they weren't wearing their
trademark leather hats! I wandered round and found Neil Hill and
Dave Rees before discovering the beer tent and grabbing a pint. I
explored the other two stage areas, but they were between acts, so I
returned to Leatherat where
I found Jacky Pattenden and Chris Bryant
in the audience. We watched the final few numbers and then
chatted as the stage was being cleared and set up for
The Jackie Lynton Band.
As the stage was being set up Colin Pattenden
appeared and came forward for a quick chat with us before returning to
his sound check. When the gig started we were joined in the audience by
Trish Metcalf, Claire Windus and Paul Kings Pat.
Eventually the band were all on stage,
Mike Windus, Colin Pattenden, Spud Metcalf and
Chris Bryant; then the compere introduced
Jack Lynton onto stage. Jack was very bright and cheerful as
he set off into an hour of Rock'n'Roll. He started with some of
his new numbers, including Five Card Hand and a rare
outing for Women and Men. He really wears his heart
on his sleeve, and he announced to the festival that his wife (Vanessa)
had recently left him, which seemed a good cue for I Think I'm
Better Off With The Blues. ((Which includes the line "I
still love you, but I don't want you back" - which he seemed to sing
with real conviction.) Adam Russell
joined the band on stage with his harmonica about half way
through the set, meanwhile Jack
laughingly fought off audience calls for The Hedgehog Song,
but gave them a short ditty about blow jobs before launching into
Rock'n'Roll Whisky Blues. for which he invited
Paul King to add his harmonica t the
glee. Two lead guitars and two harmonicas ! The act
ended with the bands usual Rock medley. Overall the
audience loved the show, there were loads of people dancing in the crowd
and a lot of cheering. Good show.
Adam Russell ; Mike Windus ; Colin
Pattenden ; Spud Metcalf ; Jackie Lynton ; Chris Bryant ; Paul King
|While the band were striking the stage
Jacky and I walked the length of the festival site and she collected us
cups of tea from the Green Room. It was a very weird sensation to
be "paying public" and not be permitted backstage. We watched a
group of children playing while we drank our tea. They must have been
around eleven or twelve years old; an ace drummer, a bass player with
floppy hair, two lead guitars, a small girl on rhythm guitar and a
vocalist. Their music choice was definitely heavy, some of their
own work and some copied (I noted one was a
Foo Fighters number, which they executed quite well.)
The vocals were a bit reedy - but they were all little kids without too
much testosterone between them. The drummer was excellent - rock
steady beat with a lot of panache on the toms and cymbals. The
bass was good, a definite tune player rather than a "donkey bass"
merchant; and the two lead guitarists were very well practised and
professional. A fascinating little band.
Jacky and I wandered
back to the main stage and watched a bit of
Martin Barre's performance - very smooth and professional -
before we met up with Paul King and
Pat who were drinking near the stage access. I blagged my way
through to backstage where I caught up with
Colin Pattenden, Trish and Spud
Metcalf and Adam Russell
with his daughter. She seemed surprised that I remembered her coming
backstage at a Teens gig in
Swanage a couple of years ago. After a catch up with the
news, I decided that I didn't really want to wait until 10pm to see the
headline band (10CC), so I
set off home about 7pm.
Martin Barre performing as I left
|Saturday 18th August 2012
we found ourselves in Harrogate. My friend Renee has often
extolled the virtues of The Blues Bar in that fair town,
and on this sweaty hot Saturday evening in August she eventually got me
to attend. The act was Jed Thomas
and his band; I had been introduced to Jed
at a party the night before - a nice guy - if you cut him in half he'd
have "musician" written all the way through. We started our visit
to the blues bar with dinner. This was provided by
Hanney, who manages an Egyptian
Restaurant called The Blue Nile upstairs from the
Blues Bar, and who plays tabla and tom-toms with the bands in
the bar downstairs. I had met Hanney
on Friday evening too - he is a really cool guy - he exudes
good karma. The dinner was a selection of excellent Egyptian dishes
which we shared between eleven of us; when we heard the drums downstairs
we knew it was time to join the party.
Jed's band comprised himself on a variety of solid body electric guitars, a drummer named Adam and a bass player whose name I didn't catch. Mr Bass laid down a good steady backing, while Adam the drummer really impressed me! A real rock steady beat - no flourishes, just laid down the line heavy beat - and not too loud either. Apparently this was Adams first gig with Jed, so his performance was doubly impressive. Jed himself is an excellent guitarist - he frets and strums incredibly fast (a bit like Ian Campbell used to) and clearly loves and lives the blues - he really plays from his soul as well as with his fingers. He is also a good showman, fronting the band well and he sang reasonably well too. He was joined by Sharon - whom I think owns the Blues Bar - she had a very well developed blues voice and she might well have had professional training because she used the microphone expertly to give range and tone. Her singing style was very "shouty"; that's not a criticism - it's a very valid blues style and she was very good at it - but I confess it's not to my personal favourite genre. It was a very close evening, outside it was probably 28 or 29 degrees and very humid - amplified by being crushed into a small airless room with fifty other people; I was pouring sweat but it was worth it for the fantastic performance. Jed's guitar playing is not only great to hear, but is visually impressive too.
Then Hanney joined the band - he played the tabla and the tom-toms - exceedingly well. His contribution was an added timbre and fervour to the blues - and the band generated a mind blowing version of All Along The Watchtower, followed by an instrumental with a dual percussion section where the two guitarists went off for a beer while the drummer and percussionist played tag around each other and generally got everyone excited! It was a brilliant show. Sadly the heat got the better of us and after that number Fran and I decided to duck outside for a bit of fresh air. We sat outside through the next couple of numbers - surprisingly muffled from outside, very good sound proofing - before finding Renee and the rest of the party and retiring to our hotel in search of air conditioning! It was getting on for 11pm and I don't know how much we missed, but I hope it wasn't much. Jed evidently is very influenced by Hendrix - I would love to hear him play Voodoo Chile - one of my favourites.
The Jed Thomas Band at Harrogate Blues Bar
above KEBB - below: Ian one handed
|Friday 29th June
We went early to The Cleve School at Weybridge for
The King Earl Boogie Band's
"Sundowners" gig. It is a picnic on the school
field, with bouncy castles and live music - provided by
The King Earl Boogie Band.
The connection is that the music and dance teacher based there is Liz
Earl, and she is married to Colin Earl,
once of Mungo Jerry - now
the "Earl" in the KEBBs
name. A feature of this annual event is an opportunity to showcase young
talent from the school, who get to perform in front of their peers and
their parents. This year there were the usual crop of pianists,
karaoke singers and a lone little lad with a scratchy violin. All of the
participants were fearless about public performance, which is great -
but two of them stood out, and I failed to write their names down (they
may be famous one day). Both little girls - one sang Rolling In
The Deep accompanied by her friend on piano. For a ten
year old the output was amazing - she had a mature voice, a great range
and an ability to hold her notes. The other was a little round
faced girl who sang Wish I Was A Punk Rocker With Flowers In My
Hair, à capella - very tunefully well
timed and well presented..
John Coghlan wasn't able to be there so Luke Calvert, George's son, stood in on drums. George Leslie Calvert, Gordon Vaughan, Dave Peabody and Colin Earl were there and performing at their peaks (which is VERY good!) and they were honoured to have a guest star making his first public appearance for three years: Blind Lemon Campbell ! Yes, Ian Campbell was back. Ian was one of the best blues guitarists in the Country - he played with Levee Camp Moan, Arthur Brown, Thin Lizzy, The Nashville Teens and The KEBB until 31st October 2009. That night - on his way to a KEBB gig - a wild young driver went out of control, crossed the central barrier of a dual carriageway headfirst into Ian's car - almost killing Ian in the process. He had very severe internal injuries and lost so much blood that he effectively had a stroke! He lost the use of his left arm, which just hangs uselessly by his side now; he also lost some of his peripheral vision and we all thought that he would never play the guitar again.
Ian says that during his long
convalescence he has "been to some very dark places" - but he fought
back with the help and support of Julianne, his girlfriend, and almost
miraculously he has taught himself to play the guitar again - but
one handed ! Currently a different style than his previous form,
but he can now play over 100 songs and has even taught himself how to
"bend" notes one handed. This was his first public display of how
far he has come from that Intensive Care Unit not quite three years ago.
The sound system had been lent by Colin
Pattenden, but because he had a
Jackie Lynton Band commitment in Coolham on Friday evening,
we had instead the pleasure of Roger Weddup -
the Swinging Blue Jeans roadie, and a good friend.
Despite some problems with Ian Campbell's
amplifier, the gig sounded great and the audience loved the show.
It was especially good for those of us who are friends to see and hear
Ian back on stage. He is
reforming his own band with George Leslie
Calvert, Colin Earl, Simon Baker and
Keith Allen - and I am going to build him a website to
narrate his story and keep his fans in touch with his progress.
|Saturday 23rd June,
I drove over to Woking to see Dave
Peabody & Colin Earl at the Pyrford Social
Club. The dynamic duo looked tired, they had headed the
bill at the Torrita Blues Festival in Tuscany, Italy on
the previous evening and had set out at 06:30 that morning to return to
England and the Pyrford Social Club. The audience at
Pyrford was a bit smaller than the festival, numbering only about forty
- but they were equally appreciative. Colin
and Dave were full of
stories about the festivals and all the stuff they had done since we
last caught up (which I'm embarrassed to report, was actually last
year!); and I was equally full of my adventures in Hamburg and the gigs
I had attended.
They played two sets, mainly blues orientated, but with some jug band and ragtime insets - their performance as a duo has become significantly more polished since I last saw them, and they have become even more tight, musically. Dave played Drifter Blues for me - one of my favourites - and I promised to get myself to the Sundowners gig at The Cleve School next Friday to see the whole band performing.
They played through until half past eleven, with
Dave periodically swapping guitars, and
produced a very polished and interactive show - engaging the small
audience very well and playing some lovely music. A very enjoyable
Earl and Peabody at Pyrford
Mike, Colin, Jack and Chris (Spud behind Jack)
|Friday 22nd June we
again went to The Nags Head at Sunningdale village, this
time with neighbours Dave & Ann-Marie. It was another
Jackie Lynton Band gig.
Adam Russell was there in the
audience, armed with his harmonicas so he could get p for the odd solo
(he is very good and Jack
appreciates his input). The band were starting just as we walked
into the pub, so we didn't get a chance to chat before the gig.
The band were very tight and clearly enjoyed playing their new
repertoire from the new CD - which is called "All's Fair in Love &
Jack is an exceedingly generous
band leader. Many in his position can develop as Diva's, but
Jack loves to showcase each part of his
band and revels in their successes as much as his own. He has
recently started introducing a part of the act which he calls "the bands
favourites", where he lets each band member choose their favourite song
and get to play it. As Jack
says, it enables the audience to "see where each of the band has his
head at". Chris was lucky
enough to get two choices - when asked he elected "Let It Rock"
(which the band produces a stunning arrangement of), but later he got to
sing "You Can't Always Get What You Want" himself while
Jack stepped down to watch.
Colin Pattenden likes his own
arrangement of "High Heel Sneakers", which is a sort of
Funk-Rock affair, verging on jazz while still maintaining a rock
structure. Mike Windus'
favourite is usually a Chuck Berry
number, "Reeling and a Rockin'" . As well as
all these "personals" the band also gave us "Five Card Hand",
"All's fair in Love and Rock'n'Roll", "The Other
Man", "Unchain My Heart" and
George Harrisons "Isn't It A Pity",
Overall a great little gig; nice to see regulars Neil Hill and
Keith-The-Stalker plus his
posse, plus a welcome surprise visit by Dave Rees from his new home
"up North". Dave is owner of "A New Day"
records and mastermind of the annual WeyFest concerts.
|Monday 4th June we
were at The Nags Head in Sunningdale Village to see
The Jackie Lynton Band. It was a fine evening and the
little pub was packed. Jack
was cheerful and in a real Rock'n'Roll mod (as opposed to a "blues"
mood). Spud Metcalf
was setting up his drums and it was good to see Trisha had come
along too. Indeed, it was great to see regulars Neil, Jacky, Christine
and Keith-The-Stalker with his posse.
Mike Windus and Colin Pattenden
were busy setting up their amplifiers and the PA when we arrived.
Adam Russell was wearing a lovely
union flag jacket - very moddish - to celebrate the Queens Jubilee and
he had chauffeured Chris Bryant to
the gig. Chris had set up
well, but was very mellow after soaking up wine for most of the weekend.
From a musical viewpoint, Chris is a
brilliant musician and, unless he actually falls over, seems to be able
to play exceedingly good music without actually remembering which planet
he is on!
The first set was great, although just a bit loud (Colin and Spud to
blame); which wasn't helped by putting numbers like Let It Rock
into the set! Jack "launched"
his new CD and quite a few locals bought a copy. The first set was
brilliant, and then, just as the band were taking a well earned ten
minute break, things got even better! Who should come into the pub
but Rog Weddup,
Alan Lovell and the rest of his band,
The Swinging Blue Jeans.
They had been playing that afternoon at nearby Silwood Park
- and had all come along the road to the pub to watch
Alan's old mate, Jackie Lynton.
It was good to catch up with Rog Weddup
too - he is an old friend of mine and is the
Although Rog lives locally, our paths only usually cross when I'm out
and about with The Nashville Teens
and the Swinging Blue Jeans
are on the same bill. The 60's music business is quite
tight, and after fifty years most performers know each other.
Alan and Jack
are old friends so there was a lot of banter between stage
and floor, culminating in Alan
joining Jack to sing the finale.
Jack chose his Rock'n'Roll
Medley to end the gig - knowing full well that
Alan wouldn't know all the breaks and
lyrics! Alan acquitted himself extremely well though and both
vocalists got a huge cheer as they left the stage at the end. A great
night in good company.
Alan Lovell and Jack Lynton
Keith Allen Band
|Friday 1st June we
were at Stirrups Hotel, Maidens Green, near Bracknell. The
event was a retirement party for our friend and next door neighbour Dave
- and because he loves live music, his lovely wife Ann-Marie had
arranged for a band! It was The
Keith Allen Band, which still has
Keith (ex Marty Wildes
Wildcats) as prime vocalist and rhythm guitar;
Gordon Vaughan (King
Earl Boogie Band) on lead guitar;
George Leslie Calvert (Alexis
Korner, Mungo Jerry, Jona Louis, King Earl Boogie Band and
many others) , Adam Perry
(King Earl Boogie Band) on drums; and a new addition -
Drew Taylor ( Fable of The
Bees ) playing the violin. I hadn't met Andrew (Drew)
before and when I got to the hotel he was the only band member to have
arrived that early - so I had to introduce myself.
The band is always excellent, especially in party situations. They have a knack of selecting the right music to get people onto their feet and dancing; and their wide repertoire - expertly and professionally delivered - enables them to please almost any type of audience. Friday was no exception and they played their hearts out and the audience of about 150 appeared to be on the dance floor consistently !
I was pleased, not only because these guys are my friends, and it
always feels good when your friends are doing something amazing;
but also because their new addition, Andrew ("Drew")
is such a fine fiddler . He adds a whole new dimension to their sound
and the overall mix is much richer. I shall have to visit the band
when they are playing some other location where I might get a chance to
take in more of what they are doing.
|Friday 11th May we
drove along the road to Sunningdale, to The Nags Head pub
where we saw The Jackie Lynton Band.
It was the first time I'd seen Jack since my visit to Hamburg so we had
a lot to talk about. Jack was
a bit blue - but philosophical and reminisced a bit about his time with
the Alex Harvey Band in the Top Ten Club in
Hamburg back in 1964. I gave him some photos of old guys who
wanted to be remembered by him, especially
Chris Farlowe and Rikki Barnes.
He was pleased to have been remembered - after all it is very nearly
fifty years since he was out there! Mike Windus
and Chris Bryant were both on good
form - Chris just back from ten days
in Japan. Colin Pattenden was
pleased to see us too - he has now recovered well from the sore throat
he and I suffered while we were in Hamburg. He suffered it because it
hurt - I suffered because I had to share a room with him coughing!
Spud Metcalfe was his usual
lovely self, and had brought Trisha along with him.
Adam Russell was there too, with his
harmonicas for his guest spots.
As well as Trisha, among the audience were Chris White, Jacky
Pattenden, Keith-The-Stalker and his posse and Shirley. The
audience was a respectable size, but the place wasn't packed. The band
played two sets with a ten minute break and they were exceedingly good.
Jacks rendition on
George Harrisons, Isn't It A Pity
was particularly haunting, and Chris
sang an excellent rendition of You cant Always Get What
You Want. Adam added his harmonica to several of the
numbers; he always adds an authentic Old School R&B feel to the blues
numbers. This evening his addition to
Chuck Berry's classic number, Let It Rock (Rockin'
On The Railroad), was particularly good.
Jack sang a new blues song he has
written - although I'm embarrassed that I cannot remember what it was
called. It seemed (as I suppose all good blues songs should) very
personal to him. He has a fantastic singing voice - a tremendous vocal
range across the octaves and also a huge volume range from sotto voce to
ear-splitting! A great entertainer. I'm proud to have him as a
Mike, Colin, Adam, Spud, Jack and Chris.
So Long Angel at
|Sunday 22nd April
I drove to Scratchers at Godalming to see
So Long Angel playing. Although Fran and I had seen
Fran McGillivray and
Mike Burke playing with The
Spikedrivers only a few weeks ago in March - I hadn't seen
Roger Nunn or
Roland Kemp for ages, so it
was good to catch up with the whole gang.
Fran & Mike were full of their recent adventures travelling in Atlanta and New Orleans, the former of which was pretty frightening and the latter was evidently exhilarating with live music all over the place. The band were tight and performed a lot of songs from their "Falling" CD - which luckily is one of my favourites. Mike's guitar playing seems to grow nicer every time I see him, and Frans voice really blows me away - a rich honey and chocolate voice with just a touch of gravel - especially when she is singing her beloved blues. Everything they played was great, including my favourite, Freedom - which always sends shivers up my spine! However, one track which particularly showcased their skills at this particular gig was Walking Blues - clearly one they very much enjoy themselves. Roger was his good old smiling self - he played his drums exceedingly well - he has a nice touch which complements the folk/blues/rock/jazz feel of the band. Roland was also on top form with both his keyboards and his singing, it was a pleasure to see him again.
Overall the gig was great. The pub wasn't particularly crowded, but there was a reasonable sized audience, and they really appreciated the music. One couple were avid fans and had travelled miles to see the band (I suppose I had too, but I count them friends as well as enjoying their music). A nice evening - thanks So Long Angel.
|Thursday 12th April - Friday 13th April - Saturday 14th April : I was privileged to be with The Nashville Teens in Hamburg to attend the two day festival to celebrate The 50th ANNIVERSARY OF THE STAR CLUB. It was a great set of concerts with an awesome array of musical legends. As well as The Nashville Teens they included Chris Farlowe, Tony Sheridan (originally Tony Sheridan & The Beatles), Roy Young, Cliff Bennett, Clem Clempson, Kingsize Taylor & The Dominoes, Mike Harrison (Spooky Tooth), Beryl Marsden, Karl Terry (originally Karl Terry & The Crusiers), Howey Casey, Rick Barnes (once manager of the Top Ten Club), Brian Parrish, The Lords, The Blackbirds, The Creapers and The Rattles. There was a full phalanx of fans who wanted everything signed and two and a half days of parting and reminiscing. Far too much to describe in detail here, but the picture gallery below gives some idea of the ambience of the gig.|
Roy Young rehearsing
The Nashville Teens in GroBe Freiheit
Me and Jimmy Doyle
Me and Chris Farlowe
Cliff and Ray
Tony Sheridan, Roy and Ricky
Maggie Ross, Brian Vasey and Simon
Cliff rehearsing big finish
Kingsize Taylor and The Dominoes
Chris Farlowe on stage
Ricky and Howey
Jimmy, Tony Sheridan and Roy
The Teens at The Star Club site
The Rattles on stage
Cliff and Chris Farlowe
Beryl Marsden and Ray
Ray, Karl Terry & John Frankland
Howey, Beryl and Ray
The Undertakers (I think - nobody introduced them)
Roy and Carol
The Nashville Teens on stage
Ray and Kingsize.
|Sunday 8th April (Easter Sunday) we went to The Retreat in Reading to see Jason Manners' band playing. Sorry no photographs, and we were only able to stay for the first set, but that was extremely good. Our mate George Leslie Calvert was playing bass and Jason was lead guitar and vocals. It is probably three years since I last saw Jason perform - he is a spectacularly good slide guitar player. His repertoire appears to have broadened since then and he really won me over when he produced the most amazing live version of Voodoo Child that I have heard since hearing Hendrix do it in '68 or '69. Jason has a new band who (with the exception of Les Calvert) I hadn't seen or met before. There was a tidy and steady drummer playing a strange drumkit which packed up like a set of Russian Dolls, but which sounded OK ; A harmonica player who added quite a lot of depth to the blues numbers - all blues bands need one of these! ; and a skinny guy who had a very lovely jazz touch on the electric piano - he reminded me (aurally) of Jimi Smith in style. A nice evening - I shall make an effort to see this band again soon, and catch their entire set. Thanks Jason, I loved it.|
Jackie Lynton - Saturday
|Saturday 24th March
The Jackie Lynton Band was
appearing at The Pyrford Sports and Social Club, so we
went along for an evening of Rock'n'Roll with
Jack. This was our first outing with
Jack this year -
and it was a welcome oasis of rock at the end of a journey through a
desert! Although I had heard Spud Metcalf
and Colin Pattenden laying
down their heavy bass line at the Nashville Teens gig
in Gloucester last week,
it was great to hear their interplay with the joint lead guitar work of of Mike
Windus and Chris Bryant
in this much more intimate club environment. On top of that we had the most blues wailing harmonica of
Adam Russell adding his magic to the
mix - and the whole lot capped by Jackie's great
Jack was in joke
telling mode - which was a lot of fun, if a bit blue. He started
the music with some gentle Rockabilly stuff and worked his way through
the blues and into Rock'n'Roll, where he revelled in Mess of The
Blues, and followed it up with some
Delbert McLinton numbers. He gave
Chris Bryant a spot to sing a
number, and then Mike Windus had a
song - Jack is a very generous band
leader. Then a nice ballad - George
Harrison's Isn't It A Pity - before
winding into his Quo style to finish
the show. An excellent evenings show - well done
|Saturday 17th March
was the date for the first outing of
The Nashville Teens in 2012. We drove down to The Walls
Sports & Social Club at Gloucester to join our friends
The New Honeycombs and a local
band called ROCKology for a
show called "Something For The
The New Honeycombs
The Nashville Teens
|When we arrived about half past four in the afternoon
we found that the stage wasn't big enough for three sets of drums, and
the ensuing debate about how to set it up reduced the amount of time for
a soundcheck - but it all worked OK and as we cleared the stage the hall
started to fill with audience members. There were about 150 in the
audience, just the right number for a comfortable nights bopping to the
most amazing cross section of sixties music which could be laid on.
The opening band were ROCKology,
a local Gloucester band, who actually organised the gig in the first
place. They were good and got the audience up and dancing with a good
cross section of sixties and seventies music. The audience were
great, a mixture of seasoned jive dancers and just ordinary folk, all of
whom seemed to like being on their feet and bopping! Then
The New Honeycombs took to the
stage. They were as polished and professional as ever and
Angie, their lead vocalist, looked and
sounded stunning. They played their style of sixties pop music with some
more bluesy ballads to satisfy Anj
(who has an excellent bluesy voice) before closing with Have I The
Right - their big hit from 1964. Then it was the turn of
The Nashville Teens to take the stage. They rocked the joint
with their heavier R&B orientated set, ending with Tobacco Road
and Born To Be Wild. For a finale
The Teens were joined on stage
by The New Honeycombs and
between them they performed Twist and Shout - which always
sends the audience away with a smile. A really great evening, and
all thanks to Chris, the drummer
with ROCKology for
organising the event.
|Saturday 10th March
we drove by devious route to Queens Road, Aldershot, to visit The
West End Centre where there was a
Blues Roots Review featuring
The Spikedrivers, our friends
Fran McGillivray & Mike Burke, and
an excellent singer/guitarist named Sam Hare.
The devious route was because I spotted Queens Road on the satnav and we
spent twenty minutes looking for The West End Centre in
Queens Road Farnborough! Wrong town. As a result we were ten
minutes late and missed the first couple of numbers.
We had not seen The Spikedrivers before, although we had met Connie Redgrave and Maurice McElroy and had even heard them jamming in Dave Peabody's front room at a party several years ago! Together with guitarist/singer Ben Tyzack they are a formidable group with an excellent professional presentation and as well as some good songs of their own, they do some really nice arrangements of classics. We are going to have to go and see them again - and soon! Connie's sweet voice and ready smile adorn one end of the stage. Usually with her bass guitar, but sometimes with various percussion instruments, including her own washboard vest. Maurice sits in the middle and plays the drums, and sometimes comes out to sit on his little wooden box drum which he can get an amazing range of notes from. He is also a good singer and showed off one of his own numbers. At the other end of the stage Ben is not only a good vocalist with a big range of tuneful octaves to use, but is an inspiringly brilliant guitarist. His version of Little Red Rooster easily eclipsed the classic Willie Dixon/Rolling Stones versions - I had to buy the CD there on the spot!
Sam Hare was a new act to us, although he has been around the scene for many years. This young man is very handy with the guitar - a virtuoso in the field - and also writes some excellent material - what we heard was a sort of Suffolk Blues with a tinge of punk in the narrative - but I'd like to see more of him because I think he has a wider talent than the wonderful stuff he put into this revue.
Fran McGillivray and Mike Burke are old friends and firm favourites. Mike is a great guitarist, but I am always extra special pleased for my friends when they do really well - and Mike was at the top of his form on Saturday. Blindingly good, and between them the three guitar players put together some absolutely wonderful music for us. Fran and Connie took it in turns to play bass - although on one number they both thundered through a number in glorious tandem! Fran also showed off her skills on the Mandolin, and although she didn't do so on Saturday, she told me that she taken her banjo for an outing at one of the previous gigs. Fran also put in her share of the vocals during the show - she has a dark honey voice which is great for solo blues, but which also complemented Connie's higher pitch and made for a great duo. They sang a song called Come On In My Kitchen which inspired me to buy yet another CD!
A brilliant show - this was the fifth of an eleven show tour. Let's
hope that they get together again soon, this would be a brilliant act
for a festival.
above - Blues Roots revue take a bow
Chris, Colin, Budgie and Paul
|Saturday 18th February
we visited Pyrford Sports & Social Club to see
Paul King's Skeleton Crew performing.
The regular drummer was not available, so the band called in
Alan "Budgie" Hitt, who had played with
Paul King before, but not for many many years.
Chris Bryant, Colin Pattenden and
Paul King were all there, laying out cables and checking the
sound as we arrived. The club was already quite crowded an hour
before the band were scheduled to start, and heaving by the time they
started out at about 9pm. Budgie
was fantastic - he was in there and leading the beat from the first -
you would never guess that he hadn't rehearsed with the other musicians!
The other three were very tight - not only because they are like minded
souls, but this was the third night in a row that they had been playing
together. Chris's guitar work
was as awesome as ever, and Colin
always seems even more dextrous when he's playing with
Paul - and he blitzed off an excellent bass solo during the
opened with a long wailing harmonica solo, and sang and played his
heart out all evening - he was amazing, a professional performer to the
the core. The audience were wildly appreciative, especially
of the Dylan content, and the band got special ovations for A Hard
Rain's Gonna Fall and Maggie's Farm.
|Thursday 2nd February
we visited Woking and the New Victoria Theatre for the
second week running. This time we saw
Matthew Bourne's choreography of The
Nutcracker. It featured
Pyotr Tchaikovsky's original
musical score complemented by a robustly modified story line - with
amazing modern costumes and dance. The dance was performed by
Bourne's own company,
New Adventures Company.
Seeing this production was a personal target for me, it is the only one of Matthew Bourne's creations to date which I haven't seen; although I have read loads of critiques of it and seen excerpts on TV. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The dancing was crisp, exuberant and exciting, very expressive and very humorous; and the music is - of course - one of the most famous ballet scores in the World. The basic story line had been modified to feature a poor orphan named Anna, and is set in a harsh orphanage rather than a well-to-do household. The original story line is a little Victorian, and the new setting enables Bourne to emphasise the roles of the participants in, and content of, the dream/nightmare story line. Her friends in the orphanage become the sweets in her Toyland dream as do the fearful family who run the orphanage. The daughter of this household - a mean and cruel girl - is The Princess Sugarplum in the dream, who steals the love of Anna's boyfriend - in his dream guise of The Nutcracker. Her sweets/friends are humorously presented as retaining their friendly relationship, pushing the analogy almost to its limit by continually licking each other ! All seems hopeless until Anna awakes to find that it was just a dream and she and her boyfriend (The Nutcracker) escape the orphanage via the window on a rope made of knotted sheets.
This was Matthew Bourne's
first large scale venture at re-interpreting the classical ballet and is
now celebrating it's twentieth anniversary. I now have seen the
whole set to date, and look forward to the masters next venture.
Marshmallows and the Sugar Princess
January Our first gig of 2012; on this Thursday evening
Fran and I went to Woking to meet up with Geoff, Corinne, Jacky & Colin
at The New Victoria Theatre, to see a production of
Mrs Johnstone was played by Maureen Nolan - who sang and acted brilliantly. She has a very powerful voice, and is also an excellent actress, following in the footsteps of Petula Clarke and Carole King - both of whom have played the part on Broadway. This wasn't her first time in the role - having been appearing in various productions of Blood Brothers since at least 1988; and at least one of her sisters has a similar heritage with the ever-popular show.
It might be ever-popular" but I hadn't seen it before and I was also impressed by The Narrator - played by a guy named Craig Price. I love poetry, and this part was very close to poetic. I hadn't seen the show before and was impressed by the story line, the drama and the acting. I don't recall any of the songs - so I can't report that I really liked the music - but it wasn't inappropriate or bad music - so it didn't spoil the show for me.
The plot was a fairly straightforward nature v nurture drama. A
young Mum producing loads of children (7) before her husband leaves her
for a younger woman just as she is about to produce twins. Then rather
than possibly losing children into care, she gives one of the twins to
the rich but barren lady who's house she cleans. The story is
about the interactions of the twins - now apparently deriving from
"have" and "have not" backgrounds, meeting at various points of their
life and becoming not only firm friends - but becoming "blood brothers".
Eventually one murders the other and is himself shot dead by police
marksmen in the same instant - and seconds before their death Mrs
Johnstone tells them they are real brothers. Oh the irony! Still -
it is a very well told story, and very dramatically presented. Not
sure if I'd go to see it again - but I enjoyed it and am glad that I
have seen it once.
START OF 2012