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Sunday, 5 November 2017

LONGBOTTOM LEAF, ELECTRIC BLACK & THE MANTIS DIVINE AT THE RED

What a pleasure is was to set off yet again to that spiritual home of live music in Stevenage, the Red Lion in the old town and another night of SoundArc Live Promotions.
This time it is was a 'Metal Night', featuring that great young band The Mantis Divine whose blend of punk / sludge metal with Nadia's powerful vocals and Kim's great guitar riffs will leave you gasping! 
We also had 1/2 of the band Electric Black sounding more like a full on rock orchestra rather than a duo! And to round the evening off we were treated to a fine gig by Longbottom Leaf whose blend of classic metal / classic rock (& many other influences / bands) combined with superb musicianship all led to a jolly splendid experience all round!
For anyone wondering about the name, Longbottom Leaf, here's a clue, try reading some Tolkien.


The Mantis Divine
The Mantis Divine


Nadia in full flow
https://www.facebook.com/pg/themantisdivine/about/?ref=page_internal


Electric Black
Electric Black
https://www.facebook.com/ElectricBlack/


And finally, Longbottom Leaf


Longbottom Leaf
 https://www.facebook.com/Longbottom-Leaf-230192125119/



Metal or what?

To keep us in the finest of musical fettle
we went off to 'The Red' to catch some live metal

the post punk metal influenced The Mantis Divine
kicked off the show in a style just perfectly fine

followed by two from the band Electric Black
a fine night developing there was no looking back

so when Longbottom Leaf hit the stage

with their classic metal, classic rock influenced sound
it all turned into one of the best nights around

what is metal after all? The genre is so wide and vast
it was damn fine live music after all, long may it last!

GM
November 2017


Wednesday, 1 November 2017

WOODLEY TAYLOR AND THE STONE THIEVES AT THE RED LION

So, after 10 long days of closure the Red Lion in Stevenage Old Town was finally reopened and what a truly fitting opening night it was with music from Cambridge's own Woodley Taylor Band & local heroes the Stone Thieves, it of course being a SoundArc Promotions Thursday night!

So, what's new? The Red has been well and truly smartened up with a super new paint job and refurbished floors, bars and, wait for it, toilets! The main bar is now themed as 'The Skull Bar' and, as the name may suggest, is adorned with a variety of skull decorations and ornaments, a host of all things Heavy Metal and some quite splendid music regalia / history in the form of LP's, Covers, Posters, Guitars, T shirts etc. there is no mistaking that this is a dedicated music bar and all the better for it.

For the official reopening night there was, as expected, a lot of people there, Red Lion irregulars, regulars, friends family and fans of the bands and quite a few that just seem to have wandered in to see what on earth was going on!

Woodley Taylor, the following is taken from his 'About' section on his Facebook page and I could not have put it any better myself:- "A timeless sound; a now rare breed of Classic Rock, Country and Folk infused Art-Rock, both lyrically compelling and musically challenging.
With a powerhouse live sound built on thunderous rhythms and a husky, soulful vocal, Woodley Taylor delivers weeping guitar and harmony driven songs. Communicating with the audience sonically, he brings an almost David Gilmour/Pink Floyd-esque touch to an otherwise Country, Folk-Rock sound.
At times intoxicating; seductive, not without angst and as emotionally fuelled as the likes of Fleetwood Mac, Nick Cave or Neil Young. Woodley Taylor is heavily influenced by the greats of the 60s and 70s and draws inspiration for songwriting from both harrowing personal experiences and a growing distaste for modern cultures and world injustices".

Woodley Taylor

The Woodley Taylor band, tight and spot on!
The current album, "Breathe a Little Deeper" is excellent and well worth a listen, or even better a buy!
https://www.facebook.com/woodleytaylor/


Next up were Stone Thieves, in their own words:- "Doused in the great tradition of the quintessentially English take on the electrified sound of Americana and Blues"  and boy oh boy were they! A great band and a fantastic way to round off yet another brilliant evening of ORIGINAL Live Music at The Red.

Stone Thieves
https://www.facebook.com/pg/stonethieves/about/?ref=page_internal

Woodley Taylor and The Stone Thieves

So the Red Lion has been refurbished
newly painted up and some great improvements made
skulls and historic music regalia
all beautifully displayed
and for the post refurbishment opening
of course, it had to be a SoundArc night
Andy once again struck a perfect balance
Woodley Taylor and the Stone Thieves 
a mix spot on and just right
there was a great crowd down there
friends, family and fans of the bands
and the Red Lion irregulars back once again
for a reopening that was quite simply grand
the music was outstanding
as original music ought to be
Woodley and his band were on top form
certainly did the trick for me
and the Stone Thieves despite playing a shortened set
got it just right on the night
how much better can this all get?
It was another damn fine night of music
in surroundings familiar yet somehow new
so here's looking forward to the next one
as we so often do!

GM
October 2017

Monday, 23 October 2017

SPACED OUT AGAIN - HAWKLORDS AND PSYCHIC LEMON AT CLUB-85

HAWKLORDS SUPPORTED BY PSYCHIC LEMON @ CLUB-85 HITCHIN 21/10/2017

Somewhere in the space time continuum a number of time streams converged on Saturday the 21st October 2017 to create a singularity of perfection, an evening of the finest space rock, it was indeed a spectacle to behold.

Here in our very own Hitchin, Club-85, playing host to the mighty Hawklords supported by Cambridge's own, Psychic Lemon and a light show to blow even the straightest of heads away, way, way, way out into outer, or maybe was it, inner space?

Hawklords are currently touring the new album, simply called SIX, it is a damn fine example of what space rock is all about and further goes to prove that the Hawklords are very much a band in their own right and not just another incarnation of  Hawkwind, there is plenty of room in space for them both!

As for SIX, the live tour features Jerry Richards and Harvey Bainbridge sharing vocal duties since Ron Tree appears to have been swallowed by a black hole somewhere, in fact Jerry has a fine voice and to be quite honest, as much as many of us may have liked to have seen Ron, his absence in no way detracted from what was in fact, one of the best gigs this year!

The evening opened with Cambridge's Psychic Lemon, an extremely loud and quite amazing predominantly instrumental space rock three piece who reminded me, at times, very much of watching and listening to Hawkwind's occasional instrumental numbers or interludes back in the early seventies, which for me and many of the crowd this was obviously no bad thing at all and I'm sure that Psychic Lemon picked up a lot of new fans that night, I'm certainly one.


Psychic Lemon
https://www.facebook.com/psychiclemon/

Hawklords were quite simply sublime, a fabulous gig from start to finish with a great mixture of tunes from their now extensive and growing back catalogue, the new album plus of course some original Hawklords classics like Ejection, they certainly blew me away and I can't wait to see them again later this year.






https://www.facebook.com/TheHawklords/


Spaced Out Again

So on Saturday aboard spaceship C85
the Fellowship were there
for a night of space rock
amazing light shows and flowing hair
(well maybe not the hair in some cases)
Previously in The Vic we had been but three
there was of course Alex, Chris and me
but thankfully Peter joined us later
having been orbiting a distant star
in a galaxy far, far, far, away.....................
Psychic Lemon opened the show
way to go space cadets, way to go
Hawklords were sublime
time just seemed to evaporate
all too soon the show was over
leaving us longing for more
but hey, that's what the new albums for!

Cheers one and all
GM
October 2017


Sunday, 8 October 2017

Sarpa Salpa and High Wire Brigade at The Red Lion

So, Thursday the 5th October, Red Lion, Stevenage Old Town and we were treated to another great evening of live music, firstly making their way down from Northampton for their first ever visit to Stevenage, we had young indie band, Sarpa Salpa who played an excellent set despite having been somewhat beset by setting up problems, we look forward to seeing them back here soon.
(For the uninitiated, Sarpa salpa, known commonly as the dreamfish,is a species of sea bream which can cause hallucinations when eaten!).

Sarpa Salpa

Sarpa Salpa
Next up we had local heroes, the ever popular and extremely talented, High Wire Brigade who quite honestly "Tore the Red Lion a new one!" as they say.

High Wire Brigade

High Wire Brigade
The all important links:-

https://www.facebook.com/SarpaSalpaMusic/

https://www.facebook.com/highwirebrigade/

And of course, we have this:- 

Sarpa Salpa & High Wire Brigade 05/10/17

Les is in his corner
 so everything is alright with the world
perhaps to be more accurate, to actually get it right
all is OK here at the Red Lion in Stevenage Old Town tonight

It's another Thursday evening
with a larger than usual crowd
for friends and family have gathered in numbers
for a night of original music inspiring and loud

From Northampton we had Sarpa Salpa
an excellent young indie band
I look forward to seeing much, much more of them
down here in the shires heartland

Topping the bill this very evening
we had local heroes High Wire Brigade
who rocked the place like there's no tomorrow
in this place where musical dreams are made

Another SoundArc Live Promotion
Andy worked his magic once more
booking excellent bands to play 
it's really what Thursday nights are for

So if you like your music live
and hope that it all continues
get out and about and see some great bands
in one of your local venues.

GM
October 2017

So, until the next time, cool runnings one and all.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

A GREAT WEEKEND - DEEFEST AND ROADHOUSE AT THE RED

A GREAT WEEKEND - DEEFEST AND ROADHOUSE AT THE RED

So, it was one of those weekends where there were a couple of extraordinarily good gigs, back to back as it were, there was Deefest, the (now) annual charity fundraiser at Club-85 in Hitchin on the Saturday night and then there was Roadhouse playing the Sunday night blues slot at the Red Lion in Stevenage old town, a great weekend of excellent music and of course bot were fully supported by the FoTs crew.


DEEFEST - Saturday 23rd September 2017


Three great bands supporting three worthy causes
you don't get many evenings like these
in fact it was a great night out and of course
The Fellowship were out in force
with our very own Paul Smiffy Smith on bass for Vacant
we were all delighted that we went

Smiffy & Wayne
When Vacant took to the stage
we wondered what on earth was going down
what did lie beneath those dressing gowns?
Vacant had a Rocky Horror Show theme
the fancy dress was, well, something to be seen!

Before

Also before

After!

The Victims rocked away through their set
how much better could this night get?

The Victims rocking out
I won a guitar in the raffle, a fine one at that
and then came the headliners, Missing Cat

The crowd dancing away to Missing Cat
it seems like a fair amount of money was raised
so Deefest 2017 was a great success
the organisers and contributors are deserving of praise!






And then of course came Sunday 24th September and Roadhouse were playing the Blues at the Red in Stevenage old town, well, we just had to!

ROADHOUSE AT THE RED
It's no secret that Roadhouse are
one of the best
Americana Blues Rock bands around by far
and it's also no secret
that Roadhouse are
one of The Fellowship's favourite bands
and that all goes hand in hand
for another great night out
so there we were, out once again for Sunday night's
Blues at the Red
an absolutely outstanding gig all round
simply that, enough said!

Roger Hunt - Powerhouse of the Roadhouse rhythm section

Danny & Gary giving it the dual guitar treatment

Danny with Bill the maestro of the bass

Gary puts his soul into the blues

The amazing Mandie G this time on lone vocals
This night Roadhouse were without their other vocalist, Sarah Harvey-Smart so vocal duties were left to the wonderful Mandie G and this made the set a lot more rockier than usual, every time we see Roadhouse they get better and better and always top class and very often ever so slight;y different from the last time which all goes towards making them one of the most exciting live bands around.

Roadhouse:- https://www.facebook.com/Roadhouse-BluesRock-132852103428769/


So, until the next time, keep supporting live music, keep live music alive!

GM
September 2017

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

A LITTLE BIT OF PEACE AND LOVE

OK so "Peace and Love" may have become a bit of a hackneyed old expression associated with the 'Summer of '69' and hippydom in general but anyone who knew Paul 'Willy' Clifford would know that this, along with "Just be nice" were among his favourite expressions and so, quite appropriately, the memorial festival put on by his friends and family at the Gardener's Arms in Biggleswade could not really have been titled anything else but "Peace and Love" .

What a damn fine day it was and all in support of that excellent charity, Mind (The mental health charity).


Peace and Love

I saw Mark Astronaut at Stevenage station
he said he was tired of waiting
that was of course for the bus
that made two of us
so as they say, we let the train take the strain
Mark to Welwyn Garden City
me to Biggleswade
a place where on this particular Sunday
dreams were made
for I was off to Willy's memorial festival
the festival of "Peace and Love"
where family and friends gathered
and Willy was fondly remembered
to the sound of great music all day
anyway, as ever
taking Willy's sound advice
"Just be nice".

GM

September 2017 

The day's line up 
It was great to see so many people there enjoying the music, the camaraderie, the stalls and activities etc. and so, we kicked off with:-

Jack Alexander
Followed by:-

Boo Sells
These amazing T shirts were also on sale, like an idiot I didn't buy one at the beginning thinking I'd get one later as the day went on but guess what? By then they had all gone!

Amazing T shirts in support of Mind
There was also a 'Glastonbury Garden' in the pubs beer garden including Willy's beloved fishing tent & gear.

Willy's tent, a familiar sight at Cambridge Rock Festival
Anyway the music continued in excellent style with:-

Richie Prynne from none other than the CC Smugglers
And then:-

Thrash Gordon (Danny Young)
And was it 10' Drop? no it was 100' Drop acoustic:-

100' Drop
Changing the musical style somewhat we had the upbeat Ska session from Bubounce:-

Bubounce 'Light' (Acoustic Ska)
Next we were treated to the somewhat unique and very excellent Spacegoat:-

Spacegoat
As the evening drew on, the rain came and went, the light faded and the Cardinal Kings hit the stage:-

Cardinal Kings
Finally, for me as I had to race away after the next band to catch my train home, it was the ever popular Indi & the Vegas:-

Indi & the Vegas
So, sadly I couldn't stay for the final band, 10 Gauge but I'm sure, like everyone who did perform on that most excellent of Sunday's, they gave it their all, the day was indeed a wonderful tribute to Willy's memory, huge thanks and well done to all the organisers and participants and everyone who came along, enjoyed the day and donated to a very worthy charity.

Well, that's it for now, all quiet for a few days before the next one!
Cheers M'dears.
GM September 2017

Friday, 15 September 2017

GONG AND THE ASTRONAUTS AT CLUB-85


I honestly can't remember the very first time I saw Gong and became a devotee, I love the music, the Gong philosophy and, well, just about everything they and the Gong Family have done over the years.

Suffice to say that I do distinctly remember seeing Gong at the Watchfield festival in 1975 (Along with Hawkwind, National Flag, East of Eden etc.) but I had seen Gong before that, probably at one of the Poole college Student Union gigs in the early seventies and that is now a long long time ago!

Over many many years Gong and Hawkwind are the two bands I have seen live more times than any other bands.

It is probably worth mentioning that since Wednesday's outstanding gig I have listened to "Camembert Electrique", "Rejoice I'm Dead" and The Astronauts "Peter Pan Hits the Suburbs", reliving my past? No not at, this music is timeless.


I first saw The Astronauts full band in the mid eighties when I moved to Stevenage, they were playing a gig at Bowes Lyon House at that time promoting the Peter Pan Hits the Suburbs album.
I have been a fan ever since that gig although I'm sure I had seen Mark Astronaut supporting Here and Now during their free tours of the late seventies.

So, on to the main event, Gong - The Rejoice I'm Dead Tour - Hitchin Club-85 Wednesday 13th September 2017.

Discounting, if you must, their warm up shows (Of which I saw two) the gig at Hitchin's Club-85 on Wednesday 13th September was the third time I have seen Gong on this current tour, the other two being at The Dome in London back in Novermber 2016 & Pwllelhi, North Wales at HRH Prog in March this year.
Gong just keep getting better and better and there are no discernible 'breaks' in the continuity of the Gong music or perhaps as, if not more, importantly, the Gong philosophy.

Gong's live light show is also truly amazing as of course is the unquestionable musicianship of the current Gong line up;


Fabio Golfetti – lead guitar

Dave Sturt – bass guitar
Cheb Nettles – drums 

Ian East – saxophone, flute 

Kavus Torabi – guitar, vocals 

The mix of classic songs from Camembert Electrique and the Gong Trilogy era and the new songs from the current Rejoice I'm Dead album really showcases the magic, heritage and natural evolution of Gong from then till now.
As Kavus said during the gig, "There is no such thing as time".
I must say it certainly felt like that during the gig, I was transported through all the phases of my life in which Gong has played an important and integral part from way back to when I was once a young teenager right up until now.

The Astronauts

Support came in the form of The Astronauts, another timeless band who's equally amazing career spans the decades, performing this night as a full electric band with Astronauts old and new coming and going throughout the set they too performed many classic Astronaut songs  that spanned the band's musical history.
It would also seem that much of Mark Astronaut's phenomenal lyrics are also timeless, given that they usually include much social and political comment it's often a sharp reminder that sadly, despite all the protest and desire for a better new world to come so little has actually changed over the years! 

Still, a damn fine set with one of the best performances of the darkly disturbing 'Melissa's Party' I've ever had the privilege to see them perform.

The Astronauts

Gong and the Astronauts at Club-85

Ever since the demise of the Nightingale
the Fellowship have tended to convene
in the Victoria to sup upon pints of fine ale
before attending gigs at Club 85
this night was no exception
Gong and the Astronauts live
in fact it exceeded all expectation
Kevin looked fine in his new Gong hat
and what's more he had splendid new trousers to match
so that in respects he appeared to be
a real living breathing Pot Head Pixie!

Kev in full PHP attire
It was good to see that a reasonable crowd
had turned out midweek on a Wednesday night
to hear live music good and loud
and music of truly exceptional quality
it was certainly good for Kev, Chris and me
and so firstly the Astronauts rocked us with songs
about humanity , sociology, the rights and wrongs
with an alternating line up that spanned the years
which was good to see and even better to hear
and all before, Gong came along!

It's hard to describe just how good Gong were
it's hard to describe just how good Gong are
musicianship of the finest quality
an amazing light-show transporting us into
a smooth time-line of the Gong philosophy
a natural evolution between Gong then and now
Kavus, Cheb, Fabio, Ian and Dave do it somehow
handpicked by Daevid to keep Gong alive
and that they have done in such amazing style
oh yes Gong will be around for a while 
at least until 2032
if you know what I mean
if you understand.

Gong about to take a well deserved bow.

GM September 2017