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Monday, 5 February 2018

John Otway & Liam Burke at Club-85 Saturday 02-02-18

First outing to Club-85 in 2018 and what a cracker it was, myself, Chris and Peter went for an early rendezvous in The Victoria, sneaking a couple of delicious 'Peaky Blinders' before heading off up the road to 85, while we were there we did witness one of those 'Oops moments' when a young couple, complete with fresh pints of lager, came and sat down, or rather attempted to sit down at one of the outside benches, over went both pints and smash went one glass, well, you have to laugh don't you, despite the obvious cost of the beer, their clothes and judging by the immediate exchanges, perhaps even their relationship!

So who was on? Only the legend that is, John Otway, from his own press release:-

John Otway is an English singer-songwriter who has built a sizable cult audience through extensive touring, a surreal sense of humour and a self-deprecating underdog persona.

From the age of 9, John Otway knew he wanted to be a pop star. But even at that young age, having listened to his sister’s Beatles and Stones records, he knew he would never be able to do what they do. However, when his sister got the latest Bob Dylan album, he knew there was a place for him and he set about learning how to play guitar.

A visit to a fortune teller would have a profound effect on the young Otway. After gazing into her crystal ball, she confirmed that Otway would indeed be a star and would have success with a blonde-haired musician. Otway took this prediction very seriously and teamed up with Wild Willy Barrett (the only musician he knew who fitted the fortune teller’s description). In 1972, the pair released their first single. Gypsy/Misty Mountain was a dedication to the fortune teller who had assured Otway that fame and stardom was just around the corner. The single would be the first of a string of flops, but it did capture the attention of The Who’s Pete Townshend who offered to produce a number of tracks for the duo.

As this evening was a 'The PAD Presents' it was only right and proper that the support for the evening was Bedford based Liam Burke who, quite appropriately, opened with a song about Danny's Bar (At Esquires in Bedford), Liam had to work hard to warm up the audience who were of course there for Mr. Otway and by heck he did a great job, his quirky humorous songs and his great banter with the audience won him a good few more fans that night I'm sure (You can count me as one).

Liam Burke
You can find out more about Liam and his music on Facebook etc. Should you wish to go and explore.

So, this night John Otway was solo, no band, just him ably assisted by his 'Roadie' Deadly who does a wonderful job acting as the butt of many of John's jokes and comments.

John was on fire, he played all his hits (Both of them) over the two sets which included so many of John's classics, sing alongs and just all round great entertainment and the wonderful thing is that along the way he always 'throws in' the odd couple of serious, poignant songs which in fact showcase just what a talented singer / songwriter John is.

John Otway
Not just a roadie!
For us this was of course a Fellowship outing, so without further ado:-


John & Liam

Since the sad demise of the Nightingale
we've adopted The Vic for pints of real ale
before any great gigs at Club-85
one of the best venues to stay open and alive
playing an essential and vital part
of supporting liver music in North Herts


Saturday the 2nd of February
saw Peter, Chris and me
at The Vic for a pre-gig rendezvous
and some sneaky Peaky Blinder's as you do
and there we witnessed a young couples 'accident'
two full glasses of beer, wobbly table, over they went
and the beer went everywhere
it was a smashing event to see and hear
we shouldn't have laughed but we did!


So on to Club-85 and the night's entertainment
it was one of those nights that I'm so glad we went
Bedford's own Liam Burke opened the show
extremely funny don't you know
fresh out of Esquires and Danny's Bar
his quirky humour could go far
and he did a great job warming up the crowd
who were waiting for John Otway and talking too loud!

Liam Burke who did a great job kicking off the evening
Solo Mr. Otway took to the stage for the first of two great sets
he was on top form one of the best shows I've seen him do yet
we had "The Hit" and a host of other popular songs
the hard core fans, including us, all sang along
we laughed, we clapped, we cried,
and there was a great crowd there at Club-85

John Otway with his unique guitar!
After a short break the 2nd set was underway
we had "The other hit" and so much more I have to say
there was the ladder of course for, "You ain't seen nothing yet"
at least two encores, how much better could things get?
Well he ended with the head butt song
and so here do I.

The Ladder, you ain't seen nothing yet!
Cheers m'dears, until the next time.

GM
February 2018

Monday, 29 January 2018

THE GREAT BRITISH ROCK AND BLUES FESTIVAL - SKEGNESS 2018

Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends.............etc.
Whey hey, it's 2018 and this years festivals / gigs kicked off in amazing style at this year's Great British Rock & Blues Festival in Skegness over the weekend of January 19th-21st.


Firstly apologies for the seemingly lateness of this blog but alas I returned from Skeggy with the most horrendous viral cold that left me somewhat lethargic and out of action for the week, but enough of that.

Judging by the plethora of comments on social media and the other reviews I have read I can safely say that i am by no means the only one who thought that this year's Rock and Blues festival was one of the best ones for years!



The Fellowship may have been 'two down' this time round but we were certainly there in good numbers, Corona shirts proudly on display and although we didn't have Fender with us we did have our own 'Blue Peter':-

Blue Peter
Once again the quality of the music on the Introducing stage was outstanding, Friday was no exception kicking off with the Siiachi Sugiyama Band, followed by Mike Ross, Three (Sorry can't seem to do the backward 3 thing!) and rounding off with Deep Blue Sea.

Siiachi

Mike Ross

Three

Deep Blue Sea

After the introducing stage (& dinner) it was off into Reds to see those rocking Irish lads, The Screaming Eagles before popping down to Jacks for an amazing set from Robin Bibi and his band before darting back to Reds for the tail end of the Atomic Rooster set.

The Screaming Eagles

Robin Bibi
A 5am start after a lack of sleep had taken it's toll (Along with a few, OK, more than a few Hobgoblins) so we didn't stay up for the later bands but made a slow and happy departure for the warmth of our chalet and a comfortable night's sleep.

After a a great Butlins 'All you can eat' breakfast it was time for the obligatory seaside stroll before morning coffee (With a dash of warming rum) before the day's musical proceedings began.

Reds kicked off in great style with one of last year's Introducing stage winners. Southbound with their soul infused blues rock, they absolutely nailed it!

Southbound
Another highlight of any GBR&B is of course the Roadhouse Jam on a Saturday afternoon in Jaks, this is where Roadhouse play a couple of numbers and then anyone who can play any sort of instrument (or sing) gives their name to Gary who then spends the afternoon purring together 'scratch' bands who each get around ten minutes to jam together, the jam always springs some surprises and so often gives us some of those moments of pure magic, this year was no exception.

Our very own Tim got to play this year (He's the one in the Corona shirt).

A Corona takes to the stage in Jaks
Carlos and Co absolutely stunned us:-

Carlos and band
We had the amazing Roy Mete, joined by Mandie G and Sarah from Roadhouse:-

Roy Mete
And finally the last band (We saw) had the wonderful Robin Bibi back on the Jaks stage, wow! What a grand afternoon it was, we then dashed off to the introducing stage to catch a great set from Storm Warning followed by Yoka and the Sugarbeats before dinner.

Storm Warning

Yoka and the Sugarbeats

After dinner it was off to Reds to catch a stunning solo acoustic performance from Mr. Bernie Marsden who played a set of mainly Whitesnake songs along with his usual fascinating and entertaining tales from his years in the business. We were in a great position to hear the set and see the side of the stage but it was so crowded i couldn't get any decent pictures of Bernie this time round!

Bernie Marsden
Bernie was followed by Roger Chapman, Family & Friends, a set which started a little slowly with some of Roger's solo stuff but then picked up several paces as they went into a few Streetwalkers numbers followed by a memorable set of Family songs, all in all another splendid day.

Roger Chapman

Like any large festival these days it is just not possible to get around all the stages and see everyone, there are the inevitable clashes and hard choices to be made but I have to say that so far I had been extremely happy with all the bands and artists I had seen so far, I had no way of knowing that Sunday would be EVEN BETTER!

Sunday lunchtime saw us in Jaks for the start of the acoustic sessions, firstly on and a change to the published line up, we had Benjamin Bassford doing a solo set of the most splendidly depressing blues before being joined by his band for a storming upbeat set.

Benjamin Bassford

It was then off to Reds once more, this time for one of the gigs of the festival, the mighty Stray were on tip top form, joined by the keyboard player from Pearl Handled Revolver, was this Pearl Handled Stray?

Stray
Stray, a truly stunning set from Del and the boys after which it was off to the Introducing stage for a great set from The Blues Issue followed by one of the, if not THE discovery of the weekend, STAN the band who absolutely stormed it deservedly winning this days event so I am led to believe.

The Blues Issue
STAN the Band
Sunday evening kicked off in traditional style with a brilliant set from Roadhouse in Jaks followed by Reds for Nazareth finally rounding off with Chantel McGregor in Reds.

Roadhouse

Nazareth

Chantel McGregor
I have to say that Chantel and the band gave us one of THE performances of the festival, a great way to round off the proceedings (Again missing the late late bands in Jaks) but what the heck, this years 'Skeggy' had indeed been one of the best for years.
The astute among you may have noticed that I haven't mentioned Centre Stage, we did slip in there form time to time time to catch a number or two from the bands that played in this massive venue but to be quite honest the rest of the festival, for me, was unmissable!

Speaking to some of the Butlin's staff, the fate of Jaks still hangs in the balance, the long term plan is to re-develop the site as the infrastructure is actually crumbling! We have been assured that should Jaks be demolished during the next year an alternative venue, on site, will be provide for all the usual Jaks goings on and shenanigans, we'll just have to wait and see.


And finally, something I wrote while there:-

A Poet's Talking Blues

I don't play no guitar
and I don't really sing
but I guess I'm just happy
Doing my thing
I capture the words
the rhythm and rhyme
that keep on running
through my head all the time
I've written some lyrics
for singers and bands
it's where music and poetry
go hand in hand
and my words have reached out
and touched people's hearts
stirring up deep emotions
which itself is an art
and it brings me great pleasure
and I hope it entertains you
because without music
it's the best I can do
so thank for listening
or reading along
I hope you've enjoyed
this little talking blues song.

GM

January 2018

Cheers m'dears, until the next time.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

CONTRASTS - CAIRO AT THE BOSTON MUSIC ROOM & THE FLOYD EFFECT AT CLUB-85

Two nights, two awesome gigs, the contrast was all to do with audience sizes, it saddens me that so often these days a tribute band will pull a bigger crowd than an original band but that said there are tribute bands and there are tribute bands!

FRIDAY the 15th December
So, staring with Friday night, it was off to London again for me to meet up with our own dear Roger (TV's Roger Marsh) for the Cairo Christmas gig at the Boston Music Room in Tufnell Park.


A small and intimate audience it felt more like a private party for family and friends and we were treated to the very first outing of BLUEPRINT, instrumental prog rockers and side project of Cairo drummer Graham Brown, highly complex soaring music which somehow managed to avoid all the prog musical cliches, much enjoyed (But I'd have loved to have heard some vocals!).

Blueprint take to the stage
Next up was a treat indeed, the lovely Sarah Dean, a.k.a. The Incredible String Blonde with her beautiful harp and voice, stunning, absolutely stunning.

Sarah Dean
Cairo delivered a sublime and flawless set, I can honestly say the best I've seen them yet, absolutely fabulous.

Cairo

Rob Cottingham

Cairo take a well deserved bow
All in all one of the most memorable gigs of this year and there was still Saturday night to go!

SATURDAY the 16th December.
This time it was myself, Peter, Alex & Chris, meeting up at the Victoria in Hitchin for a pre gig pint or two before a short walk up the road to Club-85 to see one of, if not the best, Pink Floyd tribute bands around, The Floyd Effect.
Club-85 was heaving!

The Floyd Effect

Such a faithful reproduction of Pink Floyd's music

The audience

Floyd Effect take a bow, a well deserved bow at that
They treated us to an opening set of songs from Wish You Were Here, some early Floyd and The Wall, the second set was The Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety, the standing joke with the band is that their singer won a Dave Gilmour sound-alike competition, Dave Gilmour came 2nd!
Enough said, except of course this:-

CONTRASTS

So on Friday I went down to London alone
sometimes it's fun to be out on your own
negotiating the crowds and the underground
taking in all the sights and sounds
and making my way to a gig at the Boston Music Room
seven o'clock doors couldn't come round too soon 
and there I met our own TV's Roger Marsh
The Tinderbox Mickey taking had been somewhat harsh
but then again it just had to be done
it was of course all done in jest just a bit of harmless fun
and we were there to see Cairo, Rob's award winning band
a night of prog music live and grand
a gig that was so intimate it felt more like a party
for friends and family 
a great night out for Roger and me

We had Blueprint with their instrumental rock
and then the lovely Sarah Dean and her harp
Cairo played a sublime and flawless set
I'd say it was the best I'd seen them yet
it's just such a shame, that so few came
it was very much their loss!

Saturday was such a contrast with respect to audience size
packed in like sardines at Club-85
to see The Floyd Effect, an amazing tribute band
I'd happily say one of the best in the land
faithfully reproducing the music of Pink Floyd
and the singer, good grief, oh what a voice
more Gilmour than Gilmour himself!

We may have missed our Kevin
but he was north of the border
for a night of Scottish prog for him was on order
but there was Peter, Alex, Chris and me
and many other friends who were privileged to see
the gig of the year, yes the gig of the year was by a tribute band
sad but true but somehow still grand
oh and IQ still get the vote for the gig of the year
by an original band!

And I guess that's it for 2017
what a damn fine year for music it has been.

GM December 2017


Friday, 15 December 2017

A CHRISTMAS QUICKIE - DECEMBER SOUNDARC ACOUSTIC

Ok so this one is just a quickie!
Thursday the 14th December and it was once again time for the SoundArc Acoustic night at the Red Lion in Stevenage Old Town, kicking off the evening were last minute 'stand-ins' Kelvin Davies and Gary Jones with some excellent traditional and country blues songs, Gary's (Big Fat Crippled Blind Boy Jones) harmonica playing is legendary and rightly so, what a great start to the evening.

Kelvin

Kelvin & Gary
https://www.facebook.com/KelvinDaviesMusic/

Next up we had a real treat, travelling all the way up to Stevenage from Reading came the Very Lazy Sundays, here as a three piece (2 guitars and cajun) with their extraordinarily melodic songs, beautiful harmonies and totally meaningful lyrics most of which stem from astute observations of every life, a real treat indeed.

The Very Lazy Sunday's

Christmas lights anyone?
It was a real pleasure to meet and chat to the band after their set and what's more, one of them is a BREWER!

My sort of Christmas present 
https://www.facebook.com/theverylazysundays/

Rounding off the evening in his own inimitable style was the remarkable, once seen never forgotten, absolute gem of a man, the one and only, G La Roche.
G was on top form (Way over the top) (body form?) and treated us to his own unique renditions of some Christmas classics, a sing-a-long with Queen (& others) session, G-Mart classics such as the 'Love song', it was fun, it was anarchic but above all else it was highly entertaining and the Chris DeBurgh meets Iron Maiden bit was just something else!

G La Roche - You can see what he's thinking, it's in his eyes!

G - Hey Ho, Let's Go!
https://www.facebook.com/graeme.laroche

Here I'd just like to say a public thank you to Andy of SoundArc for the amazing set of gigs he has put on at the Red Lion and elsewhere this year, someone who truly works his proverbials off to keep live music alive.

Cheers all, until the next time.

GM
Dec 2017