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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

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

BALSTOCK 2017 & BEFORE

Yes, it's that time of year once more, another superb Balstock Festival is 'under the belt' and what a great time it was, but before Balstock weekend, there was of course the Thursday night hence this title, Balstock 2017 & before.


So, starting with the Thursday night before and it was another damn fine gig at the Red Lion courtesy of SoundArc live promotions where we were treated to a great set from the Skeltons with their authentic and harmonious country sounds.

The Skeltons
https://www.facebook.com/The-Skeltons-905311409587115/

We then had Rhys Kirkman with his band, Rhys's solo acoustic songs translate so well to the full band presentation and the Red Lion really rocked.

Rhys Kirkman
https://www.facebook.com/rhyskirkmanmusic/

Topping off the evening we had the wonderful After You or was it Midnight Drives? Well it was After You but with the addition of a very special guest on a couple of numbers!

After You

After You with a very special guest
 https://www.facebook.com/afteryoumusicuk/

https://www.facebook.com/MidnightDrivesMusic/

So, Thursday night had indeed set us up very nicely for the next three days at the Balstock Festival in Baldock, details of the Balstock Festival, what it's all about, who was on, which venues took part, charities supported etc. details of and links to the artists and bands that took part can be found from the festival website and / or the Balstock Facebook page.




The Fellowship of the Stick were there of course, in numbers and sporting out now all too familiar Corona shirts but this time with added multi coloured Mohawk wigs we were not only there to enjoy the music but to do our bit with the charity bucket collection that happened all over the weekend.

So here's the tale with a few photographs thrown in for good measure:-

Balstock & Before

Thursday (See above)

Ok so Thursday night wasn't exactly a Balstock event
but it was still a damn fine gig anyway
and I'm so glad we went
to the Red Lion in Stevenage old town
where the Skeltons treated us to
their pure country harmonies sweet and sound
I don't mind if I do
We had the electric rock of the Rhys Kirkman band
and then of course came After You 
with a special guest I cannot possibly name
it's a shame, but there it is, it's true!

Friday

Friday saw Balstock, officially kick off in style
at the Engine with Dirty Hank and in a little while 
The Fellowship were there in force
but not always there together
there were so many bands and venues
and of course there was the weather!
You just couldn't get along, to see them all!
Los Chicos Meurtos, Coloryde and Draugr
a little bit of Burlesque and still
the climax of the evening
in the form of Disorderville, then home.

Dirty Hank

Los Chicos Meurtos

Coloryde

Draugr

Disorderville
Saturday

Saturday started at lunchtime
at the White Lion, the stage that Parsons Knows 
good acoustic acts galore but there were other shows
there was metal in the town hall
and the ELR stage in the street
and then later at The Orange Tree
where we'd all arranged to meet
for Vacant and then 4th Labyrinth 
where we sheltered from the rain
after a while it was time once more
to head back to the town again
for Billy Skins Fifth on the main stage
food and drink from one of the many stalls
then watch the ZipHeads rip Baldock a new one
but we still couldn't see them all!

Noel Cowley

The Papersnakes

Dusty Wagons

Lets go camping

Darline

Dark Asphyxia

Dead Frequency

Gevaudan

Vacant

It rained a bit!

4th Labyrinth

Billy Skins Fifth

The Zipheads
Sunday

Sunday was spent mainly in the White Lion
at Helen's wonderful Folkstock stage
class acts they just kept on coming
yes Folk Music has come of age
but we could not stay in one genre all the day
despite it going down so fine
so we nipped out to the Town Hall
to catch a bit of metal 
in the shape of The Mantis Divine
then Indi & the Vegas and Joan ov Arc
playing on the main stage, which I have to say
because of the inclement weather
had shrunk somewhat since Saturday!

We finished back at the White Lion
for Didi's set which was exceptionally good
and her finale with The Primary Colours
sounded great from where I stood
and that was it
yet another Balstock had come to a glorious close
a weekend of great music & mixed emotion
I guess that's the way it sometimes goes

Dave Croughan

Warner Taylor Folk

Emma McGrath

Theresa's Tears

Saskia Griffiths-Moore

Greg Hancock

Zoe Wren

NOVA

The Mantis Divine

Indi (Indi & the Vegas) from behind!

JoanovArc

Didi

Didi & the Primary Colours

So

We'd seen most of the bands we wanted to
in our Corona shirts and multi coloured Mohican wigs
as we shook those Balstock charity buckets
let's pray the collection's been generous and big
and so it's time to sign off
with a huge thank you to every single artist, band and volunteer
All hail the universal sausage
let's do it all again next year!

Our wigs had bee Ritn Ditn'd
So, until the next time, keep supporting live music, you know it makes sense, cheers m'dears, see you down the front somewhere.

GM
September 2017