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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

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

A PROG CURRY - A CHRISTMAS WALKABOUT & IQ AT ISLINGTON

Well, would you believe it, on Friday the 8th December I finally made it along to the Prog Curry, a monthly event organised by the wonderful Robin Smith where a gathering of like-minded (ish) friends meet up at The Parcel Yard Pub in Kings Cross Station for an ale or two before making the short walk over to The Indian Lounge.
If you are into Prog, Curries, a beer or two and are on Facebook then have a look for the Prog Curry page.

The Prog Curry Crew in The Indian Lounge

Prog Curry Selfie - Courtesy of Robin Smith
On Saturday it was back to London again for the Fellowship Of The Stick's annual London Christmas Walkabout (Pub crawl to anyone else) before setting off to The Islington Assembly Rooms to see the IQ Christmas concert, as follows:-

The Fellowship Christmas Bash 2017



Oh good grief there are elves on the train
that means it must be
that time of year once again
Peter, Kevin, Grant and Chris
An annual event on the calendar
not to be missed

Elves on the march - Courtesy of A.W. Smith
The Fellowship were out in force this day
merriment and laughter would no doubt hold sway
firstly it was off to the Bree Louise
fine ales and pies were sure to please
and they did, and we also did see
the lads and lasses of the NYPD
with our Hazel now in tow
it was soon time to drink up
yes drink up and go
a short bus ride took us to Islington
to the Brewhouse and Kitchen
to meet up with Mark, Alex & Tim

A.W-S himself
Presents from Alex, a wee Damson Gin
and presents from Kevin some splendid Christmas socks
and a little CD by our own TV's Roger Marsh's Tinderbox
then there was the Charles Lamb and the Plaquemine Loch
The Island Queen, The Earl of Essex, would this fun never stop?
A Christmas sing song in the garden
and we were off once more
one last pub on the route this time it was the York
then another short bus ride for scampi & chips as you do
before a magnificent gig from the mighty IQ

IQ in full flow

Mike Holmes, what an angel.

IQ take a bow
What a great outing, what a magnificent day
the FOTS 2017 Christmas bash
was one of the best ever
that's what I say.

Well it certainly was, IQ  treated us to The Darkest Hour, Guiding Light, Harvest Of Souls, Failsafe and The Wake - among many other outstanding treats and of course with the traditional Christmas hats in evidence and Mike Holmes with his outstretched Angels wings, magnificent.

On Sunday the 10th December I was supposed to going back to London once again for the Touchstone & IO Earth Christmas gig, but I woke up to this:-

Pretty but it killed off my Sunday gigging!

GM December 2017

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

THE GREAT BRITISH FOLK FESTIVAL - SKEGNESS DECEMBER 2017

So for myself and Chris this was our second visit to the Great British Folk Festival at Butlin's, Skegness, the year we were three, we had a Peter with us as well and those good old Corona shirts got a good airing once again!

So Folk, well it was by no means the "Finger in the ear" sort of folk although there was of course a good smattering of the more 'traditional' folk but by and large, once again it was a fantastic festival with a good eclectic mix of music, in fact it's often hard these days to tell where one genre ends and another begins!

The line up was pretty awesome:-


FRIDAY 1st December

Friday saw us arrive in good time to check in, unpack and make our way to the introducing stage to catch, Brad Dear, Solasta, Galley Beggar and the start of Honey and the Bear before dinner.

Brad Dear

Solasta

Galley Beggar

Honey and the Bear
After a magnificent Butlin's dinner it was off to Centre Stage to catch Winter Wilson then into Reds for a bit of Eddi Reader before racing back to Centre Stage to catch a great set from Magna Carta before scooting back to Reds for an amazing dance along set from Sheelanagig, it's the first time I've ever seen a Waltz Pit!

Winter Wilson

Eddi Reader

Magna Carta

Sheelanagig
And so that was Friday, what a splendid evening of great and varied music it had been.

SATURDAY 2nd December
For the first time (Apparently) in this festivals history they ran an acoustic afternoon in JAKS, confusingly the acts that did perform were not all as per the program but what the heck, it was a great afternoon with John Williams (Folk on the farm), Edwina Hayes, Louise Jordan, Steve Jackson and Jack Parker.

John Williams

Edwina Hayes

Louise Jordan

Steve Jackson

Jack Parker
Late Saturday afternoon saw us heading once more to the introducing stage to catch Alden, Patterson & Dashwood before a complete and wonderful surprise for us, Daria Kulesh had been drafted in to replace the poorly Emi McDade.

A, P & D

The wonderful Daria Kulesh
After Daria's superb set (Yes I am biased, she's a friend), it was time for dinner and then a quick sortie back to the chalet to rest before the evening's entertainment.

Shooting out on my own I was fortunate to catch Joshua Burnell on the introducing stage and then one of the performances of the festival, Martyn Joseph, a fantastic and memorable gig, Chris and Peter arrived at the end and we all caught the start of the Hothouse Flowers before dashing up to Centre Stage to see the legendary Fairport Convention who also delivered an awesome performance, we finished off with Rusty Shackle in Reds, another wonderful upbeat electric folk / dance experience.

Joshua Burnell

Martyn Joseph

Hothouse Flowers

Fairport Convention

Rusty Shackle
SUNDAY 3rd December
So, what does once do on a Sunday morning in Skegness when the music doesn't start until the afternoon? Well, in fact the music started at 10:00 am with a live band playing for the Tourdion French Dancing, which was a must to see!


The band
Sunday afternoon saw us flitting between Centre Stage and Reds to catch some excellent sets from Roger Davies, Gilmore and Roberts, St Agnes Fountain, Peter Knight and John Spiers and then Skinner and Twitch and one of the discoveries of the festival, Idle Empire on the introducing stage.

Roger Davies

Gilmore and Roberts

St Agnes Fountain

Peter Knight & John Spiers

Skinner and Twtich

Idle Empire
Phew, what a day it had been so far and there was still the last night to go!

Once again flitting between the venues we caught most of the sets from TradArr, Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman, Dervish, Bella Hardy, the completely over the top mayhem of Tankus the Henge before the closing few numbers from Clearwater.

Kathryn & Sean

TradArr

Dervish

Bella Hardy

Tankus the Henge

Clearwater Creedence Revival
That's all folks, although it wasn't all folk!
Another brilliant festival and so good to see so many friends with similar eclectic tastes in music as we'd seen them at such places as HRH Prog, Skeggy Rock & Blues, Cambridge Rock Festival + Linton too!



That's all Folks

Where does Folk end and New Roots begin?
Or blues, Americana, Jazz, Rock or Swing?
Is a singer / songwriter Folk?
it depends on their style
I guess or I hope
for the boundaries are blurred
and the genres mix well
is this Nu Folk or old
time will perhaps tell
there was no stereotypical
'Finger in the ear'
but then again I concede
it's what some like to hear
but the Great British Folk Festival
at Butlin's Skegness
was a quite awesome festival
one of the best
the mix of music was eclectic
across the whole Folk sphere
with a few Christmas songs too
for this time of year
there were new artists and legends
all great to see
we had a brilliant time
Peter, Chris and me
and there were many there 
including some that we knew
who do the Rock and Blues and CRF too
so don't be put off by labels
don't pigeonhole a band
for if you like good live music
then it's not good, it's grand.

Grant Meaby
December 2017