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Saturday, 7 April 2018

JUKEBOX VANDALS & POINTS AT THE RED LION

Thursday nights live original music at The Red Lion in Stevenage now seem to be back on course as the wheels turn under the promotion of  London Road Studious, (London Road Live).
This night saw the return to the scene of the extremely popular local outfit Jukebox Vandals (From which such amazing bands as Highwire Brigade etc. have emerged) supported by the increasingly popular and very excellent Points.

Rarely have we seen such a crowd at The Red especially on a Thursday night, the place was, quite rightly so, absolutely packed for what turned out to be an extremely splendid gig, that coupled with the LED lights and smoke did however make it very difficult to get any good shots of the bands!

Points are an alternative/indie band with a dark mathy edge from Hertfordshire

Rob Sanderson - Bass & Vocals
Martin Fairey - Drums
Dean O'Dwyer - Guitar
Jon Myers - Guitar

Rob has an extremely rich and powerful voice which goes so well with the music they play making them so distinctive and quite frankly, so good, with a new EP soon in the offing Points are indeed a band to watch out for.



Points
https://www.facebook.com/pointsband/

A few years ago the Jukebox Vandals were on the verge or great things and I must say they were one of the local scenes most popular bands with an extremely loyal and significant following, it would seem the time is just right for their return, and they certainly didn't disappoint.

From Walkern & Stevenage Jukebox Vandals are:-

Mark Hollis - Vocals/Guitar
Kieran James - Guitar/Vocals
Paul Ingram-Tedd - Lead Guitar
Ed Stafford - Drums
Andrew Lavansch - Bass



Jukebox Vandals
https://www.facebook.com/jukeboxvandals/

All in all it was a mighty fine gig and now with the Red Lion offering a 10% discount on draft ales for CAMRA members it was even better!

Vandals Point to the Red

Thursday night at the Red Lion
and the punters had packed out the joint
it was as much as we could all handle
as to what end? What was the point?
To see the reformed band Jukebox Vandals
play a long overdue comeback gig
supported by that marvelous band called Points
both deserve to make it so big
and no one was left disappointed
except perhaps at the end
for time came around all too soon
for a gig we wished had no end.

GM
April 2018

Until the next time, which might be some time, so in the meantime, keep enjoying and supporting your local live music scene.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

HAWKEASTER 2018 - MORECAMBE BAY

Wow, our first Hawkeaster and this time up in Morecambe Bay where the tide goes out and out and the sands seem to go on forever!
Travelling up on Good Friday morning seemed like a great idea at the time but alas, it seemed that thousands of people had decided to head north and the M6 was like a giant slow moving car park from not far north of the Birmingham M6 Toll, never mind, we got there in time to check into the hotel and make our way down into town to the Alhambra, the venue for the weekend's festivities.
Morecambe Sands

The Alhambra

I must say that Hawkeaster was one of the best festivals I have ever been to, such a friendly atmosphere, an eclectic mix of music (By no means all space rock), exceptionally good value food at the venue and with pints, including some splendid real ale at only £3 a pint!
It may not have been a full Fellowship event but Chris and I did fly the old Corona shirts and talk to a few people about Cambridge Rock Festival while we were there!



HAWKEASTER 2018

What seemed like an eternal drive
eventually saw us arrive
safe and sound at Morecambe Bay
where the sands stretch away
for miles
booking into the hotel was easy
we quickly unpacked and trekked
down along the seafront to The Alhambra
the venue for this years Hawkeaster
what a splendid old venue
so glad it has been rescued
from a fate worse than anything
it could have been
yet more expensive seaside flats
fancy that
Hawkeaster being the icing on the cake
that saved this impressive building
from such a fate!

A performance of Robert Calvert's 'The Box'
The opening evening couldn't have been better
we had Robert Calvert Plays then the Blackheart Orchestra
an amazing set from Tim Blake
joined by Steve Hillage, Dave Brock and Richard Chadwick
"Gong with the Wind" absolutely great
and the evening rounded off with some performance poetry
all sounded pretty damn good to me.

The Blackheart Orchestra

Tim Blake

Steve Hillage

Dave Brock
The next day Chris and I discovered 'Bay Butties'
an absolutely splendid little cafe
and the owner welcomed those from Hawkeaster
it sort of became our own off site eater!

It had to be done!

Flying the flag in Bay Butties

So Saturday opened with Hawkwind family & friends
followed by The Fierce and the Dead
of whom it must be said
played an awesome set
one of their best yet
and then came Evil Blizzard, Son of Man
and the wonderful System 7
we were in musical heaven
Ginger Wildheart was good
as was the remarkably good value food
and real ale at only £3 a pint
could it get any better?

Yes,  just wait & see!

Hawkwind & Friends

The Fierce and the Dead

Evil Blizzard

Son of Man

System 7

Ginger Wildheart
The evening climaxed with a stunning set
from the mighty Hawkwind
a fitting end
to another great day.

The Captain, Dave Brock

Mr. Dibs

Dave Brock
Sunday morning saw us again sampling the fine coffees
down at 'Bay Butties'
before Crumbling Ghost, Erin Bennett and Tantarism
followed by some baffling magic from Paul Zenon
the costumes of Screeech Rock had to be seen to be believed
before Prime Sinister
there was children's prize-giving
and a charity auction
so much to see and to do
Hawkeaster was just so much more than just your average festival

Crumbling Ghost

Erin Bennett

Tarantism

Paul Zenon

Screeech Rock

Prime Sinister
Following the break The Membranes rocked the roof off the place
and finally Hawkwind took to the stage for the last time this weekend
to bring everything to a sonic climax, bringing Hawkeaster to a fitting end.

The Membranes

The mighty mighty Hawkwind
So, that was it, an utterly splendid festival and one I have at last had the privilege to attend, thank you to everyone involved in the organisation and running of the event and to each and every one of the artists who performed for us, it was quite literally, out of this world.


GM
April 2018


Wednesday, 28 March 2018

MAVERICK, KAINE & DEPARTED AT MELBOURN ROCK CLUB

The sudden, unexpected and extremely sad death Melbourn Rock Club's founding father, main man and all round great guy, Maurice (Mo) McComb hit us all like a bomb from out of the blue.
The MRC gig at the Eternit Sports and Social Club on Saturday the 24th March was not an official tribute gig for Mo (As he had obviously been party to its arrangement weeks if not months beforehand) but of course, in a way, a very fitting tribute to the great man it turned out to be, with three excellent bands, Maverick, Kaine and Departed playing to the biggest turn out of the MRC, The Fellowship & The Hatfield Rock Den crew for many a day!

The late and very much missed, Mo (Maurice McComb)
In traditional Fellowship style, Fender took up his usual position on top of the speaker stack to enjoy the show and make sure everyone behaved themselves!

Fender sees all!
It was great to see that young band Maverick kicking off the evening in style, these guys have come on a pace (Or several) over the last year or so and they were on great form.

Maverick
https://www.facebook.com/sunlightforhoney/

Next to play an absolutely storming set were the mighty Kaine, fresh from recent massive shows like HRH Metal Meltdown and playing numbers from their outstanding current / new album 'A Crisis of Faith'  these guys are what the New Wave of British Heavy Metal are or certainly should be, all about, a stunning set all round.

Kaine

Kaine's front man Rage Sadler in full flow
https://www.facebook.com/kaineband/

Completing the line up on this evening were the mighty Departed who really rocked on the night (As they tend to do), maybe not officially but it certainly was a fantastic tribute to Mo and all at the MRC for putting on such a great gig.

Departed
https://www.facebook.com/pg/departedbanduk/about/?ref=page_internal


MRC March 2018

It was a sight to behold
it was something to see
The Fellowship, The Rock Den & The MRC
all gathered together
for a very special gig
this one was massive
this one was big
It wasn't Mo's official tribute
but in a way of course it was
for he had arranged the evening
but so many were there because
of Mo's sad and unexpected passing
such a dreadful awful shock
but we were there to honour his memory
and of course to rock
it was good to see Maverick
they've come on at such a pace
Kaine were absolutely magnificent
they totally rocked the place
and Departed gave us some great party rock
a fitting tribute I'm sure everyone would agree
to a great man, what a magnificent legacy
Rock on Mo wherever you are now
we did, and how!

GM

March 2018

Until the next time, keep calm and carry on enjoying live music live!

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

THE GIFT AND IT AT THE ROCK DEN

Those of you who actually read my blog may have noticed that I have been a bit 'quiet' over recent weeks, this is entirely due to circumstances beyond my control, suffice to say that at the moment my gigging and festival activities are somewhat severely curtailed at present, so, when I do manage to get out to a gig, it had better be a good one!

This particular night was supposed to have been a three band line up, Krankschaft, IT and The Gift, unfortunately, despite actually being there at the venue, things happen (That I refuse to go into) and sadly Krankschaft decided to pull the plug on their appearance at the last minute, a real shame for the punters but sometimes, as they say, "Shit happens".

So, there we were, after making the long and arduous journey from Stevenage to Hatfield (I jest) , now to see just IT and The Gift, the upside, and you have to look on the bright side, is that both bands got slight;y longer sets, and, never having seen IT before, this turned out to be very good indeed.

http://itband.tv/

IT in full flow

IT were outstandingly good
I must say I (& my fellow Fellows) were mightily impressed by IT and their current album "We're all in this together" is one of the best prog albums I've heard for a long time and is fast becoming a favourite!

So, on to the headliners, The Gift who never fail to impress, they were on top form this night playing songs from their back catalogue plus of course from the current "Why the sea is salt" album which incidentally is another favourite of mine and well worth a listen.

http://www.thegiftmusic.com/

The Gift, giving it their all

I do love a good twin-neck

The Rock Den massive look on in wonder
So, despite the 'reduction' in the line up these two bands certainly gave top class performances and gave us (The punters) a fabulous night to remember.


The Gift and IT

We may be a little bit crazy
or so we've often been told
but to leave us all standing there
waiting outside in the cold!
Misunderstandings and altercations
and the three band line up
had now been reduced to two
Sometimes bad things happen
but what on Earth else can you do?

So we're down there at the Rock Den
Chris, Peter and me
and now there's just two bands
that we've come down from Stevenage to see
but there's no time to dwell
on what if's, if only's and regrets
the upside was of course
that both bands got to play longer sets
and they certainly didn't disappoint us
they both got it more than just right
IT and the Gift between them
gave us all a truly wonderful night
they were worth every single penny
of the money to get there we'd spent
as someone once said
"Two out of three ain't bad"
I'm so thankfully glad that we went.

G M - February 2018

And so until the next time, whenever that may be, keep enjoying and supporting live music whenever and wherever you are.

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