Monday, 16 September 2013


Well, here it is, the Monday after and I'm slowly recovering from what was an absolutely splendid three days of music, beer and Fellowship at Balstock 2013.
So, what is Balstock? quite simply it's the biggest free festival in North Hertfordshire if not the biggest free festival in the country with over 160 bands and artists in some 15 venues around the town and spread over three days.

This year the fellowship decided to really pay it justice and go along for all three days, this is just a taster of what was going on!


While it’s true to say we’ve been to Balstock before
And previous years have left us wanting for more
In the past we’ve really only dipped in for a day
But in 2013 we did it, the Fellowship Way

Chris with a small beer
Three days of great music in so many venues
To decide who to see it was difficult to choose
And while there were always the inevitable clashes
We saw so much good music that it didn’t really matter

One of the many bands we saw

Friday night saw us in the rain just wandering around
From venue to venue in search of great sounds
And despite the weather it was so good to see
So many bands out there playing for free

Crap Crab were anything but crap!

Grant had a fine time getting back home
The trains were all late but he wasn’t alone
And to keep them amused at the cold wet station
Neil By Mouth played a gig to lighten the situation

Neil by Mouth gives an impromptu performance at the station

We started our Saturday at The Hen and Chickens pub
With young Ben Bubear on guitar in One Leather Glove 
And despite his arm being all plastered and sore
He entertained the crowd who all wanted more

Despite the plaster Ben rips it up at the Hen & Chickens

We saw people from Hitchin and from CRF too
Catching some fine punk, well what else could we do?
Willie was there because Satan was beaten
The Fellowship moved on after fish and chips had been eaten

Chris, Willy & Kevin

Paul went home with Lynne and then Peter arrived
Kevin’s cold took it’s toll but at least he survived
We saw Hollow Crowns, very good, in the Victoria pub
But poor Kevin departed for a Lemsip and chest rub

And so it was that just three of us were left
Chris, Peter and Grant, of Paul and Kevin bereft
So we made our way to the Engine for Jesus Hooligan
The mass crowd drumming was such excellent fun

The chaotic mayhem brilliance that is Jesus Hooligan

Sunday saw Grant getting over there early
To The Broken Drum to catch Phillip Storey
Before we all (except Peter) met up at The Engine again
To listen to more great bands and to hide from the rain

The amazing Phillip Storey

Traitors played their stunning debut live show
And then Spandex Ballet next door, good grief, oh no!
They played THAT song and many, many more
Has us rolling around in fits on the floor

Spandex ballet have us laughing until we cried

Then it was back to the Engine for the Sharps Hooter set
But the best gig of the day was still to come yet
Joan Ov Arc brought the festival to a rousing close
Those girls really rock and that’s it I suppose

Joan ov Arc rocked the roof off

There’s one last thing to say and that’s a huge thank you
To everyone involved especially to ‘G’ and his crew
And that is that the Balstock Festival 2013
Showcased the very best of our local music scene

The Balstock logo, it's 'G' the amazing organiser

There was something for everyone, that’s my belief
Let’s hope they raised plenty of money for MS relief.

So, I reiterate that last verse, I do sincerely hope that people did dig deep into their pockets and raise a lot of money for this years charity, The Multiple Sclerosis Trust and I'm sure it's not too late to donate or buy one of the fantastic CD's, or even both, I did and I'm so glad I did, they are like an encyclopedia of the best of the local music scene and there are two, Heroes and Villains just £7 each or both for £10, now that's what I call a bargain!  

What will come next? I really can't remember or rather I seem to have lost my ability to see into the future, weekends just don't often come any better than this, so my friends, until the next time, stay safe and keep listening to live music, you know it makes sense.

Grant Meaby - September 2013

Thursday, 5 September 2013


It's not often that you can pop down to one of your local pubs and see a band for free that under normal circumstances you'd be happy to part with a sizable chunk of the old hard earned to do so, well, thanks to the Red Lion in Stevenage, and more especially to the promoters like Trevor who runs 'Blues at the Red' (Formerly Tandoori Blues), Sunday nights is where you can catch some of the best live Blues / Blues-Rock bands on the circuit and all you need is your bus fare there and money for a few beers!

Sunday 1st of September saw the venue play host to the mighty Roadhouse, one of the best Blues-Rock bands around, world renowned and festival favourites as anyone who's 'done' Cambridge or Skegness Rock & Blues will know.

What a great date to pick, Sunday the 1st September, most of us back from our summer holidays and back or just about to go back to work, a warm balmy night and Roadhouse really did the business.

Danny & Bill laying it down
Roadhouse are a fantastic live band, professional, accomplished but full of good humour and are actually very nice people and unlike a lot of other bands, very approachable, the Fellowship especially got to know Danny & Mandie G at Skegness Rock & Blues and it was good to catch up earlier this year at Cambridge and more especially on our own 'home turf' here at Stevenage.

The girls, Sarah & Mandie
One of the things I really love about Roadhouse is that they appeal to a wide spectrum of music fans, Blues, Blues Rock, Rock Blues, Rock in fact anyone who really loves live music played well.

Mandie G giving it some
No support band, just two lovely long sets from Roadhouse where they treated us a selection of songs from the amazing new album, Gods & Highways & Old Guitars and from the Sea of Souls and the classic Dark Angel albums.

Danny and Gary show how twin guitars should be done
For the Fellowship it was our first outing as a group since Cambridge so it was great to catch up before we all started back at work after our family holidays etc. Oh yes, back to work, back to the going out to great gigs!

Roger, stick man extraordinaire
It was really good to see quite a few Cambridge Rock Festival and Skegness Rock and Blues regulars there that night along with the Red regulars and the Sunday night Blues crew, all in all a damn fine night indeed.

The lovely Mandie G, there's nowt like a northern lass to get you dancing
And so, in a traditional manner, here's the little ditty to commemorate the evening in Fellowship style:-

Roadhouse at the Red

Nothing could be better on a lazy Sunday night
When the beers are flowing freely and the music is just right
And you’re with all your mates again and it’s lovely and warm
This shouldn't be an exception, it should be the norm’

So there we were in the Old Town down The Red Lion
For the Sunday night blues our Mecca our Zion
And a band for whom we really wouldn't mind paying
Yes indeed my friends the mighty Roadhouse were playing

If hard rocking blues is your kind of thing
Then Roadhouse deliver which each song they sing
It was so good to catch up with Mandie & all the guys
Crammed into the Lion right before our very eyes

The androgynous drunk wiggled it’s little ass
Some couldn't tell whether it was a boy or a lass
But shaking it right there in front of Kevin was surely risking
More than just a damn good fisting or a frisking!

Some Cambridge Rock Festival goers came along too
And some regular ‘Skeggies’ and the Red Lion Crew
And the Fellowship were there too together once more
Oh yes indeed my friends this is what Sunday nights are for.

Grant Meaby