Sunday, 27 October 2013

Cultural London & Touchstone and the Von Hertzen Brothers at The Garage

A Fellowship of the Stick 'Event'
Well, Friday the 25th of October 2013 and we were off again down to London to see Touchstone and The Von Hertzen Brothers at 'The Garage' in Islington, but, as is so often the case, before that we had a long lunchtime and afternoon to spend doing 'Other things' in London and this time, rather than spend all of our time sitting in some nice warm pub getting slowly mellow we decided to combine a much smaller pub crawl with some sensible tourist like sight-seeing, oh yes.

And, for the hard core music fans, there is a bit at the end about the gig, honestly, there is, just scroll down the page or better still, read through and you'll understand the comment made by the lovely Mr. Jym Furlong on his blog (There is a link to Jym's blog at the bottom too).

So, here follows The Fellowship's Cultural tour of London, warning contains graphic images!

The Cultural Tour of London

Sometimes decisions just have to be made
Even, dare I say, for common sense to prevail
We could have spent all afternoon drinking
In wonderful London pubs, supping splendid ale
But if we had have done that
We wouldn’t have been fit for the gig
So we decided to go strolling around London
Looking for adventures small and big

Our usual starting point, The Euston Tap

Of course it wasn’t a ‘dry’ trip, oh no
Some excellent pubs did feature along the way
But we put in lots of walking time
To go a sight seeing this splendid day
We started at The Euston Tap, as usual
And then on to the Bree Louise
For splendid ales and delicious fish and chips
The taste buds so to tease

Kevin & Chris in The Bree Louise
Forgoing the pleasure of the buses
We took the tube train to Green Park
Where people sat in deckchairs in the sun
And we posed for photo’s, made our mark

We made sensible use of the deck-chairs
Then down to Buckingham Palace
But we didn’t see the Queen
I’m sure she would have liked to meet us
And ask us where we’d been

We stopped off in The Bag’o’ Nails
Before once more setting off exploring
We found a small park of bronze statues
Which proved to be anything but boring
As demonstrated by Kevin & Chris
Riding upon Lions and leaping deer
Then it was off to Grosvenor Square
All the Embassies are here

Obviously designed for such use

Tally ho! Very British

Kevin came to the rescue of a man
Precariously balanced above a pit
As he struggled with a ladder and a fence
But that’s not at all the best bit
He was trying to retrieve a lighter 
And some sort of electrical lead
Thank heavens for super Kevin
Who stepped up in this hour of need!

Or, 'How to break in to an Embassy without being arrested'
Tucked away down a hidden cobbled street
We found a splendid old pub, The Grenadier
So we stopped to sup another pint
And soak up the atmosphere
Soon it was time to wind our way
Through twisting alleys and hidden streets
Back to the Tube and off and away
In search of other treats

Tucked away in an almost secret location
So on to Highbury and Islington
And straight into The Fighting Cocks
Where we met up with many friends
Oh yes, indeed my friends, Prog rocks
The Garage, that’s the music venue
Was very close by to the pub
So we had time to sink a couple more
And to grab some tasty grub

Touchstone were absolutely brilliant

Touchstone take a bow
There were too many friends to mention
We met them all there that night
Touchstone were simply amazing
The Von Hertzen Brothers just right

The Von Hertzen Brothers
We even welcomed Roger to the Fellowship
We had so much amazing fun
It made a nice change from just drinking
The Fellowship cultural tour of old London

We welcomed Mr Roger Marsh to the ranks of The Fellowship (Photo courtesy of Jym Furlong)

The traditional Fellowship greeting (Photo courtesy of Jym Furlong)
I know all the prog fans out there will be looking for a detailed review of who played what, from which album, how well it was delivered, what was the set list and all that kind of stuff and there are so many reviews, formal and personal 'out there' in ether land, suffice to say that Touchstone were absolutely fantastic, really spot on, played a few from their back catalogue but lots from the new / current album 'Oceans of Time' which is well worth getting and The Von Hertzen Brothers were also extremely good and cannot fail to make anyone who likes their 'Classic Rock' nice and loud, progressive and melodic, we certainly do and we did.

The audience was amazing, so many of our friend were there that it would be daft or crass for me to try to list them as I'm almost certainly make a fool of myself (Not difficult) and miss someone important, so, what I would really like to say is that there is another great blog about the event by our good friend Mr. Jym Furlong (Who I nicked a couple of the photo's from) which actually says a lot of things I perhaps wanted to say but he beat me to it so go read Jym's blog too, go on. do it, please.

Here is a link to Jym's Blog:-

All in all a very damn fine splendid night indeed which of course was preceded by a very sensible afternoon!

Cheers all.
Grant Meaby

Wednesday, 23 October 2013


Here we go again, those Corona Shirt wearing crazies were at it again in style and for a very good reason.

The birthday boy!
This blog is in honour of Peter actually reaching senior statesman status as we celebrated his 10th anniversary of being 50.

Friday 18th October 2013 and Kevin, Hazel & I were somewhat tired after our excursion the night before to see Deep Purple at the Roundhouse but it was Friday, it was Peter's birthday bash at the Arlesey Football Club Function Room (Anyone who lives in the area will know where it is, but for anyone who doesn't, suffice to say it's way out 'In the sticks'.

One of the reasons for the event being held where it was was the fact that they have a music license and NO sound limiter which meant the band, and it was indeed a cracking band, could play as loud as they needed too.

Paul & I put the banner up as straight as we could!

Apart from Peter's many family and friends this was a really special Fellowship do, except for our erstwhile northern member and the one in Holland we were all there, Peter, Paul, Chris, Kevin, me, Sally & Hazel, the only notable exception was Fender who apparently refused to leave his den!

All of us crazy lot (Main photo courtesy of Sally Newhouse (Punkrocksal media))

So, we were all there, so was the beer, and the X-Certs were playing, a recipe for a jolly fine splendid do, which of course it was.

The X-Certs a damn fine band indeed
Peter likes planes, old ones, and his birthday cake was something to behold, it was a Spitfire!

Peter's cake
Now, there's a very strange tradition that goes with the X-Certs, Sally and the Bowie song "Queen Bitch" that the X-Certs play a cracking version of, as soon as the line "In her bipperty boppity hat" is sung, out come the hats which have to be donned, swapped and bounced around in, it's fun, we are not crazy, we are not crazy.

Bipperty boppity hat time

Of course, as this was a Fellowship event, it had to be captured for the Chronicles, so, without further ado;

Peter’s Birthday Party

Now Peter had a birthday
It was a very special one
He’s reached the age of sixty
So it was time to have some fun
Now the Arlesey Football Club
Is somewhat out of the way
But the advantage of hiring such a place
Is that a good band could come and play
Yes Peter had the X-Certs
And all the Fellowship were there
Corona shirts to the fore
Dancing without a care
We even maintained Sally’s tradition
‘Queen Bitch’ with bipperty boppity hats
What were the other guests thinking?
Perhaps best to not dwell on that!
Peter had a birthday cake
That we all did admire
It was fashioned as an aeroplane
In the shape of an old Spitfire
There were family and friends
Workmates and Fellowship galore
And the X-Certs played a fine set
The crowd called out for more
What a way to celebrate a birthday
It was all in all a very splendid event
Peter’s 60th birthday party bash
We’re all so glad we went
So here’s to Peter once again
We’ll raise a glass to drink your health
We wish you many, many more years
And perhaps a bit of wealth!

Grant Meaby


What on earth will we get up to next? That remains to be seen, so, until the next time, keep having fun, it's what keeps you young.
GM Oct 2013

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Deep Purple at The Roundhouse

It's not often that I get to go out three nights running but this week that's just what I did and that's why this blog is a little late!

Thursday 17th October saw myself and Kevin heading off straight after work down to London to swan about Camden for a while before going off to see Deep Purple at The Roundhouse.

After a swift pint at The Elephant's Head we headed to Camden lock to the market for our favourite 'As much as you like for £4' Chinese , mmmm 'bang bang' chicken.

Bang bang chicken
Then it was off to the Lock Tavern for a couple of nice ales to while away the time before heading off to the Roundhouse.

Kevin resplendent in his Rock Club T

I sit there lonely as a ........ No, wait a minute, Kev's gone for more beers
So, there we were, in the queue outside the Roundhouse listening to a number of people who seemed to have travelled somewhat further than us to be here, one group of German fans had flown over from Dusseldorf in the afternoon and were flying back at 5am the next day!

The Roundhouse is a splendid and excellently run and most civilised venue and what's more the bar actually has beer and a range of lagers and ciders, i.e. it's not just bloody Carling or Strongbow like some of the other venues.
Now I've read a few 'professional' reviews of the evening and I must say there are some I agree with and some I wholeheartedly don't, anyway this is my blog and my opinion so, here goes.

I don't have any splendid pictures of the band as i did not have my camera with me just my little Nokia phone, anyway, whoever was responsible for booking RockBox as support needs a pat on the back, yes, so they are 'only' a covers band, but come on, all the band dressed as Angus Young except the singer who sang most songs through a megaphone, two walk about drummers, an excellent guitarist and the bass lines supplied by a huge brass horn, they were a hoot and certainly brought a few smiles to those around us!

At this stage we were joined by our friend Hazel who had just got back from the Netherlands and by now the crowd was certainly thickening up somewhat!

In anticipation

Kicking off with an impressive intro, Mars, the bringer of war, it somehow didn't seem pretentious for the occasion, and so, enter Deep Purple who treated us to a set well over 100 mins long playing a mixture of old classics and a selection from the current album 'Now What?'

 So here's the set list:-
Apr├Ęs Vous
Into the Fire
Hard Lovin' Man
Vincent Price
Strange Kind Of Woman
Contact Lost
A pretty wicked guitar solo from Steve Morse
Uncommon Man
The Well-Dressed Guitar
The Mule including Ian Paice's drum solo (Which didn't go on too long thankfully)
Above And Beyond
A fine keyboard Solo by Don Airey
Hell To Pay
Another keyboard Solo by Don Airey
Perfect Strangers
Space Truckin'
Smoke On The Water

And for the Encore:
Green Onions (A cover of the old Booker T and the MG's number)
Black Night 

It's all here in black and white!

I know there are many die hard Purple fans out there who will never like any version of the band without Richie Blackmore and / or 'No one can replace Jon Lord' but if you have been a Deep Purple fan as long as I have you might just know that they started off very much as a blues rock band, with many different members even from the (So called) classic line up.
Anyway Steve Morse is as fantastic guitarist has now been Deep Purples guitarist longer than Blackmore ever was and Don Airey is one of rocks hardest working keyboard players and has been playing keyboards in Deep Purple for years after Jon Lord retired which was way before he sadly passed away.
So, adding all the above to the fact that Ian Gillan's voice did not sound strained, the rhythm section of Ian Paice and Roger Glover were absolutely spot on, Deep Purple turned in one of THE gigs of the year, certainly for me, my friends and judging by the reaction of the crowd, for an awful lot of other people too, I get the feeling that this was one of those 'It was really good to be at' gigs.

Cheers me dears, until the next time.

Grant Meaby - October 2013

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

DREADZONE AT CLUB-85 HITCHIN 12th October 2013

Saturday 12th October saw Chris, Ignatius and I heading off to Hitchin for what was indeed a most splendid gig, we were off to see Dreadzone supported by Ting & Ra & the Iries.

Electro-dub pioneers Dreadzone formed in 1993 when ex-Big Audio Dynamite drummer Greg Roberts teamed up with Tim Bran, with the duo soon joined by bassist Leo Williams and keyboardist Dan Donovan, also formerly of Big Audio Dynamite, completing the group’s first line-up.
A festival favourite, Dreadzone opened the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 1994 and began to bring their unique blend of electro, dub and reggae to a wider audience, going on to chart seven Top 60 singles (including their Top 20 hit ‘Little Britain’) and are still going strong after 20 years

This year, 2013 Dreadzone celebrate 20 years in the business with the release of their 7th studio album 'Escapades' which was recorded at Mick Jones’ studio and Dread Central in West London it sees the return of founder member Tim Bran on co-production/writing and keyboard.
The album also features Mick Jones on ‘Too Late’ and vocalist Lena Cullen (Engine-Earz /She Is Danger) on ‘On my way’ & ‘Music of the Shperes’.

The core members are Greg Dread, original bassist Leo Williams, the unmistakable MC Spee, legendary reggae vocalist Earl 16 alongside Chris Compton on guitar and Bazil on technology who make up the current Dreadzone live line up.

Hit records, critical acclaim and a massive devoted fan base are theirs, due in no small part to their utterly amazing live shows.

As well as live favourites from their back catalogue, including ‘Little Britain’ and ‘Captain Dread’, the band showcased several new tracks from Escapades.

MC Spee in action

Dreadzone 12/10/13

Rise up, brothers and sisters, the time is now”
And so we did, and how

Good nights in Hitchin start in the Nightingale
As they so often do
With good company, me, Chris and Ignatius
Colley’s Dog and cider too

Chris & Ignatius

And then off we went down the road to Club-85
For Dreadzone’s annual gig
A small venue for such a well-known band
Who’s following is pretty big

People had travelled down from the north
Even some from overseas
To see this legendary band play their Dub
Fronted by the inimitable MC Spee

Dreadzone in action
Now what was a surprise in an evening with many
Was to see ‘Tall Paul’ & Co.
Apart from the blues and the rock and the prog
He’s a fan of dub you know

'Tall Paul' and me (with pint)

Support for the evening was also a delight
Ting & Ra and the Iries
Ska, dub, reggae, Ska Punk with brass
And beautiful harmonies

Ting & Ra and the Iries

When Dreadzone took to the stage
We loved every bit of it
MC Spee gave those noisy people down the front
A lesson in gig etiquette

Oh yes indeed

We sang along we drank too much
We bounced along with the crowd
When you listen to the finest Dub like Dreadzone
You need it nice and loud

“Rise up, brothers and sisters, the time is now
And so we did, and how.

Grant Meaby

I of course bought a copy of the new album at the gig, I always like buying direct from the band because then you know they actually get the money! Never ones to shy away fro socio-political comment or astute observations on life, this album is excellent, for me the outstanding tracks being 'Next Generation', 'Rise up' and 'Too Late', but don't take my word for it, go listen to them and see what you think.

An excellent night indeed.

Cheers m'dears, until the next time.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Chantel McGregor and Mostly Autumn at the O2 Islington

Saturday the 5th of October 2013 and it was the first Fellowship of the Stick outing to London for a very long time, not only that but my daughter Vicky was down from up north with her friends so a meet up just had to be done and where better that to meet at the Euston Tap.

Grant & Vicky in the middle
Chris and I had travelled down together on the early afternoon train so we could get to the Euston tap to meet Vicky  and her friends for a drink and then meet up with Kevin and Peter, it obviously worked:-

The Fellowship +
As those of you who know the area might observe that we had moved from the Euston to the Cider Tap.

Time has a very strange way of accelerating and moving on so fast when you are having fun and enjoying yourself, all to quickly it was time for us to jump onto a bus and head off to Islington, the first stop was of course at the Glassworks for some food and another ale or two.

Peter, Chris, Grant & Kevin enjoy a beer in the Glassworks
Tonight's gig featured two of our favourite artists, Chantel McGregor and Mostly Autumn and it was an early one, doors opening at 18:00 for an 18:30 start, it was lovely to see Chantel's mum Janet on the merch desk, we of course stopped for a chat, even nicer was when we got into the venue proper Chantel came over to say hello and have a pre gig chat.

Chantel looking somewhat happy
Now we have been following the career of Chantel McGregor for some time now and although I admit to being slightly biased, Chantel's talent has always been there, she is a master of the guitar, her songwriting is excellent as is her voice, what has developed, beyond all recognition, is her confidence and with it her stage presence, what a show she delivered, it seems an injustice to call her a blues rock guitarist but that is her best known genre and to win over a crowd of 'mature' prog fans and have them eating out of your hand is one thing, to take a classic Yes 'outro' with a cheeky "I'm going to play a bit of prog for you" and turn it into a stunning piece all of its own and to 'own' it was quite something else!

Chantel was on fire that night

So, Mostly Autumn were the headliners, I could have happily gone home after Chantel, but, I do like M.A. a lot and as soon as they started, that was it, I was hooked once again, a stunning set and now that Olivia really fronts the band with confidence they were superb. I've seen M.A. a few times now over the years, always enjoy they live but tonight they too were on fire.

Olivia has us transfixed
A fair bit from Ghost Moon Orchestra and from their extensive back catalogue, no prize for guessing what they finished with (All M.A. fans will know) but what a brilliant night, one of the gigs of the year so far for me and I suspect for many who were there.

M.A. in action

The journey home after this gig was interesting but perhaps best saved until another day!
So fare thee well and stay safe, until the next time.

Words and pictures copyright G. Meaby 2013 All rights reserved.