Tuesday, 26 November 2013


Who? Dr. Who of course, what a weekend! Saturday was most definitely Dr. Who day with the 50th anniversary episode and judging by the number of comments and postings on Facebook, Twitter and the like there seems to be a not insignificant number of people who are both Dr. Who and Progressive Rock fans! Perhaps it was that de diddly dum de diddly dum de diddly dum ahhh ahhh music, the like of which most of us had never heard before unless of course you were a fan of some extremely obscure German experimental electronic music band!

So, just to prove that I too am a nerdy Dr. Who fan as well as a music fan, here I am with my pet Dalek, Eric.

Dalek? What Dalek?
OK, time to get serious, really? Oh well, maybe just a tad, what can I say about the amazing gig at The Borderline in London on Sunday night? Maschine and Haken (Haken rhymes with bacon by the way), absolutely fantastic, one of the gigs of the year for me, this was a real 'double header', both bands on absolute top form and playing to a sold out venue which was also fantastic news for the promoter the wonderful Jon Patrick of The House of Progression.

Sunday was also a great outing for The Fellowship of the Stick with our latest elected member, Mr. Roger Marsh, so all in all a somewhat special occasion.

In the words of Jon Patrick himself:-

A HUGE thank you to EVERYONE for last nights show!!! To HAKEN and Maschine who represented the Future with 2 STUNNING sets! You could never have asked for more. A Sold Out show, 2 phenomenal performances, a superb audience and a massive amount of Love in the room!
A massive thanks to all the staff at The Borderline who gave the bands a bottle of champagne on Ice in their dressing room to celebrate a sold out show.
Please support the House of Progression Shows. It's important. Last night highlighted what is possible!

And the Prog Dog himself, Geoff Banks said-

Absolute praise for Mr Jon Patrick on selling out The Borderline for the HAKEN/ MASCHINE gig tonight (Sunday).I have to say that there would be no Prog scene were it not for him and others championing the music they love for the last decade or so, despite big time promoters coming in and cherry picking events without putting any interest back int the music some of us have loved for years. PLEASE SUPPORT 'REAL' PROMOTERS WHO TAKE CHANCES TO BRING US THE MUSIC WE LOVE

I think that just about sums it up don'y you, so, without further ado, here we go, my way!

It Rhymes with Bacon

All the way down from Peterborough
Roger was on the train
Our newest recruit to the Fellowship
Was out with us once again

We met at the end of the first carriage
When we embarked at Stevenage station
The train was full to standing point
Not an ideal situation

Deciding where to start in London
Can in itself be a decision rather hard
But Kevin suggested we start at Kings Cross
In the new Fullers pub ‘The Parcel Yard’

It is the largest pub in a station
Anywhere throughout the land
A listed building with railway memorabilia
It was indeed rather grand

Roger was presented with his Chantel calendar
Kevin received the obligatory five pound donation
Who would think such fun could be had
In a pub in busy railway station!

Kevin, Chris & Roger

A short hop and skip, quite literally
On the tube to Leicester Square
A walk up the road to the Montague Pyke
For a Sunday dinner in there

Roger had the traditional roast beef dinner
While Grant and Kevin went for the chicken meal
Chris wanted pork but an administrative mistake
Meant he too had a roast chicken too, big deal

The plan was to hit The Crobar
But it’s closed on a Sunday night
The Pillars of Hercules was thankfully close by
So that turned out quite alright

The ‘Pillars’ was definitely the place to be
A veritable who’s who of prog rocks’ elite
Promoters, fans and musicians galore
Absolutely the right place to meet

Geoff Banks, Jon Patrick, Matt Stevens
Jane Armstrong to name but a few
And us of course of the Fellowship
And most of the Celebr8 crew

Then of course it came upon us at last
That wonderful point fixed there in time
To venture forth down to the bowls of the earth
And squeeze in to the old Bordeline

Maschine in full swing

Maschine regaled us with Rubidium
The crowd stood and listened in awe
Luke’s guitar work complex yet so sublime
We all just wanted more, more

But the best was yet to come that night
And no my friends I am not at all mistaken
For they gave the performance of their careers
We were enthralled by the magnificence of Haken

Haken give us their all

There were pictures taken with rock stars
There were CD’s selected and bought
There was fun and humour and Fellowship
There were so many autographs sought

A real rock tart, with Georgia Lewis of Maschine

All too soon the show was over
A walk and a tube ride back to Kings Cross
No time for pasties as trains were departing
We left Roger alone, sob, so cruel of us

But his train was not until later
Too late for those Stevenage bound
And Kevin had promised us a lift home
Which was better by far, for us, all round

But what an absolutely splendid occasion
A jolly good afternoon, evening and night
Will we do it again? Do you really need to ask?
Of course we will, very soon I suspect, alright!

Grant Meaby

Here is a useful link or two:-

So, that's about it for now, happy gigging, until the next time, see you the next time round the plastic spiral, bfn, G.

Saturday, 9 November 2013


Well I must say, it's been a while since I've been to a purely Heavy Metal gig and the last few I have been to have been more hardcore, doom, black, thrash type of gigs, what I needed, what I wanted, what was promised was a night of good classic melodic metal, twin guitars, flying hair, clear vocals (singing rather than screaming) and that my friends is what this particular tour not only promised but also delivered, oh yes indeed, did it ever, it delivered by the bucketful!

Once again I have to give all credit to Bob Mardon & his crew at Club-85 especially to Roger King who promotes many nights at 85 and who reminded me that this gig was on and to Matt (Red) Turner who did an excellent job on the sound.

Matt hard at work

It was also good to see a significant contingent down / over from Cambridge, it's taken a long time to 'cement' the Herts / Cambs relationship and cross fertilisation but it seems to happening more and more which is a very excellent state of affairs for local live music.

So, First up were Southampton's Toledo Steel, and very good they were too:-
Toledo Steel

And then the always excellent Neuronspoiler:-


And then came a real treat, Wardrum all the way from Greece and only their 2nd ever UK performance:-


The evening was suitably 'topped off' by those darlings of the London metal scene, our own local heroes, Neverworld who played an absolutely storming set:-


Now, for this particular gig I went along on my own, there were of course a lot of people there I knew and it was especially good to see the Cambridge crew (Several of whom I know well from CRF).

I arrived at Club-85, sober
(Unlike the last day of October)
No stopping for real ale
In the Nightingale
This time t there wasn’t time
And I was alone
No fellowship
On my own
The lone metal-head
On a quest for melodic twin guitars
Resounding riffs, clear vocals
Flying hair, leather and yes
The resounding sound
Of Heavy Metal

Southampton spawned Toledo Steel
Kicked the off show
With a lovely early Maiden-esque feel
Impressed I must say was lil’ ol’ me
I bought the CD
And then Neuronspoiler
Dirty & loud
Did us proud
Before Greece’s Wardrum
They appeared to have fun
Only their 2nd ever UK gig
They’re gonna be big
And then the stars of the show
Neverworld, those local heroes
A storming set
Albeit too short, yet
Time waits for no man
And neither does First Capitol Connect
My mind still singing
My head still ringing
To the sound of four excellent bands
Sitting on the last train
I’m thinking
Club-85, you did it again!

Grant Meaby


Sunday, 3 November 2013


Well, who'd have thought it?
Well actually 'our own' dedicated independent music venue, Club-85 in Hitchin, run by the amazing Bob Mardon and his team of wonderful sound engineers, lighting team, door and bar staff and promoters put on gig after gig of the highest quality, a lot of the time featuring local bands, new bands, young bands, theme nights, medium sized touring bands, but every now and then (Thankfully somewhat frequently of late) really pulls one out of the bag and we get treated to a top class band that we can see 'locally' rather than having to make the trek down to London or beyond.
Halloween night 2013 was such a night, a 'Bob Promotion', Hawklords supported by the Deviant Amps.

It was good to see such a healthy turn out for this gig, Deviant Amps are a great outfit and I'd happily go an see them in their own right, they even had an exotic dancer which for the crusty old space rocking blighters like me (& Chris and Peter) was a welcome bonus!

Hawklords were fantastic, they played for about two hours with a great selection of songs from the new album, Dream the previous album We are One and a selection of (mainly Bob Calvert era) Hawkwind where I'm sure Ron Tree (Vocals) actually becomes taken over by the spirit of Calvert!

Be sure, Hawklords may be a Hawkwind spin off but they are not a Hawkwind tribute act nor do they concentrate on a set of mainly old Hawkwind numbers, they are very much their own band, fresh, enthusiastic and making lots of great new space rock and the Club-85 crowd very much got into The Spirit of the Night!

So, in my somewhat traditional style, the night was 'captured' in a very special rhyme, this time dedicated to 'Our Kev' who sadly could not make it along that night.


Never has there been such a night
I / we missed Kevin alright
Good though it was
He was in our thoughts because
Tiredness had him in its sway
It of course followed on from yesterday
Nightingale sang for us early on
Gathered as the Fellowship only three strong
Albeit without Kevin but
Lo and behold
Every story has to be told

Chris, Peter and Martin in the hat

Club-85 just down the street
Let us proceed and others to meet
Because there’s live music to be heard
8pm & even ‘Tall Paul’ was there again
5 strolling space rock proggy friends

Merlin & 'Tall Paul'

Deviant Amps took to the stage
Even they had a
Vivacious dancer
I liked her
And so did Chris and Peter
Not that we’d ever meet her
Tonight was for other matters

Deviant Amps with dancer

And the Deviant Amps were excellent
Mind blowing space rock they way it’s meant
Psychedelic and


Hawklords took the stage by storm
And they played for two hours or more
Wreaking havoc in our brains
Killing off the ghost of Hawkwind
Let this band be recognised as themselves
Oh yes indeed
Ron Tree was wicked, made us smile
Dressed in a manic Red Indian

Ron Tree - Vocals

Jerry Richards - Guitar

Harvey Bainbridge - Keyboards

Dave Pearce - Drums 

Adrian Shaw - Bass

What an absolutely splendid night, sad that Kev couldn't make it and we all wish him well, but a truly epic night none the less and the Club-85 crowd certainly got into it.

Just a few of the '85' crowd

So after the Ozric Tentacles on Wednesday and the Hawklords on Thursday I was so glad I'd booked Friday off as holiday as I was completey spaced out!

Cheers all, until the next time round the plastic spiral.
Grant Meaby


Friday, 1 November 2013


Wednesday 30th October and we were off to the capitol once more, this time to see the legendary Ozric Tentacles at the O2 Academy, Islington, supported by Forked Tongue and Mantis Mash.
For a change we started not in London but in St. Evenage in what is lovingly known as 'The Newtown Spoonies', there were several reasons for this, most importantly Chris, Kevin & myself had no particular desire to stay at work any later than 16:00, secondly FOOD (It was 'Chicken Wednesday' in Weatherspoons and of course because Paul couldn't get down to Stevenage until after 17:00 as he works the furthest away and last by by no means least, you need four people to get a 'Group 4' travel card and save lots of money on the rail fare.

So, suitably refreshed and with Paul now present we headed off down to London, through to The Angel, and into another Weatherspoons, The Glassworks, so that Paul could eat and the rest of us have another wee drinkie (Apart from Kevin who was driving later that night).

Of course to negotiate the Underground meant riding up and down on those dreaded things commonly known as, I find it hard to say or type, the, er, ESCALATORS, arghhhh...............................

Back on the horse that threw me!
OK, so what about the gig? First on were Forked Tongue who I would describe as 'Space Rock meets Punk meets Urban Rap', Sounds like a horrible combination but, not only does it work it works very well indeed, different, interesting and well worth seeing.

Forked Tongue in full sway
Next up was Mantis Mash, electronic dance trance DJ sort of thing, now please don't get me wrong, I love a lot of spacey electronica, dance, dub etc. Zetan Spore, Eat Static etc. but this guy bored me (& many others) witless, it wasn't bad, it was just all too samey and went on for far too long, still, it was a great opportunity to catch up on some sleep!

Mantis Mash

Me during Mantis Mash

But, well worth waking up for was the Ozric Tentacles, very much so indeed, if you want to know the bands history then look them up on Wikepedia or something, they were sublime, played a long set and a nice mix of numbers stretching back through their 30 years history and  tonight's gig (Strangely enough) was part of their 30th anniversary tour.

The Ozric Tentacles
In order not to embarrass myself I will not put on public record that I really like the Bass player, Brandi, bugger, I told myself I wasn't going to say that, oops, too late.

The current Ozrics line up is:-

Ed Wynne - guitar, keyboards, synthesizer, samples, koto, fretless bass, programming
Brandi Wynne - bass, synthesizer
Silas Wynne – keyboards
Paul Hankin-Conga Paul-Original and Founder Band Member
Bal√°zs Szende - drums

Now, instrumental rock is like Marmite, you either love it or you don't, I do, I did, for me one of the gigs of the year, one of, there have been so many and there was tomorrow night still to come!

The lights, the colours, The Ozrics

Ozrics Wednesday

Starting at Weatherspoons in Stevenage
On Wednesday the 30th of October
‘Chicken Wednesday’ & nice beers
But Kevin was staying sober

So we sat we ate we waited
For our Smiffy to arrive
Then it was off to the railway station
Another night in London to survive

It was straight down the tube to the Angel
And the Glasssworks so Paul could eat
They were doing ‘Chicken Wednesday’ too
Another tasty treat

We sauntered across to the O2 Academy
Thank goodness it was open upstairs
For there were the comfy sofas
And the lovely soft leather chairs

‘Forked Tongue’ were interesting & different
Sort of Space Rock meets punk meets rap
But the trancey dancey Mantismash
I’m sorry to say but it was total crap

Still Chris & I managed to grab some shut-eye
Until the Ozrics came on stage
For me they were just brilliant
Among the icons of my age

But instrumental rock’s like Marmite
You either love it or you do not
I did the other’s didn’t much
But the bass player was ‘hot’

The gig ran twenty minutes over time
Late London gigs can be a pain
But we made it back to Kings Cross
For pasties and our train

And when we were back in Stevenage
Kevin gave us all a lift back home
Because when you’re in the Fellowship
You’re never on your own

Grant Meaby


Homeward bound
And so another adventure comes to an end, until the next time (& at this rate it won't be long) BBFN.

Grant - 02/11/13