Tuesday, 29 April 2014


Gosh! Or some other less than wholesome expletive I hear you exclaim, "He's back again already", well I did say it wouldn't be long, after all the Saturday was only a couple of day's after the Thursday of my last blog!

So, what is this one all about, well I suppose the title says it all really, but this event was very special in so many ways:-

The Line Up
Not only was it MRC's 34th Anniversary, it was also Mo's birthday celebration and a goodly gathering of The Fellowship of the Stick and Roger Marsh's first time at Melbourn with us and the first time he had ever seen Four Wheel Drive, I ask you, what could be better than this?

Melbourn Rock Club in Cambridgeshire, strangely enough not that far from the village of Melbourn, is hosted by the Eternit Social Club which of course doubles for the Melbourn and surrounding areas Social Club and it’s far enough away from any neighbours that the music can be LOUD and that’s how we like our rock, nice and loud.

The club was celebrating its 34th Anniversary, it was also very close to the xxth  birthday of MRC stalwart and leader Maurice McComb, yes indeed, a very special night lay ahead, three bands on the bill, bar open from 4pm, access for camping / caravans / motor homes from 4pm, well, it made sense to get there early!

Camp Fellowship
For us this was a pretty well attended Fellowship of the Stick outing, albeit less Peter who had other commitments in London, well not the Commitments, he was off to see the Queen, well the Queen musical, ‘We will rock you’ while we enjoyed the ambiance of a festival like atmosphere as several others were also staying overnight.

Fender was there of course
One of the advantages of getting somewhere like this a bit early was of course we could get the camp site up and running in the daylight and this time, the dry! We could then relax with a few beers as the bands arrived and sound checked, in fact Four Wheel Drive (The headliners) sound check was like a mini gig in itself, after which the band relaxed and chilled out by playing football joined by our own soccer crazy Roger Marsh (I promised I wouldn’t mention the viscous tackle exacted upon Roger by a Daisy but as the same one also got Jamie (FWD Bass & Vocals) I’m sorry I just couldn’t resist) so I won’t mention the Harry Potter sleep suit though.

KGB Making lager
As late afternoon evolved and morphed into early evening it was obvious that Maurice’s avid Facebook campaign to advertise the event was working as more and more people arrived and it was good to see a lot of friends from MRC and CRF and of course the dynamic photo due of Keith & Sally Newhouse.

Sally sallies forth

First band on were ‘Dirty Little Rebels’, a power punk-metal trio who did an excellent job of not just kick starting the music for the evening but also setting a standard for any other ‘openers’ to emulate.

Dirty Little Rebel get us off to a rocking start
Next on the bill were the fairly well known ‘Unit 9’, even those who don’t usually enjoy hardcore / metalcore seemed to enjoy them which was good to see, they certainly turned things up a notch or two.

Unit 9 turn it up a notch
By now the place was pretty well packed, inside and out and it was time for the headline band, Four Wheel Drive to hit the stage, wow! Now here is a band I’ve seen before, met, and knew I liked, their brand of hard twin guitar led rock gets you partying, dancing, drinking, in fact ‘Getting Hammered Again’ the title track from their current EP.

Four Wheel Drive, Rock at its finest
Four Wheel Drive placed a simply flawless set, excellent to the extreme, OK so I’m somewhat biased but that was the reaction also from several people that I spoke to who had never seen or heard them before.
Finishing up with a Zepplin cover and a short AC/DC encore the boys had to pack up and rush off to Luton Airport  for an early morning flight to Geneva and on to play an end of season Apre Ski party in the French Alps on Sunday afternoon!

If you've got hair, flaunt it!

Four Wheel Drive have an up and coming gig in London at The Borderline on 24th May supported by Bad Touch (Another excellent young band)and Black Whiskey, go and see them it will be worthwhile.

Four Wheel Drives Us To Another Adventure

Roger came down from Peterborough
Riding on the afternoon train
I came up from Stevenage
It was adventure time again

Chris picked us up from Arlesey
And then we were Langford bound
To meet up with Paul and Kevin 
To set up our camping ground 

We were off to MRC in Melbourn
Yes we were back again
Some in ‘Kaz De Kamper’
Others in Fender’s Den

Mo opened the bar nice and early
Other campers soon arrived there too
We watched the bands as they sound checked
It was a splendid thing to do

Roger played a game of football
With the guys from Four Wheel Drive
Despite being crocked by a vicious daisy
He made it out alive

Our sleeping quarters were all sorted
Snug and cosy but could have been a little hotter
But at least Roger was sorted for the night
To sleep in his ‘Harry Potter’

Lots of friends arrived like Keith and Sally
Jeff Gilbert and Dave Roberts turned up as well
We made a lot of new acquaintances and friends
Great fun was had and photographed but of some I cannot tell

Dirty Little Rebel gave us some metal punk
To start the evening with some aplomb
Then Unit 9 hit the stage
Like a hardcore sonic bomb

We had burgers from the Barbeque
We had beers and beers galore
(Except for Roger who doesn’t drink)
But he’s still so hardcore

Four Wheel Drive played their hearts out
The best I’ve seen them yet
And the fellowship dancing was magnificent
A night we’ll not forget

There was the ‘Merry Widow’
A sad tale, poor lass indeed
But we made her night a good one
In her hour of need

The biking gamers who insisted
That they were just good friends
Who were they trying to kid
Love will out in the end

Although we stayed until the closing hour
We didn’t overdo it so much this time
Just a few shorts after the beers
And that was surely fine

A good night’s sleep saw us restored
And a nice dry mild morning was there to great us
Toz cooked us all a great breakfast
With the minimum of fuss

All too soon the time had come
For us to say goodbye, so-long, farewell
We headed home happy and content
As I guess you all can tell

So until the next adventure
Whenever that may be
It’s farewell from the Fellowship
And of course from me.

The FotS Breakfast Club

Grant Meaby

Well. that's about all for now, it might be a while until the next time but somehow i doubt it, until then, keep rocking. GM 2014

Monday, 28 April 2014

RED METAL - A Great night of metal at the Red Lion

So there we were, another top class local gig at the Red Lion in Stevenage Old Town, this time it was metal all the way so ably kicked off by relative newcomers to the local scene, ‘Outright Resistance’, it was fairly obvious that these guys have worked hard to rehearse and develop their sound, in places somewhat reminiscent of Machine Head which, in my book is no bad thing.

Outright Resistance

A welcome discovery that was obviously not known in advance by several of the punters was that this gig happened during the Red Lion’s Beer festival and although not a huge event there were a number of really good ales to try including a fabulous dark mild which I really should have taken note of its details but after three could really care much about anything other than the music and the number of old friends there!

Next up were Cambridge / North Herts combo ‘Alone With Wolves’, who are now a very different band from when I saw them a couple of years ago, now with a new singer and with the brutal drumming of James Noble (Who again managed to destroy a snare) this was something quite special, despite the band not being 100% happy with their performance I can assure you that from a punters perspective they turned in an excellent set.

Alone With Wolves

Talking of punters, it was great to see so many members of other bands there as fans supporting local music, not just from the NH metal scene but from the general North Herts music community, not just other band members but a good smattering of promoters and producers too + a lot of the old Club-85 crowd from the early days.

Headlining were the amazing ‘Arms and the Man’ they showed us just what melodic Metal-Core is all about and so obviously had great fun in doing so, that’s the thing about this band, they always entertain and while they may not always take themselves seriously they certainly take the music seriously, tonight they put on a brilliant show and hopefully won a few more fans along the way.

Arms and the Man

Thanks must go to Andy of SoundArc for all his constant hard work putting these shows together and to ‘The Red’ for continuing to provide such a space for live music + having the tasty little beer festival on as well.

All in all a damn fine night.

Red Lion 24 04 14

A night of hair and beards and beers
Chris and I being metalled to the core
Three bands for free and what’s more
An unexpected delight
A beer festival for the night
Dangerous delights

Outright Resistance
Alone With Wolves
Arms and the Man
Rocking ‘The Red’
Like only North Herts metal can
James smashing a snare drum
Tom predicted it would be so
I nearly had my eye’s ‘boobed out’
What a way to go!

How many bands were there as punters?
As well as producers and promoters?
And many from the old Club-85 metal crowd
All down the Red for music nice and loud
And Arms and the Man, as always, just had fun
While showing everybody
How melodic hardcore should be done.

Grant Meaby

Until the next time, which may in fact not be that long, cheers m'dears, stay sane.

Saturday, 12 April 2014


Saturday 12th April and here I am ready to set off on an epic adventure involving buses, trains, perfectly timed meetings in order to get to the Newmarket Beer Festival, with live bands, which was all part of Cambridge Rock Festival's 'Springfest' on over this particular weekend.

Your truly with the perfect shirt for the occasion 

In order for everything to work out as planned and to meet Chris along the way meant that not only did the bus have to turn up on time but also the 1st train, which, by some remarkable but unknown reason, they did! My faith in public transport was restored once more!

So there I was, on the 1st train to Cambridge, on time an in the pre-planned carriage in order to meet Chris as he boarded at Baldock, we were on our way, a quick coffee and change of trains at Cambridge and we were on the 11:44 to Newmarket on a picturesque line winding it's way through the Cambridgeshire countryside.

Remarkably nearer than it appeared on the Google map, the Memorial Hall was only a short walk down the road from the station and that is where we were heading.

Newmarket Memorial Hall

We arrived just after 12 mid day and although the Festival had opened at 11am the early lunchtime trade was quiet but the upside was that it was easy to get to that all important bar and dive into the first real ale of the day, a nice hoppy, light summer ale 'Celtic Queen' from the Iceni Brewery at 4%.

Not want to overdo things too quickly we swiftly followed up with Bartram's Brewery 'John Peel' a nice 3.7% 'session' beer, and the stage was there and waiting for the first band of the afternoon.

The stage was set and ready to rock and roll

In order to be nicely lubricated for the first band we found a splendid dark beer, 'Black Abbot' at 4.5% from the Indie Brewery, OK, now we were ready to rock!

Double Shot, excellent blues rock
 What a splendid way to start off the day's musical offerings, the fairly newly formed 'Double Shot' gave a great helping of blues rock to set those feet dancing (OK, the beer helped) but they did a fine job and their rendition of the Rory Gallagher classic 'Shadow Play' was one of the best versions I've heard in many a day.

It was lovely to see that the hall had somewhat filled up by now, the bar was busy and there were so many faces and friends from CRF and other local festivals and musical events, there was a lot of chatting and catching up to do, but first, a quick escape down the high street for food.
Bypassing the KFC we made for the local Halal Chicken shop which was not only a damn sight cheaper but also very tasty indeed with portions enough to fill even the most ravenous beer monster!

Lunch done I suppose it was time to get silly, Milestone Brewery 'Somer's' Wheat, a strong and very hoppy summer ale at 5.5% should do the trick, it certainly did, time then for the 2nd band of the day, 'Beguiled' .

What can I say about 'Beguiled'? I enjoyed them musically but at times the vocals were a bit weak, maybe it was the vocal PA but I don't think so, but, after a somewhat 'shaky' start they got right into their thing and served up some very good twin guitar work quite reminiscent of a certain well known Canadian prog rock band, I'm sure if you asked any of the guys in 'Beguiled' who one of their favourite bands they'd be in a 'Rush' to tell you!

Beguiled rock the stage

It was time to venture back to the Dark Side, the Purple Moose Brewery's 'Dark Side of the Moose' at 4.8% certainly hit the spot and a nice surprise was that a certain Kevin, having taken the Tiger out for a spin, turned up in time for 'Soulweaver'.

Tie that Tiger down, tame it my son.

With the Tiger nicely restrained outside we reached the point of the afternoon that many had been waiting for, 'Mr. Cambridge Rock Festival', Dave Roberts, introducing the one and only, 'Soulweaver'.

Dave introduces THE band of the afternoon, Soulweaver.

 There is something about 'Soulweaver', in fact there are many things about about 'Soulweaver' that make them very special, not only are they a great live band, the albums are great too but they are such lovely down to earth people and anyone, like Mark & Em, who combine a very heavy rock and roll work life with home education of their tribe of 'Mini Weavers' and get an Ofsted rating higher than most schools in the country, well, it's no wonder they have built up a very solid fan base, the 'Weavers' who, including us, were there en mass for this gig.

Mark gets us singing along

Emma, bassist extraordinaire

Soulweaver in full flow
Now, what to quaff during 'Soulweaver's' set? We made the mistake of trying a Burton Bridge, 'Stairway to Heaven' a 5% hoppy summer ale that had been somewhat over 'Burtoned' with a very sulphurous tang that made it smell like you were trying to drink a smelly fart!, That was quickly dumped in favour of a lovely rich Milestone Brewery 'Rich Ruby' at 4.5% which really lived up to it's name and hit the spot.

'Soulweaver' gave us a number, I think six, new songs from the forthcoming album, damn good they were too, there was dancing, there was singing along, there was fun and at the end a lovely photo gathering of the 'Weavers' (Apart from us who were of course taking the pictures!).

The 'Weavers' en mass, a real family thing
 What an afternoon, Real Ale, Real Music, Real People, Real Friends, after waving Kevin and the Tiger off it was time for Chris and myself to wander round, chat to people, finish off with another 'Somers's Wheat' and head off to the station for our journey home.

Chris points out the 'Soulweaver' Merch Desk (In case anyone missed it!)

All in all a jolly splendid adventure, so good to see so many people turn up, there was an evening gig to follow that sadly we couldn't stay for and another day of festivities on the Sunday, I can't wait for CRF this summer.

Cheers m'dears, that's it for now, so, until the next time, keep rocking!

Grant Meaby - April 2014 All words, pictures, thoughts above, Copyright GM 2014.