Sunday, 11 May 2014


So a slightly smaller turn out by FotS standards but, what the heck, when three or more are gathered etc. 

This night had the promise of being something very special indeed, not only had one of the original bands had to pull out due to illness but they were replaced on the bill by the amazing Kelly Oliver and it was the CC Smugglers 'Homecoming' gig at Club-85 in Hitchin.

I have frequently mentioned Club-85 and the fantastic job that Bob and the crew do to keep live music and local music alive and forgive me but as it's something I'm passionate about I'll keep mentioning it.
Tonight's gig was in the 'Roots 'n' Roll' series of gigs, with a relaxed atmosphere and a real club type setting and a fantastic turn out that surely should have the event's promoter, the wonderful Roger King very happy and I also have to make special mention of the excellent job on the sound by Matt Turner coping with four different styles of music, strange instruments and many artists.

So, first on was Kelly Oliver, Kelly is an up and very much coming young Folk singer from Stevenage and I must say she absolutely wowed us, coming fresh from her session with 'Whispering' Bob Harris, not that she sounds anything like her but I got that same goose-bumpy feeling listening to Kelly as I did the first time I ever heard Joni Mitchell (Some time ago).

Kelly Oliver

Kelly writes her own material, plays guitar and harmonica and I can highly recommend her EP 'Far From Home', quite honestly it's stunning.

Next up were Hoddeson boys, Suburban Dirt with their Dylanesque style of dirty 'Trailer Trash' style of southern blues, all in all a pretty good set they delivered too.

Suburban Dirts

It's been some time since we've seen Nick Stephenson in this part of the world, well certainly not at Club-85 for a while that's for sure and tonight he was back with a vengeance with his cohorts, the Sun Machine, passion, soul, energy, the well crafted songs had all of this and more, Nick and the Sun Machine are a band to watch out for and one I'd certainly like to see again

Nick and the Sun Machine

Well, the evening had been pretty damn good so far and the best was yet to come, unless you've been hiding under a rock somewhere you may well have heard of the CC Smugglers and their 'New Roots' music, they are a band on the up and up and judging by the number of festival appearances they did last year and are lined up for this year you'll probably come across them somewhere!

Tonight was their homecoming show and boy oh boy were the boys up for it, they were out to put on a fantastic show, which they did, have a lot of fun, which they did, and make sure we, the punters also had a good time, which we did!

CC Smugglers in full swing
The encore, as is often the case, involved the whole band vacating the stage and joining the audience to sing 'Standing in the Street', what a way to end what had been one of the best nights so far this year.

Standing in the Street sung from within the audience

Well this was a Fellowship of the Stick outing after all, so as always requires addition to The Chronicles of The Fellowship!

Smuggled into the Night

When three or more are gathered in His name
Each of course can legitimately claim 
That “Fender made me do it”
Not that this occasion needed any such excuse
I mean, was there any use?

We were three and there was no sign of Fender Bear
Keeper Kevin and ‘Smiffy’ were elsewhere
Roger Marsh was elsewhere too
What were we to do?

The three less than wise monkeys in the Nightingale
Such tales start as they often do
In the Nightingale with a Colley’s Dog or two
And chicken and chips to keep us alive
Then across the road to Club-85

What a turn out, what a night
The Roots ‘n’ Roll Café was buzzing alright
Kelly Oliver took the stage, opening the show
With folk of the sweetest kind, way to go girl, way to go!

The Suburban Dirts with their Dylanesque dirty Trailer Trash Blues
And Nick and the Sun Machine were pretty good too
But everything was building for the headliners
The homecoming show for CC Smugglers
They were so ‘up’ for this gig tonight
Everything went “Well sweet alright”
From the first note until the last we were all having fun
New Roots the way it should be done
Too early yet to say “Gig of the year”
But I have a feeling not a lot will come near
But you never know!

You can see they were having fun :)
In parting, or rather while we were departing
Chatting at the top of the stairs a voice was heard to say
To the gorgeous blonde ascending
“Thanks for walking up the stairs, that was lovely”
The smile said it all, it was OK, it was alright
As we smuggled our way out into the night.

So that is very much it for now, until the next time my friends, keep music alive and live.
Grant Meaby - 11th May 2014

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