Sunday, 29 June 2014


OK, so I'm not at Glastombury, for me it's just too big, too muddy and too expensive, undoubtedly some great acts and everything that goes along with the whole 'Festie thing' but never mind, this weekend is still full of music and some!

The Long Weekend of Music Part-1

Thursday 26/06/14

Crap Crab
We’d not seen Crap Crab since last September’s Balstock Festival, we were not alone! Talking to the band it transpires that they can’t remember playing a live gig since then either but have been in the studio and rehearsing heavily whilst developing some new material, it showed, they were on top form, more akin to The Fierce and the Dead than Minor Pilot they ripped through their set with more chord and timing changes than ever as they delivered a consummate set of heavy instrumental tunes that had the Red Lion bouncing along.
Black Noise are Laurence (Larry, or Lazza) Rene’s new project, formed initially as a duo playing their own brand of Dark-wave electronica but have since expanded into a full band.
Laurence is such a charismatic front man as many will remember from his days of ‘Shard’ and ‘My Passion’ but Black Noise are very different, heavier, darker but still very melodic.
I and several others I talked to before Black Noise took the stage wondered how the material developed as a two piece electronica would ‘translate’ to the full band format, especially as they are still in their embryonic form and this being only their 2nd live gig.

Black Noise
After the show when mentioning the same subject a certain expletive beginning with ‘F’ was often expressed! F……amazing, F……Brilliant etc. I’m sure you get the picture.
Many of us had the feeling that we had indeed been treated to something very special and I’m sure with his connections in the music business and with his fame as a DJ on the London Club Scene growing Laurence will take Black Noise ‘up there’ with the likes of Pendulum, Hounds etc. where they unreservedly belong.
Once again SoundArc Live Promotions managed to deliver two top bands, one excellent gig and all for free

There’s nothing crap about Crap Crab
Despite the name
The way they change beats and chords it’s insane
Instrumental rock
Played with aplomb
We bounced we jigged we danced along
And then Black Noise
Darkwave rock 
From these boys
With more than a touch of electronica
And showman Larry at the helm
Their sound had the ability
Your senses to overwhelm
What a night
What a splendid night alright!

The Long Weekend of Music Part-2 

Friday 27/06/14

Friday saw us off to Club-85 in Hitchin for another absolutely splendid gig, having missed their recent London shows and as I’m not going to Sonisphere this year I promised the Fort Hope guys that I would catch them locally at the first opportunity and here it was! I love the album, Courage and I’m proud to say I was one of the sponsors on the crowd funding project they launched to get it made, was it worth it? You bet your life it was and their live performance was quite honestly one of the best by any band I’ve seen for years.

They say the Phoenix rises from the flames
In this case it’s not only true
And it’s fair to say not one but two
Have risen from the ashes
0f what once was My Passion

Last night was Black Noise
Tonight it’s Fort Hope
But first we  really ought
To mention the support
Melon, a fresh young band
Who even took their mistakes in hand
After four attempts to start one song
Somehow each time it just went wrong
So they binned it and carried on
I know a lot of more experienced
And professional bands
Who’d let that sort of thing get out of hand
And they’d probably still be on stage
Arguing themselves into a rage!

Kumara came next with their loyal fans
Great funky rock for summer evenings
Who needs Glastonbury is all I can say
When we’ve got all this locally day after day


Fort Hope, what can I say
They took to the stage and blew us away
Playing songs from the ‘Courage’ album
Yes indeed, the Phoenix has risen.

Fort Hope
What a splendid 2 days so far, but this is only parts 1 & 2, parts 3 & 4 will no doubt follow once I have recovered from the Aghast Fest and that friends is a whole new story! So, until the next time, get out there and support live music, you know it makes sense. 

Grant Meaby

Tuesday, 24 June 2014


So, things have been a little quiet on the gigging and other fronts recently, but here we are, mid year, the longest day has just come and gone and that got me thinking, well reminiscing really I suppose, thinking back to those long hot summers of my youth and about some of the first festivals I ever went to, Watchfield, several Stonehenge festivals until it all went so wrong, and then, lo and behold, out of the blue, my great friend, Poet, Author, all round brother in spirit Ledger De La Bald ups and sends me an e-mail with a link to a BBC article all about Stonehemge festival and the infamous 'Battle of the Bean field' and the second picture in is our old mates from Berkshire!

If you are interested in such things and if you missed it here is a link to the article:-

A group of musicians provide at entertainment at the Stonehenge Free Festival in 1980

We used to have fun there back then, some of us didn't abuse the land, some of us even cleared up afterwards!

With these days in mind, back in 2009 I wrote this:-

I never hallucinate; I just see things that are not there.

Back then, tomorrow seemed an eternity away
We listened to whatever each other had to say
Those pub filled days and hashish nights
Anything was possible, putting the world to rights

We never set out to do any harm
We were young and foolish and had yet to learn
Nothing we did in reality mattered
Illusions we built in time were shattered

And still turns the world in its infinite variations
Our chants our dreams our mystic incantations
Lay smashed against the wall of time’s reality
But it failed to smother our inherent creativity

Instead of changing the world we changed ourselves
Beliefs hidden away like dusty books on forgotten shelves
We kicked against societies doors
Were we pawns in the game or political whores?

We were ether trying to get in or desperate to get out
Caught within a time trap without a doubt
Sold down the river by a right wing legacy
Thatcherism evolved into ‘New Labour’ heresy

Do we still retain a spark of our anarchic socialism?
Or are we divided now by a much wider schism?
All those nights talking endlessly until sunrise
I remember once being horrified and surprised
At the shit filled detritus, destruction and mess
That the free festival ‘Travellers’ just upped and left

We stayed behind to clear up and lend nature a hand
Stuff the ’Freedom’ ; you don’t do this to the land
And we watched our day jobs slip through our nicotine stained fingers
Even after years had passed, it left a bad taste which lingers

I’m inside the system working my way out of this reality
It’s a sign of aging but then again maybe, of a reasoned maturity
Rekindling a spark of the dream that wrongly or rightly
Was held with a passion and once burned so brightly

It’s more than a dream, it’s a lifetime philosophy
And it’s one I‘m now sure that I’ll be carrying with me
Until I burn out like a candle and have faded from memory.

Grant Meaby


The above poem was set to music by Dutch composer & musician Paul Oomes and narrated by the late, great, Ron Hiles, writer, narrator, broadcaster, critic and all round brilliant chap and was used in support of the charity My Breath, My Music which helps children with cystic fibrosis to help overcome their problems by learning and playing wind instruments etc. Not because I wrote the words but because of what it all stands for and in memory of Ron I think it deserves a wider airing, anyway, enjoy:-

If any of you are interested in the history of the 70's free festivals then the following site is well worth a read, somewhere in there I have a short article about Watchfield:-

It will soon be time to get back to the odd gig review and the festival season will soon be upon us, for many it's already started, have a great summer one and all but for now, so long until the next time.

Grant - June 2014

Wednesday, 11 June 2014


I don't often mention or cover Cover Bands here upon this strange old Blog but every now and then one comes across a band that is a little bit different, a little bit special, a little bit gosh!

Well, Sunday 8th June, at Danny's Bar in Esquire's in Bedford it was 'Our' Sally's annual Bipperty Bopperty Birthday Party, let me explain a little more, Sally, aka Punkrocksal, music photographer extraordinaire, mega fit runner, little package of boundless energy that she is Sally is also one of the few lady female type members of The Fellowship.

Now, for Sally's party it is traditional that a certain band play, a cover band like no (or certainly few) others, The X-Certs and I'm pretty sure that anyone who has ever seen the X-Certs will agree, they certainly know how to play and how to party and there is very little they cannot and don't play in the way of genres, eras etc. In fact they are one of the best party bands around, I defy anyone to listen to a set by the X-Certs and not dance!

The X-Certs

It was obvious by the number of people who came to Sally's party that this wonderful lady has brightened so many lives and it was a joy to share in her birthday celebrations.

Hats were in abundance
So why 'Bipperty Bopperty' party and why the hats? Well those of you who know your music may remember a certain song by Mr. David Bowie, 'Queen Bitch' which has the line "In her bipperty bopperty hat" and that song my friends is not only one of sally's favorites but it has become her party theme and it's also one that the X-Certs play so very well, so, mad, silly, crazy hats have to be worn, exchanged, thrown around during that song, simple!

The lady herself

Sally had a Party

This year our Chris he wasn’t there
And missing too was Fender Bear
The former he was Scotland bound
The latter well he’d just been found
Returned after a case of bear-napping
Which happened again at flour-packing
But there were three of us anyway
Kevin, Peter and myself were on our way
To Esquires in Bedford to Danny’s Bar
In Kevin’s shiny new red car
To Sally’s annual birthday bash
In our Corona shirts and looking flash
With Bipperty Bopperty hat’s so fine
We’d all adhered to the party line
And the crowds they did gather there
To drink and dance without a care
The X-Certs played with flair and zest
With added singers and all the rest
And Sally danced the time away
How does she do it? We all did say
Tall blondes came and made us dance
Without Chris there we had a chance
But legs and backs and shoulders too
Complained and ached just as they do
The X-Certs played our Sally’s song
We danced with hats and sang along
And then the party was all but done
We’d had bipperty bopperty fun, fun, fun.

Grant Meaby - June 2014

Kev & Pete with sensible hats

So until the next one, keep dancing.
Grant Meaby, June 2014

Saturday, 7 June 2014

It's not all Doom - Metal Night 06/06/14

So there I was, sitting in the beer garden of the Nightigale and there’s this ex-forces guy in a wheelchair with an artificial leg, well you know what I mean, he had an artificial leg not the wheelchair and it was Friday and it was the 70th anniversary of the D day landings, what’s more, for once I actually avoided the Colley’s Dog and went for the Wolf Brewery Sirius the Dog Star which was incidentally delicious, when this popped along into my head:-

Remember Them

Johnny was doing fine
Until he stepped on the landmine
Now they push him round in a chair
But alas, Johnny’s not there
Johnny’s not there

Billy took a bullet to the brain
He’s not the same
He’s not the same

Dave came home unscathed
At least he appeared that way
But his scars, no one can see
No one can see

Mike’s not coming home
Out there alone
In an unmarked grave
All on his own

Remember them
They fought for Queen and Country
Remember them
They fought for liberty
Remember them
They fought for you and me
Remember them.

Sobering thoughts but I wasn’t going to let that stop me from migrating towards the Colley’s Dog and waving sobriety goodbye as Chris appeared clutching one said pint in his hands!

The Nightingale, our usual meeting place before heading off down to Club-85, this time it was for Metal Night with acclaimed local lads ‘Latitudes’ topping the bill, a night of dark metal, doom metal and the finest instrumental metal, bring it on.

Nice to see such a good crowd but then again the North Herts metal Scene is pretty strong with many stalwart supporters, tonight it seemed was exception coupled with the appearance (At last) of Graven Image and the return of local boys made good, Latitudes, for their 1st local gig in what seems like and may well have been, years.

First on were DARK ASPHYXIA, young melodic death metallers from North Herts
To be fair they didn’t have a great time, good potential though, this was after all only their third gig and everyone has to start somewhere, a bit more practise and work on the stagecraft and rhythm section and I’m sure they’ll do just fine.
Next up were a band that many people had been waiting for, THE GRAVEN SIGN (live debut), this was the first chance anyone had had to see this band, so long in the coming, slick, professional, melodic, influences abound but they have a unique sound that really appeals, vocals reminded me a bit of Danni Filth and musically snatches of Shells, all in all a pretty damn good 1st outing.
Next up were SHOULDER OF ORION, Cambridge based purveyors of progressive black metal.
Where had everyone gone? They deserved a better crowd but after Graven Image and with it being such a fine evening I think there were more people outside the club than in at this stage, shame, all those who missed Shoulder of Orion missed a treat, some really great melodic tunes at times almost hitting off some heavy blues riffs and it was nice to meet the guys afterwards and many thanks for the EP’s ‘Winterstar’ and ‘Lunarborn’ which I can highly recommend.
Finally the time had come, it was the turn of Latitudes to show us what they are up to these days having won a lot of  Critical acclaim and who've been in the studio with Chris Fielding (Napalm Death, Electric Wizard).

I was very pleased to see and not to hear any vocals, they’ were back to doing what the do best, instrumental metal of the finest kind, building dark sound-scapes and tearing them down round your ears, an absolutely storming set and all in all a damn fine evening.
And there you have it, all in all a pretty damn splendid time was had by most, until we do it all again, keep rocking.

Grant Meaby 07/06/14

Monday, 2 June 2014

CELEBR8.3 - The Fellowship Celebrate Celebr8

Well, what a weekend, first and foremost I want, on behalf of all the supporters, fans, loyal disciples, casual punters, myself and my friends, to say a huge public THANK YOU to Jon Patrick (Twang) and the crew (They know who they are) for what was an Immense weekend of the finest Progressive Music in London, secondly thanks go to the bands for putting on great performances and lastly but by no means least, to the Fellowship, my friends, friends of the Fellowship and everyone who had a laugh at the whole 'Metal Sausage' thing, we salute you.

So, as usual, if you wish to read a blow by blow critical account of what each band played and how well they played it, you know you are in the wrong place, if you are one of my exceptionally valued regular readers you'll know what to expect, if this is your first time here, you are very welcome, ah, how to proceed, perhaps something like this:-

The Fellowship Celebrate Celebr8.3

It’s all to do with the people
The fans and all the friends
That make up Prog’s community
Where the fun just never ends

On the very last day of May
And the very 1st one of June
We headed off to Islington
We’d be Celebr8’ing soon

Train on time from Stevenage
Hotel in Farringdon
We set off by bus to Weatherspoons
For lunch and ales and fun

Then off to the Islington Assembly Hall
In time to catch Twelfth Night
They were quite amazing
Thumper Monkey were all right

Karmakanic stole the afternoon for me
But that was before we saw Kim and John 
Playing acoustically in the Vineyard
Many songs we could sing along

Anathema opened up the evening
As a three piece acoustic set
Rather pleasant on the ears
But the best wasn’t on just yet

The Tangent headlined Saturday night
I’m so glad they did oh boy!
With Theo Travis on sax and flute
That filled me full of joy

What fun we had on Saturday
So many friends too many to name
Everyone added to the atmosphere
We’re just so glad they came

A bus ride back to Farringdon
A night-cap in the bar
Kevin losing his Twelfth Night CD
Was the saddest thing by far!

Awake refreshed on Sunday
A new day and a brand new month
Kevin’s luck would change today we said
We all shared a sort of hunch

It was back off up to Islington
For Breakfast in Weatherspoons
Before a healthy walk round the meadows
And then off to catch more tunes

We stopped off in a lovely pub
Well the hour of twelve has passed
Tucked away down a little backstreet
Days like this should forever last

The time had come for day two
Of Celebr8.3 to start
With Galahad opening up today
They brought a warming to my heart

Sanguine Hum were OK as it happens
Their music was just fine
But a bit more stage presence would help
I’m sure that’ll come in time

Now the burning question was of course
Would Cosmograf work done live?
Good grief it was the set of the festival
And it was still only half past five!

We had Matt and Andy in the Vineyard
Improvising in so fine a way
This is part of what it’s all about
What more can I say?

We were back for The Fierce and the Dead
Instrumental rock with Matt on guitar again
And with Frost* headlining the show tonight
The whole weekend was just insane

So here’s to Jon Patrick and the crew
Who made the whole thing come alive
With people like that to rely upon
You know Prog’ will survive!

And finally here’s to all our friends
We love you all 
And that’s all there is to it.

Grant Meaby

And here are some of the photographs I took throughout the weekend, in no particular order except strictly sequential!

Twelfth Night
Thumper Monkey
Kim and John
Fellowship Breakfast
We love trees
Sanguine Hum
Matt and Andy (Somewhere behind Chris's head!)
The Fierce and the Dead
The man who made it all happen, Jon Patrick
What will be next? Almost certainly will be something 'local' for a few weeks until the summer Festival season kicks off, maybe a gig or two in London, who knows, see you soon you lovely people.

Words and photos above Copyright Grant Meaby 2014 All rights reserved.