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Sunday, 31 August 2014

THE SUN SHONE ON SATURDAY NIGHT

Incredible, somehow, probably due to having been to festivals, been away on holiday then back to work etc. etc. the gig I ended up going to on Saturday the 30th August had somehow passed me by until I was alerted by my good friend Chris mid way through Saturday afternoon, I had a quick listen to the headlining band on line and I was instantly hooked, in fact there were three great support acts including the wonderful Kelly Oliver on the first night of her official album launch tour, the headlining band, from Swanage in Dorset are called Saturday Sun.



Despite the fact that this was not a Fellowship outing as the rest of them were off to Biggleswade to see Rock Out (Soulweaver's cover band incarnation) and although I'd have loved to have been with them 1) I have not yet perfected being in two places at once, 2) I really wanted to see the acts at Club-85 and 3) The getting home thing, the last train back from Biggleswade is ridiculously early, so, of I went to Hitchin.

Some traditions are just too hard to break, I had to call into the Nightingale for a pint or two of Colley's Dog and a chat with some of the local crew in there which is always a please and, somewhat prophetically as it turned out, I wrote the following;

Saturday the 30th August

I am in the Nightingale again
This time I am alone
But I am not short of company
Within this fine hostelry
After all, it is not as though
The Fellowship are strangers here
Our love of the Colley’s Dog beer
Is somewhat legendary
Colley’s Dog may not do tricks
But maybe I will after a pint or two
Of this truly wonderful brew!

I am on my way to Club-85
For a night of melodic folk and rock
Which makes for a nice change
From the metal, prog, hardcore
And downright strange
And I seriously do not mind
Being on my own
Lost in thoughts that are my own
I have in mind that this condition
Will anyway be
Somewhat temporary
As the music caries me
Away.

Grant Meaby
31/08/14

First on were due 'A Work in Progress', beautifully crafted poignant songs delivered with real feeling, this was a really classy way of kicking off the evening.

A Work In Progress
Check them out on Facebook at:-

Next up were another due, very different but extremely talented and entertaining, 'Music & Spies', they mixed in some well know rock and sing along pop classics often during one of their own songs, a fabulous continuation of the evening, their EP 'In My Hands' is well worth a listen and a snip at £3.

Music & Spies
Check them out on FB at:-

Next is was the turn of Kelly Oliver to entertain the merry throng, I've already ranted on about just how good Kelly is in my blog on Rhythms, well tonight was the first night of her official CD Album launch tour and she did not disappoint, Kelly delivered by the bucketful, this young lady is going to go far.

Kelly Oliver
Check Kelly out here:-

OK, so now I come to the headlining band, Saturday Sun, they are from Swanage in Dorset, I'm from Poole so we're onto a winner here straight away surely?
The question was could they deliver live the quality of their material I had been listening to on line?
Would they be acoustic?
Would they be electric?
Well, in fact they did a bit of everything!
How on earth can you categorise a band like Saturday Sun? It's probably best not to try but comparisons will be made, obvious influences cited etc. 
I must say that for me, in the quieter primarily acoustic songs the influence of traditional British Folk / Singer Songwriter style was obviously and I guess comparisons will be made between Alex Hedley's vocals and Jeff Buckley which is a damn fine thing in my opinion.
With Billy Merrick's beautiful clear and at times almost ethereal guitar playing moving things along,  the quieter songs had the same sort of feeling I get when listening to the likes of The Pineapple Thief.
But good grief, when they entered into that magical land of the full on electric, soundscape creating, crescendo building magnificence they put more than just me in the mind of the likes of  Shells 'Sea of the Dying Dhow'  or something by 'Lattitudes'.

All in all a truly remarkable band and it was a real pleasure to meet them and I must say their album 'ORIXE' is a masterpiece, this is a band I'd be happy to see any time again.

Saturday Sun
Check out Saturday Sun here:-
Or any of their videos on Youtube (There are a few to see).

For me, unexpected as it was, this turned out to be one of the gigs of the year, nuff said.

Cheers m' dears.

Grant - August 2014

Sunday, 24 August 2014

A WELL DESERVED BREAK

Phew, what a rush this year has been, work has been hectic as has been family life in general and what with the recent spate of festivals and gigs it was time to take a well earned break and this year's holiday was in Filey on the east Yorkshire coast. As usual we tried to ensure that there was space for all the family and that everyone could get the required time off, unfortunately we were 'A man down' this year but everyone else including the new family puppy, Hugo was there.

The lower gardens at Filey
We had rented a very large and well appointed holiday house for the holiday, it was just right.

Bay House
Filey is a really nice seaside town, it's not at all over-commercialised but has enough amenities, shops, places of interest and is near enough to the countryside and coastal paths to enjoy some amazing walks.

St Oswald's Church, 12th century, lovely place

The Gulls are plentiful if somewhat noisy!
On the Sunday we all went off to the RSPB Reserve at Bempton Cliffs, sadly the Puffins had all fledged but the Gannets were well into rearing their young, Bempton Cliffs is an amazing place, you need a good head for heights

It's a long way down!
One of the other places we visited is actually in Filey, on the outskirts, another nature reserve, The Dams, a preserved area of wetland, where there was not only a significant variety of waterfowl to see but also another very tranquil place.

View from one of the hides at The Dams
Obviously with such a large family group as ours we didn't all do the same things at the the same time but pleased ourselves whether we went off to see or do things together, in smaller groups or alone, the best thing was that there was no pressure, this meant everyone was able to relax, forget about work and everyday life and really chill out.

Filey Museum was another interesting place combining local history, geology, nature etc. in a pair of old cottages in one of the oldest streets in town, it has, not unsurprisingly, won awards for 'Small Attractions'.

The Victorian room in Filey Museum
I was particularly taken with St. Oswald's Church and Churchyard, dating from the 12th century this place is absolutely full of history and the graveyard is beautifully kept and has many extremely old headstones etc. By day it is a good place to see Swallows and House martins and by night it is a fabulous place for Bat spotting as we did on several occasions during one of our many late evening walks.

St. Oswald's from the Mausoleum 
Spending a quiet hour in the peace of the Churchyard I wrote the following poem;

In St. Oswald’s Churchyard

Sitting in the quietude of a country churchyard
The departed all around me are my only company
I ponder upon the frailty of my own mortality
I wonder about the lives of those buried here
Were they good people?
I suppose in reality
The majority were just ordinary folk
Like you and me

This is a serene place a place of peace
Where I could all too easily
Lay me down to sleep among the Angels
Among the carved crosses and weathered headstones
As the sea breeze rustles the leaves on the trees
The gulls wheel and soar overhead
As I rest here, at peace, among the dead.

Grant Meaby
20/08/14


Another of Filey's local attractions is the Filey Bird and Animal Park, despite the weather (Rain, rain, rain), it was another interesting place to visit and the rose gardens in particular were beautiful.

One of the many varieties of Roses in bloom

A pair of handsome chaps
 All in all it was a very splendid and relaxing holiday, it was also great to explore "That bit of coast" between Filey and Bridlington, having previously done the Scarbourough - Whitby coast a few times now, would I go back, indeed I would.

Filey seafront from the Country Park cliff top path
So it will soon be back to work and there is at least one more festival to go to this year, that being Balstock which no doubt will get a bit of write up in due course and then there will be the round of Autumn and Christmas gigs, oh well, such is life, until the next time, cheers one and all.

All Photographs above and the poem 'In St. Oswald's Churchyard' copyright Grant Meaby 2014 All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

CAMBRIDGE ROCK FESTIVAL 2014 - A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE

The first thing I have to say is a huge thank you to Dave Roberts and family and to all the volunteers, crew and everyone who played any part whatsoever in making this years Cambridge Rock Festival one of the best ever.

Secondly huge amounts of love, hugs and warmth to all my friends who were there, my closest friends, my 'Festie Friends' and the new friends I made this year for all contributing to me and us all having an absolute blast!


Now a lot of serious music critics and other bloggers will no doubt be writing up a blow by blow account of each band / artist (Some I know already have) and plastering a huge amount of excellent professional / professional standard photographs, well I won't be doing that, well not much of it anyway because, for me and many others I know, it's not just about the music, it's about being there, it's about friends, it's about being a little crazy and having a good time no matter what the elements throw at you, which this year was quite something as you'll see later.

So who played and who did I see? Who impressed me? Here is who was 'On' over the four days; the bands and artists I saw are the ones in bold text.

7-8-9-10th August


STAGE 1 THURSDAY
Pure Floyd, Who's Next, Fleetwood Bac, Ultimate Eagles                                      

STAGE 1 FRIDAY
The Detours, Raw Glory, Will Johns, Roy Mette, Serious Blues, Ben Poole, Chantel McGregor, Larry Miller, Snakecharmer

STAGE 1 SATURDAY
The Rooz, Northsyde, Split Whiskers, Walkway, Fireroad, Pearl Handled Revolver Leon Hendrix, FM

STAGE 1 SUNDAY
The Windmill, Credo, Winter In Eden, Cloud Atlas, Mr So and So, Mostly Autumn, Jorn, Wishbone Ash

STAGE 2 THURSDAY - Cambridge 105 NMG Stage
4th Labyrinth, The Abstracts, 28 Boulevard, The Simpletone, Kyrbgrinder                                            
STAGE 2 FRIDAY - Classic Rock Society
Airbridge, The Tirith, Dead At Eleven, 25 Yard Screamer, Symphony Of Pain, The Room, Comedy Of Errors, Jeff Green Project, Final Conflict

STAGE 2  SATURDAY - Rotary Rocks Blues Stage (with Blues Matters)
Blues Consortium, Blacktop Deluxe, Absolution,  The Mustangs, Bare Knuckles Blues Band, Bushman Brothers, Wheelz, Laurence Jones Band, Buster James                                        

STAGE 2 SUNDAY - Rotary Rocks Blues Stage (in association with Blues Matters)
Black Jack Blues Band, Dave Jackson Band, The Della Grants, The Blues Shift, Luke Doherty Band, Stormwarning, Roadhouse, Three Piece Suite

STAGE 3 The Acoustic Stage - Sponsored by Millers Music

Thursday 7th August
Louis Perritt, Hope Brothers Band, Blue Sky, Rod Lynton & Friends, Fred’s House
Tess of the Circle

Friday 8th August
Stella Hensley / Chris Newman, Nick Judd, Steve Pablo & Friends, Rich Somers
Tom Korni, Jon Kenzie, The Rebelles, Smoken’ Joe’s, Rich Young & Mark Gordon
Freddie Hall Band, Innes Sibun

Saturday 9th August
Steve Logan, Claudia McKenzie, Lucy Marshall, Broken Arrow, Gallows Ghost, Curran, Tobi, Haiki, Paul Cook & Jim Green, Geronimo, Rodgers

Sunday 10th August

Ellis & Connelly, Misty Jones, Heidi Browne, D’Ukes, Matt Stevens, Barney Newman and Tom Leary, Rory Evans, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Jasmine Rodgers, Bophouse Blue, The Swamptruck Goodtime Band

This event was very much a Fellowship of the Stick event and so we set off to Cambridge in the Randy Lover with Fender's Den in tow and Kaz Da Kamper, setting up our own little piece of the free world when we arrived.

Camp Fellowship with Mr. F on cooking duty
Now Thursday night at CRF is by tradition, Tribute band night on the main stage, top class ones at that but as you may know I 'Don't Do' Tribute bands, well, only now and again and I must say Who's Next were fantastic and really rocked with who songs from right through the bands history, I then sloped off to stage 2 to catch The Simpletone, an excellent 'local' rock band before we partied the night away with the ever fabulous Kyrbgrinder.
It was dry and sunny on Thursday, it was a lovely warm evening and we had a few friends back to the camp for a nightcap and chat, it was all very civilised and quite pleasant.

On Friday it rained, it rained some more and then rained even harder, but did that stop us rocking? Of course not, highlights of the day for me were The Tirith, The Room who played a stunning set, Symphony of Pain with their extremely entertaining vampiresque show, Comedy of Errors, Chantel McGregor and Larry Miller, Snakecharmer were good too and we ended up in the acoustic tent listening to Innes Sibun, it was a tad wet!

The Room on Stage 2
Good grief it had been a tad wet on Friday, so it was time to put pen to paper as they say!

Welcome to the Rainfest
 
Welcome to the Rainfest
Where the fun never ends
We’ve lots of special gusts
Just for you my friends
We can’t promise you a hurricane
But we’ll do our best and try
Was that another tent
I just saw sailing by?
If you are really lucky
Your tent may stay safe and warm
But a good few inches of water
Won’t do you any harm
Clothes don’t need to be
Clean and dry to stay looking good
They’ll look much better on you
Caked in layers of slimy mud
So welcome to the Rainfest
We hope you’ll be having fun
It’s a Great British tradition
The way camping should be done!

Saturday already and the sun was shining again, thank heavens for that, in fact it was quite a lovely day and nice and warm, just right for a few more real ales and music and the company of good friends!

It was mainly rock on stage 1 and blues on stage 2, a great day wandering around, a day for kilts to be worn and spirits to rise, you can see who I saw from the highlighted list at the beginning, special mention has to go to Split Whiskers on Stage 1 & Gallows Ghost on the acoustic stage who were refreshingly different and absolutely fabulous.

Split Whiskers in full flow


Gallows Ghost - haunting music
After a grand day of great music we ended the day in Stage 2 rocking our proverbial off to Buster James, we were indeed 'Rocking in the Free World' but strictly only until the 24:00 curfew!

One hell of a party with Buster James
Now if you know me or any of the Fellowship of the Stick, or the Corona's then all of THOSE SORT of photographs will be found on Facebook, Twitter, Flicker or whatever, this is not the place for such frivolity!

Oh maybe just a bit then.

And that is just a few of the merry crew!
Sunday was here already, it's a horrible feeling when the time passes so quickly, but it was a day I had been waiting for as it was mainly 'Prog Day' on Stage 1 but with some unmissable acts on both Stage 2 and the Acoustic stage as well.

First off was a band who were a new discovery for me, Windmill, excellent prog band who blended just about everything I love in classic rock, classic prog into almost every song, and a little later there was one of the bands that I had been waiting all weekend for, the almighty Credo who played a stunning set, possibly the band of the festival for me, I say possibly because The Room came pretty close too.

Mark Colton of Credo gives it some wellie

  Talking about wellies, you certainly needed them or something like them on Sunday, it had been a lovely-ish morning but then there was this little storm, Bertha or rather the remnants of hurricane Bertha, she sort of picked up again after hitting hitting England and got fiercer as she moved up country and we were right in her path!

Bertha

She may have been downgraded but that didn’t stop her!



Bertha rolled in like an out of control juggernaut
We were unprepared for the damage she wrought
But she was a thing of truly awesome beauty
A writhing black maelstrom of fury
Turning day into night
Putting tents, awnings and gazebos to flight
Quite literally
We gazed in wonder at the boiling clouds
Listened to the wind building fearsome and loud
And then came the rain
Torrential does not even begin to describe
The volume that fell in so short a time
And the hail which pummelled even the hardiest soul
Into submission and shelter
If indeed shelter could still be found
For many had been razed to the ground
Or simply blown away
Then suddenly, the skies above were clear again
It was once more light again
As Bertha tracked her way northward bound
Having left us very much aware
That she, the unexpected guest, had been and gone

And yet throughout, the music carried on.

We survived, as far as I am aware there were no injuries but some of the traders lost their stalls and many campers lost their tents, gazebo's etc. which was a right pain but everyone seemed to pitch in and help and offer campers, cars, etc. to sleep in, sadly a few packed up and went home but, as soon as the storm had passed it was back to reasonable weather albeit a little breezy!

That threw us a bit but we were back mid afternoon to the acoustic tent to see Matt Stevens, for me it was another great pleasure after having introduced him the weekend before at the Rhythms of the World Festival.

Matt works his magic
Then it was back to Stage 1 for more prog and damn fine performances by Winter in Eden, Mr So and So, Mostly Autumn and to catch a little bit of the Metal God that is Jorn before beetling down to Stage 2 for the other 'had to be done' gig, Roadhouse, who once again showed why they are the No.1 Americana Rock'n'Blues band around.
OK I might be a bit biased and we had spent a lot of the weekend with our good friend Mandie G of the band but they are a damn fine band and work very hard and certainly were once again one of the highlights of the festival.

Roadhouse really rocking Stage 2
After Roadhouse, despite having no voice from singing along to almost every song and no feet, well none that wanted to work from all the dancing, it was a slow stroll back up to Stage 1 to catch some of Wishbone Ash before coming back to Stage 2 to finish off the night and the festival with Dave Edward's Three Piece Suite and boy oh boy what a way to end a brilliant festival.

Another late night spent in the company of some of the best friends one could ever wish for (They know who they are) and then it was time for sleep until packing up in the morning.


On Monday, it was sunny, bright and warm, oh well, did it matter, did it f..........................................

Until the next time and who knows when that will be, so long for now, stay safe wherever you may be.
Cheers m dears, Grant - All Rights Reserved, August 2014

Monday, 4 August 2014

NOT JUST ECLECTIC, ARCADECLECTIC @ RHYTHMS OF THE WORLD 2014

2014 and after a year's break Rhythms of the World Festival was back at the Priory in Hitchin, a fantastic setting for what really is a 'Family Friendly' Festival of World and Local music, you could say it's the best of all worlds!

This year I was absolutely thrilled to be given the opportunity to co-host what is, in many peoples view, one of the most interesting stages of the festival, The Arcadeclectic Stage, so named from the days when the Festival used to take place in and around Hitchin Town and the 'Eclectic' Stage was located in the Arcade, hence Arcade Eclectic, hence Arcadeclectic, simple!

Anyway, my long association with Rhythms has been mainly as a performance poet and those years I did not perform I was usually always there as a punter, or a do whatever I can do to help the Arcadeclectic stage manager, Chris Ripple who does such a fabulous job of putting together the line up for his stage and of course everything that goes along with that.

We were so lucky, blessed with fantastic weather all weekend (Only one short shower of rain on the Saturday), graced with THE best sound crew of the festival who did such a fantastic job coping with the very diverse range of acts and instruments, absolutely solid safety & welfare, brilliant film crew and of course my co-host 'Purple Dread' (Poetess extraordinaire Joy T Chance).

Absolutely everyone who performed on the Arcadeclectic Stage gave us their very very best and I really urge you to look them up on line and check them out, they all deserve it.

OK, so the main stage had a slightly bigger budget than Chris's

SATURDAY 2nd August 2014

The entrance 

And the stage is almost ready to rock & roll

Bob Mardon ROTW Musical Director checks with Chris Ripple if we're ready to go

And we are and we're up and running with:-

The Twirling Canes, beautifully dark haunting songs

Beau Jangles - Folky, a little bit proggy, damn fine all round

Fishwife's Broadside, it was fun getting all 8 of them on, splendid punky folky mayhem

Our 'Spoken Word' artist, the lovely JS Watts and she captivated the crowd with her tales

The ever popular Finger Choppers and their 'dirty' distorted blues

All the way from Scotland, the excellent rock of Jamie Flett and the Flaming Jets

From Preston, the hilarious and very dry humour of Ric Birtill

Almost Trailer Trash, the amazing Los Chicos Muertos

And to close the show on Saturday, The Ryddim Kings featuring Kareem, proper reggae, blimey did we dance!
So, that was Saturday and of course after we had finished and the crows had gone off to catch the festival headliners on the Main stage or the BBC Introducing stage, or gone home to bed we had the usual clear up and make safe for the night things to do before clearing of to the artists and volunteers hospitality area for some well earned 'hot nosh' before retiring off to our beds to get ready to do it all over again on Sunday!

SUNDAY 3rd August 2014
Saturday had gone so smoothly, everything just about spot on, we ran to time perfectly, closed spot on when we should, every act had given their all and so well, despite the late arrival of a couple of the artists due to our wonderful UK road network! Could we do it again today?
I don't think any of us got a good night's sleep, whether it was on site like our sound crew, hotels or guest houses or home in bed, still buzzing from Saturday, catching up with Facebook and the like and somewhat excited about today, oh well, it's only once a year!

Sunday was all quiet before the festival opened, even the Moorhens came to check us out!

The Arcadeclectic Crew start to assemble

And, here we are, day two, the sun is shining, the big service in St. Mary's Stage has finished, the Samba Drummers have (Thankfully) finished their set, it was good but it was very close by and we we kicked Sundays entertainment off with a couple of the finest acoustic acts:- 

Making real waves in the UK Folk Scene today, the very talented Kelly Oliver (She was dashing off afterwards to perform at the Cambridge Folk Festival.

It was great to have the lovely Laura Victoria (Cello) back with us  again accompanied by Jo
So, Sunday had started off beautifully, sublimely, sedately and it was time to up the tempo somewhat, no finer way to do this than:-

Traitors rocked the place to its foundations with their melodic power rock and managed to blast their way through a 3/4 set in 29 minutes so I just had to get them back for an encore didn't I? I did!

OK, so I don't think anyone had ever heard anything quite like this, the very excellent Maharajah Blues all the way from Wales, yes indeed, real blues and rock and roll with an Indian rhythm section, this is what it's all about.

Mark Astronaut may not have been too pleased that his Restricted Hours set with Alan Cowley clashed with Arthur Brown on the main stage but that really must have helped his angst because this was a consummate set from them proving once again that rock and roll, or even punk n roll is indeed for all ages, bloody fantastic!

It was my real pleasure and privilege to introduce the amazing Matt Stevens here at his very first ROTW performance, it's fair to say he wowed the crowd, again great that he could be here hot foot from his solo performance and with the band The Fierce and the Dead, at Resonance Rock Festival in London. 

What a way to close the proceedings on the Arcadeclectic Stage, authentic rock and roll from the very talented Chevy Heaven, there was indeed a fair bit of dancing going on during their set!

A panoramic view of the crown during Sunday's festivities.

So, we did it, we really did it, Sunday was easily as good as Saturday which meant we'd got through the whole weekend without a hitch, once again I must say that absolutely everyone who performed was absolutely fabulous and did us and themselves proud and I'd also like to say a huge thanks to all our crew, the ROTW organisers, the sponsors and above all the music loving punters who came and watched and sang along and danced to what we had to offer (I hear the rest of the festival was pretty damn good too) so I'll leave you with this gem, well it wouldn't be the Arcadeclectic without something like this would it, this year, for the first time ever, we had our own stage loo!

So, until the next time, have fun, stay safe, enjoy the summer.

Cheers m' dears.

All photographs above, Copyright Grant Meaby,  All rights reserved. 2014