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Sunday, 23 November 2014

ELF-ING IT BIG TIME

Going 'Out to play' on a 'School Night' is often fraught with various perils, especially when it involves a trip to London and trying to ensure that six people, with different jobs and hence different start and finish times and points all get to where they are supposed to be at more or less the same time and of course there's the getting home afterwards and the getting up for work the next day!

Despite the many-fold problems and thanks largely to Kevin the 'Master-planner' we did end up with a viable plan, which worked, to get all six of us to meet up in the White Swan in Islington before the BigElf gig at the Garage on Wednesday night!

All in all an excellent turn out mid-week for a gig which featured 'Jolly' opening the show with great aplomb and some good hard rock, the melodic organ driven 70's influenced magnificence of  'Bend Sinister'  before those difficult to categorize masters of the bizarre, BigElf took to the stage.

Five out of six. Paul on camera duty!

Elfing it Big Time

“If you catch that train, we’ll catch this one”
But choosing which ticket was also such fun
We could save on group travel if at least we were three
But in one’s and two’s well it just couldn’t be
But a straightforward return to our intended destination
And a direct train with no changes from station to station
Sort of resolved the problem

To get The Fellowship together from different locations
At the same place at the same time took some consternation
But eventually we all met up in Islington at the White Swan
Proving that a mass trip to London can successfully be done
There was Roger and Tim, there was Kevin and Paul
There was myself and Chris, yes six of us in-all

Talk of Metal Sausage was high on the list
Even before some of us, accidentally,  got quietly pissed!
“Respect to the Sausage” & “The Sausage condoned”
No wonder the other punters left us quite alone!
Adequately fuelled by good food and great beer
There was no doubt at all that The Fellowship were here

We made our over to the Garage, that’s a music venue
And we sauntered in just like you’re supposed to do
Roger was off talking to rock stars again
While we hit the cider bar, we must be insane!
There were a few punters that we knew gathered there
For this night of mad rock and release of all care

Jolly and jolly good they were too
The first band were ‘Jolly’ damn fine don’t you know
And the second band ‘Bend Sinister’ put on a good show
And BigElf were BigElf as only they can eccentrically be
Mostly entertaining I’d say but too much for me
I escaped with Tim to cool off and to smoke
And chatted to John Young that fine Lifesigns bloke
And what’s more we chatted to the keyboard player from Haken
PS. If you didn’t know, that rhymes with bacon!

Bend Sinister anything but sinister1
We had fun on the tube back to Finsbury Park
Making sour faced travellers laugh after dark
We ate strange spicy lukewarm food as we waited for our train
When it came in we jumped on, oh no not again
Mr. B was up to his late night antics
With Paul as ‘The carer’ they had some new tricks
Rolling around on the floor like a crazy mad thing
I’m sure all the time Mr. F was actually hiding!

BigElf giving it large

Another great night in great company with much beer
And yes it did all happen as recorded right here
What’s more we’ll do it again as it has to be done
As we head back to town for lots more of such fun
No small children or cute fluffy animals
Were harmed in the writing of this poem.

Grant Meaby - November 2014

And that was about it for another fine adventure, we survived a mid-week gig! 
Next along at some stage will be the three bands in three nights extravaganza after we've been to see Gong, Larry Miller and Space Ritual, that may take a bit of getting over, so, until the next time, cool runnings one and all.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

ROADHOUSE AT THE RED

I never cease to be amazed at just how good Roadhouse are, they have to be one of the hardest working and best live bands on the Blues Rock circuit, in fact on any circuit and Sunday night at 'Blues at the Red' in the Red Lion pub in Stevenage Old Town they showed just what an amazing live band they are.

Roadhouse, formed in 1991 by Gary Boner and Robert.A.Roberts with Bill Hobley on bass and the the powerful drumming of Roger Hunt.
Roadhouse's music is Blues Rock drawing from the heritage of the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd to Creedence Clearwater Revival, the band has developed a sound all of its own.
One reviewer summed it up as "It’s basically ‘Southern Gothic Americana’ with a splash of added South London". and “Britain’s finest Roots rockers, a dark coming together of Country, Rock and Blues”

In 2004 the Band released a CD , heralded by many critics as the best UK Blues Rock release of the year. No Place To Hide achieved an overwhelmingly positive reaction. “The whole CD is a wonderful and varied collection of songs played to the highest standard by a group of fine musicians. It deserves to take the band on to a higher level. I strongly recommend it” – Blues Matters! Magazine review.

Roadhouse Are:
Gary Boner – Guitar & Vocals
Bill Hobley – Bass
Roger Hunt – Drums
Danny Gwilym – Guitar
Mandie.G – Vocals
- Sarah Harvey-Smart -Vocals
And just recently some guest appearances from Kelly Marie (vocals)

http://www.roadhousegb.liveblues.info/home/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Roadhouse-BluesRock/132852103428769?fref=ts

So, some eleven damn fine albums later here they are, some of the members I'm lucky to be able to call real friends and they are playing in my town in one of my favourite haunts, the Red Lion!

Kelly and Mandie G going for it!
Roadhouse Red

The band rolled into town at about seven, as did I
Roger had been in and out of the ‘Red’ earlier. I wonder why?
The afternoon crowd were still there but it could have been worse
But they didn’t hang around for long, they soon all dispersed
As the Sunday night blues crowd slowly started to arrive
For tonight it was the turn of Roadhouse to set the place alive

Roger, Kevin, Chris and of course me
Were there to support the band and the lovely Mandie G
Sarah was missing in foreign climes working away
So Kelly was back on vocal duties, she’s great any day
 There were people from Skeggy and from CRF too
All down at the Red for the Sunday night Blues

It's so intense playing this blues
While Roger and Bill laid down a real solid beat
Danny and Garry let fly a real blues guitar treat
Steve was there with his camera taking the odd cool shot
And I have to admit that the girls looked so hot
There was dancing a plenty and lots of singing along
I was thrilled they played ‘Dark Angel’ my favourite song

All power to Trevor for promoting this night
We had a real cracking time, yes we did alright
With the Roadhouse Blues and that’s it all about said
Sunday night was fantastic at The Blues at The Red.

And there was dancing!
Go and check out Roadhouse, they are so worth it.

Cheers me dears, until we rock again.

Grant - November 2014

Sunday, 9 November 2014

It's Only Rock and Roll - Part 2

Indeed, it's all about the.............................................................................................................



So, great gigs are sometimes like buses, you wait ages for a good one to come along and suddenly you get two, back to back!

After a splendid Friday night in Hitchin at Club-85 seeing The Hawklords supported by the Deviant Amps, Saturday saw me heading off to London on a cold wet afternoon to meet up with my good friends Tim & Jo before we sett off to Great Portland Street to the 229 (A new venue for me) to see Pendragon play one of their all too rare UK shows and what's more the support band were also worthy of being headliners in their own right, Tin Spirits, this gig was a House of Progression enterprise so you just knew it was going to be good!

You know that feeling when you set off on some journey and you plan it to the last minute and for whatever reason it all goes awry, sometimes, rarely, the opposite thing happens and by a combination of good luck and no hold ups, I actually found myself at The Euston Tap a good hour before the time we'd planned to meet, the great thing was that so did Tim and Jo!

Having at last been able to put aside the old walking stick a few months ago, Tim and Jo very kindly presented me with a new one.

My new walking stick, oh yes, and I'm wearing my Metal Sausage T shirt
 So, as we imbibed some of natures finest it was monsooning down outside along with the odd crack of thunder just for atmosphere, never mind, adequately fuelled we did the 'dog leg' tube thingy to get to Great Portland Street (Via Kings Cross) and dodging the rain we dashed into The Albany to try some of their deliciously very expensive beer and meet up with many of the stalwart proggy clan before heading off on the exceptionally short journey (Across the road) to the 229.

I must say that the 229 is a splendid venue, plenty of room, reasonably priced bar, high stage, good access etc. etc. and the rate the place was filling I knew would put a smile on the faces of Jon and Stacy and the H.O.P. and it did!

Apart from all the regular and irregular prog punters the audience was like a who's who of the current scene, it would be naff to name drop so I won't other than to say it was great to catch up with Matt Stevens and he had some great news about something I'm involved with but I cannot divulge at this stage.

First on were of course Tin Spirits, who will no doubt be familiar to fans of Big Big Train and XTC, if you're not, go and do a bit of digging, it's interesting stuff and I must say that personally I had not listened to Tin Spirits much before this night, stupid me is all I can say , they were fantastic and their new album, Scorch, has made it to number 1 on my current wish list!
Incredible melodies, stunning harmonies, this was fast becoming my gig of the year and Pendragon hadn't even played yet!

Tin Spirits open the night

Tin Spirits in full flow
Go and check them out, you know it makes sense.

https://www.facebook.com/tin.spirits.3?fref=ts


So, here we were, this is what we'd been waiting so long for, not just a Pendragon UK gig but the first true London gig for something like 8 years according to Pendragon front man Nick Barrett.

Two songs into their set and that was it, confirmed, this was / is the gig of the year as far as I'm concerned and they plated for good two and a half hours, treating us to a host of Pendie classics and a good helping from the incredible new album, 'Men who climb mountains'.

I'm sure you can wander off on the web somewhere and get a blow by blow listing of everything they played and whether or not it was 'note perfect' and all that sort of stuff that if you know me, I don't do, after all, it's all about the rock and rock, Pendragon were on fire and played an absolutely outstanding set, one that I'm sure will go down in Prog history.

Pendragon in full flow
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pendragon-band/112110622138694?fref=ts

Pendragon - In one word - Awesome

So I have only one thing left to say and that's a big thank you to Jon Patrick, Stacy Doller and all at the House of Progression who made this night possible (As they do so many such great nights), you guys put together a night of sheer brilliance.

Phew, now I rest!

Until the next time, cool runnings one and all.

Grant Meaby
Nov 2014



It's Only Rock and Roll - Part-1

And it's been a while, October was fairly quiet on the gig front, but then came November and guess what?

It's all about the..................................................................................................


So, without further ado, It's only Rock and Roll Part-1, the mighty Hawklords supported by the Deviant Amps at Club-85 in Hitchin on Friday the 7th November.

Hawklords and Deviant Amps at ‘85’

I enter the pub and order a beer
Peter and Kevin are already here
When I come to pay
The Landlord says’ “That’s OK”
“This one’s on Dave, it’s his retirement do”
Well, I don’t know Dave from Adam
But I thank you!

Here we are
A gathering of the Fellowship three
Our Chris is still away
And tonight’s not Paul’s ‘cup of tea’
But we have our own Dave in tow
Gently ‘blooding’ him
In the Fellowship experience
It’s obvious, we can quickly tell
He seems to be enjoying himself
Yes indeed, he fits in well

We have gathered in a hostelry in Hitchin
Its name I cannot divest
It’s a bird that sings at night
So you can probably guess
We’re off to see The Hawklords
Supported by The Deviant Amps
A night of Space Rock
Where the fun just never stops

The Deviant Amps open up the evening in style

At Club-85 we’re joined by Alex
And another Chris or two (Gandalf)
As the Deviant Amps take to the stage
How a three piece can generate such a sound
Has to be seen and heard to be believed
And what’s more, I am somewhat thrilled
They have re-released their first album
And they have a new one out too
So I buy both, as you do!

Hawklords are almost at the end of their tour
Touring the new album ‘Censored’
It’s a real coming of age for this band
Fantastic production and a truly awesome sound
Which they replicate so well playing it live
With a smattering from their back catalogue
And some Hawkwind classics too,
All in all a splendid evening, indeed, all round, a splendid do.

Master of the cosmic keys, Harvey Bainbridge

String supremo Jerry Richards

Ron Tree - Front man mastery
Great to see a younger space rocker in action 

And finally this is somewhat symbolic of most of my pictures of drummers! Dave Pearce, a case of cymbala obscura!

And the all important links.



See you all soon with Part-2


Grant Meaby 09/11/14