Saturday, 31 January 2015


I cannot believe that I’m sitting here writing this a whole week since the Great British Rock and Blues festival at Butlins, Skegness, 2015, just where doe the time go?This was so very much a Fellowship of the Stick / Coronas event if ever there was.

What makes any festival more fun, sometimes even really great, a stand out above the rest experience, is not always the music that’s on offer, it’s very often the people, either the people you go with, the friends you meet up with when you are there and those wonderful new friends and acquaintances you meet while away.

The Great British Rock and Blues Festival at Skegness Butlins 23rd, 24th and 25th January 2015 was one of those amazing, forever burnt into the memory (Surprising due to the amount of beer we consumed) happy and fun experiences and most of it was indeed down to the people.
I’m not for one moment saying there was anything wrong with the music on offer, although it was fairly heavy on the Blues / Blues Rock and less pure Rock this year but myself and my friends did get to see some amazing performances, discover great new bands and all in all we had a rocking good time.

Friday saw us setting off from our Hobbit Holes and heading north eastwards stopping off in Peterborough to pick up one of our erstwhile crew and then stopping for lunch in Crowland, this time back to the George and Angel as ‘The Bridge’ appeared to be closed. After a few ales and a fine lunch we carried on to Skegness to check in, locate our chalet, dump our stuff and get ready for a night of music (After first filling up on the remarkably good food in the canteen).

Kicking off the evening in Jaks (The home of Blues / Blues Rock) was one of our favourite bands ‘Split Whiskers’ and a damn fine job they did too.

Split Whiskers debut on Jaks stage
Next it was off to one of the larger venues, Reds, to see Caravan, one of my all time favourite bands ever and they did not disappoint a truly awesome set worthy of any headline act, straight off, one of the performances of the festival for me.

Caravan, an awesome set
We scooted back to Jaks in time to catch one of the new discoveries of the Festival, Red Butler, a splendid combo from the south coast, their album Freedom Bound is excellent, this was followed by continuing the night’s drinking and bluesing in Jaks until the wee small hours!

Red Butler rocking Jaks to its foundations
Saturday morning saw the ‘traditional’ Onesies wearing for breakfast and a series of hilarious photo shoots around the site before chilling out ready for the day’s music.

Saturday Onesies on display

Wear your onesie with pride
It matters not what’s outside
If you front it out just right
It’s like hiding in plain sight
Wearing a onesie was somewhat harsh
For a certain Mr Roger Marsh
Because on one hand, while it had to be done
He had to borrow one from his son!
So for breakfast on the Saturday
We seven onesies in tow that day
Making the most of every photo opportunity
With aplomb, panache and impunity
And as one wag shouted out
“That’s the album cover done no doubt”
Not ‘No Doubt’ the band you understand
Would they be seen in onesies?
Never, but a band who are today
Somewhat all the rage
The one and only, Metal Sausage!

Saturday afternoon was spend in Jaks with the Roadhouse jam session where any musician can put their name down and Gary Boner from Roadhouse sorts out scratch bands who get 2 minutes to sort themselves out then a ten minute set, as always it was outstanding.

Roadhouse during the Saturday set
The evening saw us off to see one of the other discoveries of the festival, Babajak who have the extremely rare accolade of having one of their albums in the top 40 of the Blues, Folk & Classic Rock charts all at the same time!

Trevor Steger of Babajack

Becky Tate of Babajack
Check out the album 'Running Man' it really is rather good.

Ex Status Quo member John Coghlan has his own Quo (Tribute) band, they turned in a pretty good rocking set with all the old Quo classics but were followed by one of the performances of the weekend, a truly awesome set from Skinny Molly, I heard someone say “I never did get to see Lynyrd Skynyrd, but now I think I have!”, they were flipping awesome.

Skinny Molly in full flow (Thanks to Punkrocksal for taking this for me)
Another late night in Jaks saw us bopping away to the Jed Thomas Band who managed to jazz up the blues rock in a Gong style, with ‘Egyptian Disco’ even melding into ‘Master builder / Glorious Om riff! Which had the blues purists somewhat in a state of confusion but a hardcore of Gong fans and us whirling along like dervishes and working ourselves up a thirst!

Sunday and we were off to see a great set by Nine Below Zero and back in Onesies again as several friends had decided to join in the fun!

The massed Onesies of Skeggy!
Later afternoon was spent in the company of Del Bromham’s Blues Devils with Cherry Lee Mewis guesting on vocals, absolutely knockout.

Del & Cherry
The evening for me was given over to Roadhouse’s proper full set, I just love this band so much, they put so much energy into their set and they really are that good, after Roadhouse I was completely done in so didn’t get to see Lez Zeppelin who I’m told were also excellent, oh well, maybe next time.

Sunday was of course Burn’s Night so the obligatory kilts were worn and nice to see a few more than just ours!
One of the Burn’s night traditions is that a verse be spoken to honour the ladies, so I wrote the following;

(It Burns, it Burns)

On Burn’s night we may not have had a haggis
Nor any pipes to lead him in
But to have ignored all of tradition
Would surely have been a sin?
There may have been no wee timorous beastie
Nor was it a bright moonlit night
But resplendent in our kilts
We did get something right
And so to honour all our womenfolk
God bless them every one
Without our lovely wives and friends
We men would have far less fun
So we raised a glass or two to our ladies
Whether there or back at home
And as gentlemen we ignored that old adage
‘Remember when in Rome’
So here’s to Mandie & Sarah
Alice, Val, Debs & Jo
Sally, Pam, Kate and Amanda
And all the others that we know
Once more to our dear ladies
Especially those so far away
Whatever we get up to
They’ll find out anyway
From bloody Facebook!

Over the weekend we caught a lot of great acts on the various stages, especially Reds, Jaks and the Skyline Introducing Stage but didn’t venture into Centre Stage much at all this year as even the headliner’s tended to be bands we’ve seen umpteen times before but never mind, we feel that we missed nothing, we had a full and fun filled weekend.

The Coronas one and all, cheers!
Cheers me dears, until the next time round the plastic spiral as the great Daevid Allen says.

Grant Meaby


Monday, 12 January 2015

On Such a Sunday (Out of this World, Poetry, Broadsided just a Smige)

To change things around and mix things up a little we'll start this wee bloggy thingy with the poem this time and the odd picture or two and then maybe, just maybe, a slightly serious review for a change!
This is where the captain cries "Brace, brace" (He obviously needs to stop his trousers from falling down!).anyway, hey ho, let's go!

On Such a Sunday (Out of this World, Poetry, Broadsided just a Smige)

I headed out for the station
In a mood of satisfied anticipation
For tonight the Fellowship
Would again be three
But in a somewhat different combination

Arriving early due to a on-time running train
I dodged the heavy rain
Seeking shelter within the pub
And a brace of Colley’s Dog
Yes, I we were off gigging again

Sitting there like ‘Billy no Mates’
The others were somewhat fashionably ate
But alone with my thoughts
And my splendid ales
I was more than happy to sit and wait

Alex & Chris

Chris and Alex arrived together
We discussed the world, politics, music, the weather
Enjoying each others company
Until it was time to move
A somewhat necessary endeavour

A night of poignant poetry
Angst riddled songs, humour and repartee
From Smige, Chris Ripple
The Astronauts and Fishwife’s Broadside
It was indeed the place to be
The only place to be
On such a Sunday

Yours truly

So, here for once follows a fairly serious review of what was indeed a very seriously splendid night of music and poetry at North Herts finest, Club-85.


Obviously Smige’s stint at university has done him no harm whatsoever, it’s been a few years since I last saw him and time has done little if anything to soften his acerbic wit, if anything it’s sharper now and more poignant than ever before and now armed with a host of new songs to make you think, laugh, gasp and more often than not wholeheartedly agree with, one thing is for sure, Smige’s stage presence and delivery is sharper now than ever before and he delivered a fine and memorable opening set.

The Astronauts (Acoustic)

Acoustic? Well with just Dom on electric guitar and some occasional backing rhythms to accompany Mark’s better than ever vocal delivery it was certainly The Astronauts ‘stripped down’.
I dread to think just how long I’ve liked and followed this band + of course knowing Mark Astronaut now for some 30 odd (Sometimes very odd) years, it was great to hear material from the ‘Peter Pan hit’s the Suburbs’ album which was in fact the first Astronauts album I ever bought and I still have the somewhat worn vinyl in my collection!
A fine set which really showcased Mark’s amazing lyricism and with some truly excellent guitar work from Dom you could easily forget there was just the two of them on stage such was the presence and power they generated, an excellent and much enjoyed set.

Chris Ripple

Chris Ripple and the 'Invisible Kids'

Compere for the evening was Chris Ripple who as many of you may know is our very own Rock and Roll poet of some renown.
It was really good to see Chris back in action before and between the bands with a very well chosen set of poems presenting some old and some new material that really packed a punch, entertained, shocked and made you think, delivered with a renewed passion, all in all a splendid addition to the evening.
Chris’s African daughters version of the old Ramones song, ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ was something wonderful to behold and his very astute and moving poem ‘The Drum Now Beats For Freedom’ is a masterpiece of observation and writing.

Fishwife’s Broadside

To quote or rather misquote a well know saying from a popular TV Sci-Fi series, “It’s folk Jim, but not as we know it” or perhaps, “It’s punk Jim, but not as we know it”, let’s face it, Fishwife’s Broadside are pretty damn unique, folky punk or punky folk, excellent musicianship throughout and a front man any band would be lucky to have such is his charisma and stage presence.
The odd thing about a Fishwife’s gig is that you often find yourself singing or bopping along and then comes the sudden realisation of what they may in fact be singing about! Love, death, poverty, politics, the stupidity and crassness of existence sometimes, it’s all there, all of it astutely observed and delivered with such aplomb, a damn fine way to spend what could so easily have been just another boring Sunday night.

Well, that's it for a while now I guess, things to do, people to see, dishes to wash, dogs to walk etc. etc. so, until the next time, stay sane.
Grant Meaby

Sunday, 4 January 2015

So it Begins, by the Power of Three

So here we are, the year 2015 is upon us and only three days in when the gigging season begins in earnest.
This was the first Fellowship of the Stick outing of the year and although there were only three of us, this was an evening that heavily featured three, three of us,  three of the finest singer-songwriters around, Philip Storey, Stuart O'Connor and Owen Stephen and all three with full backing bands.

By the Power of Three, so it begins.

So it begins, we’re now in 2015 
And the gigging season has begun
It’s the 3rd of January
And by Jove it’s a good one!

Traditions had to be upheld
This night the Fellowship were three
So to the Nightingale we went
Just Chris, Peter and me

Three pints of Colley’s Dog
Plus one more for absent friends
A nice way to start the proceedings
Let’s see how it ends?

This night was a singer songwriter special
At North Hertfordshire’s finest, Club-85
And all three with full backing bands
Keeping the finest live music alive

Phil Storey + Band, an excellent start to the evening

Philip Storey was on first to grace the stage
With some old and some splendid new songs
Then came Stuart O’Connor with Leon on drums
Well, like this you just can’t go wrong

The Stu O'Connor band in full flow

Leon Camfield on drum duty

Lastly it was Owen Stephen’s turn
Which he did with some aplomb 
To bring the evening to it’s climax
With his folky country songs

Owen Stephen band bring us to a stunning climax

All in all it was a good turn out too
Which was in itself a real pleasure to see
It was indeed a most splendid evening
So let’s raise one more, to the power of three!

Grant Meaby

Essential links:-

What a way to start off 2015, a fine evening that will be hard to match but as there are just one or two things planned for this year who knows what will happen! Until next time may I wish you all a happy new year and a great year of music.
Grant - January 4th 2015