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Saturday, 28 March 2015

POP PUNK PARTY TIME

Well, they did it again, when I say they I suppose I really mean he, another great Soundarc gig at the Red Lion in Stevenage thanks to Andy B.
For any budding musicians, bands etc. that are looking for top quality studios, production etc. you can find a link to Soundarc Studios here:-
https://www.facebook.com/soundarcstudio?fref=ts

The great thing about the Soundarc Studios Live gigs at the Red Lion is that it isn't cover bands, it's original music and showcases some on North Herts / South Beds finest in action and what's more for free.
Thursday the 26th March was no exception to the excellent series of gigs, it was fun time, it was most definitely a melodic pop punk extremely high energy party and with two bands that really complemented each other, Fallowfields and Traitors.

Fallowfields in action

Fallowfields
Fallowfields can be followed at:-
https://www.facebook.com/fallowfields?fref=ts
and are currently offering their EP "Beast of Mind" as a free download from:-
http://fallowfields.bandcamp.com/album/beast-of-mind
I actually bought a physical copy of the CD and it's pretty damn good and a huge shout out to the guys for the T shirt, awesome.

Next up it was one of my favorite bands, Traitors, who did us such a good job last year on the Arcadeclectic Stage at Hitchin's Rhythms of the World Festival and who also almost blew away the stage at the Engine during Balstock!

Traitors really going for it

Traitors
 You can follow Traitors on Facebook at:-
https://www.facebook.com/traitorsmusic?fref=ts

In their own words:-
Traitors! are a 5 piece melodic punk band from Hertfordshire. Fusing the pop punk hooks of early ninties US punk bands like Green Day, No Use For A Name, Saves the Day and The Ataris with three part harmonies reminiscent of Undeclinable, Bad Religion and Say Anything. Featuring members of Three Bottles Behind and ex-members of popular ska punk act Frog Stupid, Traitors! are here. Now let's dance 'til our legs give out.
Too true, come and see this band and you won't keep still, it was a great night, well worth the trip out on a Thursday night.
Until the next gig, cheer m' dears, see you down the front.
Grant Meaby
March 2015

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

HRH PROG3 - Seagulls, Ducks, Eclipses and Prog with a bit of Sci-Fi on the side!

Well we did it, the Fellowship of the Stick was seven strong and the Corona's were out and about too, I must admit, among the Sci-Fi crowd we did feel somewhat under-dressed!


So, without further ado, this is how it was for us, well mainly for me as strangely enough we don't all share exactly the same taste in music!

Thursday Night
The Osiris Club
The Osiris Club – Robed and masked the Osiris Club took to the stage with their own brand of doom prog, not to everyone’s taste but I quite enjoyed them.
Dream Circuit
The Dream Circuit – Psychedelic Space Rockers Dream Circuit were a breath of fresh air, this is a genre of music I really like and strangely had never come across these guys before, splendid, I’ve even ordered their album direct from the bands web site.
Knifeworld
Knifeworld – The first real ‘Marmite’ band of the weekend, you’ll either love then or you won’t, I love them, for me a splendid gig and Kavus Torabi is an amazing character, it was great to have the opportunity to catch up with him for a chat later too.
The Skys
The Skys – Melodic and at time quite heavy prog all the way from Lithuania, another new discovery and jolly good they were too.
Prog Disco – Really? A good excuse to escape to one of the bars and see who was around, drink and chat until silly o’clock!

Friday
We managed to catch the acoustic sets from Dream Circuit, Anna Phoebe and The Skys, a great start to the day especially Anna Phoebe, amazing.
Anna Phoebe

Kitten Pyramid
Kitten Pyramid – Extremely enjoyable lunacy is the only way I can describe this lot, watching Devin Townsend while completely off your face on acid might just be a similar experience (So I’m told!).
Sanguine Hum
Sanguine Hum – Far better than I expected, last time I saw this bunch there was too much ‘shoe gazing’ going on and little interaction with the audience, no more, the music has always been excellent and now the interaction with the audience was also there and it made for an extremely enjoyable experience.
Touchstone
Touchstone – Not the final farewell gig after all but possibly the penultimate one. The purists and no doubt some other reviewers will harp on about the sound to start with, OK, so it took the sound guys a couple of numbers to get the balance right but quite honestly to me it didn’t matter, it was Touchstone, I was there, job’s a good ’un as they say.
I spent a lot of the time during the Touchstone gig with Kim’s family and friends and it was an extremely emotional experience, Kim’s mum wasn’t the only person with tears in their eyes at the end I can tell you, for me and I suspect many others, one of, if not the, gig of the festival.
It was even better to catch up with the Touchstone crew in the bar afterwards for a pint and good old chin wag with Moo Bass.
Lifesigns
Lifesigns – Having been accosted by John Young earlier in the bar after initially failing to spot him straight away and say hello I promised him I’d be ‘Down the front’ for this one, I was and it was sheer brilliance, enough said.
Anna Phoebe band
Anna Phoebe – Having caught her amazing acoustic set earlier I had great expectations for her full electric band, excellent though they were I felt I needed to hear a bit more ‘Oomph’ perhaps coming after Touchstone and Lifesigns, good none the less but it was the acoustic session that for me was pure magic.
The Enid
The Enid – ‘Marmite’ time again, Joe Payne really does have an amazing voice, I did manage to stay in for three numbers this time but the Enid, as many will know, are not really my cup of tea but credit where it’s due, a consummate performance as usual.
Mostly Autumn
Mostly Autumn – And there we were, having read the reviews of the most recent MA gigs showcasing the new album, expecting something dark, doomy and depressing and thankfully we didn’t get it, what we did get was a bloody fantastic selection from their extensive back catalogue played with a passion and enthusiasm that many bands fail to muster, another of the festival performances for me.
 Saturday
The Skys acoustic set was good and then it was the turn of Steeleye Span, this was being filmed, not just by HRH TV who seemed to film every performance and even did an interview with The Fellowship for which I seemed to have been shunted forward as spokesperson!
Anyway, we only got three songs, each played at least twice but it was a rare treat to see these legends in so intimate a setting and up close, I couldn't wait for the full performance later.
Steeleye Span Acoustic
It seemed that Saturday afternoon had been given over to prog metal (Very loosely bracketed as such) it was very difficult to see much if any prog influence or inclusion in their sets which drove many of the die-hard prog fans away leaving those who don’t mind a bit of mix in their music and the few metal heads who were there.
Collibus
Collibus – Female fronted hard rockers, what a damn fine splendid set they played, full of energy, great guitar work, I  really enjoyed them.
Agent
Agent – OK getting a bit heavier now, a few proggy bits here and there but heavy, more than OK if you’re into that side of things, by now it looked like only the few metal heads were left down the front, I joined them for a while.
Landskap
Landskap – A shame so many had departed as these were the real progressive band of the afternoon, heavy yes, but also progressive, quite enjoyed their set.
Black Peaks
Black Peaks – Now I’m quite fond of heavy rock / hardcore cross over but at a prog festival? Come on, these guys could have graced Hardrock Hell and no doubt would have gone down a storm, ho hum, such is life.
Jump
Jump – One of the hardest working and longest survived of the melodic prog influenced bands around and what a fantastic and passionate performance they put on, at least the evening was off to a great start.
Magenta
Magenta – So good to see Christina Booth back on form and in good health, a great set, well played, great sound and for me, another of the performances of the festival.
Styeeleye Span
Steeleye Span – Maddy Prior still has her ‘voice’ as they say as do the rest of the band, this may not have been prog but it was electric folk at its very very best and probably the first really packed house as many from the Sci-Fi convention had wandered down for this one, yes, another damn fine gig.
Rick Wakeman
Rick Wakeman – Just Rick and his Grand Piano, stories, anecdotes, jokes and a goodly serving of virtuoso piano playing  including a selection of his own solo work, classic Yes numbers and a smattering of other collaborations throughout his long and illustrious career, this was for me and many more people there I suspect, a truly unique and mesmerising experience, what a damn fine way to bring HRH Prog3 to a close.
 We’ve already booked up for next year.
Seagulls, Ducks, Eclipses and Prog
(With a bit of Sci-Fi on the side)

Where on Earth and what could this be?
Why only HRH Prog3 at Hafan Y Mor in Phwelli
Where it seems there’s always a challenge to overcome
Like for example the accommodation
Which this year as we were VIP’s
Meant we should be able to access the venues with ease
The initial Mobile Home was very pleasant
But close to the Prog event it wasn’t
So some negotiation was done by Kevin
And we moved to our new super Prog haven

We had one discount card between six
OK if all of us were in ‘The Kitty’ mix
Also it didn’t seem to work at each till
We struggled on for a while despite this until
Kevin once again seized the day
And got it reprogrammed so that was OK
But one thing that irked more than anything I fear
Was the bar constantly running out of draft beer

But despite all this the Fellowship had fun
We do tend to do festivals the way they should be done
HRH Prog3 overall was no exception
We enjoyed the eclectic mix of musical direction
It was not all ‘prog’ as you might imagine
Depending of course on this genre’s perception
And we shared the site with the Sci-Fi convention
Which made it somewhat more of an interesting occasion
Star Wars characters seemed to have abounded
And it was somewhat strange to be quite so surrounded
By Storm-troopers, Darth Vader’s, Wookies and Jedi’s
When to cool down or to smoke you just popped outside!

Outside you could have held your very own Hawkfest
Because they only played Hawkwind and sod all the rest
But that was ok for an old Hawknerd like me
I must admit to have been somewhat relaxed and happy
So many friends were at this festival despite its location
To seek them out and spend time with them was my vocation
For it’s the people as much as the music that ‘make’ these events
And for HRH Prog3 that’s certainly the way that it went

On Friday morning entranced we watched the eclipse
But that’s another poem to be escaping my lips
The gulls and the ducks seemed somewhat confused
By the light and the cold the eclipse so ensued
Three days of music and Fellowship and time spent with friends
It’s this sort of thing that you wish would never end
We saw some great bands and some damn fine performances too
And some not to our taste but that’s OK, it’s a case of, as you do
Suddenly Sunday was there and it was time to go home
But it’s fair to say that we all had so much fun
We’ve already booked up for next year!

Grant Meaby
March 2015

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Daevid Allen - A Personal Tribute


Daevid est Morte, Viva Daevid

As if losing the wonderful Terry Pratchett last week was not in itself bad enough, the very next day the world lost Daevid Allen, I'm sure that this post the Gong family will understand.

Fittingly I begin with the words of Orlando Allen:-

And so dada Ali, Bert Camembert, the Dingo Virgin, Divided Alien and his other 12 selves prepare to pass up the oily way and back to the planet of love. And I rejoice and give thanks,” he wrote. “Thanks to you dear dear Daevid for introducing me to my family of magick brothers and mystic sisters, for revealing the mysteries, you were the master builder but now have made us all the master builders. As the eternal wheel turns we will continue your message of love and pass it around. We are all one, we are all Gong. Rest well my friend; float off on our ocean of love. The gong vibration will forever sound and its vibration will always lift and enhance. You have left such a beautiful legacy and we will make sure it forever shines in our children and their children. Now is the happiest time of your life. Blessed be.”

Rarely does the life and philosophy of one man have such a profound effect on so many people including myself.
I am a great believer in the philosophy of “All roads lead to now”, that we are the sum of all our previous experiences, good and bad, happy and sad, everything we are and where we are today would not be without everything that has gone before.

And so, without further ado



Daevid Allen, a personal tribute

Rarely does one man
Or the music of one particular band
Have an effect so profound
That the expression ‘Life Changing’ may resound
Yet it does not even come close to describing the effect
That Daevid Allen and Gong have had on me
You see
Without them I would not be who I am today
I can with some surety say
That my life would have taken a far different course
So although with some sadness but with no remorse
I mourn his departure with a celebration of what Daevid has meant to me
I would never have had the early group of friends I had
There may never have been a Michelle and me
No son, no grandsons, no first family
And certainly none of what followed


There would have been no ‘Avebury Experience’
No Raw Carrots and Muesli Band
With Ledger, Poot, Pog, Liz and Fozzie, and
The experiences that inevitably led
Through a somewhat twisting course
To the love of my life
To Sue my wife
To our wonderful family 
To me making something of my life and latterly
Undoubtedly to the very formation of The Fellowship of the Stick 
To so many dear friends that I treasure
To so many experiences and to so much pleasure
To my appreciation of music so eclectic and diverse 
To me now as I sit to compose this verse
To my writing in general and my love of live poetry
Quite simply, I wouldn't be me


When I first met Daevid
And told him of the profound effect on my life
That he and Gong had had
He shook my hand and held it in both of his
He gazed into my eyes
And he radiated love
A gift from the planet Gong, a gift from above
And so I end with the words of Ledger De La Bald
Performance poet, dear friend and fellow writer
“Daevid est Morte, Viva Daevid, the afterlife party just got brighter”.



GM March 2015

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

ASTROPOGGING MET IZZY

OK, an exceptionally strange title for this one, maybe I'm finally losing my marbles (Some would say I lost them years ago!), let me explain, no, hang on, perhaps this will explain it better.

And not on the poster - Izzy Rowland

You see, it all becomes so much clearer now, The Astronauts in a rare full band appearance (Or was The Otters?) Pog, The Metatrons and Izzy Rowland.

There were three of us from The Fellowship, pre-gig supping and chatting away at The Nightingale, myself, Chris and Alexander, a somewhat different three from normal but excellent fun none the less.

First on was young Izzy Rowland playing her first Club-85 gig, despite her 1st time nerves before 'Getting up there' she played a consummate set with the confidence and maturity of someone a lot older than her tender 15 years, this girl is definitely one to watch out for and a little bird tells me that we may see here appear at this years Rhythms of the World Festival on a, in fact, the, best stage there is, watch this space.

Izzy Rowland

Oh just how many months have I waited to see the next band again, one of my all time fave's, all the way 'up' from Brighton, the fabulous Pog with their bouncy folky punky quintessentially English quirky music, I love'em to death.

Pog 
https://www.facebook.com/pogbrighton?fref=ts

Next up were a band I've not seen for some time, female fronted punk influenced the delectable skewed fuzz-pop band, The Metatrons, whose CD, Between Planets is worth adding to any collection.

The Metatrons
https://www.facebook.com/groups/118713911501053/?fref=ts

How long has it been since we saw the Astronauts in a full band format? Too long, that's how long, these days, apart from the seemingly invincible Mark Astronaut, they may be a different band from years ago but the line up changes over the years would rival any band with such a longevity and as long as Mark is fronting them they ARE the Astronauts come what may.
What a damn fine splendid set they played and all of them were on fire, Mark especially, what a treat and, to top it all, this particular Saturday was The Gong Family Global Party, so, to mark the occasion the music of Gong and Daevid Allen was played before and between the bands while a fine picture of Daevid graced the backdrop, ahh, blisssss.

The Astronauts
https://www.facebook.com/TheAstronautsBand?fref=ts

Astropogging Met Izzy

So, what does one do on a Saturday night?
Meet up with friends maybe enjoy a beer or two
To me that sounds just about right
And a healthy serving of great music

Once again the Fellowship were three
But a somewhat different combination
Where else could we be?
Alexander, Chris and myself

There really is only one place to go
For a pre-gig drink and a chat
A place that we all know
Somewhere convenient and friendly

So we met in the Nightingale
Determined not to overstay our welcome
As we supped the finest of real ale
Before a stroll down the road to Club-85

This time we did not miss the first act
Young Izzy Rowland and her first ‘85’ gig
Well thank heavens for that
She was enchanting and really very good

Pog travelled up all the way from Brighton
With their folky punky quirky songs
It was great once more to see Joe Davin
I really love this band

The Metatrons were extraordinarily good
Punky pop solidly delivered
Really put me in the mood
For the Astronauts full band

Was it the Astronauts or was it the Otters?
Mark A was on fire as were the band
So it really didn’t matter
A splendid show all round

Saturday was also the Global Gong Family celebration
Making the evening somewhat even more special
Filling me with joy and a feeling of jubilation
With the music of Daevid Allen and Gong played before and between the bands
When all is said and done, another fabulous evening was had by everyone.

Grant - March 2015


So when will I be back again and with what? Who knows, I certainly don't, so,. until the next time round the plastic spiral, stay safe and cool runnings one and all.