Tuesday, 29 March 2016


So, there we were, Chris, Chris, Chris, Haddy & me sat around a table in Club-85 which had again managed to produce an evocative club atmosphere on an Easter Sunday night for an evening to celebrate Stuart O’Connor’s 10 years as an independent musician and what a celebration it turned out to be!

Stuart has been the front man of alt progressive rockers, My Pet Junkie for many years who thankfully, still get together whenever possible and play the odd awesome gig, those heady days of packing venues like the London Astoria may be a thing of the past but Stuart and his music certainly isn’t, as a solo artist he has released many excellent albums and has toured the world and in so doing has deservedly built up a loyal fan base worldwide, if you’ve ever seen him play live you’d understand why.

Anyway, the evening opened with young ‘Looper’ Gavin Chappell-Bates from Cambridge treating us to a good selection of songs from his current album ‘We are the ones’ and his, for one so young, quite extensive back catalogue, it was Gavin’s first performance at Club-85 and he did a damn fine job.

Gavin Chappell-Bates

Next up was Papaphone, a.k.a. Russell Perkins singing songs mainly from his ‘Songs I wrote’ EP/Album, which, by the way, is available as a free download from his Facebook / Soundcloud page and well worth adding to your collection, as he himself said, “Where is the line between acoustic singer songwriter and ‘Folk’, these days it’s hard to tell but it was nice to hear a well polished and consummate performance form one man and his guitar, excellent stuff!


SCAM were up next, with Cara (From the Defekters) in their new acoustic duo incarnation singing songs in a ska / blues / jazz tinged style that really shows off Cara’s incredible vocal range, sadly only a few short songs from them before a quick change around while Cara was joined by a very ‘tired’ Rich from The Defekters for a stripped down selection of classic Defekters songs which despite his own protestations and apologies, Rich seemed to manage to play OK (His explanation being that they’d already played two gigs over the Easter weekend and he’d sort of been ‘relaxing’ before the Sunday night gig! The atmosphere was such that we let him get away with it anyway,  The Defeketers are indeed an excellent Ska band, do check them out if that particular musical genre is your musical cup of tea.

A very stripped down Defekters
Stu started his set with a couple of solo numbers before being joined by the incredible Vicky Flint on Trumpet & Flute and Dave Smale on the keyboard.
Stuart is one of the most amazing and progressive songwriters around and despite the incredible complexity of much of his music, he always seems to ‘deliver’ live which often leaves the audience, as it did on Sunday night, awestruck and somewhat gobsmacked at just what they’ve been listening to.

Stuart O'Connor solo style
We were treated to songs from Stuart that spanned the whole of his ten year solo career and with two well-deserved encore’s actually had the crowd on their feet at the end of the performance, and all this for a mere £5 entry, what an incredibly splendid evening it was.

Stu with Vicky & Dave

The Easter Bunny Delivers a Stu

It was Easter and it was Sunday, who’d have thought
It would turn out to be such a fun day?
Well, evening anyway!
The Easter Bunny had obviously passed this way
Delivering a gig of outstanding natural beauty!

How could we survive without Club-85?
That premier venue for live music
And on a Sunday set out very club like
No mosh pit but chairs and tables
Which enabled
Us to sit in comfort whilst we were regaled
By the finest of musical delights
As on this night
Stuart O’Connor celebrated
Ten years as an independent musician
And these days that takes some doing!

There was myself and Chris F
And Chris M and Chris R and Haddy
Grouped around our table
Where we were able
To quietly converse between the bands
Well, single artists and duo’s and trio’s
All mainly (almost) acoustic except
As one might expect
A bit of electric amplification
Especially when looping
We had Gavin Chappell-Bates
And Papaphone Russell Perkins
We had Cara Defekter in two incarnations
Before Stuart who again was on fire
Such is his desire
To make outstanding music

This night was no exception
Exceeding all our expectations
Leaving us once more elated
At what he had created
With help from Vicky Flint on brass
And Dave Smale on keys
Oh yes, oh yes, more of this please
And two encore’s later
Sadly it was over
But what a night, what a truly awesome night
And all for a mere fiver at the door
Who could want for more?

Grant Meaby  March 2016


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