Monday, 27 June 2016


Firstly a big shout out to Andy Sinclair at SoundArc for continuing to put on some of the most splendid and free gigs on at The Red Lion in Stevenage, last Thursday was a breath of fresh air, one of those very special gigs that you are just so glad you went along to!.

So, to beat the doom and gloom of the Referendum what batter way to spend the evening seeing two excellent bands in the company of a good friend and lashings of damn fine ale!

First on were local Hitchin band Foxfield who manage to blend Alt Rock, Art Rock, Math Rock and a bit of Post Hardcore in a very melodic, complex and entrancing way, with great audience interaction and stage presence, the way the front man looks and moves reminds me so much of a young version of Kavus Torabi which, all in all, made for a damn fine set indeed.



Now when it comes to instrumental rock there are several bands I like but the top three just have to be The Fierce And The Dead, 1000 Suns and the wonderful Crap Crab, who I had not seen for far too long and who, on this night were on absolutely stomping form, promoting their current album,Volume 1 they really rocked the Red.
Even better was the fact that they were selling their entire back catalogue for a mere £11 and, not having had a chance to pick up the early stuff previously, for me & Chris it was a bargain not to be missed!

Crap Crab

Crap Crab

So, once again, thanks Andy & SoundArc Promotions for putting on these wonderful gigs, may it long continue.

Anything but Crap

Another Thursday evening
And again it’s just me and Chris
Another SoundArc gig at ‘The Red’
That we just couldn’t miss
Foxfield with their math rock
And the instrumental Crap Crab
It turned out to be pretty awesome
One of the best nights this year we’ve had
Both bands were on fine form
Crap Crab especially so
With their complete back catalogue on sale
For a mere £11 a go
Now we love our instrumental rock
And if it can’t be The Fierce and the Dead
Then there is always 1000 Suns
Or Crap Crab to see instead
And so it was this Thursday
And it may have just been Chris and me
But thanks to SoundArc Andy
The gig was completely free
And Crap Crab are anything but crap!

Grant Meaby

GM June 2016

Wednesday, 22 June 2016


On Friday the 17th June 2016, at the Stevenage Leisure Centre, in the Ellen Terry Suite, those erstwhile poets and entertainers that make up the collective lovingly known as "Parnassus Performance" put on an evening of original contemporary poetry and humorous music, aptly entitled "When words are not enough, oh, wait a minute, yes they are!" as part of this year's special 25th anniversary Stevenage Festival of the Arts to coincide with the Stevenage 70 Years celebrations.

The festival is usually a bi-annual event, falling on the 'odd' years, this year's one was a 'special' additional event which of course meant that yours truly had to put a little bit of effort in to get the evening organised, put the line up together and sort out the timings and running order etc. as well as the normal liason with the Gordon Craig Theatre, the Arts Festival Comittee etc. etc.I assure you that it's not as easy as it may seem and that it takes up a fair amount of time and effort to get it 'Right on the Night!' one also has to keep fingers toes and any other parts 'crossed' in hopeful expectation of an audience!

I 'Kicked off' the evening with the usual preamble, welcomes (We had the deputy Mayor of Stevenage + Consort along with a senior member of the Arts Festival team among the audience), introductions and a short set of my own.

Your truly gets the evening off to a flying start!

First to grace our bards stage this year (After me) was the (Now quite famous) published author and poet J S Watts with her excellent poetic tales including some futuristic and dark robotic stories.

J S Watts
 To lighten things up a bit and a much welcome return to the Parnassus fold we had Barry Woolhead with us after a 20+ years absence (Working away / abroad etc.), Barry had the audience in fits of laughter with his humorous songs and parodies.

Barry Woolhead
 This year it was our very great pleasure to welcome some newcommers to our midst for thier first ever public performances of thier work, starting with Ms. Julie Shaw who entertained us with her often dark and pagan themed poetry, she did very well.

Ms Julie Shaw
 After the interval it was the turn of two more newcommers and a breath of fresh air into our world of words as we were lucky enough to have Yvan Taiko (Stevenage's former Youth Mayor) and Brett Wyatt with their beatifully written and extremely well delivered poems on a number of difficult and thought provoking subjects and everyday life reflecting on the thoughts and difficulties faced by young people today, I have to say that these chaps made a really big and positive impact.

Yvan Taiko

Brett Wyatt
 Next up was Parnassus favourite and stalwart Joy T Chance, a.k.a. Purple Dread with her very moving and personal poetry about womanhood, mental health and well, just the joy of being human.

Purple Dread (Joy T Chance)
 Now, anyone who knows Chris Ripple and his wife Haddy will know that at the moment there is really only one thing on thier minds and that is the saftey and wellbieng of thier kids back in The Gambia and the continual and costly struggle and fight to get them 'over here' safe and secure and the seemingly constant barriers that everyone in any form of government, local and national, irrespective of party seems to have thrown up in thier way!
Chris has never ever shied away from contoversy, he tells it like it is, this is one of the many factors that has made him such a succesful performance poet, especialy among rock and festival audiences for so many years.
It was no surprise then that on this night of course he centered on Africa, politics and such personal heartfelt issues, feauring The Blood Sisters on a the backing track for "The Drum Now Beats For Africa" it was such a personal and emotianal delivery that it not only worked but had the audience captivated and thinking! Throwing in the humorous poem about the blow up doll in the council lorry was an act of genius that balanced the set to perfection.

Chris Ripple
 To bring us to a close we had the all round enetrainment of Nick Brown who mixed and matched his "Smokin' Dick Burns" and his "Howdydodat" personas to bring us a combination of humorous songs, poems and parodies and magic and illusions which was a fine ending to a jolly splendid and succesful evening.

Nick, Howdydodat Burns!
 And yes, we had an audience!

 Well, that was a damn fine splendid evening so my thanks go out to all who performed, our audience for just being there and supporting us, to the staff at the GCT for a fine job on the door, the room and the bar, to the Stevenage Festival Committee for having us, here's to the next one!
Thank you and goodnight.

Sunday, 12 June 2016


Just a 'quikie' this one.
I love all kinds of music, anything 'Space Rock' (or similar) has to be near or at the top of my list of favourite genres, so, imagine my delight when earlier this week I got a notification from Gregg McKella that Paradise 9 (One of my favourite bands) had just been booked to support the Tyla J Pallas Band at the Borderline on Saturday 11th June and, what's more, as a loyal friend of P9, I could go on the £5 guest list!
Well, it was a no brainer, I sped my way down to 'The Smoke' courtesy of Great Northern Railways and after a refreshing pint of ale in The Pillars of Hercules it was into The Borderline for me to catch up with Gregg and the guys  before they played an absolute blinder of a set that had the crown rocking and dancing. Boy oh boy were P9 on form and on fire, a really excellent start to the evening and well worth coming down for just for them.

Paradise 9

Gregg McKella in full flow

Excellence from any angle!
Although I was never a huge fan of Dogs D' Amour, former front man, Tyla J Pallas, as a singer songwriter, Artist, Poet etc. is one of rocks great characters and with the current band, extraordinarily tight behind him he really played some superb 'kick ass' rock, they were absolutely brilliant, what a great night!

Tyla J Pallas Band

Tyla really rocked us

Finally, once more, many thanks to Gregg for the heads up and the invite.

Cheers all

Saturday, 11 June 2016


So there we were, Peter and I, the sole members of the Fellowship upon this night, down at the Red Lion in Stevenage on Thursday for the SoundArc Acoustic Sessions.
This was one I had been waiting for, Luke Tuchscherer, postponed from the the last time he was due to appear when unfirtunately he was unwell.
This night held a lovely surprise, Claudia McKenzie, perhaps better known for her outstanding bass playing in bands such as Split Whiskers and 4th Labyrinth as well as with her own band, Claudia and the Braidy Bunch, tonight she was here in her solo singer songwriter persona, I Claudia and what a simply wonderful set she played.
Filling up the middle slot was Jay Aldridge, another brilliant young singer songwriter whose strum and slap style is something to be seen (& heard) to be believed, we very much enjoyed him too.
Luke was on absolute top form, singing songs from his 1st solo album, a couple from the forthcoming album and what a delight, a few Whybirds numbers too as well as a couple of crowd pleaser sing along / dance along tunes, all in all another absolutely fabulous night thanks to Andy and the SoundArc Live promotions.

I Claudia

Jay Aldridge

Acoustically Amazing

So there we were
Peter and I
Another Thursday night
My how time does fly!
The SoundArc Acoustic Sessions
At the Red Lion
A night I’d had my eye on
For a number of weeks
As unfortunately last time
He was due to play
Upon his sick bed he did lay
The one and only Luke Tuchscherer
But not tonight
Tonight he was shining bright
A rare chance to see Luke
Sing his poignant country blues
Up close and personal
And that’s not all
A very special surprise
I could hardly believe my eyes
Claudia McKenzie was also playing
A solo acoustic set
In her persona of I Claudia
And damn fine she was too
As was Jay Aldridge
With his outstanding strum and slap style
He made us all smile
When on one song
The looping went sort of wrong
But it didn’t matter at all
And then came Luke
Singing one or two new songs
And songs from his 1st album
Joy of joys
He sang a few of the Whybirds
And for the audience’s fun
The odd cover to sing along
All in all it was quite simply
Acoustically amazing.

Luke Tuchscherer

Grant Meaby

Sunday, 5 June 2016


So, every now and then our wonderful home of live music, Club-85 in Hitchin gets all decked out with chairs and tables, soft lighting and candles and hands over to Roger King & Co. for The Root's 'n Roll Cafe events, a more acoustic, folky, bluesy, jazzy sort of evening and to be honest, this one was an absolute cracker!

It has been quite a while since I'd seen Joathan Roberts and the band (Beau Jangles), in fact not since they appeared on our Arcadeclectic Stage at Rhythms of the World a few years back, so with their very catchy and politically astute and very English folk they set the evening off to an excellent start. I must mention that Jonathan has a 'concept' album out at the moment, Decades, a reflection on the decades in his (& my) lifetime, all proceeds are for charity and it's well worth getting at a mere fiver!

Beau Jangles

Next along were The Blues Blaggers, fresh from their debut gig during the Sounds of Baldock weekend and this time on a proper stage with excellent sound engineering they were absolutely stunning, blues, jazz, rock fusion, every member a consummate musician and with a simply stunning singer they played a real barnstormer of a set, even the sound engineer remarked that they were the best band he'd had to do sound for this year, in fact for a very long time, he thought they were "Phenomenal" and so did I and many who were there.
OK so I am somewhat biased, lead singer Fran is one of my daughters but they were the band that everyone was talking about and certainly drew a significant number of the audience this night.

The Blues Blaggers
Fran from The Blues Blaggers

Next to grace the stage was Emily Slade, now many of you will know that Emily is quite "A Name" in the world of folk music, given that she is a 'Local Lass' it was quite a surprise to learn that she'd never played Club-85 before, was she good? You bet, excellent intricate guitar work with beautiful clear vocals and poignant songs, a real treat.

Emily Slade
Final band of the evening were Honeywitch, in thier own words, "Honeywitch is a six-strong band writing and performing folk-influenced acoustic and electric songs that resonate with the seasons and the wildlife that surrounds us. Fairytales, folk tales, flora and fauna, we write alternative, original folk with a gothic feel".
A nice surprise for me was that I actually know Advian (Guitars) and Chris (Cajun) and didn't know, or certainly didn't remember that they were part of Honeywitch! Honeywitch are a real festival folk band, it would have been nice to have had a roaring log fire on the go, somewhat impractical for Club-85, just had to make do with the candles!


So, all in all, a fine eclectic evening, long live Roots 'n Roll.

Cheers all
June 2016