Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas at The OBJ

Well, some people think Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without Gremlins, however ours struck Em's Keyboard or more specifically her little magic midi sound box thing that sits atop her equipment and give her keys a sound. After some fiddling about with it she then switched to the accordion. Now Emma normally plays 'Just Like Nero', 'Galleries' and the Dolly Parton cover 'Jolene' on this instrument but she did magnificently busking  through the whole of the second set. 

The lovely people from The Situation were our hosts and the near Legendary venue (with stron Jazz associations), The Old Brown Jug. We were booked to do two sets with our old friend Tim Lee, as the filling in the musical sandwich. Tim as I've said many times before is a real talent and played a batch of new songs as well as greatest hits, you can here some of his new ones HERE.
The Poster - Simon was billed as "the most laid-back bassist in the history of rock and roll"!

Emma was on the accordion for the whole 2nd set.

Grumpy elf adjusts his stomp boxes before the gig.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Boxjam V

And so we returned to the scene of the band's very first gig (at the first BJ 4 years ago), and what will probably be my last festival-type gig of the year, Boxjam. All for charity of course, suburb acts including for the first time, the wonderful poet Paul Howard Ellson. We managed to stick around and between us (the whole band) caught Human Condition and Interception, both sounding as superb if not even better than ever, We Are Nomad and Then Alien. All fantastic by all accounts.

Hats off (Fez's off?) to Simon & Tina of Simon J. Newbury Photography fame for doing all the sterling work that must mean many sleepless nights before an event of this size. Another great success and most impotantly, lots of dosh raised for Oxfam and Chrisite's.

Thanks to Liz Wells for the video of a more mellow segment of our set :)

Alternatively, here's a video shot by The Late Selector team, thanks chaps;

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Live Radio Session. Chat on The Cat!

No rest from one of those full day-job type of days, 15 mins with a coffee at home before setting off again. It all seemed like a huge chore but in the end our lovely hosts at The Cat Radio gave us a lovely time.

Here's at least some of what happened, cover versions have had to be removed in respect of copyright restrictions.

Corrections & Clarifications;

Band names; As well as "See Daylight" which nearly became our band name, Simon came up with the potential band name "Beachcombing" (as well as "The Four Cups") this, along with "The Dandylions" were rejected on the grounds that there are so many bands with these names. Emma came up with "The Ferns" which didn't get past the as it were, committee. "Road Kill Cafe" was another one which didn't make it for various reasons.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Everyone's a Blue Yellow! The Nag's Head, Crewe. October 26th.

Photo by Martin Rivers
The tiny confines of a great little music pub, The Nag's Head in Crewe mean you have to be careful how you move about on stage, but it was well worth it for a close-up and personal night where some in the audience became a Blue Yellow for several songs after we handed out a load of percussive shakers and the like. Great atmosphere, thanks to everyone who created that for us! 
Tim Lee did a superb job in support, you really should do yourself a favour and check this superb songsmith out.

Tim's set
Love is Cruel
Diagram of a Heart
One Missed Call
Tracks of my Tears (Smokey Robinson cover)
Prettiest Green Eyes
Ride on the Breeze
This is a Lie (The Cure cover)
Whats in a Word?
I'm Just Gonna be me
She's a Drug
Sophie Draw.

BlueYellows set;
Cry Cry Kill
Love Limpet
The Owl & the Willow
Minute in the Sun
Big Low Copper Moon
Jolene (Dolly Parton cover)
Where the Sky meets the Sea
Killing Me
Feels like Sunshine
Farmer John (Don Harris & Dewey Terry cover - inspired by Neil Young & Crazy Horse's version).
No Tobacco, No Jesus
These Boots are made for Walkin' (Lee Hazelwood cover).

Injury of the evening; A split lip when dancing in front of the stage resulted in my mic punching straight into my face.

Quote of the evening 1 (just for fun, I'm sure Russ Abbott is a lovely guy); Someone - "Oh what an atmosphere!", me - "perhaps we should cover that?" Simon - "Russ Abbott?!?!", me - "To be fair he's the only entertainer of his generation who hasn't turned out to be a paedo", Simon "yet".

Quote of the evening 2. Me (talking to girl wanted to know when we are playing in future) "Would you like to go on our email mailing-list?" - "I haven't got an email address" - "are you on facebook?" - "no" - "have you got access to the internet?" - "no" - "We'll send a pigeon".

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Alexander's the Great!

A Tuesday night acoustic night. Anywhere else that would mean more musicians than members of the public, a few girl/boy friends they've managed to drag out on a school night, perhaps a gaggle of girls in the corner about to set off to the karaoke next door. But not here, not Alexander's Chester. The famous acoustic night featuring loads of great acts from near and far was packed to the rafters, standing room only with people standing around every available walkway and sitting on steps. Just great stuff.
The Audience starts to build ahead of the music.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Orchard Jam

An unusual one as gigs go; A guest-set along with Dayve Dean and a public jam night. Orchard studios is a busy professional studio and perhaps Oakhanger's, nee Alsager's,  nee Cheshire's best kept secret. They work with the great and the good but a lot of musicians local to the area have never heard of them. They're currently working on some event ideas that may well change that.
Just to help spread the word, here's a great little promo;

Monday, September 30, 2013

Salford Music Festival but no toe-tapping - ouch!.

Photo by Gavin Ithel
I tend to dread outdoor gigs from this time of year as, although I'm generally someone who likes cooler rather than warmer weather, my hands do suffer from cold (even when the rest of me is too hot!). No such worries for my stint at The Salford Music Festival as it was very warm weather really. However a suspected broken toe and swollen, painful foot made the whole process of getting to and from there (by train and.. on foot) made it a painful experience, apart from when I was on stage (other than not being able to prevent my bad foot from stomping along to the beat!). It was nice to see a couple of friends there and I was also able to enjoy the lovely voice of Vicky Robson-Capps - be sure to check her out HERE.
"Backstage" overlooking the Greengate Urban Market in Manchester earlier.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Acoustic Alchemy II at the Vibe, the Vibe? Yeah actually.. the Vibe!

Not a dubious film but a rather wonderful night and another new venue for me, The Vine in Shavington. Funnily enough I keep miss-spelling it as "The Vibe", which would certainly have been an appropriate name on the night! All the bands & artists were "in the zone", great! With many thanks for Jonathan White for the photos and the many chums who turned up :) Jonathan was too late to photograph Sam Lyon who has the sweetest voice, catch her (JW) if you can. 
United Breaks Headlined. Photo; Jonathan White.
Me (well it is my blog). Photo; Jonathan White.

Great to see Dayve Dean back in musical action. Photo; Jonathan White.
Check out the great acts here;

United Breaksjoined by Tom Seals
Dayve Dean
John Macleod Band 
Sam Lyon

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Worcester Music Festival.

A bridge over the Severn from right outside the venue.
As far as I know, unless I visited with my family as a very young child, this was my first visit to Worcester and I was not disappointed, an exceptionally beautiful city. Worcester manages to combine an understated grandeur with the sort of quaintness normally associated with small, wealthy  market towns in the shires. Every street a hotch-potch of engaging architecture, around every corner, nook and cranny a pleasant surprise, pretty courtyards and squares. In other words YES, I had time to look around.
I was there for the fabulous Worcester Music Festival to play at the lovely riverside venue of The Old Rectifying House. Again I have been extremely blessed with a music-loving and highly attentive, enthusiastic audience. I hope this experience of recent months is a sign of a real growing enthusiasm for new music. Maybe it’ll all change at the next gig but thanks to all of you who have supported me so far, I really appreciate it enormously.
Another really positive factor for the weekend, and one which was a pleasant surprise to me when already on my way (the joys of the facebook news-feed) was that one of my very favourite bands, the completely awesome Pre Sleep Monologue. Imagine the sound-child of The Doors (maybe grand-child then), The Mars Volta, Jack White and the spirit of grunge and a post-apocalyptic Americana – right up my street. They rock and they groove. Do check them out HERE.

Thanks Worcester – a great festival which felt more like a holiday rather than music-work <3 font="">

Inside The Old Rectifying House.
The Old Rectifying House is the building on the right.
Everywhere a lovely courtyard or square.

They take bike-parking seriously too.

Even my hotel room had a nice view.

Worcester Cathedral

One of many grand buildings, The Guild Hall I think.

Reminds me of Nantwich!

Becky Rose with her fab take on brilliant electro-pop at the ORH.

View from the train.

View from the train.

View from the train.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

August 25th - The Northern Quarter Festival, Chester

3 Cities, 1 weekend mini-tour, 3.

Big, attentive crowds in the sunshine.
I think the photos will say more than too many words can say here, Chester was blessed with both fine weather and huge, friendly and most importantly music-loving & listening crowds. Thank you, I really appreciate another wonderful audience like that. Huge thanks also to Zola from Alexander's for doing so much behind the scenes and to my lovely friends Steph and Jose with their daughters Alba and Estrella who I think managed to dance through every song of mine - even the slow, miserable ones! Well done them! :)
An on-street stage.
Crowds overlook Alexander's from the famous
Roman city walls.

I saw Ellie Larke play at the Eisteddfod, a great talent,
good to see her again.
(Follow Ellie and her lovely songs HERE).

Sunday, August 25, 2013

August 24th - The Greystones, Sheffield.

3 Cities, 1 weekend mini-tour, 2.

The watery scene which awaits you from Sheffield Railway Station.
Sheffield, where the sturdy buildings seem carved out of the rock itself and seem as tough as the surrounding hills. Sheffield, where straight-talking, no-nonsense, macho blokes call each other "love". Sheffield, where a long-unseen friend I recently got back in touch with (via the magic of facebook) invited me to the awesome venue for a charity gig she helped put together and run, in aid of the Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity.

Sadly I missed Chrisy's performance (she has moved over the years from being a talented visual artist to a full-on commitment to music) but it was great to catch up with her and see her again after so long, in a double-whammied, synchronitic bit of luck and niceness, another 'old' friend, Jenni who came along too it was really lovely to see her again and see how well things are going for her as well.

The Greystones is a great venue, and just a look around the posters at the awesome, legendary acts they've had on and coming up shows what a good job they are doing, have a look yourself here. It's sort of a normal, if larger than average pub at the front with a sizable "backroom" venue at the back. Superb. The locally brewed Thornbridge beers are nice too! 

A lot of appropriately very high-quality acts on, I was particularly impressed with Richard Brind who played an engaging and in places acerbic set which was highly individual and distinctive in both guitar-playing and songwriting.  
This is a venue I can't wait to return to some time.
The views from the train window (when not in tunnels) were often spectacular.

Richard Brind impressed everyone.
Rosie's view (my guitar), well, if she was out of the gig-bag.

Friday, August 23, 2013

August 22nd, Manchester - Tuesday on a Thursday.

3 Cities, 1 weekend mini-tour, 1.

So I played a set to the friendly folk of The B Lounge, Manchester courtesy of Manc promoter extraordinaire, Mr Tuesday Tony no less. 
Tony (or should that be 'Tuesday'?) did an even better accidental impression of Jools Holland in introducing the acts than my own accidental impression of him (or so I'm often told).
A lovely relaxed evening, awesome artists (as usual!).

Across the Pennines for the next one!.
Piccadilly Station, Manchester (view from an espresso bar).
The Lovely B Lounge, nearby

Friday, August 16, 2013

A bloody nice jam.

My Robert's Firebird - a bloody good guitar all in all.
Not had a jam for a long time... I was invited by Mr Dan Logan of Orchard Studios along with Chris, a guitarist who had worked with him before and Wal, bassist from Skeletal Damage for a jam. As you can see I ended up with blood all over my Firebird. I realised later that this was due to the style of playing i had been using for hours earlier in the day and the day before in which I use lots of upstrokes with the back of my thumb - a bit of funkyesque popping in the jam must have finaly broken the skin.
Looks quite aesthetically pleasing don't you think?
Dan said beer was compulory so who am I to argue?

Monday, August 12, 2013

August 11th - Not just a House Concert...

House concerts seem to have taken off in many countries, particularly the States or so I'm told, but they don't seem to have quite caught on here yet. But, given that "staying in is the new going out" (much to the detriment of the live music scene I might say!) the idea is that instead of having a boring dinner party you have a really inspiring and heart-warming one by inviting your favourite musical artists into your home to do a gig there in your own home to you and your guests.

Now this was a particularly lovely occasion because Martin, whose house this one was, has a beautiful garden and it all took place in this gorgeous setting, whats more we had host of great talent performing (please check out the links below) including Guitar-George Borowski himself. Dayve Dean, as often recently was in dual-role as sound engineer and an as-always engaging performer.

Also, it wasn't all as entirely private as it could have been because highlights will be available on a podcast as part of The Backstage Pass radio show, and I will provide a link here when it is ready. Simon J. Newbury, who presents the show is also a renowned photographer and he brought along an exclusive copy of his Urban Portraits book which generated much interest.

A wonderful occasion, thanks Martin and all your guests.

P.S. I'm free to discuss terms for similar plus weddings, funerals, divorce parties, new pet arrivals etc ;)
Simon J. Newbury, as well as arranging for highlights to go on his radio podcast,
also brought in a special copy of his "Urban Portraits" book.


George Borowski with Gaynor Wilson
Angus McTwangstick
Dayve Dean
Paul Ellson
The Sladens
Simon J. Newbury - Urban Portraits.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

July 31st - The Teenage Cancer Trust Benefit Concert.

Louise Gibson was once again the instigator for a wonderful evening of music which as well as myself included the talented artists Oli Ng, Nigel Kurtis Blonde, Dayve Dean, Connor Thackery, Neil Smith and Ben & Aaron. 
To be honest I was absolutely cream crackered from all i was involved with over the previous days and nights but still enjoyed a great night in Sandbach.
Photo by Dayve Dean. Thanks Dayve!

Oli Ng, who is also the frontman for The Eyres,
giving it some solo goodness!
Sorry for the poor pic quality.

July 28th - Bidstock Festival Sunday.

Day 2 of Bidstock was band day for us, and also (as last year) a mixture of sunshine and torrential rain. Luckily we missed the worst of it as some of the music was delayed for a number of hours and the main stage had to re-convene indoors, such was the deluge.
As well as our set it was a nice chance for me to catch up with some old friends while watching a couple of my favourite live bands, Flux and Roots to Nowhere.

With enormous thanks to all those involved in organising the event and to SD Photography for these great photos.
Photo by Simon Dunkerley. SD Photography.

See the full SD Photography album for the day
Photo by Simon Dunkerley. SD Photography.

Monday, July 29, 2013

July 27th - Bidstock, The Snakey Jake Sessions.

I was lucky enough to be asked to play The Bidstock Festival, a small but very lively festival at Wheelock near Sandbach, not once but twice i.e. a solo acoustic set on the Saturday and with the band on the outdoor stage on Sunday.
My set on Saturday was as part of "The Snakey Jake Sessions". Pete Snakey Jake Johnson. Pete died in the spring this year, he was a renowned blues guitarist (see for example the book Ain't Bad for a Pink) and was also much loved and respected by musicians of all genre's throughout the North West of England as the owner of Custom Amplification in Crewe. Pete could always be relied upon to go the extra mile, if you went into his shop with a gig booked that evening, desperate for some spare PA bits and pieces, he would dig them out for you. In recent years I had become just as accustomed to seeing him around the canals as a fellow boater, looking very happy sat on the front of his narrowboat near Nantwich. 
Some great acts were playing including Phil Gemmell, Hayley Strangelove (who also joined me on a song), Rivers & Kelly (with a wonderfully and highly appropriate rootsy sounding set) and Christie Bratherton, awesome all.
Bidstock crowds.

Photo by Martin from Rivers & Kelly.

The man himself.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

July 21st - Liverpool Piracy with The Blood Red Roses.

Not piracy in a bad -not giving musicians their just desserts sort of way, but in a Liverpool Pirate Festival sort of way, something some of the regular band and friends have done annually for a while at various venues around the Albert Dock, Liverpool. It has a sort of busman's holiday feel to it, for instead of doing our "serious" band music we played pirate songs and sea shanties. Good fun. This year The Blood Red Roses was a smaller ensemble consisting of myself, Emma and Hayley from the band plus Pete (Emma's hubby) and their little one, Casper. It was still sweltering but at least we were regularly cooled to some extent by a reasonably perky breeze.

Another day, yet another railway platform.

My mini-guitar, Hayley's small Djembe and to the left, Casper's award-winning ship-pushchair, not seen from it's best angle. Photo by Emma.
Taking a breather by the mighty Mersey with Pirate Pete & the officially pronounced youngest pirate at the event, Casper! Photo by Emma.
This can only mean it's Liverpool again. Good things.

Serious train disruption on the way back, officially due to "signal failure" but sadly platform staff said it was due to a suicide on the track.