Sunday, May 31, 2015

Audlem; it's wonderful people and music festival.

May 25th, 2015 - The Audlem Music Festival.

This year was the 15th Audlem Music FestivalWhat can I say? It's special. Very special.

It really is a case of the people making it so. I have previously waxed lyrical about the Shop Sessions, and in a sense this is like a festival-sized version of the same thing in that; it's very well organised by a great team who know and love music, the artists are really well looked after, and the Audlemers and incomers alike give great audience! Some festivals focus only on one type of music but here entertaining cover bands rub shoulders with original artists and 'novelty' bands, and the lovely folk of Audlem are up for every bit of it.
Thanks Martin for sending me this pic of some newspaper coverage.

The only thing to slightly blight things was the gear-cable on my boat snapping (it's a bit disconcerting when you accelerate forwards towards the bank, to avoid a boat, when instructing the boat to reverse!). This was to be one of very few (perhaps only) gigs this year I could logistically get to by my own home/narrowboat but it was not quite to be, having been stranded by my breakdown some 2 miles away at Hack Green. My music-loving friend and fellow boater Alex gave me a lift in her Porsche, which sounds a very swish way to get to a festival but it's such a tiny car that it meant I was crammed under my 2 guitars and equipment while the bonnet was tied down with string to make way for something I'd displaced! It was a good laugh anyway!

This year I played the annually converted lane, 'Blues Alley' in the center of the village. It was a little chilly but nevertheless Audlem folk gathered and stuck around for my set so thanks to you all! Thanks also to supper talented Oli Ng (of The Eyres (( and of himself)) ) who sorted the sound for me. 

Among the acts I managed to catch, The Ashley Fayth band are worth a special mention, with uber-talented bandees; Oscar South & that man again; Dan Logan!

See more about Ashley Fayth's current album project below;

I Played There She Moves, Flamingos, Romeo and Juliet (Mark Knopfler cover), Big Low Copper Moon, Galleries, Jolene (Dolly Parton cover),  Toast the Night, These Boots are made for Walking (Lee Hazlewood cover), Beachcombing, California Earthquake (Mama Cass cover), No Tobacco No Jesus.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Into 'The Groove' at The Boat That Rocks.

May 23rd, 2015; The Boat That Rocks Festival.

Much as me and my fellow Blue Yellows were sad, though not surprised to see Hayley go (she will always be part of the band-family and will be welcome to join us on backing vocals and a cow-bell or tambourine any time), we have been rehearsing with our new drummer Dave 'The Groove' Coomer. I hope he doesn't mind me calling him this!

Dave is a very spontanious and experimental musician with a broad background in drumming from brass bands, heavy rock and everything in between, and who in his own words, is 'not afraid to hit the drums'!  Dave, just as importantly to the rest of us, is a super-nice guy and a bit of a big kid so he fits in very well!

Rehearsals are one thing but this was the real thing and Dave was on superlative form and I feel now that as we've done the BYs thing with him in public, he is a fully fledged bandee! In fact, what Dave brings to the band is more than just backing us, he has brought a new energy and sounds with him, and we are finding distinct ways of playing with these novel sonic forces that are now in the ether. It's a great feeling, a new band in a sense - exciting.

The gig in question was 'The Boat That Rocks' Festival organised by the lovely chaps at Middlewich Music. While traveling to the town, the organisers were contacting me to see if we could go on at a different time due to some last-minute changes to the running order, but this looked really unlikely as we had arranged a tight schedule for everything to be in place to be ready for our set time already, as well as expecting people from afar afield as Wigan who also had plenty of other things to fit in over the bank holiday weekend. Such is the way of festival-type events, I hope they didn't take too much umbrage at my responses here. Another understandably typical issue of these kind of occasions is lack of time and space to set up, though I think it was helped by Mr Coomer's choice to use the plug-in-and-play electronic drum kit which he has been using at band rehearsals so much. I also should have brought an extension lead for my mini pedal board, the lack of which meant I had to stick with one-guitar-sound-per-song which was a major compromise for me, but I'll remember for next time!

This all turned out to be minor details anyway as the main thing is it was an event with a great atmosphere,we played well, seemed to entertain all the lovely friendly folk who turned up and we had a ball. We shortened the set by two or three songs in recognition that things were running late by now, but managed to catch a great set by Photo Booth Smile and the talented Chris Tavener (see video) who performed while we set-up behind him! 

Big thanks to Middlewich Music who did a sterling job in the very considerable organising that such things require, at times on-the-hoof, and who not only held it all together but made for a great event and atmosphere throughout. Most importantly, thanks to all those who turned up, sang along and jigged about! 

We played Farmer John ( Harris, Don F. / Terry Jr, Dewey cover), Big Low Copper Moon, Killing Me, Love is the Answer, The Owl in the Willow, Where the Sky Meets the Sea, These Boots are made for Walking (Lee Hazlewood cover), No Tobacco, No Jesus.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Thank You BB King.

One of the truly greatest and most inspirational guitarists of all time. 
Modern rock music would not be what it is without him as he inspired so many. His technique was simple but no one put more soul into every note. 
I'm sure I'm not alone among guitar players in saying I always feel I play better after listening to him as he is the ultimate reminder that it's all about the soul. 
To the greatest, to our teacher, Thank You BB.

Monday, May 11, 2015

I've never seen Star Wars.

May 4th 2015 - The Lymelight Music Festival (Newcastle Under Lyme).

In spite of this I introduced myself to the gathering with 'May the 4th be with you!' as seems to be the tradition now.

When I first got to Newcastle Under Lyme I was hungry for lunch and ate in one of those quintessentially English greasy-spoons untouched by our modern obsessions with customer service. I listened to the staff talk loudly about their families various ailments and achievements before finding a different kind of alement at the beer tend before my set. We were blessed with great sunshine and lovely friendly, music-loving crowds.
Thanks Lymelight!