Bristol Lantern shining on Singing Divas Northsyde & Sari Schorr

Bristol Lantern shining on Singing Divas Northsyde & Sari SchorrBristol Lantern shining on Singing Divas Northsyde & Sari SchorrBristol Lantern shining on Singing Divas Northsyde & Sari Schorr


Colston Hall, returns with the Bristol Jazz & Blues Festival. The venue is awash with music, a chance to catch up with friends and chill in the foyer with an array of free spectacular shows. Tonight The Lantern shone bright as Lorna took the vocal lead for Northsyde and their distinctive blending of blues, funk twisted with the free flow of blues jam tradition weaving in the Allman Brothers and a rocky edge.

Bristol Lantern shining on Singing Divas Northsyde & Sari SchorrTonight, Lorna was resplendent in Black Top Hat and flowing wig, by the end of the set both were dispatched to the wings and the cropped urchin beauty was revealed adding a vulnerability that is counter intuitive to the strong vocals. With a collection of Northsyde defined numbers the set list played to the combined strengths of the band, Lorna up front with vocals that curl and turning lyrics into an angst-ridden journey through the melody. The grounding of the melodies are defined by the powerhouse of a rhythm section, Hayden Doyle on drums and the distinctive bass lines of Ian Mauricio. Yes, you were right left-handed Ian has the stringing on his bass upside down. Pulling the rhythm together and building complexity is the wizardry of Jules Fothergill’s guitar explosions of licks, and hooks for Lorna’s vocals to build on and exploit using her vocal range from growl to pure soprano. With an outing of Mr Sistabish from the hotly anticipated fourth album due out this Summer, we had funky Cherry Picking, and Mercy – the live track from Storytellers Daughter.  Tonight melded into the music adventure Living Colour, Stevie Wonder and with Denny Ilett entering the fold adding another layer of Bristol Lantern shining on Singing Divas Northsyde & Sari Schorrguitar as he played with Jules they were having fun. This made Northsyde’s signature cover Whipping Post rather special for their first trip down the M4 to Bristol.  The interplay between Jules and Denny was unforgettable in its majesty. What a start to a night dominated by vocals that soar above the band. Short break, and Sari Schorr and The Engine room filled the Lantern with blues that rock with the dynamic energy and power of charisma being shared across the audience so that everyone is touched by the gentle dignity that is Sari Schorr.

Bristol Lantern shining on Singing Divas Northsyde & Sari Schorr

Bristol Lantern shining on Singing Divas Northsyde & Sari SchorrNo gentle warm up with Sari and her band, she hit the ground running and the tension power and sheer beauty of live music just kept coming. The set list was dominated by tracks from her critically acclaimed debut album Force Of Nature. The album title perfectly describes Sari’s voice it is a true force of nature. Sari leaps into the vocals shaping and building the lyrics, every song she has a tale that you want to follow. Yes, she has confidence in the lyrics and her vocal prowess, more importantly, is her unwavering confidence and joy with the Engine Room the band that surrounds her. With Innes Sibun on guitar, we are in for a pyrotechnic display, controlled and wild and cool under the pressure of the amp blowing during the first outing of Black Betty tonight. With no guitar on stage, it was Anders Olinder’s keys that seamlessly took over with chords that filled the Lantern. The Engine Room are an organic force that works around the demands of the song and Sari, with a rhythm section that fills out the melodies with textures as the two Kevin’s collaborate, O’Rourke on drums and Jeffries in charge of the bass line.

Sari Schorr Bristol Lantern shining on Singing Divas Northsyde & Sari Schorropened with Ain’t Got No Money the set continued to build and flow, with a preview of what is to come in the highly anticipated second album we heard Cat & Mouse, a highlight of the set and really whets the appetite for more Sari live and recorded. No subject is taboo for Sari, with Domestic Abuse explored without judgement with emotionally charged Damn The Reason. With Sari, the voice is an emotionally charged instrument combined with theatrical movements of hands and swirling dance steps the tension builds as though you are listening through Sari’s whole being. Heroin and addiction is explored with Aunt Hazel and we visit Oklahoma. Closing with Ordinary Life, Sari in the introduction praises her musicians, record label but above all Bristol Lantern shining on Singing Divas Northsyde & Sari Schorrthe audiences that gives her the stage to sing from. Ordinary lives are anything but ordinary, with the melody that is gentler and at times Sari sings A Capella with a vulnerability as we are all special we are all looking to find our true potential. Sari with the Engine Room has definitely found hers we want to hear that voice perform over and over again. The interpretation of every song is special full of energy if languid with pathos and Innes guitar matches the mood wild and reflective he is always entertaining and his solo lead breaks are a feat to behold every time.

The encore, was Black Betty as we should have heard it the first time, with the stupendous Innes Sibun solo written by him and with the darkness of vocal tone Black Betty is reworked and always a Sari spectacular and now her signature number. Tonight we heard high-octane blues of the highest quality and what a voice, what a guitarist to have both in the same band takes blues-rock to a different level.

Bristol Lantern shining on Singing Divas Northsyde & Sari Schorr

Bristol Lantern shining on Singing Divas Northsyde & Sari Schorr, once again Bristol Jazz and Blues Festival delivers music that is special.


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The Convent turns up the volume with Northsyde

Northsyde-1844The Convent turns up the volume with Northsyde

Sunday 13th December 2015


Northsyde-1887Any nuns in the house wished that their wimples had bobbles so that they could join in the fun that is Northsyde, a band with bucket loads of blues attitude delivering music their way. From the Alter to the Bar – The Convent was alive with the sound of Northsyde.  As ever the band was led from the front by vocalist extraordinaire Lorna Fothergill, tonight she definitely meant business her trademark bobble hat had not one but two bobbles. Lorna is more than a singer as she bends the band around the sumptuous notes that filled the rafters. The rest of the band are a well-honed trio of musicians a rhythm section that funks up the line when necessary and then with a twirl of a drum stick kicks in rocky blues, Haydn Doyle and Ian Mauricio are in perfect harmony. That leaves the guitarist Jules Fothergill, his skills are awesome whether finger-picking using plectrum or slide the sound cascades from the guitar filling in and augmenting the spaces around Lorna’s intense vocals.


Northsyde-1873The set was strong with tracks from their albums including the critically acclaimed current Story Tellers Daughter; added into the mix was Northsyde’s versions of some specially chosen songs; including what has become a Northsyde signature track – Whipping Post by The Allman Brothers. This is special for two reasons the way Lorna sings the lyrics combined with the perfectly timed and quite beautiful guitar solo from Jules.  For me the tracks that showed Northsyde at their very best were Hard Shoes, one of my favourites; the title track of their current album and Cherry Picking.


Northsyde-1863What makes Northsyde stand out from the crowd is the passion and energy as they captivate the crowd with songs that wind around your emotions and seep in to your musical DNA.


Northsyde-1849Northsyde always excites, tonight at the convent the volume was turned up to ten and the alter shook with delight no-one was drowning tonight we were energised and entertained.  The gig may have been a ‘secret gig’ at The Convent; there is no doubt that the word will spread and those that missed out hearing them live will dash to catch the sound on Netgig.

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Kara Grainger: Live @ The Convent Club

Kara Grainger: Live @ The Convent Club
3rd May 2015


Well the process was easy, bought my ticket, received confirmation, followed the link at the allotted time and simple command play and video starts to stream and you can sit back join in the pre-gig wait enjoying the background music and you do feel some of the anticipation. The backdrop of The Convent Club is as stunning in your own home you just miss out on the panoramic view as your gaze moves around the venue and the interaction with other members of the audience waiting to hear Kara Grainger tonight. Lots of activity so you know live stream, Matt co-owner of the convent came on and chatted to the audience, disappointingly could not hear the intro as background music continued, let’s hope we can hear Kara and the band loud and clear as I am reviewing this in real-time another Bluesdoodles first! Then Matt came back on stage and introduced the live music welcoming the audience and everyone live streaming the gig in their own homes.

Tonight, with Kara is Paddy Milner keys (electric and Grand Piano), joining her for one night only U.K. tour; and Jules Fothergill on electric guitars along with Damon Sawyer on drums and bassist Andy Tolman completing the rhythm section.

Kara with acoustic slide guitar opens the show with Mercury Blues with a Paddy Milner solo, then in the second number Jules plays electric blues acting as a dirty counterpoint to Kara then Paddy joins the party and we have a blues picnic in as she sings Come On Into Our Kitchen. Her charisma and warm smile shone through the screen and we did not feel distant from the performance it felt live and you just wanted to sit back and relax and enjoy the company of top-notch musicians in your own home. When Kara picked up her electric with had a harmonious duo of riffs and licks that gave a depth of musical tone that made the lyrics shine through.

Lost in You from latest album; Shiver and Sigh, her vocals soft and sultry as she portrayed what it feels like when a person is so all-encompassing nothing else in the world exists. Her guitar playing is smooth and stylish and then Jules adds a layer of sound with Paddy’s stellar skills on the keyboard that he nonchalantly balances on top of the grand piano. The sound is funky blues that is fun to listen to and the musicians are enjoying the performance.

Then we have some blues, Kara understands the musical idiom that is blues, we heard from her rhythm section for tonight, with drum solo and then some funky bass; then Little Pack of Lies from her album some blistering slide that adds so much colour and distinctive slur that gives every number an energy that reflects the sliding notes. I’m Not Ready, a relatively new song added to Kara’s catalogue. Whipping Post, allowed Jules to showcase the power of his guitar prowess on the Gibson and Paddy’s keys matched his playing with Kara’s vocal stripping back of the vocals to the bone so that I feel like I am dying was full of quivering emotions.
Finishing with slide guitar and the first blues song, she ever wrote, Sky Is Falling, with Paddy now playing the Grand Piano the perfect pitch and tone for this number. No, of course that was not the last, we had the encore the cherry on top of a musically rich iced cake.

Tonight Kara who can play with bravura, poise and desire; but never over complicating the melody, never a cascade if unnecessary notes it is the wordsmith in her that keeps the song firmly at the centre of her performance. This is music that takes the essence of the blues and mixes it with roots and twists in a generous helping of soul and a layer of funk when needed, a sound that is disarmingly complex in its simplicity and is a wondrous act to hear live. Another great blues artist from Australia, she is a guitarist, songwriter and singer certainly entertained tonight whether, at the Convent where you can enjoy a drink in the Dirty Habit Bar or via the live stream, she certainly uplifts an early May weekend, where the skies are grey and summer seems a long way off, she may play the blues but your spirits are lifted by the quality of the musicianship.


Northsyde – Storyteller’s Daughter CD Review


If you are not familiar with Northsyde or in their previous incarnation as Funkydory get out and see them now they are simply awesome as a live band. This latest recorded offering “Storyteller’s Daughter”; is the next best thing as they have captured in the studio the raw heady energy of a live performance and in addition there is a bonus of two live tracks ‘Mercy‘ and ‘Northsyde‘. Lorna Fothergill’s vocals drive the band forward with powerful, emotive, pitch perfect articulate and clear vocals. The band is a collective of fine musicians who blend and bend their talents to showcase Lorna’s voice and their own skills; whilst the superlative guitar playing of Jules Fothergill with spine tingling riffs is brought to the fore from the first track of the album ‘More’ – and having listened to the first track you are left breathless with delight wanting more and more and this is delivered over the next ten tracks. The band have the opportunity to shine while Lorna sits out on ‘Messing Around‘, with the melodic riff’s from Ian Mauricio’s fretless bass joined by precision guitar from Jules and the skillful drumming prowess of Hayden Doyle. This is a band that plays and delivers the music they enjoy – a mix of rock, funk, blues which they capture to create a quite unique sound. This album also shows that they are purveyors of excellent songs where the words stand out as they are delivered with clarity and the talented musicians ensure the music and the voice are in touch with each other whilst still having freedom that gives the whole CD a fresh free-flowing feel. The album is full of gems that have a variety of tempo’s and musical textures from ‘Can’t Stop The Bullet’, opening with a beautiful Julesesque riff in which he makes that guitar sing then wham straight between the lines there is Lorna’s voice, throaty and pure as she pours out “I Can’t Breathe” ; it truly takes your breath away then on quieter more controlled restrained numbers the blending of gentle guitar work and the soulful contemplative tone of Lorna’s vocals so that her singing has a prayer-like quality on ‘No Rocking Chair‘. This track is about despair but this is no droning monotone it is pure music with the blending of bass and clever use of delicate symbols for Hayden highlighting the essence of the song. This is definitely one of my albums of the 2013 and the live tracks really give the album that live feel.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD a doodle rating of

CD Available at CD Baby; iTunes and Amazon