“The song Broken Machine came first, not a deliberate album title. Broken Machine is about relationships that do not work. The whole album is my life up to getting married. It is Ash from 15-30 nothing in the album covers the now it is set in the past. That said the track seemed the perfect words of the album title as it reflected the past.” What else did Ash Wilson share read it – HERE
Following on from their storming European Arena tour with Nickelback and Billy Talent, Canadian Juggernaut rockers MONSTER TRUCK return to the UK for a headline tour today starting at Limelight 2in Belfast and finishing at the Electric Ballroom, London on 22 March and intro mainland Europe and then on to support the legendary DEEP PURPLE through May and June.
Headline March/April 2017 Tour starts Monday 13th March
Mon 13 March: Limelight 2, Belfast, UK Tues 14 March: Academy Green Room, Dublin, IRELAND (Upgraded from Academy 2) Weds 15 March: Marble Factory, Bristol, UK Fri 17 March: Institute 2, Birmingham, UK *SEA SHEPHERD UK CHARITY PRESENT* Sat 18 March: Club Academy, Manchester, UK (Sold Out) *SEA SHEPHERD UK CHARITY PRESENT* Sun 19 March: O2 ABC Glasgow, UK (Upgraded from King Tuts) *SEA SHEPHERD UK CHARITY PRESENT* Tue 21 March: Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, UK Weds 22 March: Electric Ballroom, London, UK *SEA SHEPHERD UK CHARITY PRESENT*
Sea Shepherd UK is a registered marine conservation charity whose mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife around the UK’s coastline and across the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species. Sea Shepherd UK uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities committed against marine wildlife and habitats. By safeguarding the biodiversity of our delicately balanced oceanic ecosystems, Sea Shepherd UK works to ensure their survival for future generations. To find out more visit: HERE
Fri 24 March: La Batterie, Guyancourt, FRANCE Sat 25 March: Café Charbon, Nevers, FRANCE Sun 26 March: Luxor, Cologne, GERMANY Tues 28 March: Melkweg, Amsterdam, NETHERLANDS Weds 29 March: Rockfabrik, Ludwigsburg, GERMANY Thurs 30 Mar: The Floor, Luxembourg, LUXEMBOURG Sat 1 April: White Trash, Berlin, GERMANY Sun 2 April: Uebel & Gefahrlich, Hamburg, GERMANY Mon 3 April: Theatrefabrik, Munich, GERMANY Weds 5 April: Shuur, Lucerne, SWITZERLAND Fri 7 April: Bikini, Barcelona, SPAIN Sat 8 April: Carcol, Madrid, SPAIN Sun 9 April: Kafe Antzokia, Bilbao, SPAIN
Their latest album Sittin’ Heavywas released early 2016 and has received rave reviews; being hailed as “fresh and exciting” by Metal Hammer, how they “set the bar to unprecedented heights” by Rock Sound, proclaiming the new record is “relentless and unstoppable” according to Guitarist and a “hard rocking masterpiece” by Big Cheese. As well as guitar legend Slash backing their corner, Dee Snider can’t get enough of them saying “Holy Fuck, this band rocks” whilst Dave Navarro has come out with‘Killer band, great guitar playing.”
In true road warrior style they have learnt their chops on tour and have been relentlessly tearing through shows and have already opened for the mighty; Guns N’ Roses, Slash, Rob Zombie, Janes Addiction, Alice in Chains, ZZ Top, Buckcherry, Nickelback, Rival Sons, Black Stone Cherry, Billy Talent andVolbeat over the last 3 years.
“Rock n roll might save your life, might save your life tonight” Monster Truck, Why Are You Not Rocking?
Deep Purple EU Support Dates:Sat 13 May: Bucharest, Romania @ Romexpo Sun 14 May: Sofia, Bulgaria @ Armeec Arena Tues 16 May: Zagreb, Croatia @ Arena Weds 17 May: Vienna, Austria @ Stadhalle Fri 19 May: Munich, Germany @ Olympiahalle Sat 20 May: Geneva, Switzerland @ Arena Mon 22 May: Prague, Czech Republic @ O2 Arena Tues 23 May: Lodz Poland, Atlas Arena Weds 24 May: Katowice, Poland @ Spodek Sat 27 May: Luxembourg, Luxembourg @ Rockhal Tues 30 May: Hamburg, Germany @ Barclaycard Arena Thurs 01 Jun: Lille, France @ Zenith Fri 02 Jun: Amsterdam, Netherlands @ Ziggo Dome Sat 03 Jun: Paris, France @ Accorhotels Arena Tues 06 Jun: Cologne, Germany @ Lanxess Arena Weds 07 Jun: Dortmund, Germany @ Westfalenhalle 1 Fri 09 Jun: Leipzig, Germany @ Arena Sat 10 Jun: Frankfurt, Germany @ Festhalle Tues 13 Jun: Berlin, Germany @ Mercedes Benz Arena Weds 14 Jun: Stuttgart, Germany @ Hanns Martin Schleyer Halle
Sunday night, The Globe was buzzing with anticipation with Dan Reed Network back in Cardiff after 27 years. Opening the Sunday delights of live music in the Capital City was VEGA, a six-piece rock band that always please and tonight they set the venue on fire. VEGA were shining brighter than the fifth- brightest star in the night they are named after! They definitely lived up to their description of being a melodic rock/AOR band tonight, with huge choruses and opening with a keeper Stereo Messiah. As they dipped into their back catalogue we wanted to hear the whole album and the opening set passed by far too quickly doesn’t time fly by when you are enjoying yourself. Front man, Nick Workman’s vocals soared above the melody set down by his band mates. As many said on the night seeing VEGA for the first time, they just wanted them to come back and play again on a larger stage. The energy was infectious the venue was hot with VEGA magic. They may have sung White Flag the title track of the latest album, to everyone’s joy the flag was one of victory not surrender.
Short break time for friends to catch up and anticipate the songs that Dan Reed would be bringing to Cardiff tonight. We wanted rock that was full of attitude, funk, soul and more would he deliver… YES the Network DID! With the reforming of Dan Reed Network, last year and the release of the superb album Fight Another Day. The set was a Jukebox of live music as after the first few songs Dan Reed asked the audience to suggest the numbers. From the first album to the latest we were taken on a tour of DRN depth and breadth of music they deliver with energy and the pure delight of playing live music for an enraptured dancing clapping and definitely noisy and appreciative Cardiff crowd.
The rendition of Resurrect, from the 1988 album was full of the power of resurrecting the emotions lost and found. No-one was divided in their opinion when Divided flowed from the speaker this was a Jukebox that was not going to disappoint for one second. The band that surrounds Dan Reed are determined to set the pace and have a good time this is music to party with. From The rhythm section, full of funk and attitude that is solid as the rock creating the foundation of the network, Melvin Brannon Jr on bass; and drummer Dan Pred. Adding to the network of sound, that excites are Brion James’ guitar and the keys of Rob Daiker what a powerhouse driven by rock and shaped by soul and funky grooves.
The audience was all too happy to shout out their favourites this re-energised the show as they collected the beat and groove. Including Champion from the current album what a fabulous moment hearing the music come alive as they jammed and kicked up a storm. The medley that produced a verse, and a lick of many favourites had the audience singing and dancing with Relax; we were certainly not relaxed we were high on the adrenalin of live music coursing through our veins
Throughout the evening the musicians showcased their instruments the bass boomed, the drums were pounding, a stinging guitar and keys that captured the sound of keys through the ages from fugues to hip hop.
The Heat was rising with Mix It Up the vocals danced with the movements as Dan Reed who at times mimed the meaning behind the words. With Tiger in The Dress, he became catlike, feral and a little bit wild awesome!! What a joyous night celebrating the power of live performances, invigorating and deep with personal and worldly wise wisdom. Political and secular we were an extension of the network as the Globe became a live music Juke Box tonight, with the power energy and music of Dan Reed Network.
As the evening drew to a close, the band retired from the stage and Rob Daiker, stepped out from behind the keys and picked up the guitar to sing All For A Kiss, a romantic song from his forthcoming album produced by Dan Reed, Binary Affairs who joined him on stage whilst picking up the mood the Network. Closing the night with Get To You, the Dan Reed Network certainly got to everyone in the room leaving the stage all was not quiet in the jukebox punching in a request for more we heard A Capella, Rainbow Child. With the refrain She Is Everything, I though yes and so has Dan Reed Network. Combining Rock with twists and twirls of modern music a multiplicity of tempos, tone and perfect timing.
Celebrating St David’s Day The Globe Finds The Answer
The wind was biting and vicious as we waited for doors to open at The Globe in Cardiff on St David’s night. The Queue was excited The Answer were in town as the long white tour bus parked outside confirmed. Before the mighty Answer would take to the stage with their distinctive blending of rock, with Irish folk to have us rolling with delight in the aisles, (we all wanted to hear our favourite tracks from Solas performed live for us), and to warm us up and build the rock vibe we had not one but two rock acts. First was young guns Calling Apollo.
Calling Apollo, a Cardiff-based band certainly made a positive impression. A young band with something to sing about with Christian Neale’s vocals power combined with powerful rhythms and guitars that add a layer of rock chords full of colour and textures. With tracks from the EP they recorded in a bedroom Great Depression Act 1 created an atmosphere as they harnessed their inner placebo. They certainly woke the room up, we were waiting for The Answer and having fun. Then a short change over, the small stage was definitely packed and an Ebbw Vale based alt. rock band, Scarsun strode on the stage with Jessica Irvine’s vocals flowing with a swish of her hair. They were loud, at times the tempo was off and the timing lost. The loudness meant Jessica’s vocals were drowned out and yes we want our metal loud, but it needs tonal shape and balance this was missing tonight. Sadly, did not rock this doodles metal soul.
Now for a clearing of the stage, and we waited as the crowds built for the act we wanted to celebrate St David’s day with. The Answerhit the stage to a loud welcoming cheer, and the audience response got louder and even warmer as the show progressed. Cormac Neeson was on fire as we started the evening with the title track of their epic album Solas; we were now being bathed in the rock magic the answer to tonight’s need for a slug of live music. Combining this a lucky few shared a slug of Jack Daniels handed out by Cormac as the Northern Irish band from Down Patrick joined in the celebrations on St David’s Day in the capital city of Wales. Accepting a flag from a renowned “gigpig”, Charley Farley we were Celts in celebratory mode.
Tonight, the music was the celebration as the set list was populated with the new direction The Answer have taken with the latest offering Solas; intertwined with hooks back to the past so we heard the boogie rawer sound as well. As we stepped back to the debut album Rise with Never Too Late, as Cormack quipped, you remembered that! The opening chords of Beautiful World captivated the audience who were held in the hands of the band whose music connected us all. The power of boogie was harnessed with the energy and slide guitar of Paul Mahon on Demon Driven Man we were rocking and if there was more space we would all have been dancing. The night was not all about the combination of the six stringed guitar and bass line as the mandolin was played by Paul and Michael Waters put down the bass to play the six strings on In This Land, a smattering of Celtic-infused magic. Then Cormac introduced The Globe to The Balalaika, a Turkish instrument popular for some reason in Irish music in Being Begotten.
The crowd was loud and harmonious when asked to join in and when Coramc stepped off the stage into the crowd he was engulfed with delighted fans who wanted to get close. All too soon it was time for the final song, as they took up Battle Cry from Solas leaving us happy, humming the music we love to hear. The infectious power of live music won the award for the answer to What entertainment on St David’s Day? – it was most definitely The Answer at The Globe we rocked with you. With a shout out for Steelhouse a festival they love to play I am positive they will get another invite to climb the mountain and play once again.
BD: Hi Dan hope you are well, thanks for taking time to speak to Bluesdoodles, we spoke last year on the release of Fight Another Day, now as you embark on a European tour we have a chance to revisit and explore the world of Dan Reed Network.
DR: Good thanks, we are in Norway and it is as cold as hell. That is a silly thing to say it is beautiful and snowy.
BD: How has your perspective changed since taking the time out travelling, studying and having a son?
DR: Biggest change was the birth of my son.He is so very cute, often mistaken for a girl with his long hair, people often still don’t connect when I say his name is Joshua. Having a child is all encompassing. It is so hard to describe the feeling the first time you hold the baby. There is a deepening of awareness, deepening of compassion, a child engulfs you with emotions of love and responsibility. My first responsibility is to raise them safely and then as they grow imparting lessons of gratitude, how to lead a good life, planting the seeds of who the child will grow into. It has made me a better human being. This runs through my lyrics as they reflect the path that you have left behind is so much more defined.
BD: Back touring Europe and hitting the U.K. in March. Before we talk about the 2017 tour with Fight Another Day. What were the highlights last year back on the road with the Network,
DR: Festivals are always fun and at Sweden Rock Festival, we were the first act on the stage on the second or third day after lots of partying. In an arena that holds twenty-thousand there were 300 in the rain. As the first song started the rain stopped and by the end of the set there were over 8,000 watching and it was exciting, energetic from the rain and gloomy skies we had music it was the best show. The coolest was playing back in our home town of Portland seeing so many familiar faces, lots of folks who have seen us play from the beginning from the making of the video for Ritual. It felt so good being back. Yes our knees hurt a bit with a few more aches and pains now after a performance but this is part of the challenge of a live performance and is definitely an excellent workout both mentally & physically. Funky rock is hard and needs the energy of the song; we achieved this at a live rehearsal at the Hard Rock Café rehearsing in front of an audience the energy of the audience feeds the performance you trade off the energy of each other it is a symbiotic relationship. It is hard being away from family and home when on the road the positive trade-off is you get rid of the tensions by playing the music, talking to the audience and the feeling that we are so lucky to be doing this.
BD: What’s your favourite track from your extensive back catalogue to perform live??
DR: Favourite track, the solo stuff I love playing it live acoustic can be harder with a need to put your energy into the meaning of the lyrics. From the album The Heat Salt of Joy and when the band sings A Capella Long Way To Go, it is magical honest lyrics, written with visions in the head. Writing lyrics need to go into a daydream and explore thoughts and emotions. Kurt Cobain was a tortured soul but wrote honest lyrics the most honest rock songs ever written.
BD: Now you are performing tracks from Fight Another Day live, how do you select tracks from the extensive back catalogue to meld the past with the now.
DR: It can be difficult singing the same songs over and over again. The key to not sounding mechanical, just going through the motions is twofold having a good time and play the music as if it is for the first time. Play your arses out never let it become a slog, enjoy the music build up the audience.
Mixing things up more and more. Including a Bruce Springstein style request. It is fun, surprising challenging the request could be for a ballad, like Stronger Than Steel in a part of a set we would never plan a ballad. We now have no set list we play the songs we want to play trying to vary the groove what feels best changing the tempo and topics covered from politics to sex!
The Set is like climbing a mountain range. With summits and valleys can build and build through the show with a high point in the set climaxing the show. Or can sing a mellow song reached the top now meditating and chilling.
BD:Last time we finished with what your dream band would be this time – what are you listening to and what Dan Reed Network track would you liked covered and by whom?
DR: Music that listening to at the moment D-A-D Danish rock originally named Disneyland After Dark but had to be renamed after The Walt Company threatened a lawsuit. D-A-D & DRN all the letters would just so love to open for them would be so inspirational. The poppy melodies and funky tone of Foster The People love the music they do not use any sequences and the evergreen band for me is Jamiroquai
BD: Thank you for your time and looking forward to Cardiff at The Globe on 5th March and hearing DNR live.
Dan Reed Network is back in the UK with his tour Get Your Tickets HERE.
Staffs Festival The Family Festival Music Fun
For May Bank Holiday Weekend
Staffs Festival The Family Festival Music Fun For May Bank Holiday Weekend. Re-branding from Stafford Blues Festival and change of direction now in 2017 the festival a celebration of music from Rock, Reggae, Soul and the Blues.
This is a family friendly festival with superb sound within an amazing setting Lower Drayton Farm between Stafford and Penkridge with a campsite. Find out all the information you need HERE
Who is Playing? Across The Weekend
The Shine – Chelsea Coleman – The Bad Rats – Used Blues – Ged Wilson – Vivian Sugarlove Jones – The Rock Dogs – Bobby KP Woods – Judy Emeline – Gabbidon Band – Iconic Eye- Voodoo Stone – Barrelhouse Jukes – Black Rose Cadillac – Slyder – Zoe Green – Bloke – Stuart Woolfenden and more to be announced
Check here for information about the bands playing for you over the weekend – HERE
What To Expect?
From Friday through to Sunday night a melting pot of live music. Free Camping and children under 16 are free making the music affordable for the whole family. Great food available at a reasonable cost that can be enjoyed with fair priced drinks from the beer tent.
Staffs Festival The Family Festival Music Fun For May Bank Holiday Weekend
Skegness Solid Live Music
More Blues than Rock in 2017
January drawing to a close, Christmas lights a fading memory. Then your calendar clicks around to Butlins, Skegness for the Great British Rock & Blues Festival, the next year of musical journeys begins. This year the emphasis is on Blues, Rock has fallen if not silent but reduced to a whisper this year, upsetting some and definitely changing the balance and feel of the weekend.
The Introducing Stage got the show underway from 4pm Friday until the early hours of Monday morning. The gaps were minimal the music quality, meeting of friends chatting about what stood out and having fun was the order of the day. The grumble about the lack of rock was justified. The title of the weekend is Rock & Blues so you would expect a balanced mixture. Everyone who knows me knows that I love my Blues of every hue, but I love the energy of Rock, the power of Rock and energy of the stage shows and this year this injection of power was missed. Without the balance of Rock and Blues, we didn’t have the contrast of razor-sharp, sparkling blues guitar and the full-on power chords and stinging licks of granite fueled rock.
Bluesdoodles, Liz Aiken enjoyed the weekend visiting the stages catching acts, missing others. With four stages this was a hectic few days. Starting off with the highlights across the days on Introducing Stage, run by Steve Stanley, of Solid Entertainments with the help from Paul Stiles and the Blues In Britain Team to hand out the voting disks. The Skeggie road takes us to Centre Stage – designated as ‘The Rock Stage’ by the Butlins programming team. The journey continues with a visit to Jaks with its late night sessions jams and a distinctive atmosphere, organised by Blues Matters. Finally, our travels and weary feet take us to Reds, 2017 the Blues stage. The programming was without argument patchy by the Butlins team what was good was very good, interspersed by mediocre and poor. The Road was definitely a Blue cobbled street rather than a rocky trail throughout the 2017 weekend. Let’s hope this is a transition year and next year the balance between Rock and Blues is restored. There are so many young exciting bands on the circuit that would be delighted to entertain the Skeggie crowds.
Now, for the music. GT’s Boos Band got the show under way and they were one of the thirteen excellent bands who delighted the crowded area at the heart of the Skyline Pavilion. The bands played for the chance of performing on a stage at Butlins 2018, decided by public vote. The three successful bands this year were Friday Night –Tom Walker Trio, Saturday, Southboundand the final finalist on Sunday was Greg Coulson Band. The competition was tough every band bought an interpretation of blues and rock that shows the depth of live music in the UK today. Tom Walker Trio, played a set that sparked including originals and an interesting, entertaining interpretation of Joe Bonamassa’s John Henry. Hitting the authentic blues spot Backwater Roll certainly pleased the audience in a packed area. Saturday night showed that this stage is getting more popular every year as the place to find new festival gems that you will want to see live again. Southbound were great on the night with a live performance showcasing the power of the rhythm section as they delivered their distinctive Blues Rock with a bucket of soul sound thrown in for good measure. Matt Edwards Band with Stuart Dixon on bass impressed as did their 2015 album Four Berry Jam. Matt has a voice that makes you listen and his guitar playing has an infectious tone. Amy Eftekhari’sperformance of Somewhere Over The Rainbow got the crowds purring with delight. Then it was Sunday two performances really stood out and on another day Elles Bailey would have won. Her vocals have power and the addition of Nick Garner on harp added another dimension to this class act; for me the winner of Sunday night. But the popular vote went to Greg Coulson, who delivered by surrounding himself with excellent musicians and a confident stage presence on the day. His experience as keyboardist with The Selectors shone through combined with strong numbers from his forthcoming debut album. This was party music that lit up the Introducing Stage.
Centre Stage is where queues form every night long before the doors open. At least now they are entertained by the adjacent Introducing Stage. This year designated The Rock Stage for the first time had one certainty rock would be hard to find. Friday night opened with one of last year’s winners Sugarman Sam & The Voodoo Men. Wow, the transition to main stage fitted the band perfectly with a strong set. The music was hefty blues-rock, punctuated with authentic blues licks that curled around the rhythm section. Sugarman Sam, is growing as the new number She’s A Woman demonstrated. The following act was Eric Sardinas & Big Motor highly anticipated and deeply disappointing in the delivery. Yes, a string did break, but why the length of time off stage, as so many said surely someone of this calibre should have a spare guitar tuned for slide, do a different number or have a guitar tech. It was left to the bass player, Paul Loranger who held the fort not once but twice as Sardinas left the stage and flounced off again. What the band played was good but the flow of the set was disjointed and definitely an off night for this colourful performer of Rock-blues.
Saturday with two sessions the afternoon opened by Texas Flood another winner from 2016. What a winning Rock n’ Roll set. Texas Flood definitely washed away any cobwebs with a rip-roaring high octane set that rocked. This is the rock we want to hear at Skeggie, but why the early timing? It was not as if the evening bands were that exciting. The energy was high, the timing sharp they certainly did Wales proud! The interplay between guitar and bass was sharp and entertaining. Closing the afternoon the Helen Hardy Band entertained. A good R n’ B band the covers we know and flowed through the auditorium as Saturday afternoon drew to a close. Saturday night. Kenney Jones & The Jones Gang, may not be classic rock but this was a band that delighted the crowds with songs from his vast back catalogue. Kenney Jones, the drummer who was the heart of three of the great bands The Small Faces, Faces and The Who. The crowd sung along with delight to Itchycoo Park and more. Leafhound, a rock band were well received with Luke Rayner’s guitar sounding superb, the most underrated of the weekend. (Bluesdoodles spent most of the time in Reds and Jaks this just didn’t rock our boots)
Last day of the festival with a feeling of the night after the day before. The last of 2016 Introducing Stage winners the Rainbreakers started things off. This is a band that never rains on your parade but brings a ray of sunshine Once again proving what a great launch pad the introducing stage is as they also stepped into Centre stage limelight delivering a storming set. The testimony to this was the queue for the merch as people wanted to get their hands on the latest E.P. Rise Up. This was R n’ B with attitude, full of tasty riffs and delicious licks in the eclectic selection of numbers. A class act with loads of potential to be a name on everyone’s lips. Popa Chubby Band closed out the afternoon with his own brand of Blues and R n’ B with his trademarked lead breaks, held together by a solid rhythm section. The crowd really warmed to him many hearing him for the first time. Definitely class blues BUT definitely not Rock as Poppa described his music as Working Class Blues. The night was not about rock but there were three acts that delighted the audiences. Kicking off the double celebration of the Rocking Blues was Laurence Jones with his new line-up. He built the energy, excited the packed house, the guitar was sweet. Laurence full of confidence gained from years of touring and playing live across Europe and the UK. The set was one-hundred percent Laurence with ribbons and bells as he showcased his latest album Take Me High. That is definitely what he did he took us high in to a dazzling blue encrusted music with the edge of rock With Joanne Shaw Taylor up next we were going to be in for a Wild ride. Reflecting her current album, the set was full of deep blues riffs and licks that curled around the audience with a sensuous and stylish flow. The interaction between Joanne and her bassist Luigi Casanova adds energy a visual focal point. Then she breaks away and soars into her renowned guitar solos that hit the spot where musical memories are made. Tonight, was the best I had heard her vocals the balance was perfect so voice and guitar were in balanced harmony. Closing out the festival on Centre Stage was Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel where many re-lived memories and reminded many of the sound track of their youth.
The weekend selection at Jaks was vast, full of delights and festival gems plus the fun of Saturday afternoon Jam. Ranging from the gently harmonious blues from Fran McGillivray to the dynamic sounds of blues with a punk attitude and sassy energy from the Husky Tones as this duo caught your attention. With a new album out soon this is a band we will be hearing lots of as they ask Who Will I Turn To Now? Closing the night as the other stages fell silent we danced into the early hours with The Revolutionaires led by the charismatic and energetic Ed Stephenson. Saturday afternoon is all about the Jam which two young men, Mikey Maclennan and Steve Liddle ran with style as unfortunately Jam stalwart Gary Boner from Roadhouse was unwell following a recent operation. Everyone wishes Gary a speedy recovery and a hearty welcome back to Skegness 2018. Saturday evening was a night of magic live-music. With two of the acts for many the bands of the weekend. Firstly Catfish who played a blinding set. Deep emotional blues full of verve and style as Matthew Long with his voice and guitar dominated the stage capturing the audience so that no-one was tempted away. Catfish’s rendition of Make It Rain was stunning and the emotions were charged and there were tears of joy as the passions of the audience and the band connected. Their new album, out 28th January, Broken Man will be a hit of 2017 there is definitely nothing broken about this band. How do you follow that with Dom Pipkin & The Ikos and some New Orleans infused music. Closing the night and welcoming in Sunday were LaVendore Rogue. A band that is like marmite with the supporters outweighing those who cannot connect to their interpretation of the blues. Mixing up the set with old Hokie Joint numbers and tracks from the debut album, Light Up With they definitely shone music into our soul tonight. Sunday evening, without Roadhouse they pulled a blinder by filling the gap with Ash Wilson. The anticipation was high, many had seen him play dual guitar in the Sean Webster Band. On stage he was joined by Bob Fridzema and Roger Inniss who played on his debut album, Broken Machine. Joining him on drums tonight was Wayne Proctor sitting in for his brother Phil Wilson who was otherwise engaged playing drums with Laurence Jones on Centre Stage. The set was mature, accomplished a quality performance of R n’B from everyone on stage. We heard covers like My Babe done the Ash way. Ash’s vocals are strong at times sounding like molasses with the bass drum the heartbeat like cotton popping in a sun-drenched field as he Holding Hands was sung. The Revelator a Jesse Davey number picked up the tempo. There was a pure synergy between these top drawer blues musicians a delight to behold and listen to. Be delighted to see him on the Blues main stage next year. Following this Will Johns & Friends, with Mikey Maclennan once again coming to the rescue as stand-in drummer. He met Will and the band a few minutes before stepping on Jaks stage with them to play a festival set. What a brilliant job he did. Very entertaining with witty repartee, brilliant guitar with a fantastic tone. What a high quality set of blues. The festival had one more act as the clocked turned into Monday, Jaks was packed as everyone squeezed a few more musical memories out of The Great Rock & Blues Festival 2017. Kris Barras Band, who delivered blues rock with power and a force to be reckoned with. Another live act that delivers every time building on the studio sound heard in their current album Lucky 13. Blues Matters once again delivered music that will hold many memories and hats off to the DJ Clive Rawlings who each year acts as the glue that held the sessions together.
Reds this year was coloured with Blues of every hue and shade. With Friday and Saturday dedicated to firstly to the harmonica and then to Alligator Records. Opening the festival for Reds was A Harmonica Explosion, a night where this German folk instrument was re-shaped in tone and playing by Southern States Blues musicians to be forever connected. Blues and harmonica are a perfect pairing. Opening the night was Giles Robson Band, a very entertaining set engaging the audience who were delighted to participate when asked. The music was an explosion of blues harp as we stepped on board the steam train and followed Giles on a ride full of tonal twists and turns of the blues-harp. Later on in the evening he was joined by three more renowned harp-players Magic Dick, who for some reason was not on top form, James Harman beset with frustrating technical issues so his harp was silent for far too long and the cream of the night a musician on fire Billy Branch. When they all played together at the end of the evening we were treated to a harp firework display. The acoustic set from Martin Harley opening on Saturday afternoon was a melodic delight as he explored the tonal ranges of his lap Weissenborn guitar. The covers took us deep into the Delta full of acoustic twists and turns gently kick-starting a harmonious Saturday in Reds turned Blue. The tempo then changed and Reds was packed as loyal fans of Nine Below Zero were once again caressed by the band that knows how to deliver. The only disappointment was this set was on in the afternoon many felt it suited an evening slot. The music drew you in the blues was delivered and everyone left with a deep sigh of contentment. The evening was a celebration of all things Alligator. With a first for Skeggie a Q&A session with Bruce Iglauer President and founder of Alligator records. Lots of interesting questions and we all gained an insight into how a blues label works. Three blinding sets unfurled showing the diversity of electric blues. Marcia Ball got the Alligator Party rocking turning Reds into a Roadhouse for this Blues Spectacular. Proper Chicago blues played by a wonderful group of musicians who with a smile opened up the joy of the blues and entertained. Marcia Ball sung like an angel accompanying herself on the piano with the musicians that pulled together to showcase the sound they just love to share with everyone who listens. Blues is heavenly when played this well. The harmonious and interesting combination of drum shuffles, sax, keys and the power of vocal lyrics was infectious with the guitar pulling the show together. Wow! How do you follow that? Easy when you have the depth of Alligator artists to choose from. Next up blues with a difference a trio, Moreland and Arbuckle. All eyes are focused on Moreland with his cigar box guitar and Arbuckle’s, harp and vocals. A high octane band playing Roots music that rocks you to your core. Electrifying raw delta infused music that gets the adrenalin pumping feet tapping and you get a warm feel good glow as the music surges through your veins. Closing tonight we headed deep into Southside Chicago for authentic urban blues with Toronzo Cannon. Having learnt his craft in the competitive and demanding Windy city club scene it takes a special blues magic to rise above the crowd. Toronzo has that with style and a flourish as he melds smooth vocals and stinging guitar chords. With a mix of his own numbers with strong lyrics and a couple of covers; what a dynamic end to an evening that enveloped you in Chicago Blues and so much more.
Sunday at Reds was a mixed package for me opening with Lil Jimmy Reed featuring Bob Hall on Keys this was the perfect blues smoothie for early Sunday afternoon. Followed by Paul Jones and Dave Kelly as a duet Sunday was a smooth affair. The evening was a mix David Knopfler on acoustic guitar, disappointed, The Blues Band as ever delivers British blues with style and aplomb. Closing the night is Jamie Williams and The Roots Collective; this is blues infused with English Folk and roots music. Closing the festival on Reds they delivered a stylish set that didn’t for me shout out the blues. Not a celebration but a party we all enjoyed.
There were many highlights of every Blue hue the strongest stages over the whole festival weekend were Jaks and the Introducing Stage. The night celebrating Alligator Records was a combination of brilliant blues drenched music. The three young bands who won The Introducing Stage Sugarman Sam & The Voodoo Men, Texas Flood and The Rainbreakers, all added a shine to the festival. Memories of 2017 will be many and all tinged in blue rather than rock. The acts that you should run to see again are Catfish, LaVendore Rogue, Ash Wilson, the winners of the Intro Stage and Elles Bailey. Joanne Shaw Taylor in this form is a force to be reckoned with, Marcia Ball , Moreland & Arbuckle, Toronzo Cannon and the harp supremacy that is Giles Robson.
King King turned up the Blues thermostat Live in Cardiff
Friday 13th bringing joy to The Globe Cardiff as Blues Rock drenches the packed audience with a medley of chords, lyrics and emotions. Special guest Broken Witt Rebels and the mighty King King turned up the Blues thermostat, the venue and the music was scorching.
Sold Out, music to the ears of bands, venues and promoters alike, as Cardiff gives a loud and enthusiastic shout out for the Blues Rock power that is King King with their special guests Broken Witt Rebels.
Opening the night, getting Friday 13th of to a rocking good start are the young band from Birmingham receiving lots of attention for all the right reasons. Having seen them play a festival set at Planet Rockstock 2016, my expectations were very high. So do not let Bluesdoodles down! Did they No they did NOT… why the set was full of rock and roll sparkle the glints of razor sharp sapphire blue fused into the rocking foundation of the Rebels sound.
TheyOpened with Low, from the critically acclaimed EP Georgia Pine. This is a number that raises the temperature as the band took us on a musical journey with tracks from this and previous release Howlin. The musical journey was a road of interest full of hefty licks, and gentler curves. The vocals of Danny Core are immense as he introduces a new number into the mix Bang Bang. finishing with Guns, this is a band that is blazing a trail that you want to get on board. Many bands have potential, many promise so much. There is no argument that Broken Witt Rebels are a tight unit. The timing is impeccable, the warmth with which they thank the crowd is heartfelt. The stagecraft is mature and they have the hunger to rise to their promised destiny. The quartet collectively making a sound that entertains are James Tranter, Luke Davis, James Dudley and Danny Core. The band’s exciting melding of styles, smooth and raw, smoky and intense this is music refusing to be bent into a genre just to raise your pulse. Now it is down to Broken Witt Rebels; it is in their hands they have the energy, talent and drive to make it all the way.
There was an unplanned extended break due to technical gremlins. Well, it was Friday 13th, but thanks to the unsung heroes of a gig the sound man and King King’s roadie the troublesome lead was dispatched and the show was ready to start. Everyone in a packed Globe ready, waiting and eager to hear King King, and the voice of Alan Nimmo following the operation last year.
Opening the night with Lose Control, the opening track of the Live album we play when the band are not in town. The set list captured the essence that is King King. The d combination of Wayne Proctor on Drums and Lindsay Coulson completing the rhythm section and to the left of Alan – Bob Fridzema, with is Hammond C and Piano. In Alan’s own words as King King kick start of 2017 with their first show of the year “this is going to be some gig!”. The crowd of fans hung onto every word and note sung, and those who were hearing the band for the first time live were enthralled. His voice is back, full of emotional cadences and tone every word he sang with pure delight the smile said it all. Rush Hour, from Reaching For The Light, was stunning!! The addition of a 300 strong choir sending a tingle down the spine as Alan conducted hearing the lyrics being sung to him. A magical moment, only being there in that moment really explains the feeling, Being in the company of people loving the music, celebrating the moment. Live music is made up of thousands of these special moments. Bob Fidzema’s dancing hands brings Long History of Love to life, then More Than I Can Take, from Standing in The Shadows took the roof of the place. Then two songs played with a dedication. The first was recorded for Facebook live and was for Alan’s Mum who has not been well. Get Well soon shouted The Globe, hello Alan’s mum roared the capacity crowd and then You Stopped The Rain, what a song the emotional power hits everyone who listens to the number in a different way but always deeply personal. followed by Take A Look, not often played live and a favourite of Merch Man and Driver Mike. Alan as ever connects with the important things in a band’s journey. With the new remodelled voice giving Alan confidence and a vigour that spread across the room his excitement at King King playing on a stage again was infectious. Crazy, yes, the room went crazy with this perennial favourite. Then far too soon it was time for an encore Let Love In and another opportunity for Choir Globe to get involved.
What a night of Live Music. Stupendous. As King King turned up the Blues thermostat Live in Cardiff helped by Broken Witt Rebels.