The Kentucky Headhunters Invite The U.K. On Safari
Tickets are on sale now for the following shows:
Rock & Blues Weekend – Friday – Butlins Skegness – January 2016
Rock & Blues Weekend – Saturday – Butlins Skegness – January 2016
Rock & Blues Weekend – Sunday – Butlins Skegness – January 2016
HRH Blues – O2 Academy Sheffield – April 2016
Blues On The Farm Pump Bottom Farm – June 16th – 19th June
Steelhouse, Ebbw Vale July 2016
Old Bush Blues, Callow End August 2016
3rd UK Blues Challenge @ Robin 2 November 2016
Planet Rockstock 2016 @Trecco Bay – December 2016
Alter Bridge with support from Like A Storm – Gojira – Volbeat @ Motorpoint Cardiff – Nov 2016
Planet Rock Roadstars – Aaron Keylock, Federal Charm, SIMO @ The Tunnels, Bristol – November 2016
Black Stone Cherry @ St Davids Hall, Cardiff, November 2016
Planet Rock Roadstars – Aaron Keylock, Federal Charm, SIMO @ The Globe, Cardiff – November 2016
Beth Hart @ Colston Hall, Bristol June 2016
Ian Siegal – Twenty Five Years Touring @ The Convent, Stroud November 2016
Saxon, Fastway GirlsSchool @O2Bristol November 2016
UFO @Tramshed Cardiff November 2016
Walter Trout, Jared James Nichols @Tramshed Cardiff October 2016
The Tubes @The Globe Cardiff October 2016
Mike Zito, Albert Castiglia & Will Wilde @ The Scene, Swansea September 2016
Sari Schorr & The Engine Room@ The Tunnels, Bristol – September 2016
Mitch Malloy @ The Globe, Cardiff – September 2016
The Dead Daisies @DCU Centre Worcester, Massachusetts – September 2016
Devon Allman @ The Scene Swansea – August 2016
LaVendore Rogue @The Convent, Stroud – August 2016
Sisters Bring Blues and Friendship To The Convent – July 2016
Lisa Mann – The Convent via netgig, July 2016
Joe Bonamassa – British Blues Explosion @ Colston Hall, Bristol – July 2016
Kaz Hawkins Band @ The Convent, June 2016
Vintage Trouble – The Tramshed Cardiff June 2016
Joe Louis Walker -The Convent June 2016
Michael Messer’s Mitra – The Convent – June 2016
Tristan McKay opening for Dan Patlansky – The Globe, Cardiff June 2016
Bonnie Rait – Colston Hall, Bristol June 2016
JJ Grey & Mofro – The Tunnels, Bristol May 2016
Ian Siegal & Jimbo Mathus – The Tunnels, Bristol May 2016
Stevie Nimmo Trio & Ben Poole Band – the Flowerpot, Derby May 2016
King King supported by Dan Patlansky – Civic Centre, Salisbury May 2016
King King, Dan Patlansky & Cake – Salisbury May 2016
Simon McBride – The Tunnels, Bristol May 2016
Gov’t Mule – O2 Academy, Bristol May 2016
Magnum – Tramshed, Cardiff May 2016
Ryan McGarvey – The Scene Swansea May 2016
Yes – Colston Hall, Bristol May 2016
Fish – Robin 2, Bilston May 2016
Chris Cornell – Colston Hall, Bristol April 2016
Dr. John Cooper Clarke – Tramshed, Cardiff April 2016
Hawkwind – Tramshed, Cardiff April 2016
JW Jones – The Garage, Swansea April 2016
The Sheepdogs with support from The People The Poet – The Globe, Cardiff
Karnataka – The Globe, Cardiff – April 2016
Tracer, Federal Charm & Everyday Circus – @ The Globe, Cardiff – March 2016
Reef & Tax The Heat – Tramshed, Cardiff March 2016
Ian Siegal – ‘The Lantern Colston Hall – Bristol Jazz Festival March 2016
King King with support Laurence Jones – @ The Globe, Cardiff – March 2016
Mary Coughlan – @ Roots Unearthed – St David’s Hall, Cardiff, March 2016
Jack Savoretti – supported by Earl – @ Tramshed, Cardiff – March 2016
Devon Allman – supported by Kev Andrews @ The Flowerpot Derby – February 2016
Inglorious – supported by Ali Clinton @ The Flowerpot, Derby – February 2016
Runrig @ Colston Hall – February 2016
King King, Terrorvision & Thunder @ Colston Hall – February 2016
Whiskey Myers opening For Cadillac Three @ Tramshed, Cardiff – February 2016
Inglorious Opening For The Winery Dogs @ O2 Academy, Bristol – February 2016
RavenEye @ Fuel Rock Club, Cardiff – January 2016
Oyster 3 @ St Davids Hall, Cardiff – January 2016
2016 UK Blues Challenge The Winner IS….. that will have to wait a moment since there are four acts to listen to first. Tonight is the third UK Blues Challenges that decides the band that will be representing the UK at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis and The European Challenge in Denmark in 2017. Tonight is the second time that the Challenge has been under the auspices of the UKBlues Federation and what a success tonight is, thanks to sponsorship from the award winning, crowd pleasing Upton Blues Festival and the support from The Robin 2, Bilston with superb sound, lighting and the support staff who ensured there was food, drinks and a welcome on the doors.
The running order tonight, Wille and The Bandits; Dove and Boweevil; Kaz Hawkins Band and Rebecca Downes, four acts that show the depth and diversity of blues across the UK in 2016. The bands were from across the country from Cornwall to Norfolk; Belfast to Birmingham and they knew how to play live in a way that would challenge the judges as to who had the winning combination of originality, vocal talent, musical interpretation and more. Without the judges there would have been no challenge, no winners so the Federation owe them a big thank you to Becky Tate, Kayla Brox, Peter Noble, Alex Butler, Oliver Carpenter, Mark Housley and Ruth Etheridge. The task we set them was a challenge in itself as every band was different with music that delighted the crowds. The judges listened hard, danced to the music enjoyed the Blues and after much thought, they marked each band and a winner was found. Before that, there were four bands to listen to and enjoy.
With Ashwyn Smythe the chair of the Federation getting the evening underway as compare, the lights were shining and the crowds expectant as Wille and The Bandits opened the proceedings. The band have their own rocking interpretation of the blues. The sound is hearty, rooted in tradition with lap slide, guitar upright bass and drums that beats out a sound full of originality and confidence. This is blues stretched and reformed, with a selection from their new album, Steal out in January 2017 and old favourites including Gypsy Woman ensured the audience was engaged from the beginning and the audience showed their appreciation – what a start – had the night peaked too early?
Following on, we were treated to Dove and Boweevil. Lauren Dove floated as she blended roots, soul and the taste of the east as the beats and rhythms floated around the Robin 2. Opening with Lady Lavoo, from their current album This Life; a song that is full of swampy beats and the sound has a mystical dark sound suiting Laurens vocals and Mark ‘Boweevil’ Howes guitar. The five piece enthralled the audience though at times the vocals got lost among the instruments.
Third band of the night raised the energy levels as Kaz Hawkins twirled like a whirlwind across the stage. The energy was electric and the vocals spellbinding. Kaz, takes the lyrics, squeezing the emotions out so that the audience is drawn and captivated by the soulful blues. The petticoats were swished the red gloves thrown into the audience, yet, if Kaz had stood perfectly still it would have been the voice that is full of charm and depths that hit your musical soul. The band are a trio of talent with the solid rhythm section providing the perfect platform and Nick McConkey’s guitar work is stunning. In the mix we heard the song dedicated to her daughter, Because I love You which one of my favourites. The audience cheered, clapped, stamped their feet as they showed their love to Kaz Hawkins’ take on the blues.
How to follow that with the energy levels were so high, emotions so stretched easy close the night with Rebecca Downes. With her trademark leopard skin coat she took up the microphone and sung the blues. Rebecca belted out the vocals soaring above her band all eyes were focused on her she was charged with an electricity and glowing energetic fire. Again, the blues was threaded with rock, soul and jazz that gave Rebecca’s blues a depth of tone and interest she is a blues vocalist who delivers the music she loves and believes in. The band once again played to Rebecca’s tonal strengths so the voice got hotter and the coat was discarded. Rebecca owned the stage and had the audience in her hand and purring with delight.
As Rebecca Downes and her band left the stage and silence fell, what a night of live music four different and superb acts. All gave the blues a touch of difference shaping the music and delivering with energy and love. Now the scores were counted, the raffle drawn and we waited and discussed our favourites and who we thought the winner would be…
The Judges verdict was Kaz Hawkins Band. They are now off to represent the UK at the 33rd International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee, which runs from 31st January to 4th February 2017 and at the 7th European Blues Challenge, which takes place in Horsens, Denmark on 6th, 7th & 8th April 2017.
Watch this space the date and venue of the 4th UK Blues challenge will be announced by the UK Blues Federation soon. Support the blues and check out the page www.ukbluesfederation.com
2016 UK Blues Challenge delights Bilston The Winner IS….. Once again congratulations to the winner Kaz Hawkins
The UK Blues Federation (UKBlues), is a pan-UK Federation that has been established to promote and support Blues in and from the United Kingdom in all its forms and styles.
We have created a not for profit federation of musicians, organisations, associations, groups, venues, companies, individuals and any other interested parties within the UK who already work to support, promote and encourage blues of all sorts within the UK, to work together to achieve UKBlues‘ aims.
Join HERE today and help support The Blues throughout the U.K.
UK Blues Federation are delighted once again to be organising the challenge. UK Blues Challenge 2016 at The Robin 2 Bilston, where four exciting acts are performing for the opportunity to represent the U.K. at the European Blues Challenge 2017. The Challenge takes place at The Robin 2 Bilston on Saturday 12th November 2016 – Tickets available £10 in advance. The successful act will travel to Norway to represent the U.K. at the 7th European Blues Challenge 2017.
The popular four acts performing in front of a panel of judges selected from the UK Blues scene (in alphabetical order) are:-
First day of May 2016 will be etched on everyone lucky enough to have a ticket for Robin 2 in Bilston. Tonight, the bus parked outside, the queue lengthened and stormy clouds gathered on a chilly Spring evening. The excitement grew as the doors opened, tonight we were going to be the last people to hear the complete live rendition of the album Misplaced Youth. This was a gathering of fans and friends, comradeship through the love of Fish, we were all fishing for our own memory tonight. People had clocked up the motor miles to be here in the Black Country. On the stroke of eight-thirty Fish strode onto the stage with a smile and the music we had come to hear. The first five tracks were a selection including the opener Pipeline from Suits album with the words that suited the evenings of mixed emotions. – ‘Waiting in my corner, waiting on the bell, I was coming off the ropes, I was going to give them hell. Now I’m waiting.’ As we all are waiting to see if this is the last time we will see the man so many have their musical memories entwined with firstly as front-man for Marillion and then as Fish himself. The title track of his album Feast of Consequences, then back to his seventh solo album for Long Cold Day. There was nothing cold about the venue we were buzzing and his witty observations flowed and the night was never going to be long enough. The back-drops evoked emotions and layered another seam of communication of the deep and thoughtful meanings of the words from the lyricist Fish. Two more songs Family Business with a powerful heartfelt message his experiences in Bosnia the pointless hatred between neighbours. The seeds sown that has led to Syria, the bombing of a gig in Paris and the fleeing of people. His statement ‘Refugees are people like us’ was received with a loud cheer and more hand clapping. The starter closed with The Perception of Johnny Punter, dedicated to all victims of pointless atrocities. The lyrics reflecting so much that is in the news as 1997 and Sunsets On Empire drew to a close. What an introduction to the evening main course the uninterrupted live Misplaced Youth. No youth can ever be misplaced loving and going to see music live with power, passion and energy that sets your spine tingling. Not to mention your buzzing head, pounding heart and your mood soaring with delight into the stratosphere.
The main course and as Fish quipped I have been in all your bedrooms, on your stereo, in your wardrobes! Here it is the final performance live of the complete Misplaced Youth album. This is, without doubt, the most iconic Marillion/Fish album with two hits Kayleigh and Lavender and listening to all ten tracks in order live was perfect. A timely reminder that random is not the best this is a narrative that flows and makes sense of a Misplaced Youth from Pseudo Silk Kimono through to White Feather. The packed auditorium sung, clapped cheered and flowed seamlessly with the music. It was hot, loud and the atmosphere was electric. Encore was in order, the cherry on top of a cake full of richness and music texture that is Fish. The final two numbers we heard tonight were Market Square Hero and The Company. Emotional energy from the stage permeated across the 700 as Fish said tonight will be talked about – 3 years-time 10,000 people will claim to be at Robin 2 tonight. Bluesdoodles was I will always know I saw the closing notes of this amazing night. What a music giant looking forward to his book and album in 2016.
Tonight, Yatta, Fish’s best friend was retiring after being together for 25 years, the cheers were immense the love flowed tonight was a celebration of music and everything it encompasses. Robin 2 was echoing with the cheers of the crowd and the fading notes long after the music stopped and the venue slowly emptied. For many a long drive home, I for one know the moments in my heart are incredible and will live with me for a long time. Thank-you Fish we love your music, words, and kindness of spirit and as we wave a farewell looking forward to the next chapter in the book of a Misplaced Childhood.
Monday night and the Robin 2 was jammed to the rafters for the opening act Jared James Nichols from Wisconsin USA hit the first resounding chord and we knew that this was going to be a show of rock infused blues. The set was a blinding display of how six strings can be manipulated with scorching licks, riffs that produce rivulets of sound and hooks for the lyrics no wonder the crowd were mesmerized. If that wasn’t enough out came the transparent glass slide and we dropped the tempo cranked up the emotion for a glorious rendition of Robert Johnson gone electric Come Into My Kitchen showcasing the depth of James Jared Nichols’ talents. The power of Erik Sandin and Dennis Holm as the rhythm section that powers and allows the control that Jared achieves as he shreds up his glorious guitar playing to fever pitch. With the set starting out with tracks from his superb debut album Old Glory and the Wild Revival including Crazy & Haywire showing that the music transcends the studio and hits the stage with a full-on glorious sound. His cover of Mountain’s Mississippi Queen was sublime Southern Rock the set was too short would love to have heard more of his scintillating guitar playing whether blues rock, delta or southern inspired music we wanted more slide, shredding or melodic manipulation of the fretboard. Jared James Nichols tonight was the perfect special guest left the audience wanting more guitar, more rock and more music and they didn’t have to wait long.
A short break whilst everyone gathered their breath and for many an opportunity to purchase the album to take the magic of Jared home he made a huge impact on the crowd who had come in the main to see Glenn Hughes.
Tonight, after a couple of short lived projects Black Country Communion and California Breed, bassist Glenn Hughes is joined on stage as part of his solo band by former Whitesnake guitarist Doug Aldrich, and his drummer for many a show Pontus Engborg. The set entwined the many bands and projects Glenn has been associated with opening with the third re-incarnation of Deep Purple with the instantly recognizable Stormbringer showcasing his great voice, and raising the temperature even higher in the sold out Robin 2 on a Monday Night. Hughes told many amusing stories as he travelled like a time lord through the four decades of music-making he has been involved in. He took us back further in time back to the musical roots of a young boy playing in bands in the Black Country not far from the venue, as Glenn said it was like coming home tonight. The interplay and chemistry between Glenn and Doug was evident as the guitar and bass played off each other whether playing numbers by Trapeze and Whitesnake it was the rock vibe that mattered tonight. We heard Trapeze, Way Back To The Bone and another number dedicated to the late Mel Galley Touch My Life. Into the mix we had a Whitesnake classic Good To Be Bad, once gain showing how much they were enjoying playing music on stage live together, it is a partnership that works. The show was shaped so that everyone had a solo spot it was about all three musicians, and the tracks from Black Country Communion received a rapturous cheer as we heard One Last Soul and Soul Mover as the set reached the climax and then it was the end, the stage feel silent, the audience wanted more… Rewarded with an encore, fittingly tonight the extra music started with Black Country from Black Country Community and the lyrics may say It’s cold on the mountain, It’s cold in the wood… it was hot, very hot at the Robin 2 as the last track of the night Burn what a way to close the show on a Monday night in the Black Country!
Setting the evening of live music at The Robin 2 on this sunny Monday evening was acoustic solo performer Tone Tanner who did his personal take on a selection of standards including Freddy King; Leadbetter, Rory Gallagher and into this mix some self-penned numbers.
Ali Clinton Band upped the tempo as a trio of rock musicians with Ali up front on guitar and vocals , drummer and keys; the guitar sound from Ali was impressive, when you see this dynamic young artists impressive playing experience it all becomes clear as having played the guitar since the age of 7 he was playing with Irish legend Pat McManus and having his first album appearance on “2PM” then at the age of 16, playing guitar for Uli Jon Roth’s band the experience gained touring UK & U.S.A. Is self-evident as he confidently fronted the band and engaged the audience.
This is a band that is full of young raw talent with Owen Thomas on drums and Paul Rahme on keys; this is a trio that will just grow and grow as they hone their skills and deliver an E.P. reflecting the talent displayed whether delivering covers or some of Ali’s self-penned numbers. The rendition of Queen’s; Crazy was excellent and his fitting tribute to Johnny Winter delivering a fine version of Medicine Man on a Firebird as well true respect for a great artist. This is a guitar talent to watch and a band that should be heard live at venues across the land.
Then as the shadows lengthened Layla Zoe and her band stepped onto the stage for the last night of her very successful first U.K. Tour and the crowd was excitedly awaiting her the voice they had heard so much about on the social network buzz. Layla opened with a spine-tingling gospel A Capella; O Lord I Want You To Help Me the audience were instantly hooked into the music and just wanted to sit back, listen and be entertained. Layla captivated the audience, she was mesmerizing with her sexy curvy dancing during the numbers and her firebrand hair swishing and swirling as Layla sung her way into everybody’s heart and soul. It is not surprising that she is known as Canada’s Lady of the Blues, with her expressive voice that winds itself around the words and then emotionally engages with the music, picking up the beat twirling the song into a complete package that ebbs and flows from the stage across the auditorium and fades into the night air. She has an eclectic sound mixing up gospel, rock soul but always the blues in every shade flowing through the tracks with the help of her talented band Hardy Fischoetter, Drums and Gregor Sonnenberg completing the rhythm section and to her right Jan Laacks on guitar.
The musicianship was perfect providing the backdrop and breathing space for the star of the show Layla and her voice. It is far to simple to say she is a Janis Joplin yes her voice has the power and she has an engaging stage presence but the reality is Layla is a songbird that sings with fire in her belly, compassion in her heart and engages your brain with some poignant and angry lyrics, with reference to inequality and corporation dominance products of today’s society. Layla was the Queen Bee on the Robin 2 stage she was in charge of the band and the audience who were putty in her hands.
The venue on a Monday night was only half full a tragedy that so many people missed the opportunity to hear the live performance of Layla as she sang a selection of tracks from her sixth and highly acclaimed album The Lily; the title track, The Lily is emotionally charged and sent shivers across your emotional radar as she sang about how she wanted to be remembered and always the music lives on. This was the highlight of the evening and with that she was emotionally drained leaving the stage so that the band could be centre stage and show the audience there collective talents as the band jammed together. Then Layla was back at the front of the stage with They Lie and then a lengthy number which you never wanted to end as she bent the notes, a memorable rendition of It’s A Man’s World, that so suited Layla Zoe’s vocal range.
Then all too soon it was the closing track of the night with a sexy blues number ‘Rock and Roll Guitar Man, from her Sleep Little Girl album Layla teased the guitarist as she explored the riffs he was playing as together they made live music that was interactive, grown-up and fun, blues that howled and made you feel alive. If anyone says to you blues is boring or staid send them to Layla, Rock & Roll guitar man on You Tube they will have to reassess their description of the blues. This was a show that was full of music and life in the fast lane as the guitar echoed her vocals with mimicry and a mix of tenderness and sex appeal. Layla is full of life and energy that can belt out a number and then quieten a phrase down so the potency of the lyrics seeps into your bones. The band and Layla left the stage and the roar for an encore was truly meant, and Layla stepped back onto the stage finishing the show as she begun alone on the stage and did a sensational A Capella version of The Beatles, Let It Be like I have never heard before, what a talent, thank you for travelling across the channel to truly entertain us, come back very soon we want to hear you again and those that missed you this time will want to find out why you have caused such a stir… Thank you the first lady of the blues……