Thursday, 29 April 2010

Acoustic Rotherham 7 Report + all the local stuff.

It’s going to be a busy Blog this week, so let’s get a start.

This was Myke Mashers week to be a Mad Frog in tandem with his beloved Phoebe, The Wyrd Witch. Two gigs in fact!! I shall have to watch this as they seem to be getting out more than The Mashers. hehehe

I’m told, ‘cos I was not there to witness first hand that both Gigs, Tuesday at The Cross Keys Handsworth and Thursday at The Princess Royal, Crooke went off according to plan.

Apparently audience numbers at The Cross Keys were not fantastic. Pity this as the Handsworth Club is one of The Mashers favourite Clubs and at it’s best makes for a great evening of Poetry and Song. So why not make a note to pop along on the third Tuesday of the month.

The next meeting is 17th May – and guess who the special guests are – why according to my Diary it’s those Folk Legends The Rawmarsh Mashers – ah ha.

It all gets under way around 8:00pm. Bit of an early start because of the buses.

And so to the main event of the week – Acoustic Rotherham 7. As a Promoter it was a fantastic afternoon, with much of the afternoon being standing room only, just great to see. And what a fantastic mix of music!? everything from traditional song to the very latest self-penned song from new talent.

Organisationally this one had been a little bit of a nightmare with Dickie having initially patted himself on the back way back in February that it was all systems go only for his computer to decide that enough was enough and blow a gasket which meant the entire list was lost along with contact details.

But hey – it all came together and everyone had their moment.

However, sometimes I am just staggered by the arrogance of some people.

I think it’s fair to say that through the Acoustic Rotherham pages I go out of my way to keep people informed as to what is going on. Acoustic Rotherham Hiring Fairs in particular are particularly highlighted with notes on the type of event it is, descriptions of previous events, and a page dedicated to the guide lines for the events in terms of how the afternoon runs.

So I found it particularly disappointing that one band fell through the net. Not only did they not appear to have a clue as to the nature of the event, but one member of that band thought himself so important that the whole timing of the event was thrown out by one full hour.

Worse, when I mentioned the timing to this this individual, and the fact that it showed a lack of respect to the other artists appearing, I was not so politely told to “f*** off”. At that point the band can think themselves lucky that they were the guests of one of Acoustic Rotherham’s biggest supporters, otherwise they might well have been down the road.

I’m told that he was nervous. Draw your own conclusions.

This individual also managed to upset – god forbid – the sound man! The biggest no, no known to performing artists.

Hence while the audience were able to enjoy the playing of the Band the lyrics, which were the essential part of this act were completely lost as the speakers had been turned inwards. Some people simply cannot be told.

So my apologies to all the artists that followed this act as their on stage time was thrown back by an hour and with a nine o clock finish deadline we also had to cut back the time allowed for a few acts to try and drag some time back – in that respect I thank Kev (Short Supply) and Mark Hearne and Karen and Nigel of First Fall. I think all the acts that had travelled in got their full time although the little extra I would normally allow had to be cut out.

And of course a big thank you to Mick Padfield of Taylor Maid fame for having done such a wonderful job on the sound for the entire afternoon. It takes some energy to keep it going from 12 noon until on this occasion nine in the evening – and without any reward what so ever. THANKS MICK.

So to the great acts.

Well, we’ll start with The Mashers turning in another typically uncontroversial set of their new political numbers – the Dancing On The Grave of Mrs Thatcher number proving to be as popular as ever.

Enough said. At least it all proved that the sound was working OK.

David Paskell from Sheffield then shared some of his self-penned songs with us, not enough was the cry, but poor David was suffering with a throat and ear infection and his voice was about to pass out before he caught us all be surprise and finished. Get well soon mate and we’ll have you back for a full set once the Doctors have sorted you.

What we heard though was typical of Dave and his songs deserve a lot more of an airing.

We then had the electric sounds of a line up that went by the name of Cam – not the originals who are Scotland based but mainly from Manchester. We were treated to some well-crafted blues based instrumental sounds and believe me, classic song writing. And it was fantastic to see Hugh (Song Writer) overcome all his nerves to join the Band for their last number and make such a good fist of it. “Hats off to you mate” (that’s an in joke).

Then we were treated to some old time Americana sounds by The Backyard Buskers from Sheffield. Brilliant harmony and some fantastic musicianship made up this professionally crafted set. And what fun when they were joined on stage by the children of the band to do the chicken dance. This is a band we are all going to hear a lot more from, and if you get chance to see them in the South Yorkshire area well worth taking the time out.

All the way up the A1 from Peterborough came East Coast (sounds more like a Take That type boy band) but Nick and Nigel’s boyish looks were reserved for some pretty impressive musicianship and songs. Some covers and some self-written. A splendid set lads and I’m sure on this evidence we’re going to see a lot more of you around South Yorkshire in the future.

Not a lot can be said of next act, The Troubadors, that has not already been said. What enthusiasm? What a big sound? And such brilliant musicianship. This quartet from Wakefield had the audience in their hands for a full on acoustic big sound set of upbeat Americana style music. These guys really deserve to go a lot further than Rawmarsh. I know that throughout the Summer they are busy people with many Festival bookings, so look out for them and stick around for their set – it’s well worth the time. And if they have not visited your Club yet then get in quick before their diary goes into over drive.

A hard set to follow.

But Philip Cockerham is an old hand on the scene, not that he would admit it, and his experienced showmanship and simply spell binding musicianship won the audience over in no time at all. So congratulations to Phillip for that. Philip claims to be new to the scene. New to South Yorkshire certainly although his reputation is growing very quickly and his new CD is selling by the truck load, or should be!
We were treated to a mix of traditional and contemporary songs accompanied by some very clever guitar work, and his self penned songs are simply hilarious.

Check out his full details on the Acoustic Rotherham 7 page. 

The next act attempted to get a spot on Acoustic Rotherham by suggesting that they were a group of young’uns looking for a platform to show off their considerable skills. HHHHmmmmmm - wot we got was three old b****** belting out seafaring songs and shanties the like of which there are few on the folk scene could equal.

Yes Owd Chyver, based in Hull, are three great big voices born to sing together in perfect harmony and while they may have a total age of well over one hundred fifty these guys are full of fun and very much young at heart.

Great stuff guys and I look forward to seeing a lot more of you over the Summer as you tour the Festivals – there certainly will not be a problem in hearing you!

And so to Marzipan Moon, being Worcestershire’s contribution to the day’s festivities. Well, it was Marzipan Moon 0.5, they wisely decided that the bass and drums might be just a little bit of over kill for an acoustic event.

With Tracy playing both guitar and some delightful key board accompaniment to her haunting vocals, the man otherwise known as The Abbot of Unreason, or Gaz to them that know him, played some wonderful intricate guitar accompaniment.

This was spot on performance of contemporary Acoustic Music, and was really well received by the audience. In their louder mode I can see this band being really popular at many live music venues and lets see if can get them back to South Yorkshire so that we can see the full line up in action.

At this stage we were running one hour behind time and I really have to thank all the Bands for being ready and up for it when it was their turn to perform, and no more so than when we moved into the “local” part of the afternoon.

And what a Band to kick off the final push. Florin are a collaboration between Bob Humphries of Lanterns fame and Rob Dickson who comes out of the Bluegrass Buddies. Their arrangement of classic rock, folk and Americana songs demands to be heard, as well as the odd self-penned song.

Testament to their music is the number of people that they held in The Queens who were planning to leave just as they were getting underway. On their first number they were joined by Jono out of the Lanterns who added that little bit extra to their stunning harmony and throughout Martin from The Rogues bowed away on his double bass. The later I think might well become a lasting feature of the Band.

If Edmondson and his Bad Shepherds can make such an impact on the Folk scene, I promise you that Florin has a big and bright future before them.

Making a return to Acoustic Rotherham came Short Supply. A big name for a one man band, but this is Kev out of The Rogues doing his own songs. To appreciate just how good the songs are you have to go listen to the tracks and you can down load his full demo disc for free in the Acoustic Rotherham CD Shop.

And then a right rockin’ collaboration as Kev joined up with the returning Mark Hearne for a couple of numbers – it’s fun to see talent like this having so much fun together.

Mark’s solo performance was a Master Class in art of guitar playing. I’m going to be honest, I was getting just a little worried as Mark tended to give great credence to his trusted axe which unfortunately was beginning to give signs of conking out on him. But for this performance he used his Taylor and what a difference it made. On the evidence of this and if he is serious about getting out more then this performance should attract the bookings.

By now the audience were fading. The extra hour was beginning to have it’s affect, so just when we needed it along came Karen and Nigel in their First Fall mode with some amazing chill out sounds. Karen’s distinctive and glorious voice blending perfectly with Nigel’s masterful use of the guitar.
And hats off to them. Playing to a dying room is not easy but their performance was so good and perked the atmosphere up just when it was need.

And we just dragged back enough time for the last performer of the day Vicky Cottam to give us an impressive set of contemporary songs. Vicky, I have discovered was well known around the Folk Clubs of South Yorkshire back in the mists of time, well before the Rawmarsh Mashers were ever thought of let alone heard. Now she is looking to make a come back, having established her career etc., and all the other things that tend to get in the way of music and it’s rock’ roll life style.

This set was very accomplished demonstrating that she has lost none of her talent and I’m sure it won’t be long before she is a Special Guest at many Folk Clubs and local Festivals.
But get in quick - the sound of tiny feet will be heard in the Cottam household sometime in October.

So forty five minutes late we got to the end of what was an extremely long and relentless afternoon of music. The variation of the sounds was fantastic – the performance levels from every act brilliant. A big thank you to everyone for the entertainment.

We hope that your appearance at Acoustic Rotherham 7 was as much fun for you as the pleasure everyone got out of your performances.

We also hope that support from Acoustic Rotherham will help to broaden your profiles.

Hey! And those who indulged in the Pork rolls and chips – a nice little treat. So well done to Chris the Land Lord for getting it all on.

Acoustic Rotherham 8 is on 25th July. There are a limited number of places left. We will not be overstretching time or audience loyalty by putting on so many acts in future. Ten will be the limit from here on in and no more.

Look out for updates to Acoustic Rotherham pages throughout the coming week as we tie up the final bits of AR 7

This coming week – the main event is the Love Music Hate Racism Festival in Barnsley. UB40 et al and of course throughout the day live music throughout the whole of Barnsley.

It all happens on Saturday 1st May

You’ll find The Mashers around the market place around 1:00pm - but be early 12:00pm to be exact as you won’t want to miss The Bar Steward Sons of Val Doonigan and Jonathon Taylor and then after the Mashers Jerry McNiece, Richard Kitson, our good friends Tina McKivett and Matt Hegarty all ending up with the super Chris Minlner.

Tickets for the main evening concert are still available by using the Link you’ll find in the News Feed HERE 

And I think that is enough for one Blog.

Again thanks to all for the support shown to Acoustic Rotherham – and so good to make so many new friends. Please spread the word about what we do and of course the Web Site. The more people that visit the site the more people will to hear your music and find your contact details.

Monday, 5 April 2010

A Non Review but loads of News

So let’s get the important stuff done and that’s to wish each and every one of you a very Happy and Peaceful Easter. 
I always look upon this time of the year as a time for reflection and renewal and this year more than ever with so much happening in my personal life that requiring major changes to the lifestyle that had become the norm.
Thanks again to all of you who have been continuing to enquire about the health issues, a change in the brand of drugs prescribed appears to have settled things down, although we’re still not firing on all cylinders yet.
And so our week started with an excellent practice session at The Bridge Inn.  Yet another new song added to the rep. we’ve added one of our favourite Ray Hearne numbers.  Don’t forget, if anyone wants to watch the blood flow we’ve been well hidden by Ben the Land Lord in the small upstairs room.
On Tuesday we headed over to The Riverside in Sheffield, a new venue for The Mashers.  This was Dave Paskell’s Fund Raiser for the UNICEF Haiti Appeal, and we joined up with our old friends Tina McKevitt / Matt Hegarty, Phillip Hartley and Paul Pearson to put on an evening of acoustic music.  There were also excellent short spots from Dave himself and Al – better known as the Mist Hills Mountain Rambler.
What an evening it proved to be with everyone seemingly on top notch form and turning in some impressive sets.
For a wet Tuesday night in Sheffield the audience size wasn’t all that bad and certainly seemed appreciative of the efforts made by the acts.  It was good to see friends from all over the Region paying a visit.
Dare I say that The Mashers were on red hot form – we really enjoyed our set, even if no one else did.
You can see pictures taken by Linda Gamston HERE
And congratulations to Dave who raised £170 on the night for the UNICEF Appeal.
Saturday was a real downer.   Crossphyre were due to play at The Bridge Inn, that’s Tom and his mate who made their debut at the first Acoustic Rotherham.  
The Boss and I arrived at the point in the evening when we expected everything to be in full swing only to find a very quiet pub, except for a Party going on in an upstairs room. 
It appears that the duo arrived, set up and sound tested, when a couple of vocal Wednesday supporters entered the pub and did there bit for local relations with a few chants.  I’m told it was really nothing.
But that was enough for Tom who walked out of the Pub, and did not return, leaving a very frustrated Land Lord with no live entertainment on a Saturday night.
I’m afraid that I can’t in any way give support to the artist on this occasion.   The minor disturbance did not even happen during performance time. 
Worse, The Bridge Inn currently gives full support to local artists, providing them with an opportunity to showcase their music no matter what the genre.  It’s so unfair, and very unprofessional to leave the Land Lord with an empty venue and having to watch people head off to other venues on a Saturday night and Easter Saturday at that, when he might have expected a good night of takings.  Although, my Wife did her best to help out on that score.
This was to have been Grossfyre’s second appearance at The Bridge, and came after a recommendation from me, which makes me even more cross that the artist was so petulant.
We all have a responsibility to fulfil commitments, even if we may not be “up for it” or the audience is not in tune with what we are doing.  In this case, to storm off before even starting, is just so stupid and selfish.    Perhaps Phillip Hartley’s song “Folk Club Prima Donna” should be played to Tom – several times over.   

And at the risk of being a Prima Donna myself.......  what you'd already sussed that out?  Well, I was well peeved on Thursday night to discover thata Folk Club that will not be named had been put off from booking us because they had heard on the grapevine that The Mashers demand what could only be described as an excessive fee.
I only wish we could demand the sum that was quoted to us, it would have solved one or two problems with the Bank Manager. 
If you want to Book The Mashers then go to our Booking page and give me a call - we do it mostly for fun and we charge nowhere near what is apparently being suggested on the whisper market - in fact as many will vouch, including my Bank Manager most places get us for beer and or petrol.  The Booking page is HERE

As promised I’ve made changes to the Gig Diary on the Acoustic Rotherham Web Site.   I hope that it’s all much clearer now and because of the Diary layout it gives a chance to list all the regular Club Nights as well as the one off events.   To get listed just Email  You can check out the April and May listings so far HERE
The sharp eyed amongst you will have also spotted that there’s a new page.  The Rotherham Political Forum.    I hope the page will grow to include links to various and interesting Left sided activities.  However, it’s not Richard’s page, it belongs to the Political Forum and articles etc. will follow.  
There’s an Open Meeting coming up on the 22nd April, where there might well be a musical interlude of rabble rousing songs from The Mashers, and of course the Festival on 31st May.  More details on the latter coming soon.  
And if you live in Rotherham there’s a sort of feature on Mike Sylvester’s Independent Local Election Campaign for the Wingfield Ward.  HERE

On Web matters.  The Acoustic Rotherham site continues to grow in popularity.  Of all sites globally it’s now placed within the top 700,000 and Nationally 27,000.  Not bad for a localised site. 
I’m not sure what I said last week’s Blog but it proved to be one of the most popular so far – although not coming close to the hits that Richard’s agro Blogs got. 
The Mashers continue to hold the Number Two spot for South Yorkshire in the Reverbnation Charts, translated to the top twenty Nationally, being held off the number one by our good friends (he says through gritted teeth) Jack’s Rake.  What all that means one is not sure as the Reverbnation method of calculating the Equity is always changing.  But it’s good to see that we’re consistent.
The Acoustic Rotherham Reverbnation ranking is slipping though - get to the music to change all that please.
And isn’t it good to know that Bishop FM’s Folk Show, introduced by that Giant of Internet and local broadcasting, Terry Ferdinand, will soon be back on our computers.   What this guy has done for us local Folkies deserves a medal, and what’s more his choice of music gives everyone a chance, which is why his Folk Show wins over many others out there in Local / Community Radio land – there is no questioning of what constitutes Folk music, and no narrow definitions placed upon the genre.  Well done Terry.   You can link up and add Bishop FM to your Favourites HERE
Just to add our name to the folks complaining about the current problems that everyone appears to be having with Myspace.   One feels the message is, if it’s not broke, then don’t fix it”.  In trying to change things and keep up with some the features offered by Facebook they have in fact shot themselves in the foot.   Let’s hope that all the problems are sorted out soon.

So Tuesday you’ll find The Mashers at The Three Tuns Stainton, helping out Sue and Barry in the absence of regular host John, who has chosen this week for a holiday (well earned he says).
We may also be somewhere or other on Monday as The Bridge is closed for Bank Holiday Monday.  
Keep a check on the status bars of Myspace or Facebook or Twitter for everything else.