Well my friends it has been a busy old time, but slowly we catch up.
But the most important thing this week is to start with this coming Friday's meeting of The Play On Club. I hope the message has not passed you by but the Club is for one month only moving home to The Rutland Arms which you'll find on Brown Street in Sheffield. This is because the Fat Cat is having a Guy Fawkes event. Post Code can be found on our Home Page Here
Right, on with the events of the past week.
It was a case of one extreme to the other for Nellie Folk. The September meeting, as we discussed at the time, was well down on attendance, so it was great to see so many smiling faces when I eventually arrived on Monday night.
Besides the return of some regulars we also had several visiting folks, good to see David Kidman and a few others from up North.
A super night of music and I'm only sorry that my eyelids did not let me finish the night off, but it had gone eleven and well, I turn into a pumpkin if out after eleven thirty.
Well done Rob and Roy.
But just Rob and Roy get my congratulations – The Mashers second outing of the week to what had been billed as The Big Open Mic gets a real thumbs down. I'm almost sorry that I directed so many other folks to the event.
The Big Open Mic was run by Sheffield Live the local Community Radio Station and the initial contact from them was quite good. Strict instructions about arriving twenty minutes before one's spot, and strictly only two numbers per act, etc.
So arriving at The Sheffield Winter Garden, out of breath, with approx one minute to spare of the twenty (well I do work on Masher time) I was a bit puzzled to find folks sitting about listening to a recorded Radio Play.
It turns out that the event had been raided by the Derleks!!! and without Dr Who in attendance to keep them under control they had run amok causing the running time to be pushed back some fifty minutes.
Worse. Because so much time had been lost we were all being cut down to one song! Hardly a chance to get warmed up et alone do a service to the songs we were trying to sing.
I think we moved people to tears with our rendition of Dance On The Grave of Mrs Thatcher, sang, I thought, with feeling and perhaps if the name Simon had rhymed, who knows what the end result may have sounded like.
(By the way, is it any accident that they did not let Mrs Thatcher out of Hospital until Halloween was out of the way?)
But at least we did our bit, and The Mashers really do like being a part of the local scene and taking our songs out, but please, please, please, let's get organised and not treat the acts who were all giving of their time freely so cheaply. A bit of respect needs to be shown and while we understand that there were production difficulties, playing a recorded Play when they had people sitting around and twiddling their thumbs is not really on.
The Mashers did get their song done........... I'm told that some acts had to sit through another, this time live, spoken word piece that took up at least five times the time allotted to the musicians. And this at an Open Mic.
Well, lessons learnt all round I think.
I'm informed that Sheffield Live are thinking of repeating the event throughout the City – a good idea, but my own soundings suggest that a lot of goodwill was lost and they may have problems filling slots up with musicians.
Pictures can be found on the Mashers site HERE
And so to the main event of the weekend, Acoustic Rotherham 9. Yet another great afternoon of entertaining music. Phillip Hartley had it down as the best yet! Although I seem to think that every quarter.
Pictures of the event and the player featuring the acts can be found HERE
The sound, for the second quarter running was provided by Richard of Eskimo Kissed. I think all the artists owe Richard a big thank you for his efforts. It's not easy setting sound up for so many different acts, and even those we thought might be straight forward turned out to have extra twists – so great stuff Richard.
Now, Richard only provided his skills and equipment on the condition we made a collection throughout the afternoon, which we did, all the funds going to the Myke Barrit Music Trust. I can report that the sum of £20 was collected.
And I think the sum reflects the main down of the afternoon, once again the lack of neutral audience, besides the hardcore who have become firm regulars.
It was the reason why the Loftus Hiring Fair eventually ended and the reason why even Acoustic Rotherham is thinking very carefully about how to move the events on. At the moment closure is not on the agenda, all the time that the artists enjoy performing and doing their thing we're happy to facilitate.
A later start - a cover charge – a cut back in the number of acts invited are all things being considered.
Having said that around 35 people over and above the artists showed their faces at various times during the afternoon.
And so the artists that followed The Mashers sound warm up spot.............. well someone has to do it!
First up was David Kidman with what he described as an experimental set, and a fine demonstration of acappella style. David describes himself as being within the Revivalist genre, but his all round entertaining repertoire and engaging personality demands attention from the audience.
I'm sure that is not the last time we will see Dave at an Acoustic Rotherham. Watch this space.
Following David came the considerable talents of Rachael Barley, performing a set of blues and jazz with her rich voice supported superbly by a personal guitar style. This young lady deserves greater exposure as a solo artist, and I hope one or two of you Promoters out there will get in touch and give her a stage.
Rachael is a local shy young lady and needs a push to share her brilliant music making talent. Currently she plays as part of the Pa Pa Legbas a Rotherham Band gaining a reputation.
A set of punchy, strong contemporary acoustic songs marked another fine performance from Richard and Julie who together make up Eskimo Kissed. Shhhhhh, they've only just celebrated their twenty fifth wedding anniversary ohhhhh, and I think in Richard's lyrics you can sense just how strong their relationship is. Richard writes all the songs and one day they might just get around to letting loose their closely guarded recorded tracks.
Based in Worksop Eskimo Kissed have quickly established themselves on the South Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire music scene as an act not to be missed and I'm sure they will go from strength to strength.
In the meantime, being sneaky, I took the liberty of recording one of their numbers on Sunday so that you can at least get taste of what they offer – it will be on the Acoustic Rotherham Player by the end of the week.
Offering a complete contrast came the Country sounds of J.B. Butterfield.
Here's the story. There I was, on Saturday night having my tea, when the telephone rang. It was J.B. who I had expected to already be in Rawmarsh as he had booked accommodation at Masher Towers.
“I've been stuck at Ferrybridge Services since 11:30 this morning said the voice.”
“Oh dear” says I, for I thought he had broken down and was waiting for the AA to get their act together.
But no it turns out that JB had set off at first light from Hartlepool to hitch down to Rawmarsh. Now there is true enthusiasm. But just perhaps he should have checked the maps because since his last venture South the A1 had been shifted to the A1M which tends to take North and South bound traffic out of the way, leaving poor J.B. trying to catch a lift South from cars and wagons travelling in the main East to West on the M62.
Alls well that ends well, as Dickie headed out to pick up the lost sheep, returning in time for a touch of stew and a few pints over the Club.
And yes – J.B. Was all bushy bearded for his performance at Acoustic Rotherham which was as ever slick and professional, as he played through his super self penned songs.
Thanks J.B. Butterfield - you'll always be remembered in Rawmarsh and we'll look forward to seeing you again in the not too distant future.
Folk On Fire, them Folk whipper-snappers were the next up. The Mashers have now had the privilege of working with these young musicians on a few occasions this year, and each time I've seen them they just get better and better. This Acoustic Rotherham performance was up there as probably the best I've seen them yet, confirmed by Mr Phillip Hartley, so it has to be right.
So well done Lucie, Mathew and Callum and we hope you'll be able to find time in your 2011 Diary to come and play some of your tunes again for Acoustic Rotherham. You are always assured of a warm welcome.
And then to the other extreme of the age spectrum as seventy nine year old Dorothy Fryman and the young man John Bartey, Song and Story to you and I, who brought songs and monologues casting images of the tragedy of war, and performed with such passion.
Ever popular around the Folk Clubs of Manchester, this is an act that must be seen. We hope that we'll be seeing them again at an Acoustic Rotherham.
The Bouviers then produced one of the slickest acoustic sets we've seen at any of our Acoustic Rotherham events. I think one could broadly label their music as being bluesy Americana. It was energetic, it bounced along and their set seemed to be over before it had started. Simply brilliant stuff. It reminded me very much of The Troubadors.
Thanks guys and I hope that you're another act that will want to come back and see us in the future.
Sabrina Piggott took to the stage with her beautiful self penned songs based very much in the Celtic tradition. Her quiet yet spell binding performance was quite stunning while being ably accompanied Andy Owen on Glockenspiel and hand pump organ thing – (which is Dickie demonstrating a complete lack instrument knowledge, check out the picture and put me right). Sabrina is beginning to pick a few Gigs up around the Leeds area and I hope we'll see more of her South Yorkshire before to long.
There was only one way to follow Sabrina and that was with another singer of intensity, Paul Pearson. When you book in Paul you can never be certain as to whom is likely to be on stage with him. On this occasion we had the bearded wonder Chris Treebeard with his fully pedalled instrument. But not even the amazing Chris was enough for Paul, he had to go and pull the incredible guitar skills of Richard Kitson on stage to.
And the set? Well Paul is another of those artists who seems to get better and better and his ability to pull an audience into his spell is something we should all try to aspire to.
Well done Paul mate.
How do you follow Paul then, well, with another established troubadour of the Yorkshire Folk scene, the brilliant Chris Milner. Combating the Trick and Treaters singing songs in the Public Bar Chris put on one of his typically smooth and professional performances for us. Thanks Chris for taking the time out to come and see us in Rawmarsh, much appreciated.
The last time I saw Richard Kitson play was on the Folk Against Fascism stage in Barnsley. Before that it had been a couple of brief songs at the Barnsley Folk Club.
Richard's performance at Acoustic Rotherham surpassed anything I had seen from him before. He positively exploded on stage, demonstrating a guitar skill well beyond us mere mortals along with a strong and entertaining vocal. This was no “look how clever I am” type performance. It was quite simply infectious fun.
This guys already playing some top Gigs, but I hope he'll find time to come back and entertain us again in the not to distant future.
Ending the evening was a performer whom I thought was a local lad. In fact he's a local lad that has now moved to Burton. Stage name, Gary Saved My Life, real name Joe Evans entertained us with his strong Indie sounding self penned songs. Great stuff Joe and may you go from strength to strength in your music career. Come back and visit us any time.
The talent in our Region is just unbelievable. I take even my new flashy cap off to you all.
And so to news hot off the press. The Myke Barritt Music Trust has just announced the date of their next event in December and you can find all the details HERE your help is needed so get in touch with “committee” and lets have a great warm up to Christmas.
And as we move into November plenty of good things coming up to keep an eye on the Diary pages HERE for everything that is going on. For those inclined towards the concert side of things dont forget to check out everything that is happening on the South Yorkshire Folk page HERE
And while The Mashers catch their breath for a bit I'm sure there will be plenty of good things to report in next weeks Blog, in fact, next Saturday November 6th I'm off to The Queens again to see View From S62 in action and in their natural environment, should be a good night if I can get through the door.
Whatever you're doing this week have a great time and keep it real and live.