Sunday, 13 February 2011

Thornberry Report / Awards / The Price of Malteasers + reviews and the News

I suppose this week’s big acoustic event was without doubt the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.  Joke!!

And this year the BBC managed to make it not a lot different to previous years, with the Folk establishment winning out yet again – and I think that just about says everything that needs to be said.  

It was the overall presentation of the event, if event is the word, which turned me off.  Folk music is supposed to be living music, this was sterile lacking any sort of warmth, and back slapping all round for what I read somewhere was the Folk elite. 

Sorry, I didn’t get it myself. 

As many people know I’m not really one for the clever production of music, I prefer it live, real and truly entertaining, but for the folks who enjoy clinical playing in the concert environment, the BBC Awards was for them. 

To be honest I have to agree with a few of the other critics of the show, namely that in terms of technique and entertainment one can find better in many of the Folk Clubs that meet any day of the week. 
This year I even had a problem with the Life Time Achievement.  Donavon.   Don’t get me wrong, in his time absolutely brilliant, and his songs still trigger brilliant music memories for me.  But a Life time achievement award?   This for a guy who disappeared for more years than I care to remember, and has only comparatively recently come out of hiding to do a few revival tours or support his daughter.  

And that cringing story he insists on telling whenever he is interviewed about teaching his guitar technique to The Beatles and claiming to have had a heavy influence upon The White Album, which apparently we can all hear, sends me running for the hills and the life of a recluse myself.
And once again no award for The Rawmarsh Masher, surely a mistake made somewhere in the corridors of the BBC.  Perhaps you can understand my heavy criticism now!!

If you want to check on this year’s prize winners head to the BBC page HERE  

So let’s turn to a more local event.  The Thornberry Benefit Concert.  It sort of dominated my week with final admin. Stuff and general publicity having to be done.  

Whether it was for the cause or for the promise of the excellent musical treat on offer I was not disappointed by the amazing turn out on Friday night.  Thank you one and all for the support and for making it a very special night.

There are audiences and audiences.   From the word GO on Friday, the audience were spectacular, and for the performers this makes it very special, you were not just attentive, but you joined in with the performance and that’s what makes it so special and why without exception you made it a special night for the artists. 

Once the real music got underway, once The Rawmarsh Masher had vacated the stage we were treated to some outstanding performances from Ray Hearne and surprise guest Ciaran, Tina McKevitt and Matt Hegarty who also put a lot of work into getting the show on the road, and rousing finale from Toein’ In The Dark. 

And let’s not forget the reason for all the fun.  To raise money for the Thornberry Animal Sanctuary.  £420 was raised in total, from entry fee, raffle and the generous sponsorship by Ziggy’s Workhouse Gym and Supplements.  

For an event organised at short notice a standout sum of money I think. 

Below I publish in full the Email I received from Andy the Thornberry spokesman on the night.

 Just want to thank you and all those involved in organising or performing at last nights gig.
 As I said I really did not know what to expect as I was a folk concert virgin! I really did not expect to enjoy the night as much as I did.
 Although the money raised through your (and others) efforts is very welcome and needed at the sanctuary, this is almost secondary to getting the message of what Thornberry is and does across to as many people as possible. One or two people last night were asking why we are in the financial crisis that we are. There is no single reason for this, but if anyone is interested, please feel free to pass on my personal address ( and I will happily explain!
 On behalf of the animals of South Yorkshire (and often beyond) please accept out gratitude for last night, and pass these thanks onto everyone concerned.
 We would have liked to have supported the gig next week at The Star, but unfortunately I am working a night shift so am unable to attend. However, you will see me and my wife again at future events!
Many many thanks

Given I was not handed any brown envelopes full of cash on the night a full slideshow from the concert can be found HERE

And of course my thanks go to all the little helpers who ran around for me doing all sorts of tasks from shifting my gear on the night to selling tickets to coming up with basic idea for the concert in the first place. 

And of course all the artists are in action over the coming weeks and months at various venues you can find listings HERE

The Rawmarsh Mashers next outing is in Hull on Thursday night, and then back on home soil in Rawmarsh at The Star, Rawmarsh, for the Kids Not Cuts Campaign, the token folkie amongst  the massed rock Bands of South Yorkshire, performing on two stages.  A tip don’t miss out on a great finale to Friday with The Vie From S62 performing, for rock in the raw it’s not to be missed.   

As Mr Clark reminded us, kindly I thought, the cuts have not even began to bite yet, it’s like a death by one hundred cuts.  First came the hike in VAT, with it’s knock on affects, and one else notice how Sainsbury’s Local Shops in particular have cashed in on that one – the price of their confectionary in particular needs to be seen to be disbelieved!!!  Example, Maltesers Big Bag (not the family size) on sale in other local shops for 75p and 80p – were available in Sainsbury’s for 85p there post VAT price 92p!!!  Unbelievable!!! 

More seriously of course the Organisations providing help and support to all disadvantaged groups in our Communities are having to face up to huge cuts in their budgets, which may not be so bad if were not for the fact that as the unemployment figures rise we’re all going to need these self-same support groups.  Oh well – we can I’m sure rely upon the Big Society, whatever that means. 

Which I suppose is why I got dragged out on Saturday night by Masher.    

First stop was Rotherham Trades Club where a large turn out were treated to a not so spectacular show band.  It’s that time of year where Club Land is full of Acts working on their performance for the Summer season somewhere.  This was one such act and their play list provided typical holiday fodder.  Their name The Other Three reflected my impression, as they seemed to have missing components to the band – vocals, keyboard and guitar with heavy back tracked support just looked odd to me. 

But enough. 

We then moved on to The Bridge, where Florin were in residence for the night, with some of their friends, including Mark Hearne (brother of Ray) replacing a sick Velvet Pause, and an impressive short set from a young lady that I as per usual failed to catch the name of.
Florin, originally a duo of Rob and Bob appear to be growing, Martin now joins them on bass on a regular basis while Jono joined them for their second set on bongo, and if that reminds you of a Lantern’s line up, you would be right. 

The repertoire is very much influenced by Bob, and is very similar to the music made by The Lanterns, but now with the brilliant mandolin playing of Rob enhancing the overall sound, and of course the brilliant vocal harmonies that were such a feature of The Lanterns. 

I have to say that the mandolin goes a long way to killing my personal problem with The Lanterns namely technically excellent in all areas yet somehow failing to hit the spot for me. 

The numbers I was able to listen to through a packed downstairs Bridge Bar had me tapping my feet a plenty. 

The technicalities of sound engineering is always a problem for a band needing a subtle blending of instruments and voices and The Bridge downstairs bar is not the easiest of venues to set sound.  

So two great nights of music at The Bridge.   Well done Ben. 

We finished our night by heading to Rawmarsh Trades and Labour Club.  Just a word here to wish the current Club Secretary Paul Stead all the very best as he fights serious illness which will prevent him from retaining his duties at the Club.  We wish you all the very best mate. 

Heroes were this week’s Band.   A show band based in Sheffield playing popular hit covers from Bands old and new, more old than new. 

Great Party entertainment.  

Oh, and there’s that word again, “entertainment”.  

It’s a concept that we all need to be aware of during these financially austere times.
But I’m not going to bore this week with such a lecture……………   and entertained The Rawmarsh Masher will be this week , with his visit to The Wellington in Hull to play alongside old friends Cracktown and on Friday of course, it’s Kids Not Cuts at The Star.

There’s plenty else going on this week, on Monday (14th) that slick lover Paul Pearson will be in full action at Barnsley and the following week (21st) they have Cath and Andy together known as Acoustica.  Two great nights there. 

And also on Monday fans of the sensational Phillip Hartley can stand outside of his sell out event and try to listen to him crooning the young lovers enjoying their special dinner. 

On Tuesday 15th there’s Valentine Special meeting of the Myke Barritt Wandering Minstrel’s Club at The Cross Key’s Handsworth.  

For other listings go HERE

So whatever you’re doing this week have fun and keep it live.  

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