Sunday, 28 August 2011

The Promise of Good Things to Come for Rotherham Arts + Whitby + News and Gigs in Week Ahead

It’s been a bit of an interesting week.   

The week started with the Masher, dead on his feet and recovering from his weekend in Worcester managed to catch a bus and head into Town for Nellie Folk at The Bridge in Rotherham. 

An ego rush photo of The Masher at Nellie Folk.

Given that it was Whitby Folk Week the turnout was great for August, which might have something to do with the gathering not clashing with the Bank Holiday as it has done in past years.

It turned out to be a fascinating evening of music and poetry, managed, with typical enthusiasm by Roy Blackman, when we could find him.

Good to see Jimmy Saville once again making an appearance.

With most folks away at Whitby it’s given me a chance to update a few of the Web Site pages.   The South Yorkshire Folk page has been updated with the Autumn Programme, Pete has put together a typically interesting programme.   Check it out HERE

As I’m sure you’ll know, Acoustic Rotherham celebrates it’s third Birthday on the 30th October 2011, and I think we’ve together a really interesting afternoon of varied music.   It should be great fun and in the main very noisy.  Check out the line up HERE

The very final CDs have been put onto Dickie’s Sale Off Page HERE  

The October Diary Page is LIVE and beginning to take shape HERE

The week ended on a real high.   Those who know the Masher might appreciate that he is a bit cynical about Committees and the like mainly because they often turn into talking shops, taking on more significance the job that they are formed to do.   So it was in reserved judgement mode that he went along to a meeting organised by Gav Roberts of the Poetry Group who was trying to pull together all the various performing arts Groups / Clubs to encourage mutual Promotions etc.   

I have to say that by the end of the meeting my cynicism had turned to positive encouragement.   It was good to see so many Groups coming together, and share in Gav’s enthusiasm and ideas.  

One negative for me was once again to see that the musical side of the Arts being under represented, namely only myself and Roy Blackman – and some might argue that is pushing the label music a bit. 

That said the wealth of ideas, from joint ventures to individual interest Group Development was mind boggling, and best of all coming in behind these ideas was the practical advice and support from experienced Administrators in the Arts area, mainly in the form of Rotherham Culture. 

I’ve added a link to The Rotherham Culture Web Site HERE on our Resource Page.   

Rotherham Culture is something I knew nothing about until Friday night, and they appear to be behind this year’s Month long Rotherham Open Arts Festival in November.    However the range of services they offer is fantastic and can be of great help to those of us involved in our little Worlds within the Arts.   

The main decision from what is clearly an inaugural meeting is that a half day Festival celebrating the creative grass roots within the arts in Rotherham on Saturday 19th November 2011.  

I really look forward to further developments from this Group, as I feel that between us, by networking and cross fertilisation of audiences generate new audiences for the Arts in Rotherham.  

My congratulations to Gav for having triggered more in couple of weeks than some of us who have been bleating away within our own interest groups have done in years.  

My week ended by being dragged by Mrs Masher screaming and yelling to Rawmarsh Trades and Labour Club for a Saturday night.  Of course I would have much preferred to have been at The Bridge where Papa Legbas were doing their bum wriggling thing. 
Instead I was surprisingly royally entertained by a band from Newcastle “Stone Idol s“ .  They certainly rocked the Club with their covers of popular Heavy Metal – Soft Rock classics.  I was particularly impressed with their Heavy Metal arrangement of an Abba Song, so well done that Mrs Masher stayed in her seat rather than running for cover which is her normal reaction to an Abba number.
You can find out more about this Band HERE

Just one negative, you need to sort the encore songs out.   To hold the Club until you leave the stage you need to do something really well known and popular.

As if to emphasise this cross fertilisation of audiences that I talked about earlier don’t forget to buy your tickets for the FOF production of Billy Liar which is being put on at the Sheffield Library Theatre on 2nd and 3rd of September.  You can buy tickets from as little as £2.50.   You can find them available behind the Bar at The Bridge or from the Sheffield Library Theatre direct.   Full details by clicking the link on the September Diary Page HERE

September looks a busy month, with loads of great music available, this week being no exception starting with the Chapeltown Bank Holiday Festival and session on Monday, starts around 12:00.  At the end of the week we have the Wakefield Folk Festival, Madfest at Elsicar, and Art In the Gardens in Sheffield, + Swansong kicking it out at The Yellow Lion Greasborough on Saturday night.  And it being the first Friday in the Month you’ll find the crew coming together at The Rutland Arms in Sheffield for the Play On session.  You can find it all HERE

Well, I failed.  I have still not found anyone who went to the Fakefestival at Clifton Park Rotherham last Saturday.  Someone was there as the Bands were all thanking their supporters for turning out, but the Facebook page carried nothing from Joe average punter.  So I really can’t give you what I hoped, a reflection upon the event.  Hopefully next year I’ll be able to get along myself and take a look at the overall experience myself. 

However, fanfare, thanks to my old mate David Paskell who has sent in his reflections on Whitby Folk Week – and here they are…………………………………. 

A short overview of my four days at the Whitby folk week.

I write this after my run in with the folk police, I did manage to get back to Sheffield in on piece , but was sentenced to three years of sea shanties sessions for impersonating a folkie!

Joking aside its my sixth visit to the Whitby folk week, a friendly coastal town with the best fish and chips quite frankly anywhere.

Nicked this picture of Sarah famed as a String Theory member and Leader of the Barnsley Folk Club palying at one of the Whitby sessions

So now on to the festival its self, reading the programme the sheer amount of events is staggering gigs ,sessions and workshops galore. I headed up to Whitby on the Friday night and spent time in the station hotel which had a sing around session on. The festival’s official events did not start until Saturday, so I had a few pints and a early night.

Saturday a warm day with very fine weather, I went around to various sessions including ones at the middle earth .This is where I saw my friends the Workshy profit’s leading a livingly tune session.

Popped into the fleece briefly to a another lively session,.

I wanted to see Ray Hearne at the rifle club room but sadly it was a full house. I then went off to the ship for another music session which was a mix of tunes and songs ,having been up early that morning I started to get really sleepy and headed for my tent around 10.30.

Sunday was very much like the Saturday with baking hot sunshine and a packed Whitby playing host to Morris sides performing and buskers who were doing songs as people walked about. 

Once again I went down to the middle earth for a lively music session of mostly songs ,which had a few people from the Sheffield folk scene in attendance!!!!!

Not strictly a folk session as such but outside people were singing and playing various instruments ,fiddles banjos, mandolins, and doing a wide range of tunes and songs, After a fair few ciders, I popped up to The Endeavour and was entertained by some of the official performers with sea shanties and trad tunes a plenty ,after which I headed back to my tent.

Monday another fine day I went to various sessions for short periods of time, lots of things to see and do, lots of Morris sides and more buskers to entertain the crowds.

I saved my self for an evening concert at the rifle club concert hall the only people on I wanted to see being honest here was The Workshy profits ,however everyone on the bill was of consistently high standard and I am glad I saw everyone on ! You may want to checked out the following Pete Sheppard, Alison Macmorland and George McIntyre ,Hannah James and Sam Sweeny ,the Workshy profits and the Wilson’s and that was my last night .

Tuesday Morning and sadly its time to head back to Sheffield but you can rest assure that next year I the terror of the folk police will once again be Whitby bound to celebrate our living tradition.

David Paskell

Thanks Dave for that much appreciated, it just gives us all a flavour of this year’s event and maybe prompt some of us to head East in 2012.

If others would like to add their five penny worth with Reviews or comments about their Whitby or any other Festival experience please forward to me for inclusion in the Blog or add as a comment to the Blog.  


So that’s it for another week – whatever you’re doing this week have great fun and KEEP IT LIVE

Monday, 22 August 2011

Worcester Music Festival - The Masher's Review + much more.

The Worcester Music Festival has something for everyone, from traditional Folk to any one of the many rock fusions, to cool traditional Jazz or Blues or contemporary song writers and experimental music.   Even a full Bagpipe Band.

As a setting for a Festival you really can’t go wrong with Worcester with the classic Cathedral overlooking a commercial Centre made of narrow allies and precincts packed with all manner of shops.

The Masher first discovered this fantastic Music Festival last year, when in what turned out to be a long day he packed in two main appearances.  This year was to be more relaxed as the whole weekend was cleared so that I could enjoy the full Festival and catch up with family and friends in the area. 

What I love about this Festival is that it is obviously an event organised by musicians for musicians, offering opportunities to busk on the streets as well as perform in any one of the thirty plus Festival venues.  And if that is not enough, there were plenty of Workshops one could attend from song writing to playing the Bohran.

All that appeared to be missing was a good old fashioned Sing Around or Open Mic Session going on.

Once again the number of artists seeking to play at the Festival far out stretched the number of slots available, I believe very nearly 2,000 acts applied for one of the 300 or so slots.  So The Masher was mightily aware of the privilege of being invited to play the Festival for a second year.   

While the Street Music was clearly in evidence along the main corridor of shops and in and around some of the shopping arcades, there did seem to be plenty of room for more this year, and there were parts of the Centre that seemed to be completely untouched, but it’s only a very minor criticism as there was than enough sound and action to catch one’s attention as I walked through the City. 

This year the Guildhall Venue was taken over by the Folk Community.  John Taylor, (he who is in charge) reports that over the weekend some eight hundred people visited the Concerts on offer.  It’s one of the joys of this Festival that people can dip their toes into a Concert and move onto another venue without the artists becoming distracted.

A good few folks passed through while I was enjoying the sounds of Dryftwood, a trio who’s harmonies and song selection reminded me very much of Peter Paul and Mary.   A bit of everything, from some nice original arrangements of traditional songs to some of their own material.  

Just a foot note.  The Guildhall also had an outdoor stage, which meant that as people entered and left by the main doors there was an unfortunate fusion of sound.  Maybe next year while the outdoor stage is being used people might be directed to the side entrance into the main Hall.
On the outdoor stage I was lucky enough to catch a boy girl duo doing a mix of their own and cover material, mostly contemporary acoustic stuff, very nice, and I was particularly impressed by a Group of lads doing acoustic rock / pop using not only a wide range of instruments but a fantastic range of harmonies.  Unfortunately I didn’t catch the name of either act.  But enjoying my coffee in the sunshine they did much to brighten my day. 

Fully refreshed I headed off to The Cricketers, my intention being to have a listen to Sam Eden who has played one of our Acoustic Rotherham events.  Instead we managed to catch the last three numbers from a bluesy jazz group, the female lead singer had a voice to die for, and the start of a solo spot by another unlisted singer, because poor old Sam had gone down with tonsillitis.   Get well soon mate. 

After such a busy Saturday afternoon, it pass out time, and Sunday was to be a more relaxed build up to my Gig at The Cricketers.   And so it was, with my dear Mother feeding me up at lunch time to the point that I was well mellow for the rest of the afternoon. 

We arrived at The Cricketers in time to catch a set from Trio Rosbifs and Mathias Svensson, absolutely super cool traditional Jazz played in what might be described as the French style.

And then the good folks had to undergo the culture shock of The Masher set.  I had deliberately cooled down the political stuff and added a few extra comic numbers, it’s always difficult getting the balance right.  Anyway, it all seemed to be received pretty well as the audience attempted to make it’s mind to laugh or cry.   

 My heaviest critics, the family, all said it sounded quite good, so at least everything must have been in tune, well as near as I ever get to being I tune. 

Following the Masher came Neil Morris.  I had caught him out busking yesterday afternoon outside of Debenhams, but it was far more comfortable to sit back with a pint to listen to his rather interesting mixture of self-penned, covers and traditional songs.   

So thank you Worcester for allowing me back, and big thanks to for Son Number 1 who had did all the driving for the weekend, The Mashers Mum, for putting up with him for two whole days, (a record for the past thirty years) and the rest of the Masher family for coming out to support their elder sibling.   

Pictures can be found HERE or at the bottom of the page HERE in slide show form or by going to my Facebook Page HERE.   Also don’t forget to pop across to my Facebook Band page and giving me a click on the old “LIKE" button, you can find it HERE, and if you’re an artist with a Reverbnation Account join us HERE

And it really would be good to see more of you Worcester acts bringing your music North, so if you fancy playing at one of our quarterly Acoustic Rotherham events ( which a few have already done) then get in touch.  You can find out all about the Acoustic Rotherham events HERE and see what we get up to.

I’ll finish this section by publishing a picture of the artist that I think personifies the whole Festival event.   This guy sat all day, fighting over the sound coming from the Piped Band, and break dancers playing his rather interesting percussion set up.   Brilliant stuff and unfortunately he didn’t have CD to buy.   

OK.  It’s a bit early for reports from how things are going on in Whitby, and so far I’ve not found anyone who went to the Fakefestival in Rotherham last Saturday, but I live in hope. 

A reminder that Neliie Folk is on tonight (Monday). 
While on the subject of local musicians, I mentioned in last weeks “Update” Emailing that the Rotherham Show is this year to feature on the Saturday, in the Museum Library on the edge of Clifton Park, a Concert of some of the best of South Yorkshire and local Folk talent.   Rob and Dave a fine harmonising partnership, Andy Hault no doubt playing his fantastic blend of blues and Jazz, Paul Pearson the steel City Troubadour and the always entertaining Lou Marriot  will feature from 1:00pm to 2:30pm, after which there will be a two hour Singaround session.   And all this will be going on while some of the Regional Pros will be doing their stuff in the Festivals Traditional Folk Tent. 

This is something that Acoustic Rotherham has been urging should be done at the Festival for some time and it’s great to see that eventually someone has heard. 
More details will appear HERE

As The Whitby Folk Week plays out don’t forget to check the Web pages of the various local Clubs and sessions to check if they are running.   But there is still plenty going on.  

Next Monday, Bank Holiday Monday, one assumes there will be the traditional Sing Song at The Commercial Chapeltown, always a great way to spend a Bank Holiday afternoon in good company and a few pints of some fine real ale.  Not sure tough what this year’s format will be.

Stay at homes may be interested to know that the Shrewsbury Festival will be streaming all the activity on the Main Stage live throughout the weekend for free on their Web Site.   You can find the link on the Diary page HERE

There are more CDs to be found on Dickie’s Sale Off Page HERE  - With Worcester out of the way, many of the items will be finding their way onto Ebay over this week, it does not prevent you from buying via this page though.   If it’s listed it’s still available.

And that’s it for another busy week folks.  Whatever you are doing in the closing days of the Holidays have fun and Keep it live.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

A Mad Bad Week, and some South Yorkshire Music News.

This week was mad.   

Amongst the millions of words spoken about “the riots” three stood out, they came from a sixteen year old girl collared by a Radio 5 Reporter and was surveying the damage while drinking from a looted bottle of Vodka, she said “because we could”.   

Many words have been wasted trying to establish the cause.  Without doubt in London it was initially triggered by the death of the young lad, but as people saw that the Police did not have the numbers to respond and that seemingly people were getting away with looting and arson it soon spread into other Boroughs, and then other Cities and Towns. 
Of course, as soon as Police numbers were bolstered things quickly quietened down.
The irony was that Social Networking was blamed, from Facebook to this Blackberry network that I know little about, and while locally it might have contributed, in my humble opinion the real villain of the peace was the rolling news coverage. 
I can’t help thinking that there were almost as many reasons for people becoming involved as there were people.   What is clear is that this was not a spontaneous people’s uprising.   In fact it would seem that there was very little political motivation in the immediacy of the events.   It was as the girl above said, “Because we could”.

Events like this happen.  Fact.  

When I was at School I can remember mass outbreaks of what the Head Master referred to as rioting, some of it quite violent.  I can remember the days of the Mods and Rockers, Skinheads, decades when every Saturday was a riot as the football hooligans ran free.  What happened in our City centres last week was no more or less sinister.

It’s an unfortunate fact, that young people find it hard to articulate exactly what is going on in their heads, they simply do not have the life experiences to do it.  They are often frustrated, over a range of issues from never seemingly having enough money to being in love and not fully knowing what to do about it.  More often than not they revert to violence, be it in the use of words, slamming doors, or whatever to make a point, a point they are never quite sure they are making.   In other words young people are always to a degree “alienated”.  

What happened in our Cities was nothing more than an extension of natural young person behaviour.   

That said, the alienation of our young people has never been greater.   Society appears to have turned on them, from the engaged youngsters who have thousands of pounds worth of debt humped on them so as to get an education, to the less engaged who cannot get the work, or quality life and skills training they need to earn a living. 

Beyond even those basics, Youth services throughout the Country are being slashed, Youth Workers are being thrown out of work, the very people who are providing a handle for our youth on holding it together in our mad Society.   

Locally we’ve recently seen how a Parish Council has decided that the local Brass Band who use a Council facility for practice, teaching and the storage of instruments are to have their rent increased by a factor of six, on the basis that the Band has now been categorised as being “commercial”.  What a load of tosh.  It’s a Community facility which provides musical tuition for many local youngsters, opportunities which will now be greatly reduced. 

That’s on top of many Youth Centre facilities being closed  throughout the Borough.   

All this when young people have seen MPs and yes even local Councillors claiming expenses far beyond what might be justified, in fact one local MP claimed for multiple Laptop Computers, and thought this fine – even though he was quick to repay the money when the matter was brought to his attention.  

We see senior Policemen think it OK to take back handers from organisations under investigation, and think it OK.   We see Companies ripping consumers and the Tax Man off and view it as being OK.   Bankers who by their actions wrecked the World economy being handed more money as a bonus than many of us will earn in a life time, and that’s viewed as being OK.
In other words while the youngsters have morality and social responsibility preached at them the headlines are dominated by the involvement of our Political and business Leaders in all sorts of marginal behaviour.

And yes, there is an underclass which is completely lost, a class that failed to become part of Blair’s “stake holding” society, let alone be functional members of Society.

So listening to our Politicians, Policemen, and the rest, all wringing their hands and saying how disgusting it all was simply has a hollow sound to me.   Why should anyone respect the words of these people?  

Which is why all this talk about punishment for those involved in the rioting is very scary.  
Cameron was perhaps the worst.  Here’s the Leader of a Government who for some reason views cutting Police budgets as a soft option, so where were the coppers earlier in the week?  At home!!  Where were they when Government rubber stamped the overtime?  On the streets!   Cameron called this bad tactics – clearly getting the boot in first before the Police turn and point out that it was his policies which meant that there were not enough coppers available because overtime had been stopped.  

We have a Home Secretary who despite the evidence of our own eyes would have you believe that it had nothing to do with Police numbers  - just what we need.   

Then there is this growing brigade of MPs and Councillors who think it would be a great idea to make the guilty, homeless by taking away their right to social housing.   Nutters.   Or the idiots who think that stopping benefits will in some way help the situation.   

Or the people calling for Social Networking to be closed down, is that not what happened in Egypt, Libya, Syria?   And when we have those Champions of Human Rights the Chinese pointing out that we are reaping the rewards of a free and open Internet, one wonders just what planet the people calling for a shutdown come from. 

Just let the Magistrates sort it out using the Law of the Land without political meddling.  

What I have learnt is that the sickness in our Society runs deep, and goes from top to bottom.

We must be on our guard though, as the reactionary right will use any excuse now to clamp down further on our freedoms and rights – and lets not pretend it couldn’t happen under a Condemed Government, don’t forget at the threat of Industrial Action it was cuddly Vince Cable issuing the threat that the already highly restrictive Trade Union laws would have to be reviewed and toughened if too much Industrial Action resulted from the “cuts” in pensions, lengthening of work hours, freezing of pay etc.  etc.   

And lest we forget, this is a Government hobbled together in the name of National Interest, while quite clearly it was personal interest, and in reality does not have a mandate for anything it is doing.  

 So while there is temptation to run around like headless chickens in the aftermath of such events, all I say is just get it into perspective and be thankful that not more people were seriously hurt.  And rather than taking the easy road of blame, let’s look to ourselves and really think about the Society we have created.    We shall reap what we sow.  

But through all this some good News.   After thirty years England’s Cricketers have worked their way up to the number one position in the World.  

It’s fantastic watching the current England team do unto other World sides what for so long we saw being done unto us.  

And of course, the Football season has started.

With that off the chest, so to the music side of things. 

The stalwarts of the Myke Barritt Music Trust and Wandering Minstrels stretched their legs last Sunday on one of Roy’s “short” walks through the South Yorkshire landscape.   The evening ended with a bit of a Singaround at the Cross Keys in Handsworth, a favourite Roy watering hole. 

Pictures courtacy of Sylvia - geatured in the top photograph. 
Incidently, she's taken a fine picture of the Masher, demonstrating the chord of F to attentive audience at The Bridge -  and just to show you how fine it is 

A quiet week for The Masher.  No outings as he got his head down for some practice ready for next week’s outing to the Worcester Music Festival, a return to The Cricketers. 
I’m quite looking forward to spending a bit of time lazing around the Festival seeing some of the other musicians at work as I’m going to be taking the full weekend.  

Last year was a little rushed, but it was certainly the highlight of The Mashers year so I’m looking forward to taking in more of the overall atmosphere and seeing more musical genre.

A link to the main Festival details can be found HERE

In the week ahead there’s music of plenty to either get involved with or go listen to.  But I suppose top of the list will be the folkies pilgrimage to Whitby which gets underway on Friday.  To all those heading out from South Yorkshire I wish you well and a successful week; may the weather stay fine for thee.   Again a link to the full detail can be found HERE

On Wednesday night at Burton Street, Hillsborough Liz and Paul Davenport will be in residence for another evening of Ballad’s.  If you’re into traditional music this is a real must go.   I’m also told that it’s an evening at which one can learn a great deal.

Tuesday you can find poems and music at The Cross Keys, Handsworth.

Please remember that South Anston is taking it’s Annual Holiday as is The Wortley Club at The Venue, Stocksbridge. 

But for the full listings head off HERE

I’m told that tickets for the FOF Theatre production of Billy Liar are already on the move.  The production runs 2nd 3rd of September at the Library Theatre, Sheffield.  For those not in the know the FOF Theatre Group are the folks who rehearse most Saturday evenings at The Bridge in Rotherham under the eye of our Thabo Pepponi.   Tickets from £2.50 are available from The Bridge.

And while we’re on the subject of Thabo, way back in April he wrote a poem in a craze of creativity at a meeting of the Wandering Minstrels held at The George and Dragon, Wentworth.  Eventually, after much twisting of arms, legs and in desperation necks I have managed to get my hands on a version of the poem which is now available on the MBMT page HERE

Yes, and while a ticket pushing why not also check out the Concert by the Heritage Masterworks Chorale which is being hosted by Rotherham Minster on the 1st October.  Tickets are £7.   This Choir has a fantastic reputation across the County, and has Heather Woodhead, an Acoustic Rotherham favourite as a member.   Full details and Tickets from HERE

The listings for September are growing.  In particular we’ve added two dates for a band who gave one of those rave performances at a recent Acoustic Rotherham, Pocketful of Now’t, one of them at The Bridge, Rotherham.   Dates you should put in your Diary – they have the potential of becoming a cult local Band so take the time to discover their really funny songs.   September Diary HERE

That’s enough plugging for one week I think.   I await reports etc. from the comrades who have travelled up to Saltburn for this weekend’s jamboree of music.  

The Acoustic Rotherham Web Site still requires a bit of pushing.  Please, please, please, if you’re heading out to a Festival or Concert or Club, download the flier and print a few off to distribute around the venue / venues.   Links on Home page and HERE Plus or when you see links appearing on your Social Network News feeds, share them with your Friends and ask them to share them with theirs.   That way we get the message across -  the main hook is   Thanks.
Having said that for the time of the year we are doing quite well as far as hits are concerned.  We could do a lot better though.  

And Dickie’s Big Sale Off continues.   As he adjusts to his new life out of a car, and without a current means of Income it all helps.   Again thanks to the people who have bought this week.   You’ll find a mass of bargain CDs now at the bottom of the page – can you resist?   Well……………………….     HERE 

And don’t forget I do a bit of Web Site design, either from scratch to requirements or from template – and just so show multi talent I do a bit of Excel work to.  More details HERE

Finally thanks to everyone who have offered me lifts to various venues.   If I’ve turned you down over the past couple of weeks don’t stop asking, it’s just that I’m gearing my loins for Worcester, and a weekend with my Mother, who I spent much time with for many a year. 

And there we have it for yet another week.   I’m not apologising for the rather long rant about the riots, adding yet more words to the ether about the events – had to get it off my chest.  
So whatever you’re doing this week, have fun and KEEP IT LIVE.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Don't Panic - It's a Crash - Back At My Desk in three weeks until then the Computer Will Manage it All

What a fantastic night at the Red Lion, Braithwell on Tuesday night.  For those who were not tuned into what had being going on will be unaware of the hard work that John Statter had to put into finding a new venue after the regular Three Tuns, Stainton Pub was put out of action due to redecoration following a flood.

So well done to John and everyone else who rallied around to find a stand in. 
The Land Lord put us in an upstairs room, one which, judging by the depth of the dust, had not been used for some time.  A sign of the times I fear. 

As we got underway the signs for the night were not good, with only a small yet select and enthusiastic group kicking off the music.  Yet before the half hour was out it had become a case of standing room only as regulars and some special guests made their entrance having negotiated the stairs to find us. 

It was fantastic to see Toein’ In The Dark turn out, minus a holidaying Bob, four super songs with that trade mark harmony  and also Liz and Paul Davenport, who I find a special treat everytime I hear them.  

And backing it all up some really great standard Club regulars. 

And of course this was all to celebrate our Barrie’s big 60 Birthday which is coming up on the eighth by which time he will have transported off on a touring holiday.   Easier work I suspect than a Masher tours, for which Barrie is now responsible!! So if you’re reading this in distant lands of the realm, have a great day mate.

Finally a mention for John.  How his Wife puts up with him I don’t know.  The nights surprise was from under the table he produced his mini accordion, yet another instrument added to his multi instrument talents.   He’ll need a Pickford’s Van soon to get to Clubs.    

As those who have seen the our little update News Emails will already know The Travellers, Bramley, Thursday night Open Mic is no more.  It’s another change of Land Lord situations.    But there’s still more than enough places to go visiting on a Thursday evening, just check the Diary pages HERE to find out where.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get to The Queen’s on Saturday Night to see View From S62 in action, having been waylaid by a certain Mr Hartley in The Bridge for a very rare for me afternoon session.  Not sure the beer mixes with the drugs that well as I don’t remember much of Saturday evening having fallen to sleep in front of Dads Army.   

OH……….  And Mashing congratulations to Olivia and Ben at The Bridge who are, I’m reliably told, to become Parents.  Well done…………….  We knew you had it in you………………. If that’s the right terminology. 

But reports I’ve seen from the View From S62 Gig were again brilliant, and good to see a few of my former pupils creeping in to see what I had been talking about and enjoying the show.   I’m told there are a few new songs in the play list as well, so I had better get my a*** into gear next time and go for a listen.  

More feedback from Party In The Park.  It seems that our friends Swansong also copped for the timings fiasco.  A large proportion of the Acoustic Rotherham audience headed out at around 3:00pm, Jane and Linda, to go and see Swansong, never to be seen again.  And they didn’t get to see Swansong either as they were pushed on at 12:30pm and by their original start time were back home with their feet up!!   So if anyone has seen Jane or Linda let us know, or did the Rose Hill Park Monster find them?  Of course they may have gone off with the wrestlers.

I’ve now started the task of adding the CDs to the Dickie’s Sale Off Page.   If you didn’t get the Email, I’ve now put most of the music books onto Ebay, BUT that does not preclude you from buying, all the time a book is on the page it remains available and to buy just go through the Paypal process and I’ll take it off Ebay.

There are some proper CD bargains to come so keep looking, the initial selection are basically my collection of boxed sets, including the Complete Matt McGinn – 9 CDs.     Anyway go HERE to check it all out. 

I’m told that Friday’s Princess Royal Folk Night was a super night, even if numbers were low.  Apparently Roy Blackburn made a visit and was in top entertaining form.   Great stuff. 

Don’t forget Madfest on the first weekend in September, all details on the Diary Page HERE or in last week’s Blog.

In fact I’m quite intrigued by the Blog reading habits,  for some reason the Easter Blog has proved popular with folks every week, it’s a bit like some of the strange page visits to the Web Site, where people are hitting pages that should no longer exist.  

And what a week in the real World.  First the Americans leave it to the last minute to hash together a plan that will enable them to make their debt payment, and then the “Independent” Bankers go and degrade their credit rating.  Nice.  No thanks there for the mess that the US Government dug them out of.   Expect some American Government revenge taking soon, I think.
The Euro Zone appears to be heading into greater crisis by the day, with no one being able to get the Governments of the Med Countries to understand that they have to inflict massive hardship upon their people to pacify the Bankers and the Spiv Markets. 

Of course Cameron and his Liberal allies have had no such qualms about hitting the working people of this Country.  And all to be able to point and say, well if we had not acted we might have ended up like Greece, while failing to point out that we have exactly the same economic growth rate as Greece, 0.3%.   Strange that.   Of course what the Tory supporters would love is to have working people living in conditions similar to those of the ancient Greeks. 

Watching the Stock Market slide has been the media hobby of the week.  Watching Traders throwing away the money belonging to other people, namely you and I is a nightmare.  But hey – that apparently is not true!!  According to one commentator I heard on the radio this week most of the Traders are away on Holiday and so they have not been at their desks to manage this readjustment.  Apparently while they are on holiday they leave the trading in the safe hands of the Computer system, one which , it seems, is not programmed to manage a downward adjustment, and so is very keen to sale off dropping value shares.   Well, at least we have an explanation for it all now. 

But at least we won the Test Match.  

But back to the music.  The Masher was delighted to accept invitations to play at the Worcester and Wirksworth Festivals again this year, you’ll get the detail as soon as I have it, but you’ll find the Festival dates on the Diary pages. 

The September page is now live.  HERE and if I’ve left your Club or Event off please Email HERE or use the form HERE to send me the details.  Thanks. 

So coming up this week.   It’s pretty standard week locally, but at the end of the week the Saltburn Folk Festival will be under way along with Beacons and few others.   If anything to really get the taste buds going crops up you’ll be the first to hear. 

Just a reminder that it being the holiday season, please check with Club Web Sites etc just to make sure the regular events are going ahead, this will prevent disappointment.

And so whatever you are doing, please have fun and keep it LIVE.

Monday, 1 August 2011

It's Huge - Nellie Folk + Birthday Bash + Party in The Park and Acoustic Rotherham 12 Reviewed

Another of those busy weeks, so no comment about the US Debt figure here, or those rather strange folks having a Tea Party.

Fourth Monday of the month and so The Bridge entertained Nellie Folk.   Another evening of fine song and music, and an interesting audience, some of whom appeared to be in transit from one Club to another.   All the usual suspects though, so top ho.   

For the Masher it was an interesting one, having to catch the last bus back to Masher Towers in the Hamlet of Rawmarsh was an experience with which I will have to become accustomed.

Wednesday found all the usual suspects along with one or two guests one again invading The Bridge for Myke’s Birthday Bash.  Congratulations to the hard working ladies who got the show on the road and I’m told the afternoon session was good fun.

The Masher turned up for the evening session having had a day with the medics at various venues and having once again to learn the fun of the Public Transport system.  Perhaps someone would like to explain why on sleepy Wednesday early afternoon a bus which is supposed to appear every ten minutes took at least forty minutes to appear?   A right pain.   Even with my dodgy bodily state I could have walked to Parkgate in shorter time.

Moan, moan.

The evening’s music was varied with some special performances, from the moment that David Kidman kicked the event off with one of his interesting and varied sets.

Performing in the corner, generously referred to as The Acoustic Stage, was Sylvia.  Brilliant to see her digging out her guitar and performing some fine traditional songs.  Lovely stuff, especially when contrasted with next up, The Masher.

A set completely untypical of recent times, in that I had dug deep into the recesses of my song bag to find some of my little performed repertoire.   Anything for a giggle.

But then the Star of the night, the first to be given a Grant from the coffers of the Myke Barritt Music Trust, Mr Roy Blackman.  As soon as it can be properly arranged we’re going to drag Roy into the recording studio to have his work saved for posterity.   A brilliant idea.  Those who know Roy will be aware of his fantastic body of work, with songs and poems reflecting Yorkshire life, especially South Yorkshire.  We hope to be able to publish a pamphlet with the CD containing the lyrics so that everyone can join in on such favourites as “Fair Thee-Well South Yorkshire”, rumoured to be amongst Rob Slow’s most loved folk songs.   Wink, wink.  

We do have some rough recordings of Roy in action, created in the Sutherland Shed Studio at Braithwell which you can find HERE

Then a rarity.  Husband and Wife duo, Sue and Barrie Sutherland entertained us with half an hour of varied songs.  And far from easy for them having drawn the Acoustic Stage, with Bar regulars mingled with the more attentive audience, while the first of the electric Bands set themselves up.  But well done both for persevering so well. 

On a night of musical contrasts the next act Tyburn, certainly livened the place up.   Last year they were reduced to an acoustic set, but on this show we were treated to their full on electric set and brilliant it was.   

 For those not aware, Tyburn was one of Myke’s musical collaborations in the old days, headed up by Craig Booker, who has had a busy year given the publication of his book last Autumn, “Impossibilities”, available via the Acoustic Rotherham link up with Amazon HERE  We should also note that this was our Phoebe’s first appearance of the evening in rock guise.

 It was the job of Welsh Geoff to follow that, and again hampered by the enclosed nature of the Acoustic Stage he produced a typically rounded performance of his very funny stories from his Welsh heritage.  Great stuff.

It was fantastic to see Theresa in singing action again.  A wonderful voice, and one unfortunately rarely heard in recent times.

Then time for a well-polished set from Paul Pearson.  Again in difficult circumstances with the electric boys of the final act biting at the bit to get set up.  But Paul never fails to drag his audience in and treat them to some fine renditions from his bag of songs.

Taking up the rear came Earthtales, Myke’s final electric collaboration.   A fine way to rock the night to a conclusion with Karl heading up the vocals and Phoebe making her second bass appearance of the night.  

So the second of the Post Myke, Birthday Bashes can be chalked up as a success, and with some more money into the fund as well.   

A full set of pictures from the night can be found HERE

But then came the shock News that Phoebe was giving up her role as Chairperson of the Trust.  Phoebe is currently extremely busy setting up her own music business as a Teacher and Musician, and the work load of sorting out all the Trust business is just too much.  There’s to be an emergency meeting of the Committee during this coming week, so watch this space for further News. 

On Saturday Mac Masher and I trod the well-known path to Rosehill Park for Party in The Park.   It was a two day event, and all I can say of the Saturday is “oh dear”.   

 I thought we had timed our walk just right to catch View From S62, only to find that they were long gone.  The three piece band playing as we arrived, sorry no name as programmes were not available, played through a selection of cover punk and classic Brit rock of the seventies and eighties.  Sound quality was clearly not a priority of the Promoters though and where I was stood some thirty meters from the stage it was difficult to pick up the music over the noise coming from the Fun Fair.   

We did hang around through the rather weak demonstration of wrestling to see the start of a set from Chinatown a Band I’ve seen in action at The Star Festivals, unfortunately the lack of amplification did little and we made our disappointed way home. 

I hate to be critical of anything that promotes live local bands, and brings something different to the Community, but it seemed to me to get caught completely in between whatever it was trying to do.  Very few stalls, a rather expensive Fun Fair and a third rate music stage that did not give the bands a chance to demonstrate what they can do.   

Whoever the Promoter is should look to themselves.  

I hope Sunday was more successful.   

Judging by the absence of people beyond the normal suspects Rosehill Park must have been packed.  Even the Tap Room of the Queens was strangely quiet, especially as there was a Test Match and a Grand Prix going on, let alone Ladies Open Golf.  

But the last week in July, first week of August is a notoriously bad time in Rawmarsh, as a huge chunk of the population traditionally head for the Airports or the delights of Skegness. 

So it was a rather strange Acoustic Rotherham 12.  In fact so strange that it might be said that Tina and I, (first two up), had the best of the audience.   A very rare occurrence. 

Yet another different Masher set as I was experimenting, well someone has to, with some of the old material.   Seemed to go down OK from where I was standing despite the odd “deliberate mistake”.

Then the lovely Tina McKevitt, producing a solo performance of great confidence, including three or four numbers that involved playing the guitar.  Tina is working really hard on her solo performance and the benefits of that hard work are beginning to show.  I know that she worries, but I’m sure that anyone who knows her will agree she’s no need to, as she looks relaxed and performs naturally on stage.  Of course the more Tina performs solo the better she is going to get.

The well homed and experienced blues sound of Stomping On Spiders, or one half of them, in the well-formed persona of Gaza from Worcester was next up.   Here’s a guy in complete control of his performance even when left to his own devices when his partner in crime gets called away to Europe for work, at short notice.    

Loved his set which seemed to fly by.   

Incidentally  Gaza is soon to be heading for sunshine of Australia.   I mentioned in a Blog around a month ago that he would be happy to take either MP3s or a copies of CDs over to Australia for playing on a couple of Radio Stations that he will be doing programmes for while on his holidays.   Anyone interested you’ll find him amongst my “Friends” on Facebook.   Or through any of the contact points for Stomping On Spiders. HERE

And this time it was good to get a chance for a proper chat with him.  I am a bit disappointed though that he’s gone to the extreme of going to Australia to avoid the Masher’s appearance at the Worcester Music Festival in August!!

Our next guest was David Kidman, producing yet another fine performance of traditional song.  It’s not easy, especially within the mixed musical genre of an Acoustic Rotherham to stand out, but David manages to do it every time, and the reprise of his duo performance with Tina from the Nature’s World Festival were two stand out songs.  

Vanray:UK  aka Pete Long was making his debut at an Acoustic Rotherham.   The last time Pete and I shared the same stage was at the Acoustic Circus Festival a couple of weeks ago, only I didn’t get to see him as he put himself on at Mid-Night!!!!

It’s great listen to someone who is really into his music the way Pete clearly is, as he rocked us through a series of songs that included many of his own, plus a couple of covers, which included as his conclusion, Ant Music, the Adam  Ant classic.  It was only lack of beer and the early hour that prevented the room from erupting into dance and table banging………………….  He says.

One of the nicest couples on the Northern Folk Music scene were our next guests.   It’sAcoustica are fast becoming Acoustic Rotherham annual main stays, and it was great to be able to entertain them again.  All the way from Newcastle they produced a fantastic set of their own roots based songs along with their own arrangement of some popular classic covers. 
Why this duo do not get the recognition they deserve around some of the other Festivals I really don’t know.  They are great entertainment as being technically brilliant, not a combination one often finds these days.   Much success to you Kath and Andy. 

And yet another change in style, although another Wife and Husband duo, Julie and Tim Cole who were making their eventual debut at an Acoustic Rotherham.  This was a performance of traditional music and musicianship at it’s very best.   Julie has a fantastic voice for the traditional songs, while Tim plays a mean guitar.   

A super outstanding performance on an afternoon when everyone was again on top form.
Ending the afternoon was Rawmarsh’s own John Nicholson, also surprisingly enough making his debut at Acoustic Rotherham.  And what a pity that so many people had by this time left and missed this highly entertaining end to the afternoon.  John’s stature betrays a huge personality and on stage performance which he has homed as part of the legendary Billy And The Boys. 

OK not the most technically brilliant performance of the afternoon, but hey this was entertainment all the way through what seemed to be an endless run of sing along folk classics.  Well done my mate, and don’t leave it too long before coming back to do an Acoustic Rotherham. 

Overall a classic afternoon of music, but what a pity that so many people missed it, it will live on for a long time in the memory of those who were there. 

The next Acoustic Rotherham Is the third birthday party which will be on Sunday 30th October, put it your Diaries NOW as it promises to be a classic. 

It seems Hillsborough Folk at Burton Street is no more.  Please keep an eye upon your Inbox for news from Pete as to what will happen in the future, or watch this space.  Meanwhile the excellent programme of Folk at the Princess Royal Crookes continues – I’ll update the page HERE to bring you the latest News.

Pete will be Chairing the afternoon Open Mics / Singarounds at this year’s MADfest  at the Elsecar Heritage Centre.  Stand out Concerts throughout the weekend include Boy On A Dolphin, Sean Lakeman and Barbara Dickson, and a weekend ticket costs only £45 for three main stage Concerts.  The Open Mic sessions are FREE.  Friday 2nd September through to Sunday 4th.   Tickets from Barnsley Civic Web Site HERE  (at time of writing the event is not yet listed so it might be worth calling the booking Office 01226 327 000 or Email or to book a slot on the Open Mic contact South Yorkshire Pete. 

Allowing for a little time slip, and returning to Wednesday night, upstairs at The Bridge, out of the way of the Birthday Bash, the regular monthly Jazz Club was meeting………….  Judging by the number of Rotherham’s top musicians paying a visit to the Club, it looks one to visit.  I’m told it’s organised a bit like an Open Mic.  So for the Diary, Jazz on the last Wednesday of the month at The Bridge. 

There’s another full week of music ahead.  Just a reminder that The Three Tuns, Stainton, First Tuesday of the Month Club, is for one month only meeting at the Red Lion, Braithwell, in the upstairs room.

All other listings can be found HERE

Whatever you’re doing this week, have fun and please KEEP IT LIVE.