You couldn’t get two more talented bluesmen together than this. Rock guitar wizard Micky Moody (Whitesnake) along with classic ‘Blues With a Feeling’ guitarist Papa George at The Riverside Club Staines. Micky Moody seated slightly loftily on the glittering stage of the Staines Club, vaunting his Les Paul, and Papa George, slightly lower, embracing his custom steel guitar.
“Well, are you ready for this?” George asked the crowd, the excitement already building. A warm round of applause followed. “Right, then, lets move on …” And we went straight on a trip … starting with the warmth and glowing hypnotic genius of “You Can Love Yourself.” ( contemporary Delta blues artist Keb’ Mo’)
Clearly, both artists are masters of the guitar – but the voices are also impeccable. As we approach “Jesus on the Mainline” (trad: but normally associated with slider Ry Cooder,) Papa George’s voice is darker, more whisky and dry whilst Micky’s vocals are finer, they seem stretched- they are harder.Together, these elements create a magical potion. Crowd participation was encouraged gently, without becoming uncomfortable. As I looked around the club I could see almost everyone was happily singing along to the chorus.
The atmosphere was relaxed and unpressured. And you felt that you were witnessing two of your favourite artists jamming away in your own lounge. Such is their easy-going style and their friendly light-hearted manner, it is as if you are enjoying an evening with friends. And that’s how it should be.
Included in the set were at least a couple of Papa George’s own compositions, including one of my own favourites “Broken Mirror”. It is at these points that you realize how skilled these musicians really are. Their improvisations are amazing. Both guitarists consistently demonstrated a mastery not only of the blues guitar, but also classical and flamenco guitar. The finger tapping percussive style of Micky Moody was particularly fascinating.
Songs like “Sailin’ Shoes” (written by Little Feat guitarist Lowell George) allow the partnership to flourish. Here the intricate patterns created by the splendid finger-picking from George, surround the sweeter notes soared up by Micky.This song allows the duo to explore new undiscovered territories – all the while branching out with fresh sounds – whilst the audience happily goes along for the ride.
Papa George is a first-class vocalist with a creamy dark chocolate voice that smothers you in those deep molasses. Micky Moody is a snake-charming smooth handed guitar player and a talented vocalist. Together they played a concert that was uplifting – almost spiritual …. what a night!
© Neil_Mach April 2012
The Hallowe’en Rock Goblin Staines is now a firm fixture on the Staines social calendar – and a very highly anticipated event. Last year’s party was simply superb… so the 2011 Hallowe’en Rock Goblin had a lot to live up to.
With six incredible musical artists covering a night-full of spooky fun and magical events, the beautiful & intelligent people of Staines crowded into the Hobgoblin in their fineries. Costumes included spectral brides, ghoulish minnies, a throng of pirates and enough zombies, vampires and monsters to coagulate the blood and give permanent nightmares! The fun-house was decorated in a suitably gothic fashion and the party started early and went on till well past the witching hour.
First up was ‘Ravi K’ with his solo (acoustic) ‘Timber-Tones’ set. His warm and passionate vocals and honeyed guitar work went down stunningly well with the Staines in-crowd. Kicking off with the fizzy ‘My Lonely Heart’ and featuring some reflective but none-the-less jaunty numbers like ‘For the Moment’ and ‘Talk of Tonight’ it was a highly accomplished and satisfying demo of how good the ‘Timber-Tones’ ought to be. We cannot wait for more!
‘Sian Sanderson’ is a soulful and bluesy singer/songwriter with an extraordinary voice, full of innuendo and silkily suffocating anguish. Songs like ‘Long Way Home’ are passionately personal- she counts Bill Withers & Otis Redding as influences- and you can hear the results with those tense vocals wrapped around relaxed tempos and gently rippling arrangements. Sian’s songs are tucked neatly into the smooth side of the genre and reminded me of the easy listening acts of the eighties.
Next up was Swindon band ‘Nudy Bronque’ with their lavish guitar based fireworks and their post punk Britpop aspirations. Flaming hot tunes like ‘I Don’t Want Your Problems’ were pumped out to the spirited Hobgoblin crowd. With searing guitar solos and piping hot percussion, this band made a statement of intent. Juicy, crisp and tight songs … a lot of punk attitude and a formidable style and flair is all part of the ‘Nudy Bronque’ experience. Ska-sounding beat-bound chirpy clap-clap tunes (like ‘Movement’) were bright, brisk and breezy- and brought the Staines crowd to the boil with pin-point accuracy.
Those busy bees ‘Fear No Fish’ are already Hobgoblin stalwarts and firm favourites of the Staines music aficionados . This loveable rocking trio is the ‘Ransome’ brothers (Chris on guitar and Mike on bass) with Rob Walker on drums. Their sound has been compared to The Who & The Jam. And it’s a constant wonder how so much rich sound can be created by such a small group. With heaps of latent and seething drum-work, songs like ‘Stay’ with those magnificent vocals from Chris and Mike, complex plots and hauntingly beautiful compositions, are inspiring and illustrious Or take the sturdy sounds of tunes like ‘Paint By Numbers’ with those chunks of flying metallic guitar chords and the flourishes of percussion… numbers like these, with their grungy feel and wide-screen aspect, make you realise that ‘Fear No Fish’ are musical monsters in a pond full of tiddlers. Powerful and revelatory.
Reggae-pop outfit ‘Tree. House. Fire.’ are also Hob regulars. These Guildford boys (dressed up as swarthy pirates) fired up the dancing demons at the Hallowe’en ball with their imaginative ska-shaped sounds and their mashed up energetic show. Songs like ‘Suburban Gangster’ have enough pliant licorice flavoured rubbery beats to keep heads rocking, knees bouncing and neighbours complaining, deep into the night . And those irreverent lyrics with their ‘thumbs up’ vocals are playful enough to inspire raucous choruses, and to illicit frantic applause. Brilliant.
To complete a gigantic evening we had the legendary Brighton party band ‘Floors And Walls’ giving us their amazing brew of melodic guitars and grimy vocals with those (almost) folky compositions. Pounding vibes and ‘Vincent Price’ vocals (by Alex Adams ) seemed the perfect ending for a truly magnificent Hallowe’en feast.
A blissful night of rock sounds and invincible party-time antics. Bloody Fang-Tastic!
© Neil_Mach 28 October 2011
Epsom band ‘Brightlight City’, formed together holistically in 2010, following long time friendships and brotherhood (the Giarraputo brothers- Jamie on vocals and Justin on guitar). We were pleased that we managed to catch up with this band and their photogenic jamboree of musical fun at the best live music venue in Middlesex, the Hob, Staines.
Their debut single ‘Pressure’ was self released at the end of 2010 and can be heard on the cult British film ‘Jack Falls’. And their new single ‘The Others’ is a bombastic frothily beating heart bop song. Very ‘Duran Duran’ in places with but with their customary slice of acetic growl and snarl adding garnish later. And it’s even reminiscent of ‘The Jam.’
The band played an appetizing show at the Hobgoblin, featuring some excellent song structures and fine vocal imagery, expertly veneered to perfection. Songs like ‘You Shone’ which has diamond sharp lyrics and chirpily relentless vocals (with a dove-like coo-coo-coo). Shot through with cleanly etched guitars that rise and fall like demented moths around the candle-wax. Sumptuous harmonies add a luxurious quality and an impressive extra dimension.
Other catchy tunes include ‘Shortcuts’ – this travels with ease along a jagged path, yet at a light-footed pace. With short, sharp shots of guitar from Jono and Justin, and unhesitating percussion and eloquent bass from Joe and Dan. A cleverly planned chorus means this number sticks around in your brainbox long after the show.
‘Set Sail’ has an irregular rhythm guitar pattern and a sparkling pace. This song brings to mind ‘The Cure’ even with those bruised and smeared ‘Robert Smith’ sounding vocals and an insistent chorus that drills into your skull and finds a neat place to curl up and slumber- bursting out later to surprise you!
Brightlight City are full of shine. This band, by rights, should have a profitable future.
© Neil_Mach October 2011
Fearless balls. That’s what this band has got. Within 30 seconds of their first number, guitarist and frontman Al had already broken two strings. This is not only unfortunate, it is a freak of nature. A once in a lifetime event. But it didn’t stop the show. Or even put the band off kilter. Onwards they climbed. Against all odds they soldier on to make a living.
And a lot of punk bands are let down by their ‘hunt the tune’ issues, but this certainly ain’t the case with the three-piece south coast punksters Avondale45.
Yep, these lads are holding more than a fistful of grubby tunes in their sweaty hands – and they are here to delight the audience with their fresh and shiny stage package.
Full of beans and raring to go, these over achieving underdogs smashed into a set at The Hob, Staines with an array of belting numbers that included their seventies time-traveller “suspect device” along with coverage of the ‘Caesars’ “Jerk It Out” the ‘Vandals’ “Oi to the World” and their own “Bonkers” – “Save My Life”.
Some radical guitar-work from Al and glossy bass play from Colin matched with expressive drumming from Joe (“Do you still need Phil Collins?”) added to the coherent quality of the insatiable rhythms and restless punchiness of the songs. Each number incorporated swiftly told lyrics held crisply within jaunty arrangements. And their neat party trick at the end (Al and Colin swapping instruments ‘mid flight’ without pause) and the self depreciating jokes “We have got all sizes of T shirt available – as you can see…” just added to the fun and expectations.
Armed with songs that actually stick around for a bit, and a humorous stage presence with a zinging vibe, these lads are set to be the next high achievers in the class.
© Neil_Mach October 2011
Weyward Chile possesses that kind of cock-rock insolence and sweaty strutting charm that actually swoops the gals off of their feet and sets the men a-jigging. And that’s exactly what occurred at The Star Inn, Guildford on 9th Sept at the boys’ regularly hosted rock night ‘Wey Will Rock You’ (planned for the last weekend of every month.) The guys and girls were dancing and grinding – and hollering along to the best, biggest and most bruisingingly boisterous bad ass blues rock this side of the Smokies.
Frontman lead vocalist Karl looks very much like ‘Donovan’ but he possesses the seriousness and the rustle of Robert Plant. He is as bold as he is beautiful. On the sweet lead guitar we have chancer and chief mojo-maker Korush, on the smouldering rhythm guitar we have Jack and on the power-house percussion we have Alex showing off a tantalizing new kit, with James on finger-lickinginly good bass.
Starting with an onslaught of power and strength that shakes the roof tiles off the mossy ole ‘Star, the band smash into a blistering set that can only be described as ruthless classic rock. Delivered in dollops so big, you will need an excavator and a pile-driver to make sense of the chords and chops. With songs like “Whole Lotta Love” and Jimi’s version of “All Along the Watchtower” you know what you’re going to get. Yes, exuberant classic rock and blues.
But their own songs are also full of promise and contagious, good time, rock-ability. From their gas-bottle necking grassband country twanging, feverish ‘Go Go’ to ‘Clouds Start To Rain’ which has an elegant chord structure and a tuneful verse together with nagging guitar ripples from Korush- lightly feathering the pattering rhythms. I can’t wait for their studio album.
There was a lot of low-down, yard-dog, dice rolling type numbers, like ‘Mike’s Song’ created with roostering roistering buoyancy. And ‘I Went Down’ which is their truest ‘Bad Company’ number. It’s like running down the strip with a desolation angel on your arm, trying to get to the liquor store & grab yourself a bottle of Gentleman Jack before the big game. It’s like sluice-juiced rock-daddy headymen Aerosmith before their big-hair dandy days. When they played true honest-to-goodness rock, blues and metal.
Huge sound and energy is created by Karl as he prances the boards and teases the audience with his wild shirtless holier-than- f * ck arrogant swagger. Yes, Weyward Chile are now truly ready for stadium stardom. I can imagine these boys making a success of a West-coast tour anytime now.
Hard place dominant rock and blues for the wise and the ready…
The craftsmen know as foley artists try to create realistic ambient sound for movies … that’s why the horses in the movies always tend to clip-clop their hooves, even when travelling on sand or grass… the foley artist has added the sound ‘after’ filming with a couple of coconuts. Foley Artist is also the name of a rock band that I went to see on 18 AUG at the best music venue in Middlesex – the Hobgoblin, Staines.
Foley Artist create monster sounds on a magnitude totally exceeding your expectations. Instrumentally adept, their output seems jammed firmly betwixt hardcore and hard rock – little nuggets’ of tungsten embedded between two tectonic plates. A tough nut to crack, although I hope the band eventually breaks firmly into the classic hard rock seam. At this stage vocals can be a bit hit-and-miss, but you can forgive this slight aberration as you are blown away by the style and substance of the astonishing white-hot guitar magic. In fact, their sound brings to mind – ahem – Led Zeppelin (yes, really). Bluesy, smoky, blameless, armour-piercing rock and roll, blood and flames.
These swindlers played a short set at The Hob (due to feeling under the weather.) But the band provided enough material to get a reasonable idea of the quality of their sounds. Tunes like ‘Shadow Boxing’ from the ‘Gorgeous Dog’ E.P demonstrate the innovative guitar trickery and licentious percussion. ‘Brad Pitts Beard’ is ice cold and angular. Satisfying bass-play from man-mountain Olly Nunn creates a bed of chewy textures for the finely detailed fretwork and interwoven vocals. Songs like ‘Wheaties Box’ are heavy, headstrong and banging. Laced with streaks of silvery guitar and full of time juxtapositions, with tempo-changes aplenty.
Bold bass-play, excellent guitar instrumentation from frontman Matt Searle together with the percussive fireworks from James on drums, mean that Foley Artist are ones to watch as they negotiate up the rocky road. Good luck lads.