Jan 28 2010
Jan 28 2010
Jan 31 2010
Jan 30 2010
Bluescene @ The Lion
Jan 30 2010
Fox and Duck
Jan 28 2010
Jan 31 2010
Jan 30 2010
Bluescene @ The Lion
Jan 30 2010
Fox and Duck
The Gemma Lawrence Trio – She’s The Bossa
Under the watchful eye of Winston Churchill the sultry sounds of the Gemma Lawrence Trio trilled through the Staines Conservative Club bar. Gemma Lawrence was giving up her smoky best for a handful of true-blue blue-rinse blue-blood Tory ladies and their senior partners, who gave polite but mild applause. The atmosphere was, in every respect, ‘genteel’.
Gemma is a jazzy blues singer with leanings towards Country. A little bit country and a little bit rock n roll, if you like. In fact, she has recorded a Country album in Nashville with some of Tennessee’s musical royalty – including Gordon Mote. The trio is a guitar based combo, perhaps lacking the heartbeat of percussion at times, but never lacking direction or gusto.
The band includes singer/songwriter and all-round renaissance man Jonny Palmer on one guitar (together with his handy synth) along with Mark Dorsett and his fresh-faced blues-style pickin’ on the other.
But the main focus is on the classy lady Gemma and her slinky voice. Gemma reminded me of Diana Krall, not only in appearance but also in style. Like Diana, Gemma is able to ooze out those husky contralto lows and also the nerve tingling highs. Another piano based singer that came to my mind was Vonda Shepard, perhaps because of the mid-tempo jazzy familiarity of the sounds.
Gemma is very much the ‘band leader’ of the trio, constantly pointing direction and motivating the other musicians, getting things moving if needed or slowing things down when the mood requires. Her voice is strong, dense and smooth as an all-over cocoa butter body rub. Sticky and sweet. It gets right into all those aching places. The Southern U.S. swamplands are dark, mysterious places with hidden depths. And those Southern bars are smoky, sultry and somewhat risky. These are the colours, smells and textures expressed in Gemma’s songs. Deep, deep lows are contrasted against ringing highs and cheerfully sweet melodies.
Gemma’s set started with the somewhat ironic ‘Stealers Wheel’ piece “Stuck in the Middle With You” (possibly more famous these days as a theme from the ‘Reservoir Dogs’.) This song kinda summed up what it was like playing the Staines Con Club on a cool quiet evening in Staines. “It’s so hard to keep this smile from my face…”
The set also included some old favourites like the Hoagy Carmichael ‘Georgia on My Mind’ or ‘Ventura Highway’, ‘Under The Broadwalk’ and even ‘Suspicious Minds’. I particularly liked the upbeat “I Saw Her Standing There” (one of my favourite Beatles numbers) and the Kenny Young / Drifters classic “Under the Boardwalk”.
At times I could have done without the ‘nuts and bolts’ being on show so much. You know the kind of thing, “Another key change now” or “We need more time here” or the fiddling with amps / mike stands etc. In my opinion music, like all craft, should magically conceal the hard work, grease, sweat and effort that goes into making it. The rough edges need to be smoothed out for public consumption. But, maybe I am being too harsh.
Stand out songs for me were the self penned “Always The Same”, a soothing and reliably efficient song (the delivery reminded me of Crystal Gayle,) and the Duffy/Hogarth track “Warwick Avenue”. It is a shame that Gemma didn’t include any Amy Whinehouse in her song-book too but maybe that would have been a step too far for the respectable members of the Con Club!
For funky, jazzy, smooth sounds, the Gemma Lawrence Trio can be thoroughly recommended. Catch them soon at a venue near you or you could see the trio at this years Walton Soundfest.
SAT 28TH MARCH 2009 – JOLLY FARMER STAINES
The four piece line up of Noel, Doug, Pete and Will lasted 15 years from end of 1994 until 2009, when they became a power trio.
Originally a blues band (THE STAINES DELTA BLUES BAND), they now cover pretty much everything from AC/DC to Frank Zappa, via Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. In other words, CLASSIC ROCK!
The band delivers a tight, highly entertaining performance, every time. This is not a band that hides in the corner apologising for its existence! They play for the sheer enjoyment of entertaining an audience.
The band has a secret penchant for anything by British Rockers ‘with a colour in their name’. Think pink, black and purple…
ADPONTES describes the band as “impressive guitar…a skilled and compelling live performance…”
Rattling Good-Time Rock - Live in Staines
Mar 19 2009
With THE DAQUIRIS
Albany Down can be counted on for pleasure and honest to goodness fun. Here is what ADPONTES had to say about this great band last time they came into town:
The sound of Albany Down is stripped-down-to-the-waist no nonsense rhythm and blues 70’s inspired Brit rock ( the feel of early ‘Free‘ or ‘John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers‘) but with a bit of jazz-funk to mix it up a little…very fine and accomplished performance…insistent guitar hooks, stripped down licks and rattling good-time rock…
Authentic Jazz & Blues … Live at Windsor
Mar 21 2009 8:00P
Firestation Arts Centre
“A shot of pure and authentic jazz and blues
from an era when swing was king” – Paul Jones, BBC Radio 2
Quite simply one of the most popular jazz & swing bands in the world, King Pleasure And TheBiscuit Boys have entertained countless thousands around the globe for years.
Rough, tough and always rocking, the legendary King Pleasure & The Biscuit Boys’
off-the-wall stage show sometimes belies the fact that here is the finest,
most authentic Rhythm & Blues band ever.
£12(GA) £10(Conc) £9(Mem)
Exciting Grunge / Rock- Live in Staines
Kill The Baddies
Mar 22 2009
Kill The Baddies formed in 2006 to fight evil and corruption with the power of ROCK! Formerly “And A Thousand Elephants”,
KTB have a breadth of experience playing live shows all over London and the South-East of England whilst based in Surrey.
Kill The Baddies have just finished their 5 track CD, “Who Is This Girl?”. Last year Kill The Baddies were invited to play at Guilfest, which turned out to be an absolutely storming show. A video should be ready soon!! ..
With THE LIKES OF US
Live Covers Party Band - Live Windsor
Mar 20 2009
Old Ticket Hall
GROUPER play songs from Coldplay Travis The Strokes Stereophonics Wheatus Van Morrisson Wild Cherry James Brown Eagle Eye Cherry Toploader Steelers Wheel Kinks Beatles Dandy Warhols Lenny Kravitz Chilli Peppers Reef… AND MANY,MANY MORE! FOR MORE! + DJ PLAYING 80’s & 90’s HITS – BAR OPEN TILL 2AM
THE OLD TICKET HALL, WINDSOR, SL4
Classic Soul Sounds - Live at Ascot
Mar 21 2009
West London’s Soul Disciples came together late in 2005 with the express wish of bringing the classic soul sounds of the 60’s & 70’s to the dance floors of Britain.
Dismayed at the disservice these great tunes are being paid by many covers bands, we have resolved to make our interpretations as faithful to
the spirit of the originals as possible.
The soulful voice of Miss Clare “Bubbles” Moloney combined with the authentic soul sound of the SD band has to be witnessed to be believed.
The Soul Disciples constantly strive to instill their performances with the spirit and skill which made soul music of the 60’s & 70’s so exciting.
The SD’s have found themselves in the enviable position of having an 8-piece line-up which combines experience, virtuosity, personality & good looks …
All wrapped up with a shared love of Classic Motown, Atlantic, Stax & Northern Soul.
Saturday, 21st March
Show will start at 8.45
Ticket cost: £8.00
Doors open from 7.30pm. £26 for 2 courses and entrance (£30 for 3 courses). Entrance for the bands is £8 but is strictly
limited and on a first come first served basis. Entrance for dining or just the band INCLUDES free entrance to the nightclub
Thursday 19th February 2009
Self-obsession and self-absorption are not kind words for a band…but there is genius afoot here…so these guys can be
forgiven for being a tadge ‘up themselves’. Los is a trio of power-hungry power-rangers. Chris Hamilton (guitars) is the Paul
Benedict (Rev. Lindquist) of the tribe. He rallies and hounds the troops, biting heels like a sheep dog on the loose. Daniel Hale looks like a hairy 1974 version of Jeff Bridges (Thunderbolt & Lightfoot) and provides the substantial percussive element and then we have the blonde heroine, Helen Sargent, on vocals and synthesizer. It wouldn’t be unfair to describe their sound as a kind of ‘Ting Tings’ for grown-ups with Chris playing the multi parted Jules De Martino character and Helen playing the Katie White role.
The band cites influences from the late Jeff Buckley, Led Zeppelin and Nirvana right through to Nina Simone. Note that all these artists are considered ‘serious’ as in highly academic and ‘significant’. But don’t imagine that Los mitigates any excitement just because they may possess a ‘Guardian Reader’ following and post-graduate credentials. They are more animated than words alone can describe! Think of an army of whirling dervishes together with a host of Cossacks playing rugby football together and you get close to the idea of the mayhem and energy of a Los gig.
Unusually, there is no bass guitar within the Los structure. So Helen provides (at times) some moody keyboard baselines to add some darker colours to the overall texture. But the ace of bass ain’t all that, especially when the extraordinary guitar-work of Chris is enough to satisfy any cravings you may have for deeper contextual tones. There are imaginative chord progressions aplenty and occasional funk or jazz elements springing up like unexpected fireworks. The total effect is more substantial than pop art or art-rock … more like the musical equivalent of heavy-duty sculpture.
The melodies are often hidden beneath swathes of disproportionate energy like a nutmeg might be hidden under several layers of a daunting crinoline Elizabethan petticoat. And the organic and frenzied drumming from Daniel is demonstrated like a kids magic show- with sleight-of-hand and colourful tricks, conjured up from nothing, for the adoring crowd.
Softly creeping up on you like a bar-lounge lizard, some of the gentle songs seem to sweetly hypnotize and mystify you and,
before you know where you are, they suck you into their cruel world like a cephalopod might devour her prey- captured and
drained- drawn in by unseen suckers. Without knowing, your are about to be digested in bite sized chunks. It is at these moments when Helen comes into her own and, at the high points, her soulful vocals can be favourably compared to the work of some mighty divas such as Doris Troy.
One of my favourite Los numbers is ‘Ba Ba Ba’. This song is about missing someone so badly that it messes with your head. We
all know the feeling. The rat-a-tat percussive elements from Daniel Hale and the stunts performed by Chris are, this time, outshone by the sheer drama of Helen’s singing. Her face a series of contortions and extortions, she gurns her way through the number and you can share her anxiety and suffering. In fact, you might even somehow feel to blame for the pain of living through it all. My, my…this lot could probably qualify for some sort of Arts Council grant with all those theatricals and histrionics going on.
My only (small) criticisms are that I would like to have seen Chris play ‘to the crowd’ rather than to his band-mates. He seemed, to me, to be too shy to face his audience and too self-conscious to be part of the act. I would also have liked to have heard a lot more keyboard work from Helen. Frankly, it seems a pity to bring your synth all that way and then let it become a shelf for your drinks.
But, all-in-all, this was a powerful piece of work by a great three-part talent. A tipping point maven trap for any person who may genuinely want to witness artistic, non formulaic, rock and jazz-laced blues.
Cherry Pies with a Toxic Twist
If poncey new-age Fat Duck chef Heston Blumenthal was cooking up a tray of Cherry Brakewells his list of ingredients would probably include snails (because all his recipes do) and a slug of Tennessee sour-mash to intoxicate the mind, a generous fistful of gunpowder to spice things up a bit – and a large scoop of dry ice (to coooool it down some). Oh, and some fire. Yes, he would garnish the tray with a thick slice of fire.
This band is stickier and sweeter than the largest pot of Windsor Farms Shop Royal Jelly. These girls put the glory bee back into the honey-pot and then shake it up a little. After their gig on Thursday they are the buzz of the city.
What I adored about the girls when I saw ‘em is that their brand of melting hot guitar funk and red hot blues is so abundantly rich in vulgar tones and texture that you feel almost overwhelmed, drowned even, by the experience. The contrast between the sweet soulful high notes of singer/songwriter Shay and the dark growling thunderclouds provided by leggy bassist Monique and the ‘runway model’ drummer Chi was a blissful storm. It was an experience much like running towards the edge of a stark cliff knowing that, far far below, where the jagged rocks meet the sea, you will plunge into the ice cool waters of salvation. It was like being stung, and then devoured, by a fire serpent. Desperation and repentance all rolled into one. A beautiful agony. How to die.
The Cherry Brakewells cite their influences as based firmly in the Sixties and Seventies. Hendrix. Cream. Zep. That kind of thing. But there is more to this band than all that Seventies vibe. This is no SuperFly Baadasssss band. They may have big hair, big smiles and big confidence, and the roots of their music may lay in the past, but these girls look towards the future with confidence and pride. The songs may have serious blues foundations but are laced with touches of modernity. I could recognise influences ranging from Wyclef, Kelis and late M.I.A. right through to some more expected sounds like ZZ Top, Kravitz and Skunk Anansie.
Lead guitar is provided by the multi-talented Anna Calvi (she told me she has been playing with the Cherries for around six months now – she has her own very successful band and a host of other projects.) Anna tended to place herself behind (and to the side of) the sensuous and sumptuous trappings of the ‘power trio’ but that didn’t alter the fact that her input was as invigorating and ingenious as it was essential. Her style of blues playing has a cool sharpness to it and the sounds that she weaves from her effervescent frets fizz with electricity and energy.
The Cherry Brakewells put on a slinky super-sexy show with plenty of guts and gristle. Soulful highs and fuzzy lows create drama and add smoky depth to their theatre of sound.
Watch these beautiful girls growing up … they are gonna go all the way!