ACM SKUNK ANANSIE SCHOLARSHIP

The Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM) in Guildford, Surrey has announced the launch of their first ever SKUNK ANANSIE SCHOLARSHIP.

The recipient of this prestigious award will receive a fully funded place on one of the academy’s reputable degree courses, worth up to £27,000.

All applicants that have successfully auditioned and enrolled for Degree programmes in Bass, Drums, Guitars, Keys or Vocals at either ACM Guildford, ACM London or the group’s newest campus, ACM Birmingham, will be eligible to apply.

The recipient of this prestigious award will receive a fully funded place on one of the academy’s reputable degree courses, worth up to £27,000…

Those applying will submit a video performance for screening by ACM’s world class teaching faculty, with a shortlist delivered to Skunk Anansie for a final decision to be made.

The award winning British rock band has been recording & touring for over 20 years, and have sold over 6 million albums and comleted many sold out world tours.

They’re the perfect role models for ACM’s students. In between studio recording and touring with the band, guitarist Ace works at ACM as Head of Creative Industry Development and drummer, Mark Richardson, is a Wellbeing Coach for the academy students.

Ace said “I’ve been honoured to be working with ACM for a very long time now, booking top industry guests, sourcing real world work opportunities, setting up networking events and advising students on a one to one basis. For three months of the year I pause my work on-campus so that I can tour with the band – bringing back the freshest knowledge directly from the industry back to the students. The music business has been very good to us over the years and it feels incredible to give back and make someone’s dream of studying music a reality.

Skunk Anansie vocalist, Skin, said “We are so excited to be able to offer such a life changing opportunity in partnership with ACM. Starting out in music can be tough financially, so being able to take away that burden for someone who is at the very beginning of their journey is incredibly rewarding. We love the fully immersive experience that ACM offers its students and are so excited to see the shortlist.”

Applications are still open for September 2017 study at ACM Guildford, ACM London and ACM Birmingham.

To book an audition or visit the Academy for an open day go to www.acm.ac.uk or call the admissions team directly on 01483 500 841.

To apply for the SKUNK ANANSIE SCHOLARSHIP or one of ACM’s other scholarship awards (including the Freddie Mercury Award and the BASCA Scholarship), visit www.acm.ac.uk/scholarships

JAZZ KNIGHTS ORCHESTRA — STAINES

Drummer Cliff Longhurst has played with Matt Monro, Frankie Laine, Bert Weedon , Anne Shelton, Helen Shapiro, Nat Gonnella, Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent (among many others) and has toured with Herb Miller (Glen’s brother) — in addition to working as musical director for several well-known television shows. His JAZZ KNIGHTS ORCHESTRA came to Staines this week to put on a fantastic spectacle at the famous Riverside Club.

The orchestra delivered power and determination as they put on an extraordinary performance that rewarded us with the sounds & moods of Woody Herman’s big band era — the 1930s and 1940s.

A golden syrup of sax – Photo Credit: @neilmach 2017 ©

Starting with a complicated arrangement of “The Good Earth” composed by jazz trumpeter Neal Hefti, we were treated to a golden syrup of sax and beautifully chromatic trumpet — the ambitious number was endowed with attitude, passion and enormous scope.

Herman’s “The Preacher” was a cluster of sound textures with an excellent solo by Nick Charles.

Richard Rodgers’ “Sound of Music” found on Herman’s “My Kind of Broadway” was a first-class re-telling with zestful vibraphone and potent walking bass.

Rattling rhythms from Longhurst himself – @neilmach 2017 ©

The 15-piece Jazz Knights also treated the audience in Staines to lighter pop numbers such as “Killing Me Softly” [Charles Fox] and “Light My Fire” [the Doors] and a wondrous version of the Beatle’s “Hey Jude.”

The stand-out number was, perhaps, the band’s touching rendition of Sid Tepper and Roy C. Bennett’s romantic “Red Roses for a Blue Lady” made famous by singer Vic Dana. This nostalgic piece had a full-on big-band ‘feel’ with rattling rhythms from Longhurst himself and some articulate trumpet.

This was a joyful evening of swing-era jazz, a little bebop, gentle fusion and sophisticated pop — brilliantly polished, propellant and propulsive — yet relaxed in all the right places.

Thanks again to the Staines Riverside Club for hosting another unforgettable evening.

Words & Images : @neilmach 2017 ©

Link: http://www.jazzknightsorchestra.com/

MOODY MAAS + GLEN — Live in Staines

This week MOODY, MAAS and GLEN played a tasty selection of emotionally soul-stirring songs from their recent album Black & Chrome live in Staines, Surrey.

We went along to see.

Black & Chrome – Ali Maas & Micky Moody

The collaboration of Ali Maas and Micky Moody started in 2014 as a songwriting project that quickly developed into some excellent album work. Another album is on the way.

Their musical union results from a shared admiration for blues, soul, Americana, palpitating rhythms and captivating melodies.

Aside from his well-documented time with Whitesnake, Micky Moody was also a member of Juicy Lucy, Roger Chapman and the Shortlist, Snakecharmer and others.

Ali Maas was lead singer and writer for critically acclaimed band McQueen.

Their highly accomplished studio band comprised of a group of luminous musicians that included the amazing drummer Jimmy Copley, who sadly died this month.

The British harmonica player Alan Glen — who was a member of Nine Below Zero (1991-1995) as well as The Yardbirds — was also involved.

Their pruned-back live-show boasts that same trio — Moody, Maas and Glen. We saw their concert at the Staines Riverside Club on May 18th. Other dates have also been announced.

Ali Maas- Frequent cloud-bursting highs…

Ali Maas took centre stage at the Riverside, with the master-musicians at the flank.

Her vocal style was reminiscent of Alannah Myles with many velvety, sorrowful layers and frequent cloud-bursting highs. The light accompaniment from Moody & Glen reminded us of stripped-back Fleetwood Mac.

Moody, who told the audience he suffered from bad back, “caused by a dishwasher incident...” created delicate and fanciful guitar notes.

In particular, his slide guitar-work was skilful. And even though there was no drummer on stage, he frequently provided percussion through clever touches and slaps of the guitar body and picking the strings.

Glen played electric rhythm guitar for the most part, often adding rich and expressive lyrical moments to songs with his blues harp or providing intense emotions via those howling solos.

The show began with the magnificently melancholic “A Change In Everything” with thoughtful contemplations behind every loose-toned reflection and haunting lyrics like, “Sometimes we are better off alone...”

And then we enjoyed “Woman Be Wise” with those warning words: “Don’t Advertise Your Man…

Ali Maas suggested she suffered from “fried egg” after a cold — although her vocal was rich and satisfying, and did not seem fatigued or overly mucoid. Moody remained perched on his stool for the duration — maybe his back felt a little sore.

Excellent covers included the excellent “In My Girlish Days” [Memphis Minnie] and the syncopated standard “San Francisco Bay Blues” [Jesse Fuller] made famous by Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan and more.

Dusty’s “Son of a Preacher Man” went down particularly well with the Staines crowd. The interpretation by this talented trio was lunar and majestic.

The soft-shoe number “Emotional Powder Keg Blues” was apparently written by Ali when she was going through what she described as a “bunny-boiler phase…

This number had pat-a-cake rhythms and expressive guitar-lines provided by Alan Glen.

Towards the finale we had “Big Mama” Thornton’s 12-bar blues song “Hound Dog” that has been recorded over 250 times and is one of the world’s best ever sellers…

The MOODY, MAAS and GLEN rendition had all the impudence & euphoria we appreciated in the original.

This was a thoroughly pleasurable evening filled with artistry and flair.

Words & Pictures: @neilmach 2017 ©
You can read a recent interview with MAAS & MOODY here: https://rawramp.me/maas-and-moody
Black & Chrome by Ali Maas & Micky Moody ‎is OUT NOW via Armadillo Music
Link: https://www.mickymoody.com

Moody, Maas & Glen – expressive lyrical moments…

STAINES LAMMAS BRASS BAND — Springtime Spectacular

This Sunday the STAINES LAMMAS BRASS BAND hosted a superb “Springtime Spectacular” concert of popular songs at the ancient St Mary’s Church in Staines.

We went along to see the show.

Our favourite was probably Ramin Djawadi’s theme from the HBO’s television series “Game of Thrones…”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After an excellent introduction — “The March of the Peers” [ by Arthur Sullivan, from Iolanthe] with skilfully interpreted passages and perfectly controlled rhythms, the band was presented by the experienced musical director conductor / garrulous musical director Lee Woodward who was appointed MD of the Staines Lammas band in 2014.

Lee introduced us next to an overture by Austrian composer Franz von Suppé, “Morning, Noon, and Night in Vienna.” The piece incorporated a pensive solo that overflowed with emotion.

After that, we enjoyed another eloquent solo, this time featuring Steve Burgess [ the principal cornet player.] Steve also plays with Alder Valley brass and the Freedom Brass Quintet. The poignant number was Dvořák’sRusalka’s Song to the Moon.”

This is about a water nymph who falls in love with a prince …” Lee told us before the start. “But, of course this is an opera. So, as you can imagine, it doesn’t end well …

Modern numbers in the entertaining programme included “Baggy Trousers”

Modern numbers in the entertaining programme included “Baggy Trousers” by Madness [arr Alan Fernie.]

And Hans Zimmer’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.

Our favourite, though, was probably Ramin Djawadi’s theme from the HBO tv series “Game of Thrones.”

The band managed to perfectly convey the expectations of the show, all those dead-reckonings and impressive crownings.

Bohemian Rhapsody” by Freddie Mercury [arr. Darrol Barry] was magnificent and perhaps we don’t entirely realize what an incredible achievement this piece of music this is until it’s heard performed this way.

And just before the interval we enjoyed a little game of “guessing the melody” when the band played “The Lone A-ranger” by Philip R. Buttall.

Many thanks to Staines Lammas Band for offering us a very pleasant afternoon of masterful music. And also thanks to the Reverend and staff at the Church of St Mary’s for making us feel welcome.

The next Staines Lammas Brass Band concert is on Sunday 25th June 11.00 at the Staines Upon Thames Day, Thames Street.

Also see them perform on July 9 at the Staines Lammas Park, at 2 pm.

Words & Pictures: @neilmach 2017 ©
Link: http://www.staineslammasband.co.uk/

Fun New Video by Local Firefighters — with Fire Safety Messages

A group of local Berkshire RBFRS staff and firefighters  have put their musical skills to good use by releasing a song called “You Can’t Stop the Fire” which is a clever parody of Bruce Springsteen’sDancing in the Dark”.

Staff from across the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service have made a music video…

The key aim of the song is to get fire safety advice out to people in a slightly different way.

The team — led by the inextinguishable rogue Keith Beasley [the lead singer of the Country Rock and Blues band “One For the Road” ] is brought to life with an accompanying video [watch below.]

Staff from across the organisation were involved in the project, including crews from Maidenhead, Whitley Wood and non-operational colleagues based at headquarters.

When they’re ready, here’s some ideas for their next song:

* Burning Down the House — Talking Heads

* Run the Engines Up High — Roy Orbison

* Playing With Fire — Rolling Stones

* Pound the Alarm — Nicki Minaj

* Holy Smoke — Iron Maiden

* Firestarter — The Prodigy

Please watch and share their super video below and consider making a donation to The Fire Fighters Charity —which provides life enhancing services to the fire and rescue community…

Links:

https://www.firefighterscharity.org.uk/donate/

http://www.rbfrs.co.uk/

JFK — Album Launch Show

JFK (also known confusingly as JFK Blues] is a London /Surrey five piece band that has been playing their rock ‘n’ rolling blues — spiced with jazzy manouche touches — for about a year or so.

If John Etheridge met Ray Davies at Le QuecumBar and they discussed a rhythm and blues project — this is probably how it would have turned out…

The band is composed of some very experienced musicians — PAUL BLOUNT on keys who once lived in L.A. and worked with Jeff Beck, SOL EZRA on drums [an early member of Talk Talk] gypsy-rock guitarist IAGO BANET ; LES ‘LEO’ VICTOR on bass [he played with the Blockheads] and the youngest member of the outfit — lead vocalist/guitar CHRIS ELLIOTT who they found busking at Covent Garden Tube and invited along for the ride.

Paul Blount on keys – they bring blues, jazz, pop and boogie to the people…
Picture by Neil Mach

We attended the “Rough Round The Edges” album launch show at the legendary 100 Club in London’s West End this week.

We enjoyed JFK’s beautifully crafted self-penned songs that began with “St Joseph” and had mellow, mid-tempo beats and instantly catchy melodies.

Chris Elliott’s poignant and cheery R&B voice on songs like “Shadowlands” reached clear trebles without too much difficulty — and this talent helped to take the sounds from blues origins and into pop-rock territory whilst still retaining the genre’s emotional content.

If we really had to designate their brand we would say the JFK sound is similar to that of the Alexis Korner band — in other words, they bring blues, jazz, pop and boogie to the people…

We’re not really a blues band…” Chris shouted to a passionate audience… directly before the band embarked on yet another raw-blues number — this one adorned with flinty peaks of guitar and a boogie underbelly.

We enjoyed the really excited rhythmic patterns and the cleverly woven guitar songs, such as “Having a Real Good Time.”

Often these songs had insistent backwoods blues-vibes that took us directly to those all-night parties down on 18th and Vine.

This was a poetic and vibrant show delivered by a pack of musicians who have clearly spent a lifetime entertaining their audiences.

Words & Images: @neilmach 2017 ©
Link: https://www.facebook.com/JFK4Blues/

See next:

The Old Ticket Hall, Windsor 14th April
The Bull’s Head, Barnes 1st May

Excited rhythmic patterns and the cleverly woven guitar songs…
Photo: Neil Mach

FESTIVAL REVIEW — FOUR PLAY

The FOUR PLAY FESTIVAL is a low profile affair held at the Acoustic Couch in Bracknell and organized by local progressive rock band SPRIGGAN MIST.

Jade Vine at FOUR PLAY… a celebration of folk-prog talent…

It is a celebration of folk-prog talent and attracts an unprecedented array of  free-spirited individuals, including [but not limited to] steampunks, pagans, hippies, fair folk and people of peace.

The unhurried schedule means that bands have enough time on stage to deploy their longest songs and tackle their most extravagant numbers.

The Acoustic Couch is a community project built in the concrete heart of Bracknell town and offers locals a pleasant and welcoming place to come and enjoy live music.

Mila Verney_of Jade Vine – mind-blowing musical content…

First on stage at FOUR PLAY were the five-piece JADE VINE based in London. This band was formed by the brothers Constantine (guitars, vocals) & Marios Magdalinos (guitars, vocals) in 2006.

Constantine & Marios wrote the first songs and gigged extensively as a duet before bringing the band together. At Bracknell we saw Mila Verney (piano & keyboards) and Yannis Paloyannidis (bass) with Babis Margaritidis (drums.)

We enjoyed songs like “Lost it All” that had a shimmering murkiness to them. We loved the repetitive guitar motifs and the slightly off-kilter drum-work. We also appreciated the vocals that we thought were reminiscent of Fish. Their neo-prog achievements soared with mind-blowing musical content, astounding lyrics and expert musicianship. Their 2016 album “MIND OF A MAN” is out now.

Kindred Spirit – tranquilizing yet sinister textures…

We’ve written about Elaine Samuels and her band KINDRED SPIRIT many times before.

It was great to see them onstage at Bracknell bringing their extraordinarily beautiful prog-folk songs to life and creating a series of imaginatively elaborate musical ideas.

Wolves at the Door” had a fretful sax [Catherine Dimmock] and lamenting violin [Martin Ash ]and created ever-developing sensations of enhanced anxiety.

The song formed part of what Elaine described as the “Beast” cycle — consisting of three songs . The cycle was completed by “Run Red.” This had tranquilizing yet sinister textures — peacemaker flute with violin flares.

The bass-play on this song was excellent too [Mike Hislop] as was Catherine’s backing vocals. The remarkable thing about Kindred Spirit was that the band soldiered on without their drummer [he was taken ill at short notice] yet they managed to deliver a very polished and surprisingly tight performance.

Multi Story- dramatic vocal performance…

Cult Welsh prog band MULTI STORY was formed in the 1980s.

Around the dramatic vocal performance of Paul Ford and Rob Wilsher’s wizard keyboards and superlative programming.

At that time [1984] the band was invited to the BBC Maida Vale studio to record a session for Radio One Rock Show with Tommy Vance. The band was signed to Heavy Metal Records [FM label] and recorded a debut album in 1985 at Rockfield Studios.

Paul Ford was replaced by Grant Nicholas [who went on to be the Feeder front-man] and Grant worked on an album with the band in 1986 :Through Your Eyes — though the project broke up shortly afterwards.

The members of Multi Story went on to have successful careers in production and film projects and more recently, the original writing partners Rob Wilsher and Paul Ford starting working again. A new band began playing shows during 2015 in support of their project “Crimson Stone.”

Paul’s delivery at Bracknell was dramatically poignant — bordering on theatrical at times — and included some superior guitar-play. Rob’s keyboards were, as expected, sheer quality of class. A series of oscillations, waves and huge columns of sound. The song-melodies were catchy — with instant appeal. And often reminded us of 1969 era The Who.

Spriggan Mist’s Max Cilia – intoxicating musical layers…

If this event is to become something more ambitious in the future then the organizers will have to watch their ticket sales. [Fifteen pounds is good for a “full day of music” but too much for locals who might want to drop-in to catch just one or two bands.] They should also look at the possibility of wider promotion. It looked as if most of the audience consisted of “Sprigg” fan-club members or supporting musicians.

FOUR PLAY was a completely enjoyable way to spend a day. With hugely talented performers, friendly hosts and good (cheap) beer. What’s not to like?

Thanks to all involved… especially the co-hosts Spriggan Mist & Kindred Spirit and their fantastic crew. Also thanks to the staff at Acoustic Couch who made this special day so friendly.

Words & Pictures : @neilmach 2017 ©
Links:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/www.sprigganmist.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/KindredSpiritBand/
https://www.facebook.com/multistoryband/
https://www.facebook.com/TheJadeVineUK/

Music & Leisure in Staines UK