Here at AD PONTES we always said that STEVE WHALLEY is the zen master of cathartic liberation.
There is no nonsense or schmaltz in his show, oh no!
He will tear your emotions apart before healing you with a frenzy of dramatic soul & rock numbers from the song books of heroes like Tom Waits and Dylan.
And at Staines Riverside Club last night, after an excellent start that included a stylish Leon Russell type “Youngblood” Steve tried some new material.
In fact he even produced a special guitar for the Ry Cooder number — Vigilante Man.
“This is a dangerous tool ...” he alerted the audience. “I have to keep it set to stun, otherwise it will cause some serious damage...”
His interpretation was incredibly perfect. And although we know that Steve’s one of the best vocalists on the circuit, it was clear from this number that we shouldn’t underestimate his guitar skills either… His blues-picking and finger slides were remarkable.
The incredible rhythmc finger-picking skills were evident again on the “Kingston Trio” style Bahamian folk song John B. Sails [aka Sloop John B.]
It was a sensational way to end a memorable night.
With his son Tat Whalley on bass (he eclipsed my achievements many times) and Bruvvers/Meal Ticket drummer Chris Hunt [he taught me everything I ever needed to know about music] this was one of the best concerts of the year.
And the amazing thing is that Steve suffered a nasty head-cold head all night long. And complained, often, “ I cannot hear a damn thing...”
We can’t imagine how good this would have been if Steve had been in ship-shape condition and didn’t feel “so broke up...”
If you missed the show, regularly visit the STAINES RIVERSIDE club for quality live music [every other Thursday] and most weekends. Please support your local live music venue.
Last night at the wonderful Staines Riverside Club we witnessed rare magic when WILLY FINLAYSON AND THE HURTERS came to town bringing their smooth quality rock and soft ‘n’ soulful covers.
The last time we saw Willy in Staines was with his band project HALF MEAL TICKET, then with Steve Simpson (now in retirement) and Dean Barnes (much missed.)
Edinburgh born Willy is a talented guitarist, composer and extraordinary vocalist and he fronted Bees Make Honey (1974 ) and later the famous country rock band Meal Ticket. They provided the theme for the brilliant play-for-today “Dominick Hide”.
In staines The Hurters played songs like the award-winning “She Will Be Loved” [Maroon 5] with its insistent chorus.
These were emotionally rendered, and even at times perhaps overwrought. Though Willy’s smouldering carnation-cream and tobacco voice helped alleviate any anguish.
Classy blues numbers, such as “Crazy ‘Bout An Automobile (Every Woman I Know)” (Ry Cooder, 1980) had good rebound and veritable trim.
And for the many upbeat numbers (Bruce Springsteen is a favourite songwriter) Willy provided eloquent slur to go with that amazing golden brogue.
The great revelation of the night was the “new” guitarist Dave Colquhoun.
Dave is actually an experienced session man, currently with Rick Wakeman’s band.
He has his own band projects and previously worked with Go West, Paul Young, Belinda Carlisle, T’pau, Bananarama and, of course, Bucks Fizz.
Dave added bullets of masculinity and power to ballads such as “Hungry Heart” or dark twists of sadness or tiny bee stings of articulation… In other words, he provided nuance and fragrance to every soulful song. Such was his impressive play that he earned several bravos of his own during the evening.
Tempo was provided by acclaimed blues bassist Malcolm Hoskins who was a firm and steadfast rhythmic-energy maker.
Towards the end of the evening we were treated to a few songs from “surprise guest” LIZA MARSHALL.
Her husky chocolate-syrup voice always wins applause, and her smooth song-choice included the singalong gospel number “People Get Ready” [Curtis Mayfield 1965.] This allowed Dave to express his more imaginative and jazzy side.
As usual, a very fine evening of quality musical entertainment in Staines.
The wonderful Jagger family of Shepperton again organized a super fun-packed day of music, peace and love in the Laughing Waters this weekend.
Remarkably, the sun managed to shine for the afternoon…
The first LAUGHING STOCK FESTIVAL was held in 2005, when the Jagger family invited a few friends for a summer picnic by the river.
The event has grown over the years and raises funds for charities such as the Diabetes Society, Multiple Sclerosis Society, Eagle Radio Trust and Woking and Sam Beare Hospice.
The Woking and Sam Beare Hospice provides inpatient and community care to approximately 1,400 patients each year. They looked after Linda Jagger’s dad when he got very sick.
The hospice hopes to raise an additional £1.9m to deliver a new hospice service in the heart of Surrey that will be support generations to come.
The party started with some chilled sounds from Heids with acoustic support from the Jagger family’s own function & party outfit — the JJ BAND.
They also played a gladdening and cheerful full-electric set later in the day.
The full band comprises of Linda and Heidi on vocals, JJ and Al on guitars and with Byron and Tim providing the powerhouse bass and drums.
The outfit plays squelchy blues and authentic rhythm and blues, plus breathtaking soul and crackling pop. You can check them out at The Red Lion, Shepperton on Sunday 27th August.
Next up were THE RIFFTAKERS who play their own rhythm and blues brand in the tradition of The Rolling Stones and Yardbirds.
With fuzzy guitars, dynamic beats and party vibes, their street-rock boogaloos, accelerated rhythms and energetic performances provided the motivating force of the afternoon and soon the revelers rose from ground-sheets and picnic chairs to dance in unison.
Next was the super-smooth and super-efficient 8-piece GROOVELINE offering jazz, acid jazz, soul and disco and who played a swish and dishy collection of funky hits culminating in the wonderful “Blame It on the Boogie” — got to be everyone’s favourite uptempo party-time number.
It was Grooveline singer Amy Nicholls’ last appearance with the band (for a while, any-ways) and bass-player Adam was taken sick [we wish him an early recovery] so he was replaced “last minute.”
After a very successful auction and raffle the three-piece roots band MANTIC MUDDLERS, from Petersfield, Hampshire, played some home-style, unfussy blue-grass and rhythm & soul numbers with exuberance and joy.
The lads will be playing the Victorious Festival in Portsmouth on 25th August. You should check them out…
The festival welcomed back the immensely talented local 5-piece rock-reggae band TREE HOUSE FIRE.
This band are always a big hit, with bouncy, boom-boom songs and a bass line that walks impulsively down-the-line.
At Shepperton they delivered their lumpy, low-noted ditties, intrepid vocals and giddy-paced rhythms with verve and panache.
As we said before, this band causes, “sonic damage deep down in your Mondongos —”
We’ve often thought that experiencing the !DAFT! cover band is as pleasurable as playing on a kids bouncy-castle wearing nothing but clotted cream…
Their hi-energy rock-covers are salacious & stimulating and at Shepperton the band played an unrestrained, rip-roaringly successful set that magnificently complemented all the high-jinks and romping frolics at Laughing Water.
Their delivery and execution was superb. No wonder they are justifiably known as the best party band on the circuit.
Their celebratory mix of modern garage rock, post-punk and guitar pop rock is influenced by mid-1980s indie bands — but they easily and successfully turn their hands to garage rock, rock ‘n’ roll and even country when the time is right. And the band’s instinctive ability to “read the crowd” and recognize what is best to keep an audience on their feet is the hallmark of their success.
This was another gleeful and jubilant affair at Laughing Stock…
A day of beads and feathers, flower power and gentle people — and, of course, lots ‘n’ lots of love.
It’s been a while since the “Harlech Hurricane” sashayed her stuff on the Staines stage, accompanied by her conspicuously talented bandmates.
But this week we again enjoyed the power and potency of Asylum Affair with Stacey Cronin on lead vocals as they played their evocative power-ballads to an eager crowd at Staines pre-eminent music venue, the Riverside Club.
The line-up included John Lawrence (guitar) Gar Lando (drums) Colin Payne (bass guitar) and “the claw” aka Mark ‘Wilko’ Wilkinson who recently “broke his arm” so couldn’t provide us with any sax on the evening but nevertheless still wizzed the keyboards.
The eighties make you feel nostalgic just thinking about them — and the charm of songs from that era live on in our hearts. Who does not love Belinda Carlisle, Whitesnake, Foreigner and The Bangles?
So Stacey sings lusty songs about breaking up and/or uncontrollable longing and all her hearty canzones are accompanied by sensitive organ ripples, flexible bass waves and foamy ridges of guitar.
Some songs have been removed from the set-list since the last time we saw the band play in Staines…
However many of our favorites, such as “Love Is a Battlefield” (Holly Knight with Mike Chapman and made famous by Pat Benatar) have survived the cull and demonstrate the extraordinary power and finesse of Stacey. She has a distinctively soft, warm and raspy voice of sandalwood & bourbon whiskey.
A new number is “Stop!” the Sam Brown song (Brown, Sutton, and Brody 1988) brought with it with layers of sentiment. This was overwrought, almost highly-strung — and had a sense of neurosis surrounding it. The performance at Staines was so frenzied and nuanced that it left Stacey exhausted. She collapsed in a corner to recover while the band played a musical number.
Their old bossa nova piece “Parisienne Walkways” has been replaced with another number that allows the band to show off their expertise and effectiveness. It’s been traded for the funkier “Let’s Dance” (Bowie, 1983) with John pulling-off the Stevie Ray Vaughan solo at the end with flair and confidence.
Soon after “Alone” – the ‘Heart’ chart hit – written by Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly – Stacey announced that “We’ll play the ‘other’ Heart song too…” — thus neatly summarizing the Wilson sisters career.
So the band lunged into the next head rush song with enthusiasm. We were reminded of the low tones of Grace Slick (perhaps not surprising, since the Starship’s trooper was known for contributing to Heart’s recordings) and also the flavor of Steve Nicks
“Never Tear Us Apart” (INXS 1988) was another superlative addition to the repertoire, with drama and passion in each corner and layer-upon-layer of ritzy synth.
Perhaps most enjoyed were the Fleetwood Mac songs, and especially “The Chain” from Rumours (1977) with its well-known instrumental section associated with Formula One. And “Rhiannon” a first-half closer — taken from the predecessor album, Fleetwood Mac (1975.)
“Purple Rain” (Prince, 1984) in the second half – also gave room for John’s extended solo.
And this time the ‘Giant of the Bass’ Colin stayed in his seat (he’s still recovering from a medical procedure, we wish him a full recovery) but managed to provide undoubted fervour and gusto to the rhythms along with the über-talented Gar Lando on drums.
This was a dazzling and magnificent concert with Stacey as radiant and charming as always and the band playing at its very best.
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.
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 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.
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.
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’s “Rusalka’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” 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.
Original Birdman ALI MACKENZIE with his renegade pioneers of rock ‘n’ roll talent — Strawbs drummer Richard Hudson, Glitter Band bassist Bill Phillips, and Renaissance guitarist Simon Bishop — form the ALI MAC BAND.
They play good-time rhythm and blues, replete with soul-thumping harmonies and the tightest musicianship you are ever likely to witness.
We saw their sold-out show this February 16 at the STAINES RIVERSIDE CLUB.
Their perfectly handled recreations included many favorites from the American soft-jazz songbook ( like Little Feat’s “Weed, whites and wine…” flavoured ‘Willin‘ ) and teasing blues pieces like Willie Dixon’s provocative “Hoochie Coochie Man” or intelligently voiced soul-hits such as Eddie Floyd & Steve Cropper’s “Knock on Wood.”
In the mid sixties THE BIRDS were the biggest rhythm and blues act in London.
They appeared on TV’s Ready Steady Go and released four hit singles including the Holland-Dozier-Holland number “Leaving Here.”
That Birds song went onto inspire Lemmy’s Motörhead [Leaving Here was their debut single — 1977.]
Famous for their vocal harmonies and exciting live performances THE BIRDS came close to becoming as big as THE WHO.
They first ventured onto the scene in 1964 as The Thunderbirds but decided to change their band-name to The Birds to avoid confusion with Chris Farlowe’s band.
But when “America’s answer to the Beatles” aka the folk rock band THE BYRDS entered the UK Singles Chart with “Mr. Tambourine Man” (1965) the British BIRDS were forced to take action to defend their “trading” name.
Surrounded by an excited buzz of media coverage, the BIRDS manager began to take legal steps to prevent the American upstarts from using their name. But the court favored the Los Angeles “Byrds” and by 1967 the British band had faded.
Ali McKenzie was the original leader of that particular ensemble (voice and harmonica) along with Ronnie Wood (guitar) Tony Munroe (guitars) Kim Gardner (bass) and Pete McDaniels (drums).
At Staines, Ali Mac’s band — understandably — distanced themselves from the compositions of Dylan and McGuinn. Instead they played some lasting rockabilly hits (such as Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away” and Big Boy Crudup’s “That’s All Right”. )
With Simon’s effervescent guitar playing, Bill’s adventurous and tight bass and Hud’s precise rhythms, it was a night of class entertainment.
Ali’s remarkable vocal work — his mastery of tension and release — and controlled use of vibrato, was truly astonishing. It’s not often we witness vocal skills of this quality.
Another stunning show at Staines…
Support the RIVERSIDE CLUB and keep LIVE MUSIC alive…