Category Archives: live music surrey

ACM LIVE — Summer Concert

On Thursday we attended the industry evening of ACM Summer Live. The series of concerts in Guildford, Surrey held this year at the Electric Theatre lasts four days (with matinee performances) and boasts over 60 new acts.

This years event was organized in collaboration with Eagle 3 Radio [Surrey and Hampshire ] and benefited MUSIC SUPPORT a charity that provides help and support for individuals in the United Kingdom Music Indsutry who suffer from alcoholism, addiction or emotional or mental health problems.

Mardhys, the 5-piece groove-orchestra…

The acts were introduced by Eagle 3 Radio presenter Jack Johnson .

First on stage were the Guildford five-nation five-piece groove-orchestra MARDHYS who are an experimental alt-folk collective fronted by the talented dreamer & chief songwriter Melatti Braam.

Songs such as “Old John” (an anti-bullying number) possessed scratched rhythms, sparkling vowels and a wriggle of violin that eeled its way through the haunting veil of harmonies. Think of English art-rock band the Moulettes playing Dylan songs to Tusk-era Fleetwood Mac beats.

The four-piece CHINA BEARS from Guildford (they seem to have mislaid Rosie along the way) provided bumptious bass-lines and kite-running anthems.

Hyrda” has seaside chirpiness with nostalgic melodies and suggestively breezy vibrations. They reminded us of Ohio indie rockers The National.

China Bears – seaside chirpiness with nostalgic melodies…

Guildford based alternative indie rock band NEON ISLANDS brought bold ‘n’ fruity tropical bass-lines and lots of fizzy guitar textures with frantic rhythms to go with flirtatious numbers.

Carlos de los Santos provided voice and more front than Harrods, while Jamie Hayes on bass guitar was simply bloody sensational and Nico Narbona (keys) offered a smooth atmosphere. Rhythms were expertly clouted out by Sam Lawson on drums. Their irrepressible charm and unmistakable ego was perhaps more significant than the total sum of their parts and outpourings, but hey! that’s what rock ‘n’ roll is all about.

London urban pop artist and singer-songwriter CHINCHILLA [Daisy Bertenshaw] who studied at the ACM Metropolis Studios academy campus in Chiswick has a mezzo-soprano range and raps in silvery cockney bursts. At SUMMER LIVE it was as if Ms. Dynamite had met Lily Allen in an Archway launderette to discuss men and moan about the weather. Last year’s wordy and grumbly “Playing With Fire” is a powerful hymn to pain and salvation. She’s unquestionably a rising star and one-to-watch!

Nabsora – exceptional

NABSORA (Brian Alejandro) is a rapper and producer originally from Colombia but is now based in London. He brought us a blast of interwoven social commentry through poety and hip-hop. His message relied on peace, love and understanding rather than rebellion.

As a poet he’s exceptional. As a rapper and lyricist he’s outstanding. His “Proud” has deep ridges of sound and is a profound crisis of contemplation set amongst vast expanses of forgiveness The vocal work is fast but accessible with elegant rhymes and melodic-hot songcraft.

Danish alternative electro-pop artist AIA creates marvelously colorful ear-tonics with decisive decency in her lyrics, taking in intertwisting rhythms to add to the drama of her performance.

AIA – intrepidly hypnotic…

She’s a fine tunesmith and an intrepidly hypnotic artist. (She reminded us of American synth-pop artist Halsey )

Also at the ACM Summer Live concert on Thursday were the Southampton based dramatic & punchy electronic duo UHURU consisting of singer/songwriter & producer Connor Daniel with Rob Jones on guitar and keys.

Plus soul and gospel singer JULY JONES and the distinctive indie-pop troupe THIS ROSE

It was a stunning evening of variety, discovery and five-star talent.

Words and pictures: @neilmach 2017 ©
Main Picture: CHINCHILLA
Link: https://www.facebook.com/acmuk/

The Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM) is a music academy in Guildford, Surrey [with sites in London and Birmingham] that offers full-time courses for guitar, bass, drums, vocals, keyboards, music production, artist development & songwriting, radio broadcasting, creative sound design, tour production & management and music business.

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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…

CURVED AIR — Back Screech Love? In Concert at Claygate

This Sunday we visited CLAYGATE — at the tail-end of their superbly organised MUSIC FESTIVAL week — to see the pioneering British progressive rock group CURVED AIR play live in concert at the Claygate Village Hall.

Their “Air Conditioning” album (1970) is still considered “essential listening” by the prog-rock crowd.

Retrospective – Anthology 1970-2009 – Best Of – (Remastered) – Curved Air

It was exciting to see a band — so famous — in what amounted to a village hall.

And the band have a strong Surrey heritage too [forerunner Sisyphus played one of their first performances at the Leith Hill Place Ballroom, Surrey] — so they were made very welcome.

After an extended instrumental introduction, the original “Hair” girl Sonja Kristina emerged onstage in a swirl of boho gypsy waftiness to get the crowd clapping along before the start of her distinctive low-dark, sexy vocal styling.

One of the first songs performed was “Stay Human” from the most recent album “North Star” [2014] with the “I am still your lover...” line.

This has strong riffs and thriving violin work from the “Sideshow Bob” lookalike Paul Sax on violin

(Fiddle-wizard Paul was one of the first participants at the Yehudi Menuhin School… and it shows.)

Sonja Kristina emerged onstage in a swirl of boho gypsy waftiness…

Screw” began with a two-tone riff played by the elfin “Legolas” Robert Norton on keyboards.

With clashing cymbals from original drummer Florian Pilkington-Miksa and unfolding vocal drama.

This number sounded like an avenging angel — on the prowl and dangerous. The alarming shrieks from Paul’s violin added to the sense of urgency and impending doom.

In the Seventies the band were often referred to as “the British Jefferson Airplane” and with songs such as “Marie Antoinette” [from Phantasmagoria, 1972] it is easy to see why.

This number was full of delicious harmonies, expert twiddles, and a lot of punches and trills.

However, it was a protest song at heart, although misted in historical imagery. Back in the 1970’s the worlds of fantasy, psychedelia and new-age shininess could all be packed-together in one gorgeous song. And they still made social comment. How cool is that?

Paul was one of the first participants at the Yehudi Menuhin School… and it shows…

Sonja took an acoustic guitar for the popular folk-song “Melinda (More or Less)” [also from Phantasmagoria.]

This beauty is a fan favorite and shows the hippie principles of the band as well as their eternal affection for the folk-star Donovan.

Unfortunately the second half of the show was bugged by a very loud and completely unpleasant feedback squeal.

“We need to find that pesky mouse….” Sonja told the crowd.

The problem was temporarily fixed — but it didn’t stop a lot of people from wandering off into the night.

The show ended with the fantastic “Back Street Luv.”

This super-hit demonstrated Sonja’s slow vocal style, which still reaches those husky tenor lows where she seems happiest, though she breaks into expressive contralto register at times.

Chanting revolution, pop and psychedelia.

Progressive rock is never much better than this…

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

STEVE MORRISON — Guitar Star Live in Staines

Since being on the telly [Guitar Star, Sky Arts 2015] the home-crafted bluesman STEVE MORRISON has become a bit of a draw.

We saw him and his band “Blues Abuse” [with Alan Hughes on drums and the legendary Alan Glen on harmonica] playing live at the superior RIVERSIDE CLUB, STAINES last Thursday.

During the first half of the electrifying show we enjoyed “Call Me the Breeze” JJ Cale [Naturally, 1972] which was rewarding, buoyant and appropriately transient.

Steve’s picking technique is impressive … he provides bass notes, chords and twiddles — often simultaneously.

Steve provides bass notes, chords and twiddles — often simultaneously... Photo Credit @neilmach 2017 ©
Steve provides bass notes, chords and twiddles — often simultaneously… Photo Credit @neilmach 2017 ©

Steve’s own composition titled “Love Has Gone” was gently set.

With baroque influences and a supreme lament-filled sob at the end, given up by Glen.

The sprinkle of finely chosen guitar notes fell like a confetti of anxious teardrops.

Another self-penned number, the “James Bond” theme called “Climbing On Top of the World” (“writing that was at the very top of my to don’t list…” Steve told the Staines audience) seemed crenelated and indented.

A fine blend of thrill, suspense and remarkable release.

In the second half, the happy crowd at the club were enlisted to join in with the choruses “just think of this place as a church… a church that sells beer…” we were told.       So we sang as we swayed.

Everyone from Elvis to Beyoncé via Suzi Quatro has covered Little Willie John’s “Fever.”

The Morrison version of this Peggy Lee favourite [penned by Eddie Cooley and Otis Blackwell] had all the ingredients we’d expect from a bigger blues-band – tangy bass line [played by Steve] yummy guitar work, and an awesome voice filled with heart & heat. And the “sax” licks were deliciously handled by Glen.

Full marks to Steve and his buddies for an entertaining live show.

The night had a whole lot of memorable moments (not just virtuoso guitar work, but also great drum solos, some fabulous blues-harp flurries and not to mention many gossipy revelations from Steve’s “telly” work — ) this was just like a traditional British rhythm and blues evening.

Another night of incredible quality musicianship at Staines, brought to us by the highest calibre musicians imaginable.

Words & Photos Neil Mach 2017 ©

Link: http://www.stevemorrison.eu

Truth About Vegas Live Review

Fresh from an exhilarating seven date UK tour,  the Walton-on-Thames based lads ‘Truth About Vegas’ played the Hob, Staines on Saturday night. Their EP titled “Alcoholiday” is out now and features some fine song-writing and catchy numbers.

DSC_0553Their opening number at the best music venue in Staines was the immensely satisfying ‘Breathe In Breathe Out’ with it’s slightly sneering attitude (reminiscent of ‘The Clash’) and a protesting under-current. This song seems to be about lifting oneself up – to summon the courage that is necessary – before you go out to claim what you deserve. It’s a song of strength and determination.

The back-beats munched deep, the guitar swats were extremely clear and sharp,  and that liquid lead guitar work from Jacob was thoroughly eviscerating.

The melodious chorus of this song was exciting and magnificent too . This was a big number from a memorable act – and a great start to the night.

It Really Hurts’  has some wonderfully tight drum-work right from the outset (by Sean) and this percusssion was intuitively spliced with some creative guitar lines. The main vocal started out ponderously – but this is a piece that swells, stretches and pours out …  it’s rather like an overflowing house party. And so, when this song started to flourish, it radiated the beatific – almost stately – voice  of Joe Sharman.

His words and phrases had meaning and melancholy, nestled between the burning guitars and the tumbling drums. Soon the bristles on the backs of our necks began to rise, while the palpitations ran through our hearts and caused our knees to wobble. It was a sensational number.

The angelic anguish continued with several other new tunes. The band sounded capable and insightful through the whole of their act ( reminding us of ‘The Offspring’)  and their songs remained highly passionate and sincere (reminding us of ‘Fountains of Wayne’.) It was a thoroughly enjoyable and encouraging show … TAV totally wowed the partying Staines-on-Thames audience.

Expect a lot more from this talented group !

– © Neil_Mach February 2014 –

Link:

https://www.facebook.com/wearetruthaboutvegas

Check the recent interview with TAV here: http://rockingsurrey.com

Kitten and The Hip Live at Boiler Room Guildford

Kitten and The Hip Live at Boiller Room
Image © Neil_Mach October 2012

One year ago, Ashley Slater met Kitten Quinn.

Ashley Slater is a UK based trombone player and best known for his work with Norman Cook (aka Fatboy Slim) in the band Freak Power. Kitten is a beautiful and intelligent singer songwriter. Together, they write songs, hang out, and play mischief.

In February, they were having a chat, and Kitten advised Ashley not to worry about something or other. Their dance-floor hit ‘Don’t You Worry About That’ was born the next day.

Live, Kitten and The Hip are usually a quartet, with Kitten singing and Ashley taking to the trombone and providing ‘scat’ style improv vocals. Kitten is a natural front-woman, at once mesmerising and seductive.

At Guildford’s favourite music venue, The Boiler Room, 4th October 2012, the band played their debut single “Dont You Worry” ( which has been signed to Hed Kandi and is promised major success in the clubs.) This song has gleaming vocals with a hint of sexy varnish around the smooth jazz edges. The cheeky trombone adds an impudent spiciness to this swing time Lindy Hop dancing track.

At the Boiler Room, Kitten & the Hip played without drums, and there was, in my opinion, a slight over-reliance on their prerecorded backing tracks. Songs like ‘Don’t Touch the Kitten’ have a lush “swing era” feel to them. Kitten’s cleaned out pipes really shine… chromium plated diamond studded style. The lilting ‘Swingle Singers’ sounding backing vocals adds some fine razzmatazz . And the ‘bone rubs up against the cat’s plate-glass voice – creating a heady static electricity to the fizzy pieces.

With their boogie woogiman connections and Manhattan Transfer style evocations, their material is clubland polished. If you go mad for the “Swing house” thing, this may be for you.

 

© Neil_Mach October 2012

 

Link:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kitten-and-The-Hip

The Planes Live at Boiler Room Guildford

The Planes are a four piece indie rock band from Portsmouth, on the south coast of England. They have been gigging since February 2011 and have since then reached the finals of The Wedgewood Rooms Showcase, and they have played the Southsea Fest. They have also played gigs with Club NME, supporting up and coming acts like Cerebral Ballzy, Jumping Ships and Sad Day For Puppets. Having enjoyed local success the lads are now keen on bringing their sound to a larger audience across the UK.

Raw Ramp was lucky enough to catch the band at Surrey’s favourite live music venue – The Boiler Room, Guildford on Friday 05 October, where they supported Films of Colour, Cities of Glass and Secret Son.

The sound of The Planes is haughty and trashy. They come across as lonely lanky lads, with floppy hair dos, devil-don’t-care attitudes, and bucket loads of style. Imagine the Stone Roses crossed with the Libertines to get something of an idea of what’s going on. They readily admit to being inspired by the Small Faces, and that shines through, in their looks and their polish.

Songs like ‘Looking At Me’ illustrate the ability of the band to find a hook and then use it, masterfully. Mike Smith’s vocals (lead vocalist and rhythm guitar) are clear-cut and inspired. And the harmonies are sweet. Sweet as honeyed rye. Guitar work is precise and imperious. The drumming ( Ollie Shaw) is as tight as a Punkie’s doodah.

The Planes song ‘On Demand’ reminded me of work by The Style Council. Crisp arrangements, smooth bass lines (Chris Smith) , and just the right amount of peppered funk. When the lyrics are peeled back, they reveal an inconsistent maturity.

The band played a new song at The Boiler Room – which, they say, will be on the highly anticipated new EP ( released next month.) ‘Stay The Weekend’ has crunchy chords, dizzy harmonies and a terribly catchy chorus … as well as those shamelessly sashaying guitars from Sam Wardle (lead guitar) .

As the band squeezed out their last song, I got to thinking that we are going to see a lot more of these guys. And that’s a good thing.

© Neil_Mach October 2012

Link:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/ThePlanes