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STAINES-UPON-THAMES DAY June 2016

This year’s fab STAINES UPON THAMES DAY on Sunday 26th June began with a successful performance by the talented SPELTHORNE YOUNG VOICES — a borough-based community choir, open to those of junior and senior school age, established in 2003 to promote and inspire young singers, as they prepare to develop good musical habits, discipline and musicality.

Shortly after, the Mayor’s Parade marched down the High Street. [Theme: Kings & Queens, to commemorate the 90th birthday of the Queen] with school children and community groups, dance groups and a marching band. This parade effectively opened the event.

As in previous years, there was plenty to see and do in the Memorial Gardens, and also along the River Thames, in the market square and on the High Street. With a Main Stage, more than three performance arenas, and an abundance of interesting & fun activities.

Folk, Blues 'n' Country outfit MOONSHINE ... One of several bands performing on STAINES UPON THAMES day ...
Folk, Blues ‘n’ Country outfit MOONSHINE … One of several bands performing on STAINES UPON THAMES day …

Local surf-punkers CHASING CARA [main photo] engaged the audience from the main stage with their high-energy antics, fast riffs and driving bass lines.

Other music came from the excellent Staines Lammas Band, the talented covers outfit SOUND MINED (their Elle King cover “Ex’s & Oh’s” was a treat) and lots more.

We headed towards the STAINES RIVERSIDE CLUB too, for their free stage. Here we saw the splendid 6 piece Folk, Blues ‘n’ Country outfit MOONSHINE whose wide range of covers we particularly enjoyed.

Another stand-out attraction of the day was the Falconry display with First Class Falconry.

There were also some excellent dance performances in the Memorial Gardens, lots of interesting Arts & Crafts Stalls and Charity & Community Stalls, the exciting Dragon Boat Challenge and the wonderful duck races.

Staines Upon Thames Day - lots of interesting Arts & Crafts Stalls and Charity & Community Stalls, the exciting Dragon Boat Challenge and the wonderful duck races ...
Staines Upon Thames Day – lots of interesting Arts & Crafts Stalls and Charity & Community Stalls, the exciting Dragon Boat Challenge and the wonderful duck races …

Spelthorne Canoe Club and Surrey Canoe Club gave free Taster Sessions for those who fancied splashing about on the water, whilst French Bros organised hourly Boat Trips along the Thames.

The day stayed dry, the Thames Side Brewery served refreshing Ales & Pimms and the Pony Rides were busy all afternoon. And once we had taken in all the sights & sounds and the party-by-river atmosphere we found some tasty morsels to tempt us on the various Street Food stalls before heading for a well-earned cream tea in the Church Hall.

An exciting family fun day filled with joy and activities. It allowed us all to experience a real sense of community and belonging.

Link: http://www.stainesuponthamesday.co.uk/
Story & all photos: @neilmach 2016 ©

Dragon Boats and spalshing about on the River on Staines-upon-thames day
Dragon Boats and spalshing about on the River on Staines-upon-thames day

 

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Sentimentality Mixed with Power — THE ALI MAC BAND

THE ALI MAC BAND features vocalist Ali MacKenzie, who was the original singer with the legendary R&B group The Birds.

The Birds were a popular Brit band during the mid-1960s and were famous for having guitarist Ronnie Wood in their line-up. Another famous member of The Birds was Ronnie’s old comrade, the bassist Kim Gardner — who went on to have a success in 1971 with ‘Ashton, Gardner & Dyke‘ and the “Resurrection Shuffle.”

The fall of The Birds came in 1965, when the Los Angeles band — The Byrds — began to dominate the UK Chart. The Birds manager, Leo de Clerck, tried to take legal action to prevent the Americans from using the name. But his action failed. In 1967 the British group disbanded… Ronnie Wood went off to join The Creation with Gardner (1968.)

Now Ali MacKenzie (who reminds us, by the way, of a cross between Leo Sayer and David Essex) has formed his own ‘super-group’ consisting of rock’s most resilient survivors.

We saw the super-group performing at the Staines Riverside Club this week. The line-up includes Strawbs drummer Richard Hudson, Glitter Band bassist Bill Phillips, and Renaissance guitarist Simon Bishop. The band plays a selection of good-time rhythm and blues, with generous handfuls of soul and rock ‘n’ roll.

Ali MacKenzie (vocals) with Richard Hudson (drums) at Staines Riverside Club - "Heartfelt soul and eloquence..."
Ali MacKenzie (vocals) with Richard Hudson (drums) at Staines Riverside Club – “Heartfelt soul and eloquence…”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just a Little Bit‘ the Rosco Gordon R&B classic (1959) — but probably better known as an Animals (and, later, Slade ) hit — was the first song in the Ali Mac repertoire that really showed-off the true nature of the band… it revealed their emotional commitment. This song was filled with soul and eloquence right from the start — with some fine guitar-play by the extraordinarily creative Simon, plus a stirring reverberation in Ali’s voice that sent chill-waves through our hearts.

Another cover that made us sit-up-and-take-notice was the famous Little Feat number ‘Willin‘ (Lowell George) which had the perfect chemistry — sentimentality mixed with power. This song had some excellent guitar, wonderful percussion and a dramatic and intelligent voice.

The band’s renditions tended to be inventive and creative, not sticking to established formats — so even old & familiar songs became fresh and unpredictable.

The second half of their show was not as strong as the first (in our opinion). Maybe it was concern about an imminent fire that caused a lack of concentration. “I smell smoke …” Announced Ali. And we waited, temporarily (and sensibly) while all the amplifiers were checked.

The band’s on fire…” Yelled out one helpful punter!

The second half of the show had some curious choices (for a four-piece band that do not have resources such as rhythm guitar or keyboards) so covers of Little Richard and Lynyrd Skynyrd songs seemed thin and scattered.

We preferred the easy-smooth soul numbers that the band performed so eloquently in the first half. Those numbers seemed more consistent. Far more suitable.

No matter, this was another tip-top evening of high quality music, lovingly crafted by consummate professionals — and held at this precious Staines music venue.

Words & Images: @neilmach 2015 ©
Come and Check Out Steve Morrison & Alan Glen with BLUES ABUSE on Thursday 17th December. Not to be missed!