Tag Archives: riverside club


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/

THE ALI MAC BAND — Live in Staines

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’sWeed, 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’sKnock on Wood.”

THE ALI MAC BAND - the tightest musicianship you are ever likely to witness... Photo Credit @neilmach 2017 ©
THE ALI MAC BAND – the tightest musicianship you are ever likely to witness…
Photo Credit @neilmach 2017 ©

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…

Words & Pictures: Neil Mach 2017 ©
Link: https://www.facebook.com/StainesRiversideClub

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


This week — still celebrating a “Month Montage of Blues” in STAINES — we went to the RIVERSIDE CLUB to see the FRAN MGILLIVRAY band (with Mike Burke.)

Fran is the bassist with the colourful and expressive voice who adds energizing structure to the blues-tunes she performs. Fran plays alongside the great talent of Mike Burke, on guitar.

Fran started playing folk, roots and blues music in the late 1970s with Mike Burke, and appeared at the Cambridge Folk Festival in 1977 following the release of the album “Into the Light.”

Fran McGillivray curative simplicity and subtle reflection. Photo Credit: @neilmach 2016 ©
Fran McGillivray curative simplicity and subtle reflection. Photo Credit: @neilmach 2016 ©

The band have recently been mixing their new album [Riverside Club favorite Alan Glen is a guest on the recording) so we were pleased they chose to play a couple of songs from the upcoming release including “When, when, when.”

This is a song about looking back to a time before gadgets and smart-phones. When forming and maintaining relationships was perhaps easier (who knows?) This was a cool number, full of expression and a touch of yearning.

We loved the choppiness of numbers like “Hard Working Woman.”

Fran’s vocals on this song reminded us of Elkie Brooks during her Vinegar Joe days. We also enjoyed the fluency on tracks like the ‘Little Walter‘ standard “Blues with a Feeling” — although we could have done with harmonica for this one.

In the 1990s Fran and Mike formed the urban blues band “So Long Angel” and they played us the showy and vibrant “Ecstasy” from that period. It was filled with a fusion of jazz and psychedelia and was our favorite number.

In amongst the jazz-tinged songs and country-blues offerings — all played with nuanced voice and robust bass lines from Fran and expressive finger style from Mike — was a handful of rhythm and blues numbers, such as Rufus Thomas danceable “Walking the Dog” with sexy bass notes and flames of guitar.

We also loved the Fran McGillivray version of “Not Fade Away” with its rough sharpness, Bo Diddley beat (enriched by percussionist Roger Nunn) and very pleasant, languid voice.

This was a positive, upbeat and mellow show full of curative simplicity and subtle reflection.

An outstanding evening of quality musicianship.

Next to Staines Riverside Club: Case Hardin Thursday September 22
Words & Pictures: Neil Mach 2016 ©

STEVE WHALLEY Live in Staines

Watching Steve Whalley perform is like having all your anxieties and emotions torn from you and tossed into the wind — like confetti — then patiently and kindly stuck back together, with paste and water, by the good-hearted musician himself, on mandolin and guitar.

He is the master of cathartic liberation — not hokey or schmaltz.

Always in charge. Always ready to create reality and grit. Always able to inject a slice of humor. Inevitably, he will tear your emotions apart — before putting you back together like a paper mache doll.

Songs like the Tom Waits number “Downtown Train” (Rod Stewart’s cover got to number 3 in the charts in 1989 ) contain the same manly confidence as the original. A little cheeky. And very smoky. At Staines Whalley also managed to capture the same elegant shimmer of guitar that was heard on the “Rain Dogs” version.

Speaking of virility, Whalley loves to show off his unwearied masculine spirit.

He made several naughty comments during the set. When he introduced the crowd at the Riverside Club to Mose Allison’sEverybody’s Cryin’ Mercy” he could not help but leer and drool — sticking out his tongue like a puppy trying to reach for an ice-cream …

He explained that he first saw this song performed by Bonnie Raitt. “Cor!

Steve Whalley with Tat Whalley and Chris Hunt performing at the Riverside Club Staines on April 21st 2016. Image by @neilmach 2016 ©
Steve Whalley with Tat Whalley and Chris Hunt performing at the Riverside Club Staines on April 21st 2016. Image by @neilmach 2016 ©

This song is a slow-stomper with Whalley employing his acoustic guitar to pick and slide as well as use it as a rhythmic instrument. Thus he is able to dramatically get across the main point of the number “Everybody’s Cryin’ peace on earth…” by pounding the body and striking the strings. His voice was gravelley one moment, liquid silver the next. An amalgam of softness and pain.

Other stand-out songs were the sparkling “Big Love” and “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat” from Dylan’s 1966 album “Blonde on Blonde.” This song allowed Whalley to confess that good shoes get him turned on. “My fantasy is that hot girl in the Special-K commericals … You know the one who wears a skin-tight red dress and shiny red heels…

We travelled all around the States with Whalley too. From Chess Studios, Illinois to way down below The Mason–Dixon line. “Where it’s hotter than a whore’s drawers on Navy Day…

The best of these musical excurions led us to Atlantic City, New Jersey for Bruce Springsteen’s “escape movie” song “Atlantic City.” This number allowed Whalley to examine another of his regular themes — facing death — and wondering aloud what will become of us: “Maybe everything that dies someday comes back…” This was particularly pertinent on the night we saw Whalley perform because the world had just been informed (a few hours earlier) that Prince was dead.

When we saw Steve Whalley’s show in Staines he was accompanied by the British actor Tat Whalley on bass guitar. “Tat has eclipsed my accomplishments many times over…” Steve told the audience “But above all, I am most proud that he is my son…

On drums was the versatile “Bruvvers” Drummer [ Lonnie’s too, as a matter of fact] Chris Hunt. This trio played together with grace and fluidity — the numbers never seemed hasty… yet the musicians were always fully absorbed.

This was another excellent night of high-quality music down at the Riverside Club in Staines. With some dramatic soul — bordering on frenzy at times — and a lot of sophisticated guitar-play plus a voice so earthy you could almost grow your vegetables in the nutrients…

We saw Steve Whalley with Tat Whalley and Chris Hunt performing at the Riverside Club Staines on April 21st 2016.
If you like this, why not check out the Crawdaddy Blues Band
Saturday 23rd April at the Riverside in Staines
Words & Images: @neilmach 2016 ©



ONE FOR THE ROAD — Live in Staines

ONE FOR THE ROAD are a well respected local Americana band (Country Rock and Blues ) who play their own highly original songs alongside fresh covers of songs by artists of the caliber of Tom Petty, Steve Earle, The Traveling Wilburys, Bob Dylan, Old Crow Medicine Show, JJ Cale etc.

We saw them play their live show at the super Staines Music Venue – the Riverside Club, last week.

Keith Beasley vocals - "the right kind of husky/smoky ..."
Keith Beasley vocals – “the right kind of husky/smoky …”

Things were dark and murky with the ace cover of Jace Everett’s Bad Things” ( the theme from the HBO series True Blood) which had plenty of strangely interwoven and eerily evocative violin-play and a lot of early twang. The song was filled with sweaty, humid atmosphere.

Handle with Care” — the Traveling Wilburys song from 1988 — demonstrated the band’s skilled and assured interaction with each other… all the band (for example) have to play the parts originally laid down by Harrison , Lynne, Orbison, Petty, and Dylan. It’s a bit of an ask. To be sure. Yet the lads accomplished it successfully. Keith’s voice was the right kind of husky/smoky on this number (more Dylan than Orbison, though) — but this suited the song well.

Keith told us that the band would be incorporating some Blackberry Smoke into their set. The Southern Rock melodies fitted well in the general atmosphere and the structure of the show. Other favorites included the classic Old Crow Medicine Show & Bob Dylan’s number “Wagon Wheel” (also a Darius Rucker hit in 2013.)

The other ONE FOR THE ROAD moon-shining staple “Copperhead Road” ( Steve Earle ) got folks up-and-dancing in the Riverside Club.

This was a glorious show … it was as if we had turned off of Route 66 and headed along a dusty old track to discover Old Doc’s Little Grill. Where we fortunately found a talented group of guys who love to play together … rocking a bit harder than a jug-band, but keeping
intact the tradition and the craftsmanship.


Words & Pictures: @neilmach 2016 ©

ALL LOCAL & SURREY WIDE GIGS HERE: https://www.facebook.com/rockingsurrey

Headaholics Meet at the Riverside Club in Staines

HEAD is a fast, flexible and fun three-piece pop-punk band with the electrifying voice of Barry Critchell, the power and the choppiness of Spencer Komodromou on guitar and the furious thrust & essential combinations of Nick Owsianka on drums.

Their set at the Riverside Club, Staines this week was an incredibly versatile demonstration of pitch-perfect rock poppiness, rampant punk chaos and indie affection.

Head - pitch-perfect rock poppiness, rampant punk chaos and indie affection...
Head – pitch-perfect rock poppiness, rampant punk chaos and indie affection…

The young crowd enjoyed the HEAD set-list which consisted mostly of cover versions of the most commercially successful alt-rock and post-Britpop numbers from the last 20 years … it was enough to quench the song cravings of anyone. There was a non-stop party atmosphere with the crowd-pleasing hits gleefully rushed out.

Stand-out numbers were “I Predict a Riot” [Kaiser Chiefs] & “American Idiot” [Green Day] and “Place Your Hands” [Reef.] But we also enjoyed the older numbers, especially
I Saw Her Standing There” with that famously pinched bass riff from “Talkin’ About You” [Chuck Berry] and we also loved their perfect intonation on “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” [the Rolling Stones, 1968.]

We were treated to a bold and invigorating drum solo by Nick and revelled in some muscular and thoroughly entertaining guitar-work from Spencer with some excellent vocals by Barry.

Actually their fun punk version of the classic Norwegian synth hit “Take On Me” [A-ha] was a perfect demonstration of this, with his voice reaching the succesive high notes to ultimately cultivate that convincing falsetto when it was required.

After a very entertaining piece of “Swedish Death Metal …” [I’ll give you a clue – the song was written by Björn & Benny] almost all of the audience were up on their feet and throwing shapes..
It is not that often you see the dance floor packed on a live music night at the Riverside Club!

The HEAD songs were filled with vibrant spirit and healthy vitality.

The party more or less finished with “Smells Like Teen Spirit” [Nirvana] and we went out ear-bruised yet happy into the night…

Yes, we are all HEAD Addictz now…

Words and Images: @neilmach 2016 ©
Link: https://www.facebook.com/Head.Uk