Tag Archives: ronnie wood

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


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!

5 Things – This Week in Staines



Rock & Roll with Four Wheel Drive, Staines

Four Wheel Drive- Staines

Four Wheel Drive at HOBGOBLIN STAINES, Thu Aug 07 2008 8PM £3

Four Wheel Drive is a band that exists to play live. They deliver what can only be described as a relentless onslaught of good time, balls out Rock ‘N’ Roll. Ben Austwick and Paddy Achtelik provide rhythm guitar interplay recalling Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards at their best; while Ben also hits you with incendiary, gut-wrenching, Blues-based lead guitar with the same sheer physical force of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Angus Young.

The rhythm section generates a force capable of knocking down walls, yet with enough control to retain the R’n’B feel of ’70s Aerosmith and Rolling Stones. The band have been clocked at close to 120 decibels in rehearsals, almost earning the Guitar Institute their first ASBO!

This musical force of nature is topped and led by Jamie’s vocals. Switching between a sleazy drawl reminiscent of Mick Jagger and Steven Tyler, and the ball-busting scream of Back in Black-era Brian Johnson, the vocals compliment both the Rhythm ‘n’ Blues and Rock elements of the band. Tightly rehearsed vocal harmonies add an extra dimension to the songs, giving the live performances the same depth as the recordings.

The songs have always been written with the live show in mind and the delivery is enough to get anybody’s mouth away from their pint. Four Wheel Drive is made up of a highly “driven” collection of individuals whose lives are designed around the band to make sure it is constantly moving forward. New material is always being written and they can, and do, play any night of the week.

Jamie and Ben’s mutual love of all things Rock ‘N’ Roll make them a well suited writing partnership. Above you will find a taster of the music they’ve written since graduating from The Institute in summer 2007. After finding guitarist Paddy Achtelik at the new Guitar Institute in Kilburn, and introducing extremely talented drummer Will Richards thanks to ACM in Guildford… The Band is ready… It’s Time To Go.

If you miss ’em in Staines (don’t) then catch the boys here:

Aug 30 2008 Filthy’s Heath Road, Twickenham

Sep 25 2008 Filthy’s Heath Road, Twickenham

Check them on:



Enjoy some punk with the Blow Ups, Staines

Blow Ups - Staines

The Blow Ups Aug 10 2008 8:00P The Hobgoblin, Staines

Noisy and fast, loud and fun, The Blow Ups are a four piece punk band from South West London with a memorable melodic edge. They are set apart from the rest of the punky contenders by lead singer Kelly. With an impressive stage presence and a powerful voice she dominates the songs and the stage. The songs are full of sharp observations about superheroes in rehab, c-list celebrity drop outs, alienation and abuse.

Band Members:

Kel – vocals and guitar
Arda – bass and backvox
Marc – lead guitar and backvox
Cem – drums

Check them on:



Enjoy the smooth sounds of Succotash

Succotash - Staines

Succotash at Six Bells, Brentford August 10 9:00P

Just to let you know that Carl (drummer in Staines favourite band Foulplay) and his ravishing young assistant, Ravi (solo guitar and a local staines hero), will be playin’ dahn The Six Bells, 148 High Street, Brentford TW8 8EW on Sunday 10th August @ 9pm.

It’s a “proper” London boozer wiv a very friendly atmosphere and, more importantly, good beer!

So, cor blimey, Guv’nor, stike a light, better get yerselves dahn the “frog & toad” rahnd the “Johnny ‘orner” & into the “Rub a Dub” for a right old Cockerney “Knees up”.

If you miss Ravi and Carl at the Six Bells Brentford, catch up wiv ’em at:

Sep 12 2008 9:00P Three Horsehoes Laleham

Oct 18 2008 9:00P Red Lion Egham

Check them at:



Get wowed by the New Assassins at Staines

New Assassins - Staines

New Assassins with 4WD at THE HOB STAINES Aug 07 8:00P

The New Assassins

MIK PERRY – Vocals & Guitar RIK PAYNE – Lead Guitar

The New Assassins are an American sounding rock band from Staines ( they like to call themselves ‘the elder statesmen of Staines- but they don’t seem to look as old as Ming Cambell to me!) and they play everything from experimental, punk, new wave to raw blues, rock to indie. I saw them play at The Hob, Staines last year.

Some of their material seems a bit experimental and improvised- yet tight enough that it does not stray into ‘jazz odyssey’ territory. If you take a pinch of PiL (Public Image Ltd) and then add a spoonful of psychedelia a lá The Verve with a dollop of post-punk juice like Joy Division you get close to the sound of the New Assassins.

In fact, the band look awfully similar to The Verve in appearance but seem less inclined to shoegaze and more inclined towards a more raucous and, to my mind, enjoyable rocky style more like The Black Crowes.

Check them here:


Highly Recommended by Ad Pontes


Get your holiday reading in – local author

Prank!  By Hag Hughes

Prank! By local author – Price £8.54 (5% discount) from Amazon

The Hilarious New Book by Hag Hughes

Lots of local landmarks feature in the new book by New Haw author Hag Hughes make this an entertaining read- just right for your summer reading list.

The plot of the story revolves around the World Endurance championship and features fun-loving Weybridge man Paul “Hazy” Hayes who spends most of his booze-fuelled time plotting wind-ups. Then during one of his pranks something goes horribly wrong and someone winds up dead. If you were a mate of Hazy’s would you help him dispose of the body and cover-up the evidence? We follow Hazy as he battles with friends, foes, lovers and his own conscience and attempts to hold his life and sanity together under the crumbling reality of divorce and self-destruction. Oh, and don’t forget the body in the boot of his car…

With references to lanmarks in Shepperton, Addlestone, Brooklands and Weybridge, this is a great book for any local reader.

Order Your copy of Prank! Click Here Now

Availability: In stock. Dispatched from and sold by Amazon.co.uk


Get Your Tickets for Beck Theatre, Hayes

The Beck Theatre
Grange Road

Visit AdPontes-Staines Regularly for Staines Arts