Tag Archives: Staines Riverside club

Stacey Cronin and Asylum Affair at Staines Riverside Club

The amazing quality and superlative musicianship brought to The Staines Riverside Club by ‘Stacey Cronin and Asylum Affair‘ this week made me realize that really good ‘covers’ bands should make you think.  We all know that these bands are here to entertain us.   But – from time to time – it’s nice to be challenged. And ‘Asylum Affair’ put so much effort into bringing you their passionately performed ‘forgotten classics’  that you tend to feel delightfully exhausted when it’s time to go home. They are a power-house of talent and energy.

It’s also refreshing to have some 80’s power ballads for a change. Sometimes ‘covers bands’ do not offer enough fresh ideas to an audience. Party bands should try to entertain and delight – of course – but they should also surprise their audience – perhaps revealing long hidden memories or replaying some cherished old favourites.

So we had “Alone” – the ‘Heart’ hit song –  written by Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly. (They also wrote the Madonna hit “Like a Virgin” and The Bangles “Eternal Flame”.) This  piece showed off the remarkable talent of Stacey.  She is a gutsy, powerful and passionate lady. And we also had the incredible “Love Is a Battlefield” (Pat Benatar) which was released in 1983 in the United States. This song was written by Holly Knight with Mike Chapman (half of the brand “Chinnichap.”) Stacey says that this is her favourite number to perform and we could see why. She brought drama, remorse and extraordinary strength to each word of the song.  And the tune has being going around in my head every since!


But although the focus was on ‘The Eighties’ it does not mean that the band did not play some enjoyable hits from other decades. “Handbags and Gladrags” is normally associated with the Stereophonics or with the theme tune of  ‘The Office’. But it was actually written in 1967 by Mike d’Abo (vocalist with Manfred Mann) before being offered to Chris Farlowe as a single. Dave Greenslade played the piano riff on that original version. Asylum Affair’s interpretation had everything that we expected from this much loved song. Pathos, the sense of loss and  the overpowering nostalgia. It was all there.  Ahh! Those bittersweet memories. It was an excellent cover.

The Boss” was also covered. “Born to Run” (1975) was sung with the same vigorous hard-working energy that you would expect from  Bruce Springsteen himself. The ‘Clarence Clemons’ sax piece was expertly executed by Mark ‘Wilko’ Wilkinson, who swapped keyboards for the saxophone. Later we also had “Because the Night” – one of my favourite songs of all time –  it was written by Bruce Springsteen for his ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’ album in 1978.  And it is still Patti  Smith’s most popular  number.

Stacey Cronin’s voice is often compared favourably with Bonnie Tyler. But I think that her voice has more in common with Steve Nicks than with Tyler. It has that high quality husk – for sure – but it is not so acidic or sand papery.  The voice  is light, fluorescent and powdery.

So, when the band played their songs from Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours’ album, we enjoyed the full range of delicate expressionism – easily spliced with powerful zest and gusto. For these songs,  the boys also came to the microphones to provide some beautiful harmonic backing vocals. And the Fleetwood Mac numbers provided an opportunity for John Lawrence (lead guitar) to produce an abundance of perfectly pitched and lavishly adorned solo work.

During one number – the ‘Prince’ odyssey  that is “Purple Rain” (1984) –  the excellent ‘Giant of the BassColin Payne moved so far from the stage  – (using his wireless kit) – that he more-or-less left the building. John then focussed on the blooms and contortions of that famously extended guitar solo. It was moving stuff!

The Staines Riverside Club has brought some incredible music to Staines over the years. And they can be justifiably proud of hunting down Stacey Cronin and Asylum Affair. This is every bit a high quality music act.

So please don’t miss them next time they come around. And support live music locally.

– © Neil Mach May 2013 –



Check http://www.ents24.com/staines-events/staines-riverside-club for the next gig at the Riverside Club

Stacey Cronin and Asylum Affair


Rietta Austin – Live in Staines

You might expect a cynical or even a jaded offering from an accomplished pub singer and hard-working funk-rock / soul performer like Rietta Austin. But what greeted the music lovers at Staines Riverside Club on May 26 was a show of exquisite charm and unprecedented freshness.  Rietta was as bold and as sweet as any flush faced  teen performer you may see on telly. Yet  more polished and professional than any them!  A most unlikely “prima donna” indeed.

Flying into an amazing tear-away set – opening with a sweeping version of ‘Knock On Wood’ the ‘Bright Lights, Big City’ singer gave us a glossy, yet youthful, show at the Riverside Club.  Full of totally vivacious energy and warm heartfelt joy , the curvy singer seemed to be literally bursting with a lusciously infectious spirit.

Rietta is credited with being the first artist to open the O2 Arena in London headlining their Community Event June 20, 2007. [ http://youtu.be/D26whvywMG0]
Coming from New Zealand, and continuing to have many professional and personal ties with her home continent of Australasia, her voice has been described as “Truly a voice that must be heard.” – Kirk Pengilly, INXS

After telling the Staines audience that she would play a few of her own works, sprinkled with some choice covers, she sang the deliciously melancholy Stevens/Ross number ‘Wildflower’  followed by a virtuous cover of fellow kiwi Sharon O’Neill’s 1983 hit  “Maxine”.

By the Jon Bovi number “Livin’ on a Prayer”  (produced with great gusto and fire), we had already witnessed  her magnificent and legendary four octave vocal range. And an exciting wardrobe malfunction during a lively session of tambourine, was narrowly avoided when Rietta, looking down,  realized that she was about to be undone.

This was during one of a pair of numbers when the singer allowed the impeccably funky band some time to ‘go their own way’. Another such piece was the eloquently arranged Hendrix number ‘Little Wing’ where Tom Walker (Guitar) played out a solo of such amazing quality that he managed to gain his own warm ovation.

But it was Rietta’s sweetly booming voice that the punters had come for. From so low that you thought the earth beneath you would crack open, to higher than the highest conceivable highs – like a tiny songbird – her range is undefinable and utterly magnificent.  Each thrilling song was gloriously realized by a vocalist who is renowned, quite rightfully,  for her sensuality and her highly charged stamina. Sensational.

© Neil_Mach May 2012




Norrie Snakebite Burnett live at Staines Riverside Club

Veteran blues shouter Norrie “Snakebite” Burnett has been active on the blues circuit for over 50 years. Blues shouters must project their voices over drums and guitars – orginally this was done without amplification. Blues shouting is considered to be the opening pathway which led jazz music to ascend into rock and roll. Norrie is generally considered to be one of the finest blues shouters in Britain.

Norrie fronted up his band of seasoned pros at the excellent Staines Riverside Club on 26 January,  playing an exciting assortment of blissful rhythm and blues classics – delivered like a howitzer with that astonishing voice of his, with vocals of sustained and unimaginable power and yet subtly controlled – each note held with skillful precision.

Norrie treated us to several gutsy, glorious covers – many taken from the Willie Dixon back-catalogue  (widely acknowledged as the founder of the Chicago blues sound.) This means that most of the pieces had a rock and roll feel to them rather than being purely traditional blues numbers.

Joining Norrie on stage for many of his musical sojourns was the sensationally talented blues-harp player Dave Raphael, who conjured up some startling harmonica solos.

Norrie is tall, good looking and fairly imposing. He wore a crisply pressed dress shirt and smart trousers over a lean body,  and he is blessed with a full mop of silvery hair. It seems nigh on  impossible to believe that Norrie started his singing career way-way back (as he reminded us) in a skiffle group. This was long before the British rock and roll scene started to take off.

As he sang, his delivery reminded me of Big Joe Turner –  you could detect that glint in Norrie’s eye, as he surveyed the room, confident that each word had hit it’s mark. On target.  Each song was carefully crafted and delivered with courage, each piece richly decorated by guitar, bass and percussion from his efficient supporting musicians – or occasionally coloured by a tantalizing contribution from Dave Raphael on harmonica.

This was a rare spectacle and a significant show for the Staines Riverside Club  – and we all felt privileged to be there and to witness the magic of this seasoned performer and his friends playing for us in an intimate setting.

© Neil_Mach January 2012

‘One for The Road’ live at The Staines Riverside Club – JAN19 2012

Five piece ‘Southern Fried Country Rock Band’ ONE FOR THE ROAD played a jam-packed jambalaya of a gig at the fine RIVERSIDE CLUB venue in Laleham Road Staines on Thursday January 19 2012.

This popular venue has attracted some amazing musical talent on their regular Thursday music nights, and this bluesey rocky band were no exception. Full of gusto, energy and promise from the outset, the band stormed through a lively first set with sparkling examples of some classic hits from the likes of Tom Petty, Primal Scream, The Rolling Stones, Creedence Clearwater Revival and a dash of Johnny Cash. Also scattered in there were some more unlikely namechecks like, for example, Kentucky Headhunters.

Our guide for this journey around Americana and all things Southern, from Navajo Territory to swamp country, was the amiable gravel-throated ‘Kid Rock’  lookalike Keith Beasley (lead vocals and guitar) wearing his ‘Baptized in Muddy Waters’ T shirt and sporting a tortoise-brown rather dapper hat. But the band also boasted the rawest, smokiest blues-harp player this side of the cotton belt, and one mean rattlesnake on drums, plus a fierce lead guitar player and a bruising, bouncing bass. This is a quality act.

The second set brought the delighted Staines crowd some solid golden nuggets of sound, covering numbers by the likes of The Traveling Wilburys, Kid Rock and even finishing with some antic-filled punk – The Undertones “Teenage Kicks”.

And all the way through the show, you could almost smell the shrimp on the barbecue and taste the smoky bourbon on the air.  At one point both Adrian and Kenny played joyful King Biscuit blues harmonica together- this was a terrific moment-  ( “Stone Fox Chase”). A rootin’ tootin’  howlin’ success.

My personal favourite was the band’s self penned ‘You Can Steal’ song which had a gruff attitude (comparisons with Dylan were formed) and rusty, dusty percussion. Tobacco stained, rubenesque (fat and delicious) guitars meander and burst out of their corsets. Huge surly riffs mingle and mix, with a great chorus which has raise-your-knees-and-jig danceability written all over it. A true Southern delight.

If you get a chance to see this act live, grab it. Don’t forget your ‘gator skin shoes and your flask of moonshine though…. ‘cos you’ll make a night of it!

© Neil_Mach January 2012



The SkaSouls live at the Riverside Club, Staines

Knees up, trumpets down, shades on – let’s skavoovie!

After their phenomenal success, playing the hottest gig of the year, at The Hobgoblin, Staines last week – the SkaSouls went on to sell out the Staines Riverside Club on 17th Feb as well ( A charity performance in aid of the Joshua Deller Appeal).  We went along to find out what all the fuss was about.

On the glittery stage were six venerable musicians who all share a wide ranging musical ability, and each possesses the kind of musical experience and prowess that other bands merely fantasize about. Playing in various bands on the local and National scene before embarking on this Ska-shaped project back in the Summer of last year, these boys have since enjoyed a growing popularity as this town’s favourite 2-tone party band. And they already possess an enviable reputation for playing those authentically sweet Jamaican-style grooves and sweaty urban ska standards that you and I loved in the 80s – with covers of all your favourite songs from bands like  ‘The Specials’,  ‘Bad Manners’ and ‘Madness’.

After a raucous start at this Riverside venue, the band thundered and roared into their set like a Louisiana rainstorm – stopping for nothing – as they pelted out hit after hit. A large space was kept free to dance, and by the second song the audience was already up and dancing to the vibes. This band is wild. Those skutter-bus salt-chip shavings of sound soon start to set your world on fire.

Early numbers included ‘My Girl Lollipop’ (attributed to ‘Bad Manners’) but originally a doo-wop number for The Cadillacs’s before becoming a phenomenal hit for ‘Millie Small’ back in 1964 (as My Boy Lollipop). This song came alive with groovy flares of trumpet from Nick and thumping bass from Huw. But during the set we were also delectably teased with some delightful surprises like Chuck Berry’s  “You Never Can Tell”  or  Dexys Midnight Runners tribute to ram-jam Soul-Man Geno Washington “Geno”, upon which lead vocalist Lee sounds like vintage David Essex (in a good way, I must emphasise.)

But it is on the big tribal classix like “Gangsters” that this band really thrives and the audience becomes visibly alive.

This is two-tone heaven as the twin horns ( Nick on Trumpet and Allan on Trombone) flame and rip into your soul, the chuttering guitars frizzle your senses, the walkabout bass-lines juggle your brain and the ka-ching percussion rattles your emotions. And even creepy sound effects for songs like “Ghost Town” sound as genuinely disturbing, gritty and as ghoulish as you would expect.

Then we shoed-off for a skank doing the “Pressure Drop” (The Trojan-shaped hit from  Toots and the Maytals). This song and others in the SkaSouls repertoire feature those great wallowing Belushi-sized vocals from Lee and some impressive backing vocals from the other band members. Plus lumbering great chunks of trumpet and trombone and golden nuggets of pound-for-pound bass. Then we enjoyed “The Guns of Navarone” which was originally performed by ‘The Skatalites’ and later covered by ‘The Specials’. This tune was a thumping great success from beginning to end. And the amazing lead guitar from Ben shines out on this and other songs.

After an interval, to catch our breaths, the band raced into those endearing and catchy ska-pop standards we all loved – “Baggy Trousers” (Madnesss) and Lee Thompson’s tribute to Prince Buster “The Prince” – from which “Madness” took their name. And the incredibly structured “Night Boat to Cairo” (this song used to be a bit of an anthem for Lee’s much-loved old party band – FoulPlay.)

And in the final flourish we also enjoyed a thriving “Shame & Scandal” that started life as a hit for Lance Percival (of all people) before becoming an early ska-hit for Peter Tosh with the Skatalites – before being ‘re-born’ by ‘Madness’ during the new wave of British ska. And, of-course, we had the classic and superbly syncopated song “Israelites” (1969 Desmond Dekker.)

It was just a case of getting your knees up, trumpets down, shades on and skiffling and skadoodling the night away. Sheer bliss!

This is Lee Ridley’s dream outfit of a band, the vision he had wanted to create for years, but who would have thought that it could ever percolate into something as refreshing and uplifting as this?  Welcome to the chapel of living rhythm and holy beat ‘cos these madcap skasters are here to jump-start your weekend.  Do not take your eyes off this band …. and catch ‘em live as soon as you possibly can.

© Neil_Mach
February 2011

This concert was a charity show for the Joshua Deller Appeal – the event raised over £1200 for little Joshclick here to donate too

Band Link:


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Kindred Spirit at Staines Riverside Club

What can be better than sharing a well drawn pint or two with some like-minded friends, whilst listening to a quality live performance from some of the finest musicians in the business? The Riverside Club in Staines has been attracting some of the big names from the music world to its humble riverside home of late. Last Thursday the club welcomed through the doors the undeniable talent of locally based folk-rock band Kindred Spirit. Folk-Rock is experiencing something of a renaissance recently – Fairport Convention and Pentangle are still with us charming the audiences…  and now we have a new generation of groups like Mumford & Sons and Midlake to take us up to the next level, and some exciting and experimenting bands like Fleet Foxes, to reassure us the genre is far from dead.

Kindred Spirit (playing as a three piece at Staines Riverside Club) have those lush harmonies and emotional power  that you come to expect from this kind of group. The violin from Gavin Jones is exuberant and fresh and the feverish pipes and flute (and sax) from Annie Parker leaves you tingling inside. Across this chiming, piping-hot, spiky landscape comes the lush and gently unassuming vocals of Elaine Samuels, whose voice is reminiscent of the late Sandy Denny.

The first half of the set (before the club’s obligatory raffle) was vaguely ‘horse related’ and the second half was  ‘sea travel’  related. I do not know if this was planned or a happy accident. So, in the first half, we had such traditional-sounding delights as ‘The Galway Farmer’ (Devon folk duo ‘Show of Hands’ – 1992) with those scuffed and skiffling fiddles and ne’er-do-well jaunty pipes. And “A Horse with No Name” (‘America’ 1972) with those esoteric chords and the haunting sense of loss along with reverberant regret. In here too were some ambitious songs like Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish You Were Here’ with some extremely enjoyable woven interplay from Annie and Gavin and Elaine’s voice perched high above – as teasing as a wood lark.

The second half incorporated plenty of sea-wall imagery. A perfect rendition of “Martha’s Harbour” (‘All About Eve’ – 1988) depicted the agony of waiting by the waves for a true love to return from across the churning sea. But this song was somewhat diminished by Kindred Spirit’s own composition “I’ll Always Love You” (from the “Dance of Life” album). This song reminded  me of Fleetwood Mac circa 1977 (the band often plays ‘The Chain’ to great applause at gigs,) but once it started, it settled down to a lustrous and emotive folk-rock ballad. Annie’s flute was like a sea-bird fluttering in the sea-breeze, but the power and surge of the fiddle was like the sea-spray fiercely spitting into your face. Luckily, Elaine’s deliciously smooth vocals took you back to an altogether warmer, more friendly and infinitely more welcoming place.  This was, for me, the high point of the evening.

Kindred Spirit’s own songs are full of mystery and magic. Their compositions are sometimes as haunting as a cold-dread phantom and at other times as fleet footed as a mountain gazelle. The clear articulation of Elaine’s vocals over and above the elaborate and intricate solos from Gavin and Annie, often leave you on the edge of your seat with excitement.

“Lady Eleanor” (Lindisfarne) started with an intro that reminded me of a (little slower) “Long Train Runnin “  (Doobie Brothers.) The original version had a more mystical East feel to it. The song immediately embarks upon a magical journey brought alive by the mysterious and foggy delights of Elaine’s silken, breathy vocals.

Lola (Kinks) was another popular cover.  Full of teasing and almost giggling violin and flute. Annie and Gavin provided quirky backing vocals. On the original song Ray Davies played a steel bodied resonator-type guitar on this track… which gives the song more pinch, pluck and plonk – the Kindred Spirit version is more whimsical lyrically and smoother instrumentally, with a much softer guitar sound from Elaine.

Finishing off the show with an exuberant version of Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl”, the audience was left stunned by a performance which was both truly refreshing and full of vigorous energy. An amazing evening.

You can see Kindred Spirit play with Blue Onyx (The Moody Blues Tribute Band) at The Leatherhead Theatre on Saturday 4 December. Or check their website for more local concerts. See links below.

© Neil_Mach
October 2010




The Eldon Arms        Reading        Sat 30 Oct
The Royal Oak         Berkshire     Sat 20 Nov
Leatherhead Theatre                    Sat 4 Dec

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Roland Chadwick – Staines Riverside Club

The humble Staines Riverside Club has gradually emerged, quietly yet earnestly, as an interesting and valuable local music venue over the last few years – with regular live music slots – along with plenty of other cultural activities.  As a result of a lot of hard work from some of the music-loving club members , the venue has been able to entice some formidable artistic talent to their tinsel fringed stage in recent months – such as Papa George, Big Jim Sullivan and the Good Old Boys. Last Thursday night the club opened their Thameside doors to welcome in the gifted Australian guitarist and composer Roland Chadwick.  Roland’s career has spanned from the blues to world music and then to pop, and he has been hailed as a ‘guitarist’s guitarist’ by the likes of John Renbourn and Tommy Emmanuel. He has recorded and worked with the likes of Steve Vai, Barriemore Barlow (Jethro Tull),  Mike Lindup (Level 42) and Alan Glen, (The Yardbirds.) He has also been greatly praised for his work with the English Chamber Orchestra.

Starting off a two-part set with some rootsy blues guitar work, the quixotic and, frankly, Van Dyckesque musician and his resonator guitar seemed comfortably at home in front of the relaxed Staines audience. Technically brilliant, he is also emotionally inspirational and possesses an unerring instinct to tease the sounds out of the twanging strings. The sights, smells and the sensations of the Delta come alive with his sublime use of bottle-neck and picking. But much of his blues derived material has a loftier and even classical guitar ‘edge’ to it, and is played with an observant nod towards the Spanish ancestry of his instrument. His voice is high and sweet, and has a sad quality to it. Sometimes these high notes are extended to falsetto- reminding the listener of bluegrass yodeling.

The more rounded, and probably the most commercially viable piece in this portion of the set, was Chadwick’s own song ‘Valentina’ during which he plays the guitar with such speed and melodic tone that it almost sounds like a mandolin. The tune is heart-achingly beautiful and has an emotional dimension that reminded me of the Led Zeppelin song “Thank You” (off their 1969 album Led Zeppelin II containing the lyric … “Little drops of rain”.)

Other highlights of the performance included an even handed yet thrilling version of  “Come Together” (The Beatles – Bluesman Muddy Waters is mentioned in this song) and an exciting version of “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” the Delta blues number Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

In the second half Roland Chadwick introduced the audience to Nick Linnick, a young ‘student’ guitarist of his acquaintance. Nick is a prodigious talent in his own right and his youthful and relentlessly high quality guitar-play is delivered at formidable speed. Balanced with an eloquent style, and in terms of talent, it was often hard to separate the master from the apprentice. This  half of the set was dominated by jazz numbers including some standards like “Ain’t No Sunshine” but also included some more demanding improvised work. The guitar duo created seductively mellow colours, often given backdrops of brooding and melancholy chords, and punctuated by vivid fluidity. A lighter moment was a show tune from ‘The Sound of Music’ but the most memorable number was the blues standard “Hoochie Coochie Man” ( written by Willie Dixon and first performed by Muddy Waters in 1954.)  When played by the duelling guitars, this song became a poignant melange of swampy, smoky delta blues laced with enough exhilarating xampany to evoke an exhilarating and dazzling percussive flamenco style. Chadwick’s nimble fingers picked and plucked the strings with astonishing speed – trickier and nippier than a ferret in a trap.

Roland Chadwick is class act and provides a hot evening of fun.  And he got the mojo too!

© Neil_Mach
September 2010



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