Tag Archives: Surrey

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

Freddie Mercury Scholarship Announced for ACM Guildford

The Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM) is a music academy located in Guildford, Surrey in England.

The Academy was the brainchild of Phil Brookes, a guitar tutor from nearby Woking, Surrey who established the institution in 1995 with the aim of bringing music education and the music industry closer together.

The ACM, with Metropolis Studios, have this week announced the inauguration of a Freddie Mercury Scholarship, endorsed by Queen's Roger Taylor and Brian May
The ACM, with Metropolis Studios, have this week announced the inauguration of a Freddie Mercury Scholarship, endorsed by Queen’s Roger Taylor and Brian May

The school differs from more traditional music academies because it focusses on rock, pop music, electronic dance music and delivers a vocational approach. Former students include Newton Faulkner and Ed Sheeran, among many others.

The Academy, with Metropolis Studios, have this week announced the inauguration of a Freddie Mercury Scholarship, endorsed by Queen’s Roger Taylor and Brian May.

The award comes in the year which will see the celebration of the singer’s 70th birthday, on September 5. The prestigious scholarship will fully fund a student’s entire study path and is worth up to £27,000.

The degree programme includes songwriting, performance, production and business modules and is delivered in accordance with ACM’s “learning by doing” ethos.

Queen band member Roger Taylor, who is also a patron of ACM and has a drum studio named after him at the academy’s Guildford campus, said, “Freddie’s name endures in so many ways so it’s therefore great to have this scholarship celebrating his musical genius!

Guitarist Brian May said: “This scholarship will be a lasting tribute to Freddie and the path he blazed. He would be happy to see young talent being helped to blossom. Of course Metropolis holds a very special place in Queen history, and it’s a pleasure to continue that link.”

The Metropolis Studios CEO, Ian Brenchley, is looking forward to welcoming the successful scholar to the studio in London, the world’s largest independent recording facility, where over 50% of the UK’s Top 40 is serviced, “We are hugely excited to be entering into this partnership and to be able to offer the scholarship to one lucky student. Freddie’s spirit is alive and well at Metropolis, where he wrote and recorded so much of his material and his legacy lives on every time his Fazioli grand piano is played in our flagship studio.”

http://www.acm.ac.uk/
http://www.thisismetropolis.com/

Geistfight at the Hob Staines

A couple of years after the end of ‘Abstract Genius’, Luke Daniels (Sax and Vocals ) and Nick Oliver began forming their new project – Geistfight.

Geistfight (from Guildford, Surrey) deliver energetic hardcore ska-punk in an interesting form – with plenty of oblique solos (on sax and guitar) and monumental musicality – all delivered with the kind of unbridled intensity that other bands only dream of.

Geistfight -evermore  effusive guitars - clamouring for more-and-more attention...
Geistfight -evermore effusive guitars – clamouring for more-and-more attention…

We witnessed the band play a short set (3.5 songs apparently) at the Staines Hob on Saturday 6TH SEPT.

The band are currently working on their mini-album – which will soon be available.

Their songs – like ‘The Fine Line’ – have several dimensions to them:

They almost always include a regular ska-beat with rhythmic vocals.

These are surrounded my evermore effusive guitars – clamouring for more-and-more attention.

But the sax always seeks to slide in like a snake – keeping cover under the voluminous wraps of blurry guitar.

The effect is stunning – and completely enjoyable.

@neilmach © 2014

Link:

https://www.facebook.com/Geistfight

Lady and the Lost Boys

Lady and the Lost Boys Nov 28,  The Old Fire Station, Windsor

Playing music from the Berkshire school of damp labradors, green wellies, moist Edinburgh woollens and  ‘Mummy Knows Best ’ attitudes, this band played a short but sweet set at the Firestation Arts Centre, Windsor on Sat 28t November.

The smallish crowd sat in patient lines, cross-legged on the wooden floor, humble like children in the school end-of-term concert.

Lady and the Lost Boys are a female lead five-piece band with chunky bass guitar, tantalizing percussion, emotive keyboards and a multi-talented muso who bounces between guitar, keys and even supplemental percussion, providing layers of texture as each song unfolds.

The introspective topics of the songs are based upon personal experiences and transparent memories – coming largely from a female perspective. Sipping a coffee in the breaks, petite dark haired vocalist Annabel Jones sings the Legoland, Camberwick Green, Technicolor songs from the Lady and the Lost Boys song-book.  Her delivery reminds me of ‘Alanis Morissette’ and to a lesser extent,  ‘Elizabeth Fraser’ (not so ethereal) and her voice is airy, high register and distinct enough to cut above the harmonic texture of music. Some of the songs ended with melodramatic yet creative ‘shoe-gaze’ blended sounds – others ended on a hand-clap or a jingle.

A few pared down guitar riffs are well hidden and tend to illuminate rather than detract from the amorphous sounds and add drama and insistence when required. The experience is fascinating and calming reminding me a lot of ‘Alison’s Halo’.

One of my favourites was the bass heavy (bass by Robin Pearson) song ‘That’s OK’. This is a song rippling with action, combining integrated piano tinkling and rat-a-tat percussion with honey sweet lyrical content delivered in a breathy, whisper-in-your ear style. The clappy and trilling chorus was nod-headingly joyful and the extraordinarily well-behaved and obviously well educated audience showed their appreciation with understated murmuring claps. Gently unfolding lyrics such as  “How many gold coins should I put aside before I’m out of debt in your eyes . . . “ demonstrate the band’s ambitions as poetic quality shoegazers.

This is a band for a damp autumn evening by the open-fire, or to listen to on your Ipod as you take your golden retriever for a walk down the leaf-fall winter lanes.  Thoroughly recommended.

© Neil_Mach

Link:

www.myspace.com/ladyandthelostboys

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News From the Bridges – Nov 8th 2009

News From the Bridges – November 7th 2009

TrueBeat are looking for a new drummer!

Yes Truebeat are parting company with their old drummer (on good terms) because of commitment issues so the new guy must be dedicated and willing to go the whole hog. A car and the ability to do backing vocals are also very useful but not essential! Anyway, have a listen to  ‘em and see what you think; if you want an audition, get in touch at info@truebeat.co.uk. Catch these skasters in STAINES on Nov 26 2009  at The Hobgoblin   [www.myspace.com/truebeatuk]

WAXHOUSE are going into the STAKEOUT STUDIOS Hampton next week to start recording an EP with Chris Coulter … we wish them a pile of luck  [www.myspace.com/waxhouseband]

Melodramatic Surrey rockers ARCANE ROOTS have a new website they want you to visit : www.arcaneroots.com …. it is coming to life a bit more too with some live tracks and some demos up as well as a discography … but they would like to see more fans coming in tho! Click on, send ‘em messages, tell ‘em what you want and who you are!

Feltham eccentric yet sensible indie rockers “The Eccentric Sensibles
[www.myspace.com/eccentricsensible]  will be  in the Studio next week to collaborate with artist Lori Sims (acoustic), on a blinding new song entitled  “Player” . . .

Indie poppers AUDIO VIDEO DISCO [www.myspace.com/audiovideodiscouk] will be playing The Fighting Cocks Kingston-Upon-Thames Dec 5 2009  at 8:00P

Guildford’s Fab Four GETSETRADIO is coming to STAINES for all you lucky people – catch ‘em on Nov 15 2009  at 8:00P at OUR FAVOURITE STAINES venue The Hobgoblin w/ 8th Time Luckie [www.GETSETRADIO.com]

Twickenham punksters ANONYMOUS TIP (who will be playing STAINES Nov 26 2009  at 8:00P The Hobgoblin W/ True Beat) have been getting some seriously strong support from radio and hot reviews from tastemakers Subba Cultcha and Music Week

WITHOUT THOUGHT are lined up for two sparkling Christmas Shows… the first is Dec 19 2009      8:00P at Guildford – The Boileroom **Christmas Party** w/ Polar + JB Conspiracy and the VERY NEXT DAY the band plays STAINES Dec 20 2009  8:00P at The Hobgoblin (w/ Purge & Polar) [www.myspace.com/withoutthought ]

After a gob-routing shockingly successful show at the BUCKLE UP Rock Goblin, STAINES hometown’s favourite pop act MISS PINK SHOES is back in TOWN playing THE HOB Dec 3 2009  7:00P so if you missed ‘em in November come back and support this LOCAL ACT this  December.[www.myspace.com/misspinkshoesofficial]

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Arcane Roots – Staines Hob October 4th

arcane rootsAND IT ALL STARTS with nylon . . .

It is Sunday in Staines and we witness another frenetic and electrifying concert by Arcane Roots.

This popular Surrey-based band is led by fuzzy mopped high-roller Andrew Groves with his cloying whimsical, skylarking highs and gurning crashing lows. It is like watching a glook trapped inside one of Mr Dyson’s see-through cyclones.

This ride is as gut wrenching as a trip over the Niagara Falls in a barrel. You get that sense of sublime grace and purity of spirit whilst you halt momentarily at the very edge of the precipice, but you are also very aware that in a just a few moments you will hurtle downwards, out-of-control, crashing into the destructive vortex below.

Yes, it is true that Andrew’s voice sounds like Mickey Mouse, after he has sucked up a helium balloon the size of a house, and has also been force-fed a mixture of amyl nitrate and ethanol (guzzled down with a keg of Red Bull.) And when he embraces his red guitar and begins to turbulently Flay and Play, you really start to believe that this Scissorhanded type creation is actually the work of a kindly yet absent-minded inventor who mistakenly added agricultural thrashing machines to the spindly arms instead of the normal working hands (or even scissors.)

Percussion and harmonies by Daryl and exquisite bass-lines and more texture with subtle tones from Adam meant that the smallish crowd at The Hob Staines had a lot to be pleased with. The set commenced with a howling and haunting ‘Nylon’ and grew more and more intense and fluently engaging- ending with a vastly exaggerated and hyperbolic blues number with searing and blistering guitar breaks from Andrew.

Powerful stuff. Please, please catch Arcane Roots soon.

© Neil_Mach
October 2009

Link:

www.myspace.com/arcaneroots

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