Tag Archives: Surrey

ACM SKUNK ANANSIE SCHOLARSHIP

The Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM) in Guildford, Surrey has announced the launch of their first ever SKUNK ANANSIE SCHOLARSHIP.

The recipient of this prestigious award will receive a fully funded place on one of the academy’s reputable degree courses, worth up to £27,000.

All applicants that have successfully auditioned and enrolled for Degree programmes in Bass, Drums, Guitars, Keys or Vocals at either ACM Guildford, ACM London or the group’s newest campus, ACM Birmingham, will be eligible to apply.

The recipient of this prestigious award will receive a fully funded place on one of the academy’s reputable degree courses, worth up to £27,000…

Those applying will submit a video performance for screening by ACM’s world class teaching faculty, with a shortlist delivered to Skunk Anansie for a final decision to be made.

The award winning British rock band has been recording & touring for over 20 years, and have sold over 6 million albums and comleted many sold out world tours.

They’re the perfect role models for ACM’s students. In between studio recording and touring with the band, guitarist Ace works at ACM as Head of Creative Industry Development and drummer, Mark Richardson, is a Wellbeing Coach for the academy students.

Ace said “I’ve been honoured to be working with ACM for a very long time now, booking top industry guests, sourcing real world work opportunities, setting up networking events and advising students on a one to one basis. For three months of the year I pause my work on-campus so that I can tour with the band – bringing back the freshest knowledge directly from the industry back to the students. The music business has been very good to us over the years and it feels incredible to give back and make someone’s dream of studying music a reality.

Skunk Anansie vocalist, Skin, said “We are so excited to be able to offer such a life changing opportunity in partnership with ACM. Starting out in music can be tough financially, so being able to take away that burden for someone who is at the very beginning of their journey is incredibly rewarding. We love the fully immersive experience that ACM offers its students and are so excited to see the shortlist.”

Applications are still open for September 2017 study at ACM Guildford, ACM London and ACM Birmingham.

To book an audition or visit the Academy for an open day go to www.acm.ac.uk or call the admissions team directly on 01483 500 841.

To apply for the SKUNK ANANSIE SCHOLARSHIP or one of ACM’s other scholarship awards (including the Freddie Mercury Award and the BASCA Scholarship), visit www.acm.ac.uk/scholarships

MOODY MAAS + GLEN — Live in Staines

This week MOODY, MAAS and GLEN played a tasty selection of emotionally soul-stirring songs from their recent album Black & Chrome live in Staines, Surrey.

We went along to see.

Black & Chrome – Ali Maas & Micky Moody

The collaboration of Ali Maas and Micky Moody started in 2014 as a songwriting project that quickly developed into some excellent album work. Another album is on the way.

Their musical union results from a shared admiration for blues, soul, Americana, palpitating rhythms and captivating melodies.

Aside from his well-documented time with Whitesnake, Micky Moody was also a member of Juicy Lucy, Roger Chapman and the Shortlist, Snakecharmer and others.

Ali Maas was lead singer and writer for critically acclaimed band McQueen.

Their highly accomplished studio band comprised of a group of luminous musicians that included the amazing drummer Jimmy Copley, who sadly died this month.

The British harmonica player Alan Glen — who was a member of Nine Below Zero (1991-1995) as well as The Yardbirds — was also involved.

Their pruned-back live-show boasts that same trio — Moody, Maas and Glen. We saw their concert at the Staines Riverside Club on May 18th. Other dates have also been announced.

Ali Maas- Frequent cloud-bursting highs…

Ali Maas took centre stage at the Riverside, with the master-musicians at the flank.

Her vocal style was reminiscent of Alannah Myles with many velvety, sorrowful layers and frequent cloud-bursting highs. The light accompaniment from Moody & Glen reminded us of stripped-back Fleetwood Mac.

Moody, who told the audience he suffered from bad back, “caused by a dishwasher incident...” created delicate and fanciful guitar notes.

In particular, his slide guitar-work was skilful. And even though there was no drummer on stage, he frequently provided percussion through clever touches and slaps of the guitar body and picking the strings.

Glen played electric rhythm guitar for the most part, often adding rich and expressive lyrical moments to songs with his blues harp or providing intense emotions via those howling solos.

The show began with the magnificently melancholic “A Change In Everything” with thoughtful contemplations behind every loose-toned reflection and haunting lyrics like, “Sometimes we are better off alone...”

And then we enjoyed “Woman Be Wise” with those warning words: “Don’t Advertise Your Man…

Ali Maas suggested she suffered from “fried egg” after a cold — although her vocal was rich and satisfying, and did not seem fatigued or overly mucoid. Moody remained perched on his stool for the duration — maybe his back felt a little sore.

Excellent covers included the excellent “In My Girlish Days” [Memphis Minnie] and the syncopated standard “San Francisco Bay Blues” [Jesse Fuller] made famous by Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan and more.

Dusty’s “Son of a Preacher Man” went down particularly well with the Staines crowd. The interpretation by this talented trio was lunar and majestic.

The soft-shoe number “Emotional Powder Keg Blues” was apparently written by Ali when she was going through what she described as a “bunny-boiler phase…

This number had pat-a-cake rhythms and expressive guitar-lines provided by Alan Glen.

Towards the finale we had “Big Mama” Thornton’s 12-bar blues song “Hound Dog” that has been recorded over 250 times and is one of the world’s best ever sellers…

The MOODY, MAAS and GLEN rendition had all the impudence & euphoria we appreciated in the original.

This was a thoroughly pleasurable evening filled with artistry and flair.

Words & Pictures: @neilmach 2017 ©
You can read a recent interview with MAAS & MOODY here: https://rawramp.me/maas-and-moody
Black & Chrome by Ali Maas & Micky Moody ‎is OUT NOW via Armadillo Music
Link: https://www.mickymoody.com

Moody, Maas & Glen – expressive lyrical moments…

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

Ad Pontes Staines- music arts & going out IN STAINES




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