A forum for local issues concerning the local free live music scene. Please note that most of the events listed in this News section are ticket only. Please e-mail me if you have a news item you wish to post.
There was an article in the Woking News and Mail last week about a short 2 and a half minute film made by Richard Knotek from Horsell. The film shows the distruction of modern Woking by the martians in a new take on H G Wells' "War of the Worlds". It was uploaded to the video sharing site YouTube and has been already viewed by more than 3000 people.
Review: The weather stayed fine for the outdoor part of this local charity event, held in the beer garden on the Exchange hotel, Farnham. Unfortunately an accident just outside Farnham had caused problems for much of the audience, though this provided the unusual delight of being able to watch the first few bands while seated out of the sun. First on the bill were the The Flying Tigers, who did what was needed, in that awkward job. Their lead singer Tracy Murphy has such a powerful voice to blast it out on the heavy rock numbers, but can also go into soulful mode on the slower R&B tracks.
Next up were Ciao Buddha, who's debut CD is called 'Rise', and they certainly woke up the crowd, and most of the neighbourhood too. A great 3-piece band. There were short 20 min breaks between the sets, while the bands carted their equipment in and out, but this gave ample time for the audience to pay a visit, or buy refreshments at the bar. Then it was the turn of The True Deceivers, with a folky-country-rock blend of musical styles. By the time the UK Blues Project started playing there was quite a crowd gathered. There is nothing like the blues to make you feel relaxed and chilled on a late summer afternoon. They also had a new CD available called 'NoRush'.
Then came the Dayglo Pirates, with special guest Glenn Cornick (a former member of the real Jethro Tull), who can usually be found playing with Wild Turkey. First came the older progressive set, and then a few more recent rock numbers. The lead singer Paul Forrest, in heavy coat, which he discarded to reveal green tights and multicoloured waistcoat, danced around the stage and playing his flute with one legged cocked. Sadly his mandolin wouldn't play but it was still an outstanding and memorable performance. At 8pm the lucky few of the crowd, who'd booked early, then moved inside.
For the finale, a performance by the Jackie Lynton band. This was due to complaints from the hotel's neighbour, about the loud, funky music and some ordinary people having a good time and raising lots of money for a good cause. Many thanks and gratitude go out to all the bands who played at WeyFest 2006 and to Steve and Julie, who run the Exchange Hotel, for hosting the event.
From the moment I entered the hallowed ground of this legendary venue, I knew in my heart that this gig was going to be special. Firstly, there were many more people already enjoying a quick pre-gig pint, than I'd seen there before. I must make clear at this point that I'm not old enough to have been here in the 60's and 70's, when some of the greatest bands and solo artists rocked the place (see Save the Half Moon, Putney). My experience has only been over the past 5 years, when you are lucky if the audience gets into double figures.
The second thing I noticed as I was once again reviewing some of the pictures on the walls, of famous musicians that previously graced the stage, was that the majority of the crowd were sad, slightly overweight, 40-somethings, like myself. This was no surprise as this was part of the 20th aniversary tour of The Wonder Stuff's second album HUP. After deciding to purchase a T-shirt, (sadly not at 80's prices, through made by a quality label), from the solitary girl on the merchadise stand, (as they are no longer available in the shops), I entered the large darkened room.
It felt so great to be standing right at the front next to the stage, but with no pit, no steel barriers, or indeed no sign of the gang of brutish thugs dressed in tight-fitting black T-shirts with SECURITY printed in big letters front and back, to remind them why they were there. A few of the crowd also wondered in, but it was only after Miles Hunt(the Wonder Stuff's charismatic frontman) strolled out into the main bar with the megaphone used on several of the bands classic tracks and alerted the drinkers that the show was about to start, that they entered.
There was a cheer as Miles got up on stage to introduce the support act, one of his heroes when learning guitar, and now funnily enough a patron of the same local boozer. Dirty Ray Weatherall, as he is now known was previously lead vocalist with the Immaculate Fools. From his fast strumming blues guitar and almost shouted high octane lyrical statements, it was easy to see the influence Ray's music had on young Miles and probably the rest of the band. Ray is also a contributor to Miles's Shared Project, which has produced a showcase album of musical talent unrecognised by the narrow vision of wide stream media in this country. This was the perfect warm-up and the crowd loved it.
There was an almost deafening howl as The Wonder Stuff stepped onto the stage, and with the first licks of their guitars, we were all instantly transported back to the summer of 88. They were joined onstage by Erica Nochalls on Violin. The publicity for the tour had stated that the band would be playing the whole of HUP (well we shall see), so it was not a shock that they started with "30 years in the Bathroom" and then "Radio Ass Kiss". But it was only after they moved on to "Them, Big Oak Trees", that we were let into the secret, that somehow all the songs on the album had ended up in the wrong order.
This was a little weird if you are one of those people who believe that an entire album is designed to flow from track to track as a single journey. This was like being of a totally different road, but I think whether or not it was a better path it was certainly a new enlightening experience. Of course with the modern wonders of the mp3 player, its possible to rearrange songs into hundreds of variations. I think that many of the crowd will be shuffling their HUP playlist, when they get home, into the band's prefered order.
The crowd were also in good voice and singing along to every track, even simultaniously launching into the chorus of "Letter from America" by The Proclaimers, (Miles and Erica had been touring with them earlier this year). Its good to know that 40-somethings can still pogo round the room when the mood calls for it, and even with a capacity turnout there was plenty of room for this. Next came "Golden Green", then "Cartoon Boyfriend", "Unfaithful", Piece of Sky", "Let's be Other People", "Don't let me down", "Can't Shape Up", "Room 410", and lastly "Good Night Though". This ticked of the main 12 songs on original album, but what about the 4 bonus tracks (on the remastered edition).
Yes they played "Gimme Some Truth" by John Lennon, and "Inside you" by Pop Will Eat Itself (a previous band of Miles Hunt and Malcolm Treece), but sadly there was no "Get Together" by The Youngbloods or The Wonder Stuff's own "It Was Me". They diid play "Circlesquare", "On the Ropes", "Last Second...", "Here Comes Everyone", Caught in my Shadow", "Mission Drive", "Size of a Cow", "A Song Without an End" which finally ended with a crashing drum solo, after the rest on the band had left the stage. For the encore they treated us to "Give, Give, Give, Me More, More, More", "Unbearable" from their fantastic debut album "The Eight-Legged Groove Machine" and "Ten Trenches Deep".
This was certainly one of the best gigs I have ever been to, at such an amazing venue, and I have been out almost every night of the week watching live music for the past 4 years. As to whether the album was named after the e-mail checker (very doubtful), or the Harvard University Press, or Mr Crumb's comic, or the US Navy rescue helecopter (H-25), isn't Wikipedia great, we shall never know. Hopefully there must be some Promoter / Brewery / Agency / Entrepreneur with a passion for live music, willing to run this historic venue, if Youngs no longer want it. Please don't let this wonderful gig be one of the last.