Monday, 10 October 2016

Charity Night in Charnock Richard

Saturday 8 October 2016. This last weekend we played for a charity event in Charnock Richard - the village in Lancashire, not the nearby motorway services...

We were at the Football Club playing for one of Jack Gerrard's events. He's the man behind the Chorley steam fairs and all monies were going to Rainbow House.

We played to a fairly packed house and what a great crowd they were, singing along and loads of enthusiastic applause. We took another four bookings on the night, so we must have done something right!

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Creeping Bentgrass Harvest Song Fest

Last night David and I played at a Harvest Festival in Darwen, Lancashire. We were in a church hall which filled up nicely quite early on before we started and we played a taster of all the different styles of music we cover as we went through the night.

Two young boys were sitting right at the front and from the word Go they were playing imaginary guitars along to the music and looking as though they were having the most fabulous time. I dug out a couple of plectrums (guitar picks) from my supply and gave them one each and their smiles went skyward! As we took a break whilst food was being served they came over to talk to us - a 6 and an 8-year-old, bursting with things to tell us about all sorts of things, school, how they had a guitar at home. One of their teachers was called Miss Chadwick... They were lovely.

We spoke to their parents who were equally friendly and lovely and it turned out that they were a family of refugees who had been settled locally. They had been brought to the event by one of their local councillors as a way of introducing them into the community and he was almost overcome with the way we welcomed them. We had actually treated them as we would anyone else. That's all you have to do...

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Club Night in Preston

On Saturday night we were playing at the Thurlby Club in Lea, Preston. A tiny stage forced me to re-think our usual layout and I placed the keyboard at an angle to give myself enough room to stand. It worked very well as I felt there was less of a barrier between me and the audience.

Usually I stand with the keyboard in front of me, the mic stand in front of that and then usually some floor-standing swivelling lights in front of that again. We were expecting a few games of Bingo, but in the event they played a Spanish game that they called "Cassie-Cassie" (Sp?) This had each player with a sheet of nine playing cards having three rows of three cards and the caller turned over a card from a second full deck. Like Bingo they played four corners, then a T shape with the cross bar either at the top or the bottom, two vertical rows and a full house. It was quite good fun and didn't take as long as Bingo with 90 balls to choose from.

We played two sets mainly from our 60s song-list to an enthusiastic crowd of around 50-60 people and were told later that in the audience was a guitarist who used to play with The Ivy League who had apparently said "These lads are bloody good!". Thank you kind sir! Our first playing of the Elvis song Can't Help Falling In Love With You.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Fylde Farm Weekend, 2016

Friday 24 June 2016. The Fylde Farm Weekend. We are once again in a marquee, this time in a field next to the M55 motorway in Treales.

The weather had been a bit damp during the day, but it was fine and the field was firm enough as we drove in and made our way towards the back of the field where the beer tent was situated.

This is usually a quieter event for us than the Steam Fair, but there was a good-sized audience of between 70-80 people for most of the night and as usual there were some regulars and familiar faces to be spotted.

Nice lighting effect!

Instrumental time! Photo opportunity!

Another good night - favourite quote of the night: "We come here every year and always say you couldn't possibly get better - but you do!" Thank you kind sir and we hope your hearing improves soon!

Birthday Party at Coast Riders

Monday 13 June 2016. We had been asked to play at the significant (must have been 21...) birthday party of the lovely Andrea who rules our favourite venue, Blackpool Coast Riders Diner & Bar, with a rod of iron. (That is what you asked me to put isn't it Andrea?)

Here's the birthday girl with the two of us after our set. The venue has recently started a carvery project which we went to try out the other Sunday lunchtime - yummy!

Not only was it Andrea's birthday celebration but someone else who had reached the age of 70. Obviously I cannot mention a lady's age, but added together they would have been 110... Hang on kids... Did you just blow those candles out...?

I'd brought out the ice blue guitar at Myerscough on the previous day, so tonight I gave the woody a chance to come out and rock and roll! A lovely looking guitar, but I still personally prefer the tone from the cherry red guitar. Everyone else says they can't tell the difference, so maybe it's just different, not necessarily better. Another great night at Coast Riders - and (why was I expecting this?) a couple of challenges for next time in the form of half-forgotten songs from way back!

Myerscough College Open Day 2016

Sunday 12 June 2016. Everything was looking good for this year's open day at the Land-Based campus of agriculture college, Myerscough.

The weather started out fine and sunny, though the forecast was for rain around late afternoon. In the event though it arrived a bit before schedule and by 1:30 we had to admit defeat and move all the gear out of the wet. Our wet-weather alternative spot were showing the Euro football to a disinterested few and that was that. Hopefully we'll have a sunny day all day next time!

Eccleston Steam Fair

Saturday 4 June 2016. We found ourselves driving down twisting country lanes somewhere to the west of Eccleston in Lancashire. The Heskin Hall Steam Fair that we had played for years has moved from this year and we were heading for a farmer's field out in the country.

The event looked bigger than ever and with our long-time collaborator, Jack Gerrard at the helm, we knew that the facilities would be top notch. The marquee is always the size of a small palace and with a dance floor and twinkling LED lights set in the draperies over the stage area, it looks the biz, particularly once it goes dark.

There's always been a good crowd in the marquee at this event and so it proved this year. Despite the new venue, we recognised lots of regular faces and we gained some great feedback and a couple of future gigs too!

I even got to play a couple of instrumentals too - that'll teach him to "lubricate his throat" so much...

Memorial Concert

Saturday 14 May 2016. We played a memorial concert for a young lady, wife and mother who died tragically of cervical cancer. She was too young to be called for a routine test and by the time the cancer was found it was inoperable.

Remembering Rachel.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

60th Birthday Party in Darwen

Last night we headed out to Darwen to play at a 60th birthday party. It was quite cold in the room to begin with and my strings were not eager to stay in tune until we had played for an hour or so and enough people had come in to warm the place up a bit!

We had (rather rashly perhaps) agreed to sing Let It Go from the Disney film Frozen for a couple of little girls who were going to be there. This was the first time I've ever sung the line "...and it looks like I'm the Queen"... A voice killer, but it went down an absolute storm and earned us a standing ovation after the entire room erupted with singing! A whole new career beckons...

Back on more familiar ground, every gig features a couple or more songs where I ditch the guitar in favour of playing the keyboard live. Not sure when Miss Franny took this photo but it could be on Peaceful Easy Feeling or It's Now Or Never or the crowd pleaser, Penny Arcade.

Happy Birthday Chris!

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Letting The New Year In

On New Year's Eve, Creeping Bentgrass took to the stage at Coast Rider's Bar in Blackpool. It's become a bit of a tradition at Coast Riders to challenge us to do songs we don't usually do. Sometimes we are told in advance and have a chance to do a full backing and sometimes it's a song I've never heard of, leaving me to busk as best I can to whatever David is fondly imagining to be the tune... We did ok with Falling In Love With You but then came something called Seven Spanish Angels which I'd never heard of... Oh, and the one we had prior notice of was Lee Marvin's Wand'rin Star which tested how deep I could go!

A great night as always at Coast Riders - we are now proficient at previous challenges Running Bear, Penny Arcade and even my attempts to play Ravel's Bolero go down well! Happy New Year! We will be back at Coast Riders on 27 February for a charity night.