Monday, 19 October 2015

Creeping Bentgass in Charnock Richard

On Saturday night we played at the Football Club in Charnock Richard. This was for a charity night organised by Jack Gerrard, who for many years has organised the Steam Fairs at Heskin Hall.

The night included a fish and chips supper provided by a van. The lady was already there getting prepared when we arrived and it turned out she had a very early start the following morning. I hope we got everybody out to pick up their suppers in time for her to get home and to have a few hours in bed!

The raffle was a jolly affair too with two of the tables enjoying a healthy competition to see which could win the most prizes. Miss Franny and Miss Jeannie also had some success!

We unveiled our version of Procul Harum's A Whiter Shade of Pale which gained us a huge roar of appreciation and we got many compliments at the end of the night which was very nice. A great audience throughout the night!

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Darwen Gig

Last Saturday saw us out at a church hall in Darwen, where we played for a Harvest celebration.

One of those nights where the audience could be seen - and heard - enjoying themselves! People were singing along, clapping, dancing and nodding their heads in time with the music and they were very generous with their applause. A raffle and tombola helped the night along and there was a rather excellent supper served as well.

We got some good rapport going with the audience as I called out the raffle numbers and the time went all too quickly. I always love it when the organiser of an event says "Oh, everyone stayed a lot longer than I expected them to...!"

Monday, 29 June 2015

Creeping Bentgrass At The Fylde Farm Weekend

Friday night 26 June saw us out at Treales in the depths of the countryside for our gig at the Fylde Farm Weekend.

The weather in Blackpool had been a bit hit and miss but the field was nice and firm as we drove over to the marquee for our set-up.

It was our sixth year at this event and the second one that we had played on the Friday night. A quietish start but the marquee began to fill up and we recognised a few faces and they joined into the banter with us a bit and we had a great time. Special mention to the good folks from Leyland Eagles!

We'd had a request for Fields of Gold to be played tonight - a song we have played ad hoc before but I spent Monday afternoon putting an arrangement together. It was good, but I think I might slow it down a bit and add some pauses in.

Some fabulous feedback when we finished around midnight - it is much appreciated, folks. Someone told us we were the only reason they came to the event! Well, yes, I do like a good laugh myself... No, it's very heartening to be told such things and to be asked to sign CDs. We floated home once the car was loaded up.

It's become a bit of a tradition to find somewhere to stop and partake of a handful of jam butties that Miss Franny makes when we know we will have a late night. Then I took a wrong turn somewhere and instead of heading for Kirkham, we found ourselves doing the back roads to Singleton. But that was ok once I'd worked out where we were in the dark!

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Myerscough College Open Day

Sunday morning saw us up bright and early to set up the new PA and speakers at Myerscough College where we have been a feature of their Open Day for a goodly number of years. Our first appearance was in 2002!

The old PA and speakers required three trips to the car. The new ones require just a single trip! And once in the car fully loaded I could see through the rear window instead of having to rely solely on side mirrors to see behind me!

Mobbed! Miss Franny and Miss Jeannie find our name in the programme and interrupt proceedings to show us! Setting up took a while longer than usual as I had to balance all the settings before I felt comfortable. Once done it should be like the old equipment that we hardly ever tweaked apart from the overall volume.

This year for the second time we were playing opposite the entrance to the Stumble Inn - the college's on-campus pub and tables and chairs were set up so that people could sit with a drink and listen to us.

We set a new record I think on Sunday - we played for about 6 hours! My fingers tips weren't so bad at the end strangely, but the arthritis in my index finger knuckle gave me gyp later and on the following day! And my back was rather sore - a solid-bodied guitar is ok around your neck for an hour or two but six...? That singer is a slave driver!

And here we are (were) in 2002, with Bob Snape on bass, playing on a very rainy day, with towels spread over the keyboard to keep it dry and my old Sumbro Japanese Stratocaster copy! At the time we were all members of staff at Myerscough. Only David remains on the staff there now.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

New PA System

Well we've gone and done it... Bought a new PA system that is.

You may remember me commenting that we had to spend ten or fifteen minutes fiddling with the PA to get both speakers working at Heskin Hall last weekend and I didn't want to risk going to a gig and not being able to make it work. The old Phonic Powerpod had lasted us fourteen and a bit years so we can't dismiss it as rubbish, it's played many many hours making people happy and that's what we like to do.

The replacement is a Yamaha Stagepas 400i and the entire thing could fit into the cabinet of one of our old speakers! But this is just two speakers, I hear you say... Where's the PA?

Well, it's in the back of one of the speakers whilst cables and perhaps even space for a microphone can be found in the back of the other!

The mixer controls can be used whilst docked in the speaker or can come out to play - which they will in our case - on a stand at the side of my keyboard! Tomorrow's gig at Myerscough College Open Day will see us test drive it.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

10th Year at Heskin Hall Steam Fair

What a brilliant night last night! The best comments are those you overhear and early on in the night Fran heard someone say "Oh this is the band everyone's been raving about..."

Four and a half hours of non-stop joy followed with four or five encores. Tense beginning though, as it took me a while to get both speakers working on the PA - perhaps time for another major purchase grrr!

The dance floor filled up nicely and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. At the end someone said "We've been coming here for eight years and you just get better each year!"

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Gig Report Catch-Up!

My respected colleague and sometime crooner has pointed out I have glossed over a couple of gigs without a mention. So duly admonished I now add a few photos for your delectation and approval...

Both of them were at one of our favourite venues: Coast Riders Diner and Bar at South Shore in Blackpool. Therefore the backdrop to the photos of us on stage may be somewhat similar to others already on these pages.

This was New Year's Eve, 31 December 2014. We had been asked to play out the old year and there were many familiar faces in the audience! You can tell from the next photo that we enjoyed ourselves. I have to say that 2015 was well under way by the time we left the premises!

The second event was Miss Franny's special birthday in March. She can be seen below talking to her brother, Bob. Surely, she should be listening to us???

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Creeping Bentgrass at The Nice Rooms

We were approached by Gary Radice who produces and manages the arts website The Nice Rooms for an interview and being the shy retiring types that we are, it is now available to read on the site.

Featuring music, stage, screens large and small and some wonderful memories in the Retro Room (clackers and Bengal matches to name just two!), The Nice Rooms is a diverting place to stop at for a read, a chuckle and memory nudge! Oh... and a bit about us too!

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Remembering Sunnyside 2015 - Billy Fury Weekend Part 2

A bit of a photo-fest this entry! The second night of the Billy Fury weekend held in Wellingborough over 27-28 March 2015.

The ladies are settled in their seats, we must be ready to go... Actually, one of these ladies is on first - come on Shelagh, stir yourself!

Dave Jay is again acting as compère for the night and announces Peter and Shelagh Cooney whilst fondly imagining that he is dodging the camera...

Peter always describes their act as having "stripped songs back to the bare bones". This is how many, if not most, songs are composed. With either a single acoustic guitar or perhaps a piano. Stripping off all other instruments can sometimes reveal the simplicity and beauty of the melody.

A corner of the room and a section of the audience.

Phil Jennings takes to the mic and reprises his song from last year - Bobby Darin's Things, inviting our table to butt in with all the chorus parts! "Yeh! Yeh!"

A smile from Cathy, the local, but the two canny northerners Jean and Russ are wondering how much to charge for being photographed...

John and Diane have travelled up from the Isle of Wight and in just a short moment John will shrug off his mild persona and transform into...

...heartthrob Johnny Storme, pouring emotion from every pore and melting the hearts of all the women in the room.

"Why do they not scream like that for me?" wonders Peter...

Steve Sinclair, provides a great set, winning the prize for the night's longest-held high finishing note!

Wait a moment... the ladies are sitting up again and waving their hands about!

And here's why - it's that smoothie from Macclesfield, Dave Jay getting the feet tapping with his own set as he transforms from compère to singer.

He has a roving mic and he's not afraid to use it! Working the floor...

It must be working, there's some happy faces there!

Miss Jeannie gets the personal treatment - not for the only time that evening as we shall see!

Oh and he's got us all waving in time again!

Russ Dee from Leeds was one of the first Billy Fury tributes on the road and shares some memories of those early days.

How do you keep a white jacket white like that? I'd have had half a meal down it if I tried wearing white...!

An accomplished club artist, Russ gives us a great set.

There's time to fill before the raffle and we are asked to step in. I do a solo spot to sing my version of Cilla Black's You're My World. (Photo credit: Michael Roche)

A couple of Billy Fury numbers and a couple of crowd pleasers (no: the songs, not us!) and it's raffle time!

Cathy is announcing the raffle numbers but then bursts into impromptu snatch of song!

Our table seem to be mopping up the prizes one after another...

"Mine! All mine!" chortles Peter.

Roger Sea. His musical career goes way back to the 60s. He was once in a band that played support to Shane Fenton - the late Alvin Stardust. And I want that jacket please when you've done with it Roger...

Ah yes, the hallmark of an all-round entertainer! Brilliant reworking of a song to include a ukulele.

All the artists for the night. This was in the middle of Roger's act too - takes it all in his stride, hats off to that man! Second on the left of the back row, Michael Roche gave us a couple of songs but I'm afraid I have no photos of his singing. Sorry Mike!

Steve Reynolds plays Shadows style. Last year Steve was on Britain's Got Talent and has been playing theatres with a couple of Shadows tribute bands.

The human dynamo otherwise known as Snowy takes the stage. "Photo opportunity!" he cries and strikes a pose. What can you say? Mr Entertainment... ...must be somewhere around surely...? Snowy, we love ya!

Miss Jeannie again - that perfume was certainly working... Though Snowy looks a bit as though he's set a death threat to music...

And then those two old geezers went on again to finish the night. Or, as David said, to empty the room... For the first time ever we played a full Billy Fury set. A whole set with just songs from one artist. But, of course, that was what the night was all about. There's a handful of songs from this set at our YouTube site.

Thanks must go to all the artists who appeared over the two days and to Cathy for organising the venue and Dave for his work compèring and handling the sound and backing for the singers. Thanks to the audience who turned up to listen and cheer us on and to the Hind Hotel in Wellingborough for hosting the event. We hope to see everyone again next year!