Monthly Archives: January 2013

Rock and Blues Weekend, Butlins, Skegness. 25-27.1.13

Most Wonderful Moment Award  ‘Godzilla’, by Blue Coupe. Her Ladyship had an attack of the vapours.

Most Blunderful Moment Award   Goes to the author, on getting home and realising he’d left his jeans hanging on the back of the room door, with all his notes from the weekend in the back pocket.  Hence the following non-review.

The Communication Breakdown Award.  Goes to Butlins. The author tried to ring to find out about ‘left behind ‘ stuff. Numerous phone calls, couldn’t get through. No section on website. Surely a Frequently Asked Question? Seemingly not, but ‘How can I buy a Butlins voucher?’ is.

Poignant Moment Award  Barrie Masters, from Eddie and the Hot Rods. After announcing that the ‘guitarist from Dr Feelgood’ is very ill (he meant Wilko Johnson, not the current occupant!), he choked when he realised that he was going to announce the next song, ‘Better Without You’. He nearly ‘lost it’.

Long -overdue Apology Award  To Leo Lyons from the author, who for 40 years has thought he was a rubbish bass player. He watched TYA for about 10 minutes in 1972  (see last year’s review), mainly aiming his bile at Alvin Lee. Mr Lyons is very Jack Bruce -like in his playing and mannerisms, can’t be any more complimentary! Sorry Leo!

Pleasantly Surprised Award   Hundred Seventy Split. Great bass-playing, see above, good songs (all unfamiliar) and Joe Gooch mostly avoided the 100mph guitar-playing demanded by Ten Years After.

I Never Realised That’ Award    Thijs van Leer from Focus has a parallel career as a member of Time Team.

It Needs To Get Sorted …And Quickly…Award   Deviations from starting times. Butlins start and finish times for the acts was always spot on. This weekend, especially in Reds, it was atrocious at times. We left after waiting for 45 minutes after the supposed start time for Curved Air. What happened to the drum kit and amps all being set up while the previous act was on, and wheeled on in minutes?! Sound checks all done?!  Are the acts turning up at the last minute? Are their sound men being ‘fastidious’?

Pondlife Award  The shaven-headed drunken moron who deemed it ok to throw himself (and his petrol and Ribena mixer drink) all over in a packed Dr Feelgood audience.

Rod Stewart ‘An Old Raincoat Won’t Ever Let You Down’ Award   Del Bromham from Stray. Just like Roderick’s raincoat. Entertaining top geezer, and bloody good guitarist.  Never fails to do the biz.

The ‘Get An Old Bed Out Of The Rubbish Skip, They Won’t Know The Difference’ Award.   Goes to whoever did it and  put it in the author’s room.

The Twenty Minute Award   Goes to Hawkwind . Fantastic multi-media start, but after 20 minutes the author’s eyes began to glaze over.

The Twenty Minute Award (Joint Runners-up) The Blues Band. The 20 minute soporific section before one of them suggested ‘Little Queenie’. Not having a set list for 10 years is all very ‘cool’, but the set can have ‘pacing’ issues.

The Twenty Minute Award (Joint Runners-up).  Dr Feelgood , who qualify for 3 awards. 1) The first 20 minutes of their set which I sadly missed while waiting for the Bouchard brothers (see following category). 2) The next 20 minutes , probably the most energetic of the weekend and 3) The final 20 minutes , a ‘6 of the best from Wilko’, which was the culmination of a very good weekend.

The Thoroughly Excellent Human Beings Award   The members of Blue Coupe. With CV’s most musicians here would die for, they came out and chatted and signed whatever was shoved before them . The Bouchard brothers were real gentlemen. Mr D seemed similarly chivalrous towards his many fans.

The Genuinely Pleased To Play At Skeggy Award    Gary Fletcher, who seemed really pleased to be there. There were others too, unlike OysterBand who at the Moonbeams Festival seemed happy to take the piss out of the fact that they had played at Skeggy (but were no doubt more than happy to accept the cheque).

The ‘Are We At Woodstock Still, Where There’s Only One Stage’ Award  Goes to the 2 old giffers next to us who were shouting ‘Rubbish’ at Blue Coupe. Try opening the programme next time, there are 2 other venues just in case what you are watching isn’t your cup of tea.

The ‘And Finally’ Award.  Goes to Her Ladyship, who took loads of photos all weekend and had the good sense not to put her camera in the author’s jeans pocket. To be added in the near future.

Mentioned in Dispatches.   1.Eddie and the Hot Rods. Like our friend Mike ‘Bird Dog’ Green said, Barrie Masters is a much-overlooked great frontman and bloody good singer. 2. Colin Bluntstone.  We were a bit ‘we are here , we’ll give him a shot’, but ‘Old and Wise’ was a great song.

A good weekend, best Rock n Blues for quite a while. I think we probably missed some ‘iffier’ performances but the value for money is still cracking…and I haven’t mentioned the RAM /Pete Barton issue once!(See Rants section).

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Caravan, The Sage Gateshead, 12.01.13.

Tonight it’s Hall 2 at The Sage, an intimate setting , capacity of about 400. I was playing some early Caravan on the way up, and was reminded how their keyboard sound was not dissimilar to that of Richard Wright’s in Pink Floyd’s early years. In fact, Floyd and Caravan had similar college audiences c.1969,  but I couldn’t imagine a group today calling themselves Pink Floyd would only be playing to 400.

Anyway, first up was Garron Frith. Guitar/vocals, Manc patter with self-penned songs in a bed-sit sort of style. OK, should always get a support slot like this (travelling light) and ideal for festivals.

Caravan start on time, with a familiar opening salvo of ‘Memory lain Hugh’ and ‘Headloss’ from their LP ‘For girls who grow plump in the night’. Next up is the title track from ‘In the Land of Grey and Pink’, and it is these 2 LPs which pretty much dominate the set.  We  get ‘Golf Girl’ and ‘The Dog, the Dog…’ with the likes of ‘Nightmare’ and ‘Fingers in the till’ interrupting the flow of 70s stuff. Their magnum opus ‘9 Feet Underground’ finishes the main set and the encore is again from ‘Girls…’.    At one point Geoff Richardson announced that they had released 28 official records and quite a few had sneaked out from which they have received nothing (sorry Geoff, I have inadvertently bought a couple of the latter section!).  I definitely feel sorry for anyone in the audience who had bought the other 26 lps but not ‘Girls…’ or ‘Land…’.  I reckon there will be a few fans who reckon both these 2 LPs crept into the charts. I certainly know people who have one or both. In fact, neither troubled the charts and it was the later ‘Cunning Stunts’ and ‘Blind Dog at St Dunstan’s’ which both gate-crashed the middle of the Top 100 for one week only.   An airing for ‘Show of our lives’ or the earlier, quirkier ‘If I could do it…’ wouldn’t have gone amiss, but that’s only nit-picking.   Pye Hastings has a very lightweight voice which very occasionally struggled to get up to us in the top row, but the musicianship was spot-on,  with long-time , in-out member Jan Schelhas getting some very Sinclairesque sounds from his keyboards.

This lineup has been going for a while now,  apart from original drummer Richard Coughlan having to retire a few years ago through ill health.  They seem to reconvene every so often,  based on Pye Hastings giving up his day job in Scotland for a while.  Grown up music, catch them while you still can.