Monthly Archives: July 2013

The Petty Heartbreakers. Duck and Drake, Leeds. 28.7.13

An early start today, as it is a Sunday. We got there early, and it wasn’t long before the curtains are closed, as is the door. Is it some need to appease noise complaints, because it got really hot inside. If Bill Pertwee hadn’t died recently, I might have expected a blackout check from the Dad’s Army warden.

It is unusual for me to even watch a tribute act, never mind comment upon it, but it was obvious these lads are part of the ‘tribute’ industry who actually play the music of someone they like rather than the other meaning of ‘tribute’ i.e. for payment.  ‘Tom Petty’ dutifully strapped on his Rickenbacker, donned shades, waistcoat and top hat but decided against a blonde wig.   ‘King’s Highway’ was followed by ‘Listen to her Heart’, and anyone there whose only TPATH record was a Greatest Hits won’t have been disappointed with the setlist.   The first set finished with two of my favourites ‘The Waiting’ and ‘Anything that’s rock n roll’.  The latter is still in my memory bank from when I saw them back in 77 at Leeds University supporting Nils Lofgren on his 1977 European  tour.  Is this the only time they have played in Leeds?

The ‘hits’ continued in the second set but there are some more obscure songs such as ‘Keeping me Alive’, ‘The Last DJ’ and ‘You wreck me’ to keep the attention of the more discerning TP fan.  ‘Breakdown’ took me back to 87  at the Bob Dylan/TPATH/Roger McGuinn concert in Birmingham. The song had been a TP signature tune into the 80s ( especially in America), where it got extended into a lengthy audience participation number. Tom tried it in Birmingham and Her Ladyship was just about the only person who knew the words.  Tonight’s rendition was comparably  brief.  ‘American Girl’ finished off a very good and genuine tribute to a class outfit.  A good blend of familiar and not-so-familiar songs, with ‘Taxman’ and ‘Handle with Care’ also thrown in.  Any fans of Benmont Tench, TPATH keyboard man, may have been miffed at the scarcity of the black and white things, but I reckon they could just about delete the keyboard and not miss it too much.

They seem to have a decent following, and there aren’t many copy groups who I would seek out to watch again, but both of us will be there next time hopefully.  (NB Their flyer has the website as the ‘prettyheartbreakers’?!)

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Americana Festival. Jumpin’ Hot Outdoor Stage. The Sage. 21.7.13

As part of their Americana season, the Sage puts on some free afternoon entertainment and this was the final session. First Monkey Jump. The duo gave us a selection from the likes of Bukka White, Son House and Robert Johnson. We got Freddie King’s ‘Boogie Man’, some early Fleetwood Mac via ‘Shake your money maker’ and we were  invited to get our mojos working to finish off with.  Good start.

Former Mekon , Joe Longford, is on next.      Plenty of original stuff,  including ‘Nashville Radio’  which had more than a hint of Lindisfarne and reminded  Her Ladyship of Lonnie Donegan! Bit of Johnny Cash and it was all amiable singalong stuff,but ‘alt-country’?  Not sure, but (like Mr. Russell was later to say), why a need to categorise  people?                 Having said that,next up were Polly and the Billets Doux (after a blast from the belaptopped DJ, of the Long Ryders ‘Lewis and Clark’, a forgotten classic that woke up a few senior citizens).   New word, belaptopped?!  Yes, Polly and chums were well-defined by the programme notes.  How often do we read them and think we are watching a different act?  ‘Smoky blues, country, folk, soul and gospel with a quintessentially English twist’. Agreed. We get that unmistakeable drum beat that warns us of the impending Bo Diddley and ‘Pretty Thing’ is served up. They finish with an unusual ‘House of the Rising Sun’ from the female perspective, as it originally was. They went down well.                        During the break, we get another cracker from the DJ, ‘Sin City’ from the Flying Burrito Brothers  and soon on comes Brendan Croker accompanied by an outrageous  guitar. (Is it the same man from York who made Catfish Keith his latest guitar? )  Back in the 80s we spent many a night in the Central in Leeds watching Mr C with the brilliant Mk1 version of the 5 o’ clock Shadows.  Our last sighting was when he and Mark Knopfler played a Benefit Night at Leeds University.  I had to admit to hardly recognising him as he launched into a singalong ‘Miss Otis Regrets’. He was soon into his Jesse Fuller stuff and we even got ‘Trail of the Lonesome Pines’ a la Laurel and Hardy. Finished with Charlie Rich’s ‘Feel like going home’, one of the Notting Hillbillies highlights. All was… ok, but I felt a touch disappointed.                                                            Scotland’s  The Shiverin’ Sheiks were next and I was beginning to wonder when there was actually going to be a turn from across the pond.  ‘Don’t let go’ was first up, taking me back to those 70s days of Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen.  The sound was heavily dominated by the man with the Telecaster (who at one point seemed to playing a different tune to the rest!).  ‘Sheik of Araby’ and ‘Slow Down’ were both in the early Beatles repertoire and we ended with yet more audience participation.   Inoffensive rock n roll/rockabilly. We were promised much from the next lot, David Wax Museum, and they were indeed the best so far. Interesting Mexican folk stuff, very versatile  and energetic, would gladly watch them again.   And they were from Boston in USA, not Lincolnshire.                                   Bob Dylan’s ‘I want you’ from the DJ precedes the arrival of Tom Russell. Long-time accompaniest Andrew Hardin is no longer there, we now have the excellent Thad Beckman. The recent tribute to Mr Dylan, ‘Mesabi’, starts things off and Mr R is in an almost giddy mood!This is a man who makes Jack Dee sound positively jovial, remember!   Lots of stuff from the excellent ‘Blood and Candle Smoke’ cd, namely ‘Guadaloupe’,’Nina Simone’ , ‘East of Woodstock…’.  Older tunes ‘Stealing Electricity’, ‘Goodnight Juarez’ , ‘ Tonight we ride’ and the nation’s favourite ‘Blue Wing’ all go down well, and the encore is the acutely acidic and accurate ‘Who’s gonna build your wall’.  Great performance from a great songwriter.  I am sure there were a lot there who hadn’t heard him before, but I am also sure there will have been some there who had  travelled to Leeds from Newcastle last time I saw him in the Roscoe in Leeds.

A very good way to spend a Sunday afternoon…for free, too. My one slight frustration was that nearly everyone had to have a bloody singalong included, in what was only a 45 minute set each. Hopefully the organisers can ensure the funding for next year. Thanks very much.

Moonbeams Festival. Wold Top. 12-13.7.13

Second and final update. It appears I have hugely upset the organiser by having the temerity to paint a less than wonderful picture. In my defence, a few points .

    1. I just did not consider it the ‘best yet’. I didn’t say it was rubbish.

2.  Regarding Blair Dunlop, I was not being critical at all. In fact the opposite. By using a Seth Lakeman analogy, I was trying to say that he seemed to have been influenced by Mr L (one of the best in the genre). I was paying him a compliment.

3. Seemingly the Mighty Doonans ARE a ‘name’. My limited folk knowledge obviously does not realise this, but I did actually say that they were indeed ‘mighty’. (i.e extremely good).

4. The Alligators put on a very good and popular show but I have the affront to call them a ‘pub group’? Yes, they are all very good musicians. I have tried to find out a gig guide. Struggled to find future gigs but discovered items of their playing previously at the Victoria Pub( Hornsea), Bear Inn (South Cave) and Pike and Heron (Hornsea).  These venues are types of…(!!) , so how do you describe The Alligators then? Arena Rock?! .   Where do THEY THEMSELVES  consider to be their most frequent type of venue!?

5. The feedback to the organiser was that how wonderful it was. Just to try and put and end to it, what is the standard reply from a group of diners when the owner asks them how everything is?  ‘Excellent, thank you’. And what happens when the person moves away?!  Is there not even a slight possibility that someone else thought it wasn’t the ‘best yet’ but didn’t want to say it to such a pleasant  and enthusiastic person? Maybe?

6. I don’t moan for moaning’s sake’.  Do the others I was speaking to therefore possess an opinion that is equally worthless?  I have never criticised the lady’s efforts, persona or anything about her.   She always seemed a lovely woman, and I have unfortunately upset her but I just couldn’t say something was great if I didn’t think it was.

An update on the review below. Have just received the ‘classic’ comment from the organisers, that many reckon it to have been the ‘best yet’.  Both Cropredy and Cambridge Rock Festival have stated exactly the same when the event has been a long way from the ‘best yet’.

This was our 3rd Moonbeams Fest. A very ‘folk’ orientated affair, set in a brewery with a capacity of a few hundred.  Previous years have sold out, but even up to a week or so ago the organiser Leila was still selling tickets. And this speaks volumes basically about the calibre of the bill.   Two years ago , Oysterband gave their usual anthemic performance. Last year, the seemingly well-regarded Show of Hands topped the bill (did nowt for me, sadly).   But this year was very thin. Not just my opinion, also our friends there and , crucially, the opinions of those who chose not to come.

We caught a bit of Blair Dunlop, who was decent (and has surely got his bedroom wall full of Seth Lakeman posters).   The Mighty Doonans were indeed mighty and Richard Digance delighted us all. And by ‘all’ , that meant a hall with a lot of empty chairs.   The most popular act was probably The Alligators, whose blues/rock set closed the event. But only really a pub group.  Maybe Mike Harding, who was there but not performing, could have rescued things.

OK, the Fairports of this world are maybe beyond Leila’s budget, but it needs a rethink re a headliner. And if The Alligators proved a winner, maybe even with the snotty Cropredy faction, why not go all out and book eg Dr Feelgood or Nine Below Zero? Acoustic maybe?

Also, the beer situation was a bit naughty. Ten half-pint tokens for £13.00, or twenty for £25.00. I don’t know of any pub which charges me more for a pint if I buy five pints rather than ten. Why tokens? Most drinks at £2.50 a pint is hardly going to tax the maths of the bar staff or cause problems with change. (It didn’t last year). And would the brewery have bought back any unused tokens? Not a chance, I suspect, so ‘money for nothing’  Also, our friends were swayed into coming again to buy bottles to take home @ £1. This year it seemed to have doubled.  I am sure that the reduction in overheads by buying from the source could have trimmed the prices.  I am also sure there were a lot of women there who didn’t want to have to buy a minimum of ten tokens, although the sellers did have the sense to sell in smaller amounts at the end.

Some soul-searching needed for those involved, methinks.

Pink Peg Slax. Duck and Drake. 6.7.13.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe first came across this rockabilly outfit from Leeds back in the 80s, and I thought they had disappeared long ago. Not to be, as here they are in 2013 in an absolutely sweltering Duck and Drake.

Not a group to rely purely on cover versions , they had plenty of their own catchy songs, mixed in with songs familiar to fans of Eddie Cochran, Eddie Bond (who recently died) and even Elvis. ‘Money Honey’ also got an airing and the 2 sets were delivered with great accomplishment.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Plenty of dancing by the end, which included some athletic gyrations from Her Ladyship (fuelled  by half a dozen pints of ‘Triple Chocolate’ beer).

Quiffs a plenty in evidence, and well worth checking out even if you are not a huge fan of the genre.