Mad Jack and the Hatters. The Lion, Castleford. 3.5.2014

The best pub in ‘Cas Vegas’, but if you want piped music, real ale and comfy chairs don’t come here!  A real ‘spit and sawdust’ place, with live music every weekend.  There can’t have been many weekends in the Lion when we haven’t heard ‘Whole lotta Rosie’, ‘Boys are back in town’ and ‘All Right Bloody Now’, so it definitely can’t be labelled as the Rockabilly capital of West Yorkshire!  But read on…

I saw this lot a while ago in the Lion, so was excited when I saw their name outside again. They came on at 9.00-ish, a 3 piece featuring a diminutive young lady hitting a cymbal and snare while standing on a beer crate. Seemingly, this was her first gig on percussion, deputising for the regular percussionist.  However, I am sure she played stand-up bass last time.  ‘Jack’ treated us to manic versions of ‘Baby please don’t go’ and ‘Honey Don’t’ . Things slowed down slightly for ‘Stray Cat Strut’, and the young lady took up the bass to give us some Blondie and ‘Jolene’. A great version of ‘Rock around the Clock, ‘Long Tall Sally’ and the first set was done.

The break between sets was just a bit too long though, about 40 minutes, and they came back with ‘Rolling and Tumbling’. Some more changing of instruments, and ‘These boots are made for walking’ was our final number as we had to head off for the last bus home.

I was surprised by how many were in the pub, the group are obviously popular. I had overheard one of the Lion ‘regular’ Billy Nomates announce to no one in particular that he ‘wouldn’t be stopping long for this’. It was heartbreaking to see him slump off with his Metallica T-shirt firmly in place around his bloated midriff, of course.

A real breath of fresh air for the Lion. Mad Jack and co are really, really good, try and get to see them.

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