Monday, 31 December 2012

Stamford

It was nice to pop over the county border into Lincolnshire to visit Stamford. Stamford is a town and civil parish on the River Welland district.It is 92 miles north of London, on the east side of the A1 road to York and Edinburgh
Lots of places of interest and unusual old bookshops and pubs to try. As well as some 15 or so Churches.
 Some lovely doors with their Christmas wreaths on show.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Jack Frost

Temperatures overnight dropped to a chilling minus 6 degrees leaving a covering of ice and mist turning the surrounding area into a 'fantasy land'.
 I decided to leave the car at home and walk down to the Samaritans Centre on the Kettering Road and take a few photos to capture the scene.
Surprisingly as I walked I soon got very warm , something to do with the 10 layers I was wearing no doubt.


It was lovely to come across this large herd of sheep grazing on some common land . They seemed totally oblivious to the cold.


The floodlights in the distance are at Northants County Cricket Club and the foreground is the old golf course that is now Bradlaugh Fields.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Magnum & Trillium - Wolverhampton

I have mentioned before I will always have a massive soft spot for Magnum. The title of this blog is dedicated to their 1985 masterpiece 'On a Storytellers Night'. This was something of a homecoming gig with most of the band being from the midlands/Staffordshire area. The Wulfrun Hall was pretty packed despite competition at the adjoining 'Civic' from 'Ned's Atomic Dustbin'...... Prior to Magnum we had Trillium who again impressed as they did when I saw them support Delain earlier this year.
There is no doubting that singer Amanda Somerville has a powerful and dramatic voice with great stage presence. They are a good band and guitarist Paul Owsinski is a talent. Amanda explained that she has known Bob (Catley) from working together on the 'Avantasia' projects a few years ago and he asked her to join him on tour. Magnum show no signs of slowing down despite being well into their fourth decade and Bob reaching the ripe old age of sixty five. Actually their latest album 'On the 13th Day' is excellent and probably their best work in the last ten years. First song 'All the Dreamers' was from the new album. We also had 'Blood Red Laughter', 'Dance of the Black Tattoo' and 'See how they Fall'. It's the timeless classics though that really steal the show. The first of which is the anthemic 'How Far Jeruslaem' with everybody joining in. This was followed by the emotive and passionate 'Les Morts Dansant'. The emotional 'The Spirit' never fails to move me and takes me right back to the mid 80's every time. It is pure poetry from the master lyricist/guitarist Tony Clarkin. Two of my favourites were still to come with 'Vigilante' and the pounding 'Kingdom of Madness' to round off a brilliant set. After rapturous applause we had a three song encoure which included 'Rockin' Chair' with Bob singing “I need my rockin' but I don't need no rockin' chair” which sounded like a statement of intent! I hope so, as this was two hours of pure bliss by a band I have followed through thick and thin. Full Set List All the Dreamers When we were Younger Blood Red Laughter Wild Angels Brand New Morning How Far Jerusalem The Flood Les Morts Dansant The Spirit Dance of the Black Tattoo All My Bridges All Englands Eyes Vigilante Kingdom of Madness Encore See How they Fall Rockin'Chair Days of no Trust

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Buck Cherry & Kobra and The Lotus

Kobra Paige
Nice to be on 'Home turf' at The Roadmender Northampton. As i've mentioned before we get so few decent Rock acts in these parts so an opportunity not to be missed. I was running a bit late and didn't arrive until half past six and amazingly found myself first in the queue! Formed in 2009 and from Canada K & TL are old school metal. They got a good reception and put in a powerful set although I didn't think the sound was great and the vocals were hard to distinguish. The highlight of their set was definitely the cover of Iron Maiden's 'The Wicker Man' which was a great effort. Full Set List Nayana No rest for the wicked Welcome to my funeral Forever one Heavens veins Lonely sanctuary The Wicker Man (Iron Maiden Cover) My life 50 Shades of evil
Josh Todd

Have to admit not knowing too much about Buck Cherry aside from a couple of tracks played on Planet Rock which I liked. They have actually been around since 1995 and hail from LA. They have a sixth album due out in February 2013. Singer Josh Todd has a good voice and reminded me of Steven Tyler (Aerosmith) in some ways. He is certainly no stranger to the tattoo parlour thats for sure. A good front man with also a hint of Jagger the way he strutted around the stage. It all got a bit boystrous down at the front at times but I stood my ground nevertheless. It did have it's advantages as I rose like the proverbial salmon to catch a drumstick. Also claimed a few guitar picks, one of which shaped like a razor blade. It was a good set and they did remind me of The Black Crowes in some ways. Definitely a good band and well worth the 2 mile trip into town. To save me from typing I am posting a photo of the set list.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Lynyrd Skynyrd - UEA Norwich

A somewhat hectic trip back from Within Temptation in Antwerp not helped by a rail strike in Belgium but I eventually made it to Norwich. This was an unplanned gig as I won the tickets courtesy of Planet Rock so it was all a bit hectic for my liking. Skynyrd are one of those legendary bands that it was just too good an opportunity to miss. Going from an 18500 sell out arena at the Sportpaleis to a 1500 rammed University hall was quite something. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get anywhere near the front or even a decent view that wasn't obscured by either low ceilings, pillars or people in general. Therefore you will notice a certain absence of photos apart from a few internet library ones.
Skynyrd formed in 1964 as the 'Noble Five' out of Jacksonville Florida. Disaster struck in 1977 when a plane crash killed three of the band right at their peak. The band re-formed in 1987 with Ronnie Van Zant's younger brother Johnny took over on vocals. The only original member in the band today is guitarist Gary Rossington. Before Skynyrd we had a large helping of the 'Red White and Blues' probably a lot more than they were expecting..... The performed a very good hard rock/blues set and then came back for an encore, followed by another encore. Then five minutes later they popped back out with 'just one more for you Norwich followed by you guessed it 'just one more'. Things became even more crazy when they started jamming and doing a few cover versions of 'The Kinks' 'You Really Got Me' and 'Ozzy's' 'Crazy Train'. Total farce was achieved when they then pulled a fat bloke out of the audience wearing a pork pie hat to sing Sabbaths 'Paranoid'. Unfortunately he wasn't so hot on the words but seemed to enjoy himself and it kept the audience amused at least. They then started their original set again from the beginning - Pure Spinal Tap and you couldn't make it up. Thankfully they were soon put out of their misery - Skynyrd had arrived !!!!
Johnny Van Zant

Rossington, Medlocke & Van Zant at the Classic Rock Awards night
The Southern rockers had picked up the Classic Rock Comeback Award during the ceremony at the Roundhouse in London the previous night and celebrated with a performance of their greatest hits including 'Sweet Home Alabama' and a 15-minute rendition of 'Free Bird'.

They finally took the stage just before 10 PM and explained that there had been an accident on the highway and then the fog had slowed them down. Without any further ado they launched straight in to 'Last of a Dyin' breed' from their new album of the same name.
Gary Rossington
 
We were treated to greatest hits set list of brilliant 'southern fried rock' from a band who were true professionals and highly polished. My personal highlights were 'Simple Man', 'Tuesdays Gone' and 'Gimme Three Steps'. No Skynyrd set would be complete without the classic and epic masterpiece that is 'Freebird' and all three guitarists in full cry and the house well and truly brought down.

Full Set List
  • Last of a Dyin' Breed
  • Whats your Name
  • Down South Jukin
  • That Smell
  • One Day at a Time
  • I Know a Little
  • Simple Man
  • Gimme Back My Bullets
  • Whiskey Rock-A-Roller
  • The Needle and the Spoon
  • Tuesdays Gone
  • Good Teacher
  • Gimme Three Steps
  • Call Me the Breeze (JJ Cale cover)
  • Sweet Home Alabama
Encore
  • Freebird