Bare Faced Blues

It’s typical isn’t it? You wait for one new music festival to launch in Hastings and then three come along in the space of a few months. Mind you, we’re not complaining.

First we had a brand new Folk Fest in May, then the Sea Shanty Festival in July and now in September we’ll see the launch of Bare Faced Blues.

The Bare Faced Blues festival plays out over two Sunday’s in September, the 7th and 14th and will take place at the Gecko Bar, on the seafront in St Leonards. It’s all in a good cause too, as all profits will be going to St Michael’s Hospice.

As the name suggests, this new addition to the local music calendar will be Blues based. Showing, if we didn’t know it already, the huge variety of music being played in the Hastings area.

Bare Faced Blues is the brainchild of local promoter Barry Taylor, who once booked the Sex Pistols to play on Hastings Pier. He told me, “Blues music has always been a passion for me and St Michael’s Hospice has family connections”.

Barry has certainly gathered together a great line up of local Blues artists to appear. Sunday, 7th September see’s Buick 6, Jem Turpin Duo, Highway and Goo Goo’s playing.

Sunday, 14th September has Tea Chest Blues, Joe Rytlewski Band, King Size Slim, Pete O’Donnells Blues Band and Mick Bolton scheduled to appear. I’m sure you’d agree that that’s an impressive group of acts.

Both gigs run from 1.30pm to 9pm and entry will be free. There will a collection for St Michael’s Hospice during both gigs.

To coincide with the festival, a CD called “Blues for St Michael’s” is being released, featuring all the acts appearing over the two dates. Priced at just £5, you’ll be able to buy the CD on the day and afterwards at Gecko Bar and also online. All profits from the CD will go to St Michael’s Hospice.

So far, the reception to Barry’s Blues festival idea has been very positive. As he told me, “The first person I spoke to was Pete Prescott, because of his experience of fund raising through music, he was very enthusiastic. All the artists I approached have been very co-operative and I feel the line ups reflect the great variety within the local Blues genre”.

A dedicated Bare Faced Blues website will be coming very shortly, which will feature more info about the acts, the festival itself and also interviews with the performers.

So why not go along, see some great Blues music and help support a very worthy local charity as well. And who knows, maybe Bare Faced Blues will become an annual event?

Let’s hope so.

PS: The website is now live at: www.barefacedblues.co.uk

Big Green Cardigan Festival 2014

Just because summer is (gradually) drawing to a close, doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the music festival season.

And as if to prove that, the 4th Big Green Cardigan Festival is taking place over the weekend of 5th, 6th and 7th of September 2014.

Big Green Cardigan takes place at Cripps Corner, near Hastings, in a lovely countryside setting. The festival prides itself on being a little different to the norm, when it comes to what we think of with music festivals these days.

As they put it themselves on their website: http://biggreencardigan.co.uk/

Big Green Cardigan is “Intimate and relaxed, our festival is not big, nor is it brash. There is no corporate sponsorship and there are no gimmicks. In a way the event is – how do we put it – old school. The crowd genuinely listen to the music – it is a gathering place for music lovers – musical tastes of all kinds are catered for”

“Musically, there is no theme. But there will be lots of it; lots of music with no distinctive style  – from Americana to Country to Blues and even a touch of acoustic tribal trance”

As if to re-emphasise that they do things slightly differently, there are only 500 tickets available for each day, only over 18′s are admitted and there are “local real ales and ciders, home cooked food (at sensible prices) and enough clean (and regularly checked) toilets to go round”

But what of the acts playing over the weekend? Well, there is a mixture of local acts and many from further afield as well.

Confirmed so far are acts such as: King Size Slim, Red Butler, Sean De Burca, Red Dirt Skinners,Titus, Irie Method, Ricky Adelaide Swing Band and many, many more.

Tickets for the weekend, which include camping, are £66 per person, but they sell fast….

For more details, check out the festival website.

And, no, we don’t know where the festival get’s its name from either….

Vote King Size Slim

Local bluesman Toby Barelli, aka King Size Slim, has been nominated in the Emerging Artist category of the British Blues Awards 2014, and you can help him win that prestigious award.

Anyone who has seen live, or heard, King Size Slim will know both how good his music is, and also how richly deserved this award nomination is.

So, to give Toby your vote visit this link: http://www.britishbluesawards.co.uk/vote.htm

The Emerging Artist category is the second from the bottom of the list. Voting is open until the end of June. We’ll let you know if he wins when the results are announced.

While you’re doing that, here’s an interview King Size Slim did recently for the Blues Magazine Show on Team Rock Radio:

Find out more about King Size Slim via his website at: http://www.kingsizeslim.com/

I had the pleasure of interviewing Toby during my Local Music Shows on Carnival FM last year, when he came into the studio to perform a live sesssion. Here’s a video of that interview and of one of the tracks he played live for us, ‘Angel Dear’.

Vote King Size Slim and help put Hastings onto the national musical map.

Bare-Faced Blues Festival

Hot on the heels of the news that Hastings is to have its own Folk Festival in May 2014, comes the launch of a new Blues Festival in St Leonards.

To be called ‘Bare-Faced Blues’, the festival is being organised and promoted by local man Barry Taylor. For the uninitiated, Barry is the man who booked the Sex Pistols to play on Hastings Pier back in July 1976.

‘Bare-Faced Blues’ will take place at Gecko Bar, on St Leonards seafront, on Sunday’s, 7th and 14th of September 2014. The whole event is being organised to raise funds for St Michael’s Hospice, a very worthy cause I’m sure you’d agree.

Local acts already lined up include Buick 6, King Size Slim, Goo Goos and T Chest Blues, with more to be announced.

Barry would like to hear from any local Blues based acts who are interested in playing this charity event. You can contact him via email at: barry.taylor145@gmail.com

If ‘Bare-Faced Blues’ is a success, Barry hopes to make it into an annual event to add to the Hastings musical calendar.

We wish him well.

Hastings Fat Tuesday 2014

It’s very nearly time for another one of those highlights of the Hastings year, Fat Tuesday.

It all kicks off tomorrow, Friday 28th, and details of events across the whole five days can be found on the official website: http://www.hastingsfattuesday.co.uk/2014/

There is plenty to enjoy over the course of the celebrations, but one of the best aspects of Hastings Fat Tuesday is the opportunity it gives for local original musicians to showcase their talents to a wider audience. Fat Tuesday brings visitors from far and wide to Hastings. After all, everyone likes a party don’t they?

So, I thought I’d highlight some of the events, within the five days of celebrations, that help to showcase that original musical talent.

Friday evening brings the official Launch Party at The Jenny Lind, with The Cajun Dawgs sharing their authentic Cajun and Zydeco sounds, straight from the deep south of the UK.

There’s just time to catch your breath, and shake off that hangover, before The Unplugged Tour on Saturday afternoon between 1 and 6pm. 30 acts, performing 150 gigs, across several venues in Hastings Old Town.

This is only the second year of The Unplugged Tour, but it’s one of the events that I’m looking forward to the most. Many of our best local acts will be performing acoustic versions of their songs, quite possibly for the first time. So it’s a great opportunity to see those bands in a different light and often out of their comfort zone too.

Sunday afternoon see’s the return of SXSE at The Union Bar: https://www.facebook.com/events/261077317383850/

This showcase features 8 local bands aiming to claim the final slot on Tuesday nights Fat Tuesday Tour. I’m lucky enough to be one of the judges for this and it promises to be a great afternoon.

Monday gives you a chance to catch your breath a little with Slim Monday at the Brass Monkey. Performing on the night will be the appropriately named King Size Slim, and if he’s anywhere near as good as the last time I saw him play, this is another gig not to be missed.

Tuesday evening brings us to the highlight and climax of the whole Hastings Fat Tuesday celebrations with the Fat Tuesday Tour itself. 8 venues, and 16 bands playing 3 gigs each.

2013 set a benchmark with Skunk Anansie playing to excited crowds at the Dragon Bar, Lord Nelson and The Carlisle. So, 2014 has a lot to live up to, but I’ve no doubt that the levels of excitement and quality of music will be just as good.

See the official Fat Tuesday programme within the first issue of The Stinger magazine for full details of all the events.

Overall, Hastings Fat Tuesday 2014 will feature over 250 performances, by 65 artists, across 25 different venues. Now that’s quite some party!

And possibly the best thing about all the events I’ve mentioned here, is that they’re all absolutely free.

We’ve never really needed an excuse to party in Hastings, but if one was ever needed, Fat Tuesday is a far better one than most.

Happy Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday everyone. See you there.

Some Festive Viewing

If you’re anything like me and find Christmas TV a bit boring and overrated, it’s good to find some alternative festive viewing. And what better than a crop of new music videos from local acts.

So, here are four of the latest offerings that the Pierless Music team have come across recently. It’s a varied selection too, both musically and visually.

They are all acts that we’ve featured at some time during 2013 and we make no excuse for sharing their work with you once again.

First up is King Size Slim and the title track from his recent album ‘Milk Drunk’. This track was played on BBC Radio 2 recently by Huey Morgan, who said of it, “Taking lactose intolerance to new levels. I really like this album”.

Next we have Pantaleimon and ‘Ember, which the second single from her album ‘The Butterfly Ate The Pearl’.

Now it’s the turn of Neon and Swan aka Vile Electrodes and a live and, almost, unplugged version of their song ‘The Last Time’. This version features on their new 5 track EP ‘The Ghosts of Christmas’.

Finally we have an animated video from Virgin Soldiers and their song ‘Children’. This is taken from their forthcoming ‘Lovestrock’ EP, which is released on 9th February 2014.

I think you’ll agree that you’ve just seen some very good videos, from some great local artists.

Happy Christmas.

 

King Size Slim

I’m sure many of you Hastings folk will already be aware of the “Fat Roots Boogie” of Toby Barelli, aka King Size Slim, and if you’re not then now is the time to take notice.

This is a man who revels in live performances, something that is backed up by these figures from his website for 2012.
“146 shows, 13,972 miles travelled, 4 new tyres, 1 new gearbox, 98 sets of guitar strings, 12 harmonicas, 24 guitar picks, 6 thumb picks, 8 finger picks…..” See what I mean?

This year King Size Slim released his 3rd album ‘Milk Drunk’ (which I can heartily recommend by the way) and he has spent the year touring to share it with the world. The end of that tour brings him back home to the Brass Monkey in Hastings on Friday 25th October.

More details can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/351277308341290/

This gig see’s him performing with a band. But whether solo, or with that band, his live show is one well worth checking out. The energy of his performances and the infectious rhythms of his music can’t fail to get your feet tapping.

I had the privilege of interviewing Toby about his musical journey and seeing him perform an intimate live radio session earlier this year, during the course of which he managed to destroy a guitar case by stamping on it in time to his music!

So get on down to the Brass Monkey, or buy the ‘Milk Drunk’ album and see what all the fuss is about. I guarantee that you’ll not be disappointed.

King Size Slim website: http://www.kingsizeslim.com/

Local Music News – July 2013

Here’s my latest local music column for the Hastings Observer. It was originally published in the edition which came out on Friday 5th July.

“Another month and another quality local music CD arrives.

This time it’s the turn of Hastings’ favourite one man band, Toby Barelli aka King Size Slim, to unleash his latest offering. ‘Milk Drunk’ is the title of this collection of 11 self penned songs. Although the album only weighs in at just over 30 minutes long, no track outstays its welcome, which is not something that can be said for all local CD’s.

If you’ve ever seen King Size Slim live & if you haven’t you really should, you’ll know exactly what to expect here & you’ll not be disappointed either.

Nicely packaged, well recorded & with a nice live feel to it, this CD has rarely left my CD player since I got it. Favourite songs include the title track, ‘Wake Up The Town’ and ‘Rising Spring’ with its topical political overtones. But, all 11 tracks are worth exploring & for a one man band there is plenty of variety within the songs to keep your attention.

There are guest appearances from, amongst others, Roger Hubbard with some wonderful mandolin playing on the aforementioned ‘Rising Spring’ & world renowned session drummer Andy Newmark stamps his personality onto ‘Monkey, Where Are You?’.

Obvious comparisons could be made with Seasick Steve, but Toby’s heartfelt, exuberant style & delivery mean that he is definitely his own man and fully deserves to be considered if you enjoy the bluesy, folky & rootsy side of music.

If this sounds like your kind of album & I can heartily recommend it, you can find out more, listen to some of the tracks & also buy the CD on the King Size Slim website at: http://www.kingsizeslim.com/ ‘Milk Drunk’ is also available via iTunes.

Next months see’s the promise of receiving the second album from Sand Rabbit & the debut EP from One Thousand Tons. That’s something I’m looking forward to.

Stay tuned.

Andy Gunton,

Pierless Music, Hastings Rock & Carnival FM”

Blog Post – You Give But Little….

Richard has written a new blog post about a gig that both of us were privileged to be present at last night.

The gig was King Size Slim, at The Dolphin in Rock-a-Nore and what a gig it was.

You can read Richards’s post here and find out what you missed out on:

http://pierlessmusic.co.uk/blog-posts/richard-lock/you-give-but-little-2/

In case you wonder afterwards, who the other musicians were that Richard is so complimentary about. They are Harrison Caruana and George Macdonald, who only the night before had wowed the crowd at the Camden Barfly as a part of The Kid Kapichi.

What an eventful and varied musical weekend they have had.