Gig Review – John Butler Trio – De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill

As you’re no doubt already aware, we don’t normally publish gig reviews of acts from outside of our local catchment area, but this is an exception.

We are currently having a few issues with The Stinger’s website, so to save delaying posting this review any longer, I decided to share it here.

So, without further ado, here’s my review of the John Butler Trio playing at De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill, on Saturday 15th August 2015:

I’m sure the reaction of many friends of those attending last night’s John Butler Trio gig at the De La Warr Pavilion, in Bexhill, when told who they were going to see, was “Who?”

It’s fair to say that the Australian band aren’t very well known in the UK, but it did mean that just about everybody in the sizable audience were there for the right reasons. This was an audience of fans and fanatics, a fact borne out by this being one of the most enthusiastic audiences I’ve ever come across.

Preaching to the converted maybe, but to a relative newcomer to the delights the John Butler Trio like myself, this was a performance that showed exactly why those fans were here and why they are so enthusiastic.

For the uninitiated, the John Butler Trio play a rootsy musical melting pot of styles and genres, from rock to folk, with stops at reggae, funk, blues and more along the way. Formed in Western Australian in 1998, they are currently touring to support their sixth studio album “Flesh and Blood”, which was released last year.

John Butler himself is a virtuoso guitarist and banjo player, something he displayed to great effect during the two hour show. He was very ably assisted by fellow band members Grant Gerathy (drums, vocals and percussion) and Byron Kuiters (bass, double bass, vocals and keyboards).

I did hear a comment when leaving the gig afterwards saying that “he did drag the songs out a bit”. A fair point maybe, but when you have the musical ability of these guys and many of the songs in the set build in intensity and then maintain that for those extra minutes, as these did, that is forgivable and I don’t think many were complaining about that.

In fact, intensity is the one word I would use to sum up this gig. There may not have been a genuine hit single in sight, but that didn’t stop this, admittedly, biased crowd singing and dancing along throughout, and the band playing their hearts out as well.

John Butler is very much a musician’s musician and songwriter and he attracted a fair sprinkling of fellow players to this gig. His solo, acoustic rendition of “Ocean”, which lasted over 10 minutes, was just one shining example of why he is so well respected in the musical community. Just search on YouTube for a great video performance of the song.

A quick mention should also be made of the excellent lighting during the show and also the fact that this was standing gig, downstairs at least, something that always seems to add an extra level of atmosphere to a gig. Every little helps.

As an Australian friend of mine commented on my Facebook post, stating that I was at the gig, I was very lucky to see the John Butler Trio in Bexhill. I think that is a sentiment shared by everyone who was fortunate enough to have been present at the De La Warr Pavilion on Saturday evening.

Well done to the De La Warr also, for booking relatively unknown acts such as the John Butler Trio, and possibly taking a chance in doing so too. It certainly proved well worth while on this occasion and will no doubt do so in the future as well. Build it and they will come.

Andy Gunton

Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell – Live

Well, we’re back with a bang.

Here’s the latest episode of Harvey Summers’ ‘The Live Room’ sessions.

This time it features local rockers Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell, playing many tracks from their brand new album ‘Check ‘Em, Before You Wreck ‘Em’, and it’s well worth watching.

Turn it up!

There is some adult content within the video.

If you enjoyed that as much as I did, you can catch the band live in Hastings, on Saturday June 21st at The Union Bar.

Find them on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/theshovell

Otti Albietz and the Voices – Live Video

We’ve mentioned before about the series of live session videos that Bexhill producer Harvey Summers has been recording for his Broadoak Studios YouTube channel.

Well, the latest episode of ‘The Live Room’ is now ready for viewing and it’s another cracker.

This time around the band in session are Otti Albietz and the Voices. Once again, someone who we’ve mentioned here on Pierless Music before, and for very good reason too.

We think this session captures perfectly the unique sound of Otti and his band.

See what you think.

http://www.bbemusic.com/artists/2816/Otti%20Albietz#.U147mfldUrU

Con£ribute

We were told about a brand new idea recently, an idea that may well help bands get paid for gigs, instead of them having to play for nothing, or even ‘Pay to Play’.

The idea is called ‘Con£ribute’ and is the brainchild of local promoter John Knowles. John explains his ideas below and we at Pierless Music would like to know what you think about them. We think this has the potential to be a great idea, but what do you think?

Incidentally, the first local Con£ribute gig is being held at The Roomz, St Leonards on Sunday, 27th April and features ‘Dead Belgian’, playing the songs of Jacques Brel.

CON£RIBUTE:

Imagine the scene, the gig has been great, everyone loved the band and encores have been played, the bar looks at the takings and gives up the 10% it promised to the band and low and behold it’s a staggering £30… which as the band has come down from Liverpool via a gig in London, is something of a slap in the face. So doing my promoter bit, I go round and shake the bucket and watch as people drop in silver coins, no notes and then a handful of copper coins… Really! That’s it? Copper coins for a band you’ve just made do an encore, whilst you hug your pint of ‘nadgers old peculiar’.

It won’t be the first or last time that despite having paid for the posters and offering bed and board and food to the band, that I’ll also be chipping in with my own cash to make the offering a little less embarrassing and it won’t be the last time that I take out the copper coins so at least the band doesn’t see the shameful offering, but it shouldn’t be like this, should it.

Why is it when we go to a gig, in this, one of the most musical towns in the UK, do we expect to pay the band nothing, or as good as, why are the musicians who have entertained you for the night worth less than the price of a pint. Why don’t we / you Con£ribute.

Many venues do of course pay the bands and whilst those of us on both sides would like the fee’s to be better, we respect that it’s a tough environment for publicans and compromise is the middle man. But for many venues, paying a decent amount for a band, an amount we know would be fair, is just not a working possibility. For many bands and promoters we’d rather be out there playing than doing what we love than not. But there has to be a better way, a fairer way, a way in which the band gets more than a pint and a derisory hand full of coins.

Con£ribute is an idea, a simple way to signal that the gig you are at needs your support. It says this venue loves live music and supports bands, but can’t give them more than 10% from the till, it says, if you like the music you heard then Con£ribute.

Con£ribute is not a get out for venues to pay nothing, it’s a support for hard working bands and musicians and a help to venues and promoters who are genuinely trying to do their best by the musicians. So when you see the sign in the window CON£RIBUTE, it means when the bucket comes round put in the price of a pint £2.50 / £3.00, it doesn’t mean pull out a handful of copper coins.

CON£RIBUTE is an idea and we welcome your views; is it workable, do you think it’s fair, as a punter would you honestly put in a fair amount or would you be tempted to just shrug your shoulders, lets start a small revolution, pay the piper the price of a pint?

Con£tribute is an idea from Fetch, a local company specialising in live events:
Contact them via: theneverplayed@gmail.com
http://theneverplayed.wix.com/fetch-productions

So, what do you think? Please let us know.

Ceyote

It’s Monday, so we thought we’d brighten up the start of your week with a new local video.

Ceyote are one of our favourite young local bands. But unfortunately they have yet to release any ‘proper’ recordings, just demo’s.

Thankfully though a live video has now been made of one of their tracks, ‘Sun’, which is a good substitute for now and does give a decent indication of what Ceyote sound like.

‘Sun’ was recorded during a recent London gig by the band, at The Black Heart in Camden.

If you liked that, you can find out more about Ceyote via their Facebook page at:

https://www.facebook.com/ceyote1

Now you can get on with the rest of your week.

Stallion Ride Again

Sometimes band reunions happen at just the right time and the re-emergence of Hastings band Stallion may well be a case in point.

For the uninitiated, Stallion were a prog rock band from Hastings who plied their trade during those heady days of the 1970′s. The many members of the band reads like a who’s who of well respected Hastings based musicians. Including the likes of the late Steve Demetri, Phil Gill, Phil Thornton, Roger Carey and Tich Turner, to name but a few.

Stallion’s career spanned nearly the whole of that musically rich decade and they have only now got around to finally releasing their great ‘lost’ album, ‘The Hard Life’.

‘The Hard Life’ is released on Prog-o-Tone Records and contains 11 of the bands tracks, which were recorded between 1974 and 1979.

Back in the 1970′s Stallion played alongside such great bands as Traffic, Curved Air and T-Rex, amongst others. Stallion also played at the Reading Festival and did headline gigs at the Marquee club, as well as being regular performers on Hastings Pier. They also won, outright, the 1976 Melody Maker Rock Contest. No mean achievement.

Stallion have been described by some as one of the great lost bands of that 1970′s Rock music era and you can understand why when you listen to the album. Unfortunately for them, their musical career happened to coincide with the emergence of Punk Rock and we all know how that affected many bands from that era don’t we?

Given a bit more luck who knows where they may have ended up? But, at least we now have the chance to relive those far off days via their music.

I suspect though that they may look a little different to when this photo was taken of one of those sold out gigs at the Marquee club in London:

So why could this be the right time for Stallion to make a comeback?

Well, prog rock is once again in the ascendency and Hastings Pier, a very familiar old stomping ground for the band, is also making a well received comeback.

And now to drive that point home, Stallion are playing their first gig for over 30 years at The Big Green Cardigan Festival, in nearby Cripps Corner, on Friday 6th September.

We’ll be talking more about the festival in a future post, but in the meantime more details can be found here: http://www.biggreencardigan.co.uk/

To get yourself in the mood for this long overdue comeback gig, you can listen to and buy Stallion’s ‘The Hard Life’ by going here:

http://philthornton.bandcamp.com/album/the-hard-life-stallion

You can also find out more about Stallion by visiting their Facebook page here:

https://www.facebook.com/stallionprogressiverock

Rumour has it that this might not be the last we hear from Stallion as a live band. Wouldn’t it be great if one of their future gigs was back on the refurbished Hastings Pier in 2015?

Maybe I’ll see you there?

Carnival FM Live Session Videos

As previously mentioned here, during my recent Local Music Shows for Carnival FM we took the opportunity to get some fine local musicians into the studio to be interviewed by myself and also to perform a few of their own songs and have some fun in the process.

We also took advantage of this to both video and record those interviews and live sessions. Well the results are now starting to appear on the Carnival FM YouTube channel, which you can find here: http://www.youtube.com/user/CarnivalFM/videos

Up to this morning 18 videos have been uploaded, with at least one from every performer/band included in that number. Those performers/bands are Blair, Poppy Prescott, Hana Christine, Mick Bolton, Logan Wilson, Dorey The Wise, The Kid Kapichi, King Size Slim, Steve Riv and Claire Hamill.

Why not go and check them out, there are some great and pretty unique performances amongst them. Here are a couple of those videos to whet your appetite:

Don’t forget that videos from last years live sessions on Carnival FM are also available to be watched on their YouTube channel. And there are still more to come from all performers from this years shows too, so keep checking.

Claire Hamill – Interview and Videos

Well, the Carnival FM broadcast is now over, but even if you missed it there is still a way to experience at least a part of it.

During the course of the broadcast I presented a series of Local Music programmes, during which we had live sessions and interviews with ten different local acts.

One of those was Claire Hamill. Because of her commitments, we had to pre-record both her interview and live session. The benefit of this though was that the interview was able to be longer than those during the live shows.

Here is a video of that interview. We had planned to talk for around five minutes, but ended up talking for twenty nine!

After the interview Claire performed three songs, one of which was brand new.

Here are the videos of those songs. Enjoy:

Thanks to the guys at ‘Rock A Nore Productions’ for filming and editing the video footage.

More videos from the Carnival FM Local Music Shows are available on their YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/CarnivalFM/videos

Carnival FM

Carnival FM has just started its second broadcast. You can hear it locally now on 87.9FM and also via the Internet by going to their website at: http://www.carnivalfm.co.uk/

As with last years broadcast, I shall be presenting a series of Local Music Shows. They will be on weekday evenings between 6 to 8pm. The first one is today, Friday 2nd August.

During next weeks shows I shall be having some live sessions by local bands and artists. We are planning two sessions per weekday, one during each hour of the show. The only exception is Thursday, when there is live music outside the studio, due to the Old Town High Street Traders Party, so we’ll just have the one session that night.

All the shows will be podcasted afterwards, for those who may not get to hear the broadcast. We are also videoing the sessions and related interviews. These will be uploaded to the Carnival FM YouTube channel as soon as we can get them there.

In the meantime you can still watch some of last years sessions on the YouTube channel, which you can find here: https://www.youtube.com/user/CarnivalFM/videos

We have also pre-recorded an interview and live session with Claire Hamill which will go out live during this evenings show. I may be biased, but it’s well worth listening to.

To get you in the mood the guys at Rock-A-Nore Productions made a promo video for the Carnival FM broadcast. You can watch that here:

Happy listening.

Rock n Roll and Beer

We all know that rock n roll and beer make a great combination don’t we? It’s a match made in heaven.

But, it has to be said that the beer served in some venues, especially for us bitter drinkers, can leave a little bit to be desired at times. Many is the time that i’ve had to resort to, whisper it, lager to quench my thirst, because the alternative just wasn’t up to scratch.

We are blessed in the Hastings area with some very good local gig venues that serve great beer and now that very fact has been recognised by none other than the beer drinkers very own organisation CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale).

The Dolphin down there in Rock A Nore, in the Old Town of Hastings, has recently been awarded the highly prized accolade of  ‘Camra, East Sussex Pub of the Year’ and very well deserved it is too.

Apart from, rather obviously, serving great beer The Dolphin is a very proud and active supporter of local music. Whether that be covers or original music.

The pub and its dedicated team have played host to such varied local acts as Blair, Liane Carroll, Sam Wills and The Sound, Slam, Roger Carey,  Pete Prescott, Blackman Band and even Claire Hamill complete with a choir!

The Dolphin also featured amongst the venues for the recent Fat Tuesday festivities. I was there myself for some of the Unplugged Saturday afternoon session, watching amongst others The Kid Kapichi and King Size Slim. A good time was certainly had by all on that occasion.

As you are no doubt well aware by now, here at Pierless Music we are very keen on supporting original local music and also those, such as The Dolphin, that help to give it the exposure that it richly deserves.

It’s also good to see a local venue get recognised for the beer that they serve to those thirsty gig goers as well. After all it is an essential part of the whole rock n roll experience. So, well done to all concerned.

(No hops were harmed in the writing of this post)