Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Hi Ho Hi Ho It's off to Looe we go

How lucky am I? The lovely people at Looe Music Festival have given me a guest press ticket for the weekend and so on Friday its time to pack up  the Clio and set off to a the beautiful seaside town of Looe for a weekend packed full of diverse and brilliant music.

As well as the three main stages that will be set up on the beach the whole town itself will be buzzing with street stalls selling great food and lots of other covetable goodies or the hoards of music lovers who will be flooding into the town.

The acts on offer are a broad sweep of musical genres as extreme as the ultimate geezers Chas and Dave through to rockers Reef and with everything from folk and world music in between.

Saturday in particular is practically my idea of musical heaven with Lisbee Stainton, Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman, the amazing Winter Mountain and the unsurpassable Seth Lakeman and the guys on just before Reef. So much good music in one day!.

If anyone out there is thinking 'What shall I do this weekend?' may I suggest that you could do a lot worse than head off to Looe for a weekend of fun, music, great atmosphere and if the gods are smiling, who knows, maybe even a bit of sun as well.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Wychwood 2013, The way it was part 2

And so to Saturday.....

The day dawned bright and gloriously sunny as I left to pick up my sister who was coming with me today.

When we arrived at the main stage it was one of those moments where you wish you'd come just 30 minutes sooner as we were lucky enough to catch the last three songs by an amazing band called The Moulettes. They were fabulous, driving electro folk rock. Yes I know,  who would have thought that would work? but it did and it does you should all check them out.

We then stayed long enough to catch a few songs by the absolutely legendary Eddie & the Hot Rods who were slick, rocking and altogether rather good, showing the kids how it should be done.

However, we had other fish to fry so to speak and it was off to The Big Top to catch see Public Service Broadcasting who I had never heard off before my sister told me about them but as the Big Top was rammed it was obvious this relatively new band had a very big following.  I was not disappointed,their set was the absolute highlight off the day and possibly the festival and they are firmly at the top of my 'bands to see again' list.

PSB blend video, guitar, drums and keyboards and a brilliant used of sampling to create a hugely funky danceable set of music.  They are two beautifully English boys the wonderfully named  J Willgoose Esq and Wrigglesworth and as my sister said of J Willgoose Esq 'you have to love a man who buttons up his shirt and rolls down his sleeves to come on stage'

If PSB are appearing at a venue near you soon, do not hesitate, just go.

After a sit down , a cup of tea it was back to the Main Stage to see 90's indie band The Wedding Present. It was obvious that this band still have a huge following judging by the enthusiastic response to all their songs from a large part of the crowd.

I have to confess that this particular jingly jangly guitar of with faux cockney vocals is not by cup of tea but they were professional , engaging and made alot of slightly balding 40 something men very happy. One rather amusing moment towards the end of the set David Gedge, the band's singer and front man said at the end of one song 'Thank you Chelmsford, rather bemused silence, followed by laughter, sorry Cheltenham!'.

There was then a break and we toddled off to gran a delicious Masala Dhal and rice from The Goan Fish Curry people who are thankfully Wychwood regulars.

The headline act on the Main Stage was my absolute favourite group from my youth The Human League. I have to confess that I felt slightly nervous about what they would be like, after all we are all alot older now, but, phew! all was well they as they rocked on stage it was obvious that to me had , indeed, been kind to Phil Oakey, Susanne Sully and Joanne Catherall.

They launched into Sound of the Crowd and we were off a journey of greatest hits and new material that was all I wanted it to be and more . Hearing 'Love Action'  (my second all time favourite song) live on stage was a moment I will not forget.

This is now my third Wychwood and it feels like home, there is such  a great vibe and so much to see and do, and the best food and drink on offer.

This was my last day this year but it was the best Wychwood yet and this festival continues to grow. Thanks it was a blast.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Wychwood 2013....The way it was.

I have finally found the time to get my thoughts and views on this year's amazing festival down. Hurrah!


I arrived at a beautifully sunny Cheltenham racecourse with nothing blue skies as far as the eye could see, a promising beginning. The sound of music and happy people drifted across the rolling Cotswold hills, this was going to be good.

My main aim for this day was to soak up the atmosphere and see Sam Lee, anything else would be a bonus. After grabbing a much need ice cold I settle in front of the main stage and waited for the music to begin. First up was a songstress from Scotland, Rachel Sermanni whose jazzy, laid nack style reminded me irresistibly of Katie Melua, only with more edge.

It must have been a daunting prospect opening on the Main Stage on the first afternoon, particularly as a solo artist bur Rachel's sassy, smooth and sometimes soaring vocals are attracting an interested audience.

The majority of Rachel's song's were from drawn from personal experiences with the notable exception of a folk tinged song set to the words of Robbie Burns. 

This was a perfect set for a chilled out opening day, people relaxing in the sun to beautiful music. 

The second band on stage was a 4 piece from Wales called Paper Aeroplanes, consisting of Double Bass, Guitar, Drums and Keyboard. I loved this band who played the kind of breezy summer pop that was just right for today. The majority of the songs came from their new and soon to be released album 'Little Letters'. Well worth checking out, download the title track , Fable and Take it Easy.

Right it was now definitely time for toast and toast under the shade of the trees and there was the Tea Bus waiting for me

And now ta dag..the moment I'd been waiting for the  amazing Sam Lee and boy what a fabulous mesmerising set it was, oh how I love this man!

I have long been a fan of his work but I have to admit seeing him live was all I could have hoped for and more. He has the the such a unique and magical voice and the kind of stage presence that means you just cannot take your eyes off him.So I didn't , not for a moment.

This was , however, Sam Lee and friends and Sam has surrounded him self with a talented group of musicians who play a range of instruments from cornet, jews harp, bohdran, violin, cello and an incredible 13 stringed instrument called a koto from Japan.

The set this afternoon was an eclectic selection of traditional songs mostly  gathered from the Traveller and Romany Gypsy community and Sam has a fascinating tale to tell about each song and the person it came from. We had songs from Morlock Maggie, Sheila Stewart a traveller from Perthshire, Marion Hayes all of the songs passed down through family and friends.

There was the added treat of two songs from The mercury nominated Ground Of It's Own 'Farewell My Darling' and the storming 'Ballad of George Collins'.

I left that day happy and slightly sun burnt and full of anticipation for Saturday.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Dust off those cobwebs and buckle up ,it's time for Wychwood 2013

Yes, it's time for Wychwood 2013 and it promises to be bigger and better than ever.

Held over three days and starting on 31 May 2013 on the world famous Cheltenham Racecourse, set in the glorious rolling hills of the Cotswolds, this is my personal preview of this years event.

Over the years Wychwood has continued to attract a eclectic mix of established artists from a  variety of musical genres and herein lies it's particular appeal, you never know quite know what to expect. This is perfect for me as my musical taste ranges from Frank Sinatra through to Led Zeppelin with everything in between.

I confess that Friday night is the big one for me , on the main stage will be the utterly magical and troubadour extraordinaire Sam Lee, his Mercury nominated album 'A Ground of It's, Own' takes it's inspiration not from the traditional folk song book but from old Romany songs handed down through the generations. Sam Lee has a truly original voice and presence and I am more excited about him being at Wychwood than anyone else!

BUT....there's more and headlining on the main stage Friday night are the legendary Soul 11 Soul...feeling those balmy summer nights rolling in just thinking about them, ah well, back to life...back to reality.

My Saturday is looking pretty good too, we kick off on the main stage with one of the most exciting live bands around at the moment The Moulettes currently ripping it up with The Mighty Levellers on tour right now.

Following that I shall be investigating a band my sister is raving about Public Broadcasting Service, I confess to knowing nothing about them but I have a feeling they are worth my time and attention.

It will then be a quick dash across to the main stage to see the Mighty Human League I shall be wearing my winged eyeliner and one black lace glove naturally ...'Don't you want me baby?'

After revisiting my youth and if I've still got enough energy it will be back to then Big Top for a cheeky boogie at the Headphone Disco.

Sunday will be less about the music and more about comedy and Bill Bailey on the main stage. Now, I confess to never having seen a comedian live and I have no idea what to expect other than I know he'll be funny!

I will also be catching the fabulous Ukelele Orchestra beforehand, they really are amazing and as fair removed from George Formby as you can imagine.

Finishing the proceedings on the Main Stage will be  Wychwood stalwarts Dread Zone so we are in safe hands.

In between my main choices I will be popping into BBC Gloucestershire tent to see the fabulous new and exciting talent that Wychwood champions every year.

These of course, are just my personal choices, the really great thing about Wychwood there really is something for everyone and particular families with an onsite Waterstones Children's Literature Festival, the ever popular Roald Dahl Museum and craft and art workshops.

So this is my Wychwood but I will of course be sampling some of the truly delicious food on offer ( best on offer any festival) you take chose Mexican, inventive veggie dishes, the best burgers ever and on it goes, and don't even start me on the beer.