"Fabulous Night. Top drawer entertainment and lovely vibes."
There was very much a home-grown feel to last night's events at NFC. Remarkably, every act had a Nuneaton connection of some sort. This was all the more remarkable as some people had to set out well before dawn to get there at all,owing to the total gridlock currently imposed on the town by various lunatics with barriers. With Eastborough Way and Coton Arches already sealed off, someone had evidently told the Authorities that motorists were still slipping into town via the Long Shoot. Cue YET ANOTHER! set of four way lights to protect a hole in the pavement the size of an umbrella
Though we still have some nice photos to share with you it was a shame to see that several of our key photographers were missing. John Wright was still presumably up in the Highlands somewhere pestering Gannets and harassing Oystercatchers. Max Wright is on a permanent holiday as he travels around Europe taking snapshots of pub restaurants. And one can only assume that John B Smith, traumatised by a frankly weird parking incident earlier in the day,was sleeping it all off somewhere under the beady eye of a Custody Sergeant. So my thanks to those who did take snaps including Sue Sanders,Flossy and Mags.
But a good turnout,a fun evening and a very friendly, homely atmosphere,even though many regulars were missing. Our own John Kearney, for example away sunning himself far away in the South of France. Our own Paul Moore,off rehearsing with another band. So it was yet another line-up to start us up-myself and Flossy from Nunc,John Harris from Dragonhead and Jon Harrington from Blues Monkey. Making a tidy sound though, I have to admit. We returned in the second half, this time additionally roping in Dave Parr to play along in an extended version of "How Long Blues."
Residents aside, our first guest spot featured the very welcome return to NFC of Ian Bourne. Last time we'd seen him was at That Other Place That Closed Suddenly. He's come through some tough times health-wise since then, so it was good to see him back on the horse,and his strong voice sounded as good as ever.
Ian was followed by another of Nuneaton's many home-grown troubadours, Dave Parr, who we don't see half often enough. Dave delivered three typically laid back songs with a wry humour,and some very nifty guitar playing. His broken capo managed to last him through the evening.
Our good friend and loyal supporter of local Folk Clubs Maria Barham played three numbers packed with verve and energy. So much so that actually capturing her on film without blurring was difficult, as she swung about the stage. She was on top form, and started with a version of Californian Dreamin' which was returned beautifully by the audience. Always a very enjoyable experience that.Dragonhead returned to NFC with John Harris one of the busiest musicians in the area at the moment. As I explained during my introduction,Nunc have been messing with his head at present,introducing him to whole new areas of Folk and Roots whilst utilising his expertise on bass and steel guitars. So it was good to see that this had not affected him too much. Even though he did start with a number from Jungle Book. A Mavericks favourite got everyone singing again, and it looked as if John had settled again until he confessed( to Anne's visible amusement)," I'm not quite sure that was the version Anne expected to hear." The Mexican Wave they introduced was remarkable. Beer was spilt and hearing aids flew in all directions.
I had inadvertently missed Pete McParland off the night's proceedings,partly because he has yet to embrace fully the technological wonders of the Internet and Social media. But Dragonhead called him up to join them on one of their numbers. And here's the evidence...
There were elements of uncertainty about whether or not Malc & Gill would make it to the stage which added a frisson to proceedings,but they did, to everyone's relief and warm applause. It was unfortunate that just as they began singing, the free grub (which has become a hallmark of NFC,kindly provided each month by Richard the Guvn'or),appeared on the bar counter. Someone very kind (me!) managed to grab a plateful for them, so that there was a bit left to snack on when they got back to their table. They were in fine voice and Gill looked very glamourous. (Not that she doesn't always of course). They coaxed Jon up to tootle along with them on the Kate Wolfe song that is a regular part of their repertoire.
And what can you say about our headline act, Brian Phillips? Star quality in every department. Raconteur, Naturalist,Comedian, ace guitar player,great singer and an all round good egg. Drafted in to replace his mate Kev Dempsey who had had to rearrange his June appearance, Brian was well up for it,treating us to two sets of varying length but unremitting entertainment.
Amidst the music We learned more about the continuing saga of Whelk Wars and Seagull feuds. Brian read to us from his not so little Red Book,mused on the meaning of armpit hair, made continual and slightly disturbing references to the female tennis stars he was picking up on his iPad and also performed songs occasionally. His dry delivery and skillful handling of banter and friendly heckling was a joy to behold. Through it all, Brian retained the stage personna of a slightly anxious Frankie Boyle. Brilliant.