Thursday, 7 January 2016

Night of The Long Axes

       I own a guitar but I only ever make discordant jangly sounds on it. Nevertheless  I am a bit of an Axehead. Amongst the many guitarists I've seen "live" are Paul Kossof, Jimmy Page, Peter Green, Bert Jansch,Gordon Giltrap, Jo-Anne Shaw Taylor, John Lee Hooker, Mick Taylor, Dave Gilmour, Stefan Grossman, Wizz Jones and Stan Webb. Many of whom I can  pick out  and identify just by their style. Whilst on the local Folk Circuit I've hugely enjoyed the work of Mick Stewart,Dave Bennett,Rod Felton,Rob Armstrong,Phil Hare, Sanjay, Sam Stephens, David Bristow, Bill Bates, Keith Donnelly and Chris Tobin. Others I admire but never got  round to seeing include Leslie West, Robin Trower, B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Hendrix, David Grissom, Bonnie Raitt, John Martyn, Joe Bonamassa and Jeff Beck. Kevin Dempsey (pictured left,below) sits easily for me right in these lists. Plus, (and what a big plus) he is an extraordinarily nice, modest guy, easy to talk to and completely grounded.
It would be easy to spend this account waxing lyrical only about the extraordinary Kevin Dempsey.Who does stuff with what he describes as  a "cheap guitar" that make grown men and women want to eat their own plectrums. But that would be a disservice to the depth of the other talent on show yesterday. It was the kind of night to make an Organiser very proud.  Besides Kevin's usual high standard, there were other musicians like Des patalong (above,right) on show who gave the audience the treat of their lives. Exaggeration? Read the Facebook reviews! 
   John Wright, John Kearney,Brian Phillips and Michael Luntley,for example. Different styles, but all very effective in their own way. And, representing Youth, the charming, nimble figured Sarah Bennett and Dan Gascoigne, whose twin-acoustic arrangement of Angie (Anjii?) blew away pretty well the whole room. Just astonishing. Type their names into YouTube and look for them doing this at Cork Festival.  
Sarah Bennett & Dan Gascoigne
Brian Phillip, Geoff  & Robert Johnson
John Wright & Hilary Wilson

Was it just purely about guitars last night? The bass-playing of Keith Nickless as the other half of Dipped Sheep, the strident vocals of Des " The Legend" Patalong, the singing of Fiona Lindsay-Coulson, Hilary Wilson and some other bloke who sang with Nunc and Brian Phillips, also added to the overall audience enjoyment.
Dipped Sheep
        It was a night tinged with sadness as the whole room bade an emotional farewell to the unflappable and immensely talented Tom Veasey.Namesake, distant relative and a maestro in all things Sound. Off to see the world, taking his gift and his ear for music with him. We gave him a card and a cake and a bit of pocket money.Typically Tom, he had last night, brought along a trainee-Matt-with him, who is going to have a bash at mixing for us in February. The Tilting Kettle (check their website) provide the cake (below left),and a suitably embarrassed Tom was thanked (below right) for his work at NFC.

Last night at The Crown was exceptional. Initially, I had to be persuaded into taking on the task of launching a new Folk Club albeit a rejuvenated one, in a new venue, in a town as lively as Nuneaton. I was, frankly, talked into it. But (largely due to the help and support I've been given) it has proved to be popular and successful. The work everyone puts in seems widely appreciated. Fifteen sessions in, it is still going like the clappers. Another big crowd last night. Superb audience singing, a staggering amount of talent on stage, and an audience as diverse as I've ever seen in a Folk Club. One or two occasionally wander in off the street (and are sometimes persuaded to wander back out again), but last night was a typical cross section. A mix of local people: Folkies,youngsters,couples,singles,Family groups and other artistes who weren't on the bill. It really was an eclectic mix.