Blog

Dec 10 2018

Reg Meuross, Friday 7th December 2018

Friday 7th December 2018, The Live Room, Caroline Social Club, Saltaire. The first visit of Reg Meuross, singer, songwriter, storyteller and very humourous wit, which heralded the last of the 31 events this year at The Live Room. 

Deceptively simple, beautifully written songs played on a 1944 Martin guitar with a single condenser microphone doubling for vocals and guitar. No loops, no pedals, somewhat of a change these days. I say simple but the songs were very detailed and observant, well introduced and with immense background explanations. Even giving the audience a quick quiz on the song “My Name Is London Town”. Some very astute answers were forthcoming. Not surprisingly he was also very conversational during the interval and at the end of the show. That is his nature. Reg opened his show with “What Would William Morris say” from the album ENGLAND GREEN AND ENGLAND GREY. The song reflecting on changes in society and cultural changes. We had the “curtain entrance ” a la Eric Morecambe at start of set 2.

Following the entrance Reg performed the wonderful “Dragonfly”. He followed that with a wonderful new song called “Angel In A Blue Dress” An ongoing humourous banter and conversation with the audience throughout. He even tried to get the audience to shout “House” when the bingo calls from next door leaked slightly. As far as I remember the “C” word wasn’t mentioned much. He played a lot of new material as well as digging into an extensive back catalogue. “England Green & England Grey” brought the show proper to a close. An encore of “It’s Me Or Elvis” brought the show to a close. Much participation from a good sized Live Room audience who sang beautifully when requested to by Reg.On entering the audience were treated to free mince pies, chocolates and either sherry or fruit juice courtesy of Ron and Hilary. A nice seasonal touch to thank the Live Room audience for their ongoing support throughout what has been a superb year of shows. Next year looks like being a good one too with many shows already lined up and Ron & Hilary have a few more surprises they are currently working on.

Dec 4 2018

O’Hooley & Tidow: WinterFolk, Friday 30th November 2018

Friday 30th November 2018, The Live Room, Caroline Street Social Club, Saltaire. The third visit of Belinda O’Hooley and Heidi Tidow. This time bringing their very popular Winterfolk Tour to Saltaire for the first time. It was standing room only at Saltaire and many venues are sell outs already.

     

Following two very intimate totally acoustic dates at the lovely Colne Valley Museum, Golcar this was the first show of a mixture of part amplified and part acoustic dates until December 22nd when the tour ends at Slaithwaite Civic Hall.

By far the best seasonal themed show I have attended. I think it fairly safe to say that the Saltaire crowd had a brilliant night and Belinda & Heidi looked as though they were having a great time too. Catch the tour if you can. Tissues are advisable for several of the songs!!

  

Nov 19 2018

Peter Bruntnell, Sunday 18th November 2018

Sunday 18th November 2018, The Live Room, Caroline Street Social Club, Saltaire. The much anticipated return visit of the Peter Bruntnell Trio with Danny Williams on bass and the legendary BJ Cole on pedal steel.

 

 

Nov 9 2018

Moore Moss Rutter, Friday 2nd November 2018

It was the opening night of Moore Moss Rutter’s autumn tour and a return visit, the first show here being back in 2016, and they more than doubled their crowd! We also had a sparkling opening set from Owen Spafford and Louis Campbell, playing their first official show. What a night of beautiful music! Photos from Keith Belcher.

 

 

       

 

 

Oct 27 2018

Blue Rose Code, Friday 26th October 2018

Friday 26th October 2018, The Live Room, Saltaire. The third visit of Blue Rose Code (aka Ross Wilson). The first visit since the release of THE WATER OF LEITH. Previous visits were 2015 and 2016, both those visits were as a trio. Friday night was a sell out as a quartet consisting of Ross Wilson – main vocals and guitar, Lyle Watt on guitars, Andy Lucas on keyboards and vocals and Eliza Wren Payne on vocals.

Lyle has been with Ross on all three visits. First gig also featured Graham Coe on cello . Second gig featured John Lowrie on keyboards and accordion. Before this show Ross said something along the lines of “this is going to be the best show we have done here”. Having seen all three (and many more) I would agree, I think the audience would too. It was indeed superb.

Lyle was nominated just before the gig as opening act. Unplanned or not he entertained the audience during a short but cracking display of fret-board dexterity, playing mainly from his EP THIRD TIME LUCKY and a Beatles cover . During the single Blue Rose Code set Ross quipped after one incendiary guitar run from Lyle, “Its worthwhile warming him up!” It was easy to see and hear why Ross wanted the one set rather than the traditional two. There was an ever building momentum of music and songs. It might not have worked so well stopping and resuming.

 

  

Everyone was on great form and it all flowed so well. Superb musicianship all around and I thought the overall sound is becoming increasingly more sophisticated and even smoother than before but with an ever increasing irrepressible energy. The band members just seemed to feed off each other. The gig finished with a brilliant rendition of This Is Not A Folk Song. Hardly a surprise that they will shortly be doing very large gigs supporting Deacon Blue. A great night, not much else that is needed to be said. Let’s hope for a fourth visit.

Review and photos by Keith Belcher

Oct 22 2018

Tom Baxter, Sunday 14th October 2018

Sunday 14th October 2018, The Live Room , Saltaire. Singer songwriter Tom Baxter with Rob Richings opening the show. A fantastic sold out show by an incredibly gifted and talented singer, songwriter, guitarist and performer.

Switching constantly between 4 guitars (2 electric and 2 acoustic) and keyboards, performing on stage and also while circling the rapt Live Room crowd playing totally acoustically. Throughout the night an awesome display of both guitar wizardry and vocal power and dexterity. Songs from his several albums varied from whispers to angry roars and all points between.

Many of the crowd were Live Room first timers, obviously long time fans of Tom. They certainly knew the words to his songs and participated fully when asked. If he plays The Live Room again I have no doubt it will be sold out again but this time, probably the day the tickets go on sale.

Rob Richings on guitar and vocals accompanied by his brother James on keyboards provided a great opening. Thoughtful songs that were both well performed and well written . On the showing last night they would also be welcome back at The Live Room. I think Sunday night will go down as one of THE great Live Room nights.

Review and photos by Keith Belcher

Pre Show Interviews

Interview with Rob & Molly of BCB Radio's Into The Buttercup

Oct 6 2018

Mean Mary, Friday 28th September 2018

Friday 28th October 2018, The Live Room Saltaire. The first visit to The Live Room of Mean Mary accompanied by her ‘long suffering’ brother Frank. Ron & Hilary were freshly back from their trip to Nashville. Hilary resplendently sporting new Nashville acquired boots introduced the barefoot and seemingly ever smiling Mean Mary (Mary James) and her brother Frank. Restricting herself to just the 3 instruments tonight, banjo, fiddle and guitar as well as a plethora of vocal styles .

Mary on banjo ranks up there with the very best we have seen at Saltaire , and we have seen some very good players. Frank accompanied on 12 string and harmonies. Mary is an accomplished and award winning novelist as well as superb musician. Named Mean Mary after a song she wrote when she was just 6 rather than any inherent nasty tendencies she might have (despite what Frank thinks or intimates).

She and brother Frank thoroughly entertained the very responsive and attentive crowd from start to finish. Sandwiched between the virtuoso playing and singing was an ever developing on stage sibling bickering that culminated in Mary offering almost her entire merch desk to the person that would take Frank home. All, I must say, done in a very humorous way that had the audience chuckling as well as gasping at the music. The between songs banter brought a huge element of fun to the night. The audience actively participated in sing-alongs as well as imitations of farmyard animals. Mary being especially pleased at the geese hissing during Big Red Barn, not to mention the ducks, hounds and cows.

Music from all over America with Virginia Reels, Arkansas Traveller and 2 sensational Louisiana style tunes and songs Rose Tattoo and Marie Laveau. Mary’s voice on Rose Tattoo very reminiscent of an acoustic Beth Hart . She has that vibrato quiver in her voice that can really add to a performance, not used all the time, as I said her vocal styles have a huge range. A gospel song Fields of Glory finished off set 1 with Frank merging brilliantly on harmonies.

Mary opened the second set with a solo Sweet Jezebel on guitar before brother Frank was called to stage yelling Bingo, obviously he was wanting to be in the next bar! A medley of tunes including Beethoven’s Ode To Joy on banjo and guitar was just one of the highlights of Set 2. The closure was something else altogether. Dispensing with the usual nonsense of the ‘unexpected’ encore Mary announced 2 more songs, this one and the encore. Frank had a little to say about the presumptuousness of that statement! What a way to finish, a mass sing along to All My Love All My Kisses (Buddy Holly) , followed by La Bamba (I didn’t know Alison was so fluent in Spanish) and then as a special treat Leaving On A Jet Plane. A Great night was had by all.

Pre Show Interviews

Interview with Rob & Molly of BCB Radio's Into The Buttercup

Sep 23 2018

Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters, Friday 7th September 8pm

Friday 7th September 2018, The Live Room, Saltaire. The first visit to The Live Room of Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters.

         

Pictures by Keith Belcher

Aug 28 2018

Hamilton Loomis, Friday 24th August 2018

Friday 24th August 2018, The Live Room, Saltaire. The first artist to headline four times at The Live Room – the very charismatic and energetic Hamilton Loomis from Galveston, Texas. Backed by a crack band of Fabian Hernandez from Austin, Texas on saxophone. keyboards and vocals, Mike Meade from Houston, Texas on bass and Will Morris from Birmingham (West Midlands not Alabama) on drums.

     

Opening their UK/European tour playing their own brand of blues with hugely liberal helpings of soul and funk which is as it should be. Mike Meade’s first time in the UK, from the perpetual grin on his face he appeared to be having a great time. This was a really superb Friday night with hardly a pause for breath during the 2 sets which although they lasted over 2 hours seemed to fly by. All elements of the band were brilliant, whether it be Hamilton’s vocals or seemingly effortless guitar breaks, Fabians electrifying sax playing or Mike and Will Keeping such a funky, solid and driving beat.

  

 

They opened with an instrumental medley with many well known tunes creeping into the mix ranging from Sunshine of your Love to Careless Whisper amongst others. The first set also included covers of I Would Die 4 U and Let’s Go Crazy as tributes to Prince, one of Hamilton’s musical heroes. A phenomenon not usually seen at Saltaire on Friday nights (or any other night), especially by a sober person, was an excursion into the audience while playing guitar via tabletops and chairs during Set 1’s closing song.

 

 

Set 2 opened with Stuck in a Rut sandwiching Chain of Fools as a tribute to the late Aretha Franklin. The evening just flew past ending with an extended version of Funky Little Brother with the most astonishing saxophone solo by Fabian I have ever had the privilege to listen to (and I have heard a lot!!). The audience , not for the first time were on their feet. A fifth visit would be very welcome. Anyone wondering what is special enough to get an artist back 4 times in less than 6 years would have had all their questions answered on the night. This band is extremely tight and is only going to get tighter as the tour progresses. 

Review by Keith Belcher

Jul 29 2018

Damien O’Kane & Ron Block, Friday 27th July 2018

Friday 27th July 2018, The Live Room Saltaire. The Live Room was very honoured with a visit from Coleraine born Barnsley resident Damien O’Kane & multi Grammy winner Ron Block for the first tour of their joint venture Banjophony. One of only 8 gigs and 2 festival appearances. Accompanying Damien and Ron were Kilkenny’s Steven Byrnes and from Dunblane bass and Moog player Duncan Lyall. Both Steven and Duncan now resident in Glasgow. A cracking night of predominantly tunes mainly featuring 2 banjos . Damien on 4 string and Ron on 5 combining the best of Irish and American banjo styles. A cracking night to enter The Live Room’s Summer break. Ron’s colleague in Union Station wrote this review of the Banjophony album:

‘Ron Block and Damien O’Kane have created something I have never heard. Even though these two banjos separated by miles of ocean are related, it has taken two people of common sensibilities to bring them so close. From my own first landing in Ireland, the banjo style I encountered left me spellbound and I just reckoned that’s where it would culminate into what Damien has made it, exact and toneful while still being the driving force it has always served itself to be. I have for many years been an over-served fan of collaboration and this collection brings forth the most pleasant factors and boils them down to a delightful tincture that would please anyone in search of something at the same time beautiful and wild. There are no boundaries here.

Damien’s sense of piston-like drive and Ron’s stately tone and string-bending accuracy mix to create a confluence of the perfect banjo. Yes I said “stately” about a banjo, but Ron Block is the only person I would ever say that about. I have worked alongside him for many years and have always enjoyed the way he can inspire a phrase. Damien is the perfect foil to draw him out with a left hook now and then before they both settle in for a series of notes perfectly carved into a statement. The other musicians, all distinct and respected, are aware of them but dance around them and give Ron and Damien the space to chase, harmonize, or counter each other throughout this experiment. It works. It all works. Listen to it and see if you agree with me.’

Jerry Douglas, June 2018.

Gig review and photos by Keith Belcher