Aug 2 2021

Blue Rose Code

Friday 30 July 2021

Photos by Keith Belcher

What a return to larger capacity shows we were treated to on Friday! Ross, deprived of part of his band owing to a family illness, but with his phenomenal guitar player and long time sidekick, Lyle Watt, nevertheless gave the gig-hungry audience a blistering show. The energy generated by these two fabulous musicians really set the crowd afire and at times the performance was right out on the ragged edge, just as live music should be. For the first time in well over a year, it felt like The Live Room of pre-pandemic days. More of this please!

Jul 20 2021

Martin Harley

Sunday 18th July 2021

The second visit to TLR by Martin and a hastily rearranged show to avoid clashing with the final of the Euros the previous week. Martin was sensational, as ever, his guitar playing really is transcendent, and his voice soulful. Looking to bring him back soon with his full band. Been playing his latest record here at TLR Towers and it’s a thing of beauty.

Photos by Keith Belcher

Jul 20 2021

Joe Martin Band

Sunday 4th July 2021

Photos by Keith Belcher

It was Joe’s third visit to TLR, but the first as a headliner and also with his full band. It’s great when you see an artist develop and you’re part of that journey. It was a fabulous night with a great young artist and a brilliant band. We’ve already booked a return visit for them in 2022, so watch out for that!

Jul 6 2021

Sean Taylor & Katie Spencer

Friday 2nd July 2021

Photos by Keith Belcher

Many thanks to Sean & Katie for a wonderful 250th show here at TLR, it was a fabulous double bill, as we knew it would be when we booked them!

Jun 16 2021

Jon Boden

Sunday 13th June 2021

Photos, set list and review by Keith Belcher

Jon Boden, The Live Room, Caroline Street Social Club, Saltaire 13th June 2021

Late Show (21: 00) of a socially distanced, two-house gig

Set List

Intro -Hilary

Rigs Of The Time (Trad)

We Do What We Can

Old Straight Track

Walking Song

Rose In June (trad)

Cinnamon Water

All Hang Down

Dancing In The Ruins

Come Out Wherever You Are

One Night As I Lay On My Bed (trad)

Roll Alabama


Last Mile Home

New York Girls

This was meant to be the last of the socially distanced gigs at TLR but it was obvious to all even without the systematic leaking that it was likely to be late July before venues might be fully open (fingers crossed on that). Hilary sadly confirmed that before the show.

What can you say about Jon Boden? The dates for the original shows sold out very, very quickly. One of the very best voices and front men in roots music. Anyone who has seen the phenomenal Bellowhead will attest to that. Combine him and Eliza Carthy on either side of the stage and you would have Vinegar Joe/Jefferson Airplane – yes, that really dates my musical tastes!

Jon opened the second of the two shows with the very appropriate “Rigs Of Our Times”, a nineteenth century song about maintenance of good and honest trading mechanisms. Rigs meaning “a trick or way of swindling someone”. He quipped that no way was the song appropriate to current times….Perhaps it was a planned theme but that song was followed by one of Jon’s own compositions, “We Do What We Can”, again very appropriate. Songs featured during the evening were a mixture of traditionals that may have been more familiar as Bellowhead recordings and songs from Jon’s recent trilogy of post-apocalyptic, climate change themed albums. The latest of those albums mainly composed and recorded during lockdown and only recently released. Not surprisingly many songs from the latest album Last Mile Home were featured in possibly one of Jon’s first “real” shows since the album release. I for one am very happy at anyone returning to albums that follow a theme rather than numerous, non-related, singles.

Jon came equipped with 3 guitars, violin, concertina and an array of foot pedals and stomp box. All of which were played superbly. “One Night As I Lay In My Bed” ignored most of that and was performed with accompanying clapping and stomp box. Who noticed Bellowhead weren’t on stage? I find a solo performance of songs like “Rigs of Time” and “Jordan” really bring the very meaningful lyrics to the fore when not distracted by the heavy instrumentation of a large band, personal opinion as I find it difficult to concentrate on too many things at once!

Post-apocalyptic Morris dancing was predicted during the show, many of the songs having enough drive and beat to tempt the dancers in the crowd if there weren’t Covid restraints in force. Finishing the show with the powerhouse song “Jordan” and a double encore of “Last Mile Home”, the title track and last song on the new album and then the magnificent upbeat “New York Girls” just made you want more. I am sure that I wasn’t the only one pretending not to sing along. A great gig, thoroughly enjoyed by all present, audience, promoter and artist.

TLR’s summer shows will be socially distanced until policies and opinions change. Check the website/blog for all dates, join the mailing list for updates.

Jun 8 2021

Martyn Joseph

Sunday 6th June 2021

Photos by Keith Belcher

We finished off our second Big Weekend in great style with the powerhouse that is Martyn Joseph, on his fourth visit to TLR. He told the audience how wonderful it felt be back on a stage playing to people again and we couldn’t agree more, it felt wonderful to be back doing what we love too. Here are some terrific photos from another brilliant night. We look forward to many more….

Jun 6 2021

Olcay Bayir

Friday 4th June 2021

Set list and photos by Keith Belcher

Well, we made that by the skin of our teeth! A dreadful 3-lorry pile up and fuel spill on the M1 brought the band to a complete halt north of Nottingham and frantic phone calls between them and the club gave us the spectre of a first ever last minute cancellation. However, the emergency services did their job and managed to get the blockage cleared and the band took the stage one hour late to a relieved and ecstatic response from the audience. After 15 months of not seeing one another to play, they delivered a stunning two-set evening of music and, as you’ll see from the comments at the bottom of this post, the audience loved every minute!

Olcay Bayir

The Live Room, Caroline Street Social Club, Saltaire, 4th June 2021, Late Show

Uzun İnce Bir Yoldayım (Âşık Veysel )

Rüya (Dream)

Yar Dedi

Dolama Dolamayı (Traditional)

Kayıp Çocuk (Lost Child)

Seva Sor (Traditional)

Ferzê (Şivan Perwer)

Yağmur Yağ (Traditional)

Çay Elinden Öteye (Traditional)


Dolama Dolamayı (Traditional)


It was a pure delight to see Olcay Bayir and her band performing at Saltaire’s Live Room last night.  It is not often that we get to listen to songs and music from Anatolia and it was wonderful to get an insight into the treasures offered by this culture.  Hopefully Olcay will soon return to Saltaire.

– Eric Fairchild

I enjoyed the gig last night so much! It felt as though we were at a Turkish party, celebrating, remembering, joining together not just in Caroline Social Club but across the world. I’d like to send a huge thank you to Olcay and her band, you, Ron and the Live Room team and also to the Caroline Club team. You all worked so hard and pulled it off despite the M1 incident. Congratulations and we look forward to more TLR gigs in the coming weeks and months. Best wishes to you all

– Jenny Painter

I would just like to say that it was great to see a writer and performer from the Turkish culture. Olcay Bayir and her wonderful group of musicians exposed a rapt audience to the folk tunes and songs of her native Anatolia. It didn’t matter that we couldn’t understand the language, the explanations before each performance and the spirit in which they were performed made us understand the passion of the writers and transported our imagination to feel the same human wishes and desires in Turkey that we feel from our own culture.

It is great that the arts, of whatever nationality, continue to be supported so that our lives can be enhanced, particularly in these exceptional times, by being exposed to the calibre of writers and performers like Olcay Bayir and her group.

– Michael Latham

Excellent performance. Olcay has a beautiful powerful voice and great stage presence. It was a hopeful and moving show. Her musicians are also good, nice balance between traditional music and her own writing

– Mel Jones

It was a huge pleasure to be there last night. It felt very special to see Olcay and her band- her words and music really highlighted how live music transcends all experiences at this time. She, and band members have huge talent- we wish them every success and hope things eventually get easier for musicians and artists. 

– Sue and Oliver

Having never seen Olcay and her band before I was astonished at the quality of her singing and the wide range of cultural genres that she draws on. She is a superb performer supported by a really skilful band. We brought some friends to her recent show at the Live Room and all of us left enchanted by the quality of the performance.

– Alun & Val Pelleschi

Not only did Arts Council funding bring Olcay Bayir to unfamiliar us, but it brought the band to a venue they so clearly wanted to play. Olcay was explicitly grateful to the Arts Council for facilitating this & quite emotional with gratitude when she talked of how at her lowest point in  lockdown she, like a lot of musicians, wondered whether she would be able to continue with her music. I think the Live Room represented a real milestone on the road to musical normality, as well as new listeners for a group of hugely talented individuals. Olcay herself was positively luminous.

– Jane Ramsden

Anatolian culture in the throstle nest of Yorkshire! It was a delight to be entertained at The Live Room, Saltaire, by the wonderful Olcay Bayir and her band of talented musicians. The interweaving of the sounds and stories of her family’s home country with musical influences she has encountered in this country resulted in a unique and hugely enjoyable performance.

– John & Vicky Finnerty

We thought it was an amazing gig, great music and their performance was full of emotion and energy – we both came away very happy.

– Ron Pengelly

Thank you so much, Hilary and Ron, for introducing us all to Olcay Bayir and her band.  
The opportunity to hear the songs and stories from Anatolia set into modern style was just an amazing fusion, it fit together so perfectly.  
Traditional rhythm patterns kept the audience guessing, and provided a welcome break to different versions of the same old same old.  Nothing in the set sounded anything like what had gone before — each song had a fresh feel and an individuality all of its own yet accessible even on a first listening.  Brilliant, just brilliant.  Great singing, innovative percussion, violin, keys and bass combined perfectly.  
They always say leave when the audience want more, and I definitely want more.  Inspiring stuff.  Thank you 

– Demetri Dourambeis

I loved the opportunity to see & hear music from far more diverse origins than even you dig up or drag over the oceans. Olcay has an incredible voice. I bought a CD too. I’m sure that we’ll all be spreading the word further about her.

– David Noland

This was a much anticipated and greatly appreciated performance from Olcay Bayir and her band
I saw the second of the two performances, and was hugely impressed by the quality of the music and sound delivered, especially after the tortuous journey they had experienced in order to get here.
The vocals and performance of Olcay were at once sensuous and sensual, as she moved gracefully through a stunning repertoire of rhythm and style, melding the many influences from her native Anatolia and the surrounding region and also including her own writing.
Every element of the supporting band was carefully woven into the overall structure to provide and extremely rich variety of tempo and rhythm, with great use of syncopation. Even the audience managed to reproduce syncopated clapping!
Keyboard, violin (pizzicato and all’arco), percussion played with the hands, and superb, uncomplicated bass playing all made this a feast for all the senses !
What I most appreciate is the story telling of songs in original language – I assume a mixture of Kurdish, Turkish and other dialects and no desire or pressure to translate everything … though an explanation of  the context of the songs was helpful 
A thoroughly fabulous set 
Best wishes to Olcay and the band and hoping to see them again soon 

– Pete Lambert

Olcay’s show at the TLR last Friday was a delight and left me feeling refreshed and in good heart. I don;t speak Turkish but I know the country and its literature – and her songs are clear in any language.  A lovely voice. And the band’s musicians were also superb.

– Simon Watt

May I just thank you for putting on the gig. Was a perfect evening and despite the problems for Olcay and the band the performance was stunning. I’m visiting a friend and will look out for any more of your gigs and cannot wait to return.

– Malcolm Parry

Olcay and her band performed brilliantly. The ambience was excellent and their desire to be sharing music was evident. Through the introduction of the various songs and pieces performed, it was also educational!

– Liz Watford

This was a wonderful show, with her beautiful voice,the muscianship of the band,it was uplifting & poignant, mystical &  joyous. Loved it!

– Ana Hayrabadian

Olcay Bayir’s show was vibrant with magnificent musicality that brought joy to the audience in Covid-starved times. Can’t wait until she comes back!

– Nick Lacey

Morning Hilary – great show last night. Just writing to say thank you for all your work in organising and putting on the live music; I can see it is a labour of love but still it’s a labour in these times of COVID not helped by the M1 being problematic!! Really appreciate all you do – thank you.

– Ian Partridge

May 23 2021

Martin Simpson – The Return of TLR!

Friday 21st & Sunday 23rd May 2021

Review and photos by Keith Belcher

Martin Simpson

The Live Room, Caroline Street Social Club, Saltaire West Yorkshire

21st and 23rd May 2021

Early Shows both 6.30pm

I cannot tell you how much it means to me to stand on a stage and remind myself of who I am…” so said Martin Simpson just before the encore to his first of 4 socially distanced shows at The Live Room (TLR) , Caroline Street Social Club, Saltaire, West Yorkshire on 21st and (all being well) the 23rd May 2021. It was cold and wet outside. It was also Martin’s Wedding anniversary. Martin was playing to a sold out small crowd of about 60 people, you wouldn’t have known there were only 60 from the appreciation and applause. That of course is far less than he usually plays to but times are still strange and things are what they are. Martin had earlier remarked on how excited he was to be standing on a real stage , it being like a dream come true. Full marks to Ron and Hilary at TLR for keeping the music going at the club over the last 14 months of you know what. Martin’s original gig was scheduled for June 2020, postponed to October or November 2020 and then eventually taking place in May 2021. We and he all got there in the end. Music from Saltaire has continued in the form of virtual live streams and a brief period of socially distanced gigs which came to a premature end with the wonderful Edgelarks in October 2020 when the area entered tier 3 restrictions, scuppering plans for actual in person gigs until now. The next few gigs prior to June 21st will also be streamed live as well as to a limited, socially distanced audience. Until full attendance can resume all events will have 2 shows, one at 1830 and another at 2100. The 1830 show being streamed live.

I must confess to some nervousness at rejoining society and almost but not quite mingling. However, changes to the layout and running of the club to ensure as much safety as possible had taken place. One way systems, drinks ordering apps, table drinks delivery, Perspex screens and repositioning of merchandise desk are amongst the safeguards made. At the end of the night I felt quite relaxed (even without any alcohol-I was driving) and thoroughly enjoyed experiencing live music after a 14 months enforced vacation. Bronwynne Brent on March 15th 2020 seemed a VERY long time ago in a VERY different world. I suspect Martin was also quite nervous about taking to the stage again. We can quite easily forget that performing to a live crowd rather than a camera lens is a totally different experience. If he was worried he didn’t need to be . Yes, there were some minor instances of forgetting words, not surprising, you try remembering all those words after not really performing for a year or more, I doubt it will happen in the later shows. The guitar work was as good as ever which is without saying amongst the best you are going to hear from anyone, anywhere!. It made you remember what live music is really about and what you had been missing. There’s an energy flow from artist to audience to artist back to audience which builds and builds through a successful show. Some musicians have put away their instruments during recent times but certainly not Martin, he had obviously been constantly playing constantly throughout. He released a new album called HOME RECORDINGS during lockdown, recorded in Sheffield between March and July 2020.

Hilary opened the show thanking the audience for having faith and sticking with everything so far.  Martin started with what has been a relative constant of his past shows, Leadbelly’s In The Pines with familiar beautiful and very precise bottleneck playing. This was followed with 3 songs from HOME RECORDINGS. The gig was unusual in that there was only 1 Martin Simpson penned song , this being Ridgeway. I was photographing during Lyle Lovett’s  Family Reserve which was a little daunting as there is a constant refrain of “Put Down That Camera“….I carried on regardless and didn’t take it personally!. All other songs were either covers or traditionals, all with Martin’s very distinctive touch and style.

He often seems able to put more depth and dexterity in his tuning than many guitarists are capable of during a full song. Regarding cover songs, if you’re going to do them  then why not sing the late John Prine’s Angel of Montgomery, Robin Williamson’s October Song from The Incredible String band’s first album, Bob Dylan’s Buckets of Rain and Jackson C Frank’s Blues Run The Game. Martin unusually restrained himself to guitar throughout, no banjo appearances which is something I always associate with Martin. The latest album includes both banjo and ukulele for those missing the banjo.  I suspect the absence had to do with the time constraints of getting the 2 shows per night in.

Martin visibly relaxed as the show continued giving his usual very informative song intros, more detail and wide ranging information than you get from most artists . As he says. “you don’t get information like that at a Black Sabbath gig!”. The audience listened beautifully and like me seemed glad to be back listening to live music. The soon to be 80 years young Dylan’s Buckets of Rain was meant to bring the show to a close but an encore brought Robb Johnson’s very sadly, still appropriate for these times, More Than Enough. This is a song I first heard many years ago performed by Martin’s late Father-in-Law the irascible and much missed Roy Bailey. Before lockdown Martin had started to play it frequently as a tribute. All too soon it was time to leave safely by rows and make way for the group of volunteers to “covid” clean the premises for the next sitting. Judging by the general vibe and conversation as people left a good time was had by all, musician, audience and promoters alike. Let’s hope the shows continue without interruptions.

The 1830 show on the 23rd was seen not only in Saltaire but around the world by live stream. Considering there were several cameras operating it was an almost entirely unobtrusive addition to the audience experience. There was also a very interesting looking extra microphone. 

The set list was the same, still no banjo, although I gather that Deliah from HOME RECORDINGS featured as an encore in the 2100 show. To me, what was noticeably different was Martin’s demeanour. The second show he was visibly more relaxed and the words seemed to come far easier both for the songs and the between song banter. The first show he was really concentrating and looking down a lot of the time, the second he was obviously feeling far more at ease and at home, almost as though he had never been away. He was looking out at and engaging with the audience and thoroughly enjoying the experience of being back on stage, doing what he does better than most can dream of. The audience response and appreciation was superb for both shows. Let’s hope that full shows can resume safely as soon as possible.

The set list for those interested in such things was:

Intro – Hilary

In The Pines (Lead Belly)

Family Reserve

Angel From Montgomery (John Prine)

October Song (Robin Williamson)

Donal Óg (Trad)


The Cherry Tree Carol (Trad)

Piney Mountains (Craig Johnson)

Tyne Of Harrow (Trad)

Blues Run The Game (Jackson C Frank)

Buckets of Rain (Bob Dylan)

More Than Enough (Robb Johnson)

Some reviews from the audience

“What a great show from Martin Simpson, as always, last night !!!! So good to see live music, I very much like the trailers which you are showing against each forthcoming act, it gives a very helpful flavour. See you on the 6th June” – David Mann

“It was brilliant. Many thanks to you and all those involved in making us all feel so safe, plus the bar/catering staff, and esp. many thanks to Mr Simpson the maestro and his team. Wonderful stuff” – Demetri Dourambeis

“Hi Hilary……..the Martin Simpson gig was brilliant. Thank you to you and Ron for putting it on in what were obviously difficult circumstances. The show has whetted my appetite for more so I’d like to book the following gigs, please: Joe Martin; Sam Carter; Andy Ruddy (Really pleased that you’re getting him back. He was great the last time and I love his first album.); John McCusker; Nathan Bell; The Breath; Sierra Hull” – Paul Horsfall

“I would just like to say how impressed I was with the whole set up and friendly atmosphere you and your staff created, your enthusiasm and passion was on show for everybody to see, I would like to thank you for having the patience and drive to put events like this on in these difficult circumstances, set up was perfect , Martin was great as was the venue……” – David Robson , Lytham St Annes

“To both Hilary and Ron, thanks for all your efforts over the last months, it must have been very, very difficult, worrying and frustrating. Martin’s concert last night was brilliant, and it was lovely just to be able to talk to him afterwards, which has not happened for such a long time” – Romney Goodwin

“Thank you very much for your perseverance and ingenuity in bringing us Martin Simpson at the weekend. We were delighted to be back in the club enjoying live music again and it was wonderful to have an artist of such talent kicking things off. You have done a great job of ‘keeping the balls in the air’ this last year and I am sure that it has been very stressful for you both. Let’s hope the music brings its reward and there aren’t any more nasty surprises afoot” – Phil Marsland

“Hi Hilary, it was a wonderful gig tonight. Thanks for all your hard work. It was very well organised. Thanks again and we hope to see you soon. All the best” – John Fox.

Feb 4 2019

Vishtèn, Friday 1st February 2019

Review and photos by John Bentley / Arc

Also see review on Gig Junkies

It’s great to discover good new music venues, particularly ones like The Live Room, situated in the Caroline Social Club in the World Heritage Site-designated village of Saltaire, near Bradford. Saltaire was a ’model village’ established by nineteenth-century industrialist Sir Titus Salt, with the aim of providing good housing, employment conditions and facilities for his workers, contrary to the prevailing squalor and exploitation of the industrial revolution.

The Live Room specialises in folk, roots and acoustic music, aiming to present a varied programme featuring both established names and up-and-coming artists. It will be celebrating its 200th gig in March. The club is obviously about real enthusiasm for music and MC Hilary tells us that the club will be closed for three weeks while she and Ron go off to Canada again in search of new acts. Indeed tonight’s band, Vishtèn, are one of their discoveries from a previous trip.

Vishtèn are a trio from Eastern Canada whose répertoire is focussed around French-Canadian traditional music, with many songs derived from archive sources. They tell us that they look for joyous folk songs, but invariably they end up with songs about heartbreak. Vishtèn particularly celebrate Acadian music culture, which derives from the French settlers who made their home in North America in the 17th century, including America’s southern states, where it morphed into Cajun.

The band are twin-sisters Emmanuelle and Pastelle LeBlanc, from Prince Edward Island, and Pascal Miousse, a direct descendant of the first colonial families to inhabit Quebec’s remote Magdalene Islands. As well as singing, these three talented multi-instrumentalists play flute, fiddle, guitar, accordion, piano, mandolin, and bodhràn. Vishtèn enthusiastically engage with their audience throughout the evening, providing an ongoing witty but informative commentary on the music, matters French-Canadian and their own personal backgrounds. Pascal informs us that it is the twin-sisters’ birthday and the audience obligingly sing them ‘Happy Birthday’.

Vishtèn’s energetic music is absorbingly varied, with band members frequently changing to different instruments. Most of the material tonight comes from their latest album, ‘Horizons’. Some of the songs are self-penned, like highlight ‘Les Sirènes à Roméo’, which features some nice melody, delicately played on flute, guitar and piano. Occasional percussion is provided by the bodhràn, but also, interestingly, by the sisters ‘tap-dancing’ their feet while playing other instruments. Pascal provides some fine fiddle and guitar, in an amazing variety of styles. In fact the cross-pollination of musical heritage is one of the most interesting features of the evening, including for example, Cajun and Irish music. Vishtèn finish with a triumphant finale of jigs and reels.

Pre Show Interviews

Interview with Rob Martin from BCB Radio's 'Into The Buttercup'

Jan 22 2019

Sugaray Rayford Band, Friday 18th January 2019

Friday 18th January 2019. The Live Room, Caroline Street Social Club, Saltaire hosted the Sugaray Rayford Band on their first UK tour.

Sugaray had a stunning 6-piece band with him comprising Lavell Jones, drums, Alastair Greene, guitar, Drake Shining, keys, Allen Markel, bass, Giles Straw, trumpet and Aaron Liddard on sax. It was snowing lightly outside but inside, as requested by Sugaray, the floor was mainly cleared for dancing and much dancing there was. The audience coming from far and wide (even Lancashire!) to see the man on his first UK tour and I think, judging from the crowd reactions, that most thought it long overdue but well worth the wait.

What they had waited for was a night of very infectious soul, rhythm and blues, blues, rock, jazz, a touch of reggae and even a small sprinkling of country from a very tight band led by a 6 foot 5inch front man with a huge voice and even bigger personality who made serious use of the space available for his own pretty slick moves. He took some time at the start to chat to and acquaint himself with his audience before launching into “Big Legs, Short Skirt”. The show included many of his own songs and some inspired covers such as Albert King’s “Born Under A Bad Sign”.

The band were extremely tight, often improvising with extended solos, always accentuating and punctuating Sugaray’s powerful vocals. At one point, Aaron left the stage and circulated through the dance floor playing an unamplified sax solo. Spontaneous almost scat type jazz singing from the audience and a light backing from those on stage amply illustrated just what makes live music so great. You don’t get this vibe from your CDs or radio or whatever means you use to listen to recorded music. Throughout the show and especially the end of set 1, all the musicians showed just what they could do on their solo instruments, pretty impressive but not a surprise when you consider their musical pedigrees.

Sugaray stated a simple ethos of we only get one shot at life, make the absolute most of it, saying ” Music was never meant to be serious”, “It’s not a concert, it’s a party”. It certainly was and one that tonight’s party goers would have liked to go on all night long. Set 2 opened with a sing along of the Louis Armstrong classic “What A Wonderful World”. After a night of great mainly R&B they left the stage with “If I Live To Love Again”.

There was a superb, if somewhat unexpected encore of Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” with Drake on lead vocals I have to say that took me by surprise. Yet another act that it’s safe to say will be very welcome back next time they tour. Even at this early part of the year this will definitely be a contender for gig of the year.

Review and photos by Keith Belcher