THE NASHVILLE TEENS — Live in Staines

What to say about the NASHVILLE TEENS? They had a top ten hit in 1964 with Tobacco Road. They backed Jerry Lee Lewis when he went live in Hamburg that same year. They toured with Chuck Berry. They were picked-up by Mickie Most and produced by Andrew Loog Oldham [The Rolling Stones] and Shel Talmy [the Who].

And, probably, they’re the most famous band you’ve never heard of…

The “youngster” of the group Ken Osborn [he joined late 1980s] playing stunning lead guitar in Staines… Picture @neilmach 2019 ©
We saw their live show in Staines this week at the excellent Riverside Club. The place was filled to capacity for what was probably the most anticipated concert in a long time.

With the original vocalist Ray Phillips still in the front, the lineup now includes the Manfred Mann Earth band musician, Colin Pattenden on bass, the “youngster” of the group Ken Osborn [he joined late 1980s] playing stunning lead guitar, with Adrian “Spud” Metcalfe on thumping percussion and Simon Spratley on liquid keys [both these joined the Teens in 1983].

In Staines the band played a great selection of loud rhythm & blues numbers, rock ‘n’ roll hits and garage-rock/blues-rock wonders.

Right from their launch number, “Let It Rock/Rocking On The Railroad” with furious keys and intoxicating bass-stomp plus those unmistakable shake-rattle-and-roll rhythms, we knew we were in for a mega-dance party of epic proportions.

Their version of Wille Dixon’sHoochie Coochie Man” was stuffed with hoodoo sex-appeal as Ray provided vivid vocals, his arm often extended over the microphone, thus bestowing drama and intrigue. This was when we realized what a musical powerhouse Ken could be: his guitar yielded a furious tangle of oxidized notes and harmonics in a constant state of expansion.

Each recognizable hit hotfooting it after the other… Photo @neilmach 2019 ©

Their neatest trick was to run headlong into a motley medley of well-connected numbers, with each recognizable hit hotfooting it after the other: So, in the first half we had Keep on Running / Somebody Help Me / Gimme Me Some Lovin.  And in the second half we had a similar set of overlapping rock ‘n’ roll numbers. It’s a pity that the keyboards were not stronger in the first medley, but the sound was soon sorted out.

During the sensational Staines show we had Rolling Stones favorites, Chuck Berry sing-alongs, and songs taken from a back catalogue which, to be fair, comes from 1964-1969. Yet these durable songs have been energetically played and re-played by these genuinely talented musicians for over fifty years.

Tobacco Road” starts with a tribal thumping that is said to have inspired Sweet’s “Blockbuster.” And although the song began as an unpretentious folkloric number [written by John D. Loudermilk, 1960] the Teens interpret it as an elaborate, yet unrestrained, blues-rock spectacular. The curious mythology of this song is that it was the last number to be recorded by Jimi Hendrix. He laid it down at Ronnie Scotts, on the 16th September, 1970. He died in Lansdowne Crescent, Notting Hill early on September 18th.

Although the band finished their show with the famous “Tobacco Road” their encore was Steppenwolf‘s “Born to Be Wild” — a curious choice, with lyrics about “heavy metal thunder…” and an association with biker gangs and Easy Rider.

But that’s the best thing about this fine band. They play exactly what you want, when you want it. And when they play — their renditions are thunderous and thrilling. In fact, this was the most perfect end-piece to the “Wild Angels” spirit of the early songs on the set: it was unswerving, with robust guitar riffs, aerated vocals and rough rhythms …

Yes, the place was on fire…. we’re so glad [we] made it!

Link: http://www.nashville-teens.com/
Words & Pictures: @neilmach 2019 ©

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METROPOLIS BLUE Launch

Last night, in the precious and incomparable BOILEROOM music venue in Guildford, Surrey a brand new record label was launched in style. The famous Metropolis Studios have joined the The Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM) to launch an exclusive record label named METROPOLIS BLUE. It is a project led by ACM students for ACM students, with guidance from industry professionals with experience in ACM and Metropolis

LKJ – a deep and bold song style & sharp confidence…

By joining ACM’s unrivaled creative industry education with the world-class status of Metropolis, ACM students will gain the exclusive experience that they need to get ahead in this competitive industry.

Chairman of ACM and Owner of Metropolis Studios Kainne Clements said: “We promised more industry-based learning and connected opportunity than any other provider and I am both excited and proud to deliver on this by launching the new record label, specific to ACM, powered by Metropolis.

And Richard Connell CEO at Metropolis Studios said: “Metropolis is renowned for sonic excellence, customer service and placing the artist at the centre of everything. We don’t just represent what the industry does, we are what the industry is doing, here and now, and I see it as a privilege to share this with the emerging talent that are the ACM students, from day 1.

The launch-night on Monday 4th March 2019 was enthusiastically attended — not solely because the first few punters through the door were promised free headphones (if they decided to join a long line) — but largely because of the incredible musical talent on offer.

Bethany – energetic…

After a wholehearted introduction from Neon Islands front-man Carlos de los Santos we heard from the amazingly talented indie singer/songwriter Leoni Jane Kennedy [LKJ] — the ACM Freddie Mercury Scholarship Recipient of 2018 — whose combinations of folk, pop, power balladry and blues united with her deep and bold song style and sharp confidence reminded us of Jefferson Starship era Grace Slick.

If you can imagine a finger-picking Melissa Etheridge, young and passionate, playing songs of desire and deception, you will be close to understanding the phenomenal talent of LKJ.

We also enjoyed Bethany Davey – whose “No Time To Lose” [shared below] is an energetic RnB number with work-rhythm patterns and massive wobbles slung around its waist… suggesting this is destined for dance-floor’s around Europe. File alongside Kele Le Roc.

Big queue for headphones…
Congratulations to all the recording artists who venture onto this exciting new student-inspired label. Wishing everyone success and achievement!

The event was sponsored by Monster.

Main Image: Presenter Carlos de los Santos of Neon Islands

Photos by @neilmach 2019 ©

Link: https://www.facebook.com/metropolisblue/

Notes: Since its opening in 1995, ACM has represented every corner of the creative industries. Metropolis Blue will act not only as a springboard for ACM students’ careers as artists, producers, managers, and entrepreneurs, but will also teach them the vital skills they need to make informed decisions about their futures.

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KINDRED SPIRIT— Live at Twickenham

Through their inter-woven folk/rock prog-rock compositions, Elaine Samuels and KINDRED SPIRIT explore the magic of our existence.

We saw their spring show this week at the new community facility in the heart of Twickenham, in the excellent 320-seat theatre at Brewery Wharf — known as The Exchange.

Elaine Samuels and Kindred Spirit – “explore the magic of our existence” Photo Credit: @neilmach 2018 ©

Under a bright star-pentagram, an ancient sign of cyclic transformation, the show started with the driving energy of a new number.

Pandora’s Box” had dragon-skin rhythms from Aleem Saleh on drums, enchanted voices from both Elaine and Catherine, threaded stringwork from the talented Martin Ash on violin  and spiral water-snakes of pure enchantment from Catherine Dimmock on flute.

Their “Beast” cycle came in the first half of the concert. With “Run Red” perhaps the most melancholic part of the set-piece. Cloudy with violin mists, this lyrical “feminist historical anthem…” was performed with great majesty and artfulness.

Yearning sax from Catherine… Photo Credit: @neilmach 2018 ©

Elaine explained that the song was inspired by a challenge given by a fan.

He dared her to write a song influenced by Alan Moore’s American Gothic story “The Cursed.”

The final part of the song-cycle was the Dylanesque and haunting “Wolves at the Gate.”

As well as the amazing song ‘Kindred Spirit’ with its gentle meanders, we also enjoyed the mysticism of ‘Children of the Stars’ a song that explored our shared journey across the universe, with yearning sax from Catherine.

We were also treated to a second apocalyptic new number [from their forthcoming fan-funded album.)

Titled “Red Rose” it began with a tribal drum then slowly built into a fiddle-dee-ree urban jig of wonderful proportions. The number was truly cinematic in scope.

The highpoint of the Twickenham show was, for us, the third new song from the much anticipated album. Titled “Daemons” this was the first time it had been played in public.

A a fiddle-dee-ree urban jig of wonderful proportions… Photo Credit: @neilmach 2018 ©

A prowling pace was set-up by drummer Aleem with loitering moodiness from Mike Hislop on bass.

Then began the ever-fermenting and promiscuously potent concoction of sounds.

With a frenzy of fire from Martin’s violin strings and lots of lucid provocation from Catherine… this was possibly the only true “prog rock” number of the night. Boy, what a stunner!

Kindred Spirit gave us seductive treasures, moments of complete serenity, and songs of constant wonder. A great show. We can’t wait for the next album.

Words & Images: @neilmach 2018 ©

Link: https://www.facebook.com/KindredSpiritBand

Kindred Spirit gave us seductive treasures, moments of complete serenity, and songs of constant wonder… Photo Credit: @neilmach 2018 ©

ACM Opens Flagship Recording Studio in Guildford

The Executive Chairman of the ACADEMY OF CONTEMPORARY MUSIC (ACM) in Surrey UK — Kainne Clements — today opened a new state-of-the-art recording facility on its Guildford campus.

Ribbon-cutting by Executive Chairman of the ACADEMY OF CONTEMPORARY MUSIC

The new Rodboro Studio will be used by ACM’s world-class tutors for lectures, workshops and master-classes, such as their annual Audio Production Event (APE).

When the studio isn’t used by teaching staff, all ACM Guildford students will have the opportunity to reserve the space. The facility will be open to students 5 days a week and until midnight. Staff will be available to support students.

After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, visitors at the event saw the first-ever audio production made at the studio — a song recorded by the 4-piece Guildford band KISSED AND CROWNED who made an inaugural recording in the live room with members of the ACM ELECTRON CHOIR under the direction of Kaya Herstad Carney.

The first-ever audio production, a song recorded by the 4-piece band KISSED AND CROWNED [Kyle Elliott] shown here with Electron Choir… image @neilmach 2018 ©
The Grammy Award-winning Liam Nolan engineered the recording.

The Guildford studio reflects the quality of the largest studio installation in Europe: The Metropolis Studios based in Chiswick, London. Kainne Clements is also co-owner of Metropolis.

Sound engineer Liam Nolan [Adele, Jess Glynne, Calvin Harris] gave a demonstration of the new facilities and said: “It’s a great space, great gear, great microphones, great desk — very similar to what we have at Metropolis — and it’s going to be a fantastic new studio for the students to use...”

ACM has been building sustainable and long-lasting careers for students in all corners of the creative industries since 1995. With a pioneering approach to education, ACM’s “Learning by doing” mantra enables a totally immersive experience for students and ensures they are connected directly with the industry through dedicated workshops and teaching in a real-world setting.

Facilities such as the new flagship studio in Surrey, along with the real-world experience offered by its Industry Link department, mean that ACM students receive an unparalleled learning experience. The ACM aims to increase the number of students from 1800 to 2000 students during 2018.

Words & Pictures: @neilmach 2018 ©

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/acmuk/
https://www.facebook.com/KissedandCrownedOfficial/
https://www.facebook.com/ACMelectron/

Control Room ACM – with Grammy Award-winning engineer Liam Nolan. Photo Credit: @neilmach 2018 ©

SCHOOL OF ROCK by Magna Carta School

SCHOOL OF ROCK is a rock musical with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Glenn Slater and a book by Julian Fellowes, based on the 2003 musical comedy film released by Paramount and starring Jack Black and Joan Cusack.

This week we went to see the excellent production of the musical by The Performing and Visual Arts Faculty at the Magna Carta School, at Thorpe Road Staines, directed by Danny Gwynne, with Helen Claringbull’s musical direction and choreography by Riannon Stygal.

The musical follows the adventures of Dewey Finn, a jobless rock singer and guitarist who claims to be a substitute teacher at a prestigious high school…

The musical follows the adventures of Dewey Finn, a jobless rock singer and guitarist who claims to be a substitute teacher at a prestigious high school.

After identifying the musical talent in his students, Dewey forms a band of fifth-grade students, in an attempt to win the next Battle of the Bands contest and “stick it” to his ex bandmates.

The musical at Magna Carta began with a hilarious performance by the band “No Vacancy” who are about to shelve their guitarist, Dewey, because he keeps upstaging the lead singer.

After the show we first meet Ned Schneebly, and his dominant wife/girlfriend Patty Di Marco at their pad. This is where Dewey crashes, rent-free. Patty wants Dewey out, but he receives a call from the private school at Horace Green who wants to hire Ned as a substitute teacher (“a temp?”) and Dewey sees there is a possibility of making some bucks (to pay his dues) so he plans to impersonate his friend and take “the gig.”

At Horace Green we first meet with the slightly testy Rosalie Mullins.

She sings the school anthem “Here at Horace Green” and we find she’s fussy about behaviour, competitiveness and quality.

In comes the disreputable Dewey character (pretending to be Mr. Schneebly) “Just call me Mister S...” He is not only doubtful but also lazy. “Got anything to eat?” he asks one kid. “Got any money? Go to Subway and get me something,” he yells.

Soon after this, though, he hears the kids playing in the school orchestra, and their relationship develops: the deficient teacher and the too-good-to-be-true, goodie-two-shoed, teacher’s-pets. He gets them to “Stick it to the Man”  (Miss Mullins is the man… Donald Trump is the man...”) and they  teach him determination  and resilience.

One of the best scenes in the Magna Carta production was when Dewey discovers that Miss Mullins is a secret fan of Stevie Nicks and takes her to a coffee shop where she confesses (over beer) that she is a nightmare… and that’s why nobody likes her. This scene gives us the first inkling there’s electricity between them. A frisson that came over well in this great show.

Poppy Williams who played Tomika (vocals) was the definition of proficiency. Her soul-filled voice filled the auditorium and was worth waiting for.

Lanky Alistair Scott (Zack, the guitarist) was also perfect on the night, uptight, tense & nervy, that is until he “stuck it to the man” (in this case, his Dad) and liberated himself through rock music. A great performance.

Amy Young (Katie on bass) was perhaps not so studiously inclined as her character in the movie, the Magna Carta version of the character was zesty and more polished. We liked this version a lot…

Daisy Lee and Sali Adams (Shonelle and Marcy) were exemplary, as was Umar Aunghareeta (playing Lawrence on keys) and Sammy Austin (playing Freddie on drums.) But perhaps more could have been done with Dylan Oak’s character (Billy the stylist) and Ella Clark (Summer, the manager.) Both were great actors but their roles were underutilized (in our opinion) — but these are minor quibbles.

just fantabulisticcal

Great acclaim should go to the children who played the parts of the parents of students.

Each one played a superior and memorable cameo role.

And the ensemble and the orchestra was just fantabulisticcal!

Of course, the stand-out performance of the night was from Dewey Finn, played by Sebastian Hobden. He owned the stage — left, right and centre — our only comment being: “I wish he’d calm down and settle.” Jack Black was unflustered in this role, a calm influence on the kids and his  half-asleep attitude and laid-back kinda style was commanding. But Sebastian opted to interpret the character entirely differently — as a spring-heeled cat on a hot-tin roof, with uncontrolled levels of untapped ever-fermenting energy. At times we just wanted him to be tackled to the ground by the crew. God love him!  You couldn’t fault his  earnestness.

The most notable performance was that of Katie Mack, who played Miss Mullins. She didn’t put a foot nor finger wrong. She sang with controlled emotion, spoke with excellent articulation and gave a very credible portrayal of the dispassionate and distant school principal who has an (invisible) heart of the liquid honey.

Big thanks must also go to the TMCS PVA Faculty, the entire production team (especially Lily Warnes for her excellent stage management) and the hairdressing and makeup teams, as well as everyone who made this show such a magical success.

Five Stars!

Words:  @neilmach 2018 ©

Link: http://www.magnacarta.surrey.sch.uk/

STEVE WHALLEY — Live at Staines Riverside Club

Here at AD PONTES we always said that STEVE WHALLEY is the zen master of cathartic liberation.

Steve Whalley – an interpretation that was incredibly perfect. Picture by @neilmach 2017 ©

There is no nonsense or schmaltz in his show, oh no!

He will tear your emotions apart before healing you with a frenzy of dramatic soul & rock numbers from the song books of heroes like Tom Waits and Dylan.

And at Staines Riverside Club last night, after an excellent start that included a stylish Leon Russell type “Youngblood” Steve tried some new material.

In fact he even produced a special guitar for the Ry Cooder number — Vigilante Man.

This is a dangerous tool ...” he alerted the audience. “I have to keep it set to stun, otherwise it will cause some serious damage...”

His interpretation was incredibly perfect. And although we know that Steve’s one of the best vocalists on the circuit, it was clear from this number that we shouldn’t underestimate his guitar skills either… His blues-picking and finger slides were remarkable.

Steve with Tat Whalley – Tat Whalley… ” he eclipsed my achievements many times” Picture by @neilmach 2017 ©

The incredible rhythmc finger-picking skills were evident again on the “Kingston Trio” style Bahamian folk song John B. Sails [aka Sloop John B.]

It was a sensational way to end a memorable night.

With his son Tat Whalley on bass (he eclipsed my achievements many times) and Bruvvers/Meal Ticket drummer Chris Hunt [he taught me everything I ever needed to know about music] this was one of the best concerts of the year.

And the amazing thing is that Steve suffered a nasty head-cold head all night long. And complained, often, “ I cannot hear a damn thing...”

We can’t imagine how good this would have been if Steve had been in ship-shape condition and didn’t feel “so broke up...”

If you missed the show, regularly visit the STAINES RIVERSIDE club for quality live music [every other Thursday] and most weekends. Please support your local live music venue.

Words & Pictures: @neilmach 2017 ©

WILLY FINLAYSON AND THE HURTERS

Last night at the wonderful Staines Riverside Club we witnessed rare magic when WILLY FINLAYSON AND THE HURTERS came to town bringing their smooth quality rock and soft ‘n’ soulful covers.

The last time we saw Willy in Staines was with his band project HALF MEAL TICKET, then with Steve Simpson (now in retirement) and Dean Barnes (much missed.)

Edinburgh born Willy is a talented guitarist, composer and extraordinary vocalist and he fronted Bees Make Honey (1974 ) and later the famous country rock band Meal Ticket. They provided the theme for the brilliant play-for-today “Dominick Hide”.

Willy Finlayson – Carnation-cream and tobacco voice…

In staines The Hurters played songs like the award-winning “She Will Be Loved” [Maroon 5] with its insistent chorus.

These were emotionally rendered, and even at times perhaps overwrought. Though Willy’s smouldering carnation-cream and tobacco voice helped  alleviate any anguish.

Classy blues numbers, such as “Crazy ‘Bout An Automobile (Every Woman I Know)” (Ry Cooder, 1980) had good rebound and veritable trim.

And for the many upbeat numbers (Bruce Springsteen is a favourite songwriter) Willy provided eloquent slur to go with that amazing golden brogue.

Dave Colquhoun – bullets of masculinity and power…

The great revelation of the night was the “new” guitarist Dave Colquhoun.

Dave is actually an experienced session man, currently with Rick Wakeman’s band.

He has his own band projects and previously worked with Go West, Paul Young, Belinda Carlisle, T’pau, Bananarama and, of course, Bucks Fizz.

Dave added bullets of masculinity and power to ballads such as “Hungry Heart” or dark twists of sadness or tiny bee stings of articulation… In other words, he provided nuance and fragrance to every soulful song. Such was his impressive play that he earned  several bravos of his own during the evening.

Tempo was provided by acclaimed blues bassist Malcolm Hoskins who was a firm and steadfast rhythmic-energy maker.

Towards the end of the evening we were treated to a few songs from “surprise guest” LIZA MARSHALL.

Her husky chocolate-syrup voice always wins applause, and her smooth song-choice included the singalong gospel number “People Get Ready” [Curtis Mayfield 1965.] This allowed Dave to express his more imaginative and jazzy side.

As usual, a very fine evening of quality musical entertainment in Staines.

Words & Images: @neilmach 2017 ©

Link: http://www.willyfinlayson.com/