Blue Fuses

Blue Fuses

I saw Blue Fuses on Thursday 18 OCT 2007 at the rather strange Riverside Club, Staines ( I will go into that in a moment) and had a fine time.

The band has a secret penchant for anything by British Rockers ‘with a colour in their name’. Think pink, black and purple. But I didn’t hear any “blue” from the Fuses (as in Moody Blues) so I take it that the ‘Moodies’ are not ‘bluesey’ enough… if you get my point.

A typical Blue Fuses set will take in some Led Zeppelin (we had a Whole Lotta something) Black Sabbath and lots of Floyd. Also be prepared for a few surprises- I particularly liked Superstition (Stevie Wonder).

The band also likes to play the basic blues but with a nice prog edge to it. (Think Camel circa 1975.) There is also some jazz-influenced rock in there ( I suppose that most Pink Floyd is jazz-based so it makes sense, but I am thinking more of Bruce Cockburn/ T-Bone Burnett.) There is even some folk-influenced prog-rock like Jethro Tull, but all of it has its foundations in good old British progressive blues.

Will (Just Will) Carrol delivers power in abundance on the drums and Pete Brock tends to wander around a lot with his radio guitar…. a la Nigel Tufnel. Pete adds vocals and some lead breaks to the sound but mostly provides the rhythm guitar sounds.

Doug (Lip) plays some impressive guitar -improvising rather than relying on worked out solos- and the lads put on a skilled and compelling live performance. The ‘front man’ is multi-talented Noel Jones ( the Baldly Drawn Boy) and it is he who provides most of the vocals (good voice) and plays some very impressive bass lines (with a six string bass). Noel was once a member of White Lightning, an influential melodic rock band of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal genre and has recorded and gigged with all the big names of the NWBHM. I noticed that Noel was wearing what I think was a ‘Cradle of Filth’ T-shirt …. isn’t that is pretty damn impressive for a 50 year old bald blues musician, No?

Now we get to the venue. The Blue Fuses played at the Staines Riverside Club, Laleham Road, Staines. Now, please don’t get me wrong, we need more music venues in Staines and I applaud the efforts of the Riverside Club in opening up their club to bands of this stature. (They also boast The Rhythm Pigs on Friday 30th November and Big Jim Sullivan and Duncan Mckenzie on Thur 22 November). But the ‘welcome’ to non-members was non-existent and the ambience of the place was- as my music teacher used to say- “Good effort but much more work required if (he) is to be successful”.

To give you an artists impression of what The Riverside Club was like while the Blue Fuses was playing you will need to imagine an old folks home on a wet Sunday afternoon with the blinds drawn but all the fluorescent tubes turned onto full blast. The band were obviously asked to ‘turn it down’ so they were playing at ‘bedroom volume’ instead of ‘club’ volume. There was a high-power darts match going on in the adjoining bar and this had been given ‘priority’ by the management, so the darts players got served first at the bar and their cheers were louder than any screaming lead-solo. Add in a raffle, a couple of speeches and some polite clapping (between songs) and I think you have it.

Still, not to mind, Blue Fuses went down well with everyone. They seemed to enjoy playing the show and I will definitely go out of my way to see them again.


Dec 8 2007 9:00A
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The Cardinal Wolsey Hampton

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The Cardinal Wolsey Hampton

May 9 2008 9:00P
The Cardinal Wolsey Hampton

Jul 11 2008 9:00P
The Cardinal Wolsey Hampton

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The time (before last) that I saw FoulPlay at the cosy and bijou ‘pubette’ that is the Jolly Farmer, Staines, the band had managed to squeeze their four-piece guitar-based band plus amps & speakers plus some keyboards with female vocalist (plus two backing singers), into a space that was just about big enough to seat a pot-plant.
(They normally keep the pot plant on the corner table by the window.)

On that night, the band kept bringing out more and more songs from their plentiful archives like some kind of deranged ‘rock school’ lecturers.

“Do you remember Little Richard? No, well here’s some. Do you remember Rockabilly? No, well here’s some. Do you remember Surf Music? No, well here’s some”….their repertoire included everything ( as in EVERYTHING) from bygone ages of old-time rock and roll and skiffle, through to classics from the glam-rock seventies, big numbers from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and even into modern indie rock territory. I was astonished when the five piece ( and mainly guitar-based combo, remember) attempted- and pulled off with some aplomb- some 2-Tone British Ska.

That was the time before last….

When I saw the band this summer (the summer of 2007) they had a new lead guitar player in the shape of Pete Downes – and, boy, can he play !!!

The lead singer, Lee Ridley, (who uncannily resembles David Brent) is still the main dynamo for the group and provides some nice chunky chords for Pete Downes to ornament and adorn. But they have now ‘lost’ the keyboards. But they retain Carl Gaywood on drums and Huw Stokes on Bass.

When did you last see a band without keyboards attempt a Pink Floyd number? It is typical of these boys to attempt Pink Floyd now they DON’T have keyboards any longer! Yep! The Foul Play boys even did a track from Dark Side of the Moon… God bless ‘em.

So if you like classic rock, and you like some fancy guitar work, and you like a good old sing-song why not go on a musical journey through the entire seven ages of rock with Foul Play?

You could do lot worse than coming down the Jolly Farmer the next night the boys are playing. It could be an education.

[Pic above] David Brent … sorry Lee Ridley foreground, with Pete Downes on lead

Upcoming Shows

Nov 1 2007 9:00P
The Hobgoblin Staines

Nov 10 2007 9:00P
Ye Olde Swan Burnham

Dec 15 2007 9:00P
The Barley Mow Shepperton

Dec 22 2007 9:00P
The Jolly Farmer Staines

Jan 4 2008 9:00P
Filthy McNasty’s at The Red Lion Twickenham

Apr 12 2008 9:00P
The Barley Mow Shepperton

Jun 7 2008 9:00P
The Barley Mow Shepperton


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Sunsets on Vegas


As we all know, the sun never sets on Vegas ‘cos when the sun goes down the lights go up. In fact, in Vegas, the sunset is at the beginning of the day and preludes the start of all the fun…so it is not an ending at all..

I saw our local Sunsets (SOV) at the HOB (Hobgoblin Staines) on 02/09/2007. These boys boys swagger, pout, preen and ooze arrogance but it is all permitted in the name of ‘rock n roll’- because they deliver the goods in abundance.

Choppy, neat and persuasive guitar chords from Jimmy, dirrrty, groovy big bass lines from Sam and rat-a-tat drums from Harry. The whole set was as clean and as taut as your sister’s fresh knicker elastic.

SOV cite their influences from Gallows, Maximo Park, The Malloys, Manic Street Preachers, Morrissey, Joe Strummer and the Mesceleros, Billy Bragg, Talking Heads, Billy Talent, Elvis Presley, The Bronx and Biffy Clyro.

Well, I noticed good ole’ Woking band The Jam in there a-plenty, not least because of the three-piece soundz, but also because of the attention to detail and craftsmanship. I also recognised a good slice of Dr Feelgood (choppy guitar and jerky movements.) and I couldn’t help but notice the influence of early Police and The Blockheads.

The ‘sunsets on Vegas’ are the ones to watch because, like I say, it is at sunset time that the fun really begins!


Oct 27 2007 8:00P
The Little House Bedfont, London and South East

Nov 1 2007 8:00P
Purple Turtle Camden., London and South East

Dec 14 2007 8:00P
Club X-Ray @ Fighting Cocks Kingston, London and South East

Dec 16 2007 8:00P
All Dayer @ Black Sheep Bar Croydon, London and South East

Dec 23 2007 8:00P
Hob Goblin Staines, London and South East


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Cheekees Staines closes for good



The report BELOW is dated September 16, 2007….. for news about the STICKY FUNGUS closure click on the link ABOVE


So Cheekees, formerly The Exchange and, more recently ‘Diamonds and Denims’ has shut for good…

Were they good memories? Was it a good club? How will ‘The Exchange’ be replaced?

I first got a very vague interest in “The Exchange” as it was then, when I heard that Quentin Tarantino had gone there one night in the 1990’s ( probably about 1994). Tarantino… in my town? In a club in my town? Wow!

But, like many, many townsfolk, I never quite made it actually into the club. Sorry.

Maybe it was the 1960 telephone exchange architecture that was to blame. Or the fact that you have two ways of getting to the front door- i.e. the ‘salubrious way’ across the rear of the rubbish-strewn Argos delivery yard and past the masonic hall or the ‘iffy way’ down a vomit-ridden dark and depressing alleyway near W H Smiths.

In fact I am convinced that a huge percentage of Staines-folk – if asked- would not even know that a nightclub has existed on this site. Let alone would have visited the place.

The Exchange has, in it’s time, been called “The crowning turd of Central Staines” and it has had a dismal reputation. It didn’t help that it was recently widely reported that a vulnerable man drowned in the river on his way home after a Friday evening at the nightclub (allegedly, this man may have been involved in an altercation outside the club.) The club was often rumoured to be a place where the staines chavs, louts and general neer-do-wells got together to drink alco-pops before a night of general aggression.

More recently the night-club entrepreneur Max Angliss (frankly he looked like a bit of a wise-guy to me) had tried to glam up the place by transforming it into a swanky lap-dancing club cum strip-club (hence the Diamonds and Denim moniker.) But he finally admitted defeat this week (September 6 2007) when the club went into liquidation.

Max Angliss has blamed Spelthorne Borough Council for the failure of his club by suggesting that the council should have created a taxi rank for the punters. Spelthorne retaliated by saying that cabs could stop anywhere they liked in Staines (thus hinting that, maybe, they didn’t like stopping near the nightclub.) And who can blame the cabbies? I have heard reliable accounts of minicab drivers being sworn at, verbally and physically attacked and short-changed etc. by clientele from the club. It is also rumoured that cab drivers needed to arm themselves for self-protection if they attended the club after dark.

For a while Hard-Fi’s songs about life in Staines – the drunken Friday nights at The Exchange included- had almost made the place ‘trendy’ in some kind of kooky, quaint nostalgic way. But there again, Hard-Fi have also written about the nearby Feltham Young Offenders’ Institution (‘Feltham Is Singing Out’ was inspired by Zahid Mubarek, an inmate murdered by his racist cellmate) and that has hardly done much for the popularity of the place!

Did Cheekees have a ‘romantic image’ at any time? Probably not. Even Richard Archer the Hard-Fi frontman said so; “Cheekees”, he once explained, “is Staines’ solitary nightclub, where the clientele goes from age 18 to 50, and on Saturday night you can set your watch by the moment where the DJ segues between Livin’ on a Prayer and Come On Eileen….As bad as it is there, you go out in Staines, you end up in Cheekees.”

Still, it wasn’t bad enough to put the band off of choosing Cheekees for their debut album’s launch party scheduled for July 7 2005- sadly cancelled due to a family bereavement.

So now what are we left with? Memories? Not really, I’m afraid. The Exchange was hardly in the same league as The Old Trout, Windsor (the extinct, but not forgotten local venue where the likes of Blur, Pop Will Eat Itself, Elastica and even Oasis played.) It won’t mean a thing to the oldies- unlike the Town Hall that featured in the feature film Gandhi and was ‘done-up’ by that nice man Kenneth Branagh and his (then) wife Emma Thompson in 1994.

But we still have the Hob (hobgoblin) which, fortunately is looking healthy. We have the rather nice Iguana (The Railway) at Egham []. We also have the very, very upmarket No 1 Club at Ascot [1 High Street, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 7JF] and some reasonable (but chavvy) nightlife in Kingston and Reading (even Windsor) short train-rides away.

So, farewell then, Cheekees …

I’ll let Quentin know that there is no point being dropped off in Staines next time he is just passing through!


Music & Leisure in Staines UK