Rocker’s Delight

Ol’ Rosie/Two’s Company
5th April
Dunchurch Village Hall

Sea of new faces amid the disciples of both Ol’ Rosie and Two’s Company who open proceedings. Pete and Andy centre stage delivering in extreme with acoustic rock covers of Bowie, Queen and ELO.

Love in the air, take your pick of best getting laid song from “It’s A Man’s World”, “Wicked Game” and “Kiss From A Rose” - on each Pete’s vocal simply divine.

Andy’s driving guitar on “Free Falling” enjoys accompanient for the first time by Pete’s striving to equal his partner on “Faithfully”.  Accomplished performance, with striking takes on “A Hard Days Night” & “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” before a crowning high on “Pour Some Sugar On Me”.

Big brother to Two’s Company and a welcome return to a stage for Ol’Rosie , time away heralds a change in lineup and displays single-minded rehearsal of a continually evolving setlist. New songs given shakedown tonight draw fervent response to a regal set.

"Lil Devil" kicks off 90 minutes to quench rock die-hards with a good measure of classic rock thrown in for party-goers whose immediate appetite sated by "Brown Sugar" at the same time "Rebel  Yell" addresses both contingents.

Free, Jimi Hendrix and 2 from Led Zeppelin contribute adequately to the wishes of the former section of the audience, “Rock and Roll All Night” ,”Hit Me With Your Best Shot” a lighter strand enjoyed by all.  More crowd pleasers Deep Purple, Thin Lizzy and AC/DC before “Fortunate Son” from Creedence Clearwater Revival” also heard earlier from Two’s Company (who share more this passion) on “Proud Mary”.

Twisted Sister’s “I Wanna Rock” before the band Richard Smith (rhythm guitar) David Lee (drums), new bass player Nick Harrison, Andy (lead guitar) and vocalist Pete crank an already electric performance with ferocious speed on glam “Ballroom Blitz”, air guitar favourite “Rockin All Over The World” driving the now charged mass delirious.

Singalongs on “Wanted”, “I Believe In a Thing Called Love” exhilarating motif “Nothing But A Good Time” equally favourites, closing encore an harder “The Trooper” a clarion to followers sullied or chaste.

Video: El Born “Kangaroo”

El Born + Henry Parker & The Velvet Loons + One Eyed Jack
March 27th
The Vault Rugby

The Vault Rugby continues to stake a claim as best small venue with a bill of wistful indie, shimmering blues and raunch.

Kicking off the night Rugby duo One Eyed Jack, play loud, raw and without abandon. “Wormfood” opens their set  reminiscent of garage rockers The Black Keys or  Queens Of The Stone Age before a passion for Bowie era Arnold Corns later revealed.

Returning after a short hiatus since forming in 2012 and touring their first album shortly after Pete Plumbley (vocals & guitar) and Brett Dobbin (drums) strike back with a full frontal assault on a select string of dates before work commences on the follow up album.

Pete recently at home in covers band Ol’ Rosie and acoustic duo Two’s Company (continued commitment as vocalist alongside One Eyed Jack), while Brett equally settled in Drunk Tongue (on a variety of instruments) play a set of high octane rock ‘n’roll.

Shredding guitar without ego, every lick used to dive each tune and stomping drums to match on 7 originals which includes “Pin Up Blues” and “Greasy Coins” before a reverential cover of “Moonage Daydream”.

Big Help Management are present, tonight represented by Dutch Van Spall promoting Henry Parker just one of the artists on their roster who are appearing here in the Vault over the coming weeks.

Change of pace with the stunning blues of Henry Parker & the Velvet Loons scintillating set of covers and original “Red Fox”.

Henry though still evolving displays a talent beyond his years and rapidly establishing himself as a guitarist of remarkable caliber, even likened to Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton, as ever surrounds himself with an exemplary band in the shape of a duo that share an extensive heritage in the music industry. 
The Velvet Loons, guitarist Derik Timms (Kiki Dee, Dave Edmunds and George Harrison) and drums Bob Henrit (Argent, Adam Faith, Unit 4+2 “Concrete and Clay”).

Reynards are reputed as being sly but don’t be fooled by his slight frame and gentle mannered appearence, Henry wields a twin necked Gibson with fine aplomb on “Runaway with You” and his own “Red Fox” before swapping guitar for a six string workout on blistering “Need Your Love So Bad” (Little Willie John).

Picking up his twin neck again, we’re treated to equally impressive covers of “Almost Cut My Hair” (CSNY) and “Spooky” (Atlanta Rhythm Section). A fine brand of blues to savour and a return to any venue assured, I advocate you catch him before world stadia grabs him.

Penultimate gig of the UK leg “Beg, Steal & Borrow Kangaroo Tour” before jetting to the US, tonight’s headliners El Born take everything in their stride ripping up the stage, with such dreamy pop on offer larger stages on the horizon.

Hils Granger, Mike Brazier,  Phil Brickell and singer Si Connelly together less than 12 months receiving endorsement by Coldplay open on their brand of indie rock with lead single “Kangaroo” already having charted on iTunes.

Lead by front man Si who exudes great charisma both on and off stage, the band equally engaging winning new friends both in this rather intimate setting of The Vault Rugby and across the whole of the 3 month tour which kicked of on January 7th.

A more alternative sound than the blues and rock witnessed earlier, Si hollers on “Silver & Gold” and “1982” pleasures shows chart success within reach. 

Closing with a soaring “Now That It’s Over”, an EP on sale and the wait begins for the album release.

Also a pleasure to see, top of the bill give respect for the other acts sharing tonights stage, each artist receiving deserved mention with special thanks to both staff at the venue working hard behind the scenes and promoter Dutch for bringing in additional talent.  High praise also for Tom Long and Ellis Powell-Bevan for both the sound check with minimal fuss and sweet sound tonight (described as the best heard on this tour).

If you managed to record  video of El Born during the “Beg, Steal & Borrow Kangaroo Tour”, feel welcome to upload the footage to their web site for possible inclusion in a promotional music video.

The Stag & Pheasant

The Stag & Pheasant Newton
March 7th.

Country Inn promoting live music with the help of Dutch Van Spall of Big Help Management on the first Friday of each month.

On tonight’s bill Kieran Taylour and Rose Marsden. Catch the opening acoustic set from Rose, who performs an exquisite cover of “Wanted - Dead Or Alive” (Bon Jovi), before prior commitments draw us away.

All The Kings Horses

All The Kings Horses
February 23rd
Costa Coffee

Following an acoustic evening at The Boat with Two’s Company an all electric night in a venue echoing trends of the late 50 ‘s and part of Sunday Night Live, a regular monthly music night held across the UK in coffee houses.

All The Kings Horses bought their own brand of high energy blues and rock to a full house at Costa Coffee. 

Video : Two’s Company - Face Of Light

Two’s Company
February 22nd
The Boat Inn

Acoustic duo Two’s Company build upon the succees of their debut (Lawford Arms on February 1st) bringing an extended setlist to a packed house to an eagerly awaited gig since their Open Mic appearence here in January.

Opening with “You Shook Me All Night Long” into “Hot Blooded” the first of 3 covers of Foreigner songs during the night (2 in the first set) Pete and Andy rock the joint to its core.

AOR faithful’s Journey along with 60’s pop in the shape of the Beatles and Two’s company favourites “Hole Hearted” and “Face Of Light” before Andy thrills with an ecstatically received instrumental “Drifting” (Andy McKee).

"Crazy Little thing Called Love" closes the first set and makes for a crush at the bar, no-one has dared loose their seat.

A mesmerising “Whole Lotta Love” opens the second half  and then some a cover of “Jailhouse Rock”. Love is in the air with ballads “Kiss
From A Rose”, “I Wanna Know What Love Is” and “Wicked Gane” before new songs into the repertoire, covering Tom Petty and Bon Jovi.

"Everyone Have A Good Time" guaranteed as we then reach the climax of Def Leppard.

However Two’s Company a force still not spent, rally to the cries for more bring the rousing encore of “Wanted - Dead Or Alive”.

Teen stars mashup with elder stalwarts.

The Monthly Music Night
Boat Inn Newbold
February 17th

Elder Statesman Pete Stokes opens with his traditional start on an evening with guests from across the Midlands. Local girl Emilie Rackham is first teen on stage with “Hit Me Baby One More Time” and then joined by best friend Eve Singleton for “Royals”.

Visiting from Kenilworth are Wilson & Wright a duo with an excellent set of folk/roots both self penned & covers before Rugby based Teen Star
Midlands champions (2013) perform “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” in a series of mash-ups adding their own brand of humour.

Returning with a much longer performance than last month is George Hougez with his own compositions including an extended version “Thief
Of Time” which now includes a verse about someone else in the room (thankfully  still employed).

Jasmine Burns from Daventry delights with a sultry almost jazz take on “You’re The One That I Want” a spin surpassing its Grease origins.

Regulars on the Rugby scene Behind The Settee with their gentle folk and feature artist Vicky Major draw the evening almost to a close.

With apologies to host Matt, sadly I missed the final curtain of Paul Buckey (host of The Hair And The Hat - Plume of Feathers Daventry) with Benson Fox but anticipate a revisit soon (runs 3rd Monday of every month.

A Night For Love

Stars Shone Brightly on A Night For Love (February 15th)

Kind Hearted Rugby musicians performed together in A Night For Love, not a valentines party but  a charity night supporting a local teen organised and hosted by Kerrie Rackham.

The event brought together talented youngsters and elder stalwarts of the local music scene for an occasion attended by nearly 200 at Spring Street Railway Club. Many musicians kindly dropping in just to show support whether they have chance to play or not.

Compere Matthew Powell opened the night which started with a display of girl power on some excellent performances by among others Becki Morgan, Emilie Rackham and Eve Singleton, especially good also to see so many teenagers displaying their writing skills.

Stalwarts James Herring and Behind The Settee built on the early successes before White Men Can’t Folk gave a tribute to Star Wars. Andy Walker (WMCF) also on hand all night encouraging many of the youngsters he already tutors.

The Record Covers have the stage for 30 minutes before top of the bill The Rattletones accompanied by Simon Thompson teach us to “Twist & Shout”. Compere Matthew joins the foray to bring the evening to a close as the evening raises over £600 (The teen and the family concerned wish to remain anonymous).

Video : Two’s Company - “Pour Some Sugar On Me”

Two’s Company
February 1st
Lawford Arms

Debut gig by acoustic duo Two’s Company to an invited audience did not fail to impress.

Fresh from the success of a short set on 5th January at Awkward Silence Presents… (Open Mic organised by Robert Low 1st Sunday of each month from 4pm at The Style Bar, Rugby) Pete Plumbley (vocals) and Andy Dove (guitar) return with a full 90 minute show covering all bases of classic rock.

Kicking off with a superb “Ziggy Stardust” demonstrating Pete’s love of The Thin White Duke before giving Andy space to excel with “Hole Hearted” (Nuno would be proud). The first set includes numbers from Rival Sons, Richie Kotzen, Queen, Chris Isaak, a blues jam and some romance too with some fine AOR & soul ballads thrown in for good measure.

Stunning guitar on “Whole Lotta Love” and at last the familiar wailing vocals from Pete. Tongue firmly in cheek for some 80’s cheese, 50’s Rock ‘n’ Roll before one of the most tender of love songs “Kiss From A Rose”. Back into the rock arena with covers of Aerosmith, Whitesnake and Skid Row before an encore of “Pour Some Sugar On Me”.

A treat leaving nobody disappointed, almost forgot this one “Everybody Have a Good Time” surely to be Two’s Company trademark song.

Video “Entropy”

Appears on the album Down By The Riverside, which you can purchase here -…

Lew Bear

The Boat Inn Monthly Music Night
Monday 20th January 2014

Host Matthew Powell has been inundated with performers willing to take the stage tonight. Each bought their own to the fore with some very notable sets.

I was especially thrilled to see Lew Bear play a short set of covers after opening with his original “Entropy”which I first came across on You Tube, see the video itself from the link above which was recorded in the heart of Badby Woods complete with birdsong tonight given extra drive as Lew beats out the bass on a home-made stomp-box. Don’t forget to check the video description which reveals the inspiration for the song

Making himself comfortable, Lew drifts into Americana with “Ain’t No Grave (Can Hold My Body Down)” (Traditional), despite the sadness a haunting song that appears on the posthumous Johnny Cash album - American VI: Ain’t No Grave .

So far Lew has sung sweet and mellow, and between songs a joke or two told with such endearing charm can only widen his appeal as we seemingly reach the close of Lew’s set with a frantic workout on the traditional "How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?" a song originally composed in the 1920’s about The Great Depression and given a new life with fresh arrangement and lyrics by Lew.

Delighted to give us an encore with another song that lends itself to his sweeter side and one that has traces of a Celtic blessing “May The Road Rise” (traditional chorus, other lyrics and music by Stuart Nicol from the band Cross The Border of which Lew was also a member).

Great sessions by all during a wonderful night, make sure to come along to the next on February 17th.

The Boat Inn Monthly Music Night
Monday 20th January 2014

So delighted to finally be part of one of Rugby’s hidden secrets I’d heard so many good things about. Tonight’s host Matt (Nurse Roberts and the Medicine Man) of an Open Mic Night with some 12 or so acts booked in, each a gem. With some many performers lined up, it was going to be difficult but each were happy to join forces or play just 3 maybe 4 songs.

Throughout the evening a sprinkling of original songs, starting in the form of “Thief of Time” by singer/songwriter George giving a witty observation of social networking.

Keith Nickless and his own home brew of guitar pedals and an instrument similar in appearance to a diddley bow used in great style as a slide guitar on some blues, before that a number where Keith ends up his own Grandpa.

Plenty of opportunity for everyone to sing-along as just about every music genre is to be represented by evenings end, particular treats among the covers are “Turn The Page” (Bob Seger) performed by Peter Stokes, Paul Buckley’s rendition of “Hallelujah, I Love Her So” (Ray Charles), One More Night with an Ed Cobb song that although first heard during the 60’s better known as a smash in the early 80’s synth pop era. (Guess which?).

Visiting from Daventry was singer/songwriter  Lew Bear, another musician who travelled with hand made instruments in the form of a stomp box. in place of a bass drum. Lew played a 4 song set featuring folk, blues and original “Entropy” his first song played with such an endearing charm that his performance gets a review of its own another time. 

Irenie performs solo and as part of a duo with Dinesh Fernando. Her own numbers include original “ Blackened Fingers“.  Dinesh, renowned for his intricate fretwork holds an attentive crowd with his own “One Life “ before Irenie rejoins him for “I Feel The Earth Move” (Carole King).

Newly formed Two’s Company with a stunning acoustic performance of  “Pour Some Sugar On Me” (Def Leppard) – everyone present were awestruck, a repeat of the reaction received at The Style Bar (Awkward Silence Presents…) earlier in the month.

I think Open Mic in Rugby will never be the same again.

Pete Plumbley and Andy Dove who comprise this duo, only opened their bookings diary this week and confirmations already in for a series of nights including their very first full show. Check out the latest dates here:

The Rattletones had now the rather dubious task of following, however their set was of equal measure with some gorgeous harmonies on “California Dreamin”(The Mamas and the Papas). James also having a fine set of lungs as proven on “Twist & Shout” (Medley/Berns).

Host Matt gives a last chance for all to exercise their vocal talents on “Down In The Tube Station At Midnight” (The Jam) before Dan Bailie of Teazzer closes with a medley of “One Day Like This” (Elbow) & “Hey Jude” (The Beatles).

A great evening of pop, folk, blues, country and Americana something for everyone. Matt offers ample opportunity to come along and enjoy the fun at The Boat every third Monday of the month -  I expect to become a regular.