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2017…. Get me Out of Here….On Ice!..... Live!


Total Posts: 4055

Joined 2010-04-12


I’m told by Simon’s Cat here (my desk calendar) that the year is drawing rapidly to a close, so I guess it’s time for my traditional look back over the year’s gigs. Tilerman should do his but there’s only 6000 characters to a post and he sees about 6000 bands, by August Bank holiday……

January is generally a quiet month but for me the year kicked off fine style with a true legend, Martin Barre and his band at The Cluny – what a way to open the year.

February, again quiet, but that’s a matter of perspective when you go see a band like Western Sand; a proper, crunchy ROCK band and one of my year’s hot favourites.

March, for me was strangely quiet; but if that was a drought then April was the flood starting off with Mike Zito visiting Hartlepool and bouncing the Supporters Club into the marina. The re-jigged Red Butler paid a visit to Darlington where new singer Dan proved to be more than just a stand-in, but a worthy replacement for Jane. It wouldn’t be a season at Durham Gala without a visit from Chantel McGregor this time co-headlining with Erja Lyytinen, rapidly becoming a local favourite. And a welcome return of Laurence Jones to The Cluny. Biggest treat though was the 1st visit back to Newcastle in 3 years by singer/songwriter Josh Doyle.

Things quietened down in May though Sean Webster made a big splash at Darlington Forum. June was to see the return of Ryan McGarvey but unfortunately this was scratched for family reasons. That meant that the 7th Durham Blues Festival had a big of re-jigging which saw Aynsley Lister stepping in for a quality set. It also gave me my first opportunity to admire the Soul of Kyla Brox. As well as Red Butler coming back to Durham and moving up the bill. Meanwhile, while the Supporters Club was drying out from it’s dunking, Tommy spoilt us with a triple bill which included the Western Sand lads, one to watch, rapidly rising, multi-tattooed Kris Barras and the mighty LaVendore Rogue at Belle Vue.

July was another quiet month, everybody trying to enjoy the summer (which peaked in June), so on to August and incredibly Laurence Jones’ first visit to Darlington Forum, and surely booking a return invite. Speaking of returns, almost to the day, Buck & Evans were back at Cluny2 with the promise of a debut album in the making; again, they owned the place. Supporting your local event and taking a Blues holiday, there may be YouTube vid of me in Hackworth Park, Shildon, enjoying Groove Train, Heatwave and [gulp] The Fizz (aka but not Bucks Fizz)

Scampering about the region, September saw Chantel McGregor cutting loose at the Cluny and a major coup for Darlington’s Free Blues Festival, a great set by Eddie Martin and legendry Bernie Marsden headlining the event in fine form. And another coup for Hartlepool, Thorbjorn Risager & The Black Tornado swept by the Supporters Club, and blew the place back into the marina; and it just got dried out.

October is generally a month when gigs pick-up and a visit by Wille & the Bandits should be in everybody’s calendar. This time they almost shot themselves in the foot (feet?) with support from Australian one-man-home-made-recycled-band Claude Hay; another of my year’s hot picks. Finally, after 5 years or more of trying, Sedgefield managed to hook Marcus Bonfanti in one of his various band guises and invited Jack J Hutchinson for quality support.. And to round the month off, Skinny Molly rocked at the Cluny.

November was my first chance to get a blast of Dan Patlansky at Gateshead Sage and whet my appetite for his headlining tour next March. This night though belonged to Joanne Shaw Taylor who’s come a long way from a pub room in Hartlepool to the main hall at the Sage. Then, it was back to Sedgefield, literally for rising talent Benjamin Bassford and powerhouse Rebecca Downes.

And so to December; a great first chance to see the 3rd of my hot tips for the year, Curse of Lono and their intense & infectious sound. Also had my first encounter with dapper Canadian JW Jones, and impressed enough to be anticipating his return. Finally, a little later than norm, on the penultimate gig of his tour and my last gig of 2017, Aynsley’s Christmas Cluny visit. Kind of makes sense to round a year off which starts with Martin Barre, to end it with Aynsley.

That said, a couple of bands have been very low key this year; Albany Down who’s albums somehow manage to get better and better; Federal Charm who announced at the start of the year a change in singer, then a change in drummer - only a handful of shows. And then of course, local guys The Mentulls going on hiatus then announcing the search for a vocalist. Looking forward to your returns in 2018.

Speaking of 2018, I can’t believe I’ve already got so many gigs booked; pushing a few different genres too, Prog, Pop and even Folk.

Sleep tight……..



Take me down to the hai-ku city
Where the grass is green and th…...Dammit!!