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Darlington Marketplace (Free) Rhythm ‘N’ Blues Festival

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Hey Folks;
Seems it the season for festivals, but Darlington (my local) doesn’t seem to have had much of a mention, so here’s an unashamed plug!!

Main Stage
Scott McKeon Band - 1:00pm - 2:00pm
The Dirty Robbers - 2:00pm - 3:00pm
King King       - 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Geno Washington   - 4:00pm - 5:30pm

Fringe Events
The Dolphin Centre:
Mojo Hand Band - 2:00pm - 4:00pm
Soul Custody   - 5:30pm - 7:30pm

The Pennyweight
Jet Martin     - 2:00pm - 4:00pm
The Bushwackers - 5:00pm - 7:00pm
Tin Can Ally   - 8:30pm - 10:30pm

The Quaker House
Zepfreecream       - 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Victims Of The Fury - 4:00pm - 6:00pm
The Blue Flies     - 8:00pm - 10:00pm

The Hole In The Wall
Blues Cruise Band   - 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Oil City Connection - 4:00pm - 6:00pm

Hogarth’s Bar
The Alligators   - 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Seems to be plenty of choice, and looks like it’s all free, except the beer, but you can’t have everything.

Mike

     

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Looks like a great line-up - Scott McKeon and King King for free!!!! - can’t be bad!!!!!

     
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They are top of my “to see” list, then after that, it’ll depend on how long the beer money lasts out. I have to remember I’ve got Jethro Tull 2 days before (in a tent at South Shields, doing a one-off for The Great North Run), and Virgil & Co four days after at Gateshead.

Mike

     

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Well folks, the weather just about held off doing the dirty yesterday, and the sun even managed to shine toward the end of the afternoon, and what a good afternoon it was.

Scott McKeon Band opened the proceedings with an hour long 12(ish -I lost count) set, including covers of “Crossroads” and “Keys To The Highway”. Scott’s not one of the most demonstrative players, but technically one of the best around, and his solos are fluid smooth. He managed to stop the shoppers in Darlington and even lured folks out the coffee bars to pull a crowd of 2-300.

Dirty Robbers were next up, seemingly popular with Darlington R&B Club. Another hour long set, crammed with oldies and newbies, setting a sort of 1964 vibe, especially with matching stage suits. Not really my going, but a nice little run through “Hideaway” made my ears twitch.

Stretched my legs a little and wandered round some of the hosting pubs, though seems some had to be changed toward the last minute due to licencing difficulties. Didn’t hang round too long, but best I heard were The Bushwackers.

Back to the main event, and King King. These guys couldn’t have made a bigger impact if the lorry they were playing on rolled sideways into the market place, on fire! And that’s with a seemingly short notice change of keyboard player. These guys deserve their repuation, and frankly, should have been given longer. If Scott McKeon was emptying coffee bars, King King were emptying the pubs. I reckon they pulled easily a couple of thousand.

Geno Washington - well, the guy’s a legend. Have to be honest, again, not really my going so didn’t stick around too long to see if the legend still holds.

All in all, well organised, good variety of acts, and taking into account it’s free, a bloody good afternoon out.

Mike

     

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Well, just got the flyer in for Darlington’s annual good time week-ender if anyone is in the area. It’s the 32nd festival of brews and blues: this year Darlington CAMRA, Darlington R’n'B Club and the Arts Centre have joined forces. The CAMRA part kicks off on Thursday 15th (8pm)in the Art centre with Smokin’ Spitfires providing the backing track (£5)
    Friday 16th (8pm) Arts centre - The Bushwackers (£5)
    Saturday 17th (8pm) Art Centre - Erik & The Vikings (£5)

Then the R’n'B FREE festival kicks off on Sunday 18th in and around the Market Square. So far, these are the bands and venues (so long as the venues remember to get their performance licences sorted in time).

Market Square:
1pm - 2pm - Little Stevie & The Business
2:30 - 3:30 - The Producers
4pm - 5:30 - The Swinging Blue Jeans

The Dolphin Centre:
1:45 - 3:30 - Steve Williams Blues Deluxe
5pm - 7:30 - Minnie & The Victors

The Pennyweight:
3:30 - 5:30 - Dave Arcari
7pm - 9pm - Taylor Dixon Band

Hogarth’s Bar:
3pm - 5pm - Casual Sax
6pm - 8pm - Maggie Ross Band

The Hole In The Wall:
2pm - 4pm - D V D

The Boot ‘N’ Shoe:
2pm - 4pm - The Boneshakers

The Joseph Pease:
2:30 - 4:30 - The Sugar B’s

The Quaker House:
2pm - 4pm - Victims Of The Fury
5pm - 7pm - ZepFreeCream
8:30 - 10:30 - The Whole Hog

Hoskin’s Bar:
4pm - 5:45pm - Early Mac Band

Remember on Sunday, car parking is free, the music is free, but the beer isn’t :-( bands in italics are where you’ll probably find me.

Mike

     

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The Sunday sounds like fun Mike.

Be interested to hear your thoughts on Dave Arcari.

And also the Producers, if you catch any of their set. There’s an old thread about them in Have You Heard ......

     
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jimmyo - 21 July 2011 02:48 PM

The Sunday sounds like fun Mike.

Be interested to hear your thoughts on Dave Arcari.

And also the Producers, if you catch any of their set. There’s an old thread about them in Have You Heard ......

Thanks for the nod, I’ll try and swing by and give them a listen. Looks like all the ones I want to catch are on round about the same time. Got to give young Tom; aka Victims of the Fury some support though, he’s a really canny lad; not only looks like Kossoff, plays like him too.

Mike

     

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Going to be packed in that little pub for Dave Acari, get in early for this ‘off the wall’ bluesman.  ‘Got me Electric’, was the first track I heard and still my favourite. His blog is also worth a read

     
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tilerman - 05 August 2011 11:00 PM

Going to be packed in that little pub for Dave Acari, get in early for this ‘off the wall’ bluesman.  ‘Got me Electric’, was the first track I heard and still my favourite. His blog is also worth a read

Yeah, I was thinking that… It’s just typical though, the bands I’m most interested in seem to be on around the same time. (As if I don’t get enough at work, trying to be in 3 places at once). Still, if weather’s decent again, should be a good day.

Mike

     

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Just a reminder for this event, coming up next week-end. Last year, the weather was kind to bands in the market place - the sun even shone on King King! Just hope its as kind on Sunday and no more hurricanes are ricocheting off North America. Anyone going along, watch out for a bewildered looking soul in a Minnesota baseball cap handing out Aynsley flyers - guide him to a coffee shop or public house as weather dictates.

Mike

     

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will look out for you Mike, do you want any Sedgefield ‘Oli Brown /Mentulls ‘, tickets bringing along?

     
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tilerman - 12 September 2011 08:19 PM

will look out for you Mike, do you want any Sedgefield ‘Oli Brown /Mentulls ‘, tickets bringing along?

Thanks, that’s good of you but already sorted through my friend Cynthia.

Mike
PS, will probably have a Marillion back pack on me - you’ll probably catch me at Dave Arcari, The Producers or Victims Of The Fury. Problem is, for me anyway, they all overlap, hence the bewlidered look.

 

     

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Despite or inspite of the Arts Centre closure on 7th July, the Market Place session of the Darlington Rhythm & Blues FREE Festival is going ahead on Sunday 16th September. However, sadly there’s no “Rhythm & Brews” as previous years.

Main Stage:-
ANDY FAIRWEATHER LOW & The Low Riders (3:40 – 5:10pm)
THE BLUE BISHOPS (2:20 – 3:20pm)
THE ROBIN BIBI BAND (1:00 – 2:00pm)

The Dolphin Centre:-
THE BANDITS (5:00 – 7:00pm)
THE SOULUTIONS (1:45 – 3:45pm)

The Pennyweight:-
TIN CAN ALLEY (7:00 – 9:00pm)
THE PETE GILGAN BAND (3:30 – 5:30pm)

Hogarth’s Bar:-
THE ALLIGATORS (6:00pm – 8:00pm)
THE MONOLOGUES (3:00pm – 5:00pm)

The Hole In The Wall:-
OIL CITY CONNECTION (2:00 – 4:00pm)

The Boot ‘n’ Shoe:-
MOJO HAND BAND (2:00 – 4:00pm)

The Joseph Pease:-
THE ATLANTIC SOUL MESSENGERS (2:30 – 4:40pm)

The Quaker House:-
ROUGH JUSTICE (8:30 – 10:30pm)
LEWIS HAMILTON & THE BOOGIE BROTHERS (5:00 – 7:00pm)
THE JOHN BLACK BAND (2:00PM – 4:00pm)

Hoskins Bar:-
HEAVY SOUL (6:00pm – 8:00pm)

The Quays:-
JET MARTIN (5:00 – 7:00pm)

New additions to itinery:-
VOODOO CAFE [Skinnergate]
Howlin’ Matt [4:00pm - 5:30pm], TREVOR SEWELL [7:00pm - 9:30pm].

THE GRANGE [Grange Road]
Weekend Sun [?:00pm - ?:00pm].

From September, the R’n'B Club move to their new home - Central Hall @ The Dolphin Centre in the town.
Rosta of bands from then until Christmas reads:-
21st Sept - The Stumble
12th Oct - Connie Lush & Blues Shouter
2nd Nov - Blues ‘N’ Trouble
23rd Nov - Little Stevie & The Business
21st Dec - Nine Below Zero

If you can, drop by and give the club some support.
Mike

     

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Quick reminder - Darligton’s FREE festival is coming up in a couple of weeks - September 16th. Loads of bands playing in and around the Market Place from 1pm til closing time. Several bands I’m keen to check out, especially Duncan’s hot tip of Lewis Hamilton doing the first of several visits to the region.

Mike

     

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If anybody has a designated driver, get yourself a cocktail in the Voodoo cafe, see you in the morning! (Actually saw Ian seigal there earlier this year), a nice sneaky little venue.l
Lewis hamilton boogie bros for me too then up to the Voodoo for Trevor Sewell amongst many others I’m sure.

     
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Despite the recent closure of Darlington’s Arts centre the now firmly established Rhythm ‘n’ Blues festival was held yesterday, under a slightly overcast sky which threatened to put a dampener on the proceedings. As if; 19 bands in 11 venues over 10 hours – Darlington was set to party.

And the party kicked-off in fine style with the irrepressible Robin Bibi Band on the main stage in the Market Square. Not an easy task, but Robin was more than up to the job with a great mix of standards, instrumentals, self-penned and even, because it was Sunday, a touch of gospel. Robin got into it, and the crowd so much, it’s fair to say he spent a good part of the set, playing in among the crowd. As well as delivering a strong 60 minute set, the band set the tone for the day – party!

The next couple of hours, I spent wandering around the “fringe” events, sampling the delights of , Oil City Connection, The Solutions, The Monologues, and Atlantic Soul Messengers all to a background of The Blues Bishops. It’s more than fair to say that this event tries its best to cater for all tastes. A little foot-sore and in need of a reviving coffee, I found a perch for the main event of the day, the legendary Andy Fairweather-Low. Has this guy really been in the business for 45 years? He still looks pretty chipper, the fingers are still nimble and the voice has lost none of its edge. From an opening salvo of Peter Gunn theme, we were taken through a trip of the guy’s back-catalogue without it feeling like resting on former glories: how many singers can follow a track from 2006 with one from 1966, then one from 1971, and each sounding as fresh as if they were from 2011? Backing group, The Lowriders were crisp and tight throughout.

I had to miss the last half-hour of Andy’s set to catch one act in particular, Lewis Hamilton & The Boogie Brothers; playing in The Quaker House on a rare excursion down from Scotland. This was a hot-tip I had to follow up, and I was not disappointed. Still in his teens, Lewis’s fingers are made of rubber and magic as he throttled his way through a couple of Telecasters in a style I’d put somewhere between Rory Gallagher and Jeff Healey. Not only that, he has a fair ol’ set of pipes (his voice, not bagpipes) and a comfortable and confident stage presence that immediately engages with the audience. Hell, he insults our beer (“tastes like socks!”) and we laugh with him. Making the power-trio is Nick on Bass & Santa behind the drums – and these guys know their business, make no mistake. The set, split over two 45 minute sessions are an eclectic mix of self-penned and standards, with a couple of left-field covers to add character. Yes, you get your Hendrix and Freddie King, Deep Purple and Ray Charles freshen things up, but a rapid-fire Johnny Cash cover (Fulsom Prison Blues) comes in like a shot of Tabasco. And then we’re treated to an ad-hoc instrumental I’ll call Quaker House Strut. Somehow, I don’t think these guys will ever go hungry in these parts, not when the Quaker House is crammed full before the end of their 1st set.

After that, it’s a stroll back round the now cleared out Market Place, to a soundtrack of The Alligators, Heavy Soul and Tin Can Alley before your correspondent beat a retreat, in the words of the day’s headliner – “Wide-eyed & Legless”.

Once again, the day was a great success, not only down to the bands who set a great atmosphere and played it 100%, but to the organisation of Mike Prenderghast and all at Darlington R’n’B, but also to Darlington Council who made the day possible. At the peak of Andy Fairweather-Low’s set, I’d estimate around 2,000people were stood in the Market Place, not to mention those in the surrounding bars hosting the fringe events.

Mike

My apologies to those bands not mentioned above - The Bandits, Jet Martin, Howlin’ Matt, Trevor Sewell, Rough Justice, Pete Gilgan, John Black. I did try to get round as much as possible.

     

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