Skerryvore – November 2015

Experience: 9/10

Venue: Ropetackle Centre, Shoreham

Date: Thursday 19th November 2015

We’d wanted to see this band for a while, and this concert, their furthest south in the British Isles, was an excellent opportunity. I got their first album last Christmas, and while their sound has matured – they’ve been together for ten years now – it was still good, raucous entertainment for a couple of hours.

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St Agnes Fountain – December 2014

Experience: 9/10

Venue: Hailsham Pavilion

Date: 11th December 2014

Back again at Hailsham for a pre-Christmas treat – the Aggies were back in town! Another mix of old favourites, new songs, spoken pieces and lots of warmth, humour and charitable activities. The stage was dressed as before – I took some pictures this time – and a table at the front held the prizes for the raffle, which included items made by the people helped by this year’s charity. (I fancied the elephant, but no luck this year in the draw.)

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Sam Carter Trio – March 2014

Experience: 7/10

Venue: Ritz Theatre, Worthing

Date: Wednesday 19th March 2014

I wasn’t taken with the first half of this concert – listening to singer/songwriters droning on about life’s misery begins to pall after one reaches forty (or even earlier) – but the second half was much livelier and used more traditional material, so overall the evening was pretty enjoyable.

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St Agnes Fountain – December 2013

Experience: 10/10

Venue: Hailsham Pavilion

Date: Saturday 14th December 2013

This was a fantastic introduction to both St Agnes Fountain and the Hailsham Pavilion, which is a delightful small theatre space with a good atmosphere and strong audience support. We have added it to our ‘check regularly’ list. The little stage was rather crowded, with Julie Matthews on keyboard (and occasional guitar) on the left, Chris While beside her on guitar and percussion, David Hughes next on guitar and Chris Leslie on the right with an assortment of instruments around him. Behind them were three banners each showing a ship, in the style of a stained glass window, and there was an abundance of tinsel everywhere that tinsel could safely be put as well as a string of ever-changing lights draped along the row of microphones. It would be hard to miss that this was a Christmas show.

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Aly Bain & Phil Cunningham – April 2013

Experience: 9/10

Venue: Hawth Studio

Date: Monday 8th April 2013

This was another great concert in the Hawth’s studio, fast becoming a favourite venue. We hadn’t seen this duo live before – I saw Silly Wizard many years ago at the Edinburgh Folk Festival – but the Transatlantic Sessions on the Beeb certainly whetted our appetite, as well as introducing us to a much wider range of folk musicians. The evening went well beyond any expectations; despite the apparently limited range of instruments – Aly used two different fiddles, to accommodate different tuning – the music was very enjoyable, with the fiddle and accordion blending beautifully as well as working well on their own at times. What really made the concert a superb experience was the chat and stories from the two men. We laughed as much as we applauded, and we did plenty of both. And I don’t just mean me and Steve – the whole audience was involved and very appreciative of these two talented and experienced musicians.

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Feast Of Fiddles – April 2013

Experience: 10/10

Venue: Clair Hall, Haywards Heath

Date: Thursday 4th April 2013

This was fantastic! The fiddle line-up consisted of Peter Knight, Garry Blakely, Ian Cutler, Brian McNeill, Phil Beer, Tom Leary and Chris Leslie. The rest of the band were the usual suspects – a great combo.

They started off with some tunes, then more tunes – sorry, they didn’t give us the names and I’m not that familiar with their repertoire – and then Hugh actually said hello to us. He mentioned the new CD Rise Above It (we’d already spotted it, and bought our copy) and after Lochanside to Maribor*, Garry did his solo spot: Sons Of The Soil*, with Peter, High and Brian doing the backing vocals. Garry then introduced Tom Leary, who arrived with Chris Leslie, and the trio then did three tunes, with Chris playing a woodwind instrument which had a lovely haunting sound. There was a minor problem with feedback, soon sorted, and they began again. One of the tunes was called Tartan Slippers.

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Steeleye Span – March 2013

Experience: 8/10

Venue: Assembly Halls, Tunbridge Wells

Date: Sunday 31st March 2013

This was the last concert in the tour, and while we enjoyed getting our regular Steeleye fix, I have to admit that the effects of the tour were showing tonight. Maddy’s voice was definitely husky, and there were some wobbles during the songs. Even so she produced some lovely stuff during Betsy Bell and Mary Grey, and the final part of Tam Lin was pretty good too. Julian was more involved this time round, and there was a treat at the end of the first half; they’re working on a new project based on the Wintersmith novels of Terry Pratchett, and they played four of the songs that will be released on the new CD later this year (November time).

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