Monday, 19 May 2014

Crossroads, Glee and King Alfred's Head

I played three brilliant and varied gigs last week. First up I returned to Crossroads Blues Club to play the featured set. Crossroads takes place at The Tower of Song in Cotteridge, Birmingham and is something of a home from home. When I first started gigging I was an avid attendee of the monthly jam night at the crossroads and did a lot of learning (and stealing) from the players there. I don't get to visit so often now and it's always a great occasion to get down there again.

The night began with an open mic session featuring many of my favourite crossroads regulars as well as some new faces. Musicians were playing in various combinations from solo to formed-on-the-spot bands and as usual the music was of a very high quality. 

I started my set solo acoustic playing originals and blues tinged covers. It felt really good to do some new songs for the first time, particularly as many of the regular audience members have seen me play a fair few times now. 

For the last half an hour or so I invited some friends up to join me and I finished the night with an electric set playing some loud rock and roll and blues. Noticing the time at 11.15 I said goodnight, but wasn't getting away that easy and was called back up to carry on! 

Friday's gig at the Glee Club in Birmingham city centre was a rather more intimate and reflective event. I was supporting Lotte Mullan in the studio space. The gig was very well attended and it was lovely that some of my cast mates from The Mother were able to come along. I played a 30 minute set of mostly original songs. The audience were very nice and gave me their full attention, joining in with a little bit of banter and singing along (quietly but the effort was appreciated) when requested. After a short break Lotte played a lovely set of songs. I really enjoy her writing style and the way she uses her voice, and watching her chatting to her fans after the gig shows how much time she has for the people supporting her music. After the gig some friends and I ended up in a bar which was playing very very loud salsa music. It was an exceptionally warm May evening and as we sat outside we could almost kid ourselves we were holidaying somewhere Mediterranean. 

On Saturday I travelled to Wantage near Oxford to open up for Canadian band Cherry Suede at a benefit event for CDH UK, a charity supporting families of babies with Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia. I'm going to post more information about CDH UK soon but what was really shocking from talking to organiser Megan was how little known the condition is, especially as it affects 1 in 2500 babies.  

The gig it's self was taking place in the beer garden of King Alfred's Head (Wantage being the birthplace of King Alfred the Great in 849.) I played a 40 minute set and after a short break (during which I helped draw winning tickets for the raffle...exciting!) Randy and Randy of Cherry Suede performed a brilliant set that had everyone up dancing. The night was loads of fun and it was great to catch up with Cherry Suede and their tour manager Jude. I'm very pleased to have met Megan and found out about the amazing work of CDH UK. 

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