Giles Metcalfe

Kris Barras Band and the Jack J Hutchinson Band rock the Foxlowe

The Kris Barras Band and the Jack J Hutchinson Band rocked a sold out, hot and sweaty Foxlowe Arts Centre last night.

The Jack J Hutchinson Band have supported the mighty Kris Barras Band on their Winter 2019 UK tour, throughout January and February.

Jack J Hutchinson is a British blues rock guitarist, based in London. The Jack J Hutchinson Band features: Jack J Hutchinson (vocals and guitar), Felipe Amorim (drums) and Lazarus Michaelides (bass).

The band, along with Stuart Moir and Alberto Manuzzi, are working on the follow-up to their critically acclaimed album ‘Paint No Fiction’. The record, with artwork designed by long time collaborator Aaron Gardner, is scheduled for release in the summer. Hutchinson has stated: “Most of the material has come together whilst on the road over the last 10 months or so. Whereas my previous record was written mainly at home with an acoustic guitar, a lot of the new songs came together in sound checks and in hotel rooms jamming on my electric. So, unsurprisingly, it feels like a much heavier album with a lot of movement.”

Some of that new material was played during the set last night, along with tracks from his critically acclaimed album ‘Paint No Fiction’ and a frenetic cover of ‘Oh Well, Part 1’ by Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, and was well-recieved by the enthuiastic 250+ sell-out crowd of blues, southern rock and classic rock fans.

The Kris Barras Band followed the Jack J Hutchinson Band, and played a trademark blistering set that featured classic rock and heavy blues guitar and “soul-wrenching melodies“, along with bravura displays of Jimi Hendrix-esque showmanship (including playing the guitar behind his head, and with his teeth) mixed with a swirling Hammond organ and keyboard sound, pounding drums and heavy bass.

The set featured ‘Watching Over Me’, a song written for his late father who had inspired him to pick up the guitar when he was 6. As a musician himself, he had played bass in Kris’s band. Kris’ father lost his battle with cancer a few years ago. The spoken introduction to the song and the emotional delivery was a touching tribute and touched everyone in the audience I’m sure.

The Kris Barras Band members are: Kris Barras – Lead vocals/guitar, Josiah J Manning – keys, Elliott Blacker – bass, and Will Beavis – drums.

From the Kris Barras Band website bio page:

“Inspired by his father at the early age of only Six years-old, Kris was already making an appearance on stage before turning Ten. He has since gone on to spend more than twenty years thrilling audiences throughout the globe playing live.

“The band have appeared at major festivals throughout the UK and Europe. These include Ramblin’ Man Fair (UK), Rawa Blues Festival (Poland) and Bliuzo Naktys (Lithuania). 2017 saw the band complete two very successful tours in both the UK and Europe with 2018 lining up much more of the same.

“In April 2018, it was announced that Kris would become the new frontman for USA super-group, Supersonic Blues Machine.The band feature’s legendary artists such as ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, Steve Lukather (Toto), Eric Gales, Warren Haynes (Gov’t Mule) and Walter Trout.

“Kris was nominated for ‘Blues Guitarist of the Year 2017’ by Total Guitar magazine and voted into the Top 15 Blues Guitarists in the World by Music Radar.

“‘The Divine and Dirty’ album was released in March 2018 and went in straight at number one in both the Amazon and iTunes Blues charts as well as Number 3 in the Official UK Blues/Jazz Charts, where it remained in the top 30 for 12 weeks. The album also reached the UK top 40 on Amazon for all music; the only blues-based band in that chart at the time.”

Jack J Hutchinson Band - Foxlowe Arts Centre, Leek

Jack J Hutchinson Band - Foxlowe Arts Centre, Leek

Kris Barras Band - Foxlowe Arts Centre, Leek

Kris Barras Band - Foxlowe Arts Centre, Leek

Kris Barras Band - Foxlowe Arts Centre, Leek

Kris Barras Band - Foxlowe Arts Centre, Leek

Kris Barras Band - Foxlowe Arts Centre, Leek

All photos by Giles Metcalfe.

Limehouse Lizzy 2019 Tour

Limehouse Lizzy, who continue to keep the spirit of Celtic rock icon Philip Lynott and his band Thin Lizzy alive, are officially one of the hardest working bands in the UK.

Rocking up to a cold and icy Leek on Thursday the 17th of January as part of their 2019 Tour, they played to a packed room of Rock Fans of all ages, including the children and grandchildren of rockers old enough to have seen Thin Lizzy live in the 70s and early 80s.

As their Facebook Page states:

Attention to detail, playful audience interaction and that all important X-factor that leaves you with the feeling of witnessing the real thing have led to their performance being described as “beyond tribute”, by both audience and critics alike.

Returning to the Foxlowe for 2019, the audience were treated to the Celtic influenced tracks like ”Whisky in the Jar” and “Black Rose”, amongst the usual razzamatazz, audience banter and the classic tracks “The Boys are Back in Town”, “Sarah” and many others that we’ve come to expect from one of the most highly rated acts on the tribute circuit.

Limehouse Lizzy 2019

Limehouse Lizzy 2019

Limehouse Lizzy 2019

Photos by Giles Metcalfe

The Dylan Project December 2018

The Dylan Project visited the Foxlowe Arts Centre once again, on the night of Thursday the 13th of December, 2018.

Now in their 20th year, but unfortunately sans Dave Pegg for this show (apparently “unavoidably detained” elsewhere), The Dylan Project (Steve Gibbons, Dave Pegg, P.J. Wright, Phil Bond & Gerry Conway) played under the banner of the Cuckoo’s Nest Folk Club to a packed room of respectful but enthuisiastic Dylan fans.

As their website says:

“Don’t be misled by the word ‘tribute’. Although the phrase “tribute band” can mean a slavish facsimile or a big-name cash-in, The Dylan Project is far more than a mere copycat act. The members bring their own distinctive take on the music, Steve Gibbons interprets the lyrics with stylish individuality and, above all, respect for a master writer and performer shines through every word, every note. As Mojo’s reviewer said: “The Dylan Project is a tribute in the best possible sense. Touching and deftly handled, it makes you marvel, once again, at the scope and majesty of this singular writer’s work.””

Thanks on behalf of the Foxlowe and The Cuckoo’s Nest to the band and everyone who attended on a very chilly night in Leek. See you again next year!

The Dylan Project - Foxlowe Arts Centre Dec 2018

The Dylan Project - Foxlowe Arts Centre Dec 2018

The Dylan Project - Foxlowe Arts Centre Dec 2018

Photos by Giles Metcalfe.

The Little Unsaid

The Little Unsaid played an intimate gig in front of a select audience on Friday night, in the packed cafe area of the Foxlowe. The cafe was adapted into a performance venue for the night.

Touring in support of their ‘Selected Works’ album (Reveal Records 2018), the band are described as being ‘musically inventive and lyrically astute – creating tension between extremes (harmony and discord, sadness and joy, the technological and the organic) – an artist of considerable range’, Album of The Month, by FolkRadio.co.uk

Reveal Records is the home of Lau, Joan As Police Woman, Eddi Reader and more.

Fronted by songwriter John Elliott, The Little Unsaid are a band with an original sound and international outlook. The band have spent the last year touring Europe, leaving audiences emotionally rapt with a live show that’s been described as ‘a thumping depth of passion’.

Their sound is all their own but echoes the intensity and melancholic overtones of greats such as Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen, using light and shade in their music and lyrics, and quiet and loud passages, to great effect.

2017’s critically-acclaimed Imagined Hymns & Chaingang Mantras album was recorded with Radiohead engineer and film score producer Graeme Stewart. The Little Unsaid embrace elements of rock, folk, electronica, jazz and alt-pop. One of the UK’s must-see rising live acts and recent winners of the Steve Reid award for Innovation.

‘Entrancing… songwriting of a real rich quality, all held together by an intensity of approach, by a focus on the emotional weight music can carry’ – Clash

‘Extraordinary music. This is an amazing act’ – Bob Harris, BBC Radio 2

‘A brave and often brilliant collection’ – R2 Magazine (on Selected Works)

With support on the night from Indie/Alternative singer-songwriter Venn Goodwin.

Venn Goodwin

Venn Goodwin

The Little Unsaid - photo by Giles Metcalfe

The Little Unsaid – photo by Giles Metcalfe

The Little Unsaid - photo by Giles Metcalfe

The Little Unsaid – photo by Giles Metcalfe

The Little Unsaid - photo by Giles Metcalfe

The Little Unsaid – photo by Giles Metcalfe

The Little Unsaid - photo by Giles Metcalfe

The Little Unsaid – photo by Giles Metcalfe

The Little Unsaid - photo by Giles Metcalfe

The Little Unsaid – photo by Giles Metcalfe

Thanks go out to the volunteers who adapted the cafe space into the venue for the gig and put everything back again afterwards, and to Ivan for taking care of the Sound.

John Bramwell

Singer-songwriter John Bramwell, supported by Dave Fidler, played a unique and captivating largely acoustic solo set at the Foxlowe on Friday the 9th of November, 2018, accompanied by multi-instrumentalists Alan Lowles and Dave Fidler.

Despite the Autumn storm that was raging outside – you could hear the wind howling and rain battering down outside during the quieter moments of his set – around 50 or so hardy, enthusiastic and highly partisan fans braved the weather and turned out to watch an evening of songs “inspired by the spirit of liberty, independence, adventure and solitude that John has enjoyed on the road, as well as the diverse emotions that escape and travel can bring about – from sadness to exhilaration”, with vocalised sound effects, audience participation and often hilarious asides, interpolations and interactions with members of the audience and his entourage between songs.

Biographical Information

John Bramwell is one of the UK’s most unique and talented singer-songwriters.

Performing as a musician for over 30 years, John started out as the front man of a four-piece band called “The Ignition” that toured in the 1980’s. Following that he became a solo performer and Granada Television presenter, Johnny Dangerously.

Bramwell formed ‘The Mouth’ in the 1990’s with friend and musician Bryan Glancy and later worked booking bands at the longstanding and legendary Manchester venue ‘Night and Day’. It was here that he met Pete Jobson and formed ‘I am Kloot’ in 1999.

The three piece alternative rock band went on to release ten albums, receiving a Mercury Music Prize nomination in 2011 for the exquisite, Sky at Night, produced by Guy Garvey & Craig Potter from ‘Elbow’.

Each ‘I am Kloot’ album is a brilliant showcase for John’s skilful songwriting and distinctive vocal style.

A brilliant showman, throughout his career John has developed a legendary, live reputation establishing a relationship with audiences with his refreshing honesty, tall stories and his catchphrase “here’s another song about drinking and disaster”.

His new solo album, called Leave Alone the Empty Spaces, is out now. The record is a stunning showcase of John’s fabulous, widely acclaimed song-writing and his unique voice. It’s the first completely new collection of songs by John as a solo artist since he started his adventures away from ‘I am Kloot’.

Dave Fidler’s first solo album, I’m Not Here, and the Easy Gone, Easy Come EP are also availabe, including on Spotify and iTunes for your listening pleasure.

Dave Fidler at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

John Bramwell at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

John Bramwell at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

John Bramwell at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

John Bramwell at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

 

All photos by Giles Metcalfe.

Thunder Hammer Spooktacular Halloween Ball

Thunder Hammer made their third appearance at the Foxlowe on Saturday the 27th of October.

As with their previous two appearances, the event was a sell out, and the Foxlowe was packed.

Billed as a Halloween Ball, the more extrovert and adventurous members of the audience dressing up as zombies, Día de Muertos (Mexican Day of the Dead) Señors, Señoras and Señoritas, Axl and Slash from Guns N’ Roses, Horror Film characters, and Marvel and DC Comic characters, amongst other costumes. It looked like a lot of effort had gone into the hair, makeup and costumes, and you all must have had some funny looks travelling to the venue or if you were out and about around town beforehand!

The Band themselves were in their usual stage clothes, although Leek-based bassist Jonathan ‘JP’ Parsons was rocking a pair of cowboy boots! The band members in full are:

  • Simon Ward – Lead Vocals
  • Ben Forrester – Lead Guitar
  • Dave Leese – Lead Guitar
  • Jonathan ‘JP’ Parsons – Bass
  • Josh Jones – Drums

Our very own local ‘Monsters of Rock’ play a mix of Classic Rock and Heavy Metal covers, and this was their first show back together as a full band after their lower-key acoustic appearance in Leek, and now legendary sell out preformance at Trentham Gardens in the summer, which saw over 2500 rock fans descend upon Trentham to witness the Hammer in action.

Warning – some of the following photos contain fake blood and gore, and outrageous riffage and face-melting shredding, which some viewers may find disturbing!

Thunder Hammer at the Foxlowe, 27th of October, 2018 Photo by Giles Metcalfe

Thunder Hammer at the Foxlowe, 27th of October, 2018 Photo by Giles Metcalfe

Thunder Hammer at the Foxlowe, 27th of October, 2018 Photo by Giles Metcalfe

Thunder Hammer at the Foxlowe, 27th of October, 2018 Photo by Giles Metcalfe

Thunder Hammer at the Foxlowe, 27th of October, 2018 Photo by Giles Metcalfe

Thunder Hammer at the Foxlowe, 27th of October, 2018 Photo by Giles Metcalfe

All photos by Giles Metcalfe.

Leek Blues and Americana Festival 2018 FXLW

Now in its sixth year, the expanded Leek Blues and Americana Festival 2018 was held at 20 different indoor and outdoor venues all across Leek, with more than 60 bands playing, from Wednesday the 3rd of October to Sunday the 7th of October. The Festival was a great success.

On Wednesday the 3rd of October, The Foxlowe Arts Centre hosted The Guy Tortora Band, with support from Dave Luke & Chuck Micallef.

Dave Luke & Chuck Micallef, at The Foxlowe Arts Centre

Dave Luke & Chuck Micallef

The Guy Tortora Band, at The Foxlowe Arts Centre

The Guy Tortora Band

Sunday the 7th of October saw the FXLW: Americana sessions taking place all-afternoon and into the evening, featuring an eclectic lineup of six bands and artists playing from 12 noon until 7pm – Adam Coxon & Rick Ford, The Rye Sisters, Mean Mary & Frank James, Lissy Taylor, Fine Lines, and The Strange Blue Dreams.

Adam Coxon & Rick Ford, at The Foxlowe Arts Centre

Adam Coxon & Rick Ford

The Rye Sisters, at The Foxlowe Arts Centre

The Rye Sisters

Mean Mary & Frank James, at The Foxlowe Arts Centre

Mean Mary & Frank James

Lissy Taylor, at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

Lissy Taylor

Fine Lines, at The Foxlowe Arts Centre

Fine Lines

The Strange Blue Dreams, at The Foxlowe Arts Centre

The Strange Blue Dreams

A big thank you to everyone involved – the artists who played on Wednesday night and on the Sunday, the sponsors, the Foxlowe staff and volunteers for all their hard work in staging the events, and to all that attended.

All photography by Giles Metcalfe.

Leek goes Mad For It as Adored and Definitely Mightbe bring the sounds of Manchester

Leek went “mad for it” as Adored and Definitely Mightbe brought the anthemic sounds of Manchester to the Staffordshire Moorlands on Saturday night.

Playing to a packed, sweaty room full of ecstatic Indie Kids and Old Ravers and Madchester Baggies – advanced enough in years to have attended the Stone Roses seminal Spike Island and Blackpool Empress Ballroom events, and Oasis’ Knebworth gigs – Adored and Definitely Mightbe recreated the music of The Stone Roses and Oasis in front of an up-for-it audience happy to dance, hug and sing along with every word of every song.

The same four musicians play as Adored and Definitely Mightbe – lead singer Ian Alcock, lead guitarist Paul Mitchell, and the rhythm section of Kev Pyne on bass and Pete Coppard on drums – and Adored played the first set of the night. Following a quick change of outfits and a couple of pints, the lads returned to the stage as Definitely Mightbe.

As the bands’ website says, “as good as the real thing? Well the legendary Alan McGee thought so when he recently introduced the band live on stage!”

Adored (Stone Roses Tribute)

Adored (Stone Roses Tribute)

Adored (Stone Roses Tribute)

Adored (Stone Roses Tribute)

Adored (Stone Roses Tribute)

Adored (Stone Roses Tribute)

Adored (Stone Roses Tribute)

Adored (Stone Roses Tribute)

Definitely Mightbe (Oasis Tribute Band)

Definitely Mightbe (Oasis Tribute Band)

Definitely Mightbe (Oasis Tribute Band)

Definitely Mightbe (Oasis Tribute Band)

Definitely Mightbe (Oasis Tribute Band)

Definitely Mightbe (Oasis Tribute Band)

Definitely Mightbe (Oasis Tribute Band)

Definitely Mightbe (Oasis Tribute Band)

Definitely Mightbe (Oasis Tribute Band)

Definitely Mightbe (Oasis Tribute Band)

All photos by Giles Metcalfe.

 

The Foxlowe possessed by Demon

Saturday the 2nd of June saw the Night of the Demon at The Foxlowe, as the invited guests of the Leek Arts Festival put on a fiendishly theatrical performance and took possession of the mass audience.

Demon play a mix of hard rock/heavy metal/progressive rock, and were formed in 1979 by vocalist Dave Hill and guitarist the late Mal Spooner, both hailing from here in Leek, Staffordshire.

From Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives:

“Demon started out as an occult-themed NWOBHM [New Wave of British Heavy Metal] band, but changed style to progressive/hard rock after their first two albums [Night of the Demon, and The Unexpected Guest]. Their later material varies, often even from album to album.”

Support on Saturday night came from The Blues Makers.

The Blues Makers

The Blues Makers

The Blues Makers

The Blues Makers

Demon

Demon

Demon

Demon

Demon

Demon

Demon

Demon

Demon

Demon

Demon

Demon

All photos by Giles Metcalfe.

Climax Blues Band

Formed in Stafford in the late 1960s, Climax Blues Band have always had a unique blend of jazz and blues. After 50 years, 18 albums, the hit “Couldn’t Get It Right” the band are still touring, and they brought their brand of jazzy blues to the Foxlowe for another high octane performance to a packed room.

Climax Blues Band

Climax Blues Band

Climax Blues Band

Climax Blues Band

Climax Blues Band

Climax Blues Band

Climax Blues Band

Climax Blues Band

Climax Blues Band

All photos by Giles Metcalfe.

Search

Categories