News

Gemma Ray and Thomas Truax

Gemma Ray, plus band, and Thomas Truax, plus Hornicator and Mother Superior drum machine, played the Foxlowe Arts Centre on Friday the 1st of March. Following a whistlestop tour of Continental Europe, both artists recently hit England for a series of gigs at a select few venues, including the Foxlowe and the Hebden Bridge Trades Club.

Co-headlining and swapping the running order each night, Thomas Truax was onstage first (and frequently offstage, and outside as part of the performance). A quirky and eccentric mix of storyteller, inventor, performer and recording artist Thomas Truax, who travels the world with his collection of self-made instruments including his legendary ‘Hornicator’ and ‘The Stringaling’, supported Bob Log III at the Foxlowe previously before co-headlining with Gemma Ray this time around.

Mixing electro-acoustic steel guitar and live rhythm loops, plus percussion sounds coaxed from his Dr Seuss meets steam punk meets Heath Robinson-esque “drum machine”, called ‘Mother Superior’, Thomas Truax gradually builds up a magical and hypnotic sound over which he narrates tales about “about clones, butterflies, dogs, technology, loneliness, and other beautiful and sad things”. Further assorted homemade instruments, contraptions and gizmos, including ‘The Hornicator’, which is constructed from the shell of a junk gramophone horn, are utilised to create Thomas’ sound, and strings, springs and attached noisemakers on the afore-mentioned gizmos are plucked and set in motion too.

Thomas doesn’t confine his eccentric but captivating performance to the stage either, as he frequently wanders into the crowd whilst playing, and even goes outside the venue during ‘Full Moon Over Wowtown’, leaving the audience guessing as to which door he’ll reappear through or even if he’ll come back at all (hint – he always does). Wowtown is a surreal place from which some of the characters and events in Thomas’s songs originate, and fans of his music (or even just fans of the bizzarre and David Lynchian Americana) can subscribe to The Wowtown News, an email newsletter that he sends to a long list of email subscribers (GDPR rules may or may not apply in Wowtown).

Hailing from Essex but via Berlin, Gemma Ray and her band followed Thomas onstage for the second half of the co-headlining show.

Gemma Ray inhabits a similarly David Lynchian Americana audio world, with a woozy, hypnotic but unsettling mixture of Peggy Lee with Link Wray and Dick Dale-esque surf guitar (an accomplished and in-demand guitarist, Gemma plays with a wicked-looking kitchen knife at times, used as a slide running up and down the fretboard, and lodged behind the rear pickup on her guitar when not in use). Her and her band’s sound is akin to staring at a Blue Moon whilst underwater in the Pacific Ocean, sometime between the late 50s and early 60s, or the surfer from Crystal Voyager going under one too many times to the accompaniment of the Pink Floyd soundtrack. Both retro and yet contemporary, Gemma Ray and her band bewitch and beguile and ever so slightly unsettle (I’m reminded of that large kitchen knife again at this point!).

Eight album, called Psychogeology, is out now, and has been described by Gemma as ‘an ode to the majesty of landscape, the enormity of nature and time, and the inevitability of every human life eventually forming a minuscule part of further landscapes’. Music News states in their Psychogeology album review:

“This out-look has been honed from extensive global travelling and where [the Situationist concept of] ‘psychogeography’ is the seeking of a wandering un/subconscious resonance garnered from ‘urban’ areas, Ray goes ‘rural’, discovering a broader, wider, more expressive and expansive feeling of nature’s rhythms and tangents more attuned to the body’s inner torrents: the art of wandering in tandem with the art of wondering. ”

The review also references surf guitarists Dick Dale and Link Wray, and elements of Pipeline by The Chantays, and even perhaps ahead of his time but deeply troubled Joe Meek, Peggy Lee, the epic soundscapes of Pink Floyd, and all-girl groups like the Shirelles and Shangri-Las and torch singing chanteuses Billie Holiday and Julee Cruise could also be said to be part of the sonic mix.

The show finished with Thomas joining Gemma on stage to duet on a couple of songs, reinforcing the meeting of minds and bond between the two artists.

The Foxlowe thanks everyone who came out to the show, as did both Thomas and Gemma on the night, and we look forward to welcoming them back again in the future.

Thomas Truax at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

Thomas Truax at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

Thomas Truax at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

Thomas Truax at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

Gemma Ray at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

Gemma Ray at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

Gemma Ray and Thomas Truax at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

Gemma Ray and Thomas Truax at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

All photos by Giles Metcalfe.

 

 

ST13 Mar-Apr 2019

An on-line copy of ST13 (No 56) is now available.

Follow the links for the full text:

ST13 Mar-Apr 2019 PAGE 1

ST13 Mar-Apr 2019 PAGE 2

ST13 Mar-Apr 2019 PAGE 3

ST13 Mar-Apr 2019 PAGE 4

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.

Early Sell Out Triggers a Second Screening for Bohemian Rhapsody

Bohemian Rhapsody (12A) – Second Screening

 

Peterloo and Bohemian Rhapsody Tickets Selling Out Fast

Tickets for Peterloo and Bohemian Rhapsody are selling out fast, so we recommend you get yours soon.  In light of the bad weather, we’ve moved some more to the online ticketing site, so you can buy them from the comfort of your own screen, although at the time of this posting there are still some available in the Gallery.

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

Foxlowe Pixies Come out of Hibernation

The Pixie apples, a late-eating variety, were put away last autumn to hibernate in a cellar, where they get ideal storage conditions (low temperature and humidity).  The plan was to sell them in the cafe when they were fully ripened and ready to eat. NOT MANY LEFT NOW, SO CATCH THEM WHILE THEY’RE STILL YOUNG AND SWEET.

Sadly, their sleep was disrupted when the cellar flooded and they had to be transferred to an attic, which was equally cool but somewhat drier.  This has meant that the Pixies, although perfectly edible, are just a bit wrinkled.

For that reason, we won’t be charging for them, although if anyone wants to make a donation for those they eat, it will be most welcome.

 

Spring Film Programme

The much anticipated new film programme starts on the 22nd January and what a great one, including Peterloo, a major new cinematic work with huge contemporary relevance; Children Act, starring Emma Thompson; The Wife, starring Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce, and Under the Tree, long-waited in Leek.

We start with BlacKkKlansman, which won director Spike Lee the coveted Grand Prix from Cannes, and then King of Thieves, the story of the notorious Hatton Garden robbery, with a stellar cast led by Sir Michael Caine.

The Wednesday documentary programme starts with Versus, a film about the life and films of much-lauded film-maker Ken Loach, followed by a new film, Bikes vs. Cars, on the challenges facing cities around the world in safely accommodating the needs of both cyclists and motorists.  The Swedish director, Fredrik Gertten, already has a following in Leek, with two of his acclaimed films Bananas!* and Big Boys Gone Bananas having been well-received at the Foxlowe.

Printed programmes and tickets will be available very soon, but full details, trailers and links for on-line tickets can be found in the What’s On calendar.  You can also download an electronic copy of the programme here.

Information is also available on Facebook, via Foxlowe Films and Foxlowe Arts Centre

ST13 Jan-Feb 2019

An on-line copy of ST13 (No 55) is now available.

Follow the links for the full text:

ST13 COVER Jan-Feb 2019

ST13 INSIDE Jan-Feb 2019

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.

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