Types of event

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.

Gawain and the Green Knight – Crowdfunding Call

Gawain – diligence and faith by Sue Prince

A one-off arts event is taking place in Leek in November celebrating the links between the Staffordshire Moorlands and the epic medieval poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

This 14th century Arthurian tale features chivalry, romance, temptation and a beheading challenge.  Members of the public will be invited to take part and make their mark in a pictorial retelling of the tale guided by local, internationally known artist Sue Prince.  People will also be able to listen to a talk, eat medieval food and take a guided walk to the stunning Lud’s Church with Gawain specialist Clive Foden.

To support the weekend’s events and make a pledge, please visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/sir-gawain-leek and keep an eye out for updates and further information.  You can follow on Facebook at Sir Gawain and Leek or on Twitter @sirgawainleek.

Most scholars now agree that the unknown author of the Gawain poem came from this area and tell-tale signs of this are not only the local accent and words which appear throughout the work, but also local features, such as The Roaches and Lud’s Church, which figure in the action.  The event is being organised by the Dr Plot’s Lesser Known Leek committee who celebrate the poem each July with a parade through the town, complete with giants, culminating in a re-telling of the tale to delighted crowds.

Before the public workshops, Sue Prince, who lives in Ilam, will teach the skill of painting a ‘bonad’ (a style of narrative folk art in egg tempera) to art students at Leek College, and some will become her expert helpers. Then on Friday 16th and Saturday 17th November, everyone is invited to come to the college, learn the technique and add to Sue’s version of the story: they can even paint a medieval version of themselves along the bottom of the artwork.

Clive Foden, a skilled woodcarver and Gawain specialist, will travel from Norfolk to deliver one of his enthralling talks on the evening of Saturday 17th November at the Foxlowe Arts Centre.  He will discuss the poet’s interest in craftsmanship as well as the unmistakeable landscape clues in the poem. The following day, Sunday 18th, Clive will also lead a guided walk over The Roaches and down into Lud’s Church – the poem’s Chapel in the Green where Gawain meets the Green Knight to submit to beheading!

All the events are free (apart from a small transport cost to the guided walk) and to enable them, a crowdfunding campaign was launched on 24 September (running for four weeks) to raise the £3375 needed. There are lots of exciting rewards in return for sponsorship!

People can choose to be immortalised in this unique artwork by being depicted as a character from the poem, such as Sir Bertilak and his lovely wife, or King Arthur and Guinevere.  Other possibilities are Knights of the Round Table, several courtly ladies, and Morgan le Fay, Arthur’s wicked sister.  There are even a number of mythical beasts like the woodwose. Or perhaps your horse could be Gringolet, or your dog a hunting hound? Other rewards on offer are the opportunity to be a giant and take part in the annual Dr Plot’s celebration as Gawain or the Green Knight. or being taught how to play medieval bagpipes.  But if none of those tempt you, then there you will be able to pledge for copies of Sue Prince’s stunning finished artwork in various forms, or just make a donation, so there’s something for everyone and to suit every pocket!

To support the weekend’s events and make a pledge, please visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/sir-gawain-leek and keep an eye out for updates and further information.  You can follow on Facebook at Sir Gawain and Leek or on Twitter @sirgawainleek.

Background

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is one of four late 14th century Middle English poems, written in a North West Midland dialect (the others being Pearl, Purity and Patience) and surviving in a single manuscript, held in the British Library. All are thought to have been written by the same unknown author, now known either as the Pearl or the Gawain Poet, believed to have lived and worked around Leek, North Staffordshire. 

For further information

Please contact Lindsay Trevarthen on sirgawainleek@gmail.com or 07989-986672.

Gigging the Blues Away

The ever-growing Leek Blues & Americana Festival is returning this autumn – and once again the Foxlowe will be one of the many venues across the town which will be hosting gigs.

First up will be the UK public premiere of the blues film Sidemen: Long Road to Glory (12A) on Tuesday October 2. Admission £5.

Then The Guy Tortora Band will be performing at the Foxlowe on Wednesday October 3. Born and raised in Pasadena, California, Guy Tortora is currently based in London. He is a guitar player of some accomplishment and a distinctive songwriter. He will be joined for this Foxlowe gig by Dave Luke and Chuck Micallef.

Then on Sunday October 7, there will be an amazing selection (FXLW Anericana) of some of the finest local, national and international Americana acts taking to the Foxlowe stage. The line-up is: Adam Coxon & Rick Ford, The Rye Sisters, Mean Mary & Frank James, Fine Lines, Lissy Taylor, and Strange Blue Dreams.

Wristbands £10 for 16 year olds and over.

Free admission for under 16s.

For further information about, and to purchase tickets for all Leek Blues & Americana gigs, visit www.leekblues.co.uk

Talks Programme – 2018

 

We have a regular programme of talks by local speakers on subjects of topical or local interest.

Autumn talks for 2018 are Leek’s Silk Heritage by Cathryn Walton on Wednesday, 19th September; Foxlowe: Launch of the Heritage Lottery Project by David Bell on Wednesday, 17th October and Leek: a Historic Pub Crawl by Neil Collingwood on Wednesday, 21st November.

All talks start at 7:30 pm.

For full details of all the talks, see the online Calendar (What’s On), which can be sorted by category (e.g. Talks).

The lecturers in this programme ‘gift’ their talks to Foxlowe, for which we thank them.

Admission is free, with a Bucket Collection, also for Foxlowe, for which we thank you.

 

 

Foxlowe Comedy

Funhouse-Logo

The Foxlowe hosts a regular monthly comedy programme, with comedians from Funhouse Comedy, one of the UK’s foremost promoters and bookers of live stand-up comedy. They were established in 2004 and now arrange comedy shows at over 30 venues and festivals as well as providing comedians for private events.

They book everything from total beginners on their new act gong shows, to big league pro acts. Acts they book regularly appear on TV shows such as “Mock The Week”, “Have I Got News For You?” and “Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow”.

Leek Comedy Club takes place on the first Thursday in the month.  For details, see the online Calendar (What’s On), which can be sorted by category (Comedy).

Doors 7.30pm.  Tickets in advance online, from the venue (01538 386112), or on the door.

In addition, we periodically host shows with high-profile comedians.  Recent highly popular comedians coming to the Foxlowe have been Shappi Khorsandi, Jeremy Hardy and Phill Jupitus, while multi-award winning character comedian, Tom Binns, has been a regular visitor.

 

 http://www.funhousecomedy.co.uk/html/fun_house_comedy_venues_leek.htm

Autumn Film Programme

Our new film programme starts on Tuesday, 11th September and the first film will be Ladybird (15).  The Children’s Matinee will be the hilarious Early Man (PG), but please note that this will be screened on a Tuesday afternoon (30th October), as was the previous children’s film.  The film will be preceded by a morning creative workshop at Haregate Community Centre from 10.30 to 12.30.  For details see the printed programme or the website entry for the film.

As ever, Foxlowe Films aim where possible to match films in the programme to other events in Leek.  This season, we are proud to be screening Sidemen: Long Road to Glory (12A) on the eve of the Leek Blues and Americana Festival. This film is an intimate look at the lives and legacies of three legendary bluesmen: piano player Pinetop Perkins, drummer Willie ‘Big Eyes’ Smith, and guitarist Hubert Sumlin, all Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf sidemen.

Later in the season we will be joining other groups in the town to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armistice, a landmark event.  In the week following the 11th November, we will be screening The Breadwinner (12A), a film about an 11-year old girl growing up under the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001.  It’s a luminous tale about growing up in an ever-changing world of conflict and oppression, the strength of girls, and the power of stories to sustain hope through dark times.

The Wednesday documentary on the following day is A Bold Peace (UC), which outlines Costa Rica’s groundbreaking experiment undertaken over 65 years ago to improve the nation’s welfare by disbanding their army and redirecting national resources to public education and universal health care.  We are excited to be able to screen this film, as it does not appear to have been widely available in the UK, and, surprisingly, few people on this side of the Atlantic seem to be aware of the experiment, let alone that it was so successful.

Printed programmes are now available (the tickets are on their way) and the films are on both the website (Whats’s On) and the ticketing site.  A  downloadable copy of the programme is also available.

Qigong Classes – new dates

Brett Trafford Photography

Twice-monthly classes in the Rainbow Room on a Tuesday from 10.00am to 11.30am on the following dates:

11 September
9 October
23 October
13 November
27 November
18 December (changed from the 11th December)

Qigong is an ancient and powerful system of energy medicine from China:  it means ‘vital energy (Qi) cultivation (Gong).  It uses breathing techniques, gentle movement and meditation to cleanse, strengthen and circulate Qi.   Working with Qigong exercise will relieve stress, balance the hormonal system, release toxins and strengthen the immune system, as well as slow ageing and help accelerate healing.

£10.00 per class payable on the day, but please book in advance with Lindsay.

For more information, please contact Lindsay Trevarthen, Three Treasures Qigong on 07989-986672, email qigong@w3z.co.uk or visit www.threetreasuresqigong.co.uk

Perfect Summer Garden (and Indoors) Party

The Great Get-Together in honour of Jo Cox, saw a perfect day with a fabulous diversity of music, singing, crafts, art workshops and fun.  Great food in the cafe, drinks in the bar and picnics on the lawn, plus a little light strawberry picking.

Highlights included classical music for babies in the marquee on the lawn, the full Peace through Folk choir, plus the Sisden Singers and Settle Voices who came all the way from Yorkshire to be with us.

There was also a Celtic harpist in the Cruso Room, plus many other musicians and singers in the informal sing-around sessions.  Also safe archery laid on for children – and that was just the daytime.

The free admission ‘ticket’ requested an in date packaged or canned item for Leek Food Bank. And these came in great quantity. Thanks to all who donated!

There was also a charity cash collection in aid of The Foxlowe Trust, UNHCR, War Child, Save The Children, Médecins Sans Frontières and the Tim Parry – Jonathan Ball Foundation For Peace, which has raised £190.02 so far.  Thanks also to all who donated to this collection.

Finally many thanks to Malc Hawksworth and Peace through Folk, who made this happen through many hours of organisation and perparation, also all the musicians, artists and crafts people who participated and the Foxlowe volunteers who helped in advance and on the day – a great collaborative exercise.

“While we celebrate our diversity, what surprises me time and time again… is that we are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.”     

Jo Cox MP

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