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GIGS 2013

Saturday 21st September 2013

The College Arms, Reading (RG6 1JL)



"A Whole Lotta Love"


WOW! That was AWESOME. As one of my friends, who knows a little more about hard rock than I do, said: "That was one of the best gigs I've been to in a long time."

(Thanks to Jim Vallis for the picture)

Having not picked up a guitar for three months, let alone performed, this call to arms was a bit unexpected (there I was thinking I'd ease myself in gently to performing again with a few open-mics before the gig on the 5th October). Although my fingers were a bit sore (over the three months the callouses have disappeared from the fingers but not the heart) from the intense recent practice I think my performance went well. Certainly most of the issues I had changing to the new guitar seem to have been resolved now. I was grateful too for the compliments that I received, particularly a touching one about Perfect Day. I was also blown away by what that guitar god Jamie Sanderson (Jakabo) said. No doubt my opening set was helped by the on / off stage rapport with Chalk Angels.

Chalk Angels

Talking of whom, they really nailed it Saturday night. As I said earlier I'm not a big "hard rock" officianado but even I could tell this performance was cracking. There's a bit of a "devil may care" attitude to these guys but I've come to realise it's a bluff: you only need to look at their faces when they're performing to see that they're serious about what they're doing; their concentration is palpable and they're completely in the moment (see for yourself in the photos). However I also think there's something extra too: you can see a lot of great players in bands but sometimes something feels a bit off or a bit sterile but with Chalk Angels that's not the case. I think perhaps it's due to their chemistry: on top of their musicianship they seem to be great friends and have a lot of affection and respect for one another. I don't have the musical chops to comment on the musicianship of Sam Lewis on drums, Tonia Bennett on bass, Lance Kirton on guitar except to say that combined they rock. I'm starting to know a little bit about stagecraft and I think Jim Vallis is an excellent frontman (though he's bl**dy rude to me! (:-)).


As is Maria Megally just a stunning frontwoman. Of course she's got the advantage of being better looking than Jim (:-) but my goodness what a voice too. And she's got the moves. I've known Jakabo since 2011 and she was good then but Maria has grown into her role as frontwoman, she clearly enjoys herself on stage. Paul Baker on drums and Adam Robins on bass provide a solid backbone for both Maria and Jamie on guitar to take off. Again I don't really feel I've got the musical chops to comment musically but when Jamie starts playing the guitar behind his back, with his teeth, and by sitting on it you start to suspect that maybe something special is going on. (It may take a while for me to copy those moves into my repertoire.) And indeed those who know better than me have mentioned how highly they rate Jamie's talent and skill. I could be wrong but I sense a slight change in direction for the band, the band seems more harder edged now, more along the lines of Creem than the old soul / blues I've seen them perform before.

Chalk Angels & Jakabo

So, as if that wasn't enough, to finish off the night we then have Chalk Angels / Jakabo spliced together to perform Voodoo Child and A Whole Lotta Love. This particular genetic modification really worked and I think this was my favourite part of the night, the icing on the cake. You can see from the pictures that clearly everyone was having fun and it all sounded great. I've still got a smile on my face from the vibe. Saturday night Chalk Angels and Jakabo were what rock and roll is all about.

Thanks to Ben Jordan and his Producktions team for the sound and lighting.

Thanks too to Arlene, Darrin and Luke who came to see me specifically.

You can download Chalk Angels EP We Do What We Want for free from here.

If the above has whetted your appetite, you can see both Chalk Angels and Jakabo at The College Arms on Saturday 28th September as part of HubCap Promotions Cider Festival.

And my next performance is this Friday (Friday 27th September) doing a set for the Macmillan Cancer Support Coffee Morning at Propaganda, Fleet GU51 3BU from 12-2pm.

Please refer to GIGS to see the schedule for any other planned gigs and open-mics.

My Set