Saturday, 23 October 2010
I haven't been to a gig in Bristol for some time, so when I saw that Ellen and The Escapades were hitting the city I bought my ticket quickly. The band have played the festivals all summer long and even won Michael Eavis' heart at Glastonbury this year. So Bristol bound, I looked forward to night of folky rock.
They played at St Bonaventures Parish Social club which I didn't know even existed let alone held gigs. Trying to find the place to begin with, I asked a man on the street "Is it a real church?" to which he replied "Yes it is...well it's catholic...". I won't linger on that but it made me chuckle!Anyway, the social club is like a working men's club stuck onto the back of a church. Red covered booths and doombar on tap, a classy joint. But it wasn't the decor and choice of drink that was important, it was the bands.
Kicking off the night was singer /song writer Nick Parker with humorous ballads and gentle guitar playing. Nick tried to woo the audience with his vulnerabilty and continuous guitar tuning and it seemed to do the trick!
Next up was Scottish/ Leeds lad Gary Stewart who was surprsingly punchy. A unique voice and some really captivating sounds. For just one man and his guitar he filled the room effortlessly with northern passion and a bit of Bristol soul. I was impressed (which isn't an easy task). One of my favourite tunes was Behind The Door. The lovely Ellen accompanied Gary on stage to sing and it was great. I don't know how else to describe it so I'll let you have a listen and see what you think...
Finally Ellen and the Escapades settled on stage to introduce the backhalls of Bristol to their earthy sound. Each time I hear them play I can't get over the rawness of Ellen's voice and the soft harmonies that trickle through each song, magical. Very much still an emerging band we were treated to a few new, albeit unfinshed, songs. I look forward to hearing more of them. Coming Back Home always puts a smile on my face and the crowd rather enjoyed it too.
(E and the E are missing their bassist Andy Calder who is recovering from pneumonia which isn't very nice. Hopefully he'll be back on the scene soon. Gary had to step in to help and I think he rather liked it.)
What was great about my Bristol folk night is that all of the acts were friendly and engaging. Not one let us forget that it was them we were here to see. Who needs X-Factor?!
Thursday, 14 October 2010
It’s getting colder and crisper as we settled into Autumn. But sometimes that’s a good thing. The log fire can roar, the winter coats come out and leaves can crunch.
What better way to get warm than to go on a brisk walk. I joined the West Wiltshire Ramblers just south of Trowbridge on one of their walks. I was met a pleasant group of sixty something’s and Bailey the dog. A lovely bunch who welcomed me into their group.
As we set off I was intrigued to learn why these people had joined the Ramblers. For some it was the sheer joy of walking and getting out into the countryside, but for others it was life changing. One lady I met told me that after her husband died “Sunday’s were the worst” and the Ramblers saved her in way. When I hear comments like this it makes me realise that life should not be taken for granted and we should make the most of it whilst we can. Do the things we dream of.
Rambling is a social occasion as well as a health benefit. It’s also a great way to get out and see the beautiful landscape. Along our walk, much to my delight, we spied some sloe berries. I’ve cleaned them up and put them in the freezer, I can start making sloe gin soon! So not only did I get to meet some great people I also got thrown a great recipe for sloe gin. Good Times, Good Walks.