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CROPREDY FESTIVAL 2018 - A BRIEF PREVIEW

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As I have mentioned before I had a wonderful experience at my first Cropredy Festival last year when I managed to get a pass for the Saturday (mainly to catch the mighty Marillion admittedly), I had the best welcome I have ever had as a photographer at a big event and the organisation, the music the facilities were all second to non.
Really happy that they have granted me a pass again this year and hope to attend at least one if not two days of this years event.
Although a folk festival in essence there is always so much more going on musically and this year that includes Beach Boy ‘Brian Wilson' headlining on the opening Thursday with a full performance of the iconic Pet Sounds album and hopefully throwing in a few older classics.
Friday is the main day for me as the mighty ‘Fish' (ex Marillion vocalist although that is a long time ago now!) takes the stage in the afternoon for hopefully a set mixing the cream of his solo material with a couple of Marillion oldies and I know I am a little biased! but for me he is one of rocks best showmen, and then headlining we have a folk with a rock/punk edge set by the wonderful ‘Levellers'.
Folk fans are of course well catered for with ‘Fairport Convention' (the reason the festival exists lest we forget) both opening and closing the whole thing with an acoustic set on the Thursday afternoon and a full electric set with guests for the Sunday headline slot.
Elsewhere over the weekend we have the folk sounds of Al Stewart, Kate Rusby, Oysterband and many more.
If you have been before you will know what a special event it is if not I highly recommend you give it a try, you will not be disappointed and above are a few of my recently sorted pics from last year.

For full info check the festival web site

http://www.fairportconvention.com

Andrew Lock

**** "ROCK AND ROLL DREAMS COME TRUE - THE LIVE MUSIC PHOTOGRAPHY OF ANDREW LOCK 2008-2018" PHOTO EXHIBITION AND SALE - THE OAK HOUSE SPORTS AND SOCIAL CLUB, LEAMINGTON SPA WEDNESDAY 17TH OCTOBER 2018 7-10-30PM, ALL PROCEEDS GOING TO ZOE'S PLACE BABY HOSPICE AND THE CINNAMON TRUST***

Catch Fish at The Assembly on 2018-09-24  
 Fish      Brian Wilson      The Levellers      Fairport Convention      Al Stewart      Kate Rusby      Oysterband    

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Hazel O'Connor - Special "An Evening with..." shows announced

News

Sonic PR promotion ...

HAZEL O'CONNOR & BREAKING GLASS

The Film, a Q&A and Live Performance

"They were absolutely fantastic, bringing the entire audience roaring to its feet." - Daily Telegraph

A very special evening with award-winning singer songwriter HAZEL O'CONNOR, featuring a rare screening of the digitally re-mastered uncut version of the film followed by an intimate Q&A and live performance of some of the films best loved songs.

Striding into the spotlight and catapulted into fame in 1980 in the iconic movie Breaking Glass, Hazel not only made her lead role her own,  but also wrote all the songs. The soundtrack album Breaking Glass went on to go double platinum during its 38 week chart run, defining Hazel O'Connor as a powerful passionate performer and a force to be reckoned with. Joined here onstage by Clare Hirst (Bellestars, Communards, David Bowie) on sax, Sarah Fisher (Eurythmics) on keyboards and Josh Blackmore (Troyka/Strobes) on percussion, the superb  blend of the three voices and stunning musicianship add a sweet touch of class to their vibrant performance. 

Live onstage, her unforgettable songs from the film including Eighth Day, Will You, Big Brother, Decadent Days, If Only and more seem even more relevant in our present times. With a special Meet & Greet immediately after the show you're in for a treat. Unmissable, book early!

  • Wed 14 Nov - RNCM, Manchester
  • Sun 18 Nov, Engine Rooms, Southampton
  • Tue 27 Nov, The Assembly, Leamington Spa

http://www.hazeloconnor.com 
https://www.facebook.com/HazelOConnorOfficial
https://twitter.com/Hazel_oconnor

 Hazel O'Connor     The Assembly    

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"Read All About It"

Review

If anyone remembers my article of July 10th in which I looked forward to the Belgrade Theatre's takeover of the former "Coventry Evening Telegraph" building for two shows, "City Final" & "Retold" as part of their "Read All About It" event, then they'll have noted how much I was looking forward to it.

I was not disappointed: it exceeded even my high expectations. Although normally each piece plays separately, I was fortunate to be invited to back to back performances of both yesterday evening.

I had, during previous visits to the CET Popup, heard strains of the most beautiful music float through the building. I had not, at the time realised that this was leading local musician Lucy Anne Sale creating brand new music for "Retold", a dance performance by the inspiring Mercurial Dance company.

Both shows made really creative & highly effective use of the CET space & complemented the narratives they were communicating with interaction with the environment. "Retold" was performed in the foyer: but not really on the floor. The impressive long counter was the pivot of their show & the dancers used it to perform upon, across and over with panache. At this point, I should also like to pay tribute to their physical control as well as athleticism & creativity. The audience was necessarily seated close to & among the action & from the first, swirling feet came extremely close to my face: but once I realised that I was in no danger, I appreciated their skills: and it must be taken into account that although much was rehearsed, so much movement was improvised: they really did own the space. Quite a few leaps ended in landings very close to Lucy Anne Sale too but she never batted an eyelid: she obviously had full faith in them.

The various "City Final" scenarios acted by groups (mainly youth performers) from the Belgrade Community Company also made excellent use of the building. The Stygian & wet lower print hall space fitted in ideally as a setting for the Keresley Miners' Strike picket line: a dark, post industrial landscape. Even more directly impactful on me was the section on deaths in police custody: this took place in very cramped spaces & was truly frightening to walk into & be suddenly ordered about & abused by young actors playing police officers. Equally, having been crammed into a small "living room" to witness at close quarters the distress of a bereaved family, when things turned tense, being ordered out was pretty traumatic.

The basis of "Retold" was a dance creation which captured the sense & culture of provincial newspapers: partly pre-prepared, it nevertheless contained much improvised dance (and consequently music) based on audience input (their stories about life in Coventry) before resolving itself through a series of classified ad enactments (culminating extremely movingly with obituaries) into a manifesto for the continued need for local print journalism. In fact although the dancers were superb at dancing ( I am no expert on dance performance though I was exhilarated by their exuberant and joyous performances), they also spoke a great deal: in performance dialogue, directly to the audience & individually as they toured the foyer earlier to collect stories for informing the improvisations.

"City Final" was pretty complex: held together by a central narrative which centred on challenging the complacency that Lord Iliffe's "Coventry Evening Telegraph" made no false moves, the audience in groups was shepherded around the premises by cast members encountering set pieces which reflected issues which the paper may not have covered effectively: racial violence & intolerance, police behaviours, the miners' strike, refugee stories, the 1994 Coventry Airport crash etc, again culminating in the cavernous print hall this time in a fabulous ensemble scene which was very moving.

The mainly young actors who performed this part were really excellent and although to be honest it was "Retold" which really required a "Hot Music Live" review being the musical part, it was a joyful surprise when one of the performers on the Keresley picket line part of "City Final" broke into a moving acapella version of the Style Council's "A Stone's Throw".

Which leads me neatly back to the main musical star of the whole: Lucy Anne Sale. Her role was totally central to "Retold": the music was composed by her in the building (as I heard) in order to more perfectly echo its spirits and she performed throughout: on keyboards at times, at others on guitar or flute & often on cajon with which her playing drove the dancers onwards. Some music was incidental but there were also traditionally formed songs. Her opener must have been a real challenge to write: a sort of travelogue of Coventry encompassing areas and places (nice to hear "Tiffany's" namechecked) but I guess the potential for something lyrically awkward was huge: something she transcended with aplomb. Be great if this ever got released! The other song which I really appreciated was part of the obituary section: a really tender & haunting one as you'd expect.

The "City of Culture" idea has a lot of potential. I am not clear at the moment (and not sure how many people are) of what proportion of emphasis and funds will be on buying in expensive external content providers & how much on nurturing local creativity. May I be bold & make a few points?

  • The CET Popup venue has been one if not the most outstanding cultural phenomena of the past year: were this to move onto the "Elephant" building, its potential to be the hub for community arts up to 2021, during 2021 & beyond is enormously powerful
  • The Belgrade has for many many years been at the forefront of both cutting edge locally generated drama and cultivating local talent: as amply demonstrated in "City Final": this again could offer so much to a City of Culture and provide a sustainable artistic legacy
  • If you require partners, artists such as Lucy Anne Sale & Mercurial provide locally based & linked input which truly understands & empathises with the community
  • Finally, this type of cross media event where music & drama happily co-exist offers another very rich model.

 

"City Final" & "Retold" play until Saturday 14th July. For tickets go to http://www.belgrade.co.uk/season/read-all-about-it

 

Hats off to everyone involved in the conception, creation & execution of these splendid shows.

Web    Social media     Lucy Anne Sale     The CET Building    

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NAPTON FESTIVAL 2018 - ROCKING IN THE SUN

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Hottest ever Napton Festival weather wise (in my years covering the festival anyway) and the music was just as hot this year with possibly the best overall line up of performances I have seen at this wonderful event.
I am afraid I missed a few acts on the Saturday as I was one of those that had an extended lunch break to see Englands fantastic world cup win over at The Folly but what I did catch was top draw stuff.
A special mention to two really young bands who lit up the main stage over the weekend ‘Stupid Boots' and ‘Park Lane' both full of energy, fine musicianship and impressive songwriting on their originals and well chosen and played covers.
Keeping this old rocker happy on the Friday were space rockers ‘Visitation' (particularly loved the Quo number with a touch of Hawkwind) and the AC/DC set by ‘DirtyjACkDC' full of the classics and a vocalist who nailed Bon Scotts vocal delivery.
Again a real highlight this year was ‘Matilda Pratt' with her third Napton appearance (and only 16 years old!) and her angelic vocals again lit up proceedings as she performed numbers from her debut EP and more and as we walked to the footy I could hear her wonderful version of Radioheads ‘No Surprises' serenading us to watch the match and I also really enjoyed the perfect for a summers afternoon set by the always cool and stylish ‘Kate And The Mooncats'.
Only caught one set in the Hall Stage this year and that was an acoustic performance by ‘The Rushmore' and I was impressed how much their uptempo, melodic indie music worked in this format.
To close the festival two cracking sets first the full of fun ‘Chaos' bringing their own colourful, bouncy style to numbers by the likes of ELO, Abba and many more and what a start as they threw massive red blow up balls into the crowd at the start of the set during a cracking version of Nena's '99 Red Balloons'.
Finally a set of Oasis classics by Oas-is and boy does the bands Liam look and sound like the real thing (the rest of the band also do a great job) as the crowd rocked the night away to the likes of ‘Roll With It', ‘Rock N' Roll Star' etc only dropping the pace for a sublime ‘Champagne Supernova' for the encore.
So many highlights this year and a treat for me hearing two versions of my favourite Abba track ‘Does Your Mother Know' and likewise a brace of covers of the Specials version of ‘Monkey Man' (another favourite of mine) over the weekend.

Next year has a lot to live up to and thanks as always to the Trust, bands/artists, volunteers and all that attended and made this once more such a special weekend on the local music calendar.

Andrew Lock

**** "ROCK AND ROLL DREAMS COME TRUE - THE LIVE MUSIC PHOTOGRAPHY OF ANDREW LOCK 2008-2018" PHOTO EXHIBITION AND SALE - THE OAK HOUSE SPORTS AND SOCIAL CLUB, LEAMINGTON SPA WEDNESDAY 17TH OCTOBER 2018 7-10-30PM, ALL PROCEEDS GOING TO ZOE'S PLACE BABY HOSPICE AND THE CINNAMON TRUST***

 Chaos      AC/DC tribute: DirtyjACkDC      The Rushmore      Stupid Boots      HOO HAA CONSPIRACY      Kate and the Mooncats      Matilda Pratt      Oas-Is      Park Lane      Duckworths     Napton Village Hall    

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