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The Blinders, Social Bar, Doncaster
19 December 2018
Thomas Haywood, The Blinders (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
On Wednesday, we went to see Doncaster band The Blinders, as guests of the venue, the Social Bar, Doncaster

The Blinders were supported by Calva Louise, who opened the event. and were greeted by a packed audience. 

This punkadelic 3-piece is now based in Manchester, but they haven't forgotten their roots, often returning to play their home town. 

They're dark, they're heavy, they're interesting, they're energetic and they make a lot of noise. 

You can watch some of their videos on the website, you can buy their debut single and their EP on itunes, you can buy their album, and you can listen to them on BBC radio.

If you haven't seen these lads yet, but get the chance, do go. They're one of the best local bands we've seen in a long while and they're going to be big. 

Diane Wordsworth
Diane's Gig List

Tramlines 2017
On Friday we travelled over to Sheffield for the first of three days at the Tramlines festival. The poet didn’t take his camera, so these pictures are all from his mobile phone (apart from the nabbed poster).

Tramlines 2017
There are mixed feelings about this annual event. We think it’s great for Sheffield, and the taxi drivers and businesses agree that it’s a lift for them once the students have all gone home (there are two universities in Sheffield and a huge student population) and before the football (soccer) season starts again (they have two football teams too). Others think it should be a free event, as it was when it first started, and will boycott it, insisting on going to only live gigs that aren’t included in the program.

Whichever your opinion, it really does have to be good for business and for live music.

We got off to quite a bad start because we headed over to City Hall, where we thought we had to exchange our tickets for wristbands. We queued up there for over half-an-hour – apparently, they ran out of wristbands! – but when we got to our first main event, we then discovered we could have gone straight there.
Ponderosa at night (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
We wasted quite a lot of time and additional taxi fares doing that. And then, to add insult to injury, they didn’t even check our wristbands at the main venue. And they were only checking women’s handbags. They didn’t seem too bothered about rucksacks or duffel bags.

The headline act we wanted to see was over at the Ponderosa main stage, the Libertines. And yes, he really did turn up. The weather was very kind to us – it didn’t start to rain until we were ready to leave. The sound wasn’t great, and the band were pulled off mid-song at one point. But the crowd didn’t seem to mind.

The Libertines, Tramlines 2017 (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
On Saturday afternoon, we went back again, again to the Ponderosa, this time to see Toots and the Maytals. We didn’t get any pictures of these because we were there with family and when we weren’t listening to the music, we were chatting.

Toots was my favourite part. They’ve been going for such a long time, yet he had so much energy and a fine, fantastic voice. Again, nobody checked our wristbands, but we did see armed police today.

Waiting for Toots and the Maytals (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Sunday teatime we were back again, this time to see the poet’s godson in his band the Kavaliers. They were playing the Tramlines fringe at the Rocking Chair.

They did a short set, which gave us time to have a quick chat and then make our way to Devonshire Green, where the next and last band we wanted to see were playing.
The Kavaliers, Tramlines fringe (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
We arrived about 45 minutes early and decided to nip into Pizza Express for a quick tea. The waitress said it could be a 30-minute wait, but if we knew what we wanted and got our order in before a hen party that had not long arrived, she’d see what she could do.

She managed to serve us within 15 mintues … but within that time and the time it took to eat a quick salad, a queue had formed outside the venue that trailed all the way up the road.

We waited for 25 minutes in this queue, in pouring rain. The Coral were due to start at 7:45pm, but they held on until 8pm. We missed the first two songs, but landed a nice spot with a good view.
The Coral, Tramlines 2017 (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
What a mistake the organisers made in putting the Coral on at Devonshire Green and not the main stage at the Ponderosa. Some people we queued with said there was hardly anyone over there when they left, and here were we with the queue still snaking up the road long after we finally made it in.

We had a great time at this year’s Tramlines. I do think it could have been slightly better organised in places, and security should have been much, much tighter. Next year, however, if it clashes with the crime writing festival at Harrogate again, as it did this year, we might give it a miss.

Diane Wordsworth
Diane's Gig List

Exhibition: The Cribs, Wakefield One
15 February to July 2017

Drummer, Ross Jarman. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
On Tuesday, Diane's Gig List was invited to the unveiling of a new exhibition at Wakefield One.

The Cribs were formed in Wakefield in 2002 by three brothers: twins Ryan and Gary Jarman on guitar and bass, and younger brother Ross on drums.

To celebrate their award-winning achievements, a small display has been set-up at the library in Wakefield.

There are three display units containing the bands' instruments and memorabilia, some of which will be left with the library at the end of the display.

Drummer Ross Jarman unveiled the display on Tuesday 14 February in front of a small crowd, and he subsequently carried out interviews with the press before chatting with visitors who had come to see him.

You can find more photographs on Diane's Gig List's Facebook page, and this report also appears on Tales From Baggins Bottom.

The exhibition runs until July 2017. Entry is free.

 (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

(Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
(Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
(Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
(Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Diane Wordsworth
Diane's Gig List

Wicked, Victoria Apollo, London
24 September 2016

At the weekend we headed off to London for a first for both of us: a live London musical. This is one Devon recommended to me a while ago and I’ve wanted to see it ever since.

We bought our train tickets well in advance, on 16 August. We were travelling from Birmingham as my dad was looking after the dog overnight for us, and return tickets to London are usually quite expensive.

However, I was able to secure 2 singles each way for £11 each (apx $14) – the returns started at sixty-odd pounds (apx $80 US) and reached as much as £143 (apx $185 US) – and the seat reservations were FREE. What a bonus those were. The 11-coach train going and the 10-coach train coming back were both rammed to the rafters.

Our train left on time and it arrived around 3 – 4 minutes ahead of schedule. Coming back it was bang on time. Well done Virgin Trains.

Our accommodation for the night was Travelodge Euston. It was reasonably priced for a central London hotel for less than £170 altogether (apx $220 US) and I don’t think we could have got much closer to our railway station, as it’s just across the road.

At the time of booking, we also booked an included breakfast, 24 hours of wi-fi and an early check-in, so we were able to go there first, dump our luggage, freshen up and get changed in good time for the matinee performance.

The hotel itself was quite warm and stuffy in the public areas, but the room was deliciously cool and not so cold that we needed an extra layer. The carpets were a little tired and grubby, but security was very good, the room was comfortable, and the food was great. You can choose from a light unlimited breakfast or a full unlimited breakfast. The poet had full-English followed by toast while I had a slightly smaller English followed by cereal. We didn’t eat in the restaurant on the evening as we had to eat mostly on the hoof in between events and places.

We could have done with some extra storage space in the room for clothes that don’t usually go on hangers. But there was a new television in there with plenty of channels to choose from, and we were high enough up, on the top floor, that the sounds of Euston didn’t reach us.

The Apollo Victoria theatre is only a few minutes away on the Victoria line tube. We weren’t sure how close to the main station it was, though, so we asked one of the tourist information officers. “Outside,” she said, pointing to one of the exits. Well, that narrowed it down, we said, but we’d already guessed it would be outside somewhere. Never mind, we’d ask someone else once we got outside …

… but when we got outside, there indeed it was. Right opposite us! (We took it all back!)

What a lovely old theatre this is. It was designed in 1929 and opened in 1930, initially as a cinema, and the first thing we noticed was the wonderful art deco interior. The lighting was soft and there were fairytale-grotto-like features throughout, in the foyers and bars and inside the auditorium.

The drinks were a little expensive for us. It cost £19 (apx $25 US) for 2 glasses of pop and 2 small bottles of lager, but we did like the fact that we could order and pay for our interval drinks too (included in the £19! – we couldn’t afford much more). The theatre is a little tired-looking, needing paint touched up on the stairs, for example, with very small toilet cubicles, toilet doors that didn’t close properly let alone lock, and quite primitive plumbing. But it’s still a magical place.

The poet bought me a t-shirt, which cost £25 (apx $32 US), and I was mortified to have to buy a size XL, but they’re VERY small, and the t-shirt I chose was a “ladies’ fit” t-shirt. These usually come quite tight and quite short. I’m very happy with the fit and the length of this one, but XL? No wonder we get paranoid about our weight!

Our seats were right at the front of the dress circle. We’d noted the requirement to “dress” for the occasion, and had done our best. But when we got there we realised we could have gone in ordinary jeans if we’d wanted. That always disappoints me if I’ve dressed up for something and didn’t need to, even if “dressing up” does only constitute a button-up shirt instead of my usual t-shirt.

We had quite a good view and were delighted to see that we could take our refreshments to our seats or have further refreshments delivered to our seats. The poet did have to ask a hen party in front of us (at the rear of the front circle) to remove their witches’ hats for us, so we could see, and I had to ask a lady next to us to keep her 2 children under control – they chattered at the top of their voices for most of the performance (which is a VERY long performance) and when the said hen party ladies in front of us even started to turn around and glare at them halfway through the second part, I decided it was a reasonable point for me to remind the parent that the rest of us were trying to listen to a show we’d paid good money for (bah, humbug). But it was a terrific show.

The sets were great. The actors were great. The music was great. Once or twice I found the whole ensemble singing and playing at the top of their voices and notes to be a bit of a cacophony. But the poet loved every single second, clapping the loudest, whistling. I thought the costumes were brilliant, they looked very well made. And the special effects were perfect.

The performance started at 2:30pm and the interval was at 4pm. It restarted again at 4:20pm and finished about an hour later. That’s quite a long time for the performers to be working, and they do it 8 times a week.

We paid £68.75 each for our seats (apx $90 US), plus booking fee, and we thought it was worth every penny.

Wicked has been playing at the Victoria Apollo in London since 2006 and is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. This will probably explain the professionalism of the sets and the costumes, they all looked so permanent. The main cast changes every few months, but we saw Suzie Mathers as Glinda, Rachel Tucker as Elphaba, Anita Dobson as Madame Morrible, Mark Curry as the Wizard of Oz, and Oliver Saville as Fiyero. The book the story is based on was published in 1995 as Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, by Gregory Maguire, and was written while the author was living in London in 1990.

(This review also appears on Tales From Baggins Bottom.)

Diane Wordsworth
Diane's Gig List

Walter Trout, Picturedrome, Holmfirth
20 November 2015

Picture: Ian Wordsworth
"I'm f*ck*n still alive!" is how Walter Trout greeted a packed house filled with appreciative fans on Friday night.

The applause was so great, even the man himself looked to be overcome. However, this didn't stop him banging out number after bluesy number for the next 90+ minutes.

The majority of songs were from Luther's Blues and Battle Scars, the latter being this year's chronicle of his recent fight against liver failure.

Both he and support act Stephen Dale Petit paid tribute to the late BB King, but perhaps Trout's proudest moment was when he welcomed his son Jon on stage to join him. He had some stern advice for his son too: "Don't join Canned Heat!" And, basically, "don't do the sh*t I did."

Walter Trout gave a great performance, perfectly showcasing his almost-50 years in the business, with only the one "dark" section resulting from his illness and life-saving treatment. It's a shame the light show at the Picturedrome was so poor, many of the performers' faces were in darkness for much of the time. But this didn't spoil the audience's enjoyment.

See more photographs here.

Diane Wordsworth
Diane's Gig List

The Kill, Barnsley Trades, Barnsley
13 November 2015

Picture: Ian Wordsworth
On Friday the 13th we took a risk and ventured out to see a new band to us. The Kill hail from the north-east and brought their own brand of classic rock to the Barnsley masses.

Featuring tracks by Bon Jovi, Motley Crue, Journey and even Ozzy, among others, they gave a refreshing and energetic performance from start to finish.

Pyrotechnics, professional light show and five very good musicians playing through a clear, powerful PA. They had it all.

We thoroughly enjoyed the band and look forward to seeing them again very soon.

See more photographs here.

Ian & Diane
Diane's Gig List

Styckleback, The Cross Keys, Morley
4 April 2008

Last night me and AoS guitarist Russ went to see Styckleback play the Cross Keys at Morley.

The 4-piece hit the ground running and only stopped for a short break half way through. Playing a very pacey mix of old/new punk and indie rock, they avoided cliché ridden territory and showed they are one of the most entertaining bands on the pub circuit.< The highlight of the first set for me was 
Go Johnny Go by The Stranglers (because I like the song), and in the second set possibly Mr Brightside by The Killers, who are the sort of band I don't usually like being a rock/1st wave punk/goth fan.

The sound wasn't perfect all the way through but we could hear everything out front and I think it was more the band who struggled to hear everything clearly.

The shared lead vocals between Howard on bass and Jay on rhythm guitar worked well, and there were some excellent fills and turn-arounds from Howard on bass as well as the full-on performance from all 4 band members. There were no ballads and most of the pub were up dancing (on tables when needed) for the whole second set.

A great night out!

Jon Rhodes
Angel of Sin

TopGun, Bellhouse Road WMC, Shiregreen 
11 May 2007
The draw of this band was not reflected in the size of the audience until after they started. Then the room miraculously filled up. The volume probably attracted them all. TopGun are LOUD.

Following Glenn Miller's In the Mood introduction, TopGun performed the best segue I've ever heard, seamlessly from The Who's Pinball Wizard into Lizzy's Whiskey in the Jar. I don't normally like medleys and mergers, but this one was perfection. One favourite then came after the other and another - Born to be WildWishing WellDon't Believe a Word, and Comfortably Numb - but it was great to hear, for a change, Stairway to Heaven (Led Zeppelin version ...). Two more familiars, Sanctuary and Radar Love, sandwiched the rarely played Empty Rooms, and so the band broke for the interval.

In our little group we decided what the band really needs is a bit more depth, or backing vocals. They have a top bird on bass guitar in Angie Dodds, but because she'd sooner play than sing, her vocals were too quiet.

Set two was a mix of familiar and not so familiar numbers played in an unusual sequence. A Journey-free night is always a bonus in my book, and my personal favourites were The Who's Won't Get Fooled Again, Faith No More's From Out of Nowhere (who else plays Faith No More?), and a slightly poppy Enter Sandman - I liked this interpretation.

Tunes like Emerald do usually need two lead guitars, but TopGun still managed an admirable version. Both guitarists looked really cool, but it was a shame the drummer and keys were in almost total darkness. In fact, we were surprised to hear the keys intro to Bat Out of Hell. An introduction to each of the band members would have been nice, but overall a good, rounded performance from four very accomplished musicians and a vocalist who clearly enjoys himself.

Diane Parkin

StageFright, Farm Road Social Club, Barnsley 
7 May 2007
Picture: Diane Parkin
It was nice to see a packed club welcome StageFright to Farm Road in May. The club has suffered from low attendance recently, so the following bank holiday Monday must have had a good effect on the crowd.

StageFright took to the stage accompanied by the concert party from It Ain't Half Hot Mum and their theme tune, Meet the Gang. These boys opened their own show with the little played Tie Your Mother Down before moving on to the equally played but excellently performed Vertigo from U2. In fact there was a refreshing variety of songs that aren't often played on the club circuit: Bad Company's Can't Get Enough of Your Love; U2's Beautiful DayCrazy from Seal and Dakota from The Stereophonics. Whoever plays those? It was good to hear some different numbers from Bryan Adams - I was beginning to think he must have been a one hit wonder and I'd failed to notice - with the bluesy Can't Stop This Thing We Started being the penultimate song for part one and One Night Love Affair early on in the second half.

The stage at Farm Road is very small and cramped, especially for a five-piece, so I was surprised they didn't make more use of the dancefloor or walk the club. However, the lads did look as though they were enjoying themselves and having a laugh.

The Muppets introduced the guest stars for the second half before more Queen and excellent harmonies for We Will Rock You. Then more unusual tunes followed the second Bryan Adams: Hard to Handle from the Black Crowes; Are You Gonna Go My Way? from Lenny Kravitz, to which the guitarists Matt Bird and John Hardman had their own little dance on either side of the stage; and a very Cameo-esque Word Up. Then some old favourites came out of the woodwork - It's My Life and Here I Go Again - but back to the fresh, different material: Robbie Williams' Old Before I Die, a stroke of genius with Pulp's Disco 2000, and a fun and energetic Sit Down from James where lead singer Matt Cooper finally got to know his audience.

A second set finale of In These Arms showcased Matt's voice to its most powerful. He has a good set of lungs and a beautiful voice in development.

This band are still getting used to each other, so the stage show looked a bit untidy at times. Sound gremlins failed to faze the new - and best looking in the business - sound engineer. Already good, StageFright are going to get even better as they have capabilities still yet undiscovered. Very entertaining and a good choice of songs. See them soon.

Diane Parkin

Jagged Edge, The Ship WMC, Thurnscoe
29 April 2007
The Ship WMC in Thurnscoe, Rotherham, is a pleasant place to be on a Sunday evening in April. Neither as busy nor as loud as a Friday, and not as empty as in the summer, a friendly crowd and full house awaited the long return of Jagged Edge.

The band opened with Journey's rarely played Higher Place and moved seamlessly into Bon Jovi's Runaway. While every single band member seemed to be having trouble with his monitor, the sound was great both at the front and back of the house.

Undeterred by monitor problems, this fine-sounding five-piece ploughed through the hits - Don't Want to Miss a ThingWanted Dead or AliveBe Good to Yourself and Any Way You Want It. The additional occasional acoustic guitar played by lead singer Dave Bamforth added an extra dimension to the wall of sound - and it looked good too.

While they struggled ever so slightly with Boston's More Than a Feeling (only one man can pull these vocals off truly to perfection, and I suppose I've been spoiled), the mesmerising guitar solo from Dann Rosingana during Comfortably Numb was possibly the best one I have ever heard. Ever. It was clean, clear, note-perfect and professionally delivered.

And so to the second half, which kicked off with more Bon Jovi and a spot of Guns n Roses and Whitesnake. It was great to hear the lesser played Carry on my Wayward Son by Kansas and a bit of Led Zeppelin Rock and Roll, and while I'm not a huge Journey fan, the band didn't play as much as they usually do but did finish with the refreshingly different Girl Can't Help It.

This was my first full and sober viewing of Jagged Edge and I was knocked out by their fantastic double bass drum kit and their kaleidoscopic light show - Pink Floyd eat your heart out. They have some terrific vocal harmonies and even made Journey sound good.

Diane Parkin