So why no activity

It’s been some time since I’ve added to this site and you may be wondering why? Well it’s nothing sinister just lack of time.

The original reason for putting this site together was to remind me of all the music I could potentially see in my area. This was fine when I was working full time I would be out nearly every other night, at a venue.

Then at the end of August 2010 I along with 6 other colleagues, was made redundant from (I won’t even bother to name the company) I personally had worked there for 32 years. This was a company I felt proud to work for so it came as a great shock to me, especially the manner and poor treatment we were given at the time, then the subsequent lies and accusations aimed at us when we were no longer there to defend our names. It was made even worse when after 3 months they re-established the department (in all but name) they said they needed to close.

During this enforced break and a down turn of employment within the photographic trade, I had to re-evaluate the type of work I could achieve, so mixing my love of Photography, Live music, Heritage, Landscape and Gardens, I have aimed to go it alone, having taken images at many festivals and live venues, while also finding some work with The National Trust, utilizing my background within Customer Service. The added bonus here is being in the surrounding of some outstanding landscape and amazing gardens.

So although I have curtailed the blogging about live music I have still tried to keep the gig listing up to date so make sure you support your local venue and live music and who knows you might catch me down the front with my camera in my hand . . . . . and I’ll try not to get in your way.

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Willie Nile Band, Tingewick – Review

Well I warned you that Empty Room Promotions evening with the Willie Nile Band at Tingewick was going to be good and how wrong I was . . . . it was bleeding fantastic! How can there be so much energy from one little man. Totally defying his age, Willie set the place alight, not literally of course, though the heat in the hall soon rose with the 130 + bodies who came along and enjoyed it.

On his arrival at the unassuming Tingewick Scout hut Willie echoed the comments of Chuck Prophet who noted that “This is the kinda venue that Buddy Holly would have played.” Once the bands have settled in and sound checked and hear the acoustics they soon realise why this hall has become so popular.

Drawing on his current album Innocent Ones and his back catalogue Street of New York, House of a Thousand Guitars, Beautiful Wreck of the World etc the set lasted about 100 minutes, though most of us wouldn’t have minded if it went on longer. There was even a chance for our youngest audience member at the tender age of eight, along with her father to join the band on stage for a rousing version of a firm favourite One Guitar and I’m sure the video her Mum recorded with be played a fair few times in the house.

It’s also great to deal with a true Gentleman of music and he’s welcome back any time, thank you Mr Willie Nile.

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Amanda Shires Trio – Bedford Esquires 20th April

Another video from Amanda Shires and a timely reminder that she will be playing live in Bedford on Friday 20th April promoted by Bedford Live! Presents Due to play them last year, along with Rod Picott, unfortunately she had to postpone her trip while she recovered from finger surgery (a rope swing incident!) Now she’s back for her first headline tour of the UK and Ireland as The Amanda Shires Trio (and I believe Rod Picott is due to be part of the trio) Her album Carrying Lightning is still in my top list of releases in 2011 and a firm fixture on the iPod in the car. Looking forward to a packed house at The Holy Moly’s Bar at Esquires and with no other dates in the East or London, this could be the only opportunity to see her in the area and well worth the trip out on a Friday night.

As is often the case with Bedford Live! gigs there is an opportunity to promote either local or unsigned artists in support and tonight will be no different. This will be the first solo outing for Dave Banks, more accustomed to playing along band mates and “local hero’s” The Whybirds. Also on the bill is Bedford based Olie Campbell, who is no strange to Esquires, and with an entry price of £7 it makes this even more reason to go along.

Make sure you get your tickets in advance either from Danny’s Bar at Esquires or online via See Tickets which reminds me I’d best get mine :-)

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Turin Brakes Esquires Bedford – 19th July

Just announced that Turin Brakes will be playing Esquires in Bedford on Thursday 19th July, OK that might be some way away, but it’s best giving some advanced warning as they are more accustomed to selling out the larger venues like Shepherds Bush Empire or KoKo, so don’t miss the opportunity to see them in such an intimate environment! Even with tickets at £20 this one should fly so don’t rely on them being available on the door, you can get then in advance from See Tickets

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The Willie Nile Band 7th April Tingewick Village Hall

Saturday 7th and it’s time to rock the roof off Tingewick Village Hall with The Willie Nile Band. Although Willie has played previously for Empty Rooms Promotions, in Oxford, this will be the first time at “The music venue that thinks it’s a Village Hall” and I’m sure they are wondering if they can contain this very active New Yorker on the stage, it will be a tight squeeze I’m sure.

It’s possible his name has passed you by, though he’s been in the business for over 30 year and his debut album compared him to the likes of Dylan and Springsteen and quoting notes from his own biography – Nile is a songwriters’ songwriter. No less a personage than Lucinda Williams has said of him, “Willie Nile is a great artist. If there was any justice in this world, I’d be opening up for him instead of him for me.” Lou Reed hailed the 2006 album ‘Streets of New York’ as “a great album,” while Graham Parker calls it “a real gem—stirring melodies, passionate vocals, intriguing lyrics…every track a winner.” Says Ian Hunter, “Willie’s from the big-hearted downtown alleyways of NYC. Well done!” Little Steven adds, “Willie Nile is so good I can’t believe he’s not from New Jersey!”

Such is the respect of Willie that’s he’s often asked to join Bruce Springsteen, Alejandro Escovedo and others on stage and they will often join him at his shows.

So tonight although Empty Rooms can’t promise you that Springsteen will be there (maybe next time, he’s a bit busy at the moment :-)  ) I’m sure they have no problem in guaranteeing one heck of a rocking night and by all account it will be busy so prepare to stand and dance

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Judie Tzuke – The Stables 30th March

Friday 30th March, fearing I would be stuck in rush hour traffic, I thought I would leave early for the short trip up the motorway aiming for The Stables in Wavendon. Plain sailing all the way and the only queues I saw were those people still convinced there would be a fuel crisis, clearly they hadn’t heard the news to stop panicking.

Tonight is one of my highlights of the year with a Sold Out visit from Judie Tzuke, someone I had followed since day one and have seen on many occasions and always love seeing at this special venue. In fact I first discovered The Stables due to Judie playing there, in those days it was a much the small venue, where if you were in the front row you could put your feet up on the stage (actually if you were tall enough and in the back row you could put your feet on the stage, it was that small.)

So arriving early and getting the usual warm welcome, reserved for everybody not just regulars like me, gave me the time for a chat with some old friends before the 8pm start and the support of the evening from Bailey Tzuke. Bailey’s singing and her own compositions have matured over the years from when she first appeared with her Mum and ironically the first time I saw them together was here at The Stables on the first ever Bob Harris Introduces shows, Tonight she was joined by Judie’s backing band and she sang and swayed her way through her 30 minute set with ease.

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Eliza Shaddad – The Station Sessions and EP

So the sun was out yesterday and for me a trip to London was on the cards, I’ve not really been up to the smoke for over a year so I thought I would put the tourist hat on rather than trawl around the shop, well I’ve not got the money to spend either. The other reason to go was to check out The Station Sessions I’ve mentioned before and seeing that Eliza Shaddad a Scottish and Sudanese singer-songwriter, based in London,was due to play, it’s  a good enough excuse to hang around and catch the later train home.

I’ve seen Eliza before as she’s a frequent visitor to Bedford Live events at Esquires in Bedford, but this would also be the first time to get hold of her first 4! track EP. Playing in the busy concourse at St Pancras International Station, with all the usual noise and bustle and Tanoy announcements of rush hour traffic, you would have thought would be off putting, but not for Eliza who carried on regardless as if oblivious to what was around, though still engaging with the crowd that slowly gathered happy to delay there journey home, just to stop and listen for half an hour and looking at people buying the EP at the end of her set they clearly wanted to take a piece of her home too.

A stroke of genius to place a music stage, at rush hour, in a International rail terminus, let’s hope this helps spread the word of some of the great unsigned music that is available and look out for Eliza’s video session amoung many found on their site.

So check out Eliza if you can, she’s a regular at The Gallery Bar in West Hampstead (singing of course) and track down the CD or download it via her Bandcamp page, it is rather good.

There is a video for one of the tracks A Good Man which was filmed and edited all on a mobile phone by Eliza and follows her recent trip to Scandinavia – it’s really clever what you can do now.

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The Station Session Festival – St Pancras International Station

Are lucky enough to work in London . . . . even lucky enough to work in this day and age and if you commute back home via the splendid St Pancras International Station at the height of rush hours you should stop by and check out the music festival that is running every weekday between 22nd March through to the middle of May. Under the banner of The Station Sessions, which has had regular event over the past year, this will be a showcase for unsigned artists to play a short set. By it’s nature many of the names may be unfamiliar though a few that have caught my eye include, Futureheads (22/3) The Barker Band (28/3) Eliza Shaddad (29/3) Natalie McCool (26/4) Leddra Chapman (30/4) though actually I’d probably like to check them all out. So get out there and support what they are doing, this might greatly improve your working day.

Just click on continue reading below to see the listing and remember if you want to see the complete listing in songkick without leaving this page, right click on see all concerts and select open in new tab

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Richmond Fontaine Duo – Tingewick Village Hall 9th March

The last few times Richmond Fontaine played for Empty Room Promotions was last year at The Bullingdon and the 2010 sell out at Tingewick Village Hall, both with the full band. So I was not too sure how they would come over as a duo, lead singer / songwriter Willy Vlautin and guitarist Dan Eccles, well there was nothing to worry about here. By Willy’s own omission his song can often be dark and depressing, though always with a great narrative, I guess this is why he’s also a successful novel writer too. The breaks between song did allow Willy to tell some much lighter anecdotes of touring, people back home and living with band members, while Dan’s guitar playing and use of feedback really evoke the full band sound we all know. Not only did they dip into their current CD High Country they played many tracks from the past not often played with the band, including a song Don’t Go Back There, which although never originally recorded, but will soon be released on a re packaged album. So the hour and 40 minutes soon flew by.

Support for the evening was from Danny George Wilson from Danny and the Champions of the World. This was Danny’s third visit to Empty Rooms in 5 months and we joked he’ll soon be classed as our resident singer, still we have no problem with this and whether playing in a band or solo Danny, put on a great show, also to his credit he did finish off with one of my favourites These Days.

So a great evening in the company of three real gentlemen who are always welcome back.

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Matt Andersen – Live at The Stables

Just a note for the diary 21st March, 8.45pm, Stage 2 at The Stables. This will be Matt Andersen’s first visit to the venue and he’s bound to impress, though Matt has played the area previously in 2007 in Buckingham with fellow Canadians Dave Gunning and Jessica Rhaye, so I’ve been waiting this long for a return visit. On that night this big blues guy just blew us away with his guitar playing and destinctive deep voice. If there is any justice this small venue should sell out and we are in for a treat. Don’t miss it.

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