Ella and the Blisters

Hanwell Hootie

When looking for gigs for Moksha Medicine I came across the Hanwell Hootie, a free mini festival taking place in Hanwell in west London. The event was held to honour Jim Marshall, the creator of the Marshall amp. I have to admit, it’s not an area of London I’ve ever been to. But even though I caught Moksha earlier in the week, I thought I might as well give the festival a try.

I had low expectations as I headed over. The problem with some of these small events is that they’re not intended to be a music festival for music lovers, but a music festival for locals. This was definitely the case here.

Marshall - Hanwell Hootie
Well organised central information point

Although there were a few up and coming bands such as Moksha. There were also ‘local bands’. You know the type, the cover / wedding band. Great to watch in your local pub, especially if your friends are playing in them, but add nothing to the musical lexicon.

Then there’s usually some ‘speech’ about how great the event is going to be for the area. Often with some local politician sticking their oar in to make sure they are attached and so they appear to be doing things for the locals. But forgetting that the event might have actually done what it was meant to do and attract none locals who listen to the speech and just see a politician doing some local schmoozing.

Hanwell Hootie
Award of a blue plaque for Jim Marshall, the creator of the Marshall Amps

Then there’s the venues. The local pubs, clubs and cafes, that for the rest of the year don’t have any form of live music on and so have completely inappropriate spaces when things get busy.

Sadly all of this was true and as a music festival for the general music concert goer there was slim pickings. But taking us outsiders out of the picture and what you’re left with was a fantastic example of the local community getting together to do something really positive.

The enthusiasm of everyone involved was fantastic. The event was brilliantly organised and local businesses seemed to be on board. Everyone involved in running the event seemed to be enjoying the whole experience. The local bands seemed to be enjoying the day and the locals were enjoying themselves so I guess it was a really successful event.

So good luck Hanwell with future Hooties. Sadly there’s just not enough in it for me.

Hanwell Hootie
‘A minute of noise’ opened the event.

Roughshooter at Hanwell Hootie
Roughshooter

Roughshooter at Hanwell Hootie
Roughshooter

House of Jack at Hanwell Hootie
House of Jack – a not very convincing covers band

Moksha Medicine at Hanwell Hootie
Moksha Medicine playing in a completely inappropriate venue competing with the live sports with a criminally small (though appreciative) crowd.

Pat Dan Smyth at Hanwell Hootie
Pat Dan Smyth – far too ‘country’ for my liking. For the it would work better if the drummer didn’t sing

Ella and the Blisters at Hanwell Hootie
Ella and the Blisters – fun little band mixing folk and bluegrass type sounds

Ella and the Blisters at Hanwell Hootie
Ella and the Blisters

Moksha Medicine

Moksha Medicine

I really enjoyed Moksha Medicine’s first EP released on Soundcloud earlier in the year. It’s a great mixture of psych mixed with some eastern influences.

I’ve been trying to catch them every since I heard this EP. Tonight was my first opportunity to see them and I think it was also their first headline show and was a great first introduction to this band. Despite only gigging for a short time, the band are already pretty tight and it helps that their singer (and violinist) has got a great voice. The highlight of the evening was Egyptian, the lead single off the EP, and the mini jam they played to the request of the crowd (and promoter) who wanted a well deserved encore.

Support was from Strange Cages who also sounded great

Strange Cages supporting Moksha Medicine
Strange Cages

Moksha Medicine
Moksha Medicine

Moksha Medicine
Moksha Medicine

Big Deal

Big Deal at the Old Blue Last

After my trip to Southwark Cathedral I jumped on a bus and headed up to the Old Blue Last to catch Big Deal who were playing a free gig.

Black Gold Buffalo were still playing when I arrived. They seemed to have their friends and fans out and the place was packed. They had a poppy sound. Not really my type of music, but I though it was done very well. I thought the lead singer did a great job and they sounded pretty good.

Black Gold Buffalo supporting Big Deal at the Old Blue Last

Next up was Big Deal. I’m not a big fan of theirs. They have a nice enough sound and a few catchy songs. I saw them last year and quiet enjoyed them but they didn’t convert me into a far. But as they were playing for free I thought I’d give them another go.

Although the crowd thinned out after the support act. Their short set was well received. I think they were playing a payed gig the next day do probably used the evening as a warm-up for their own tour. Unfortunately, for me, I’m more familiar with the first album and most of the songs were from their last album. Only playing the excellent Talk off the first album. But it was still and enjoyable evening.

Big Deal at the Old Blue Last

Southwark Cathedral

Supernatural Songs at Southwark Cathedral

A change of pace tonight with a visit to the lovely Southwark Cathedral for the Hilliard Ensemble and performances of Arvo Pärt’s Fratres.

I bought cheap restricted view tickets figuring that it probably wouldn’t make too much difference to the sound. But a word of warning. Do not buy tickets in the South Transept. The sound’s being projected down into the main body of the church and you’re on the side closest to the train tracks heading into London Bridge. So the already quiet music is drowned-out by the noise of trains. Also, at least at tonight’s performance, there was NO VIEW. It wasn’t restricted, there simply was no view as you were looking at the scaffolding for the choirs seats. Unfortunately, this did have a detrimental effect on my ability to fully enjoy the music of one of my favourite composers as I could neither see the performance or hear everything. But the tickets was only £5. At that price, even with the poor sound, there was still enough enjoyment in the evening to make it worthwhile. Just next time, I won’t be such a cheapskate.