Loveloudly presents The Vicars of Stiffkey, Jessie Q and the Earthquakes, Silver at The Blueberry, 20 February. Wayward Natives V: The Palm Wine Disco, at Bedfords Crypt, 20 February 2015
After an eleventh hour on-off-on again gig cancellation and literally a last minute it’s “back on track” rescue, this was a night of music that must have caused organiser Andy some serious stress and headaches beforehand, it was a relief that this gig took place at all. Initially the gig was off with the Blueberry due to close at 7pm but somehow or other all the hours of work putting this gig together and promoting it were saved and it was suddenly back on again with everyone hastily trying to get word out that it was happening after all.
First on stage was Silver, a new act to me but really good. A very atmospheric solo set albeit with two brief cameos on mic and harmonica, Silver played hauntingly and grew more impressive as the set wore on. Good stuff.
The sound was much better at the Blueberry than it has been in the past and for Jessie Q and the Earthquakes more and more people were sufficiently intrigued to move closer and we also had the first dancing of the night. Jessie herself is a brilliant focal point whilst the boys on guitars have immense power, so much so that you don’t immediately realise there is no bassist. Of course the assured drumming of Mick is perfect too. I’ve seen this band a few times now in various forms but the past two (both in this venue) have been particularly memorable. The two guitarists either side of Jessie are relentlessly brilliant whilst Jessie herself is very visual, hints of Siouxsie, she is captivating.
The intriguingly named Vicars of Stiffkey were the night’s headliners, a five piece including Tom from Echoes in the Well on bass, plus Shane O’Linski, and Will Teather on vocals. I adored them! So many influences and no small amount of humour, there was some psych rock, some moments that made me think of Hawkwind, The Fall with that insistent beat, and even Joy Division whilst Shane maintained the psychedelic feel throughout on keys. They were powerful and fun, and got people dancing too.
Unfortunately Vacuum Boots were unable to attend due to illness but that allowed everyone to play for a bit longer and the night ended with a fascinating jam with the motley collection of musicians present jamming until closing time. Midnight being my cue to head up to Bedfords Crypt for the always wonderful Wayward Natives. This being the fifth and penultimate gathering of these djs and infectious rhythms from around the world and of course the place was absolutely rammed as usual. The dancing was relentless, the smiles abundant and the grooves joyous. Another brilliant night demonstrating how diverse the musical tastes and influences are in the city. This one could have gone on all night but at 2am it had to stop, with the place still tirelessly dancing.
It’s weird times at the Bloob, it is still a friendly enough place and is certainly relaxed and tolerant but it has the feel of a pub in danger of falling apart at the seams due to lack of investment, falling into a needless decline and yet conversely the sound and the lighting and the music just keep getting better and better despite this, due entirely I suspect to the sheer love of music of some dedicated individuals. It kind of suits this sort of indie rock night, grimey with an 80s venue feel in a way it is absolutely perfect for some guitar noise. Not sure what it will feel like on a sunny afternoon with the sun streaming into it and showing its flaws as it is screaming out for some tlc but for a Friday night guitar driven gig it worked, especially as the night wore on. This is only mentioned as it is such a well-loved music venue and I’ve had great times here over the past couple of years … I hope there will be many more.
Many thanks to Andy Sacre, Wayward Natives, Bedfords Bar
photos and video (c) all rights reserved Shashamane, 2015