Some salad with my blues, please!

Last week was Independent Venue Week here in the UK, I don’t know much about it except that it champions small independently-owned venues and helps organise events across the country to increase awareness of how important these small venues are to live music. Living where I do, I’m spoilt with the number of music venues around me, you may have noticed from my scribblings!

As part of Independent Venue Week Whistlebinkies focused on bands playing their own original music; in a whole week something was bound to take my fancy! Thursday night saw me going along to witness the spicy, saucy, sultry, stringy, succulent uniqueness of Dr Salad; genre? they call it bad romance (which actually makes some kind of sense when you see them). Dr Salad are a lot of fun, with deep, heavy, infectious rhythms, guitars wandering their own mysterious ways and the words, they’re the saucy, sultry bit! Oh, and there’s some Velvet Rough in the mix helping the medicine go down.

Scotty boy was back out again on Friday evening with his fellow Scat Rat in Stramash, but huh? they were billed as Logan’s Close, well, yes, they are LC as well, but as a duo they’re usually the Scat Rats certainly on early Friday evenings. Last Friday evening was a ticketed event at Stramash, I had my ticket booked for The Black Diamond Express, a local band who play blues with celtic strains and an Americana twang. It was an unexpected bonus to later read that the lads would be on as support, just a short sweet set of delights.

Definitely in Logan’s Close mode – both were looking very smart (Carl always likes to look smart, but, well, Scotty goes for a much more relaxed look as a Rat), and Carl had his electric guitar for that LC sound. All their own songs apart from the usual finale You Can’t Judge a Book… ; including the latest two singles Dans Le Jardin and Heart-shaped Jacuzzi, sweet. The lads went down well with the crowd, as only to be expected, and had Stramash nicely warmed up for the main attraction.

The Black Diamond Express, are a band of many, the stage looked packed out after the sparseness of LC. With that many musicians about, there had to be one I’d seen elsewhere – yes, the bassist, Ewan Gibson. He’s a Buccaneer, one of Nicole’s Back-up Crew, a Blueswaterman, and that’s just the ones I’m aware of, probably a few more, I’m sure.

When The Black Diamond Express came on the place was buzzing and there was soon some jigging about going on in the crowd. For me the fiddle-playing really enhanced the mood of the music and sounded great against the singer (great voice there). Oh, it was all great, I just like a touch of fiddle to add a little pathos and melancholy.

Back in Whistlebinkies on Saturday evening Jed Potts and the Hillman Hunters were playing some of their originals, always a pleasure! Binkies was buzzing, well, Scotland had just beaten England in this year’s Six Nations Rugby Championship, I’m guessing quite a few folk were a few pints in already!

No, I didn’t go to the Handsome House Jam on Sunday evening, I stayed in with the telly. Mind, the video is out and the setlist looks very interesting, I shall have a watch at some point. It was a good night for telly, last episodes of His Dark Materials (god, I’d forgotten how sad the end is) and the utterly brilliant Happy Valley which, happily, finished perfectly! All the coffee shops and caf├ęs in Hebden Bridge will be looking forward to another influx of tourists on the back of it.

The sun’s beckoning me, must head out. There’ll be clips of the bands up on my Instagram later, please do check them out. Cheerio!

The Black Diamond Express

Here, there and by the sea

Another trip back home’s over. That was a good one! Plenty catching up, walking, playing games, going out. A trip to Hebden Bridge and a pop into Halifax. I love an old fashioned indoor market and the one in Halifax still delights me! It’s not what it was years ago, but it’s still bustling with life and variety. It would be a very sad day if it were ever to close, I find myself looking up at the architecture and appreciating it now. They’d never build anything like that anymore!

And being in Halifax, I decided to see how the Piece Hall is looking these days …… hmmm, I’m divided. I can understand why modern marketing types would do what they’ve done in the most recent redevelopment (modern is all) but I much prefer the 1970’s version. I noticed all the stairways have glass doors now to keep the weather out, so no longer draughty and cold but aesthetically? Nah.

Closer to my Scottish home now, and I read the news today that Ollie Turbitt, bass player extraordinaire, is leaving Scotland and Logan’s Close for new adventures in Italy. I do hope the lads will manage to set a farewell gig for him, that would an awesome evening! Thanks to the interwebby I caught Carl Marah (LC’s lead guitar and singer) playing a set with a wonderful singer/songwriter Kirsten Adamson. She has great voice, full of warmth, like an audial hug! One to catch when live shows come back into fashion.

On live shows and fringes, not only is the Fringe back on in Edinburgh, there’s also gonna be Fringe By The Sea in North Berwick, running 6 -15th August. Fringes everywhere! I’ve had a quick scan of the prog and see that Scottish pocket legend Lulu Is playing the Belhaven Big Top on the first Saturday evening, nice, but the cigar may go to Dr Salad at the Glenkinchie Lowland Stage .Why? Turns out one of these purveyors of heavy romance is one Scott Rough (LC’s other guitarist and singer); he’s scratching an itch the LC sound doesn’t reach. I’ve checked their sound out and it is not displeasing to me!

Must go and walk up Arthur’s Seat while it’s not raining, I need to get back into the climb up and down if I intend Mr Ferns up there next month. I shall leave you with snaps from the old country.

Check this one checking us out! That’s one odd cowish looking sheep if you ask me!

One of the arcade entrances into Halifax Borough Market.