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