Venue: The Labour Club (Website)
Event: Masters of Budvar present
Location: 95-97 Charles St Northampton England NN1 3BG
Hot Mocambo are a gypsy jazz sextet, playing the music of Django Rheinhardt and more. Widely admired in Northampton, they are led by Pete "The Duke" Watkins, who, of course, was the bassist in Tom Hall's astonishing Bareback Ryders.
Micky Greaney is a singer-songwriter from Birmingham and a man for whom the phrase "been there, done that" might have been invented. A member of the scene which spawned the Subterranean Hawks, the Jacobites and...er...Duran Duran, Micky has played in full-on rock bands, performed as a solo artist, duetted with Dave Kusworth, and still found time to play Ronnie Scott's with a 12-piece jazz band! A brilliant guitarist, gifted with a spine-chilling voice; we are lucky to have him coming to play.
Micky's career path has certainly confounded many and even frustrated as his genuinely anticipated second album is awaited.
Well, the news is good - he has just put together an awesome band and has a frantic fire in his belly, undeniably witnessed at an Into The Music show at The Glee recently and they are recording too.
His debut album Little Symphonies For The Kids (which featured Ocean Colour Scene) was awarded album of the year by the Evening Mail and saw him enter a production deal with legendary producer John Leckie (Radiohead, Pink Floyd etc.) and demo at Abbey Road Studios. This show sees him play solo acoustic, a setting when in the moments of the intense and passionate intimacies he creates, genius often appears in the forms of instinctive and heartfelt lyrics and raw heart on sleeve performance. With some stunning new material a treat lies in store.
Ghost Train are Northampton's own Western Swing desperados, a trio featuring Steve Gordon (P. Hex/Wilson), Ian Anderson (P. Hex) and Kathy Schaer (Wilson). Last time they played Acoustic Allstars they played entirely acoustic to a stunned and silent audience, who were hypnotised by their music. This time they promise a longer set and maybe - just maybe - a microphone or two.
And there you have it. 3 great acts, the best small venue sound system in town, friendly candlelit atmosphere, top food and beer on demand. Masters of Budvar - doing it for love.
📝 Pat Says
This he continued to do through the first couple of numbers from the sharp-suited Micky Greaney. Then Micky caught him out applauding a tune. "What are you clapping for?" he enquired, "You haven't listened to a note of it." And then, with exactly the speed and grace of an entirely sober man moving to hit another man very hard, the diminiutive songwriter heaved his microphone stand up into the air and planted it firmly in front of Mister Noisy. "Tell you what - why don't I sing this one just for you, and we'll see if you can't shut up and listen for five minutes?" You guessed it. He shut up. Which enabled the rest of us to spend half an hour listening to the astonishing set that Micky had come to play. A wonderful set of classic songwriting. The voice is everything I've been told and a bit more. Special thanks to John Purcell for suggesting him for a gig here in the first place, and for going way, way beyond the call of duty in delivering him safely among us. We trust that they will both be back.
Hot Mocambo swarm onto the tiny stage area like giant tea-head locust people (if I've remembered that bit exactly right...) and there is hot jazz for the lucky punters. The evening is changing gear again.
Damn rhythmic they were, with Steve playing a full kit and Becca at his side with her percussion. The Duke played electric bass and the twin guitar strikers span melodies, counter melodies, rhythms, polyrhythms, multitap ping-pong poly-meta-rhythms and shit like that around the place like they had an urgent appointment to keep. For a moment or two they searched around for the right sound, but by their second tune they were blazing. Great musicians with great sounds playing Django jazz and a sort of mutated Latin bop at high speeds well loud. A marvellopus set that earned the band two encores, including a dreamy "Nuages" to close on. Marvellous.
By this stage the Masters of Budvar were in full physical control of my frame, so naturally I found myself compelled to spend some time just veering around grinning like an eejit saying "thank you" to people. As you do, I suppose. But really, sincere thanks to all the players for three great sets.
Or should that be four? For when the Masters of Budvar made it back to their Secret Antarctic Headquarters, the Mojo Soul Riot (c) came off almost straight away for another live set of songs from Micky. Then guitars began to pass around and something of a workshop was developing with Micky, Joe Woolley and me. Fortunately, the arrival of The Drummer brought us all back to our senses and we got on with the drinking and the smoking and the talking rubbish. Brilliant. Trebles all round.
Holy shit, I was at that gig and he wes brilliant. Had a chat after the show and he gave me a copy of Little Symphonies, which is a truly excelent album. He should be huge. Nice one Pat.