August 30, 2010

2010 Colne Blues Festival

So, having missed the two previous venues, I decided to attend the 2010 Colne Blues Festival over the bank holiday weekend. The idea was to turn up around lunchtime on Saturday, spend the afternoon and evening soaking in some music, stay overnight with a good friend who goes online by the name "Psychomania", grab a late breakfast in town and then head home on the 13:35 train back from Colne.

Of course, I had to take the wherewithall to snap a few photos while there... Yes, I know that many of them are of pretty poor quality, but there are also some cracking snapshots in there, one in particular that I entered into a photo competition :o)

Anyway, we met up with Mr. and Mrs. Psychomania and a mutual friend (who was starving and had started eating before everyone else. Way to go, Faye...) at the Wetherspoons in Colne. Having had a reasonable breakfast and wanting to sample some of the roadkill, err, sorry, roadside fare later on, I settled for a burger & beer deal, as did the Psychos, and Roy decided to go for a steak & kidney pudding and chips.

We decided to head down to the Crown Hotel shortly after 1pm to catch a Cumbrian band called "Feed Me" who were starting at 1:30. The pub was pretty crowded and it was difficult to get to the bar to be served. Once there, however, the service was great because there were enough staff manning the place. The only let-down, and this was general throughout the town, was the plastic glasses in which drinks were being served. It's just a precautionary measure to prevent trouble and injury when people get a bit tanked up. The band, although we didn't actually see it with our own eyes, seemed pretty good. We were round the corner so that the main crowd would sort of dampen the sound and let us hear something a lot better than they would...

The next place we stopped at was "The Venue" (used to be Colne Conservative Club, the Google street view photo is out of date), a bit further up, where a band called DC66 were playing. I don't want to make any enemies online or offline, so the less I say about this band the better.

Beating a hasty retreat from The Venue, we headed down to the sports centre where some great, young musicians, the Mitch Laddie Trio were on stage. At only something like 16 years of age, this is a young guitarist who is going to go far. I'm glad I heard him in the sports centre, where there was decent amplification so that you could hear all the instruments instead of just a distorted audio mess. This trio is one of the two acts that I would definitely come back to Colne next year to see.

Once Mitch had done his bit, the plan was next to get back to the Crown Hotel and listen to the Welsh T Band, who were kicking off at 5.30pm. Unfortunately, there were too many people in the pub by then and it was almost impossible to hear what they were playing. I have heard that they're supposed to be pretty good, it's just a pity that I didn't get to hear them myself. Apparently, the sound was much better in the beer garden at the Crown Hotel, but Roy and I were both getting a bit hungry again, so we headed out to get some more food. There's a Thai take-away van on the roadside, so I went for a green curry while Roy opted for the special chicken fried rice. Feeling greedy, we then went to the van next to the Thai one and I had a Cumberland sausage. Roy had a burger and onions. The others had caught us up by then and had a bit more to eat. I think we all pretty much stuffed ourselves that day...

The main reason we all gathered this weekend was to see a friend of ours play with the next act that was on at the sports centre. He was drumming for Cliff Stocker's Slack Alice. They're all fantastic musicians and Cliff Stocker has a distinctive, gravelly voice. My photo of Colin Redmond is the one I entered into the competition :o)

The other act that would definitely draw me back to next year's festival is Chantel McGregor. A lot of the music she plays is instrumental, and boy can she play that guitar! She can sing well too, and she's extremely self-effacing and modest with that. When the lights go on and she can see the crowd that has gathered to see her, she is genuinely astonished and humbled. I really like her style of playing and how she can get so much out of six strings, even when the place is riddled with technical problems, as it was this weekend. Definitely one to watch out for.

After Chantel had done her piece we started a leisurely walk back to the Psychos' house, stopping for a pizza en route. It was probably about midnight when we got back, thoroughly exhausted. But it was well worth it. I could kick myself for missing the 2008 and 2009 venues (I wasn't in the area for 2007 and earlier) and plan to attend 2011, especially if Mitch Laddie and Chantel McGregor are playing again!


PsychoMania said...

We had a cracking weekend too, although we didn't have the chance to attend on Sunday or Monday.

We'll definitely have to put more planning into next years and maybe do two days?

G. Stewart said...

Sounds like a plan! I'm up for it anyway, as long as it doesn't involve walking up and down that #*&%^* hill too many times :)