Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Slamfest and a bit of a look back.

It’s about time I put a full Blog together, rather than a headline update.

It has been a busy time, and not helped by a meltdown in my Windows Profile Account which lead to this past weekend being lost while I attempted to save my settings, programs and files into a new Profile.  According to Help it was supposed to be a three click job, hoho; not the case when one has so much data. 

Anyway we’re sort of there now with new protocols set up and new programs in use.  

With so much to cover it’s difficult to know where to begin. 

RAE stuff first.  Let’s get some pictures going again………….. and here’s one from the Drop In Centre opening.  Pimms, great music from Phill, Chris and Sam, and nibbles courtesy of Amanda’s Blinds, what could be a better way of spending a Saturday afternoon.  And we had a good few visitors.  So thanks to everyone who popped in.

The Drop In Centre Banner has arrived and Daz spent a productive Tuesday evening lifting it into place with help from Craig.  The Banner comes courtesy of Bristol Street Motors (Chesterfield).  We now certainly stand out on Wellgate. 

Our Get Creative Workshop, organised by our crafters Minx and Emma, are under way.  The next one is July 10th in the upstairs room of the Drop In Centre, where you can learn how to create your own Tote Bag.  The £10 fee includes all materials.  The Workshops are growing in popularity – and are exceptional value for money.  They start 6:00pm so everyone can get there.  Here’s four happy crafters at work.

More local artists, authors and Bands are making use of the Drop In.   We have a growing collection of work from Poets, most recently Carol Robson’s “Words of Darkness and Light”. 

Tony Beesley  has visited the Drop In to sign copies of his new book “Away From The Numbers” which is now available in the Drop In Centre.  It was a lovely afternoon with Em providing the music.  Good to see Em back on the scene with all fingers crossed for some spectacular Exam results.

And watch out for other Workshops and mini events at The Centre as we get ourselves established. 

If you’ve not called in yet, pay us a visit, we’re currently open Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 11:00am – 3:00pm.  However we hope to announce more days very soon.

If you would like to join our fantastic team of volunteers then please get in contact by Emailing HERE  or call in at The Centre……………….   We need volunteers in all parts of operations.   

Live at The Trades  and we’re having one or two Summer pull outs as Bands book holidays or are seduced by the pull of Agents promising the possibility of being signed up.  You will forgive me for being cynical.  I really do not see the importance of being signed these days…………..   answers on a postcard please. 

But somehow Mick has, despite all his work for Slamfest, has managed to get things sorted.  So watch out for announcements for July 13th and August dates soon.   Tickets for Chris Slade, former drummer with AC/DC and many other top bands are now available from The Drop In Centre.  Book early for this one.  Also bookable On-line HERE

There’s a fantastic autumn programme for Live at The Trades, with an amazing range of music, and you’ll love what we are planning for the Winter.  GO HERE to stay in touch and it will include a second helping of The Night Train Revue, something to really look forward to.

We had a classic night at The Trades a couple of weeks back when we joint promoted the Night Train Revue.  A repeat date has been booked and will be announced soon.

The last two Saturday nights have been interesting.  Last Saturday I went to Andy Morton’s punk promo at The Bridge one that had Propane 4 headlining with the hilarious poet of our time Dwane Reads,  and Bruce Tality.  A super evening, but ohhhhhhhh, it didn’t get underway until 9:30pm and for those of us who have to squeeze a quart into a pint pot in two parts of the Borough it was far too late! 

Dwane Reads was simply brilliant, it’s the sort of poetry I love, easy flowing a delivered with a cheeky glint in the eye with brilliantly observed humour.  Watch out for an announcement soon about Dwane coming back to Rotherham for a couple of RAE spots.

Unfortunately I had to leave halfway through the Bruce Tality spot which I was enjoying and sorry Propane 4 I missed your spot completely.

I did manage to get back into Rawmarsh just in time to avoid the wrath of Mrs Masher, and for once I was really pleased that she had made me get back to head for Rawmarsh Trades and Labour.   Yes, ever reducing Club Land.  But it’s pleasing to see the Rawmarsh Club thriving.  But in the course of eight days I’ve seen the very best of Club Land musicianship, and what I can only describe as a real low. 

But first the high.  Mahogany Newt.  Never seen them before, despite my many years going to WMCs and the Bands undoubted pedigree and experience.  This was a polished, smooth show of rock classics that had the Club bouncing and dancing.  Even Mrs Masher, not known for her love of rock, was tapping her toes.  We can forgive the little bits of added tracked sound, like the introduction to Brick In The Wall as it was an enhancement and not the be all of the performance.  Yep, I really recommend this show – and it’s great value, the second set lasted a full hour then three encores. 

Trying to twist Mick’s arm on this Band. 

By contrast this Saturday past was not fun at all.  I shall not name the Band, other than to say that it was an eighties tribute Band.  A drummer with only one rhythm, a guitarist rarely heard above the bass being banged out from the keyboard, a keyboard player who appeared to only play repeated chords to a beat.  The lass vocals were in the main very good and warranted much better back up from her musicians, even if the first set was made up with far too many costume changes, but I suppose that’s down to reducing tax liability.  I shouldn’t laugh but the highlight for me was her Tina Turner dance while singing Madonna’s “Like A Virgin”.   Nuff said. 

The Slamfest 2013 Web Site has been completely updated – we’ve added a page for each of the Stages and you will also find a Google Map helping you to find the action.

You’ll also find basic instructions for Bands.  I expect this to become quite busy as more Stage Managers wake up lol.

Everything is coming together, big time.  Of course we’re having the usual round of heart stopping moments, and the usual frustrations when it feels as if you are banging your head against a brick wall. 

We’re also being charged and having to supply services that we somehow avoided last year.  It really is strange that around four hundred Rotherham / South Yorkshire musicians can give their time and talent to create a fantastic two day show in Rotherham , for the people of Rotherham for FREE, while the Council appear to simply hope that we will go away.  This Festival has been mounted thanks only to Commercial Sponsorship, from Bristol Street Motors and the generosity of local business who recognise the potential value of the event to Rotherham even if others don’t. 

It might be worth reminding one or two people who hold the purse strings in Rotherham that RAE is a not for profit organisation dedicated to the promotion of Rotherham talent non of the Principles or any of the Volunteers take money out of the organisation.

We’ll still have bills to pay after the event, so on the day please chuck some coins or notes if you prefer into the buckets.   Or make a donation in The Drop In Centre.

The T Shirts for this year event are almost ready.  Strictly limited runs this year of two designs, one with Main Stage Bands on the back for Saturday and Sunday; the other with the Bands appearing on the other Stages.   It comes in a selection of colour, black and black – and in all sizes from small to xxx large. 

We still need volunteers for the two days – don’t all rush at once – Email HERE, or pop in at The Drop In Centre. 

The Web Site shows all the local businesses that have supported Slamfest and the RAE this year.  Keep your shopping local and especially give support to these fantastic businesses.  My personal thanks to them all.  

You’ve around four days left to pop into the Old Market Gallery to see the RCAT Exhibition.  You really have to get to it, as it demonstrates the depth of creative talent that we have in Rotherham.  The Gallery is open at 10:00am. 

On Friday night at The Bridge there’s a chance for you good folks to listen to the music of Trevor Oughton and Gary Spencer.  Hot off the press this, and well worth your time to pop along and take a look. 

Saturday sees Papa Legba’s do their end of the month special, party on down to The Bridge.  A reminder that their EP is available from the Drop In Centre.

And stay in touch with everything that is happening by visiting the Listing s page HERE

Before I go hands up how many people knew there was a music shop in the Indoor Market?  Well I’m going to be honest, I didn’t have a clue, even though I must have walked past a few times.  “Notes Extravaganza” has I’m told been in situ at Unit 38 for around twelve months – nice people, a fantastic range of music books, basic instruments and other accessories + they are instrument teachers and they support RAE so they can’t be bad.  Go give them a visit. 

That’s it. 

So whatever you’re doing this week, have great fun, support your local artists and KEEP IT LIVE.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Slamfest Gets Ever Closer / And It's Another Fantastic Weekend of Music

In haste, will add pictures later.

So much seems to have happened since I last wrote a full Blog for you all to yawn to, so I guess to keep things in perspective I’ll concentrate upon what have been the highlights – and “in no particular order “ to quote Ant and Dec. 

By the way did you see the Final of Britain’s Got Talent?, and the winners?  Ironically not from Britain in any stretched description, and while I’m sure their shadow acrobatics were very clever, it quite rock my boat – the Indie harmony Band had my vote………..     And this year far too many toddlers in the final on the “ahhh” vote.    Highlight of course Cowell getting egged, although some say it was a set up stunt so that the Show was on the Front Pages the next morning.  Yes the egging did it!

I was forced to watch the repeat by Mrs Masher as we ate our Sunday lunch, just in case you thought I had been a naughty boy and missed one of the Live At The Trades events.  Yes, I could be found at the ticket desk for what proved to be one of our most successful promotions to date, The Night Train Burlesque Revue.  It was a success in terms of the number of people buying tickets and the standard of the performance, as witnessed by the standing ovation given to the performers at the end of the night. 

We had comedy ventriloquism, hoopla hooping, fire dancing, elegant dance and high comedy acrobatics with some fine singing and comedy holding the show together.   My personal favourite Havana Hurricane but we’ll keep that under our Masher caps, please!

So congratulations to Charlie, better known as Pinky Deville for bringing together an excellent Bill and we look forward to another show in the not too distant future. 

Taking a step back, I was surprised that so many in the audience came from out of Town and were experiencing a Rotherham show for the first time.   It’s great that they left in positive mood and were also exposed to some of the other good things happening in Rotherham. 

Going back in time it was good to see The Trades bursting at the seams for a very Rotherham musical event celebrating the 50th Birthday of Baz Thurman, bass player of this Parish.  The show was made up mainly of combinations of the Bands he played with during his active musical career, including My Pierrot Dolls a band that I’m told are legendary in Rotherham and this being the first time that they had got together in thirty two years.   It was a fantastic evening, with music ranging from punk to the electronic sound of MPD and some super rocking blues from the young Whiskey Spirit in between. 

We’ve copies of My Pierrot Dolls CD “Coming Back To Life” available at the Drop In Centre, 25 Wellgate, Rotherham. 

On the same night I’m told that there was a good crowd in The Bridge as well for another top performance from Goat Leaf.  Goat Leaf now go Nation Wide as there various tours shape up, and that includes a trip to Spain.  Rotherham music reaching new audiences.

The Live At The Trades Green Bay event was not one of our best.  Nothing wrong with the Band but the turnout was considerably less than what we might have expected.  Ooch!   And we’ll leave it at that, and learn the lesson.

But most of RAE time has been spent on Slamfest business.  We’ve been slaving over all the bureaucracy; twisting the arms of Sponsors and advertisers; flier distribution; poster designing and chasing; and general planning stage times etc.  A big thank you again to our main Sponsors, Bristol Street Motors Vauxhall Commercial of Chesterfield who have enabled us move forward with confidence. 

I’m told that the 2013 Slamfest T Shirt will shortly be available – watch this space. 
We had a fantastic response to the call for volunteers, but we need more!  Please, please help us deliver this event safely and maximise on the opportunity to get the RAE word out there by sparing us a few hours of your time.  

Starting this Saturday we need a Gang of leaflet distributors, on Saturdays and Tuesdays up to Slamfest, to get the word out there.  11:30 – 2:30 (or when it goes quiet)

We do need people to manage some of the Stages on the Saturday, (6th July)

And the more Volunteers we have on the ground on both 6th / 7th July the better. 

You can Volunteer by coming into the Drop In Centre, or Email HERE or download and complete the Volunteer Form HERE

Just over three weeks to go now……….. it’s all getting very exciting, and the weather man says it will be 22C and cloudy. 

Keep an eye on the Slamfest Stages HERE

If you are going places and would like to take some fliers with you then simply Email or drop into the Centre.  

Over the quiet time the Drop In Centre was officially opened.  This was a super afternoon with Chris, Sam and Phill playing some fine acoustic music and some lovely nibbles, wine and Pimm’s supplied by Amanda’s Blinds, who are also sponsoring the marque stage at Slamfest. 

We now have a smart RAE Banner over our door, so one suspects that the number of people asking us to print T Shirts or Fax documents will go down substantially.  

The Centre is now being put to work.  We have a program of Craft Workshops, then first which looked at basic felt stitching was a great success and next week on the 19th June the Minx and Emma will be looking at Basic Jewellery.  There’s talk of repeating the program on a Saturday afternoon in the Autumn.  Watch this space. More information HERE

 The next two Live at The Trades feature the Slamfest Metal Stage on the 6th July and the fantastic Sour Cherry on the 13th July, which we intend to make an entry by donation night. 

The full Live At The Trades program can be found HERE

Unfortunately For Pete Sake had to pull from their Sunday Gig on the Clifton Park Band Stand because the lead singer had a throat infection and we couldn’t fix a replacement Band at short notice.  Our next outing on the Band Stand is of course Slamfest on the 7th July. 

We’ve a very special event at the Drop In Centre on the Saturday 22nd June when Tony Beesley will be launching his new book “Away From The Numbers” at 2:00pm.  We’ve music from Em.  The usual wine and nibbles and of course readings and a book signing with Tony.  Drop in and see us.

So, coming up we have another of those busy, busy mid-month weekends.   At the Bridge on Friday night the excellent gathering around Hangman’s Corner will be coming together for another fine evening of music.  

On Saturday The Bridge is again the centre piece of the night with an evening of Punk music and Poetry, Propane 4, Bruce Tality & Dwane Reads will be performing.   

There’s a fantastic day of music and politics in Elsecar as part of the Axe the Bedroom Tax Rally.  I was sorry to see though that Occupy Sheffield Peoples Forum decided to choose the same day for their Meeting at the Quaker House. 

For those who cannot venture out of the Town, there is an Open Garden Party in the Minster Grounds from 10:00 on Saturday morning until 2 in the afternoon. 

Finally on Sunday the Demon Barbers are playing the Library Theatre in Sheffield and if anyone has not seen this highly popular folk Band I can really recommend it. 

As per usual all the details for the above can be found by following the on the Listings Page HERE

And I will have forgotten something really important for which I apologise. 

Whatever you’re doing this week have a great time, please support your local artists and KEEP IT LIVE.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

A Few Tips for The Weekend. Burlesque to Folk to Rock

So, once again, better get something written before the weekend jumps and grabs us as it’s been go, go, go on the Masher Diary what with some super Gigs, the Drop In Centre re-decoration + Opening, Courses, Workshops, and Slamfest preparations (ohhhh is it really only four weeks away?)

My intention is to get a retrospective Blog out very soon looking back at some of the great things that have happened, but once again for this Blog I’m concentrating on what is to come this weekend.

So looking towards Friday we have the monthly gathering of Big ROMP at The Bridge from around 7:30pm ; and of course Play On will be meeting for a good sing at The Rutland. 

There is a special on Friday at The Park View, Swinton when the first in a season of Summer Sessions will take place as a fund raiser for the Wath Folk Festival.  The line-up is fantastic and a mere fiver buys entry and of course it’s a great cause.  Not sure that the Park View has been a Folk venue before.   A link to the detail can be found HERE

Something very different on Saturday when RAE are proud to promote a top class night of Burlesque, Live At The Trades.  An evening that I’m really looking forward to.  Doors are at 7:30pm and The Night Train will pull out of the Station at around 8:30pm.  Tickets have been selling fast and we recommend everyone to get in early to get a good seat.  Tickets can be bought HERE or on the door for the usual surcharge.  Details of the fully professional acts appearing can be found find the link HERE

And there’s an evening of fifties swing at The Bridge, where The RSQ Featuring Rob Coyne will be swinging into action for an evening in the groove. 

Plus the Glavins, are they from Rotherham or Barnsley? are playing The Roebuck in Sheffield.

All the usual regular sessions etc. will be running to.  It’s all on the listings page HERE

Great news from the Minx and Emma, the first of the REA hosted Workshops was a great success and I’ve seen the feedback forms.  The next one will look at basic Jewellery Skills, and will take place at the RAE Drop In Centre on Wednesday 19th June.  Pop into 25 Wellgate, Rotherham to book your place, deposit £3. Watch out for more on the Drop In Centre What's On page HERE

Incidentally, the Minx is out and about this weekend, you can find her at The Dinnington Carnival.  In addition she’ll be leading the massed ranks of The South Yorkshire Crafters at Rotherham Market on the 15th June.

Surprised this last week to see Pete Shaw’s name pop up on Facebook again, and to see that he is developing a new Folk Club, Heeley Folk, at The White Lion on London Road, Sheffield.   Great to see that there is life in old chap still and has not given up on opening up new venues for Folk. 

Finally a heads up towards the gathering in Elsecar of Saturday 15th, when there is to be a HUGE Festival of music, with a little bit of political input, to protest against the “Bedroom Tax”.  Check out the details on the Poster and the link on the listings page HERE

And if you’re in Rotherham Friday or Saturday why not pop into The RAE Drop In Centre for a coffee and  chat.  We hope that our new outside banner  will be with us at the weekend. 

Whatever you are doing this weekend have a great time, please support local artists, and KEEP IT LIVE.