By Gig Scene Editor Graham Chalmers
It doesn’t matter where I go, whenever I’m on holiday there’s two places I like to visit – art galleries and bars.
They might sound like opposite passions but where would artists be without bars and, occasionally, vice-a-versa?
Slightly strangely, I never like to frequent the same bar over and over again – even if it’s a favourite.
So even if I love the Blues Bar in Harrogate, which I do, you won’t find me there most nights. It’s a truly great venue, as testified by its enduring success and the calibre of live acts it puts on day after day, year after year on its tiny stage.
It’s where many of the best free ‘Charm’ music nights I organised in the mid-Noughties took place.
In fact, it’s one of the few places I’ve put bands on over the years for no financial reward (not that any was sought - it’s a passion, nothing more) where I felt truly at home, the others being the long-gone Tube in Commercial Street and The Library on the edge of Hyde Park in Leeds.
But you will find me at the Blues Bar shortly, enticed by the prospect of an amazing young band coming from out of town to play.
The 45s (not to be confused with Harrogate band The Four 45s) are an energy-packed teenage four-piece from Carlisle who are appearing at the Blues Bar on Sunday, February 2.
None of them are older than 16 yet they’ve already toured Britain, appeared on stage with Dr Feelgood legend Wilko Johnson and had their debut single garner the sort of reviews that ‘broke’ The Strypes.
This hot young band’s heroes hail from two different but related camps – 60s groups like The Beatles, the Stones and the Kinks and 50s bluesmen like Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters and Bo Diddley.
With floppy fringes, dark suits and thin ties, The 45s are a classic British beat group bursting with toe-tapping vigour and catchy hooks - and I can’t wait to see them.
Not that The 45s are the only great act coming up soon at the Blues Bar. There’s also Manchester blues-rock band Federal Charm and wonderful Leeds-based acoustic act Serious Sam Barrett in the next seven days alone.
But I’ve got a feeling The 45s will be too big by this time next year to pay a return visit to the Blues Bar.
The Harrogate district is bursting with musical talent, so much so that a lot of it moves away to try to achieve greater things.
Fiona Holt is one who has done just that. The former St Aidan’s student took her passion for acoustic music elsewhere a few years ago, partly to do charity work in Peru and become a Maths teacher.
She’s since given up the latter as a full-time career to resume her dream. Now this twentysomething singer- songwriter is back with a series of local appearances in pursuit of top prize in a national competition.
As a finalist in Open Mic UK, Fiona needs to do a couple of things if she is to win:
1. Release a single, which she will do next Monday when her self-penned song The Lion and The Tiger comes out.
2. Sell more copies of said single in the first week of its release than her seven rivals in the final.
Supporting Fiona is easy.
1. Simply buy the single through Open Mic UK online.
2. Or turn up at her gig at The Alexandra in Harrogate this Sunday.
3. Or listen to her on Stray FM next Monday at 1pm.
4. Or turn up at her gig at Grape and Graze in Harrogate on Saturday, January 18.
All the proceeds from sales of Fiona’s single will go to a relief fund for victims of the floods in the Phillipines set up by some of the same people Fiona workd with in Peru.
Pateley Bridge Memorial Hall is hosting A Celebration of the Music of Simon and Garfunkel shortly.
The stars of the show are Tim Chu and Ian Bailey, two talented professional singer-songwriters from the north west. To book tickets for the show on Saturday, February 8, call 01257 450363 or email email@example.com
Tour de France alert! Singer-songwriter Jeff Whiley will be debuting his new song about the Tour de France as part of his acoustic jam night at Knaresborough’s Cross Keys next Tuesday night.