Topic Folk Club, Bradford March 2007 Newsletter
Coc.k and Bottle, 93 Barkerend Road
Greetings: and welcome to the March Newsletter:
As well as the usual What’s Coming Up, a couple of news items later, including a request to sign up to the Downing Street Petition on the government’s plans to regulate live music.
March 8 Grace Notes (Mar 8).
Superb quality three-part female vocal harmony from the best in the business. Sometimes a capella, sometimes accompanied by flute, bodhran, recorders or keyboard; sometimes traditional, sometimes more contemporary. They having been singing together for a decade, but the individual careers of Maggie Boyle, Lynda Hardcastle and Helen Hockenhull go back even further. “Nothing short of stunning” is one of many rapturous reviews. Featured Support will come from Simon Alexander, one of the Topic’s best technical guitarists, with a selection of distinctive original songs and worthy covers from his favourite songwriters. Tickets £6 / £7.
Mar 15 A Double Header evening (Mar 15): two acts for the price of one.
Mulberry Blue is an exciting and energetic band from Leeds, playing a variety of instruments, and presenting a selection of their own songs and standards, with excellent harmonies led by the stunning vocals of Beth. Laura Hockenhull is a traditional singer with a beautiful voice and mature delivery. No doubt her famous mother (see above) has encouraged her from the start, but this self-assured performer is very much her own person. Tickets £4 / £5.
Mar 22 John Wright (Mar 22).
A real delight. John is one of the best interpreters of song on the circuit; a finely balanced, authoritative and husky-smoky voice putting over quality songs by writers such as Allan Taylor, Pete Abbott and Brian Bedford. He is always accompanied by quality musicians: this evening it is the self-same Pete Abbott on guitar, and Gregor Borland on fiddle and mandolin. No Featured Support tonight, but another opportunity for quality floor singers to strut their stuff. Tickets £5 / £6.
Mar 29 Mark Newman (Mar 29).
Guitarists all, come and weep. Rarely does one see a practitioner of such delicate, effortless fretwork, such lightly skipping fingering, such effortlessly timed melodies. Mark is a consummate professional, mixing his beautiful tunes with traditional and contemporary songs. Featured Support comes from four stalwarts of the local scene: the rich a capella harmonies and musical humour of Whitney Gin. This really will be an evening to remember. Tickets £4 / £5.
April 5 Martin Carthy (Apr 5).
The big one. Martin was a one-time annual fixture at the Topic, but astonishingly this is his first visit in 14 years. The doyen of traditional folk music, Martin has done it all, and many a club owes its continued existence to his faithful support of the club scene when he could have retired to much bigger venues. No Featured Support tonight, but another opportunity for quality floor singers to stuff their strut at the feet of the master. Tickets £6 / £8 are available in advance: either at clubnights, or email firstname.lastname@example.org (Don’t just “reply” to this Newsletter: I’ll be away.)
April 12 Steve Tilston (Apr 12).
Another big one. Songwriter and guitarist of many many years experience, Steve has played with the greats, and the greats still cover his songs. A performer of flair and massive ability, it is great to welcome him again. Featured Support comes from the tender and thoughtful duo of Siobhan and Chris Nelson. Tickets £4 / £5.
April 19 Singers and Musicians
April 26 Anthony John Clarke FS Sam Hird
May 03 Tom McConville and Dave Wood Floorspots
May 10 DH Bandersnatch & Lynn Geddes
May 17 Sketch FS Fran Rodgers
May 24 Singers and Musicians
May 31 George Papavgeris FS Katriona Gilmore & Jamie Roberts
June 7 Julie Ellison Floorspots
June 14 Pete Abbott FS Elbow Jane Band
June 21 Singers and Musicians J
une 28 Duncan McFarlane Acoustic B FS Ryan McGovern
July 5 Roger Sutcliffe
Right, News items.
PETITION Many of you will undoubtedly already have received details of this Downing Street Petition complaining against the government’s intentions to regulate, license and thereby inhibit informal music events. Click on the following link http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/licensing/ to add your name, to help keep music live and free. We might not get as many signatures as the infamous RoadRage petition; but at the last count it was 40,000 signatures and rising, which isn’t bad. It won’t take you more than a minute, honest. WEBSITE Talking of weblinks and things rising, the Topic’s site was three years old last month; and had reached 13,400 hits. It has had well over 400 in the month following: well over 100 a week. Remember, as well as a detailed history of the Club and comprehensive lists of all acts since about 1971, it has such links as we can find to every artist who has ever appeared at the Topic – an excellent starting point for anyone trying to renew old contacts.
YOUTH One often hears the lament, where are all the young people at Folk Clubs? Well, we are doing our bit at the performer end with the Featured Support programme, with almost all the FS acts booked from April onwards featuring acts at the younger end of the spectrum. Let’s hope they bring their friends to see that what we offer is exciting and contemporary. One such, former Topic regular and now Leeds music student Ryan McGovern, will be appearing just before he disappears to Ecuador for a spell teaching English in poor rural areas; and will hope to raise a bit of cash to assist.
CHINA That’s about it for this issue. Do keep supporting our programme: we’ve got some big names, and they (and the Featured Support acts) deserve your support. I’m off on my annual China trip to source some new cheap coloured guitars, so won’t be able to answer emails with any regularity or precision for the next three weeks. If you want to ensure you get your Martin Carthy tickets, email Guy as set out above.
See you all some Thursday at the C.ock and Bottle at one or more of the above events. 8.30 start. Be there by then if you want a floor spot, which are available every night even where a Featured Support artist is booked. No smoking in the club room.
Topic Newsletter Editor
Topic Newsletter No 63 MARCH 2007