Summertyne Fest Outdoor JHot Stage 2016 review
Juan Fitzgerald + all pics
From the first day when Sage Gateshead upped its game on social media & classy local talent was showcased, we knew that we where in for a really busy Summertyne Americana weekend treat as from the mid morning, record Friday crowds with their folding chairs & picnics came out on top of the hill overlooking the free, jumping hot club stage. By Sunday viewer’s stretched to the very back of the grass and over spilled at the sides, even in the midday showers. So, day one was action packed & warmly received, the highlights for me were Kari Macleod and The Fugitives with their youthful mix of Celtic -country music and the Teresa Watson band with her high energetic performance and Rhythm & Blues tunes & more. This also witnessed the first weekend dancing at the front for good measure. Friday was rounded off with the Garage/Bo Diddley/60’s psych of The Sons of Bido Lito who went down well for an audience who’d not normally hear such specialist music and the mainstream country pop of the ever so cheery Chloe Chadwick and her band, who never disappoint.
By the second day midday start, the audience practically touched the stage, as scrambles for tables & chairs had been taken over an hour beforehand. First up Danielle Howle proved a great opener. The quirky ‘ thin as a rake’ singer songwriter from Carolina USA with a most powerful voice and great sincere tunes, helped by Alex on electric piano just gave it her all & why not. She’d travelled 5000 miles to play here & while at Summertyne she also played the Concourse stage later in the day and cut a live 78 rpm record in the basement studios, using the magical lathe process. So lots of stories to take back home of this great little Festival, as should the 10 String Symphony who were a unique, talented, melancholy duo & our splendid Dee- jay Stagger Lee Fisher’s favourite for the Saturday afternoon event. The mood became more upbeat with the excellent & eclectic UK songsmith Peter Bruntnell & his rocking band, then kicked into overdrive with the arrival of rock and roll royalty Mary Jean Lewis (Jerry Lee’s niece) and her full band from Glasgow, with there ‘spot on’ take on retro vintage country/western swing music. Mary Jean’s voice even had a touch of the Patsy Cline’s. They were followed by a raucous American trio covered in tattoo’s & good ol hillbilly antics with fiddles and banjo’s & a doghouse bass called The Urban Pioneers. I doubt anybody had ever heard of them but they certainly wont forget them after a set like they gave. Eve Selis band from mid west USA, (Sage/Jumpin Hot favourites) had the honour of finishing Sat evening & their upbeat mainstream country, bellowed out into the foyer as the perfect finale for the capacity crowd.
Day three kicked off with local favourites Shipcote and friends with Texas songbird Brennen Leigh guesting on their “Facebook” song and as if requested, we had a low fly past by a Mosquito plane on the way to the air show. As the rain fell, the proper north east spirit came out & everybody got their rain mac’s & umbrella’s & stayed put for some foot stomping high energy country-blues with Hymn for Her. Luke & Mel band brought the sunshine back with their mid afternoon acclaimed country music & harmonies then we were back to the blues & a set of one man style by the American Little Victor that you’d expect to hear in a juke joint in the Mississippi. It was full on & so was his attire! Country rock is a sound made for Summertyne & Amanda Rheaure Trio made it as big as the Canadian prairies where they come from. With excellent harmonies & a good stage presence they easily won the crowd over. I think we had the first Emmylou cover of the weekend too. It was left to Yola Carter and her band and her truly amazing voice & country soul music to end the J’hot outdoor stage. They had the Sage 30 piece choir up for one tune but Yola actually out sang them all and was received like the queen of Gateshead. What an ending to a great weekend of free music for the local community.
Of course we also had the free Concourse stage inside over the weekend too & I was lucky in catching Amelia White’s set, who came across as a Patti Smith doing Americana music and also the ex -local pleasures’ of the very talented Gem Andrews & her band . Ending off the festival late on the concourse were The Kentucky Cowtippers who have played the jumping Hot Club in the past with their wonderful real bluegrass music. A special mention must go out to the Sage Gateshead who have organised this flagship Northern event for 11 years now & with big named acts in all their Halls such as Imelda May, Mary Chaplin Carpenter, Striking Matches and Howe Gelb & so much more. Even the staff were dressed up in cowboy hats & were very cheery and helpful (they also provided activities for the children such as face painting) Another special mention should go to Nitelites sound on the outside stage...which was brilliant all weekend Steve Drayton comedienne and compare complete, who makes the outdoor stage, what it is, with among his exploits this year, an inflatable parrot and of course we mustn’t forget Tamsin Austin & Graham with their relentless energy for putting it all together.
The north east is such a lucky place.
North Sea Sounds – Jumpin Hot Club/DFDS Cruise – Nov 2015.
Despite the threats of the hurricane Abigail, spoiling the North Shields to Amsterdam live music (North Sea Sounds) November cruise, happily it was to turn into more of an Abigail’s party weekend. The boat having sold out quite quickly with partygoers from the UK & Holland for the Soul and funk weekender. On the Friday night, in the quite “funky” small lounge, we had the delights of Toma, Tizer & Julian Ive, playing deep soul and funk sounds & lots more. Local Dee-jay legends of a few decades on the Northern & jazz –funk scene they certainly caught revellers on their way to the main room or had the more reserved, happily chilling out with their hot sounds, a drink and the force 9 gales !!! Dancing was allowed too and witnessed well into the early hours ….. no worries there as they calmed the sea.
In the main lounge, Gateshead soulster’s Smoove & Turrell, filled the dance floor with their infectious music & self penned tunes. They were great & the boat was rocking on two fronts. The Friday party wasn’t finished either as at midnight Smoove got his headphones on & soul samples out & dee-jayed for two hours and more.
Saturday saw an early start
with the partygoers travelling by coach from the boat & adventuring into Amsterdam to sample the local cheese shops, bars, café’s and beautiful scenery. As we only had a few hours to explore, yours truly took a very reasonable canal boat tour. I must say judging by the amount of bikes around the Dutch like to keep fit, pedestrians beware they travel along the cycle routes at quite a lick & aren’t as laid back as you’d think.
Come the early evening we were back on board in theparty mood enjoying Dutch trio Kraak & Smaak playing some groovy soul hustle. They included their minor hit “Call Up To Heaven” & a Donna Summer tune, which went down very well. After about an hour they were followed by the headline act Brand New Heavies who did away with the cordon around the dance floor and brought the audience closer. It was amazing for their fans as that created almost a private club & you couldn’t have got more up & personal with the band. Rounding off the night we had the actor, poet & radio presenter Craig Charles bringing his soul and funk show to the decks. Also to a whole new set ofyoung dancer’s too, while in the smaller lounge Dutch DJ- Wicked Jazz had everyone grooving with his eclectic mix & unusual tunes.All in all it was a resounding success & no hiccups.
So for an event to run as well as this did, a great big thumbs up to DFDS and Jumping Hot Club. Juan Fitzgerald –pics & stories