So City of Culture year has been and gone and what a year it was. From my point of view it meant Jeff Lynne, The Flaming Lips, Ocean Colour Scene and lots more. The question now is whether or not Hull can continue to attract big names, to the new Venue, or the football stadium or my special favourite Zebedee’s Yard for open air gigs and, of course, to the amazing Victorian pile that is the City Hall.
Early signs are promising – maybe the City of Culture can do attitude is still around – and we have the likes of Orbital and Chase & Status and local hero Calum Scott lined up for the summer. The year’s major musical events start out with a sold out show from 80s pop legends Erasure at the City Hall.
Support comes from up and coming nu-disco star Bright Light Bright Light who is making his second visit to the venue, having played last year’s LGBT rights festival night. He’s got some great catchy songs, a style that’s midway between classic pop and musical theatre and a nice line in restrained ironic showmanship. Plenty of the crowd at the front are obviously fans already and it looks like he’s made a few more by the end of his set.
The stage set up for Erasure is a surprise, with the duo separated from each other for most of the show, Andy Bell performing in the narrow space between the front of the stage and a large ziggurat constructed from scaffold and fluorescent tubes atop of which is Vince Clarke with his keyboards and a guitar. There are two dancers and singers who initially occupy frames, also fluorescently defined, on either side of the stage but their contribution is pretty minimal. All eyes are on Bell who dominates proceedings by sheer charismatic presence although Clarke descends from the gods towards the end of the set it almost seems like a one man show.
But what a great show it is. Even though I’ve been playing Erasure tracks all week I’m amazed by the strength in depth in their back catalogue. The set kicks off with an eerily gorgeous Oh L’Amour and heads for a climax with Sometimes and Respect but along the way are Stop, Drama, Blue Savannah and a variety of Love related matters including Chains Of, Victims Of and Who Needs It Like That.
Tracks from the new album World Be Gone are interspersed throughout and on tonight’s showing it’s a strong piece of work. All around the City Hall it’s pretty much a non stop dance-a-thon, from the main hall to the steep galleries and what more perfect way could there be to celebrate some of the most elegant and romantic pop music ever than dancing the night away.
By the time Clarke descends for the last couple of songs you’d imagine that people would be exhausted but of course they’re not and the final Respect is a triumphant statement of the power of great pop music to unite people in joy. Fantastic stuff.
As founding members of Britain’s biggest reggae band UB40, singer Ali Campbell, second vocalist Astro and keyboardist Mickey Virtue topped the UK singles chart on three occasions and sold 70 million records as they took their smooth yet rootsy musical blend to all corners of the globe. Now with ‘A Real Labour Of Love’ the trio give us a fresh take on the legendary series of albums, putting the focus primarily on reggae tracks from the 1980s.
We got to talk to Ali and we started out by asking him about the inspirations behind the new album.
idp: First of all congratulations on a fine new album. It’s got the real classic UB40 feel – a bit cheeky, a bit sly, a bit chilled, a bit romantic. It’s going to be very popular with the fans, I’m sure of that. And it sounds like you were all having a lot of fun in the studio.
Ali Campbell: Well yes, we loved it. It’s a delight to go into a studio to record songs that you already know and that you love. That’s why we called them the Labour of Love albums. We’ve called this one A Real Labour Of Love just to differentiate it but they were very successful albums. We sold more than 21 million of them and some of our biggest hits came from them including Cherry O Baby, Kingston Town, and Red Red Wine.
What made you decide that the time right for a new version and what’s special about the songs on this one?
They’ve been asking us for a long time to do another one so we thought that enough time had passed and we should give it a go. The songs that we cover on this album are all over thirty years old now. They’re the songs that we listened to when we were on the road with the first Labour Of Love album. When we made that album we were we were just covering the songs we grew up listening to – the songs that made us love reggae in the first place – whereas this one takes us into the 80s. These are the songs from when I was in Jamaica.They’re all classics and big hits in the reggae world and we’re trying to bring them to a new audience.
I’ve spent a long time on YouTube and elsewhere tracking down the originals of some of these songs and it has reminded me just how powerful great pop can be. How were the songs for this album chosen and did they bring back a rush of memories for you of the time when you first heard them?
Well most of them are reggae classics that I was listening to in the 80s like JC Lodge’s Telephone Love and Strive by Shinehead which is a great record. And then of course there’s She Loves Me Now by the great Dennis Hammond which is the first single from the album. There’s a really nice and funny little film to go with it and you can find that online. These are the sounds that made us love reggae in the first place and when me and Astro sat down and started to draw up a list we were like all we got to have some Dennis and we’ve got to have some Gregory. It really is a joy to do these albums. It’s always nice doing your own material but it’s a lot easier and more fun to cover songs that you love. It’s only what The Beatles did and the Stones and The Who but they loved blues and we love reggae. Their hero was Bob Dylan and mine was Bob Marley.
It sound like you’re still as passionate as ever about making music.
It’s the best job ever and i think I’ve got the hottest reggae band in the world right now. I think this is the best thing we’ve done in 25 years.
How does your approach to a covers album differ from making an album of original material? It must be important to avoid doing anything like a note for note copy.
If there’s a secret to it, it’s that you have to stay true to the melody because that’s why you liked the song in the first place but then we do our take on it and we try and make it more accessible to a pop audience. That’s all we’ve ever tried to do really, When we started the band in the first place my main idea was because I loved reggae music I wanted to promote reggae music.
Just like I loved dub and I wanted to spread the word about that. There’s a song by Goldie Lookin Chain and one of the lyrics goes “I wouldn’t know what dub was if it wasn’t for UB40” and hearing that for the first time was one of my proudest moments. The first dub album we did was our third album I think. Present Arms had gone in at number two and we thought this is the perfect time to do a dub album and show people what it’s all about. A lot of people brought the album and then took it back to the shop saying it was faulty. No vocal and some strange echoey sounds. But if you look all around the world at pop music today so much of it is informed by reggae beats. People like Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande even The Script. I saw them the other day doing a reggae track. The Sly Dunbar beat, the Bogle beat, that’s what contemporary dance music is at the moment. So reggae is more influential now than it’s ever been which makes me happy.
There’s some excellent artwork with the album and you’re auctioning some of it for charity. It’s nice to see performers taking an interest in the music as an artefact for a change. We used to love reading the album sleeves and looking through the racks at the record shop but now it’s all electronic, living in download world as we do.
It can be a bit soul destroying when you spend a year or two of your life making an album from its inception to the point where it’s finished and you spend all that time and all that money and all that effort and then you see people listening on little white headsets coming out of their phones. It’s like why was I worried about getting the bottom end to sound just right and trying to marry the bass drum and the bass guitar perfectly; it all seems a bit futile but it’s what we do. When you go back and you’re re-recording tracks that you remember as classics they always seem a bit rougher than you remember them. So it’s nice to go in and do a clean version and try and reduce it as best I can.
You act as the producer on the album. Is that something you’ve always done.
UB40 have always produced their own around music and I like to be there at the mix because there’s nobody else who knows better than I do how I want it to sound. We had Sly and Robbie mix for us but even though they’re geniuses and we love them it’s never been exactly what we wanted out of our own music. We believe we’re the ones who know what it’s meant to sound like.
Any particular favourite tracks on this album that you’d recommend we go listen to?
I think people should go and have a look at the funny little movie that goes with She Loves Me Now. It’s a terrifying thing to follow in the footsteps of Dennis Hammond I felt the same way when we did Many Rivers To Cross. It’s a tall order. I had a lot of sleepless nights and worry because he’s one of my favourite singers. It’s a bit like taking on Stevie Wonder. That’s got to be one of my favourite tracks on the album because it’s one of my favourite songs of all time anyway.
You’ve got lots of festivals lined up and an arena tour as well so you’re going to have a busy few months.
We’re doing mostly festivals in England and Europe this year. I still love touring and playing live. As I said I’ve got the hottest reggae band in the world at the moment we’ve we’ve had Morgan Heritage play with us, and Inner Circle and and Jo Mersa Marley. Raging Fyah too, they’re one of my favourite bands of the moment.
Well thanks for the chat, congratulations again on the album and we’ll hope to catch one of your summer festival shows.
Global Logistics Football Club has teamed up with Nationwide Grimsby Branch to raise more than £4,500 for babies at Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital. The money was raised from a fundraiser football match and a marathon run.
The football match was held on 16th July and players from Global Logistics raised money by paying to take part and from sponsorship.
Money was also raised by Fay Fenwick from Nationwide Grimsby Branch; she ran the Paris Marathon and received sponsorship for her run.
After the football match everyone involved gathered at the Honest Lawyer on Ladysmith Road. They held a raffle for all the prizes that had been donated by local businesses and an auction for signed memorabilia, including signatures from the 1966 World Cup. A signed football and shirt, which was donated by Grimsby Town Football Club, was also auctioned.
Owner of Grimsby Cars Ltd, Mike Croft, made a significant donation towards the cause pledging to give 10% of all service invoices as a donation.
Manager for Global Logistics FC, Dean Atkinson, said: “A few of the football players have had babies on the Neonatal unit; it’s very close to our hearts.”
If you would like to fundraise for your local hospital, please email email@example.com for more information.
Pictured from left: Ryan Ives, Ryan Kelk, staff nurse Julie Sanderson, staff nurse Sarah Chapman, Chris Brookes, Fay Fenwick, staff nurse Carol Ellis, Dale Barton, Chris Freeman and Mike Croft
It’s a proud tradition at Cleethorpes Golf club that each year the captain and lady captain choose a charity to raise money for during the year and this year the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and the Pink Rose Suite are the beneficiaries of the club’s fundraising activities.
The club’s charity day raised £6,972 which was split equally between the two departments at the Diana, Princess of Wales hospital and Captain Glenn Wishart, lady captain Susan Colvin and chairman Liz Stones presented the cheques.
Susan said: “As a local golf club, we wanted the money to go to a local charity. We all know family and friends who have been treated at the Pink Rose Suite so it’s close to my heart. Just like the neonatal unit is close with Glenn’s. It feels really nice to be able to help.”
Breastcare survivorship clinical nurse specialist Susan Cooper, who works on the Pink Rose Suite, said: “We have so many patients and the amount of patients who will benefit from this type of charitable donation is huge.”
Glenn’s grandchild was cared for by the NICU team and he chose to donate his half of the funds to that department for that reason. Glenn and Susan presented the cheque to NICU ward sister Emma Spicer.
Emma said: “There have been different types of equipment we have been looking at recently including new cots for babies that are height adjustable, breathing machines, breast milk pumps and we are looking to get some new breastfeeding chairs.”
Community champion for The Health Tree Foundation Laura Gooderham, said: “Thank you so much to Susan and Glenn for having the hospital in their thoughts when choosing who to raise money for. The donations really do go a long way to improve the services we offer to patients. We really appreciate such a generous donation and it’s comforting to know clubs and organisations are supporting their local hospital.”
For more information on supporting your hospital, contact Laura on 03033 304514 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Legendary eighties hitmakers Erasure play Hull City Hall on 7th February – check the website for ticket availability – as they launch a major tour of the UK and Europe.
The duo, (Andy Bell and Vince Clarke), who recently accepted the Icon Award at Attitude’s 2017 award ceremony, have had 5 UK Number One albums and 35 UK Top 40 Singles and their latest album, World Be Gone, went to Number 6 in the UK Official Albums Chart, giving them their highest album chart position since 1994.
They’ve also been working with Brussels based post classical musicians Echo Collective on a project which sees the new album given a post-classical rework.
Tour Support comes from nu-disco/synthpop project Bright Light, Bright Light (Welsh singer songwriter Rod Thomas), whose most recent album Choreography has taken him on a whirlwind ride in the past year or so.
He’s a long term Erasure fan and has worked with Vince Clarke in the past on remixes of some of his best known tracks so it made sense for them to tour together.
So is he looking forward to being on the road with his heroes? It certainly sounds like it.
“Touring with Erasure will be a total joy. The teenage me can’t believe what’s happening and the current me isn’t much calmer either really! Vince and Andy are legends and also happen to be two of the nicest people I’ve met so this tour is a dream come true.”
Bright Light Bright Light has had two albums in the Indy top 20, collaborated with Scissor Sisters and Elton John, performed on the Graham Norton show and even appeared as an extra in The League of Gentlemen.
It should certainly be a great tour and we’re looking forward to the Hull show – it promises to be one of the highlights of the year.
It looks like it’s going to be a summer of great music in our area, with Plan B already announced to play Market Rasen Racecourse on July 1st and now things are getting even more exciting with the announcement that Paloma Faith will be playing an open air show at the racecourse venue on Saturday 18th August.
With her acclaimed Number 1 album ‘The Architect’ riding high in the charts and a BRIT nomination for Best British Female, Paloma Faith will be bringing hits old and new to the course for a stunning headline performance.
‘The Architect’ builds on the the huge success of her 2014 album, ‘A Perfect Contradiction’, which spent 66 weeks in the Top 40. The new album is currently on course to become her fourth double platinum album in a row – which would make her the first British woman in chart history to achieve this incredible feat!
Equally at home both onstage and in the studio, this show will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of the summer season.
Tickets will be on sale at 8am on Friday 2nd February via thejockeyclublive.co.uk, with a presale available to customers at 8am on Wednesday 31st January. Tickets are priced starting at £30 with a limited number of child tickets available from £20. All T&C’s are available on marketrasen.thejockeyclub.co.uk.
Jess Clemmons first came to the attention of British music fans a couple of years ago with the release of Here We Go Again, her debut album with The Bandits and one of the most exciting country rock albums we’ve heard in recent years. Many of the people who now count themselves fans first heard of her when her version of “Wichita Lineman” was played by DJ Terry Wogan, who afterwards declared it to have been even better than the Glen Campbell original. Praise indeed.
Since then she’s been a regular visitor to the U.K., touring all over the country and winning a large following. Last year her second album, Smoke and Mirrors was released. It was selected as one of the highlights of 2017 by Country Magazine and the lead single “Sister” received extensive airplay from the BBC.
She’s back on tour in the U.K. in February, kicking off at Fruit in Hull on February 6th and if you’re a fan of top notch country music then we’d highly recommend a trip to the north bank to catch the show. We got to talk to Clemmons about music, marriage and the perspicacity of small dogs, and we started by asking about the distinctive change of sound on the material on the new album.
idp: Let me start by congratulating you on Smoke And Mirrors. I’ve been listening to it for a couple of weeks now and it’s an excellent thing. It has a distinctly different sound to Here We Go Again. A little less country rock, a little more pop and gospel. Was this a deliberate decision or did it just happen, like a natural progression?
Jess Clemons: It was absolutely deliberate. The last thing that we ever want to do is to try to recreate something we’ve already done. There’s a kind of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix” it trap and some performers and bands fall right into it. It’s easier but it also means that you don’t grow as an artist and you don’t give the audience something new. Making a big change to your sound involves taking a chance and that’s why we spent a whole year working on the songs for the new album to try to get the best of both worlds – still recognizably the established Jess And The Bandits sound but with plenty of the new in there as well.
idp: Did it feel like a risk?
JC: Well there were certainly lots of times when I was in panic mode because much of this was so different from anything we’d done before but that was mostly before I’d really started living with these songs, sharing them with friends and colleagues. Gradually it came to feel less strange. I would take the old album and choose a song to play at random, and then I’d play one of the new ones and I came to realize that there was a coherence between the songs – a big similarity in the body of work, which is exactly what you want. I wanted to find a way to tie all the songs together because when you’re in a club playing live you don’t want it to sound like you’re performing songs that don’t belong together. So I’m really glad that I went with my gut and that my management team supported me and I decided to take a risk and go for it.
idp: There’s a lot of gospel influence on the album. Is that something that you grew up with? You seem to drop into the groove very easily.
JC: I did grow up singing in the choir and the gospel feel as always been a part of me. It used to hurt that whenever I would get a solo in church I was always given the gospel part and I used to say, “I want to sing the pretty little songs,” but soon I decided that I’d embrace it. When I decided to use the gospel sound on the new album it felt really good because I felt I was getting back touch with the gospel tradition within myself that I had not made use of for a long time. It was like I was going back to my roots and to being a little girl again.
idp: There’s an extensive list of writers who contributed to the album, many of them working with you as co-writers. Do you enjoy collaboration?
JC: I love it and I got to work with some fantastic writers on Smoke and Mirrors. Femke Weidema, who co-wrote “Sister”, is actually the producer of the album and it’s great to work with a producer who is also a songwriter because you can see a song go from it’s very beginnings to being almost complete in just a few hours. Having her as a producer with such gave me such an advantage. And there’s Emily Shackleton as well. She wrote “Every Little Thing”, which was a big hit for Carly Pearce and she’s fantastic to work with.
idp: So you work in Nashville but you live in Houston?
JC: I’m in Houston now and I think I have been here for longer than I’ve ever been but I’ve taken full advantage of the downtime including getting married. I’m Mrs Peavey now. I’m getting used to that but it still feels a bit weird writing it down. I’ll get used to that soon.
idp: I understand that your dog told you that he was the right one.
JC: Unfortunately my puppy died a couple of months ago but he was always very protective about who was around me. He was just a little dog but he was one of those little dogs who think they’re very big dogs. But when Chris was around he would just cuddle right up and I thought that if I hadn’t already figured out that he was the one then maybe I should just pay attention to the dog.
idp: I think you were also hit by hurricane Harvey.
JC: Oh yes that was precisely why we had to postpone the U.K. tour last year. It was scheduled and I had been in the U.K. for a month getting ready and everything was all set and then I got the word that my parents home and been severely affected. It was the worst thing I’ve ever witnessed especially from thousands of miles away. I spoke to my mum and she said, “Do what you have to do,” but I could have hear the pain in her voice so I asked, “Do you want me to come home?” and she just burst into tears and said “Yes.” I said, “Right I’m going home, people will understand.” She’s okay now. She’s back in the house and it’s coming together slowly. They don’t have a kitchen yet but they do have a bedroom and a bathroom.
idp: You also issued an old fashioned Christmas CD which has lots of U.K. country performers on it and a song by Gary Quinn. What do you think of the current U.K. country scene?
JC: I’m a big fan. I’ve been touring the U.K. since 2016 and I’ve seen the country scene develop so fast. I love the way a lot of U.K. country artists are using their own heritage to make authentic British country music. It’s not just a question of copying the U.S. music anymore.
idp: Are we expecting a mixture of new material and old when the tour comes round?
JC: Absolutely. It’s good to be starting in Hull because Fruit is an excellent venue and we’re hoping for a good crowd. I’ll try and put in the songs that people really love plus some from the new album and hopefully people will have had time to get to learn some of them and sing along.
idp: I’m sure they will. Have a great tour and we’ll look forward to seeing you in Hull.
The words of Ruth Ellis to the off duty policeman who arrested her outside The Magdala pub in April 1955 after she had used a revolver to kill her lover David Blakely. The crime is played out in the opening scene of The Thrill Of Love by Amanda Whittington, which retells the story of the last woman to be executed in Britain.
As post war austerity draws to an end the private clubs of Soho and Knightsbridge are full of well to do punters and there is always a place for a good looking hostess. It’s a world of seedy glamour, of fast cars, strong drink and seamed stockings and the new production at The Caxtons recreates that world to remarkable effect on a stripped back stage painted prison grey and with the shadow of window bars cast over the set. There are only a few pieces of spartan furniture on stage, emphasising the similarities between the tawdry clubs around which the action plays out, the spartan bedsit in which Ellis miscarries, having been punched in the stomach by Blakely, and the condemned cell at Holloway (just pull the wardrobe aside to reveal the door to the gallows chamber).
The play investigates the damage that love can do and the suffering that some people are prepared to endure in its name. A crackly recording of Billy Holiday sets the scene and Chloey Rose as Ruth Ellis brings just the right mixture of brass and vulnerability to her portrayal of Ruth, a small town girl from North Wales who has spent the war dancing every night and hopes to move into the glittering world of British film celebrity like her idol Diana Dors.
Drawn inexorably to men who will do her harm she seems to be marked for victimhood from the start and although the play unquestionably doubts whether or not she should have died as she did it does not make her out to be a heroine or a martyr. She’s a severely damaged person, incapable of pulling herself back from the brink, as frustrating to Ruairidh Greig’s dogged, down to earth police detective as she is to her friends.
Greig’s old school copper is an omnipresent narrator/character, moving serenely through flashbacks, questioning Ellis to try to discover the truth, (particularly about exactly where she acquired the gun) and persuade her to co-operate with the many appeals for clemency launched on her behalf by others. She gives him short shrift almost to the end, by which time it’s too late.
There’s fantastic support from the three actresses who play Ellis’s friends, Marie Barker as the hard as nails and heart of gold Sylvia Shaw, Louise Blakey as comrade in arms Vickie Martin and Claire Wright as charlady and good girl Doris Judd and under the direction of Cathy Bennett-Ryan they effectively summon up the spirit of an era long before #MeToo, when casual violence against women was part of everyday life.
After a run of comedies it’s nice to see the Caxtons taking on a more serious piece of theatre for a change and we’d highly recommend a visit.
The Thrill Of Love is at the Caxton Theatre from Saturday 20th January to Saturday 27th January. Tickets available through www.caxtontheatre.com or on 01472 323111.
Are you fit enough to face a 12-hour, non-stop exercise challenge in the name of charity?
Local Mayor for North East Lincolnshire, Councillor Ron Shepherd, has this week launched his Mayor’s challenge – an annual project set up by the incumbent Mayor to raise money for his or her chosen charities.
This year, Councillor Shepherd has chosen to host and take up the challenge of a 12 hour ‘Ron-a-thon’ of non-stop exercise to raise funds for his charities, Linkage and the Carers Support Service.
The challenge, which will run from 7am to 7pm on Friday 2 April 2018, is open to the public to spectate or join in.
The Worshipful, the Mayor of North East Lincolnshire, Councillor Ron Shepherd, said:
“I’m really looking forward to this Mayor’s challenge – I think it’ll be a tough one though. I hope that lots of people from all walks of life come along and get involved in any way they can – even if they can only do fifteen minutes or so on a treadmill. It’s all for two good local causes. All people have to do is gather sponsorship and commit to doing a length of time, and then turn up at Grimsby Town Hall on the day and complete their challenge.”
“I would like to thank Lincs Inspire for providing the machines – treadmills, rowing and cycling machines – for the challenge. If anyone wants to host their own Ron-a-thon on the day at a location that suits them, then they are more than welcome to do so, and if possible I will come along and visit and get involved.”
To find out more about this year’s Mayor’s Challenge, contact Tracy Frisby or Paul Wisken on 01472 314101 or email@example.com.
A dedicated fundraiser and her team have raised money for a department close to her heart following an illness that saw her cared for at Grimsby hospital. After receiving care from the respiratory department, Jean Madin and her team of fundraisers presented a cheque to The Health Tree Foundation at Jean’s local pub, The Market Tavern, in Cleethorpes.
Jean said: “I have been a patient of Dr Richard Chan’s in respiratory for many years and have had half my right lung removed. I wanted to do something for the department. There’s quite a team of us who do our bit so hopefully we have raised enough to go towards some new equipment.”
Her latest effort has seen Jean raise £600 for the respiratory department with the help of her team, including two young, new members: Jessica Terry-Taylor, aged 18 and Courtney Terry-Taylor, aged 15.
Jean also recently raised £1,200 for The Health Tree Foundation’s Rear Into Gear Appeal – a campaign that is raising money for keyhole surgery equipment for patients with bowel cancer or bowel related illnesses at Grimsby and Scunthorpe hospitals.
Jean decided she would become a fundraiser after her father passed away in 2004. Shortly after, she moved to Cleethorpes where she has continued fundraising for a number of local causes.
Jayne Smith, a close friend of Jean’s, moved to the area around the same time as and got on board with her fundraising. Jayne said: “The team is like one big happy family. I had a break from fundraising but it feels great to be back with everyone again. I really missed it.”
Jean added: “We want to continue doing things to help people and we are so lucky we are able to do that living in this area. I cannot thank the people and businesses of Grimsby and Cleethorpes enough. We live in such a generous community.”
Community champion for The Health Tree Foundation, Laura Gooderham, said: “Jean’s dedication and determination is to be admired. She has gone through a rough time herself with illnesses and has still continued to raise money to help others – we are very grateful.”
From left: Jessica Terry-Taylor, Joshua Penny, fundraiser Jean Madin, community champion for HTF Laura Gooderham, Jayne Smith and Courtney Terry-Taylor at The Market Tavern in Cleethorpes.
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