A festival overflowed into our back garden… Secretly!

Some say be careful what you wish for it might just come true! I’m a bit more positive than that 😀

Here’s what happens – you dream and dream and guess what if an opportunity comes up to make it a reality then there’s only one thing to do and that’s put your hand up and say, “yes”  

That’s exactly the story when Barnaby Festival were looking for people to give up their space for the Space themed 2016 edition. Barnaby in case you don’t know is one of the fastest growing festivals in the country and it just so happens to be in ‘my backyard’ (metaphorically speaking and now actually … read on). Every two years Macclesfield and its surroundings turns into a hive of creative and family focuses activity, from musical talents to artistic genius, local crafts to parades in the streets.


“We’re looking for people of the town to give up their personal spaces for Barnaby in 2016” said Karl Wallace festival director when I first met him. “I’m game” I volunteered with no hesitation.

I’ve always fancied having a mini festival in my back garden and here was a chance to have a team of experts help me set it up. The Barnaby West Bond Stage was born!


We had amazing luck with the weather and for the two hours that our secret garden gig was open it was a dry and sunny slot between 6-8pm. DJ3, Bleeding Hands and Charli White all performed brilliantly under cover provided for the festival, it served great as our own scaled down version of the Pyramid Shaped one that was 150 miles down the road that weekend. No wellies were needed at ours, the portaloo (aka the Tardis) wasn’t overflowing and the BYOB policy meant a pint of fosters for 9 quid was saved for elsewhere, and the entertainment was worthy of any glasto line up in our books.

At 5.45 with 15 minutes until we officially started the anticipation started to build – “Were people actually going to turn up?” We asked ourselves. And sure enough 70 people, some we knew well and others we knew better by the end of the evening were welcomed into our secret garden gig.


They were treated first to a fantastic acoustic set by Charli White, a young singer songwriter from Macclesfield who our daughters love to watch live – check out page 7 of the Macc Express this week to see the young dancers enjoying Charli’s set. She even signed a copy of her EP ‘All I Want’ for the girls and gave them a plectrum. (As we all know by now; the first rule of gig club is …? That’s right ‘Always buy the music!’)

With a short break of music (space themed of course) the festival goers were then brought up to beat with the funk fuelled grooves of DJ3, (playing in MASH as I type this whilst babysitting so my bro and lay down the bass lines). Playing old and new they were the headline act and the reason we sold out tickets so quickly. The lads have been in bands in the area for years and DJ3 got back together recently and started to record new material – it’s sounding great too, check out KRUSH.



By this time the festival feel was well at home surrounded by our space and my veg patch was still in tact too.

To close our slot was our very own Bleeding Hands, one of the rawest and individual talents of the local music scene. Comments making there way round of how great his voice is his self-written and original songs complimented by well known covers too.


Then I get called up to accompany the ‘Bleeded one’ in a cover of Bittersweet Symphony , the Verve. A fun end to a great evening and we were joined by Nick from DJ3 too.

A night of fantastic music and fun all to support the Barnaby festival was brought to a close, so everyone could walk round to Christ Church round the corner to witness a brilliant lunar rising. Thanks to all involved.

‘Til next time Barnaby. Nanu Nanu.


Photo credits to Steve Thornhill and Travelling Simon – cheers gents!

All for one – The Stone Roses

Is it the best they’ve ever done? Of course it isn’t. All they back and meaning business. It seems so. Is that more important than anything else to millions of people? Most definitely!

As a quick summary of my first thoughts after 3 listens of ‘All for one‘. It’s been buzzing through my head like the most welcome of ear worms all day. A symbolic guitar, drums and bass statement of purpose from the rythmn section of Squire, Reni and Mani and Brown has a mantra that a friend of mine said Dogtanian had nailed in the 80’s. Now in my very humble opinion Brown has done exactly what he needed to do. Make a statement, develop a great vocal hook and the rest does the work for itself. 3 mins of a return tune from The Stone Roses leaving us with baited breath of the new album?

And then a little story…


Walking through Manchester with a colleague and I hear what sounds like live music… Look to the park and there are people there… Could this be a publicity stunt? My split second excitement was short lived but the next picture was also full of similar excitement and appreciation of music, love it.

A delivery driver sits in his van, ‘All for one’ on full blast, eyes closed, head bobbing, sun shining, this worker on a (un)scheduled break, Manchester in awe of the Stone Roses’ return. I asked the guy (at the end of the track), “You like it mate.” He replies with a (Manc)heshire grin “it’s good to have ’em back innit mate?”. In his joy the importance of these four men is so important to the world of Music and especially Manchester. “It is mate… Nice one!” I leave him to his joy of the sunny Manchester day, and the new tune from Manchester’s finest and walk on round the corner. The photo attached was the first bit of graffiti I saw round the corner – Manchester (and the world of music) is once again alight at The Stone Roses ! #allforone


Steve Mason – Mcr Academy 2


Pictures tell a thousand words and I’m struggling to put this gig into words.

I’m new to the party with Steve Mason’s solo material and I strongly recommend you check out his new album Meet the Humans. The theme of which was transferred to the screen behind the band throughout the performance, we Met the Humans.


Producer of the Album and keyboardist for Elbow, Craig Potter was there to enjoy the show too and let us revel in the live musical intimacy of Steve Mason and his band at the academy 2, Manchester.


When playing a stand out track from the new album, Runaway, Steve says, “this is a classic song about breaking up” and the crowd respond with a spontaneous, “aaaaaaah”. “Don’t cry for me I’m already dead!” responded Steve. “Save yourselves!” The crowd laugh and the comfort of Steve Mason on stage is shown by his cold heart wit, perfect vocals and perfectly executed songs (stopping one half way through cause he wasn’t happy with it). It would be wrong not to mention his effortless style on stage as well – Norwegian smock jacket (sealed with a brown leather buckle), high front brace held trousers and collarless shirt. “These are ‘high-front’s’, Manchester… I’m yet to see them.” Thanks for the fashion tip Steve I’ll take the smock and belt. I leave the pants though, cheers.


Ok if you haven’t heard the Beta Band. Listen. Buy. Enjoy.

If you want to explore some of Steve Mason’s solo music your best placed with Meet the Humans or Monkey Minds in the Devils time. Listen. Buy. Enjoy.

Earworms: Alive, Fire, Runaway

Here’s those pic’s I struggled for words for : )







The Coral – Albert Hall Mcr


I arrived in Manchester an hour and a half earlier than Paul, my gig-going-pal and the one who has the tickets. It’s half 5, Coffee or beer? I opted for a good brew coffee at the coffee shop on Piccadilly approach, Idle Hands. They were playing a good mix of Joy Division, Smiths, and others from the area. A good start to an evening of musical indulgence.

The gigs where you’re not expecting to go often work out to be the best – there’s no great expectations and therefore it’s just gonna be a good night of live music. Some of the regions best as well. Tonight we are hosted by the Coral. Paul arrived with the tickets into Piccadilly Tap and the chat about records, gigs and all things music begins.

The venue for the gig is the relatively new Albert hall – I remember coming in here the first time to see the War on Drugs last year – amazed by the venue. My mate Paul had never been and it grabbed him too, “these are the best seats in the house”. As we walked in Paul reminisced about his first Manchester gig in the neighbouring Free Trade Hall in ’91. The Charlatans 😳. “I was too young to be at that one”, “so was I!” laughs Paul – he was only 14. That was the year I went to my first gig when I was 11, The Beach Boys in Birmingham. Having been in a house full of Beach Boys harmonies since as long as I can remember when, it was a fitting first gig and will be long remembered.

The Coral are the headliners tonight and they were more than ably supported by Sundowners. We took in Sundowners, who I’d not heard before, sounding very Coral and also similar to Wooden Shijps with more vocals, female heavy on the frontline too. “We’re just recording our second album” I’ll be grabbing their debut whilst it’s still available. <exits WordPress and looks for the vinyl>.


 Sundowners finished and unfortunately their LP is nowhere to be seen on the worldwidewebasphere.  A quick trip to the merch stand sorted that out though. £23 later, the latest from the Coral, Distance Inbetween and the debut 7″ single from Sundowners, Hummingbird. The first rule of gig club, is always snap up a chance to go to gig club (nice one Joby!), the second rule of gig club is always buy the music.


 Opening the records was received well by all on the train back to Macclesfield “hey it’s good to see someone buying records nowadays” “I’ve got all my original records too mate!” – admittedly the admiration was coming from the over 50’s and seeing as I’m closer to 40 than 30 now that’s alright by me.

The Coral played a mix of old and new and the crowd (and I) bounced along to every one. Perosnal faves of mine, 1000 years, Dreaming of you (quick FaceTime sneak peak back home to Shel), In the morning, Pass it on, Simon Diamond, Goodbye and then a couple of new ones, including Connecter the opener to Distance Inbetween.

Great venue. Some new wax. Fantastic live band. Nice one Paul.


Jake Evans – Day One


A local lad come good.

Day One is an excellent debut album from a long standing stage hugger, Jake Evans.

My bro and I caught his live show at the Night and Day which was preceded by Hot Vestry round the corner at Soup Kitchen. He was joined on stage by his band mate Ash from the days of Rambo and Leroy. Stand out tracks on the album, Easy on my soul, This is Life, The Horses, Telephone, and the latest single Glorious.

Having toured with New Order, collaborated with Bernard Sumner on Bad Lieutenant and correctly chosen as guitar lead for Jimi Goodwin. Jake has stamped his deal firmly into music with his debut album and all the good stuff flows brilliantly onto a live stage.

If you’re quick there’s still some limited vinyl copies too signed by Jake.

Meet the humans – Steve Mason


We often listen to BBC6 at the weekend and love the variety of choice of the music new, old and sometimes obscure (that is if Jess Glynne isn’t on as the soundtrack to the latest dance display from my daughters). Mary Anne Hobbs in many cases sends through musical vibes that are unexpected and often fill my ‘to listen to’ list for the following week and last weekend I switched on to a nice, rolling and upbeat track from Steve Mason‘s latest offering meet the humans.

Steve is better known for his mastermind of The Beta Band a band I’ve played a few times on the airwaves  myself. Claps, keys, acoustics, harmonies and beautiful calming falsetto to relax and uplift. “Can you feel you’re heart with hope now as you break out your life…

P.s. Rest assured my daughters love (most of) my music as well and Elbow, Stone Roses and the Charlatans are regular bedtime songs 👍🏻🎶

2015 albums favourited by my ears pt. 1

There has been a bit of surge of half year reviews recently – a sign of the amount of great music surfacing? Or a drive for more sales? Either way here’s my 2p’s worth,

My Morning Jacket – The Waterfall – A fantastic album and the first of my (very delayed) discovery of how great My Morning Jacket actually are. This discovery is spurred on by their appearance at End of The Road festival which i’ll be at next weekend. Jim James has the ability to take the form of various vocal leads in this album and has a superb range that captures every listen one track he sounds like Ezra Koenig and the next like Ian Brown, he’s Jim James. Stand out tracks, In it’s infancy (the Waterfall), Believe, No-one Knows and Spring (among the living)

Tame Impala – Currents – this album has been long awaited and hasn’t disappointed – another band at End of the road (they’ve split the festival goers for their 10th birthday party this year), I saw them live when they released their debut album a very deep band with the ability to transform tracks sometimes beyond recognition (and recollection) in comparison to the studio recordings. This album is a cementing of their status as (in Marc Ronsons ears) the best Rock and Roll band in the world today. Bring on next week! Stand out tracks are: The less i know the better, Let it Happen, The Moment, ‘Cause I’m a man. Mesmerising.

Public Service Broadcasting – The Race For Space – Not many albums have you feeling emotional and captivated, drawn in like a good film. The mixture of excellent grooves, beats, synths and extracts from the historical ‘Space Race’ including NASA control at Huston recordings and the famous JFK speech that blasts the album off are all plenty enough to give a feel of a musical timeline to these points in history. I’m yet to see PSB live and i’m keeping my eyes peeled for dates cause they are truly fantastic live too by all accounts. Stand out tracks Gagarin, The Other Side and the Intro. Spin Chillingly good.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Multi-Love – any story of a love triangle between a bloke and the two loves of his life is going to create mixed emotions especially when the women become very close and he starts to get pushed out and feels in between rather that embraced. The album navigates the rough sees of love, lust and desire. its a good one as well tickets are in the bag for the manchester gig next month. Stand out tracks Multi-Love, Like acid rain, Ur life one night, Can’t keep checking my phone.

Django Django – Born Under Saturn – their second album proper and full of the melody and harmonies of the first starting off with a favourite of mine Giant and include lots of tracks that will ignite their live set – i’m seeing them for the first time live next week at EOTR – cant’t wait. Stand out tracks; First Light, Reflections, Giant, Break Glass, Shot Down.

Etienne De crecy – Super Discount 3 – I bought this cause of the format (all the 10″ records make a larger version of the album cover) and don’t regret it – Whilst i’m not an expert i have an appreciation for dance and this albums is a cracker. Stand out tracks WTF, Hashtag My Ass and Cut the crap… bangers!

Chemical Brothers – Born In the Echoes – The Chems are still knocking out top tunes and with a collective of top collaborations on this album they are in good company with the likes of Q-Tip, Beck and St.Vincent. Sometimes I feel so deserted metronomically slingshots the album through the signature Chemical Beats. I love playing the tracks off this album and doing some daring mixes – ‘Go’ mixed in nicely to ‘WTF’ Etienne De Crecy in my first mix i recorded (one take!)

Wolf Alice – My Love is cool – enchanting vocals and cosmics looping round this album its top and it’s pretty unique.

Noel Gallagher – Chasing Yesterday – another great album from britpops leader Noel G – staple stadium filling tracks and is well placed in a still Oasis heavy live set.

The Charlatans – Modern Nature – this album saw the rise of the Charlatans to their presence on stage which was a kin to the Tellin Stories era. 

More from Everything Everything,

Courtney Barnett,

Jake Evans

In part two ……..

Self indulging in Christmas vinyl

I’ve just had a great evening sat with a couple of beers listening to my new purchases:

Noel Gallaghers Remix album, Nirvana – Nirvana, Courtney Barnett, Beach Slang and next up Toro y Moi

There’s nothing better than getting lost in music with your feet up and a good beer – this year has been a flood with great albums and I’m sure there’ll be a blog post of the ‘best of’s’ – the New Years blogolution is write short posts often.

The Nirvana best of album is a must have for any true fan – it’s got the last ever recording by Kurt Cobain , ‘you know you’re right’ – and as a best of its got the usual suspects and also a couple of unexpecteds (although I love them all!)

Beach slang has got everything that a raw rock band should have and some varied tracks on the album and a distortion heavy ‘demolition’ track to finish … Anyone mention Nirvana earlier ?!

The Noel Gallagher remix album is a good variety of vibes and including some nice reworks. That was the one that started my night of musical reflection (read work, music and beer)

Til next time,



Toro y Moi – Relaxed psychedelic funk and grooves


Here’s a recent recommendation I had from a mate of mine after our recent festival outing to EOTR festival. Chaz Bundick changes his name for Stage and uses a mix of Spanish and French to do so. The Bull and Me is the translation, all I know so far is that it’s great music, a kin to Money Mark’s Push the Button era and a helping of Tame Impala to trip the sound out more with the pop bounce of say….the Shins. There you go that’s my effort in helping you categorise this young chap from South Carolina. He uses a heady mix of synths, Moogs and Rhodes to create this sound and I’m keeping my eyes peeled for live shows in the near future in the UK.

‘Buffalo’ is a great tune as is the first track, ‘what you want’ and then there’s the single ‘Lilly’ which has a lovely bounce to it.

Worth checking out and sharing with your music loving mates.

P.s. A nice tranquil locked groove at the end of side B still playing as I’m typing this

Transmission X – Broadcasting live from Headlander Festival 2015


Last weekend TransmissionX Cheshire’s newest digital radio station arrived at Headlander Festival with a whole host of Live show’s in store. In addition to my show, ‘Plastic Fantastic’ there were also Powlo and Pedro with ‘Take That Piano Out’, Mike Chisholm with the Artistic Echoes show, Kayne Ellis with his great mix of house and of course my Sunday crew DJ mate Johnstone (aka Bizarre Love DJ) with his show ‘Acceptable in the 80’s


This was the first festival that I’d been to to entertain the music lovers rather than my usual role of the entertaining and entertained music lover. The site of Headlander is at Stockport Rugby Club – and is packed with plenty for the family and music lovers. Including Cocktails from Beetle Juice,  

 multi-cultured festival food, festival stalls 3 music tents, inflatable pubs, and the Cabaret meets slap up food of Camp Cooks. Also each year there is a chosen charity and this year was worthwhile and all proceeds for donations going to Kidscan a very worthy cause.


We were neighboured by Scruff of the Neck Records tent showcasing some new talent including Hyena Kill, Canter Semper and Slow Readers Club on the Saturday to name a few. We had chance to meet up with Mark the CEO of SOTN records. A great guy with a real passion for the music, his young son was toddling around the festival in a Fools Gold T-Shirt, nicely done!


With the help of endless brews from ‘I Love Bramhall’ one of our neighbours, we span records from 12(ish) til 6.30pm and it was great fun including – participation in the fun from Stars Dance Academy, Stockport and many a festival goer saluting their favourite tunes when they came on. A highlight for me was when I played Sabotage by the Beastie Boys and one guy came swaggering over with his thumb in the air. Everyone was having such a great time despite a little bit of inevitable drizzle. We played a bit of Jurassic 5 and Mike Chisholm (aka Chizzie Rascal) spat some words over the instrumental beats. Nice one Chizzie!


A big thank you goes to Steve Thornhill for the pro shots on the day it really captured the moment! I look forward to the next outside broadcast and connecting with the music lovers with our common language of good music!


When the music matches your jacket you know something has gone to plan!


Kayne Ellis – a great guy passionate about music and making people dance to good beats. He was using a Traktor controller on Saturday – I know what I’m asking Santa for this year!  


Ravers drawn in by Kayne Ellis and his house/trance beats.


The mothership landed in Bramhall


Johnstone with the only Virginmarys that we know of on Vinyl (Red or Dead Mans Shoes ; ) )  


Uncle Russ and the Bizarre love DJ