August 2005
  Music
MARK WINTERS 

I hope you are enjoying the summer: I was in Denmark a couple of weeks ago and the weather was very dull, although it was a very pleasant trip, and I enjoyed the 'Beach Party" put on by ABC Radio. A lot of great acts were on the bill, including the beautiful Lara McAllen, the voice of Angel City, and the Sunset Strippers

By the time you read this column I will have been to Russia to see the 'Energy Festival". I will let you know how the Russian music scene is.


LAST TRAIN TO SKAVILLE

It's not very often that I get to go to a musical, so when I was invited to review 'Last Train to Skaville" I jumped at the chance as it was not to be your usual musical that one sees in the West End of London. Particularly as this was a 'Workshop" production, which basically means they hone and change the show as it goes along over the week.

Well basically, this comic tale is set in the fictitious town of Skaville, where warped protagonist Dilly Dum Day's criminal activities are spiralling out of control. Set against a backdrop of super heroes, super villains and rocksteady rude boys. The show includes original songs by Mike Bennett and Steve Etherington, plus classic songs by the likes of The Beat, The Specials, Madness and Bob Marley and many more.

Mike Bennett has written a number of unusual musicals, including 'All Cloned Up" which was basically about cloning, which I presume was inspired by Dolly The Sheep! I did review that on my column sometime ago. Whilst I do like things to be slightly off the wall, not everyone likes those kind of musicals, so perhaps it is an acquired taste. Having said that, I like imaginative plots, even though it sets the brain in to overdrive mode, trying to work out the plot!

This is what theatre is all about! I am sure at the time that Shakespeare could have taken the easy route, but he wanted his audiences to be stimulated and informed. That is what this type of musical does. I also found it very funny in parts. It is just about ready to go on a national tour, so keep an eye out for it ! I is well worth going to see!


CASBAH CLUB - EXTRA LIVE DATES IN AUGUST

The Casbah Club, who comprise ex-members of Big Country, the Jam and the Who, are to play a couple of live dates in August. These come at the conclusion of their first UK tour with the current line-up. One of the most dynamic live bands around, an eagerly awaited new album is scheduled for late summer. That they play great live is no surprise however, given their illustrious past. The figures speak for themselves.

A. The Jam were on the UK album charts for 162 weeks.
B. Big Country were on the UK album charts for 142 weeks
C. Both bands had number 1 albums
D. The Jam had 13 Top Twenty singles (including 4 number 1's)
E. Big Country had 8 Top Twenty singles (highest peaking at 7)

The Casbah Club dates are as follows:

Thursday 11th August - The 100 Club, London
Tickets: £12 advance (Subject to Booking Fee) £14 door
Tickets available online: www.bigcountry.co.uk
Venue website: www.the100club.com

Friday 12th August - Dudley, JB'S, 15 Castle Hill, Dudley, West Midlands, DY1 4QF
Tickets: £12 advance (Subject to Booking Fee) / £14 door : www.jbsdudley.co.uk

Saturday 13th August - The Bulldog Festival, Stratford Upon Avon
www.bulldog-bash.co.uk

AWFUL RECORDS

Here's one!

DJ Peter Presta & David Hasselhoff - You're Not Guilty.
Well they are certainly guilty of producing a crap record ! It's worse than the Birdie Song!

BEST OF RUNRIG "30 YEAR JOURNEY"

Released Ridge Records: August 29th 2005

If there is one band who encapsulate the very best of Scotland – its poetry, its passion and its spirit – that band is RUNRIG.
For the last three decades they have uniquely combined their Gaelic roots with a mainstream rock sensibility that has won them countless fans across the globe.

Formed 30 years ago on the Isle of Skye, Runrig are notable for both their line-up and their achievements. They have had chart hits and won awards but they have always stayed true to their roots. Traditionalists and pioneers, they have created music that is emotional, passionate, accomplished and unforgettable.

Not surprisingly, Runrig have had some notable milestones along the way - some little known facts include the following.

· Runrig were the first rock band ever to play on the banks of Loch Lomond and they were also the first rock band to play Edinburgh castle.

· They're the only band to have had a Top 20 hit in Gaelic.

· Their new lead singer, successful Canadian solo artist Bruce Guthro, comes from New Breton Island, Nova Scotia and, joining the band in 1998, has commuted from there ever since.

· Two of their members left to pursue political careers - and Peter Wishart (ex-keyboard player) is still in the House of Commons. Donnie Munro, their ex-lead singer was Rector of Edinburgh University.

· They have won countless awards, topped the video charts, had various Top 10 albums including 'Amazing Things" which went to No 2, and recently won a Lifetime Achievement award at the Nordoff Robbins Tartan Clef Awards.

· Their song 'Running To the Light" was chosen by Houston as the wake-up call on the ill-fated Columbia Space Shuttle - astronaut Dr Laurel Clark was a huge fan.

'Runrig – 30 Year journey" is a Best Of compilation that embraces all the high points on that singular path. Featuring 16 tracks in all, the songs draw on the spiritual, political and historical themes that surround them.

With tracks featuring current lead vocalist Bruce Guthro as well as ex-lead singer Donnie Munro, '30 Year Journey" is a true celebration of some remarkable music. Already a No 1 hit in Denmark, the Best Of compilation does exactly what it says on the tin.

Well that's that's lot this month, keep the e-mails coming in
markwinters@btopenworld.com

And don't for get to check out the following sites :

For the budding artiste and songwriter

Bandit A&R Newsletter
Helping unsigned acts/songwriters target their material to the right people. bandit@banditnewsletter.com / http://www.banditnewsletter.com

Songlink is for Songwriters who need to place their songs www.songlink.com

If you are a performer and you want to showcase to the industry then this is for you www.kashmirklub.com

Also don't forget the song for little Sarah, who was so brutally murdered www.asongforsarah.co.uk

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