Fifty Gigs In A Day: BILL BAILEY

Comedian and talented musician Bill Bailey will be sending a social media message for Fifty Gigs In A Day. Great bit of coincidence as he appears at the Victoria Hall, Hanley on February 8 – a venue where I watched many bands and comedians during the late 80’s.

Larks In Transit tour dates –

  • Jan 29 2018  Coventry Warwick Arts Centre  SOLD OUT
  • Jan 30 2018 Coventry Warwick Arts Centre
  • Jan 31 2018 York Barbican
  • Feb 1 2018 York York Barbican
  • Feb 2/3 2018 Newcastle City Hall
  • Feb 5/6 2018 Southend-on-Sea Cliffs Pavilion
  • Feb 7/8 2018 Stoke-on-Trent Victoria Hall
  • Feb 9/10 2018 Sheffield Memorial & City Hall
  • Feb 12/13 2018 London New Wimbledon Theatre
  • Feb 14/15 2018 Llandudno Venue Cymru
  • Feb 16 2018 Carlisle The Sands Centre
  • Feb 17 2018 Glasgow SECC
  • Feb 19-22 2018 Truro Hall For Cornwall
  • Feb 23/24 2018 Plymouth Plymouth Pavilions
  • Feb 26/27 2018 Leicester De Montfort Hall
  • Feb 28 2018 Nottingham Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall
  • Mar 1 2018 Nottingham Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall
  • Mar 2/3 2018 O2 Apollo Manchester
  • Mar 5 2018 Cheltenham Town Hall SOLD OUT
  • Mar 6 2018 Cheltenham Town Hall
  • Mar 7/8 2018 Basingstoke Anvil Arts
  • Mar 9 2018 Warrington Pyramid & Parr Hall
  • Mar 10 2018 Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
  • Mar 12-14 2018 Reading Hexagon
  • Mar 15-17 2018 Watford Colosseum
  • Mar 19/20 2018 Blackburn King George’s Hall
  • Mar 21 2018 Preston Guildhall
  • Apr 18/19 2018 Northampton Derngate Theatre
  • Apr 20 2018 Brighton Centre
  • Apr 21 2018 Margate Winter Gardens
  • Apr 22 2018 Southampton Mayflower Theatre
  • Apr 24 2018 Cheltenham Town Hall
  • Apr 25/26 2018 Hull City Hall
  • Apr 27/28 2018 Southport Theatre & Convention Centre
  • May 1 2018 Chatham Central Theatre SOLD OUT
  • May 2 2018 Chatham Central Theatre
  • May 3/4 2018 Tunbridge Wells Assembly Hall Theatre
  • May 5 2018 London Eventim Apollo
  • May 6 2018 Southampton Mayflower Theatre
  • May 8-10 2018 Swansea Grand Theatre and Arts Wing
  • May 11 2018 Bristol Hippodrome SOLD OUT
  • May 12 2018 Bristol Hippodrome
  • May 14/15 2018 Hastings The White Rock Theatre
  • May 16/17 2018 Stevenage Gordon Craig Theatre
  • May 18/19 2018 New Theatre Oxford
  • May 21-23 2018 Guildford G Live
  • May 24/25 2018 Portsmouth Guildhall
  • May 26 2018 Bournemouth The BIC
  • May 28/29 2018 Reading Hexagon
  • May 30/31 2018 Aylesbury Waterside Theatre
  • Jun 1 2018 Motorpoint Arena Cardiff
  • Jun 2 2018 Birmingham Arena
  • Jun 4/5 2018 Ipswich Regent Theatre
  • Jun 6 2018 London Eventim Apollo
  • Jun 8 2018 Leeds First Direct Arena
  • Jun 9 2018 Peterborough East of England Arena & Events Centre
  • Jun 12 2018 Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
  • Jun 13/14 2018 Warrington Pyramid & Parr Hall
  • Jun 15/16 2018 High Wycombe Swan Theatre
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Albums of the Year 2017

1  CATS IN SPACE Scarecrow
Their debut was pretty damn fine, so high expectations and they delivered! A marvellous mix of 70s’ rock, pomp, pop and more melodies than you can shake a stick at.

2  THRESHOLD Legends of the Shires
Returning vocalist Glynn Morgan helps the band to make one of the finest albums to date. A real return to form.

3  LONELY ROBOT The Big Dream
Part two of the trilogy and another fine set of musical adventures. No name guests this time as John Mitchell does it all bar the drums and some backing vocals.

4  BOULEVARD IV
Finally we get a new album from Boulevard. Fantastic tunes and production, deserves a place in every melodic rock/AOR fans collection.

5  THE YOUNG ‘UNS Strangers
Folk acapella from this talented three piece. Each song is based on a true story and the songs are all positive and uplifting.

6 STEVE WALSH Black Butterfly former Kansas vocalist returns with an album chock full of melodic rock treats.

7 SONS OF APOLLO supergroup featuring Jeff Scott Soto, Mike Portnoy, Derek Sherinan and Billy Sheenhan. Fantastic joining of music talents and the music lives up to expectations.

8 LIONHEART only 20 odd years since their last album…with Lee Small (Shy/Phenomena) on vocals, Lionheart deserve a place in any melodic rock fans collection.

9 IT Home thought provoking and timely progressive rock backed by oodles of melody.

10= H.E.A.T. Into The Great Unknown they have changed their sound a bit which may upset some fans, but for me they are heading onwards and upwards.

10= PUGWASH Silverlake the power pop album of the year. If you like ELO, Duckworth Lewis grab a copy of this.

10= BARENAKED LADIES Fake Nudes another set of memorable melodies and lyrics that don’t always take themselves too seriously…

Honorable mentions…

HAREM SCAREM United they keep on churning out classy melodic hard rock and long may that continue.

THE BITERS plenty of retro on this one, with the T Rex sounding songs

JEFF SCOTT SOTO Retribution not as instant but stick with it

BIGFOOT one of the debuts of the year. Modern hard rock and the singer doesn’t half sound like Tyketto’s Danny Vaughn at times!

THE NIGHTS more classy Scandi melodic rock with hook filled choruses big enough to land a whale.

THE NEW ROSES One More For The Road good time hard rock, no frills and plenty of riffs.

NIGHT RANGER Don’t Let Up they show no sign of letting up quality wise, another ‘must have’ for fans.

DANKO JONES Wild Cat if you like 70’s rock, Thin Lizzy and foot tapping tunes look no further.

THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA Amber Galactic like Brother Firetribe their ‘day bands’ are heavy yet here they show their love of 80’s melodic rock and AOR.

Fellow GRTR! reviewers choices can be found here

BIG BIG TRAIN Christmas song

Big Big Train will be releasing a Christmas single on December 8th 2017.

The single is called Merry Christmas and will be released on limited edition 7-inch snow white vinyl (with a gatefold cover), digipack CD, high-resolution and standard-resolution download, and streaming. The vinyl, CD and high-resolution download versions of the release will feature a ‘b’ side called Snowfalls.

The promotional film for Merry Christmas was recently premiered by Prog magazine and can be viewed here:

The film features actor Mark Benton who says:

‘When Big Big Train asked me to get involved with the video for Merry Christmas, I didn’t need much convincing. I’m a big fan of the band and love the way they tell stories through their beautifully crafted songs. The video was great fun to shoot and hopefully really conveys the Christmas message’.

Alongside Big Big Train’s full line-up which performed recently at the band’s three sold-out shows at Cadogan Hall in London, Merry Christmas features the beautiful singing of The Chapel Choir Choristers of Jesus College, Cambridge.

Big Big Train vocalist David Longdon says: ‘Merry Christmas is a song about rediscovering our childlike belief in the magic of Christmas, despite living in an over commercial and sometimes cynical world. After all, what wouldn’t you give to believe again, like you believed back then?’

The artwork for Merry Christmas has been painted by Sarah Louise Ewing and will also feature on a new range of Christmas cards.

Merry Christmas is available to pre-order now from the band’s official stores:

https://www.burningshed.com/store/bigbigtrain/ (for vinyl and CD pre-orders)

http://www.themerchdesk.com (for vinyl, CD, Christmas cards and other merchandise)

Merry Christmas is also available to pre-order from Amazon, HMV and other good online and high-street record stores.

The high-resolution (24/96) download version of Merry Christmas will be available to buy on
Big Big Train’s Bandcamp shop on the 8th December:

https://bigbigtrain.bandcamp.com/

A donation to the Night Stop homelessness charity will be made for every copy of the vinyl, CD, download and Christmas card sold.

More Christmas gift ideas can be found in Sarah Louise Ewing’s shop, including Grimspound cufflinks and a beautiful Telling the Bees Pendant (25% of proceeds from pendant sales will go to The Bee Cause, a campaign which seeks to reverse the decline of bees in the UK.)

Best wishes,
Andy, Danny, Dave, David, Greg, Nick, Rachel & Rikard

Fifty Gigs In A Day: IT

Delighted that progressive band IT will be involved. Do check out their debut album released earlier this year, well worth a listen and they are currently lining-up gigs for the end of February. Also IT’s record label Progressive Gears are kindly donating some signed items for eBay auction to raise funds for the Nordoff Robbins charity.

MERRY CHRISTMAS by Big Big Train

Three times Progressive Music Award winning band, Big Big Train, will be releasing their first Christmas single on December 8th 2017.

The single is called Merry Christmas and will be released on 8th December on 7-inch snow white vinyl (with a gatefold cover), digipack CD, high-resolution and standard-resolution download and streaming. The vinyl, CD and high-resolution download versions of the release will feature a ‘b’ side called Snowfalls.

The artwork for Merry Christmas has been painted by Sarah Louise Ewing and will also feature on a new range of Christmas cards.

A donation to the Night Stop homelessness charity will be made for every copy of the vinyl, CD, download and Christmas card sold.

Merry Christmas is available to pre-order now from the band’s official stores:

https://www.burningshed.com/store/bigbigtrain/ (for vinyl and CD pre-orders)

http://www.themerchdesk.com (for vinyl, CD, Christmas cards and other merchandise)

Merry Christmas is also available to pre-order from Amazon, HMV and other good online and high-street record stores.

The high-resolution (24/96) download version of Merry Christmas will be available to buy on Big Big Train’s Bandcamp shop on the 8th December:

https://bigbigtrain.bandcamp.com/

Big Big Train vocalist David Longdon says: ‘Merry Christmas is a song about rediscovering our childlike belief in the magic of Christmas, despite living in an over commercial and sometimes cynical world. After all, what wouldn’t you give to believe again, like you believed back then?’

Alongside Big Big Train’s full line-up which performed recently at the band’s three sold-out shows at Cadogan Hall in London, Merry Christmas features the beautiful singing of The Chapel Choir Choristers of Jesus College, Cambridge.

Bass player Greg Spawton: ‘We wanted Merry Christmas to be a proper Christmas song. Christmas music needs a choir, a brass band and, of course, sleigh bells’.

The promotional film for Merry Christmas features Mark Benton and will premiere on 1st December.

Best wishes,
Andy, Danny, Dave, David, Greg, Nick, Rachel & Rikard

KINO – remastered ‘Picture’ to be issued on vinyl for the first time

Kino – the band formed by John Mitchell (Lonely Robot, Frost*), Pete Trewavas (Marillion), John Beck (It Bites) & Chris Maitland (ex-Porcupine Tree), released their much-loved debut album ‘Picture’ back in 2005. Now the album has been remastered by John Mitchell, and will be issued on vinyl for the very first time on the 17th November 2017, as well as returning to digital and streaming services.

Mitchell had this to say: “The Kino ‘Picture’ album has been unavailable for a while but a lot of people have been asking about it so it’s clearly got a place in a lot of people’s hearts which is wonderful. It was never released on vinyl previously so it’s great that Inside Out have made that happen. A lot of people have also asked whether there will be a new Kino album one day….that’s a good question and one day it may be answered.”

‘Picture’ is available on Gatefold 180g black 2LP, including the CD as bonus, as well as digital download. Pre-order your copy here

INSIDEOUT MUSIC online:

www.insideoutmusic.com

www.youtube.com/InsideOutMusicTV

www.facebook.com/InsideOutMusic

www.twitter.com/InsideOutUSA

www.insideoutmusicshop.com

Music Gets Me By…JEFF SUMMERS

Guitarist Jeff Summers of Weapon UK, the Loudshirts and Mick Underwood’s Glory Road, also formerly in Statetrooper, talks about a couple of songs that mean a lot to him…

WEAPON UK dates –

17 Jan The Cavern, Raynes Park, London

20 Jan Cancer on the Rocks (Macmillan Cancer charity concert) Nantwich Civic Hall, Cheshire

As a guitarist and songwriter I have always listened to many forms of music. The first guitar orientated band that whispered (roared) in my ear is Deep Purple. Although I love many of their songs, the live version of ‘Highway Star’ from their multi platinum selling ‘Made in Japan’ inspired me like no other. The sheer hard rock brilliance of this piece has everything that is great about the genre. Subject matter, composition, attitude, excitement and brilliant musicality rarely seen before or since. This all topped off with an extraordinary vocal rock n roll performance.

When I was very young, I heard a song which fired up my imagination and continues to do so today. Glen Campbell’s delivery of Jimmy Webb’s ‘Wichita Lineman’ is that song. Campbell’s beautifully understated delivery of this perfect melancholy melody still inspires me to try and write something as brilliant as this nearly 50 years later. The perfect song and performance.