The Bishops Stortford Acoustic Club

at South Mill Arts Centre

1-3, South Road, Bishops Stortford, Herts. CM23 3JG

 

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21st March 2024

CLEAN SNEAK

 

What a glorious evening of brilliant live music at the BELGIAN BREWER. A terrific array of varied talent topped off with a fantastic hour long spot with the ever impressive CLEAN SNEAK.

Hello Acoustic Clubbers

With a hearty welcome from Nick and his team at the Belgian Brewer and the promise of superb music, the first day of spring brought a relatively balmy evening and some pretty hot music. Our support players were a fine mixture of styles and genres and our headline showcase too hot to trot!!

 

CLEAN SNEAK are a highly experienced band of great friends who play to enjoy and enjoy to entertain. Their set was heavily weighted with blues and there is a reason that they brought a substantial and enthusiastic band of loyal supporters. By the end of the evening, they had markedly increased that following!!

With real commitment they gave us a fine selection of blues standards and classics featuring T Bone Walters, BB King and so many more legends. As promised it was a truly an eclectic mix of material encompasses 50’s swing right through Chicago and Delta Blues and on to their take on more up to date material as well as the odd R’n’B and acoustic roots classic.

Our support player list was a shorter than normal but we enjoyed a quite varied list of performances from Bill Tarran – Host and M/C, Richard Holder, Jo Clack, Kevin Johnson and Jonny Brewer

Many thanks to Nick and the staff of the Belgian Brewer for such a great venue and even better beer!

 

29th February 2024

6 ACTS – 4 SONGS

 

Last time we were delighted to welcome back some friends to the Acoustic Club stage. The first problem we had to deal with was Paul Boothwas unable to play because he lost his voice and there were plans afoot but these got changed when we started. A very happy bonus occurred as one of our audience was blues legend Steve Ingrey and without too much prompting he agreed to take the spot. Get well soon Paul and we are looking forward to welcoming back real soon.

So on with the music, and what a great night it was!!!

 

ALI COSSOR

Opening the evening was the delightful Ali Cossor. Over the last couple of years Ali has been taking tentative steps towards a solo career that is now officially blossoming. She normally plays and sings with a number of combo’s but it is as a solo performer that she really hits the spotlight hard, and the spotlight, like the rest of us, loves her performance. Her voice is clear and her confidence on the piano is growing exponentially. She has no fear and plays the songs she like and we love as well. It is always a pleasure to hear her interpret Amy Winehouse and the music was a delight.

COLIN FRID

Colin is one of our favourite players. He has the ability to select the right song, at the right time including his wonderful use of open tunings. Colin has made many songs his own, even those he interprets in a distinct style that will seamlessly change from song to song. Colin has a stage presence that has been developed over the years of playing and it is a pleasure to welcome him every time.

MIKE EXCEL

Mike demonstrates that he has lost none of his bite and his compelling use of language to express his inner most thoughts. The doyen of Hertford-based writers and performers, delivers his music with a smile, and an earnest performance that engages the audience almost magically. Mike delivers better than most postmen, more often with a customer satisfaction that is evident from the reception he gets from his audience.

STEVE INGREY

There are Bluesmen and then there is Steve Ingrey! Steve has developed a style that is all his own and, despite struggling with an unfamiliar guitar, delivered authentic Mississippi Blues that had the audience entranced with his performance.

Steve had arrived as part of the audience, ready to listen and catch up with his friends but readily agreed to give a performance of real blues when invited to fill a slot.

Blues playing is a life long journey and Steve’s dedication to the genre is formidable. He plays like he was there at the start (which would be impossible as he is so young and sprightly) but he has the ability to transport you to a sheeban bar in deep Mississippi listening to a master player. Many thanks Steve.

MELANIE QUINN

Mel is a “one off” in the very best sense of the phrase. She is an original songwriter with a sincere delivery and humour that is as infectious as it is hard hitting. She writes belting songs about things that matter to her and delivers them in a unique style - almost in a narrative style – that is most endearing.

Since she last played at the Club she has developed impressively and at the same time gaining a solid reputation for originality. Mel delivered a magical set of her songs delivered by her. Who could want more?

CIDER AT YOURS

Richard and Beckie are a well rounded duo who sometimes do originals but recently they have drifted into Country and Western in a big, big way. The truth is they are very good at it and evoke the wide expanses of the western plains and the perpetual heartbreak that come from those lonesome places.

They are fantastic musicians who put their heart and soul into their performance and are always capable of tugging at the heartstrings – which is exactly what C&W is all about.

A terrific closing act for the evening

 

 

Thanks to everyone who came to support your community club and enjoy some excellent music as we KEEP MUSIC LIVE.

 

Many thanks to the SMA Staff for a great job done and making everyone so welcome and the Sound Engineer for a brilliant job done.

 

 

15th February 2024

M G Boulter

It was a delight to welcome back to the Club MG Boulter along with his accompanying bass player Paul for another fantastic evening of a very superior class of live acoustic music

It was a delight to welcome MG back to the Acoustic Club. It is always a delight when we were able to sit down and listen to his fantastic songs, that are original, targeted, personal and just downright excellent. He makes no apology for singing about where he lives, along the estuary northern coast of the Thames in the musical hotspot of Westcliffe/Southend. Accompanied by his good friend and fantastic bassist Paul, the 45 minute set literally flew by and before we knew it we were on the encore which was not only well deserved but eagerly anticipated by the large and appreciative audience.

 

Many thanks to Matt and Paul for such an original and entrancing set. MG will be releasing his new CD in the summer and we will review it and let those who have been converted to the Southend Sound know how to get a copy.

 

We were delighted to welcome a fantastic group of supporting musicians.

Many thanks must go to Paul Booth, Hanako Ward, Stuart Nicholson, John McCarthy and we were treated to a real added bonus with an extra special 4 song set from Pat Crilly and Greg Camburn.

 

Many thanks to all the very large audience who turned up on a foul night and were rewarded with some fantastic music.

 

Thanks also go Jay for great sound and to the staff of the SMA who make the evening seamless

 

1st February 2024

6 Acts 4 Songs

What a wonderful night we had last time at the Acoustic Club. Our 6 acts format that gives the players a little more time than the usual floor spot and allows them to expand their repertoire and to share new songs as well as theirs and our favourites.

 

Last time we were delighted to welcome back a couple of favourite acts as well as 2 new ones.

 

Wild Roses

We were delighted to welcome back Wild Roses to the Acoustic Club. Last time they came as complete unknowns but after last year’s first time set expectations were quite high. Quite frankly they exceeded expectations and gave a fantastic set that was full of expression and just great quality music

Vic Lennard

Vic is one of those players who everyone looks forward to and armed with his new guitar he did not disappoint. Vic will switch from a self penned song with a back story that is compelling to an original version of a familiar cover in the blink of an eye. As ever de gave us a professional set that was built on his long experience and cracking talent

Lily Martin

Lily has many strings to her bow and that is not limited to a great stage presence, a voice that can flip between haunting to soulful blues and all the way to her own fantastic songs. Last time she demonstrated again that she can work with others and produce wonderful music and she was accompanied by Dan Titus on guitar.

Faradena & Julian Woods

Faradena Afifi is a gifted musician. She excels on violin but he collaboration with Julian Woods has given a new direction and new repertoire for her to explore. HE set was compelling as she alternated between keyboards and pizzicato violin and some haunting melodies, fantastic vocals topped off with a solid and subtle bass from Julian.

Guy Pearson

In the introduction I did for Guy last time was very nearly right, but the thing I missed out is that he is a near neighbour of the SMA and lives about as close as you can be without incurring parking charges. Guys set was a full bodied affair and it is a wonder that we have not heard of him before. A cracking set and we look forward to more in the future.

Elinor Jackson & Dan Titus

Elinor Jackson and Dan Titus are a very much accomplished duo. Elinor if fulfilling the promise she has shown over the past few years and developing into a highly accomplished singer. Dan is one of those players who appears to have been around ages and can always be relied upon to produce great songs and great covers. Combined they have a style that is just a great idea. The set was a triumph.

 

Many thanks to all the very large audience who turned up on a foul night and were rewarded with some fantastic music.

 

Thanks also go to the staff of the SMA who make the evening seamless

 

11th January 2024

DOUBLE HEADLINE SHOWCASE

Last time at the Acoustic Club we were delighted to open the new year at our new main venue with a Double Headline Showcase featuring Rhys Wilson and Runaway Jukebox.

 

Rhys Wilson

Rhys Wilson is one of those players that is unmissable. He has many strings to his bow in that he plays with so many different bands and combinations that it is a bit of a special treat to find him performing a solo set.

 

Last time, as ever, he did not disappoint. His set was the perfect description of a Rhys Gig. He is a fantastic writer with an eclectic list of themes and subjects and he brings a vast experience of performing and enthralling audiences. His set was enthusiastically received and his latest album was available to get a permanent reminder of what a damn fine performer he is. Many thanks for a great headline spot and looking forward to the next time.

 

Runaway Jukebox

Runaway Jukebox are a band who mix popular classics with the occasional self penned song. To be honest this is not a novel formula but what they are is a great example of what can be achieved if three people put their mind to providing top quality entertainment in the form of non-stop music. They are a stunning trio and as a counterpoint to Rhys, they are the perfect foil. They are really, really good at playing and singing and created such a great feeling around the large audience and induced foot tapping and smile inducing music. They are a great Good Time Band and lets hope we see them again soon.

 

Many thanks to everyone who supported us with support spots. It is always a please to welcome and listen to Richard Holder, The Maystones, Mike Johnson and Colin Frid.

 

Many thanks are due to Jay and the staff at the South Mill Arts Centre for theirs great work on the mixing desk ensuring all players had the very best of sound as well as making sure the SMAC is a welcoming and friendly environment