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NEWS . . NEWS . . NEWS . . NEWS . . NEWS
Riffs welcomes constant info on gigs, line-up changes and general band associated news.
(Please note that the further down the page, the older the News)


No one tells us what to write, so we'll never tell you what to think


SHEEEEEEER HEART ATTACK!
It may be more than two full months away, but we desperately need light at the end of our musical tunnel.
We've had the Wallsend mini-fest, we've got The Force this month on the 9th, The Mallard 'Rock the Lockout' on the 30th (and there may be even more that Riffs has not been informed of ['surely not' I hear you say as one]), and now we have a gig for October featuring Queen tribute - QWEEN.


It's on Saturday 10th Oct at The Mayfair Centre, Tees Road, Hartlepool TS25 1DE,   01429 861230.
Tickets are £10 from venue or c/o Andy Husband Promotions - (Billy West’s Qween Live https://facebook.com/events/s/qween-live/612568952843761/?ti=icl ) doors open 7pm.
Rob from the band told Riffs: "We are so excited to be back on the scene. The show will be spectacular in every sense of the word and tickets are selling fast!"


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HUNGRY FOR ROCK
"It makes me scream, it makes me wanna get up and shout"

Hardly minutes passed since I posted the below pics of The Carnival et al, when in pops an email concerning
yesterday's mini-fest at Wallsend featuring TRILOGY, FM, THE WHODLUMS, FOSSIL, ASSASSIN and headliners UK/DC. (above pic from yesterday's gig courtesy UK/DC). And it was 'Bon' from UK/DC who reports that the day not only went well, but the crowd greedily lapped up every morsel of Rock on offer. So much so that poor ol' Bon was suffering this morning. "Great to be out and about playing to a "live" audience and they were certainly lively by the time we went on! Got a bit of a croaky voice this morning . . . nothing prepares you for the full-on onslaught."
Glutton for punishment the band must be as they are reprising their full-on rockin' set at the end of this month (Sunday 30th) at the Mallard in Seaham - another mini-fest, this time in support of Northumbria Blood Bikes. See poster.
https://www.facebook.com/events/1219387091743308/
UK/DC Bon also reports that The Schooner in Gateshead seems to be edging towards regular live music nights too. One to keep an eye out for....


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The first three pics are of the magnificent 'Carnival', the guitarists of whom battled it out on top of the bar at the venue - to the utter surprise of the staff - when myself and the Terrible Twosome journied sarf. A brilliant night and a great down-to-earth bunch of lads. But looking at the pics it seems Gina G-string has changed her top . . .
        
        

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UK/DC HEADLINE WALLSEND OPEN AIR MINI-FESTIVAL

The Rose Inn at Wallsend is putting on a mini-festival outdoors on Saturday 1st Aug. It's now completely sold-out.   

3pm - 4pm TRILOGY
4.15pm-5.15pm FM
5.30pm- 6.30pm WHODLUMS
6.45pm - 7.45pm FOSSIL
8pm - 9pm ASSASSIN
9.15pm - 10.15pm UK/DC
Soz for the late info but we were informed only very early this morning! (Friday)

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Hope this Covid nightmare fades out soon - I'm running out of photos!!
        
        

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MISSING CATS - FOUND!!

We are cock-a-hoop to announce another live gig - TODAY - FRIDAY 31st at The Oddfellows Arms, 57 Church Street, Seaham, SR7 7HF. It's only a duo but, let's be honest, a live gig is a live gig and a refreshing change when considering the most exciting thing we can do at present is to sit in a different chair. It's The Missing Cats and they will be playing outdoors from 8pm. More info on the band at http://www.facebook.com/themissingcatsduo . There’s loads of live video, pictures and more information there including a ‘live’ video they did just recently which was streamed as part of The Rosiefest Festival on July 11th as the original event was cancelled due to the current situation. Dave from the band told Riffs exclusively: "They’ve asked us to play there next year too on 3rdJuly - well at least we’ve got something in the diary for 2021!"
And if you're thinking a duo may not quite do it for you, Dave lets on that they usually sneak in some Zep and Sabbath . . .

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Witchkraft at the premier Gateshead music venue, The Three Tuns (pics taken over two gigs).
        
        
        
     

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More pics from the two-day Washington mega gig, day two:
        
        
        
        
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You can only go so long without a Boobarella fix - those milkshakes still bring the boys to the yard . . .
        
        

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In my continuing and desperate attempt to give Riffs readers a reason to log on, I've resurrected some pics that were, for one reason or another, omitted from original reviews but, due to better Photoshop techniques, are now just good enough to upload. So here we go . . . all taken at Washington - day one:
        
        
        

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Never need an excuse to show a truly talented rockin' band. RIOT at The Three Tuns.
        
        

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Another assortment featuring Mandie Milf and North-East musicians, including Cue, Disregard and, last but not least, a pic taken at XXXX Bikers do - I only know this cos I can see the 'Titty-Stamper's' work on those bulging bosoms.
        
        

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Regular emailer James (and arguably Penelope Passion's number one fan) mentions her tightly packed blouse and compliments her on her sartorial choices. She wouldn't deny she was a little overweight, but never seemed to have any issues with clothes - except finding them afterwards.
The first two pics feature a gentleman from Middlesbrough (Tom?) who, if I remember correctly (and please forgive me if I have the details wrong), ran Middlesbrough's premier live music venue, the Ladle, and sadly passed away from cancer (the Ladle is no more and is now blocks of flats). Two pics on the second row are Matrix (Pandora Peaks wouldn't have appreciated the cigarette though - it's not big and it's not clever), next from last is Blueshouse who, incidentally were big, and very clever.

       
        

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An assortment of pics from Gateshead's Three Tuns Battle of the Bands.
        
         
        

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Yet more pics, dug up, cropped, colour corrected and put through Photoshop and uploaded for your delectation. Second pic is one of Candy Cleavage's favourite peeps, Big Al. Second row is two of Dr Sunshine, next five is Disposable Heroes (last three backstage at their City Hall gig), culminating in the final one with 'unknowns'.
        
        
       

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Some pics from Stormin' 07 and some from The Grand in Bishop Auckland.
        
       
           

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WE'RE ROCKIN' AGAIN
Now this is the news that we wanted to hear. Get ready for it - A LIVE GIG!!!
Yep, that's right, a live gig by rockers THE FORCE, to be held at
ROUTE 72 CAFE, The Preserving Works, Shelley Rd, Newburn, Newcastle on Sunday, August 9th. It's outdoors, ticket only and social distancing rules will be enforced.  07808 660433     https://www.facebook.com/route72bar/
And on the off-chance you've forgotten what a rock band looks like here's some pics of Charlotte the harlot with the aforementioned boys and some pics (Riffs of course) from their gig at Newcastle City Hall. Still pics not enough and you crave to see them in action? check 'em out here then.

     
     
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More of the same. Which, incidentally, is what Charlotte the harlot has been heard to reply when asked "What do you want to do tonight?"
           
 
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The first row are unknowns - obviously. Well, I say obviously because if you were well known you'd more than likely think twice about being photographed with naughty Nina the nympho night nurse. Some, however, seem to relish the opportunity . . .
        
        

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Last of the non-Riffs reviews -
     

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We haven't featured trailer trash for a while and we have been absolutely flooded with an email requesting more pictures of her (no accounting for taste) so here's more than a handful - which, coincidentally . . .
        
     
That's a devilish grin from saucy minx on the pic with Loaded Ian. Unlike her to get up to anything untoward. Oh, look, out the window, that winged pig..........

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And for those of you who have just joined us (that's the right parlance I am led to believe) more reviews done by non-Riffs. Not me, not Pussy Galore.
        

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Well, according to the current news it looks like there is a good chance that live music in pubs could be allowed around October. Lots of ifs and coulds though. Needless to say we're always here for you to tell the world (well, ya gotta think big) what you are up to, whether you are planning to burst back on to the music scene with some blistering rock - or have you decided to call it a day. When the time comes, let your fan base know either way. And, as always, pics pics and more pics are mega helpful. You could supply one of yourself hanging up your guitar to show that the band is packing it in. Or a photo of your band all ready and waiting to gig (or in rehearsals) - anything to encourage others to do the same and for punters to pour back into pubs and relish those heady days of live rock in a buzzing atmosphere. Or you could just do fuck all and fester away in that comfy chair (always good to have a Plan B).

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Gonna show some reviews now from way back - but not by Riffs. These are not written by me nor Patti Peaches but sent in to Riffs by people we trust to pen an objective and unbiased review. The pics are taken by my good self but all text is exactly as supplied.
        

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The first two pics here feature our very own sweater stretcher with Matrix, the rest are her with The Amazing Spacefrogs Bugsy and Steve when she was invited down to sing (and I think they used that word very loosely) to a Teesside recording studio when the band were laying down tracks for their new album.
        
     

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Many thanks to Dave F for sending in this interesting communication:


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Next lot is from Stormin' when Plain Krazy were headlining. Val explained: "The singer made it very . . . er . .  plain, that there was only two things he was interested in on that night - and they were both attached to me! I went along with it but it was starting to get just a tad creepy."
        
     

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Another selection of snaps with some 'unknowns'. But I'm fairly sure yellow t shirt guy on second row is from Blueshouse (patently not impressed with a cuddle from Fiona funbags), next pic  is at the Kings Head, Stanley. As always, if anyone can name names then we'll give you a big mensh.
     
     
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Steve H to the rescue again and I will quote him exactly:  "1st pic might well be band called Too Tired. Guy on right is definitely Keith Johnson, Houghton le Spring's best ever drummer"

Any ideas anyone?

        

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Just heard from 'new boy' Miguel from Uncle Gilbert (he's been with them a mere eight years!) and, along with band member Brian and Mike, are keen to "getting back rocking" as soon as they possibly can. I think I can say on behalf of every Riffs reader that they'll be more than welcome...

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More 'unknowns' although I have a vague recollection the final two may be Summerlands.
     


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Three more 'unknowns' pictured with Riffs resident eye candy. Although pic three looks a lot like Ronnie from The Duke........
     

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Just heard from Steve H with an update on these two pics: Steve Ireland on the left and the band is The Croutons. Steve went on to join FM soon after these pics were taken.

Slightly embarrassed because yes, I should know who this band is, and I seem to recognise them . . . but . . . Have even showed them to Beelzebub's offspring and she can't remember either . . .
     

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Time for a review methinks, and this one is of Uncle Gilbert who myself and Titiana caught at The Station in Redcar in March. Again, not sure of the year.
     
     

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And yet another row of pics featuring Felicity funbags to take us back to the good ol' times . . . first is Sticky Fingers, and the other three are all 'unknowns'.
        

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Just found this Tubesnake pic that had slipped between the cracks in the woodwork - poor guy just couldn't suppress the discomfort of a kiss from Riffs' resident MILF.


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These pics feature 'known' and 'unknowns'. All except second row feature Riffs' yummy mummy and we start with Len from Tubesnake, next two are early incarnations of Tubesnake (the second one I think was at Durham Snooker Club), then next row Tubesnake again all at Stormin 05. Next row we have Big Al with fellow bandmember but not knowing the date, I can't guess at which band he was in at this time, next two are unknowns and first one on last row is also an 'unknown'. Next is Loaded 44 from the 1999 Redcar Battle of the Bands, and lastly we have sweet cheeks with Loaded Dave. As always, if anyone can help us out with the unknowns we'd not only be grateful - we'll even give you a mensh.
     
        
     
     

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And what a warm welcome strawberry cream and I received at the Kings Head in Stanley in the late 90s to catch the ever-outrageous Hipthrusters. Pic second left shows main man Dinksy (aka 'Pavement Hound') belting out some rockin' blues - but it wasn't just those men with the thrusting hips that were outrageous that night as snow bunny was in her element and arguably not only took centre stage, but also moniker of bad kitty of the night.
        
        

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Another band that gave a great performance and were loads of fun - LITTLE PINK POLLIWOG. Not sure where and not sure when but if any of them see this - then let us know! And the third one is Betty Boobs with 'unknown.'
     

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This was another stupendous night at the Three Tuns in Gateshead. Landlord Paul knows a quality Rock band when he sees one. And Vendetta went down a storm. A magnificent performance.
     
       

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No mystery here, well, perhaps just the one. On the left we have Warren with some arm candy and, because of the age of the pic, I think this may be when he was fronting Scream Dream. Next is busty Bertha with Thompa, and Ronnie who booked the bands. And of course the last one is Riffs' mischievous moll with Paul from the Three Tuns. And can I say how nice it is to have two of the North-East's most respected landlords in the same line-up
- I think the last time was in front of Newcastle Magistrates, but we've yet to get to the bottom of that . . .
     

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Big shout out to 'Dave'; who thinks second left is Spectrum.

Four total unknowns here, although I think the first one may, just may, have been at the XXXX Crew do (come out of there before you suffocate). And the last one was at Redcar's 1999 Battle of the Bands - yeah, the poster does give it away some. But who is the guy? As always, any help would be most appreciated . . .

     

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This was one double bill at The Three Tuns myself and Val will never forget. Both bands were on sparkling form and proudly played their musical hearts out. Both Remedy and Razor Sharp played brilliantly and each turned in a magnificent set. A superb evening's entertainment.
       
     



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Ian (Fuzzy or The Fuzzy) Fulton, bass player in NWOBHM Avenger, who tragically died in a motorcyle accident on the 1st of June was buried Friday June 26.

In the midst of the unbearable deep pain that his family are suffering, they were truly heartened by the outpouring of support they have received. "The biker convoy following the hearse warmed our hearts" Ian's father Dave told me. Ian's family received 100s of cards "and each one is special" added Dave.
The following example shows just how much Ian was loved and respected, and I quote directly from Dave: "[we received a card from a] Dutch guy named Eddie van Vugt who had seen the band a few times and with whom Ian had struck up a friendship. Eddie tells us Ian always made a point of coming and speaking to him and remembering his name even though Eddie was only a teenager when they first met. This guy didn't know where we lived, but sent us a beautiful card via Avenger, having made the effort to get a postal address for the band who forwarded it to us. We'd never met the guy, but his condolences mean a lot to us."


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So who's this little devil squeezing (or should I say 'strangling') the life out of poor lil ol' Val then?
 

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As promised, here's some of Val and Nick and Heavy Load - the band went through many changes but Nick's dedication was always the driving force and kept the focus to enable Heavy Load to capture the nuances and feel that was Free and Bad Co. - and just so you don't get Val overload ('not possible' shouts Jim) I've included some of the band in action.
     
     
     

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Soz everybody peeps, but I never actually explained why all these old pics have Val on them. Well, all our old pics were in paper folders marked with the band's name (where known), but during a couple of house moves, and sending some back to the bands in question, a lot were lost. Now, initially, Val asked me to remove from the set, the ones with her in them. These were kept together, all wrapped in an elastic band, and have survived. And it's these that I am sifting through now, to post the interesting ones. Regardless of whether Val is on them or not, they show interesting people and places. And as we have all moved on, then it's fun to look back. So there you have it. I've just found some of Nick and Heavy Load so I'll do them next . . .


Found some pics of The XXXX Crew with Val on a Harley.
I also realise now why there was such a queue for the 'titty stamper' job. I remember Val saying "Do I really need this many stamps?" Such a sweet, naive and innocent girl [well, one out of four isn't bad].

She thoroughly enjoyed the attention and I understand she went down very well. The year? Hmm, may need some help with that, but gotta be 98 or 99.
   
   

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Newly scanned in: First one After Midnight, the brilliant Eric Clapton tribute but not sure where, second was Val being shown how to mix it at a recording studio somewhere on Teesside, third and fourth I recognise superb axe-man Ken but not sure of which band it is when these two pics were taken. Any help would be appreciated.

     

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Someone's just asked why I'm so hazy about the pics I took and why Riffs photographs are not catalogued: 'Don't you have a photograph archive?'  It was just nights out for Val and myself, taking pics and reviewing bands. Oh yeah, all meticulously labelled by date, artist, place . . . but they're in another building on the seventh floor, right at the back and, due to the strict Covid regulations I now don't have access to them. Plus, because Val's on them, the floor has had to be re-strengthened. Photo archive!!! I love a good titter.
And talking of titters, I've scanned the first few of pics of Val with 'unknowns' so we'll see if anyone can help with info.


Just found these liitle gems. My memory is well shot (Val breathes a sigh of relief), but I seem to remember that the pics (right) of Black Dog were outside the Duke of Cumberland. No idea regarding the wherabouts of the Black Rose pic though but amongst the myriad of numbers on the reverse of the pic I can see 17AU, could be 17th August, and I suspect 1999.
I've just unearthed a big wadge of photographs wrapped in an elastic band that I took of Val chatting with bands, band members, and even venue owners and managers. Trouble is, no identification on any one of them. There will be some that I recognise, but the majority I'm gonna need help with. I'll post a few a day and hope that someone out there is able to shed some light on who she is pictured with . . .

    

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Now for a bit of Punk, courtesy of The Demi in Consett, all in aid of 'Give Tilly A Hand' campaign. Featuring No Way Out, Stottin' Headaches, Ultracore and The Next Pistols.
Review and pics by my good self - Val had 'other commitments'. Not sure who he was though. [Probably neither did she]
   
     

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Aha!! So there is a few peeps out there still reading Riffs - as is shown by sharp-eyed Jim (or should I say sharp-memoried) cos it was he who pointed out that there was a photo of busty Val with Last Minute that I took at the Turbinia in 2010, so why didn't we use it!? Jim admits he is a big fan of Val and hopes to see more of her in future (I'm biting my lip here). Actually I took two pics, and I suspect they may have been not only taken earlier but were not even of Last Minute, but more likely the brilliant Blueshouse, which Val and I caught at a gig at Durham Snooker Club in February 1999. So especially for you Jim, here they both are in all their glory (the two pics I mean, not Val's . . . er . . . yeah, ok, move along now, nothing to see here).

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For the first four pics we are jumping back a mere 18 years to the Duke in Felling for the innovative Meanstreak.
And, directly below, two pics I took at The Rock Bar with local legend Russ Tippins joining Meanstreak on stage. And, after a bit of searching, I've found a couple of pics of Russ and Meanstreak Ken talking to Val while she was managing the Earl of Warwick in West Auckland (that's the pub - not the person).

      
  
  

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These are, quite definitively, THE LAST MEN ON EARTH , October 2004, no idea where though. [yeah, I know I was there, and yes, I did take the pics . . . your point?]
       

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Well, I can narrow down this review of LAST MINUTE to Saturday 3rd July. Unfortunately I can't be so accurate with the year. Photo info says 2010 so let's go with that.
     

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The 16th of February 2008 saw a charity gig at Crook Town Football Club, all in aid of the Great North Air Ambulance. Doyle stole the show with a truly phenomenal performance - and I took pictures a-plenty, and that remind me, Val penned the review .
. .

    
     
   


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Zooming back in Riffs time machine to Thompa's gaff, the Duke of Cumberland for an exhilarating night with SLF tribute Rigid Digits from, if my photos time stamps are correct, 2006. But I suspect they aren't so I am open to an alternative. Great night though, and pics of the audience going wild (mind you, they started off a bit wild too) I think captures some of the atmosphere that the band created. Oh, and at Val's insistence I include a photo of her and Thompa - esteemed purveyor of JD and Coke and all-round cracking landlord.
     
        


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Hardly seems five minutes since THIS MACHINE received a top acolade from none other than Saxon, over their powerful rendition of Wheels of Steel, that the dreaded lockdown was enforced and the band were forced to confine any wheels they had, steel or otherwise, to the garage. But here are some pics to keep us talkin' . . . uh . . . yeah . . .
        
       
   The Byfords at home singing . . . you know what!

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Lucky ol' Sheiks got a second review from top girl Val - and I tagged along to take some pics - as they had a major band shake-up(!) from just the year before, and many were interested to see just how this would affect the dynamics within the group.
     

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Well, Ian may be up there jammin' with Kilmister, Scott, Dio, Gallagher, Harvey, Moon, Peart, Bowie, Joplin, Richard, Berry and many, many others.
The list goes on and on - and of course, those who never actually made it 'up there'. No matter how much time passes, or how many photos we show, how many reviews we host, it won't completely obscure our sadness.
That list is one helluva gig that I would love to be in the front for - perhaps not just yet though. And that leads me into another beast of a band. Our own Beast from the North East: -

I remember Val and myself collaborating on this review for absolutely ages - well in excess of ten minutes - but nothing we wrote could convey the awesome power and force this band delivers on stage. And in an act of desperation it was Val who said: "Well, you're always bleating on about 'a photo is worth a thousand words', so why not just use your photos?"

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I am truly shocked and deeply saddened to report that Ian Fulton, bass player in NWOBHM Avenger, died in a motorcyle accident on the 1st of June. A local lad, whose parents are now trying to come to terms with their devastating loss.

I have also learnt that when things get back to normal, Avenger intend to do a special gig in honour of Ian.
I really cannot imagine what pain and anguish his parents are going through, and I am aware there is nothing I can say or do that will lessen their suffering. His family can be justifiably proud of a guy who, through his music, gave immeasurable pleasure to a multitude of people.
Myself and Val had the pleasure of catching Heavy Metal band Avenger at the Office in South Shields in 2005 and, in memory of Ian, we host our pictures of the band here. To see the band in action, his father has kindly forwarded to Riffs these links -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bID2LHKHp2c

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROnDqVnWfc0

     

     


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Further back now to the Moonshiners MCC Rally. Again, no idea what year. Now, I know we did a review, as one of the pics is marked 'head' and I do that for the main picture on the review. But back in those far-off heady rocky days I just didn't save them. I know, shame on me. But the superb 4 Kinnells did the business...
        
       


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Steve Priest, bass player and founder of Glam Rockers Sweet has died. As part of the group which had hits including Hellraiser, Teenage Rampage and The Ballroom Blitz, Priest enjoyed a classic sex, drugs and rock n' roll lifestyle - something he was never shy discussing when talking about his time in the spotlight. 'If it breathed and was female, it was fair game,' he once told the Guardian.

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JUMP THE GUN, at The Grand Hotel in Bishop Auckland, 2008 (I think). Val at the helm.

        
      

 
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Ok, I know we say 'supporting live Rock music . . .' but Val did actually nip out to Gateshead to catch SkaBoom at The Three Tuns - and took her own photographs!! I did my best to clean them up. I mean, c'mon, even Photoshop has its limitations . . .
        
    

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And on the subject of fine musicians, just read what Val had so say about the superb Mississippi Sheiks when we caught them at The Lord Nelson in Stockton in 2008...
     
     

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A brilliant night in the company of some fine musicians - TT BLUE. 'Where?' you may ask, and 'when?' you may also ask. And you know what I'm going to say . . .
     
      

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Now we jump forward three years from those Stormin' pics - 2008 for those who just can't be bothered - for these pics that Val took at the Grand Hotel in Bishop Auckland. Don't know if I was there and no idea who the bands are! (I'm now aware that there are guys out there thinking 'cheeky buggers come along to the gig, take pics, we don't get a review, and they don't even remember who we are. Muthafuckers'.)
     
     

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Scrolling down these photos, it underlines how important it is for bands to have some pics taken - at gigs, at rehearsal, anywhere! A written review is fine, but it's over and done with. Whereas a picture...
And now I'm so glad I took as many and varied pics as I did, as we can all now look back at what was - dreading that it may never be the same again.


Dug out some pics I took at Stormin' the Castle which doesn't seem so long ago, but we're talking fifteen years for these. See how many local bands you recognise . . .
      
      
       
   
         

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Dr Sunshine at the Daisy Hill in, er . .  over in . . . well, everyone knows where the Daisy Hill is. This gig would have benefited from a better atmosphere, but a plain, rectangular room and disinterested punters made this an evening I had forgotten.
     
     

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A band that needs no introduction, so they don't get one. Think this is the Office, late 90s.
      
   

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Thought we'd jump forward a bit this time, to 2009 to be precise, and a visit to Houghton Buffs for RELOAD.
    

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More pics from Riffs archives. Shields Office host to the frenetic 1977 where myself and Val were treated to a host of punk classics. '97 or '98...
         
         
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Back to the Blaydon Music Venue now with some of Riffs early pics of No Dice - again, 1997 or 1998:
       
      

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Now, I remember this gig - not only was it a great gig by New Age Jam at the Office in Shields (late 90s) - but I remember it cos I pissed Val off big time! At the break, Val and I usually interview the band, ask them how things are going, get some group pics etc, but on this occasion Val was nowhere to be seen so, thinking she was chatting to some musos about this and that, I proceeded to accompany New Age Jam around the back of the Office and chat to the band. A few minutes later Val appeared with a face like thunder (the weather condition - not the band) but replaced it instantaneously with a lovely smile. We both had a great natter with the lads, including some pics, until it was time for the second set and they left to go on stage. It was then that I got a vicious tongue-lashing about why couldn't I wait till she had come out of the loo, and this is a joint thing, and not to edge her out again, etc. But the air was cleared and within a minute we were back inside enjoying the second set. Memories eh? There was a time when I could remember my memories, but now it's just a memory.
   
      

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It's not easy to live this way
Just an hour and a fleeting kiss

A photographic retrospective with THE GRUMPIES

Rock in the North-East just wouldn't be the same without them (well, yeah, I know we're without them now - well, it's not the same is it?) Stalwarts of the live music scene, and always ready to rock, I have had the pleasure to snap away at them from way back in 1997, up to their appearance at Stormin' the Castle and beyond: at The Duke, The Three Tuns, Washington, The Office, Stormin' - and probably your back yard (but didn't get any pics cos I was upstairs with your mum) . . . And we also have a review of the band by someone who's always abreast of live music - our very own Val. So enjoy - cos you ain't gonna see them on stage for quite some time.

         
        
         
               
      
           
           
      
The last two rows of pics courtesy of The Seaham Silverback

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I'm aware that I've just featured pics from an early gig by out and out rockers, Blast, but I remember Val and myself were so impressed, we caught them just months later at The Duke.
So here is just a taste (which is about the amount of Coke in one of Thompa's JDs).
We could be late 90s here or early 2000s. Note just how much the band are enjoying the gig too . . .

          

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'97 or '98 for both of these pics.
Wow, someone's got a good memory "how come you didn't include the pic of Val with Len in the Tubesnake pics?" A quick search unearthed it. Happy?
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Ere's some late 90s pics of the Zeppelin-touting Black Dog which I suspect - because of the pic of Val squeezed between Thompa and Ronnie - were taken when myself and Val caught the band at the Duke of Cumblerland in Felling. Many great nights we had there and I can state that Thompa Cumberland, along with Paul Tuns, were the two most gracious hosts in the North East. Mind you, Thompa was a terrible barman - for me and Val he always got the amounts of JD and Coke the wrong way round. . . bless his little cotton socks.
         
       


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And talking of Baz, just found this odd pic, sitting there, in the archives - with no other pics of the night. How bazarre:


So, is it just me who didn't know that our local lad Baz Warne not only is a guitarist in the Stranglers, but is also lead singer? Oh, it is.


To the email enquirer: Yes, every single picture in this column I have personally took - at the gig, on the night. If for whatever reason I use someone else's picture I ALWAYS mention it, otherwise, they are ALL taken by myself. Soz, thought this was common knowledge. Val and myself have always prided ourselves on the personal touch (well, especially Val) and we hope that it's this detail that lends a certain intimacy and reality to our reviews and pics....
Now, back to just another night at The Office.  Don't have nightmares . . .
             
           
       


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Next batch of pics which I hope I'll have ready to upload tomorrow feature a nightmare at the Office . . .


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A few pics from the much-acclaimed but short-lived UUFO,
not sure of the year.
        
    

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Here's a couple of the earliest Riffs pics of the brilliant Tubesnake . . .

    

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Well, I could have sworn that I had already added to this News page the review of Baz Warne in Robot Elvis at Paddywhacks in Sunderland - but scrolling down the News page I just couldn't see it anywhere, so I guess I must have dreamt it, which is strange, as the majority of my dreams don't include band reviews.........


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More Riffs archive dipping finds the inimitable Baz Warne and the Sun Devils at the Office - photos taken on March 16. How about that for accuracy eh?! Oh, you want the year do you? Bugga. Could be 1997 or 1998 . . . And I also include the poster for when Baz played a special gig for Val when she was running the Earl of Warwick in West Auckland (this was a few years later after Baz had joined The Stranglers). Also (just to be as accurate as poss) the pic of Baz and Val was taken at Paddywhacks in Sunderland a few years later.
      
      
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Trying desperately now to narrow down the date of these old pics. With confirmation from Big Al though, I can say that these pics are from 1998 at The Office in Shields.
      
        


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Epic games are offering Civilisation VI FOC until the 28th to help folk get through the lockdown:
https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/product/sid-meiers-civilization-vi/home#

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Well, look what I found - pics of the night Dark-Glam trans-gender band from Minneapolis, Minnesota appeared at the Office in Shields. The band, All The Pretty Horses, featured Venus DeMars. The band blend the influences of artists such as David Bowie and Sex Pistols with a dose of heavy, guitar rock and outrageous costumes, into a self-described style called dark-glam.
If I hadn't taken the pictures I just wouldn't have believed that this gig took place. To say it was an eye-opener is an understatement. Trying to narrow it down but I reckon late 90s. Probs 1997 or 8.
       
         
     

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Seems a lot of these old photographs I've been resurrecting have time details that may have been corrupted - as most say 2001 (reasonable), November 14 (hmmm) and then 2pm (unlikely) so, basically, I now don't have a clue when they were taken!! Still, probs more exciting . . .?

Anyway, back to
The Cluny with Loaded 44 . . . fuck knows when.
       
     
 
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Cover Story at the Boldon Lad, late 90s.
      
    

     

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So just how much would you pay for a line-up like this?

The Doors, Pink Floyd, the Faces, Family, Curved Air, Atomic Rooster, The Kinks, Rory Gallagher, Uriah Heep, Country Joe McDonald, Buddy Miles, Status Quo, Brinsley Schwarz, Spencer Davis, The Strawbs and Humble Pie all appeared at the 2nd British Rock Meeting, Insel Grun, Germersheim, West Germany. 1972.

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When the world was rockin' . . .

       
       
Does anyone remember where this was? I'm suspecting 1997 or 8.

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Stormin' 2004



Jackl. I know it's at 'The Masons Arms' but, not 100% sure where. Any ideas?

   


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And while I was rummaging, what year do you think this was at Stormin' the Castle? - without looking at the picture details!         It was 2007.       Somebody emailed to say we have a picture of some Stormin' boobs! I must track down that one....
  


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Nice to hear from Big Al who, I think, is bass player for North-East stalwarts, Witchkraft, with amazing axe-man Mal.
Val has extreme respect for Al and called him "A gentleman among gentlemen". He is one of that rare breed of men who you not only never got sick of talking to, but always learn so much from.
So, after a quick rummage, I dug up this pic of the two aforementioned, dating back to November 2004, which Al reminds me was taken at the Rock Bar in Easington.
Oh those heady days of deciding which Rock band to go see . . .










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Ten years ago yesterday (Saturday) we lost an unbelievably stunning Rock voice - the one and only RONNIE JAMES DIO. So sadly missed, what a phenomenal voice this guy had.
These pics I took at a venue in Durham (I think) in 2005. [Memory isn't what it used to be!]
  
     


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Knew there had to be somebody out there. Seriously though, just heard from Dave from the Graham Henderson Experience to say he is biting at the bit to get back out there
after all this voodoo hoodoo and re-create the thriving live music scene that we all miss so much. In the meantime let's remind ourselves of the band in full flow at the Penny Gill in Spennymoor . . . https://youtu.be/Y8Goiam0xW0

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After a deluge of mail from readers (well, I did actually get one) so for all the people still reading Riffs, this is for both of you.........the sensational BLAST from 2001 at Shields' Office.
      
   

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We're back to 2001 again, this time it's Left Hand Drive at the Rock Garden in Easington Colliery . . .
   
  

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The phenomenal Blackout from October 2002 at The Office in South shields; all Riffs pics and all by yours truly.....


  
  

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Back to 2007 and Darlington's Quaker House for another Riffs review from Val . . .



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Well look who dropped in to the Powerage gig . . .
 
  
 
POWERAGE - NEWCASTLE CITY HALL, SEPTEMBER 28, 2001 . . .

    
   

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Back to September 28, 2001, when Disposable Heroes - belting out some quality Metallica - supported Powerage at Newcastle City Hall . . .

   
        
Will get the Powerage pics from this same gig uploaded in the next day or two...............and also pics of the special visitor the band got who just happened to be gigging in the same city on the same night . . .

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More pics from the past, this time NO DICE from the Blaydon Music Venue in 2002.
    


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Dug out these pics of Avatar from the Three Tuns in Gateshead back in 2008.
 
    


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Here's another review from those heady days of blistering nights out surrounded by talented musicians (oh how long ago that seems right now). This is from 2009

Miss ya Nick.

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Back to 2008 and a special event at The Three Tuns in Gateshead...................



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A mensh for UFOs Paul Raymond who passed away due to a heart attack one year ago Monday 13th.

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Arch Enemy and Blind Guardian at Bloodstock 2008, review shown here in memory of Gary Harwood who recently passed away.
   



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Rejection always hurts . . . but this must sting like a mutha:

Thanks to The Silverback for sending this in.

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One of Riffs' reviews from a bygone age - but wouldn't you have thought the writer would have mentioned the date?!! No idea when this was written (although around 2008 is a rough guess) . . .



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"Growing up in the 60s I’d always leaned towards the rockier side of music, preferring the Stones, Kinks and the Who to the Beatles and the Tremeloes etc. I’d seen local bands but the first major band I had the chance to go and see was The Who, in the Rink at Sunderland - for the princely sum of 50p. At the time I was an apprentice at college full time with a weekly wage of about £5.30 so by the time I’d paid my mam her share, this probably constituted 25% of my weekly pocket money without taking into consideration my bus fare there. (Some of my mates walked there and back to Houghton to save money for a couple more beers).
Queuing up to get in, Roger Daltrey pulled up and drove down the side to the load in area in his Jensen Interceptor, no chauffeur, just the man himself behind the wheel. Apparently, Keith Moon arrived in a mauve Bentley, but I missed that.
It was the first time I’d been in the Rink and I was mesmerised; dimly lit, UV lights around the room, loud music playing over the PA and loads of long haired yoof, just like me. Excellent. I’m racking my brains to remember, but I think the support band were called Cochise and as I recall they were pretty good, though I can’t remember anything they played. (This was 50 years ago!).
This gig was just 2 weeks prior to the release of the iconic “Live at Leeds” album so the set by the Who featured most of the tracks on that great album, the excerpts from Tommy were immediately recognisable along with stuff from their already extensive back-catalogue. Woodstock was less than 12 months previous and we’d all seen the movie released in March 1970 so the fringed jacketed, mike swinging Daltrey was bang on form and just what we had come to see along with the windmill-armed Townshend. Moony was his usual thrashing self, throwing his stick in the air and catching them on the way down apart from one time when one stayed up in the low ceiling above the stage. The band also played “won’t get fooled again” from the “Who’s Next” album that wouldn’t be released for another year, Townshend had this huge reel to reel tape recorder on stage playing the synth intro. That track sticks in my mind, but I have a vague recollection there were other tracks from the forthcoming album played that nobody had heard before.
The volume was like nothing I’d ever experienced, I’d never known the flat feeling in your ears after a loud gig, I thought I’d been deafened for life but still thought it was worth it. That gig was definitely a turning point in my life and so different from what I’d imagined it would be like, it was visceral, exciting and the first time I’d shared the crowd power that an event like that brings out in you. Many more were to follow."
The Piebald Lizard

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LET'S HEAR FROM YOU LOT
The Seaham Silverback came up with an idea for those of you who, like a lot of us, reminisce the good times of Rock. That one gig that sticks in your mind (or for those of us who spent most of our young life at a Rock or Metal gig, try and narrow it down to a special one!). Put fingers to keyboard and let Riffs know your most memorable gig - we won't publish your name if you don't want us to [you could always use a pseudonym]. Personally, there has been a gazillion as every gig is memorable in one way or another. But just yesterday I was downloading the discography of The Heavy Metal Kids and it jogged my memory of seeing them at the City Hall in Newcastle in the 70s on a double bill with Nutz. It was £1 door but just 50p if you showed the voucher from Sounds. I can still remember Gary Holton strutting around the stage sporting a jockstrap with a massive penis extension. Aye, good times............. Then the night I arrived at Middlesbrough Rock Garden, knocking on a locked door and hearing bolts pulled aside, and a guy leaning out, looking left and right and then pulling me in . . . that was the Spots gig (Sex Pistols). Oh, and a Nazareth gig where the sound was distorted all night...... so plenty to go on.........          riffsonline@gmail.com

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That's it then!

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The Garden Farm in Chester-le-Street has had their fair share of party cancellations and as such their function room is free most nights for any band wishing to practice - free of charge. If you would like to use it then contact the pub on 0191 3882064 and ask for Natalie or Grant.  Alternatively get in touch via email, thegardenfarmhotel@gmail.com, or Facebook.

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A big 'thank you' to bands and venues for keeping Riffs updated during this hectic time of cancellations and replacements.................. I can usually get the amends done within minutes; and keeping the punters informed is the most important thing we can do . . .


More bad news I'm afraid: Platform 1 in East Bedlington has now shut and no bands will be performing there for the forseeable future. All their gigs on the Listings page have been marked as cancelled but, just in case I have missed one, no gigs will be held there from today. We will, of course, let you know when they re-open.

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***NOTIFICATION TO  BANDS***
Riffs has just learned courtesy of On The Case Music that The Black Rose Pub Group are cancelling all Live entertainment for the next few weeks due to the present circumstances.
On The Case clients affected are The Crown in Whickham and The Greens Sunderland.
If you are booked to play at any of these pubs in the near future the gigs are now cancelled (hopefully to be rescheduled once things get back to normal).
BLACK ROSE PUBS include :
The Ox Inn
Durham, DH9 7LR
The Elephant
Ashington, NE63 0SZ
The Guide Post
Gateshead, NE9 7RR
The Cross Keys
Washington Village, NE38 7AB
The Townhouse
Whitley Bay, NE26 2TG
The Millstone Hotel
Newcastle, NE3 1QL
The Black Bull
East Boldon, NE36 0SG
The Victoria
Whitley Bay, NE26 2TE
The Black Bull
Morpeth, NE61 1PE
The Greens
Sunderland, SR1 3PY
The Lambton Arms
Durham, DH3 3BJ
Ship & Royal
South Shields, NE33 2HT
The Crown
Gateshead, NE16 4DT
The Prior
Moorside, Sunderland, SR3 2SW
Britannia Inn
Houghton Le Spring, DH4 4AL

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We should call it the Battle of the Queens, but hey, thriving live gigs can not be frowned upon - just celebrated. Which is exactly what the Qween Live lads are doing right now as they wind down from another prestigious sell-out gig at The Exchange Theatre in North Shields. Rob told Riffs: "Absolutely amazing night - it was really nice to meet and greet a lot of our fans after the gig - we are playing in Norwich this Saturday as the headline guest Queen tribute band - everyone is so excited!" And if you missed them locally then you have one last chance this month: catch them at The Westovian Theatre South Shields on Sat 28th.


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On this day (Monday) in 2007 this happened . . .
Brad Delp lead singer of Rock band Boston committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning at his home in the New Hampshire town of Atkinson. He died from the smoke of two charcoal grills he’d lit inside his sealed master bathroom. He was found by police lying on a pillow on his bathroom floor with a note paper-clipped to his shirt which read: "Mr. Brad Delp. I am a lonely soul."

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We Are Champion update Monday 2nd - ALL tickets have now been sold for Bedlingtonshire Golf Club gig. ...

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And talking of Queen . . . what's better than a Queen tribute band? Two Queen tribute bands!
Rob from
Qween tells Riffs that their recent gig at Billingham Sythonia Suite was also a sell-out (two pics from that night showing), and that their next gig at The Exchange Theatre North Shields this coming Saturday 7th March has only a few tickets left on sale. Queen fans must think all their Christmas and birthdays have come at once.

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SEASIDE RENDEZVOUS
  
We love good news here at Riffs so we're really chuffed to bring you some - but it's tinged with bad news too, so we'll mention that first!
If you were looking foward to seeing We Are Champion in the next few weeks then, unless you snapped up tickets toot suite, you are going to be mightily disappointed as their next three gigs (Gateshead, Doncaster [well, ya might have], and Stockton) have all sold out. Soz, but y'know what they say 'He who hesitates is lost'.
Paul from the band told me: 'We do feel sorry for fans who have been unable to get tickets.
It's been a bit of a whirlwind really, we have had some amazing gigs; selling out the majority of them. And getting to play some huge venues inc Leeds and Newcastle O2 Academies.'
The first bit of good news for disappointed fans is We Are Champion have just added three new dates in April - Hartlepool, South Shields and Ashington. And I suspect the lads are going to be on full rockin' form as they will no doubt be still buzzing from having secured a really prestigious gig - no less than being asked to appear at the Official Queen Fan Club Convention down in Mablethorpe. Paul continued: 'We are thrilled - not to mention deeply honoured - to have been asked to perform at probably the pinacle of Queen tribute band gigs. We would never have believed when we started this band just over a year ago that we would be so heartily accepted by the Queenie community.' Paul went on to say: 'This is the biggest event of the Queen Fans calendar where fans from all over the globe come to party to all things Queen. We have our sights on loads of big festivals over this summer so can't wait to grow this thing even bigger.'
The event takes place at Haven Golden Sands Holiday Park in Mablethorpe first weekend in October.


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“These guys do the nasty blues like the devil hisself was hurting"
Tommy Hartlepool does it again. That guy is the forefront of Bluesy Rock in the North-East with his hand-picked quality bands. I'm in the middle of designing some boxed ads for his up and coming gigs and, obviously, try and get a feel for the band before doing the ad - and it's so difficult to stay detached when the bands he books - some from other continents! - are so damn good. Personally, my DNA is Metal, Rock and Punk, but quality music is quality music. [Reminds me of long ago when Val and I used to go out to see bands for a live review and pics, and if we were on the way to a Blues gig she would often say "is it Rocky Blues or Blues you slit your wrists to?"]. Thankfully the 'Blues you slit your wrists to' gigs were few and far between and I know her fave venue now would be Tommy's Hartlepool Supporters Club where the Blues is 'grimy, lean, mean and soulful' which brings me neatly to the description of . . . wait for it . . . Crow Black Chicken. I've snatched this from their website, but give it a read and then tell me you're not tempted. All I've got to say is their two main influences are Skynyrd and Zeppelin: [enough for me]

Wrap year listening organs around that slide guitar!!!
This power trio combine elements of folk and hard rock with the blues rock of bands such as Gov’t mule, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Led Zeppelin. The band was formed in 2009 in Cork city when lead singer Christy O’Hanlon met the former rhythm section of Clonmel Punk Rock outfit Aural Ammunition, Stephen McGrath ( Bass ) and Gev Barrett ( Drums ). The band immediately jelled and went on to perform on the BBC Introducing stage at Glastonbury 2011. The band released their first raw blues rock and roll album in 2012 which was produced by Producer Philip Magee ( Kodaline, Aslan, The Blizzards ). The bands second album Rumble Shake was released in 2014 and debuted at number 12 in the Irish album charts. Recorded in Westland Studios Dublin, this album was a more roots and blues affair than the first record, heavily influenced by the bands work with Texan Americana singer Ray Wylie Hubbard and legendary Austin Producer the late George Reiff. In 2015 the band went on to release their first live album entitled Deep South which was voted top 5 live albums of 2015 by Classic Rock Blues. In 2016 Crow Black Chicken opened for ZZ Top at the Marquee in Cork which brought them face to face with the Texan compatriots whom they often drew so many comparisons to. Always determined to create a sound all of their own the band continues to tour all over Europe and have since released a 4th studio album Pariah Brothers in 2017.

“These guys do the nasty blues like the devil hisself was hurting and rock like they’ll skate come judgement day”  Ray Wylie Hubbard
They're on at Hartlepool's Smallcrafts Association on April 10. Tickets £12/14. 07535 979658 or ents24 website.


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Not sure what has happened to Ronnington publicity machine but it's only thanks to Patrick from UK/DC and Obsession that we were forwarded the poster for this year's Ronnington Charity Fundraiser 2020 . . .


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TRIBUTE TO RUSH THIS FRIDAY

News just in . . . [sound of tele typesetting machines clattering away in background] The Force’s gig this Friday (21) at The Voyager, South Shields, we have just been reliably informed, will be slightly different from the usual Force setlist.
As a tribute to Neil Peart and Rush, the first half will be all Rush numbers – the second half Classic Rock. An absolute mega-treat for all Rush fans. Expect class, expect perfection, expect a phenomenal gig.


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Shepherds Rest Alnwick are looking for a band that can play 22nd Feb ... it's for Border Crew MCC birthday party... we have been dropped in it last minute... looking for rock... punk etc. Contact Dave Smith..07736116156 Or email stevecolly@hotmail.co.uk  NOW SORTED
.

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Magnesia Bank's mega-weekend, Stevestock, was a great success thanks to all who worked tirelessly behind the scenes and the magnificent North Shields peeps who packed out the venue upstairs and down.

A very healthy £2,600 was made and this all goes to help McMillan Cancer.

A heartfelt thanks to absolutely everyone involved.




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Another review from way back, we have the date but not the year. Probs around 2008 methinks.


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A sell out gig last Friday evening at Boldon Community Association was appreciated by a capacity audience who were really into the "Mercury & May" experience. Their next gig is at Primrose Community Association on Saturday 15th Feb - ticket sales are flying! (£5 from venue NE32 5QY / 01914249977).

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Riffs is very sad to hear of the passing of a much-loved and respected North-East musician - Ron Owens.
Val has fond memories of him and band when she booked them to play at a pub she was running in West Auckland many moons ago.
"He was such a lovely guy - well they all were - no airs and graces for someone with so much musical talent. Humble and kind. The thought of him gone brings tears to my eyes."






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DARLO'S LITTLE SECRET

Just found an absolute gem of a book/vinyl record/dc comic/dvd/cd/cassette call-it-what-you-want shop. A real little secret, just on the outskirts of Darlington town centre in an old terrace. If I said it had a million books you'd think I was exaggerating. I went in looking for the writings of Shel Silverstein (him of Dr. Hook fame - he wrote Sylvia's Mother, Freakin' at the Freakers Ball, Cover of the Rolling Stone etc, and A Boy Named Sue) and I was staring at a room absolutely jam-packed full of books and thinking how many he had and the guy (who has been collecting his whole life) told me this was just the horror and sci-fi section; other genres were in other rooms! Thousands upon thousands in every room - and there were many rooms. And that is just upstairs. Down in the basement (down a rickety and well passed its use by date staircase) is another treasure trove of books, magazines, cassette tapes, cds, dvds, Marvel and DC comics, vinyl records (he's got some rare punk singles too) - and God knows what else. It's on Victoria Road, 200yds down from the train station, and 20 yards from the Royal Mail Sorting Office. DL1 5JQ. I'm actually surprised he has a phone but try 07946 505 886, but you need to get in there and have a good old rummage - but take a flask of coffee and some sandwiches!! Oh, and the sad thing is, because he isn't getting enough money to cover rent and rates he may soon be moving - probs to Leeds. And if you plan to visit (Thu Fri Sat only) - and I really urge you to; for free 2 hour parking, then go past the book shop (with it on your left) take the first right and then first left.

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CROOKFEST 2020 ON SATURDAY 9th MAY
Crookfest 2020 will be the festival's 10th birthday and to celebrate we have a cracking something for everyone line-up across 3 stages: the Rock Bands playing this year are... Queen -We Are Champion, Guns or Roses, Bon Jovi Forever, Deep Purple in Rock, Little Devil, Fossil, Punk Pop Disaster, Nixon UK and a collective of local Crook rock musicians headed by Circa69 singer/guitarist Kieran Johnson. We also have Indie-Pop-Punk-Ska covered including UK's number one Kasabian tribute - Kazabian plus from Dumfries and Galloway, a band well known on the Scottish festival circuit The Dangleberries - a 10 piece bagpipes 'n all band playing pop/rock classics! Last year's Big Tent headline band Revolver return to headline the Scooter Tent playing top Indie classics, plus on the same Stage we have punk band The Suspect Device plus 80s classics from The Breakfast Club, Beyond Madness and Beyond Blonde. Also in the mix we also have Oasis/Jam and The Heretics. It's a full day of live music, bars and food outlets from noon till 11pm, all for only £15 a ticket / £25 on the day at the gate if not sold out. PLEASE NOTE the festival as a rule has always been on the 1st May Bank Holiday Sunday; however, the Government has moved this year's bank holiday Monday to the following Friday for VE day, so we have moved the fest to Saturday 9th May. All the festival and ticket info can be found at www.crookfest.co.uk


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GIROSCOPE ROCK 4 EMILY
After a blistering review on Riffs from our resident reviewer - The Seaham Silverback - of astounding new band Giroscope (right), ["I'd walk barefoot over broken glass to see them again" was one of his quotes] we are pleased to announce that the lads not only turn out some brilliant toons but have hearts the size of Rainbow's band members' list. Along with Michael Lavery from Groovetrain, they are giving of their time and talents totally and completely FREE to play at a fundraising event at Gateshead Rugby Club on Friday April 3. At only £4 to see a sensational band, a great compere and acoustic support, and to help a brave young lady with Cerebral Palsy and epilepsy, you'd need a heart of stone to not support this event. But enough from me, this is an extract from an email from her father Ian with some background to the event:
"My daughter Emily is a disabled athlete who competes nationally for Gateshead Harriers and hopes to compete for Team GB at a future Paralympic Games. Emily has Cerebral Palsy and epilepsy.
We are holding a fundraising evening to raise funds for travel and accommodation costs as well as entry fees to national competitions for the forthcoming outdoor and indoor season for 2019/20.
In 2018 Emily competed at the CPISRA WORLD GAMES in Barcelona coming home as a 5 time world champion. Later that year Emily was invited to become part of the British Athletics Paralympic development squad with the intention of producing Para athletes for Paris 2024.
We have the fantastic GIROSCOPE playing as our band for the evening. Tickets are available from the Rugby Club bar or directly from me Ian on 07711415820. This event is a ticket event but any unsold tickets will be sold on the door. .Please take a look at Emily’s website
www.emilystewart-t38.com"


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STEVESTOCK WEEKEND 2020
in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support


FRIDAY 31st

Ground Floor and FREE:
7 SINS 10.15 / ELENBAK 8.40 / MONKS IN AN EGGCUP 7.15 / BRANDON PROCTOR 6.30
First Floor £5 door (strictly limited capacity):
THE BREAKFAST CLUB 11.00 / RIGID DIGITS 9.25 / THIS MACHINE 7.55

SATURDAY 1st

Ground Floor and FREE:
FM 10.15 / TINY AFRO 8.40 / LOU ROSS BAND 7.15
First Floor £5 door (strictly limited capacity):
LITTLE DEVIL midnight / DIAMOND DOGS 11.00 / DEEP PURPLE IN ROCK 9.25 / TIN SOLDIERS 7.55
SUNDAY 2nd
Ground Floor and FREE:
NUTOPIANS 7.15 / THE WHODLUMS 5.30 / DEJA VU 3.45
First Floor £5 door (strictly limited capacity):
THE FORCE 8.00 / BIG TED 6.30 / VINTAGE EDITION 4.30

Please note that ALL tickets have now been sold, but £5 door is available - first come first served.

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GOODBYE TO BB's MARGE
The highly-respected landlady of the Bell and Bucket in North Shields bids a farwell to bands and punters alike this weekend (17, 18, 19) when she goes out with a bang - well, hopefully not literally - as three excellent bands intend to raise the roof in honour of this much talked about lady. Riffs has had no personal contact with Marge but, by all accounts, she is much admired and treats the bands with the respect they deserve. A rare flower indeed. Norman Force says about her "a lovely landlady who will be a big miss").
Her three last gigs are ROCK SOLID on the 17th, FM on the 18th, and STICKY FINGERS on the 19th.
Please go along and make Marge's last three gigs ones she will never forget. Pictures welcome . . .
Also, we have just heard (cheers Norm) that no less than Tony Liddle is to be the new vocalist for FM.




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MERCURY AND MAY - THE ULTIMATE QUEEN TRIBUTE

Queen fans must feel like all their Christmas and birthdays have come at once at the moment. Not only two excellent Queen tributes gracing our venues, but now an act that highlights the incredible vocal talents of Freddie Mercury and the outstanding guitar playing of Brian May.
The gig,
Mercury & May live at Boldon Community Association, New Road, Boldon Colliery NE35 9DS is on Friday January 31st and the performance commences at 8.30pm. Tickets are just £5 and the venue contact is 0191 5368085.

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DIABLO - Happy New Year Everyone!

2019 saw some great gigs for Diablo with fab crowds culminating with a cracking headlining slot at Tynedale’s annual Music and Beer Festival in Corbridge. The big success of the year,  without doubt, was the new album “Screaming Out” (still available) which eclipsed sales and triumphs of all previous Diablo recordings – so nearly achieving a hit record! Rave reviews kept pouring in such as Andy Jennings at GigItNorthEast; Harvey Smith of The Bastards of Eclectic Music Taste; Crack magazine Newcastle among many, and the track “I’m Unknown” became BBC2 Music North East Introducing Show’s Record of The Week in January. Tracks “Screaming Out” and “Crawl” have been played on local Nova Radio and “I’m Unknown” played at Gateshead FC International Stadium’s PA! Diablo’s original songs have been played on social media and YouTube over 77,000 times and those are just the plays we’ve managed to track! And with streaming the new album there have been literally thousands of plays and downloads. Thank you EVERYONE for supporting the album and us, for so long – we love you all. And Davy has just announced that the next album has already been written and is slated for 2021 release. Onwards & Upwards through 2020 – Diablo’s 16th year of continued success!
Dave Drums Diablo xxx



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Blackhall Community Centre is to host an AC/DC show featuring Livewire, with support from local lads Sticky Fingers. It's on Saturday February 22nd and tickets are £15, from ents24, seetickets or from the venue itself. Doors 6.30 and you'll be fully Rocked out by 11.30. By all accounts Livewire put on a fantastic show; but with the outrageous guitar of Phil Martin, I think if there is a band that can give Livewire a run for their money then it's the Stickies. Be prepared for a battle of the guitars!!!!!





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FILTHY RICH AND STARZ


I think it was only this year (still in 2019 - oh yeah) that
Starz took the North-East music scene by storm [well, okay that might be a slight exaggeration, but certainly a breath of fresh Rockin' air at the very least] and no other three guys looked more as though they belonged together than guitarist Kenny, drummer Mark and singer/guitarist Kiko. So, to hear that they had pulled in a dedicated singer and formed a second band did crease my brow a tad (although that could be just age).
But as Kenny explained: "American Girl is now finished and we wanted to replace that band - when we heard singer Rich Myers (hence Filthy Rich, yeah?) audition we just went 'WOW' as he is such a powerful vocalist."

Kenny told Riffs exclusively: "
Filthy Rich will be doing one set of the American Girl songs that Rich wants to do and one set of all new Rock cover songs that we think people will love and will be different to the usual covers."
I can recommend Starz unreservedly as all three members have their own charisma, style and musical skills; and if you're gonna add a dedicated frontman to the mix and gig as Filthy Rich then 'scuse me while I kiss the sky! Kenny continued: "
We start gigging as Filthy Rich in February and have gigs booked for the whole of 2020 but not as many as we'd like because Starz has taken off and is soooooo busy."
A website for the band is under construction and we will announce it as soon as it is up and running.



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FM
at The Turf in Consett today (Boxing Day) 4pm. Unless my memory serves me incorrectly, you're in for a heavy dose of AC/DC and Zeppelin. And personally, I can't think of many things that would do it for me at this time of year. Get along and RAWK.


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PB update: Firefox is being a bit of an arse with connecting. However, Google Chrome connects without a problem. Weird, but that's how it is.
I download all my albums from PB without a problem; I've paid for them in vinyl, then paid again on DAT, then again on CD, I'm buggered if I'm gonna pay again for mp3 files!


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Just heard from Dirty Dogz Phil with some bad news - the trial run gig a the Cluny this Sunday 22nd is now OFF due to flu. Needless to say, Phil is gutted, but hopes to re-arrange the gig for February. Any news concerning the gig and we guarantee to be the first to let you know............

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Apologies to the few peeps who have emailed to say the current PB address is not working. More and more ISPs are blocking it, but the address that is currently showing (top right, under page links) is fully working as of Wednesday 18th. I will try and keep it up to date. Appreciate you letting me know.

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The Three Tuns in Gateshead is now booking for January and February 2020. Anyone interested text me (Paul) 07940715824.      ALL SORTED NOW...............

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The below article we originally put together a few weeks ago and things have come together nicely and Phil has now not only a got a date for the gig, but also has sold over fifty tickets for this Rockin' event. Phil is understandably cagey concerning the event and explains: "Me and the boys have booked a trial run at The Cluny on Sunday 22nd December, but this is to get a taster for next year." The gig is £10 a ticket (in excess of fifty sold to date) and kicks off at 6pm and runs till 9. Expect a night of surprises.....................

DIRTY DOGZ PHIL PROPOSES A NIGHT OF
'PANACHE, POWER, PRECISION AND PASSION'

And talking of 'no-nonsense', Riffs is excited at an email from Phil from Dirty Dogz fame who, after the demise of aforesaid band, has been pining for some quality, down-to-earth Rock done by mature, experienced musicians - or in his own words 'A tasty selection of highly regarded and seasoned pros' (I'm hearing people standing and clapping at the back . . .) and with the adage 'if you want something doing properly do it yourself' resounding around his thinking organ, Phil has decided to do just that.
Putting his money where his mouth is, Phil is arranging a 'little' soiree where he expects to showcase some incredible Rock talent. He told me: 'There’s still some cracking nights to be had out there I’m sure but, as most bands are finding, it's often hard chuffin work playing to 2 men, a whippet and a crazy couple in the corner who are adamant they want a bit of Britney! However, the frustration and disappointment seems to have wained a tad over the noted period of inactivity and I am dipping my arthritic toes (some may say foolishly) into the local, unpredictable rock'n'roll waters again.'
At the moment he has got his main band together: Joe Hope-Bass/Vox (“The Boy”), Ray Johns-Hammond (“The Man”), Sid White-Drums (“The Business”), Phil Caisley-Gtr/Vox (“The Dreamer”) but Phil promises some 'special guests' not to mention support band(s).
Still in its early stages, Phil is wanting to gauge support before he goes full tilt. He continued: 'Looking for definite feedback from real fans of live music who like nothing more than to immerse themselves in a night of quality sounds delivered with panache, power, precision and passion'. Expectations are high and Phil hopes the setlist to include 'interpretations/improvisations of classic rock, blues and psychedelia from Hendrix, Zeppelin, Cream, Stones, Beatles, Free, Neil Young, Peter Green, Bob Dylan...plus the odd original and a few surprises.' Phil has emphasised that this will happen only with enough prior interest. He welcomes texts on 07803 640235. I have promised Phil, Riffs' full involvement and when anything happens - we wanna know!
LET'S MAKE THIS HAPPEN.


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The Schooner in Gateshead is looking for bands for Boxing Day and New Year's Day. Call Paul 07940 715824


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The Schooner in Gateshead is looking for a band or artist to play This Saturday 7th December.
 0191 477 7404.   NOW SORTED   NOW SORTED   NOW SORTED


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A heads up............ Hearing little birdies talking about The Black Horse in Monkseaton stopping bands as the manager is close to leaving.

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BUFFALO FOUR SECRET NO LONGER

It seems only a brief five minutes ago that I popped along to Bishop Auckland's Bay Horse to catch the excellent Four Letter Word (review way, way down this very page). I also remember drummer Andy - not only for his steady and rhythmic playing - but also for the fact that I never got a picture of him! And I can well understand his disappointment when everyone in the band gets a photo - but not him. Even more so, considering he was doing the band a favour, standing in for their regular drummer. Andy plays in Buffalo Four who go down extremely well in the Blacksmiths in Gosforth but, he explained: "we have played there quite a few times and had some great nights with many compliments but apart from that venue we are unknown around Newcastle." It seems that Four Letter Word did quite well from Riffs mensh and Andy goes on to say: "they got a rave review and plenty of interest and some gigs from your article so thought we [Buffalo Four] are maybe due some attention. We have been going for 6 years and play to some pretty appreciative audiences but we are almost a secret in some places." Whoops, think I may have blown your secret Andy. Buffalo Four are at the Blacksmiths this Friday (6th).
Pic linked to the band playing 'I Won't Back Down'.      Metallica? AC/DC? C'mon lads, practice what you wear!!


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Air4ce at Cluny 2, Newcastle, 21st January 2020
Celebrating the life and music of Ginger Baker, featuring some of the north east's finest musicians - PLUS SPECIAL GUESTS...music from Ginger's work with Cream, Blind Faith, Graham Bond, Airforce, Billy Preston, and more.
Tickets (£8adv): click on poster.
And more information as it is announced here -https://www.facebook.com/Air4ce2020/

Apparently the first words that St. Peter said to Ginger, upon his arrival, were "look, I don't want any trouble".

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Those Queen tribute guys did it again - this time at Darlington's Hopetown & Whessoe Club on Saturday 23rd of this month when they wowed a packed house with Queen and Freddie's record-breaking and memorable songs covering over forty years. Qween's next gig is this Friday (29th) at Newcastle's Heaton Buffs but unfortunately there will be a lot of dissatisfied punters as the gig is strictly a private function so, unless you hold that special ticket, no entry. But keep your eye on Riffs Listings page as the lads will be playing in 2020.
If you just can't wait that long then We Are Champion, who do a superb tribute to Queen, have several gigs running up to Christmas. Also, on Sunday December 1 with a start time of 6pm at the Isabella in Blyth you can catch a Freddie Mercury tribute. Spoilt for choice!


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SHOT DOWN IN FLAMES
"Interesting idea, the tips for the band idea…..but here’s where my cynicism kicks in;
We have to be careful of the law of unintended consequence, it’s only a kick in the arse from there to playing for tips only, or used as an excuse not to pay a band or reduce their fee. Who would do such a thing I hear you say? Well there are plenty of reasons why a struggling venue may take that approach even before you factor in any exploitative reasons.
Yes it would sort some wheat from the chaff, but overall the standard would diminish because who would layout all that cash on gear without a fair chance of paid gigs?
But that dismisses the nous of even the most cynical of band bookers, theres not many that book bad bands, safe bands perhaps, and safe isn’t what brings in the punters, it may well entertain the ones already there however?"
Alan Fizzyfish
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Just heard from Patrick from the excellent Obsession and UK/DC that the Market Tavern in Chester-le-Street has ceased all bands for the forseeable future.

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What marvellous peeps there are out at Usworth and Washington.
Some of those fine punters piled into The Gardeners Club recently for Help for Heroes night when FOXX and Jay J Stevens waived their fee to make the night one to remember. Altogether the Club managed to make a very healthy £1400. Michelle from the club told Riffs:
"I had a lot of support ftom those who attended, also a big thankyou for those local businesses who donated prizes for our raffle in aid of Help For Heroes." The generosity of all those involved will make such a difference for our brave men and women.
And thanks to Michelle from Usworth and Washington Gardeners Club for letting Riffs know.

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HAD A GOOD NIGHT? - THEN FILL MY BOX
Well, our articles on dwindling punters for live gigs have been read by many, many people. The majority of whom do seem to agree that it is something that is happening now, and that it is affecting venues and bands alike. The only thing that is thin on the ground is solutions. I have heard one (from soneone who wishes anonymity), and as I have heard nothing better I will mention it here: A DONATION BOX ON THE BAR.
If you have had a great night at your local, seen a brilliant band playing stuff you like and recognise and the band have totally given their all, what do you do at the end of the night? Well, you just go home. And what if you haven't had that good a night, the band have been mediocre, stared at their feet all night and left you wanting? Well, you just go home. Now that seems rather unfair, the landlord doesn't know if you have had a good night or a bad one; that poor barmaid who has been smiling all night and serving all and sundry doesn't know, and the band who have lost at least a stone amongst them and played their collective kahunas off just see you leaving at the end of the night and have no idea if you loved them or hated them. SO - pop a few quid in the box on the bar. To be shared out equally between the band and the venue. One of the best night's ever? Bung a fiver/tenner in the pot and shout to the landlord "they were crackin' - I'll see that band again any time!" Now, to me, that seems feasible, but I am neither in a band, nor run a venue, so what do YOU think? Will it work - is it an A side, or just a terrible demo that won't make it onto the album? 

riffsonline@gmail.com

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An online station are taking music from signed/unsigned bands to be played for free.
No pop, just rock etc. no adverts.   http://www.marlab.dk
Thanks to Tony (former drummer with Cue) for this info.


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A late booking for these outrageous funsters. Friday night (22nd) at The Isabella in Blyth. Totally free entry and a wild night is guaranteed. Get along and let your Fez down!

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We have a straggler. By his own admission, the writer of the following article does not read the News page much, which does explain a lot. I know the Gig Listings is the most viewed page on Riffs but a lot of stuff on this page does tie in to the gigs so perhaps a glance now and then may prove beneficial. Any road up, here is Richie's thoughts on our main topic . . .

"I humped gear for a club band in the 70s then a pub band for 12 years after that, booked bands for 8 years for 3 pubs until quite recently but never for financial gain, still help out now and then when asked, so know a little bit about the music scene and how it works...
I have been watching bands since the 70s when clubs in my area that put bands on - solos and comedians, albeit on dedicated nights for each - used to be packed out but, one by one, they ended up dying a slow death, partly i think due to the loss of heavy industry. Pits, ship building and the like was to blame for some of it as shift workers could go out on a Thursday night and a Sunday night with Friday and Saturday nights taking care of them selves, if that makes sense, these people worked hard and went to clubs for nights out religiously and were not  frightened to spend their money, and not forgetting the earlier closing times where people on permanent days could go out, go home, bite to eat and be up for work no problem; we were all a lot younger then, yes there is Nissan and all of the knock on factories in my area but I am talking about a different age group here.
While talking about age I see some of the same people from that era at pubs now watching bands and, like myself, they are in there 60s with some older, one club is still going, but not as busy as it used to be with another two going down the sports club route and using private functions to survive. In a way what happened to clubs is the same as what is happening to pubs now, there got to be too many, also while for a long time they were a cheap night out, it got to be no longer the case with cover charges going up and all the add ons; bingo, raffles, various draws, it got where every other week there seemed to be something else. All of a sudden some pubs discovered a niche to host live music and were the better option cost-wise, you even ended up seeing some of the same musicians as many were happy to leave the club scene to gig the pubs.
The pubs saw an opportunity for making money by putting bands on after the club scene had died off, and while a lot were not designed to host live bands, they had to go with what they had got, most  got really good turnouts and were well supported, but over the years more and more pubs jumped on the bandwagon (no pun intended) and it watered the attendances down; where you once had a couple of venues you ended up with 5 or 6 and all within a small catchment area, people would go to where they thought they would have the better night. I think a similar thing happened in South Shields, for landlords they need decent turnouts on every gig night or it is no longer viable and becomes a struggle, also pub owners need to listen to the regulars as to what music they like, as all too often a pub will get taken over and book the wrong type of band, punk and acoustic is not going to go down well if people want rock music while, like myself, a lot of people still use Riffs and other music guides to find out what is on at venues, I think an up-to-date website is a must in this day and age. It is no good to anyone if a pub has a page and they do not keep it up to date as advertising plays an important part in letting people know who is playing and when; I think a few pubs are guilty of poor advertising,
I could mention a couple I know of where i never could find out who was playing, no good at all, they need to put it out there. I think with out doubt monthly pay plays a big part in sometimes having a lower turn out, the amount of times I hear people mention their funds are low the week before being paid, whereas back in the day when people were paid weekly they always seemed to manage money better and were able to go out, even the holiday period takes a toll on attendances, as does the run up to Christmas when money gets tighter. Quite often I have heard or read that the smoking ban has made a big difference, I myself think it has been very minimal; I think people have just accepted they have to go out side to smoke. I do not personally know anyone that has stopped going to gigs because of the ban.
Back to age and this has been mentioned various times on a music forum, there just does not seem to be many younger people attending gigs these days, certainly not the venues I go to, with the bulk of the audience being made up of 40s, 50s and 60s, unlike in my day where we were in our late teens. I have no idea the reason why. I might add that I go to watch predominately rock bands, maybe the old classics just do not appeal to the younger generation any more.
I must say that the northeast circuit is blessed with so many great bands and quality musicians; most of the time you are spoilt for choice. Referring to the 5 or 6 pubs in a small catchment area I have already mentioned, the pub with the more fancied band will get the better turnout with the others getting just enough people to break even if they are lucky. Every venue will have their group of regulars but these days they are looking at getting people to travel which we often do to Sunderland, Chester, Shields, ect, 3 or 4 sharing a taxi works out cheaper than the bus fare.
There seems to be a never ending supply of pubs that venture in to putting live music on only to find out that it is a hard slog with many giving up within a short period of time and not realising they need to be prepared to lose money early on until word gets out about their venue. I think the reality is that we will be left with the most well known of venues and those that are prepared to stick it out through this rough period.
"
Richie, Washington


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AS YE SOW, SO SHALL YE REAP
Well, you gotta laugh, haven't you! This just dropped into Riffs inbox and I just thought it was so relevant. Then again, I bet nearly all bands and venues have similar stories (I've thought it prudent to edit) . . .

"The guy who books bands in the ----------- has 26 gigs to fill so he books 12 or 13 bands to fill them giving each one 2 gigs a year regardless as to whether they died on their collective arses on the 1st show or not. We have reached the point where we’re getting the second time round for the dregs and I’m not going to go and watch a band that were shite 6 months ago in the vain hope they’ve improved. The fact that neither the band nor the club have bothered to contact your good self, or even to put it on their FB page illustrates their commitment to their craft. The next scheduled band in the --------- is the ---------- and I know it’ll be packed. At that time I'll be in Belfast. During previous visits I/we have tried to find a venue in that city playing Rock and it appears there either ain’t any or they don’t advertise on the web. Imagine a place like Belfast and no live Rock on a regular basis? And we complain about the dearth of decent music!!!!".


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Well, it was fantastic to have such a brilliant response - and so many views from bands and venues across the North-East on what they thought was the reasons for reduction in audience numbers. It was eye-opening to see so many different and interesting viewpoints. And Alan from Fizzyfish, after reading every single one with interest, now gives his views on just who has hit the nail on the head. But are we any closer to rectifying the problem?
"Since I wrote that last piece I have had some conversations, and some of the points raised by the other writers make you think as well.
Our most recent gig is a little case study, when I first started regular gigging, relatively recently in 2003, this place was one of the better venues on the scene, I knew the pub from my youth and actually went to see another band play there as I was auditioning for them a week later.
When I joined Fizzyfish it was somewhere they hadn’t played so I negotiated a gig there and we became favourites - and the venue was one of our favourites, building a relationship with the audience and staff.
After
Fizzyfish split in 2010 we returned in a different guise a few months later, but we lost so much momentum that even with the boost of changing our name back to Fizzyfish we found so many venues had changed, the stability had gone from the scene. The venue I was talking about now had a “manager” in but seemed more invested in food than bands; his attitude was hostile and his partner was one of those who knew the price of everything and the value of nothing. They destroyed the pub and within months it had closed, had another false start then closed again and after a lengthy period has opened again.
The new owner is doing everything right, it’s a nicer environment, he’s keen and supportive, but crucially, that little community had moved on, they had to find different things to do. The last few years have seen the venue go from weekly gigs, to fortnightly gigs and 2020 will see one gig on the last Saturday of each month, and I fully support his approach.
Putting bands on was costing him too much, the crowds came back initially, but for all the reasons mentioned before and a few more, the audience is a shadow of its former self! Lost momentum in this game is a killer, it’s taken us best part of a decade to get back to the level of gigs and breadth of geographical coverage we once had, were a better band, but that only counts for so much these days despite our fee being the same as it was 15 years ago!
I don’t think any of us have all the answers, Mike from After Midnight raises a valid point and one we try to avoid, the too high a volume mistake, it means significant investment in quality gear, yet we still get the occasional can you turn it down/up requests (usually to turn it up!).
It’s been the same with our lights, we have had to cut them down as people were complaining about being blinded and most venues don’t allow smoke machines anymore so you have to get creative whilst still putting on a show.
I don’t blame the tribute acts moving up the tree and Paul from We are Champion (genius) just highlighted my point, a tribute to a good band with true mainstream appeal. But I know lads in less mainstream tributes who play less often and sometimes they are going nationwide, some even into Europe to sustain the interest.
Smoulty and I generally agree on stuff still, and I also agree with Dave from FM, his points about over saturation.
We have three venues who have us back 3 times a year, we make sure each return is as different as we can manage within what the punters will accept, but there are so many places that will not even answer any communication with us at all! Closed shops or closed minds.
We generally want one venue in each town, unless two venues will support us doing our different sets,  the Rollercoaster, which is our crowd pleaser all over the place set and the Seabass’tard which is our harder uglier rock set, it’s a lot of work. But some venues distrust that we can make that approach work, they seem to be risk averse, they want defined bands doing what they say on the tin, safety.
We are open to do more clubs in the future. The ones that have turned their backs on the agencies and excessive Bingo are now opening up a new avenue, we found it logistically difficult to be able to arrive at a club at the times they prescribed in the past, but now some are more flexible and we are as well, let’s see how that pans out!"

Alan, Fizzyfish

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Just become aware of a venue in Sunderland - Angels Place - and as was my wont did a quick google search just to get a 'feel', and was rather impressed; a biker's gaff with a great Rock atmosphere and on their Facebook page recently hosted Deep Purple In Rock. That video alone was enough to whet my appetite. Took me back to the good 'ol Seventies at Middlesbrough Rock Garden. If only someone would invent a time machine, that would be the time I'd zip back to........

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Here we go, last one. It's been a lot of hard work for me, but I hope it's made a difference. And if it hasn't, at least I've tried. If we all do one, may even be very small, thing, then at least we've done more than the next guy who has done sod all.........I have extreme respect and admiration not only for the bands who bust a gut getting organised and traipsing to the venue, setting up, belting out quality Rock (or whatever, but it should be Rock, really) and then at the end, stripping down their gear, and going home, but also to the venues who sometimes take a punt on a band and ending up crossing their fingers that the gig isn't marred by, well, any number of things that can go wrong. I have no musical talent whatsoever, and would worry myself into an early grave if I was to host bands on a weekly basis - so I do what I can from this computer. Humungous respect goes out to you all. Really.




Only one more 'Disappearing Audiences' article to go, which I am working on right now. So if you have something to say then now is the time - and by 'now' I don't mean sometime next week, or even in the next day or two or 'yeah, okay I'll probably type something out this weekend' - NO. I mean, like, today, in the next hour or two! It doesn't take that long to type something out so let people know your views. Anonymous is fine, as long as you are honest. And it's no good saying 'Well, there's no point cos I agree with a lot of what's been said'. How does anyone know that unless you say so?!!!! Like I say, last one today. That's it. Finito. Fin. Koniec. Tapitra. Galas. Ende.





I always, but always have on some belting Rock when I'm working on Riffs, and as I am now (11am Friday) half way through what will probably be the penultimate article on Disappearing Audiences, this track came on. I just remember being so disappointed when mega bands 'throw away' a classic track when at a live gig. Like 'this is xxxxx xxxxxx' and then it's done and over in a few minutes. UFO Doctor Doctor and Nazareth Bad Bad Boy come to mind. Waste of a good opportunity.
Now, THIS is an intro...
(Oh, and it really should go without saying - but PLAY IT LOUD!!!!!!!!)

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Your Point of View is No More Or Less Valid Than Anyone Else's
Well, I've got to say I've been knocked out by the eye-opening response concerning the demise of punters coming out to enjoy live music. From agents, bands, venues - you name them - they have been concise, honest, eloquent. And it just goes to prove that people DO care. Okay, there was some that haven't bothered; but that happens in every walk of life. If nothing else - and I sincerely hope there has been considerably more - it has given everyone involved the opportunity to see 'the other side' of life in the live music world. I have been enlightened; and I'm sure I'm not the only one. It highlights the fact that your point of view is no more or less valid than anyone else's.
Probably just one more article to go, hopefully get that done today..........


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With all this talk of the problems of punter numbers, band prices, low turnouts etc, I was brought slap bang back to earth when I was made aware of the problems of a member of local lads Ghostband. It turns out the reason that they have been off the road for quite a while was the necessity for Brian Vasey to undergo a quadruple heart bypass, with other complications that necessitated quite a long layoff ("It was a rough time for him and he says the recovery was far worse than the op as they had to take a vein from his leg to use in his heart and it was his leg that hurt the most"). The good news is that he is on the long, slow, gradual road to recovery and is itching to get back on the road. But as guitarist Baz pointed out: "since April Chris (drums) and myself have either been depping in other bands, separately or together, and ones we had dep guitarsts for we never knew if they were going ahead, so other than a last minute Facebook ad, we thought it better not to advertise our gigs only to have to pull them. But since his op Brian has now bounced back and I now feel safer in advertising our gigs once more." The three gigs booked for December are: Sat 7 Old Ship, Newbiggin;  Sat 14 Acklam Steels Club, Middlesbrough;  Fri 27 Lambton Arms, Chester Le Street. I'm sure we all wish Brian well and for him to be fully recovered and fighting for the Old Ship on the 7th.

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Just this minute heard of a late gig by The Alcatraz House Band for this Friday (November 1st) at Steels Club in Sunderland. Haven't heard of AHB gigging for a very long time so they may just be testing the water so to speak. Let's hope this gig is the first of many as they were a very proficient band. Anyway, quick look in Riffs achives and here is Val's review of the band from way way back if anyone is interested . . .
Oh - and a slap around the chops for both Jenn and Steels Club as it was neither of them that we heard it from - and here we are discussing disappearing audiences!!



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TREAT THE BAND WELL OR PAY THE PRICE

Time for a bit ramble - well, it has been a while - and I am part way through article number four and it always takes longer than I imagine. Feeling my brain going porridgey I need a break so, with reference to the mention of some venues totally ignoring the band for the evening and not giving the band a welcome or whatever, I feel I must mention the time Riffs' Val ran a pub in West Auckland. It wasn't for very long (less than a year I think), but circumstances dictated that that was the way things would be for a short time. She had her licence, name above the door and whatever. She had a live gig night once a week and would have loved to have heavy Rock bands but her punters preferred more laid back music; Whitesnake, Bon Jovi (aaarggh), poppy type stuff - with maybe a little Rock thrown in. Anyway she would always make a point of welcoming the band, each one, by name. Telling them that they were an integral part of the evening and anything at all they wanted, or had any problems, they were to contact her, and only her, and she would sort it.Don't bother anywone else, come straight to her. She never charged the band for drinks, but heaven help any of the band's hangers on trying to get a freebie! (She could be quite formidable when she wanted to be - and sometimes when she didn't!). They were not charged for crisps, bar snacks etc. She had in her mind what she needed to break even, and a figure which would be great to achieve for a modest profit from the evening. On some occasions this figure was exceeded and she gave half to the band as a big thank you. She told me that the look on the guys' faces was pure astonishment that someone would actually give them MORE than they asked for. Needless to say she didn't need to do much searching for bands as the word spread how well (and fairly) the bands were treated. Course a Riffs review usually followed for every band that appeared there. I remember more than one band said they would come and play (Val did do her homeword by the way - she wouldn't book crap) and just take whatever Val decided to pay them!! I bet that doesn't happen that often. And yes, she made sure they got a fair price. Many bands also played longer (well past finish time) to a vibrant and appreciative crowd and she would always make sure they got extra. When she took over the pub it was, how should I put it, slightly below what you would expect. Within just a few weeks the clientele improved and it became a decent pub. I remember one time a couple of Hell's Angel types (over 6ft tall, about 3ft across the shoulders, sleeveless denim jacket, tattoos, bald - you get the image) started squaring up to one another. Val was straight over to them, pulled her top down and said: "I could knock both of you out with these
(Val was about a 38FF by the way), so stop your messing and enjoy the night. Or I'll kick you both out!". They stood there nonplussed and I think they forgot they were fighting and just went shellshocked back to the bar. And yes, I have seen her throw many a drunk guy clean out of the pub, not one of them lifted a finger to her. But anyway, back to how to treat bands. The way Val treated the bands, to me, should be the norm, and I was really surprised to hear that some bands are treated so badly. It doesn't make sense to diss a band - they have mates in other bands and if they are impressed, the venue will benefit by getting a good reputation. It was not that long ago that a new band was struggling to get gigs and asked me here at Riffs how they would go about getting noticed in the region - they wanted me to do them a boxed ad. I said that would be a waste of money. No one is going to book a band just cos they took out an advert. I told them what I would do if I was a competent musician and wanted to get noticed: I would ring up Paul Tuns and tell him I had a great band, and what I played, then say I will play for expenses just to get a gig - even a support slot. I would then email Nige at Riffs (which is me by the way, in case you're losing the will to live) and say come along for some quality Rock, and also send in a blurb about the band accompanied by some wild and quirky pics. I would then ring around local landlords asking them to come along. Blitz social media with some pics of my band looking wild, happy and raucous (who wants to see a 'boring' band). And just hope that Paul Tuns loves us and mentions us to his mates (and of course gives us a return booking at a reasonable price). yeah, well I said most of this and never heard from them again. Anyway, back to article number four, or is it five........and why is my coffee stone cold?

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Really pleased to hear from Paul Tuns regarding Disappearing Audiences, and his contribution will be in the top spot in the next article to be uploaded today (Wednesday).

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And here's the third - probably one more to go if no more emails come in . . .




Just uploaded the second of 'Disappearing Audiences' articles (probably couple more to come as Riffs readers have been marvellous at giving their opinions and views on disappearing audiences [not in a supernatural way you understand]). Brilliant stuff and an absolute banquet for thought.
   

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I just gotta say I've had some brilliant replies to my request for insights into the dwindling crowds at live gigs. Well, here we are, Saturday (it is Saturday isn't it?!) and I still don't have anything ready regarding the upcoming article (now articles) on aforesaid subject. It's not that I'm lazy (although that may go some way) but I have had some frighteningly incisive, not to say interesting and long-winded (but totally relevant) replies. So much so that one article just will not encompass them all. My original idea was to edit them down to bite-size chunks (bullet points if you will) but . . . well, I found that a bit like trying to edit Stairway to Heaven or Rock Bottom down to three minutes. You could - but you'd need to hide away in a dark place for a long time so no-one would know who you are. So, yes, I'm working on it, so bear with me......

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Riffs is gathering info on your views as to what may be the cause of dwindling crowds for live music gigs around the North-East - and what, if anything, can be done about it. We have some great venues, caring landlords/owners and a plethora (that means lots) of top quality (I mean like fuckin' awesome) bands - so why so few punters? If you wish to have your say then just email me here:   riffsonline@gmail.com.   You can even remain anonymous if you wish (but make it clear in your email).

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APATHY RULES! - WHATEVER
Just this very minute (well, coupla days now) heard from an extremely well-known and well-respected North-East pub landlord who has put his heart and soul into live music for many years, that he is close to calling it a day with live bands. Over the past few years his gig crowds have steadly dwindled to a point now that it is hardly feasible to host live music. Considering the quality of musicianship and wide range of excellent bands on offer in our area, this is a total disgrace. Regular readers will have noticed that Riffs (and bands and venues) have mentioned the lack of live music support on many occasions of late but it is now becoming a frightening reality that venues will have to react to. The annoying thing is, the answer is unbelievably simple - fuck the box and get out and watch a band!

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ADRENALINE-FUELLED HEAVY ROCK
I think that any band who openly welcomes a review must be reasonably sure they are musically and visually capable.

Riffs never expects perfection, indeed, so glad we haven't found it 'cos life would then be filled with anti-climaxes. So it was nice to hear from Graham from Adrenaline who boast a night of 'Heavy Rock and Classic Rock' - my musical taste buds are a-rockin' already.

The gig is on November 9th, Saturday, at Darlington's Quakerhouse.

Now all I need to do is try and remember where I have heard the name Graham Forrester from.... An enlightening email will surely be heading my way.......

Oh, and in case you need a taster of what Adrenaline offer. Look no further than HERE.





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There's many amongst us who just can't get enough AC/DC from the good ol' early days of Bon Scott. Well, your lust for Rock and Metal at its best can be well-satiated tonight (Friday 11th) at Gateshead's Three Tuns when UK/DC take to the stage for a blistering Rock set that I can assure you is dynamite. You have been duly notified.

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Whoops. Thought I had mentioned this but apparently not. The Times Inn, Dalton le Dale, has shut its doors. On its Facebook page, it says 'for good', but I don't think the staff and punters would see much good in it! I think they may mean 'permanently' or 'indefinitely'.


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VICTIM OF CHANGES
Without question, Rob Halford is one of Heavy Metal’s all-time great vocalists – as heard through his highly influential and groundbreaking work with Judas Priest. But age must do strange things to people, as he is about to release an all-new album entitled ‘Celestial’ - full of  'Christmas' songs.
‘Celestial’ sees Halford joined by a supporting cast of those very close to him – his brother (Nigel) on drums, his nephew on bass (Alex, son of Priest bassist Ian Hill), has sister (Sue) on bells, and twin guitar tandem of Robert Jones and Jon Blakey.
'Donner and Blitzen,' and 'Protected by the Light,' as well as reworkings of such holiday standards as 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,' 'Joy to the World,' and 'Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,' sit alongside other offerings. 'Donner and Blitzen’ gets the snowball rolling for Celestial – a song full of excitement, love and hope,” says Rob. “You can hear and feel the power of Christmas time – energy roarin’ with rockin’ reindeers haulin’!”
Of course you can Mr Halford. Now where's my copy of Sad Wings of Destiny . . .


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Gonna give a shout to Heart Shaped Stone who, up until today, I thought was a band but, apparently - well not apparently - because she has told me she isn't a band, she is solo, and she ought to know.
I'm giving a shout for two reasons. 1) she's taken out an advert in Riffs, which helps me pay the exorbitant prices for web hosting and domain name; and 2) she was the lead singer in two Rock bands - '99 Clicks', and 'Fallen Angel'. [I could squeeze in a 3) by saying she was very polite - you'd be surprised how many people aren't!].
As she told Riffs quite candidly: "
Everything I play is totally live, no tracks or gizmos, I strive to play well known cover songs that people like to hear on a night out and very often finish up with the audience singing along as the night goes on, mainly great singalong songs from the 80s and 90s from bands such as 3 Non Blondes, Oasis, Allanis Morrisette, Beautiful South, Fleetwood Mac, KT Tunstall, Blondie, Cranberries, plus some older, earlier and more modern songs too to please a wider range of audience."
She has a great following in her home town of North Shields but travels all over the North-East for gigs. She is no stranger to the weird and wonderful venues we have here in the North-East and has hosted buskers nights and mulitplayer live music gigs since 2017, now pushing her solo career.
I'll admit, unless she dives into the odd Priest or Motorhead track ("that really isn't going to happen, Nige") she may leave me a bit by the wayside but, as my niece told me "There's more to life than Heavy Rock". Errrmmmm, sorry Hazel, nope, you've lost me.
But I appreciate there is room for everyone in our thriving music arena and Heart Shaped Stone certainly have the background and professionalism to say "I'm here now, just leave everything to me". And that, surely, is what a lot of landlords are dying to hear. (second only to "there's hundreds of people queued outside for tonight's gig!")
There is a Facebook page showreel:

https://www.facebook.com/heartshapedmusic/videos/3191461814229734/
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Ginger Baker, one of the co-founders of Cream, has died at the age of 80.
Baker is best known for co-founding Cream with Eric Claption and Jack Bruce in 1966. He suffered various health problems in the later years of his life, telling Rolling Stone in 2013 that performing “exhausted” him. The candid interview also saw Baker reveal that he suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) from smoking. In February 2016, he was forced to cancel a tour with Air Force after being diagnosed with “serious heart problems”. He is thought to have undergone open heart surgery in June of that year.


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INTERNATIONAL DATELINE OCTOBER 7 . . .
INTERNATIONAL DATELINE OCTOBER 7 . . . INTE
Direct from Riffs International Overseas Reporter (you better believe it!) comes some AC/DC news; recently opened in Prahran, Melbourne (that's way over in Australia, by the way) is 'Angus and Bon' Steakhouse. Which, co-incidentally or not, is just around the corner from the Station Hotel where the band played one of their first Melbourne gigs back in 1975. Our intrepid Ozzie reported dutifully snapped this pic of the Angus and Bon plaque and I have requested that she wears her 'AC/DC founded 1974' t-shirt in front of the aforementioned establishment while taking a photo of herself (I think the hip amongst us call it a 'selfie') - but of course this all depends on the weather as I was unable to afford the very fastest pigeon. But a big thanks to Franki who, by her own admisssion ended up in Melbourne after missing the Hollywood plane. Don't worry, I told her, relax.








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Another thousand words, this time from Qween, also with a sellout concert on a recent Friday at Hedworth Hall:

Checkout their radio interview here.

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A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS

The Bay Horse in Bishop Auckland (on a recent Friday). . .
    
   


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Heard from Maddog - Chairman of the Tyne Wolves - that the Duke of Cumberland in Gateshead reopened fairly recently and is planning live gigs. The management intends to have regular band nights but The Tyne Wolves have got in quick with two gigs there already planned: Red Revival on 28th of this month, and Three Odd Shoes on Oct 4. Start time is 8pm and there will be a charity bucket for welcome contributions.

Val and myself have many happy memories of the Duke, with Thompa vying with Paul Tuns for the most gracious host in the North East. He set the bar extremely high, let's just hope the present management are even half as good.


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The gig arranged for Darlington's Forum for 24th of this month has been put back to next year and this new gig featuring The Tom Atkinson Band and the legendary Russ Tippins Band now takes its place:
 

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Heard from Dave from the Graham Henderson Experience that their gig tonight (Friday) at the Ox and Plough in Washington is off. The venue is closed and boarded so I guess that means no live gigs there for a while............but we'll let you know if anything changes.

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Better late than never - tonight's gig (Fri) at the now iconic Three Tuns in Gateshead is Heavy Metal USURPER. Tried my best to get a pic of the band but no luck. But there are some vids on Youtube taken at Trillans. I mention tonight's gig as it is now getting so damn difficult to get to see some Metal bands - and even more so if they play their own compositions; so good on Usurper. Check out their vids and if you are in the Gateshead area then why not pop along and give these guys some support? master of the wreck   baptism of fire
And good on Paul Tuns for giving these lads an airing.

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TRIBUTE BAND BREAKS PUB ATTENDANCE RECORD
By all accounts Darlo Blues day on Sunday was a rip-roaring success and, although we would have liked to hear from several bands concerning their gig on the day, at least we've been contacted by The Paul Rodgers Story who, apparently, broke an attendance record at a Darlington pub! We hear that there was, wait for it, 110 (that's one hundred and ten) people watching just the band's sound check at Hoskins Bar in the town centre. And when the band kicked off, there had been an unbelievable 553 people in the venue. The previous record was 350. The band, needless to say, fed off the crowd and went down an absolute storm. The Paul Rodgers Story have a new website up and running www.paulrodgersstory.com (I've told them about the Riffs reviews links not working) and also I can link to a video taken on the night of the band playing 'Fire and Water'. Just click here.
(above pic was taken at Darlington Forum earlier this year)


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Has anyone a cure for Fizzyfish? Those adaptable funsters are at it again - raising money for charity. I can't put it much better than singer Alan so I'll quote directly from his email:
"This one's been drawn together really quickly, Sunday 29th Sept at the old B&M store on Harbour Walk, Hartlepool, TS24 0YA. We're helping out the Personal Trainers at The Gym Group in Hartlepool in an event to raise funds for Andy’s Man Club, set up to help people with mental health issues in remembrance of Adam Rutherford, a young lad who sadly took his own life. The event is free, but obviously we would welcome any donations on the day to the cause, there's 3 live music acts; Red Sky, the acoustic duo span off the band Skyran, the wonderful Jades a 4-part glamourous harmony group, and to end the afternoon there’s the ugly buggers that are us, Fizzyfish, with a power hour to end the day with a bang. The event runs from noon until around 4pm, there’s plenty of other stuff going on for those who like to physically exert themselves - and those who like to watch them try. Everyones doing their bit for nowt, from the organisers, Hart tool hire, PA company Soundwaves, Van Hire company and Hartlepool Council; they have all been a great help, all funds raised go straight to the cause."
There's nothing more I can add to enhance the event, except a plea for local people to go along, have a crackin' day out and try and pop a few pennies in the collecting buckets. Anyone who's organised an event knows just how much hard work - not to mention sweat and sleepless nights - goes into it, so to tot it all up at the end of the day to realise a financial reward for Andy's Man Club would put smiles on so many faces . . .
And well done Fizzyfish - Riffs will always have room for you.

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DIRTY DOGZ PHIL PROPOSES A NIGHT OF
'PANACHE, POWER, PRECISION AND PASSION'

And talking of 'no-nonsense', Riffs is excited at an email from Phil from Dirty Dogz fame who, after the demise of aforesaid band, has been pining for some quality, down-to-earth Rock done by mature, experienced musicians - or in his own words 'A tasty selection of highly regarded and seasoned pros' (I'm hearing people standing and clapping at the back . . .) and with the adage 'if you want something doing properly do it yourself' resounding around his thinking organ, Phil has decided to do just that.
Putting his money where his mouth is, Phil is arranging a 'little' soiree where he expects to showcase some incredible Rock talent. He told me: 'There’s still some cracking nights to be had out there I’m sure but, as most bands are finding, it's often hard chuffin work playing to 2 men, a whippet and a crazy couple in the corner who are adamant they want a bit of Britney! However, the frustration and disappointment seems to have wained a tad over the noted period of inactivity and I am dipping my arthritic toes (some may say foolishly) into the local, unpredictable rock'n'roll waters again.'
At the moment he has got his main band together: Joe Hope-Bass/Vox (“The Boy”), Ray Johns-Hammond (“The Man”), Sid White-Drums (“The Business”), Phil Caisley-Gtr/Vox (“The Dreamer”) but Phil promises some 'special guests' not to mention support band(s).
Still in its early stages, Phil is wanting to gauge support before he goes full tilt. He continued: 'Looking for definite feedback from real fans of live music who like nothing more than to immerse themselves in a night of quality sounds delivered with panache, power, precision and passion'. Expectations are high and Phil hopes the setlist to include 'interpretations/improvisations of classic rock, blues and psychedelia from Hendrix, Zeppelin, Cream, Stones, Beatles, Free, Neil Young, Peter Green, Bob Dylan...plus the odd original and a few surprises.' Phil has emphasised that this will happen only with enough prior interest. He welcomes texts on 07803 640235. I have promised Phil, Riffs' full involvement and when anything happens - we wanna know!
LET'S MAKE THIS HAPPEN.

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HEADS DOWN NO-NONSENSE BOOGIE
Nipped out to catch Ma Kelly's Boys last Sunday (15th Sep) at Crook Hotel, co-incidentally about the same time as John Coghlan's Quo were playing in Darlington as part of the annual Blues Festival. Again, Ma Kelly's Boys are seasoned musicians who have done their homework and noticeably love playing Quo's early stuff. Lots on offer, including 'Railroad', 'Roll Over Lay Down', 'Mystery Song' and many of the expected Quo classics - the sound was ballsy, meaty and perfectly balanced. Lead guitarist's feigned move to turn down the volume elicited angry shouts from the crowd. Think so too. Quo fans will not feel short-changed here.
   
     

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My faith in humanity has been partially restored - well, I say humanity; I mean the Rock-going public of the North-East. How? Well, I have just received (and now put together) a review of UK/DC at Glendale Club from last Friday (13th), and it was packed. Chocka. Heaving. And don't take my word for it, The Seaham Silverback was there, sent in his review with pictures of said crowd. Magnifico.
 

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Received a link to the new offering from our local lads Millennium. Coming in at around an ear-battering six minutes this Heavy Rock onslaught - A New World  - is a taster for the full album coming out this month. Seems there's fewer and fewer Rock and Metal heads left, but for the Metal minority this little ditty should satisfy. Paul from the band told me: 'It's tough for all bands but especially those that peddle their own stuff. Hopefully we'll travel a wider road soon.'  We wait with baited breath. Give it a listen, crank your speakers to 11, sit back, and enjoy . . .A NEW WORLD

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Just been sent a link to a great video by the NE STREET BAND. Check it out here

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Three Tuns in Gateshead need band for this Sat (14th). Contact Paul asap 07940715824 (and let me know if you get the gig and I'll post it on the Listings page). NOW SORTED,. FREDDIE PURVIS GOT THE GIG.

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After typing the below para something came to me that Colin Smoult said to me many, many moons ago when he was in Shovelmouth. He told me how much it means when, after a gig, if just one person comes over and says to the band how much they had enjoyed the gig. That, he said, made all the hard work so worthwhile.

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"Can you hear us at the back?"

Riffs is getting emails left, right and centre concerning the lack of support for quality bands playing their hearts out in the area. I do find it sad that bands who have invested not just money, but many, many hundreds of hours of dedicated rehearsals and practice take to the stage and, on so many occasions, see just a handful of punters. Now, I could quite understand this reaction to mediocre bands who get some gear together and tout themselves as a 'band', but I am talking about skilled musicians (and I'm not going to name anyone in particular) who have spent years on the live music circuit and rate as high as you will see anywhere. Riffs even reviews bands so you have a good idea of the best bands to see, so we're doing our bit! I mean, it's not that pubs charge for entry most of the time. All they ask is that you buy a drink or two. I know, if you are reading this I'm probably preaching to the converted, but get some mates, tell your friends, make a night of it - but give these guys some support. There will be a time, maybe not too far in the future when you will actually have one of the most frustrating feelings ever - no choice.

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While writing the review for Obsession yesterday (Sat) I twigged that the brilliant lead guitarist John Footitt was in a band called Riot, way back. So, after a search through Riffs' archives I found a review for Riot done at (you might guess) The Three Tuns, by Val. Again, not sure what year - but I know someone will help out. Here is the review. Plus a couple of pics of John belting out some toons including some Bon J . . .aaah, where's the sick bucket?!!!

       

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Less than a week to go until the Ruf Blues Caravan 2019 take to the stage at Hartlepool Supporters Club on Saturday 14th.
A lot of people may panic thinking they now do not have time to arrange tickets for the gig - but panic not, as Tommy is allowing pay on door to this event if all tickerts are not sold.
If you want to check availability just give him a quick email on thomas.wormald2@ntlworld.com. And he may even hold them on the door for you, I know not, but if you ask very nicely he just may.


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Just heard from
Blistered Molly that their charity Ball at Hexham Mart has been cancelled. It was listed for later this month but it is now not to be. Mike from the band told Riffs "I'm not suprised really, at £50 a ticket!" And I bet he was looking forward to that drum solo too. Such is life. Mike is slightly miffed as the band turned down a couple of bookings for that night so is now trying to fill that slot; it's Saturday September 28; contact
Mike on 07711 006943.

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GOOD OLD-FASHIONED LOVER BOY


And I thought Sunday was a day of rest!!

No sooner had I finished putting together last night's review of
The Codgers by the Seaham Silverback, than in pops an email from Rob of Qween who had another successful gig on Friday (30th Aug) at The Grand in Newcastle.

And he very kindly sent me in a couple of pics taken at that fine establishment.

I also hear that the band even did a meet and greet after the show for their many fans demanding a chat. Nice one guys.

Their next gig is at Hedworth Hall South Shields on Friday 27th Sep and tickets are just £6 from the venue or Qween's Facebook page.





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I notice that The Codgers are playing Houghton Sports and Social Club tonight (Sat) and there's just a chance that the Seaham Silverback may be out and about too. Now I'd hate for anyone to put two and two together . . .  but I've sorted through Riffs archives and dusted off some old pics I took of the young lads when they were Old Codger in 2007. So, without further ado:




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I can agree wholeheartedly with The Seaham Silverback's review of Starz a few weeks ago. I caught them last night (Thursday 29th Aug) at Osbournes in Yarm to get pics of them on stage and was mega-impressed by this versatile power trio. An object lesson in how to - seemingly effortlessly - entertain a crowd with an ultra-tight sound by seasoned and talented musicians and still have a laugh with the punters. To be able to play a bikers gig one night and a wine bar the next will give Starz an enviable edge. Tony from St. Peter's Club in Newcastle told me: "These lads are great. I have had them twice this year and intend to book them again for 2020."
I kidnapped guitarist Kenny between sets: "There is no other place like the North-East," he pointed out, "every weekend there are numerous local bands on offer to go and see - not many people realise this is special to the area." Although he still wouldn't be drawn on whether hardened rockers Black Rose would be publicising their upcoming album with some local gigs.
I have updated the Silverback's review with some pics but have not changed any of his text. Starz are still mid mini-tour and I unashamedly urge you to go see. Kiko, Mark and Kenny's repertoire is all-encompassing and I truly can't see anyone being disappointed.            
http:www.starzrock.co.uk


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FIZZYFISH HAVE DARLINGTON IN THEIR SIGHTS
By jove they're at it again! Fizzy by name and fizzy by nature. Only this time, the band who put the E in Entertainment plan to bring a bit of life to Darlington. They are playing for nopence, not a penny, not a threepenny bit, not a tanner, not a florin so as to help Family Help in Darlington, which specialises in domestic abuse support for women and women with children fleeing domestic abuse. They provide safe temporary accommodation for those that need it, in a purpose built refuge with 8 units.
Alan told Riffs: "We are honoured to be supporting the refuge and will be offering a night of entertainment for the princely sum of £6 a ticket. We will be going full on Rollercoaster set for this one, so nothing esoteric, just a great night of great tunes!"
It's on Friday, October 18. Tickets are available direct from the venue, The Forum Music Centre, Borough Road, Darlington, 01325 363135. All profits will go direct to the refuge.



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Well, some balls are held for charity and some for fancy dress, but the ball that's held in aid of Tynedale Hospice is the ball that Blistered Molly likes best. Yep, the band has been asked to play at the Hats and Glad Rags Ball in the Function Suite at Hexham Mart. Drummer Mike from the band tells me they are all looking forward to introducing the crowd to some Classic Rock and I note that within their repertoire they include some Free, Zep, AC/DC, Lizzy and . . . Sabbath. Hmmm, best keep clear of War Pigs methinks and probs go for Paranoid. Even Zep may be a push. "Well," said Mike confidently, "we'll suss out the crowd and see what we can get away with. The name of the game, though, is to entertain. And we have no worries on that score." With such a positive attitude the band may just make some converts. Singer Ashleigh is a big Zep fan so hopes are high for some blistering Rock. The event has been put together by Patricia Barnes of Hats and Glad Rags in Hexham and Gofton Wagyu and takes place on Saturday September 28th. It all kicks off at 7pm and you'll get chucked out around midnight.
Not a cheap night mind, coming in at £50. But hey, it is for charity and hospices up and down the country rely on public donations to survive. And if you had a loved one spending time in a hospice you would wish the best for them wouldn't you? If you do wish to treat yourself and partner then call 01434 606 444 or e-mail fundraising@tynedalehospice.com. Mike did say Blistered Molly intend to make it a night to remember. I think when Mike announces: "Hey everybody, this is our twenty-minute version of Moby Dick." That should do the trick.

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Had a little jaunt last night (Fri 23rd)  to Bishop Auckland to see
Four Letter Word do their stuff at the Bay Horse. Review and pics sorted for your delectation. The Seaham Silverback has just submitted to Riffs his review of The Whole Hog at The Glendale and this is now finished and both reviews are here to view.
      

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WELL - THEY HAVEN'T KILLED KENNY

Well, would you credit it? Riffs was opining the lack of music news today and into our lap popped this little gem concerning not only a great Metal band, but also we spy the ruggedly Rock looks of guitarist Kenny Nicholson who is no stranger to Riffs News pages. [And as this info didn't come from Kenny we officially slap him around the face with a wet lettuce].
He is now part of
Millennium, a Billingham-based Heavy Metal band who are due to release their fourth full-length studio album A New World on October 25th, 2019 through Pure Steel Records.
Vocalist Mark Duffy commented: “We try to keep some of our New Wave Of British Heavy Metal roots, but we also try a bit of variation with songs like ‘Obsolete’ and ‘Assassin’ that have a more straight ahead heavy metal feel to them." The band who played on the album consisted of:
Mark Duffy (vocals, Toranaga)
Will Philpot (guitar, Serpents Kiss)
Louis Astbury (guitar)
Paul Simpson (bass)
Darren Moore (drums)
We say 'consisted' as Louis Astbury has been replaced by Kenny, and drummer Darren Moore by Nigel Waterfall-Brown.
I, for one, will be keeping my eye open for a possible local gig - well, there's bound to be one pub that has the balls to unleash some Heavy Metal thunder. Isn't there?


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Further to the mensh for the upcoming
Red Revival gig at Leam Lane, thought some readers may be interested in their take on Whole Lotta Rosie. The lead singer's voice is quite powerful - you could say she's got it aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall. Check out the video here, taken on the 18th of this month at the Smile Festival.


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Bearing in mind I have been a lilfe-long UFO fan, I was looking forward to the
Pete Way Band at Trillians on Monday just gone. But decided to give it a miss. I'll say nothing more, just point you to this Youtube video recorded recently - here. Too bad, too sad.

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TYNE WOLVES INITIATE RED REVIVAL

Now, this one's a month away but I'm rather intrigued with this. Maddog and the Tyne Wolves not only show their worth by putting on some regular Rock/Grunge/Metal offerings at the Deuchars Arms up there in Leam Lane but has Riffs mucho respect as he makes sure proceeds go to a cause close to his heart - the Kayaks charity. News enough you may agree but I've just heard from him of his gig on Sep 15 for: Red Revival. Now I know if I said they have a female singer a lot of you will immediately discount the band or subconciously think less off them - I hold my hands up there. But then think of Warlock, think of Benatar. Roxette even? And what about Harry? No - not Dirty, Debbie! Check out this song (click on image) and see what you think. Massive potential to be a rockin' combo there. And let's face it; if Maddog says to them 'I want you Rockin' tonight'. Would you argue?

.
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Just one day to go and we get info on tomorrow's (SAT 17th) Burning Rock Festival at Stanley. I've added the info to the Listings page but here's a rundown of who's on:
2pm no ordinary Angel; 3pm me mes; 4pm dog in a box; 5pm rigid digits; 6pm ballbreakers; 7pm riverrain; 8pm lock n load. Only a fiver and pay at gate. That's it.

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Gotta give a big shout to
Four Letter Word who are braving Darlington's apathetic Rock scene to be part of the Britannia's Britfest event in aid of St. Theresa's Hospice this Saturday (17th).
Much kudos to Michael and the lads for giving of their time for such a worthwhile cause, who are hoping to take to the stage around 5. It's from 2 to 9pm and other bands on the menu are East Coast Mainline; The Mechanical Capybara and String Edition.
I gotta say, know nothing much about the Britannia except it's seemed to have always been there, overseeing many changes to Darlo including the demise of Handcrafts from directly over the road, the building of the A68/St. Cuthbert's Way roundabout directly outside the pub, not to mention the massive ugly DWP building that it faces.
And they do their bit for the wild birds by always maintaining a fresh supply of num nums via their Britannia tree (not much escapes Riffs' eagle eye!!). So with that attention to detail it's probs a pub worth visiting.
As with Maddog's afternoon gig up there in Leam Lane, we wish for good weather to enhance the event.



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Having a look at Riffs Listings it's nice to see that Paul Tuns' panic at getting his August's gigs sorted is now history and he can look forward to some crackin' bands - culminating in the astounding coup of securing
Skinny Molly; featuring Lynryd Skynyrd's Mike Estes (as this is the ONLY north-east gig [apart from Stormin' biker rally the night before] you get to this gig or you've missed the band for well over a year). Zooming forward to this Friday (16th) he has the ever-popular FM. Have dug out a couple of pics which - according to the photo info. - I took in 2013. AC/DC, Hendrix and many others get an outing with this quality band and - from what I can remember - a stunning lead guitarist.
 


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Must give a shout out to David from High Howdon Social Club which was host to an Abba tribute last weekend. Between you and me he would be happy for them to sneak in 'Thunderstruck'. Well, you never know - the last song the Pistols played at their gig at Midddlesbrough Rock Garden in the Seventies was 'Teenage Kicks' - and who'da thought that? So fingers crossed for ya mate. On the off chance they do, be sure to let Riffs know!


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Isn't it nice - or do I mean 'rare' - when people keep their word? And so it is that Rob from Qween Sold Out (Soz - I mean Qween) sent in some pics - or should I say 'pic' - of his gig last night Saturday 9th at Newcastle Village Hotel.

Although I was expecting more than one, at least it's nice to have an image of the evening. I must apologise for the size though (unfortunately not the first time I've had to say that) but this is exactly as supplied.

Beggars can't be choosers, so I thank Rob and fingers crossed his full houses continue.














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THIS MACHINE CREATES WHEELS OF STEEL
Nice to hear from
This Machine who, I have been reliably informed (cos they told me), have been having some rather pleasing responses regarding their cover versions. Saxon commented 'very cool' when talkin' 'bout Wheels of Steel - praise indeed. Also, their version of the Dead Daisies Long Way To Go got a 'like' on the Daisies' Facebook page. Not bad going for Norman, Tony, Sequel, Paul and The Hamster of Doom (aka Gazza) who I know have been on the circuit long enough to hone their musicianship to deserve such eminent accolades. I just hope this mensh doesn't embarrass the lads - no? Well, if that doesn't, then the following photos just may; taken ten years ago when myself and Val interviewed the band at The Three Tuns in Gateshead.
We were all much older then - we're younger than that now...




This Machine playing Wheels of Steel at The Frigate, Marske- here
This Machine playing Long Way To Go at The Penny Gill - here



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New Plough Dipton Music festival confirmed for Sunday 25th August
from 1.15pm through to 10.15pm 
Music all day with 6 live acts from solos to full bands as below:
Scott Kiers solo 
North Road duo
Mitch Laddie band
Jen Stevens Little Moth duo
Ash Humble solo 
Sofi-stication band
And no reason not to pop along as it's completely, totally FREE.

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HSC BACK ON THE CIRCUIT



Just a heads up for any sharp eyed readers - especially around the Hartlepool area - who have noticed that Hartlepool Supporters Club has been missing from our Gig Listings the last few months. Well, just heard from Tommy there and they have had a break from bands but are now back to firing on all six. Their gigs are, of course, now on our Listings and you would do well to check out that fine establishment, which has hosted some really rare out-of-town bands. Highlight for this month just has to be
The Feelgood Band. I think you will be a tad impressed. Check 'em out here


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QWEEN SOLD OUT

Just heard that the
Qween gig (that's a Queen tribute for those of you have just got up or are or well hungover) this Friday 9th at Newcastle is now completely SOLD OUT. That's three gigs in a row for Qween that have sold out. Wonder if they'll be tempted to rename the band 'Qween Sold Out' . . .!!
Rob from the band has promised to send in some pics so I'll pop the best on the this page as soon as I get them.

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"Hey Molly, how you so skinny?"
Bands come and go, venues come and go, but Gateshead's Three Tuns has been one of the most reputable and long-established venues for North-East live gigs for as long as I can remember [many of you will be thinking 'well, that's about a fortnight then'] - indeed, just look at our old reviews and quite a few feature the Tuns, so it's quite fitting that Paul from that Rockin' gaff has the honour to be the ONLY North-East pub to host Lynyrd Skynyrd's Mike Estes and his band Skinny Molly. The band rate the Tuns gig so highly [it states on the Skinny Molly website that The Three Tuns is one of their favourite places to play] that not only did they plead with Paul to have a gig there [I totally imagine] but I understand they are having a warm-up the night before when they headline Stormin' The Castle Bikers Rally at Bishop Auckland. Those bikers appreciate a bit of the ol' Southern hospitality and will no doubt get the Mollies all fired up for a night of propa Rockin' boogie for the Tuns crowd. Just a shame they don't play Freebird anymore as they reckon it's just not called for at any of their gigs..............yeah, right!! - they wouldn't dare not play Freebird!!!! Skinny Molly also play the best of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet, Blackfoot and The Outlaws. The Tuns gig is Saturday 31st August and tickets are a tenner. And, although we all know the Tuns is like a massive football arena once you get inside . . . Paul must make it known that when the tickets are gone - they're gone. No door entry wiithout a ticket. No squeezing in the odd punter. And apparently there's quite a few odd punters in Gateshead.

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Paul at the Tuns in now all sorted. All dates filled and up on the Listings page... he's appreciative of all bands who enquired and is full for August - unless someone pulls out!!

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Well, just dug out another Riffs review from way back, by dear ol' Val - and again, no idea when this was penned. Val mentioned it was the week after the 26th. Ah, right, so that's cleared that up........


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C'mon bands - Riffs is updated many times daily and when we say Paul needs bands for The Three Tuns in Gateshead for this month then we are talking now; we will let you know when the slots have been filled - but they haven't been yet. He still has three dates to fill
This Saturday 10th August
Next Friday 16th August
Next Saturday 17th August. So give him a call
07940 715824. WHEN? NOW!!

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AC/DC GB AT THE PENNY GILL
Hello everybody peeps. Well, just got back from The Penny Gill in Spennymoor where I nipped along to try out a new camera - always felt a bit of a wally lugging my large DSLR about, so invested in new technology. Was really pleased with the results; will need some tweaking but I thought I'd post a few pics from its very first use. I'm contemplating undertaking band reviews - just like the old days (but, unfortunately without Val) if there is a demand; and of course a review is no good without pics to illustrate. Anyway, this is from last night's gig (Sun Aug 4th) at The Penny Gill of AC/DC GB . . .   I recorded them playing 'High Voltage' and that is now on Youtube - https://youtu.be/V-0BzWOjMDk.



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The Bessie boys live at the City Hall 2015 (free ads for a whole year for anybody who doesn't chuckle): https://youtu.be/DpcMX4SmeG8
Bessie and the Zinc Buckets Facebook page: https://en-gb.facebook.com/bessieandthezincbuckets/

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I've started experimenting with linking bands names in the Listing page to Youtube videos of themselves - to help readers get an idea of what to expect at a gig. At the moment I've picked a few at random but, if any band wants a link to a particular video then please let me know and I will initiate that. I'm not sure what will happen though when that gig comes and goes; I guess you will need to re-send the link for me to keep it up to date............ I'll see how it goes........

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COME ON AND TOUCH ME

The keen-eyed amongst you may have noticed how many
Starz gigs there are now in August and September. Well, it just happens their popularity seems to know no bounds. I remember guitarist Kenny telling me earlier this year that they went out of their way to pick a set list that was recognisable but yet well away from the 'done-to-death' covers. Well, that has paid off in spades [what's the builders' motto - measure twice and cut once]. Kenny explained to Riffs: 'Starz has gone down really well everywhere; one landlord told us that we were the first band he'd listened to for months cos normally he switches off when he's serving behind the bar because he's sick of hearing the same old songs, he couldnt wait to get us back!' Not only that but Kenny is in The Paul Rodgers Story who had no choice but to reform after constant requests and, by all accounts, played a blinder recently at Darlington's Forum (and yes a re-booking ensued). And, if all that isn't impressive enough, his other band, the heavy Black Rose is on the verge of releasing a new album. Kenny went on: 'Black Rose are almost finished recording a new album which is a lot heavier than anything we have done in the past, it should surprise a few people!'
Couldn't be too heavy for me Kenny - or too loud!  Click pic to hear 'Cure For Your Disease' by Black Rose.
I wouldn't be surprised if Kenny makes himself available on a regular basis, surrounded by railings, for bands who want to just get close and touch him . . . or just stare in awe . . .

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Three Tuns all sorted for weekend - they have Romeo's Pistol for this Friday and Prism for Saturday. Two bands quick off the mark - mind you, neither have been in touch with Riffs. We got the confirmation from Paul Tuns. Y'know, ya try to give bands publicity . . .
Paul is still short for some dates late August so give him a call
07940 715824.

THREE TUNS NEEDS BAND FOR FRIDAY now sorted

Paul Tuns is well on his way to filing his listing for gigs in August but finds himself with a space for THIS FRIDAY 2ND (Three Tuns in Gateshead)- so get in there quick:
call or text 07940 715824. And when you have secured your gig, email me here at Riffs and I will add it to the Listings page - and if you are very polite I will give your band a mensh here on the News page!

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If I'm anything, I'm a man of my word; September's listings is now live and the first entry is for Friday 13th at
The Glendale, Hall Lane, Houghton le Spring DH5 8DA for a gig by UK/DC playing tracks by the legendary Bon Scott.

Angus from that band played with AC/DC GB recently and went down a storm at Steels Club in Sunderland, so a lot is riding on the Glendale gig.

Will they - can they - surpass the Steels Club gig?



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Can I make a clarification concerning the AC/DC GB review below. The Angus on the night of the gig review was from UK/DC, and he was standing in on that night at Steels Club and it is his band - UK/DC who is appearing at Glendale Club on Friday September 13th. UK/DC play the Bon Scott era songs, so that's the first five AC/DC albums; and some would argue undoubtedly the best. But let's not get into that. I should be getting September's list up soon on the Listings page and I will make sure that that will be the first gig entered into it.


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BANDS SOUGHT FOR GATESHEAD GIGS
Looks like landlord Paul Tuns is having a reet rough August suffering numerous cancellations! He has put an urgent shout out for bands for the following dates for his two pubs in Gateshead - no specific style has been mentioned so just give him a ring . . . call or text
07940 715824
SCHOONER
Sat 17th, Fri 23rd
THREE TUNS
Fri 2, Sat 3, Sat 10, Fri 16, Sat 17, Sat 24, Fri 30.


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The band's website:  
https://www.acdcgb.co.uk/
For a taste of the band:   https://youtu.be/QRCIfpYXSC8

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WE'LL HAVE NONE OF YER DEVIL MUSIC
AROUND THESE 'ERE PARTS

Well, ya just gotta feel sorry for those Junkyard Dogz, all set for their debut gig at Ye Old Cross in Ryton Village recently - but just days away from their much-anticipated gig and they are told it's off. Who says they can't go ahead? Environmental Health, that's who. Apparently the pub wants to start up live music nights but have been shot down in flames before they've even got going. Paul from the band told me: 'I wouldn't mind but they haven't even heard us!'

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Sorting through Riffs archives (well, when you wake at 5am you need something to fill in the time!) I noticed another little gem that warrants an airing, so without further ado here's Rough Justice from July 2008 at the Princess Alice in Middlesbrough . . .penned by yours truly.


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ONE VISION
    
By all accounts
Queen tribute Qween knocked 'em dead at Birtley Buffs Club recently. Every single ticket had been sold and the place was, as you can well imagine, rammed to the rafters. Rob from the band told Riffs: 'It was a great responsive audience who really appreciated our live show experience - Billy West, our lead singer, does "Freddie" proud at every gig and sings all Queen songs in copy key!' No doubt all the musos reading this will know exactly what 'copy key' is. Moving on: Rob has been elated at the response his band has been getting since its inception and playing to capacity crowds looks like the norm for this quality ensemble. Their next gig is at Hebburn Iona Social Club on Friday 12th July tickets from the club (£6)-.
Did anyone video the band at the gig that Riffs could link to?

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Twister at the Academy:  https://youtu.be/sh3AEUpWyFQ
Rock Solid: https://youtu.be/U8eBOJAF8_0

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NOW THESE TOWNS
THEY ALL KNOW OUR NAME

Riffs is forever hearing of venues closing and bands splitting so how heartened are we to tell of a band actually reforming?!! Yes, it's true. A big welcome back to . . . THE PAUL RODGERS STORY. It seems only five minutes ago that the lads (well, I say 'lads' but the pedigree of these mature guys is there for all to see/hear) were not only belting out the most memorable tracks from Free, Bad Co., Queen etc but they included Paul Rodgers' foray into solo work too. Not to mention Hendrix. Gaining an envious reputation for reliablility and quality musicianship throughout the North-East, it was a blow to many when the band called it a day.
Guitarist Kenny told me: '
Since the band split up we've had people asking us on a regular basis what happend to the band and the enjoyment they got from our gigs. A chance meeting between a couple of us led to our reform, so by popular demand we are back.'
Kenny continued: '
Because all the members are busy with other bands we can only fit in a very few gigs.'
Very few indeed, you'll be lucky to catch the band once a month - but a trek worth taking.
Needless to say Riffs shows The Paul Rodgers Story gigs on our Listings page but this is the current list up to Christmas (Oh heavens - it's still June and we've mentioned Christmas!!!!).

Thurs 4th July - The Forum, Darlington   cc
Sat 3rd Aug - Richmond Live Festival (on stage at 4pm)    cc
Sun 15th Sept -  Rhythm & Blues Festival, Darlington (Hoskins Bar at 6pm)
Thurs 28th Nov - Trillians, Newcastle
Fri 20th Dec - Cleveland Bay, Eaglescliffe


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HARTLEPOOL CELEBRATES 50 YEARS OF
WISHBONE ASH

Another short notice gig just come to Riffs attention is this Sunday (23rd) at
Hartlepool Supporters Club [5pm £4.00]; The venue is celebrating the 50-year anniversay of the great Wishbone Ash. Performed by The Flying Vs, Jeff from the band told Riffs: 'It's one of a series of gigs we will perform this year. We will be joined by Dave Barnes from The Test Pilots as our Ted Turner. Having opened up for Wishbone Ash and their fans in 2014 at Chesterfield Winding Wheel, 2016 at The Grand Clitheroe and 2018 at The Y Theatre Leicester, we're looking forward to playing tracks from the early years Wishbone Ash, Pilgrimage, Argus, Wishbone IV, New England, and Strange Affair.'

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Just found out about this all-dayer today - two days before the event! Looks like their publicity dept. is away on holiday . . . Anyway, thanks to American Girl for keeping Riffs in the loop. Noticed there are no band times on the poster but one time we do know is that American Girl are due at 4.45pm. (and they've missed an 'S' from Assassin!)



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Following on from the unbelievable response I got from the last two recent 'who is this band' pics. And I say 'unbelievable' because no-one - yes no-one - emailed me! But am I saddened? [Well, yeah, just a tad] but am I disheartened? [Well . . .] but not to be deterred here is two more 'who the fuck is this?'  pics.................. any ideas anyone? Anyone . . .?
     



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https://youtu.be/jhUhw_J5ItE

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True to my word I've dug out these two pics of a young band pictured at The Grand in Bishop Auckland (possibly) way back when - so if anyone knows who the band is, or when I took them (or why I never labelled them properly) we can then put a name to the band...
      


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https://youtu.be/DkWRCv5HDjk

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YES, WE TAKE OUR OWN PHOTOS - ALWAYS HAVE
In reply to a recent email we received: ALL photos that accompany Riffs reviews (and indeed reviews by The Seaham Silverback) are taken at the actual gig - without exception. The reviews by myself and Val all contained photographs that I took of the band on that particular night. We do not snaffle pics from other websites, Facebook or whatever to enhance the review. If I ever use a photo in this column (not the column on the right) for illustrative purposes I always mensh that I nicked it from somewhere else (other than if it was sent directly to Riffs by the band/venue themselves). Myself and Val always prided ourselves on reviewing, photographing and writing the whole gig ourselves. In fact, typing this has just reminded me that I have scores (maybe hundreds) of photographs that are unnamed and I may post some on this column soon. Shame to have them gathering dust.... I am trying to persuade Mr Silverback to get armed with a camera so as to illustrate his reviews with some exciting pics... I am working on his review of The 3 Colonels from last night right now and should have it uploaded within a couple of hours....

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Mucho gracias to Alan W from The Grand in Bishop Auckland who recognised the single as 'Watcha Doin' To Me' by The Reds. Just one more to go . . . this catchy little punk ditty from the Seventies has bewildered me  . . . does anyone know who it is?


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HELP - I NEED SOMEBODY

Can anyone help me identify this single . . . ?



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Well, it's that time again - a look though Riffs' archives and see what gems we have hidden away. How about a review of
Freeway from August 2008? You got it.



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Just a brief mensh for an upcoming gig at the Cluny 2 in Newcastle for 26th June when the
Tom Atkinson Band will be performing there. Over a year since the lads performed at the Cluny but they are all fired up for this upcoming gig. Tom Atkinson - Guitar/Vocs; Paul Gowland - Sax/Keys (Strictly Smokin’ Big Band); Stu Dawson - Bass (RJ Thompson, Preach Alaska); Jeff Armstrong - Drums (Flakes, Russ Tippins Band) include some original music in their set along with covers of Zappa, Mahavishnu Orchestra, King Crimson etc. Tickets are a fiver and available from http://www.thecluny.com
I did try to get a pic from Tom but, even though it would paint a thousand words, words are all I have ('to take your heart away').

..............................................................

BACK IN BUFFS
It's always nice when something works out and goes to plan - cos in life it most often bastard well doesn't (what, me - bitter?). So it was great to get an email from Robert from Heaton Buffs concerning the
BOSS gig from last week. Not only was it a virtual sell-out - just five tickets left unsold [how's that for honesty? He could have quite easily told me it was a sell-out] - but the lads went down the proverbial storm. I remember searching Youtube for a video of the band to highlight the gig but found zilch (punk band from the 70s I think) but we can make up for it now because kind ol' Robert has sent me a link to the very opening of the band's set filmed live as it happenerd at the Buffs! So without further ado here is BOSS just seventeen years since their last visit at the Buffs - c'mon lads let someone else get a look in . . .


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Bit of sadness for me last week - lost a friend, a good supporter of Rock. Introduced me to Rammstein and Airbourne. He was a great lover of German lesser-known bands and I used to meet up with him at Newcastle Arena, or the Academy. A regular at live pub gigs in Redcar and was a regular at Dr. Browns in Middlesbrough. Great guy. He was given the all clear for cancer a few years ago and then it came back suddenly just weeks ago with a vengeance. Anyway Gaz, here's
Rammstein for you.

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Listening to Rock on internet radio today (which supports the age-old question 'Why djs?') and on came Suzie Smiled by Tygers of Pan Tang and something stirred deep inside me, some distant memory of reviewing that band many moons ago.

A quick search of Riffs archives and - bingo! found it.

So, for your delectation . . . (and yet again, I mentioned the date [February 2], but not the year, so if anyone can help out?....)

Wanna hear what you missed?   Suzie Smiled
















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Due to my throat virus causing voice loss, my band Steeler can’t play gig at Redcar Rugby Club tonight Sat 25-May - Classic Rock covers band or similar is needed. Contact Pete 07775922523.

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Riffs has just been informed that the gig at Heaton Buffs this weekend - which we have down as Boss (and I thought was a Springsteen tribute) - is in fact a rather special reunion of a band from the 90s.
As Robert from the club told Riffs: 'They were a big deal on the club scene back in the 90s & early 00s. They are doing a few one-off shows with the original band line up; and of course they are 100% live!
We have already sold 200 tickets, with only 50 left.'
Apparently, back in 2002, Boss did an outstanding sell-out gig there and Robert is keen to duplicate that success.
Check them out - and if you fancy the gig - you've missed it!!




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With regards to the Riffs review of Phil Caisley's Dirty Dogs featured below, Dave from the band has been in touch to shed some light on exactly when the gig took place and some info on what has become of the band . . .

'The date of the review was the 12th February 2010.  The Dirty Dogz were in existence from 2009 until 2013 doing the north east pub scene and the last gig was at Doctor Browns in Middlesbrough on the 2nd November of that year.  Phil, in my  opinion, is a great rock singer and it was a good band although we were certainly very punchy and could test the old ear drums for volume.  Keith John Dean on bass was replaced by Ian Raine (played with DeeeXpus, infinity, and lately, The Rising and many others).  The other guys are either not in bands or between bands whereas I am working with my brother in the ‘Graham Henderson experience’.
To remind yourself of what we were like – here is a link to a Youtube clip of us at the rock 4 All.
https://youtu.be/1LD2ouDwIKU    with keith on bass.
And here is a clip of my current band  - (with Ian Raine on Bass, now replaced by Duncan Sams).
https://youtu.be/u5ghYHhQvI4
Dave'


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Another Riffs rave from the grave is featured below. I know it's from Feb 12th but Val never mentioned which year! Possibly 2008. If anyone has any better suggestions please let me know . . .



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If you want it, here it is, come and get it
Here at Riffs I love to give publicity to live Rock bands - even more so if it happens to be their first gig. Can imagine it's quite a traumatic event and a lot rides on that debut gig. But I am saddened, I must say, that although publicity at Riffs is entirely free and I really don't expect anything back, that this offer is not taken up more readily. On a couple of recent occasions upon hearing of an approaching first gig I have asked for more info - a little blurb about the band and hopefully a pic or two - and I hear nothing. Zilch. Zero. Nought. Nil. Zippo. I'm not losing out, but I suspect that the band and indeed the venue would benefit from a tad of extra publicity . . . just saying.

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I'M ONLY HERE FOR THE BEER

Saturday 11th May was Houghton annual beer festival, a charity event organised by the round table running for several decades now. I’ve been going along for the last 5 years or so; nice venue in Houghton Colliery Welfare club and a decent afternoon out with mates. However, every year there’s what is loosely described as “live music” and without exception it is awful. Last year we offered to pay the organisers whatever they’d paid the “singer” to get him off (they declined). There’s usually about a dozen of us, all guys I know from various venues where we go to see bands who have varied tastes from blues to thrash metal to country, we all agreed this year’s offering was, once again, abysmal. The band was advertised as “an experienced function band” doing stuff from Adele, Ed Sheeran, Kings of Leon, Elvis, Buddy Holly Michael Buble and Pharrell Williams; half the stuff wasn’t recognisable until half way through the song, the instruments were out of tune and the singer couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. If the organisers read this, get artists who can sing and/or play; Russ Tippins or Tempest would bring people in, you’re close to driving people away.
Now, it was a charity event and the band may have agreed to play for free in which case they were worth the money. Do I name and shame them? Houghton Beer Festival 2019 afternoon session, will bring up an answer, but the hope is that the organisers will read this and either not bother with live music on afternoons OR book someone who will attract punters, not alienate them.
The Seaham Silverback


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The NE Street Band, playing iconic songs from Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band debuted at The Old Fox in Felling just recently and we have added a link to some footage here (only phone footage).
The band's website: https://www.nestreetband.co.uk
They are at the Amphitheatre in South Shields on Thursday 6th June, 7pm-9pm for an evening of Bruce Springsteen sounds, as part of the Summer Festival.

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THE PRIESTS OF THE TEMPLE OF ROCK

Bank holiday Monday gigs are a gamble for venues, if it’s been a nice day and the punters have been in the garden all day having a few drinks, they tend to stay there, it’s also a school night so folk tend to think better of going out. However,
The Force are one of those bands I’d walk barefoot over broken glass to go and see regardless, they set a standard that other bands in the North East aspire to reach and Monday 6th May was no exception. An early start gave an opportunity for those at work the following day to get their 8 hours kip and it meant the gear was pretty much in and checked by the time the audience started coming in. There was a decent turn out, but I was expecting the place to be rammed – punters eh?
The band opened with a couple of their own tracks before setting off in a set that featured Rush quite extensively with songs from Rainbow, AC/DC, UFO, Montrose, Metallica, Scorpions and Thin Lizzy. It would be wrong to try and pick out tracks that were better than the others, because I didn’t hear a bum note all evening and the sound was absolutely spot on from the word go. The twin lead guitars in Thin Lizzy’s “Emerald” were flawless, the guy I was sat next to turned to look at me at the end of the track and we were both thinking the same thing. Phil sat down for “Bad Motor Scooter” with his Strat over his knee and a bottleneck, first time I’ve seen him do this, and it was excellent.
I’m always staggered by the sheer professionalism of The Force, I doubt there can be a Rock fan between the Tees and the Tweed who hasn’t heard these guys, but if you fall into that small number, get out and see them, you’ll thank me.
The Seaham Silverback.


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SWEETS FOR MY SWEET . . .
The Sugar Bs 18-year reunion gig on march 30 at the Park Inn, Hartlepool raised £700, split equally between Alice House Hospice in Hartlepool and The Great North Air Ambulance Service.

Details can be found on Facebook here.




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The Big Jug in Durham have ceased all live bands as of now.

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New Plough Dipton have their annual music festival on Sunday May 5 starting from 1.30pm with finish 10pm; latest line up is as follows. Details here

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LIGHTS, SMOKE, AND ROCK 'N' ROLL

I’ve been following Rock Solid for over ten years now and always look forward to every show, the gig in Houghton Glendale was a welcome spot; right on the doorstep. I saw them about January and since then they’ve invested in a completely new LED lighting rig with fancy rotating spots etc. On a night when the condensation was running down the walls, the lack of a few KW of heat from PAR cans was welcome for all concerned. The Solids have used smoke machines for years but they must have put new batteries in the current model - the stage was like a war zone all night. Our musical tastes are as varied as we are but the Solid’s set-list dovetails in with my predilections perfectly, kicking off with a couple of Priest tracks then running through AC/DC, Saxon, Maiden, Purple, Rainbow, Ozzy and Rush - what’s not to like?
One of the reasons Rock Solid are so well received has got to be their interaction with their audiences, the guys always have time for a few words both on and off the stage. Last night’s gig was their first in the Glendale for 8 years (apparently) and there’s another one in the pipeline for December this year, the room was full and the club was selling beer like it was going out of fashion. The crowd loved them and the band gave every impression they were having a good time. Events like this keep the Rock scene in the North East vibrant, everyone’s coming away from the night happy. Long live Rock`n` Roll!
The Seaham Silverback
On a personal note, myself (Nige) and Val have always rated Rock Solid as one of the best rock acts in the North-East music scene but, alas, have not had the pleasure in quite a few years, so it really pleased me to read the Silverback's review to know not only that the lads are still going strong after so many moons, but also that they actually seem to be improving. But as Val has said on numerous occasions: 'When you've got it, you've got it'.

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