So I rushed back from the excellent Frost* gig at The Peel to get to the Chesham United Football Club Christmas party – it featured 10 bands and I got there in time to see the final two.
I was glad to have caught Smilin’ Mike & The Blues Revue, featuring a very good friend of mine on lead guitar, Mike Elliott. I remember seeing his first solo performance, which was also down at the football club, supporting Bard, and the change in such a relatively short period of time is startling. I am sure he could tell you his technique has improved, but I know nothing about that side of things – what I can see is a more confident approach from someone who is now at ease with his playing and his singing, and it is great to see that change, and see him performing to his full potential. He plays entertaining, enjoyable…blues, surprisingly enough. And most of the time he is smilin’. He’s part of the jam session every Sunday night at the football club and is well worth checking out. If you are lucky he will play his Meadowman Blues, the story of one man’s obsession with his football club, his hatred of their arch-rivals, and his dreams of being able to fly…or as he puts it
If I had the wings of a sparrow
The dirty great arse of a crow
I’d fly over Aylesbury tomorow
And shit on the bastards below
Moving on…the night was finished by TR8R, a (very) young band with their indie/rock versions of Memories In Mind, a very deconstructed version of Paramore’s Crush Crush Crush, a really rocking ride through the Chilli Peppers’ Suck My Kiss, an almost punk Fairytale Of New York just when you thought it could not be even further in the gutter, and rolled through Katy Perry’s I Kissed A Girl to finish with I Could Do It All. Some excellent riffing throughout, solid bass, great drum flourishes and in Vicky Mackenzie a female vocalist who seems to get stronger with each performance. They are clearly very technically proficient, have tons of potential and are already learning how to build up that rapport with an audience. It is going to be very interesting to watch them progress from here.