Monday, 29 April 2013

A pair of April Fools - quite possibly

Well, phew! What a weekend that was in the world of Rain! Crazy busy, but loving every minute of it!

Friday 26th April took us to The Grove House in Chesterton, run by the ever so lovely Phil... Both of us had been there independently of each other in around 2008-2009 to take part in Open Mic nights there,so it was rather amusing to think that we hadn't bumped into each other before.. With thoughts of this we set up and performed our usual set, though taking a break part way through, to chat to a couple (Jo and Ian) who had taken the time to look us up on You Tube, liked what they heard, so came along to watch.. which was lovely of them. They were joined by a few other folk.. however, The Grove House is a bit of a strange pub.. not in a bad way, but the majority of folk prefer to drink in the bar and listen to the music from bands playing in the other room.. Which I have to say is a bit odd.. But we went down well, so all was not lost. Poor Phil kept apologising for there not being many people in, and we chatted about the state of the economy, how more and more people are staying home and not going to listen to live local music, etc.. Overall though a great night, with new friends made and the like.

Saturday 27th April and we were invited by Geoff Berrow from The Slippery Hill Boys to play at his lovely wife, Dawn's 50th birthday bash, also on the bill was Graham Dawson, who was aided by a couple of The Slippery's (as they shall now be known on this blog!), Phil Maddocks and Nick Bayes, and of course the main attraction The Slippery Hill Boys. We had both made the mistake of eating before getting there, however were tempted by the amazing Slippery Hill Chilli's and extremely hot salsa (designed to take the lining off your entire gastric system!) which were divine and the recipe is on the website, so is a must try...
Check it out here:
Graham Dawson kicked off the evening, with some easy listening, East Coast vibes.. did he throw in an Eagles cover?? I don't know.. but gently led us into the evening of entertainment. We were up next and gave them some of our covers, Crazy being one of the most well received of the evening.. that and Je ne Regrette Rien, which always goes down well.. The crowd were warm and appreciative, but we couldn't stay on stage all night and gave way to Maddocks and Bayes, who performed some amazing tunes, in a kind of country/folk style. They were followed by The Slippery Hill Boys... who just HAVE to be seen!! They're made up of such a bunch of extremely talented guys, playing their own blend of Americana, with intertwining melodies and harmonies that left me (Sheena) quite speechless. They were also joined on stage by Bearfoot's violinist, who's name escapes me, just adding more to that Country vibe...
Bumped into a few friends there (other than the musicians), as its always interesting to find out who knows who, and realise that the world is a whole lot smaller than we might think. I sincerely hope that Dawn had a fantastic night, as it was a pleasure to play for her.

Some links you might want to check out:
 Sorry, couldn't find a link for Graham Dawson...

Sunday 28th March - Phew! What a day, we'd been invited by Georgina Salt to provide the PA and do a few numbers for the Ballroom Boutique event at The George Hotel in Burslem.. How could we refuse??
The Ballroom Boutique is an annual vintage and handmade fair, where people with various trinkets turn up and display their wares.. This one was going to be different as it was in aid of The Lullaby Trust ( Raising funds for charity is never easy in these austere times and Georgina put together a fantastic event, worked really hard to organise everything, and be a full time mum to a 9 month old!!! She even sorted out the other acts, and the running order, so all we had to do was turn up, set up and play... We were the first to play, followed by Shotokan Disco, an acoustic covers act performed by Mark Dixon. He covered old favourites, and more modern tunes in his own style, anyway don't take my word for it, check out his MySpace...
Following him were String of Pearls, bringing a taste of the 1940's, 50's and 60's to life.. both Sarah and Mark were dressed straight from the 1940's and delivered a brilliant set of songs, check them out online at: and their facebook:
They were followed by the One Production Theatre Company, who gave us some show tunes, from diverse shows such as The Sound of Music, Rent, Chess and Les Mis.. a fabulous blending of harmonies and top notch performers, I hope they get picked up for the big theatres, as they're fantastic!! I can't find a link for them (sorry guys :-( )
Next up were The Mill another acoustic duo (yes folks we have serious competition!), a very talented couple , with a hint of Eva Cassidy.. sorry guys.. no weblink either.. :-(
We met up with some old friends.. Jetsunn designs ( Asgot simmering salts ( and made some new friends, specifically Julia from Tribble Trinkets ( who managed to put up with having her display moved around while we organised things for the stage..

Anyway, I can't believe how smoothly it all went, all power to Georgina and her amazing organisational ability!! If you fancy popping along to the next one, here's the facebook page:

What a weekend, and nothing new for us... I guess we're either gluttons for punishment or just love this so much that we can't help ourselves!!

I'll let you decide.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Its nearly May, and now things get moving!

Well folks, don't you just love the sunshine?? We've been lucky enough to have a change of weather here in Sunny Stoke, and its most welcome after the dreariness of the cold wintry weather of late. However, not to be downhearted, we know that Summer is around the corner and with it plenty of gigs! So check out the Gig page for more updated info on that!

We decided to make an impromptu appearance at Arthur's Table, a most excellent Open Mic night on a Thursday evening at The Glebe in Stoke. Such is the plethora of talent in this amazing City, wyou'd find it hard to believe that we're in a recession really. The evening boasts a "showcase" meaning that each week there is a different act called on to showcase their work, around half an hour or so, giving everyone a taster of the scope of their music.. this week's was by the very excellent Frank Cerioni, a lovely lad, who writes beautiful songs. The usual suspects abounded, and the night was made special by the appearance of Sons of Clogger.. and to quote Graeme.. "Mark Radcliffe and BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2014"... We'll be surprised if they don't break through, their fuel filled, exciting folk style tunes wrapped with historical narrative lyrics and delivered with their usual aplomb make them one act you shouldn't miss!!
We did a few songs, accompanied by SOC drummer Rich, (who's brilliant BTW.. and lives to play drums!) and went down well.. applause stemming from all corners of the room, which is so lovely, knowing that we can still do "it" down there and know we're doing something right.. Of course our version of "Je Ne Regrette Rien" always goes down well.. so we pulled that one out for the last number.. just cos we can!

More songs are being written as I type too.. well, not at this precise moment, as I'm writing the blog.. but you catch my drift ;-) So creativity abounds..

On Saturday 20th we played D'arcy's in Fenton, somewhere we hadn't been before, but had been recommended by our good friend, Pete Latham from the Barrelhouse Jukes.. well, in fact, he phoned us up while at D'arcy's and passed us onto the Landlady, who was happy to book us just on Pete's recommendation, which was lovely.. we owe you one Pete!

Anyhoo, we'd also been warned.. "Don't play there.. I won't even go there.. ".. so we had visions of having to play behind a fence, as in The Blues Brothers.. and just repeating one song all night... However, we were surprised, we received a lovely warm welcome from the landlady Lynn and her staff, the locals were in good spirits and we played brilliantly, a full 2 and a quarter hour set, no breaks.. It was lovely to see our good friend's Deb and Paul, who haven't seen us in over a year! Poor Deb sat sobbing through the set.. apparently moved to tears by Sheena's singing. (I have to say, I'm not sure if I should take it as a compliment or not... lol) Some chap, who was rather legless seemed impressed too.. think he mentioned Alannah Myles and generally muttered something or other about The Beautiful South, I can only assume it was due to Stoke not losing a game that the poor chap was inebriated.. we can forgive him. General applause rang out around the room through our set and the shouts for more at the end were gratefully received.

So, once more another positive gig experience and one to put on record... What a delightful place D'arcy's was to play, lovely wooden floors and ornate bar make it a pleasure to play in too.

What's next? I hear you ask.. well, more gigs coming up, including a few spots at a local vintage and handmade fair.. which we're looking forward to.. Its all go in the Rain camp!! :-)

Thursday, 11 April 2013

The last week in the life of Rain...

Well, since our last post a lot has happened in Rain's world.
We did a photoshoot with Jane Palmer, a very talented and lovely lady, who agreed to give up a very cold Bank Holiday morning to indulge us...
Here's a snippet from the session:

There are loads of pics, these are two of our favourites. We're leaving the bulk of the pics in the capable hands of Jon Aldersea to see what magic he can create from them...

We then took a sabbatical to London, I would say a well earned rest, but we spent 2 frantic days rushing all over the place on the Tube to make the most of our time there. It was, as they say, "Just the ticket", spending a good deal of the time in Camden, which has to be the funkiest place I've been for a long while. 

On 6th April we played one of our absolute fabourite venues, The Nags Head in Crewe. Jacqui, who's the landlady, is an absolute star, and it has one of the best sound systems in place (no need for the PA, which is a bonus!). The atmosphere in the Nags is made possible via the dedicated locals and music fans who turn up and support Jacqui in providing an excellent venue. We chatted to a couple who had come to see us specially, they had missed us at Nantwich and were keen to catch us if we played Crewe, so were chuffed to bits that they could come and see us at The Nags. A rather rowdy crowd were in, celebrating some fella's birthday, who seemed surprisingly sober compared to his pals.. we did get chatting to several of the group, who despite being into rock and metal, were surprisingly supportive and we managed to win them over.. which is always a bonus, spending the latter part of the evening chatting to "John", who happened to be a strapping Glaswegian chap in a black kilt...

9th April took us to The Gresley, we'd been invited up by Pauline and John, who run the acoustic sing around night.. and crikey, what a night that was. It never ceases to amaze me how, when in a folk session, the plethora of talent and sheer lack of ego in the room. Everyone in there took part in one way or another, beautiful harmonies rang around the room, there were guitars, Bodrhans, pipes, melodians, violins, mandolins, etc... all taking part.. we also confirmed our slot for the Gresley Arms Folk and Ale Festival!! Brilliant...

We should have showcased at The Glebe for Arthur's Table on 11th April, but sadly, I (Sheena), have been taken ill :-( A sore throat and chest infection have meant that "Rain" has stopped play (groan)...Still, its better to rest and get better... than make myself more ill and end up having to cancel more gigs...
That's the latest.. More dates to be announced as and when they're confirmed :-)