Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Holidays in the Sun and the start of the Autumn cool down

Once more its been a while since I sat behind the laptop and wrote a blog for Rain.. I'm getting a bit slack in my old age (no jokes please!!).. Graeme and I took a few days well earned holiday in mid August, taking in the sights, smells and tastes of the Highlands of Scotland. Staying at the marvellous Glen Nevis, just at the foothills of Ben Nevis... I shall say no more other than I was utterly rendered speechless by the awesomeness of the place... anyway, without further adieu.. lets get onto Rain's news...

Saturday 17th August, fresh from our visit to Scotland saw us once more in Alsager, this time performing a set at The Farmers Market... The legendary Stath Kyrantonis rigged up the gear, and sorry to say the weather got the better of everyone, it was cool, breezy and most unlike the recent hot and sunny weather we'd been having.. However, undeterred we carried on and played to the various shoppers who stood, applauded and were incredibly appreciative. Was lovely to be back in Alsager, a couple of people recognised us from the recent Alsager Music Festival, which is encouraging... or is it?? :-)

We did our usual trick of being booked to do more than one event in a day, and undeterred by the cold windyness of it all, took ourselves off to the Freespirit Festival in Newcastle under Lyme.. a small gathering of like minded souls, apparently there had been workshops all day, but we'd not been able to get there earlier due to Alsager.. however we were made warmly welcome and managed to see a lovely set by Mel Ellis.. In fact I (Sheena) jumped up and added some harmonies to a couple of her songs.. which went down well.. What also went down well was the delightful fruit crumble that had been created that day by the people taking part.. it was divine, there was also vegan food samples, a tent which housed information and stuff to buy (recycled stuff rather akin to a car boot stall).. then were up. I neglected to mention that during Mel's set the heavens opened and it threw it down.. so the PA was quickly unplugged and we did our set acoustically.. received some lovely feedback from the crowd, some of whom had never seen us before, others who had only ever seen us "plugged in" as it were and were very positive about an unplugged Rain..

Saturday 24th August took us to Nantwich and The Leopard.. We'd been asked at short notice if we could fill in the slot, and us being us didn't refuse, we'd got a night off, so thought.. "why not?".. Anyway, it was quite quiet, for which the manager Steve, was apologetic.. However, we went down really well with those who were there. Bank Holiday weekends are hard to judge, places can either be heaving or quiet, we were told that there was an event on in Nantwich town, which most people had apparently gone to.. Oh well, it was a great place to play.. so much so we went back the following night ;-)

Sunday 25th August we returned to The Leopard in Nantwich for the very excellent Late Selector radio shows Open Mic night, where various acts turn up, do a spot and get recorded and videoed for the show. The place was packed and there were some amazing acts on... Just proving that music is for everyone and everyone received a great response from the crowd. We did our more up tempo songs.. and were persuaded by Steve Abbot to get back up and do Pinball Wizard.. joined on keyboards by the fabulous Markus Aurelianus (what a genius behind the black and whites!!) and Steve the landlord on Cahon... the crowd were shocked, stunned and then just let their hair down and joined in... A truly fabulous night, with new friends made and an invitation to go on the radio show as guests in September.

Monday 26th August took us to The Boughey Arms Acoustic Festival.. Flatbed truck and hay bales in place.. hog roast cooking away and some awesome music...plus gorgeous weather.. a reminder that it was still just about summer! We agreed to open the Festival, figuring that someone has to. It was nice to be back at The Boughey, its one of our favourite places.. the atmosphere is delightful, everyone friendly and just a lovely place to be. We were followed by the Boat Band, who delivered their usual Cajun inspired revelry and several other acts, including Slippery Hill Boys, The Mill, Providence Jug Band, Barrelhouse Jukes and many more.. all in all a lovely day.

Saturday 31st August meant only one thing.. Cloggerfest!!! Blythe Cricket Club was the venue for this amazing mini Festival.. with the sun shining and cricket being played, it was a rather English affair. The gurning competition was entered by many.. including us.. with me coming 3rd and Graeme not even being placed.. (how does that work??)... anyway it was riotously funny. The evening descended and the music began.. I can't remember the running order, but the music, as ever was awesome... Arthur Righteous, Gaz Williams Trio, Rain, Clair Brennan, Pickering White, Headsticks and headlining.. Sons of Clogger... there was dancing, singing and definately a festival atmosphere, it was lovely to be among our friends.. no agendas, no nastiness.. just everyone coming together to enjoy a good time.. Lets hope the do another one next year...

Sunday 8th September back over the border and into Derbyshire for the Wirksworth Arts Festival.. If you've never been to Wirksworth.. I encourage you to go... and if you've never been to the Arts Festival.. likewise.. the whole village is taken over by artists and musicians.. gallery's are set up in people' houses and people's gardens become live venues! We played there last year and thoroughly enjoyed it, and consequently jumped at the chance to play again. The first slot we played was at The Old Lock Up, which is now a bed and breakfast, but was once the local constabulary.. it has a nice stable block out the back, which had been converted into a mini beer Festival.. the area was dressed with hay bales and it gave it a definate vibe. A great place and we played to a full house! Received loads of compliments upon our finish and made some new friends.. which is always a bonus.. Our second slot was at The Stable Block, which is a courtyard performance area, and the acoustics are incredible.. lovely stone walls created a fantastic resonance chamber.. again positive feedback received.. definately went away glowing with pride.

Tuesday 10th September and we visited The Boughey Arms Open Mic.. if you've never been, then you simply must.. some of the best musicians in the area play there, its hosted by John Askey, who's a lovely fella, and I've been assured used to play bass for Sandy Shaw (back in the day)... One thing that sets this apart from a lot of other Open Mics is that its in a function room, away from the main body of the pub and the audience actually listen.. you can literally hear a pin drop when someone's playing.. which is encouraging..

Thats us up to date again.. I'll try and remember not to leave it too long until next time..

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