India Electric Company
Luke Jackson Trio
Nine Below Zero
Nine Below Zero
From The Jam
King Size Slim
Congo Faith Healers
Nine Below Zero
Triple header - Wildflowers, Will Varley & Funke and the Twotone Baby
Virgil and the Accelerators
Son of Dave
The Singing Loins
The Loins’ brought their unique brand of punk/folk to the Bubble Club just in time it seems – some 23 years after they began as a raw, stripped down acoustic duo in 1990, they have announced a retirement of sorts. Bubble Club regulars had strenuously recommended we book the anarchic four-piece, and this show demonstrated why they have become such a popular if infrequent attraction on the live circuit. A right royal mash-up of music hall, cabaret and (as their press release promised, buffoonery). Their songs are biographical vignettes of the dysfunctional and the disaffected. Prolific Medway legend Billy Childish championed the band in the early years and recorded their first two albums, releasing them on his own Hangman label. The band's live set featured songs from what we regret to say may well be their swansong album '...here on earth', as well as crowd-pleasers like 'Please Take My Scissors Away'.
Support on Feb 2nd was from the intense young singer/songwriter Lupen Crook, and he will be appearing with them again on what could be their final outing at Rochester Sweeps' Festival on May Bank Holiday weekend. May the fourth be with them.
Nine Below Zero
Oh boy – this was such a great night. For a start it was a sell-out, not that we enjoyed turning people away on a wintry night, but those that were inside were treated to one of the UK's best live bands in the country. Along with the likes of Dr Feelgood and Eddie & The Hot Rods, Nine Below Zero erupted from the eye of the storm that was the UK New Wave at the tail end of the 1970's, and the four-piece blues/ rock powerhouse are still at the top of their game 30 years on. Fronted by the raw-soul emotive vocals and lead guitar of Dennis Greaves and harmonica virtuoso Mark Feltham – they reprised some of the NBZ classics that blew the roof off the original Marquee Club back in 1980 (and were immortalised on vinyl by A&M Records). The capacity crowd were warmed-up by some stylish covers from excellent local band Black Cat Bone.
This was a night to treasure.
Little Axe featuring Skip McDonald
When Skip McDonald took to the Bubble Club stage he opened his account by requesting a further round of applause for a remarkable opening set by young singer songwriter, and BBC folk award nominee Luke Jackson. The audience readily obliged, having been spellbound by his assured performance. Luke is surely one to watch in 2013.
For Little Axe themselves, it was a welcome return to the dub-styling and improvised grooves that originally introduced Skip McDonald to UK music-lovers back in the '80's.
The blues guitar maestro fronted a four-piece version of his amorphous Little Axe for an expansive set that enthralled, but may have resulted in a few missed last buses home.
McDonald hails from Ohio and his CV encompasses spells with Grandmaster Flash, Living Colour and Afrika Bambaata, as well as highly lauded collaborations with Dub Syndicate, Talvin Singh, African Head Charge and UK reggae guru Adrian Sherwood. His band members on this memorable night included keyboards and knob-twiddling from Matt Smyth, 2nd guitar Phil Clarke and guest blues harp from David Jarman.
Pete Molinari & his Band Plus Paul Handyside
If we thought Pete Molinari's visit in February 2011 had set the bar high for a Bubble Club night out then saturday's two hour set from the Chatham-born crowd-pleaser defied the odds, as he sent another packed bank holiday crowd home very happy.
Former Hurrah frontman Paul Handyside had warmed the house up with a wonderful set of his own songs, a unique voice, but with a hint of the Richard Hawley in his delivery and of Lyle Lovett in his looks. For his encore he left his slide guitarist Rob Trickett on-stage for an unamplified wander into the crowd which created a little magic in readiness for Pete Molinari's solo set.
A few songs later, the full Molinari band added the reinforcements that rocked the Horsebridge with a programme of country, gospel, blues, bluegrass and rock 'n' roll – old favourites, covers and new compositions that sometimes tested the versatility and improvisational skills of new but unrattled guitarist Brad ? Pete Molinari almost needed to be dragged offstage, such is his love of a live audience; "I think I can safely say this is our best gig ever" he announced to a delighted Bubble Club.
Chris Difford supported by John O'Reilly
As befits the low-key, informal nature of the show, the Squeeze man ambled between the tables and chairs of Whitstable’s Horsebridge Centre and clambered onto the small stage with a lyric book under one arm and a raffish scarf wrapped round a sensible V-neck. Rock and roll it wasn't.
The night turned out to be a greatest hits package with short films and recollections.
...Squeeze is still central to Difford’s life and work. He recalled his first meeting with co-founder Glenn Tilbrook in the early 1970s. The pair were brought together by a card in a newsagent’s window in south London.Together they wrote some of the most endearing and eccentric British pop music of the past 30 years such as Up The Junction and Cool For Cats.
“We’ve known each other for more than 40 years,” Difford said of Tilbrook... Difford cheekily adds, with his tongue in his cheek, “We’ve only spoken for one of them!” Difford produced a whistle-stop run through his three solo albums before telling the audience: “Don’t worry, we’ve almost got the solo stuff out of the way."
He ended with two encores, closing the night with a knockabout Cool For Cats, Squeeze’s breakthrough hit accompanied by newsreel footage of a train journey from London to Brighton “in just four minutes.” A good evening was made even better when Difford confirmed Squeeze was back together, even if they now look like “five mini cab drivers."
I bet they all go south of the river.
Jon Homer, ThisIsKent.co.uk
David Migden and the Dirty Words
supported by Babeshadow
David Migden & The Dirty Words are a well-honed
five-piece, crafting a unique take on hard-edged, twisted
American roots, distilling the dark essence of Tom Waits,
Ry Cooder and John Martyn in their self-written material.
Encompassing blues, country, jazz, mariachi and rock, the
band are a must-see live, and this gig was no exception.
The crowd were clearly pleased that their strident, animated set featured some old favourites, but they also presented new songs from their forthcoming album “There’s A Desert Inside You”. David Migden is a powerful, engaging and often funny front man – a would-be major artist, who perversely seems to enjoy being one of rock music's best kept secrets.
TREETOP FLYERS supported by WILL VARLEY
A real gem of a night – "Country Soul" from Treetop Flyers, whose set of fresh, self-written material references new and old west coast rock and Gram Parsons without straying into pastiche, and support from Deal-based Will Varley; humour and politics in equal measure, served up with energy and attack.
The five-piece Flyers’ rock-revved, sepia-toned soul’n’roll sound has been gathering pace since 2008. They recently earned themselves a slot at Glastonbury’s prestigious Other Stage after winning the Emerging Talent Competition earlier this year with the NME.
Take a look at the latest single ‘Things Will Change’ and visit the band at www.treetopflyers.co.uk
Will Varley – www.willvarley.com
MARCUS BONFANTI Supported by PADDY MILNER
Amazing night of contemporary blues on the hottest recorded September day in history!
Manouche are an all-live, electrified, gipsy swing ensemble, performing specially arranged works of Django Reinhardt and swing classics of 1930's, 40's and 50's and their own up-beat compositions, fused with elements of Electro Swing dance beats and Surf Guitar. Originally know as Manouche Trio, the band played two sets – acoustically (as a trio) and then as a four-piece. Cracking night!
"Pete warms the room with a selection of tracks played on his gorgeous acoustic, including the still-powerful confessional I Don't Like the Man that I Am. But this is a Saturday night, the Whitstable Bay Organic Ale is going down a treat, and people haven't come out to hear songs about the First World War (Lest We Forget) all evening, however good they are. So it's not long before the rest of the band are invited on stage and the good times begin to roll...." from the sosogood review
SKIP 'LITTLE AXE' MCDONALD
Skip McDonald formed the house band for the pioneering rap label Sugar Hill, along with bass player Doug Wimbish and drummer Keith LeBlanc, providing the music for some of the most seminal records of the era by Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaata, Force M.D.'s and others. From there he worked closely with Adrian Sherwood on many projects for the On-U Sound label, as well as spearheading the band Tackhead and working with Living Colour.
He enthralled the crowd at the Bubble Club with a set of self-penned blues and a highly entertaining musical dialogue between voice, guitar and recording technology. Dub guru Adrian Sherwood was in the audience to watch him run through an exhilarating set against pre-recorded backing tracks full of surprising blues, rock and reggae twists and turns.
The Bubble Club opened its doors for the first time with the most auspicious of guests – founder member of one of the jewels in Britain's pop crown, Squeeze, and all-round raconteur and bon-viveur, Chris Difford.
Chris puts on a complete one-man multi-media experience; part autobiography, part armchair philosophy, illustrated with visual accompaniment and musical gems from his remarkable 30 year career.