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Andy Long Bass Player

Four/Five/Six Strings & The Truth

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Bass Playing

Focus live in Cardiff

I first heard ‘Hocus Pocus’ by Focus in the mid 70’s. My dad had bought the ‘Moving Waves’ album, unusual for him as he was a rock and roll fan but I think he enjoyed Jan Akkerman’s guitar. I played the album to death. I’ve always loved the band but never been to see them live.

last night (19 October 2017) I ticked that box in Cardiff as band founder Thijs Van Leer, classic line up drummer Pierre Van Der Linden, together with guitarist Menno Gootjes and the most recent member bass player Udo Pannekeet brought an outstanding set to the Globe.

They did not disappoint. The musicianship in this line up is absolutely jaw-dropping. An incredible set of blistering jazz/prog/rock. Fantastic soloing and unstoppable energy. Most of the band’s material is instrumental and I don’t always remember the titles, but included in the set were ‘Sylvia’, ‘Harem Scarem’, ‘Round Goes The Gossip’, ‘House Of The King’ and a few new tunes.

Favourite for me was the epic 23 minute (or more) ‘Eruption’ and of course an elongated and frenetic ‘Hocus Pocus’.

A few pics here, they are not great as I was not close to the stage, but enjoy!

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Hawkwind at The Neon, Newport, March 2017

The first band I ever saw live were Hawkwind. It was the Autumn of 1980 and the ‘Levitation’ tour came to the Colston Hall in Bristol. The line up that night was Dave Brock, Harvey Bainbridge, Huw Lloyd-Langton, Tim Blake and (honest guv) Ginger Baker on drums.  I often look back and think I was spoilt by that for a first gig and didn’t really realise how special a band it was, and especially what an icon Baker was.

I’ve been a fan ever since, although not a disciple (of which there are many), I’ve seen them half a dozen times over the years, sometimes great, sometimes not so.  Last night saw the latest line-up playing at the end of my street, so I had to go of course.

With lead vocals being taken now by Mr Dibs the band’s ever changing face sees long standing drummer Richard Chadwick and 74 year old Dave Brock joined by young bassist Haz Wheaton and a keyboard/guitars chap who might have been Niall Hone?

This was a great set that took in a lot of classic material, the band performed really well. Dave is looking well for an old git, and played well to all the other old gits in the crowd (of which I am one).  The light show was everything you would expect from Hawkwind (see pics below) and the band sounded like classic era Hawkwind, with extended jams and all those classic riffs. Mr Dibs was giving it what for on the ring modulators and other expected sound effects.

Haz Wheaton took centre stage and plays bass like a proper rock monster, he is as much a Lemmy style bassist as you could hope for, battering seven shades out of a Rickenbacker and strumming huge power chords for much of the set. Sometimes switching to a Fender for a spot of subtlety, his musicianship impressed me. Kudos to you Haz, you’re up there.

Two disappointments in this show.  Firstly the sound was not great, it’s a problem that this particular venue suffers from, I’ve never seen a show there where they got it right. In this case the vocals were suffering. Volume too low, with all the crispness and clarity of lettuce, it did spoil an otherwise good show. Secondly I had been led to believe (erroneously it seems) that Tim Blake was in this line up. Hone, or whoever it was, did a reasonably good job, but Tim Blake is Tim Blake innit?

They’re playing Bristol in May so I may well go again and see what happens.  I didn’t get the whole set list down but here’s most of what I remember:

Assault And Battery, On The Edge Of Time, Utopia, Time We Left This World Today, Into The Woods, Hassan I Sabbah, Robot, Shot Down In The Night. There were more and I think they may have done ‘You Know You’re Only Dreaming’, or I might have been only dreaming?

The four encores were:

Spirit Of The Age, Brainbox Pollution, (something else here), Silver Machine

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Anderson, Rabin, Wakeman at Cardiff

ARW at Cardiff

I’ve been a Yes fan for longer than I care to remember, (although there are plenty who’ve been at it longer than me). I bought my first two Yes albums second hand off a boy in school who didn’t like them. They were ‘Time And A Word’ and ‘Tomato’. An interesting pair to start with.

I first saw them live in Birmingham NEC on the 90125 tour in the early ’80’s. Lasers, tilting stage. Bugs Bunny Cartoons.  I’ve seen them a lot of times since then in a lot of forms. Last night saw the latest incarnation of Yes/Not Yes playing their debut show in Cardiff, so unsurprisingly I was there.

With Jon, Rick and Trevor were go-to prog bassist Lee Pomeroy and American drummer and Rabin cohort Louis Molino III.  This was a much anticipated set amongst progrock diehards and did not disappoint.  It was great to see and hear Jon singing Yes material again. I’ve enjoyed the recent tours of the current Yes line-up but Jon’s voice is a unique enigma.

Rabin and Wakeman play really well together, despite not having been in Yes together (with the exception of Union). Trevor is an almighty rock guitarist, wailing solos and lightning fast runs are peppered liberally throughout his playing. He’s very different to Steve Howe and if anything I missed Steve’s classical, virtuosic sensibility, Trevor gave the material a very different sound, but it worked well.

Rick Wakeman, resplendently caped, was stunning as always, effortlessly (or so it seemed) flowing through the material, flitting around amongst numerous keyboards and even going for a stroll in the audience with a keytar, whilst Trevor went up the adjoining isle and met him at the back for a barrage of selfies.

Moulino and Pomeroy were a fantastic rhythm section together, I’ve seen Lee play with Rick previously and last night the band paid tribute to Chris Squire and Lee played a beautiful arrangement of ‘The Fish’, recreating that familiar Rickenbacker klank perfectly.

If you’re the kind of person who gets off on set lists I think I’ve got this right:

Cinema, Perpetual Change, Hold On, All Good People, Lift Me Up, And You And I, Rhythm Of Love, Heart Of The Sunrise, Changes, Long Distance Runaround, The Fish, Awaken, Owner Of A Lonely Heart, (enc) Roundabout

Excellent show, hope I get to see the next one, whoever is in it.

John Wetton and Deke Leonard

Sad to see the passing away of two more great names from the rock world this week, bass legend John Wetton and Welsh guitar great Deke Leonard.

John Wetton is one of those names that has always been there for me, so many of the band he played with over the years have been, and always will be, amongst my favourite listens, albums that are on constant replay in my life.

I bought the first Asia album on picture disc vinyl when it was released in 1982 and his work with King Crimson marks my favourite era of the band (although I love all their stuff.

The riff to ‘Great Deceiver’ is still mind blowing.

Deke Leonard, though less known, was nonetheless a long standing key member of Man for most of their career, just a few breaks here and there, and featured on the majority of Man albums.

Whilst Man have not been a band that I’ve listened to a lot over the years, thy are undoubtedly iconic here in Wales and I really enjoy the few albums that I do own, notably ‘Rhinos, Winos And Lunatics’ and ‘Slow Motion.

 

 

Could be looking for a gig…

We’re taking a bit of a break from the Tim Crahart Blues Band, which has left me at something of a loose end, bass-wise for the moment.

Hence I am looking for some musical opportunities in or around the Newport area. I quite fancy doing something a bit prog rock as that’s my passion, musically. But in the past I’ve played a lot of blues, rock ‘n’ roll. jazz, rock etc so could be up for anything.

Laying my cards out on the table at the outset – I’ve got quite a responsible day job which takes a lot of my time, so I don’t want a band that plays five nights a week. Just something occassional would be nice. I am not now and never have been looking to conquer the world in any musical capacity. 

So if you are about to embark on a world tour or just signed a ten album deal, probably best not to get in touch with me.

on the other hand if you play a couple of times a month and have the kind of laid back attitude that only comes with great age and you could do with a half-competent bass player, maybe give me a shout via the contacts page.

redfront

 

Frozen Shoulder and Playing Bass

For the last couple of months I’ve been suffering with extreme pain in my right shoulder. Some x-rays and tests led to a diagnosis of frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis. This is a condition caused by the thickening and inflammation of the capsule tissue surrounding the shoulder joint. It is extraordinarily painful and debilitating, especially at night.

Frozen Shoulder

I’ve seen several doctors for advice, but it seems that there is no really effective treatment, it just gets better over time, but can take up to two years to recover.

I’m taking a variety of painkillers and I even had a steroid injection. That was stupidly painful and hasn’t really helped. I’m trying to exercise it every day but it’s hard work.

In terms of playing bass it’s having some quite negative effects. I am unable to lift anything heavier than a cup of tea with my right arm, so Tim and Harvey have had to help me out a lot in loading and unloading equipment.

Thankfully I switched my cabs out to those lovely lightweight Edens a while back, which helps.  I’m having to play sitting on a stool most of the time (like a proper old fart), but even then it’s difficult to lift the bass off the stand and onto my lap. Once it’s there I can play OK (well, about as good as normal anyway).

For short sets I can stand to play, I’ve lengthened my strap a bit to try and ease strain on the shoulder.

Any other bass players out there had similar problems, any advice welcome.

Andy

Returning to the Crosskeys Hotel

For a long time I was a member of the Islwyn Acoustic Guitar Club, we met once a month and usually had a guest artist as well as an open mic session. For most of the club’s lifespan it was hosted at the Crosskeys hotel near Risca.

crosskeys-hotel-thai

The Tim Crahart Blues Band played at the club several times, always a great night.

The pub has been shut down for the last couple of years, but it has recently been bought up by a friend of ours and is due to reopen this Saturday night, 31st October and we’re pleased to say that we will be playing a live set for the opening night.

We’ll be kicking off around 8:30pm for a night of blues, gospel, rock and soul. Come along if you can, I’ll buy you a pint!

Cardiff Gig – Ten Feet Tall

A bit short notice, but we are playing in Cardiff this Monday, 5th October. It’s at Ten Feet Tall in Church Street in the Town Centre.

There are two other bands playing, Dora’s Fur and Tony Hands. We are the headline act, playing at 9:30

£3.30 admission.

Here’s a weblink

 

Tim Crahart Blues Band gigs this week.

A couple of gigs this week

 

Just a quick announcement for any of you who are local to South Wales.
Two gigs happening this week:

Thursday 10th September: The Boat Penallt: 9:00pm: free entry

One of our favourite pub gigs, The Boat has a fantastic atmosphere, lovely people and epic real ales and ciders. The only thing we find hard to do there is to stop playing!

Saturday 12th September: St Pauls Church, Newport.

An anniversary celebration for the people of ‘The Lab’. If you fancy coming along I don’t expect anyone would object. 7:30 pm

contact Tim at tim@timcrahartbluesband.co.uk

Thanks guys, see you soon.

Tim, Harvey and Andy.

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