Gig Reviews

Sunday 17th March 2019 - St Patrick's Day

Flan O’Brien's - Bath

What a bloody gig!!!!
(I’ll write more shortly - I’m on my holiays ok!!)

Flan O'Briens Facebook Page

Sunday 17th March 2019 - St Patrick's Day

The Tap Social - Oxford

Cracking afternoon
(I’ll write more shortly - I’m on my holiays ok!!)

Friday 7th December 2018

The Tap Social - Oxford

The Tap Social is a brewery and a pub all in one. What’s not to like about that. it’s also a fantastic venue with a colossal range of great beer. Oli the manager is a top bloke too! So this was our Christmas gig and I was a bit crapping myself because a big mob of the Oxford crew were coming to see us.  As it was we played pretty well and everyone had a great time.  We did a great version of Fairytale of New York and I’m sure that's going to be in the set for evermore, whether its Christmas or not! Vania sang her arse off and I remembered the words who could ask for more!! The gig also marked the arrival of Stew Black on bass. This man is a god who learnt the whole 2 hour set in 10 days.  Praise be to you Stew you saved our arses!!!

Friday 26th October 2018

Flan O'Briens - Bath

We rounded out the Autumn with a gig at our fav place to play. It was storming 2 hours with a brilliant crowd. As ever we thank Myles for letting us play and his awesome punters being so bloody kind to us. Here’s a video of us playing Wunderbar to finish the night.

Friday 5th October 2018

The Bath Brew House - Octoberfest

Bloody hell, what a night. Two hours of folkery as we entertained a hardy bunch on a colossal piss up. Even shutting the bar at 11.30 couldn’t stop the fun. Big thanks to Jodie and her amazing crew who danced their arses off and reminded us of what it was like to be young and have working knees. And to Dave and Kev who made the trip to see us from Barcelona and Oxford. And also to Simon’s lovely family who watched us through the foliage!!

Sunday 30th September 2018

The Bath Brew House

Didn’t have the biggest of crowds for this one but the raucous troika of Swiss lads who hollered and banged table through the whole set were a whole audience of their own. Bless you, Swiss chaps you made our night.

Saturday 29th September 2018

The Riverside - Midsomer Norton

The full band was back together for our latest bash at the Riverside. Our Octagenarian fan base was in good voice and it’s a testament to the NHS that they were able to out-dance punters half their ages. Everyone got pretty shitfaced and it was a splendid night all around. We didn’t get any photos from this gig so here’s a picture of some Guinness to keep you going.

Saturday 1st September 2018

Wessex Beer Festival

Craig was returning from his holidays for this gig and with better weather forecast in Chilcompton, everything was looking good for a splendid show. I'd even purchased a Zoom Q2n camera, best described as GoPro for bands, to capture us doing our thing. Unfortunately Simon the drummer was struck down with a stomach bug that left him barfing and defecating back home in Yate. Then, due to some miscommunication, Jon was under the impression we were to play an 'unplugged' style set and turned up sans keyboard. The PA and lighting rig was fantastic and it was such shame the full band didn't make to this show. In the end myself, Craig, Vania and Colin played a full set and despite the fact the event was spectacularly under attended, we did pretty well. I was dead pleased with the footage from the camera, it really did a great job capturing the performance. I had Ernie Moss riding shotgun on this trip and we laughed so much on the way down I don't know how we didn't crash the van. 'Sausage' is the happiest word, apparently, and thank god that poor woman in Bathford didn't hear what we said about her efforts trimming hedges. Thanks for the curry Ern, looking forward to the next trip!

Sunday 26th August

Chilcompton Fringe Festival

Unfortunately, the bastard weather forecasters were correct and it absolutely pissed down from early morning until mid-afternoon.
We arrived to meet a very soggy site crew who had done an amazing job getting the festival up and running. My two road crew, daughters Flossie and Honey, demanded feeding so a swift burger and a portion of cheesy chips were purchased. They settled themselves into our dry, warm van while I splashed about getting the gear into the tent. Things were running a bit late and we didn't get on stage until an hour after our original time.
We had a pretty good crowd considering how bad the weather was and we gave it everything we had despite being cold and damp. We finished up strongly with The Southampton Steamboat Song but had to face facts the weather was the only winner this time. Vania was helping out on guitar and vocals as Craig was still on his hols and, as usual, she did a brilliant job. But it was Jon who summed up the gig when he said: "Is it just me or was that bloody hard work?"

Friday 24th August 2018

Bath Brew House - Bath

This was another short notice gig and fortunately, Vania was able to sit in for Craig who was still on his holidays. With a bank holiday happening the following Monday it's always difficult to say whether there will be anyone left in town to watch us. For the first half of the set, the audience seemed pretty subdued and I was thinking this is going to be a bit of a quiet gig. The crowd started to thin a bit so we decided against a half set break and were considering an early finish. As this thought was rolling around my mind a couple walked into the pub and started leaping about. Next minute the pub's going bonkers and despite a power cut (we blew the pubs fuses!!) that was how it was for the rest of the gig. The grooviness within seemed to radiate from the pub and it drew in more punters who, as well as dancing like lunatics, set about the bar like booze was in short supply. All in all another splendid evening. Thanks to Justin and everyone for a great night. We’ll be back on Sunday 30th September for more Anglo Celtic Folkery.

Saturday 17th August 2018

Pilton Town Hall & Working Mens Club

Last Saturday we played the famous Pilton Town Hall and Working Men's Club. Our splendid friend Vania came with us to help out while Jon and Craig were on their holidays. Remarkably Vania managed to learn the entire set in little more than a week.
The PWMC was closed when we arrived, so we went over The Crown for a bit of nosh. It’s amazing how many pubs can’t cook a decent ham egg and chips these days. I can say without hesitation, this pub is not one of them. The lovely staff speedily rustled up the best pub grub I’ve had in a long time. They serve a lovely pint of Thatchers too. We were a bit stuffed when we headed over to the PWMC to setup.
We were joined by a small but appreciative crowd that included none other than Glastonbury Festival legend Michael Eavis. So the pressure was on to do a good set and, apart from two spectacular cockups on my part, we got away with it (just). In the break, we had some pictures taken with Mr Eavis which was pretty groovy. After our best mate, Mike scooted off to take his granddaughter home we got on with the second set which, to be honest, was a bit of struggle. Some gigs fly and some are a bit pants and some are good but you have to work hard right to the last note. That's how it was for the second set. Still had a great night though and it wouldn't have happened without Vania and her awesome singing and guitar skills. Might have the spine in the next couple of days and call to ask for for a slot at the big show.

Gale, Julia and Karen, our awesome road crew! 

Saturday 4th to Sunday 5th August 2018

Melton Mowbray Folk and Craft Festival 2018

6 gigs, 2 jam sessions, two significant piss ups and a lost boot.

Arrived on Friday night, met up with Jon and Julia and set up camp at the Sysonbury Acres Camp Site. We wandered into town and dropped in on the Melton Folk Club pre-fest sing-around/jam session. Met Adrian the organiser and his splendid crew, played a few songs and had a great time. Then we went out on the piss, talked bollocks and got to bed about 3 am.

Woke up on Saturday morning with a thumping head. Just about made it to the Black Swan for midday and found I couldn’t get a sound out of the mandolin. Played a 45 minutes set with a very poorly mando. The rest of the band did a brilliant job.

Next up was the Generous Briton at 2pm. I fixed a short on the mandolin lead socket and all seemed good. However, when we started the set the mandolin was silent again. This time there was a problem with the stomp boxes. Played without them. Jon, Craig, Colin and Simon were awesome and carried my fretting ass through the set. Turns out a patch lead between the stompboxes was shagged, Craig had a spare and normal service was resumed. A small buffet lunch was supplied so the Generous Briton lived up to its name.

We dragged the kit across Melton to The Crown Inn, piled it up in a corridor, then I sat in a chair and had a sleep. The gig started at 7pm in the courtyard at the back of the pub, half the band were stuck in a shed with the freezers! We’d managed to gather ourselves a small following from our previous shows so we had a good crowd to play to. We had a great time and, at the insistence of the audience, played for much longer than we were supposed to. It was a cracking end to the day.

Sunday began with a set in the Montero Lounge at midday. We were probably a bit loud and boisterous for brunchtime on a Sunday but it was a fun 45 minutes.

Next venue was the Half Moon at 3pm. Here we ran into a problem, more band than space. There was just about enough room for two people to play in the front bar so Craig and I did the set as a duo. It worked pretty well too and with the rest of the band in the audience, we had noisy crowd. Much banter was had.

The last gig of the weekend was at the Harborough Hotel were we played a blinder, said the word ‘brilliant’ too much  and said our goodbyes to our lovely entourage.
Can’t say enough thanks to our all-star, all-girl road crew; Julia, Gail and Karen for helping us drag our gear all over Melton.

Sunday sing around and jam session at The Boat.
With most of the band heading back down south Jon, Julia and I carted our kit back to the campsite and, armed only with a mandolin, walked back into town for a final bout of drunken folkery. Our final evening with the Melton Folk Club was awesome, what a brilliant bunch. It was sad to say goodbye and I hope we get to see them all again soon.

Das Boot
When I got home I found I had lost the left boot of my precious pair of Dr Martens. Fortunately, Jon remembered swerving to avoid a lonely boot on the driveway of the campsite. Amazingly the owners of the site had found the little bugger and put it in lost property. So last Wednesday myself and my three daughters drove up to Melton, recovered the boot and enjoyed a pleasant night camping at Sysonby.

Friday 27th July 2018

Flan O’Briens

With the UK in the grip of a heatwave, holiday season in full swing and all the students out of town we wondered whether it would be a quiet night for our second gig at Flans. As it was, Friday turned out to be pretty much our best gig yet. Flan O'Brien's is a cracking boozer with a fantastic atmosphere and an amazing crowd. We played our arses off, sweated like pigs and introduced three new songs, one of which ‘God, the Barman and the Stars Above' went down so well it’s a shoe-in for the last song of the set from now on. It was brilliant to see everyone dancing and singing along, especially to ‘Oh So Groovy’ (hard to believe we actually thought about dropping that one a while back). It was nice that a few brave souls tried to help us with the singing even though they didn’t know the words or the tune. Not sure why some of the punters thought we might have ABBA songs or even 'High Ho Silver Lining’ in our set but one we should have known was 'The Irish Rover', learning it now!!
Looking forward to playing here again soon.

P.S. I Managed to get a clip of us playing ‘Face and Eyes’. It's pretty ropey, but Craig gets his shirt off, the crowd seems to be enjoying themselves and I don’t forget the words or the mess up the solo so all’s groovy!!!

Saturday 14th July 2018

M-Fest 2018
Midsomer Norton

Beck for a second year at the West Country's best high street trailer fest. There were a lot of great bands playing this year and we were honoured to be counted among them. Matt Teal stood in for Colin who was on his holidays. Thanks, Matt, you did a brilliant job mate.

This fest has a brilliant crowd, who, as well as dancing their asses off, invented a whole new vocal arrangement for the middle of ‘Oh So Groovy’

Looking forward to coming to Norton again soon.

Photos by Richard Sykes

Saturday 7th July 2018 - Afternoon

Priddy Folk Festival Fringe

It could be argued that letting us noisy herberts anywhere near this legendary folk festival might have been an error. However, all we can say is thank you, Nikki and Johnny, for trusting us with the last set of the day on Saturday evening. We had a brilliant time. The weather was fantastic, the atmosphere really relaxed and England won through to the semi-finals of the World Cup. There was a lot of great musicians playing too, including ’The Spanners’ who were kind enough to help us out with vocals and recorder on 'Southampton Steam Boat Song'. Also, big thanks to Liam Palmer for his cracking Kazzoo playing on ‘Oh So Groovy.'

I hope we get to play here again, it really is a lovely festival, put together by some very splendid people.

Photos by Nikki

Saturday 7th July 2018 - Evening

Chilcopton Cycle Fest

Crikey! Two gigs in one day!
Following our session in Priddy, we scooted up to Chilcompton to play a set for the good people of the Sports Ground Social Club. Big thanks to Giles and Martin for letting us blast the evening away from the back of a truck in the glorious weather. We played every song we do and finished with the sun dropping over the horizon. It was the perfect end to a perfect day.

Johnny from Priddy fully saved our arses by lending us a PA for this gig.. we owe you big time dude.

Looking forward to being back here later in the summer.

Saturday 30th June 2018

The Bladon Family Feast

Set within walls of the stunning Blenheim estate, this was a really lovely festival to have played. We set about a swift 45 minutes suposedly devoid of our sweariest songs. Lots of our lovely mates from the Oxfordshire area turned up to see us so it quickly turned into a raucous shout along. Thanks to Emma and Luke for letting us play, we really had a great time in the beautiful weather. Having Stowford Press on draft was a total winner and was wholly responsible for the state I was in at the end of the night! Can't wait to play next Year.

Photo by Matt

Saturday 19th May 2018

The The Riverside
Midsomer Norton

First time for us at The Riverside and it was an absolute corker. Our visit coincided with Royal Wedding and the FA cup final and like Meg and Chelsea, we romped away with the honours. Despite some early nervousness over team numbers the high functioning alcoholic veterans took the stage a little after 9 and pretty much had everyone stomping around from the start. We tried to wrap the evening up at 11 as arranged but Tony the boss called extra time and we finally crawled off stage just before midnight. An attempt by Peeg to sing the words of Wunderbar over the music to Streams of Whiskey brought play to a sudden halt but the plucky lads were able to reassert their hold on the match right after the restart. Back for a rematch in the Autumn

Photo by Jo Daggar

Saturday 5th May 2018

The Bath Brew House

Back for a colossal bank holiday blow out. This gig marked our final gig with Mark as our lead singer. A growing family and new job have called his attentions elsewhere. We bid him farewell with heavy hearts and wish all the best in his new adventures. We played for the best part of two hours in the heat of early spring. We danced ourselves ragged, almost got Sally MacLannane right and left out 3 Gallon because Peeg left his capo in the mandolin case. It was great to see some old friends for the first time in years and generally have a cracking time.
We had the punters dancing right up till the witching hour and rounded off the set with The Southampton Steamboat Song.
Thanks to everyone thank came along and to Justin for letting us play!!
PS Justin got his coat back so all was well!! 

Photos by Marc Iserman

Sack trucks rule!

Friday 23rd March 2018

Flan O’Briens

We sneaked in at Flans after another band pulled out. There was plenty of dancing and singing and stumbling around. We played for two hours, did lots of encores and a slightly dodgy version of Sally MacLannane. Thanks must go to Myles, the landlord, for inviting us in, we had a brilliant night! Amazingly, he asked us back! See you on Friday 27th July 2018 for more Anglo Celtic folkery! 

Photo: Olivia Morris-Soper

Sunday 4th March 2018

The Bath Brew House

Our first gig of the year, with a whole new drummer (Simon you are a god), was a total corker! Undaunted by the 'Beast from the East’ the Pubs arrived in Bath from all four corners of the country to play at Justin's latest Sunday session. The crowd is always great in this pub and cheered along, even to some of our traditional ‘alternative' track mixes. New songs; Face and Eyes, Daggar and I and Southampton Steamboat Song seemed to go down pretty well, as did a scattering of Pogues covers. Once again we made lots of new friends including one from Texas!! Jon thought this was a bit of a long way to come just to see us. Hopefully see you all back there in a couple of months.

Wednesday 31st Jan 2018

Peeg and Jon at The Royal Oak, Edinburgh

Through a spectacular alignment of work-related coincidence, Jon and I found ourselves in Edinburgh. I had my reserve mandolin with me and after a few warm-up beers in the Halfway House, we headed over to The Royal Oak for a skin full of ‘heavy’ and maybe even a bit of a sing-song. Jon hit the piano and quite literally stunned the pub with some spectacular boogie-woogie keyboardery!! After that, we took it turns with the regular crew to play until I was too pissed to remember the words and how many times we’d played the songs. Crawled home a one, Thursday was a struggle. Also, respect to the Norwegian woman who was incoherent in both English and her native language. Another top night.

Thursday 28th Dec 2017

‘Jolly Boys’ and
Jam Session at The Bell

This years 'Jolly Boys’ Christmas drinking session for the Norton diaspora coincided with the weekly Playgroup jam session at The Bell Inn, Bath. And so it was, armed only with a mandolin, a piano and a gut full of booze we took the stage. It’s difficult to remember exactly all the songs we played but it’s safe to say we left a lasting impression on all those gathered there. Taff, Vania, Jen and Lawrie were our splendid assistants for the evening. We enjoyed ourselves so much, that we stumbled up to The Star and had singsong there too!!

Sunday 8th October 2017

The Bath Brew House

So, after much farting about, five of us finally made it to The Bath Brew House on James St West, Bath. We squeezed ourselves into the corner by the front door and set about our first gig with a bunch of new songs and a slightly changed line up (Mark was committed elsewhere). The atmosphere was great and despite some interesting 'alternative mixes' of our songs the audience seemed to like what we were doing. The end of the set came in a blur and, with promoter Justin’s gentle encouragement, the crowd hollered for an encore. We played out with Wunderbar and were dead impressed with everyone singing along. All in all, we had a great evening in a splendid pub and want to thank everyone who came along. It was great to catch up with some old friends and to make some new ones too. Thanks also promoter Justin who was kind enough to book us. We’ll be back there in the new year and, frankly, we can’t wait.

Saturday 5th July 2017

M-Fest 2017
Midsomer Norton

We were first on at this years M-Fest in the High Street Midsomer Norton. Our set was short but sweet. We did our bit to get the show started, then embarked on a colossal session that ended in the early hours of Sunday morning with us scattered across the pubs of Norton in a bewildered mess! Roll on next year!!

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