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Thursday, 4 July 2013

5th July 1960...

...was a date never to be forgotten by my parents. It was the day they welcomed their first-born into the world - a very tiny scrap of a human with bright ginger hair.

Me.

Now, 53 years later, I no longer have ginger hair (and haven't since I was 6 months old!) but I am still a bit of a short arse, and just as loud as I was then.

I shall be celebrating my birthday by travelling to Coventry - Godiva Festival has a few acts I really really need to see. Most important of them all is Matt Henshaw & Reggiimental with MuthaFunk...5.30pm Saturday in The Rhythm Tent. IT WILL BE PHENOMENAL!!!

So, since I need to be up at 5am and it is now almost 1am, I'd better grab a few hours sleep. If I can...

If you're going, I'll see you there (or you'll see/hear me lol)

G'night :)

Lesley
x

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

New specs and another trip...

Well, I bit the bullet and pulled out an awful lot of my hard-earned for some new specs. Really needed them too...was as blind as a bat even with the old ones on!

Got some rather snazzy black and citrus frames (funnily enough black and citrus are Satsuma Elephants colours - quite unintentional choice, my subconcious must have made the descision for me lol)...have been told they make me look quite intellectual - don't believe that for a minute haha. See for yourself...it's the sort of pic mothers use to frighten the kids...my apologies. :)


Anyway, I'll now be able to see everything that happens at Godiva Festival next weekend, my next foray out into the world of live music. Mr Matt Henshaw of Satsuma Elephants is playing there accompanied by Reggiimental, and MuthaFunk, on the Saturday afternoon around 5.25pm, in the Rhythm tent.

It is also my birthday weekend (don't ask, I'm not counting any more) - I'm spending most of my actual birthday travelling to Coventry on the Friday! So the next time I see Matt & Reggii, I'll be a year older...and it'll likely be the best birthday I've had in years!

If you happen to be going to Godiva, and fancy meeting up, let me know. I'm the friendly sort, and a bit of company would be nice :)

In the meantime, here's what Mr Henshaw has been up to of late, and a few vids of Satsuma Elephants, Censored, Matt & Reggiimental, some interviews and stuff, just to keep you going. Some really good vids there, (love the old Censored ones) enjoy watching/listening and leave him a message/like or two. We wouldn't want him to feel neglected, would we? :)

http://matthenshaw11.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/the-actress-bishop-birmingham-setlist.html

http://www.youtube.com/user/ilsonowl

Enough of my rambling.

Get reading/watching.

See you at Godiva.

Lesley
x

Thursday, 20 June 2013

A survey...and an advert.

Just a quick question really... I'd like to get an idea if this is a feasible proposition, and who better to ask than you lot.

Would you be disposed to part with a quid for a white Satsuma Elephants rubber bracelet if you were at a gig and offered one?

Serious question as I'm looking into getting some done.

I've had some Satsuma Elephants t-shirts made, had one on for the gig (will post a pic of the ladies style tomorrow) - for the very reasonable price of £10 (inc post & packing) you could own one of these beauties too. Message me if you're interested.

Matt has kindly given me free reign with the merchandise, so if you've any suggestions as to what you'd like to see in the future, let me know and we'll see what can be done.

50% of any profit from these endeavours will be going to the band (Matt doesn't know this yet...my idea, not his) as a contribution to keeping them gigging, eating, living etc.

Anyway, let me know if either of those items above appeals.

Ta
Lesley
x

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

There And Back Again

Yesterday, I left home in Newcastle and travelled for five hours by coach to Nottingham. For one night. The purpose? To see Nottingham's finest new band play live in their first gig in their hometown for almost five years. Was it worth it?

HELL YES!

Picture the scene - a hot humid night, a multitude of cold drinks, a gloriously eclectic cafe-bar called Pepper Rocks in a little cul-de-sac in the middle of The Lace Quarter of Nottingham, a plethora of uber-talented musicality, and a very enthusiastic audience. In a nutshell, this music-lover's idea of heaven.

The first act to really grab my attention were Virginia Moon...beautiful bluesy/jazz /folk, with guitar &vocals to die for, and harmonies that will make you cry.  Don't take my word for it; find them here, www.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F74154545  - have a listen and decide for yourself. The appreciative crowd certainly enjoyed them. I suspect we'll be hearing a lot more from this duo...

The Satsuma Elephants were next, but more of that in moment. The act following them, Georgie How was also superb, and another one to watch out for, we'll certainly be hearing more from her, she's got an incredible voice, and I loved her.

Then came the reason I was there... the appearance of Satsuma Elephants. Wearing my very own Satsuma Elephants t-shirt (and having forgotten to take the spares I had had made I was the sole wearer of said item of apparel) I managed to get a prime viewing spot and waited with anticipation for Matt and Chris to begin. I was not disappointed. From the very first riff and drumbeats of '707' the room erupted into an explosion of rhythm and blew away any notion anyone may have had that this was going to be another folksy-type act, bringing those inside who had been sitting outside, making for a very decent-sized crowd.
Matt's vocals soared, Chris's drumbeats pounded, and the combination stirred the crowd into dancing mode. 'I Went On Holiday', 'Always In The Way', 'Creep Into The Night' and a guest appearance of Mr James Batchelor aka Jimmy B-Boy aka Reggiimental on the hauntingly beautiful 'Let Everything Go' (my personal favourite) ensured the audience were not kept wanting.
I have to say I sang along with every single word, turning around to watch the crowd's reaction to my two favourite people - the whole audience were looking suitably impressed, which pleases me immensely. The penultimate song was a new one to me; a country/blues vibe, slightly unexpected but an undiscovered treasure. 'A Hard Road Of Hope' is pure Matt Henshaw...soaring vocals and a crying guitar - what more could one ask for.
All too soon it was the final song, 'Yeah Yeah Yeah' - a hellishly good floor-stomper which went down very well, culminating in the loudest and most appreciative applause of the evening. Bearing in mind these two have only been playing together again since January, the sheer quality and talent of this duo shines through powerfully. They blew the place away.
I overheard a comment last night, one I meant to tell Matt about before I left, then promptly forgot when he presented me with my own satsuma elephant. It was this - "Bloody brilliant, they'll be big very soon.."
I heartily concur, my wise and learned friend. They will. And it's just what they deserve.

Thanks Matt, Chris, Charlie, Kirsty and Jimmy for the hugs, the music, the stickers, the satsumas and the company - it was an excellent night! Love you! See you again very soon... (and Charlie - I'm already sorting the tattoos lol)

So. Was it worth the ten hours of coach travel? YES!!!!

Would I do it all again? HELL YES !!!!

Am I doing it all again? WHAT DO YOU THINK!!!! ... :-D

Godiva. Coventry. 5-7th July. (my birthday weekend celebration)

And, possibly, Y-Not, Matlock, Derbyshire. 3rd August (if I can swing the time off work...)

See you there.

Lesley
x




Monday, 17 June 2013

This Tuesday I Shall Mostly Be...

...travelling to Nottingham once more. Yes, off we go again, but this time I shall be seeing Satsuma Elephants play live for the first time, and seeing Messrs Henshaw and Goring for the first time in about five years.

I have so missed doing this, the 'travelling to see my fave people' thing...

Pepper Rocks will be a damn good night, I hope (courtesy of my friend Alli) to have some rather brilliant pics to post, and maybe a small comment or two from the most excellent musical gentlemen!

If you're going, I'll see you there...I won't be hard to spot since I'll be wearing my Satsuma Elephants t-shirt. Should you not see that, just follow the sound of the Geordie accent ;) If you do spot/hear me, please say hi, I won't bite you... :)

If you're not going - why the hell not! You'd better have a damn good excuse, that's all I'm saying... ;)

See you tomorrow!

Les
x

Monday, 3 June 2013

From East to West...

I know I said the next post would be a review of the Pepper Rocks gig...I lied.

I have just booked travel and accommodation for Coventry.

I have been persuaded to get myself to Godiva festival on 6th July...where some certain people will be playing. I am most happy about this...not least because it's the day after my birthday.

So this is my birthday treat to myself.

Okay, done now.

As you were.

Les
x

Just a little'un...

Hello you lot :)

Just a little'un to say I am off travelling again, back to the fair city of Nottingham, for one night only, on 18th of this month. Well, I have to. You see, there's this gig I have to be at.

18th June. Pepper Rocks. With Satsuma Elephants. And me rocking my own Satsuma Elephants t-shirt! I shall, of course, be taking pics, and blogging all about it afterwards. And should anyone want their own Satsuma Elephants T-shirt, well, that can be arranged for a modest fee. ;)

I am excited. That comment must rank as the understatement of the century!

It has been far too long since I last saw Matt & Chris, and I'm damned if I'll leave it any longer. So, off I go again.

Five hour journey there, five hour journey back the following day.

How's that for dedication :)

Just proves how good they are, doesn't it...either that or I'm completely barking mad! (which is a possibility, I grant you...) Or both.

Next blog will be a review of the gig :) With pics :)

Until then

Au revoir, mes amis. A bientot

Les
x

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Today Has Been A Very Good Day...

Despite the driving rain in both Nottingham and Derby, today has been a very interesting and enjoyable day. A little shopping this morning was much brightened by the three nice ( and not-too-shabby-looking) young men who wanted my number (no 1) wanted my email address (no2) and wanted to add me on Facebook (no 3). Made my day, that did - don't get chatted up that often at my age...

Anyway, on to the afternoon. Spent in the company of one Jimmy, AKA ReggiiMental. One of the nicest, most genuine people it has ever been my pleasure to meet. MPR Derby is his domain, and he showed me what it's all about...then promptly enrolled me as a contributor to the website ( after reading a little of my own little scribblings). Go have a little perusal, it's a worthwhile endeavour, and what we all should be doing for our own communities. The conversation flowed, a little tour of Derby followed...and then came The Deepest Cellar.

Which actually is a cellar. Such a small space, but bursting with creativity and music. Hard to believe all those wonderful sounds are laid down in there, that the brilliant Coming Around was made in there...but they are. I have a CD burned especially for me clutched in my grubby little mitts to prove it, with some very exclusive stuff on it. And I haven't stopped smiling since. I'm listening to it now, as I type...and it's brilliant! And I found out about Magic Red Box :)

So yeah, today has been one of those excellent days you only get once in a while.

Thanks Jimmy, I know you're a busy man so it was kind of you to spend some of your valuable time with me, I really appreciate it and thoroughly enjoyed your company!

Until next time,

Les
x

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Just so you know...

Satsuma Elephants (the new incarnation featuring Matt Henshaw & Chris Goring from Censored) will be playing live on Tuesday 18th June, and it's a FREE GIG !!!!  Head down to Pepper Rocks, 12 Pepper Street, Bridlesmith Gate, Nottingham !!! Get yourselves there... I might even see you, who knows ;)

Les
x

Monday, 27 May 2013

Tomorrow!

'My bags are packed, I'm ready to go..'

Can't remember who sang it, but it's a particularly apt song tonight.

Nottingham, I will be in you tomorrow. :)

Les
x

Monday, 20 May 2013

Only a week to go...

...before I'm once again in the bosom of the East Midlands, and I can't wait! It's been so long since I was there last, and I've missed it more than I realised. Three days might not be long enough...

So a five hour coach journey to get there is looming, which means it's time to do my travelling playlist - it's a good chance to catch up with some stuff I've been meaning to listen to, but I'll have to remember not to sing along with some old favourites! ( Wouldn't be the first time I'll have had folk on a bus look at me strangely...but that's another story!) Anyway, I'll most likely be in Derby for one of those days; I should be meeting up with Jimmy B-Boy AKA ReggiiMental while I'm there...and possibly one half of Satsuma Elephants (if he's about). I shall be a very happy Lesley. Watch this space...

Oh Nottingham, how I've missed you, ma duck! Hopefully the weather will be kind...

Les
x

Thursday, 2 May 2013

And so the travelling begins...

The hotel is booked, the train is booked, and the city of Nottingham is on stand-by...

Yes folks, I'm off a-travelling once more. Off to the land of Robin Hood, where the locals call you 'ma duck' and the music is varied and really quite brilliant.

Three days should see me catching some live music and hopefully a catch-up with two old friends, and one new one.

So watch out Nottingham...I shall be in you on May 28th...be good to me.

Peace and Love

Lesley

Coming Around by Matt Henshaw & Reggiimental

I am a very happy music fan. Very happy.

"Why?" I hear you ask.

The answer is simple.

Coming Around, the new album from Matt Henshaw and Reggiimental arrived in my inbox at two minutes past midnight on May 1st...and has been on almost constant repeat ever since. It is fifteen tracks of Solid Gold ( sorry, couldn't help myself!) soul/blues/funk with a gritty edge to it. It is also, by far, the best these B-Boys have produced!

I was going to do an in-depth review of each track, and probably still will, but in the meantime I want to rave about my favourite tracks, and there are many. At last count, I have seven favourites, each with their own merits, and my absolute favourite changes at an alarming rate...which demonstrates the quality of this album. There is no one stand-out track, each is as brilliant as the next...hence the ever-changing favourites. So here they are, in no particular order...

First up, the title track, Coming Around. It's a get-you-on-the-dancefloor feel-good song with a thumpingly good tune with an old-school feel, guaranteed to get you foot-tapping and itching to sing along. I'm happy to admit I know all the words to this now (yes, even Reggii's ).

Next, Thinking Of You...definitely in my top three. Northern soul-like, with brilliant lyrics and vocal performances, from both Matt and Reggii, to die for. brings to mind dancing till dawn on hot crowded dance floors in small clubs where the music never stops. Adore it.

I Know How It Feels. Quite simply, the Blues. With a twist. And done perfectly. Brings to mind a dark, smokey blues club in the 1920's, with bodies swaying sinuously to the slow rhythm... and the end vocal, stripped back to just Matt's voice with a slight echo, gives me goosebumps. Every time.

Next up is Down. A slowish dreamy kind of song with a hidden heat and a pulsing beat that would melt an iceberg. Gorgeous.

And then there's Gimme Some More. Oh man...what can I say about this one. This one had me hooked before I'd even heard the rest of the album! I ADORE this song so very much...and the video isn't too shabby either. Two gorgeous blokes in a bowling alley...symbolic much? It might be my completely depraved mind, but I have a feeling this song was written with sex in mind... correct me if I'm wrong, gentlemen!

Everybody Clap Your Hands is THE party song of the summer...play this at your summer bbq's and watch the neighbours turn up...perfect song for a sunny summer evening with a cold drink and good friends.

And that brings me to my current favourite, Killing Time. An almost stripped-back song, Matt's guitar and vocals taking centre stage with an almost plaintive quality that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Hauntingly beautiful. Sublime, in fact.

And there you have it. So far.

For me, this is the album of the year, and if you only buy one album, make it this one. Get it here http://matthenshaw.bandcamp.com/album/coming-around?goback=.gde_4954001_member_237055558

You certainly won't regret it. These two are coming into their own now, and have created something very special, very special indeed. If there is any justice, this will be picked up by the big boys at the radio stations, be broadcast far and wide, and become the huge hit it deserves to be.

Matt, Jimmy...I thank you. My soul thanks you. My ears thank you.

Now I have only three words for you both...

More please.

Soon.

Peace and Love

Lesley
x

Friday, 29 March 2013

From Censored To Satsumas...

As promised, here is a potted history of the evolution of Satsuma Elephants from my view as a fan and a friend.

Censored were a rather brilliant three-piece band from Nottingham who first caught my attention about 5 years ago (God, is it really that long ago!) with a catchy little number called Lonesome Town. It was a lyrically superb song, all about growing up in a small town in the Midlands and how financial climate/home circumstances can affect how that pans out. I LOVED it, and had to find out more about these boys. So I gave some more of their stuff a listen, falling more and more in love with the music, and discovered that the guitarist/singer was a fearsome lyricist who could also write a mean tune. I had to see them live...just had to. And so my monthly jaunts to the Midlands began...and continued until the demise of the band. Shortly before, they had signed to a record label and released their first single, called Play The Game. It was a good song, a catchy one, and attracted attention from some quite big names in the media, but sadly it was to come to nothing. ( I still have my signed cd from the launch party, and will treasure it always!)

Should you wish to listen to some Censored ( and I heartily recommend that you do) search for them on Last.FM...or you could of course just Google :) There's a link here to the video of Play The Game and a little interview with the guys...watch out for the reference to making satsuma elephants by Matt! http://t.co/18mAje8Qp0

There is also an early pic of them here, in Ilkeston marketplace, with a satsuma! http://www.matthenshaw.com/_images/censoredorange.jpg

Matt had a break from music for a couple of years, off to univeristy to do his degree; Chris teaching drums and becoming a financial advisor...then Matt got the music bug again, collabortaing with the Midland's answer to Dizzy Rascal, Reggiimental. This collaboration came to be known as B-Boy Soul, and was embraced with enthusiasm by the music press...read the reviews from such luminaries as The Guardian and NME on Matt's own website (address above) or his Facebook page. Within months, Matt had been picked as one to watch by the NME, and was booked (with Reggiimental) to open London's Lovebox Festival, opening the main stage for none other than Dizzy Rascal himself. There are a few vids on YouTube of this, go watch and enjoy. (A new album from these two, called Coming Around, will be released on May 1st) Some very very good stuff happened as a result of this collaboration, some extremely good sounds...my faves being The Deepest Cellar, When I Close My Eyes, and the ultimate summer feel-good song, Can't Hold Back. They're all on YouTube, go find 'em!

Anyway, Matt told me at the beginning of this year that he was putting a band together, but never did I imagine it would be him and Chris ( a thoroughly lovely bloke with a penchant for Lego !) back together again. They were being all mysterious about it, only saying 'Satsuma Elephants' !!! In due course, a message hit me with three words - "you've got mail" which had me whooping with joy and anticipation, so I checked my inbox and found said communication. Attached were five mp3's... '707'  'Always In The Way' 'Creep Into The Night' 'I Went On Holiday' & 'Yeah Yeah Yeah'  By the time I'd listened to the first three tracks I knew I was hooked once more. They were back indeed - with a vengance! My current favourites are 'Always In The Way' which I can't stop singing and reminds me of  'She's Leaving Home' by The Beatles, and 'Yeah Yeah Yeah' which I can't wait to see live and makes me want to bounce around the room singing loudly! I actually have these on a loop playing now...which makes me smile rather a lot. They do that, Satsuma Elephants...they make me happy. I challenge you not to get at least one earworm out of those five songs, and here's a vid of them all, played live in Derby earlier this month. Enjoy! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80xQ_cNIfNk

So there you have it in rather a rambling nutshell...

I'm now off the bounce around the room!

Les
x

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Hello you lovely lot :)

Just a quickie to let you know I'm currently composing the next bit of this diary - the story of how Satsuma Elephants evolved, and the DNA of that evolution. It may take a few hous to write, so should be up at some point in the next 24hrs, give or take.

So I'll go back to writing it, then.... :)

Les
x

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Well now...where to begin....hmmm...Okay.

Here goes...

I'm probably not your average young music devotee. For a start, I'm not young. Not even remotely (except in my head...) but I am passionate about good music, always have been. I love the under-the-radar stuff; bands on their way up, doing their own songs, lyrically astute and intelligent. In short, point me to a musically proficient dedicated lot with their own songs and meaningful lyrics, and I'm sold.

There are quite a few good bands out there, hiding in plain sight, and a few years back, one of them caught me in a helluva big way, so much so that I began travelling to Nottingham at least once a month to catch them live, making a lot of friends along the way. That band was Censored., and became my favourite band at that time (still are, come to that). The members of that band, Matt Henshaw, Chris Goring and Chris Owens became friends of mine, and I ended up running their MySpace fanpage for them. Sadly, life got in the way and the band split, ending my little jaunts to the Midlands, but the songs still lived on and were regularly played.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, Mr Henshaw and Mr Goring are back doing what they do best...
Satsuma Elephants is all I play these days, the five songs Matt e-mailed me with are now known off by heart, gig dates are a-coming and jaunts are now being planned to see them live. The young men I knew four or five years ago have matured very nicely, honed their skills and are now playing better than I've ever heard them. The songs are total earworms, bouncing around inside my skull all day...and I love it. Again.

Spread the word...spread the love...get in at the beginning of something wonderful and give these guys a listen. You honestly won't regret it, and you'll probably find yourself singing the words or humming/whistling the tunes. The link below is to the video on YouTube of their first live performance in Derby earlier this month (thanks to Mr Paul Bednall)...other dates will be appearing soon and I'll be off to at least one of them, I think. They're also on Facebook (Satsuma Elephants) Twitter (@satsumaelephants) and other social networks...just Google them. They're nice guys, you speak, they'll answer!

So here's the link to the video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80xQ_cNIfNk  - hopefully I'll have seen them live ( and possibly interviewed them!) by my next post.

Go forth and Spread The Satsuma Love!

Lesley x