Tuesday, February 12, 2019

A long week but a good one in Frome

We've just enjoyed an unusually music-rich week, even by Frome's standards. Wednesday's Roots Session featured two excellent acts: Garry "the slide guy" Smith from Dorset, and the Ed Goodale Band. Ed credits his Asperger's Syndrome for the insight that enables him to create his impressive songs and lyrics, and the 4-piece lineup includes brother Ollie on drums. On Friday, the brilliant Pete Gage Band returned to a crowded Cornerhouse for a fantastic evening of blues & dancing, and then on Sunday afternoon the monthly Nunney Acoustic Cafe offered a steady stream of talented performers for a full four hours.
All were highly enjoyable, and among my highlights were Frome bands We Don't Scare Easy and Goodman and the Bad Girls, both very recently-formed, and main guest Otto Wilde also from Frome, whose unique performance style could be described as indefinable...

From music to art: the Round Tower at Black Swan Arts is currently crammed with vibrant and varied images created by students at Frome College in a wide range of media, with the corridor also ablaze with colour from the work of the Middle Schools in response to the national 'Big Draw' project. Making a Mark is on till 23rd February - a must-see if you can.

No theatre news from me this week but masses of fabulous poetry: Four superb performance poets from varied corners of the southwest descended on the Old Fire Station in Frome on Saturday afternoon, to record WordPlay for Visual Radio Arts. I had the total privilege of interviewing, in my capacity as trainee presenter, the awesomely creative voices of Birdspeed, Chris White, Josie Alford, and Rhys Ashton Tucker - you can see the result online here. Here's us with producer Phil & camera-person Mags at the end of a scary (for me) but exhilarating hour.

Slight spillage now into the next bulletin, but as I'm late with the week's arts news I'll finish with the Frome Poetry 'Love' Cafe, traditional now for February, with Hip Yak Poetry Shack queen and all-round goddess  Liv Torc (I have now run out of enthusiastic adjectives but it has been that kind of week) as our popular guest. Liv's poems of passion celebrate intimate moments like the wet patch, the great kiss, and the note on the fridge, and they are all witty and poignant and powerfully performed, so the buzz in the Garden Cafe was immense. On the open mic, fourteen readers ranged widely in their responses through humour, reminiscence, social commentary, friendship, passion, and golf... Another wonderful night - here's Liv & me with Cat who read for the first time and will be back to co-guest in a future Frome Cafe (thanks Melina) and we'll do it all again but differently in May! 

Sunday, February 03, 2019

When the white stuff came...

Roots Session at the Grain Bar provided an excellent session this week: Jon Amor, the man with the longest fingers in the world, with support from Rob Lear, very different performers but both impressively talented. I particularly liked Rob's topical song After the Storm, and Let It Go from his album of that name. Jon, a brilliant blues musician who sounds like a whole band of brilliant musicians once he gets his loop going, has a superb new album out: Colour in the Sky.

And then came the white stuff. Flakes whirled all night on Thursday, but didn't stop Bare to the Bones benefit night, another of Paul Kirtley's house-party style community concerts. The venue this time was the marvellously rococo and eccentric upper room of Three Swans, and an immensely good time was had by both audience and performers, mostly overlapping in status such is the amazing pool of talent in our small town. Special mention to Sarah Hobbs with Bill Farr for their Gypsy, and to superb new trio Good Man & the Bad Girls for their wonderful version of Wicked Game, and to everyone.
Weather like politics, even when perverse and chaotic, has no place in a blog about creative Frome, but the blizzard brought so much disruption in its icy wake that most of the other things I was going to report on were cancelled. On the plus side, the town looked glorious in sunshine next day when I teetered out and the events will be rescheduled - and the Frukes had a great party jam session.