Good clean fun over a mud free bank holiday

The Art Club
The Art Club
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I should have seen where last weekend was going when I found myself sampling a few ales at Morecambe Beer Festival on Thursday afternoon.

From then on, it was a heady cocktail of late nights, lie-ins, music, curry and good folk, culminating in a Bank Holiday Monday night jaunt to the Yorkshire House, despite protestations from one particular organ in my body.

There seemed to have been a few marathon music sessions in the district.

I noticed Nibfest at The Nib in Warton coming back from Silverdale, and had a Facebook invite to a mini-festival at The Lord Ashton in Lancaster as well, which seems to have undergone a transformation of late.

It’s on the list.

Friday night saw us jumping in a minibus and heading over to the The Globe Arena in Morecambe for a charity function featuring “hospital band” Stopwatch Wilson.

The event was raising money for the neo-natal unit in Preston.

The venue itself is smart – a good-sized function room with a bar at each end and glass doors leading on to a balcony that overlooks the football pitch.

The band, featuring a clinical systems trainer, cardiology consultant, GP, charge nurse and drama teacher, are good musicians, both individually and collectively, and they played it loud as well.

I guess you know it’s good when someone starts playing “leg guitar” on the dance floor to a rendition of Guns N’ Roses’ Sweet Child Of Mine.

Stopwatch Wilson sweep the genres really well, adding a rock twist, and have the crowd-pleasers nailed down, creating a great vibe and party atmosphere that the 200 people in the room took great pleasure in.

On Saturday night, I headed to Clitheroe to see the town’s Torchlight Procession, a lovely, colourful, energetic event that was good to see back on the calendar.

Plenty of references to witches, the Queen and sport for some reason, and there were bands playing on the backs of moving lorries – a triumph in my book.

Later, local trio The Beat Based Conserve played an excellent two-hour show in the town’s Horseshoe Pub.

With vocals, guitar, mandolin, and a huge set of bongo drums, the three musicians have created a distinct sound with a mixture of covers and their own material.

Crowded House’s Weather With You and The Bedouin Soundclash’s When The Night Feels My Song were two of the covered highlights.

On Monday night, I gathered up what little dignity I had left and went into Lancaster to catch some more music at The Yorkshire House.

I’d heard stories about Dan Heywood’s New Hawks, and the band’s “acclaimed” 32-track heavily presses vinyl album of the same name, and we arrived to a pretty full house just as they started, unfortunately too late to catch solo sets from Mikey Kenney and Ponies.

From the off this was intriguing music, traditional compositions with an edge, and a soaring fiddle part from a very talented fiddler.

Plenty of changes within the songs meant the sound stayed fresh, and the synthesiser added a depth that brought a dream-like quality.

Dan Heywood himself is an unusual creature.

His lyrics are at times extremely insightful and, at others, completely surreal, producing an effect again quite dream-like.

His between songs banter was clever and the dark irony and introductions like “this is my least favourite song” raised chuckles.

There were certainly some die-hard fans in there demanding complete silence from the crowd.

At one point, a brief conversation I had resulted in the guy behind me clapping extremely vigorously in my ear when the song ended.

Did I deserve it?

Anyhow, I think I will purchase this three vinyl album at some point soon as this dark, brooding yet uplifting sound needs more attention than the hour I heard at The Yorkie.

The Yorkshire House is the kind of place that if you don’t watch it you can end up gassing in the beer garden and missing the show, which is what happened to me on this occasion for the Trembling Bells.

You can’t win them all though, and as you can see by the lack of illustration for these words, I was having too much fun to take any pictures.

Great weekend of music without getting stuck in the mud.