Category Archives: Live Music

Honey Jacks at Sunwest Festival

Last minute replacements wow the crowd

On the Sunday evening I spotted a post on Facebook that said Honey Jacks were playing their debut gig, stepping in for Tuesday Syndicate on the Monday afternoon. 

Honey_Jacks_sunwest_1This would be just before my own band were due to play and I was looking forward to checking out this band in particular.

You see three members of the five piece “Honey Jacks” were previously part of “Surrogate Suns” (my last failed project).

Honey_Jacks_sunwest_2The Suns imploded, suddenly (without rancour) due to the fact we were all gently pulling in different musical directions.
Honey Jacks were named after Honey Jack Daniels, a drink which Surrogate Suns were also rather fond of.

Honey_Jacks_sunwest_3The band consists of

  • Karen Yates – vocals
  • Nick Filby – lead guitar
  • Tony Dredster – rhythm guitar
  • Dan Emery – bass
  • Jay Allen – drums

I was a bit worried at first, because I expected there would be a lot of songs in their set that my band also did, but in the end it turned out that I recognised very few of their songs.  Honey_Jacks_sunwest_4Only Stevie Wonder’s Superstition crossed over, and their version was quite different from ours.

Musically the band were immensely tight, as you would expect from musicians who have worked together in other bands for some time. Not only were Nick, Jay, and Tony, part of Surrogate Suns but perhaps more importantly, Jay, Dan, and Tony were the powerhouse behind “The Padawans” who were a popular band for many years before I even moved to Ilfracombe, and Nick was in a band called “Monster“, with Jay, before that.

Honey_Jacks_sunwest_5Karen’s vocals were sufficiently powerful not to be lost in the thunder of such a high octane backline, yet still melodic and soulful.

Nick is also a guitarist who does not allow the excitement of playing live and loud stand in the way of playing it RIGHT.

All in all, this was a superb first outing for a band which I hope will run for a good long time. 

Sunwest festival review The Liquidators AKA

Another fabulous fun filled weekend at the Landmark

This is going to be one of them there “work in progress” type posts.

So many great acts to review, so many photographs to crop and compress.

First off, and simply because I happened to be going through the pictures of them just now. The Liquidators AKA.

Liquidators AKA had the audience dancing all night.

Liquidators AKA had the audience dancing all night.

I didn’t review them before the gig because I couldn’t find any good quality recordings of them online. What a superb party band they are. Obviously the AKA gives the clue that they are a Ska band. The affectation seems to stem from The Specials who had to add AKA because there was another band in the USA of the same name. As it happens they renamed the band “The Liquidators” adding the AKA after some line up changes but they could just as easily have called it The New Liquidators, but that wouldn’t be “ska” would it?

The Sunwest audience were on their feet from the off, and one or two were leaping about like loons for most of the night. I don’t know how they manage it. Me? I tapped my foot a fair bit. You may consider this my highest form of physical praise.

Musically they were tight and polished. If I have a criticism it is simply that each tune sounded a lot like the one before it, but maybe with more familiarity that opinion will change.


Landmark Sunwest festival – Ilfracombe Fri 23rd – Mon 26th August 2013

The 2013 Sunwest Festival Aug 23 – 26

at The Landmark Theatre, Ilfracombe

The LandmarkThe Landmark Theatre host three festivals a year.
The first is the Beer Festival which takes place over the Mayday bank holiday
Second is Sunwest which covers the August bank holiday
and last is the Folk and Cider fest which is in October.

Real_Ales_The bands play in the Pavilion; with a huge array of real ales and ciders, in casks, sold in the bar area. Usually there is a barbecue outside as well as bouncy castles and some stalls.

This is a FREE FESTIVAL, although of course it is not acceptable to bring your own drinks. The beers are not especially expensive, £3 a pint last time I was there, and it is only through drinks and food sales that the venue can possibly hope to pay for the bands.

And there are some superb bands. Here’s the poster.Sunwest_poster

  • Mango Factory are a musical “smoothie”, blending elements of funk, soul, blues, and soca.
  • Rosco Levee are bluesy and rocking despite being from Kent.
  • Tuesday Syndicate and Sam Downden are both local artists that I have just not got around to seeing yet so I am looking forward to checking them out.
  • Badly Worn Toy are my band; I can’t comment on them because I have never been able to be in the audience while I am on stage singing.
  • The rest of the bands are new to me but I do know that all the bands are carefully selected and there is never a bad act at any of these festivals.

Here’s the confirmed line up with days and times

Friday 23rd August

9.00pm – Rosco Levee – original blues rock from Kent

Saturday 24th August

  • 2.00pm – October
  • 3.30pm – Yazzy
  • 5.00pm – Hip Route
  • 9.00pm – The Liquidators AKA

Sunday 25th August

  • 2.00pm – iFires
  • 3.00pm – Lionstar
  • 5.15pm – Sam Dowden
  • 6.30pm – Such and Vincent
  • 9.00pm – Mango Factory

Monday 26th August

  • 2.00pm – Jenna
  • 4.30pm – The Tuesday Syndicate
  • 7.00pm – Badly Worn Toy



Unsigned rock festival Barnstaple August 2013

Unsigned Rock Festival
@ The Old Bus Station Barnstaple

Presented by Dr. John’s Rock Surgery
August 10th and August 11th 2013

John Forster runs a radio show called Dr John’s Rock Surgery, which plays 100% unsigned bands. It has a substantial audience, partly thanks to syndicating to several radio stations. Obviously he plays rock although there is a fairly broad scope within the genre.

The festival has been set up to raise money for a local charity, PATHFIELDS SCHOOL in Barnstaple Caring for children with Downs and severe learning disabilities.

John says,
I have been shown around the school and it is a great place and the kids are incredible. With kids going to the school from Ilfracombe, Barnstaple, Bideford think you will agree it is well worthwhile cause and we couldn’t be happier to be doing this for them.

Of the bands playing, I have already heard of, or written about several of them, “Band Of Roses”, “Ataraxis Vibration“, “Billy Brown“, “Blackwater England”, and “The Black Dogs”. Based on my knowledge of those band this is going to be a totally brilliant couple of days.

£10 for the two days is an absolute bargain and all profits go to the charity so I think this is a must see if you live anywhere in North Devon.

The Voice North Devon radio seeks local original unsigned talent

The Voice North Devon seeks local unsigned bands

planning a gig (or gigs) to spotlight the new FM switch on

For some time now local North Devon radio station The Voice has championed the local live music scene and features live sessions with local acoustic acts on the “Street Live” feature.

Acts like Forever Young, iFunk, and Zamba, have  been interviewed, and recorded live versions of their songs in the studio with simultaneous broadcast.

FM broadcasting switch on 2013

To celebrate the granting of an FM license to The Voice, which will mean a huge leap in audience figures for the community radio broadcaster, The Voice are looking for some of the best of North Devon’s talent to get involved in a gig (or possibly several gigs) to help raise awareness about the new FM frequency and also to raise much needed funds.

Community radio funding

Because The Voice is a “community radio station” it has not been granted the right to carry any advertising or sponsorship on the FM transmissions.
This is for complicated reasons to do with competition, so for the time being at least, the station needs to fund-raise; which it has been doing very successfully in a variety of ways.

Some of the money made from gigs will be going to the station but, since I am personally involved in organising this gig idea, I will be insisting that the bands also benefit financially.

If you are in an originals unsigned band in the North Devon area and you want to get involved in Street Live, or if you would like to get involved in this gig idea then contact the radio station via and let them know all about your band.


Sandpiper Inn open mic nights

Open Mic nights at the Sandpiper Inn

Ilfracombe has a vibrant music scene with many many talented musicians around and plenty of live music venues. One of the ways to get known if you are new in town or visiting is to go to one of the open mic nights that take place every week.

Or if you are already a local and you just want to try out some ideas that maybe are not quite ready for a full live gig this is a good way to gauge audience reactions.

The Sandpiper has open mic upstairs every Thursday evening from around 8.30 to 11.30  All are welcome, acoustic, or full band, drums and backline are all set up and if you ask very nicely you might even be able to borrow a guitar if you came on holiday without yours.

The Sandpiper also has occasional live bands as well.