Jumpin Hot Club - Live Music at the Tyne Theatre, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
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- words & pics : Juan Fitzgerald

The J'Hot Outdoor Stage every July is the "beating heart of The Summertyne "Americana" Festival weekend at Sage Gateshead. The “free “outdoor stage for the last 13 years has been a great place that is both family friendly & musically loved & cared about. Despite anxieties about adhering to new standard Fest rules -which don’t allow alcohol being brought on site and also the weather forecast, the closed site made for a much purer, more focused music led audience than in previous years. That was certainly very heartening to see. As for the weather… well it was really bad but that didn’t put off the people of the north east, as were if nothing else - weather proof !!
The Friday afternoon session that always feature local acts are a great way to open up the Festival. This year after some chat from the two organisers Graham and Tamsin the stage held everyone in thrall from the very first artist Rhona Dalling with a special guest appearance from her Dad Tim (this stage is ageless) to the very last & had something for everyone. The Buffalo Skinners impressed many early birds as their brand of country rock n roll has indeed grown up with the Fest (they played 5 years ago) to veteran soul man Archie Brown who gave us some new dance moves to go with the new rock and soul sound. Headlining as a late replacement, The Teresa Watson Band are simply a top act by any standard.
On Saturday MC Steve Drayton was back again to host the weekend in his own sweet way but the weather wasnt very kind & people sheltered but enjoyed dancing in the showers to some bright Bluegrass & Dutch songstress Vera Van Heeringen Trio & then dancing shoes were again witnessed for the rockabilly of Howling Ric and the Rocketeers, another highlight for me. Earl Thomas band from California even got the crowd singing along in the rain to his soul infused R&B …Tom Jones style.
The Sunday line up, in terms of quality and variety, was perhaps the best ever. Unfortunately the heavens opened while the mighty sound of Brixton reggae blues and the totally unique Errol Linton drifted all around the hill. The lonesome sound of Texan Jonathan Terrell solo with the country die hards soaked to the skin singing along to his one cover “ Heart Of Gold” was something we might not forget in a hurry. By then a coming together of the foolhardily was well & truly happening & everyone outside made the most of things & lapped up real authentic old time country troupe High Plains Jamboree then danced their socks & wellies off to some real Louisiana Cajun music & Savoy Family Cajun Band. We just about got away this year with the best outdoor stage ever, thanks to the enthusiasm and commitment of the artists and the fans. All in all it was still a splendid weekend bringing people together to enjoy all sorts of music despite the dreadful weather.

You’ll be able to catch a Summertyne Special on Made In Tyne & Wear TV in the late autumn.






- Words & pics : Maurice Hope

Boy, oh boy oh boy ! What an experience this was. Four quality acts combined in their own unique way to thrill an audience still taking in the jaw dropping surroundings come late closing time.

Outside, the tent looked interesting, inside it was completely amazing with all the mirrors and side booths of the outer circle. A stage perfectly suited for all the acts.

Story-teller musician George Welch and supporting musician Christine Jeans got the evening off to a wonderful start, as funny anecdotes and music filled the venue and brought laughter and joy to the audience.

Stephen Foster’s “Hard Times Come Again No More” might have been the song that closed their set, but there were other songs and moments that jangled in the minds of the listener. Images of Ashington, Pelaw, Jarrow, Pegswood and Walker among other local haunts by way of song or his unique, off-the-wall song intros made a sizable impact.

Next up were Hymn For Her (Lucy and Wayne), and with their eclectic, energy filled performance they shook up the place. Lucy showed excellent prowess on that Cigar Box guitar (some terrific slide included) and banjo as something different was introduced. Wayne worked his bloody socks off on guitar and percussion as the evening became better by the minute.From new song “Dingle Town” to the likes of “Scoop” and one I took to be entitled “I’m Ready To Go” the intrepid travellers supplied something special. On hearing them perform Bob Dylan’s “The Ballad Of Hollis Brown” clinched it for me, & I got to thinking that I really need to catch them the next time they are over doing their full show.

Like with Hymn For Her the next act, Austin-based Brennen Leigh and Noel McKay had played Jumpin Hot’s Outdoor Stage at the SummerTyne and had a bunch of their fans present.

With the excellent sound present throughout, the duo excelled, and though like with others I too had sampled them twice recently (both in their bluegrass quartet, High Plains Jamboree and as a duo) the enjoyment obtained from their set was once again top class! Both were superb, vocally and instrumentally. This time Brennen Leigh stole the latter with some inspired mandolin and guitar (& what musicians they are !). Song wise “Don’t Poke The Bear”; “Be My Ball And Chain” that rounded off their performance alongside the ever-popular “Analogue” deservedly took the main accolades.

Martin Stephenson and the Toe-Rags were up next as they were given the task of with closing the show, and with Stephenson and the band buzzing they did it, without raising sweat. Although the guy on bass did a fine interpretation of Usain Bolt ! ( ed- cheeky so & so) Joe Guillen on lead guitar and vocals, Graham ‘Shipcote’ upright bass, and Keith Shepherd hiding in the back on drums, & percussion they lay down more than just a foundation. They provided a musical wall for happy go lucky Martin Stephenson to connect with an audience long before curfew time was reached. As in the very first note! Doc Watson favourite “Way Down Town” opened the floodgates for all the boys to display their talent, and when I say all I mean all. MS never hugs the limelight when it comes to playing. His seeming random wise cracks and pieces of wisdom were graciously shared & accepted. Rattling along like a big ol’ freight train like the others on the bill I dare say they all would love to perform in the dream venue again. As for highlights among others there was a particularly fine version of his own tune “Sweet Misdemeanour” and “No Vacancy” by ‘the greatest guitar picker ever, Merle Travis’ (Martin G Stephenson).

Well-done Gateshead Council bringing the unique venue to the area, and all those involved in putting on the show.


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