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Groove Shack at the Station Inn,
Knebworth on Fri 13 Sep 03

Groove Shack

Kristian Ambrose (gtr/vx), Chris Hall (dr hidden), Carry (vx), Tobias Thornton (sax), Mike Hall (bs), and Dave Eldred (Kys/vx)

Friday night had come around, and once again it was time for a short trip to The Station Inn, Knebworth. It was another warm night and I was really looking forward to a pint and hearing the live band. Providing the entertainment that evening was Groove Shack.

When I arrived the band were running through the final sound checks. After queueing at the bar and paying just 1.40 for my pint of Flowers bitter, I sat down at the only table that was available, right besides of the band, to the band's right. A few minutes later my friend Colin Frechter arrived.

Groove Shack are a six piece group comprising; left to right as they stood on the stage, Kristian Ambrose (guitar), Chris Hall (drums), Carry (Vocals), Tobias Thornton (Sax), Dave Eldred (Keys), and Mike Hall (bass).

The First Set
As the group lept into their first track, James Brown's "I Feel Good", it was clear that this was a well rehearsed, tight, soulful band, who enjoyed performing. Their sound balance was very good. Every instrument could be clearly heard at the right volume. This was going to be a good night.

Next in was Jocelyn Brown's "Somebody Else's Guy". This song really suited Carry's vocals and there was some fine sax playing by Tobias . "The sax player is wonderful", commented my friend Colin Frechter. Some praise indeed from the man who has worked with many of the finest brass players, The Four Tops, as well as having arranged and recorded most of the brass parts for Showaddywaddy's hit tracks, Cliff Bennett's recent blues album and conducted the "Royal Philharmonic Orchestra".

Excellent versions of The Emotion's "Best Of My Love" and Spiller's "Groovejet (If This Ain't Love)" were followed by a wonderful instrumental, the Average White Band's "Pick Up The The Pieces". This gave Tobias another opportunity to shine on the sax.

The next song was the highlight of the first set. An 'atmospheric' version of Bill Wither's "Ain't No Sunshine" that included a fine solo from Kristian on lead guitar.

After fine versions of "Play That Funky Music" (Wild Cherry), "Lady Marmalade" (Labelle) and "Son Of A Preacher Man" (Dusty Springfield), Groove Shack concluded the first set with the soul classic, Wilson Pickett's, "Midnight Hour". This song included a 'dance routine' with all musicians (except drummer Chris) jumping up and down together, also, a good funky bass guitar solo from Mike.

With the music stopped it was time to go back up to the bar, to queue for another beer. I returned to my seat and along with Colin Frechter enjoyed chatting to drummer Chris during the break.

The Second Set
Groove Shack's second set was opened with a nice, jazzy version of the song from 'Porgy and Bess', "Summertime" that included two fine sax solos from Tobias.

Included in this set were "Funkin' For Jamaica" (Tom Browne), "He's The Greatest Dancer" (Sister Sledge), "Bad Girls" (Donna Summer), "Funky Nassau" (Beginning Of The End), "Sex Machine" (James Brown), "Teardrops" (Womack and Womack) and "Return Of The Space Cowboy" (Jamiroquai).

The closing song was an excellent version of the B 52's, "Love Shack". Some fine drumming from Chris with Carry and Dave singing the lead vocal. Even a little humour as Dave changed some of the song's words.

The audience would not let Groove Shack finish there. In response to the shouts for "More! more!" the band obliged by playing an encore; Fatboy Slim's, "Praise You".

It had been an excellent evening's entertainment. All the bands arrangments are very thoughtful. Carry is a 'powerhouse' vocalist, Sax man Toby is a wonderful player, drummer Chris is a good technician who played many fine fills, Dave is a good keyboardist and vocalist, Mike played a fine funky bass and Kristian is an excellent guitarist.
Groove Shack is a band that you must go and see. Click here for the group's web page. I look forward to the next opportunity of seeing Groove Shack live.


Light Alloy at the Station Inn,
Knebworth on Fri 18 Jul 03

Light Alloy
Mick Irving (gtr), Chris Stewart (dr), Ian Adamson (bs/vx), Chris Gledhill (gtr/ld vx), and Rob Ford (kys/vx)

It was another warm Friday night as I made my way to The Station Inn, accompanied by my wife. Once again there was a bar extension, but with the schools breaking up for the summer holidays the preceding week I was expecting a small crowd.

My expectations were correct, the pub was only a quarter full when I arrived. Yet, as I enjoyed my first pint of the evening, while the band checked volume levels, more and more people were arriving.

That Friday's entertainment was provided by Chris Gledhill (gtr/ld vx), Mick Irving (gtr), Ian Adamson (bs/vx), Rob Ford (kys/vx) and Chris Stewart (dr) who collectively make up the popular local group The Light Alloy Band.

To enhance the whole presentation of the group, the band use their own spot lights that bassguitarist Ian Adamson operates using a foot controller. Light Alloy go to great lengths to make sure that the atmosphere was just right, even removing a couple of bulbs from the pub's spotlights. With all the adjustments finished the band were ready to start.

Their opening number was Bryan Adams "Run To You". A good 'up tempo' song to begin this set. It was clear that the band had worked hard on recreating the exact sound on Bryan Adams original recording. Chris Gledhill's vocals were good and powerful, Mick Irvin had agood 'overdriven' sound for his guitar, Chris Stewart's drumming was tight with many good 'fills', and at the correct volume, Ian Adamson's bass sounded good, although a little on the quiet side and Rob Ford's keyboard 'patches' were just right.

We were in for a good evening, and, at the conclusion of the song, the applause was loud and long. No sound engineer is needed for Light Alloy as the Peavey PA amp is on stage, saton top of the bass amp, yet their sound is nicely balanced (take note Full Circle).

The highlights from their first set was a good version of Duran Duran's "Ordinary World", with some fine playing from Mick Irvin using, initially, his acoustic guitar (which could have been a little louder), and then concluding the song on his electric guitar, and, Three Dog Night's "Mama Told Me Not To Come" with some nice work on the keyboard by Rob Ford.

The first set was concluded with another Bryan Adam's song, "Summer Of 69".

After a short break the band begun their second set. The highlight of which was an entertaining version of Joe Cocker's seductive "Keep Your Hat On", with Chris Gledhill singing to, and dancing with, female members of the audience.

Light Alloy's final song, Van Halen's "Jump" showed off Rob Ford's keyboard skills. The audience would not let Light Alloy end it there. So after lengthy applause and loud shouts of "More!" the band obliged by playing two more songs, Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell" and "White Wedding".

It had been a good, entertaining evening, with the audience up on the floor dancing for most of the band's second set.

Light Alloy are a fine local band, who enjoy performing, and give a good, entertaining performance. Ian Adamson's often humorous comments showed that the band don't take themselves too seriously. I look forward to the next time I see them play.



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