Ray's Gigs

Daily news and reviews of gigs bars clubs restaurants product launches films theatre fashion shows books art galleries hotels competitions interesting places to visit ...and much more!

Saturday 26 August 2023.

Saturday 26 August 2023. BOYCE AVENUE live at Shepherds Bush Empire. Boyce Avenue is an American cover band that was formed in Sarasota, Florida by brothers Alejandro Luis Manzano, Daniel Enrique Manzano, and Fabian Rafael Manzano. Boyce Avenue releases original music as well as covers of contemporary and classic songs. The band is named after a combination of two streets the brothers lived on as children. As of August 9, 2011, they are no longer signed to Universal Republic Records and have started their own independent record label called 3 Peace Records. Their DIY style has seen them reach over 6 BILLION , yes 6 BILLION views of their videos on YouTube. Over the past decade they have headlined London shows at The Royal Albert Hall, Hammersmith Apollo and Shepherds Bush Empire on previous tours. You never see the band mentioned in the music press or on tv etc. -------- Level 3 is closed tonight , and there is space in the stalls so maybe 1200 folks are here overall. Boyce Avenue are massive in The Philippines and half the crowd seem to be from those folks living here. Support act was singer-songwriter HANNAH TRIGWELL who came on at 8pm for her 35 mins. She is on the same record label as Boyce Avenue. Some decent songs played, including covers of 'Hallelujah' and 'Never Gonna Give You Up'. BOYCE AVENUE arrived on stage at 9.05pm and played for 90 mins. Just the three brothers on stage with electric guitar, acoustic guitar and some basic percussion. The setlist is pretty much half their own material, and half cover versions. The crowd sung the cover versions louder than their own songs. No photographers in the pit, and you can see why the music press do not touch them. Early on were covers by Coldplay, The Police, Natalie Imbruglia , Tracy Chapman and others. Way too many contemporary covers, but that's what this crowd wanted. Always good to hear covers of 'Mr Brightside' , 'Bitter Sweet Symphony' and 'Sex On Fire'. They were more like a good quality covers band , who delivered the songs well, and the punters seem happy to be pay 35 , but i didn't really get why. ------------------------------ ------------------------------ Friday 25 August 2023. Very sad news that guitarist BERNIE MARSDEN has passed away aged 72. I saw Bernie play several times with Whitesnake in the late 1970s , early 1980s. In a statement, Marsden's family said: "We are saddened to share that Bernie Marsden has passed away. "Bernie peacefully left us on Thursday evening, with his wife Fran and daughters Charlotte & Olivia by his side. "Bernie continued his love for music, writing, and recording until the end." ------------------------------ ------------------------------ Friday 25 August 2023. BRUCE COCKBURN live at Shepherds Bush Empire. Bruce Cockburn (now aged 78) is a Canadian singer-songwriter and guitarist. His song styles range from folk to jazz-influenced rock and his lyrics cover a broad range of topics including human rights, environmental issues, politics etc. He has released over 25 albums since 1970, and is very popular back home in Canada. He released a 50 year compilation best of a couple of years ago featuring the years 1970 to 2020. In 2011 Canada Post issued a stamp of Bruce Cockburn as part of their Canadian Recording Artists series. ---------- It is stalls seated tonight, and Levels 2 and 3 are closed. A mainly older male crowd , and maybe only 300 folks here. No surprise really as he usually plays much smaller venues like Union Chapel or Bush Hall. BRUCE COCKBURN arrived on stage at 8.05pm and played for 1 hour 50 mins , over two sets of 50 mins and 60 mins. Bruce arrives on stage , with his long white beard , walking stick and hunched back. No stage production, just Bruce sitting on a stool with his acoustic guitar and steel guitar. Judging by the audience reaction , his best known songs were in the second half of the show. You could hear a pin drop during his songs, as the audience listened respectively. Highlights included 'Lovers In A Dangerous Time', 'All The Diamonds In The World' , 'Wondering Where The Lions Are' and the first encore was an excellent 'The End of All Rivers', which featured some stunning guitar work....an enjoyable show. ---------------------------------- ---------------------------------- Thursday 24 August 2023. I went to three events today. Noon to 1.30pm SOUND CAFE & BAR - showcase - The Cumberland Hotel, Marble Arch, London W1. I know this hotel well, as i worked in Marble Arch in 1975 with my first ever full time job. It has recently reverted back to its original name after four years as The Hard Rock Hotel. Most of the Hard Rock Cafe memorabilia has gone , but there are still many music pieces on the ground floor area, which includes the spacious Sound Cafe & Bar, which must have 200 seats at tables. We get shown around , and are given a complimentary burger & fries from their new vegan menu. The Pretender ( normally 17.50) was passable , but the onion rings and skin-on fries were nicer. We are inside a hotel that has boasted former guests such as Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder and Jimi Hendrix, who stayed there numerous times and gave his final interview there on 11 Sept 1970, just six days before he was found dead in Notting Hill. Live bands each night as you eat or drink , and a drag show on Sunday's. Cocktails are a steep 14 , but happy hour is 5pm to 7pm daily for a 2 for 1. then 2.30pm to 5.30pm...matinee... TINA : THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL live at The Aldwych Theatre, London WC2. The musical is based on the life & songs of music legend Tina Turner. This was the second time i have seen it. Tina: The Tina Turner Musical is a jukebox musical featuring the music of Tina Turner, and depicting her life from her youth in Nutbush, Tennessee, through her tumultuous relationship with Ike Turner, and comeback as a rock 'n roll star in her 40s. Opening press night on 17 April 2018 got loads of great four and five star reviews. Tina Turner and Rod Stewart turned up on the opening night. Not many people in the UK can say they have seen Ike & Tina Turner on stage but I saw them at Hammersmith Odeon in 1974 when i was aged just 15. I saw Tina Turner several times as a solo artist including Live Aid in 1985 and when she headlined a massive show at Wembley Stadium in 2000. The musical has been incredibly popular since it opened, and this show today is a full house. This theatre has a 1200 capacity theatre. The show is on for around 2 hours 25 mins over two sets of 75 mins and 70 mins. The first set is pretty much Tina's life with Ike and the second set is pretty much life after Ike. Tina had massive luck by bumping into her Australian manager Roger Davies. After Turner told Davies of her plans to fill in rock arenas like Rod Stewart and The Rolling Stones, Davies advised Tina to drop her old cabaret act and remodel the band into a modern rock outfit, taking the new band to perform in small clubs and bars throughout the U.S. and Europe. In 1981, Davies booked her a showcase at The Ritz in New York City. Her comeback album 'Private Dancer' went on to sell over 20 million copies. Tina formed a long term relationship with a guy at her record company, who became her husband. Plenty of great songs from her career all the way through the show including 'River Deep Mountain High', 'Private Dancer' and 'What's Love Got To Do With It'. A stunning finale with Tina in full rock show mode with live band, lights, staircases for 'The Best', 'Nutbush City Limits' and 'Proud Mary'. An excellent show that got a full standing ovation from the crowd at the end. then..... INDIGO GIRLS live at Shepherds Bush Empire. Indigo Girls are an American folk rock music duo from Atlanta, Georgia, United States, consisting of Amy Ray and Emily Saliers.The two met in elementary school and began performing together as high school students in Decatur, Georgia, part of the Atlanta metropolitan area. They have released around a dozen albums since 1987. They were very popular in North America where two of their albums made the Top 10 in the 1990s. They came out as gay many years ago, so have a strong LGBT+ following. ---------- It does not say sold out , but all the levels are very full tonight. Half the crowd are middle aged gay women , who have come out in force to support their gay icons. Support act HATTIE WHITEHEAD arrived on stage at 8pm for her mellow 40 mins set. INDIGO GIRLS arrived on stage at 9.05pm for their 1 hour 45 mins set. Five female musicians on stage , including playing keyboards and violin, but no drums. A nice laid back sound, with lots of great harmonies. Several songs had hints of Bob Dylan / Neil Young in them. The biggest cheers came for songs in the second half of the show including a great 'Closer to Fine' at the end of the main set , that had all the crowd singing loudly along to. An enjoyable show.