Category Archives: Music

Castor church to host Peterborough’s first Rock Mass

Castor Church Rock Mass
An exciting rock music-based spiritual event is coming to St Kyneburgha’s Church, Castor on Friday 9 March. The church is the venue for Peterborough’s first Rock Mass.

An exciting rock music-based spiritual event is coming to Peterborough in March. St Kyneburgha’s Church, Castor is hosting Peterborough’s first Rock Mass on Friday 9 March.

Starting at 7:30 pm, the combined concert and service at the popular village church is designed to appeal to teenagers but there is no minimum age – all are welcome. The mass will feature rock, pop and blues music along with a traditional Eucharist – with a twist.

Central to the mass is the theme of love. The service will focus on the theme through music from bands like Kings of Leon, Florence and the Machine, Led Zeppelin and Free as well as live music from local rock outfit The Odyssey.

The music sets will be punctuated with short spoken passages and the necessary religious and spiritual aspects of a mass and singing accompanied by the live band.

Commenting on the event Rector of St Kyneburgha’s, Rev. Canon William Burke said: “It has long been an ambition of mine to hold a rock mass in the church. The spiritual well-being of our young people is vital in an age where there are so many distractions.

“What better way to encourage youth of all ages to get in touch with their spiritual side than through the music that speaks most to them? It promises to be a very exciting evening.”

Beer and a curry will be available after the mass. The service is free to attend but there will be a £3 cover charge for drinks and food and a collection for the Teenage Cancer Trust .

St Kyneburgha’s is one of England’s finest parish churches. It has great acoustics and has been used for several live blues gigs promoted by the nationally recognised Shakedown Blues club. The Shakedown Blues team is fully supporting this event with professional PA and sound mixing, staging and lighting. The mass will also be filmed by an independent film production company.

Tickets for the Rock Mass are priced at £3:00 each or two for £5:00, available through the Parish Office. Phone the Parish Office on 01733 380900 or email It’s likely to be a popular event so early booking is advised.

Digital radio – Pure magic

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Digital radios are smart aren’t they? I should have bought one ages ago. BBC 6 Music is a revelation in music radio and Planet Rock – well rocks. I can’t imagine what Auntie was thinking when she thought about cutting 6 music and other digital offerings loose, particularly when Radio 1 and 2 are so patchy at the moment. And the sports commentary is more accessible, particularly for those of us with ‘council house telly’ who still think that broadcasting should be generally available to everyone, not just to those who can afford Sky.

The Pure One Classic is a neat little radio. Tuning is easy, no more hunting through the static looking for Atlantic 558 or Caroline. Nice design, reasonable sound for a kitchen radio and easy to use.

Of course, there is a downside. interference. The digital signal, particularly in my area, is constantly breaking up and I find that I have to re-tune to FM. Back to the old days. Let’s hope this little problem is resolved before the switch over and we lose analogue broadcasting for good.

And digital does offer scope for manufacturers like Pure and Roberts to bring back some of those wonderful Art Deco Bakelite designs. Life seems to have been sucked out of design lately. A visit to an unlikely museum in Spain recently revealed a fascinating world of designs which could easily make a comeback.

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Band of Joy is a joy

Robert Plant performing with Alison Krauss at ...
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That well-known Wolves fan and  erstwhile leonine Led Zep frontman, Robert Plant CBE, has a new album out today. The long-anticipated Band of Joy – named after his first band spookily monikered er… Band of Joy – follows his acclaimed collaboration with Alison Krauss, Raising Sand. And it’s a complete departure, and probably a disappointment to those who were expecting ‘Raising Sand 2.’ Robert Plant has reinvented himself again with a wry nod to his pre-New Yardbirds/Led Zep roots.

Here is a beautifully crafted collection of Americana, folk, country, roots and trad blues standards. Plant is acknowledging his musical roots, something he failed to do with Led Zeppelin and its unashamed ‘borrowing’ of classic blues.

There’s a hint of Zep’s folkie third album with powerful percussion and mandolins on the opening track ‘Angel Dance.’ But there the similarities end.

The Los Lobos track ‘Angel Dance’ has already received a lot of play on BBC Radio 2 and won praise from Chris Evans, who called it a ‘mighty song’ and which in itself might count against it but persevere.

‘You Can’t Buy my Love’  is  an up-tempo rocker sandwiched between the six-minute plus epic  ‘Silver Rider’ and the slow country harmonies and steel guitar on ‘Falling in Love Again.’

The down home finger picked banjo of traditional ‘Cindy’  and ‘Satan Your Kingdom must come Down’ rub shoulders with a well produced cover of country-folk legend Townes Van Zandt’s  ‘Harm’s Swift Way’ and the closing track ‘Even This Shall Pass Away.’

Plant is mature and at the top of his game here and the band – Marco Giovino (percussion), Patty Griffin (vocals), Byron House (bass), Buddy Miller (guitar, baritone and 6-string bass) and Darrell Scott (acoustic guitar and mandolins) – consummate professionals having fun. And it shows in the quality of these songs.

Plant shared production duties with Buddy Miller. And Percy even designed the cover artwork. Does that wrinkled and stained parcel paper background  and the feather symbol on the back hint at Led Zep’s last proper studio album – the brown paper bag covered In Through the Out Door and closure? Who knows?

Full track listing:

1. Angel Dance
2. House Of Cards
3. Central Two-O-Nine
4. Silver Rider
5. You Can’t Buy My Love
6. Falling in Love Again
7. The Only Sound That Matters
8. Monkey
9. Cindy, I’ll Marry You Someday
10. Harm’s Swift Way
11. Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down
12. Even This Shall Pass Away


Shakedown presents…Claude Bourbon

Now that the summer break is almost over Shakedown blues club is about to kick off its Autumn/Winter programme.

The current Shakedown began back in January 2005 when blues fans in the Peterborough area were stunned by the re-emergence of the Shakedown series of live blues jams. The last Shakedown gigs were back in 1972 before promoter Gerard Homan put up the shutters and decided he needed a proper job to keep the wolves at bay. These now legendary shows began in 1966 and featured , Dr Ross, Boogie Woogie Red, Lightnin’ Slim, Champion Jack Dupree, Rev Gary Davis, Big Boy Crudup, Jimmy Dawkins, Little Brother Montgomery, Roy Bookbinder, Baby Boy Warren, Erwin Helfer, King Biscuit Boy, Eddie Burns, Sunnyland Slim, Larry Johnson, Curtis Jones, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Jo-Ann Kelly, T.S. McPhee, Stefan Grossman, Alexis Korner, Spider John Koerner together with a funky little house band called Ma Grinders Blues Mission.

Now thirty odd years later, Gerard is back with a stellar cast and a new funky little band called The Blues Crusaders.

There are a number of gigs in the Autum progamme. Have a look here for details. First up is the eclectic Claude Bourbon. Check out his website for his bio and a taste of his talent. Angel is a beautiful blues tinged with flamenco and medieval tones and there’s an interesting fingerpicked/slide version of Gershwin’s Summertime. The gig is scheduled for September 16th.

The venue for the gig is St Kyneburgha’s church in the village of Castor. The important 12th century church is an ideal setting in which to enjoy Claude’s unique blend of Spanish, medieval and blues styles. Hope to see you there.

Summer’s gone but it’s Beer Fest time!

Summer’s gone and all the leaves are fallen.

Well not quite, but the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) Peterborough Festival is on and that for me signifies the end of summer – even if the autumnal equinox isn’t until 23rd September. It’s the last event leading up to the August bank holiday weekend.

It’s tinged with yearning for the summer past (what summer? I hear you cry) yes but it’s a great social occasion and a time to enjoy draft ale that you might not find in the local in a great atmosphere.

If you’re from the area you can guarantee that on any given evening there will be many familiar faces, friends and acquaintances that you don’t see from one year to the next propping up the bar or listening to the (usually) excellent live music. If you’re not, don’t worry because the locals are friendly and the ‘craic’ is great.

The Peterborough Beer Festival is now in its 33rd year and has come a long way from its humble origins in local pubs. From there it moved first to the Wirrina (roller skate arena and hall) and now to a marquee complex on the banks of the River Nene near the Key Theatre.

Something of an old beer fest hand now – I’ve been going almost every year since the fifth festival – I shall be there again looking out for the old faces, saying farewell to another summer and drinking to the coming Autumn.

Just need to pace myself. I’m not as young as I was and work beckons in the morning.

The comedy is divine

Bang goes the Knighthood from The Divine Comedy

 After last year’s eccentric, brilliant Duckworth Lewis Method collaboration with Thomas Walsh – the tracks Jiggery Pokery about Shane Warne’s ‘ball of the century’ dismissal of Mike Gatting in the 1993 Ashes Test at Old Trafford, Mason on the Boundary and The Night Watchman are sublime – Neil Hannon returns to the pavilion with his new Divine Comedy album Bang Goes the Knighthood.

The Duckworth Lewis Method is a sublime concept.

Hannon’s beautifully crafted songs take a canter though modern life. His themes catch the spirit of the age; the credit crunch (The Complete Banker), the establishment figure with a guilty secret (Bang Goes the Knighthood), studenty nostalgia (At the Indie Disco), yuppie aspiration (Assume the Perpendicular).
Other tracks explore the isolation and pain of the modern. The Lost Art of Conversation explores how the pace and pressure of the day-to-day is eroding our ability to use our imaginations to interact with one another. It takes time, patience to look into life more deeply. Slow down and absorb the world around you.He’s a clever chap is Mr Hannon. He even challenges us to have a go at his craft in Can You Stand Upon One Leg. With a knowing wink he asks us to try to write a witty song and hold a high note for as long as he can. As if what he has achieved with this album is as easy as that. If it were we’d all be doing it.

The Divinely clever Mr Neil Hannon