Over six thousand pounds raised! Don't Forget Open Mic This Friday 14th
At the beginning of February, I invited local resident, renowned singer/songwriter Nick Lowe to play at a fundraising gig, one of a series at St Paul's Church in aid of the Open House community cafe, and the sensory garden; the idea caught his imagination, he willingly accepted, and the date was set -30th April. After a great deal of preparation, the date was fast upon us! More than 400 people came from as far afield as Ireland for the gig.
A team of 20 or so volunteers kept everything under control, from the door, via the raffle to the bar. The support act went on at 8, and consisted of Phil Martin of The Bitter Springs, amongst other projects, now making a name on his own as The Languid Balladeer with adaptations of well known songs, eg Rainy Night in Brentford and versions of songs like Jerusalem. I joined him to sing on the Gram Parsons/Emmylou Harris number 'We'll Sweep out the Ashes' which a kind member of the audience declared was better than the original- quite a boost for my ego! Then we played and sang a Woody Guthrie number, Hard Travellin' with Phil really going wild on the fiddle!.
Ever a force to be reckoned with, lovely local ladies The Brentford Belles, joined us on stage to do a traditional gospel song Church Medley, then to accompany Phil on his own arrangement of a Terry Reid song 'Without Expression' with finely wrought harmonies- the audience clamoured for an encore, and they got it with a storming version of the Elvis number 'I Just Can't Help Believin' '
During the interval, Nick's son, Roy (age 5) drew the raffle - prizes kindly donated by Nick Lowe, The Weir, Olivers Wholefoods in Kew, Open House and Phil Martin.
Then came the main attraction of the night - Nick Lowe - who opened his set with some heartwarming and humorous comments about life in Brentford before playing a few numbers on his own. He was joined on stage by his band, and played his well known hits as well as newer material including some of my favourites from the album The Convincer(2001). The DJ Paul Gorman and his wife Caz, appearing as Lord and Lady Muck span a classy set of discs from New Orleans jazz and Blues, to a spot of bluebeat and ska. There was a party atmosphere to the evening and Nick stayed to chat to us all for a good while afterwards. Hopefully many more similar nights are to follow!
In terms of fundraising, the evening was a great success, the bar ran dry of wine twice over and volunteers took the initiative of sending out for more - after deducting costs, over 6 thousand pounds was raised for the projects, with some of that money going towards improving sound and lighting for events at the Church.
Everyone who participated gave their time and talent on an unpaid basis, which added to the feelgood factor all round. Nearly all involved in the production were from Brentford, which just goes to show what a fantastic place it is to work, live and play in!
for suggestions/info about future events, please contact me, Helen Martin at email@example.com
for info about Phil Martin and his projects or music lessons http://www.philmartinmusic.com
Open Mic coming up Fri 14th May contact Helen if you wish to perform.
Helen Martin (photo above left)
Helen Martin has organised some super nights for the good congregation at St. Pauls,
we've had some super nights; open mike nights, a visit from Megson, folk duo, even a visit from Elvis!
Thanks must also be given to Helen Martin and all those who helped on the night or in preparation for it,for a very successful evening.
However, she broke the mould when she got Nick Lowe to do a Charity Gig for the Church's
'Open House Cafe' and 'The Sensory Garden' charity project.
The evening started with support from Phil Martin, the Languid Balladeer and the Brentford Belles (see photo left)
(hot on their recent success at the St. Georges Day performance in the Market Square.)
Nick Lowe performed to some 500 people, most from the TW8 area, but many from far afield,
I spoke to people who'd come from as far afield as Bristol, Bath, and Oxford to catch the gig.
We also had Stars, I spotted Mark Lamarr, who does a Radio 2 Rockabilly Show.
Nick's set, with a Drummer and stand up Bass player was great, Country/Western in the main
but he also regaled us with hits! 'I knew the Bride when she used to Rock'n'Roll' and 'Cruel to be Kind',
as well as, 'What's so Great about Peace, Love and Understanding?' considered by many to be the
song that stole the show in the Whitney Houston film, The Bodyguard!
I thought Nick gave a charismatic performance, obviously a proud Brentford resident of some 25
years, he said; 'Good turnout tonight, must be something rotten on at the Watermans'!
and 'This is life on the road as it should be, I'm literally two minutes walk from my bed'!!!
I was very grateful to Nick, we weren't talking about a Star showing up for a
'charidee' gig' with his guitar,
he provided his band, the roadcrew, management, raffle prizes, even the services of his charming son, Roy, to draw the raffle!
Thanks Nick, goodness knows how much dosh you raised for St. Pauls. May God bless you!!!"
Mart Robertson, a volunteer for the evening
May 13, 2010