Tag Archives: Tom Skelly

Teenage Cancer Trust Fundraiser

There were loads of events on this bank holiday weekend, but I’d had the tickets for the Teenage Cancer Trust Fundraiser on my noticeboard for over a month.

At a mere £3.50, I couldn’t turn this event down. Even with a free gig on at the Larkin’s Ale Festival, I knew I would be spending the majority of Sunday with my friends and fellow muso’s down at Fruit. Afterall, it was for a good cause and twelve bands had also given up their time to entertain us free, all for this charity. A charity which Luke Bowe pointed out was of equal significance to all in the audience as “we’ve all been touched by the Big C”.

Wayward Suns
Wayward Suns

Wayward Suns kicked things off. They’re a band of young lads, who I haven’t seen perform before. Their heavy rock sound filled the room, where quite a crowd had gathered. New to me, I noticed a similar thread to their sound as I hear in Young Jack (especially with songs such as ‘Get Along’). Sharing their vocal harmonies across the three lads at the front of the stage, the lead vocalist – who also has a mop of hair similar to Luke Bowe – had a voice which reminds me of Counting Crows’ Adam Duritz; melodic and raw.

Vulgarians lead singer Ryan Wilson-Preen
Vulgarians lead singer Ryan Wilson-Preen

Due to the scattering crowd, and the sudden sunshine, Vulgarians commented on the lack of people inside Fruit for their set. “We’ve emptied Fruit,” Ryan Wilson-Preen announced; I hadn’t even noticed until he mentioned it, but it was true that the crowd was more disperse. A shame, and rather a shock, as this band have built quite a following.

The gig was a near-sell-out and yet the venue never felt full; people came and went for the bands they knew and supported, with few sticking around for the duration. No single band had the full impact of the crowd because of this, and I felt this was a real shame.

The Froot '67
The Froot ’67

Looking rather 70s and sounding a little 60s, The Froot ’67 were exactly what I wanted to listen to on a sunny Sunday afternoon. I am most certainly one of their newest fans, will no doubt be purchasing their debut album ‘Seven Past Eight’, for which they celebrated on the 9th at Raine Club. Bouncing vocals from bassist Stevie Newby to guitarist Louie Donoghue, all four members performed with huge levels of energy. A real delight.

It was at this point that my friend and I nipped out for a spot of late lunch, missing Attack The Embassy. However, our return was quick, eager to not miss too much, and we re-entered to the loud noise and incredible power of Cannibal Animal – whose drummer had us both transfixed as he performed in a blur of swift movements – and Dead Hormones who are the band I have seen most recently. We were straight back into the swing of things, and ready for the night to continue, replenished and excited.

Dead Hormones
Dead Hormones

The line-up from this point featured some of my favourite Hull bands; those I rave, unashamedly, rather too much about. My friend and I settled into a spot before the stage, digging our heels into the concrete floor.

Tom Skelly has a stunning voice, and I am always amazed at the ferocity with which he and his Salty Beards perform. Much like the ocean and the allure as described in popular track ‘Morning Sun’, their music sweeps over you, a never-ending wave of sound, rising and dipping to cool you with Skelly’s softer tones.

BREEZE lead vocalist Aron Gilbey
BREEZE lead vocalist Aron Gilbey

Breeze, Streaming Lights, Coaves and Young Jack never get old for me. Eternally indulgent, I could write reams just about their sets.  From the point where Breeze sang ‘Goodbye, So Long’, I was my most energetic, and mirrored the vivacity of Coaves and the highlight of silliness, Streaming Lights, who always offer more entertainment than their electric tunes.

Streaming Lights
Streaming Lights

As a prelude to the final three bands, we also had experimental The Bodyfarmers, who perform with no vocals. Their mixture of guitars – during one song being played with a bow – drums and soundboard filled the space wonderfully. It can sometimes cause people’s minds to wander, having no lyrics to focus on or sing along to, but The Bodyfarmers seemed to have the opposite effect, pulling the crowd in. Their last track appeared to knock out each of the guitarists, who fell to the floor and left the stage to the drummer and bassist, who thanked the audience in an echoing quiet (with no use for them, the mics had been turned off).

The Bodyfarmers
The Bodyfarmers

Young Jack had a hefty crowd, with people moving further forward to welcome them on stage. Playing their popular tracks as well as new funky sound ‘Move’, they were the ideal headliners; indeed taking their second headline spot this week. So enthralled were the audience, we called out for more, and reacted very positively to their cover of Wild Cherry’s ‘Play That Funky Music’.

Young Jack lead vocalist Luke Bowe
Young Jack lead vocalist Luke Bowe

Overall, a very enjoyable way to spend the day – absorbed in the music which stretched from bright sunshine to the glittering night. And though the crowd altered as quickly as the bands did, there was always a buzz in the room. Taking that into consideration alongside the £500 raised for charity, you can’t argue that the event was a hit.

And a perfect warm-up to the festival season, when we’ll be able to soak up the tunes as well as those sunny rays.

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Folk In Hull – a celebration of local music

Songs are poems put to music; music is a story with no need for words.

Folk in Hull was a tale told in nine chapters, taking the audience on a journey of the city and its music makers.

Our initial narrators were Lyn Acton and Martin ‘Mad Dog’ Jones, who kept the audience engaged with their humorous conversation and endless jokes, bridging that gap from the stage. It was in quick succession that each band took their part, mere minutes as they bounced from one side of the stage to the other.

Farino (Paul Newbon Photography)
Farino (Paul Newbon Photography)

Up first were guitar-yielding duo Farino, who released their debut album in 2008. Influenced by any music genre which includes the guitar, you could hear the Latin vibe in their opening track. As is often the case, we launched straight into the music, with a fast-paced instrumental to which you could easily picture dancers strutting around the room to. Showcasing all that you can do with the instrument, the audience was swiftly warmed up, energised by the sound and eager to hear more.

Crooked Weather (Paul Newbon Photography)
Crooked Weather (Paul Newbon Photography)

Describing themselves as earthy, unruly and original, Crooked Weather were next on the bill. It was difficult to place them into a genre, having a folk-rock look and with more of a blues sound, this five-piece introduced the art of storytelling into the night. Performing four songs, one of which lead vocalist Will Bladen described as “the folkiest thing you’ll hear all evening”, they pulled the audience in by the heartstrings.

Returning the focus back to the instruments were RPM (which stands for the first initials of each member: Rob, Paul and Mike). With roots in improvisation, they performed a block of consistent powerful sound; the drums and bass getting your feet tapping, while the saxophone made you sway.

Pearl's Cab Ride (Paul Newbon Photography)
Pearl’s Cab Ride (Paul Newbon Photography)

The last band before the short interval was Lyn Acton’s own Pearl’s Cab Ride, ending the segment with the funky soul of this large band, meant that everyone was eager for more.

The mood was set by the musicians, bouncing as they did from one stage to another, building up that kaleidoscope of sentiment.

The highlights for me were yet to come, and they did not disappoint.

Hillbilly Troupe, feat. Martin 'Mad Dog' Jones (Paul Newbon Photography)
Hillbilly Troupe, feat. Martin ‘Mad Dog’ Jones (Paul Newbon Photography)

Hillbilly Troupe were the fifth act on stage, instantly raising the roof of Hull Truck. Performing without Mick McGarry, Lloyd Dobbs and Mick Murphy took on lead vocals while Martin Jones joined the ensemble to play trumpet during ‘I Wish There Was No Prisons’, during which Dobbs mimicked picking his pocket.

Heron String Quartet (Paul Newbon Photography)
Heron String Quartet (Paul Newbon Photography)

Bringing the volume down, but leaving the energy high, the Heron String Quartet took over with. The back curtain now lit up like the night sky, they performed three classical collaborations, taking us on a wordless journey into the night, which including one which mixed ‘Beethoven’s Fifth’ with The Beach Boys’ ‘Surfin’ USA’.

Micky Fegz - Fire: The Unstoppable Force (Paul Newbon Photography)
Micky Fegz – Fire: The Unstoppable Force (Paul Newbon Photography)

Next up were dark grunge artists Fire: The Unstoppable Force. I’ve seen these guys a lot recently, and I’ve been saying they’re suited for a stage like this one. And, as their name suggests, the stage was unable to stop them; Alfie Steel did not instantly pick up his guitar, instead opening with a wolf call before taking the stairs in order to penetrate the audience. I’ve always said they are fantastic performers, and they proved this with every movement, reminding us that we were sat in a theatre and that music is more than just noise made by the instruments. Anyone who hadn’t seen them before were quickly enthralled, with members standing between songs as they applauded.

Fire: The Unstoppable Force (Paul Newbon Photography)
Fire: The Unstoppable Force (Paul Newbon Photography)

Wedging together two of my favourite bands, Tom Skelly and The Salty Beards took up their instruments next. Opening with ‘Morning Sun’, they started softly, easing us in while focusing our attention on Skelly’s luscious voice. Never failing to capture my heart, the world around them dissipated, fading to insignificance; those people who’d distracted me before as they stood to top up their drinks no longer there. The Salty Beards filling the space between songs with sound, you were kept hanging on, your heart beating in time with the music, which grew in ferocity.

Bud Sugar (Paul Newbon Photography)
Bud Sugar (Paul Newbon Photography)

Concluding the night, popular boys Bud Sugar were described by Lyn Acton as “one of the hits of the festivals last year”, and the calls from the crowd certainly back this up. Mixing rap, reggae and just about anything which takes their fancy, the audience clapped along as they played, casting the music around the entire room.

An amazing variety of talent, covering every genre of music and building the performance into the sound, Folk in Hull demonstrated exactly what makes this city strong. A tale which took many turns, saw many characters and ended with a happily ever after.

I wrote two reviews for this event – this one featured in Browse Magazine. You can read the other over on the Yorkshire Gig Guide.

All photography by the wonderful Paul Newbon.

Tom Skelly & The Salty Beards – Morning Sun

From today, ‘Morning Sun’ is available worldwide.

Poetically written lyrics, this song captures the moment of that first glimmer of sunshine. Layers of sound cast a glow over the Skelly’s beautifully mesmerising voice. A downbeat song which contains an upbeat sentiments; the emotion of waking early in the morning to a stunning day.

But there’s another reason to purchase this single. All proceeds from the sale of this track will go to the Cornwall-based charity Surfers Against Sewage. This environmental charity works hard to preserve water quality and marine life across the UK coastline, protecting our waves, oceans and beaches, educating others and involving the community in a range of campaigns. They aim to promote conservation and improvement of coastal areas, ensuring that the public works to sustain ecologically sustainable management the marine environment.

The song was inspired by Skelly’s love of surfing, and so you can see the link between the single and the cause in which they hope to raise money for.

Beautiful music and all for a good cause. Sounds like a song which recently went to number one.

Head over to tomskellymusic.bandcamp.com for more details and to download. The track costs £1, but you are invited to donate more if you wish to.

A Change in the Tides; Hull’s Impact on my CD Rack

Everyone has their own go-to band; that one which you refer to when people ask who or what you’re into. Everyone has that song which takes them back in time to a better place, mostly because you only ever seem to listen to it when the world seems dark and unforgiving. And everyone has that party tune which perks them right back up.

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Manic Street Preachers – insert in The Holy Bible, featuring images of the members as children.

I’ve always had the Manics in my life. They enveloped my teenage years and still are the most referenced name on my CD rack. I’ll collect their albums long into the time when CDs are museum pieces, because they are something I want to be able to hold in my hands, to pass on to my children and say ‘this was my childhood’. One of the songs from their first album is adorned on my back in a most permanent fashion. And yet, I am prone to flow with tides of change. Though they remain the raft I return to when the seas get choppy and uncertain, they feature less and less on playlists than they used to. My love for them is strong, but my need for them is no longer all-powerful.

Last year I was obsessed with Plan B, getting into rap for the first time since that one Eminem song I liked once. His music tells a story of modern life for so many, and, at the time, I needed to feel a passion like that which vibrated from my stereo. I had lost my mojo and I was seeking it out in the only place I felt confident to find it: music.

After Plan B, it was OneRepublic. My song of 2014 is probably their hit Love Runs Out. Again, Ryan Tedder is a fantastic poet. He was the one who’d written most of the songs I heard on the radio, where I would say that I didn’t particularly like the performer but the song was amazing. That one song – that was Ryan Tedder’s. time and time again.

And then I attended Press Pack and started writing for Browse Magazine. I’d decided that I wanted to do some more writing and I expected that there would be a spattering of both local, national and international talent which pooled across the pages of my blog. It didn’t really matter anyway, as I was writing for myself and not anyone else.

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Ricky Wilson at the Adelphi30 gig – Friday 3rd October 2014

And then I wasn’t just writing for myself and I had followers and deadlines.

And I was writing about local, national and international acts. Toploader played the Trinity Festival, a free festival set in the picturesque grounds of Trinity Square. And in the same week I got press pass to see Kaiser Chiefs perform at another iconic spot, The Adelphi. I was there alongside other journalists and I was playing about with my photography, honing skills I didn’t even consider needing until the moment when I was told photographs were a necessity to any decent article.

Now my CD rack still features the name Manic Street Preachers more than any other band. But atop their collection, I have a new assembly of musical joys. Just as I have a ‘Hull Tunes’ playlist now on my computer, which is my first port of call for musical ambience when doing just about anything, I have a collaboration of CDs from Hull artists. Tom Skelly, Hillbilly Troupe and Streaming Lights sit above Plan B and even my first love from Hull, The Beautiful South.

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The Hillbilly Troupe

When I need a quick pick-me-up, I will turn to the joy of The Hillbilly Troupe, knowing that I’ll know all the lyrics and the energy from their last gig will overtake any negativity in my heart. If I need a physical shake then I can trust Counting Coins will have me perform a one-woman mosh-pit in my living room, sparking adrenaline rushes and pumping endorphins around my blood stream. When I need something to chill me out and allow me to focus mostly on my work – the dull reminder of needing an ‘adult responsibility’ – I switch Tom Skelly or Jody McKenna on, with their poetic lyrics and melodies.

Hull is slowly but surely digging its way into my very soul, and turning me from small town girl, holding onto a loose connection with Wales in order to ensure that link with the Manics, to a city girl who wants to scream at anyone who questions this wonderful place I call my home. I’ll spend my weekends, and often weekdays, at gigs in a former fruit market or a local bar supporting local talents, rather than paying to watch someone perform at a huge venue.

At the Adelphi30 gig where I saw the Kaiser Chiefs, I was more excited about having a chat with Paul Jackson and finally getting to speak with Black Delta Movement’s Matt Burr than I was about touching the sweaty body of Ricky Wilson. Don’t get me wrong, it was ridiculously exciting to get the opportunity, but when the end of the night came I was singing Life’s Crawling and smiling at the gentleness with which Jacko spoke with my friend and me. These are the things I will share with my children, when my eyes will brighten and my soul will shine.

I want to share Hull’s music with the world. I want to support our bands and promote them and give them that platform they deserve. But I also kind of want to keep them for myself a little bit, ensuring I have that much more real connection.

Hull Trinity Festival 2014