So as 2015 romps to a conclusion amidst a great disturbance in the Force, it's time to take a look back over this year's #TUNEICEF project.
The album itself is available here: https://tuneicef.bandcamp.com/releases and I have to say, it's our biggest and best yet! 21 tracks ranging from Aled Horler's orchestral metal insanity to Mollie Lee and Charlotte Bond's achingly gorgeous acoustic track, by way of Dave The Rock Band's ridiculously catchy pop/ rock offering and Billy Edwards more-Darkness-than-The-Darkness squealer, to name but a few! There are some terrific tunes on there so well done to everyone who's helped make this year's album a reality – particular thanks go to Matt Chubb, without whom it's safe to say neither the album nor the gig would have been possible.
So after months of frenzied writing, recording, mixing, Facebooking and hashtagging, we've got ourselves an album to be proud of! Next stop – the launch party. Thanks to The Beacon for hosting this one, and thanks once again to Matt for providing his PA, as well as Jon Bell for providing the use of his exquisitely lovely Les Paul and Marshall half stack to complement my humble little Laney combo!
So after a frenetic and confused set up, it was Billy Edwards who kicked off proceedings with “Hold On” - and it's a measure of how frenetic set up was that whilst introducing him my mind went blank and I completely forgot his name! Oh well, only been teaching him about four years... but he did a sterling job getting us all into the groove and laying down a scorcher of a solo – this young man goes from strength to strength, having helped out with 2014's Winterwonderland2014 project - https://leicestershiremusiccollective.bandcamp.com/releases – and 2013's Songs For Syria.
Dave The Rock Band were up next, with “Christmas #1” and our alter ego The Formidable Ale Society track “Sunshine”, before mellowing into an acoustic section with Beth Hartshorne, whose hypnotic folk-rock stylings impressed everyone (despite yours truly having forgotten his capo, when her first song was in Fm...) - a genuinely captivating performance from a very talented artist.
Jacob Waltens joined us next, taking a break from his Rockschool Grade 5 to provide a lovely version of “Little Wing” and drop jaws on “Sweet Child O' Mine” before Dave The Rock Band took the stage again, augmented by our guest keyboard player and Honorary Dave, Leigh Blount.
The stage was then set for The Bench That Rocked, containing my student Tom Ion and former students Billy Chamberlain and Luke Billingham – we first met these guys again in summer 2014, they impressed then and they are simply superb now. Check out their alter ego, Dawn Of Anubis, where they release their own material, you won't regret it. The boys did a sterling job, belting through their own material and a good few crowd pleasing classics (including another impressive version of Sweet Child O'Mine)! Lead guitarist Tom is preparing for his Rockschool Grade 5 and when he goes for it, frankly I'm not sure the examiners are going to know what's hit them!
Then it was over to Dave The Rock Band to close proceedings and by this point the audience were well and truly revved up! We hammered our way through our set list of ROCK classics – including yet another Sweet Child O' Mine featuring a guest vocalist from the audience , and let me tell you – as a guitar teacher, when you've just had two of your students get up and absolutely shred that song.. it's actually pretty nerve wracking! Still, we gave it our all, and I had the privilege of putting Jon's Les Paul/ Marshall rig through it's paces before we convinced the man himself to get up and strut his stuff, and Jon soared through a superb “Parisienne Walkways” before Dave close the evening with the double whammy of everyone favourite guilty 1980's pleasures - “The One And Only” and “Every Rose Has It's Thorn”. Apologies to all those who wanted more but we were dead on our feet by that point!
So to everyone who helped make this project possible, I offer my heartfelt thanks, wish you all a very Merry Christmas – and we'll see you in six months to kick off next years!