Thoroughly Good Thorogood
In Praise Of Sunday Afternoons At The Gate
Do you ever get that feeling that each day has its own special feeling, its own atmosphere? Do we even need to talk about Mondays? Fridays, especially Friday evening, have that “thank God it’s all over for another week; let’s go out and have a drink to get the weekend started” vibe. Saturdays are sport, leisure, shopping, maybe a meal out, perhaps a music gig. And Sundays, well Sundays are different yet again, aren’t they? Yes I know there’s that well-documented slight anxiety about the coming working week, but there’s just something more laid-back, more relaxed about the whole atmosphere.
And that’s how it is at The Southgate on Sunday afternoons – comfortable, relaxed and a nice buzz amongst the regular music-goers. Some of my best memories of 2022 have been those lazy, hazy Sundays at Dave & Deb’s place, watching some of the best local musical talent on show.
All year, on each first Sunday of the month, local hero Jon Amor has been showcasing his musical “friends” – his trio with Tom Gilkes on drums and Jerry Soffe on bass, together with an eclectic set of special guests (Beaux Gris Gris & The Apocalypse in the early part of the year being a particular highlight). But one of those guests, guitarist Chaz Thorogood, impressed so much that he was asked to come back with his own band and do his own gig, and yesterday we were treated to the results.
But first a short aside – last Sunday afternoon featured another superb artist: Jack Grace and his trio. What a show that was. More than two hours of country/ folky/ blues/ rock songs stitched together by Jack’s amazing commentary and stories. There were echoes in there of Hot Tuna, Tom Waits, Alex Harvey and a whole vaudeville vibe that was by turns exciting, hilarious and totally infectious. It was genuinely one of those gigs that you just don’t want to end. Musical entertainment of the very first order.
However, I digress – back to Chaz. As if last week-end’s show couldn’t be bettered, here was something equally good. Playing plenty of rock-infused blues, Chaz’s two sets were a revelation. Taking several blues standards by the throat, he and his boys steadily squeezed new life out of them. Crossroads, Got My Mojo Working, Folsom Prison Blues all got the treatment, with some absolutely inspired leas guitar work. And then, if it were possible, he went up another gear. What he did to Hendrix’s Voodoo Chile was absolutely stunning (“filthy” was the word used by a friend of mine). Later he repeated the trick with All Along The Watchtower, and even managed (I can’t believe I’m saying this) to kick seven bells out of Britney Spears’ Toxic. And there was a final cherry on the cake – a stonking and inspired version of the Beatles’ Come Together. To say that this guy knows his way around a guitar is a massive understatement. Entertainment of the very first order.
So yet another brilliant Sunday afternoon completed – good beer, great company, wonderful atmosphere and some stunningly good music. It’s what life’s all about in my book – stuff Monday!
So if you’ve not poked your nose around the door of The Southgate yet, I strongly suggest that you do so. There’s gigs on various Fridays and Saturdays too but, for me at least, Sundays just have that edge. And your next chance to experience just what I mean is in a couple of Sundays’ time, when Jon Amor returns to his monthly residency with his trio and another musical guest.
Future gigs at The Southgate:
Saturday 29th October Barrelhouse
Saturday 5th November 41 Fords
Sunday 6th November Jon Amor + Friends ft Ben Waghorn (sax)
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