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JUNE 2006

Updated: 28 June 2006

Part 2 - Putney, Brighton and General comments, plus Thalgau, Austria

The Ferry, Glasgow, Sunday 18 June 2006
  • Fine Form - Comments and pix from Les Cotton
  • Rolled Back The Years - Comments and pix from William Wilson
  • Setlist from Les Cotton
  • Penrith Playhouse, Penrith, Monday 19 June 2006
  • A Great Rock Band At Their Peak - Review by Matthew Ash
  • Beyond Electric - Comments and pix from Les Cotton, for the Witchwood UK Mobile Crew
  • Pix from Alison Brown
  • Setlist from Alison Brown
  • Boardwalk, Sheffield, Tuesday 20 June 2006
  • One Hell Of A Buzz - Comments from Pete Madeley
  • Comments and pix from Les Cotton
  • Strawbs 3-2 Sweden - Comments from Paul Southby
  • Electric Strawbs, Indeed - Review and pix from Gerry O'Neill

  • Setlist from Les Cotton

    Lay Down
    I Only Want My Love To Grow In You
    Burning For Me
    Out In The Cold/Round And Round
    New World
    Cold Steel
    You And I (When We Were Young)
    The River/Down By The Sea
    Drum solo
    Hero And Heroine
    Round And Round reprise

    Here Today, Gone Tomorrow


    FINE FORM - Comments, pix and Setlist from Les Cotton, roving correspondent

    Terrific start to the Electric tour at The Ferry in Glasgow. The lads on fine form, blasting through one straight set with no break. Great to see "Heartbreaker" restored to its traditional place following "You And I", an atmospheric "Burning For Me", supercharged "New World", and Rod's fantastic drum solo (bare hands...), segued straight into "Hero And Heroine".

    Fantastic night, and great to meet Paco over from Madrid...but he had to leave before the set!!

    Witchwood Crew on to Penrith Monday for more!

    Photo by Les Cotton -
    more pics from Les.

    ROLLED BACK THE YEARS - Comments and pix from William Wilson

    Nostalgic evening. The Strawbs were the second gig I ever went to, back in the 70s, and when I saw they were on the boards again I just wanted to see them. Excellent choice really, Dave's voice is still as distinctive and I rolled back the years listening to "New World", "Down By The Sea" and "Hero And Heroine". Its the H&H line-up currently touring: Dave Cousins, Dave Lambert, Chas Cronk, John Hawken, Rod Coombes - and bloody good they are too.

    Dave signed a copy of Two Weeks Last Summer for me in the bar afterwards. A really nice night. Now for the back catalogue...

    From William's blog at

    Photos by William Wilson

    Setlist from Alison Brown

    Lay Down
    Out In The Cold/Round And Round
    Burning For Me
    New World
    Cold Steel
    You And I (When We Were Young)
    The River/Down By The Sea
    Drum solo
    Hero And Heroine
    Round And Round reprise

    Here Today, Gone Tomorrow


    A GREAT ROCK BAND AT THEIR PEAK - Review by Matthew Ash

    On Monday 19th June 2006, we made the trip to Penrith to see the Strawbs for the third time in a year. The first time was last August at Leicester Cathedral, and the second at the Morecambe Platform in February. Both were brilliant concerts, but this was something different. The previous two concerts were given by the acoustic band which gave many of the songs incredible intimacy and really displayed the intricate musicianship and craftsmanship of the band. However, I grew up listening to the electric records - Hero And Heroine, Ghosts, Deep Cuts, Burning For You etc. - so the prospect of seeing the full electric line-up, exactly as it was in the studio for those great albums, was incredibly exciting.

    The evening began with support-act Dead Like Harry - a Sheffield band currently meeting with a lot of acclaim. I must admit that I'm usually disappointed by support-acts and find myself wanting them to get off stage to make way for the big-guns. Last night, however, DLH's support set was an integral part of the evening. Here is a young band who are not scared to be different and who perform and write some excellent material with an honesty and musical vigour you would expect from the Strawbs. The members of the band can clearly play their instruments - I'd pick out the drummer and lead guitarist in particular - and the contrast between the male and female vocals works brilliantly. There is a touch of the Waterboys about them at times, all rolled up with a myriad of influences including Steeleye and Fairport - yet they are completely 'Dead Like Harry' and wouldn't be easily mistaken for anyone else. Surely a band to watch!

    Then came the main event. Dave Cousins, Dave Lambert, Chas Cronk, John Hawken, and Rod Coombes came onto the stage to take us on a journey through Strawbs history. Strawbs history is one thing the compere could do with reading up on - he seemed to have the misconception that this was the original line-up of the band rather than the real truth which is that the only FOUNDER member on stage was DC himself. This was a well chosen set, following quite closely the set featured on the NEARfest live CD from 2004, and opening with a great performance of "Lay Down". Despite the fact that Dave Cousins was looking a bit weak (I hope he is okay), the guys put on a brilliant show with many many highlights.

    "The River/Down By The Sea" was performed with incredible passion - everyone was at their best in this, and they truly sounded like a great rock band at their peak. The atmosphere was tangible as the dynamics came down at the end of DL's section and Cousins sang "Last night I lay in bed....". That use of contrast and mastery of atmosphere are classic hallmarks of the band and it worked so well. Other songs which were particularly good included "New World", and "You And I". Dave Lambert was on fire all night and his performances in the brilliant "Heartbreaker" and "Cold Steel" will remain vivid for a long time to come.

    My only slight disappointment of the night was "Burning For Me", which is one of my favourite songs on the Burning For You album and which somehow didn't quite settle down - possibly because of some slight ensemble issues with John Hawken. Hawken varied tremendously last night. There were flashes of real brilliance - he sounded fantastic in "Autumn" and the band's exciting performance of "Round And Round" - interlaced with little moments when he could have perhaps toned things down a bit. Some of the mellotron-type string pads were slightly over-bearing in places in relation to the rest of the band. Still, he is a great keyboard player and much of what he did worked really well.

    Rod Coombes was on excellent form and, alongside Chas Cronk's inspired bass playing, really drove the sound forward and created the perfect energy for Lambert and Cousins' mostly electrifying performance. The more I see Chas Cronk live, the more I am inspired by his thoughtful and inventive playing which is so clearly based on brilliant musicianship. He is far more key to the band's sound than he is often given credit for and the excellent on-stage communication between him, John Hawken, and Dave Lambert, is crucial to the tight ensemble work of the band.

    A great concert ended with Cousins, Lambert and Cronk on stage to perform "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow", sung absolutely beautifully by the still wonderful Dave Cousins. Cousins had looked a little weak/tired at moments throughout the show but that NEVER held him back from giving brilliant performances. He sang every word and every song as if he was discovering them for the first time and the passion in his music making (in perfect synergy with Lambert's passionate performance) simply filled the venue. I have no doubt that, last night in Penrith, one of the world's greatest lead singers and songwriters, was in complete communion with his music and it shall remain a wonderful memory for the rest of my life.

    A great evening of incredible music in an excellent venue, with an audience who really were in the right spirit and who were clearly electrified as much as we were. Many thanks to the Strawbs.

    BEYOND ELECTRIC - Comments and pix from Les Cotton, for the Witchwood UK Mobile Crew

    Just a quick note whilst I pay a flying visit home en-route to Sheffield. Brilliant show last night at Penrith, absolutely superb mix by Paul, real full-on sound, but great clarity. All the band were much more relaxed than the opener, lots of laughs and nods onstage, and a blistering performance. "New World" was beyond Electric, simply stunning power...and "Burning For Me" is fast becoming a highlight for Witchwood UK Mobile Crew :-)) Well done on a great show too from Dead Like Harry, 110 percent enthusisam and a very powerful set, with a lovely acoustic set closer.

    A few words of thanks to Nigel B for his generous chauffering of me last two days, also huge thanks to Neil from the Beeb for lifts back from BOTH gigs to our hotels, and thanks to Ali for lift to the Penrith show from hotel. Great aftershow get together last night (err, this morning...)..stumbled into bed around 2am.....

    Ok, off to the Boardwalk..more tomorrow.

    Photo by Les Cotton - more pics from Les.

    Pix from Alison Brown

    more pics from Ali.


    ONE HELL OF A BUZZ - Comments from Pete Madeley


    The travelling Witchwooders will tell you of their frustrations themselves (cue Nigel). Mine stared when queueing to get in. Due to various problems Lynne coldn't go, so it was myself and 2 daughters Ella (20) and Holly (14). I rang the venue yesterday to check that it was OK for Hol to go. "No problem cos she counts as an adult". The security guy on the door looked at her and said had we got ID with a photo for her? "No" I said "because I checked by phone yesterday". Eventually it was agreed she could go in if she kept away from the bar area. Then some bloke in the queue started muttering about "kids shouldn't be allowed": I bet she's been to more Strawbs gigs than he has.

    Dead Like Harry: nice to actually see them (at Chapel St Leonards last year we were round a corner). Enjoyable set, but ominous sound problems. Too loud. Still not changed my mind that they're the best support act I've seen since Dr Feelgood opened for Hawkwind in 764BC. The bass player was tremendous: reminded me of Animal from the Muppets (but that is NOT an insult: only a compliment). Finished set with a completely acoustic number which worked very well: thanks chaps and chapesses.

    Strawbs. With a sound system like at Bilston or Stockton (last year) this would have been monumental. All the band were on fire. They were smiling and nodding at each other as a group in harmony will.

    But.......the sound system stank.

    I think it was too loud for the circumstances. There was distortion. Band members said they were hearing stuff on monitors that was played several seconds before. During "The Winter Long" section of "Autumn" there was a strange whining noise for much of the time. Chas was too far down in the mix. Interestingly Ella was stood near the sound guy at the end and he said he thought it sounded good???

    But the good bits......................... As a unit these guys were as together as I have heard them. Dave Cousins probably gets taken for granted in a lot of my reviews, but tonight he shone. I've not seen him as animated singing "Round And Round (reprise)" as tonight. He threw himself into it. Five masterly performances in very difficult circumstances. One hell of a buzz depite the sound. Please guys: don't be put off by the poor sound: it was an exquisite performance.

    Comments and pix from Les Cotton

    Great performance, marred by poor in-house PA system (huge Bass distortion).

    Photo by Les Cotton - more pics from Les.

    STRAWBS 3-2 SWEDEN - Comments from Paul Southby

    Well, what a dilemma! ... the England game or the Strawbs? In the end there was only going to be one winner as I had to miss Bilston following some surgery on a shoulder which kept me in a huge gig-unfriendly brace for a couple of months.

    Anyway, I entirely agree with the others - great performances, but the sound system was a complete dud. A venue that bills itself as legendary ("site of the Clash's first gig") on its website should know better. There were a few early departures from the audience, I think entirely due to the poor sound. And it was as hot as the surface of the sun in there ... made one very thirsty.

    They did all look to be enjoying themselves though, and it was great to see John Hawken again - he even did a little surreptitious conducting behind his keyboards and mouthed the words during one or two numbers, rare moments of demonstrativeness (if that's a word) from one so calm. Dave Lambert on the other hand was in full on axe man mode, and all the better for it.

    The added keyboard parts on Cold Steel made a great song better, and it would be nice to have that version on CD. Great versions also of "Hero And Heroine" and "New World". So all in all a very enjoyable night, and the right result Gary, but it could have been so much better.

    ELECTRIC STRAWBS, INDEED - Review and pix from Gerry O'Neill

    As a lifetime Strawbs fan, I had never actually seen them play live - until Tuesday of this week. Coming originally from Belfast, we were starved of patronage by the top bands of the era, during the 'Troubles' of the 70's and into the 80's. I moved to Macclesfield, Cheshire about 12 years ago - and in recent years have started making up for some of that lost time. My favourite bands of the early/mid-70's were quite diverse, including folks like Horslips, Focus, Moody Blues, Strawbs (of course) and Hawkwind!

    In the past year I have managed to see Hawkwind, Paul Brady, Glenn Tilbrook, Human League, Average White Band, and now Strawbs. This is mainly thanks to my son who is a student in Sheffield and who scans the forward gig lists for the bands he knows I like - and he then gets to come along to those gigs with me. A good move if you're an impoverished student!

    Although my interest in the Strawbs started with the Bursting At The Seams album, my favourite recording of the band has to be the Hero And Heroine album, which for me is the definitive electric Strawbs. Having lost touch (and thinking that the band had stopped touring altogether), imagine my anticipation when I saw the current poster and realised that the present band composition is indeed the classic Hero And Heroine line-up of Cousins, Lambert, Coombes, Hawken and Cronk!

    The Boardwalk in Sheffield is a classic rock pub/venue, big enough to house a couple of hundred dedicated fans (who chose to absent themselves from the England-Sweden match), but small enough to generate a powerful intimacy. What a treat - "Lay Down" as the opener and the haunting "Out In The Cold" with that crisp, melodic Lambert guitar and then into an unbelievably powerful rendition of "Round And Round", with the growl of Hawken's Moog and (yes) Dave Cousins hitting those very high notes on the "round and round we go!!!" probably better than ever. The "Autumn" sequence was superb, closing out with "The Winter Long" - a personal favourite of mine for over 30 years. "Cold Steel" and a couple of other tracks from the Deja Fou album, "New World", "Hero And Heroine" and a reprise of "Round and Round". Electric Strawbs, indeed.

    Photos by Gerry O'Neill

    However the biggest treat of all was when the entire band left the stage and came up to the bar for a drink after the gig, and I got to meet and chat with all of the guys. My son is also a real fan of 70's classic rock, and had been listening to my Strawbs albums for the past couple of months, and couldn't believe that the band were so accessible and "really nice guys".

    I managed to get a few photographs of the band in action, and attach them here for your interest. I also want to say that I have only just discovered your website, and it is a superbly executed and designed repository for everything to do with the band. I would be delighted if you wished to include one or two of the above photos as a part of the record of Tuesday night's gig. [Happy to Gerry - DG]

    I will now spread the word to other friends whom I know were fans of the Strawbs, and I will be looking out for future performances (acoustic or electric) in the region.

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