Friday, April 30, 2010

Manic Music Month

It's been another mad music month, lots of gigs and lots of chances to see bands play. Here's a round-up of some of the highlights:

Dan's Send-Off
The gig to see Dan off in style went even better than expected. Despite only a short time to get Haydn & Wayne up to speed with Charlie Savigar's songs I think they played really well. The vibe was great with people singing and clapping along and again we were told that our chemistry on stage was really good. It's a real sign of what will come when we have a regular band to back our duo act, it's certainly the most exciting thing I've worked on musically (and that's saying a lot!!) - so make sure you keep checking back for more news on this new act. I'm very pleased to say that Dan had a fabulous evening, all the acts played with gusto and gave him a great send off. As a bonus the ash cloud actually cleared enough to allow Dan to fly out to Cyprus on schedule, where he is currently getting a nice suntan apparently.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Charlie and I had been looking forward to this gig for ages and on Friday 23rd the day finally arrived. It was a really great gig at the Forum with a lot of songs from the new album (which we really like) and the best of the old and we enjoyed every minute. Their new drummer seemed to fit in really well and the atmosphere was great as always (the picture above says it all). We enjoyed it all the more after spending the previous day working on our own music and some new recordings, including mixing a live version of When The Snow Fell In Denver which was played during my radio interview on the 27th.

Oh, we got some great t-shirts too, which you might well see at a gig very soon.

Charlie and I took our duo to the Torriano in Kentish Town on Sunday 25th (it was nice to be doing our own gig so soon after seeing BRMC in Kentish Town) and had great fun playing. The gig itself was downstairs in a little area that had a great vibe and the audience were very into listening and supporting the acts. The night was run by David Studdert who kicked things off with one of his own songs. Our performance went really well and we also loved the little backstage area where the artists could chill out whilst still watching and supporting the other acts.

Backfire Cool - 12 Bar
Following on from the Torriano I made my way down to see another of David's nights at the 12 Bar Club near Tottenham Court Road. This is a venue with a real history of live music, although I'm not convinced it was ever a forge as the sign on the chimney says. The fireplace sure looks old, but it's far too small to be a forge I think! Anyway, I have to say it was a fantastic night of music and it would be unfair to pick single out any acts, so I'll save a review for another time. Suffice to say that the place was really rocking for a Monday night and David will be running nights there every month now.

Reach OnAir
On Tuesday night I was scheduled to appear on Lee Robson's radio show - Variety Hits - on Reach On Air. This didn't start too well as phone problems meant we couldn't actually talk to each other! However, things recovered and went a lot better when this was fixed. I must confess I could talk about my music for hours and it was great fun and a real privilege to be on Lee's show. We covered a lot of ground and actually played 5 of my solo and band tracks, one of Charlie's (Long Way Home, on which I am singing, but am not - very sadly - playing the gong!!) and finally the first recording of Charlie and me as a duo. We were very excited to have a live recording of us singing When The Snow Fell In Denver which we previewed on this show. If you tuned in we would love to hear what you thought. I'm also hoping that Lee managed to record the show, so you can all have a listen even if you couldn't tune in live.

Thanks again Lee! Your support over the last year has been really wonderful and, of course, if it hadn't been for the Faith! album, I would probably not be working with Charlie Savigar now, so we owe you a lot!

15 Minute Club
The week just got busier and busier as I headed to the Hoxton Pony on Wednesday to host the marvellous 15 Minute Club. I've written plenty about this in the past, so won't dwell too long. It's enough to say that it was an amazing night of up-and-coming original music in a really top London bar. All the acts who played were really good and really joined in the vibe of the night. It was wonderful to see Rae and Laurence down too, which really made the night special.

Unwrong Quiz
In a rare night off from playing or talking about my music, I popped along to Frog Morris & Marc Quinn's Unwrong Quiz at the Montague Arms last night. I won a clock that tells you the time (wrongly) by decorating my answers very nicely. I also really enjoyed the music from Less and Fred Lindberg.

Frog and Marc are taking the Unwrong Quiz to the Edinburgh Fringe in August, so if you are going, do look out for it.

This Happy Band
Despite the fact that my partner in crime - Charlie - is off for a break in New York this week, I will be picking up my guitar at least one more time... this Saturday I'll be in Brixton Market from about 2pm playing as part of the eclectic troubadours - This Happy Band. If you are in the area, come and find us - it will be a hoot!

Also, do come and see my band Callow Youth playing at the Elixir Bar on the 12th May. We promise a really tight and exciting set, so make sure you check us out.

There are also lots of exciting duo gigs coming up, which I'll write more about in my next post.

Bye for now!


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Exciting Times

There are quite a few exciting things happening behind the scenes: a new band, some new songs, gigs further afield in the UK and Europe and even a new guitar. But these are all for the future, in the present there are two really exciting musical projects to savour. Firstly my duo with Charlie Savigar is starting to attract attention and fans, we're expecting the crowd to continue to grow. Do come and check us out as soon as you can, there are lots of chances coming up (check on MySpace for a full list). Secondly my new band (Callow Youth) continues to get rave reviews and we're getting tighter all the time as we really start to know the songs, and get into the live vibe.

Here are the next three chances to hear me play, do come along to one or more!

Daren Callow & Charlie Savigar
Sunday 25th April, 8pm
The Torriano, 71-73, Torriano Avenue, London, NW5 2SG

Hosting 15 Minute Club (with a short set from Daren & Charlie)
Wednesday 28th April, 8pm
The Hoxton Pony, 104-108 Curtain Road, London, EC2A 3AH

Callow Youth (band featuring Haydn Callow, Wayne Myers and Charlie Savigar)
Wednesday 12th May, 8.30pm
Elixir Bar, 162 Eversholt Street, London, NW1 1BL

Catch you later,


Photo is from Charlie Savigar at the Camden Rock taken by Annelie Rosencrantz. Check out more pictures from this gig on Charlie's redesigned website:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Clear Skies

The sky is empty of planes today, a strange and ominous event. A reflection of the past or a prediction of the future?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Farewell to Daniel Joe

I've played a great many acoustic and open mic gigs over the last three years, and the largest number of them have been for Daniel Joe. He's been running nights at The Phoenix, Power's Bar and the Edinburgh Cellars (plus one or two short lived others) for about two years now. He's always been a patient host and sound engineer in the face of many many acts of varying quality. It's been really inspiring to see how he's championed and rebooked a number of acts who were prepared to play regularly and work hard on their sound and songs. So it's with some sadness that we have to say goodbye to him for about 6 months. As well as a promoter he's also a singer, guitarist and performer in his own right and is off to perform in Cyprus for 6 months over the Summer. I'm sure all the acts that have performed and developed their songs and performance at Dan's nights would like to thank him and say goodbye in style, and there are two really good chances to do that this week.

On Wednesday (14th April) it's the last of Dan's nights at the Powers Bar in Kilburn (details below), and then the really big one: The Phoenix on Sunday (18th April) when a really large number of Dan's acts will be doing a small turn to say farewell. Charlie Savigar and I will be performing at both, on Wednesday it will be our duo act (which is really starting to turn a few heads) and then on Sunday a unique and mouth-watering performance backed by Callow Youth (Haydn Callow & Wayne Myers) with a half hour set to round the evening off and send Dan off in style.

These are going to be really fun, and perhaps a little emotional, nights so do come along if you are free on one or both, and see some of the great acts that Dan has helped to develop and support these last two years.

Farewell from all of us Dan, have a fantastic time in Cyprus, and we'll see you for more gigs when you are back in England!

14th April 2010 from 7.30pm
Stripped Bare @ Powers Bar
332 Kilburn High Road, Kilburn, NW6 2QN

18th April 2010 from 7.00pm (lots of acts on this night!)
Stripped Bare @ The Phoenix
37 Cavendish Square, London, W1G OPP


Friday, April 09, 2010

Rock & Yoghurt

I'm still recovering from last night (tiredness only) and what a night it was! Looking forward to seeing some pictures, but in the meantime suffice to say that we totally rocked! Haydn (Callow) was on amazing form and the set is really starting to click now. Wayne and Charlie also played their parts very well, and it was gratifying to have a number of people come up and say how much they liked it. The evening also featured songs from Jude Cowan, Theo Morris and Dave Hill; a picture of me as an evil robot (!) and a performance that involved a striptease, a long green wig and yoghurt (I kid you not!). Top night.

More music to come this weekend (see post below) - Charlie Savigar at the Camden Rock 6pm Saturday, and Charlie and me live as a duo on Sunday at the Cavendish Arms (some time after 7:45pm) - come on down and join in the fun!


Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Three Of The Best

My dad doesn't really like my band's name: Callow Youth. His surname being Callow too and the phrase being much in use when he was younger it was used to tease him and he's not forgotten it. These days nobody much knows what it means, and for my own part the fact that it was used to describe Luke Skywalker in the novel of Star Wars actually made it rather cool. So hands up, who does know what the phrase "callow youth" means? (answer at the bottom of this post). Regardless of it's meaning the name tickles me as a moniker for my band. It's very useful that it has my name in it, but the "youth" part makes me laugh every time. Not that you'd know that we've been in one or two bands before this one, we all look so fresh faced!

I'm taking my band to the Montague Arms this Thursday (8th April) for one of Frog Morris's excellent cabaret nights. This month you can also expect to see a Voice Activated Drawing Machine, the singers Jude Cowan and Dave Hill, Charlotte Young and Dr. H. Notter giving a lecture on DNA cloning techniques and (as if that weren't enough) performance art from Alex Fear. All this, plus my kick ass rock band (Haydn Callow, Wayne Myers, Daren Callow & Charlie Savigar) all for £3! It's a seriously enjoyable night and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

There are actually 3 chances to hear me play / sing this week and the band gig is just the first. Secondly I will also be appearing as a backing singer for the Charlie Savigar band at Camden Rock on Saturday (10th April) as a part of the Camden Weekend - Charlie's songs are very catchy and feature really strong melodies and harmonies - her shows at the Cafe de Paris, The Troubadour and the Bull & Gate were all excellent and very well received and this one promises to be another great show, at the family friendly time of 6pm. Check out her recently recorded songs produced by Gregg Jackman on Last FM.

Thirdly Charlie and I will also be appearing in our spanking new duo on Sunday (11th April) at The Cavendish Arms. The duo act features a combination of the best of both of our songs presented in new acoustic arrangements, with harmony vocals and percussion, plus a few surprises. We're also writing new songs and previewing new material in the duo, so you should always hear something a bit different from our band shows. Charlie and I are really excited about this collaboration and I've been told that we have real chemistry on stage (by people who really should know better, ha ha) - so do come down and check us out. This show is free, so make the most of it!

So there you go, three good reasons to leave your house and venture out into music world this week. I should also mention that I'll be using my brand new TC Helicon VoiceLive 2 at all these shows and it adds an amazing sound that will really take your breath away. Here's all the details for you:

8th April 2010 - CALLOW YOUTH (feat. Charlie Savigar)
Frog Morris presents @ THE MONTAGUE ARMS, 289 Queens Rd, London, SE14 5JN

10th April 2010 - As part of the Charlie Savigar band
Camden Weekend @ The Camden Rock, 18 Kentish Town Road, NW1 9NX (6pm)

11th April 2010 - As a duo with Charlie Savigar
The Cavendish Arms, 128 Hartington Road, London, SW8 2HJ (7.30pm)

Looking forward to seeing you and playing for you very soon.


P.S. So what does "callow youth" mean? Naive and innocent youth. So who got it right?

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Meeting Bob Taylor

I've met a couple of legends of the music equipment world. I was really happy to get a signed poster of Jim Marshall OBE at a music show a few years back. Marshall amplifiers and speaker cabinets have virtually designed the way we hear and appreciate electric guitar today.

On Thursday I met a new kid on the block (relatively speaking) in the form of Robert Taylor of Taylor guitars. The event was a special Taylor presentation at Harrod's department store (some of you may have heard of it) and it was great fun to meet the man behind the guitars and try some of their new models. For those that don't know much about guitars, my acoustic guitar is a Taylor 210-E. It's one of those guitars that soundmen and audience love very much as it sounds great just plugged straight into the mixing desk. I've often loaned it to people who's guitars weren't working, or had broken a string mid-set and I've always enjoyed hearing how it sounds from the listener's point of view. It really is a great sounding guitar, and very inspiring for writing songs too as it also sounds great unplugged. Songs such as Lightkeeper and A Song About Pain were written on it, and sound at their very best played acoustically.

Charlie (Savigar) also has a Taylor guitar (see picture above, with Bob himself holding it) - a very beautiful Taylor SolidBody Classic in stunning purple flake. This is an electric guitar rather than an acoustic and it sounds great when she plays it with her band. According to the great man it is the very first one in that colour that they made, it's certainly a very special guitar. Charlie loves that colour so much that she is planning on getting an acoustic in the same purple sparkle! If you'd like to see and hear Charlie's Taylor then come along to the Camden Rock on Saturday 10th April - she's playing with her band at 6pm as part of the Camden Weekend.

I'd also like another Taylor guitar. They do some really fantastic sounding hybrid (both acoustic and electric) guitars and the one I'm after is the Taylor T5 - this amazing guitar will allow me to play both acoustic and electric sounds in the same song. It will be perfect for songs like Lightkeeper and When The Snow Fell In Denver which really need both sounds to be played at their best.

Until I have one though I'll just have to stick with my trusty Fender Telecaster (a very special guitar too) and you can hear this guitar in the flesh on Thursday 8th April with my band Callow Youth at the Montague Arms in New Cross.

See you there!