I went to the Jazz and Blues Weekend Festival in Blackpool last weekend held at The Winter Gardens. It was a free event, all for charity and jam packed full of very talented singers, songwriters and musicians. I’m not a jazz fan, I’m more into the blues, and never understood why they heap the two together. I don’t see the connection, they’re not the least bit alike. Still, I can appreciate and enjoy most kinds of music. My husband, who is not into music per se, and has chronic pain issues, sometimes needs to read to distract from that pain. He sat and read a book on inventions and science for the whole time and got some funny looks from po faced ‘serious’ jazz fans. How can you sit and read while these ‘cool’ musicians do a jazz version of ‘Tainted Love? It just looked odd to them I suppose. If they had the back story, I’m sure they would have understood.
I’d been listening for jazz for maybe two hours, when I realised I was in need of a bit of fresh air from the seriousness of it all. MACDONALDS, a perfect antidote. I just needed a bit of meat to counteract a Sunday morning hangover, which, unusually, this day, went on until 5 p.m. Ordered two no frills burgers, but was scandalised by the size of the dill pickle, which was about the size of a half penny and you have to be old and British to know what a half penny is. It would make you cry if you were a fan of dill pickle and saw the size of it.
So, burger break and then back to the blues festival and then I realised I had to get back home for role playing at seven. You know, like Dungeons and Dragons, but much better than that, as we’ve moved on from the 80’s stuff, honest, well, some of us have. I wanted to stay at the festival, hadn’t realised how good it was going to be and hadn’t realised it was on until 10p.m.
I had just had my senses assailed by the amazing Mickey Van Gelder and Pat Clarke. Pat Clarke. Oh, what that man can’t do with a harmonica! I wanted to stay so bad, harmonicas aside. However, I knew I had to honour my prior commitments. So, we were watching the wonderful Lauren Dalrymple, and, embarressingly, had to walk out in the middle of her set, which was at the more intimate Baronial Hall on the Sunday evening. I thought to myself, if role playing is cancelled, I’ll head straight back into town and hopefully, catch the finale!
We went home and discovered that roleplaying had indeed been cancelled. I got changed, headed back into town and managed to catch the awesome blues finale in the Spanish ballroom. Nick Unlimited were like a heavy bluesy Status Quo, with a bit of Manfred Mann and The Kinks thrown in.
There were kids running around, dancing like crazy, a really full on family atmosphere. I preferred that in some ways to the serious Soul Jazz going on in the other hall, with not a sound, a movement, or a muscle twitch going on. Both atmospheres had their attractions though.
A lot of the musicians, the cream of the festivals crop, went on to a local live jazz/blues/rock nightclub for the after show party. This is when you see passions burst forth with some really good performances. What fascinates me most about these kind of musicians, is the way they flit from instrument to instrument when they are jamming. They sashay from lead guitar, to bass, to keyboard, to percussion. It seems a bit slutty, but you can’t deny their versatility. It’s admirable. The musicians never seem to get drunk, or tired, or want to go home. These guys are really into the music, they feel it, love it and live it.