What better way to spend a Bank Holiday than listening to live music in a delightful pub
This weekend sees a four day music and entertainment festival hit the Plough in Ealing. The event, Ploughfest, was organised by TJ Shipton to raise money and awareness for Cystic Fibrosis Trust. Friday night was retro video game night. A Mario Kart 64 tournament was organised, contestants paid to enter and all the money went to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. Saturday and Sunday see local bands take to the stage for two days live music, and Monday is family day and movie night.
Saturday got under way thanks to TJ’s Dad Russ Shipton, with a set of dextrously finger picked and strummed classics. Neil Young’s Old Man rubbed shoulders with Simon and Garfunkel, Elvis, but the real stars of the set were when TJ joined his Dad and they covered Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here and B-52’s surreally infectious Rock Lobster. After his set, there was a brief interlude and Chris Sagan took to the stage. Sagan sit somewhere between Bruce Springsteen’s descriptions of ‘real life’ problems and more traditional English singer songwriters. The majority of the set was made up of his own acoustic compositions, but halfway through his set, Sagan was joined by the rest of the Chris Sagan Project. This is when the set went up a gear and a few covers entered the set. The most notable, was a Muse cover that closed the set. During this cover, Sagan showed us the power and clarity of his voice. The audience was notably impressed and gave the biggest applause of the day so far.
Next up was Two Hands. Everyone here at thisyearinmusic has had a privilege of witnessing Two Hand from their inception to where they are now. Their brand of heavy rhythmic rock gives you faith in the genres future. Instead of trying to pander to the get rich quick band of pop stars and flavour of the month genres, Two Hands have delivered one exceptional EP this year and there is a rumour of another. Their set was peppered with these songs. Waiting kicked things off, Barley Know You follow suit and by Breathe the crowd was in the palm of their collective hands. Stand out track Follow got the loudest reaction. However the most remarkable thing about their set was that drummer Chris Keeling performed with one hand strapped to his shoulder. The fact that you couldn’t tell he was impaired is testament not only to his talent, but the classic ‘show must go on’ attitude that the band possess. The night was rounded off by Du Bellows. This local quartet showed that Ealing’s tradition for blues influenced rock is still alive and well. Over the past few years they have won praise from the likes of Classic Rock to Jimmy Page. Their set was full of songs of love, rejection and redemption. Opening track Burn, is one that many fans thought they’d never hear live again. When it started looks of excitement and disbelief were passed among the crowd. Jack and His Queen followed, another fan favourite. The star of the show was Isa Du Bellows. During this track the band looked at ease and in control of not only their destiny, but the destiny of the massed audience. Three Steps started off ethereal and wispy, thanks to Jade Williams’ delicious vocals, but it was when the rhythm section combined that the song really took off. At the end of the set Du Bellows had nothing left to give and audience knew they had witnessed something special.
The first day of Ploughfest has been a relatively smooth affair, sadly day two didn’t run a smoothly. The weather wasn’t a pleasant, and dry, as the previous day, but that didn’t stop people having a good time. The main setback was penultimate band Jingo were unable to attend due to unforeseen circumstances, but luckily their slot was filled by Francis Gahan. His gravelly vocalled set really resonated with the collected crowd. The day was closed by Hanwell heroes The Chairs. Frontman Martin Bonner had been present on the previous day, and was helping fun the stage all day. Although his vocals were slightly tired and frazzled, due to organising and orchestrating the day, it really worked with their brand of blues based rock and roll. Their set, which consisted of tracks culled from their aberrant debut EP. Bluesy Song, Hands and Knees, Pendulum, Black and White and Pure Sleeze all got a workout. As with all sets there was a technical hitch when guitars became untuned during Pure. But considering how intricate the guitar work was, it was always going to happen. As with all Chairs sets there were some covers. Francis Gahan joined Bonner and Co. for a rendition of Sam Cooke’s classic Bring it on Home to Me. The juxtaposition between Bonner’s throaty and Gahan’s raspy vocals gave the song a new light and meaning. Next up was Frankie Valli’s Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, the crowed joined in with the rousing chorus. What’s the Sound ended the set and hour after it started. The outro was so powerful drummer Krys Szymanski fell off his stool to riotous laughter and universal acclaim. The second day had drawn to a close. Compared to day one it had been a slightly calamitous affair, but the day should be judged on the power of the music and the crowd’s enjoyment. Everyone left with a smile and one lucky lady left engaged to her partner.
Today Ploughfest concludes, with live jazz, the raffle and a Back to the Future marathon. So if you are in the Ealing area, and fancy either a delicious Sunday lunch, listening to some enjoyable jazz and watching a classic trilogy, then get on down to the Plough, have fun and give some money to a worthwhile cause.