Archives: November 18, 2023

GONDOLAS sail into Warrington

HMV Warrington welcomed the band GONDOLAS last Saturday ( 11th Nov 2023 ) for their live music showcase and they turned out to be a great outfit , although they were undoubtedly held up by the dreadful Winwick Rd traffic, they were worth the wait and when the band bundled in they were already behind the curve, but fair play to them because with their scaled down kit they were up and running in 10 mins!. 

Although I had heard of them in name only, this was my first time of seeing them live and they came highly recommended by fellow music writer Janet Harding who has vast experience of many live and local bands, but for the reader who may be unaware GONDOLAS ,who formed in 2022 are:

Irish brothers Ben on lead vocals and rhythm guitar and Chris on lead guitar, long-time friend Rosh on bass, and local Waringtonian Jacques on drums, and (straight from their press kit) they describe themselves as ‘a fiery 4-piece from Liverpool that deliver dirty distorted indie punk straight to your face’  via an electrifying show. Ok, they might struggle to replicate that in a brightly lit HMV store on a wet Saturday afternoon in Warrington, where curious onlookers browse the aisles for early Christmas presents, but music lovers can see well beyond that can’t we?

GONDOLAS state their musical influences are derived from noughties garage rock such as The Strokes and The Hives, with modern post-punk such as Fontaines D.C in the mix .Musically this type of guitar-driven indie form is a well trodden path, particularly in Northern Ireland with it’s Undertones heritage. But, it is a very successful formula and the cheerful, feel good nature of GONDOLAS songs and Ben’s extremely positive attitude ‘just for the craic’ makes this a joyful experience ( can I bottle that? ) . Don’t let the ‘formed in 2022’  tag fool you, this outfit can really play……. very well and are massively confident, so when I get the chance to interview them I’m certain I will unravel their musical journey!  I was very disappointed to leave after just two and half songs. However, after all these years I like to think I can recognise a good tune and I’m certain GONDOLAS have them in heaps.  

Readers can check them out now on Spotify where you will hear singles  ‘Swing And A Miss’, ‘Never Ends’ and ‘Keep In Mind’ which have all garnered thousands of listeners, streams and followers to their social media pages from all over the world, as well as support from BBC Introducing and if you like their sound why not zip along to their next headline show at The Jacaranda in Liverpool on the 25th of November where they will also launch their new single ‘Isn’t That Great’ which will be released on all platforms on the 20th of November. 4 singles since 2022, now that is hard work! Well done and I hope I can be at the performance.

‘When Rivers Meet’ – you can expect to rock!

Morning folks, the pace is picking up now and the social media sites are getting busier, have you followed us yet?

Facebook – , Tik-tok – , Instagram – @unsignedhub.com_uk

It would be awesome if you could check in , especially the new ‘Venues and Reviews’ slot on Tik-Tok , they might look a bit rustic at the moment but they will get better – don’t forget to like them and give us a follow . We support all the Arts, particularly live music , new music and grassroots venues . After all that’s where the seeds are sown!

In the meantime we commissioned independent local music writer – Janet Harding to review the E.P from the Blues/ Rock band ‘ When Rivers Meet’ , we love them, but it’s good to get another perspective and Janet writes this in her own inimitable style , here you go :

Essex based, formed in 2016, husband and wife blues rock duo, When Rivers Meet, are Grace Bond – vocals, mandolin, and Aaron Bond – vocals, guitar.

This multi award winning powerhouse of a band genuinely needs to be listened to, whether blues is your thing or not, it’s a given you will be wowed by the sounds created by this all encompassing and musically explosive band. An amalgamation of the obvious blues and rock but with aspects of country, vintage jazz and often times – the retro gospel feel and glimmers of an almost psychedelic influence can be detected; powerful, very strong vocals and stunning slide strings are amongst a whole host of sounds, a multi faceted creation that is quite honestly mind blowing.

This EP collection starts as it means to go on – hits you from the first song – powerful, rousing, uplifting and utterly enchanting from the off and this is a theme which continues throughout. Mesmerising, bewitching and beguiling with real solid blues at its heart; evocative atmosphere wrapped around every song that transports us elsewhere. Exquisite rock kicks in and there’s the most encompassing Americana essence and feel that is seamlessly woven throughout. Each song takes us on a journey, alternating from heartfelt and emotive to moving, stirring and inspiring. The vocal is nothing short of incredible; Grace has a staggering range which seems effortless; a richness with honey tones but textural and a volume that extends out and reaches us from within each song. Aaron’s vocal is earthy, full, raspy and characterful. It adds another dimension; it brings that vintage feel; the combination of male and female vocals works brilliantly.

The haunting vintage sounds of ‘Free Man’ – Up-tempo with sweltering feels of Americana which conjure up images of sweeping dustlands and hazy days. There’s a country rock undercurrent which hooks you, pulling you in and keeping you there until its end.

‘Kill for your Love’ is a masterpiece; really heady, ‘down by the Mississippi River’ feels throughout this track, siren-like in its beguiling and fascinating sounds, almost cathartic and magical feeling. We could be deep in the bayou.

‘A dead man doesn’t talk’ is another atmospheric wonder; an entire feeling or essence is created; a soulful or melancholy sound but with a spirited heart and a brightness within; intense.

My personal favourite from this EP collection is ‘Innocence of youth’. It’s real old style blues, that ‘days gone by’, authentic sound. I get slight gospel feels, dust bowl, depression era Americana type feels; totally immersive; really captures the blues. The vintage or retro sounds are incredible!

When Rivers Meet – The EP collection

The Uprising EP

1.Free Man

2.Like what you see


4.Kill for your love

Innocence of Youth

5.Innocence of Youth

6.A dead man doesn’t lie

7.My Babe says that he loves me.


9.Want your love

Huge thanks to Janet , why not pop along to and have a look yourself folks .

Meet The Ambersons

Following a sell out gig at The Irish Club on Orford Lane I caught up with popular Warrington band ‘The Ambersons’ for a chat about their forthcoming event on December 1st at The Pyramid & Parr Hall Studio Centre. 

I have seen the band perform several times but during a busy summer of venues and reviews I didn’t manage to track them down, so the opportunity to meet up with one of the founder band members – Andy Fairnington at The Cheshire Cheese pub was perfect timing. However, prior to discussing the new show I wanted to take a brief step back in time and hear how The Ambersons began.

The original 4 piece band formed in 2006 and had a very successful run up till 2013 and were signed by Manchester Independent label ‘Spiral Scope’. Taking their musical influences from the likes of Super Furry Animals, Blur and the Beatles they proved very popular all over the country and drew the attention of Chrysalis Records USA,  but sadly they didn’t manage to clinch the deal. This would have been deflating for any band and having chased the dream so hard they decided to take a break from performing in 2014, although the creative songwriting and studio sessions continued.

Roll forward to 2018 and after a few changes to the line up they came back re-charged as a six piece and are no longer ‘chasing the dream’  but enjoying the journey instead. The band are:

Andy Fairnington – Bass and Songwriter.

Ben Ashton – Lead Guitar and Songwriter.

Phil Bond  – Rhythm Guitar.

Richard Dowling – Keyboards.

Rick McLaughlin – Drums.

Midge Fairnington – Lead Vocals.

and they are currently in rehearsals for their one night show. With support from Culture Warrington it promises to be a musical extravaganza of electro acoustic/electric songs accompanied by a string and brass section, and with a catalogue of 60 songs and some familiar covers to choose from it really is something to look forward to. Tickets are selling well but with a generous ticket donation by the band to the Room at the Inn, The Salvation Army and Pathways to Recovery, I would book them now before it sells out and they can be purchased at the following link:

In the meantime you can follow The Ambersons on Facebook and Instagram.

Sorry , Iv’e been away!!

Nothing serious readers , just super busy since I launched this simple blog earlier in the year. I suppose it’s a great opportunity to reflect anyway and get my house in order so what have I been up to over the last 6 months?

Why not start by refreshing my memory . In June the editor of the @WarringtonWorldwideMagazine asked me if I fancied writing the local music column……………………………are you kidding!! What an opportunity for a musician who loves to write, take a few photos and talk to people. I suppose landing the voluntary gig in Summer was perfect as I had to quickly review 6 local festivals, watch many bands including some big names, speak to artists, writers and photographers and have met some wonderful people, all on the back of a quick conversation in a park on a blustery Saturday morning!! So before I move on, massive thanks to the editor for giving me the chance to write and review and more important allowing me to continue!! It really is a fantastic job, and even 20 articles later it’s never classed as work if you love doing it. I don’t think I would have got around the gigs so much without your help and approval. Cheers mate.

So what is then? That’s me, on my own and I clearly have a passion for the Arts. I really like to see people develop their talents – be it music, art, photography or performing in any other way, so I am keen to shout that from the rooftops and will broadcast the message in whatever way I can. Someone asked “do I get paid”? The answer is really quite simple – I will always post a free blog review or post on Facebook if I am on a guest list or sent material , but if any unsigned artist wants to pursue it further I can offer P.R services at very reasonable rates . The clue is in the name – Unsigned.…. I know all too well how much P.R can cost and having been there myself my rates will always be highly competitive, I really want the artist to succeed and know P.R is a drain on very limited funds.

However , at this very early stage it’s been about making contacts, establishing subscriptions, meeting people and creating platforms and accounts, but it has been a real eye opener. Even in my local town of #Warrington there are so many artists performing, painting, writing and reciting day in-day out, and I’m only scratching the surface on my own doorstep! The Facebook account is slowly ticking along but I’m finding it more useful for communication to be honest and the Instagram account @unsignedhub.com_uk is good for pics , but the new Tik-Tok account seems to be the way forward . Following a trial post with a review of the reformed @warringtonbluesclub it got nearly 850 views overnight so why not give me a follow on Tik-Tok and watch out for my new ‘venues and reviews’ video shorts coming very soon.

Before I go I must take a moment to thank my lovely wife Clare for her patience and encouragement whilst I get this together. It can’t be easy seeing me flit off into the night to perform at a gig myself or do another review somewhere …………………………..although I think she secretly enjoys the peace xx

Thanks for checking in folks.