Blues Venues 1 – The Wrotham Arms, Broadstairs
Blues musicians often appear in the biggest of venues (though perhaps not often enough). Yet it is pubs, clubs, and bars that provide the bread and butter income for most performers. So, Blues Matters salutes these often unheralded homes of the Blues, starting with The Wrotham Arms.
It is also appropriate that we’ve chosen Broadstairs as a location, as it is definitely one of the most Blues-friendly places in the UK. Broadstairs sees its regular “Blues Bash” event, which brings a whole series of great acts to the town, headlined this year by The Blues Band, take place between 22nd and 24th February 2013.
The Wrotham Arms isn’t very big. If a popular act appears, standing, squeezing in and indeed sitting a few inches from the lead singers knees may be necessary. Or, to put it another way, this is the definitive, proper live music experience. A lot of popular acts do appear at the venue. That massive Blues voice Nicky Moore appeared in January 2013 for his debut gig as a duo with accomplished guitarist Danny Kyle ahead of the launch of their excellent new album “The Whale and the Waah” (I’ve heard it and excellent it certainly is). More? Nigel Bagge, Roy Mette and Del Bromham have made appearances at The Wrotham Arms. Acts lined up include a double header of Andy “Blues Boogie Machine” Twyman and the distinctly different and at times frantic master of the loop pedal, Funke and The Two Tone Baby (12th March), and others such as Bob Hall and Dave Peabody (12th February) and Robin Bibi and Tony Martin (16th April).
Jackie Lawson, the landlady of the Wrotham Arms, told us that for the Moore-Kyle duo gig “the pub was full and everyone really enjoyed the show.” Asked for her personal favourite act that has played her pub, Jackie chose Wille and the Bandits. I saw the fast rising Blues songstress Jo Harman (pictured) play there, giving another packed house a terrific night just before she set off to Holland to support the legendary Don McLean.
That is the kind of thing you can see in pubs around the country. Acts on the rise, acts sharpening their show before going on to bigger venues, and artists who for all their fame like playing in more intimate settings still. So, check out what’s on at places like The Wrotham Arms near you.
Wrotham Arms website here http://www.shepherdneame.co.uk/pubs/broadstairs/wrotham-arms
Broadstairs Blues Bash website here http://www.broadstairsbluesbash.com