Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Rachel Rimmer / The Black Apples / Ant Mayer / Remo & Rob Davies @ Granville's, Stone. By Steve Dean

Granville's excellent Live Lounge at Stone played host to a wealth of local talent last Sunday, and with two stages ensuring minimum waiting time between acts, we managed to see five performances, although we were unable to stay for the entire evening. A charity event in aid of the Nightingale House Hospice, organiser Samantha Vaughan never looked less than absolutely delighted to announce her guests and first up after we arrived was able chanteuse Rachel Rimmer and her stylish backing trio. The lounge setting seemed ideal for her laid-back jazzy style, putting one in mind of Cleo Laine in places, although her frequent voice modulations suggested a personal appreciation of Whitney Houston's vocal gymnastics.

Immediately following, The Black Apples' no-nonsense brand of blues/rock set an upbeat and furious tempo from the very start. Mixing standards with their own compositions, their exhilarating version of Rollin’ and Tumblin’ thundered along at a frenetic pace and folk were soon bopping appreciatively to their raunchy tune.

Singer/songwriter Ant Mayer sung and played his acoustic guitar with real passion and his version of Ray Davies' 'Dead End Street', the trumpet parts sung as well, was a delight.

Nemo's infectious brand of good-time pop/rock made for an enjoyable set as they leapt about practically non-stop from the outset. A very visual act, gangster-besuited front man Andy Harrison's almost demented antics made for much audience merriment.

Accomplished picker Rob Davies, the last act before we departed, played some impressive guitar as he sang his self-penned tunes and my only real criticism is that maybe his lyrics could be a little more inspired, but this is minor carping about a talent that should see real success in the not-too-distant future.

North Staffordshire has much to offer music-wise and last Sunday, Granville's was certainly the place to see it.

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