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Knockin on heavens door in the midnight hour?!?

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There comes a time when you have to put your own musical tastes to one side and rely on the musical tastes of others. That day came yesterday where the Leeds Instrumental Gig group got to grips with Wilson Picketts ‘Midnight Hour’ – requested by ‘Sax Man John Munro’ and Guns and Roses ‘Knockin on Heavens Door’ – requested by ‘WPA’s Guitar Powerhouse – Mark Longley’.

When the songs were suggested, I realised that my Mum and Dad probably grooved along to Wilson and my friends at school with their bandanas and leather/denim mix apparel were rocking out to G&R – as I played football…..! TBH, I wasn’t looking forward to doing these ‘iconic’ tracks as they aren’t my ‘go to’ types of music. That was about to change….

The group welcomed two new people along yesterday, Steven Leach – Guitarist and Vox; Kate Adamson – Vox – and combined with Piano Man Adrian Wales, Adrian Burns – guitarist and vox, Steve ‘ex-punk’ Morris on bass, me on drums, CAJ and Voxy Lady Lisa Dickinson on Vox – we had the FULL BAND IN PLACE to give it a shot!

As the afternoon went on, the dynamic of the group was changing as we got more confident with the songs. At one point, all vocalist were doing a dance routine, Steve and Steve were reminiscent of Parfitt and Rossi, Sax Man’s foot was doing ten to the dozen and we HAD A GROOVE ON!!!

What I learned from yesterday is this. It’s not about the songs, it’s about doing something as a collective and seeing/hearing/feeling it get better and better as time goes on. The feeling you get when it starts to sound good is immense and as we got more comfortable with each other, the structure of the songs – something magical started to happen – it got better and better and better.

I started to get into it…….it was a shame when we got to 4pm………….but the feedback has been great. Reviews of the 5 STAR nature on Facebook – can’t ask for more. Business networking groups in Leeds have just changed.

If you want to come along and have a business networking experience like no other – get in touch – nick@letsgoinstrumental.co.uk

 

 

Gig tickets

NETGIG – business networking just changed

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On 24/5 Caroline and I were very proud to have launched our first NETGIG. Business networking events around 10 years ago in the Leeds areas were fresh and exciting, 10 years later they have become stale so here at Instrumental we decided to do something about it and launched NETGIG – a different type of networking experience.

Our philosophy is that if you can share an ‘experience’ with another person then your relationship with that person accelerates. So on that basis we created an event where our clients at the event could engage in sharing experiences where they stepped out of their comfort zone to do things like ‘Beat the Drummer’ and ‘Karaoke Roulette’ along with taking in some unique performances from Adrian Burns (performed two of his own tracks acoustically), Haworth Ward-Drummond (performed two of his own tracks acoustically with the TC Helicon Voicelive 3 which sounded immense) and finally Adrian Wales, pianist, accompanied myself to perform a track called Gonna Sin.

The feedback from the event has been amazing. Clare Downham and Michael Goddard REALLY got into it – it’s amazing when you have a microphone thrust into your hand what it does to a person! They described the vent as great FUN and something they have ever experienced before.

We now have a compete schedule of NetGigs lined up over the next few months with the next one held on 19/7/17.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/netgig-tickets-35169310354?aff=erelpanelorg

Like I said, Business Networking has just changed. Do you want to experience it???

NEW MEMBERS!!

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Caroline and I would like to welcome our new members to Instrumental.

Adrian Wales – PIANO

Lisa Dickinson – Vocals

Instrumental

Mark Longley – Lead Guitar

Instrumental

Thanks guys and look forward to continuing to perform with you at future events!

Thinking about MANCHESTER

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Absolutely terrible what happened in Manchester last night. Reports are saying it was a terrorist act. Listening on the news this morning one ‘specialist’ commented that ‘terrorists aren’t bothered about whether its mums, dads, kids – they are interested in numbers body bags.’

The Mayor of Manchester commented that ‘the strength of Manchester’ will prevail. We all know that the Manchester music scene was a source of inspiration, delight, unity, creating a movement that lasted and still stands the test of time. Bands like Oasis, Stone Roses, Inspiral Carpets – to name but a few – still echo from the speakers of music lovers from generations of yesteryear and their children.

You’ll come back – stronger – Manchester, reinvigorated, vigilant, passionate and stronger for this atrocious experience. Hearts go out to all the families who are suffering as a result of this wicked, insensitive act.

In tribute to all who are suffering, thinking about, helped out, provided lifts, accommodation, shed tears now and in the coming days, this track is for you.

FEEL FREE TO SHARE AND ADD A TRACK FOR MANCHESTER!

#backstronger

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbU7oVz0Uq0

Feeling S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-D today! by Nick Hill

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Wednesday’s session stretched us, more than a bit. With the absence of bass and sax, kudos to Mark and Adrian (guitarists) who stepped up to give it a go on the bass! It meant that some of the songs were played with a different dynamic, particularly ‘Valerie’ where the output was more groove driven, sounded nice and gave the singers an opportunity to slow down and sing with purpose with more ‘space’ in the sound to be heard. It was in this space that the term ‘aggressive singing’ was born – you had to be there!

Working in a group requires flexibility and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. I think by the end of the session we had done just that and found a different way of working together – still in an enjoyable way…….

Thanks to all who shared this experience. We’ll do it again in 2 weeks!!

She’s BACK by John Munro ‘aka’ Sax Man

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Tina and her Ikettes, Martha and her Vandellas, Diana and her Supremes – forget them all; here at Instrumental we have our very own Caroline and her Instrumentalettes.  After an enforced absence due to a jet-ski accident (!) Caroline was back for our latest Instrumental rehearsal.  Back with Caroline were Lisa and Chrissie, and newbie vocalist Sarah – good to see the vocal  line up back to full strength.  Supporting the girls we had Adrian and Mark on guitar, Adrian W. on keyboards, my mate Rod on bass and of course, our very own musical Svengali, drummer, guitarist and vocalist, Nick.

This week’s tune was The Zutons’ “Valerie” written by their lead singer Dave McCabe; we were playing the better known version, I guess, as covered by the late Amy Winehouse playing with Mark Ronson.  The song is in Eflat major – hurrah!! This puts it into Fmajor for us Bflat instruments and F is an easy straightforward key to play – only one accidental, Bflat – so no need to hammer all the side keys.  Woohoo!  Nick however likes to keep the “complimentary” instruments on their toes and so he changed the key to suit the guitars and took it up to E, so good old F# for the tenor sax with six sharps.  Given that a lot of rock music is in E to suit the strummers, F# looks like becoming a ‘favorite’ key, and I have added it to my list of regular practice scales and arpeggios. As long as it’s a 4:4 time signature, I’ll be good.

As usual we started with a vocal warmup for the benefit of the I’lettes – I think it might also be a nice idea to warm up the instruments by repeating the 12 bar blues improv which we did last time – Hi Nick!  Then it was into the first run through of Valerie.  Given that at the first rehearsal I attended, it took us all afternoon to get to a reasonable standard on “Every Breath you Take”, we had Valerie nailed on by the half way mark.  It is not a particularly complicated song and it is great fun for the horn section – me! – and easy.  As the “pre-chorus” starts and Amy sings “Cause sinceI’ve come home…..” the horn section play swells on B, then A#, repeats on the next line, and then the swells build in volume on the third line B to A# and crescendo on C#.  Then as the chorus proper – a very simple repition of “Valerie” – the horns kick in with a straightforward riff F#, G# A# against the strummers’ E chord and G#, A# B against their A chord.

After a quick networking break – the purpose of the Instrumental rehearsals is not just to have a fun three hours rocking your socks off but to provide an opportunity to network with other businesses – we reconvened and played through our growing setlist.  OK, it is only 5 songs but it is growing steadily.  We went back over Every Breath and gave Valerie a few more run throughs and finished with a couple of storming versions of Candi Staton’s “You got the love”.  It was a really good session; definitely more satisfying to be able to play a few different songs rather than sticking to just one.

At the end of the rehearsal it was great to hear that both Chrissie and Mark have signed up as full members so our merry band continues to grow.  Musically we improve with every rehearsal – I think a tour beckons, maybe in the autumn.

Easter Blues by John Munro aka ‘Sax Man’

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First up. Apologies for delay in getting this out, real work interfered, how dare it, and I have been busy writing and checking copy for our new Safeguarding website.

With Easter school holidays still on, our numbers on Wednesday were a little depleted – and thanks to a jet ski accident our lovely resident diva Caroline was stuck at home with a badly bruised leg. Hope you make a full recovery soon, Caroline – we missed you!!  Nick did offer hugs but it’s not quite the same and I don’t think he had too many takers………

Anyway, on with the music.  This session, Nick decided to go back and repeat a couple of tunes which we had played before – Police’s “Every Breath You Take” and from last session Candi Staton’s “You Got the Love”.  Usually we start our sessions with a vocal warm-up for the benefit of the singers but with Caroline at home and our other vocalists on holiday or away on business, we skipped this and instead launched into an instrumental 12 bar blues warm-up.  I do a lot of improvisation practice at home with a 12 bar blues backing track but my track is in Bflat so that I can improvise in the key of C – easy with no accidentals.  Nick announced the key as E (easy for the guitarists) but this means F# for Bflat instruments – it’s an awful key to play in, 6 sharps; still ,gives the side keys a good workout.  The 12 bar blues was fun; I’m a huge blues fan and this was great fun to do – hope we do this every session…….even in F# 😊

Onto the real business of the day – rehearsing our setlist, or at least the first half of it.  With no vocalists, it was a challenge to always know where we were in the songs; Adrian bravely took a few turns on vocals, and Nick did a bit of a Phil Collins on drums and vocals (fortunately I wasn’t called upon!).

‘Every Breath’ worked well – it sounded better and better as the afternoon wore on.  I had transcribed the vocal for the tenor – this was in B major, not as bad as F# – only five sharps – and basically I played an echo to the first two vocal lines D# E D# C# B B – nice little riff – and then played a pattern of swells on the third line E, F# and down to B.  This pattern worked well for the verses; for the bridge “Oh can;t you see…” I simply played little snippets of the vocal – G# G# F# B D# and B G# B G# and that seemed to work also.

We revisited Candi Station from last time but without the girls belting out the vocals, and with Nick’s Dad filling in on bass, it didn’t quite gel as well.  Still had fun on the bridge and it was a good workout; realised my solo needs a bit of work as I could only remember first 4 notes and my improvisation in absence of the solo was pretty pants.

After the rip roaring rehearsal last time around, with full band, trio of singers and the PR photographers snapping our every move, this was a more workmanlike rehearsal. I’ll still take it any day over death by PowerPoint in some anonymous conference room.

This week my Canadian sax hero Johnny Ferreira released a new sax lesson with backing track for that great 50s jump blues classic, “The Honeydripper “. Covered by loads of great sax players including my fave King Curtis, Johnny does a great version. Turn it up to 11 and you should be bopping round the room after the first 12 bars.

ps: Word has it we’ll be covering “Valerie” in next session, and Caroline will be back!!

You got the love, oh yeh you do! By John Munro aka ‘Sax Man’

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Well after my confrontation with Wonderwall at the last rehearsal, I wasn’t wildly enthusiastic about this week’s choice of tune – Candi Staton You got the love.  In my distant youth, Candi was one of those “disco” artists who used to appear on Top of the Pops and had to be endured in the hope that Status Quo might be on next.  Nick assured me however that there was actually a sax part on it so grounds for optimism!

A quick search on YouTube and I found Candi live at Glastonbury and on stage she had a little horn section – trumpet and tenor sax – and sure enough, at 2:14 on the track the horn section kick in with a lovely little soul riff – Dooo, Doobey Do, Doo, Do, Doo – and repeat.  I think it even starts on the beat – deep joy for yours truly (I can count 4:4 and on the beat – anything more complicated gets difficult) so this was all splendid ………. until Nick came to see me Tuesday first, to help me work on my ‘elevator pitch’ for Globocol Ltd (“Buy our stuff, it’s really great” doesn’t seem to be cutting it?!) and second, to tell me that the Glastonbury version was not the right one.

First part went really well – if you struggle with encapsulating your business in 30 seconds, talk to Nick!  Second part was a test of Nick’s patience; him picking out “You got the love” on our piano and singing a riff, me trying to follow along and play said riff and finding 100 different ways to not get it right – the shadow of Wonderwall loomed large!  Nick’s riff was based on an original ‘garage’ track called “Your love” by a chap called Frankie Knuckles, on which the Candi Staton single was based.  When we eventually tracked down the YouTube track, the so-called saxophone sounds more like a kazoo – see 4:21 on the track.  Eventually, before Nick lost patience completely we agreed to record Nick’s piano and vocal on my phone and for me to then practice, and then practice some more.

That was Tuesday – Wednesday was show time!  This time, a good friend of mine, Rod Swailes, joined us; Rod is retired now but still plays bass with “Rocky Table” – a rock band which he formed many years ago when we were both in Round Table.   We had Adrian back on rhythm guitar, and 4 new faces – Lisa and Sharon on Vocals with Caroline, Adrian “Keys” on keyboards – a first appearance for the keyboard and very welcome addition – Mark on lead guitar, and of course Nick on drums and leadership.  We also had a couple of photographers from John Steel photography doing PR photos, some of which are now out on the Facebook site – check them out – all very rock’n’roll.

Our version was to be in E minor (or F# minor for the Bflat tenor sax – so F#, G#, A, B, C#, D, E and just F#, A, B, c# and E for the pentatonic).  The bass line in the song is really critical – the bass plays a little lick GGG EE again and again through the song and it provided a hook for me; as Rod hit the first E, I played a “swell” on F# and then finished with a couple of “stabs” on A.  This worked really well and saved me counting – I was able to rely on Rod – cheers bud!

After three verses, Nick had penned in a little instrumental break – a 16 bar progression up the scale – E /// to G /// to A / to B / to C / to D / and repeat and this is where I think our group finally found it’s mojo.  On the YouTube versions the instrumental breaks are all fairly insipid; not with us, Adrian doesn’t do insipid.  He saw his chance and took it – storming rocking chords from E up to D on his Fender.  I followed along with my transposed version F# A B C# D E.  The girls then joined in the fun singing two verses over the same chord progression. Suddenly our 80s disco dance tune was ROCKIN!.