Introducing Weston’s legends
PUBLISHED: 10:26 08 March 2011
THE family and friends of a 36-year-old Weston woman who died of cancer have helped organise an event this month in her memory, which will be packed full of music from the town’s best-loved musicians.
Performing together under one roof for the first time – with the backdrop of the Grand Pier’s pavilion – will be The Cliff Moore Band, The Orphans, Eastertown and Evanfly.
Legends Of Weston is aiming to raise £20,000 for Weston Hospicecare, which cared for Michelle Page before she died in 2008.
Michelle, known as Shelly, developed non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2004, but following several years of gruelling treatment, the mum-of-one died at the Uphill-based hospice.
The event is the brainchild of Phil Havercroft and Steve Fowell (Evanfly) and was born out of Steve’s desire to give something substantial back to Weston Hospicecare after staff cared so humanely for his cousin Shelly.
All profits will go to the charity. Doors will open at 5.30pm on March 18 and tickets, priced £10 for standard entry and £20 for VIP, are available from the shop on the first floor of the pier and standard tickets are also available via www.grandpier.co.uk
◆ The Orphans would probably regard themselves as the longest-standing dysfunctional music ‘family’ to ever come out of Weston.
The exact date the band was formed and the origin of its name remains somewhat of a mystery, and when pressed on this matter, a hush descends as if you had asked the recipe for a particular type of southern fried chicken or the ingredients of a popular cola drink.
The 10-piece soul band currently consists of a backline of guitar, bass, drums and keyboards (Pete Lewis, Steve Colgan, Pete Roe), a brass section of baritone saxophone, tenor saxophone and trumpet (Alison Cooper, Phil, Rich Whiting) and a frontline of two female singers and one male (Joy Russell, Lorna Thomas, Gavin Cox).
During its long career the band has seen many changes and only a handful of original members now remain. But the music has stood the test of time.
The band may play down its musical proficiency but its interpretation of soul music has taken it far and wide on the gig circuit and seen it play for, and alongside, Anna Freda of Abba, Slade, Bad Manners, David Essex, Michaela Strachaen, Jenny Aguter, the King and Queen of Sweden, Edwin Starr and Madness to name but a few.
Venues have included the elite skiing destination of St Moritz, where it played every year over a four-year period.
◆ Eastertown has always been associated with Weston, in fact the name comes from the little village on the South side of town.
It will only play original material and this belief in its music has taken the band far, but not far enough, as it has always just missed out on the elusive record contract.
When the group recorded its first album, The Seed, it was named as band of the year in the world-wide distributed magazine Guitarist.
Following this, Steve Wright the Radio 1 DJ picked Rise to play on his breakfast slot the following week, which brought the band to a truly national audience. The group only plays one or two gigs a year now, each one played with full commitment and emotion. The band is fronted by Mark Ely, who is the song-writer and singer and guitarist.
Gavin Cox has superbly played guitar and sung harmonies for the band’s entire duration.
The rhythm section consists of bass player Paul Newton and drummer Gary James Widlake, again long-standing original members going back into the eons of time.
◆ Evanfly is a five-piece melodic rock and punk band, which has taken influence from classic genres such as 60s mod, 80s punk and 90s Indie rock and combined it with its own unique blend of infectious rock and popular music.
Its wide range of music genre has achieved mass appeal to audiences of all ages with grandchildren to grandparents buying its albums like there is no tomorrow.
It has also gained some coveted comparisons to great bands of the past such as the Kinks, Jam, Oasis and more recently Kaiser Chiefs.
Evanfly’s performance experience is hugely impressive, having played at the highest level at televised concerts, festivals and arenas, down to the bread and butter pub circuits.
It has repeatedly worked alongside chart-topping artists that include the likes of Kaiser Chiefs, Feeder, Doves, Athlete, Garbage and many more.
In 2005, the group’s biggest year to date, it opened Channel 4’s T4 On The Beach as the first ever unsigned band to make the bill, just a week before a stunning debut performance at Glastonbury Festival. In addition, it returned to London as headliners at top music venues including The Mean Fiddler (Formerly LA2) and The Garage venues.
Since the group started to distribute its first recordings at gigs it has managed to sell nearly 3,000 copies of its first three albums. When broken down this equates to about five per cent of the local population having purchased an Evanfly album.
◆ Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Cliff Moore took up the guitar as a teenager shortly after moving to this area.
His love of rock music led to many gigs and sessions far and wide including the UK, Europe, USA, South Africa and the Middle East. He has also been signed to Zain Records in Japan for a previous album, CUT, and has featured in magazines like Guitar Techniques and Young Guitar in Japan.
In the past 25 years, Cliff has played with some fantastic musicians including members of Iron Maiden, Whitesnake, Reef, UFO, Ozzy’s Blizzard of Oz, Kasabian and others too numerous to mention.
In the past couple of years, he has been promoting his latest solo album, Afraid Of The Dark, with various tours around Europe and the UK and has also been involved with many other live acts and recording projects including Saffron Monkey and Dr. Sax.