The West Malvern Social Club
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Open mic night at West Malvern Social Club - 16.02.12

I take my time occasionally, but I will always try and get around sooner or later to the more far-flung venues hosting great music in our fair region. One that's been top of my to-do list for a while now has been Tyler Massey's regular Thursday open mic night at his particular local - the West Malvern Social Club.

Although well off the beaten path (realistically unless you're local - the only way is to drive there) it's well worth it as this is a little gem of a venue. Tyler himself fulfilled his obligations as host by kicking off with a set of his own numbers before introducing a solo set from the local lad who's featured in probably more bands than just about anyone else over the last few years.

Si Anthony's latest venture is called Captains Of Industry and I'll bringing you news of them real soon - but this was a cracking solo set from a lad who's bang full of talent. I think it's probably a fair comment to say that Si's a perfectionist at heart and is looking for that 'just right' sound - but my reckoning is that he's closing on it real fast.

I have to say that I was utterly gobsmacked with the boogie-woogie antics of the Vaudeville Tramp Band. This was the first time I've caught the bluesy trio of Phil Whitehead, Peter Siviter and Andy Hurrell - and they are an outfit from the top-drawer of local talent with expertise oozing from every orifice! Yes, for sure, their efforts are mostly completely wonderful re-mashings of blues classics - but with a couple of originals thrown into their manic set it means that for the 539th week in a row I have found another local outfit that deserve national recognition!

But credit where it's due - to the man who's written songs about why he crossed the Atlantic and somehow found himself in the happeningest musical place on the planet! As a spin-off from The Pull, Tyler Massey's slung together a yet-unnamed new trio with Nick Wilcox on electric guitar and Colin Bentley on fretless bass - and new number Real Thing is already pencilled in for a 2012 Top Track placing.

A wholly heartwarming evening closed off with Tyler doubling up with the golden vocals of Becca Roberts for their country-ish outing as The May Dolls - this was a more mainstream Americana-type set (which pleased me mightily) featuring numbers like Sweet Carolina and their signature track Echoes - which was quite heavily lobbied-for a few weeks ago before the vote-lines closed - not hard to understand why - it's a classic.

Andy O'Hare

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