Sunday, 8 March 2015

Magical Musical Mystery Tour...

Earlier this week I sat on a London bus on the way to a gig and got the bright idea of going to 50 gigs in my 50th year - to get to the first of the fifty I have to use a train and head 200 miles north.

Project Jam Sandwich are playing in a Village Hall in Cheshire - I've never seen them live, I don't own any of their CD's (their first EP is due out soon!) - I'm not sure about the name -  all I have to go on is one youtube clip but I know that the 400 mile round trip will be worth it!

I'm going back to my roots...
The Cheshire village was home for 5 years before moving to London and is still home to many great friends. Malt'n'Music is a group I used to part of and have put on gigs in the village for the past couple of years - and each one has been brilliant - so I am happy to travel to see old friends and set a bench mark for the next 49 gigs this year with one I know will be hard to beat...

Stuart Swarbrick opened the night with a beautiful set of acoustic blues and folk. At times its hard to believe that there is just him playing - his arrangements of Beeswing, Stained Glass and 1952 Vincent Black Lightning were highlights of a fantastic set.

Project Jam Sandwich are all highly accomplished musicians in their own right – if reading their award littered CVs wasn't proof enough or the fact that they all met while studying at Royal Northern College of Music - you only have to listen to them to appreciate their technical excellence but also how in tune with, each other and, their chosen instruments they are.

The arrangements of traditional songs from around the world that Project Jam Sandwich present are full of tonal light and shade, individual brilliance balanced with harmony. They often say it's what the best musicians don't play that makes them great - Project Jam Sandwich use of silence and space sucks the audience in with almost audible gasps of breath!

Yet this gig will be hard to beat for more than the fact that we were treated to truly gifted musicianship...

Shake my moneymaker
Music is a gift for the world. 

Not a commodity to be sucked dry for the wealth of a few. Commercialism has systematically ripped the heart and soul out of the music world - wanting to control what we listen to, buy and ultimately go and hear live... ( In Defence of Manchester Pirates -

World music is not promoted, not considered a moneymaker - but here in this quiet Cheshire village on a Friday Night the best part of 100 people turn out to listen.  They have never heard of Project Jam Sandwich and as the band take the stage you can sense the uncertainty in the room - but through the magical musical mystery tour of world music - the audience are converts and the standing ovation at the end of both exquisite sets says it all!

This was not just a wonderful night of live music - this is a triumph.

Music has gone back to it's roots (sing with me... to the place of my birth, back down to earth) no souless suits walking away with a fat profit, no musical hype, no next big thing, no breeze block stadium, no clichés from the stage, just real and talented musicians bringing an ethereal experience to the community. 

That is why I knew this gig would be hard to beat because people were discovering music they didn't know they liked and that kind of joy and atmosphere is a rare and beautiful thing.

There's a beer with my name on...
And after the gig the band head across the road to the award winning local - The Lion - and enjoy a pint of Project Jam Sandwich Ale (even get to pull their own pint!) and chat with those they have just entertained - now that is community, that is what music is all about - bringing a community together, entertaining that community and lifting the spirit to a place above the ordinary and mundane not tarred by profit and loss but made wonderful by melody and chord.

Gig: 1 of 50
Date: 6th March 2015

Moutlon Village Hall

Stuart Swarbrick
Project Jam Sandwich (

Malt'n'Music (,

It has been said before, and by Malt'n'Music, that there are only two types of music - Good and Bad! (
Malt'n'Music is a non-profit making organisation that promotes GOOD live music for the local community.

Running total of artists seen 2

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