Wednesday 27 December 2023

My year in music - 2023

 I'll not lie, 2023 has been a tough year for me on a personal level, but on a music level, it has been absolutely brilliant. Here are my highlights


The year started with a bang. The 100 club starts the year with the Resolution festival. The highlight for me was 999 with Menace. 999 have long been recognised as one of the very best live bands on the circuit. Menace are studio customers and also a brilliant live band.


I love a good lunchtime gig and one of my fave bands put a proper old show on for us at The Dublin Castle, they are back again this year in February and I'll be down for it. Those Naughty Liums were at The Dublin Castle which was a lot of fun. Sonna Rele at the Camden Club was also a good night out. 


A great gig thebut a sad night for me, as it was the farewell party for Emily and Are at The Chandos Arms in Colindale. They'd been at the pub for eight years and transformed it. The Silencerz were wonderful as always.  My band, The False Dots also did a pretty spiffing gig at The Dublin Castle with The Shoals. 


One of the highlight of the London music year is the London International Ska festival. This years was no exception.Glenroy Oakley was exceptional at the Islington O2. The Teskey Brothers at Hammersmith Odeon was another excellent night. 


May was a wonderful month for me. The band finished the second of our sessions recording our album in Portugal with Boz Boorer. It is sounding wicked and will come out in the new year.


June saw another massive highlight in my musical year, with the Mill Hill Music Festival. This year's was brilliant with all events sold out. It started in style with Whelligan at the Adam and Eve, featuring the False Dots trumpet player (here singing lead vocals!). Other great gigs included Madness in Sherwood Forest and Ben Sidran at Ronnie Scotts


In July, we went to see Blur, Paul Weller and The Selecter at Wembley. I am not a fan of stadium gigs, but they were absolutely brilliant. This is probably the only stadium gig I've actually enjoyed. Another massive highlight was the Northern Soul prom at The Albert Hall, which was simply buzzing. 

Another big highlight was the Jesterfest free festival on Fortune Green, organised by my good mate Lyn Boorer. A day of fun in the sun. 


In August two old school mates of mine, Sam Sproule from FCHS and Paula Marks from Orange Hill performed with the Midnite Crawlers at The Dublin Castle. A damn fine gig, a week before I had surgery for cancer. A great way to prepare!


I was not properly recovered from the surgery, but we had a gig to do and it was pretty damn good! I love playing at The Dublin Castle and our mates in The Shoals put in a fine set. For me, it was a real lift as I'd been feeling very sorry for myself.


In October, we saw Lloyd Cole at The Union Chapel. He's a wonderful singer, last saw him in 1986 in Milton Keynes so it was good to re-acquaint ourselves with him.Sunny War at the Slaughered Lamb was another exceptional gig worth mentioning. 


November saw The False Dots back at the Dublin Castle, for the Madchat (Madness fan community) charity fundraiser gig. Madchat raised £6000 for the Pancreatic Cancer charity in 2023, and it was an honour and prividge to be part of it. It was also a wonderful gig and The Shoals, who played with us were spiffing. 


In December , I really was spoiled for choice to pick something. Madness, Black Grape, Shalamar, The Dub Pistols, our gig with The London Sewage Company were all brilliant, but I'll go for the Pogue Traders at Dingwalls. Due to the sad passing of Shane, it was especially poignant. 


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