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Abertillery  Rock Blues Festival 2013Abertillery Blues Rock Festival will be returning for it’s ninth year on Friday 12th and Saturday 13th July with an amazing weekend of live music.

Line-up will be announced soon – early confirmation is on Saturday 13th July – the Kings of Rockin’ Rhythm & Blues, The Nightporters, together again marking 20 years since the band formed.
Ticket Prices:- (discounts for Blues club Members)                                                           Friday – £25 ——– Saturday – £35 ——– Weekend – £40

Held under a marquee in the picturesque setting of Abertillery Park, this year’s festival brings you the very best in British and International Blues.Previous festivals have had great line-ups as demonstrated in Blues Matters Magazine Reviews demonstrating why this should be a reserved date in your 2013 diary,

2011 Festival:-

Abertillery Blues Festival, got underway in the majestic setting of Abertillery Park , deep in the valleys of South Wales under the shadow of the Arael Mountain. The now familiar tradition of a big top circus tent and comparing supplied by Bob and Norm from GTFM, famous for their Monday night blues show. The festival showcased a selection of local bands, including The Hideaway Trio who started the 2011 show off and then Saturday afternoon, Bluesey Susie, who bought talent and style with her great voice that is both smooth and raunchy delivering old favourites and self-penned straight-edge traditional blues. Pat Grover and the Hawks delivered a great set with slide guitar strong vocals this was blues that took you on the hobo train ride. Luke Doherty Band this new line-up with vocals provided by Paul Morgan provides the perfect backdrop to allow Luke Doherty to concentrate on his guitar skills producing a brilliant sound that excites the crowds. Now he needs to develop a set that includes more than covers delivered in his inimitable high speed blues style.
Around this strong local backbone great bands from England and beyond delivered a fantastic weekend. Giles Robson and the Dirty Aces, a combination of great musicians and songs produced a dirty sound that whilst evocative of the past was contemporary and relevant, as they showcased their latest CD “Crooked Heart of Mine”. The highlights of the set included, ‘The Mighty Incinerator’, ‘Solidor’ with Giles providing an emotive harp solo and giving the band a break as they left the stage and Ian Jennings swapped his double bass for electric bass with fuzz pedal providing a different but strong bass line for ‘Ain’t Dead Yet’. This band definitely is one that gets your foot tapping and dancing along to the strong blues tempo. The encore was ‘House of the Rising Sun’ re-arranged with the distinctive Dirty Aces signature and it worked. Never The Bride with their effervescent stage presence delivered a selection of Rock Ballads. With their larger than life sound ‘The Living Tree’ and ‘April Rain’, they bought rock to the valleys pleasing the crowds and got the festival a buzzing and a talking. Friday closed with The Hamsters, making a welcome return as part of their farewell progress across the country went through an eclectic mix delivering a selection of there extensive back catalogue including a self penned track which was a mix of song titles and band names with the riff indicative of Tom Principato’s guitar style. As ever superb Hendrix covers, some traditional blues and rock & roll overall a great festival set.
Eugene Hideaway Bridges, bought a touch of Texas sun and magic. ‘Never Alone’, delivered as a capella was haunting and spellbinding captivating the audience. Very much a crowd pleaser, he uses clever changes of tempo between straightforward blues and more soulful numbers. Whilst delivering a mixed-up set from his extensive back catalogue.
This was followed by the surprise of the weekend, Hokie Joint, one night only Ian Siegel would be guest singer for the band! With no set list and no rehearsal the guys strode and strutted onto the stage. This was jamming at the highest level and gave credence to the expression living on the edge… Fortune favours the brave and with Ian knowing only two of Hokie’s tracks demonstrating the skilful song-writing of this dynamic, modern and exciting British blues band. Thus, ‘Back Where We Are Going’ and ‘The Way It Goes Sometimes’ were given the Siegal touch ……. The whole audience, whether Hokie, Siegal fans or seeing the artists for the first time were blown away by a demonstration of blues at its best; a delightful mix of covers and originals this was jamming, performing and musicality at the highest level.
To close the festival Mike Sanchez built on the energy that Hokie and Ian had instilled into the festival crowd. Mike was as ever enthusiastic, energetic and not only got the feet a tapping, but suddenly the chairs were folded away and the dancing began. There is no argument that this flamboyant front-man pounding the piano keys, licking up and down the scales resembling a whirling dervish of the piano, making this performance highly charged and delivered at break neck speed, and bringing the festival to a rousing finale. This festival bought music and sunshine to the valleys, and the numbers increasing this year.
As with all festivals its is the hard work of the organisers, stewards and bar staff that make the weekend a success and there is no doubt that Abertillery is lucky to have a great team making this event happen every year. So for another year the music fall silence and the hard work starts to make next years another positive event, feedback has been that this was one of the best yet… looking forward to 2012 already.
Liz Aiken
Slide Show – 2012 copyright all photographs LizAiken

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For 2012 – Blues Matters were back and delighted by the musicianship they heard and the friendly vibe they experienced over Friday 13th and Saturday 14th July 2012.
Opening 2012 were local band J Alexander and The Blues Devils playing a solid set of traditional and ever popular blues numbers, taking a chance by singing Muddy Waters, ‘Forty Days and Forty Nights’ with the long wet summer and St Swithin’s day just around the corner… The tempo was pushed up by Cornwall’s, Devil’s Creek, a confident mix of covers and own numbers with their rockier take on the blues so in the first two acts the Rock & Blues element of the festival had been met. What a great start to the evening and crowds were enthusiastic about the bands and waiting in anticipation for the next two bands as the evening flew by, next the McMahon brothers from Aberystwyth stormed onto the stage raising the temperature with atmospheric and stellar guitar playing that is the hall mark of Virgil and The Accelerators. This is a young British band which has taken its influences from Stevie Ray Vaughan and modified the sound with influences from Joanne Shaw Taylor and The Hoax creating their own take on the blues which continues to develop as they relentlessly improve their musicianship and stage craft. The comments from the audience were complimentary as jaws dropped at the quality and precision of the guitar playing supported by brilliant percussion and solid bass playing, the audience was captivated. Finally, Vintage Trouble what an ending to a brilliant opening night, this band hits all the right chords and gets the crowds up, dancing and feeling good about themselves. Vintage generated a real unique ‘party atmosphere a real contrast to the typical 2012 summer festival weather yes, it was pouring down outside of the marquee! They took the roof off the place and had the audience feeding out of their collectively talented hands. Charismatic lead vocalist, Ty Taylor, built an amazing rapport with the crowds with up tempo blues soul music with great songs including ‘You gotta believe me’ with enthusiastic audience participation.

Saturday was full of promise with a great mix of local, solo, young and famous artists and bands so the anticipation was high. Opening an afternoon session is always daunting and local band Panic Station were certainly up to the task with their mix of covers and own tracks showcasing blues musicianship they certainly kick started the proceedings getting people into the marquee to hear the music and soak up the atmosphere and the pleased the locals with self-penned ‘Rocking Down the A48’, the highway 49 of South Wales. For the next solo artist no stage is either too big or daunting as he fills it with his gigantic presence and personality of solo artist, Dave Arcari, love him or hate him this guy has bucketfuls of talent and is in my opinion, with his high octane stage presence, a Scottish Wizard of the resonator. His set was full of verve and energy and showcased his talent on the slide guitar with a selection of his tracks including ‘MacPherson’s Lament’ he is magic and as he leaps around the stage his energetic performance leaves the audience gasping for breath. Steve Roux and The Brass Knuckle Blues Band changed the tempo yet again with their brass instrument section and opening with an instrumental ‘You’re Gonna Need Me’ got the crowds swinging and swaying, the horn/sax section adding an extra dimension to the proceedings. The sound is very full rounded off with Steve’s slick guitar licks and soulful voice. This was a band where the whole was greater than the sum of the individual parts and great afternoon festival set, pleasing the crowds and raising the spirits. Next up strutting the stage was Dani Wilde Band, with Dani showcasing her guitar skills throughout the set, ably accompanied by her brother Will with superb blues harp playing and Stuart Dixon on lead/rhythm guitar. As a band they produced a set of controlled professional musicianship of the highest order, with Dani’s vocals providing the icing of a rich cake of musicianship. The title track of their latest CD ‘Juice me Up’ – demonstrated the great interchange between Stuart and Dani, during what overall was a great set delivered with real authority by Dani, leading the band from the front. They are definitely growing from strength to strength they certainly gave, aptly as their previous CD, ‘Shine’ to the festival.
Jon Amor Blues Group, the band members complimenting each other creating their own distinctive sound were the penultimate act. The band took the opportunity to showcase of two new tracks that may be included on their next CD due to be recorded very soon, ‘Wayfarer’ and ‘Good Thing Back’ As ever this band delivered a polished British blues set of the highest order and the members of the audience who had not heard Jon Amor before were blown away; they certainly gained a few fans at Abertillery. Once again a great set at a fast pace with Jon letting the music do the talking and keeping the talking between songs to the minimum. All too soon it was the last act and eagerly awaited by everyone as there was a definite surge to the front to hear The Zombies. They took us back to the ’60’s and early 70’s with a selection of their classics spanning fifty years. Rod Argent delighted the fans with an excellent display of keyboard work, and the appreciative crowds really enjoyed the set. They haven’t lost their voices after over fifty years, and were formed before the Rolling Stones. This was a headlining act that took many of the audiences down a road of nostalgic memories and the fans enjoyed the set immensely. Overall the running order of the festival worked really well with the atmosphere growing and moving on an upward spiral to a crescendo on each day. Yet again a fantastic festival with everyone saying roll on Abertillery 2013….
Liz Aiken

2012 saw
“IT’S not like Cardiff at all.” The precipitous hills and brooding clouds over Abertillery Park gave Vintage Trouble frontman, Ty Taylor, a whole new outlook on Wales as the band headlined the opening night of Abertillery Blues and Rock Festival.

2012 saw Vintage Trouble – a brilliant band as highlighted in Wales On-Line review – ”
“IT’S not like Cardiff at all.” The precipitous hills and brooding clouds over Abertillery Park gave Vintage Trouble frontman, Ty Taylor, a whole new outlook on Wales as the band headlined the opening night of Abertillery Blues and Rock Festival”. Read more: Wales Online

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