Monday, 4 August 2008



On Saturday 26th July, Sally and Mark out of Fragile brought their acoustic jamboree, known as Music in the Basement, from its rural home in the moorland village of Glaisdale into the heart of the throbbing metropolis. Yes, the Coliseum Cinema hosted the first Music in the Basement to be held in Whitby. At least 60 people came, and they say they have double that amount at Glaisdale sometimes.

It wasn't strictly speaking in a basement, as you have to actually ascend a few steps from street level to get into the Coliseum, but its a technical point and we can probably gloss over it at this stage.

As an opener Fragile did three songs, and Sally's voice was particularly strong. Throughout the whole evening I thought perhaps the vocals were a bit too loud on the PA, but the overall sound was very good and crystal clear. Fragile provided a perfect introduction into the many facetted world of the Basement.


I met an old mate at the gig who once had to remove a troublesome seagull's nest from the roof of Whitby Hospital. Since then he's been convinced that all the seabirds in the town have him down as a marked man.

When Barbara Helen started singing her sweet song about Little Birds, he was convinced it was directed at him, such is the depth of his paranoia. She can do that thing with her voice where it suddenly jumps an octave, a bit like yodelling. Like Slim Whitman did on Una Paloma Blanca. Her songs were gentle and beautiful and possibly veering toward New Ageyness.

When she did one called Ronnie's Song, my mate thought it was possibly about a homeless seagull called Ronnie that was left destitute after its home had been destroyed. He has been undergoing a course of electrical convulsive therapy since the gig.



Miles Cain has a warm, friendly approach to the audience. If he'd once been a Butlins' Redcoat, I wouldn't be at all surprised.

He proceeded to tell a story about an American chap who got so cross with his malfunctioning lawnmower that he shot it with his gun. The triggerhappy redneck believed it was every American's right to be free to use a firearm against a piece of troublesome garden equipment on his own property. You don't get that from Alan Tichmarsh.

One of the songs he did was of a maritime nature, and involved the two words guaranteed to send a shiver of fear down the backbone and an icy chill to the heart; Audience Participation! One half of the audience had to be pirates ( Ahaar, me Hearties! Main The Splicebrace! or whatever it is) and the others had to be sealions (Honk! Honk! Clap! Clap! Honk! etc). See what I mean about Butlins? A good time was had by all.



Adam was introduced by Mark as coming from Sleights, when he in fact comes from Whitby. Despite being slightly offended by this seemingly innocent slip up, Adam did two songs.

One was a Papa Roach track. The other was a song of his own composition full of teenage sadness and downbeat longing, as indeed it should be if you're fifteen years old and this is the first song you've written. Good work. Keep an eye out Popwatchers.



The revelation of the evening was Andy Stones. He made his guitar chime in unison with his voice in such a way as to render the audience spellbound. An excellent musician who lets his skill serve the song, rather than needlessly being flashy.

One of his songs was about having three heads (no, it wasn't about living near Sellafield), he also did a plaintive version of Marvin Gaye's 'Heard it on the Grapevine'. Despite the delicate quiet nature of his performance, you could hear a pin drop between chords. Superb.

Mr Stones got a well deserved encore. If you see he's playing in the area again, pleases go and see him. I doubt you'll be disappointed.



The closing act were a five piece rock band who broke the acoustic mould by having those modern guitars that you plug in. They did two or three of their own songs, then a string broke and the offending guitar was taken backstage for the longest string change in history.

With the band incapacitated, Dave the lead singer did A Town Called malice and Wonderwall on an acoustic, before the rest of the band came back, instruments fully functional, for a rousing finale of Sweet Caroline, the Status Quo classic (?)


People who say you can't get punters to come to gigs in Whitby must be doing something wrong, because it was set out like a cabaret club, candles on the tables, no age restriction, all ages were there too, all the seats were taken and the audience were responsive and responsible throughout.

Mint gig.

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