FaB Club Review
7th June 2008
Written by Liz Montgomery

FaB Club goes LARGE.

A first for FaB club - we were invited to provide a couple of sets at the annual Thurrock Beer Festival - and also to enjoy a range of delicious real ales, ciders and perrys with exotic names running through the whole alphabet.

This long established event - which runs for 4 days every June staffed by volunteers from the local CAMRA branch - is particularly well known for its music programme: and Saturday afternoon is folk afternoon.

We were on a very big stage at the Civic Hall in Grays - good thing we have our banners now - we were able to use them to great effect.

Rather than just featuring one or two of our performers we decided to run it GAFs style - showcasing the range of talent we have as well as inviting along a couple of special friends.

The afternoon kicked off with Rumford Morris - regulars at the Beer Festival. We then had a short set - MC'd throughout by Tone Deaf Leopard.

In the first short set FaBclubbers featured were Tone Deaf Leopard themselves - giving the growing crowd a taste of "The Camera Never Lies" and "4 x 4" to set the tone of the afternoon. Joe Migdal gave us a range of songs and instruments across Nature's Wonderland, then a traditional number with Kathy singing harmony - Kathy you need to sing for us more, and then the extremely appropriate Nut Brown Ale, and John Stafford on backing harmonica too. To finish off this first set Steve O'Kane performed You make it easy and Fiona McBain joined him for Solitary Hero. A pretty strong opening set, I think you'll agree!

Rumford gave us another series of great dances - with members of all ages, then Ski provided an hour long set of her sweet songs.

The stage was then handed back to us - Sue busily making sure everyone was in order and on time! And the audience was steadily growing - sampling the different beers available and wandering in and out to the garden - and all of our performers were warmly welcomed.

This second, longer set provided a real range of material to match the ales! Special guests Moriarty and Roy kicked off with a brilliant range of traditional numbers on guitar and melodeon including Monaghan, Bring back the Child, Walter Salmons and a very lively reel. Don't say that folk music is quiet - Ben performed tremendous and very dynamic versions of Panama Hat and Vincent Black Lightning 1952. I think he got the loudest applause of the whole afternoon. Another special guest - Simon Vogel - made everyone laugh - and think a bit - with a range of his super poems. Helen burned Dixie down and took us on a Midnight Special. Mike survived the Double Vision perry in order to Miss her enormously (another one the audience liked a lot), My kind of girl and The girl I'm looking for - a theme there I think. Bill got everyone singing along to Nicotine Ceiling (specially for those out in the garden) and We are the Wrinklies. And a fun range of numbers from Alan Neville with 12 bar blues, Leave the plumbing to plumbers and (I think) Suzanne - realise I didn't check that one.

Gosh our time is nearly all used up -it's gone so fast and so well. So it's everyone on stage and all together now - with a big jam version of Pay me my money down which gets the audience singing along and whooping to the chorus - and calling for encores. We can't get them off the stage now - FaBclub is in fine voice - and we finish up the afternoon with riotous versions of Worried Man Blues and House of the Rising Sun, to much cheering from the crowd.

That was a really fun afternoon

A BIG THANK YOU to Sue for getting the playlist and the artistes in good order, to Kathy and Joe for making the new photo montages for our stall, to Anne for running the stall, to Sue for organising the badges.

THANKS to all of you that didn't perform but came along to support and sing and cheer and share the good company.

A SPECIAL THANK YOU to Steve from Leigh for doing the sound so well with such a diverse range of performers and instruments.

And a VERY BIG THANK YOU to Dave Watkins, Tim, Colin and the rest of the Thurrock Beer Festival committee for asking us to perform and making us feel so welcome.