Thoughts and music of double J x

Smiley’s Eclectic Friends! V4.0: Live!

CameraEveryone Loves A Smile!

You ever read about ‘Those‘ gigs in ‘Those‘ places! Events that happen in small venues / bars  like the 100 club, the cavern, cbgb’s or on pier 34 in New York.. Well tonight in a North Wales seaside town ‘3rd Space‘ is/was THAT place..

I drive round the town, down a backstreet that’s more industrial than residential or commercial, pull up outside an old brewery and there in the door is a little hole that takes you into a world that could be anywhere, inside it’s packed, and i mean more people are on the guest list alone than this place can hold..

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I’m greeted by the purveyor of potential storytelling tonight Steve ‘Smiley’ Barnard! The drummer extrodinaire from Archive, The Alarm, From The Jam and tonight Mathew he becomes a one man band to present the latest (and greatest) in his line of ‘Just For Fun‘ Solo records..The new Lp is about to drop and tonight is a ‘launch‘ event for that record, The album itself contains tracks with a load of guest vocalists, but none of them are here so we grab our beers and open our ears to sit, stand and hear stories of vocalists asked, those declined and those who maybe may turn up next time around..

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The opening half of tonight is just Smiley, one guitar, one mic, a little help from a crowd member with a tamborine and it all feels so loose, so right here, right now that as we run through the songs on the Lp which are sometimes delivered in the style of the singer on the record, it’s plain to hear that the one thing Smiley does have an ear for is a melody.. Many of those in attendance tonight are hearing these songs for the first time, yet are captured by those melodies and are singing along like they have known them for years. The first half draws to a close, the bar is awash with bodies to return for part II..

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The second half of tonights gig could be called ‘Around The World With Smiles‘ as we go via Liverpool (The Beatles) Manchester (Oasis) Dublin (U2) Australia (Men At Work) alongside a Mod Classic (Small Faces) to end up back here in North Wales (The Alarm) He is Joined By Matt Peach, Alan Thompson, James Stevenson and stories are told of studio antics, Living together as a band like big brother, and the whole evening is just fun… Does Anybody Remember Laughter! 

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This was a one off, a night that can never be repeated only told stories about what was said & done, and proving in the modern age with the right crowd, the right material, the right performer that nothing has changed, music and stories connect us all, from those told on the stage tonight to those told about tonight… I leave & jump in my car to drive to the shore where I sit for an hour to listen to the’New‘ Cd as the waves crash in & it’s clear that this record is one that ebbs and flows with ease, it’s a driving record for sure. It’s also perfect for Radio as the songs come ‘Straight Outta The Box‘ They are clear, melodic and precise, but that melody does hook you in and each guest vocalist brings something unique to the table that makes each song certainly stand alone.. The sheer width of genres and depth of production here allow the album to breathe.. This Lp is not ‘Just For Fun‘ it’s an album that stands alone & should be in any collection of music ears that love quality.. It’s unique perspective is deserving of any and all success it gets..

Camera** Thanks To Those I Stole Live Pictures From 🙂

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