Anny Celsi / Nelson Bragg Tour - London

GIG: Anny Celsi / Nelson Bragg with support from Paul Steel & The See See
DATE: Monday July 27th 2009
VENUE: The Luminaire, 311 Kilburn High Road, London, NW6 7JR
COST: £10
RATING: Luminarious

Two weeks of touring around the UK, loading and unloading their amp, guitars and snare drum into and out of a Ford Focus, came to a close in London town with the final gig at The Luminaire in Kilburn, London.

Paul Steel started the evening, with songs from his two albums “April and I”, and “Moon Rock”. His set was quite 80’s synthesized pop, and with his engineer & producer hat on, recorded loops as he played keyboard, a bit of electric drums, tambourine and did some “backing” vocals, to give a bit of a fuller sound. At one point he recorded the audience clapping along and put that in a loop as part of the backing track. Paul does have some good songs, and he came out from behind his keyboard once to perform a song with an acoustic guitar. Without a doubt, he is a very talented young musician, but the gig showed how difficult it is to be a solo artist, an engineer and a producer all at the same time!

Nelson Bragg joined Paul on stage for his last song… a rather lovely version of the Beach Boys’ “Surf’s Up”. Paul has the perfect voice for this song, and Nelson’s lush harmonies in accompaniment was the icing on the cake, making this sound really great, even with the slight hiccup from Paul somehow changing the keyboard sound briefly mid-way through!

Next up were The See See, a London based band, and long time favourites of Nelson. Right from the off, The Beeb knew this band was going to sound good, from the fact that there was an electric 12 string involved. And he was not wrong.
The See See are a Powerpop Psychedelic foursome, with great tunes, who could have fallen out of The Children Of Nuggets box set and landed without a bump! The audience really appreciated this band, and seemed to get into the groove. Nelson also joined them on stage for their last number, adding tambourine and maracas. As good as the bass player was, it was quite annoying the way he constantly turned his back on the audience, like a self indulgent prog-rock bassist from the 70’s for whom punk never really happened. A good bassist and drummer don’t need to spend the whole gig looking at one another.
Nevertheless, this band was good, they had a great sound and we bought their CD!

The headline act, Anny Celsi and Nelson Bragg definitely seemed a lot more relaxed, having left the traumas of the first two gigs (support act arriving late in Newcastle / Sat Nav taking them every where in Glasgow except where they wanted to be!) way behind them. We were treated to songs that were in the earlier gig’s set-list, but tonight they were accompanied by guitarist Nico Wouters, adding extra sound and flair to Anny’s songs including “Little Black Dress”, “The Night She Learned To Drive” and “Empty Hangers”.

Nelson performed “Forever Days” a track from his solo album, and a lovely rendition of “God Only Knows” with Paul Steel added into the mix for this one, including a bit of his 12” remix disco version when he accidentally pressed a button on the keyboard which started to replay some of his electro-pop loops from earlier on!!!!. With many Brian Wilson fans in the audience, this song went down particularly well.

Two members of a Beach Boys tribute band, The Beached Boys were in the audience and were invited up on stage to provide additional harmonies to another Beach Boys classic “In My Room”. Nico performed a solo guitar piece, an instrumental of “Ben” as a tribute to Michael Jackson which sounded lovely.

Nelson and Anny had intended to finish with the title track of Anny’s latest album, “Tangle-Free World” but the audience would not let them off lightly and demanded more, so a small encore was provided. By that time, it was getting late and most of the audience had to leave to catch trains and buses home, and so the final show of the UK tour came to a happy end.

This was a great gig, with a bit of a party atmosphere among the Brian Wilson fans that were in the audience. While they may have been drawn to this gig by the fact Nelson is a Brian Wilson band member, they left as Anny Celsi fans and will surely enjoy listening to her CDs.

So, a fantastic ending to the tour. The Luminaire is a fab venue, and one that appreciates musicians and demands respect from the audience for the people who play on their stages, a fact highlighted by the notice posted around the venue, “No-one paid to listen to you talking to your pals…..If you want to talk to your pals when the bands are on, please leave the venue”.

The loos are great… very clean and tastefully decorated with posters and graffiti, which is encouraged by the management.

Anny Celsi / Nelson Bragg Tour – Glasgow

GIG: Anny Celsi / Nelson Bragg with support from Daniel Wylie and The Wellgreen
DATE: Tuesday July 14th 2009
VENUE: The 13th Note, King Street, Glasgow
COST: £4
RATING: Gallus

We journeyed up from Newcastle after picking up Paul Adsett from his hotel in what seemed like a drive to Norfolk! It seems that Nelson and Anny being in town had caused all the local hotels to be fully booked.
Travelling up to Scotland from Newcastle always causes wry smiles from The Beeb when he thinks of the Roman Empire getting as far as Glasgow, then deciding to head back south and build Hadrian’s Wall to keep the nutters out of England!

The 13th Note is one of the really hip student/musician hang out venues. Much to the Beeb’s delight it is a Vegetarian CafĂ© too. Much to Nelson’s chagrin, he walked in with his Big Mac take-away and was hunted out the door!
Once we got downstairs for the gig it was obvious that the audience was full of musos.

Daniel Wylie (ex Cosmic Rough Rider) started the night off, with a 45(ish) minute set. He was accompanied by Raymond Meade, formerly guitarist with another great Glasgow band, The Ronelles and Neil Sturgeon. They did some of Daniel’s own songs as well as old CRR faves like “Melanie” and “Revolution In The Summertime”. Nelson’s delight at singing these songs with the man who wrote them was a joy to behold. He’s been a fan for years. The band also did a really fresh version of the Ringo hit “Photograph.”

Anny & Nelson’s set list was similar to the night before (maybe a bit shorter, with “God Only Knows” omitted tonight) and started with Nelson on his drum, tambourine tied to his foot and Anny playing acoustic guitar, finishing with “Tangle Free World”, with support from 2 of the Fast Camels to beef the sound out a bit of this catchy pop tune, with maracas and an additional guitar. In between were what are now becoming firm favourites, “Little Black Dress”, “Summer Fling”, “Empty Hangers” (every girl deserves a nervous breakdown….) and “Some Velvet Morning”. Another great set from this pair. Check out our review from the Newcastle gig as well.

The Wellgreen, are a local duo, who play acoustic sunshine pop/folk type music. Stu Kidd from the BMX Bandits, The Primary Five, The Pearlfishers and various other musical projects is one half along with Marco Rea who finished the night off rather splendidly with their whimsical and charming versions of a couple of Neil Young songs as well as treating us to some of their own songs, including a really gorgeous song called “December Child“. This was the first time we’d seen The Wellgreen, but already we’re looking forward to the album when it’s released. Also, it's worth checking out Stu Kidd's solo material at

Glasgow can be a tough place to play. But Nelson and Anny really made their mark with this audience. The great songs they played from their albums lent themselves really well to such an intimate setting. If the Glasgow crowd hadn't had appreciated them, they would soon have let them know! They went down really well.

That was the end of our “tour”, and we came away with 3 CD’s which will get plenty of play (watch out for our reviews on our Spin It Or Bin It blog!). Anny and Nelson continue their trek around the UK, and the next gigs lined up are listed below, so make sure you catch at least one show.

Next opportunity to see Anny & Nelson below:

Sunday 19th July – The Robin Hood Pub, 540 Mansfield Road, Sherwood, Nottingham
With support from Richard Snow & The In-Laws

Wednesday 22nd July – The Beehive, 55 Prospect Hill, Swindon, Wilts
With support from Nico Wouters

Saturday 25th July – The Jenny Lind Inn, 69 High Street, Hastings, Sussex
With support from Nico Wouters

Sunday 26th July – The Hanbury Club, 83 St Georges Road, Brighton
With support from Paul Steel & The Brighton Beach Boys

Monday 27th July – The Luminaire, 311 Kilburn High Road, Kilburn, London
With support from the Paul Steel & The See See

Also check out Anny’s websites

and Nelson’s myspace
Oh, and the customary final word on the state of the loos - not bad at all.........

Anny Celsi / Nelson Bragg Tour – Newcastle

GIG: Anny Celsi / Nelson Bragg with support from The Fast Camels
DATE: Monday July 13th 2009
VENUE: The Cluny, Newcastle
COST: £7
RATING: Fun on the Tyne

It was a small, intimate, yet enthusiastic audience that gathered at the Cluny, on this wet Monday evening to see the first gig in the Anny Celsi and Nelson Bragg tour, which also included The Fast Camels on the bill. A technical problem with the van The Fast Camels hired to make the trip from Glasgow to Newcastle (the key broke in the lock) meant that they were delayed, so the music started an hour later than planned.

But it was worth the wait. Anny & Nelson up first, Anny with an acoustic guitar and Nelson behind a snare drum, with a tambourine taped to his left foot, and shakers wrapped around his wrist for the added percussion. Later in their set, Nelson took over the strings of the acoustic and Anny plugged in with her electric guitar. Just two of the highlights of their almost 1 hour set, were “Little Black Dress”, the title track from Anny’s first album, and a rendition of “To Sir With Love”, which Anny’s vocals did great justice to. They also did a fabulous cover of the Lee Hazlewood song "Some Velvet Morning".

Nelson also had the opportunity to showcase some of his songs, including “Forever Days”, and a crowd pleaser cover of The Beach Boys, “God Only Knows” (a song he had recorded with his other band, The Mockers).

The Fast Camels ( were called onto stage and they supported Anny on the title track of her latest release, “Tangle Free World”, which is a very luscious song, with harmonies, a great tune and a real ‘feel good’ vibe. The guitars and drums from The Fast Camels really gave it zest as well.

Anny and Nelson left the stage and The Fast Camels started their own set filled with Psychedelic pop, with “Magic Optician”, “Der Nazi Tea” and a preview of some of the songs that will be released on their next CD. Any opportunity to see this band, we take as they are a fun band to watch and their music is really good, covering intricate arrangements which seem to meld loads of different songs into one. Anny and Nelson joined the band on stage towards the end of their set, adding backing vocals and tambourines to the mix.

It says a lot for musicianship, and live music when bands have the confidence in their own ability and can mix and match and join in with one another’s songs with little or no practice before hand, and in our opinion, this makes a great show. I doubt the prefab X-Factor winners would be able to feel such confidence.

We think Anny’s CD will do wonders for Minty’s temperament as she makes the journey around the M25 to work every day, as her soothing vocals will really take the stress out of dealing with the other road hogs! And it’s the kinda CD you’ll want to put on the player when you get home from work and just want to de-stress and relax.

Tonight, there was only a small audience, which was, no doubt, a bit of a disappointment to the performers, and we sincerely hope that as the tour progresses around the UK, more people pop along to see Anny & Nelson, as it is certainly worth it. None the less, the guys had passion and delivered a great almost 2 hours of music. The Cluny itself is a good venue, a decent size, a high stage, and clean loos! Not sure why they sell different beers in the music room than they do in the main pub though!!!

Brian Wilson headlining at Guilfest

GIG: Guilfest – Headline Act Brian Wilson
DATE: Saturday July 11th 2009
VENUE: Stoke Park, Guildford
COST: £45 day ticket
RATING: Saturated but smiling through the rain

Our main aim at the Guilfest was to see Brian Wilson, and a more detailed review is below, however as a summary, the gig was awesome. Despite the teaming rain, the audience had Fun Fun Fun and the band (and also Brian Wilson) were on top form, and seemed to enjoy every minute that they were on stage.

Arriving at about 4pm, being festival virgins, we got our bearings…..… loos, check, beer tent, check, food trucks, check, main stage, check.
Apart from some of the acts on the Main stage and the Ents 24 stage, we had not heard of any other artists performing at this festival, so took a wander around the various stages and tents to see what was occurring.

The first act we saw was in the acoustic tent, Jack Blackman, a young blues man. Well, if you can have the Blues when you look no more than 14! Instead of singing Robert Johnson’s “Cold Hearted Woman,” maybe he could write his own “My Baby Done Text Me” or something! Nice if you like blues, but with each song starting to sound like an extension of the last, we left the tent just before he finished his set. Good guitarist though.

Wandering around, we caught the tail end of what sounded like a good band, on the Ents 24 stage – Los Albertos, a very Madness / Ska influenced band, with 2 sax players.

Next act we saw was Eddie Reader, on the Ents 24 stage. Her set included a few traditional Scottish songs, and had a real Celtic sound, with her band comprising accordion player, double bass, acoustic guitars, drums & ukulele. Her voice sounded great, and she was completely at ease on the stage, filling in between songs with witticisms. Mid way through her set, the rain, which had threatened for the previous couple of hours, started but that did not deter the audience in any way, who jigged along to the music. This was someone who knows how to work a crowd. No wonder she’s revered in her native Scotland. Her popularity was shown by the queue outside the signing tent after her gig. It was longer than the queue for the women’s toilets!

The Lightning Seeds were next up on the Ents 24 stage, but we only caught a couple of their songs, before heading over to the main stage, where the Charlatans had just vacated the stage and Brian Wilson was setting up. That cross over period seems to be critical in getting a good place in front of the stage, and we did stand around for 30 minutes or so, waiting, a couple of rows from the front barrier while the roadies did the sound check. At this point the rain started in earnest and did not let up for the rest of the night.

Brian Wilson and his band took to the stage promptly at 9.30pm, and began with “California Girls”, ended with the “have a safe journey home” song, “Love & Mercy” and was filled in between with 90 minutes of fantastic Beach Boys classics and Brian Wilson solo songs. Brian’s official website had promised a few lesser known songs on this tour – songs that wouldn’t usually make it into the greatest hits set list, and we were treated in this respect to “Shut Down”, “Salt Lake City”, “Custom Machine”, “All Summer Long” & “Do You Wanna Dance” and a couple of songs from his solo work – “Imagination”, “Soul Searchin’” and “I’m Going Home”, the latter from his most recent work, “That Lucky Old Sun”.

Firm favourites included in the set list were “Fun Fun Fun”, “I Get Around”, “Sloop John B”, “Do It Again”, ”Wouldn’t It Be Nice” and the ballads of “Surfer Girl”, “Don’t Worry Baby” & “God Only Knows”, which the audience sang along to in full voice. When Brian started “Good Vibrations”, he stopped the band before the end of the first verse, and asked the crowd if they wanted to sing along (we had already been singing very loudly!).

The rain was absolutely teeming down, a fact not lost on some of the band members, including Paul Mertons who wandered to the front, rain drenched area to deliver a couple of sax solos, and keyboardist, Scott Bennett who jumped off the stage (did he know how high it was??) to the delight of the audience at the front right of the stage.

Brian was in the middle of a monologue, when Jeff Foskett, the consummate professional keeping the antics in check, with a “come on guys”, to which Brian said, “OK, shut up.” like some naughty schoolboy being reprimanded and continued the set! Jeff also took on the falsetto parts that Brian can no longer reach, with is usual flair and also played the last bit of “Surfin’ USA” with his Gibson held high above his head.

The band was buzzing. Nelson Bragg, the percussionist, just days after being released from hospital following treatment for a pulmonary embolism, put his heart and soul into banging all manner of percussion. Probyn Gregory, looked like he was in Spinal Tap with all the dry ice swirling around him, tucked in the top left hand corner of the stage, performing his seamless multi instrument changes (including his fab 12 string Danelectro, guitar, french horn, trumpet and theramin).

Tonight we found out that the bass player, Brett Simons actually can smile and sing, helping out on some backing harmonies, and Darian Sahanaja took the lead on a short stint of a Little Richard song “Keep A Knockin’” which the band never finished, and led into “Little Deuce Coupe”. Taylor Mills’ vocals came over extremely strong tonight. Nick Walusko, wearing his trademark black cap, played his Jazzmaster, and Mike D’Amico banged his drums while managing to keep his hair in place.

The band and Brian Wilson seemed to really enjoy themselves tonight and shared some banter. During the encore, when Brian played his bass, he was really grooving and seemed to be very reluctant to leave the stage when curfew fell at 11pm.

After the encore Paul Mertons led the whole band out to the front of the stage, oblivious to the downpour that was still trying to cause a power cut everywhere, for a farewell to the crowd, with the band standing arm in arm for a final bow. A nice touch, before they all piled on the tour bus to head up North to Gateshead for their next show.

So, in summary, a fantastic Greatest Hits show, with the band and Brian Wilson enjoying every minute, and the crowd loving it all, despite the torrential downpour that did nothing to dampen the spirit of Summer in Surrey!

And the traditional round up of the state of the loos! The Guilfest website forum praises the loos at this festival……. I just shudder to think how bad the loos at Glastonbury are if these ones in Guilfest are the best!!!!