Tag Archives: cambridge

Mad Dog McRea – Cambridge Junction

As part of the Cambridge City Roots festival in February, I went along to Cambridge Junction to see Mad Dog McRea. I’d reviewed their Almost Home album when I was writing for Bright Young Folk and loved it, so I was really keen to see them in action. A band with a reputation for being an instant party – what’s not to like?

And all due respect to their support act on the night, Noble Jacks, who got things off to a rollicking good start, warming up the audience like a furnace. (And they were also really lovely lads, too).

How did it go? Read my review, for folking.com, to find out.

MAD DOG McREA – Live at Cambridge Junction (Cambridge City Roots Festival)

Amy Wadge / Luke Jackson – Cambridge Junction

Another day, another gig as part of the Cambridge City Roots festival in February 2017. This time it was off to Cambridge Junction to see Grammy-award winning singer-songwriter Amy Wadge doing a double-headliner with Luke Jackson.

Jackson was the real draw for me, since I’ve got his albums but hadn’t yet managed to see him live. To be honest, I wasn’t really too sure who Amy Wadge was (sorry, and I know now – she co-wrote the bestselling ‘Right Where We Are’ with Ed Sheeran!), but quickly got to like her down-to-earth presence. The dynamic between Jackson & Wadge was lovely, with lots of mutual affection (she seems like the kind of aunt who might have slipped him a sneaky Babycham at Christmas when when he was young).

It’s not the first time these two have done the double-header tour and they plan to do it again in future. To find out whether you should book your tickets (spoiler – yes, you should), read the review I wrote for folking.com.

AMY WADGE AND LUKE JACKSON live at Cambridge Junction

Cambridge City Roots Festival

The Cambridge City Roots Festival took place in February 2017. Over a week (or so) there were lots of different events on at a range of venues around the city. I went to some of them, picking the ones I was most interested in – not necessarily the biggest name events.

A bitterly cold Saturday saw some local bands out busking around town, many of whom also played in the Cambridge Union building during the day, affording them the chance to thaw out with a warming cup of tea. The Cambridge Folk Club who ran this event, proved to be friendly and welcoming.

Now, it might be my memory playing tricks, but I thought I’d remembered seeing some of these gigs (Mad Dog McRea, Luke Jackson/Amy Wadge) scheduled quite some time before I became aware of the City Roots Festival label being stuck onto them. I had pencilled them in as gigs I’d like to attend, even before I was asked to review the festival for folking.com. Also, there were other folk artists playing locally at around that same period, who weren’t included in the festival itinerary, so I’m not sure what the selection criteria might have been.

So, what’s the point of yet another festival? Why go so off-season? Well, there’s a wealth of talent out there and it provides another focal point for collecting some of these artists together under an umbrella (though hat, scarf and gloves might have been better!) of a festival. Aiming to promote folk music in the local community, it’s a welcome wintry counterpoint to the main Cambridge Folk Festival in the summertime.

Was it worth it? Well, some of the signage was a bit inconsistent and scheduling updates were made online only, making the posters around town rather out-of-date when one headliner had to pull out at the last minute. Still these are teething troubles and this was only the first of these festivals. It will be interesting to see whether they manage to iron out these issues if they decide to repeat the festival next year.

Read my overview in folking.com (who kindly asked me to review the festival for them) here. Thanks also to Jay at Prescription PR for sorting out access to the various venues.

CAMBRIDGE CITY ROOTS FESTIVAL – Various artists and venues, 3-11 February 2017

Martin Green – Flit – Cambridge Junction

A review of Martin Green’s (Lau) most recent project Flit, performed live at Cambridge Junction, October 2016. Flit is based on stories of migration, initially inspired by Green’s own grandparents’ experience, and featuring other collected tales.

This review was published on folking.com.


Cambridge Literary Festival, April 2016

four and a half stars

four and a half stars

Cambridge Literary Festival, various venues, April 2016

George Monbiot – How Did We Get Into This Mess? 09 April 2016

Finding George Monbiot’s articles and occasional Newsnight appearances of interest was my only reason for booking tickets for this event. No preconceptions. So I was a bit surprised to find the often fairly unchallenging Q&A format ditched at the first opportunity. And then I was thrilled by what I heard. Monbiot simply stood and gave the most impassioned, completely cogent and articulate speech for 40 minutes. No notes, no faltering, just points made with staggering oratorical fluency. Continue reading