“There’s never any decent bands on in Stoke!”

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How many times have you said the above over the last two decades?

It seems that during that time, many other cities of a similar size having been getting the concerts that we needed, wanted and deserved. And ask bands who play our great city what kind of crowd they get. The likes of Simple Minds were gobsmacked when a packed Victoria Hall was turned into what resembled an away end that had seen their team score a last minute winner!

But are the times a changin’?

Hopefully so, and the likes of The Exchange and The Sugarmill have done this city proud in recent times by putting on some great nights, some great DJ’s, and some great bands. And there’s another one on this Saturday…..

Readers of DUCK will know we love the Smoove & Turrell lads. GBOL, them. Anyway, long story short, I had tickets to see them twice last year, in December. One bad back and one bad car later, and that was that – I missed both gigs. So I did a bit of pleading on social media for the Geordie boys to get their backsides down to the Six Towns – and fair play to ’em – they’re here. THIS SATURDAY!

Any group that likes funk, soul, big coats, trainers, Clarks Originals, and football will always stand a good chance of getting in our good books. Thing is, this lot could dress like Crewe fans and we’d still go see them.

Not heard them yet?

Well, they’re a bit like Nile Rodgers joining the cast of Jossies Giants and Brand New Heavies: led by John Turrell’s  beautifully rich Michael MacDonald-on-20-Capstan-a-day vocals, and backed by a group with an ear for a hook bigger than those used on Wicked Tuna. This isn’t toe-tapping stuff. This is stuff that demands you get off your backside and head for the dancefloor. If you can shift Stone Island-clad, Clint Boon stuntdouble keyboard player Mike Porter off it first, that is!

S&T nod their head to soul, funk, jazz, northern soul and several other musical outposts, but retain a gritty northern sound about them at the same time. Want proof? Head, as most do, to Youtube: See ‘Could have been a lady’ off the new album for details. A huge groove and a cover of a Hot Chocolate hit,  that takes ‘Blame it on the Boogie’ for a night out in the Bigg Market and leaves it there up an alleyway.

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Then listen to‘Glass’ – the torch song that ‘Fairytale of new York’ (a song I have always hated – dons tin hat) should have been. Just piano and voice. But what a piano, and what a voice.

It should be the law of the land that we beat those absolute whoppers from Arsenal at teatime and then everyone heads up to The Exchange for one of THE party nights of 2017. But we’ve bought our tickets, so even if we lose to that lot we’ll be crap-dad-dancing til the lads leave the stage anyway. Join us, laugh at us, and have an ace night for less than a tenner.

SMOOVE & TURRELL   the Exchange   Saturday 13th May  (hopefully around 9pm to give me time get from the match!)

Tickets are only £8 plus booking fee from: http://smooveandturrell.com/tour-dates/