The Ware Rooms in Carliol Square is a big, friendly wooden room that had been crying out for rockabillies to go there and play.
Along came Martin Stephenson and his idea for Rockin' at the Hostel (there is a youth hostel attached), and on Sunday evening an assortment of guitars, double basses and a cocktail kit turned up alongside a group of enthusiastic musicians, and soon the room was rockin'.
Sugar Doll started the evening with an amazing selection of retro sounds, real toe-tappers; I did a short set and was joined by Martin, Joe Guillan and John Cavener for a Stephenson's Rocketts version of Freight Train and Rockin' Girl, which we last played about four years ago on the bonnie bonnie banks of Loch Lomond. Impressively, Joe still remembered the guitar solo of Freight Train.
Then Jim Hornsby joined Martin for some fingerpickin' tunes and they played a short set of mostly old timey songs and instrumentals and got the crowd laughing and ready for more.
Next up were the Honey Bop Trio, who consist of Hannah (acoustic guitar and lovely vocals), Dave on rip-roaring electric guitar and John on double bass (bowed for the first song). They have a brilliant set of songs and Hannah has a voice to die for. She used to sing for the Kentucky Cowtippers and did a good job with them, but in this trio she really has the opportunity to shine.
Little Mary joined them for a couple of songs- wow what a big voice!
Finally, Colin Mee and Mandy took to the stage with Joe on scorching guitar, and gave us the performance of a lifetime. Mandy plays a white double bass and never lets up with the rhythm, smiling that beautiful smile; Colin dances wildly as he plays intricate rhythms on the cocktail kit or thrashes his acoustic guitar with a fiver wedged in the strings to make the sound percussive, his big voice booming through the room like a healthier young Johnny Cash. Joe slices the air into shreds with his scorching solos. The Mee Kats got us up dancing!
In between, Sugar Doll slipped to the decks and treated us to more sounds that perfectly complemented the evening.
Three cheers for Martin for putting on such a fun night and for all the musicians for being such fun and so brilliant. I came away inspired and energised and humbled for being on a bill with an array of such truly talented musicians and entertainers. Rock'n'roll on the next time!