Wokingham Music Club aims to revolutionise gig sceneBy Caroline Cook
April 04, 2012
Friday night is music night as a new local and live night launches. Caroline Cook is top of the pops
Jazz, folk and rock fans in Wokingham who wish to spend a balmy summer evening listening to live music and sipping a beer generally have to hop on the train and travel to nearby towns like Windsor or Reading to catch big name acts in the flesh.
That is, until now.
Wokingham events organiser Stan Hetherington is launching the Wokingham Music Club and the cultural ringmaster has bold plans to revolutionise the gig scene in the town.
“A crowd of mates and I used to jump on the train and go to Jagz in Ascot,” says Stan, who is also involved in organising the Wokingham Food & Drink Festival and Wokingham Winter Carnival.
“One evening we stood there and we thought, why don’t we do this in Wokingham?”
After mulling over the idea for several years Stan was prompted to take action when he came across another music club in tiny Herefordshire village.
“My good lady and I were at a food festival in Linton and they had a thing called the Linton Music Club,” he explains.
“I got chatting to the barman, who I found out later was the landlord, and asked how they got the club going.
“He said they wanted to go and see a band in Bristol and by the time he priced it all up it was cheaper to put the band in a van and bring them to the pub.
“I turned round and said that’s what we want to do.”
Four years later – not to mention countless hours spent finding a venue and organising bands – the Wokingham Music Club will open its doors this Friday.
Bristol-based band Never The Bride – who have been called “inspirational” by Dame Shirley Bassey – will headline the grand opening night, with their rock ‘n’ roll sound booming out of Cantley Lodge in Wellington Road.
Firey-haired lead singer Nikki Lamborn has also been dubbed “the best rock voice since Janis Joplin” by The Who singer Roger Daltrey.
“Never The Bride are fantastic,” says Stan. “Nikki talks to the audience and makes you laugh and then she sings a song which really plucks at your heart strings.”
Joining Never The Bride will be Edinburgh-born Adam Smith who has been performing since he was 11. He has produced three self-penned albums, and offers a blend of acoustic music and vocal acrobatics.
Looking ahead, Stan is planning to bringing more high quality music acts to Wokingham.
He says: “The Hope and Anchor and The Broad Street Tavern do their music festivals and things but they tend to go for local bands.
“There’s nothing wrong with that but I thought it would be good if we could bring other names in as well.”
Exciting acts already confirming for later in the year include Steve Rodgers, son of rocker Paul Rodgers of Free, Bad Company and who toured as lead vocalist with Queen in 2004. “I said if he wanted to bring his dad along it’s no problem,” jokes Stan. “Funnily enough he said people say that quite a lot.”
Also on the bill for the year is jazz musician Oli Silk, who played keyboard for Anastasia on her European Tour in 2009.
With more acts being booked up for later on in the year Stan says he is hoping to turn the monthly night into a weekly music event.
- The Wokingham Music Club opens at Cantley Lodge on Friday at 7pm, with the first act on at 8pm.
Tickets are £10 in advance and £12.50 on the door. To book call (0118) 977 5886. It will run on the first Friday of each month thereafter.