Rock Your Mind in Middlesbrough
By Robert Nichols
Sunday 16 Oct 2011 23:48:00
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Last Sunday Middlesbrough turned into music central as a rock festival with a purpose took over three of the town centre venues. Tom Hingley and Jimmy and the Sounds headlined a fantastic free event for the town.


The last FREE music festival in town occupied The Westgarth (stage 1 and 2), Liberties and the Legion clubs with people wandering in and between with guitars and amps all day long. The idea behind the event was to promote mental health awareness and help remove any stigma that can attach itself to mental health issues.


This is the second year of Rock Your Mind and this year the event was reigned in to just three venues and four stages and quite honestly was far better off for it. Well organised and co-ordinated and on time, people could move between the venues in confidence they would see some quality music at the programmed times. There was a real buzz about Boro.


I have walked past the flag poles of the Legion Club on Park Road North on so many occasions without ever having past through the front door. Last Sunday this was the domain of Rikki Doolan of Bandstand (and his Crown crowd) for the day and the place was rocking full, even well before the 2pm start.


Over at Westgarth, that troubadour Jamie Sample kicked off the downstairs stage of with a sterling set. He roused any lingering Sunday lunchtime snoozers with a rousing communal chorus of The Lion Sleeps Tonight – “Wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh.”


Up top sides in the big concert room Phil was doing a solo Junior Elvis set, for once combining vocals and acoustic guitar on some of the most blatantly brilliant songs anyone has ever produced in this neck of the woods.


A short jaunt down Southfield Road and turn left and very soon it was between the Blues Brothers figures and through the font doors of Liberties. The mighty Dressed Like Wolves were entertaining in their magnificent hats and creating marvellous melodic indie pop of the brand that Luke Barlow of Folk Implosion and Dinosaur Junior might have been proud of.


Then it was back out the front door and a quick hop, skip and a jog down to Park Road North and up the stairs of the Legion club.  A packed Legion Club with a real upbeat Sunday afternoon feel to it and Katie Coleman on stage belting out winners. A quality singer, no doubt about that.


Over at the Westgarth again and Black Sun brought some glam and indie rock melody to the big upstairs room. I did like them and I wasn’t alone, the County Durham group receiving a great reception for a very lively set indeed.


Downstairs Samantha Durnan is always a joy to watch. A superb singer songwriter with a lovely gentle lilting voice. So talented and still so young.


At this point I broke off for a chicken Fajita from the Westgarth snack bar and milled around on the tables with some of the incoming performers. Andy Jones and the Norton Rockets, took up a comfortable position by the bar whilst Mr Broken Broadcast was surveying the scene. Meanwhile the Young Hegelians were on a band outing and looking on. Great to see everyone supporting each other in this way. That is what makes for a healthy scene.


Head of Light Entertainment, Mr Carl Green, a real out and our stalwart of the local scene, was augmented by keyboard and John Taylor on a snazzy looking double bass. There were a few songs I recognised from his “I Am Liberated” album and a few from a forthcoming long player release. It was a case of quirky but accessible, inventive pop from Mr Green as always.


With the night drawing in that was me for the day I’m afraid, over to the town hall crypt for Mr Gruff Rhys. But I’ll leave you with a few photo impressions through Tracy Hyman’s lens from this extremely successful musical Sunday in Middlesbrough, the second Rock Your Mind.

Dressed Like Wolves

Rock Your Minds

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