Blues Bar is heart of Harrogate live scene

At the Blues Bar - Dan Burnett. (Picture by Stuart Rhodes)
At the Blues Bar - Dan Burnett. (Picture by Stuart Rhodes)

The Blues Bar has been a Harrogate institution as long as I’ve been in Harrogate, which is quite a long time now, writes GIg Scene Editor Graham Chalmers.

The town’s only seven days a week live venue, it’s about as bohemian in vibe as Harrogate gets and utterly committed to music. It does put on a bit of everything in the course of an average year and has seen famous names including John Cooper Clarke on its tiny stage, not to forget the occasional fresh-faced young indie band straight from school.

But I suppose the bar’s rootsy nature suits rootsy sounds best. As the very name suggests, the musical bedrock of the Blues Bar is, unsurprisingly, the blues - in all its varied guises.

Owners Simon and Sharon Colgan’s admirable ability to welcome visiting acts from round the UK and abroad is built on a platform of semi-residences by long-term local legends such as Jed Thomas, Paul Middleton, Scapegoat Kelly, Pete Oliver and, more recently, Dan Burnett.

Talking of which, Harrogate photographer Stuart Rhodes is a particular fan of the latter artist and pays tribute to him in a brief, few words after a recent Sunday afternoon performance.

“Sunday afternoon, the sun is shining, for once, and tinkling the ivories in the Blues Bar is probably the most under reviewed blues singer in town, Dan Burnett. Dan and his band, consisting of simple drums and base, ease the laid back crowd through a collection of blues classics and self penned numbers as he slides easily from piano to harmonica.

“His vocals are as warm and gentle as sun outside but with sudden bursts of passion and power when required.

“Burnett provides the perfect antidote to a heavy Saturday night and on a warm sunny Sunday he helps the cold beer slip down nice and easy.”

round up

Finally a quick round-up of things going on in the district’s ‘gig world’:

Well-known folk singer Zeke Deighton brings a glimpse into his rural childhood in words, readings and song at Arkendale Community Hall in Knaresborough tomorrow, Friday, September 28. Tickets priced £5 from Jean Cox on 01423 340586 or Caroline Houseman on 01423 340240 or on the door.

After a great gig by indie star Mickey P Kerr at Mad Hatters in Ripon, local promoters DMB have a couple of even better gigs coming up – Scottish singer-songwriter Gary Stewart on Saturday, October 13 and ex-Gorkys’ lead singer Euros Childs and band on Friday, December 7.

Described as “the world’s finest Queen tribute band”, Mercury play Masham Town Hall on Friday, October 5. Tickets priced £15 from Masham Community Office or call 01765 680200.

Ripley Town Hall plays host to famed tribute act The Counterfeit Stones on October 20 at Ripley Town Hall.

Prior to that, local promoters RipleyBlues are also welcoming Hans Thessink this Saturday, September 29.