Building on their successful event last September, Ribble Valley Labour Party held their second “For The Valley” event with the continued aim of raising awareness of local and national issues and increasing engagement in politics, writes Jonathan Haworth.
As well as a day and night of music being held at St Mary’s Centre, with the political theme this time focussing on the anniversary of the NHS, they had arranged for both the “Prime Minister” and “Leader of the Opposition” to make a special appearance in the town centre during the day.
Kicking off the main gig was Mike Kneafsey and, with a well-crafted mix of covers and his own songs, he provided an entertaining start to the evening. Bemoaning between songs of a lack of previous bookings in Clitheroe, on this showing he surely must return more frequently.
After playing the first event as part of the specially formed super group The Sea Men, this time Good Foxy’s George Banks only accompaniment on stage was a chair and his guitar and he built on the opening with another great set of cover versions and own material with the assured confidence and charm the crowd have come to expect from him.
Returning to the line-up after a vibrant performance in the first “For The Valley” gig, Northern Sports Club are a band that continues to grow in confidence and ability. With their intriguing mix of funk, rock, soul and rap combined with the infectious energy exuding from front pair Millie and Chris they showed no signs of weariness on their third gig of the week. So much energy in fact, that after causing themselves drum kit problems with it last year, they proceeded to go one better and this time overloaded the venue’s electrics causing an unplanned mid-set interval. Undaunted they picked up where they left off and with their debut EP due for release shortly, this is surely another local sports club that are looking well set for promotion this season.
Last up were The Ruby Tuesdays, who can’t have been introduced on stage by the leader of the opposition before, but on the back of two singles already this year and with a third EP due in May they weren’t at all phased by the experience as they proceeded to deliver an accomplished no-nonsense guitar based set echoing bands such as The Stone Roses, Ocean Colour Scene, and Oasis and they are clearly very capable of carrying on the indie guitar baton that continues to be a favourite in the Valley.
With front man Tucker lambasting the fact that even his own mum wasn’t filling the gap left at the front of the stage by those foolish enough not to stay until the end of the night, they grew momentum and mood through their set and, aided by a fitting and rip-roaring cover of Jumping Jack Flash, drew the night to a fine close.
They left the organisers pleased with yet another successful event proving that mixing politics with music can cross many barriers; you know it can, it really can as that other papier-mâchéd icon Frank Sidebottom would have said.