Rob Heron & the Teapad Orchestra
Thursday 10th October 2019
Sometimes, the thing that makes a great gig is placing the right band in the right venue – and thanks to the good taste of ‘Biddulph Up In Arms’ promoter Craig Pickering, this was a perfect example of how to do it right. The Artisan Tap – a converted storeroom and shop – is now a craft beer bar with a curry house right next door, that puts on regular live music.
It’s only small – capacity of 80 – but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in character and atmosphere, no small thanks to proprietor Wayne Lucas, who also happens to be an experienced soundman and musicologist par excellence.
A healthy part of the crowd were in early to enjoy the support from Joe Strouzer – playing New Orleans blues on a resonator with some beautifully grungy harmonica too and dry observational humour.
He deservedly went down well.
Although they claimed that it was their first visit to Stoke-on-Trent, the Teapad Orchestra had played just ten miles away in Biddulph in 2016. Tonight was a much more exuberant and feisty performance featuring songs from the new EP “Eta Carinae” as well as old favourites like ‘Une Bouteille De Beaujolais’ “Rich man now”, “Cats and Chickens” and the opener “Still go Honky Tonkin’”.
This line-up of the band is minus Tim Bloomer who played with the Teapad Orchestra over the summer and instead of adding another lead guitar recruit, the role has largely been taken by Rob himself, giving the band, (if anything) a more rhythmic sound.
Even mentioning that he’d heard that Stoke-on-Trent is the Brexit capital of the UK – followed by huge booing and then the comment – “Obviously not in here” to cheers – Rob and the band completely won over an audience of fans familiar with them and those less so too.
A boisterous encore of “She don’t like the fish” finished the night and left the room bubbling. Rob himself thanked the audience on not staying in and viewing “Bake Off or whatever you’re supposed to be watching at the moment”.
Thankfully, this was one of those nights where several people living in the murky border between Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme discovered that there is indeed a great deal of wonderful stuff out there – and tonight its name was Rob Heron & the Teapad Orchestra.
Review courtesy photographer extraordinaire, Mr Nick Barber
Link to Flickr Photo Album – https://www.flickr.com/photos/efsb/sets/72157711281157161/