Last week I went along to the stunning Lancaster Grand Theatre for an evening of musical delights. The Grand, originally built in 1782 during the reign of King George III, is the third oldest continually operating theatre in England. Re-modeled in 1897 by the great theatre architect Frank Matcham, the interior was sadly gutted by fire in 1908, but it re-opened just 8 months later in the Edwardian style we now find it. In it’s long history many ‘greats’ have graced it’s stage including Charles Dickens and Vivaldi!
A full history of the Grand theatre is available in the book: “The Grand Theatre Lancaster : Into the Third Century” by A.G. Betjemann
Available from the Grand Box office: 01524 64695. £7.50 + Postage and Packaging.
My reason for going was two-fold, bass player Niall from support act Sun Giant was playing his last gig with the band as he was leaving for University the next day. Niall has been a family friend for as long as I care to remember and it would be good to see him off in style (he’d also hinted it would be great to have some shots of his last gig)! Secondly, I’m in the middle of a big commission at the moment to shoot some of Lancaster’s cultural goings on so it was a nice fit there too. The Grand has a ‘no photography’ policy as a rule, but having cleared it with both Sun Giant and headline act Jay Diggins, I was given a go-ahead by the Theatre staff and took up my position in the pit.
The line up for the evening was Scorton boy, Jay Diggins, who was launching his debut album ‘Searching’, supported by Greenheart, Sun Giant, Mark Dennis and various of the Greenheart lads appearing solo.
First up was Ian ‘Scotty’ Moorhouse (of Greenheart) who announced the evening in great style with a haunting, virtuoso performance on the Didgeridoo.
Ian was followed by Greenheart drummer Johnny Scott, this time on the guitar, and very nice he sounded too…
Next up was a fine acoustic set from Chester boy Mark Dennis, (incidentally, that last link is worth clicking if only to see the best avatar I’ve seen in a long time!)
Mark was followed by the Niall, Tom and Liam, the Sun Giant boys, a powerful, powerful three piece Psychedelic/Blues/Alternative Rock band from Lancaster. I’ve previously done a photo shoot with Sun Giant, and it was great to finally hear them live for the first time. Despite a few on-stage sound issues, they played a fine set. You can hear one of the boys tracks below (incidentally recorded by Jay Diggins in his home (analogue) studio.
Greenheart are Scotty Moorhouse, James Fraser and Johnny Scott. They create amazing pop/rock sounds using didgeridoo, guitar loops and mesmerising drum beats. The band formed in 2007. Check them out. Highly recommended.
After the interval I moved upstairs for a fine balcony view of headliner Jay Diggins. Jay has been working with producer John Parish (Eels, Tracy Chapman, PJ Harvey) and in his own words writes and performs “gritty songs of a wistful, yearning nature, as if he is slightly possessed”. Jay’s excellent debut album “Searching” is now on sale.
It was a great night of great music. Farewell Niall, you rocked!