Jamie introduces new Johns to Alexander’s #chesterculture

Just over six months ago Alexander’s Live was sold to Jamie Northrop. Jamie has been working hard at the venue since then ensuring a complete and full line up of events with something ‘Live’ each day of the week. Jamie also closed the venue for the refurbishment of the main floor in January this year and installed a new bar with quirky lighting made from up-cycled bottled and pipes. Jamie boasts that the lighting was all made by his father. He says; “I have always had an image of what a venue should look like in my head but when we came to sourcing the products we couldn’t find what we wanted… that’s when I turned to Dad (Michael Northrop) and together we got the image out of my head and into a reality.” 

The toilets at Alexander’s Live sadly didn’t get more than a lick of paint back in January as Jamie explains; “We just simply ran out of time.”
Anyone who had been to the venue before Jamie took over would know that the toilets were infamous in Chester for their cracked tiles, bad smells and worn out floors (to say the least).

Well now the toilets have undergone a full refurbishment with new toilets, sinks, cubicles, tiles, modern mirrors and all the accessories to go with it. The gents even have waterless urinals now and the toilets are decorated quite minimally but still with an edgy music and performance twist with the display of different vinyl records and artwork.

Jamie explains; “It was extremely important for us to get the toilets refurbished as a venue is very often judged on its cleanliness, etc, by the state of its loo’s… I know I do that all the time! I am really happy with how the refurbishment has gone and it’s so nice to have things starting to all come together. I only wish we could’ve somehow extended the space to make the toilets less cramped but obviously with the toilets being on the first floor we are limited to the space that we have. Overall though I hope we have done enough to win back all the customers that I have heard exclaim; ‘We’ll return when the loo’s are done…’ ”

Jamie has clearly taken time to consider the venue and its requirements and is working through what must’ve been an extensive list of jobs. His final touch to the new loo’s at Alexander’s are the new doors which he has had painted by good friend and artist, Glen Cross. The doors feature the faces of what Jamie considers two of the most iconic people in music industry history, Jim Morrissey and Madonna. There is a story behind these choices but Jamie says that is just something that customers will have to come and ask him about themselves!

The full line up of upcoming events can be found on www.alexanderslive.com and tickets can be purchased in house, online or by calling the venue on 01244 401402.



Zoot Serious and the Belly Full of Bop – Friday 1st July 2016 at Alexander’s #chesterculture

Zoot Serious and a Belly Full of Bop boogie their way into Chester playing Rhythm and Blues, Jump Jive, Swing and Soul. T

The music performed by Zoot Serious is seriously energetic and delivered by a band with the same traits as the music.
The ten piece band, which includes all that you’d expect along with saxophones, trombones and trumpets, play all the classic jive and R’n’B tunes from James Brown to Ray Charles.

Zoot Serious and the Belly Full of Bop
Alexander’s Live
Friday 1st July 2016.
Tickets are £7 in advance or £8 on the door, with an option of a pre-show dinner for £27. Tickets are available from alexanderslive.com or by calling 01244 401402. 

Shellsuit – Saturday 2nd July 2016 – Telford’s Warehouse #chesterculture

Shellsuit began in the Granite City at around 4:32am, when Lee Scanlan drove into the Royal Mail Depot with the sound of James Carr escaping from his car window. A mutual interest in the soul singer brought him to the attention of Ed Doherty another North West of England escapee who had gone to Aberdeen , like Lee, to find work on the Oil Rigs but ended up working for the Queens Mail

Back in their respective homes of Cheshire (Lee) and Liverpool ( Ed) they began to collaborate on the tracks that were to form the Lo-Fi gem ‘Walton Prison Blues’, released on Welsh Independant label Higuera Records in 2009.

The LP contained the outstanding track –‘Postman’- which had brought them to the attention of Tom Robinson at Radio 6 and ensured a studio session at BBC Broadcasting House in 2008. Tom called the song ‘my favourite new song’ of that year.
He remains a strong supporter.

The follow up LP-Wednesday Morning Bootle Strand- was approached differently. Using the proceeds of the first LP, plus gig income and Child Tax Credit, the two men recorded the LP over a 4 year period at numerous Studios around Liverpool (Parr St, The Motor Museum, Elevator) to create a more muscular pop sound, framed by Lee’s trademark guitar licks and Ed’s observations of everyday life as impacted upon by class, finance, and drugs.

The LP’s release in November 2014 saw ecstatic local media reviews and a distribution deal that ensured that people in Cornwall and Carlisle were suddenly getting it
Recent TV appearances on Bay TV Liverpool and Liverpool Live TV were cemented by a headline slot at New Brighton’s ‘Astral Coast’ Festival.

Parochial as the title of the LP is, you could substitute ‘ Exeter shopping Precinct ‘ and the impact on the listener would be the same- songs that are beautifully arranged, melodically smart and say something to you about your life.

Shellsuit are not going to expect you to listen to ten songs about rejection from a partner, they know the world is a lot more complicated and enjoyable than that.

The band have returned to the studio to work with producer Steve Powell, the hands behind ‘Michael Head and the Magical World of the Strands’. They will continue to perform the new LP at gigs across the UK.

People still want a soulful voice that articulates life in the grip of big egos with small compassion.

Saturday 2nd July 2016
Telford’s Warehouse
Free Entry Before 9pm, £4 Thereafter

The Somme 100 – Saturday 9th July 2016 – Queen’s Park High School – #chesterculture

In commemoration of the Battle of the Somme which took place 100 years ago the Chester Philharmonic Orchestra in collaboration with the Queen’s Park High School are taking part in the Somme 100 project.

img_0949The film ‘Battle of the Somme’ made in 1916 by Geoffrey Mallins and J.B. McDowell, has been re-mastered by the Imperial War Museum and an orchestral score has been written by Laura Rossi to accompany it.

The Somme 100 project aims to show the film internationally with Laura’s music at 100 different venues.

There will be two opportunities to view this moving historic film in Chester at 2.00pm and 7.30pm on Saturday 9th July 2016.

The Somme 100 Commemorative Concert
Saturday July 9th 2016
The Main Hall in Queen’s Park High School
Tickets priced at £12 and £10 for adults
Student tickets are £5
Tickets are available from Queen’s Park High School – Student Services on 01244 981506 or on the door.

Llay Organ Society present Chris Stanbury in concert –  Wednesday 22nd June 2016 

A Local Organ Society will give Organ fans in the area a rare opportunity to hear an instrument not usually found in the UK being put through its paces this month.
Llay Organ Society’s 2016 season of concerts at Royal British Legion Nr Wrexham continues this month when popular Organist Chris Stanbury makes a welcome return to the stage on Wednesday 22nd June at 8pm.

A well known concert performer at Organ Societies and other events throughout the UK and Europe; Chris from Banstead in Surrey will perform a wide range of music during the concert including music from film, West End musicals, light classical pieces and popular swing and big band numbers plus much more using his Yamaha Stagea Organ – one of only a handful of instruments of its kind in the UK having been especially imported in the Country by Chris direct form the Yamaha factory in Japan.

Pre concert entertainment from 7.15pm will be provided by the Bangor-on-Dee community Choir with Chris taking to the stage at 8pm. Doors open at 6.45pm

Chris Stanbury in Concert
Llay Royal British Legion
Tickets: £6
Available from Ron and Beryl Jones on 01978 351475 and also available on the door.
Further details about Llay Organ Society can be found here.

A New Hope Music Festival. – 17th, 18th and 19th June 2016 – The Carlton Tavern #chesterculture

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The Carlton Tavern, with support from the local music community and chestergigs.com are proud to announce that they will be running a 3 day live music festival starting this Friday, starting at 5pm.

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The event gets off to a cracking start with quality acoustica from Captain Andy Hignett and Dai Banjo, punchy indie from The Jigsaws & Brazen Swagger, Chester Hip Hop from Vil and ending with The Daymons bringing the love, harmonics and a bit of brass to the proceedings.

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On Saturday there’s another packed schedule starting with Carlton favourites and open mic hosts  Bean Rule & Mark Henderson, Urgent modfolk acoustica from Paul Williams, Action Transfers frontman Ian O’ Brien will be bringing 30 years of musical class, plus more leftfield leanings from Shem Sharples and Thor Brown.

After some punky grunge from Ryuko, the event finishes with Wrexham’s synth punk joy Def Neon.

On Sunday Chester Soul Club will be taking over for an afternoon of six decades of Funk & Soul, all on original vinyl. Mark Howell & Russ Hughes are your spinning winners for this Sunday daytime treat.

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And later on Sunday evening, Bean Rule will be hosting an Open Mic session featuring some of the cream of Chester’s gtass roots community.

The venue is completely free entry all weekend will be supplying free munch to soak up the beer and the music.

Come And Join The Alliance.



Park Sounds – Saturday 18th June 2016 – To include memorial to Orlando Victims #chesterculture

This Saturday, Chester Pride will be hosting ‘Park Sounds’ a free evening of live music which will take place in Grosvenor Park (by the activity hut) starting at 7pm.

Park Sounds will include a remembrance to the victims of the Orlando shootings including a reading, a minutes silence, and the opportunity to paint a pebble with inspirational words, a message, or a picture and place it under a tribute tree.  

Chair of Chester Pride Helen Pickin-Jones said ‘What happened in Orlando is truly horrifying; I have no words to begin to express how heartbreaking it is. But this week in Chester, we have seen people showing their solidarity, love and support for the LGBT community in a number of ways- this is inspiring and uplifting to see.’

Park Sounds will include a Tai Chi experience at 7:15pm from Kam Lau School of Tai Chi Chuan, words of remembrance at 8pm, a performance from quirky singer/song writer Jess Ball at 8:30pm followed by acclaimed blood-harmony 60s/70s folk rock inspired band Heal the Last Stand at 9:15pm.

#chesterculture – Last Rites – Cellar Bar – Friday 17th June 2016


Dig out those black skinny jeans and smudge on the eyeliner as Chester’s only dedicated Goth night returns to The Cellar this Friday evening; brought to you by Die and Mark.

Playing Goth, Deathrock, Post-Punk, New Wave, Industrial, Alternative 80s and 90s music as well as all manner of embarrassing. but amazing, guff.

Last Rites
Cellar Bar

Friday 17th June 2016
8pm ’til late


The Good Life Experience – 16th, 17th and 18th September 2016 – #chesterculture

tgle-2015-photos-nenad-obradovic-IMG_2085The Good Life Experience presents an impressive and eclectic line-up for the three day festival –now in its third year- from 16th to 18th September 2016 on the Hawarden Estate in Flintshire.

The music and poetry programme is entirely hand-picked by co-founders singer, author and broadcaster Cerys Matthews and music manager Steve Abbot.

Festival goers can look forward to a mix of the very best music with everything from DJ Gilles Peterson, Canadians Gordie Mackeeman + His Rhythm Boys to Saturday night headliners Romanian Gypsy band Fanfare Ciocarlia – which Cerys has described as her favourite live performance of all time – poets John Cooper Clarke + Mike Garry (with his band), The Booka Brass Band from Dublin, Mari Samuelsen + The 12 Ensemble’s performance of Max Richter’s Vivaldi Recomposed, a DJ set from Mercury Rev, Cerys herself performing and much more.

On top of the music, there are some wonderful speakers lined up, including adventurer Ben Fogle, broadcaster Jeremy Vine and multi-award winning author Michael Morpurgo.

There will be an exciting array of world class chefs, all of whom have been challenged to cook over the campfire, from Bill Granger, to Thomasina Miers, Valentine Warner, Welsh barbecuers Hang Fire Smokehouse, Fabulous Baker Tom Herbert, Petersham Nurseries’ Head Chef Damian Clisby, Anna Jones, forager Roger Phillips and many more.

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As founders of homewares brand Pedlars, the Hawarden Estate Farm Shop and award-winning pub The Glynne Arms, co-founders Charlie and Caroline Gladstone know something about hosting a brilliant party. Together with, Cerys and Steve they have created an atmosphere of warmth and inclusion for all ages.

Join the party this year for a weekend celebrating family, friends, dogs, music, talks, adventure, workshops, good food and good drink and The Great Outdoors.

There will be around 40 workshops with traditional craftspeople for all ages, from spoon carving to paddle making, henna art, blacksmithing, axe workshops and more. Almost all these workshops and other activities are free, including axe throwing, archery, tree climbing, tai chi and abseiling to name just a few.

And last but not least there is a wonderful 1930s Vintage Fairground, where all rides are free, running all weekend.

The Good Life Experience
16th, 17th and 18th September 2016
Hawarden Estate
To buy tickets click here
Adults: £69 Non-camping, £99 Camping
12-17 years: £34.50 Non-camping. £64.50 Camping
Under 11s: Free
More information at https://www.thegoodlifeexperience.co.uk

#chesterculture – Chester Philharmonic present A Night At The Movies – Saturday 25th June 2016

Chester Philharmonic’s Final Cathedral concert this season will be a departure from the normal Classical Musical format.

On the 25th June you will be able to hear a selection of music which was either composed for the ‘Silver Screen’ or pieces from the Classical repertoire which have been used in Hollywood’s films.

Who can forget the sight of Mickey Mouse in Walt Disney’s film Fantasia as ”The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” or who cannot fail to be moved by the music from the film Schindler’s List?

Both these pieces along with many more will be performed by Chester’s own symphony orchestra in Chester’s cathedral. Elmer Bernstein (Magnificent 7), Leonard Bernstein (no relation….West Side Story), Eric Coates, Ron Goodwin and the prolific John Williams (W.T. Star Wars), are the major composers.

The soloist in Schindler’s List will be Lucy Holmes, a very young musician currently studying at Chetham’s School of Music Manchester.

The conductor will be Daniel Parkinson who has just graduated in conducting from the Royal Northern College of Music.  Daniel has a long history with the Chester Philharmonic. As a teenager, he played in many concerts both as a violinist and orchestral pianist. Since becoming a conductor, Daniel has returned to conduct the Chester Philharmonic on several occasions. He holds the record for the longest introduction by a compère and infamously conducted Copland’s Rodeo sporting a cowboy hat.

In 2016, Daniel was the Off-Stage and Cover Conductor for The Royal Ballet’s critically acclaimed production of ‘The Winter’s Tale.’ He will make his debut with Northern Ballet in September. In 2015, Daniel conducted Manchester Camerata in Chester Cathedral as part of the MBNA Chester Music Festival. He has also been an Assistant Conductor to the BBC Philharmonic and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestras.

A Night at the Movies

Chester Cathedral

7.30pm – Saturday 25th June 2016

Tickets at £16; £12; £9 – students £5 – available  by calling 01244 500959 or www.chesterphilorchetra.co.uk.