Ex Stolen Haven frontman, Andrew Brides, has started Salford's newest acoustic night at The Salford Arms. The Broughton musician had found himself at a bit of a loose end since the band went their separate ways... "I've got all the gear so I thought I'd do something he explains.
Andrew has been turning up with enough equipment to satisfy most bands, and has even brought a full drum kit for anyone looking to deliver something beyond the standard troubadour limitations.
Instead of formally hosting the evening, Andrew is keen to have more of a relaxed atmosphere that encourages participation. It seems to have worked too, and has already attracted a diverse group of characters along to take part.
One local lad had been living in Russia for a few years and decided to turn up and just watch. He spotted that the pub had a piano and wondered if anyone would be interested in some classical pieces. Having gained confidence, he then turned his hand to some more recognisable tunes from the like of Amy Winehouse and Coldplay...
"He was great; people appreciate talent" Andrew proudly acknowledges "and later on his uncle performed some poetry, as well."
Spoken word and other performance styles are something that Andrew would definitely like to see more of; "We want it as diverse as possible" he insists "I don't want it to turn into a Stolen Haven gig."
Another participant was new to the area, having arrived from Wales recently and turned up without knowing anyone... "She said she'd always thought the music was better round here, but now she knows that it's true..." he says.
The environment is so supportive that even Andrew's mother got in on the act to sing songs by Simon and Garfunkel and Don Maclean... "She never does that; she'll do anything for a free drink" Andrew jokes. The evening took a surreal turn recently when local legend 'Krazy Horse' arrived in full Native American regalia to deliver his unique (and barefoot) act.
As well as throwing in some songs, he told stories of his travels and his counter-culture existence. Krazy Horse used his trademark transmitter whilst performing to give him the freedom to move around and despite his advancing years he even managed to cause a stir by jumping off a table or two mid-song.
Andrew is eager to continue in this vein and offer a platform to anyone with a talent they'd like to share or hone.
If you are interested in playing, singing, reciting or have an act to perform, get along to The Salford Arms, you'll be made more than welcome. If you simply want an off-the-cuff night out in the company of some interesting and creative types, you'll be guaranteed a top night too.
£2.50 on selected pints and 2 for 1 gin offers on the night
Words by Ian Leslie