Sunday, 29 September 2013

The Bar Steward Sons of Val Doonican

Crowd-funding is very popular these days. I read recently of two smartphones and a phone-cum-watch thingy that have been developed and built based on pledges of purchases from your average geek on the street. This sort of thing goes on in musical circles too; WWWTM favourites Call the Doctor released their debut long player using a pledge website, and Indie heavyweights The Sunshine Underground are currently doing a similar thing in an attempt to release their third album, so it doesn't come as a surprise that bands are beginning to see a life beyond the traditional record label contract, and going it alone.

Enter The Bar Steward Sons of Val Doonican, a three piece from Barnsley playing hilarious covers of rock, pop, punk and metal favourites, using guitar, ukulele, accordion and banjo. BS/VD (as they will now be referred to for the rest of this post) are the UK's hardest working band, peddling their comedy wares at festivals and country pubs up and down the length of the country. A summer 'tour' to the South West for The Levellers' Beautiful Days festival was embellished by an appearance at the Watchet festival the following week, with nightly Facebook posts asking fans to seek out a pub that could provide a venue for the following day. They managed three weeks in the South West before it was time to get back to their native South Yorkshire.

BS/VD aren't new to crowd funding - their seventh studio album, due for release on Christmas Day 2013 and made possible by pledges from their army of devoted followers, follows hot on the heels of a 7" release of 'Tarn Life' for record store day. You can see the attraction. Not since the Barron Knights has the comedy/music crossover been popular with record companies, so being able to chronicle your material and get it out to your fans on your own terms must be very liberating.

But it's not on vinyl, or CD, or mp3 that BS/VD shine, it's in their live performances. Guaranteed to get the stiffest of crowds up and dancing, their brand of comedy is perfectly suited for that late night festival appearance in the beer tent, which is where we first came face to face with the band. A 'headline' set at one in the morning in the beer tent at Bearded Theory this year was enough for us to seek out their next gig, the following afternoon in another beer tent, and we were fixed. So much so that, instead of just pledging for our copy of the Greatest Hits album, we've pledged that bit extra to have Scott Doonican, frontman of the band, to come and do a ukulele set at a forthcoming party at Schonberg Central. I'll let you know how it goes!

1 comment:

John Lamb said...

As you're someone who doesn't normally like novelty/comedy tracks they must be really good for you to pledge. I enjoyed "if I could punch a face" and I'll now hunt down more of their music. Thanks for the post