Rock ‘n Roll Up, at the Allendale Centre, Wimborne

Tonight, at the Allendale Centre in Wimborne; two big hearted guys, local radio DJ Ian Bennett and musician Danny Salamander have put together an event to try and make a difference for Wheelchair users and less able bodied music fans. The event features a unique raised wheelchair platform with dedicated helpers, giving users a clear view of the stage and assistance if needed. Ian, himself a wheelchair user totally understands the struggles of turning up to certain music events.

The event is set to raise funds for the Dorset Children’s Foundation and the Para section of the Poole Athletics Club. Sadly, Danny Salamander and his band cannot attend this evening due to illness and in a change to the published programme; at the last minute Swanage band “Galaxy Thief” have agreed to perform after travelling to Cardiff this morning for Foodies Festival supporting Peter Andre and Example. Also, Richard Digance was billed as host and sadly cannot make it and I have been asked to step in to help the event go smoothly.

The first act of the evening is local singer/songwriter Nick Capaldi, whose wife Grace is herself in a wheelchair and she helped hugely with the event organisation. In fact, the very platform that was supplied by SJ Hire was arranged by her. The couple know a few things about setting up music events as they run the impressive “Echotown Studios” in Dorchester.

Nick Capaldi
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With just his six-string guitar, Nick serenades the audience with some of his unique-sounding original material. He makes playing the guitar look simple, however the sound that is emitted is nothing of the sort. There are plenty of clever twists and turns, along with influences aplenty. From Brit Pop to The Beatles, Neil Young to Ryan Adams, Nick has indulged himself with these and created his own unique style. As well as a couple of well chosen covers, we are treated to tracks including “Mixed Emotions” and a new track to me called “Number One”. A great start to the evening and one the crowd seem to wholeheartedly enjoy.

Next up are a band I can only refer to as a local supergroup featuring a quartet of musicians who have come together, providing a Country/Folk entertainment act. It features Matt Griffiths on guitar/vocals, renowned fiddle player Steve Faulkner, Iain Mathieson on Cajón and bringing the showbiz glamour to the band on lead vocals/guitar/mandolin Amie Knight. Kicking off with “Wagon Wheel”, the band get the party started with upbeat energy and they have quite a few fans in the audience sporting Route 66 T-shirts.

A version of Billy Ray Cyrus “Achy Breaky Heart” gets some line dancers up on the dance floor. We are then bestowed with a set full of highlights including the wonderful “Galway Girl”, with Steve taking the lead on fiddle and vocals; along with covers of “Purple Rain” and “Fat Bottomed Girls”. The band put their very own spin on things and provide some unique upbeat entertainment and the crowd just love them. The clever “Folsom Prison Blues” medley is worth the ticket money alone, the song is mixed with “Pinball Wizard” and Dolly’s “9 to 5”.

Route 66
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I did see Ian looking at his watch quite a few times within the evening, sweating on the arrival of Galaxy Thief. He need not have worried, they turned up as promised part way through the Route 66 set and got their gear ready for a quick changeover. Ian along with a mother of one of the charity’s beneficiaries gave the audience all the information about the charity and how the money raised will benefit them. One young chap got a big surprise when Ian revealed that he has funded the cost of a Race Running Frame for his use at the Poole Athletic club.

After a quick and efficient set-up Jake (Bass/Backing Vocals), George (Backing Vocals/ Lead Guitar), Ben (Drums) and Rhys Lead Vocals/Guitar) arrive on stage looking pleased to be off the motorways and back onstage. These guys are a class outfit and in January I was privileged to give them an Original Music Award for best live band. They are gradually ticking off achievements with gigs supporting Jake Bugg and Toploader, along with an appearance on the Pilton Stage at the Glastonbury Festival.

The guys show no signs of fatigue after their long journey and kick off strongly with their melodic twin guitars sounding particularly fine through the Allendale’s powerful P.A. I’ve been warning the audience all night that they were in for a treat and this band delivers with bells on. They play a great set which features a good mix of covers and originals. This includes “Hysteria” by Muse, “Holiday” by Green Day and a great version of “Everlong” by Foo Fighters.

Galaxy Thief
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These guys have a real chemistry and a commanding stage presence that just shows why they are given the opportunities they have. A glimpse into their future comes in the form of a couple of new tracks, the electric/acoustic mix of “Helicopter” and the bands forthcoming single “Golden Days”. Their set ends with a reworked cover of the Scissor Sisters “Take Ya Mother”, which is extended with a jam and we are treated to plenty of the instrumental prowess that they guys are gifted with.

This ends one great evening of local live music and the great news is that the “Rock n’ Roll Up” is to become an annual event, continuing to raise much needed funds for the charities.



Words By David Chinery (Chinners)
Photography by Mathew Rayner

Galaxy Thief