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Show Of Hands return for Wirral Guitar Festival
FOLK music greats Show Of Hands return to Wirral next month for the 25th International Guitar Festival.
Singer/songwriter Steve Knightley, multi-instrumentalist Phil Beer and double bassist / vocalist Miranda Sykes appear at the Floral Pavilion in New Brighton on Thursday, November 7, as part of their Hand In Tour tour.
Their last album, Wake The Union, was released last year and the group are currently promoting the release of a double DVD which includes a fly-on-the-wall documentary.
Steve Knightley told the Globe: "We're looking forward to coming back to New Brighton. We played there for the first time last year and it's a nice little venue."
No strangers to Wirral, the band were regular performers at Pacific Road Arts Centre, the Woodside venue which closed early last year.
Wirral Council's cabinet agreed in 2011 that the hugely popular Woodside theatre along with the nearby transport museum and tramway should be put up for sale.
The plan was greeted with dismay from musicians and fans.
Show Of Hands, former Ultravox frontman Midge Ure and fellow guitar greats Steve Hackett and Gordon Giltrap supported calls for the venue to be saved from closure as a music venue.
Steve Knightley said: "We played at Pacific Road many times over the years and it's sad that it's now no longer open. It was great to look at the trams that were in the shed behind the stage."
Described by former Genesis frontman Peter Gabriel as "One of the great English bands”, Show of Hands formed 21 years ago.
They were winners of Radio 2 folk awards for best duo and best original song in 2010, but have enjoyed equal success in their solo careers.
Asked the secret of their success, Steve told the Globe: "Whereas other bands seem to be treading water a bit, we try to be fresh.
"A good example of that is the fact that we never repeat the same kind of show when we’re on tour."
The band’s new album, Wake the Union, was released last year on their own label. Celebrating both English and North American music it was described as "a journey through the heart of two landscapes united by a common tongue and musical heritage".
Steve said: "The idea was to have this balance between England and American and was almost like a question and answer.
"We'd record an English song and ‘answer’ it with an American one."
Taking place from November 6-28, the three-week celebration of all things guitar will be staged at the Floral Pavilion in New Brighton, the historic Birkenhead Priory and Williamson Art Gallery in Oxton.]
It will be opened by British rock and roll legend Joe Brown at the Floral Pavilion.
Also appearing over the three week are Australian-born Grammy Award-winning classical guitarist John Williams and Paul Carrack; the Sheffield-born Legendary Sheffield-born singer, songwriter and former frontman of Ace, Squeeze and Mike & The Mechanics.
Among the Wirral performers is Gerry Murphy, with his particular brand of 'swamp-soul' influenced six-string symphonies.
No stranger to the festival, Gerry has been playing and promoting in the area for over 20 years.
Also appearing are Moreton-based Phil Chisnall and his band; covering everything from folk to blues and country and Natalie McCool, who was among the performers during Wirral’s second Festival Of Firsts in July.
Wallasey-based actor, writer and musician Carl Chase will perform the hits of '50s country singer Hank Williams during a special event of country and blues at Floral Pavilion Blue Lounge.
Festival director Dave Tracey said recently: "The Guitar Festival has been the premiere cultural event in Wirral for 25 years and hopefully will continue to be so for the next 25 years and beyond.
"This year the festival has a fantastic cast of players who represent the past, present and future of the guitar."
Tickets and further details for all shows are from the box office on 666 0000 or www.bestguitarfest.com
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