Following the departure of former barman (and merrymaker) Russ Dennett, the jewel in Dronfield’s musical Crown – the mighty White Swan open-mic night – is still packing the punch of a ticked-off Cassius Clay. Russ has since moved his open-mic night to a pub in a small village somewhere in Derbyshire.
If Winston Churchill was to describe last Tuesday night, he would say something like, “Never in the field of musical entertainment has so much been owed by so many to so few.” I agree.
It was hosted by Firecracker/Vida’s very own Chris Firminger, arguably the most talented guitarist in Dronfield, with the possible exception of me after that one drink too many. This new regime seems to attract a new set of performers as well as the old regulars, playing a myriad selection of songs never heard before. The night was a tour de force of musical gaiety from amp ON to amp OFF.
Chris Firminger’s dad, the drummer for the night, was played by an old gangster from a gritty British gangster flick. I didn’t get to speak to him but I am assured he’s perfectly pleasant despite reminding me of Barry the Baptist from Lock Stock. If he reads this, I hope he won’t mind me saying I have never seen a man of that age move so fast, he’s quite the inspiration.
The range of music has really broadened significantly under Chris Firminger’s very capable supervision. Within minutes we had delightfully jumped from The Spencer Davis Group to Buddy Holly. Which made a refreshing change from the usual barrage of classic rock anthems the open mic night was previously known for.
The Carnival’s Harris Nixon (above) showed up to show us how big rock riffs should be played. At one point my jaw dropped at how fast this man’s fingers moved, it would appear all the guitar talent in Dronfield had been localised to one pub (excluding Dave Berry and Junkyard Dog’s frontman).
…and this guy, who played a polite mix of electro-pop and historical electro-pop. I didn’t get his name, if anyone knows who he is, I would like to book him for someone’s wedding.
I will be visiting the White Swan open-mic when it returns in 2014. If you’re interested in local live music, drinking on a school-night or just want to break the week up, the night runs every Tuesday going from 9 ’til 12. I hope to see you there.