The Solid Air Christmas Party is the showcase for this blustery Monday night – I’ve managed to entice Ness to come along with me, since close friend David Lambert is making a rare appearance on the bill (he was booked by Conrad during my radio show, when he was on with Sue Pugh a few months ago).

Smart Family Band @ Solid Air Christmas Special 19 DecAfter a technical delay the Smart Family Band start with one of their calling cards, For The Sparrows a capella. They move through some of their other staples before moving into their own take of Guns Of Brixton (The Clash). Its all very acoustic and a bit of fun. With the seven of them on stage they can do lot more with Bearded Lady and particularly Sandboy, which has been polished up with a new set of riffs and a bass vibe for this performance. As expectedly as ever they end randomly unexpected, singing Women Of the World as they pack up and clear the stage.

Sue Pugh & David Lambert @ Solid Air Christmas Special 19 DecDavid Lambert and Sue Pugh take to the stage for an intricate set of acoustic numbers – it’s rare to hear the sort of quality they produce in a pub environment, as this is normally that which is found in the folk club. Sue sings an unaccompanied solo which has us spellbound, those of us in the front section, anyway. They finish with their strong rendition of Ins’allah.

Fish Out Of Water @ Solid Air Christmas Special 19 DecFish Out Of Water are playing their third gig ever for their Solid Air debut; dubbed beforehand as a Fairport Convention/Pentangle cross, they are simple acoustic once guitarist Ash drops his problematic tech, and possibly sound the better for it; their voices are exposed and it works really well compared with what’s gone before – especially female lead vocalist Jen’s voice. They provide our first Christmas song of the evening- While Shepherds Watched, to the tune of The Animals’ House Of The Rising Sun, before embarking on a fun journey as pirates…

Mother Ukers @ Solid Air Christmas Special 19 DecMother Ukers finally take the stage, and start with Step On, the song Conrad & I featured on last weeks show to promote this gig. As part of their performance we are encouraged to first imagine lead vocalist Jonty as Debbie Harry / Blondie for Heart Of Glass, then envision him dressed in purple biker leathers for Purple Rain. While these are both scary images that I don’t want to dwell on, the music is a lot of fun and entertaining – Ness is even happy to stay through to the end, an unusual occurence. Thanks to all who played and created entertainment.

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