Tears of joy at Sad Eyed Puffins gig!

Date: Friday 7th February 2014
The Sad Eyed Puffins, who are once seen, never forgotten.
The Sad Eyed Puffins, who are once seen, never forgotten.

SUNDAY night’s Plug ‘n’ Play session in the Penrith Playhouse bar was jam-packed with talent andentertainment galore.

Not only were there some breathtaking open micperformances, with aparticularly strong female presence this month, the main act, Sad Eyed Puffins, are definitely a “once seen, never forgotten” kind of outfit, writes Sally Tebb Roger.

Kicking off the evening’s proceedings, Tom Corda-Stanley told the audience that he was a reluctant singer, before gently launching into a version of Still in love with you on an interesting looking and sounding cigar boxguitar.

Compere Phil Saunders was supposed to be helping out with harmonica, but spent most of the song rifling through a bag looking for the right one, much to the amusement of audience members.

A newcomer, Matty Buck, then performed two songs, both good covers Bruce Springsteen’s Atlantic City and Simon and Garfunkels’ The only living boy in New York.

Chayle Flynn sang one of his own compositions and then did a strong cover of Arctic Monkeys’ Party Anthem, which really suited his voice. Orin Meade was soulful in performance of his self-penned The First and continued in this vein, with a rich and powerful voice, to do Black Chandelier by Biffy Clyro.

Katie Lou, from Cockermouth, performed three songs, two of her own Snapshot and Slide and then a brilliant interpretation of the Grease song You’re the one that I want, which was refreshingly different from the original.

A regular at Plug ‘n’ Play, Fi Colman also did threenumbers, with Tom Corda Stanley providing the bass on two, which proved to be a good combination, especially on the Fran Healy number Moonshine.

Fi was then on her own for a pleasing cover of Leonard Cohen’s Dance me to the End of Love. Another regular, Ian Cumstey, sang his recently completedcomposition, a lyrical and intricate offering, which he said had taken him a long time to finish, before another original song which he had performed before.

Nick and Mark brought a different style to the evening with some guitaraccompanied swing. The pair are just about to start gigging and wanted to test the waters at Plug ‘n’ Play. Theyperformed two numbers Mack the Knife and Kick in the Head. Nick has very strong and slick vocals, in the style of the swing greats,coupled with Mark’s very competent guitar, made for interesting listening.

Once more the talented Hannah Pitchford treated the crowd to some hauntingcompositions, Rainstorm and Weekend to remember, accompanied on the piano, were both so flowing and melodic that to listen to her was to be mesmerised. She then changed the style a little by picking up and slapping on her guitar for the evocative City walks, a brand new song she had just finished that afternoon.

Familiar faces Wayne Scurrah and Mike Fearon electrified the atmosphere with Coming Home and Take your chances. The synergy of these two, Wayne on rhythm guitar and vocals, and Mike providing the “icing on the cake” with his incredibleguitar skills, makes forexciting listening and was received very enthusiastically.

Rita Baugh was next and although she was there to perform with Sad Eyed Puffins, who she had recently joined, she has been aperformer in her own right for some time. This was evident in her confident stagepresence and withcommanding vocals andguitar, she performed one of her own songs followed by a Bob Dylan number.

Last, but by no means least in the open mic section, was Annemarie Quinn from Keswick. She has recently finished a music degree at Manchester and is gigging a lot in the area which isfantastic news for Cumbrians because she is well worth seeing. Annemariecompletely owned the stage for her three numbers, one a Joni Mitchell, which she had performed for her finals, and must have won her excellent results. Her guitar playing is flawless and her vocals are compelling expressive and powerful a talent with much potential. Look her up on YouTube and watch out for her in the area thissummer.

While Sad Eyed Puffins were setting up, Phil Saunders treated the room to some hard-hitting, bluesyharmonica with percussion from Anne McCann of the band. With her, the band are Chris Garratt, Howie Milby, Frank Stebbens and Rita Baugh and if two words could sum up Sad Eyed Puffins, they would be “very entertaining”.

All based around Ulverston, they had been together exactly a year on Sunday. Wearing their hallmarkfeathered friend-inspired head gear, they took to the stage with a vengeance,driven mostly by singer,guitarist and composer of most of the songs, Chris who is a larger than lifecharacter with a keen interest in quantuum physics. He’s actually done a course in the subject, you know.

Musically they are very tight, three of them have been in a band together before, and Anne provides rich, deep vocals withharmonies and percussion from Rita. The songs were varied, the only constant being the randomness of the topics anything fromcellophane to potholes and steroids to weather.

The number Gentleman Jack, about whisky was memorable, as was Plumpinut and Entanglement. With lines like “astro physics stole my woman”, their music appeals to anyone with a sense of humour and who enjoys a good time.

The Puffins describe their music as psychedelic, or quantuum pop, but whatever it’s called, it is funky, witty stuff with a hint of Lou Reed and Jim Morrison in Chris’s vocals that went down well with the audience. They are hoping to record soon, but meanwhile check them out on Soundcloud and definitely look out for them: you won’t be able to miss them!

Next Plug and Play is 2nd March, when the main act will be Jilly Jarman and Gail Bashall, complemented by the talented Katie Ind.