New live music night in Stratford

Aidan and the Wildfires play the first night of new regular music session Friday Night Live As You Like It at No 1 Shakespeare Street

AFTER a period of quiet, live music is returning to No 1 Shakespeare Street in Stratford. After a recent change of ownership, the much-loved venue is returning as a cocktail bar and nightclub, with live music taking place upstairs.

Local musician, Rupert Carr-Smith, guitarist with Texan Peacocks, has taken on the job of promoting the weekly evenings, Friday’s Live As You Like It, working on behalf of the venue’s new owner, Earl Withers.

Rupert told Herald arts that he had wanted to find somewhere to put on live bands in Stratford for a few years, but couldn’t make it work financially, so was pleased when Earl suggested he take on the Shakespeare Street gigs.

He said: “We’ve booked some great bands. Each week we’ll be jumping around different genres – which is a good thing as we hope to appeal to a broad crowd.” The first band to appear at the venue is Aidan and the Wildfires (on Friday, 11th November) when their guitarist, the hugely accomplished young bluesman, Jack Blackman, will also be performing a solo set.

Jack told us: “There aren’t enough live music venues locally, so it’s a great thing that we’ve now got Shakespeare Street. I’m excited to be playing on Friday. My album, Nearly Man, came out on 4th November, so it will be great to give that an airing.

“I recorded it in Alcester, playing all the instruments, and it’s coming out on my own label, Tuery Records. It’s been well received, ‘Whispering’ Bob Harris is a big fan, so it’s looking good. I’d encourage everyone to come on Friday, listen to some new songs and grab a copy of the album!”

Rupert continued: “The week after, on 18th November, we have Fleetwood Cave, featuring the extremely accomplished musician and vocalist, Marion Fleetwood. It’s a fantastic opportunity for the people of Stratford to see just how good she is. It’s folk with a contemporary twist and hugely enjoyable.

“On 25th November we have Superbad. I came across these guys playing in a local pub and I was absolutely blown away by their psychedelic, acid jazz fusion. “They’re all great session musicians: Jack Conroy (guitarist) went to LA last month with his band FACE, to record their second EP with renowned producer Stuart Price; Will Ganner (bass) has been working as a session bass player for Skinny Living and has just been on tour around Europe with them; and Richard Kirk (drummer) has played for the Scorpions’ Uli Jon Roth. I am so chuffed they have agreed to play.”

Talking about the last gig scheduled so far, on 2nd December, Rupert said: “Adverse Camber are a four-piece jazz swing funk soul blues band, and are great.” A special Christmas live music sessions is currently being planned.

Watch our for more news of Friday’s Live As You Like It in the Herald, and also check out their website at and

THIS Sunday, 13th November, will see the last of Jack Blackman’s Tuery Sessions of 2016, featuring two more of the best in UK folk and roots music performing at The Cross Keys, Alcester. Dan Hartland’s brand of singer-songwriter rootsiness reinvigorates the lonesome troubadour shtick with a wry pop sensibility. From gentle acoustic picking to the robust influences of early rock ‘n’ roll, his observational, confessional style offers a potent mix of intelligence and soul. Dan is a dynamic and engaging stage presence. Music will start at 6pm and there will also be the now regular raffle and jam session to finish.