It doesn’t matter where I go, whenever I’m on holiday there’s two places I like to visit – art galleries and bars.
They might sound like opposite passions but where would artists be without bars and, occasionally, vice-a-versa?
Slightly strangely, I never like to frequent the same bar over and over again – even if it’s a favourite.
So even if I love the Blues Bar in Harrogate, which I do, you won’t find me there most nights. It’s a truly great venue, as testified by its enduring success and the calibre of live acts it puts on day after day, year after year on its tiny stage.
It’s where many of the best free ‘Charm’ music nights I organised in the mid-Noughties took place.
In fact, it’s one of the few places I’ve put bands on over the years for no financial reward (not that any was sought - it’s a passion, nothing more) where I felt truly at home, the others being the long-gone Tube in Commercial Street and The Library on the edge of Hyde Park in Leeds.
But you will find me at the Blues Bar shortly, enticed by the prospect of an amazing young band coming from out of town to play.
The 45s (not to be confused with Harrogate band The Four 45s) are an energy-packed teenage four-piece from Carlisle who are appearing at the Blues Bar on Sunday, February 2.
None of them are older than 16 yet they’ve already toured Britain, appeared on stage with Dr Feelgood legend Wilko Johnson and had their debut single garner the sort of reviews that ‘broke’ The Strypes.
This hot young band’s heroes hail from two different but related camps – 60s groups like The Beatles, the Stones and the Kinks and 50s bluesmen like Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters and Bo Diddley.
With floppy fringes, dark suits and thin ties, The 45s are a classic British beat group bursting with toe-tapping vigour and catchy hooks - and I can’t wait to see them.
Not that The 45s are the only great act coming up soon at the Blues Bar. There’s also Manchester blues-rock band Federal Charm and wonderful Leeds-based acoustic act Serious Sam Barrett in the next seven days alone.
But I’ve got a feeling The 45s will be too big by this time next year to pay a return visit to the Blues Bar.
By Gig Scene Editor Graham Chalmers