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Down on the Close - ft Imelda May and Toploader

The Park, Rugby School, Rugby, Warwickshire, cv22 5eh

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26 August 2017 - 26 August 2017
Doors Open
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Imelda May 

If you don't know Imelda May, prepare to be blown away. If you are already a fan, get ready to hear her as you never have before. 

She has found a new groove, exploring blues, soul, gospel, folk, rock, sensitive acoustica, cinematic drama and explosive balladry on a set of the boldest, most personal and intimately autobiographical songs she has ever written. Long celebrated by peers as one of the most sensational singers of contemporary music, Imelda May has made the album of her life

"I've called it Life Love Flesh Blood because that encompasses everything," says Imelda. "It's all inthere: birth, sex, love, divorce and death. It's the story of my life."

The album was produced by the legendary T Bone Burnett and features a band of some of the finestmusicians in America with guest appearances by guitar hero Jeff Beck and piano maestro Jools
Holland. Longtime Imelda May fan Bono has already been singing its praises: "I love the girl she
used to be but I think I love even more the woman she's become. Still mischievous and playful, still a sirenbut there's an ache in her voice now that has me with a glass at my ear to the wall of her world wheretrouble has entered the room. There's an erotic power here that's not just feminine power. She makes truth
telling an invitation to intimacy." 

Imelda has been through a lot in the run up to recording. She became a mother for the first time in2012 but her eighteen year marriage ended in 2015, coinciding with a burst of creativity. "Most
songwriters use writing as a form of counselling. It's therapy, like keeping a diary that a lot of
people read." In the past she would sometimes "hide things in my songs and twist them around."But this time, she is telling it exactly how it is. "I wanted to go straight to the bone. I had a lot towrite about. Life changes, falling out of and falling in love again. It's the whole circle of love and life."

 Song titles tell a story in themselves: Call Me, Black Tears, Shoulda Been You, Leave Me Lonely, It's My Time, The Girl I Used To Be. "I don't know how I'm going to go out and sing these songs," she says. "I can hardly talk about them."   

Her musical range is breathtaking, from the classic fifties rock and soul melodrama of bitter balladBlack Tears to the slinky, sensuous How Bad Can A Good Girl Be? "That's my slut song,"  laughs Imelda. "It seems to make a lot of guys blush." Bono has called it "a stone cold classic that'll outlive
all of us." "Bono has been a mentor to me and it's amazing to have someone like that to bounce
things off," she says of her compatriot. "He seemed to like that song. He said, 'Shit, I wish I 'd written it.' I can't quite see him singing about being a bad girl though!"


Wilko Johnson

The man from Canvey Island, who studied English at Newcastle University before doing a bit of travelling, could have been a retired teacher by now, sucking on a pipe and whittling away at his pension. But no, Wilko was lured into music by the dark magic spun by his first Telecaster, bought from a music store in Southend, Essex, soon after becoming the strutting, grimacing, six-string rhythmic powerhouse behind Lee Brilleaux in Dr Feelgood. Throughout the mid-70s, Wilko duck-walked his way across countless stages and venues in the UK with Dr Feelgood in the vanguard of the pub rock movement, performing the gutsy down-to-earth rock and roll that was a welcome antidote to prog-rock.

Heavily influenced by legendary guitarist Mick Green from '60s rockers Johnny Kidd & The Pirates, Wilko employs a finger-style, chop-chord strumming action (the 'stab', as he describes it). This allows for chords and lead to be played at the same time, giving a fluency and a distinctive sound very unlike the cleaner swat of a pick.

With this economic sound, coupled with that black-suited, scowling look, and the yards he covered across the stage pausing only to twist the guitar lead out from under his feet, Wilko became one of the guitar heroes of the era. His influence was felt in bands up and down the country, and later in the emergent punk revolution (Joe Strummer of the Clash bought a Tele after seeing Wilko play).


Roving Crows

Roving Crows have been carving out their niche in the UK folk music scene since early 2009.  

Their powerful live performance and unique sound has seen them receive several awards and achieve national airplay on BBC Radio 2. 

They have achieved a 'ones to watch' status in the UK folk scene performing alongside artists such as Kate Rusby, Steeleye Span, Levellers, Jamie Cullum and Bellowhead. They have entertained crowds at many national and international festivals including Cambridge Folk Festival, Trowbridge Village Pump Festival, Sark Folk Festival, Les Traversées Tatihou (France), Lakefest and Kings Lynne Hanse Festival amongst others, gaining a reputation as one of the most hard-working bands on the scene.

The Crows have released 3 full length albums with the latter 2 being produced by Nick Brine (Ash; Oasis; Bruce Springsteen; Seasick Steve) at Rockfield Studios. They have also released a number of self-produced EPs, the latest of which, entitled 'Up Heaval' and featuring a brand new line-up, was released in March 2015 to 4* reviews.

In 2014 they recieved the award for 'Best Live Act' from Spial Earth, followed by 'Band of The Year' in the Fatea Music awards, adding to their numerous awards from previous years such as 'Best Folk Act' (Exposure Awards 2011) and 'Top Fiddle Player' (Irish Music Association 2011).

Roving Crows regularly recieve radio airplay from both regional and national stations, recieving acclaim from presenters such as Mike Harding and Paul O'Grady. Their music video for new single 'Casanova Is Burning' was playlisted by MTV.



Since forming in 1997 Toploader have over two million album sales to their name and a string of top 20 hits both home and abroad. Their debut album 'Onka's Big Moka,' sold over one million copies and remained in the Top 5 of the UK album chart for over six months earning them 4 Brit Award nominations.
In 2000 the single 'Dancing in the Moonlight' became a global hit spending over a year in European Airplay Charts transforming Toploader into a household name. In 2013 the same track re-entered the Top 40 for three weekend topped the 10,000,000 hits mark on Youtube, an incredible thirteen years after it was first released, cementing it as one of the
biggest songs of recent times.