From Yardbirds to Ripley...

Top Topham.
Top Topham.

A GENUINE guitar hero from the days of The Yardbirds is playing RipleyBlues shortly.

Top Topham was the original guitarist in The Yardbirds when Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton were yet to make their names before leaving the group in 1963.

Since that pivotal moment as a mere teenager, Topham has quietly prospered as one of the country’s best blues players.

Having formed a musical alliance with fellow ex-Yardbirds’ John Idan on vocals, the combined Top Topham/John Idan Band are playing Ripley Town Hall on Saturday, April 14.

The band also includes bassist Jim Mercer from the Muddy Waters Band and drummer Ed Spevock who has played with Van Morrison, Cat Stevens and Jimmy Cliff.

For tickets, visit

THE Easter weekend has gigs galore locally, including an all-dayer at Harefield Hall at Pateley Bridge tomorrow, Saturday.

Running from noon until late, among the nine live acts in Harefest, which bills itself as a Real Ale & Music Festival, are Mark Chadwick/Rev Hammer/Dan Donnelly, Chantel McGregor, Miles & Erica (The Wonder Stuff), New Groove Foundation, Troubdadour, Sons o’ The Soil, The Big V, 3 Daft Monkeys and Pete Jackson.

A limited number of tickets costing £20 each are available on 01423 711429 or from

Including camping, over-18s only.

THERE’S a few good new local releases out right now worth tracking down, which is what it takes in the post-record shop era (apart from HMV and the sprinkling of independent shops in major cities).

I’m very excited to hear there’s a new album by Harrogate/York alt-indie band The Birdman Rallies led by Dan Webster, one of the area’s best songwriters and all-round musical talents.

Entitled Moons, I think this ten-track collection of new songs is download only – but it’s free, so have a look at

Also out now is an EP by youngster Aaron Bertenshaw who is promoting the release with a launch show at Rehab in Harrogate tonight, Friday.

Recorded with Will Jackson at Soundworks studio in Leeds, tickets cost £5 in advance (call 07772365879) or £6 on the door.

Last, but not least, the new five-track EP by accomplished singer-songerwriter Simon Widdowson and his African/French trio Bellecour is out now. Simon will be playing live on Easter Monday on Leeds at Oporto and the Fulford Arms in York next Wednesday.

YOU’VE seen Amy Winehouse, Take That and Lady Ga Ga (okay, not the ‘real’ thing), well the series of live tribute acts at Harrogate’s Viper Rooms club continues tonight, Friday.

Appearing in person on stage at 11.45pm will be a Tribute to Michael Buble.

The Viper Rooms has also launched a brand new Thursday night special called YOLO with two rooms of music (hip hop, r’n’b, dubstep, commercial house etc).

What does it stand for? Well, apart from bottles of Grey Goose, it means You Only Live Once (didn’t James Bond get to live twice?).

THAT very nice café-restaurant Jakes on Oxford Street in Harrogate is hosting a night of live music from Lewis Fieldhouse a week on Monday from ballads to rock and back again.

More news in next week’s Gig Scene.

A NEW bar has opened in Harrogate. Formerly Katana (which did quite a bit for live music in the past year or two), ZoSo was launched last night, Thursday with a glittering private drinks reception on Union Street (near the back of Debenhams, running parallel to Parliament Street in one of those ginnels at the side of what was once Jimmys nightclub).

ZoSo bar opens seven days a week from 7pm to midnight and later at weekends.

FINALLY, it’s congrats to the Seven Arts venue in Chapel Allerton in Leeds which recently won the Jazz Cluib of the Year award in the Yorkshire Jazz Awards at Dean Clough in Halifax. Aficiandos may already know it hosts highly civilised, high quality live contemporary jazz sessions most Sunday afternoons, as well as Thursday evenings.

OOPS, back again. If you’ve got any opinions you’d like to voice about the music scene or if you’d simply like to use me as a Harrogate Music Google, tweet me @harrogateGigs