A NEW club is singing the blues in Sunderland.
Inspired by Prohibition-era Speakeasys which became a platform for raw music, the fortnightly club aims to provide an alternative musical experience on Wearside.
Held at the Harbour View pub in Roker, it’s the brainchild of musicians George Shovlin and George Lamb, who are well-known on the circuit for their performances as a duo, and in band George Shovlin and The Radars.
George Shovlin, from Roker, said: “The idea of the Speakeasy came out of Prohibition and a lot of it was jazz and blues-based. I was inspired by going to New York and hotel bars there, which are packed with people playing.”
As well as feature spots at the club with well-respected local musicians such as Paul Liddell, Jim Bullock and Trever Sewell, it is also reaching out to emerging talent.
George added: “The aim of what we’re doing is definitely not an open mic night or a buskers night, we’re not attempting that. What we are doing is a blues-themed night, but not just blues, acoustic and jazz as well.
“If that’s the kind of music you’re into, I’m not sure where else you’d go in Sunderland.
“We’re doing this because we’re interested in contributing to Sunderland’s music – we don’t need to do it as we’re gigging musicians.
“Eventually, I’d love for there to be a blues festival in Sunderland. I’d like to see that genre more recognised here, there’s an audience for it and a tradition as well.”
George Lamb added: “It’s a place where people can play original music, or original interpretations. It’s a platform for people to experiment, rather than getting up and singing Wonderwall. There’s a lot of interaction and a lot of people get up and do off-the-cuff collaborations with other performers.”
l The Harbour View Speakeasy takes place every second Thursday from 8.15pm. Entry is free.
The next Speakeasy will take place this Thursday. On July 31, there will be a feature spot from Trevor Sewell.