Thursday, 26 March 2009


A report from 'Strife's' Rock Correspondent.

We have the promise of an Art gallery to see people coming to Margate in the future, and we have a world remembered amusement park missing in action. Shops shut, and much to complain about; except, a forgotten jewel in Margate’s crown. The Winter Gardens. It is not the most lavish, and a bit tattered around the edges; but for two nights this week, it was the focus of the music scene in South East England, and boy did it deliver.

Monday night saw Anthony Genn’s 7 piece group ‘The Hours, kick off the evening’s entertainment followed by the main course, Kasabian. The Leicester group played a number of tracks from their forthcoming album together with a host of crowd favourites to keep the fans at this sold out event happy. This was not only a warm up for this weekend’s gig at the Royal Albert Hall in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust, but also for their forthcoming tour supporting Oasis on their Stadium tour!! This was good, but the best was yet to come.

A mere 24 hours later and the queues outside the Winter Gardens again braved the cold winds. The queue was made up of two types of punters. Fans from all over the South East, and Thanetonians who were there just because it was happening! I have to admit to being in that group. Stereophonics in Margate; I haveto be there! And was I glad that I was.

Dead on 8pm, Tom Allalone and the 78s took to the stage. There mix of up beat modern Hill Billy rock with a touch of Ska went down surprisingly well; the more so because they hail from Gravesend, and had a fan base in the hall!

Stereophonics were in the house. It really was them, and they tore up the place with a mix of some newer songs, complimented by all the crowd favourites, and benefitting from a spectacular light show. The sold out hall bounced along to an hour and a half of music, a good night normally, before being treated to a half hour encore. There are very few bands these days that play for two hours, and this was pure gold. No breaks, no pontification or putting the world to rights; just full on rock concluding with a rollicking version of their classic ‘Dakota’.

We will never see a week like this again, but with venues in the South East being at a premium, perhaps a few more may venture our way. The winners Margate. And that has got to be the underlying achievement here. For a brief moment, Margate was at the centre of something, and it wasn’t good, it was brilliant!


Anonymous said...

What a pity they can't invest money in the one place that seems to be a success in Thanet.

Anonymous said...

Margates very own rocker Tony (Lonnie Donegan jnr) son of the Legendry Lonnie Donegan the real father of the british music scene is appearing in the Centre at Birchington on the 4th of April
he is growing in popularity.
Thanet is Rocking.

Peter Checksfield said...

They were both very memorable nights, but I still insist that the best gig at The Winter Gardens in recent weeks was Billy Ocean's amazing 2-hour set a couple of weeks back! Of course, I'm fortunate in that not only do I get to see these gigs for free, but I actually get paid for doing so... : )

Anonymous said...

It certainly did rock - I was there both nights :-)

Two world class acts on our doorstep, the Winter Gardens is a great music venue (certainly beats the Leas Cliff in my opinion), we need more nights like this!!

A message to the powers that be - put the funds into proven winners, make the most of our best existing assets, and stop backing no-hopers!

Bertie Biggles said...

My apologies to my 'rock correspondent' for missing out his final paragraph; Bertie's finger trouble. I have added it now.

There does seem to be something about The Winter Gardens, that needs some serious attention from TDC! Some promotion and maintenance could turn this venue into a real crowd puller. Regular 'gigs' that will attract 2000 a night will quickly exceed the 'target' of visitors that the 'white whale' of a TC will attract in a year, assuming you believe 130,000 people will pay to visit it in 2010 onwards.
Go to it Peter; the team at Winter Gardens deserve more credit.

Anonymous said...

Well done Bertie for straying into new waters for you.

I couldn't agree more. I went to both concerts as well, partly because I liked the groups, but mainly because I could go to a gig locally. I normally have to go to Leas Cliff ( aweful place ) or into London to catch bigger bands. So this was indeed a treat.

What I hope others may agree with was the quality of the sound; it was really good. So come on Margate. Support our one success story and keep the place rocking. ;)

Anonymous said...

Yes well done Peter and all the staff at the Winter Gardens.

And, and this is hard to say; well done to the security team who were the most quietly effective lot I have ever seen. No grief, no macho posturing, just efficient and polite!

Peter Checksfield said...

Watch out The Enemy on 5th April, as well as the ever-popular Disco Inferno the night before this ( something which always sells out in advance!).

Anonymous said...

Well done at publishing this story of a fantastic rock event in Thanet. Something really good happening in Margate.

Isle of Thanet Gazette did not even mention it!

Bertie Biggles said...

Thanks, 17.45. It's really down to having an enthusiastic 'rocker' as a 'correspondent'. I was equally surprised that IOTG had no mention today. If Peter and the team at Winter Gardens can carry on attracting quality gigs to Margate, we might find the Dreamland Site running some summer concerts as well!

Anonymous said...

Mr Biggles,
My Dad's birthday was on Monday and so as a treat,he was taken to Kasabian and Stereophonics by Mum, me and my friend. And the two nights were brilliant. I've been to a couple of gigs at Wintergardens before, and some at Leascliff in Folkstone, but non in London yet( parents wont let me ).
These concerts were the best I have ever been to and this morning I went and bought the Gazette for the first time hoping that there would be pictures of the concerts and a write up. I was dissappointed but my dad was furious and said things that I cant repeat here!

Anyway, he usually spends part of the evening swearing at his laptop while reading local blogsites, and then he called me in and said look at this, a review of the concerts!

So thank you for at least showing that the concerts happened! For me these were the best concerts Ive ever seen and for the local paper to not even mention them!

Thank you for the review,

Kerry :)

Bertie Biggles said...

Glad you enjoyed the 'review' Kerry.

Anonymous said...

Yes good stuff-the music scene in margate just gets better and there are great bands at the west coast bar,fairport convention boomtown rats EKI etc and on friday April 3rd ther are varios musical happenings at the substation margate high street there are Vlalka Savlon and Tikoloshe and at turner contempory project space on the same night is the opening to "the sound of music".

Anonymous said...

Yes, "The Boomtown Rats" without Bob Geldof! I think I'll give that a miss...

Peter Checksfield said...

Announcement from Margate Winter Gardens: THE KOOKS will be performing on Thursday 16th July!!! TICKETS ON GENERAL SALE THIS FRIDAY!!!!!!!