GLAD again

Revisiting an old haunt, and an old style of music by Owen Rice

The Glad Lant Street London Blues Night Guitarist

a couple of years back I scribbled my details in the book on the bar for The Gladstone pub’s e-newsletter, and it seemed improbable they would actually send something out. The bar is a real old boozer, not a laptop nor a flashy gastro-pub effect in sight. Even if they did send out emails, would I tire of them? Would I tut as they busily worked their way into my inbox with so many other emails, requested or not?

But the news from The Glad is always good tidings; interesting insights into local creatives, musicians, minstrels, rockers and honkytonkers as well as the line up of gigs for the weeks ahead.

It’s winter now, the clocks have gone back and the night starts so much earlier, but it’s always a shock that at the same time of year the weather switches too and the evening is not only dark but cold as well. It’s moody.

“The Howlin’ Boys served up some old time jazz and blues

Come rain or shine, The Glad’s stage is prepped for performance and the local audience thirsty for another display of talent. Tonight was no different, and on the menu were a couple of sets from The Howlin’ Boys serving up some old time jazz and blues. Not so long ago the blues was the staple skill in the repertoire of all budding musicians and an essential part in any vinyl collection. If you were going to write music, the blues were what onions, garlic and seasoning are to a chef. Without them, at the heart of what you are making, there is no depth, no soul.

The Glad Lant Street London Blues Night Notepad Set List
Over the last ten or twenty years ‘modern music’, pop music that is, seems to be written without any idea or flavour of the blues in it. Synthesised pre-set rhythms are activated with a click, self indulgent, vain and humourless lyrics are layered over the top and the organic process of creation is skipped. Heading towards The Glad tonight I realised it was rare for this kind of music to be getting a look in of late. The blues, the heart and soul of twentieth century music, is becoming irrelevant to listeners in the twenty-first century. How glad I was to be heading back to it.

The power of the blues is in its simplicity and that it’s ‘real’. Real people, real stories, tragedies, injustices, loves and laughs relayed over 8-bars. Whether it is Howlin’ Wolf, BB King or Nina Simone, these artists bared their life and soul through their music. It’s more than X Factor entertainment, it’s art with roots in social truths. It felt good to be heading out for a night of blues, for old times sake.

I’ve heard it quipped that ‘Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be..’ and I wondered if tripping back again to the music of seven or eight decades ago would be a let down. But at 8:30pm, when the double bass got picked up and and the first tinkles were played on the stride piano I knew I had come to the right place.

The Glad Lant Street London Blues Night Band Playing Howlin Boys
Honkytonk Wednesdays at The Gladstone is a weekly feast of early twentieth century American music including ragtime, speakeasy, blues and boogie-woogie. The pub is tucked round the back of Borough tube station on Lant Street and puts on live music several times a week. The atmosphere is intimate, warm and charming and the clientele are refreshingly old-school music lovers of all ages. Whether you are heading out with a few friends for drinks or with a partner for some good live entertainment, you would need to go a long way to beat an evening at this place.

The band on were The Howlin’ Boys and with an easy grace they recreated the atmosphere of New Orleans, playing blues standards from Sister Rosetta Tharpe to Ella Fitzgerald, Fats Waller and Bessie Smith. They are normally seen playing with Ruby Theodore at various venues around south London with their own blend of 1920s to 1940s Jazz and Blues. Find them on Facebook and SoundCloud.

64 Lant Street

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The Glad Lant Street London Blues Night Exterior Sign

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  • LOCANDA del Melo Fine Foods Deli on Long Lane opens its doors for restaurant dining too
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  • winter SPECIALS January deals to enjoy when the Christmas party is over
  • not a MULTIPLE CHOICE The 'Women Fashion Power' exhibition showcases at the Design Museum
  • SHARE the secrets The Lounge Hair Salon is a great place to discover the secrets of good hair-care
  • the winter in BLOOM From beautiful Lillies to Valentines Roses, the sweet scent of flowers can last all year long
  • GLAD again Revisiting an old haunt, and an old style of music
  • FAIRYTALES for young and old Philip Pullman’s Grimm Tales return in an immersive storytelling experience
  • Entertainments Listings Winter seasons listings
  • a true INSPIRATION The 'Inspiring Women' Campaign stopped off in SE1 to talk to girls about their career potential
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  • DREAM Homes A new feature, looking at homes for lottery-winners and oligarchs
  • VISITING Clapham North Taking a walk through South London's 'village by the short hill'

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