Despite the Wylam Brewery being open a few month now, we needed to find an excuse to visit. As a bar you need to be a serious beer / ale drinker to stumble into here. As I’m more of a lager man, the lure was a recent Wylam Brewery event. The London African Gospel Choir sings ‘Graceland’.
Wylam Brewery is located in the old Military Vehicle Museum in Exhibition Park. In my 38 years of living in Gosforth I had never visited the place before as a Museum. Possibly as it was either closed or I was told that. I had no idea what to expect. The outside reminds me a little of the Hancock Museum’s entrance. When you step inside the building the room is very open and tall. The feel isn’t modern, but at the same time it doesn’t feel old.
Paul Simon’s Gracelands
During my school years, music didn’t really attache itself to me. I wasn’t into the cool bands, Indie or the alternative ones. Music crept into my life as I left all my peers and started to work in my family business. Once a week I would buy 4 CDs. Usually one random one, that had a nice cover, the others were more albums from a chosen artist that I had already. I took a turn into Peter Gabriel’s Secret World tour Album. Which I still really like. But from that I dipped into World Music and an interest in WOMAD.
Then one night I watched a documentary on BBC2 about Paul Simons ‘Gracelands’. It told the story about how Paul Simon went to South Africa and was inspired by the music form the townships and culture. Although he wasn’t welcomed into South Africa by everyone. The countries musicians had reached out to Paul to come and create music with them. Officials didn’t see it as a friendly collaboration, instead the already test political standing of the country created protest about him being there.
The album marks in important movement in cultural collaboration. What had come together as a fun energetic creation, could have been prevented from continuing.
For all these reasons Gracelands became one of my continuous play Albums. Cat on the other hand new “You Can Call Me Al”.
Wylam Brewery Events – London African Gospel Choir sings ‘Graceland’
The London Gospel Choir started off with a set of their own choosing. We popped in during mid set and the venue was packed. The Graceland’s Event had sold out and was so popular that another date was added. We’d book on the original Saturday night.
The atmosphere in the large round, domed room was amazing. The London African Gospel Choir had the room bouncing. This was even before the main reason everyone was here. We took this opportunity to visit the bar and position ourselves towards the middle of the far side of the room ready for Gracelands.
The height in the venue make it feel like there is plenty of room. Although if I looked down there was much less space between me and the next person. The venue started to squeeze in, but politely! This is another thing I’ve noticed from the few gigs I’ve been to in recent years. People like to leave a little space for the next person. The older crowd created space to move around and visit the bar and return. Although it was packed there was no need for pushing and squeezing through.
As the band returned to the stage, I prepared my self to relive the album. Woh! Woh! Woh! Thats’s not track one! The choir wasn’t singing it it track listing order, which knocked me a little. All the album was sung though and with energy and spirit of the original. I couldn’t help myself from dancing. Which was a bouncy sway. Needless to say we had a great time at the event.
The final track of the night was “You Can Call Me Al”. Obviously keeping the big hitter for the end. It was also the track used to introduce all the members of the band and choir. There was audience participation by splitting off for male and female singing parts. It felt like everyone was joining in.
Then before we knew it we were leaving and walking through the darkness of Exhibition Park towards our lift home.