IF YOU’RE staging your debut gig in the largest venue possible in your town, you must:

A) be pretty sure you’re on to something good that hundreds of people will want to enjoy

B) have the musical nift, experience and stage nous to make it happen

C) have an unstoppable and collective drive to make a successful career in the business that we call show

D) have a shedload of chutzpah and the massive cojones needed to pull it all off

And in the case of some of Weymouth’s brightest and most exceptional musicians who have got together for a potentially massive entertainment experience, the answer is very much:

E) all of the above.

In just two weeks, a short film released on social media promoting Amy: A Tribute to Amy Winehouse, to be staged at the Weymouth Pavilion Ocean Rooms on Friday, May 25, has been seen more than an astonishing 8,400 times, creating a seismic rumble large enough for booking agents to simultaneously start salivating and reach for their diaries and their phones.

And who can blame them?

Even though it’s a few months off, tickets for the Pavilion show went on sale this week and are being snapped up by those hip enough to realise this is the start of something big, while those not so quick on the uptake are still thumbing through their dictionaries, looking up chutzpah and cojones.

Pivotal to the whole shebang, obviously, is the stunning vocal prowess and performance of singer Stacey Thomas, who tells me: “So many people at my solo shows told me I look and sound like Amy, I thought I’d give it a go as I’m a huge fan of her music, her lyrics, her style and her vulnerability.”

And when drummer Rob Davis suggested replacing Stacey’s backing track with a top-notch full band, complete with brass section, the only reaction could possibly be: Boom! ... followed quickly by Kerr-ching!!

With the galaxy of talent that is Weymouth’s music scene, it took no persuasion whatsoever to recruit the stellar line-up of guitar maestro George Hall, keys whizz Lucy Hackett and ace of bass Dan Brackley.

And if that’s not enough to make you go giddy and all weak at the knees, they’re also employing the rather swish DB Horns section, who work with the And Finally… Phil Collins and The Best of Wham tribute shows, among many others.

Rehearsals started last August on a set which comprises songs from Amy’s Mercury-nominated debut album Frank, the entire five Grammy Award-winning Back to Black, a section of her choice covers and tracks from the Lioness: Hidden Treasures collection, released after her heart-breaking, untimely and tragic passing in July 2011.

As Rob says: “Amy is now an icon, a member of the 27 Club, along with Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones et al, and we’re keeping her amazing music alive.”

And if their take on Love is a Losing Game doesn’t reduce you to a blubbering bucket of mush, you have no soul.

Tickets for Amy: A Tribute to Amy Winehouse at the Weymouth Pavilion on Friday, May 25, priced at £17.50 are available from the box office on 01305 783225.

Moving on, and from one female jazz singer with a tragic and traumatic life story to another.

Bessie Smith was one of the most popular singers of the 1920s and 30s and a huge influence on other female artists, from Sarah Vaughan to Ella Fitzgerald and, of course, Amy Winehouse herself.

Julia Titus, as Ma Bessie, and her blues troupe present a narrated show, featuring many of the songs from that era and Bessie’s most well-loved tunes.

The show at Dorchester’s Corn Exchange tomorrow, Saturday, January 27, chronicles the life of The Empress of Jazz and Blues, from a one-room shack, through to becoming the highest-paid black entertainer of the epoch, before the road accident on Route 61 that claimed her life in 1937 at the age of 43.

Tickets are £15 from the box office on 01305 262926.

Till next time…



Dead Man’s Clique (Finns, Weymouth)

Shooter (Wyke Regis Working Mens Club, Weymouth)

Wiggie (Weymouth Working Mens Club)

Ricky Solo (Edinburgh House of Sounds, Weymouth)

The Rock Band (Royal Portland Arms, Portland)

Hot Bacon (Park, Weymouth)

The Hawkmen (Ropemakers, Bridport)

Billy Solo (Wellington, Weymouth)

Stevie P (Duke of Cornwall, Weymouth)

Owen Lister (Tom Brown’s, Dorchester)

Mike Sidaway (Gloucester, Weymouth)

Elmore Goes Electric (Anchor, Burton Bradstock)

Compass (Golden Lion, Weymouth)

Jon Storey (Black Dog, Weymouth)

C Sharp Blues (Royal Portland Arms, Portland)

Strings and Reeds (Britannia, Portland)

DnD (Duke of Albany, Weymouth)

Dakota (Wyke Smugglers, Weymouth)


Bessie Smith: Empress of Jazz and Blues (Corn Exchange, Dorchester)

Splinter (Finns, Weymouth)

Haywire (Wyke Regis Working Mens Club, Weymouth)

The Silhouettes (Weymouth Working Mens Club)

Jon Storey Band (Boot, Weymouth)

Steve Nicholas (Conservative Club, Weymouth)

The Shakespearos (Duke of Cornwall, Weymouth)

Tim Andrews (Edinburgh House of Sounds, Weymouth)

The Katz (Old Castle, Weymouth)

Cherry Pickers (Sailors Return, Weymouth)

Southern Sinners (Market House, Weymouth)

Komakino (Belvedere, Weymouth)

Loose Connections (Tom Brown’s, Dorchester)

Dave Griff and the Trouser Band (Gloucester, Weymouth)

Tripod (Golden Lion, Weymouth)

Georgie Broad (Black Dog, Weymouth)

Ex-BOSS (Ropemakers, Bridport)

Jurassic Black (Park, Weymouth)

Compass (Punchbowl, Portland)

Frank E Finn (Bridge Inn, Preston, Weymouth)

Outrage (Centenary Club, Weymouth)

Vinyl Monkeys (Wyke Regis Social Club, Weymouth)

Gut and Steel (Nag’s Head, Lyme Regis)

Karen (Duke of Albany, Weymouth)


Finnian McGurk (Boot, Weymouth) 5pm.

Tim Andrews (Edinburgh House of Sounds, Weymouth) From 3pm, followed by..

Tim Andrews (Edinburgh House of Sounds, Weymouth)

The Remedy (Bull’s Head, Fordington, Dorchester) 4pm.

Jon Storey Band (Three Compasses. Charminster)

Andy Grant (Vinny@Six, Dorchester) 4-6pm.

Replay (Wyke Smugglers, Weymouth) 3-6pm.

Ricky Solo (Sailor’s Return, Weymouth) From 3pm.

Mark Davis (Black Dog, Weymouth) 4-7pm.

Greg Agar Piano Man (Royal Portland Arms, Portland)

Skeg and Sadie Horler (Ropemakers, Bridport)

Scots Dan Open Mic (Duke of Albany, Weymouth) 6pm.

Dorset Wrecks (George, Portland) 4pm.


Tim Andrews (Edinburgh House of Sounds, Weymouth)

Acoustic session (Belvedere, Weymouth)


Pete Christie (Boot, Weymouth)

Ricky Solo (Edinburgh, Weymouth)


Tim Andrews (Edinburgh House of Sounds, Weymouth)

Wessex Folk Night (Sailors Return, Weymouth)


Roger’s Singalong (Gloucester, Weymouth)

Ricky Solo (Edinburgh House of Sounds, Weymouth)

Traditional Tune Session (Cove House Inn, Portland)

Ukulele Sessions (Sailors Return, Weymouth)


Zoe Schwarz and Blue Commotion (Finns, Weymouth)

Big Al Whittle (Duke of Albany, Weymouth)

Average Wyke Band (Royal Portland Arms, Portland)

Open Mic Night (Gloucester, Weymouth)

Billy Solo (Wellington, Weymouth)

Acoustic Session (Victoria Inn, Knights in the Bottom, Chickerell) 8pm.

Retro (Weymouth Working Mens Club)

Total Madness (Park, Weymouth)

Bluetown Rumble (Ropemakers, Bridport)

Ricky Solo (Edinburgh, Weymouth)