Music in the Dirty South

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SOUTHERN musicians Bonzo Slater and John ‘JC’ Callister have unleashed a new phenomena that is The Dirty South.

With three legs to their hatched plan – gigs, open jam nights and masterclass workshops – the Bay in Port St Mary will never be the same again!

The Dirty South will be held regularly in the pub on Tuesdays with extra events taking place as and when.

Bonzo, who was involved in punk and new wave bands in the UK, returned to the island and now performs as a solo guitarist and singer as well as half of Beek with Chris Wilson.

He is often dressed in drag or at least wearing a tiara!

He explained: ‘Me, JC, Simon Campbell and Phil Kneen were having a drink one day in the Bay in Port Erin when the manageress there suggested we might like to put on a night on Tuesdays during the winter while they closed their kitchen.

‘So we thought about it and then JC pretty much threw together a manifesto of how things could be organised. It really did express what we had been thinking for a long time but had never put together. He had come up with the three leg concept.’

He said: We wanted something that promoted a jam session which wasn’t an open night. Open nights tend to have one type of performer – the sole guitarist. It isn’t where people have the opportunity to just jam and play with other musicians. We have the kit all set up for people to just join in.

‘That’s not to stop people performing their own numbers but it offers sole performers the chance to feel what it is like to have a band. It is also aimed at bedroom artists to have a go without being intimidated. For somebody who hasn’t got any experience of stage performing it can be an absolute killer and that can really put people off playing in public.’

The open jams have been going for a while now and are proving to be a success.

As well as the jamming sessions, The Dirty South has also hosted a number of gigs including an official launch night with Anna Goldsmith and Christy DeHaven, Clara Barker, Cohiba and most recently The Ballaghs last weekend.

However, Bonzo said: ‘We like to have people explain their songs and how they came up with them – not just get up and do song after song.’

Simon Campbell has already led a blues masterclass and other workshops are now in the pipeline.

As the Port Erin pub was to start doing food again, the guys decided to move the nights to The Bay in Port St Mary. Nothing to do with the fact that both Bonzo and JC live in the village, of course - home is now within staggering distance!!!

The Port St Mary venue is proving to be a success with its long bar with better viewing and sound quality. ‘It’s starting to get the Bay in Port St Mary more established as a live venue again,’ said Bonzo. ‘It has quite a good history – people like Davy Knowles cut their teeth there, and the Twisted Angels.’

The next gig will be Tate plus Ritchie Moore this Tuesday (March 8) night.

• For more information visit The Dirty South Facebook group.

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