'Speakeasy' at The Harbour View
It's hard to believe that April 2017 only msrks the third anniversary of the Thursday music nights at The Harbour View in their current form. Hard to believe? Well, yes...because the 'Speakeasy' has bcome such a successful and well respected weekly live music event in such a relatively short space of time..
That respect comes both from and for the musicians and singers who perform there, the audience to whom they play, and the bar staff who keep both parts of this machine well oiled! Musicians from around the north-east and beyond want to play here now. In February 2015, a singer from theBirmingham area, Rob Lane, contacted the guru of the 'Speakeasy', George Shovlin, to ask if he could do a set at the fortnightly 'Speciale' These nights still involve the regular performers and any new performers doing between one and three numbers, but an invited artist will get a 45-60 minute slot.
The quality of the music surprises some new visitors. It is amazing that it is all free to see as well. Many of the performers can and do command decent fees at bigger venues, but still want to play for nothing at the Harbour View. And why would they do that, you may well ask. Well, it's basically down to enjoying yourself. the atmoshere is always brilliant, and the punters are both knowledgeable and respectful. Although nobody expects people to remain silent when in a pub watching music, most within the eyeline and hearing distance of the person playing keep the chat to a minmum, and at low volume.
The live music starts bang on 8.30 and by the time last orders are called at 11.00, well, 11.00ish, the pretty much non-stop stream of talent will be numbered well into double figures. No night is ever quite the same as the last one, but one thing can be guaranteed, they are always extremely enjoyable. There is usually a distinct bias towards blues, but any style goes really, as long as it is played well.
To give you a flavour of the kind of atrists who play at the 'Speakeasy', I've put a slideshow together in which you can see still photos of many of the regular performers, with a couple of songs by Mr Shovlinand his Radars, and John Wilkins, one of Sundeland's rising stars who began playing in public after the 'Speakeasy' was born.