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Rotten Hill Bar & Grill II

 By Piers Thompson

Powis Square Festival - Rotten Hill Gand

The second Rotten Hill Bar and Grill was a Quality Shambles,and we can only hope that the promised plans to stage two more in Powis Square next Summer come to fruition. It featured performances by Notting Hill’s finest and also youngest.

We got a glimpse of The Band With No Name, featuring local hero Gus Robertson and Razorlight’s Johnny Borrell. We even witnessed a ‘spontaneous’ gathering of the characters from Seven Days, our very own ‘reality’ show. It was the perfect post-modern street party. The usual suspects were all in attendance, plus Ray McVeigh, Coozie Johns, Paul Cook and someone from Guns And Roses (It was Duff McKagan – Ed).

Powis Square Festival - The Band With No Name, featuring local hero Gus Robertson and Razorlight’s Johnny Borrell.

Powis Square has always been the epicentre of Notting Hill’s Rock n Roll rebellion. It was here that Mrs Rhaune Laslett, a middle aged Polish lady in a wheelchair, inadvertently started Carnival in August of 65, when a week of events for the kids of the London Free School broke out into a procession led by Trindadian jazzmen, Sterling Betancourt and Russell Henderson. The Situationists, The Pink Floyd, Hawkwind, and the squatting of the Tabernacle followed.

Powis Square Festival - Ray Roughler-JonesSyd Barrett would have loved the festival. The Square was teeming with kids, who seemed more interested in the playground than the bands. But Powis Square is the kind of place that you can let them run wild. Food and drink came from the Tabernacle and was devoured with enthusiasm.

Between the acts, compere Ray Roughler-Jones managed to get in a plug of his book (Drowning On Dry Land from tangentbooks.co.uk since you ask). He did a brief poetry set, including Holiday Homes and Kill A Tory as did Radical from Jamaica. Billy Idle looked fabulous as an Artful Dodger and played a very eclectic range of tunes.

The crowd was looking a bit thin to start with, but word seemed to sweep around the Portobello and around 4, people started streaming. Further impetus was given by the bizarre circus that is Seven Days. The characters have all become mates and appear to be hanging around together. It’s kinda sweet. Malcolm turned up on his own later. Myself, I like the show.

Powis Square Festival - Pink CIgarOn stage, proceedings were kicked off by The Tabernacle’s own Georgia (who made her debut at Ray’s book launch and now has a really good band), followed by the ever reliable Dirty Strangers.  Pink Cigar whistled through a high energy glam-punk-rock set. See Tommy Kennedy for bookings. They were followed by a short but intense set by Gus’ new band that also features Borrell. They did a Razorlight song but couldn’t say which. Next up were the wunderkinder, The West Borns, who were the only band prevailed upon to do an encore (they did Rising Sun).


Powis Square Festival - Rotten Hill Gand

It was topped off by the top-hatted Rotten Hill Gang. They were tight as you like on a short but very sharp set. Reds belted out all the hits, supported by Holly and Hayley providing that soulful undertone. Where do they keep getting these gorgeous girls who can really sing?

Councillor Dez O’Neil was delighted with the first attempt to bring music back to the Square. “This is what arts in the community is all about”. The ghosts of Notting Hill’s past could be seen tapping their feet. And only one resident complained. It may take a bit of people power to make sure that this event returns. We might have to occupy the Tabernacle again. People get ready.

See related video by Roughler TV here

Photographs courtesy of the Tabernacle Manager, Christopher Scholey

You can see all other Piers Thompson Blog entries here.

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