'MJ and the Rocketeers' at The Bruton Art factory and the Archangel in Frome

by Forgotten Bee

'MJ and the Rocketeers' at The Bruton Art factory and the Archangel in Frome

A hot and humid summer night for the opening of 'Photography' by Mary Jane Criddell and Venetia Dearden at The Bruton Art Factory. There is plenty of availability for parking directly outside and in the free car park a few 100 yards from the venue's entrance, and just a short walk for locals. The Bruton Art Factory offers a welcoming warehouse style large open space, with a strong exciting edge of coolness and community embracement about it. The Bruton Art Factory is a new art gallery to Bruton that opened on 30 th May 2015 with “Factual Nonsense – The Art and Death of Joshua Compston" biography by Darren Coffield, released in conjunction and available to buy as part of the exhibition.

“Factual Nonsense is both a biography and an alternative portrait of the 1990's art scene in London's East end. It is also a guide how to live fast and die young in the contemporary art world. Joshua Compston made Hoxton hip and Shoreditch sexy, whilst helping to give rise to the coolest and fastest selling piece of real estate in the UK."

This exhibition sadly comes to a close with a celebration party on Friday 10 th July. It has been so now and happening with lots of illustrious contemporary art names included from Tracey Emin, Helen Chadwick and Damien Hirst along side the work of Darren Coffield and Joshua Compston. This is just the beginning for The Bruton Art Factory as they plan the hanging of their summer show, and what an exciting start it's been, keep a look out for many new events on the horizon.

MJ double portrait

Upon arrival to the opening of 'Photography' I was greeted straight away by Mary who is not only a good friend but also extremely talented and someone I recently interviewed for a feature on Localeyez. She was dressed to impress ready to perform with her Rock n Roll - Blues band 'MJ and the Rocketeers', even though she was badly suffering with a sore throat, swollen glands and armed with cough medicine to alleviate the discomfort.

Nevertheless, like the true pro she is, she still went on to give a dynamite performance, kicking off with 'Shaking all Over' which immediately grabbed the audiences's attention and feet moving. A personal favourite for me was their cover version of 'Tainted Love'. Mary has a very distinct, versatile, and powerful voice that fits perfectly with rock n roll and blues music. She is a confidently commanding front lady, of her very charismatic, fun and musically talented band comprising of: Julian Hight (Bugs) guitar, Martin Penning Bass and Ben Turner (Drums), the banter in-between tracks on stage added to the overall band appeal. 'MJ and the Rocketeers' were very well received by the crowd and after a really great set including many Rock n Roll favourites they ended on 'Brand New Cadillac' to lots of whoops and whistles.

The event, despite clashing with “Glasto2015' attracted a lot of attention and was well attended by locals, friends and visitors from the beginning at 5pm to the finish at 7pm with the 'Chaplin & Cork's' Somerset cider deliciously flowing throughout.

After being one of the co-presenters of the FromeFM radio 96.6FM Festival breakfast show on Sunday 5 th July, I was lucky enough again to catch 'MJ and the Rocketeers' gig live at the Archangel a restaurant and bar in the centre of Frome as part of the Frome Festival. After a cloudy beginning with scattered showers the sun eventually broke through as all in black they performed outside in the heat sadly minus their drummer. Ben was mentioned several times during the set to show how much he was missed. Mary explained afterwards that 'this was the first time they had performed many of the tracks without a drummer' and it had thrown them somewhat. None of their nerves or concerns inhibited or was evident throughout their musical set however. Mary wowed the crowd vocally, and with real professionalism and talented musicianship, together they went on to give a truly exceptional performance that got the crowd buzzing with energy, dancing and a positive rapture of comments flying.

MJ dancing

If you haven't managed to see 'MJ and the Rocketeers' yet get it on your 'to do' list. Like their Facebook page, and keep up to date with their latest gigs. You won't be disappointed!

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