The chances are that most Teessiders don’t know that there’s a music venue in Linthorpe that has hosted 45 gigs in the last six years – and that venue is called The Studio at Toft House, located on The Avenue, hiding behind the Middlesbrough Little Theatre Club.
Following a sell-out gig by Attila the Stockbroker in December 2011, ‘Building Bridges at the Studio’ was set up to showcase poets, political songwriters and folk singers who had previously not appeared in this area before.
The man behind Building Bridges, Leigh Sayers, who describes himself as: “an independent loss-making part-time promoter of unpopular music in Middlesbrough” told me: “People still come up to me after gigs and say, ‘What a great night – I didn’t even know this place existed”’.
November sees the first-time visit to Middlesbrough for the terrifically talented John Watterson. His single-minded mission is to keep alive the awesome repertoire of the legendary satirical songwriter, Jake Thackray. On his latest album, ‘The Lost Will and Testament of Jake Thackray’, Watterson presents to the world a collection of songs that Jake never got around to recording.
The first weekend in December sees the impeccably tight folk-rock trio, The Jon Strong Band, return to action after a long lay-off. They’ve toured with RY Cooder, Van Morrison, Robert Palmer, Talk Talk, Danny Thompson and Clannad. With original members Roy Whyke on drums, Duncan Waller on bass and Jon Strong on dazzling acoustic guitar and booming, passionate vocals, this could be the tightest three-piece band you will see all year. The highly respected local songwriter, Pete Davies, provides support.
For further information about upcoming gigs at The Studio at Toft House, The Avenue, Linthorpe, Middlesbrough head to mltmiddlesbrough.org.uk/studio.