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Listening to local talent

Music Review by Claire Spencer

Go into The Lord Nelson in Gibraltar’s Casemates Square any Thursday evening and you’re in for a musical treat, as it’s the live jam where anyone can get up join in on the musical fun.

“The Nelly” as the pub is affectionately known, is decked out in the style of Nelson’s flagship, The Victory, complete with masts, sails and wooden railings.

It’s a very popular Gibraltar watering hole, with live sports on the big screen, and tasty pub grub too.

It’s a typical Thursday evening as I arrive in time to hear Gill Chesney-Green, who hails from the English village of Gotham near Nottingham open up with a solo acoustic set, with many recognisable standards.

Tonight I hear a couple from Oasis and David Bowie, as well as Sting’s ‘Englishman in New York’ being played to the ever appreciative Nelson regulars.

On other occasions, well-known local musicians like Andrew Pons have entertained us with a selection of songs by Gibraltar Music Festival headliners America.

After Gill’s acoustic set there is generally some Celtic themed music courtesy of Paul Alexander, better known locally as Zoony and his band, who are loosely made up of Trevor Emmett on the bass with Alan Jenkins and Neil Higgins on guitar.

The drummers vary, with a couple of guys taking turns in that department, including Douglas Vickers. Trevor and Neil are also in Zoony’s band Thrifty Malone, who only recently played a blinding all dayer for St Patrick’s day at O’Reilly’s in Ocean Village. They can also be found playing some well attended gigs in the Irish Pubs up and down the coast.

Tonight I’m listening to the evergreen classic ‘Whiskey in the Jar,’ ‘The Fields of Athenry’ and ‘Nancy Spain’ amongst others. Someone asks Zoony to play ‘Black Velvet Band,’ to which the band gladly do so straight away. A nice touch.

Zoony is no stranger to the music circuit in Gibraltar, he’s been playing pubs on the Rock for well over 20 years, participating in live jams back in the 90s at Bourbon Street, a very popular establishment on Main Street, sadly now long since gone.

More recently, the jam was a monthly affair in The Splendid Bar, not far from The Convent off Main Street, but has most certainly found a safe haven now in The Nelson.

The music now turns rocky, with Steve Bees, who was a guitarist in an excellent local band called Jinx, along with Stanley Muscat, another guitar maestro, who will blind you with some lightning fretwork, who was in another local band called Strange Brew.

Regrettably, neither bands are no longer together.

The music is fast and furious now, and a guy in a Sex Pistols tee shirt, who is well into the music is indicating that he’d like to get up and sing, and so Zoony relinquishes his mic for the Pistolero.

The lads are well known for their renditions of Pretty Vacant, which I suspect they will do again right now, but instead launch into Neil Young’s ‘Rocking In The Free World’.

Said guy is now giving it wads, and Stan’s guitar is wailing much to the delight of the crew of The Nelson, who applaud enthusiastically.

All too soon, the 11pm curfew is reached, and the musicians pack away their instruments for another week, but to be sure they’ll all be back to do it again next Thursday evening.

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