The five piece ‘Fat Ladies’ (‘Fat Lady’ being a type of guitar) are a local act that peddle a harmonious blend of old and new alternate/rock with a splash of country/folk. Originally a three piece ostensibly covering Ryan Adams, their ranks have recently been bolstered by a ‘return from the wilderness’ of the avant-garde Rob ‘boing boing’ Baker bass and ‘the Mitch Mitchell of Armidale’, Mick ‘the machine’ Khan drums. These two seamlessly blend their eclectic styles with those of veteran rock-demigod Damian Wood, guitar, vocal, mandolin, and reclusive jongleur Dan Davies guitar, vocal, harmonica. These four attended school together, where Wood, Baker and Davies formed their first band ‘Phallic Cymbal’, playing an unusual, contorted blend of blues/punk fusion. The bands fifth and youngest member, is front-man Josh ‘baby-face’ Biddle guitar, vocals. Originally from Alstonville, his musicianship is the sweet cream in the crunchy cookie that is the ‘Fat Ladies’.
The M Co-operation is a loose (some say very loose) collective of musicians from various musical backgrounds brought together in different combinations to play original songs from the pen of Mark Cooper. Members for this special January 31 event are Ian “Mitch” Mitchell on drums (Al Heeny R & B Experience and lots of other bands), Mick Houlahan on bass (TWANG & The Briny Sea) and Chris Purcell on lead (Al Heeny R & B Experience plus a multitude of bands and combos). Other M Co-operation members have included Dave Carr, Jess Stocker and Steve Tafra and each has contributed their style and sound to different songs.
Mark has been writing stuff for thirty years and singing for most of that as well in various combinations in Sydney and then at the Armidale Club since first moving to Armidale in 1993. He was a fairly regular performer at the fondly remembered Musos nights (last Thursday of the month) shifting to other stand-alone gigs with various bands, solo or in combinations- like Natterjack with Brian, Adam, and Georgie, The Deep End with Al, Tony and Dale, and Drums and Wires with members of Dog Box plus Kath Ovendon. He has always played originals (except when doing the two Neil Young and Hot August nights and countless Decade Band nights!), and continues to write stuff.
According to Mark, without the contribution and feeling put into the songs by the local musos, the writing and (solo) performance of originals meant for a band would be rendered a truly unappealing experience, so he is grateful for the band members’ willingness to give their all to his songs and considers them theirs as well. His songs offer a diverse musical experience from sort of country to something like pop to approximate pub rock, with observations of post-adolescent life, love and living in a small town. The latest playlists include mostly new songs being recorded for his first proper CD coming out sometime in 2015, plus favourites from the vault. This is the current line-ups’ second gig and they will be giving it the full tilt on the 31st at the club’s final big night.