Cruising' With The North Sea Blues

For the first part of last weekend ickledot crossed the North Sea to Amsterdam, photographing live blues music all the way there and back. This was the P&O Blues Mini-Cruise, taking place for a second time following the success of an inaugural event around a year ago.

Leeds City Stompers

One new innovation was the staging of live music in the terminus, to entertain passengers checking in for the cruise. This was provided by the Leeds City Stompers. A great set but ickledot had Louis Jordan's 'Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens' rolling around his head all weekend.

Lisa Mills

Apart from that the programme was generally the same as the first event: a Friday evening of live music while the ship traversed the mighty ocean, a few Saturday hours in Amsterdam which included a live music show at the Waterhole Cafe and more music on board for the voyage home.

Little Steve and the Big Beat

In 2015 the acts performing on the outward journey also entertained on the homeward one. This year however there was some variation in that US singer songwriter Lisa Mills opened proceedings on Friday night but then stayed in Europe to embark on a European tour. As a replacement Dutch band Little Steve and the Big Beat played on the Saturday evening crossing.

Ian Siegal

The multi-award winning Ian Siegal was the Waterhole's star of Saturday afternoon, performing two hour long sets to accommodate all the 'cruisers' who were keen to see him. He certainly did not disappoint.

Kyla Brox

You'll be able to read more detailed reviews elsewhere but suffice it to say that the whole weekend was excellent. The Norman Beaker Band took the role of house band, playing their own sets and also providing backing for both the soulful Kyla Brox and US bluesman Larry Garner. Forties and fifties R&B band The Revolutionaires gave us their typically effervescent brand of blues on both evenings. Bandleader also Ed Stephenson also played a leading role in the jam session which closed proceedings on Saturday, a particular favourite being Huey 'Piano' Smith's 'Sea Cruise'. Highly appropriate.

Ed Stephenson, The Revolutionaires

Photographing wasn't easy on board ship and at The Waterhole as both venues were quite dark. Still, managed to bag a few shots and you can see more of them on Flickr. Quite a few more people signed up for this cruise than the first one. It's becoming a popular annual event and a second Mardi Gras cruise has been added for the Spring of 2017. Better get your place booked before cabins run out.