Time for a dose of Medicine – band with Royston roots returns for Cambridge gig

Medicine Hat

Medicine Hat - Credit: Archant

They’re big in Europe and Canada, they’ve got 20 years of making music under their belt, but a gig in Cambridge next month is a special date for the members of Medicine Hat.

They’re big in Europe and Canada, they’ve got 20 years of making music under their belt, but a gig in Cambridge next month is a special date for the members of Medicine Hat.

That’s because the band has deep local roots, and they’re looking forward to welcoming old friends to the Portland Arms tonight.

The Cambridge date will be the second gig on a tour to promote the band’s new EP, which has already received airplay from Radio 2 stalwart and former Old Grey Whistle Test presenter Bob Harris.

Singer/guitarist and founding member Mark Jackson, whose grandparents lived in Royston’s Orchard Road and who lived in the town himself in his teens and early twenties, began his music career in North Herts.

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He played in Rat Bat Blue in pub venues like the Jockey, which then had a reputation as a great music pub, and dates at the Melbourn Rock Club. “Teenage musicians from Royston jammed in garages and frequently made the trip to London to see bands at the Marquee or Hammersmith Odeon,” he recalled. “It was a lot cheaper then!”

The band’s name, which has helped them build up a loyal following in the Canadian city of the same name, was born out of the style of music that they loved to play.

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Mark said: “My dad was a massive country fan, and Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell, Billie Jo Spears and many other artists were a big influence for me, as well as hard rock bands such as AC/DC, Motorhead, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Whitesnake.

“When we formed in 1992, we combined country roots with a hard rock punch, the name seemed to cover the rock/country style perfectly, with Big Sky lyrics and soaring guitar solos, ideal for long drives.

“We have been to Medicine Hat several times and performed at the prestigious Sandfly festival in front of 8,000 people on Canada Day, which was a real honour.

“We have also been in both the UK and Canadian charts with our album Bonedry album, toured in Europe and covered the UK,including four appearances at the Cambridge Rock Festival.”

Fellow guitarist Chris Borsberry is another band member with local roots. He went to Freman College in Buntingford and played in local bands End Of Reason and Self-Inflicted before heading off into the great wide world, touring the globe for years with top Thai band Sek Loso before returning to the UK and joining the ranks two years ago.

Mark said: “We’re really looking forward to the Portland show, as it’s a kind of hometown gig.

“Drummer Phil Bryant is from Cambridge, so three of five members have local links.

“Another favourite venue the band will be playing is the Big Red in London tomorrow night - it’s a great Hard Rock Café style venue that can get pretty wild!”

Support at the Portland will come from Cambridge country rockers Swamptruck, who have a loyal following for their 1970s sound in the city.

Tickets are £7.50 on the door.

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