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The Bakehouse Sessions with Little Red Kings at The Penny Bun in Lowestoft was a fantastic night out for so many reasons



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As I pulled into the car park of Harvest Court on the South Lowestoft Industrial Estate on Saturday evening, I knew this would be a gig like no other.

See there’s two things you need to know about my best friend of 23 years and owner of The Penny Bun Bakehouse - John Spillings, who hosted the event - he has a great passion for cooking and a real love of great music.

Where I once showed him the great sounds of the Fun Lovin' Criminals, he was about to return the favour with the fantastic Little Red Kings.

The Bakehouse Sessions really brought great food and fantastic music together in an inspired way.
The Bakehouse Sessions really brought great food and fantastic music together in an inspired way.

Stepping into the bakery felt like I had been invited to a secret club, above the stacked bags of flour against one wall and fridges and freezers against another was a projected image which simply said ‘The Bakehouse Sessions’.

The concept for those and getting the band here had been two years in the making for John, and, with around 60-odd excited people inside the gig half of the bakehouse, it looked like it been a long time coming of them too.

But before the band took to the stage there was the food, which was being cooked out of the unit's bread oven - a choice of fresh beef brisket and onion or butternut squash, leek and spelt pies.

Bakehouse owner Johnny Spillings with some of the beef and onion pies. Picture: Kevin Hurst
Bakehouse owner Johnny Spillings with some of the beef and onion pies. Picture: Kevin Hurst

I went for the former, with mushy peas home-made mint sauce, I was not disappointed.

This beauty of a pie could not have had more beef for its buck if I had jumped a fence on the way there and licked a cow.

The brisket, from John’s brother Moss at Henstead Marsh Beef, had tenderness, immense flavour and that melt in the mouth goodness you want from a soul satisfying pie.

Sweetness from the carrot and the combination of crisp potato topping and pastry bottom brought together this delectable Desperate Dan wannabe dish sitting on its cushion of beautiful mushy peas.

The greatest gig pie I have ever had.
The greatest gig pie I have ever had.

I am used to eating food before or after a gig, but to bring something so ridiculously tasty in with the music was simply inspired.

Talking of the music - Little Red Kings, reduced from their usual five piece to three as their drummer and bassist had Covid-19, gave a performance I will never forget.

From the first lyrics of 'Peppermint' out of the mouth of frontman and guitarist, Jason Wicks, I found myself hanging on his every word and his incredible range throughout.

They may have been two band members down but the Little Red Kings still blew the roof off the bakehouse.
They may have been two band members down but the Little Red Kings still blew the roof off the bakehouse.

Ably assisted through the tracks, by more brilliant guitar work and vocals from Dougie Archer and fantastic keyboard playing from Craig Stevenson, these guys just got even better and better as their next songs followed.

I honestly could not get enough and I came to that conclusion after only the second song.

The 70s roots rock vibe they strive for really came to the fore with smooth long Pink Floydian guitar riffs in some points that seemed to transport you away on every strung out chord to deep heavy cutting one, like Led Zeppelin, hitting you like a steam train.

Great track after track followed with their sound and real love for what they do hugging out into the crowd like a returning old friend.

This was definitely reciprocated by fans who knew of them before the night and, new ones like me, who were trying to figure out how they were going to get their hands on some of their albums once this night ended.

By the time the band had got to their opening track, Harry's Town, of their latest album The Magic Show Part One, I had found a new musical love.

Knowing our host was a super fan, Jason even changed the title to Johnny's Town and got the crowd to sing along too - a nice touch to bring the night to a close.

You could tell the trio were definitely enjoying their unique night and surroundings too, with the frontman even saying that they try to do around three to four bakery gigs a year, Walburtons and Kingsmill had been good but Hovis was a hard nut to crack to get a gig there (other bakeries are available).

All in all, my musical and food tastes were absolutely blown away, another fantastic night spent with my best friend and here is to more of them spent watching the simply fantastic Little Red Kings.