Homecoming for live music

Music has returned to one of the first pubs in Preston ever to stage live bands.

After a break of almost 30 years, the Dog and Partridge, on Friargate, Preston, is once again staging live performances by local musicians – and the nights are proving as popular as they were back then.

Landlord Ronnie Fitzpatrick, who has been at the pub for the past three decades, says: "When I first started here 30 years ago, all you got in pubs was a piano or an organ and maybe drums.

"This really was the only pub around about here where you could get live music. This was the place you came for bands.

"And we've decided to start doing it again. We've had bands on for the past two Monday nights now and it's going really well.

"We're booked up to January 3 already - and that's just with bands ringing us up and asking: 'Can we play, please?' It's been brilliant."

He recalls how packed the place used to be for a show by the Dog's former resident house band, Old Tennis Shoes.

He says: "The pub had two sides then and it would be packed. There was only the polytechnic then where now there is the university but it was still very popular, despite the size of the room.

"They used to have speakers piled on seats and crates. You had to have someone standing in front of them to stop people knocking the speakers over as they went out of the door, it was so full.

"The only reason that we stopped is because of the licensing regulations then. But now it's all open plan so it's a lot easier - and it's been going down very well."

And he has heard a rumour that somewhere, the old group are still going. He would love to invite them back for a reunion if anyone out there can put him in touch them.

He says: "From what I heard, Old Tennis Shoes are still going - in Holland!

"Early last year, some people came in and one of them was a Dutch guy. He said he'd 'come to see the place where it all started.'

"I said: 'Where what all started?' And he said: 'Old Tennis Shoes!' I nearly fell through the floor but it seems they are still going.

"It would be great if we could get them back here. They would probably have to come over on a Saga holiday now though, wouldn't they?"

The Dog and Partridge now stages a live band night every Monday. This week, on Monday, August 6, sees Playing Violet and Crimzon taking to the stage.