Gig reviews

It doesn’t appear that I can backdate these entries to make me look a more consistent blogger – bugger. Still not to worry eh? Instead I shall do one long gig review from the last few weeks.
First off, Richard Hawley at Albert Hall in Nottingham. What a smoothie he is and, now, the voice of Haagen Dazs (sp?) The venue is, frankly, mad looking – it has an ENORMOUS organ at one end that dominates the whole room. I don’t think it can ever be played as it is so out of proportion to the rest of the pace that the walls would just crumble. Support act were called the Smoke Fairies – harmonious warblings in black dresses and boots who clearly think I am insane as I ran down to the cash machine in the interval for enough money to buy their box set. A 5 minute walk in a 30 minute break but I ran down and back and then thrust a tenner in her face puffing madly.

Aside from a slightly sinister moment from a heckler who didn’t like the idea of a curfew the gig went very well indeed – but the seating was so uncomfortable! He had to finish bang on 10pm and I was enjoying it very much but thank god it ended or I may have had to stand up and clench ostentatiously.

OK, next up was The Unthanks at Nottingham Arts Theatre. It was a week of odd venues we’d never been to before. This had a charming amateurish air to it – from the old men in tuxedos standing on the door, to the bearded folk behind the bar trying very hard to pour a half decent beer. It was a bit like being at a school play. Another good support act and another act that think I am mad. I can’t help it. These were called Jonny Kearney and Lucy Farrell and they did delicate folk-y songs about friendship and lost love, all with a nice sense of humour. I especially liked one the chap sang to his girlfriend as he took her home after she’d drunk too much – called Lullaby. Anyway, they announced that one half of them was from Kent so when I was buying the EP I asked where from? “Maidstone” she said. “Oooh, me too!” I exclaimed. We swapped schools, though I got embarrassed when I said I’d gone to the grammar school and tried to cover it up but too late.

The main act was charming too – I hadn’t really liked the album much on the one listen I’d given it before the gig – but have enjoyed it much more since. And we should definitely see more acts with clog dancing in their set. Joined in happily with the singing on the final song – title track from the album – though you do have to sing in a Geordie accent to get the dialogue right. But since I often adopt accents when singing along to things this wasn’t really a problem.

Finally last week we went to see Karine Polwart at the Rescue Rooms. A small elfin looking lady, she did her set a different way round, appearing immediately after the support (a cheery chappie called Sam Carter) for half an hour, had a “wee break” and then came back for another session. Her lovely Scottish accent made the whole gig worth the money, even if I didn’t enjoy the music (which I did). She was telling us of a songwriting residential week she took part in with a theme of Charles Darwin. He did lots of experiments at home with his children, including getting his son to play his bassoon to some earthworms. Obviously with a Scottish accent, “earthworms” has about 4 syllables and quite lovely it sounds too.

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