Live at Sandinista! on Wednesday, 4th February 2009
Still a fair amount of snow rests on the ground outside of Sandinista! Tonight's music would certainly be a low-key affair. At the beginning of the night, it becomes apparent that Josh Flowers, originally billed to play last, is not going to be playing and that Silverlode will be stepping in last minute to fill the gap.
Pete Briley kicks things off, he begins by admitting to a cold but his vocals seem completely on-form. He begins by playing some new songs, including a fantastic tune, called 'Semantics', which is based on his experiences working in a charity shop. He soon begins to play some of the fare from his record that a few in the audience recognise. The title track of his record, 'Roads to Rome', goes down a storm with the small but privileged crowd and he finishes with two songs on his ukulele. His final tune, a song about some kind of robbery, lilts beautifully and his vocal range is staggering - undoubtedly higher than many female singers can go.
Next up is Aussie favourite, Brooke Taylor, who plays a great little set. Her lyrics are clever, if a little limited in topic matter, and her guitar playing is generally good. Her voice is her best feature - her Melbourne accent and delivery are stunning and her charm between songs is heart-warming.
Silverlode (or the 'better half of Silverlode' as they joked) round off the night. Singer Rob's vocals are surprisingly strong with a delivery that you could not have predicted if you had heard him conversationally. They play a variety of songs about various topics including party-poopers and a man who dies in a lift that is on fire. They prove to be very popular and are plugging their gig at the Cockpit on the 18th Feb constantly.
The night was one of those evenings that make reviewing a pleasure, albeit a pleasure mixed with a twinge of sadness. The music was of the finest quality I have known but not many people were there to appreciate it. Highlight of the night has to be Pete Briley - his changing of instruments and virtuosity make him a delight to watch, and he moves away from the standard 'acoustic-night' timbre. You really get something very different with him, he surprises and entertains and I, for one, will certainly want to catch him again!