Live at Joseph's Well on Sunday, 11th February 2001
I enjoy acoustic music and being able to sit at tables is great (ok I admit it - I'm old... I like to sit down sometimes) I knew Danny Carr was playing, but wasn't sure what else was on. I had heard a rumour that Mike from 5ft4 was going to sing, so I had to be there. Having recently read The Madman's article about Women in Rock, it seems a little coincidental that last night I see a great female singer for Candid, followed by Kay's sultry vocals and Rachel's keyboard skills for Seismic Loveshift. Tonight we have several ladies as well... Just before I left at the end of the night, Karl asked me if I would do a review that I wasn't prepared for so this may be a little sketchy...
We started with DANNY CARR's set. I love hearing this guy sing (I've only heard him once before, but had to hear it again) he has a powerful raw emotional voice that goes in through your ears and gets to the rest of you. I've said it before and I'll say it again - the acoustics in the ladies toilet are ace. It is pouring with rain and I rush straight to the ladies to get dry and hear Danny's voice coming through the wall. Music to dry your hair by... He explained that the song Jump, is about a guy he knows, who on hearing that someone was going to jump off a car park roof (or something) deliberately missed going to work to go watch and wandered off muttering Jump - I have to say that despite knowing what this is about - I love this song. And even having only heard it once, I was singing along with a few others in the crowd. We also got treated to a song called Yesterday to that seemed to have the same effect and had a few of us humming or singing with him. This is why I enjoy his stuff I guess. He gives you the melody and the rest just seems to follow. (Not that I can sing mind you, but his stuff does stay with you afterwards.) Mike is providing percussion for him and they swap over - Danny tells me afterward he is not really a drummer - but you couldn't fool me - it was great. Mike plays guitar and sings to " Take on me" my favourite A-ha song that brings back memories of fighting for lyric sheets at school. Well done to both of you.
Next was a young lady called DAVINA (I hope I spelt it right) she asked us to be gentle with her as she has not been on the stage on her own like that before. She comes over with a mixture of both nerves and confidence that meant we got a mixed and interesting set. She has a good singing voice and powerful enough almost to not need the mike. Her friend played guitar for her for a song called P. So small and so wee... great stuff. They close with a short shouted verse at us. Most unusual and fun.
Next a group called LAST NIGHT's TV. I overheard someone talking about them in the bar who said they had been on their must see list for a while and was pleased they were here. They had a lady violinist - something I was not expecting and their drummer had one of those really great double hand drums. Both instruments are really hard to play properly and take great skill, which was definitely demonstrated here. Some great rhythms in here and some lovely melodies. This was turning into a truly acoustic night in the best sense of the word. Unfortunately I was not taking notes and can't say much more except that I really enjoyed their set and their name is now on my own ever growing must see list.
Back to another female soloist, MARIA LEAHY. She has recently done a three-month tour of America and is going back shortly. She is not over here for very long so I am thrilled Karl got her to play for us tonight. She reminds me a little of that girl from Texas with the un-spellable name - petite with an amazing voice, capable of a diverse range, filled with emotion in all the right places. Add that to the fact she got more out of an acoustic guitar than I have ever seen anyone else do. She seemed able to provide herself with her own beat - no drummer need, got that covered thanks, her own bass - no bass player needed thanks, and at the same time keeping a melody running through the whole thing. The perfect balance between the melody of her voice and her playing. Her set was varied too. Fast, slow, mellow and cheerful. The audience loved her and I even managed to get a copy of her recently recorded demo. She loves what she does and it shows in her performance.
Last up for the evening were a group who also enjoy themselves immensely, called SPOSH. Two more lady vocalists here too. They describe themselves as chick hop and did a little number dedicated to one of those girl groups (sorry mental blank) we all knew who it was though. A very clever take off. I enjoyed what I heard and so did the crowd. I didn't find out if they had CDs available, which is a shame, as I wouldn't have minded one. I missed a small part of the set as I went to wish Chris from Catylyst a happy 21st birthday. He was a bit far-gone, but having fun, which is as it should be. I will not mention the huge wedgy his friends gave him, or that he was wearing parts of the remains of his underwear on his head, as he might kill me - (oops it seams to have typed itself. Computers have a mind of their own.) As usual I have to duck and run for the bus and miss the end of their set. Friends of mine that stayed (the advantages of being a student are obvious in that you can get wrecked and still walk home with your mates - I remember those days...) told me that Sposh were great and talked to them a little afterwards.
This is definitely the best and truest acoustic night I have been to in a long while. Thank you Karl for organizing some of the best acoustic numbers in ages, long may it continue.