Heather Lynne Horton + Michael McDermott, Water Rats, London, 25th September 2017

“If you’d told me ten years ago, that I would put a song on one of my records about my kid, I would have thrown up!” was how Michael McDermott introduced his song ‘Willie Rain’, about the daughter that he and Heather Lynne Horton so obviously adore more than anything on earth, even each other; and that’s saying something, as the love and affection they have for one another is sooo evident from the way they relate to each other onstage. Continue reading “Heather Lynne Horton + Michael McDermott, Water Rats, London, 25th September 2017”

Micah P Hinson, Portland Arms, Cambridge, 29th September 2017

Micah P Hinson is a bundle of contradictions – on the one hand he’s a slightly agitated and nervy stage presence, but he also happily makes if not on-stage rants then at least tirades. He’s stick thin and has a youthful demeanour which belies his thirty seven years, and  – even though one knows this in advance – still quite surprisingly from this slight frame he sings in a deep baritone. And the songs: carefully constructed yet performed solo in an almost deconstructed way. Continue reading “Micah P Hinson, Portland Arms, Cambridge, 29th September 2017”

Jon Boden, Cecil Sharp House, London, 3rd October 2017

October was kind to us – although Cecil Sharp House has many performance sized rooms this particular gig was pitched in the garden space. With the wall and trees of the garden as a fairy-light lit backdrop in the fading Autumn light, and with a bonfire lit in a large oil-drum brazier, the scene had been set for an intimate micro-gig, with just forty or so attendees. Jon Boden accompanied himself on guitar and concertina, backed up by a string trio of Violin, Cello and Viola (Kiki Chen, Lucy Revis, Helen Bell). Without microphones the sound was augmented solely with the crack and spits from the fire as well as the rising and falling background street noise. Continue reading “Jon Boden, Cecil Sharp House, London, 3rd October 2017”

Thea Gilmore, Winchester Science Centre Planetarium, 22nd September 2017

The unique and atmospheric venue that is the Planetarium at The Winchester Science Centre was the setting for Thea Gilmore to showcase her new and critically acclaimed album, The Counterweight. If such a very different stage was always likely to provide the sell-out audience with a memorable evening then that was further guaranteed when Friday evening chaos on the M3 led to what must be the most bizarre warm up ever for a gig – a stomach churning 360-degree feature film projected onto the dome roof, We Are Stars, spanning the formation of hydrogen, nuclear fusion in stars, formation of asteroids, our own solar system and evolution of life from the very first cells. Continue reading “Thea Gilmore, Winchester Science Centre Planetarium, 22nd September 2017”

John Tams & Barry Coope, Hitchin Folk Club, The Sun Inn, Hitchin 24th September 2017

John Tams is not your typical seventy year old folkie – yes he has a great voice and a fine repertoire of songs both traditional and self-penned, and naturally – like many of his contemporaries – he served time in The Albion Band amongst other musical outlets. However, his musical career has also seen him on stage at the National Theatre as musical director for shows like Warhorse, or updating the Radio Ballads concept for modern times or acting (and singing) alongside Sean Bean in the historical drama series Sharpe. Continue reading “John Tams & Barry Coope, Hitchin Folk Club, The Sun Inn, Hitchin 24th September 2017”

Ryan Adams + Karen Elson, 02 Academy, Bournemouth, 19th September 2017

In a rare moment of chat towards the end of this show, Ryan Adams took a swipe at a previous live review where he was accused of being self-indulgent. “Man” he proclaims, “That’s like eating a dessert and then complaining that it’s sweet.” He does have a point. Although perhaps Ryan Adams’ stage presence is often closer to shoegaze indie than fist punching stadium, tonight he plays for over two hours straight through and picks from a set list that spans his entire songbook. What more he could or should do, he’d be excused for thinking. Continue reading “Ryan Adams + Karen Elson, 02 Academy, Bournemouth, 19th September 2017”

Moonsville Collective, At The Top, Long Beach California, Friday 15th September

The rest of the building may be still under construction to make another restaurant but right At The Top everything is fine and dandy – it’s Long Beach’s latest music venue / bar and it still has that fresh “new venue” smell.  Clean too. This gig by the seven piece Moonsville Collective acted as both a new EP launch party and also as a curtain raiser for the Long Beach Folk Revival Festival set to take place the next day in nearby Rainbow Lagoon Park. Continue reading “Moonsville Collective, At The Top, Long Beach California, Friday 15th September”