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”

Summerhill + Snakes Of Shake + Mick Hargan, The Griffin Glasgow, 17th September 2017

A late eighties jangly update on The Byrds with some REM thrown in, Summerhill were formed from the ashes of Snakes Of Shake, a Glasgow band who thrived locally along with peers such as Lloyd Cole & The Commotions. A favourite of the weeklies (NME, Sounds and such) Summerhill released an album on Demon Records which was well received before the band were swallowed up and then spat out by Polydor, victims of major label whims, with the band soon parting ways. Continue reading “Summerhill + Snakes Of Shake + Mick Hargan, The Griffin Glasgow, 17th September 2017”

Courtney Marie Andrews, Bush Hall, London, 5th September 2017

This was the second of two packed nights at Bush Hall and Courtney Marie Andrews and her band took to the stage and launched into Rookie Dreaming, the opening track from her current album Honest Life. Andrews’ vocals and her appearance at once suggest that you could be watching a young Joni Mitchell but it does not take long to be swept up into Andrew’s world. And although you occasionally get a jolt of how Joni Mitchell like she is on certain tracks, this does not detract from the enjoyment of listening to Andrews and her band. Continue reading “Courtney Marie Andrews, Bush Hall, London, 5th September 2017”

Kenny Foster, The Bedford, Balham, 4th September 2017

What a great space the Bedford is for a singer songwriter to perform in, shaped as it is “in the round” like the Shakespearean Globe. Despite a sparsely attended London showcase, Kenny Foster treated a quietly enthusiastic audience to an acoustic selection of eight of his songs, seven of them drawn from his recently released debut album ‘Deep Cuts.’ Continue reading “Kenny Foster, The Bedford, Balham, 4th September 2017”

Summertyne Americana Festival, The Sage, Gateshead,July 21-23, 2017

That’s summer over and  our roving reporters have been out and about at various festivals in search of the sun and fine music. A few got lost on the way back so it’s only now that we can offer another report on Summertyne which we had already looked at here. There’s more from the indoor set ups this time, maybe our man forgot to bring his umbrella. Continue reading “Summertyne Americana Festival, The Sage, Gateshead,July 21-23, 2017”

Karl Blau + The Empty House Band, The Boileroom, Guildford, 24th August 2017

Karl Blau took to the stage adorned in a dark suit that was splashed and stained with Jackson Pollock like whitewash. It’s a decent bet that the suit is something created by himself and indicative in a way of his career path. Based in the small town of Anacortes in Washington State, oyster farmer Blau (and his many associated bands) made many a record as part of the eclectic Knw-Yr-Own/K-Roc Records collective. His introduction to the larger market came via Bella Union’s aptly titled 2016 covers compilation Introducing Karl Blau with many of the songs from that collection featured in tonight’s show. Continue reading “Karl Blau + The Empty House Band, The Boileroom, Guildford, 24th August 2017”

Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters, The American Museum in Britain, Bath, 20th August 2017

High up on Claverton Hill on the outskirts of Bath is the bucolic setting of The American Museum in Britain. Established in 1961 with the aim of educating the UK, and the world, about American cultural history, it was perhaps fitting that this was the final venue for Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters on their first ever UK tour. Continue reading “Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters, The American Museum in Britain, Bath, 20th August 2017”