Live Review: Black Deer Live London Launch, The Crypt St Martins, London – April 25th 2024

Gina Larner. Picture by Kevin O’Sullivan.

The launch event featured Morganway, Hollie Rogers and Her All Star Band and Gina Larner.

The atmospheric Crypt underneath London’s St Martin’s Church on Trafalgar Square was the perfect setting for Black Deer Live’s London launch on April 25th. A sell-out crowd was in party mood for the three-act line up, headlined by Morganway and compered by Ray Jones, CEO of Talentbanq, promoters of Black Deer Live. The evening was an opportunity to celebrate the huge success that Black Deer has become on the festival circuit with Gill Tee giving credit to her co-founder Deborah Shilling and all her team and looking forward to the 2024 festival in partnership with Talentbanq and fellow new backers Brighthelmstone and Desertscene. This was the first of a series of live shows under the ‘Black Deer Live’ banner, the evening also marked the upcoming launch of Black Deer Radio.

Opening the evening on acoustic guitar and vocals, Gina Larner from Brighton rose to the challenge of a lively crowd with a compelling set of songs from her debut album, ‘Something Good’, and a preview of her upcoming single release ‘Sin’, a stand out together with ‘Heavy Heart’ from her earlier release.

Hollie Rogers followed with her All Star Band, featuring Daisy Chute, Michele Stodart, Eddy Smith and Howard Rose. Opening with the Doobie Brothers ‘Listen to the Music’ and closing with Blondie’s ‘One Way or Another’ Rogers and her band played a crowd-pleasing set, with band members enjoying spotlight lead roles to showcase their own compositions. They were announced by compère Jones as “having never played together before.” With just a four-hour rehearsal, their confident performance gave no hint of this.

Hollie Rogers and Her All Star Band. Picture by Kevin O’Sullivan.

Rogers was a great set-up for headline act Morganway who showed once more what a compelling live act they are, with a high-energy set of original songs, featuring fine vocal harmonies and fiddle up front. With a raft of festival appearances in 2023 including Glastonbury, Black Deer, C2C and Millport Country, their on-stage chops are a delight to behold, highlights of their set included the anthemic ‘World Stopped Running’ from their latest album ‘Back to Zero’ and long-standing live favourite ‘Hurricane’.

Morganway. Picture by Kevin O’Sullivan.

A fine launch for the ‘Black Deer Live’ banner, and a worthy appetiser for the festival itself, on the 14th – 16th June 2024, in Eridge Park, on the Kent/East Sussex border near Tunbridge Wells, 50 minutes outside of London, with a great Americana line-up of homegrown and US artists, and featuring headline sets from Joe Bonamassa, Sheryl Crow and Rufus Wainwright.

About David Jarman 116 Articles
Long time fan of Americana genre, from early days of Ry Cooder, through to today's thriving scene. Regular visitor to USA ( Nashville/Austin/Memphis/LA ) live music junkie, I play guitar, mandolin, harmonica, plus vocals, run monthly jam session in Broadstairs
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Gary Walker

The music was great but for me sadly the night was spoilt by the constant and incessant talking throughout every set. such disrespect for the performers.

Last edited 24 days ago by Gary Walker
Ray Jones

I am the “Jones” mentioned in the review.
Ray jones of TALENTBANQ

I just wanted to say what a delight it was to share the stage with such insane talent.

I would add it was an honour to be invited to arrange and host the launch alongside Gill Tee and Chris Russell-Fish.

They really have created a wonderful festival – and now a live series that truly has no boundaries.

So pleased Americana UK were in the house