Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Concert Review

Show of Hands supported by Martyn Joseph

Lancaster University Chaplaincy Centre Thu 26th Oct

Don't normally do gig reviews, and don't really know how, but it was good, so I thought I'd write about it. Martyn Joseph I have written about before. He's the onetime gospel singer who is now the social conscience of the post-evangelical / Greenbelt left of centre. This was just a support show, so we didn't get both barrels full-bore, but he got some passion into what he did.

If my memory is right, he started with Dic Penderyn, a song about a man executed in the 19th century against all the evidence because someone had to. 'How Did We End Up Here?' maintained his critique of the US government. He also did 'Turn Me Tender', an altogether more peaceful, and possibly spiritual song, a new song, and 'Proud Valley Boy' - about Paul Robeson's visits to Wales. We also got 'Cardiff Bay' during the main set with Show of Hands backing. MJ now available on iTunes, which is also useful.

Show of Hands (Steve Knightley and Phil Beer) were a completely new experience. As I'm not really a folkie, I wasn't sure if I would like it. The samples of their studio stuff on their website didn't excite me very much. However, they are a different experience live. They have a certain amount of country politics about them, and a West Country pride. They featured some good songs, including an excellent track called 'Undertow' about the bleakness of life in a West Country seaside town for a young couple. Lots of stories - some history, some recent gave the whole gig a narrative.

Other treats were Phil Beer turning 'Bus Stop' by the Hollies into a folk song, which was unpredictably excellent. Also Miranda Sykes added to their line-up acoustic bass and backing vocals. She also did a solo number on bass/vocal, and because she's that good, it was great. More jazz influenced than the men, which added nicely to the mix.

My advice: don't worry about buying SoH CDs, get to a gig.


Andrew said...

I agree Mike. I hadn't seen SoH before, and I thought they were definitely an act to be seen live. After all, that's what their politics seem to be about - preserving the unrecorded oral traditions of English folk music. I also agree that Miranda Sykes was a top notch addition. I love the sound of a double bass played well.

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