Every so often I leave a gig and think, that was something special when can I see them again and this was my first thought after leaving The Stables last night. As a 130 people were in the main auditorium listening to Harry the Piano, the capacity of 80+ was reached in the smaller Stage 2 and comfortably seated with a few choosing to stand for the return visit of David Rotheray (ex Beautiful South) and his new venture Life of Birds.
First we had the pleasure of hearing the exquisite vocals and song writing of Eleanor McEvoy and for me worth the ticket price alone. After jokingly introducing herself, before strapping on the guitar we were treated to some songs from her current CD “I’d Rather Go Blonde” as well as an old favourite A Woman’s Heart, which Eleanor was prompted to play after seeing herself perform in on BBC4 the previous night. She also underlined her musical abilities moving for Electric to Acoustic guitar and then Violin, back to Electric guitar for her song Uganda with a great use of guitar looping to accentuate the spirit of Africa, she ended her set with the Nick Lowe song, I knew the Bride (when she used to Rock and Roll)
After a 15 minute break - David Rotheray along with Bella Hardy, Jim Causley, Damon Butcher and Gary Hammond came on stage, with down to earth David dressed in his coat, cap and I guess Hull City scarf and looking remarkably like the bloke standing next to me at the bar during the first set . . . maybe because he was. They started with the first song on the album “The Sparrow, The Thrush and The Nightingale” his take on the music industry, though not specifically his time in Beautiful South, and with lead vocals by Jim Causley. At this point you should know, David doesn’t do vocals, he’s the songwriter but when you have the likes of Jim, Bella and Eleanor his songs are in very capable hands. On his last visit to The Stables, under the Homespun banner the vocal duties were taken up by Sam Brown (daughter of Joe Brown).
David would introduce each song individually, with a brief description of each and some funny anecdotes thrown in, with subjects like Birds, Old Peoples Home, A neighbour with a dog that constantly set upon him and a Pensioner finally “coming out” to his wife, all songs written at a time when he was laid up ill with an inner ear infection and his inspiration came mainly from what he could see from out of his window. They were all joined once more by Eleanor McEvoy for a wonderful renditions of Almost Beautiful which also appears on the album and ended their evening with a reprise of the “The Sparrow, The Thrush and The Nightingale”. A mention also should go to Damon Butcher and Gary Hammond on keyboard and various percussions and effects that helped to enhance with the whole atmosphere and spirit of the album.
When I heard this was going to be in Stage 2 I thought, strange choice, this should be in the main auditorium and I would expect more that 80 people would be along to see this, I’m not sure how many more tickets could have been sold but I think the experience was better for the confined and intimate surroundings.
This was a great evening from a true song writer that knows his craft so well and being joined by musicians and singers that can really bring his songs to life, so with other dates still in the area I wonder if I can get to see this all again at least one more time, but make sure you see them at least once, you won’t be disappointed.
20 Leicester Musicianwww.themusicianpub.co.uk
21 Cambridge Junction 01223 511511www.junction.co.uk
22 London Troubadour 0207 341 6321 www.troubadour.co.uk
23 Bury The Met 0167 612216 www.themet.biz
24 Sheffield The Plug 0114 276 2676 www.the-plug.com
25 Birmingham Glee Club 0871 472 0400 www.glee.co.uk
26 Nottingham Glee Club 0871 472 0400 www.glee.co.uk
27 Liverpool Edge Hill 0151 707 2277 www.metalculture.com
28 Oxford Glee Club 0871 472 0400 www.glee.co.uk
29 Bristol Louisiana 0845 413 4444 www.alt-tickets.co.uk
30 Exeter Mama Stones 01392 848485 www.mamastones.com
31 Weston Super Mare The Beach