Well, if you're going to get it wrong, I suppose the way to go is to get it VERY wrong and then put your hands up! West Ham's last game at Upton was on TV, but the Gorgeous Mrs Bird (GMB) and I had talked about this gig. To cut a very long story short and get to the humble pie swiftly ... Error number 1 me to GMB "Well there's not much about them on the internet, do you still fancy it?" Error number 2, me to the GMB "Says they don't gig a lot, that doesn't bode well eh? So do you fancy it or not?" Error number 3, me to GMB (you can probably see a pattern emerging here) "Well, there's not much in terms of video on the net, though they seem to record a lot, oh and kick off is delayed, so what do you want to do?". On finally deciding to go, I subsequently commit error number 4 (the biggie!!).
First song, me to the GMB "Well, the band sounds solid, but I'm not too sure about the compatibility of singer's voice" (Oh Lord, how I was going to regret that one!!).
This gig and in turn of course the band, proved to be musical magic. Firstly, to see a band that commands the audience in such a non pretentious and stratified way was an eye opener. It was like watching a child grow and develop. Beautifully choreographed as simply, each song got better and better (in terms of 'out of ten', they honestly started at 9 and progressed way beyond 10!)
The musicality of this band was truly outstanding. I had looked at the reviews, and to be honest I thought they were perhaps a bit 'corn fed' (Error number 5!!) - But there was clearly a synergy and 'locking in' that one normally can only find on a recorded album.
The drums and bass were so conjoined, the only thing that was out of time was my jaw, when it kept hitting the ground. The groove they put down was so solid and tight it was hard not to believe there was not a recorded rhythm track. The subtly and modesty of the drummer became apparent when sheer moments of genius appeared amongst his rock solid grooves. Frequently evidenced through his foot work and subtle but musical use of the the kit. The bass player complimented and equalled this solid foundation, but again, what incredible musical talent, making it look so simple, when clearly it was not.
The two guitars, not only helped to contribute to the out of sync jaw dropping, provided by me, the rhythm and synchronicity of these two guys was just a pure pleasure to watch and hear. Only magnified by the most amazing, non pretentious, awesomely tight and skilfully executed solos. Again, if I had not watched it, I would have thought 'recorded' with a display of air guitar. We honestly could have watched and listened to them all night - sheer excellence! Not to forget their great vocals.
And so to complete my utter humiliation, The Singer .... The phrase 'Wow' is not a strong enough word. She totally commanded her performance. Mesmerising and engaging with the audience was a small but important part of her delivery. Unusual to see in small venue gigs, she got amongst the audience and was not afraid to be that close. She so clearly loved what she was doing, and I think she left no one in that venue in any doubt that she did. But then why would she? Her vocal skill was just immense, not a note out of place, her musical vocabulary and ability is very rarely seen in small venue gigs, and arguably now rarely seen in the big ones.
So in accepting I got it so badly wrong at 'track' 1, her voice not only complimented the music, I left thinking she had the virtuosity and skill to be able to adapt to whatever musical situation she wanted to.
Collectively as a band, they were so tight and regimented, with the perfect amount of groove to leave the audience just wanting more.
The credit though was not entirely all theirs, the engineer was brilliantly equal to the talent he had to audibly produce and of course once again without Richard Dunning it just would not have happened.
Going back to the start, I am so glad we went, yes it is true that for a number of personal and legitimate reasons they don't gig too often (though truly unbelievable when you hear them). But when they do, perhaps go give yourself a treat ... because honestly, you will not be disappointed! .... I'm now off to atone for my errors and finish eating my Humble Pie!
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