“If you drink Thornbridge, you’re a minion of the devil!” That was what someone (allegedly) told me in a rather infamous Internet forum. Oh, well, please to meet you, hope you guessed my name.
It was a morose (weather wise!) Sunday at The Mordor Inn (aka The Greystones – cool pub). The Sun was indecisive but the music was good and the sizzle of a BBQ was the always in the background. Out of the 5 acts, I missed two (due to an interview), so apologies to Joe McGee and Andrew Tregoning for missing their sets.
Captives on the Carousel gave their best in the corner they were given in the outside area of The Greystones. It would’ve been perfect if it had been sunnier and quieter, but you can’t control the weather and how noisy some of the buses can be. Still, the wonderful songs that these two can create are always a pleasure in a live setting and their chit chat is all but idle. They deny the almost vaudeville timing of their jokes is practised and having seen them a few times before, I believe them. A lot of songs about wolves (‘Keep your hear to the ground’, ‘Charms’) and some clinks of glasses were the oft cheered sounds of their set.
The Clench were a funny band to interview, even if the setting felt like a “King of the Hill” type of fight (I was half-expecting to be defenestrated like an Orphan or a Moonrunner any minute by these country Boppers). On stage, they are even more feracious. The Backroom‘s stage feels like the tiniest ritz cracker when 6 larger than life men are peddling their dirty Southern Rock to the masses of the spiteful, the brokenhearted and the ones who found salvation in a hoppy drink. ‘Act of vengeance’ brings back some bad memories, but they are quickly washed away with stuff like ‘Disco Mariachi’ and ‘Cross the borderline’. Get some spiritual cleansing for your retribution urges: the sounds of these six lads (and their eternal fight to keep the bass drum in place) will do set you right.
And then came the big surprise of the night. As I’ve mentioned before, the best moment in any gig is watching a band you don’t know and get a pleasant surprise. This happened in the form of the utterly brilliant Hat Fitz and Cara Robinson, a couple with some multi-instrumentalist chops. Well known instruments (dobro resonator, guitars, drums) were masterfully used and more specialist stuff (washboard, gloves with metal thimbles, a one string guitar with a pickup in a plank) created sounds as enticing (and probably louder) than what you can do in your usual countertop instruments.
Did I mention that the chemistry they have is amazing? Well, of course, they are married, so a good communication is expected (with some teasing involved). Also, the washboard was pimped (not confirmed if it was by Xzibit). The duo gave a spectacular lesson in old school folk and blues and they hooked the audience from the first bluegrass notes until the well received encore. Fantastic band.
All in all, a pretty great charity event for St. Luke’s hospital.
Words: Sam J. “Spiteful asshole” Valdés López