Saturday, 12 July 2014

Liverpool Acoustic afternoon in the View Two Gallery, Saturday 12th July

We’ve just got back from a fantastic afternoon playing a set and listening to some talented musicians at Liverpool’s gorgeous View Two Gallery on Mathew Street.

Despite thinking we were going to arrive late (due to a prior commitment, and also due to the trains being off) we actually got there quite a bit earlier than planned, which was fab, as we got to have a little tinkle on the ivories (yes, View Two has a grand piano) while Graham and Stuart set up, and also have a look at some of the art work.

Then came the musicians; first up was Caitlin Gilligan in a fabulous hat with some fabulous finger plucked melodies, two originals and a cover of Bob Dylan’s Girl from the North Country. She was followed by the Southbound Attic Band whose beautifully sung tale of childhood sweethearts made Ruth cry (and she probably wasn’t the only one). Lucy Mayhew followed on with some delightful playing including a Fleetwood Mac cover (we’re always partial to a bit of Fleetwood Mac), then came Derek King with a couple of songs including an intelligent lyrical take on an argument.

Then it was our turn!

We started our set with our piano ballad celebrating female friendship, Sally, then our ukulele duet about marital discord and poorly written female comedy characters, Bad Sitcom, next came our song about what ice cream vans really sell in winter in Kirkby, Millbrook, which we followed with our a-cappella arrangement of folk classic Let No Man Steal Your Thyme, and then our current single, Shepherd’s Delight (It’s Not Time To Go To Bed). Finally, we had a bit of time left so we decided to perform a cover; our take on the theme from 1980s kids’ cartoon, Mysterious Cities of Gold (the eagle-eared amongst the audience will have noticed we finished the song by seguing into the opening bars of Gaudete. Come and see us at a Christmas gig and we’ll play you the whole thing).

We enjoyed playing our set, but it was a relief to sit back down too (and finally grab a coffee; we’d been on the water up until that point).

There then followed a set by Rob Jones and Rob White, who had a real Simon and Garfunkel vibe going on, with perhaps a touch of Half Man Half Biscuit about some of the lyrics. They were also kind enough to give us a CD which we’ll be putting on at some point tomorrow for a spot of Sunday listening.

Finally, sound man Stuart, also known as Three Minute Hero, played a short set including a song with a sad, lilting tune but a message of hope, The Tomorrow People.

We really enjoyed the entire afternoon. The standard was very high, and we felt honoured to be in such talented company. We’d love to go back again; the gallery is gorgeous, the sound is great and the staff are really friendly. Special thanks to Graham for organising and compering the event (and for inviting us), and to Stuart for helping create such fab sound.

EDITED TO ADD:

Yesterday, when we wrote this, Ruth was in the early stages of a migraine and we were both knackered and so it was we forgot to do our usual spiel about What We Have Learned From This Gig.

We’ve chatted loads about this today and a few things have come out of our discussion. The standard at this event was really high and yet we didn’t feel as though we were out of our depth, which isn’t meant to sound arrogant, but rather as testament to how far we’ve come since we started out (as carollers, in December 2012). That said, we also talked about how we must not become complacent. The music scene in Merseyside at the moment is really buzzing and there is so much talent around that if we don’t keep ourselves fresh, practiced and focused, we’ll stagnate and get left behind.

We also talked - again - about covers. Yesterday we threw one cover into our set, as mentioned above. However, fun though Mysterious Cities of Gold is, it’s perhaps a bit obscure; in a larger crowd, you can guarantee there will be a group of people who will recognise even a cult cover, but if performing a cover at an intimate gig it might be wise to stick with something a bit more well-known. That said, it’s a gorgeous tune in its own right so… we’re still undecided.

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