Robert J Hunter and Chloe Le Page – The Vault – 23/01/15

Robert J Hunter at The Vault
Robert J Hunter at The Vault

The Vault in St Peter Port is Guernsey’s newest place to catch live music and has become known for featuring cover bands and the poppier end of the island’s original music performers, as well as a weekly open mic night and, as this was, the occasional acoustic night too.

Chloe Le Page first appeared on the scene a couple of years ago as second guitarist in Static Alice but soon was heading out on her own in the guise of an acoustic performer and has been gigging regularly ever since.

This regularity of performance showed here in her relaxed nature on stage as, while she spent a lot of time seemingly reading the words and music of a tablet, Chloe’s performance was smooth and slick, with something of the air of restaurant background music, if she weren’t covering the likes of AC/DC and Guns ‘N’ Roses alongside her originals.

Chloe Le Page
Chloe Le Page

While the original songs were certainly the most engaging part of her set for me, her delivery was very good throughout and its clear why she has become as popular as she has. Using a chorus pedal on her vocals to give a slightly broader sound was a good idea too and, while it often seems hard to get the settings on such devices right, Chloe had it spot on.

Being joined for a couple of songs by former Deadwing guitarist Jacques Evans on backing vocals added a looser and more relaxed element to the set and, with the inclusion of a cover of Kings of Leon’s Molly’s Chambers, Chloe put in a satisfying set that was nice to hear.

Two weeks ahead of the launch show for his debut album at Nambucca in London, Robert J. Hunter was making a flying visit back to Guernsey and, as always, it was good to catch the young bluesman live as, if all goes to plan, this will likely become an increasingly rare event for us.

Playing purely solo and acoustic took me back to when Rob was first setting out on his current path and it was very evident how far he has come as his playing was deft and confident and, particularly later in the set, his voice took on a more developed aspect that added a much more soulful feel to the performance.

Robert J Hunter
Robert J Hunter

With an audience including many who knew some of Rob’s songs a lot of them were greeted very fondly and debut single Demons and set closer, and constant highlight, Hurricane, both invoked enthusiastic singalongs.

While those in the bar seemed split between those there to listen to the music and those more intent on having a drink and a chat, Rob confidently owned the space and won over many of the more casual observers as the set went on.

By the end it was clear why Rob has achieved the success he has so far and his performance had the feel of someone approaching their next watershed moment as his rocked up blues received a rapturous response from the small but appreciative audience.

That watershed moment, all being well, will coincide with the release of Songs For The Weary next month and, even if we don’t get to see him play so often, we can be safe in the knowledge that Rob certainly has a talent deserving of the kind of exposure he is, hopefully, heading for.

You can see more of my photos from the show on the BBC Introducing Guernsey Facebook page.

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