Guernsey Gigs Unplugged Club – St James Cafe – 02/09/20

Gregory Harrison at the St James Cafe
Gregory Harrison at the St James Cafe

I’ve written about the Guernsey Gigs Unplugged Club events a few times in the past, the last time being back in March since when they have been on hold thanks first to the lockdown and then their usual summer break.

On Wednesday 2nd September though they returned, with a new venue, the newly refurbished cafe at St James Concert Hall.

As venues go, for an informal but focussed night of music, it felt great with a small stage now added into the corner of the expanded space and panoramic vistas across St. Peter Port and the islands along with some great looking food (I didn’t eat this month but think I will next time).

Lula and Gene
Lula and Gene

Of course the focus though is the music (and in the case of tonight a few spoken word performances too) with the stage open for anyone to play a few songs entirely unplugged (almost) all compered by Gregory Harrison who did a highly entertaining job as he became clearly more ‘tired and emotional’ as the night went on following a busy few weeks working on the venue and then gigging with The Recks and solo at Vale Earth Fair while helping run the Magic Moustache Stage there too.

Across the night there were twelve performances from a mix of solo and duo performers ranging more traditionally styled folk to jazz to indie and there spoken word poetry performances too.

Grace and Elliott
Grace and Elliott

I won’t go through every performance in detail but will just pick out a few highlights starting with compère Greg who I’ve not heard play his solo stuff in a while and it sounded very good tonight – I understand he also has a new record in the works so am looking forward to hearing that.

Having missed them at the Vale Earth Fair at the weekend I was happy to see an impromptu mini-set from new duo Lula & Gene (aka Track Not Found bass player Maisie Bisson and Teaspoonriverneck drummer Brett Stewart). Their light bass and drums indie sound was great tonight with a nice cover of The Cure’s Lovecats and an original song particularly impressing.

Camille Brouard
Camille Brouard

Ernie Roscouet, flanked by Glenn Holmes here, is always a delight to hear as he played a couple of jazzy numbers including Route 66 and Summertime, before Grace & Elliott rounded off the first half, including Grace playing and singing a number on the shruti box as she had done at the Earth Fair as her new Cult Athena project.

After the break, including the customarily drawn out raffle, Greg started off the second half before a trio of spoken word sets highlighted by Camille Brouard whose pair of pieces about her grandparents were particularly effective.

Kiya Ashton followed that with a few songs previewing her new album that is released I a couple of weeks before Mike Meinke brought the night to a close on a high including a very cool brand new song written, in his words, while jamming with Squirrel recently at 4am.

Mike Meinke
Mike Meinke

This all made for one of the busiest and most varied Unplugged Clubs yet which combined with the new venue made for a great, relaxed evening of music and hopefully will give these events a new lease on life as something a bit different to the usual style of open mic nights that take place every week.

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