Charlie Sherbourne’s Man Feelings Single Launch with The Mike Meinke Band – St James – 14/05/21

Charlie Sherbourne's Man Feelings
Charlie Sherbourne’s Man Feelings

As I said when reviewing his debut single, The Ballad Of Billy Bradshaw, Charlie Sherbourne has been a familiar name on Guernsey’s music scene for a long while, but this show not only marked the release of his first original output but also a rare ‘big gig’ with his band in the island (he’s also part of other bands in Brighton), the rather curiously named Man Feelings.

Before they took to the stage though Mike Meinke and his band were on hand to warm things up.

The Mike Meinke Band
The Mike Meinke Band

While still armed with his trusty acoustic guitar Mike was running it through more effects here giving it a more electric guitar sound in places. This added an extra depth to their sound which spanned the more familiar to hints of, variously, 70s, 80s and 90s rock.

The dynamic with bass player Charlie Holmes and drummer Squirrel felt looser than usual but this added a real sense of fun to the set which was infectious and it never really seemed to effect the music with new song Secret Information providing a highlight before the set climaxed with a big extended jam like section that headed into almost Led Zeppelin territory at points.

Charlie Sherbourne's Man Feelings
Charlie Sherbourne’s Man Feelings

After an intro track from Herb Alpert & His Tijuana Brass (I can’t not think that in a Lancashire accent for some reason) Charlie Sherbourne’s Man Feelings took to the stage with various guests and extra members coming and going across the set.

The core band though, who were on stage throughout, consisted of Sherbourne (guitar and vocals), Andy Mason (harmonica and percussion) Brett Smeed (saxophone), John Le Sauvage (bass) and, once again, Squirrel (drums).

Charlie Sherbourne's Man Feelings
Charlie Sherbourne

The first part of the set was made up of some swinging, New Orleans style, blues that rolled over the firmly on side audience and drew them nearer the stage with a few dancing around the hall.

While this was all very nicely played it felt a bit standard, but the energy did jump a little as Clara Coleman joined the band on vocals for a couple of songs including a nicely atmospheric cover of Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game.

Squirrel’s drumming brought a fabulously laconic swing to the band’s take on St James Infirmary Blues before the one original, the new single, The Ballad Of Billy Bradshaw provided the high point of the set sounding terrific, heartfelt and powerful.

Charlie Sherbourne's Man Feelings
Charlie Sherbourne and Clara Coleman

From there the last part of the set felt more relaxed through a medley of songs and then their version of The Pogues’ Dirty Old Town that, while it lacked a little too much of the McGowan sneer and slur for me, clearly captured the imagination of the audience who moved firmly to the front.

Blues Train kept a good beat going while each member of the band was given a moment to show off their skills before they were called back for an encore, a loose but engaging rendition of Old Crow Medicine Show’s Wagon Wheel that closed the night on a fun high point.

Charlie Sherbourne's Man Feelings
Charlie Sherbourne’s Man Feelings

While the band’s performance as a whole might have been a little too ‘nice’ for my usual tastes (and I heard one other audience member describe it as ‘vanilla’) there was no denying the talent on display and they came together in a ‘show band’ type format to provide a great evening’s entertainment.

This certainly captured the majority of the audience and had people engaged and dancing throughout, all highlighted by The Ballad Of Billy Bradshaw which is already a firm standout of music produced in the islands this year.

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