While it had looked like a more quiet weekend this weekend the somewhat last minute announcement of this show featuring five solo and duo acts upstairs at St James piqued my interest so I thought I’d head along.
Elliot Albert Orchard & Callum began proceedings, initially joined by Pips drummer Jake Pemberton as Orchard, sat on the floor at the side of the stage, recited some typically eccentric poetry to a sparse guitar and bongo backing that likely raised as much confusion as smiles.
After that things were more as you might expect with Callum on electric guitar and Elliot on acoustic delivering a mix of songs they play with the full band and others but with a sense of being something nicely different than just ‘acoustic versions’.
Throughout both offered amusing asides and set a relaxed and fun tone for the evening while clearly impressing those who hadn’t experienced them before.
Fellow Pip, Ash Jarman, was up next making a rare solo appearance playing some of his own songs.
Clearly in relaxed mode at the end of a particularly sunny day he started off with a song co-written with Recks bandmate Richey Powers before a selection of self-penned tunes all of which showed a not unexpected but still somewhat hidden talent as a singer, guitarist and songwriter for the Sark resident and I hope it’s something we get to see again.
On top of which came a lose and amiable attitude which suited the summer evening to a tee.
After some time not playing as much it’s been good to see Gregory Harrison back on stage recently, both with new band The Bare Minimum and solo, and he continued that here tonight.
While his felt set disappointingly on the short side he offered a good mix of old and new songs with the newer ones adding a slightly more upbeat feel to his often melancholic repertoire while, as the sky darkened outside, the event took on a somewhat more focussed but still relaxed feel as the bar filled up.
It’s been quite some time since I’ve seen Joe Corbin play and, in that time, he’s made his way around Australia gigging wherever he could as well as reestablishing himself on the London scene somewhat.
With that in mind, from the off, it was clear how he’s grown as a performer (and he was no slouch before), holding the audience captivated with a set spanning his own take on acoustic blues to more ballad like numbers with a real presence and subtle strength that was great to see.
Still maintaining the hints of Stevie Ray Vaughan he’s always shown, but now transcending them in his own way, he found a real soul in a slower number later in the set while I Can Still Get High rounded off his performance showing itself to be stand out of his catalogue and sounding better than ever.
For the final act of the night things took a slightly different feel as Lula & Gene took to the stage, but nonetheless they put in a fun and engaging performance of their unique brand of bass and drum powered indie pop.
With more originals working their way in amongst covers from PWR BTTM, Wet Leg and The Cure they continued the relaxed and fun atmosphere of earlier in the evening but, given the short set lengths here, it felt like they were only just warming up as they embarked on their version of Love Cats to end the show.
Regardless of that they still sounded great and went down well, though following such an impressive set from Joe Corbin was always going to be a challenge, but they ended an exceptionally enjoyable night on a fun that really showed the best way to use this space for live music.
You can see more of my photos from the show on my Facebook page by clicking here