St James Presents… The Pips, Kiya Ashton And The Folkadelics and Joe Corbin – St James Concert Hall – 12/08/22

The Pips

Over the last 12 months The Pips (formerly Albert & The Pips) have grown into one of the highlights of Guernsey’s live music scene and are now setting their sights on a move to Manchester so, before they go, they put on a show at St James with Kiya Ashton & The Folkadelics and Joe Corbin.

Joe Corbin started the night in acoustic mode and flanked by his usual collaborator Andy Mason on harmonica and, in something of a surprise appearance, Becky Hamilton on fiddle and vocals.

Joe Corbin and Becky Hamilton
Joe Corbin and Becky Hamilton

Mixing Joe’s original songs with some covers from the likes of Willie Nelson and The Rolling Stones, the set was a relaxed start to the evening that felt just right for the warm weather with its laid back, blues-y, feel.

Across the set the additional instruments, helped elevate the sounds really well with Becky’s voice, in particular, adding greatly to Joe’s already formidable sound and, while the set felt like it was over just as it was getting going, it served as a great way to start the night.

Kiya Ashton And The Folkadelics
Kiya Ashton And The Folkadelics

As well as the headliners, Kiya Ashton & The Folkadelics are another band firmly on the rise and they made that more than clear tonight.

Led by Kiya, who’s command of the stage and the crowd belies her initial appearance, they got a great reaction with quite a number clearly seeing them for the first time and they sounded the best I’ve ever heard them.

Kiya’s soulful songs were merged with the band’s groovily psychedelic sounds in a way that, if you described it, really sounds like it shouldn’t work, but really does, and filled the hall with the audience left wanting more.

The Pips
The Pips

And then, after a decidedly off kilter intro tape, The Pips took to the stage and had the audience packed to the front and more than on side from the off, which is always great to see, as it’s clear their mix of eccentric indie rock and pop has really struck a chord with many.

For me though, the first half of the set seemed to lack something of the fresh, spontaneous, exuberance of their highlight outing at Chaos but, once they welcomed a few guest musicians to the stage, the second half of the performance seemed to kick into full gear and showed off just why such hype has grown around them.

The Pips
The Pips

Elliot is a terrific frontman, and seemed to spend as much on stage as off here, out amongst the crowd, while the band made a sound unlike any other with hints of everything from straight up indie to mariachi and even beat poetry across the set spanning expert subtlety to terrific, big, noise.

Highlights came with their more well known songs, along with a cover of a Nick Cave’s Red Right Hand and the initial set closing version of Patti Smith and Bruce Springsteen’s Because The Night that triggered a terrific sing along with Elliot in the middle of the hall floor.

The Pips
The Pips

The addition of keys and a trombone served to make their sound all the bigger with the electric piano, played by Charlie Sinclair, particularly adding to the breadth and depth of the songs later in the set while the main contingent of the band seemed as together and relaxed as I’ve seen them.

An encore of some poetry from guitarist Callum, that somehow managed to not feel self-indulgent and just like another part of this journey of a show, followed by two more songs brought the night to a close on a real crescendo that, in the end, served as a fitting send off for The Pips and it’s hard not to feel they have all the necessary ingredients to take this as far as they might want and I hope the necessary luck that seems to be part of that comes their way once they head off to the proverbial ‘big smoke’.

You can see more of my photos from the show on my Facebook page by clicking here

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