10556255_954822757877578_3812250388156931428_nJust when you think you have set a personal bench mark (see – Singing Songs of Praise – II) within a week you only go and break it. Big time. Back in it’s regular Thursday slot this week we were pleased to have not only Land Pirate extraordinaire Gaz Brookfield back on his home patch but his locally sourced, ethically produced band The Company of Thieves. It was great that we managed to sell about pre-gig 50 tickets but we must have shifted double that on the night as well with people coming from as far as Reading, Oxford and even Cornwall. Not bad for a school night…god I hate that phrase.

Luke De-Sciscio opened the night with his soaring vocals and pin drop atmospherics this was followed by Lonely Tourist who had been tour support at all the recent Gaz gigs and who displayed a wonderful charm, wit and wisdom through a set of upbeat acoustic numbers.

But obviously it was really all about the main act. Gaz has gone from strength to strength in the last few years with supports to the likes of The Levellers and New Model Army and the relentless work ethic that you need to break through to the next level, which is exactly what is happening. Usually a solo act or at least a duo with brilliant fiddle player Ben Wain, we were lucky enough to be able to book the full band and the people loved it. An hour of poignant, witty, positive, honest and reflective songs, all of which should be a hit single if there were any justice in the world –  and whilst people are happy to devour vacuous pop divas and TV show dross there isn’t – and he even has a song about that.

It was also great to see post show the merchant desk doing great trade as people hovered up CDs and lets face it merchandise is often the difference between sustainability and defeat for the self funded music act.

So a great night all round and lots of examples to be followed, such as, nurture and support your struggling local acts and watch them grow into an act like Gaz. Buy CDs and merch. and keep these people on the road. Make the effort to travel to support your favourite acts. It takes a lot to put gigs on but ultimately it is about support but it isn’t a one way street and just being part of nights like this is enough to enable you to sleep easily at night plus you get to meet and reacquaint yourself with some of the most creative, funny, charming, mad, silly and brilliant people you are ever likely to meet. Supporting music is more than just putting the occasional banner on Facebook or ranting about the state of live music. Be positive, be supportive, the pay off is awesome.