One of the people who I always look to for inspiration when it comes to music promotion is a chap called Kieran Moore. He runs a promotional operation based mainly around Devizes called Sheer Music and for integrity, enthusiasm and sheer energy (see what I did there) can not be beaten. As our paths don’t cross that often these days, when ever he has a show in town I always try to go along, sadly his recent show coincided with that weeks Songs of Praise show, made all the more irksome by the fact that it is part of the tenth anniversary shows we is running at the moment. If I couldn’t get to watch the show itself, with the aptly named Decade headlining, I could at least do the next best thing and meet for a drink and a catch up at the soundcheck before heading off to set up my own musical concern.
So a few drinks at the newly re-re-named Level 3 (a club resorting to the name it had back in it’s heyday in an effort to lose its nu-metal/classic rock/goth tag of more recent, less imaginative times) and a nice catch up has had. The one thing that struck me about the difference in our respective shows was the amount of equipment involved, Obviously a four band, pop-punk line up in a 400 capacity room was going to generate a ton of equipment, especially as kit share seemed to be at a minimum and it made me glad for the nature of our show.
Arriving early for sound check at my own shows, or should I say our own shows as colleague Ed Dyer does more than his fair share of the work, is one of the pleasures of the night as you get to properly socialise and talk to the bands as they arrive and set up, something that is more tricky to do once the doors are open.
Emily Sykes opened the night with her wonderfully positive and often spiritual vibe, probably something to do with the fact that whenever possible she can be found standing on her head halfway up a mountain in India. Around her she had gathered some of her regular cohorts, Phil and Chris providing bass and guitars (and occasional clarinet) respectively plus Becky and Polly from Matilda on sumptuous and sensual harmonies.
Second up was one of our regular bookings Faye Rogers who unveiled her new sound as she moved away from the more pastoral folk that she is known for and went electric. Unlike when Mr Zimmerman did the same there were no shouts of “Judas” just a quiet appreciation as she blended chiming guitars and smooth saxophone into a set that moved from pin-drop atmospherics to full on rock outs. The birth of something new is always an exciting time.
And finally The Cadbury Sisters. Playing their first headline tour and fresh from playing at the recent ELO headed BBC Hyde Park show, they were a less in vocal harmony like no other. Chilled Americana to minimal beats and guitar work that framed the music rather than dominated it, they were mesmerising and all the more so when they de-camped from stage and played a couple of songs amongst the crowd. The great way to end the night, a full room of people and a pretty perfect gig all round. I know it is a total cliche but sometimes less really is more.