As I drove straight from work through a seemingly unstoppable torrent of rain, I was worried how the weather would effect proceedings; especially at an outside event. But by the time I got there the sun was starting to shine through the clouds, if only sporadically, and the visitors seemed unfazed by the typically turbulent English Summer weather.
Getting there proved more of a mission than I had foreseen, and I was right on the wire in getting there in time. Thankfully the wonderful Nantwich Concert Band were still playing up a storm when I got to the stage, and the lovely folks at Redshift were their usual friendly and supportive selves; welcoming me with open arms and supportive words. I’ve playing many of their concerts before, and the welcome is always an encouraging one. It was great to see Redshift boss Liz and Nantwich’s answer to Whispering Bob Harris, the Don himself Paul Boniface; who was comparing the acts on the day.
I was unfortunately too late to see my personal favourite and good friend Mr. Jonathan Tarplee, but I was chuffed to hear that his set earlier in the day had gone well.
It’s always difficult to gauge an audience at a county show like this; which is made up of people who (for the whole) aren’t there for the music and are more ‘window shopping’ different events as they look around. They tend to be of all ages and demographics, and it’s difficult to know how to pitch your performance, especially as a songwriter rather than a ‘performer’ in the classic sense.
With this in mind, I tried to approach the set as a bit of a ‘pick n mix’ of different tempos, styles, covers and originals with no real ‘plan’ as such, other than to let the set evolve in it’s own way. And this was definitely one of those gigs that grew and developed as it went along; from a decidedly ‘ropey’ start (I decided to reuse my black Les Paul electric guitar after it had been so reliable at my last gig at Relish, but unfortunately the tone and tuning became a real issue, particularly at the beginning) to a more confident ending.
Again, as with many of these sorts of shows, the highlights were the diversity of the people there, and my favourite part of the show was definitely a young disabled girl dancing with her mum to my rendition of ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ by Simon and Garfunkel, which I ended the show with.
My introspective and soul-searching (in other words depressing!) songs are never going to fit neatly into a lineup of community brass bands and performers singing hits from the musicals, but I feel it went ‘OK’ and people seemed to appreciate it. It was also great to catch up with some friends, like my old ‘Brave New World‘ mates Mike and Chris and their families.
Big thanks to everyone who came down to support my set today, and thanks to the always supportive Redshift for having me on again.
Many thanks to photographer (and pal) Jonathan White for these photos of my set today.