Ant Henson Leaving Party

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Si Genaro @ Ant Henson leaving do, Centre Stage 11 NovSi Genaro is on stage back-announcing Rachel Henson‘s Imaginary Jam Band as I walk in, he then takes the music floor with a couple of surprisingly decent and straightforward tunes – he’s giving the beat-boxing a miss (apart from the last song of six) instead playing and singing his songs au naturel. Something that works well is whistling between his teeth, with a touch of reverb its very atmospheric. Shows that as well as being the performance, he can also be a performer.

Hannah Robinson @ Ant Henson leaving do, Centre Stage 11 NovHannah Robinson starts her set with Monster, and continues with some more great work. Its better hearing her in this folk club venue, even though its noisier than a normal folk club evening, its still quieter than the music pubs and clubs she normally frequents. Her voice is very clear, the guitar work very open and delicate.

Ant Henson @ Ant Henson leaving do, Centre Stage 11 NovAfter a short interval (where I take the opportunity to catch up with some of the great and the good in the room) Ant Henson takes to the stage. I’ve not heard him in such a long time; I realise I’ve missed the rotund sounds from his 12 string when I hear them again.

Ant Henson with Nicky Hann @ Ant Henson leaving do, Centre Stage 11 Nov

He’s inviting various people to join him in songs, Tom Francis starts with him on Djembe, first joiner is Nicky Hann on flute for something fairly contemplative; they explain that she was the one that really got him gigging through a Parisian busking tour years back. Ant Henson and Fran Milner's helping hands @ Ant Henson leaving do, Centre Stage 11 NovLeo joins next, he’s accompanied Ant with percussion pretty much everytime he’s played recently. They all leave and Fran Milner joins Ant, to “cover his mistakes on piano”, as he puts it. He does a cover of an Our Blinkered Eyes song, Glass Eyed Doors. Ant Henson with Tom Flanery & Si Genaro duelling harmonicas @ Ant Henson leaving do, Centre Stage 11 NovNext up are  Tom Flanery and Si Genaro on duelling harmonicas as the pace picks up, such that the music is fast and furious by the time Tom Francis and Leo rejoin on percussion for 20 42, a supposed spoof song that kept its place in Ant’s set as its turned out he likes it.

Ant Henson with Tom Francis, Tom Flanery, Stephen King Leo @ Ant Henson leaving do, Centre Stage 11 Nov

A good evening, and a great send off.

I drop into Chaplins Bar on the way home, and Adam Phillips (Asp, Fish Out Of Water) has the whole bar clapping and hollering as he finishes an energetic song.

Alex Cope @ Chaplins, 11 November

Alex Cope is running the night for Andy Stock, and closes the evening, playing a few covers, and also inserting a lot of his own material, in the style of some of the covers

Larder House Session

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LarderHouse Session posterThis is the third Larder House session organised by Artist Insight, although its the first time Hannah Robinson @ The Larder House 30 SepI’ve managed to get along. Hannah Robinson is our first act of the evening, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen her playing, though she seems to be doing 2 or 3 gigs a week at the moment. Hannah’s voice is exemplary, her guitar playing subtle to not overpower the atmosphere here.

A short venue report. The Larder House is an eatery with full bar, narrow on the street, long out to the back. Tonight pretty much all the tables are full, apart from the one Yellowgroove and I are squeezed into right in the front windows. A hidden asset is the large back garden, containing a railed in firepit, very welcome on this cool autumn evening. Check out where The Larder House is on the venues map.

Katharine Rose @ The Larder House 30 SepMichael Ricketts, the man behind Artist Insight, has sent out far and wide for talent, to London for Katharine Rose our second artist tonight. As can be seen she’s accompanying herself on digital piano. Her voice is exquisitely sweet, with a slight lilt and rolling timbre to it; she has high range without ear piercing normally associated with these pitch of notes.

Joel Harries @ The Larder House 30 SepJoel Harries hails from Northampton, and has an absolutely unique voice, crooning in falsetto, while also singing in normal range. Joel was recommended to Michael by an artist at a previous Larder House session and one can hear why. The guitar work is very delicate, his fingers just brushing the strings to create a softly sustained harpsichord effect.

Yellowgroove @ The Larder House 30 SepYellowgroove have a residency here. Today hasn’t been a good day for them; their chip-shop-oil fuelled van broke down with a brake problem, Mark is absent, they’re having PA problems now (which has been perfect up to this point), and friends John, Con and I are forming a heckling section right in front of them. They’ve sort of decided to called themselves Tongue And Groove tonight, the comedy offshoot of Yellowgroove. Loving Man, Fading Out, Crow On Your Shoulder, SOAWM, Manimal and Witches Wood are their songs tonight; sounds different thanks to Chris being restrained to a cajon and occasional mandolin, while Ben and Simon are dueting acoustic guitars as normal with their unplugged sets (they’ve been in this guise on the radio show before). A short yet good set…

Jinder @ Chaplins 30 SeptThis means I can move along to Chaplins, where Jinder is doing a surprise set (was originally billed as someone else). He’s held back to a late start as the bar only contains me, however once he starts people begin drifting in from the garden. He’s doing some more laid back gentle stuff tonight, compared with some of his pacier material. He’s regaling us with stories, an anecdote about Robert Wyatt in a car park up North is insightful. Overall a chilled evening.

HopeFM & Tripp In

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Snow Wolf (Jemma and Annie) are Solid Air Conrad‘s guests tonight on the show. They are a lot of fun, even though I thought I was taking a risk having them on, thanks to their sometimes crude or obscene comments on facebook or on stage. The ladies are on best behaviour, making the show a joy rather than a chore. They play 6 or so songs live, and have prepared at least that many again to include that we don’t get time for. We also receive perhaps a dozen messages, and a phone call from Gibraltar.

We feature a phone in with Neil King the man behind Fatea magazine, regarding the Fatea awards 2011, which were announced a week or so ago. We also mention the Fatea Showcases, the next 3 month installment being available from 1 February, featuring a lot of artists local to Bournemouth in this nationwide trawl of the best folk / acoustic artists.

After the show I head out to the Thomas Tripp to see and hear Hannah Robinson. Its only as I’m reminded by the chaps there that they’ve not seen me for a while, that I realise the last time I saw Hannah do a solo set was at the Jackie Leven & Pete Christie gig, at the back end of 2010. Its shocking how time flies, and how a year can pass so quickly without noticing who I hadn’t seen. On to the gig, she is playing mainly her own material with just a few covers thrown in. The pub is populated without being crowded, and many are appreciative of her songs, acknowledging she’s there by providing applause appropriately.

As the crowd thins throughout the evening, so do does the attention unfortunately. Hannah soldiers on through just being the best she can be. Its her first gig at the Tripp as a soloist, so she’s pleased to have a “thanks you were very good” from the bar staff. And she gets my vote of thanks too, I just can’t believe I’ve left it over 12 months to get my Hannah fix 🙂

Apologies for the lack of photos – forgot to take a studio pic, and the lighting was too poor in the Tripp for the blackberry to capture Hannah effectively…

A Quiet Gig After A Quieter Show


Unusually I was on my own in the studio tonight, just the listener keeping me company as I interspersed alternating Rock and non-rock tracks with phone-ins and chats with promoters. I cheated and left the show early in the hands of the computer playing Betika and Krista Green so I could dash across to Mr Kyps.

Hannah Robinson had texted me earlier letting me know she was playing support to Jackie Leven at Mr Kyps, and how many tickets would I like. This is both unexpected, kind and generous, plus gives me the chance to hear Hannah doing a solo set in an appreciative venue – I’ve seen her quite a lot as the front lady of the excellent Paint It Blue, and yet rarely get the opportunity to hear her solo (although Hannah did serenade me once as my guest on the radio show).

When I arrive she’s already into her set, I can tell by her distinctive voice overheard from the car park! Hannah is very soulful, and has a wonderful manner over the mic. No trace of nerves or collywobbles, each tune mesmerising with the simply played chords capturing the in-the-round mood effortlessly. Lovely!  Her last song in particular must become a showcase – whistling over the guitar, with some “la la la’s” – all very hard to do without a tremor, all achieved pretty much perfectly, to my ears.

There is one major disappointment for me – with doing the radio show (even letting the automation taking over) I’ve missed Pete Christie perform the opening set. “Doors at 8” must mean doors at 8, gig soon after nowadays, unlike other Mr Kyps gigs I’ve attended a while back, where  “Doors at 8” meant the first band of 3 wasn’t on until just before 9…my bad.

Jackie Leven is instantly charming and amusing, disarming a cold night with some warm Scottish Cheer, and dealing with my missing-Pete-Christie-induced disappointment in the way a muso only can, by throwing some amazing songs my way, mixed in with some great anecdotes and heart aching and warming stories.

Jackie has played and is playing with some greats – he tells us this is a penultimate gig of this current tour, before he hooks up with Ralph McTell for a gig, then Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. Name drops over he enters a tone poem about his entry into the Johnny Cash fan club Jonny Come Lately division, while stuck in a Norwegian hotel room in Trondheim. Charming, engaging and captivating all at the same time as being a mournful dirge as good tone poems should be.

Jackie has an interesting style – he can generate deep guttaral vocals as if he has a digeridoo on hand. The way he plays guitar means the low E catches the frets in a way that should aggravate through fret buzz, yet it works well within the songs’ dynamics. As I said, interesting.

Something else I like is the way he tells his stories, while accompanying himself on the guitar, much as Pete Christie does if he’s holding a normal conversation with you. Perhaps they have the same affliction – can’t be away from a guitar for a couple of hours without getting some screaming heebies! Either way, it all adds to the engagement, even dispelling some of the vernacular language he uses overmuch for my tastes.

For a couple of photos of the night, check out Fiona Megapix‘ photos on facebook…

Quiet Tuesday Night

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Having had a fun time at church small group, was tired so fancied a rather chilled time this evening.

Fortunately I knew Hannah Robinson was featuring in 2 solo sets at Chaplins tonight. 

Hannah is the lead singer (and sometime guitarist) with Paint It Blue; when she does venture out solo (which I’ve noticed she’s starting to do more of more recently) it’s a joy to behold.  Hannah is normally very quietly spoken, with a gentle confidence and graceful manner.  When she’s behind a guitar and mic, the gentle spoken-ness is replaced by a soulful croon, leading on to strong “whoas” in the middle of her set pieces – in the words of the immortal Wayne from Wayne’s World – She Wails!

How to describe her genre? well obviously a slight blues hue, yet also some good syncopation from just the guitar chords, showing subtle leanings towards acoustic rock.  Just the ticket for a Tuesday night out on the town, when one just wants to chill, sit quiet, and take time out.