Live Reviews

Tom McRae came out quietly, bashfully, didn't speak, didn't introduce himself but launched straight into the haunting 'You Cut her hair' - chills ran down my spine and the hair stood up on the back of my neck and arms, goose pimples everywhere. The deep tone of the Cello went right through my belly and the violins and viola that accompanied the song, seemed to cling on to his very word.  

The Papiersaal is an old paper mill situated in the heart of Zürich in Sihlcity. Done up beautifully inside, the acoustics suited the quartet and McRae's acoustic guitar.
McRae likes Zurich, having played in the Electric Plant in Selnau on his last trip, this visit to another vamped up old part of town, seems to suit him. He also is proud of the String Quartet that accompanies him and he introduced us to them, gradually throughout the show.  

The lone Josh T. was supported by The Tenebrous Liar & Rich Warren, The latter also being the drummer in the former.

Richard Warren had a brooding presence, much like the entire atmosphere of the night. Some raw blues tunes acoustic and electric. New album out 17th October, Wayfarer, with a stripped down mix free with Bucketfull of Brains Great start.

The Tenebrous Liar, are a three piece down the Post Rock route band, indeed close to a ‘Fall’ type Post Rock band. Just a type of band you would expect at Birmingham’s Supersonic festival, with a wall of sound, single pitched vocals and a dark attitude. Interesting evening. 

I love a man who can shake his Maraccas and the lead singer ( Alex Maas)  from The Black Angels does, he also gets the tambourine out from time to time. The Black Angels don't say much and when they do, you can't understand a word they mumble. Don't expect any audience participation from these blokes but the sound from them is hypnotising and even quite sexy to say the least. 

At the Plaza, last night in Zurich the five piece band looked a little cramped on stage and even though the sound wasn't great, you got a feel for what I have seen described as 'Psychedelic Rock'. Very reminiscent of Black Rebel Motor Club but less laboured. I just love that deep grungy/echoey deep guitar and I think some of their riffs are probably a little lighter than B.R.M.C. 

A steamy Friday night in London and the return of Gary Louris and Mark Olson  as the Jayhawks along with Karen Grotberg, Tim O’Reagen and Marc Perlman. 

Marc Olson and Ingunn Ringvold filled the support slot, the latter mainly on a large bongo drum and vocals and Marc alternating between an acoustic guitar and something resembling  a sitar lap steel guitar. 

I can’t say I recognised any of the songs but the harmonies where great and in a smaller venue it could have been quite a intimate affair.


The Jayhawks were on stage at 8.45pm and pretty much straight into Wichita followed

by a ninety minute set filled with, classics from ‘Tomorrow the Green Grass’ and ‘Hollywood Town Hall’ ( except Crowded in the Wings).


The harmonies remain unblemished and for a band that were at the forefront of the modern day Americana movement the set and performance did not disappoint. This was however their fifth show in five nights on the UK tour and perhaps ‘workmanlike’ is a good description.


It was the classics that were greeted like long lost friends, 'Blue', 'Nevada California', 'Over my Shoulder', 'Two Angels',. O’Reagan took the lead with his composition 'Tampa to Tulsa' during the encore as well.


The most ‘Jayhawk friendly (harmony wise) new songs like 'She Walks In So Many Ways' were interspersed amongst the set. There was some head nodding and hand clapping in the first couple of rows otherwise people seem to be soaking up the long lost tunes along with the heat for the duration of the evening.


One comment that came from the punters outside the venue was, the band going off at 10.15. Probably the venue wanting to get some extra cash in from a club night?, but it’s a bit disappointing on a Friday.




Keith Jarrett’s standards trio played to a packed Royal Festival Hall last night (27 July) Made up of Jarrett (on Steinway) bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette, this was a evening of intensely beautiful music played by true masters of their craft. 

Again, we find ourselves experiencing a concert far from the norm (for us) but with an affection for the ECM label back in the Seventies I just felt inclined to try, a live high profile live jazz recital at last.


A very respectful audience saw the trio arrive on stage at 7.40 pm take a deep bow, play fifty minutes of sublime music, 'St. Louis Blues', 'In Your Own Sweet Way', 'Sandu', & 'What Now My Love', and retire for a break. The second half included 'Yesterdays', followed by' When will the Blues Leave'  with added drum magic.Four encores followed as the trio left and rejoined the stage that many times.


At the end of the gig I did wonder if this was the path for an aging concert goer. Comfortable seat, no earplugs required, early start, early finish, no rush to get the last train. A few years down the road I think but with a combined aged on stage of around 200 I guess, this was certainly an evening for the musical connoisseur.


The sound balance levels and tone were pitch perfect throughout, rather like an ECM vinyl recording. Jarrett’s playing was actually quite stunning, fingers flowing across the piano or, bent low over the instrument picking out the most delicate notes that would even make an angel weep. 

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