Jul 10 2018

Orphan Colours, Friday 15th June 2018

Friday 15th June 2018, The Live Room, Saltaire. Orphan Colours with Benjamin William Pike opening the show.

There have been quite a few sell out shows at The Live Room this year. This one had a good crowd but really should have been sold out way in advance. Some reviewers hint that Orphan Colours are the neighbourhood super group that few know about. A few more at Saltaire know about them now.

The night’s opener was Lincoln born, Leeds resident Benjamin William Pike. So far two albums to his name Being & Nothingness (2013) and Burdensome Year (2017). Both have been highly praised and rightly so. Burdensome Year details a traumatic time before, during and after a recent life saving kidney transplant. Benjamin opened with an intricate, beautifully played and sung Skip James song “Hard Time Killing Floor”. This gave the audience a taste of the quality in store as the night unwound. Well crafted and executed songs with husky vocals reminiscent of early John Martyn at his best and a cascading guitar that brought Martin Simpson to mind. Influences are listed as Django Reinhardt, Davey Graham , Kelly Joe Phelps as well as Martin Simpson. Benjamin performed material from Burdensome Year as well as two unreleased songs. His great set closed with “City Living”.

Orphan Colours are London based and have been together for about 3 years. Two CD EPs and a full debut album to date. They comprise Steven Llewellyn , Dave Burn and bassist Graham Knight, all ex Ahab. Lead guitarist Fred Abbott from Noah and The Whale and drummer Steve Brookes from Danny & The Champions of The World. For those needing labels then probably British Americana with a good dollop of soul and West Coast. Gambling seems a strong element in the band, the CD EP “High Hopes” and the album “All On The Red” reflecting the gambles taken with the band. This was high octane Americana rock from the opening soaring guitar notes of “Free” segueing into “Start of Something”.

Superb tightness in song construction and delivery, excellent harmonies and at times triple guitar interplay in the best Eagles/Byrds style, all backed by brilliant bass and drums. Still not allowing the audience to catch their breath a slick intro to “Renegade” and on the pace relentlessly continued. Eventually the audience got breathing time with a more laid back “Lonely Lately”. The night whistled past with an occasional trip into Ahab’s back catalogue . There was some seriously blistering Paul Kossoff style guitar from Fred during “Sun Is Rising” as well as a potentially anthemic “High Hopes” with a lot of audience participation, just so suitable for festivals. Final song proper before the encore pantomime was a tip to their West Coast influences with the very popular “Goodnight California”, echoes of The Eagles were very evident.

The inevitable encore paid homage to another influence with a very Tom Petty-esque “Won’t Let You Down”. All too quickly the show was over. I said earlier the show should have been sold out. I seriously hope the Live Room gets another chance to sell out but I strongly suspect that this band could be playing far larger venues in the near future. They certainly have the songs, musicianship, sound and the potential. A great night was had by all.

Words and photos by Keith Belcher

Pre Show Interviews

Interview with Rob & Molly of BCB Radio's Into The Buttercup

Jun 16 2018

The Maes, Sunday 10th June 2018

The Maes were absolutely astonishing and justified our chasing them for nearly four years. Beautiful songs, wonderful playing and arrangements, and truly spine-tingling harmonies left the audience shaking their heads at the sheer talent of this Australian trio. We’re already talking to their management about a return in 2019, when we confidently expect a full house. Watch this space!

Many thanks to Gillian Harrison for the photos.

Jun 5 2018

Heidi Talbot & John McCusker, Friday 1st June 8pm

What a sublime evening of music we were treated to on Friday from Heidi Talbot and John McCusker, accompanied by Innes White and special guest, Adam Holmes.

Yet another sell out crowd were there to hear superb vocals and musicianship from the quartet on the very first date of a 25 stop tour, promoting Heidi and John’s new EP, ‘Love Is A Bridge Between Two Hearts’. Huge thanks to them and to everyone who came along and made it another brilliant night.

Jun 4 2018

John Jones & The Reluctant Ramblers, Friday 25th May 2018

Friday 25th May 2018, The Live Room Saltaire and another sold out show, this time with John Jones & The Reluctant Ramblers. The not so reluctant ramblers on stage with instruments and voices were John Jones on main vocals and accordion, Al Scott, guitar, bouzouki and upright bass; Tim Cotterell, Fiddle, Mandolin; Rowan Godel, vocals, guitar; Lindsey Oliver, stand-up bass and guitar, vocals and Boff Whalley, guitar, vocals and jokes.

The rambling during the day certainly did not detract from the amount of energy and enjoyment on display during a great performance that had some of the crowd off their chairs onto the specially cleared dance space. The audience were invited to join the continuing ramble the following morning at 0900…..

Words and photos: Keith Belcher

May 22 2018

Gilmore & Roberts and Jake Morley

Another wonderful night of the best in acoustic music here at TLR last Friday, with a double bill featuring Gilmore & Roberts and Jake Morley. It seems strange to think that we had to go to Kansas City to get the show organised, but that’s what happened! Here are some photos of the show courtesy of Gillian Harrison.


May 16 2018

TLR 6th Birthday Show, with Birds of Chicago, Sunday May 13th 2018

Sunday 13th May 2018. The Live Room, Saltaire welcomed Birds of Chicago for a return visit and very popular they were too putting on a great show and contributing greatly to birthday celebrations. This time they were with a full band. It was the 6th birthday for The Live Room, seems like only yesterday that Jackie Oates opened proceedings on 4th May 2012.

Words and photos: Keith Belcher


Pre Show Interviews

Interview with Rob & Molly of BCB Radio's Into The Buttercup

May 16 2018

A voice from The Chorus!

So there I was: on my way to the loo having been listening to an exquisite first set from Birds of Chicago when I stopped to listen to what Hilary was saying on stage. She was talking about it being the club’s sixth birthday and ended up with the announcement that she and Ron had decided to make a gift of six free tickets, one for each year to the person who had been to the most gigs. To my utter disbelief Hilary then read my name out and called me on stage. I was dumbfounded, speechless. If I’d had the nous to say anything this is what I’d have said:

‘Having come to the Live Room more or less since it started, I can recall the times when there were around 40 people spread thinly across the room listening to music that was new to most of us. These were trying times for the club and it took quite a while to establish. Look at the change now: packed audiences fighting for seats in what could be described as a community of music-lovers.

The style of music might change from one week to the next but the quality does not: high-quality performers setting the scene alight. Between them Ron and Hilary have saved the Caroline Street club from extinction and  changed its way of working. They have developed the club through the ‘Chorus’ and website and last year rightly won a Yorkshire award for music eventing.

Having spent much of my life hovering around music events and clubs, this is undoubtedly the best club I’ve ever been to. The welcome is great, Ron’s sound engineering is now legendary and Hilary keeps the organisation sweet through her hard work and empathetic input. I trust their judgement about bands implicitly and always look forward to the next gig. My free tickets will all be used, no doubt, so thank you Ron and Hilary and happy birthday the Live Room.’

Alun Pelleschi

May 1 2018

Rachel Baiman & Molly Tuttle, Friday 27th April 2018

Friday 27 April 2018. The Live Room, Caroline Street Social Club, Saltaire. The sold out opening date for the brief UK tour of Rachel Baiman and Molly Tuttle. Fantastic night, if you get the chance to see them – don’t hesitate.

Guitarists seemed to have ventured to Saltaire from far and wide to witness International Bluegrass Music Association Guitar Player of the Year Molly Tuttle’s remarkable playing. Rachel Baiman on fiddle and banjo was equally impressive with superb singing, fiddle and banjo.

Words and photos by Keith Belcher

May 1 2018

Michael Chapman plus support Henry Parker, Friday 20th April 2018

Thanks to everyone who gave us a sold out show on Friday for the legend that is Michael Chapman! It was a very special night, with an excellent opening set from Henry Parker, accompanied by Augustin Bousfield on double bass and harmonium. Michael himself, at 77, was on top form and was also joined for the last couple of songs by Sarah Smout, who has just been in the studio with Michael, along with pedal steel maestro, BJ Cole, to record the great man’s new album. If the interplay between Michael and Sarah is any indication, it’s going to be an absolute cracker, so roll on October for release day!

Words and photos by Keith Belcher

Apr 17 2018

Korby Lenker plus support Katie Spencer, Friday 6th April

The evening opened with relatively local Katie Spencer. I first heard Katie on The Durbervilles Radio Leeds Show earlier this year and was very impressed . She is a huge fan of the late, great John Martyn and like him she is self taught and is very keen and eager to explore an acoustic guitars potential. Her guitar style can at times emulate the very deft and stylish touch and feel of not only  early John Martyn recordings but also Bert Jansch and John Renbourne.  Amazing when you realise she has only been playing 5 years. I found her rich and vibrant vocals reminiscent of Laura Marling. At all times though she was definitely Katie Spencer, not an imitation of John or Laura or anyone else.  After Hilary’s introduction Katie launched straight into Best Thing About Leaving, as yet unrecorded. This self penned song allowed her to demonstrate her song writing as well as her vocal and guitar skills. There was an extended delicately played guitar break mid song demonstrating a very nice feel and light touch ending in a flourish of harmonics before the vocals resumed.

Remarkably assured for her 21 years Katie related her first visit to Saltaire on a school trip. Can’t Resist The Road  followed from her only recording to date, an extended 5 song EP entitled GOOD MORNING SKY. By this time the audience were firmly in their seats and very attentive. Another new song , You Came Like A Hurricane, slightly faster, reflecting its subject matter, again giving ample opportunity for guitar work. Remarkably self assured on stage and doing the thing that a lot of openers don’t do. That is introduce and name her songs. Yet another new song Too High Alone  followed a chat about witnessing murmurations of starlings. Helsa , about a village in Germany was a delightful guitar instrumental. Katie using various electronica to make it sound like far more than just her and guitar on stage. The all too short set finished with Hello Sun, a plea for the good weather to return. Hopefully all tonight’s songs and more will feature on a full CD later this year. Judging from the audience reaction and the number compliments  her return will be very welcome.

The Live Room is one of the increasingly few venues that actually quieten the  house music and introduce the artists onto the stage. Many venues, no names given, wait for the artist to get on stage before the sound/lights guy notices they are there and ready to go. Some only even notice after the artist is on stage and playing. At that point the lights are altered , up or down, depending on where you are and the house music stopped. The audience then  notice the artist is on stage and may or may not, again depending on where you are, pay attention and stop their conversations. Thankfully not at The Live Room.

An additional twist at the Live Room is that members can actually opt to introduce someone they hopefully like. It would be strange, although possibly interesting,  to introduce someone you don’t like. Tonight long time club member Ian for the second time in 2 shows introduced the main act. In Ian’s words,  Idaho born troubadour Korby Lenker, now an East Nashville resident is an  accomplished singer, songwriter, author , photographer and producer with 7 albums to his name. Korby jokingly added he could also juggle but thanked Ian for not mentioning it! The first song of the night was the very tender If I Prove False To You from Korby’s 6th album – KORBY LENKER. It was evident we were in for a treat .

Korby’s relationship with his guitar has been commented on by many. It’s an intimate dance for two that Korby weaves with his guitar, bending strings and notes in an almost rowing, waving action to accentuate and sustain notes and harmonics. Akin in some ways to David Rawlings motions on stage. He is a very chatty person on stage. All songs were given a full, comprehensive and articulate introduction and explanation. If you want to just hear the song then play the album, live shows should hopefully give you that bit extra. This one certainly did. His stage dialogue leaps about but in a good way, at times almost stream of consciousness, never still, jumping from topic to topic.

Incredibly observant, paying great attention to the big picture and also minutiae both in his song lyrics and stage conversation. His story telling paints a vivid picture in sound and vision, a kind of mental picture painting with sound. It is always kept humourous, almost part stand up comic as well as singer/songwriter. His upbeat song Nothing Really Matters  from latest album THOUSAND SPRINGS was prefaced with a comment she (the person in the song) looked like she had followed the (Grateful) Dead too long, even after they had stopped touring! I understood the comment. His enthusiasm bubbles to a point that along with the guitar style could give him a slight manic expression. He switched to a tiny ukulele for Gotta Do, another buoyant song,  the uke held almost under his chin. He joked his therapist had said it was clinically impossible to be depressed while playing the ukulele. The latest album THOUSAND SPRINGS was recorded in various locations in Idaho, including his Dad’s mortuary. He wanted to do that as it was where music started for him. One exception was the very punchy, Last Man Standing, inspired by Chief Sitting Bull and the book, “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee”. He got special permission to record that at Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

His songs varied in tone, colour and pace throughout the night. His dialogue with the audience was casual almost like a one to one conversation. He covered a huge amount of topics including social media, Star Trek, Roald Dahl, drag queen contests and in the middle of the song Book Nerd  launched into a recitation from Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” as written in middle English. He performed one new, unrecorded song , a quasi spiritual, possibly titled Jesus Turned The Water , no instrumentation on that one , just snapping fingers. His official autobiographical last song, My Little Life ,was performed off mike  at the edge of the stage. Despite having said he wasn’t he came back for an encore of the great Lyle Lovett’s (too cool to be country, too country to be cool!)If I Had A Boat which had many of the audience joining in. Just one of 4 UK gigs on this trip, he seemed to really enjoy himself.

The audience who also really appreciated Katie Spencer certainly enjoyed the night. I have no doubt both artists would and will be welcomed back.

Keith Belcher

Pre Show Interviews

Interview with Rob & Molly of BCB Radio's Into The Buttercup