Blog

May 18 2019

Kris Drever

Plus Katie Spencer

Sunday 12th May 2019

Review and photos by Keith Belcher

Sunday 12th May 2019, The Live Room, Caroline Street Social Club, Saltaire. Yet another full house welcomed the fourth visit of Shetland resident Kris Drever (living on Orkney was just too convenient he remarked). Kris also commented on the number of murders portrayed in the TV series. Opening for Kris was the relatively local Katie Spencer, now a Hornsea resident making a second visit. Last time here in April 2018 Katie opened for Korby Lenker and later toured with Korby.

Katie performed a superb opening set mainly featuring songs and tunes from the recent debut CD WEATHER BEATEN, great guitar playing, good self penned songs and a wonderful emotive voice. The closing song, a cover of the late and very great John Martyn’s Hurt In Your Heart aptly demonstrated why Katie was asked by no less than legendary bass player Danny Thompson to take part in a high profile tribute to John Martyn at this year’s Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow. Katie’s company on stage that night at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall were John Smith, Blue Rose Code Paul Weller (yes that one), Lucy Rose, Eddi Reader, Rory Butler and Eric Bibb. I was there and Katie seemed very at home in such company. Following the very enthusiastic applause Hilary promised (not emulating Arnies voice) that Katie will be back. Watch for Live Room news.

Kris opened with Beads and Feathers from 2006’s CD BLACK WATER. Obviously in very good, often self deprecating humour, raising much laughter from the appreciative and attentive audience and immediately building a good rapport. Kris was quite whimsical at times and cited the arrival of a new daughter only 8 weeks ago as the cause of old material as he needed to play something he knew well.

Kris’s set dipped into two of his solo CDs, BLACK WATER and IF WISHES WERE HORSES and other collaborative projects. There were constant changes between acoustic and electric guitars throughout the show. Wintermoon, Dark Secret and Ghosts from Lau alums also featured . HILL AND SHORE is a CDEP on sale only at gigs on this tour. Comprising of all traditional songs that Kris has sung over the years but never recorded before. Obviously several songs featured from that. The audience were also treated to unrecorded or as yet unreleased material in I Don’t Want to Die, a new unrecorded song. Scatterseed was sung, based on the dandelion plant, from a forthcoming sponsored collaboration with the likes of Karine Polwart, Julie Fowlis and others called THE LOST WORDS- SPELL SONGS, planned for release sometime in June.

Also played was a song commissioned for BBC RADIO BALLADS THE GREAT WAR (for some reason the BBC have never commercially released any of the recent Radio Ballads material!) called Scapa Flow 1919 about the sinking of the entire German naval fleet in 1919, an event witnessed by a school party out for the day! Kris had obviously researched this thoroughly and related many anecdotes about the affair. Some almost too bizarre to believe but……That song is also due for release on the 100th anniversary of the event later this year.

Some superb whistling on the break up song I Didn’t Try Hard Enough which was segued from the instrumental Gypsy Princess. I always admire people who can whistle on demand. All too soon the Sunday night was over and Kris finished with a requested encore of Ghosts from Lau’s THE BELL THAT NEVER RINGS. Hopefully visits 5 and 3 from Kris and Katie respectively in the not too distant future

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May 7 2019

TLR 7th Birthday: The Little Unsaid

Sunday 5th May 2019

Review and photos by Keith Belcher

Sunday 5th May 2019, The Live Room, Caroline Street Social Club, Saltaire. The seventh birthday of The Live Room brought a very well supported and also very welcome return visit from The Little Unsaid led by John Elliott , keyboards, guitars, effects , magnificent vocals and vicious attack on drums , Tim Heymerdinger, drums, effects and vocals, Alison D’Souza, viola and effects and Sonny Johns, bass and effects.

Not the official launch of their new album, ATOMISE due for release on May 24th but the first date of the current tour. If this, the first date of the tour was anything to go by then people are in for a real treat as the tour gets fully into gear. A very dynamic set, never one paced or one level, a heady mixture of alt rock, folk and electronica which went down extremely well with the Saltaire audience.

Also very nice to see a higher proportion of younger audience members at the show. Sweeties and nibbles were provided by Ron and Hilary to celebrate The Live Rooms 7th birthday. In that time the club has just grown from strength to strength and shows no signs of letting up. It really doesn’t seem like 7 years since Jackie Oates opened on May 4th 2012. Here’s to the next 7.

Pre Show Interviews

Interview with Rob and Molly from BCB Radio's Into The Buttercup

May 6 2019

7th Birthday Poll!

We want you to name your favourite shows from the past year – up to eight – in order of preference and send them to hilary@theliveroom.infoWe’re going to add up all the scores and announce the winners at The Willows show on 31st May, with free tickets on offer for those that come out in the top three. So get your thinking caps on and get your entry in by 27th.

To remind everyone of the list you’re selecting from they are:
Birds of Chicago
TLR Double: Gilmore & Roberts & Jake Morley
John Jones & The Reluctant Ramblers
Heidi Talbot & John McCusker
The Maes
Orphan Colours
The East Pointers
Earl Thomas
Doug McLeod
Damien O’Kane & Ron Block
Hamilton Loomis
Amanda Platt & The Honeycutters
Mean Mary
Tom Baxter
Blue Rose Code
Moore Moss Rutter
Peter Bruntnell Trio ft. BJ Cole
O’Hooley & Tidow
Reg Meuross
The Mammals
The Sugaray Rayford Band
Martyn Joseph
David Ford
Vishten
Hannah Johnson & The Broken Hearts
Track Dogs
Mile Twelve
Hannah Sanders & Ben Savage
Megson
Molly Tuttle
John Smith
The Little Unsaid

Pre Show Interviews

Interview with Rob and Molly from BCB Radio Into The Buttercup

Apr 28 2019

John Smith

plus support Joe Martin

Friday 26th April 2019

Friday 26th April 2019, The Live Room, Caroline Street Social Club. A long awaited and very memorable appearance of the great guitarist and singer John Smith whose voice as been described as honey and gravel delighted the very enthusiastic crowd who had travelled from far and wide.

As well as songs from the new CD Hummingbird John dug deeply into his back catalogue as well as a very unexpected (and brilliant) cover of a Christina Aguilera hit.

The second of the 3 encore songs would be especially memorable for young 7 year old Rosemary from Scotland attending her first gig. She got to choose the song. A thoroughly explosive rendition of Winter with the guitar played on John’s lap finished the night.

Another artist long sought by the Live Room, Joe Martin originally from Clitheroe, Lancs opened with a set of well penned songs demonstrating a great voice and guitar work. From the audience reception, he, along with John , will be very welcome back in the near (hopefully) future .

Pre Show Interviews

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

Apr 20 2019

Molly Tuttle

with support Ole Kirkeng

Friday 19th April 2019

Words and photos by Keith Belcher

Friday 19th April 2019, The Live Room, Caroline Street Social Club Saltaire. Molly Tuttle with Ole Kirkeng opening. I am not even going to attempt to say how good this show was or what a fantastic guitarist Molly is or how sublime the encore as a duet of Dylan’s Don’t Think Twice was. Suffice to say anyone who wasn’t there really missed out on a momentous musical treat.

Apr 18 2019

Megson

Sunday 14th April 2019

Review and photos by Keith Belcher

Sunday 14th April 2019, The Live Room, Caroline Social Club, Saltaire. A long overdue first visit from Megson. Currently attracting rave review for their 9th album CONTRADICSHUN Megson are Stu and Debbie Hanna, originally from Teeside now resident in Cambridge. They named themselves after Debbie’s family dog .

Still retaining their Teeside accents and even still supporting Middlesbrough (someone has to!!) they manage to create folk songs that are topical and meaningful leaning heavily on their Teeside roots. They did slip in a Cambridge based song with Barrington Judo Club, They are very gifted vocally alternating lead vocals and at time combining for superb harmonies. Stu also plays guitar, banjo and mandolin and Debbie plays accordion and whistles. On this tour Stu has added a stomp box to his collection of instruments. Their songs are stories told in that increasingly rare manner of being clearly sung and understandable, always a great thing for song writers to achieve but so many don’t.

Artists at the Live Room are always introduced by Hilary. More venues should do the same. It enables the crowd to turn off their phones, put away their crisps, stop their chat and listen. From an artists point of view they don’t have to shuffle on stage waiting for the sound/lights guy to turn off the house music and turn up the stage lights and the crowd to notice their presence. Usually Hilary knocks on the dressing room door but tonight the band weren’t there they were sitting at the side waiting. It caused a humourous slight confusion to the start of the show. 

The first set consisted of songs from the latest album. Opening with Are You Sitting Comfortably , a well known catch phrase form Watch With Mother (you need to be of a certain age!!). It’s a sombre , quiet , introspective song dealing with humdrum domesticity, lead vocals were alternated to Stu’s guitar . A complete change of pace for Contradicshun featuring Stu on mandolin and Debbie on accordion. One of two 19th century songs on the album, obviously not written by Megson. Other songs in the set covered topics such as immigration, martial arts clubs, conflicting memories , songs of sobriety and drinking with Stu creating the image of people skipping around Newcastle after a drink, for some reason he quoted Newcastle as the template for the lack of sobriety…. The set finished with a “night visiting song” . At the end of set one I heard the person next to me say “What a wonderful voice she has”. I would say the same applied to Stu’s voice and their harmonies were more


Set 2 opened with 4 songs from their 2016 album GOOD TIMES WILL COME AGAIN. The first two telling of steelworks in the North East followed by The Bookkeeper, a love song for accountants. It reminds me of the Chris Wood/Hugh Lupton song One in A Million (and from me that is serious praise). The still topical and highly relevant Generation Rent tells the story of the hopelessness of a generation who will never be able to afford to buy their own properties.

As with many of their songs they introduce humour to balance the comments on current reality. They even managed with The Long Shot from the album of the same name to make a song of beauty and humour inspired by Middlesbrough Football team from the album of the same name.

The final song of the current album A Week In The Caravan also finished the set. As was expected and deserved they were called back for an encore of When The Good Times Roll, they asked the audience to sing along and sing along they surely did, Stu ramped up the pace on guitar throughout. A great finish to a great show. On their showing and reception on Sunday night I imagine their next visit will not take as long to arrange as this one did.

Apr 11 2019

Hannah Sanders & Ben Savage, Friday 5th April 2019

We were absolutely thrilled to welcome Hannah and Ben back to TLR last Friday, they are genuinely one of our favourite acts and lovely people too. They remain big music fans and supporters of other artists as well as highly respected musicians and songwriters in their own right. Thanks also to Henry Parker for a great support set!

Unfortunately, we were without Keith Belcher, our regular reviewer and photographer at the weekend, as he was enjoying a well-deserved holiday in Cornwall! So we only have a few photos to share, thanks to Diane Park. If anyone else has a few they’d like to share with us, please email to ron@theliveroom.info and we’ll put them up!

Mar 28 2019

Mile Twelve, Sunday 24th March 2019

Review and photos by Keith Belcher

Sunday 24th March 2019, The Live Room, Caroline Social Club, Saltaire. Playing the Live Room on the final night of their first UK tour were Boston (US) based band Mile Twelve. Nothing unusual about good bluegrass from Boston, check out Crooked Still’s catalogue. Listening and watching the sound check it was obvious that tonight was going to be quite a special and enjoyable night.

The band were definitely in high spirits and wow, did it show in their performance!!. Comprising lead vocalist Evan Murphy on guitar, David Benedict mandolin, Bronwyn Keith-Hynes, fiddle, Nate Sabat, upright bass and BB Bowness on banjo. What the audience delighted in was 2 sets of old and new, fast and slow bluegrass, mainly songs , some tunes, some seriously high octane and classy playing and singing. Very easy to see why they are being predicted for great things in the future. Already IBMA award winners.

Throughout the night there was an intricate dance of shared instrumental leads and breaks , mixing up the vocals mainly through the one microphone in true bluegrass style. All members participating in some superb vocals obviously well choreographed and practiced to pull it off so smoothly.

The fastest song and playing was possibly at the end of the show with Innocent Again which was exhausting to just listen to!! After that they were called back for an encore, a surprise to me, that “well known” bluegrass classic of Elton John – Rocket man, just sublime, such effective fiddle glissandi. The audience weren’t going to let them go without a second encore and so they came back for a very upbeat version of yet another “well known” bluegrass classic, Ramblin’ Man by the Allman Brothers.

A great demonstration of just what you can do in the bluegrass genre if the players are good enough and tonight they were. Great participation from the audience I might add. A thoroughly enjoyable night. They are planning another visit , let’s hope it’s not too long.

Mar 17 2019

Track Dogs

Friday 15th March 2019

What a fantastic night we had with this quartet from Madrid. A night of joyous entertainment, to forget about the woes of Brexit was promised, and that’s exactly what we got. Brilliant entertainment, harmonies and laughs all the way. They’ll definitely be back at some point. Thank you to everyone who came out and gave them such a huge crowd to play to!

Thanks too to Val Pelleschi, Harvey Bosomworth, Ruta Carter, Nick Lacey and Pete Stevens for the photos below, in the absence of Keith, who was away for the evening.

Pre Show Interviews

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