Jun 2 2019

The Willows

Friday 31st may 2019

Words and photos by Keith Belcher

May 23 2019


Plus support Lady Nade

Sunday 19th May 2019

Review and photos by Keith Belcher

Sunday 12th May 2019, The Live Room, Caroline Street Social Club, Saltaire. Yola and band came to Saltaire accompanied by opening act Lady Nade. A sold out show for many months with a long waiting list for returns brought people from far and wide to watch Yola in what may be her last tour in such intimate venues. Her career seems to be taking off like a rocket. This was , unusually for The Live Room a predominantly standing gig and had been advertised as such for many months.

By the time opener Lady Nade took to the stage there was a discernible buzz of excitement. Lady Nade, real name Nadine Gingell handled this with ease. Lady Nade describes herself as a rootsy-songstress fusing modern soul, roots, blues and pop folk. Seemingly very self-assured she engaged instantly with a very receptive audience often talking between songs about one of her other loves, cooking.

Lady Nade , unusually creates recipes to accompany all her songs, amongst tonight’s were red velvet cake, salad and red hot lentil dhal, recipes that is, not songs. It can’t be easy being the opener for someone like Yola but Lady Nade handled it brilliantly switching acoustic and electric guitars on a very cramped stage and pun intended, whetting the crowds appetite for Yola. (apologies, couldn’t resist!!).

Yola had a very tight 5-piece band to accompany her. Yola obviously took lead vocals and also played acoustic guitar, long time guitarist Kit Hawes on electric , acoustic and vocals, John Blakely on drums and vocals, Mark Lewis, bass and vocals, Daniel Inzani on keyboards and UK Americana Instrumentalist of the year Chris Hillman on pedal steel, lap steel acoustic and vocals.

Labelled by many as country soul she and band rocked and equally caressed and soothed the audience from start to finish. Precision playing throughout by a very tight band who seemed to have been playing together forever.

Yola opened with a gentle musical introduction to the very mellow Lonely The Night from the CD WALK THROUGH FIRE, her voice soaring to give hints of the available depth and range, at times gentle at the start of the phrase then fierce midway through. Thanking the audience and creating immediate rapport she followed with the sweet Ride Out In The Country with some beautiful pedal steel accentuating the song. A more up-tempo longing song Still Gone followed, guitar, drums and bass and catchy chorus bouncing the song along.

Yola occasionally played acoustic , other times concentrated on the singing. Her band, it must be said contributed some great vocals and harmonies as well as exquisite playing, no one really soloing for more than a few seconds but very, very sound. Her voice at times was a growl, sometimes a whisper. Teasing the audience with a wicked laugh and hint of an encore , a drum intro to the last song of the set , the lovely Far Away Look, a song requested by many in the audience, it allowed her voice to express its full range.

Three covers comprised the encore, the first was a very creditable cover of Spanish Harlem in tribute to her hero , the greatest female soul singer ever Aretha Franklin. Next was a song by , in my opinion, the most influential female songwriter ever, Joni Mitchell. A medley of Big Yellow Taxi segued into the driving beat of The Letter as immortalised by Joe Cocker and Leon Russell on the legendary Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour.

Yola had obviously put a lot of thought into the medley. I think most people left in a very uplifted mood in a way that only really live good music leaves you feeling. A great Sunday night in Saltaire. I suspect next time I see her will be in a far larger venue.

Pre Show Interviews

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

May 20 2019

Pharis & Jason Romero

plus support Billy Kemp

Friday 17th May 2019

Review and photos by Keith Belcher

Friday 17th May 2019, The Live Room, Caroline Street Social Club, Saltaire. The return visits of both Pharis and Jason and Romero and Billy Kemp . A superb evening of accomplished playing, song writing, singing and extremely good humour. Sublime harmonies and playing from Pharis and Jason after Billy set the bar very high with a great opening set.

Pre Show Interviews

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

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


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
Hannah Johnson & The Broken Hearts
Track Dogs
Mile Twelve
Hannah Sanders & Ben Savage
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


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.