May 2 2024

Sons of Town Hall

Friday 26th April 2024

Photos by Ron Pengelly

We were treated to a fantistic evening with this amazing duo on Friday 26th April. Both George Ulysses Brown (Ben Parker from England) and Josiah Chester Jones (David Berkeley from the USA) possess beautiful voices and together, their harmonies are exquisite. Add in brilliant songwriting, playing and a huge dollop of humour, and you have one of the great live acts on the folk and roots circuit. The sold out crowd were treated to wonderful show and we know that they’ll be sailing back this way on their home made raft before too long.

Apr 27 2024

Dallahan

Sunday 21st April 2024

Review, photos and video by Keith Belcher

The last night of their UK tour but the first visit to Saltaire for Dallahan AND a sold out show. A band raised in the Scots/Irish traditional music scene but taking on many aspects of world music as well.What did the Live Room audience think of the band? No review coming from me but below are comments made by members of The Live Room’s Whatsapp group shortly after the show.

“A rousing performance from Dallahan this evening. It certainly went down well with the audience.”

“They were nothing short of sensational. One of my favourite shows. Amazing musicianship and arrangements.”

“A wonderful evening”

“Fantastic show last night, brilliant instrumentalists with amazing faculty all at the service of the music. What a privilege to be able to sit so close and watch them with a pint in my hand.”

Love the comment: ” ‘We know you’ve all got work in the morning’. Ha ha , think they’re used to playing to younger audiences. Anyhoo , what a superb band. Thanks for putting them on Ron and Hilary, absolute gem of a band.”

“… we were amazed by Dallahan last night. A new name to us but what a revelation. Without hearing them before one would expect the normal mix of Irish and Scottish tunes. Not so , just as the tunes were going in the normal cycle we were suddenly blasted in another direction. As Ron said , Jazz, other European and American styles would suddenly take over and the skill of the musicianship was amazing. I almost expected sparks to fly from the banjo in that opening number…”

“Thanks for some more great music”

OK , I think the audience quite liked the show. I overheard comments to Ron from several people already talking about show of the year and we’re still in April!

videos by keith belcher

Jailsong

Dutch Courage

Apr 23 2024

Sara Petite Band

Sunday 14th April 2024

Photos and video by Keith Belcher

The first visit of San Diego’s Sara Petite to The Live Room with her UK band, who many of you will be familiar with from Annie Keating’s shows! A really cracking evening of country and Americana from a great songwriter and performer; you could tell that she loved playing with this band.

VIDEOS BY KEITH BELCHER

(I Can't Stand The Smell of Her) Perfume and God Save The Queen

Apr 2 2024

Martin Simpson 2024

Sunday 24th March 2024

Photos, videos, review by Keith Belcher

Another sold out show. This time the great Martin Simpson entertained the Saltaire (and further afield) audience. The vast majority of the songs tonight were from Martin’s forthcoming double CD/album SKYDANCERS.

Not officially on sale until April 12th. There were a few copies available but not many as they have been a resounding success at gigs. The early birds (or purchasers) got the CD. In deference to Andy Muscroft‘s superb monochrome artwork for the album/CD more shots than usual are in black and white.

Musicianship, as expected was superb throughout the night. You can always rest assured you will learn something you didn’t know about the songs and music and history at a Martin gig, tonight was no exception with many detailed stories, jam packed with good humour.

Videos by Keith Belcher

The Recruited Collier

Icarus

Apr 2 2024

Richard Shindell 2024

Friday 15th March 2024

Photos, videos and review by Keith Belcher

The fourth visit of master song-writer and raconteur Richard Shindell. Richard hasn’t toured for many years so we were in a small and select group of venues that he chose to play. As you can see, an all electric show.

A truly wonderful night and we got to hear some new, unrecorded songs and very different arrangements of some old ones. All that and some great humour. Even an unrecorded cover of Leonard Cohen’s Alexandra Lost as an encore. A great night.

Videos by Keith Belcher

Stray Cow Blues

There Goes Mavis

Apr 2 2024

Robbie Cavanagh

Sunday 10th March 2024

Photos Ron Pengelly, review Mike Latham

Great show last night. Another great addition to the TLR roster.

Wonderful guitar playing and a marvellous voice that is clearly going to develop into something even stronger.

They say to write about what you know, how much of what Robbie was singing about last night was personal to him, I wouldn’t know.

What was clear was the depth and maturity of his lyrics, some surprising lyrics amongst the songs that he performed last night. Thanks Ron and Hilary for another great night.

Apr 1 2024

The Breath 2024

Plus support Caoilfhionn Rose

Friday 16th February 2024

Review, photos and videos by Keith Belcher

Opening for The Breath (by direct request of The Breath) was Caoilfhionn Rose (pronounced Keelin) , acompanied by Rich Williams. Born in Manchester with roots in Northern Ireland & Yorkshire. Two Albums released so far, Truly and Awaken. On the night Caoilfhionn sang lead vocals, played keyboards and acoustic guitar. Rich mainly played guitar but was also instrumental in creating a diverse multi layered sonic pallette to accompany Caoilfhionn’s songs.

A review I read on highgherplainmusic.com expresses her music better than I can.

“The mixture of airbrushed ambient, folk music and gentle psychedelia means that whilst melodies may seem straight forward at first, they are deceptively deep underneath. Not a single song is a straightforward piece”. Caoilfhionn’s short opening set got a great response form the TLR crowd at yet another sold out show.

(Next came) the very welcome return visit of The Breath, first here in November 2021. The Breath are Manchester based Ríoghnach Connolly and Stuart McCallum. Ríoghnach described their show as “our miserable cabaret”. Don’t believe it. It’s anything but miserable, yes the songs are deep, intensely personal, sometimes very sad, dealing with very emotive issues but the experience of seeing and hearing The Breath is anything but miserable!

A one set format tonight as we had already enjoyed Caoilfhionn Rose and Rich Williams. The show opened with Ditty, a gentle guitar and shruti box with Ríoghnach humming, eventually leading into Ríoghnach’s flute. This segued into a far louder and faster strummed guitar intro to Hideout. If a Breath virgin you started to get an idea of the range and power of Ríoghnach’s vocals and Stuart’s dexterity and skill on guitar.

Don’t Rush It followed with some superb reverb usage and a totally different side to Ríoghnach’s vocals on For You. The first real intro of the night belonged to Cliona’s Wave , an adaptation of Celtic Myth about Cliona (Cliodhna) , Celtic Goddess of the sea , member of the Tuatha De Danaan, daughter (legends vary, some say he adopted her) of Manannan. The story is she fell in love with a mortal and for him, left the magical island of Tairngire (the land of promise), the Gods were miffed at this and ensorcelled her into a deep sleep and a large wave swept her back to Tairngire (sorry about detail but I love Celtic Mythology!). In no version of the tale (that I know of) was the mortal known as Kevin. I think Ríoghnach might have made that part up.

A beautiful song and performance . Needless to say the intro raised a lot of laughs from the audience . Ríoghnach has one of the most infectious and wicked laughs you will hear. The applause had not stopped before they launched into Antwerp. There was much amusement in the audience as Ríoghnach spotted Ron (Pengelly) photographing and decided to pose for him , he captured the shots which are excellent and can be seen on TLR Facebook Group Page below as “The many faces of Ríoghnach Connolly”.

Antwerp was a complete change of pace with a harsher tone of voice and delivery. Stuart delved into loops and electronic wizardry building to a crescendo. Stuart apologised for the racket but said he thoroughly enjoyed it (as did we all, Stuart!). A very humourous intro to Carry Your Kin with both Ríoghnach’s and Stuart’s beaming smiles and banter warming the audience. Ríoghnach’s voice raging from whispers to roars and very effortlessly.

Next up were two album title tracks Land Of My Other and Carry Your Kin . A change of pace on Land Of My Other, a song about detachment from family reflecting Ríoghnach’s 20 plus years in Manchester away from the family home in Armagh, very personal and just beautiful. For many the highlight of the night may have been Bríd Bhán, an absolutely beautiful Donegal song about a row between husband and wife. Ríoghnach’s flute playing was sublime. I would love to hear that song with a set of uilllean pipes pitched into the mix.

The audience were given the option of visiting the loo if they didn’t like Donegal Irish songs….I didn’t see anyone doing so! The gaelic hides the actual story though like me most would just enjoy the sound, lyrics being superflous (unless you speak Irish gaelic). Another intensely personal song Little One followed about love, loss and joy, Ríoghnach’s vocal range and Stuarts instrumentation emphasising the emotional range of the song.

So it continued until the show finished with Only Stories, thankfully no pantomime performance of leaving the stage and returning a minute later. It was a superb night. It left you feeling very good and that’s what live music is for. It makes you feel!.

“The last note fades away but my heart keeps on singing,

inside my head the music keeps on ringing,

And free from this brave new world’s uncertainties and lies,

in a far better place my spirit flies

Don’t know what music means to you,

but that’s what music means to me,

It can capture my heart , yet somehow set it free,

It can tear to me to pieces , yet somehow make me whole ,

It gives me hope and feeds my soul”

The Last Note by Eric Bogle

Video by Keith Belcher

The Breath: Brid Bhan and Antwerp

Caoilfhionn Rose: Garden

Feb 13 2024

The Good Lovelies

Sunday 28th January 2024

Review, photos, video by Keith Belcher

Another sold out show for the second gig of the year. It’s becoming a habit. The third one is heading that way too. A debut appearance for Good Lovelies. Good Lovelies are Caroline Brooks: Vocals, Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Kerri Ough: Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Keyboard and Susan Passmore: Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Bass, Percussion, Keyboard. They do sometimes have a larger touring band but tonight we had the original core Good Lovelies trio.

They last toured 2019 and 2017 so this was the first post Covid tour. They did a straw poll at the start and from the hands up it looked like most of the audience were seeing them for the first time. I doubt many were disappointed. I would say everyone went home delighted with the pampering their ears got from the show.

We got 2 sets of great songs, good humour and stories and some of the most delightful harmonies heard at The Live Room. The lead vocals were juggled by all three, instruments alternated also. . There was a lovely tribute at the end of the show to one of their biggest fans and friends, Nick Lawson from Hull who passed away last February.

Rebecca Kemp, tour manager called up to the stage to join in for that. Nick went to all of their gigs in the UK and also travelled to Canada to see them too. RIP Nick , you are missed by those knew you.

The queue at The Merch desk was looong! at the interval and also still long when I had packed up my cameras and was on the way out. . Always a good indicator of popularity. The PA went down just before the start (the stage is not a drinks table!) but Ron sorted it out very quickly and we had the usual highly rated sound we have become accustomed to (Most artists say that , it’s not just me!).

Another band that will be very welcome back at TLR.

Video by Keith Belcher

Not A Lost Cause; and Blurry Days

Jan 30 2024

Tim O’Brien & Jan Fabricius

Friday 19th January 2024

Review, photos and video by Keith Belcher

The first gig of the year. The very welcome return of Tim O’Brien and Jan Fabricius with special guest, master fiddler Kevin Burke for the start of Set 2. We were very lucky to see Tim and Jan. They had a 36 hour nightmare journey from Nashville, delayed by snow. The gig scheduled for Sheffield on Thursday was cancelled. Tim and Jan had travelled up from Heathrow to make our show.

You really would not have guessed they had been travelling for 36 hours. The quality of the playing and singing was top notch. Jan playing mandolin , Tim, guitar, fiddle and mandolin and Kevin fiddle. Tim sang most lead vocals with Jan taking 2 songs as lead and they harmonised beautifully.

Special guest Kevin Burke opened the second set with Tim with 2 instrumentals . Jan joined the stage with Kevin and Tim for a third instrumental (Pear Tree/The Muddy Roads/Ladies Pantalettes/ The Kid On The Mountain and O’Carolans’s Concerto – for those interested) Lots of new songs as it’s been quite a few years and 3 albums since we’ve seen Tim on these shores.

Some old favourites like Brother Wind and Look Down That Lonesome Road.As you would expect at a Tim O’Brien show lots of humour throughout especially in new song Nervous.

70 years young this year and 50 years in the business and he played for just under 2 hours! The beauty of Tim is that it all looks so effortless whether its guitar,mandolin, fiddle or banjo. A true master tradesman.

Videos

Pretty Maid In A Garden; Bear; Pear Tree/The Muddy Roads/Ladies Pantalettes

Dec 28 2023

A Winter Union

Sunday 10th December 2023

Photos by Ron Pengelly