The best all round roots music club in West Yorkshire
Category: Gig reviews
Aug 2 2022
Charm of Finches
Sunday 31st July 2022
Photos by Keith Belcher
This show had been two and a half years in the making, ever since we saw the girls showcase at the Folk Alliance Conference in New Orleans in January 2020. During lockdown they had performed a beautiful livestream for us from their home in Melbourne, Australia at what was for them an unearthly hour! We were thrilled to finally bring them to TLR in person and they never let us down, delivering a wonderful set of superb songs and ethereal harmonies. It was their final official show in the UK before flying back home later this week.
Special mention too for support act, Chris Brain from here in Yorkshire, with his own beautiful songs, singing and intricate guitar work. We’ll undoubtedly be seeing more of him in the future.
Live Videos by Keith Belcher
As I Roved Out (TRAD)
Jul 28 2022
Sunday 24th July 2022
Photos by Ron Pengelly
What a fantastic night we had with Errol and his band. Wonderful musicians, all at the top of their game, we were given an evening of classy, Chess era style blues with a good dose of old school reggae. Led by Errol with his smoky, soulful voice and superb harmonica playing, the band were in top form, featuring Lance Rose, bass; Petar Zivkovic, keys; Ritchey Green, guitar; and Garry Williams, drums. They even managed to get the audience on their feet and dancing at the end and received a deserved standing ovation as they left the stage. It won’t be too long before we see them return!
Jul 19 2022
Friday 15th July 2022
Photos by Martin Lingard
It’s always heart warming when an artist exceeds your expectations and Friday was yet another example.
Oregon-based duo, Fellow Pynins – Dani Aubert, vocals, banjo and Bouzouki, and Ian George, vocals, guitar and mandolin – were quite simply outstanding. Playing a mix of their own compositions and traditional songs learned directly from other musicians from the UK and USA, they mesmerised the audience with their beautiful harmonies and exquisite playing. They were also very funny, telling stories of their travels and misadventures with a distinct eccentricity that had the crowd laughing throughout.
They were a really lovely couple, who won everyone over with their warmth. We will definitely not be leaving too long before bringing them back and we know they’ll have a much bigger crowd next time.
Thanks to Martin Lingard for the photos of the night in the absence of Keith Belcher, who is away for a couple of weeks.
Jul 8 2022
Sunday 3rd July 2022
Photos and review by Keith Belcher
Sunday 3rd July 2022, The Live Room, Caroline Street Social Club, Saltaire. The return of The Black Feathers, husband and wife team, Sian Chandler and Ray Hughes. They first appeared at TLR as support for My Darling Clementine on 17th January 2014. They were so popular with the crowd that they headlined their own show with [Shaun Hutch] as support less than 8 months later on 22nd August 2014.
A long gap between then and their virtual appearance during lockdown on 15th November 2020. Possibly still jet lagged from a very successful US tour they wowed the TLR audience once again with their own blend of divine harmonies, musicianship and extremely skilled songwriting and a whole lot of stories and bonhomie. From their deeply felt opening song On The Road Again (not Canned Heat!) to their “cheery” cover of Joni’s Big Yellow Taxi they wowed the very appreciative crowd.
They called BYT cheery not me!, it was very upbeat though. Their encore of a beautiful song Moonlight was performed unamplified sitting on the stage edge. Please Ron and Hilary get them back soon although I know you meant to have them back sooner than this. Something got in the way…..On tour at the moment, catch them if you can.
Video by keith belcher
Jun 27 2022
Thursday 23rd June 2022
Photos by Keith Belcher
We had a lovely evening on Thursday 23rd with Texan troubadour, Darden Smith giving us a terrific evening of songs, storytelling and poetry, evoking the wide open spaces of the American plains. He’s such an engaging performer. His latest record, Western Skies, of which we availed ourselves of a copy, is a beauty too, grab a copy!
Video by keith belcher
Miles Between; running out of time
May 14 2022
Thursday 12th May 2022
Words and photos by Keith Belcher
Another fantastic sell out gig at TLR. A trip through Seth’s archive. Set list with albums and year released. Difficult to believe Kitty Jay is almost 20 years old!
Love Will Still Remain (Make Your Mark-2021)
The Giant (Make Your Mark-2021)
King & Country (Freedom Fields-2006)
Blood Red Sky (Poor Man’s Heaven-2008)
Bury Nights (A Pilgrims Tale-2020)
Bold Knight (Kitty Jay 2004)
Underground (Make Your Mark-2021)
Higher We Aspire (Make Your Mark-2021)
White Hare (Freedom Fields-2006)
The Setting Sun (Freedom Fields-2006)
Lady Of The Sea (Freedom Fields-2006)
Side By Side (Make Your Mark-2021)
Shoals To Turn (Make Your Mark-2021)
Soloman Browne (Poor Man’s Heaven-2008)
Coming For You Soon (Make Your Mark-2021)
1643 (Freedom Fields-2006)
The Colliers (Freedom Fields-2006)
Change (Hearts & Mind-2010)
Kitty Jay (Kitty Jay-2004)
Blood Upon Copper (Kitty Jay-2004)
Last Rider (Word Of Mouth-2014)
May 9 2022
Le Vent du Nord – TLR 10th Anniversary
Friday 6th May 2022
Photos and review by Keith Belcher, forward by Ron
We honestly could not have wished for a better way to celebrate 10 years of The Live Room than we had on Friday night. A lovely little pre-gig buffet with attendant Chorus members, old friends and people who have helped us over the years, followed by the perfect celebration band. Many thanks to Keith for a pictorial record of the evening, one we won’t forget. Here’s looking forward to the next ten years!
We were especially thrilled to receive this beautiful sculpture from our friends Robbie Martin and Molly Kenyon. Robbie created it himself from a solid block of marble and it will be on display from now on at future shows!
Le Vent du Nord (The North Wind) is a Canadian folk music group from Saint-Antoine-sur-Richelieu in Quebec. The band performs traditional Québécois music (which is heavily influenced by Celtic music from both Ireland and Brittany): The members are: Simon Beaudry (vocals, guitar, Irish bouzouki), Nicolas Boulerice (vocals, hurdy-gurdy, piano accordion, piano), André Brunet (vocals, fiddle, foot-tapping), Réjean Brunet (vocals, diatonic button accordion, acoustic bass guitar, piano and jaw harp) Olivier Demers (vocals, fiddle, foot-tapping, jaw harp and guitar).
Special dancing guest on the night was Ripponden’s own Alice Jones.
Wow! What a gig, a joint celebration of TLR’s 10th anniversary and Le Vent du Nord’s 20th anniversary and debut at TLR. I doubt there are many bands in any genre more suited to a lively celebration. It rocked from start to finish! One of the liveliest and most “Joyeux anniversaires” I have ever attended. (excuse the French). It was also up there in the top TLR gigs of the last 10 years.
May 2 2022
Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman
Friday 29th April 2022
Review and photos by Keith Belcher
An unusual event tonight. Kathryn and Sean, usually one of Folk’s best dressed duos were in civvie garb after leaving their stage bag at Kathryn’s Mum’s house. That didn’t make any difference to the quality of the show. Boosting The Live Room’s already excellent sound with their own Bose units on stage. As Sean said we were in for a veritable Smörgåsbord of songs old and new, self written and traditIonal .
In amongst some of the old favourites were no less than 7 new, as yet unrecorded songs they were road testing on this tour. I think it would be an understatement to say that they went down pretty well. In the mix were traditional murders, tightrope walkers, mysterious cows , love songs, one about a whale singing off key and being lonely and some downright gruesome songs such as Huldra and Child Owlet . Great banter and song explanations throughout.
It goes without saying that Kathryn’s voice, keyboard and flute playing were excellent as was Sean’s guitar work. A really good night. Brother Seth due at TLR later in the month. Set list below.
The Granite Mill
The Rope Dancer (new unrecorded)
The Knight’s Ghost
Red Rose & White Lily (new unrecorded)
The Cows Of Mystery Eavesdropping (new unrecorded)
A Tribute Of Hands
A Song To Live By
The Willow Tree
The Fall Of The Lion Queen (new unrecorded)
Night Visiting (new unrecorded)
The Child Owlet
The Year Without A Summer (new unrecorded)
Tomorrow Will Follow Today
Pewtor (new unrecorded)
Apr 24 2022
Hot Club of Cowtown
Friday 22nd April 2022
Photos by Ron Pengelly
What a fantastic night we had with the amazing Hot Club of Cowtown on their TLR debut!
Apr 13 2022
John Smith 2022
plus support from Native Harrow
Sunday 10th April 2022
Review and photos by Keith Belcher
Supporting John on this tour were Philadelphian duo Native Harrow, now resident in Brighton. UK. They are Devin Tuel on main vocals and guitar and musical partner multi-instrumentalist Stephen Harms, tonight mainly on bass and guitar. Both wearing well-made flared trouser suits. They evoked, to me, sounds of the late 60’s and 1970’s.
Devin’s vocals have been compared to, amongst others, Laura Nyro and Karen Carpenter. They have released 4 albums. The latest being CLOSENESS which garnered very good reviews from Uncut, The Times, Mojo and The Guardian. They certainly seemed to have some avid followers in the audience who greeted their songs with much enthusiasm.
The dictionary definition of exquisite is: adjective: “meaning extremely beautiful and delicate or marked by flawless craftsmanship or by beautiful, ingenious, delicate, or elaborate execution”. It could also be justifiably ascribed to John Smith’s performance on Sunday night. I have seen John Smith play great shows many times over the last 16 years or so, often taking in several shows in a tour. Sunday’s show, however, was just exquisitely sublime. The show was deservedly sold out in advance. That’s not bad when you consider he was only playing a few miles away at The Brudenell Club, Leeds the night before. Usually promoters try and avoid that sort of proximity clash but with multiple cancellations, rescheduling etc etc over the last 2 years, life is what is!
There have been many changes for John over the period of you know what. He’s had time for much reflection and introspection. It’s resulted in many great new songs. He’s moved home from Somerset to North Wales, brought his parents over from Spain to care for them, found out he’s allergic to all sorts of things and changed his diet considerably. He’s brought out 3 excellent albums over that period. He has also really missed playing to real live audiences.
The joy of being able to perform again has been, like for other acts recently at TLR very noticeable. His sound has altered considerably. To my ears it’s far more refined and delicate. He was always quiet but never more so than now. The array of effects pedals at his feet also seems to have bred profusely and are used subtly to enhance his voice and guitar. He always used to make do with 2 guitars but he now travels with 3 and one is called Mavis. Perhaps the other 2 also have names but he didn’t introduce them on the night.
A rare night off sound desk duties for Ron, which, I would imagine made the sold out show even more enjoyable. John and Native Harrow had the skills of Barnsley’s Joe Rusby at the desk. Both Joe and John commented at the sound check just what a great room TLR is for sound. Something all the regulars are well aware.
John’s set opened with the array of pedals being used to great effect on a long extremely delicate intro to Hold On from THE FRAY. He then remarked it had been approximately 3 years 16 days since he performed at TLR, not that he had been counting! The next 2 songs were also from THE FRAY. Sanctuary had also been re-recorded for THE FRAY VARIATIONS with a String Quartet at Abbey Road. It has, amongst others, a wonderful line, “I saw the future with eyes wide open”.
The set also featured the traditional Hares On the Mountain and a Roly Salley cover, Killing The Blues, really beautifully sung and played. Whenever I hear this song played by anyone, I think back to a Martin Simpson comment about the royalties cheque difference when Robert Plant and Alison Krauss recorded the song, considerable I should imagine. John’s version was just as good.
During the time of no live gigs John collaborated with the very phenomenal Sarah Jarosz on a song called Eye To Eye, also on THE FRAY. What a lucky man! He sings with both Sarah Jarosz and the equally brilliant (“big sister”) Lisa Hannigan. He commented that when he received the vocals (it was all done at distance, Sarah is US based) from Sarah he thought he had better redo his own already recorded vocals, Sarah’s were that good. I have seen her several times and she really is a huge talent and still SO young. She also performs in a trio called I’m With Her with Aoife O’Donovan and Sara Watkins who have harmonies beyond belief, well worth checking if not already known.
He did 2 songs co-written and sung with Lisa. The first was Star Crossed Lovers. John joked if we imagine hard Lisa and Sarah might appear from backstage. I’d think I was hallucinating or in heaven if that happened.
John in a recent Facebook blog had given a glowing report on TLR audience. His line was a “die hard pin drop audience”. I was really aware of this as Sunday really was a “you could hear a pin drop night”. I had arranged with John that I would photograph 3 songs to capture the 3 different guitars and I would do most of it from the back. I have never been so conscious of a shutter click, the listening intensity of the audience was so much that to me, the shutter release sounded like thunder. I sincerely hope I did not really annoy too many people. I moved around to “share” the load. John maintained a friendly constant banter with the audience throughout. There was even a little friendly Northern heckling of Get On With It in response to one banter interlude.
All too soon the show was coming to an end with 2 songs from HEADLONG, Joanna followed by Far Too Good, both songs are incredibly well written and have seriously addictive vocal and guitar hooks. Along with Save My Life (possibly the catchiest song for many a year, sadly not performed) from same album they all need health warnings that once heard they’re going to echo around your head for days (or more).
The encore paid homage to John’s Brixham , Devon upbringing with another Lisa Hannigan co-write and performed song Salty and Sweet. The audience performed their vocal parts beautifully without being asked bringing a huge smile to John’s face. It was easy to see that he really enjoyed the night. Let’s not wait another 3 years for the next visit.