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CROPREDY 2019 GALLERY

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Loved my visit to Cropredy again this year, fab to see Wildwood Kin on the big stage going down a storm while other highlights on and my visit included a fine dose of prog rock by Caravan and wonderful sets by Richard Thompson and a full of action Seth Lakeman.
Also loved the diverse set by Wilson & Wakeman which stretched from David Bowie to Les Miserables also caught acoustic sets at the BBC Radio Oxford tent including a couple of numbers performed by Frank Turner.

Andrew Lock

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The Mechanicals Band with special guest Ellie Gowers

Review

Well here I am again, this time reviewing not one but two artists on whom I fear I may have already used up my supply of appropriate superlatives in previous reviews.

But of course not. They are so good that the last thing either would do is simply produce facsimiles of past concerts.

The Mechanicals don't have support acts as a rule, yet such is the level of mutual admiration that yesterday afternoon at the Magic Lantern, this rule was set aside for their guest Ellie Gowers. After all they have much in common: consummate musicianship, impeccable taste, a drive to create their own music on entirely their own terms plus one other similarity which I'll reveal in a moment.

The latter as is her wont, held the rammed venue spellbound: from her traditional a cappella "Robin" set opener, you could hear a pin drop. Even when she started playing her guitar, the intensity of her performance was only matched by that of the audience's attention to it.

 

 As I've said before, Ellie completely inhabits her own songs, dancing & moving to them with a restless energy matched in the pieces themselves: passionate lyrical images set in idiosyncratic melodic structures: although Ellie is probably thought of as a "folk" singer, her writing completely avoids the traditional formal structures of that genre with neither words nor music repeating in the predictable ways of the canon. We are always kept guessing at what is coming next.

 

The only negative aspect of Ellie's set in fact was that immediately after delivering what sounded to us all as a haunting pitch perfect rendition of "For A While", she was forced to curtail her set as her voice had gone. What it must have cost her to deliver that last song in that way is impossible to guess, but I thank her as the song is one of my favourites: I defy anyone not to have a moistness in the eye so moving are the words & melody.

 

I suppose too that it was fortunate that one of the songs she had in the earlier part of the setlist was a brand new one "The Sky Is On Fire" which could well be her finest so far. I suggested it was "zeitgeisty" to her afterwards & she seemed happy with that so I'll leave it in. You really do have to hear it to appreciate it so I recommend that you attend one of her live shows since Ellie also said that she won't be recording it until she has, in her own mind, perfected it (and since she has plans for future musical collaboration, I imagine that will be a factor in its final arrangement). And don't just take my word for it: I think we can safely say that if a musician who was present and has had a number one single calls it "awesome" then it is indeed a really great song. (Incidentally I am just adding this sentence as while I was finishing my review I caught sight of a comment by Adam Barry of Merrymaker about Ellie saying "Simply put, I don't have the vocabulary to put how good this girl is into words. From the opening line to the final chord, she's hands down one of the best artists I've ever ever had the pleasure to listen to and to hang out with.....you're an inspiration, and you've NO idea how good you are. Incredible". How could I not include that?)

 

Catch up with all things Ellie Gowers at her online bases:

 

elliegowersmusic.com

 

https://www.facebook.com/EllieGowersMusic

 

You can catch her live back at Temperance on September 7th with Greengrass as her special guests.

 

And thus the Mechanicals began their set a little earlier than scheduled, by about two songs' worth of time. They too had temporarily lost a vital element but more fortunately it didn't stop them playing. Viola player Katrin Gilbert was unable to be part of the band & as drummer Ben Haines said, the other four filled the space she left in the arrangements. This manifested itself in several ways including violinist Jools Street standing rather than sitting and in the intimate space of the Magic Lantern, there was more room for him and double bassist John Parker to move about as their music took them, adding a visual element not usually associated with the Mechanicals. Whether this too accounted for the slight shift in the set towards the more jazz orientated end of their repertoire is moot: it may have been a nod to the recent birthday of Philip Larkin (born 97 years and two days previously): they have been working on a suite of songs "The Righteous Jazz" for a hybrid music/drama celebration of his life. Several of the songs from that project were played, along with three of the Shakespearean settings from their first album ‘Exit, Pursued By Bear' and several from their latest EP, ‘Miscellany #1', moving seamlessly from jazz to folk to classical & various composite styles entirely of their own, enriched by the textures only musicians of such calibre can bring, yet not allowing their own virtuosity to detract or distract from their prime objective, to give poems they (especially singer/guitarist Wes Finch) admire, settings which complement & enhance the original words.

 

 I have noted in previous reviews how although starting with writers well known to me, such as Shakespeare, Masefield, Larkin, Yeats etc, their latest work has introduced me to poets previously I was unaware of (thank you), none more unknown to me than the most recent writer they have set, Australian artist/cartoonist/poet Michael Leunig whose poem "When The Heart" was in the set & it was a highlight of the evening to have Australian audience members who were familiar with him &  his work: a first apparently for the band.

 

Where they  had a similarity with Ellie I mentioned earlier, was in playing a superb & unrecorded (to date) new song "I've Got Your Back": the only original song of Wes they played & I think one of his best, even by his high standards. As with "The Sky Is On Fire", this is one I'd really liked to hear recorded & to thus have with me.

 

It was a wet day outside & the steam rose from the audience as Ellie observed. However the sheer joie de vivre of musicians so enjoying what they were doing, what each other was doing & the audience in turn appreciated this themselves made for an afternoon & early evening not to miss however damp we were to begin with. I'll give it five stars as that's what real reviewers do.

 

The Mechanicals will be performing "The Righteous Jazz" on November 2nd at Hull Truck by the way.

 

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Sam McNulty with Angelo Cardone & Bill Cameron

Review

Few "Hot Music Live" readers will need introducing to the name nor talents of Sam McNulty. Even if you weren't around for his late 1970's foundation of top Coventry punk band Squad (thereby launching the career of original vocalist Terry Hall), you may well have delighted in his much loved subsequent band The Giraffes & its successor Two Giraffes. Even those too young for either will know Sam for his ceaseless promotion, encouragement & mentoring of local musical talent via such avenues as open mics, his Godiva Festival & other festival  stages & his writing.

True to his ethos, Sam crafted his own evening at the Magic Lantern also involving two great talents he had encountered via his music evenings, Angelo Cardone & Bill Cameron. Even the structure was carefully honed with the notion of "headliner" and "support" blurred in terms of running order & stage permutations, each playing a solo set, a final trio ensemble performance & combinations of them all as duos.

Sam began the evening with a beautiful solo set of material from the classic Two Giraffes' 2005 conceptual album "Twelve Songs", reminding us of the exquisite melodicism of that band & naturally evoking memories of the late Steve Edgson, Sam's partner in the band & many of whose friends were present. One of the songs he played in this part of the evening was "Clifftop Dreaming" which of course he kindly allowed up to use of Volume One of "Hot Music Live Presents"

Neapolitan Angelo Cardone is one of the artists making a big reputation locally at the moment, winning fans as soon as they hear his talents. A frequent BBC Coventry & Warwickshire Introducing presence, I myself witnessed jaws drop at his 2019 Godiva Festival performances. This classically trained tenor & superb guitarist offers our area so much: not least his repertoire of traditional Italian songs but also his own excellent, sensitive material plus moving interpretations of songs such as Don McLean's "Vincent" and "Through The Barricades" originally by Spandau Ballet.  Not a combination one hears from a single artist too often. Singing in both Italian & English with equal facility, Angelo frankly entranced the room & received long & loud applause from the packed venue after every song.

 

Check out all things Angelo at his page: https://www.facebook.com/angelocardonesinger/

 

Bill Cameron is I understand, primarily a jazz pianist, (and I was lucky enough to hear him play during the soundcheck on the vintage Magic Lantern piano, so recently tuned that the tuner was sitting there enjoying it too), however we got to hear another three aspects of his talents tonight as he accompanied himself on guitar for a solo set demonstrating both his skills on that instrument and his equally excellent singing voice and then he accompanied both Sam & Angelo on sax.

The final portion was dedicated to more of Sam's canon: delving back into the Giraffes days for classics such as the beloved "Lazy Hazel Heart" single of 1990 and bang up to today for material from his forthcoming solo album (possibly to be titled "From The Land of the Broken Hearts")

I've heard Sam play both sets of material but usually solo, so the addition of Angelo on lead guitar & backing vocals plus Bill evoking the original clarinet parts of Steve Edgson (on the Giraffes songs) on his sax, added a great deal of nuance & texture & frankly brought back memories of the Giraffes with the similarity of the sound to the originals.

The new material fits in nicely with the old as Sam's melodicism & romanticism endures. Love & its loss feature strongly in his songs & he also has recurring weather/nature motifs. One new song concerning "Mademoiselle" particularly caught my attention, as it managed to feature lyrics in English, French & Italian.... the latter thanks to Angelo of course.

 

To say that the audience enjoyed it would be something of an understatement and it was another privilege to hear such writing & performance talent in a space & place where it could be enjoyed to such respectful advantage: can't wait to hear them again.

You can catch Sam's open mic sessions at Millsys in Earlsdon on Monday evenings (not a bad place to catch Angelo nor Bill either). Listen out too for Angelo on BBC Coventry & Warwickshire Introducing where he is getting regular plays.

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Burning Salt

Review

One of the issues which is a perennial worry for me in writing for "Hot Music Live" is how to cover even the most excellent of artists, the ones we should be reporting on, when I see them only a few months after my last review. We all realise & accept that most artists for obvious reasons may well have much the same setlist & lineup from gig to gig & in all honesty "they sounded as great as last time" isn't much of a review to offer you.

In practice, as hopefully my reviews show, this really doesn't happen with the calibre of artists we have around here currently: as anyone kind enough to follow my writing will see, I have repeatedly put myself in such a position yet every time lineups have been tweaked & even more often substantial repertoire changes made.

The Burning Salt gig at the Magic Lantern last night was no exception. When I saw them last in early May, the band playing consisted of singer/writer Hannah Hull on guitar & keyboards, John Parker on his customary double bass plus lead guitarist Bobby Williams. This time it was just Hannah & John so the sound had changed considerably in the arrangements of the songs I had heard before which was most interesting. Equally, the last time they played songs mostly from their latest album "Automatic Lullaby" and their "Dirt" EP, the collection of songs written about staff & inmates at Holloway Prison. This time, although material from both still featured, a significant portion of the set came from their upcoming 19 song (no that's not a typo) album "Close To Home", whose songs reflect Hannah's personal experiences in the way those on 'Dirt' reflected those of others.

 

Without Bobby's many textures, the songs tended to be stripped right back to their stark, bare bones: which given the equally stark, often haunting, frequently deeply unsettling lyrics, was highly effective.

The songs are unique to the point of being very unconventional & by and large the arrangements were equally unconventional to match.

John, whose bass playing I have loved & admired since I first heard it with Nizlopi, generally played a long way from the folkish roots with huge amounts of jazz & even hip hop stylings he used with that band. He varied his style quite a lot this time to complement Hannah's playing & to suit each song, but it was interesting how relatively high his lines were placed in many arrangements: often rather classical in style, he often adopted the sort of part one might normally expect from a ‘cello (John's bow got deployed quite a bit during the evening). Not that that meant he didn't play the odd Mingus type part when he felt it was appropriate.

I was struggling to adequately describe Hannah's vocal range & was rather tentatively going for "contralto" so I asked her: she revealed that there is a big cross over with a tenor range & that helped me: it is most strange but at times the lowest element in some arrangements came across as a (female) voice…. Which isn't terribly conventional is it?

Her playing of both instruments tends to be rather spectral to suit the tone (though on one of the more energetic numbers she switched from delicate picking to enthusiastic strumming) but on one of the most catching of the new numbers (one picked out by several people at the break), her piano playing had Bach like qualities I thought: though I bow to John who went for Debussy.

As with all her past songs (with the possible exception of "Superstitious Woman"), Hannah's lyrics can be melancholic at their lightest and can tell grim (genuine) stories at the other end of the spectrum: which, as I said last time, is in stark contrast to her buoyant & good humoured demeanour between them. It is probably a yin & yang thing.. Her performances are intense but that it is in the pursuit of emotional honesty: I found it illuminating that in conversation with her, she cited Patti Smith, another artist who would not dream of delivering work in any other way.

 

I for one am really looking forwards to "Close To Home" next Spring & hopefully Burning Salt will return to Leamington to play a gig promoting that record then.

Thanks too to Paul Otten who kindly gave his time to get the sound for this gig right (believe me with music this exquisite, poor sound could have wrecked the entire effect) and Martin Luckhurst for a vital equipment loan.

 

 

 


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Calexico and Iron & Wine announce UK tour dates for November

News

SonicPR promotion ...

Following the release of their new album ‘Years To Burn', CALEXICO AND IRON & WINE will play a string of UK dates this November as part of their UK/EU tour.

UK DATES

November

  • 18th - Usher Hall, Edinburgh
  • 19th - Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool
  • 20th - Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
  • 21st - Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry 
  • 23rd - Royal Festival Hall, London
  • 24th - Dome, Brighton


Calexico and Iron & Wine first made an artistic connection with In the Reins, the 2005 EP that brought Sam Beam, Joey Burns and John Convertino together. The acclaimed collaboration introduced both acts to wider audiences and broadened Beam's artistic horizons, but it was the shared experience of touring together in the tradition of Bob Dylan's "Rolling Thunder Revue" that cemented their bond. Their metaphorical roads diverged in the years that followed, but they kept in touch and cross-pollinated where they could. But although they often talked about rekindling their collaboration in the studio and on the stage, it wasn't until last year that their schedules aligned.

Years to Burn can't help but be different from In the Reins. Back then, Calexico entered the studio with a long list of previous collaborations (first in Giant Sand, then backing the likes of Victoria Williams and Richard Buckner) and the knowledge that they loved Sam's voice and his songs, but wondering if his material was so complete and self-contained that it lacked a way in, so hushed and delicate that it might be overwhelmed. For his part, Beam had been intimidated by their virtuosic playing and their deep comfort in an encyclopedic array of styles. "In my mind, I was a guy who knew three chords and recorded in a closet," Sam says. "They were playing big stages and were superb musicians."

Those fears were dispelled quickly. Calexico was bowled over by Beam's many talents: "The arranging, the writing, his sense of rhythm, the quality of his vocals—and then there's the experimental side of Sam," Joey says. "They were the perfect band at the perfect time for me," Sam adds. "I loved all their different sounds. They're musical anthropologists, not regurgitating but absorbing what they discover." Nearly 15 years on, "coming back to the project has to do with acknowledging how much impact the first record had for me in my life."

Beam, Burns and Convertino reconvened in Nashville for four days of recording in December 2018. Nobody was keen to retread old ground. The change of venue—from Calexico's home base of Tucson, where In the Reins was tracked—was one part of the effort. Together with Niehaus, veteran Calexico trumpet player Jacob Valenzuela and frequent Beam cohorts Rob Burger (Tin Hat Trio) on piano and Sebastian Steinberg (Soul Coughing, Fiona Apple) on bass, they settled in at the Sound Emporium, a fabled studio founded in the sixties by Cowboy Jack Clement and the site of countless landmark sessions in country and rock over the ensuing decades. Convertino got chills when he found a framed photo of R.E.M. on the wall: Document was recorded there.

Another added ingredient was engineer Matt Ross-Spang, whose recent resume includes producing Margo Price's Midwest Farmer's Daughter, working with Memphis legends like Al Green in the Sam Phillips studio that's now Ross-Spang's home turf, and winning a Grammy for mixing Jason Isbell's album Something More Than Free (another Sound Emporium project). Ross-Spang was assisted by Rachel Moore; he shares production credits with Beam, Burns and Convertino.

Beam wrote all the songs for In the Reins. He took the lead again here, bringing five songs to the session, but Burns added one of his own in the end too. They took differing approaches; Sam shared meticulous demos ahead of time and was ready with arrangement ideas and instrumental parts, while Joey spontaneous as ever, came in with concepts and an eagerness to improvise. Upon arriving in Nashville, he also penned a tune.

"Life is hard. Awesome. And scary as shit. But it can lift you up if you let it," Sam offers. "These are the things Joey and I write about now. And the title can encapsulate a lot of things. ‘Years to Burn' could mean you're cocky, you've got it made. Or, our life is ours to burn, to be inspired. Or you're burned by life, brutalized. It's an ambiguous title, because life is complicated. Let's not talk like teenagers about love, desire, pain, ‘cause we're not teenagers. And that's not a bad thing."

"This project had to find the right time," Joey concludes. "We're all different people than we were in 2004, and music helps to bridge some of the gaps. For all the things going on in our world and in each of our lives, this connection, this friendship, this love that we have—this album is a vehicle for that bond. It's a chance to see where we're at, take stock and be there for our friends."

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WARWICK FOLK FESTIVAL 2019 - A GALLERY

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Here is a selection of my images from this years Warwick Folk Festival, many of them taken at fringe events around the town, this year as with last year a little dodging of the showers was required.
Fab to see Kristy Gallacher on such sparkling form while the "I Can't Believe It's Not Folk" songs of Elvis contest on the main site was fab.

Andrew Lock

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Merrymaker with Rosie Samaras

Review

The gig at the Magic Lantern last night was described by venue creator & owner Adrian Gains as "one of the best nights we have had so far...very talented musicians and the music was perfect for the space"

I could stop at that point I suppose as I can't argue with that. But I expect you want a bit more detail?

The headliners were one of the most respected of locally based bands (the audience size & response certainly reflected that) namely Merrymaker.

This band are not only highly popular in their own right but put a tremendous amount back into the local scene (another excellent reason why I'm delighted to write about them in "Hot Music Live") with open mics & showcases they host (see below for one immediate instance) and mentoring many great emerging artists, several of whom have already featured in this magazine.

Tonight they brought along Rosie Samaras & her guitarist/vocalist accompanist Fred. She was new to my experience & so I personally am grateful. It was a bit of a shock when she announced that it was only their second gig together: I would not have known from the assurance of the performance.

Rosie is a prolific writer of strong original material (although she likes to throw in the odd classic cover) and it is really difficult (I am pleased to say) to categorise them: not least because they do vary in style quite a lot amongst themselves. Several had a jazz feel to them (emphasised by Fred's acoustic guitar playing), others veered towards contemporary R&B (there was an episode of rapping in there) while echoes of folk, country & classic Brill Building songwriting were detectable at various points. The songs were all well constructed musically & lyrically: they deserve as wide an audience as possible.

Rosie has a mellifluous & excellent voice which I gather from what she said has considerable reserves of power which she deliberately held back on in deference to the intimate space: in which case I'd love to hear her when lets rip with all her resources. Her stage presence too is commendable with an excellent rapport with the audience.

 

You can find out more about all things Rosie Samaras at her page here:

https://www.facebook.com/Rosiesamarasmusic/

Merrymaker are master musicians. Listening to them at very close quarters, I was reminded of the Band in the way they harmonised & swapped instruments throughout the night. Adam Barry (formerly of The Misers and Merrymouth) mostly played keyboards but late on switched to both the harmonica & accordion. Ex- Ocean Colour Scene and Merrymouth member Dan Sealey was mainly on guitar until he switched over to keyboards and Paul McCormack rotated between mandolin & guitar, with a ukulele close at hand "just in case".

What can one say about musicians this skilful, this experienced & this tasteful? I for one was content just to drink in their beautiful harmonies & playing & appreciate the thoughtfulness of the lyrics, which tend to examine contemporary themes, though several also looked at the angsts of the human condition in general. One standout & "hairs on the back of the neck" moment in this respect was their hymn to a departed friend "Evergreen" which had particular resonance for a Magic Lantern audience as the song had inspired the name of one of the most popular acts to have played in the venue.

Their  genre was again hard to pin down: the band are thought of as being folk or folk rock but that barely covers it. A few songs were excellent traditional folk style but others fitted no recognisable category at all. I could list a load of genres but it wouldn't be terribly enlightening. If you want to play "name that genre" I suggest that you go and see them. You'll not regret it. They even tipped a hat to Dan's old band with an Ocean Colour Scene number.

Very occasionally they strayed into covers which were idiosyncratic to say the least: a beautiful and gentle version of the Stranglers' "Duchess" and a hauntingly stark (just piano & voice) "I Am The Resurrection".

Like Rosie & Fred, the band have an easy & genuine rapport with their audience: good humour & joking characterised the set & I suppose acted as a contrast to the deep themes of many of the lyrics. Even a technical mishap didn't divert them for long with Adam & Paul carrying on one song as an unintended duet while Dan resolved it.

Talking of their work in showcasing local talent, I appreciate it's short notice & this bit of information is going to become obsolete really quickly, but Merrymaker are hosting an event in Rednal today (Sunday) at Joe Joe Jim's Bar from three o'clock, featuring themselves and two big Coventry & Warwickshire favourites, Taylor-Louise & Naomi Beth

Merrymaker also return to the Magic Lantern on January 18th.

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The Ellipsis with special guest Hannah Woof

Review

It all seems such a long time ago, so many & so powerful have the subsequent performances at the Magic Lantern been, that it is an interesting thought to recall that there was in fact a first ever gig at the venue:  roughly a year ago.

The band kind enough to inaugurate the concerts at Temperance was The Ellipsis & last night they returned by very considerable popular demand, though it is worth recording how supportive band members have been in the meantime, either playing solo gigs or with others or purely by attending gigs by others. This is much appreciated & they deserve our thanks: it is interesting how many great local artists "walk the walk" by supporting venues & their fellow artists and that is a really important element in why the local scene is currently so buoyant, diverse & creative.

Tonight their very special guest is long time Ellipsis collaborator Hannah Woof (and the specialness was enhanced by their unveiling her participation less than 48 hours before showtime).

Playing with Ellipsis guitarist/vocalist John Connearn as she did at her recent Magic Lantern headline gig, Hannah demonstrated why she is so highly rated amongst local audiences & fellow musicians: in fact one of the many conversations I was part of at the 2019 Godiva Festival was around "why has Hannah never played here"?: an omission I am sure will be corrected in 2020.

There is so much about Hannah's craft to applaud: much of which I have already done so in previous reviews (I think this is the fourth live review I written about her) yet each time I see her she brings something else to the feast. Much of it is continually evolving stage presence & command of her audience. Her voice remains a most impressive instrument but it is how she uses it which is the real joy. Endlessly expressive, I can think of several other local singers who interpret lyrics especially well, but none obviously exceeds her in this respect. Carefully choosing her phrasing, tone & volume, often lingering long over individual words & lines, adding tension, she is of course, a few well selected covers apart, communicating her own highly personal lyrics which she tends to describe as "gloomy" but which essentially do not recoil from addressing the dark side of the human psyche. Even with these skills, I appreciate how much her interpretations can vary with her work: "Blue Eyed Bastard" for example, which I had heard her play before with the venom you'd expect from the title, last night came forth with a much more understated delivery, more of a reproach to her subject  in style  I think & this actually gave it more power & impact.

Hannah's set included new material (one co-written with another of her regular collaborators, Joe Dolman) and this inevitably meant that other songs such as "Addicted To You" (one of my favourites) had to be omitted, but that just shows how strong her repertoire is & how she is keen to keep her set fresh. Hannah is in fact recording new material but emphasised to me how she wants to take the time to get it absolutely right before committing to a release date.

A final element worth mentioning is her guitar playing (given the circumstances this was her only instrument of the evening: there really wasn't space for her keyboard given the Ellipsis' kit): possibly this is the third element of her talent, after her singing & writing, which people will note about her, yet it is excellent, whether solo or entwining with John's in moments of real aural magic.

You can find out more about Hannah & news of gigs & releases at her web pages:

www.hannahwoof.wordpress.com

 

https://www.facebook.com/HannahWoofOfficialMusic/

 

The Ellipsis had actually promised a special acoustic gig for the venue. I will admit that Henry played an acoustic guitar & Alex's drums were not mic-ed up but that was as acoustic as it got. What we heard was in fact a really effective and obviously really carefully constructed set which sounded loud enough not to in any way compromise the essential Ellipsisness of the set yet did not overpower the small space. Alex was perhaps most individually effected swopping his bass drum for a cajon (played with a pedal) and covering his snare with a cloth, yet he turned this into many positives with a really crisp & incisive performance with a lot of interesting detailed cymbal work.

Otherwise, elements of the "specialness" manifested themselves in the uniqueness of the setlist. Drawing on material from their earliest days via rarely played gems, customised covers (including mashed up Snow Patrol & Biffy Clyro medleys) to songs of the bang up to date ‘Grow' EP, they gave the highly enthusiastic & responsive audience something to remember and cherish. They even added (purely by audience demand) a version of "Mr Brightside' for their final encore which clearly from their comments can't have been rehearsed but which was immaculate. People clapped. People sang along. People stood up.... It certainly was a high energy gig but yet it still worked within a cellar. Hats off for the sound engineering.

Sitting up close to them & conscious that I wanted to write this review, I found myself reflecting on a lot of little details: the beautiful accuracy & imagination of Alex's work. The restless complexity of Harry's basslines (sitting two feet from his fretboard, had I been a bassplayer I'm sure I would have learned a lot). The incredible power as well as beauty of the three piece harmonies. How Henry's baritone just gets more and more compelling. The subtlety & invention of John's guitar playing whether interjections or full blown solos (and he doesn't do long selfish ones of these) and how they bring constantly varying colours & tones.

I think what struck me most was that even from the earliest songs, the Ellipsis have written imaginatively & unusually constructed ones: yes everyone correctly focuses on how catchy & memorable they are, yet every single one keeps on going off in interesting and anti-clichéd direction throughout.... Long may they continue to entrance and move people as they did last night.

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Old and gold

A LOOK AHEAD TO CROPREDY 2019, 8th -10th August

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Looking forward to my visit to that friendliest of festivals Cropredy again next month to take in the great atmosphere, overall vibe and of course a ...

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Ubergine at Warwick Beer Festival Summer 2019

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Ubergine at the 2019 Summer Warwick Beer festival.

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John Storer, Lesley Minchella-Storer and Kirsty Minchella-Storer at Warwick Beer festival summer 201

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A lively, polished and engaging set of folk and pop with some notable guitar work on Fleetwood Mac's Oh Well.

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Shanade with guests Nicky Ager & Aaron Dudfield

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By now I'm sure you'll be aware of the many bees in my bonnet as I tend to repeat  much the same obsessions in most reviews, so when I ...

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"Endless Summer" by The Rising

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There are a handful of great locally based artists not so much emerging (how can they be just "emerging" when they have spent time honing their ...

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Ross Darby live at the Magic Lantern

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I am a big fan of the performing & writing of Ross Darby so it was a big pleasure to get another chance to review him for this magazine on the ...

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Irene Rae supported by Stylusboy

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Once again I can write up for you something rather special: two performances which were pretty unique for our area & which again I felt so ...

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Izzie Derry with her special guests King of the Alps

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Last night was one for the connoisseurs: a whole evening of nothing but top class original music written from personal perspectives & played with ...

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Godiva 2019

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Twice cajoled by my pal Andy Holdcroft to present my experience of Godiva Festival 2019 in a Hot Music Live article, I thought I'd best just get ...

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Shanghai Hostage with their special guests Brass Hip Flask

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I should really like first of all to voice my appreciation to the members of both Shanghai Hostage & Brass Hip Flask.

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THE WARWICK FOLK FESTIVAL 2019 25th -28th July - Preview

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The Warwick Folk Festival celebrates its 40th anniversary this year with a stella line-up of Folk talent, with an opening night concert on the ...

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DODGING THE SHOWERS AT THE NAPTON FESTIVAL 2019 - SATURDAY

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The showers meant plenty of time at the indoor Lounge Stage for me, no hardship as the line-up was quality from start to finish, opening with star in ...

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Godiva Festival 2019: a personal reflection

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I could, I suppose, run through every act I saw & enjoyed at the 2019 Godiva Festival in detail which would give them the credit they thoroughly ...

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'Stories From A Sunny Side' by Caleb Murray

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I hope that you recall my review in "Hot Music Live" of Caleb Murray's  ‘No Congregation' EP? If you have listened to & ...

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Diz n Rox with Andy Beglin

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Wow what a night! On a sweltering June evening, maybe going underground was the best option, even though the Magic Lantern had to deploy extra fan ...

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Taylor-Louise & Abz Winter

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Another cracking evening which saw the grand musical talent of Warwickshire displayed on several levels.

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A LOOK AHEAD TO THE NAPTON FESTIVAL 2019 - 5th and 6th of July

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Only just over a week before Napton brings rock and roll (as well as just about every other musical genre!) to life in the grounds of the Napton ...

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Holly & the Hounds

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I have reviewed the consummate musicianship of Holly Hewitt & David Page for "Hot Music Live" on several occasions, though it isn't, I ...

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"Gone" by Taylor-Louise

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If you are counting, you'll have spotted that the new single "Gone" is the third single to be released from Taylor-Louise's stunning "Black ...

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"Ticket To Nowhere" by Matty Coles

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At a dozen tracks, ‘Ticket To Nowhere', the new album by local singer-songwriter Matty Coles to which I've been listening, provides ...

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Free Galaxy at the Leamington Peace Festival

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This Fathers' Day lark is pretty good and I certainly didn't turn my nose up at a Dad-size bacon butty and a fresh bottle to ...

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Man Made Moon supported by Noah Dobbie

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Here I go again: another evening spent in the company of really talented musicians who not only perform in a way that touches my soul but objectively ...

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"Grow" by The Ellipsis

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Last week, I had every intention of writing a review in this magazine of the gig I was intending to attend at the Zephyr Lounge by The Ellipsis, ...

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'More Songs About Hospital Food' by Simon Morgan

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Warwickshire singer song writer Simon Morgan has a long & distinguished pedigree for producing music from the "heart on the sleeve" school of ...

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Community cafe at the Hod Carrier

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I do love the headine gigs with the monster sound systems, massive lighting rigs and legendary names - but they're not the whole picture.

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"Moving On" by The Rising

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As promised in my review of their performance at Sunday's BBC Introducing Coventry & Warwickshire showcase, what follows is my review of the ...

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Jaws - new video + tour dates, include The Empire, Sat 30th Nov 2019

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A SonicPR promotion .

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BBC Introducing Showcase

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"Hot Music Live" tries really hard to do many things.

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Ubergine at Temperance

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Haunting vocals over compelling rhythms and dancing basslines.

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TRINITY 4 - A PROG/CHARITY EXTRAVAGANSA

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A day of both wonderful music prog style and generosity raising money for Scope, Mind and Help Musicians UK.

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