Blind Faith supported by Rich Keogh at the Magic LanternReview
I started composing this review while last night's concert was still in progress & after a while realised that it was in danger of becoming a list of adjectives, so in the interests of good style, I'll try to spread them out through the whole piece.
It certainly was a beautiful evening again at the Magic Lantern & the exquisite music flowed over me, around me & through me. Blind Faith (John Garrett on keyboards & Faith Meades on vocals & guitar) are a very tasteful & classy act: please do try to catch them live if you have not already done so. The venue was perfect for them: a rapt audience shared with me the experience of luxuriating in their sounds & I am so glad there was none of the distractions of a bar environment.
It was an evening of the unusual & a few firsts: Paul Englefield of "Hot Music Live" who was present checking them out & filming, noted that the venue offers musicians the security of being able to ‘take risks' & I'd certainly agree that I've seen several innovate & improvise. They seem to enjoy it too: both John & Faith were radiating happiness (and this with Faith battling a sore throat from earlier in the day which I must say made no discernible impact on her vocal performance), cracking jokes & having fun on several numbers, "Riptide" being an obvious example. This was the longest set I've had the fortune to hear from this band, which was a treat for me, the first time I'd seen Faith play her guitar live (which was really effective in adding new textures) and the night's "support" act, Rich Keogh unusually played his set of tastefully selected covers midway through the evening, bookended by two Blind Faith sets. I think he enjoyed his opportunity to play before such an attentive audience & he certainly offered us a most eclectic selection from Chuck Berry to traditional Irish music.
I guess one has to call Blind Faith very eclectic too: it's hard to pin them down to any genre, with John's mighty piano skills sounding classical at times, jazz inflected often but with many other styles popping their heads up: I particularly liked one track played in a Southern Blues organ manner.
Faith is a most engaging singer, with her amazing range commented on by all reviewers (myself included) but she is a most expressive one too: she works hard at interpreting lyrics and shorn of her guitar, makes many evocative hand gestures during songs, most reminiscent of Edith Piaf.
Their repertoire contains carefully selected covers, avoiding the obvious, such as the previously mentioned "Riptide" and songs by artists as diverse as Tracy Chapman & Frank Turner. However it is their originals which most impress (check out their EP "I've Waited", reviewed in "Hot Music Live"). These are beautifully wrought and tend to be about heartfelt emotions: which brings me to my final adjective which came to me during the performance: "moving". You don't have to personally know the subjects of songs like the title track nor "Holly-May", (the song which appears on "Hot Music Live Presents Vol 1" and which tonight was played, for perhaps only the third time, in the presence of its subject) to appreciate the sentiment. They are splendid performers but when you can write as well as this....well I'd love to hear more originals from them.