Hannah Woof & Monday NightsReview
Rather more through luck than anything else (see below), I caught excellent sets by Hannah Woof and Monday Nights on Leamington Bandstand this afternoon.
I am lucky to have seen Hannah three times during this outdoor gig season & thankfully she didn't get as cold & wet as she did at Art in the Park. Mixing up covers & her own sublime originals, her set clearly pushed the button for the good crowd out in the increasingly warm weather. Ending with her own superb "Rendezvous", I think I detected a desire in her to steer away from her emotionally intense side for the main part: the time, place and audience probably were not right for that. Much as I applaud that signature part of her work in these pages, I'm sure she got that right today and it's good to be reminded how she has the capacity to channel a range of moods.
I have to thank Monday Nights for my being there at all: I was advised of their playing only the previous evening directly by them and the event (something called "Ecofest") was probably one of the worst publicised I can remember. The band themselves had clearly gone to great lengths to prepare for the gig: the lineup is in transition & changed from the one I saw at Motofest with constant founding members Jacob & Ali joined by stand-ins who did a marvellous job on the complex songs: you really could not have detected that they would have had only a limited period to learn, let alone master the material. Drawing on nearly all their own songs: both already released & slated to come out, the subtleties were enhanced by the excellent sound (a tonic after the shambles at Art in the Park which I had the sad task of reporting) overseen by Ben Lambert.
I was also delighted to bump into Ellie Gowers, David John (of Stone Bear) and Abi Rowberry in the crowd & learned much of interest from them about future plans, releases, gigs etc. Look out for the articles which derive from that information!
I greatly enjoyed the music & take my hat off to Ben, Hannah & Monday Nights. However this regretably is another occasion when as a reviewer it is my duty to speak out on behalf of musicians and audiences. There seems to be a spate of "lifestyle" events which at best seem to regard musicians as merely one of several commodities deployed during the proceedings (probably way below the prolific food stalls at each one in the organisers' esteem). By not making even the most minimal efforts to publicise the music, artists are deprived of the support of their fans and audiences are not aware that favourite ones may be playing. Not a single person I spoke to had seen any mention of this event online and all, like me were able to catch these two excellent acts through variations on chance & good luck. That the blackboard by the Bandstand had wildly incorrect stage times on just exemplifies the general sense of not caring much about the music except as a general attraction. I counted five events this week alone where the publicity has been so poor that only directly asking the artists revealed when they were playing.....