Friday, August 24, 2007

... and her Walkman started to melt

I’m heartened that Calmer* has returned to the nearby spa town. Last Wednesday’s evening’s entertainment was as eclectic and worthwhile as ever. I salute the concept and look forward merrily to future recitals at the Slak Bar. I penned a few words about the concert on the Folk Handbook’s online forum and as I’m terribly busy today, I’ll simply copy and paste.

Diane Cluck is a fascinating performer, at first sight and listen very delicate and slightly will o’ the wisp. This impression disguises quite an edge; her spare arrangements accompany haunting and honest lyrical offerings. I found her quietly compelling although I’m still trying to work out exactly what ‘anti-folk’ means. Her support on the tour, Barry Bliss, is a bit of an unpolished gem. His repertoire unashamedly veers from utterly pessimistic appraisals of current American economic policy to brutally honest personal revelations to quaint and thoughtful biographical songs (last night we all learnt a lot about Rasputin and Joan of Arc). By his own admission, he’s unused to playing outside a small wine bar in New York and had retired from performing – but was still rehearsing – before being invited to tour these shores with Cluck. At times he appeared rather nervous and took a while to adapt to a new venue (and continent) but this added to the appeal; here is an honest and distinctive artist worth seeing. The combination of both New Yorkers made for a fine evening.

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