Sunday, February 10, 2008

Whistling in the Dark

Acoustica last Friday proved a bit of a curate’s egg. I had heard tremendous things about the first act, Vijay Kishore, from a couple of trusted sources and was anticipating something special as a result. The Birmingham-based singer-songwriter possesses a mighty and soaring voice with an incredible range and the Jeff Buckley comparisons proffered on the Acoustica home pages were, to a degree, apt. Howe’er, the expression ‘Nice voice, shame about the material’ rears its ugly, unwelcome head. The lyrical content offered little challenge and provoked less thought while, forsooth, I detected few melodies that made the heart leap. I certainly wasn’t whistling any Kishore numbers as I ambled earnestly down the historic Eastgate Street at evening’s end. Throw in to the mix a fairly taciturn and monosyllabic stage presence, a bewildering need to tune and retune after every song and a compulsion to continually, continually request less light (until I could barely make out the fellow in the gloom) and the frustration is complete. File under ‘Adequate’.

Luckily, the headliner, Kit Holmes, proved a pleasing antidote to her humdrum predecessor. She entered the stage, all hair and brightness, and proceeded to thrill with a sumptuous display of hugely impressive guitar playing. I suppose her set represented the quintessential ‘game o’ two halves’. Her guitar instrumentals, technically outstanding and rather bewitching, were interwoven among her endearing, poppy and pretty songs that, without setting the world alight, were entertaining and catchy. I admired her jolly ways too; her good humoured manner and ready wit proved welcome after the somewhat sullen Kishore. File under ‘Engaging’.

The rugby football proved a tad disappointing on Saturday. The Gloucester club of Gloucester were defeated at home for the first time in ages by the Leicester club of Leicester. Frankly, the number of players missing on both teams rendered the occasion relatively meaningless but I am pleased with the endeavours made by some of the city club's fringe players. James Bailey, at full-back, proved keen and alert while Mark Foster was an abrasive and tough-tackling presence at wing-threequarter. Young Jack Adams, enjoying a rare start in the midfield, caught the eye with more than one mesmerising, strong and speedy sprint through the opposition ranks. Gloucester’s deserved losing bonus point keeps my favoured team at the top of the league.

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