Saturday, February 07, 2009

Music is my hometown

I picked up the latest Gloucester Guildhall brochure this morning with the traditional combination of trepidation and wild, wild excitement. There’s some decent stuff coming up methinks, although not a great deal that is new to these ears ‘n’ eyes. I have seen Duke Special, The Young Knives and David Ford at the venue before and they all pleased this punter. The Coles shall certainly visit the auditorium for The Young Knives; I admire their anti-fashion quaintness, acerbic banter and tremendously rousing indie-rock melodies. I’m not so sure about Duke Special. He produced an incredible set at Acoustica a few years ago and impressed the normally bashful and reserved Coles to such an extent that we, on the cusp of leaving the building, hurried back, on a whim, so that we could shake the Belfast-born songwriter by the hand and congratulate him with uninhibited fervour on a stunning performance. We caught him at Bristol University too, supporting The Divine Comedy, and he was more than adequate although, with a machinery of a determined record company now behind him, some of the magic had dissolved. Any lack of enthusiasm to attend a Duke Special concert is connected to a sense that he couldn’t possibly be as good as he was that first time. David Ford will be well worth revisiting. I bought his long playing record after his last show and I’ve spun it a fair bit. His songs were bitter, clever, moving and thought-provoking. I rate the fellow.

I’m pleased that Chumbawamba are playing an Acoustica Special at the beginning of March. I expect an evening of uncompromising and challenging singin’ and playin’. The support act is Belinda O’Hooley who used to be the keyboardist for Rachel Unthank and the Winterset and remains a warm, witty and wondrous stage presence. She’ll suit the Acoustica vibe and (if it had one) its mission statement perfectly. I’m intrigued that Patrick Wolf is coming to the Guildhall. I am not fully acquainted with the chap’s work but he does seem a unique and somewhat leftfield performer, a cult figure perhaps. I can’t imagine him striding round the Eastgate Shopping Centre pre-gig. I’ll research his stuff and reserve judgement until then.

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