Monday, May 25, 2009

Filigree and Shadow

The Coles attended a concert party at Bristol’s spacious and historic Colston Hall last evening. The mesmeric and exotic Antony Hegerty was in town, accompanied by a raft (as in ‘a large number’ as opposed to ‘a basic wooden sea-going vessel’) of Johnsons. This proved a remarkably tasteful and rather bewitching hour or two. Hegerty, shrouded in a half light for the duration, was seated behind a grand piano throughout, a-singing and a-playing tenderly, backed by his gorgeously stylish group on guitars, drums, violins, saxophone and a haunting violoncello. Material from the fellow’s last two long players dominated proceedings. I confess, after a brief flurry of earnest spins, I have neglected this year’s offering, The Crying Light, but after hearing delectable renditions of Epilepsy Is Dancing, Kiss My Name, the poignant title track and, especially, an extraordinarily gripping Another World, I am keen for another listen. The greatest audience acclaim came for the songs from the Mercury Prize winning I Am A Bird Now and the spare arrangements of Hope There’s Someone, You Are My Sister and For Today I Am A Boy proved evocative and moving highlights. Hegerty’s unusual stage presence and atypical vocal style render him a performer who sits uncompromisingly apart from the mainstream; his work, his songsmithery, his affecting arrangements are special and to be treasured though. I salute him and his cohorts. They put on a fine show yesterday.

We supped cooling beverages before the show in a grisly tavern next door to the Bristol Hippodrome which is a couple of hundred yards away from the Colston Hall. Sixties vocal harmonisers and crooners The Drifters were playing the 'drome last night and it was fascinating to compare and contrast the punters attending our concert with the masses that supported the smooth Rhythm and Blues specialists. Verily, cast adrift among the gruesome Drifters fanatiques, it was akin to being thrown mercilessly into a cheap fags and homemade tattoo convention. It proved an unpleasant crew, make no mistake. We drank with no little alacrity and, with an occasional worried glance over the shoulder, scurried to the Colston Hall where a reassuringly different crowd awaited.

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