Monday, November 16, 2009

Martha Tilston and the Woods

Saturday 14th November, Whitstable Royal Native Oyster Stores

Matt Tweed (Spacegoat), who's illustrating the book I'm in the process of finishing, plays in Martha T's band, so this was an excellent occasion, a stonesthrow from the sea.

Martha - vocals, acoustic guitar
Kate - backing vocals
Tim - banjo, mandolin, fiddle
Matt - 5 string fretless electric bass, bouzouki

Support was from Dan Arborise. Lots of live looping and effects on his acoustic effect. The best stuff was midpoint between Fripp and Eno's Evening Star and John Martyn's Solid Air - really nice.

Martha started her set by walking up the main aisle of the room, slowly, with Kate, singing "Searching for Lambs", unaccompanied. Beautiful. Tim joined them onstage for the next piece, then Matt on the song after that. We got a lot of Martha songs, her rewrite of "The Blacksmith" (the one about a surfer), a lovely "Willie o' Winsboro'", Gillian Welch's "Everything is Free" (just Martha and Kate singing). For an encore, Martha walked back into the middle of the audience and and sung "Silver Dagger", accompanied by Tim's fiddle.

I ended up staying at a house at the top of Nelson Road with the band, getting into a political discussion and drinking some bottles of Budweiser (!) which Matt was given. The most 'rock 'n' roll' thing that happened that night was him accidentally managing to switch off a video recorder at the plug and thereby reset its clock (not quite as rock 'n' roll as throwing it out of the window)! Martha's manager Bob was down from London - I noticed a box of The Go-Betweens' Oceans Apart CDs (their third reunion album) in the boot of his car and asked why... turns out he managed them from when they arrived in London in '83, still manages Robert Forster. He kindly gave me a CD and also mentioned how the locals in Brisbane voted to name a new bridge "The Go-Between Bridge" in honour of the band. Bob's quite a character - he told us stories of driving a Mini to Kuwait in 1969, travelling around Australia in a van full of freaks, etc.

In the morning we walked along the seafront, and then were treated to breakfast at the Tudor Tea Rooms on Harbour Street (somewhere I've walked past for 20 years, but never been in) by Jonno who organised the gig for Whitstable Folk Club. Talking to him, it transpired that he'd come to university in Canterbury in '71, so I asked if he remembered a band called Spirogyra (not the dreadful jazz-fusion Spyro Gyra) - he had, and had a lot of stories from back then, filled in some of the gaps in my knowledge of that scene. Sitting next to him was a hung over character called Howard who'd done the gig poster - turns out he'd also done an album sleeve for Soft Machine in the early 70's, but doesn't remember which one (or even have a copy).


Blogger tomkerswill said...

Sounds like a great gig. Enjoyed reading your review. Martha's a fantastic performer. We were going to be seeing her in Hebden Bridge, but gig was cancelled sadly :-(

10:19 PM  

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