Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Speakers Corner Quartet back on track

Undisclosed woodland location, East Kent

Jamie Dams (best known around here as one of the singer/guitarists in Famous James and the Monsters) played a 25 minute support set — just unamplified voice and guitar, having to compete with surprisingly noisy aircraft overhead at times, but holding everyone's attention to the fullest.

This was the first SPQ gig in almost two years, I think, and the first with the new bass player. He's called Pete, turns out to have been in the fabulous heavy prog band Morviscous. They were playing later that evening at St. Augustine's Hall (part of the new CCCU library complex) so a few of us got to see them twice that day. Giles playing incredible soulful drums on a tiny kit (elements of drum'n'bass and hiphop, but with a free jazz glue holding everything together). Ross stomping around in his camo top and trainers blasting out energetic 'street' flute lines while Raven worked his ever-expanding violin magic. They've been hanging out, getting high and jamming a lot this last year-and-a-half, so for them to play two gigs on their first outing was a real treat for them and for us... one unplugged in a sunlit forest and another in a synthetic indoor space with high-end light and sound rig. They played similar sets for both, but they were wildly different in feel, due to the added dimension of electricity. Each of the two sets made the other one make even more sense.

Here's some footage which has surfaced of SPQ playing part of "Sahara" (thanks Donna!):

Raven and the rest of Syd Arthur were off early to Dunmanway in SW Ireland early the next morning. They're going to be working on their new album for ten days solid in a remote farmhouse — really looking forward to hearing the results.

Before SPQ at St. Augustine's, we got one of the best sets ever from Cocos Lovers, and to only about 25 people. CCCU seems hopeless at promoting gigs. They didn't even bother sending anyone along to do the door, so it ended up as an unintentionally free event for a bunch of mostly friends. Cocos can adjust themselves very successfully depending on whether they're playing to a small, tranquil audience or a huge, boisterous crowd. I'm impressed by the way they do that, but I definitely prefer the sets they play for the smaller more peaceful audiences. This was one of those occasions. A Sunday evening. Beautiful subtly trippy lighting. John E behind the desk guaranteed perfect sound, but couldn't prevent Will's guitar from "blowing up" at one point. It just died. But Jamie Dams stepped up almost instantly with hers, saving the day. They played all the new songs I've heard a few times now: "Roots of the Willow", "Son of a Merchant", the gorgeous lullaby "Emily", etc. Also, "Baron of the Trees" which has been in their set for about year now, "Barcelona" and the title track from Elephant Lands and "Moonlit Sky" from the first album.
I'm starting to wonder whether I've ever heard a set where they didn't play "Moonlit Sky". I never tire of hearing it, nor seemingly they of playing it. It's different every time — there's enough space in there for them to keep exploring. I do miss some of the old songs that they've dropped, but perhaps we'll hear them again one day. There was a new new song (possibly first time played) with stunning harmonies from Nicola and Natasha and a stunning new Dave guitar riff. Apparently it's currently called "Under the Hawthorn Tree" (what Nicola described to me as a "singularly unexciting" title). The Krautrock-influenced "Song For Jack" hasn't been heard since they came and played in the woods in late July — this will not do...


Post a Comment

<< Home