Saturday, October 10, 2015

Lo-Fi Zone becomes No-Fi Zone

4th October 2015
The Foundry, Canterbury

Local legend Luke Smith has relaunched his "Lo-Fi Zone" after taking the summer off, now moved to Sunday nights, which is about right for this kind of low-key, mostly acoustic music. I hadn't been to one since the relaunch, and Tom Holden and I are going to be playing there soon, so I made an effort to get along last Sunday. As well as some old favourites from Luke Smith and the Feelings (Luke, his dad Dave the Drummer, and new recruit Tom Holden on bass), we got some high-brow poetry from Canadian academic Dan Keeler (apparently he's currently writing a Masters thesis on Donkey Kong), with obscure references from mythology, Lou Reed albums and computer games.

But the main act of the evening was Sam Brothers (not "The Sam Brothers" as Tom had imagined...Luke joked that Tom was disappointed that there weren't more of him, and a joker in the audience shouted out "We demand a recount!"). Sam's a captivating young singer-songwriter often seen busking in town. I first saw him play a couple of songs at the Bramleys jazz jam a while ago, shortly after he moved here — "Moondance" and "St. James Infirmary", both of which he completely made his own, leaving me and Matt Tweed wondering "Who is this? Why isn't he famous?" He played a few originals, then some gospel-blues like "Keep Your Hands the Plough (Hold On)". Due to an unfortunate beer-spillage on some sound equipment, a fuse suddenly went, leaving Luke scurrying around desperately trying to restore the sound and lights. But Sam, a busker and musical old soul, didn't miss a beat, just slid the mic stand to one side and sang/played a bit louder. All credit to him. The sudden loss of electricity added a layer of authenticity (lesser singers would have stood around awkwardly or got annoyed). He got his friend Callum (another similarly talented busker) to play harmonica and sing on "Dust My Broom", then blew everyone away with "St. James Infirmary". The audience was a mere dozen, but it was a cosy atmosphere, a sense of being among the privileged few to experience such a memorable performance.


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