This was my first visit to the Hug and Pint from way back when it opened it's doors, and since it's just a ten minute walk from my house, and a twenty minute walk from the shop itself, I'm rather surprised that I've never stopped in for a fly pint before, or even a wee acoustic gig. I've been invited down a few times now, but other stuff always seemed to get in the way. Thankfully though, when Steve Grozier asked me to come down for a review, I was free for a few hours and fancied some cold beer and warm music to soothe the days working stresses away for a bit. It's been a while since I had been out for a quiet beer, and to take in a great acoustic set... and Steve Grozier was more than willing to supply the great set end of the deal.
I have already stated on this blog how Steve's softly worded vocals and strong lyrics invoked, for me anyway, the smoke filled cafe/bar days of early sixties 'folksy' New York city (I'm not ancient mind you, I just watched a lot of documentaries on the time and the music!), and keeping in a similar vein as that, the Hug and Pint downstairs, with it's Beat poet dive bar vibe, was exactly the kind of place where Steve should be playing to an eager crowd. The word 'eager' might be the wrong one to use here. That word almost makes me think that the crowd were braying and whooping for more, like a room full of drunks at an all night keg party.
They weren't, of course.
Instead they were, as was I, stunned into a kind of awed silence, as Steve played out tune after tune of drifting, haunting, charming, bluesy folk ode's of lovers lost (even imaginary lovers!), lovers found, sad times past, and good times remembered. This is songwriting at it's best, and even the odd dad joke between songs went down well with the assembled acoustic fans. (seriously though Steve, we're gonna have to work on those funnies).
I headed out right after Steve's set, into the shitty cold night, as I still had some work to catch up on and a cold to beat into submission, but it was a set well worth coming out for. Check out the video of him playing at our shop above, with Keep It Creative.
I'll no doubt catch him live again soon.