I love the feel of this pub. There’s an ancient pump organ next to the stage which was just begging for me to sit at and have a tinker, but I expect it’s endured more than enough in its life without me adding to it, so I let it be.
I know the most daunting aspect of going to an open mic for the first time is letting the host know that you actually want to play, a problem that is non existent with Crawford in charge. He’s just a genuine guy who loves what he does, and who heads up the first set with Chaz on Cajon.
What a warm sound on all fronts, from the bottom of the Cajon to Crawford’s vocals; I knew I was in for a good night. When Crawford pulled Yattie up on the harmonica the the blues was unleashed for a few numbers only to be pulled back again by Chaz’s rendition of ‘the Dock of the Bay’, sang beautifully. . . A drummer who can sing? Does that now make him a musician?
Anyway, next was the fantastic Jess with an original song – ‘Skip a Beat’.
I heard hints of Dolly Parton in this track with a lilting melody and haunting chorus that could smite you quite nicely. This, along with the song about Majorca (I doubt that was it’s name, she didn’t tell us), and another which I only know as the ‘break-up song’, would all go down well with a nice log fire and a wee bottle of whisky. She was soothing, in a stress-relieving kinda way.
FB/ Bren Badonde Sound Cloud: Lord of Mountain ‘Vegans with Firearms’
Next up was Bare-Foot Brendon which is a name the guitarist and writer is trying to shake off, but I get a sticky feeling about it. The fella’s voice is quite distinctive, the kinda voice you could instantly recognise as being Bare-Foot Brendon and the writing style gives him the feel of a complete package. Chaz jumps on the Cajon and the two do a set that was struck within an inch of its life. I’m sure they must’ve spent far too long together locked up in a dark and sweaty room. Lets say no more about that!
Michael Grant’s look hit me as soon as I clapped eyes on him, reminding me of why I love open mics; the stories man, the stories of the characters. The strong presence of this fella had hints of a young Lennon with a bit of Weller in there, and maybe a slight dusting of Gallagher – Liam – that is, and a voice that had frequencies from top to bottom all well established.
The mere spunk of the fella was what drew you in; it’s hard to play songs like the Bee Gees’ ‘To Love Somebody’ and Marvin Gay’s ‘Let’s get it on’ with a confidence and stage presence that this fella had, and then his original song put his heart on his sleeve. I would love to hear him with a full band as on an acoustic guitar the song had balls and punch, with a full well-rehearsed band it would take your head off.
Last up - Ian Newlands was a top rate finger-picker/jazz/chord-meister guitarist. Really enjoyed the set. Again I just needed a whisky and an open fire, maybe a dog at my feet and I would have been well away.
So the score for the open mic? Well sound was spot on and caliber was high, but they did run out of players which is good for musos but not good for those who just want to listen. But then again, who goes to an open mic to listen?
I give this place 6 quavers in a 4/4 bar.
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