Gig review: Under the Influence VOL17 @ Studio 2 at Parr Street
Saturday 20th March 2010
This event was the 17th in a series of gigs hosted by Norwegian singer-songwriter Kaya where artists celebrate those musicians who have been an inspiration to them.
In the world of acoustic alt country rock who has not been influenced by the living legend, Neil Young? Possibly only Bob Dylan.
The Parr street venue is a beauty for musicians in that it has a focal point for the stage, a discrete bar for Night Hawks and a room where lovers can close the door to lower the music volume and do what lovers do. The room filled up quickly and there was definitely a buzz in the air. Was Graham Nash, Stephen Stills and David Crosby going to turn up?
The first of three versions of Neil Young’s only real single hit ‘Heart of Gold’ came from Stuart Anthony strumming a Guild 12 string before he added his own tune, ‘Easy Sky’.
The stage was then set for Dogman Dave who was making his first appearance in Liverpool since ‘Out of the bedroom’ at the Leaf Tea Café and Bar last year. Dogman chatted freely with the audience about living with the album ‘After the goldrush’ for a year when it was first released before opening with a rousting version of ‘Old Man’. He threaded NY songs with songs from his forthcoming album ‘The Whisperer’ including ‘Home Fire’, ‘Small Acts of Kindness’ and the romantic ‘Valentine Light’. A gentle version of the appropriately titled ‘Out on the Weekend’ was followed by ‘Heart of Gold’ with Liverpool based singer-songwriter Jonny Sands on harmonica to help finish his set
Kaya and fellow Norwegian, Grethe took on the NY Harvest epic song, ‘A man needs a maid’ with the keyboard talents of the statuesque Grethe catching the ear.
Jonny Sands leapt on next and stole the show with a vocal of soaring quality on ‘Borrowed Tune’, This song, Neil Young’s blatant lyrical confession that he has stolen a Rolling Stones melody, never sounded better. On an aside, it was a shame the Stones didn’t see the Verve’s Bitter Sweet Symphony in the same light when they demanded and won 100% royalties. Jonny rocked the crowd with his own recently recorded tunes, the lilting ‘Home’ and then ‘Red Car’ and ‘Pet Shop’ by interspersing them with NY’s ‘Walk On’ and both ‘Vampire’ and ‘Revolution Blues’. Even Ian McNabb couldn’t contain himself, as he was seen and heard whooping up from the front.
Up next, Ian McNabb made the radical decision to go unplugged and sit amongst the audience in true acoustic fashion. Starting with a lovely rendition of ‘Harvest Moon’, McNabb raced through Neil Young’s back catalogue sometimes melting two songs into one. As a crowd pleaser (in Liverpool) it was obvious Ian could not really fail with NY classic songs, ‘Needle and the damage done’, ‘Hurricane’, ‘My My Hey Hey’, ‘Old Man’ and ‘Heart of Gold’ (both again) but he chose strangely not to play any of his own songs. Finishing in true troubadour style McNabb strutted around the room singing ‘Mr Tambourine man’ (Bob Dylan must have pinched it off Neil) whilst finishing with an open mic night special, ‘Hide your love away’ (the Beatles were renown for taking stateside songs and making them their own).
Kaya performed a great ‘I got ID’ from the Pearl Jam-Neil Young collaboration and with her band created a rocking atmosphere with an instantly likable song ‘Fairy Tale Blues’. They chose to blast the night away with the appropriately named ‘Eye of the hurricane’. As everyone spirited into the night it was openly acknowledged that this has been one of the best events in the ‘Under the influence’ series. The next ‘Under the influence’ is ‘Radiohead’ on the 24th April. The Bends anyone?
© 2010 Digby Dan Smith
Liverpool Acoustic – liverpoolacoustic.co.uk
Liverpool Acoustic is the only website of its kind in the UK. It was founded by Graham Holland in April 2008 as a central resource for the vibrant and exciting acoustic music scene in Liverpool and the Greater Merseyside area. The website publishes news from the local acoustic music scene, previews of upcoming events, reviews of music releases and gigs, and the Liverpool Acoustic Spotlight podcast. This content is available for free via email subscription. The diary lists acoustic events including festivals, theatre concerts, folk clubs, showcases and open mic nights.
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