Live review: K’s Choice @ American Bar & Grill Wednesday 5th June 2013
Derek King, Kim Jennett, Debbie Richards, Pete King, and Shannen Bamford
K’s Choice is a weekly showcase event that takes place every Wednesday at American Bar & Grill on Renshaw Street. It’s hosted by local singer, songwriter and performer Derek King, who each week features four musicians from the local scene.
Derek King, host of K’s Choice
The event starts at the relatively early time of 7.30pm in order to give each of the performers a decent set length. I didn’t arrive until 7.50pm (I blame the cat) and settled down to enjoy Derek King’s last two songs in his opening set – one original and one cover. The ‘originals and covers’ theme was to crop up again throughout the evening.
Derek got the event off to a good start before introducing the first of the booked acts, Warrington’s Kim Jennett. Standing there in high-heeled boots, polka dot dress, and faded denim jacket, and clutching an all-white acoustic guitar I half expected her to start singing country songs. Instead she treated us to a mix of original songs from her recently-released EP, and a selection of covers including Hit The Road Jack, Kodaline’s All I Want, a medley of Mercy and Johnny B. Goode, and Little Lion Man by Mumford and Sons. Maybe it’s a confidence thing, or maybe Kim just likes singing covers of songs she likes to sing, but in my view the covers weren’t a patch on her well written and really well sung original songs, and I would have liked to have heard more of them. For me, it’s only when Kim is singing her own compositions that we see the real Kim Jennett, a talented young woman with lots of attitude (in a good way!). facebook.com/Kimjennettmusic
Next we had a change of pace and style from Debbie Richards, playing her keyboard and singing. Last time she performed at K’s Choice was back in February not long after it started. That night it was freezing cold with snow on the ground, and the audience consisted of a couple of drunks sheltering from the weather. Tonight a good number of people were there to enjoy the natural talent of Debbie Richards. Like Kim and Derek before her, Debbie performed original songs with a few covers thrown in, although the covers such as I Guess It Doesn’t Matter Any More was totally reinvented as a lovely piano ballad. My particular highlight was Blues In A Queue, a song that Derek had requested and which was inspired by a painting on the walls of the View Two Gallery. debbierichards.co.uk
I saw the name Pete King on the event poster. However, it wasn’t until I saw him in the venue standing next to his dad that I realised the connection. It was the day before Pete’s 17th birthday so Derek could rightly be forgiven for giving his son a slot at the event he runs regardless of how good his son actually is. Thankfully Pete seems to have inherited his father’s musical ability because he performed a mixture of covers and original songs with confidence, ability and no shortage of style.
The final booked act of the night was Shannen Bamford, a young musician who’s been creating quite a buzz around the launch of her debut EP next week, and watching her perform at American Bar & Grill I can see why. Shannen’s on-stage persona seems to be the opposite of Kim Jennett, and is more reserved, with gently plucked guitar and softly sung lyrics – a delight to listen to, and yet another exciting prospect for the future. shannenbamford.com
Having arrived late I also had to leave early (not the cat’s fault this time) and missed the end of Kim’s set and the closing set from Derek. Hopefully next time I can stay to the end.
Week in, week out Derek King manages to find an interesting and varied lineup of musicians to perform at K’s Choice. The event is free to attend, and there’s open mic between sets, although there were no takers on the night I was there. Well done to Derek for running the event after responding to the call on the Liverpool Bands facebook page. And well done to the venue for making a firm commitment to this new event, particularly during the colder early days!
Graham Holland is the owner and editor of the Liverpool Acoustic website, and runs Liverpool Acoustic’s award-winning live music events with local musician Stuart Todd. In real life he’s a Web Development Officer, has been producing podcasts on a regular basis since July 2006, and runs a number of websites for other organisations. He lives in Wavertree with his husband and their cat Xiao Hei.