Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Somewhere new - JT Soar - to see Sean McGowan again

It seems to have been ages since I last went out 'gigging' but last week my teen was promoting, and performing at, a show in Nottingham alongside one of my favourite singer/songwriters, Sean McGowan, so I just couldn't stay home!

I 'discovered' Sean McGowan about 18 months ago at a previous show promoted by my teen, and since then I've been keeping up with what he 's been doing via social media, keeping an eye out for tour dates, and listening to his new songs on Spotify and such, but it's not really the same as seeing someone 'live'. Admittedly, I could have seen him last summer but chickened out , fearing I'd be the only old person at the gig. I think I've got over this attitude now,and I'm determined that if I want to see someone perform, I will, whatever age the rest of the crowd.

Sean McGowan
Anyway, while I've been gaining confidence so, I feel, has Sean McGowan. He seems more comfortable and assured in front of an audience now, and, possibly due to that, his voice seems more powerful - a deep resonating tone to give you goosebumps, particularly when singing unaccompanied ballads, such as the traditional Wild Mountain Thyme. I last heard this in Edinburgh one festival time, with the audience being encouraged to sing along to a harp - a very different rendition to McGowan's! The easy way to describe his style is to say 'like Billy Bragg' - a mix of social comment and oddly romantic songs, and his 'Milbrook Road' is a real tear-jerker.

George Gadd

As an added bonus to the evening, I got to eventually see local George Gadd perform a complete set - despite my best intents, previous occasions haven't worked out for a variety of reasons. Also on the bill was Ajay Henry, someone I've heard of on the local pub/open mic circuit but not actually heard before. His sound is a little different to the others' - nearer to 'pop' than their angsty, Billy Bragg-style folk punk - but he fitted in well.

The venue was a new one for me; J T Soar - an ex-fruit and veg warehouse converted into practice and performance space, and entered by an anonymous grey door -  there really ought to be a 1920s Chicago speak-easy waiting behind it, but we can't have everything.

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