Ross Mitson, solo set at The Golden Star, Norwich, 24 August 2013
After the BBC Introducing session, as the drizzle was starting to come down, I thought about popping in for a while at the Golden Star to catch Ross Mitson play for a while before heading home. I’m glad a did, he was mid-song when I arrived and I soon spotted Dickie and Jenny Hartt who kindly invited me to their table. Dickie has been to a gig every single night since I saw him at the Playhouse last week, that’s more than me!
I’ve seen Ross play many times, in Stromm with partner Claire, as the Stromm full band, and of course with the Bunkadoos, so I was already familar with his superb guitar ability and his astonishing vocal range. On one of these previous gigs with the Bunkadoos they did playfully perform a few covers which I really enjoyed for the diversity as well as the accomplishment of the performance. Tonight he absolutely amazed me with the range of songs, from the Buzzcocks, Velvet Underground, Lou Reed, The Damned and so, so much more.
About two thirds of the way through the evening came a nicely dark-tinged spell which featured Long Black Veil (“The only song I can think of where the protagonist is actually dead!” Ross said, I wanted suggest Nick Cave and Kylie’s “Wild Rose” but kept quiet about that) Delilah, and one of my first musical memories, Nancy Sinatra’s These Boots are Made for Walking. I started to tell Dickie this just as the song morphed into Donna Summer’s I Feel Love, so had to quickly explain! Extraordinary to hear that on acoustic guitar! It then merged back to These Boots which was followed by Delilah. Although they are classic pop songs they do have an underlying darkness, on These Boots it is less obvious than on Delilah but there is a sinister undercurrent.
As well as some Talking Heads covers, we were treated to a few Lou Reed/Velvets covers which I particularly enjoyed. Walk on the Wild Side, Satellite of Love (complete with the backing vocals) and a stunning Sweet Jane, which I have only ever heard as electric, this pared and slowed down version worked a treat.
A wonderfully relaxed and informal little gig in a cracking pub, which since my first visit in the 80s does not seem to have changed at all, and I love it for that. Always good for music too, I think I saw the great Last Straw play here many, many years ago.
words and photos (c) by richard shashamane 2013