The Music House Acoustic-ish Session at Jurnets Bar, with Eastern Seaboard, Milly Hirst, Blake and Rosie, Damsel, and Shane O’Linski. Review and photos.
The week’s Acoustic-ish session was curated by Shane O’Linski, who also started the music this evening with a short set of songs, linked by a theme of winter months. He played and sang in typical Shane off-kilter genius style, with a bootlace as a guitar strap and “I Love Spot” children’s TV t-shirt.
Eastern Seaboard were next on, as a trio but also joined for a couple of numbers by Milly Hirst. Vocalist Guy explained that he was suffering a heavy cold and was concerned about his voice, but with the medicine of Dr Jack Daniels this was not an issue and I thought he sounded great. I was most taken with the band’s melodies and harmonies and was moved enough to buy their album afterwards. Of the two songs with Milly, the first featured her playing what I think is called a Shruti Box, providing a beautiful and subtle drone, and for the second (a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Save Me a Place, from the album Tusk) her voice added even more to the lovely harmonies. Some beautiful guitar work, percussion, mandolin and banjo work too, occasionally some lovely, jangly, Byrds-esque sounds.
The next performers were the duo Blake and Rosie, my first time hearing them together. Rosie played some of the most sublime violin whilst Blake was playing a Hang (or ‘Hang Drum’ – which looks like a cross between a UFO and a barbecue but sounds exquisitely beautiful). They performed without amplification and totally mesmerised me, and all of Jurnets by the looks of things as the place was packed, even with people sitting cross-legged on the floor in silence. I spoke briefly to them afterwards, and they are such lovely and friendly people, explaining that the Hang has just five notes – it has a gorgeous sound, a bit oriental I always feel, and even the act of playing it looks beautiful. Rosie herself was astonishing on violin, at one point plucking the strings while humming the notes, pitch perfect. A real magical delight.
It’s been a while since Milly Hirst played a live solo set, and she said she was actually a bit nervous. She needn’t have been though, she sounded amazing in this venue and she totally charmed and delighted the audience with her introductions. Unfortunately we didn’t get to hear the new songs but were treated to I Still, Pack of Wolves, Heptonstall Old Church, Cherry Tree, and Rose. Such are the standards that all these performers have that almost all of them felt their performances were not quite perfect due variously to colds, guitar strings, being rusty, nerves etc but that is just not how it feels to the audience who loved all the sets. There was a little moment in Heptonstall where Milly was momentarily distracted by some monitor feedback but I thought she sounded brilliant throughout. Her voice strong, expressive and emotive – once again silencing a small group in conversation, and – particularly on I Still, Cherry Tree, and Rose – really causing me goose bumps with her delivery. She was mightily appreciated and it’s good to have her playing again, but I still look forward to hearing these new ones!
To close the night was Damsel, a brassy and dynamic singer guitarist, who explained that she was in about four bands who play punky material. This is clear with her delivery. Strong and fast, with some very good guitar work. She also included a cover of Laura Marling’s New Romantic but not delivered in a Laura Marling style. Interesting, and high in contrast after the preceding sets. I’ll try and locate her other bands.
Many thanks to all the artists, all at Jurnets, and Shane O’Linski
words and photos, richard shashamane 2014