Milly Hirst, Stromm, Harry Harris live at Grapevine at Bedfords. Bedfords Bar, Norwich, 4 March 2015. All photos (c) all rights reserved Richard Shashamane, http://www.norwichblog.com
February was a bit of a write off for me, having already missed the previous Grapevine that I’d been so keen to be at, I only just managed this one after a month of fatigue and bugs but finally recovered, the lure of Milly at a Grapevine just the incentive I needed and the perfect tonic against the fatigue.
She was very busy with work and somehow managed to find the time to dash down to Bedfords for an hour or so, play a sublime set and then head back to work again. Milly caught everyone off guard and sailed quietly into her set unannounced with a beautiful performance of Kampala, before allowing Steve to give her a proper introduction. It was – as ever – a beautiful set and amazingly her very first appearance playing at a Grapevine night. A real treat to hear her in these surroundings with an attentive and enthralled audience. I Still was as haunting as ever with the sound perfect to suit Milly’s preference of a bassy guitar sound, and of course the exquisite Mary. I love Milly’s voice and the stories she tells in song, it’s always a privilege to hear her play.
All too soon the set was over and she had to dash back to work, somehow making her flying visit seem all the more special. She made way for another visit from London-based singer-songwriter Harry Harris. I noticed he had a sticker of another Grapevine favourite on his guitar: Danni Nicholls, and he too is a good storyteller telling background tales of kids playing football in the streets and also a song about an imminent visit he is making to Georgia. The Georgia that charmed my heart is the tiny country on the other side of the world from the big US state but that too holds fascination for me, especially having watched the excellent episode of Songs From the South a few days previously which was based there and touched upon Ray Charles, so Harry’s song resonated with me too.
After some panics and dashes across the city to retrieve some forgotten drumsticks it was Stromm who closed the night with a full band set here. Sounding punchy and catchy with lovely harmonies, and once again fine storytelling. Newest member Kate on bass seems to have fitted into the band effortlessly and looks totally relaxed and at home playing bass seated whilst the excellent Stuart on drums held it all together. They are apparently currently recording their much awaited debut EP in North Norfolk.
I’d really missed my live music the previous month and this was just what I needed in the familiar, friendly and relaxed surroundings of Bedfords. Steve was on form and displaying his characteristic and infectious enthusiasm and Dickie had the sound spot on. I noticed some more brilliant new lights suspended from the ceilings too, bottle lamps made by Spiritlamps which are really atmospheric.
Many thanks to Milly, Stromm, Harry Harris, Steve and Jan, Dickie, and all at Bedfords Bar.
words and photos, richard shashamane 2015