Morganway, The Bronze, Don’t Lose Heart at Grapevine @ Bedfords, Bedfords Bar, Norwich 22 July 2015
Grapevine at Bedfords is one of those music nights which never seems to disappoint and maintains an astonishingly high calibre. That of course is down to having all the right ingredients, hand-picked acts by a promoter who knows and loves his music and therefore one can comfortably trust his judgment. When Steve books acts we may not have heard of before it is safe to say there is a very strong possibility we will be introduced to something lovely and wonderful and right up our street … for me on this occasion that unknown and impressive act was The Bronze. It’s also in a beautiful room, upstairs at Bedfords Bar on Bedford Street next to Frank’s Bar. The audience are also attentive and appreciative and it will be a rare occasion indeed that anyone will be bothered by someone talking during performances. The PA is managed by a soundman who knows his onions too, and tonight that soundman is Dickie Hartt who along with Lou Sadler form Don’t Lose Heart who open the music tonight with Steve deputising on the sound desk. It was very funny seeing the reaction and Steve’s expression when Lou asked for a little less guitar in her monitor!
I’ve seen them a number of times and am particularly drawn to the storytelling aspect of the songs, and especially Lou’s own compositions. Tonight it was all originals and these are the songs I enjoy most of all. Lou’s engaging and easy banter between songs give the act a real identity and character but her songwriting is so good, articulate and expressive that when listening it is impossible not to get drawn into the song and the tale being told. Some clever subjects tackled beautifully, I noticed they definitely struck a chord with The Bronze who were sat close by enjoying the set.
Don’t Lose Heart – Louisa Sadler & Dickie Hartt – play Lou’s heartfelt originals and covers from the roots & shoots of Americana, Blues and Country music.
I very much enjoyed The Bronze, knowing next to nothing about them beforehand, the second duo of the evening totally charmed me with beautiful songs and highly enjoyable and engaging banter between them. Their set was mostly originals but they did an extraordinary cover which I loved … making one of the Beatles’ most upbeat and joyous numbers (She Loves You) into an entirely different beast altogether. Slowed right down it was a tender and wistful piece with an entirely different and mood. Without changing the lyrics they changed the interpretation, it was beautiful. They were an absolute delight and deservedly earned themselves an encore with everyone in a very warm Bedfords shouting for more. It seems they have travelled down to Bedfords from Yorkshire previously for a Grapevine night and this is the other thing that makes these evenings special. Without exception it would seem, artists love to perform here and that feelgood factor between bands, audience, venue and promoter is priceless.
The Bronze are a musical duo consisting of Holly Taymar and Chris Bilton.
Despite being from different ends of the musical spectrum, with Holly having already written and performed extensively as a solo artist and Chris coming from the local band scene, the pair met in York in 2009 and began playing together, Chris adding accompaniment to Holly’s well rehearsed back catalogue.
Bolstered by the potential of their new sound, they set about touring and gigging together from later that year, honing their live shows and evolving their music as they travelled far and wide. Their hard work and effort was rewarded with national airplay from BBC Radio 2’s Sir Bob Harris with their initial recordings, 2011’s folk–tinged EP ‘Never Winter Mind Part One’ and from BBC Six Music’s Steve Lamacq with the more experimental 2012 follow up EP, ‘Never Winter Mind Part Two’.
Now, the Yorkshire based duo are proud to present their first collaborative full length album, the self-titled ‘The Bronze’. Lyrically thought-provoking, they layer vocal harmonies with interwoven guitars around subversive arrangements. Shading light over dark, they find a true meeting of styles, fusing electronic influences and troubadour sensibilities to reveal a sound reminiscent of modern adult contemporary acts such as The Sundays, K’s Choice and The Civil Wars.
Tonight’s headliners Morganway I was very much looking forward to seeing, fronted by the natural singer and talent that is Yve and the superb harmonies with Callum, plus a band who play flawlessly, they were just returned from Latitude and sounded tight and strong. Featuring Yve’s vocals, piano, electric and acoustic guitar but no bass their sound is so full and rich, with hints of Fleetwood Mac in their West Coast sound but are a band with very much their own style, songs and identity. I absolutely adored them and the provided another really special “Grapevine moment” with their stunning set and glorious vocals. They too were begged back onstage for an encore. Whilst trying to decide which of two songs to close with the audience shouted for them to do both and they duly obliged. Very fine band of excellent musicians.
Do take a look at their showcase video from a recent Norwich Arts Centre gig, and if possible try and get hold of their wonderful debut album
Born last year in North Norfolk’s rural outback, Morganway was formed by twin brothers Callum and Kieran Morgan.
The blending vocals of lead singers Callum and Yve Mary B is at the heart of the band’s raw, melodic sound.
More often than not I come away from a Grapevine night buzzing from a fantastic night of music that feels truly magical and this was most certainly one of those occasions. Great music in a wonderful bar run by friendly people and lovely company in that everyone here is a music fan. Everything is done properly and of the £5 entrance fee every single penny goes to the performers and the whole atmosphere just works so well, plenty of laughs and chat before and after the music but respectful silence during it, without things ever feeling formal or strict. It’s just natural respect for these lovely and talented artists.
Next Grapevine is on the 19th August and features The Woodland Creatures, Tony Brook Band, and Jules Talbot.
For those who have enjoyed the Bedfords experience, they can be voted for here in the EDP Food and Drink Awards 2015 : http://www.norfolkfada.co.uk/best-restaurant/
Many, many thanks to all the artists, Yve, Steve, Jan, Dickie, Glen, Simon, Johnny and everyone else at Bedfords.
words and photos (c) richard shashamane 2015