Fred’s House, Kirsty Merryn, Andrew Taylor at Grapevine@Bedfords, Bedfords Bar, Norwich 2 March 2016
The February Grapevines I was unfortunately unable to attend so it was good to be back at Bedfords Bar to see Steve and Jan as well as the Bedfords staff. Tonight’s event welcomed back Fred’s House, Kirsty Merryn, and Andrew Taylor, all of whom had played here before at one time or another.
Apparently Andrew played his Grapevine some eight years ago, whilst Kirsty played a few months back. Fred’s House I have seen many times since I was first introduced to them via Grapevine about three years ago and regularly since. It was Andrew who opened the music tonight with a typically accomplished and engaging set featuring some intricate, melodic guitar and expressive vocals. I mentioned afterwards to him that it was difficult to avoid a particularly surreal shadow cast by Fred’s House’s bass guitar which appeared to show a profile of a duck or a penguin on his shoulder. I think he questioned my medicinal intake over the years at this but thankfully Steve saw exactly what I meant. I didn’t expect him to mention it in his introduction to Kirsty however, who said being introduced in the same breath as an excited penguin was a career first for her.
She was troubled by a cold and sore throat but didn’t let this hamper her, or if it did I would really like to hear her unhampered. Very charming between songs and engaging during them, her piano and sung stories endeared her to everyone, the closing songs of the set were especially strong and there was also an utterly unique rendition of House of the Rising Sun to finish things.
From Cambridge, Fred’s House are regular visitors to Grapevine and they were stopping off tonight on their tour promoting excellent new album Faultlines which after just a couple of plays I already think is their strongest recording thus far. Their style of retro folk-rock is hugely enjoyable due to the beautiful melodies and harmonies (especially when they soar) as well as the delivery from the whole band and they are also utterly at ease with the audience. They got all of Grapevine clapping along with them which without prompting also continued throughout their set closer Beautiful You.
Another lovely Grapevine which has its own unique and special vibe in the city, there simply isn’t another event like it. Each time the performers mention it too so perhaps it is not only unique to the city but maybe the country too, which is a great testament to Steve and Jan and what they have created, and the beautiful setting of Bedfords. No wonder Grapevine has such a good reputation. Next Grapevine is on Wednesday 30 March and features Paul McClure plus two of my local favourites, The Woodland Creatures, and the absolutely sublime melodies and harmonies of The Arlenes. Tickets are £6 in advance from UEA Box Office, or £7.50 on the night. All ticket/entrance money goes back to the performers, another rarity these days.
Many thanks to Steve and Jan, Fred’s House, Kirsty Merryn, Andrew Taylor, and all at Bedfords.
all rights reserved (c) shashamane 2016