Monday, June 12, 2017

Photos: Sunday

So on Sunday, I drove down from Newcastle to Congleton, through some beautiful countryside. I arrived just in time for the Catenary Wires, Amelia Fletcher's duo with her partner, Rob. Through the airy atmosphere of the marquee and through sunshine and heavy showers, they performed a charming set of memorable songs; my favourite was the new one (sorry, I don't know the title) which had chords to die for, and despite Amelia saying it was difficult to play, was absolutely exquisite. It was great to see Amelia's melodica centre-stage in the performance. It's much-underused instrument and hasn't appeared with such prominence in much music lately although it was very much a feature of reggae bands in the 1980s.
Next were Wendy and Simon Pickles, from the Popguns, whose duo is called the Perfect English Weather. The weather provided percussion and breezy harmonies; Wendy provided a beautifully flowing vocal style supported by Simon's chordsmithery. Again centred on songs, this was an absorbing performance perfectly suited to Sunday afternoon.
I plugged the Green Goddess in, and set off on my own musical journey. I thought how nice it might have been to be a duo, but that's not how things have panned out for me and a songwriter; having supportive audience really helps and again, everyone sang along to 'The Sea' and the massed backing vocals felt like a big wide band. Apart from a motorcycle convention roaring past during Feathers (sent by the bullies that the song is about, perhaps?), there was something lovely about singing outside as the British summer weather went through its paces: akin to singing in the middle of a cl
Finally, M J Hibbett and the Validators took us out smiling; my fave song was My Boss Was In An Indie Band but this was a whole set of gently humorous and self-deprecating songs that had the audience fist-pumping (rather limply in my case because I'm a novice). Michael is funny and charming, and the afternoon ended on a high; wandering dogs and cycling children wound down, the marquee was dismantled, yet somehow songs still floated around in the wind even as people started to go home.
It was lovely to catch up with The Sunbathers: maybe some gigs together when the album is ready?
Kevin Birchall and Linda Yarwood have been organising these Going Up The Country events for five years, and this was the last one. They were inspired to support Sarcoma UK after the work by Carey Lander of the Scottish band Camera Obscura who died from osteosarcoma, and who campaigned tirelessly towards the end of her life for funding for the charity. Thank you both of you for inviting me to be part of such an inspiring line-up and to support such a vital charity. I know we'll meet again (shared love of Northern Soul) and I hope you carry this on in some other way in the future.
Going Up The Country: The Catenary Wires, The Perfect English Weather, M J Hibbett and the Validators.

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